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Stone Breath – The Ætheric Lamp

The Aetheric Lamp

Some music is simply precious. What is meant by this is that the music itself is so delicate, so powerful while being so tender, that listening to it is like holding a child. The sedative soft female vocals over intricate guitar melodies shows a skill that is very unique, while creating an emotive trance that is extremely soothing. The music seems to be fairly simplistic in its formula of guitars, banjos and vocals. The guitars themselves though dare to explore the fretboard in a way that expands on folk, country, and even flamenco. Some of the guitar parts reminded me of childhood days of walking around Spain during Siesta.

With the third track the Sleeping Rise, the male vocals begin. They at first seem to be awkward, not really fitting in with the harmony of the song and the females vocals. On the next song, they take the lead with the female singing in the background. With a great banjo style, this song works extremely well. Throughout the album this seems to be the case; when it works it works well, and when it does not work it is disheartening.

It seems that modern folk has taken a Black Metal ethic of lower production, which is a completely valid and understandable thing. The fancy studio’s have created a mechanical sound, which hinders the essence of the music coming through. Stone Breath utilizes this to their advantage, making it sound like the music is in the room with you. At times things like vocals seem a bit lost, but this is of course the advantages and disadvantages of this recording method. Overall many of the songs have a lasting impact, with the capability of getting stuck in your head as any good song does. Some of these songs would be great to listen to see live and sing along with, while drinking some whiskey and smoking a pipe of course.

Songs such as “Terrible and Beautiful”, which utilizes a harmonium, truly fit their title. This album has some brilliant gems that make this a group worth paying attention to. They also have a few tracks that simply do not seem to be fully formed, as if they could not find a way to improve on it yet liked what they had enough to use it, or simply needed more songs on the album. This is to be taken as a compliment as well, for it shows both the potential and the place to work from.

Rating: 4/5
Written by: Patrick Bertlein
Label: Hand/Eye / Format: CDr / Cat.# h/e054
Tracklisting:

1. Beautiful and Terrible
2. The Voice of the Thunder
3. The Sleeping Rise
4. Scorpion Tears
5. Where Angel Wings Unfold
6. Wingstorm
7. Holywater
8. Terrible and Beautiful
9. The Sky’s Red Tongue
10. The Coming Fires