SOL INVICTUS / HAWTHORN / SIEBEN - Writ in Water - CD - 4 tracks - Post Romantic Empire - 2005

Post Romantic Empire (PRE) is a new Italian label which aims at representing the evolution and the interpretation of romantic themes and motifs in contemporary art. And "Writ in Water" is their first release. It is a concept ep dedicated to John Keats, Lord George Gordon Byron and Percy Bisshe Shelley. The title of this ep is directly taken from John Keats' tombstone. Keats travelled to Rome and died there, aged just 25, in February, 1821. Keats told his friend Joseph Severn that he didn't want his name to appear on his tombstone, but this line - "... Here lies one whose name was writ in water.".

The first track is by Sol Invictus, consisting of Tony Wakeford and Gary Parsons. Musically it reminds me sometimes of what Tony did with Steve Stapleton or with David Mellor. A melancholic and slow piece of music, with a sad atmosphere but a hopeful strenghth with the ghosts of Keats and Shelley watching by. Then come two tracks by Tony Wakeford and Matt Howden, with their project Hawthorn. "Degenerate Leander" is an adaptation of a poem by Byron. A beautiful song with violin, guitar, bass and vocals, in the same vein as their last splendid album "The Murky Brine". "When the Lamp is Shattered" is more experimental with Tony singing a poem of Shelley. A strong musical piece, solemn with a tiny martial touch. Matt closes the ep with Sieben, with lyrics inspired by Byron. "Missolonghi Sky" is a fantastic composition amongst the best tracks Matt wrote as Sieben.

A very interesting and original concept album that is far away from all those WWII inspired albums and compilations. A rich journey back to the roots of romanticism. PRE started their label career with a strong release. Anyway it couldn't have been different with such great artists involved, musicians and poets.

Stéphane F.
Spring 2005

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