My Silent Wake - Shadow of Sorrow (Bombworks) 2006
1. "Wake" [intro]
My Silent Wake sounds like it might be the name of some modern metalcore or emo band. In fact, this is far from the truth. My Silent Wake is a gothic doom metal band from England featuring the vocal and guitar talents of Ian Arkley, who has also been the main man behind Seventh Angel and Ashen Mortality, as well as the guitarist for Australian death/doom metallers Paramaecium. Musically, "Shadow of Sorrow" is dark, moody, majestic and melodic, yet still very heavy. Arkley's vocals are mostly of the death metal variety, which normally turns me off almost immediately. I have grown extremely tired of death growls over the years as they all seem to sound the same. However, on "Shadow of Sorrow" they seem to fit perfectly. Clean vocals are also used sparingly. These vocals echo back to the days of Seventh Angel. Actually, some of the music on "Shadow of Sorrow" reminds me of some of the slower, doomier moments on "Lament for the Weary" as well. It's worth noting that "Shadow of Sorrow" is chock full of thoughtful and inspired lyrics as well, that add to the overall appeal of the album. Frankly, I find it hard to put into words exactly how good the music is on this CD. While Ian has been involved in many great projects in the past, My Silent Wake is most definitely one of the best. (That's saying a lot since Seventh Angel's Lament of the Weary is quit simply one of my all time favorite albums.)
1. Finio (0:19)
2. The Dying Things We're Living For (6:42)
3. Severed (7:13)
4. Heretic (11:51)
5. Into Silence (8:01)
6. Wobe [instrumental] (1:29)
7. Sullen Earth (11:50)
8. Sturm (5:57)
1. The Anatomy of Melancholy (4:23)
2. Revolution (6:23)
3. In the Glow of the Autumn Sun (4:53)
4. Look Beyond the Flesh, Look Beyond the Mind (2:52)
5. Dying (1:26)
6. Oceans of Time (2:23)
7. A Photograph (7:29)
8. To Bid Farewell (3:56)
9. Storm (7:56)
Sophomore full-length release from British doom/death metal band My Silent Wake, the brainchild of guitarist Ian Arkley. "The Anatomy of Melancholy" is a double-CD release and features two volumes. Volume one continues where "Shadow of Sorrow" left off; melodic doom metal with a mixture of death and traditional style vocals. Comparisons to Paradise Lost, Opeth and Candlemass wouldn't be too far off. The songs are mostly epic length and are fairly progressive and complex. Though the compositions are mostly long, the songs never get tiring to listen to, nor does the overall album sound too same-y. From the doom metal of "The Dying Thing" to the melodic death metal and black metal influences of "Into Silence", the songwriting captures the attention and holds it. "Heretic" is a dark and melancholy doom metal monster that starts off with a haunting vibe that builds to a full doom/death onslaught. The song ebbs and flows from the more quiet and haunting moments to the heavier moments, melding eerie piano passages with heavy guitar parts. "Wobe" is a short instrumental that sounds like a guitar having a conversation with whales underwater and acts as an intro into the nearly twelve minute epic "Sullen Earth".
The second one is full of mostly acoustic-based music and is somewhat reminiscent of "Damnation" by Opeth. The whole thing has a gothic-meets-folk feel. The death growls of disc one are completely absent, replaced with clean male and female vocals. The title of the album is a good description of the music on this disc the overall sound is quite dark and melancholy. While I didn't delve deep into the lyrics, the songs seem to explore the deep despair and searching that humanity experiences. While disc one is one that I enjoyed jamming in my car as I zipped down the freeway, disc two is much too moody for that. I found it to be more enjoyable as I lay back at home and relax to the melancholy sounds.
Originally released in 2007, Bombworks Records re-issued "The Anatomy of Melancholy". The CD is digitally remastered and is wrapped in a six-panel digi-pak.
