Daniel Bollans – Vocals
Shane Amies – Bass
Liam Houseago – Lead, Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars
Jorge Figueiredo – Drums and Percussion
Additional guitars by Jordan Grant
1 In Darkened Slumber
2 A Sentinel For The Fragile
3 In Somnus Ego Morrior (In My Sleep I Die)
4 An Elegy For The Departed
5 To Welcome The Grey
“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
If you are reading this, there is high a chance you can understand the melancholy pleasure a person derives from using art, music, literature or film to draw out their sadness. There is something cathartic about sitting with your bleakest emotions, fuelling them with dark sounds or images and giving yourself over to the gloom.
On Fragilium, Consecration are using their music to evoke a place of dank misery. In their own words; “if you walk into the fenlands at sunset, leaving the last house at your back, you will follow a road that slowly dwindles to a footpath as the sky darkens and the shadows lengthen. With a cutting wind always in your face, bringing tears to your eyes, you’ll reach a place where the path finally peters out to nothing. There is no light but the stars, and the horizon is as empty and distant as it was many cold miles ago. The only discernible features of this desolate landscape are the gnarled, stunted, wind sculpted trees that skulk like warped spiders, poised to attack when you turn your back. It’s a place with no name but loneliness; where all the sorrows in the world gather to cry their laments to the endless sky.”
True to their description, Consecration have created something that shifts and lumbers, mournfully seeking an end to what appears to be a grim infinity. Their songs evoke a stark and desolate place. On opening track, In A Darkened Slumber, a cold, picked guitar conjures a murky expanse. It takes some acclimatising to; primarily because the arrangement is almost free form. Virtually directionless, there is little momentum here; just a slow drift that hangs in the fog before it segues into the equally amorphous, A Sentinel For The Fragile.
A few minutes into this second track, and the band bring in their death metal influences. They maintain the slow pace, but crashing, distorted guitars and primal drums usher in the introduction of Daniel Bollans’ deep throated growl.
At their heaviest, Consecration are actually a less effective band. There’s something within the limitations of the production that robs the band of some weight. While their lo-fi approach does give Fragilium a gnarly edge, it also gives the music a degree of vulnerability. That’s not to say there isn’t something powerful in songs like In Somnus Ego Morior or An Elegy For The Departed but to my ears, the delivery occasionally sounds tired and stilted. To be fair, one could say this actually adds to the overall sense of eternal rootlessness.
When the band revert to using space in their music, they are much more effective at drawing the listener in and away from the light. In these moments, with the band relying less on riffs and structured passages you might find yourself being slowly enveloped and held in the fog.
It’s a lonely, disconcerting place… but not without a certain appeal.