SOPOR AETURNUS & THE ENSEMBLE OF SHADOWS – THE SPIRAL SACRIFICE

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: Apocalyptic Vision
Released: 2018
Buy album: https://soporaeternus.bandcamp.com/album/the-spiral-sacrifice-2018
Band website: https://www.facebook.com/sopor.aeternus.offiziell/

Sopor Aeternus

Band Lineup:

Anna Cantodea Varney:- All Instruments

Track List:

1. “Everything is an Illusion” 5:50
2. “Where the End begins” 5:19
3. “There are Scars in the Evening Sky” 2:15
4. “The broken & shattered Moon” 5:12
5. “I cannot go back to the Way I was” 1:43
6. “In the Company of Beasts” 3:58
7. “When you love a Man” 6:46
8. “Through the Forest wondrously” 2:16
9. “By the Waters of Forgetfulness” 2:57
10. “Ein freundlich’ Wort einst unverhofft” 3:41
11. “I am done with Men” 3:29
12. “Sometimes you make me smile” 2:41
13. “At Sunset through the Fields aflame” 2:39
14. “In the old House (we made out well)” 3:01
15. “Light in the Attic” 3:42
16. “If I could go back in Time” 7:05
17. “I am so glad it’s over” 2:55
18. “Let me say it now” 5:52
19. “Through your Eyes” 7:21

Review

‘This album is an update/reworking of previous works and themes over the past 30 years including the album ”Voyager (1997) which is a remix album to accompany ”The Inexperienced Spiral Traveller (1997) and ”Mitternacht” (2014). 3 songs from Inexperienced Spiral Traveller and one from Voyager have been reworked instead of going the whole hog and reworking the whole album. But flutes, dulcimers and violins are still used in abundance along with a drum kit and synths!! The themes here are about unrequited love, the incapability to give love, loneliness, despair and transgender musings about isolation and lack of acceptance. ”A Sunset Through The Fields Aflame” is a rework of ”Feralia Genitalia” from the ”Voyager” album. The original is set in a dream that tells of a transformation as the genitals wither/die and fall off in a room sized bath! It’s a soliloquy and acceptance or welcoming of another plane in the protagonist’s existence! Both start out with mournful bassoon. ”In the old House” I like, it has a dark jollity to it. It starts with flute before the dulcimer joins in with stern drums. The bassoon inserts a layer of pathos! And horns infer an element of stoicism, like they are a chin jutting out against the world!! The original ”Ein Freundlisches Wort Hat Meine Seele Beruhrt” is a great track that has an upbeat, somewhat jaunty feel to it that reminds me of a medieval dance. Like a reigen, I can see people holding hands and standing in circles moving in and out as one person sings and the others refrain! Simple bass is played behind a flute filigree which in my mind synchronise with the steps of the dancers!! The 2018 redo starts with what sounds like harpsichord but is in fact the dulcet tones of a dulcimer and moves on through simple bass that is played on the 3rd beat of the bar! The musical theme of the earlier work is discernible at the beginning of the track but then morphs into something different later on with the addition of deep horn that illustrates the state of miserable or irritated reminiscence!!

I’m not an expert of Sopor Aeturnus but I can say that a lot of musical themes are reused/rehashed in later works. After listening to previous albums I have heard my inner voice say, ”I heard that before!!” on a previous track. You could say that this is lazy craftsmanship, but if a motif or phrase elicits a particular feeling with the right kind of flavour or tone, then why not use it again?? This album is another about Anna Cantodea’s favourite subject, herself!! Introspective, miserable, self pitying and self indulgent!! We are all that to varying degrees are we not?? That’s what makes us human!! Anna Cantodea’s music may not be to all tastes but she does turn her foibles, insecurities and flaws into art. And art is life, it cannot be separated, can it??

Video:

Review by

Claudia Black

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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