THE BLUE HOUR - Evensong - Perun

Brian Hodges, like Steve von Till of Neurosis, shows once again that a lot of musicians from the metal scene are sliding little by little towards quality romantic neofolk. Leaving aside his initial band Black Atmosphere for the duration of this solo album, Brian Hodges fits in perfectly with the world that is familiar to him, paying homage to a musical genre he particularly affections. As proved by the Sol Invictus cover, Lex Talonis. Yet it is not a simple copy of the sounds of formations that have belonged for ages to the industrial neofolk scene, but an original and honest work. Superb folk ballads, sweet and bitter, of apparent quietude. It is difficult however, to put a label on the music, with neofolk blood in the veins. The reminiscences are hard to determine, yet it seems that one can hear, with a certain dose of imagination I agree, Martyn Bates of Eyeless In Gaza doing covers of Current 93, Lady Morphia or Lux Interna, or In Gowan Ring playing at making Nick Drake songs sound more cheerful. Many fragile and lunar emotions flow from these melancholic tracks, always on the razor's edge, on the verge of going under at any moment, but that keep a proud and vengeful poise. Fine notes of acoustic guitars mingle with Brian Hodges fragile voice, which carries in them a sensibility laid bare. Along with the tracks, sung with accompanying guitar and tambourine, are inserted a few instrumental pieces, solemn and grave, dark and atmospheric. They add to the album an autumnal hue of a world of ruins and scorched lands. Lost moors where respect inspiring mortuary songs suddenly ring out. "Evensong" is released on the Polish label Perun, a young structure run by Tomek Zrabkowski, who is also the founder of the zine Cold, and whose label is to be followed attentively, in view of the musical and graphic quality of this first production.

A very nice album, that leaves aside the trodden path, offering a cure of youth to the folk noir genre, whose undeniable qualities appear clearly with each listen.

Stéphane F.
Eté 2002

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