This recording highlights the robust sound of muscular instrumentation, stellar song structure, and composition, evoking a rollicking acoustic symphony. Every track is constructed with contrasting movements: mock speed, measured nuance, and scaffolding volume. I’ve always had an affinity for string instruments. Bob Pycior plays the fiddle like a lead guitar creating riffs that jolt and intone. The characteristic sappy sound of the fiddle can’t be found here, and good riddance. Greg Jamie’s vocals evoke a subtle swell, rise to a nasal pitch, and segue into guttural channeling that inspires his voice of distinction. Gabe Darling’s awesome vocal accompaniment, ukulele, and banjo playing are staples of the music. The foundational force of o'death's masculine sound is fueled by Jessie Newman’s beefy bass accents and David Rogers Berry’s psycho-punk drum auxiliary of chains, cymbals, and gas tanks. He rears them in with unbridled force.
It is difficult not to highlight all the songs on this release because the penned words and striking music is alive with death. The intensity of “Fire on Peshitgo” about a historical lake fire where many died, sets the context for the remaining songs dedicated to an individual, Eliza. Her short life ended abruptly but is celebrated and mourned. / and robbing life of dignity / to every desperate end / alone / breathless air / lake on fire / land too /. The lamenting slow tribute “Angeline” is breathtaking in its beauty and honesty / the leaves have turned / your ways have burned / your naked flesh against the sun /. The concluding full-bodied chorus / Angeline / Angeline / all your friends on their hands and knees / tired of your tragedies / is like a joyous funeral music procession. The first track “Lowtide” starts with the ukulele plucking and continues to build in volume with the fiddle strong-arm enunciation. As the drums crash and burn, the vocals rise in pitch, and pathos ends on a pluck. / I plant the face in water / I held her broken feet / I taught the wave that caught her / now she is yours to keep / hang the hardship baby / we go to sleep and then we die/ is the choral interlude of “Grey Sun” and cries out like a folk epic with words that kill, literally. Greg Jamie’s Neil Young-like vocal and Darling’s harmonies are highlighted in “Home,” which slowly begins with the chorus of / home / home / the air I breath / and is broken up by a fiddle interlude scaffolds to a full orchestration emphasizing the urgent chorus. Greg Jamie’s vocal flurry is in nasal overdrive on “Legs to Sin” and catapults into a screaming metal-head. “Mountain Shifts” polka beat lends to the muscular masculine all-band chant that increases with a breathless pace in this experimental song arrangement. / Her hair lays violent / dead in the stream / I hope that she’s peaceful / wherever her body may be /. Bridging the fast to slow sounds of contrast that are brutal “Vacant Moan” combines slow fiddle interludes and chains-hitting cymbals. / I plant my feet / I left the ground / I sought the wind too / I fought this out /. Then adds the most intense fast rant chorus gone haywire. All my / all my / all my own / could have grasped a vacant moan / then the lush of violence / crushed the pride of naked wind / dance the dance of broken veins / by the hand of all attained / left before you all the same / broken from the start /. “Crawl Through Snow” has a rock opera structure, then it softly enters into a divine passage / and on that foggy night / the trees fired up / and grew endless / I held the beast at bay / grew tired / from the light fading /.... ending with an impressive finale of the full orchestration. With Broken Hymns, Limbs & Skin, o'death has moved the music culture forward, displaying their capacity to experiment with what is and evolve into what isn’t. In contrast to death, o'death's music is alive. It breathes and celebrates the importance of living and feeling everything fully.
Side Note: Jimmy Joe Roche's Packaging design is top-notch. Collage and handwritten lyrics are placed on pages in the likeness of an authentic artist's journal with pasted artifacts, scribbling, and photographs. Starting off organized and evolving into a living document. o'death website and blog!! Myspace
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