"A Garland of Tears" is slow, dark, brooding, moody, gothic-tinged doom metal album with hints of death metal mixed in. Ian Arkley and Co. blend together unique melodies, that are both haunting and infectious at the same time. While the CD only boasts seven songs, most of the tracks clock in at over eight minutes in length. The entire album has that grandiose, epic feel to it. Over the years I have grown weary of death metal vocals. Quite frankly they don't offer much variety and tend to be monotonous. However, with everything I have heard from My Silent wake thus far, I have really enjoyed the vocals, including the deathly growls. There is a hint of female vocals throughout, mostly mixed as background vocals that really adds to the overall atmosphere of the music. As well, the clean vocals are done quite well.
Some may remember that Ian Arkley spent some time in Australian death/doom metal band Paramaecium. Some of that feel has come into Ian's music here as well. While the music for the most part is heavy doom, there are peaks and valleys. There are plenty of heavy, downtuned riffs throughout, but you'll find much more than that. For example, short instrumental "Pendulum" is a delicate celtic piece featuring what sounds like a piccolo or possibly a recorder.
The lyrics here are pretty dark, with deep thoughts on depression and even suicide. However, the band offers their thoughts is a well-thought out and poetic way. To make the point perfectly clear that they are not promoting suicide, Ian offers a bit of commentary on the inside cover of the CD.
Besides the Bombworks CD version, there is also a limited edition vinyl version on Thrashing Rage Productions. The vinyl was released on 10/21/2008 and is limited to 312 copies all with a free 7" bonus single with "Cruel Grey Skies" and the live bonus track "Shadow of Sorrow. The first 100 came on red and black vinyl, the rest are black. All handnumbered with a certificate.
My Silent Wake
1. I Am (Eternity) (5:44)
2. Bleak Endless Winter (5:580
3. Devoid Of Light (6:03)
4. Rebirth (23:31)
5. The Doomsday Feire (10:41)
6. Arc Light (8:45)
7. Silent Epiphany (4:53)
8. A Photograph (7:40)
"Black Lights & Silent Roads" is the new split CD from My Silent Wake and The Drowning, both doom bands from the UK. My Silent Wake is a well establish band already having several full length albums out on Bombworks Records. The Drowning have been around for a few years as well, releasing several independent albums. The dueling bands battling for place on the CD here have been friends for several years, sharing the stage together many times. What we are presented with is an album that demonstrates the creativity and individuality of each band, even though both bands are of the same musical genre. Each band contributes several new original songs while paying homage to their relationship by each covering a song from the other. This is a great concept and one that more bands should explore.
My Silent Wake starts off the first four songs starting with a cover of Attrition's "I Am (Eternity)", including guest female vocals from Attrition. Not being familiar with the original, I can't say how this song compares to the original, but I can say that had I not read that this was a cover, I would have assumed it was a My Silent Wake original. They also do an acoustic cover of The Drowning's "Devoid of Light". Despite being a melancholy, acoustic track, the song is still very dark and has a heavy vibe. The other two songs are new with "Rebirth", clocking in at over 23 minutes. This song alone is worth the price of the disc. Twenty three minutes of epic, dark, intricate, slightly progressive doom metal. This is probably the most diverse track that Ian Arkley and crew have recorded thus far. The song weaves a musical tapestry with it's melodic songwriting, crushing riffs, death vocals and superb production.
The Drowning finish off the CD with the remaining four tracks. "The Doomsday Fieire" is a slow, heavy, moody song and probably my favorite on the disc. This too is an epic length song clocking in at over ten minutes long. They cover My Silent Wake's "A Photograph" from their "Anatomy of Melacholy" CD. Unfortunately that is the one My Silent Wake CD that I do not own, so once again I cannot really give an accurate comparison of the tracks. From what I have read, that CD is an acoustic album, but The Drowning's cover is crushingly heavy death/doom. As such, I am sure the two songs stand in stark contrast. The song does fit in nicely with the other three originals.
"Black Lights & Silent Roads" is a collection of absolutely brilliant, slow, moody death/doom metal and is highly recommended to anyone who can appreciate the genre. Each new listen will reveal more and more to the listener, as it did for me.