PRO00226

Unto Ashes: The Blood of My Lady

$14

SKU: PRO00226. Category: , , , , , , .

Tracks

  1. The Blood of My Lady (Part 1) | MP3 Clip
  2. Who Has Seen the Wind | MP3 Clip
  3. Echos in den Wald | MP3 Clip
  4. The Tomb of Your Remains | MP3 Clip
  5. Vengeance
  6. I Will Lead You Down | MP3 Clip
  7. Our Palace of Ice
  8. A Cold Wind (February)
  9. For All My Broken Promises
  10. The River and the Hawk | MP3 Clip
  11. Fly on the Windscreen | MP3 Clip
  12. The Blood of My Lady (Part 2) | MP3 Clip
  13. She is Everywhere and Nowhere
After a period of great turmoil and change, Unto Ashes delivers a new CD which can only be described as a dark-folk masterpiece: this is an album of thirteen spells conjured for the Lady, who is everywhere and nowhere. The Blood of My Lady is undoubtedly the most intimate Unto Ashes CD created hitherto. Whereas Unto Ashes founder and producer Michael Laird wrote and recorded the album in almost complete isolation, the CD has been blessed by a number of stunning musical contributions by Kim Larsen from :Of the Wand and the Moon: (Denmark), and Sonne Hagal (Germany). The new album is distinguished from its predecessors by the fact that all of the lead vocalists are male (Laird, Larsen, Sonne Hagal, Gregory Palmer); the listener is further enchanted by superb backing vocals courtesy of soprano Josie Smith (a capella virtuoso).

“I have seen the blood of my Lady
In small droplets throughout the forest deep
In tracks of hooves the earth and blood are made one
And she comes home to me…”

Following a very successful 2006 European Tour opening for Germany’s darkwave / neo-Medieval gods Qntal, two former members of Unto Ashes emigrated to Germany, where they are now recording with members of Estampie and Helium Vola.

Thus, The Blood of My Lady was painfully conceived and wrought in considerable upheaval (emotional and otherwise). In late 2007, Laird moved from New York City to a large Victorian house in the countryside. In long durations of silence, punctuated by the sounds of birds and wind, the songs formed and began to grow on their own accord.

As would befit the rustic environment of Laird’s new home, The Blood of My Lady was recorded entirely with acoustic instruments; its neo-medieval enchantments will be favorably compared with Unto Ashes’ debut album Moon Oppose Moon (Projekt, 2000). The thirteen songs abound with cellos, French horns, hurdy-gurdy, dulcimers, mandolin, piano, and military drums. The album explores themes of love and loss; of awakening; and of homecoming… But does this homecoming actually occur? Perhaps it cannot be:

“I have seen the blood of my Lady
Falling in a fine mist in the heat of the day
It covers the leaves of the Mourning Tree
And she comes home to me…”

This song – entitled “The Blood of My Lady” – appears as two completely different musical compositions: Part 1 was written and recorded by Laird; Part 2 was created by Kim Larsen, with Laird’s words and vocal harmonies.

Easily the most boisterous song on the album is the infectious and powerful anthem “Echos in den Wald,” a German “military pop song” which involves relentless hurdy-gurdy, snare drums, and a towering men’s choir. Following close behind is an outrageous neo-folk version of “Fly on the Windscreen” which is as menacing – and romantic – as the Depeche Mode original. Long admired by Laird, “Fly on the Windscreen” perfectly captures the exquisite tension between sex and death. Further excursions into warped romance is realized in the stunning “I Will Lead You Down” which invites comparison to early Leonard Cohen.

A foreboding analogue synthesizer on “Our Palace of Ice” beckons arctic birds with tragical eyes. Another stirring instrumental piece is “The Tomb of Your Remains” which was performed entirely on cello; this song was written in the ninth century (!) by Kassia, of Constantinople, who is the earliest known female composer whose name has come down to us. Kassia died ca. 867 AD; she therefore preceded Hildegard von Bingen by almost 200 years.

Two outstanding neo-folk songs were contributed by Germany’s Sonne Hagal: “Who Has Seen the Wind,” with words by Christina Rossetti, and “Vengeance,” which has an almost Elizabethan quality. Originally these songs were submitted as simple guitar & vocal tracks; from these Laird created a spectacular display of male and female vocal harmonies, French horn, mandolin, and hurdy-gurdy.

“A Cold Wind (February),” sung by Kim Larsen, is an entrancing, diamond of a song, worthy of early Popul Vuh, which follows the heart outside its icy isolation. “For All My Broken Promises” presents the heart as it emerges from shadow into raw sunlight. “The River and the Hawk” offers the heart’s realization of what it has lost, and what it longs to regain:

“She is everywhere and nowhere…”

Label

Projekt

Release Year

2009

Format

CD

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