Witch of the Vale – Commemorate

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: Cleopatra Records
Released: 2020
Buy Album URL: https://witchofthevale.bandcamp.com/album/commemorate-2
Band Website:
http://witchofthevale.com/#/

Band Line Up

Erin Hawthorne
Ryan Hawthorne

Tracklisting

01. Something Lost
02. Fever
03. Trust the Pain
04. Undressed
05. Death Dream
06. Crash
07. The Sky and the Sea
08. Your Voice
09. Commemorate
10. Suffocation
11. The Way This Will End
12. Gods & Monsters
13. The Ghosts Won’t Know
14. Live Again

Review

Witch of the Vale are an electronic duo from Loch Lomond and the remote outer Hebridean Isles. Their debut album “Commemorate” definitely brings the magical feeling from their homes to the listeners’ ears. The album is filled with beauty and horror, much like real life.

“Commemorate” opens with “Something Lost,” a short minute-long intro that gives you a taste of what you are about to be listening to. A quiet, ambient, and haunting sound emerges; covered with animal noises that makes you feel as though you have entered some kind of forbidden forest. I thought the use of animal noises in this track and throughout the album was really smart as it creates the feeling of realness and that you have entered a world much like our own. Rather than just listening to music, this makes it feel relatable.

I want to say this album was a fairytale, but as I listened I realised this was something darker. The ominous music made it feel as though I was in some kind of horror or dark action movie, yet Erin Hawthorne’s vocals still managed to give it that fairytale feeling which in a way made the whole experience a little creepier. Her voice is so beautiful and she sings about such dark tales. In one of the songs, “Death Dream,” the first lyric is “The first page was the colour of blood”, opening with a lyric like this really allows the listener to understand the horror they are being presented in the form of beauty.

My personal favourite song on the album has to be the title track “Commemorate” This one to me felt like less of a fairytale than the others; it was almost heavier. I thought that the instruments within this track were really cool, kind of sounded like metal objects, and gave me a sort of steampunk vibe. Listening to this song I really could see it being on some badass movie soundtrack; something out of this world and full of fantasy and action.

Overall, I found this album really interesting and beautiful. Would I recommend it? Yes, I think that Witch of the Vale really managed to capture the horror/fairytale storytelling and it is a really enjoyable piece to listen to. However, for me, I don’t think it’s something that could be added to my daily music playlists. I feel like “Commemorate” is an album that has its place and I do enjoy it, but I think I would need to be in the right mood to listen to these songs, maybe sat looking out of a window on a rainy day, imagining some fantasy world in front of me.

Review by Kayleigh McKenzie
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