My Silent Wake – “Silver under Midnight” (2013)
My Silent Wake are a band with two different faces, and so it is no accident that their two albums “Silver under Midnight” and “Preservation Restoration Reconstruction” are now being released almost simultaneously (as well as sharing some design elements and the same opening track!).
“Silver under Midnight” is the band’s first full-blown metal album since 2010’s “IV Et Lux Perpetua”, and it is a very solid, homogenous album that pursues a similar track to the last album in eschewing the neo-medieval folk sounds of the band’s other “self”. The band’s lineup always seems to be in a flux, but this is not a problem, as the digipack credits band leader Ian Arkley as the contributor of “vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion, bass” as well as the writer of most of the music and lyrics. I only mention this in case anyone has any reservations because of the recent lineup changes – this album hasn’t taken much note.
After a quick and atmospheric opener played on the dulcimer (this is the only point of contact with “Preservation…”), the next tracks “Destroyer” and “The Last Man” get the album going with some catchy, melodic modern doom. Arkley alternates clean and growled vocals along the lines of older tracks such as “Cruel Grey Skies”. Especially “Destroyer” continues where the last album left off, with some 1970s-styled hard rock riffs thrown in. And hey, there is a really good video for “The Last Man”:
The next three tracks take a more traditional death/doom approach in the style of My Dying Bride and early Anathema, with some guest vocals from Esoteric’s Greg Chandler (who also mixed and produced this album) and Attrition’s Martin Bowes, which prove to be a worthy addition. Still catchy at times, too. The lyrical content here is very bleak, angsty, and nihilistic:
“Millions of pitiful fading lives
Running in vain from the shadows of death…
Look upon the corpse, your captor
Taunting silently of our demise
Leaving all behind forevermore
Even yourself, even your mind”
The final track, “Third Season”, is a near-15 minute progressive emotional tour de force with clean vocals, reminiscent of the band’s earlier tracks such as “Through Greenest Meadows” (also lyrically). These ‘retrospective’ sorts of tracks also come closest in mood to Arkley’s earlier project Ashen Mortality. If this should be My Silent Wake’s final CD for whatever reason, I would write that Ian Arkley has at last come full circle musically in the final quarter of an hour. Of course I do not hope this is the last CD! I never said I did! Gosh!
The album closes with a poe’esque scene –
“Cold in my grave
Broken I held her”
– and one majestic minute-long fadeout that leaves the warm and melancholy lead guitars humming in your ears…
In one sentence: My Silent Wake are back and very much alive – this is traditional death/doom (with splashes of melancholy mellowness mixed in) that needs no apologies.
relaxed _ _ _ X _ aggressive
introspective _ X _ _ _ outspoken
rough _ X _ _ _ polished
juvenile _ _ _ X _ mature