03 We Knew They Were Coming
04 We Both Go Down Together
05 Alone I Will Travel In Time Tonight
06 Wicklow Nightfall
07 Use Your Blood
08 Into My River
09 Order Of The Forlorn
10 The Clearing
11 The Small Roads Out Of Town
12 Shine Unseen, Then Disappear
This band has never changed its line-up since the foundation time twenty one years ago in 1991: please allow me the privilege to introduce to you this four member act from Graz, Austria – Cadaverous Condition – and their new album “Burn Brightly Alone” which according to their self-definition “is not just a compilation of songs for [them], this is [their] life”. And frankly speaking I can’t disagree with them for the music is emotional to the limit where it stops to be art and feels like real life. And when I say “emotional” I don’t mean anything bad or pejorative. It’s just that there is real feeling, real pain and real sadness to each song, be it the slow terrifying “Ghost” with leaden riffs and a grip of steel, throbbing “Driftwood” or hate-filled “We Knew They Were Coming” that however starts with a lyrical soft keyboards intro done by Tobias Nathaniel from The Black Heart Procession. And here we for the first time encounter the trend-mark sound of Cadaverous Condition where soft acoustic music is confronted by the beastly growls of the band leader Wolfgang Weiss. This is called “Death Folk” – and most probably the “Folk” word stands for the sound of clean guitars as they sound in the songs “We Both Go Down Together”, “Into My River”, “The Small Roads Out Of Town” and “Deathless”, the latter ending with the keyboards line from the intro of “We Knew They Were Coming”.
Needless to say in these acoustic Death Folk songs the sung word grows unexpectedly important, hence – open the booklet. Though the growl of Wolfgang Weiss is really clear and lets discern much of the lyrics. Still to get the full understanding one needs to open the booklet with the driftwood on the cover, blackness adorned with white letters inside and a farewell note on the grave cross on the last page. This grave at the end of the booklet symbolizes the end of the album – and taken out of the context it stands for the end of life. Remember, this album is not “a compilation of songs” – this is life… Well, back to the lyrics now – and it proves not to be easy to understand for in some songs certain allusions are used that are hard to comprehend without the help of the author’s commentary.
Take the “Driftwood” song – who is “black eyed girl from Vik, Iceland”? Yet the general message is clear: this is the way of life, from the beginning (“I want to be wanted in my time” from “Ghosts”) to the end which seems not to be the ultimate stop in the journey (“Deathless”). In this life there is place for dreams and expectations (“In the air a “what if” gets us out of here” from “Driftwood”), there is place for tragedy (“The damage done by strangers, as foretold” from “We Knew They Were Coming”), place for angst, uncertainty and loneliness (“Like faces in the window, inside the light / are they ever friendly, or only young” from “Into My River”), yet there is some dark beauty and joy here (“What a beautiful mess you are / blood and starlight shine tonight / there’s something in the air / and we go there” from “The Small Roads Out Of Town”). The Decemberists cover “We Both Go Down Together” stands for one of those bright moments in life: “We fall but our souls are flying!” This conceptual contrast is there in the music – mostly dark and heavy, sometimes terrifying (check out the haunting sounds of saw played by the Drone / Noise musician Paul Beauchamp) and sometimes light and nearly merry (“The Small Roads Out Of Town”). It all ends with the crystal clear song “Deathless” where even the saw sounds soothing and the desperate growls get washed away by the beautiful contemplative piano melody. Time to get the CD out of the player and read the final message: “There is no death in this world, only forgetfulness”.
I doubt this music is easy to forget. Hence – it is “Deathless”.