V/A Neither Beginning nor End
By Marcus Pan
What we have here is a label sampler for Frances Cynfeirdd
label. The label has partnered with the Masachusetts outfit Strange Fortune.
With most compilations you expect some kind of synchronicity as the album
progresses. You wont find that here its a promotional CD to
introduce the listener to the various folk noir bands from Europe currently on
the Cynfeirdd roster. A lot of the tracks here on Neither Beginning nor
End would be considerably out of format for Legends usual reviews,
but since its a label sampler and since there are some bands here that
would fit our format Ive decided to have a go at it.
We open with Richard Moults A Night Sky which
for all intents and purposes is an opera track. We wont discuss it much
for that reason (Legends revieweing opera? WTF?) and move on. Aldireons
Il Sole Nero is very pleasant, folk based with light strumming acoustic
guitar and low key male vocals. Out of Italy, the track is originally from the
La Stanze del Sole Nero album. The added flutes are a beautiful touch
and it closes a bit experimentally with deep resonant tones that fade you away,
which Im not quite sure was appropriate.
From the Book of Pelin album still to be released we
have Kinovias Revelation of Archangel. This I like, and its dark
undertones and deep drumming is one of the reasons I decided to keep it on the
review schedule. The electronics have an evil tint to them and the male
Aah style chanting is lethargic and disturbing. Duparcs A
Nestling Garden is sweet and nice, pretty female vocals, but with the
percussion dropping out it tends to lose its way. Following this we have
Russias Wolfblood with Voluspa off of the Twilight of the
World CD. Somewhat experimental in make-up, but not in a modern way.
Shaman-like perhaps, but not really my thing.
Herrs The Fall of Constantinople is this
compilations (samplers) standout. Its electronic as far as I
can tell, but brilliantly executed as an orchestration that goes as a great
backdrop to a fantasy style scene. The spoken word story about the fall of the
city itself is strong and powerful, putting you there at the falling gates as
the enemy army batters it with all they have to offer. This is the second track
that made me say, Ok, Ill write up the CD even if most arent
our thing. This particular track is from The Winter of
Constantinople. Immediately after the similar vein of La Marche des
Morts strikes forward with its heavy marching beat and kind of silly
sounding flute. I dig it though because it compliments The Fall of
Constantinople nicely. Closing Neither Beginning nor End is the
electro-sounding Black Generation from Pavillon 7B. Its got an
interesting vibe, but somehow the female vocals are too sweet for the deeper
melodies of the synths.
The bands that I give hearty thumbs up to on the Cynfeirdd
label are Aldieron, Kinovia and of course Herr and Gae Bolg. Pick up this CD if
you want to hear a selection of folk noir and pick those that appeal to you.
Dont pick this CD up looking for a solid and flowing compilation album.
While the bands are similar in that Cynfeirdd signs folk noir, this is meant to
give you a heads up on whats coming (and has come) from this French
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Phone: (617) 718-9990