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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2017



01. Sólstafir
- Berdreyminn
02. Ulver
- The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
03. Lacrimosa
- Testimonium
04.
Sun Of The Sleepless - To The Elements
05. Au Champ Des Morts
- Dans La Joie
06. Peter Bjärgö
- Animus Retinentia
07. End Of Green
- Void Estate
08.
Anathema - The Optimist
09. Friends Of Alice Ivy
- The Last Days Of Fenwyck
10. Last Leaf Down
- Bright Wide Colder

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Random album

Monica Richards - Kindred (2013) - Review

Band: Monica Richards
Album title: Kindred
Release date: 25 October 2013
Label: Danse Macabre Records

Tracklisting:
01. Kindred
02. Under The Bridge
03. Fall
04. Undulatos Asperatus
05. The Bird And The Snake
06. Speak
07. 50 Euro Boy
08. Penelope
09. Let You Go
10. Lalala Song
11. Gil's Theme
12. Sparks (Redux)
13. The Enchanted Mirror

Delving deeper into nature and potential of the human spirit through music. It looks like an effective antidote to the social apathy and alienation of our time. Even more if that sonic potion is concocted by the priestess of the underground - and far beyond - Monica Richards. Thus far, I may not be writing anything new about the kind of thoughts and emotions this versatile artist - half punk, half fairy - is able to transmit through the songs she writes. Add to this formula the complicit harmonies of her life and the result is Kindred, the third milestone in her uncompromising solo adventure or, better still, a sort of radiography of her soul. So special is this record that includes such atypical sounds as bat screeches, cicadas songs, tortoise taps, frog singing, different kinds of birds, wing patterns, thunder, rain, steps... all of them recorded by Monica herself at the idillic setting where she lives. Therefore, categorizing Kindred - as any other work of the muse - would be pretty unuseful. As customary in previous recordings, goth, classical, ethereal and electronic are some of the touchstones in her haunting and immersive soundscapes, while this time the processed layers seem to have an enhanced role in the structures.

Distant voices and cellos twirl around the tribal backbeat and thus "Kindred" sets an ancient, esoteric atmosphere already at the album's outset. Certain spirit-lifting begins to occur then and the following "Under The Bridge" manages to keep the mystic winds blowing - almost in a literal sense. As if she was a mermaid, Monica plunges us through her chants into a somber, yet riveting, ocean of high-pitched patterns, bat screeches and mechanical cadences. "Fall" runs upbeat in contrast, featuring catchy drums and choruses, groovy bass and meandering guitars. Justin Stephens (Passion Play) is responsible for the song's strings and his mark is on the mixing too. His collaboration extends to "50 Euro Boy", a modern club-centered piece, sophisticated hybrid of electronic, piano and guitars, and the swing-laden, impromptu reinterpretation of Faith And The Muse's classic "Sparks (Redux)". Though Kindred has been entirely created by Monica Richards alone, she has surrounded herself with some good friends. Thus, Steve Niles helped her playing bass on the instrumental "Gil's Theme", a song to be carried away, propelled by a ceaseless beat core that fades into somber synths near the end, and also on the sweeping "Undulatos Asperatus", equally energetic in rhythm but also expansive in its slowest parts, featuring beautiful processed chords, winds and vocals full of charm floating within it. The renowned composer and violinist Paul Mercer lends his talent on the title track and also on the moving "Let You Go", written in memoriam to Monica's cat Mina - in fact, almost every song in this repertoire has been inspired by the animals dear to her. Violas and keyboards barely get to fill the vast soundscape. Only the sung loss and love manage to melt the coldness to their step. Also Caroline Jago (bass/strings) and Lesley Malone (percussion) have contributed some brilliant tracks to the final versions. One of them is the signature, Eastern-tinged closer "The Enchanted Mirror". Wailing chants and programmed melodies, along with the ritualistic percussion, draw a suitable backdrop for the introspective verses: ".../Tenderest to those who won't own me". Drones and effects flicker over the structure and the spell is broken progressively, giving way to an eerie silence within which the chorus is echoed: ".../Hush! Listen... This is my most secret voice". Monica's Strange Boutique ex-bandmate Steve Willett has co-written with her "The Bird And The Snake", as well as playing bass, guitar and percussion on it. In addition, he also is in charge of the bass on the retro, minimalist "Speak". Both of them are pretty representative of the odd, reverie Goth which made that cult band easily recognizable in the 90s. In "Lalala song", poignant fiddles and heavenly humming swirl the electro core such as spiral. This lovely piece is devoted to another of the Monica's kindred spirits - her dog Zendra, also known as La La. "Penelope", a song composed by her self-named cat while running across the piano keys, completes Richards' more refined, personal and ambitious solo repertoire to date. Indeed each sound-stroke in Kindred has a strong evoking power and shows clearly how boundless the imagination of this artist can become. The album gives off a pleasant, heady and so foreign to us fragance which is worth to be discovered.

Review written by: Billyphobia (Virus G)
Rating: 9/10

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Hidden By Ivy
Album title: Acedia
Release date: 4 September 2015
Label: Alchera Visions

The musical output of Hidden By Ivy is hard to put in brackets, but what those two artists do is certainly giving some shivers down the spine with their incredible sense to compose refined and highly emotive music. There are found many different elements, from post-rock basis, to incredible subtle layers of dark wave, art pop, gothic elements, shoegaze, even cold wave, ambient, some jazz, a bit of folk and yet much more, everything put together into such an exquisite melancholic flow of refreshing meditative sounds. Acedia is a blistering attack for your senses. It has so much emotion, meditative soundscapes, melancholic catchy melodies and heartrending vocal arrangements that is hard not to be overwhelmed by it. Those constant variations in sound and intriguing art pop/rock compositional elements used all over are certainly making this album one of a kind. There's that vintage influence present, but the album sounds still very modern and fresh, also because of a genious production and final mix. Every single song, like as well the album as a whole has that hard to obtain pathos which captivates the listener from the start till the end and makes the one wanting to return for more.

Read a full review HERE