Ordeal by Roses – City of Forms – MC/CD – Outsider Art 2020.
Sometimes work comes along that destroys all you knew before as it wires itself to your nervous system, it’s a rare occurrence, but you always know when it has happened. That is my relationship to Ordeal by Roses and after two great tape releases, I nervously approach the debut album - the stakes are high.
As spoken dialogue opens the album and leads us into City of Forms 1- Hostile Architecture I feel as if I am somewhere in between a dream and a soundtrack. Melodic synths and distorted electronics play off each other radiating an intense, hostile beauty. The vocals kick off somewhere within the psychological architecture of sound. Hurt Hostility rises to the forefront as City of Forms 2- Time as a Suture explodes briefly – short, sharp facts expressed through rage and walls of distortion. New ideas in new forms as beats, drones and an intermittent vocal form a circle to make a ritual of pain that is The Mask of a Child.
The spoken dialogue returns as The Wheel Refuses to Spin (To the Least of my Brothers) and switches to traumatised shouting whilst the drones play out. This combines instrumentation and noise to an impressive degree with both taking the lead at the right time, this happens a lot throughout the album. Knights of Swords (reversed) switches to a direct assault as noises play off each other building a huge blast as it slowly melds together. The vocal gets in on the action and goes off massively, the noise seems to follow this lead. This is a lengthy, sonic tantrum as everything becomes one to express something.
The last City of Forms 3 – Irreconcilable Distance pulls the beauty back into the sound as melodic electronics and distortion work together whilst the vocal gives out one last surge of dialogue. The anger and beauty combine to bring City of Forms to an end
The abstract artwork on the cover compliments and works like the music as it radiates a life. There is darkness and light within the vague forms, what they are or if they are there at all is hard to tell. The artwork and sounds being one happens a lot on Ordeal by Roses releases.
The contrast of light and dark within City of Forms is vast, the synths in the work have a soundtrack like vastness whilst the vocals - noisy and spoken are impressive. On Monday someone will as what I did this weekend, and I will tell them that I experienced the reality of an existence and it was perfect.