Wrekmeister Harmonies - Night of Your Ascension - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Wrekmeister Harmonies - Night of Your Ascension

by Kevin Orton Rating:9 Release Date:2015-11-13

With its latest, this Chicago collective, spearheaded by J.R. Robinson takes on religion and murder. A year in the making, and boasting an ensemble of 30 musicians, it is a brutal, chilling, and ultimately beautiful work. Among its cast are Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten), The Body’s Chip King and the haunting vocal stylings of Marissa Nadler.

The title work, clocking in at 32 minutes was inspired by Don Carlo Gesualdo, a Renaissance era musician known for his sacred music and expressive madrigals. A man  who also viciously murdered his wife and her lover in 1590, after catching them in flagrante delicto. By account, an act of excessive, grisly violence. It is a piece exploring how a man who created such beautiful music, could commit an act of such unhinged, unspeakable barbarity. An act that resulted in his dismembering both victims. It begins in the heavens with Nadler’s ghostly vocals then descends into the brutal depths of some forgotten circle of hell. Morphing from the classical to the rock world in the process. It ends in a hail of grisly buzz saw guitars and unholy wails that culminate in bestial, death metal growls. A powerful piece of work to say the least. Not for the faint of heart.

The second of the album's two tracks, is Run Priest Run. A piece inspired by the death of Father John Geoghan, who was convicted of molesting over a 150 children and was later executed by fellow inmates while in solitary. It begins with clanking metal, then some ambient white noise slowly materializes. Then drums and  groaning guitars kick in. An angelic choir boy chorus in the distance. By the end, we’re left with the hair raising shrieks of Chris King (The Body). Powerful, but ultimately not as dynamic as Ascension. A touch more subtle. However, combined, this album makes for arresting listening. An unflinching, brutal musical exploration. One that questions a society fascinated by lurid scandal, yet turns a blind eye to the omnipresent horrors of poverty, injustice, warfare and bigotry. Heavy listening folks. While, not the kind of record to put on at a dance or dinner party, it is a powerful meditation and well worth the time of day.


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Really liked this one. Good review!

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