Genre: Neofolk / Ritual Folk / Dark Folk
01) O ceo Baixo os Meus pes
02) Vellos Caminos de Vellas Arbores
03) Cara a Terras Bonxanas
05) Arrastrando as Cadeas
06) Onde as Almas van a Morrer
07) Madeira de Teixo, Pedra de Castro
08) O Home dos Cornos
09) Adeus meus Amigos
Passion. It’s a word that most people use in an exceedingly careless manner in our modern era. It’s a word that one may mistakenly use to simply describe a moderate interest in a subject, or a simple dedication to a hobby. Passion, however, is a bold word simply defined as “strong and barely controllable emotion”. There are few moments in life when I have felt that this word has been saved for use in the right context or moment, however, the music that Sangre de Muerdago has created is so full of that very emotion that it quite literally seeps from every aspect of each composition found on this debut. In an era where so few artists in the spectrum of music can really be considered as genuine musicians writing from their heart instead of a set standard of rules to be considered part of a genre, Sangre de Muerdago has produced a brave offering that will strike right at the heart of any folk-minded music lover. I consistently use the word ‘authentic’ to describe great records because I feel that the word defines the album as not lying at the heart of a genre, but at the heart of the creator, wherever it may land. Thus, it takes on a life of its own, becoming an entity of, in this case, pure heart-breaking beauty.
Sangre de Muerdago create a range of emotions throughout the album; from joy to grief, from nostalgia to youthful, natural awareness. The music is ancient in tone but full of love. Just as most of the songs are thematically surrounded by the world of trees and the obvious elder-based sentiments that they represent, the songs on this album incorporate a sound that goes beyond history and the evolution of music. They are monolithic in presence and herald the old natural world while simultaneously mourning the loss of it in the new world. Where Vellos Caminos de Vellas Arbores pays its respects to those towering giants whom have watched over humanity since the beginning of its existence, Arrastrando as Cadeas calls those of us who still have a heart that is aligned with the old world to arms with its martial guitar rhythm and haunting, epic ocarina melodies. Arrastrando as Cadeas especially has an incredibly powerful allure to environmentalism that calls on you to do something about the world outside your window in a way very similar to the way Victor Jara has inspired many in the political world with his refusal to stop singing his songs until the very end. Unfortunately, in much the same way, Pablo C., the primary musician in the project, is now continuously influenced and guided by who was once one-half of Sangre de Muerdago, one Jorge Olson de Abreu. Abreu passed away before the recordings found on this album (with the exception of the two bonus demo tracks at the end of the disc), but was an integral part of the project and the writing process for the album.
Musically the project is as ancient in voice as they are in theme. Humble, Galician -sang vocals are performed as a reflection into the past, often in a melancholic tone. Low, nearly ghostly tones take their place within the music until it is their time to truly shine, and in moments like the end of Vellos Caminos de Vellas Arbores, the harmonious moaned approach finally becomes one with the instruments, creating a truly animistic sound that could be defined as a spirit becoming one with the wilderness. Guitars are gentle in most tracks, usually played in melodic lines as opposed to strumming (with the exception of a few tracks) and are tightly, if not expertly performed. Stringed instruments play a huge role in creating the atmosphere for most tracks, as does the wind instrument which I’ve interpreted as an ocarina. Overall, the entire sound is ritual in nature, not so in the traditional sense of ritual ambiance or folk, but in regards to its respect for the natural world and the peace that comes with the music due to that. The project has described itself as “free and innocent” among many others notes and fits their character quite perfectly. It’s true at heart and ageless. It stands to represent life among the wilderness, life outside of the modern chains of capitalism and working yourself to death. This music represents the true soul of humanity before it becomes filled with all of the lies of modern society. It represents our true identity as a species. What we were, what we should be, and what we could still be. It’s enough to fill one with an overwhelming, though unintended sadness at the current state of the world. It also fills you with a pride that we are capable of creating such beauty as that which is found in Sangre de Muerdago’s music. The incredible song-writing cannot be understated.
I’m not known for gushing reviews, but never has a song made me weep. Not until “Vellos Caminos de Vellas Arbores”.
Passion redefined. Timeless.
This release was limited to 200 copies and is sold out. Missed out? It will be re-released in a few months on Brave Mysteries in tape format, with a new release after that on perhaps a collaboration of two labels that is yet to be announced. Keep an eye out and an ear open.