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Weeping Silence - Opus IV Oblivion

Weeping Silence - CD Review
Opus IV Oblivion


 Opus IV Oblivion



CD Info
Massacre Records
9 tracks
English lyrics


There’s little permanence in the music industry. It’s a moving target, one moment Tarja’s with Nightwish, the next, who knows. Well, Weeping Silence has undergone changes too. They’ve long been a favorite of mine, a solid Gothic sound from Malta featuring a strong femme metal vox and some outstanding Gothic. However, there has been an evolutionary component, starting with the involvement of Anders Jacobsson from Draconian as a guest vocalist in 2012, the first time the band used a male vocal component. Well, with this release, the band has gone in some new direction with the addition of vocalists Diane Camenzuli and Dario Pace Taliana. And the music is different too. We go from a Gothic sound to a Gothic Doom direction, one that seems to be the preferred direction of many bands in Europe, both East and West. And, much as I liked the old style, I find little to regret with the new. This is a spectacular release, musically, vocally, lyrically and emotionally.

Oblivion seems to be a popular topic with the music I’m hearing recently. With this one, I’m told the title is a play on words, Opus (for) Oblivion, get it. And, there’s an interesting story regarding the album cover as well. Seems it was inspired by and based on the tomb art at the St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Malta. Now, if that ain’t Gothic I just don’t know what is. But the music pretty much meets the standards we get with Gothic Doom. There’s solid metal; guitars, drums, and sufficient keyboard based symphonics to take us to the dark side of life. The vocals, however, go in a new direction for the band. And, they are as good as anything I hear from Eastern Europe in this genre.

With Gothic Doom there is a more pronounced emotional component to the music. It’s not just dark lyrics over a metal framework, there’s a corollary darkness to the music, a pounding approach that seems to take it’s lead from the darkness of life. There’s also that dark male growling, an integral part of the music (unless you’re Mizantropia or Blackthorn or other Eastern European sounds where the growling is done by female vocalists) and one that is placed against the more traditional classical female vocals. But, more than anything, Gothic Doom presents a sound from the grave, one that suggests little hope or pity, but does it with a signature beauty that is another integral part of the sound.

Weeping Silence really doesn’t sound like their previous releases here. They’ve always been a fairly large band and here we have 7 musicians presenting the sound. There are tracks where the guitars are more pronounced but, on others, you get more keys. But all are there to support the vocals, both male and female. The release begins with a mournful sound on the first track, Oblivion - Darkness In My Heart Anno XV. We get a soulful femme vox going sotto voce over a seaside background:

There’s a distant black horizon
which appears from the misty fields.

At this point the Doom cranks up but the message goes even darker.

Enchanting whispers drown me / into a plane of static sleep,
dreaming of crossing a passage / to find myself desolate.

Dead birds’ wings final flutter / and no more will they ever sing.
There's a distant black horizon / which appears from the misty fields.

Gothic Doom, however, doesn’t have to sound like a funeral dirge all the time. The second track, Ivy Thorns Upon the Barrow, cranks up the sound to a full metal invasion. It’s still a haunting sound, it just does it with a harder beat. And, with this one, our female vocalist shows us what she’s made of. The male vocal goes from harsh growling to a spoken word, but, again, it’s the message that captures our attention, a message based on a minimum of hope:

The dead move quick and silent / over great barren seas.
Only the dead can see them - / portraits of life.
Grey but vibrant are they. / Breathless but full of life.
They’ve reached the summit / and their wake is complete.

However, it’s the Doom that drives this release, tracks like Eyes of the Monolith and Hidden from the Sun which provide us with a glimpse of the eternal from a human perspective. The emotion of these tracks are pretty much the core of the release, although there are other components which move in corollary directions. In Exile seems to be a bit of a hybrid. We get some Doom but it’s encased in an accessible music vehicle, one where there are metal moments set against more relaxed sounds. But, again, the vocals take over and recount a tale of loss, one with little hope of redemption:

I woke up just before I almost drowned,
to find myself walking on a ground.
Footsteps still made no sound, / but I'm ready, I'm ready
Are you ready? / to keep walking around,
I’ll hunt you down! / keep wond'rin' 'round.
This is the end of you!
Promises denied the privilege of being kept.

One of the things to keep in mind here is that these tend to be well developed tracks. There are none in the 20 minute category but there are a number that exceed 5 or 6 minutes, most, in fact. And, with this approach you have the opportunity to indulge in multiple musical formats. Stormbringer carries on with a Gothic Doom track for some 7 1/2 minutes. We move from the female vox to the male growling in a regular pattern. Again, the track is housed in Gothic lyrics with the Doom musical component and it does a fine job of presenting this mix. Transcending Destiny gives us a different approach. With this one we feature the beautiful, the femme vox takes the lead and builds to a point where the male growling intrudes into the dirge. Again, we get interesting lyrics, here focused on thoughts from the old gods:

Unscathed by the winds of Aeolus / Unaltered by the hand of Bornholm
Lone touch of the fiery fountain of youth / The betrayer of death immemorial
Cold like the frozen blunt blade / that speared the heart of ethos,
warm like the embers on the funeral pyre, / to clear my eyes, rekindle the fires.

The final track is Gothic Epitaph. And this one serves to conclude the dark message Weeping Silence has sent us with this release. This one comes as close to Funeral Music as anything I’ve heard. No uplifting message here, no music to take us to the dance floor. With this one, we’re on our way to the grave yard with a purpose. Beautiful? Yes. Dark? Absolutely. Solid Gothic Doom? Well, when we hear thoughts like this, there can be little doubt:

My waters have emptied / The rivers have reached the oceans,
It lies still, the sea and tastes of loss. / My light has dimmed and flame is gone.

Lay me down in a field of asphodels / Broken, quiet, peaceful and grey,
To rest in the arms of this cold earth, / Sleep without wake, wake without sleep.

Dans le rêve profond le plus terrifiant, / Je n'ai pas vu un tel désespoir.
A lifeless nightmare haunts my sleep, a hypnotic drift drags me deep.
Sleep without wake, wake without sleep.

My breathing coffin, my closed eyes, my gothic epitaph, my weeping silence.

Perfect. .

There are times when evolution does bring about something memorable. We don’t forget what preceded it, we don’t forget the past. But, we can appreciate the present. And, if nothing else, Weeping Silence has presented us with evidence to substantiate that construct. This is as solid a release as we can expect from Europe this year, East or West. Treasure it.