01 I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
02 Alone and Forsaken
03 You Win Again
04 There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight
05 I’m So Tired of it All
01 All the Love I Ever Had
02 Why Should We Try Anymore
03 Lost On the River
04 Cold Cold Heart
05 May You Never Be Alone Like Me
Country music was a part of Bryin Dall’s upbringing, though not by choice. In time, Dall set his own course, but it’s clear that the desolate persona of Hank Williams resonated with Dall throughout the years. From the Darkwave sounds of Loretta’s Doll to the terrifying 4th Sign of the Apocalypse, and then partnering with Derek Rush in the “dambient” defining A Murder of Angels and the genre-bending Dream into Dust, the uninitiated may have expected these two to have run out of ways of expressing the dark current which has carried them.
If you’re not familiar with the work of Hank Williams just know that the lugubrious nature of classic country music was made popular by his honky-tonk twangs. Much of his short adult life was filled with physical pain, heart break, and self-destruction, all of which cumulated with his early death at twenty-nine. His forlorn ballads have been revisited by country and rock musicians countless times since his passing, though most often they are merely covers or basic renditions. What we have here is a complete deconstruction, an alchemical purification of Williams’ work down to its base elements and then rebuilt into an aural form best fitting his woeful spirit.
While the lyrical content hasn’t changed, pretty much everything else was reworked. Bryin Dall alters the vocal delivery, melody, and adds his signature discordant guitar noise for atmosphere. Producer and contributing musician Derek Rush drops the acoustic and bass guitars to a minor key and meticulously arranges the compositions in such a way that every pluck of the guitar and sweeping synth carries unearthly weight. One can feel the helplessness, and the wayward phantoms that surround the drifter on “Lost on the River”. The classic “Cold, Cold Heart” starts with eerily screeching guitars and a sense of self-pity, until the thick bass and dissonant guitar effects build up to a desperate, angry climax filled with painful tears. The entire record is hauntingly honest in its loneliness, the bitterness palatable. My only criticism would be that material can be overwhelming for one sitting. I personally would revisit it in parts, when the mood calls for self-reflection.
The common Post-Industrial influences are all too familiar, and in some cases incredibly predictable. It’s also so easy to play into a lame ironic jab at a genre of music that’s so often ridiculed in the underground. It takes a certain amount of maturity to pick up discarded pieces of one’s past and to see how it has helped form their current identity. In my book Bryin Dall counts amongst the few truly experimental artists in the Post-Industrial scene, unashamed of the wide range of influences that have fuelled his various projects. So once I saw Dall and Derek Rush behind this tribute to Hank Williams, I knew I was in for something truly inspired; I was not disappointed.