Friday, 27 September 2019

A Most Accursed - Ghosts.

Album: Ghosts
Artist: A Most Accursed
Label: Sombre Soniks
Catalogue no: SomSon139

     1.      Ghosts
     2.      White Cross
     3.      Rejoice
     4.      Wild River

I recently reviewed Druha Smrt’s latest release, Incarnatium, on this blog some weeks ago, and rated it as another entry in a distinguished catalogue of fine releases from the Sombre Soniks. So, you may justly wonder, what does this have to do with this latest release on this small British label? The answer’s simple: A Most Accursed is a side project of Druha Smrt, and takes matters off in a completely different direction from that project. Because what we have here can be classified as a form of shoegaze/noise/dark ambient hybrid: traditional instruments like piano and guitar are much in evidence, as are lyrics, and there’s plenty of reverb to go around. And it’s glorious – it’s dreamy and noisy, uplifting and shattering, light and dark, and pure delight.

The title track ‘Ghosts’ begins with a simple reverberating piano figure that provides a backdrop to breathy lyrics and guitar feedback. These are ghosts indeed, fleeting glimpses of lights and shapes seen from the corner of one’s eyes, distant elusive memories of past events and people long gone, seemingly recorded in a slice of air and time. Those memories haunt as shiveringly as spectres and apparitions do, living as they do in a past that can never be retrieved. ‘White Cross’ is just as mesmerising, echoey, ringing guitars and vocals rising into the sky, followed by soaring guitar notes winging their way to some distant, shimmering horizon. These are the bright but ephemeral sparks living their brief firefly existences in a vain effort to join the stars above.

‘Rejoice’ comes up next, more piano reverberations against a watery background, but this time accompanied by a mournful viola. This one, in spite of its title, is a swatch of darkness, velvety black and starless. A funereal pall hangs heavily, an oppression bearing down upon all who stand below. The final track ‘Wild River’ starts in much the same vein as the previous piece, with echoing bass piano notes set against rushing water, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is uncreative repetition. This one is lighter in tone, but grandiose in effect, indeed just like a wild river should be – bounded only by its natural banks, not beholden to the controlling interference of man, and left to power and meander its way wherever its nature wonts. Rocks and barriers mean nothing, and in many ways this serves as a metaphor perhaps for our own lives; the river fears nothing in its path, and can be a powerful force to be reckoned with. It could burst its banks and flood the land, destroying homes and lives. It bends and finds its way around obstacles. It is clear, hiding nothing. It is strong, supporting life, and simultaneously able to move heavy objects. It is the quintessential element for the survival of life.

In my so far short acquaintance with Sombre Soniks Ghosts amounts to quite a departure from their usual style, but I have to say that that is a wonderful thing. This is a more accessible album than much of their output, but is ultimately another means of expressing concepts which would be hard to pin down in any other way. It is an uplifting and sobering experience, a reminder both of joy and grief, a celebratory parade and a funeral cortege. Furthermore, this shows versatile musicianship, and that moods can be created both through tradition and unconventional means. This is a scintillating gem that shines darkly in both the light and the dark.

Available from the Sombre Soniks Bandcamp page:

Psymon Marshall 2019. 

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