Robert Dada’s Top 10 Albums Of 2015

Posted: May 29, 2016 in Music

#10 Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Melba Barnett is an Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist from Melbourne, Australia. This is her first album after having released 3 EP’s prior.

The album kicks off with “Elevator Operator”, which kind of reminds me a bit of Lou Reed mixed with The Strokes (first album). It has some great narrative storytelling set to a danceable rhythm. Following this is “Pedestrian At Best”, a somewhat grungy number with the vocals out front so they don’t get lost in the mix.

“An Illustration Of Loneliness” takes the tempo down a bit, while maintaining that early Strokes sound (at least to me). “Small Poppies” takes the tempo down even further. It’s one of the more bluesy cuts on the album with some nice echo effects on the guitar. Midway through the song there is a nice guitar solo that veers somewhat into a blues-rockabilly vein.

“Depreston” has a sort of Lou Reed gone country with a little Cowboy Junkies thrown in. “Aqua Profunda!” takes us back to more of an up tempo sound that is somewhat reminiscent of Elastica.

“Dead Fox” returns once again to the L Reed/Strokes feel but it doesn’t wear thin. “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party” sounds a bit like a Bleach/Incesticide era Nirvana but with clear vocals and hints of mid-60’s Brit rock.

“Debbie Downer” has a 60’s psychedelic/folk appeal to it especially due to the keyboard line while “Kim’s Caravan” starts off almost like an early Bauhaus song with the bass line accompanied by a sparse higher end guitar line (it made me think of the song “Hollow Hills” for some reason). The song then morphs into more of a Doors kind of territory with the epic style poetry and tense but subdued music.

The album concludes with “Boxing Day Blues”; another psych/folk excursion that gently returns us to the point where we stepped on board.

This isn’t the type of music I usually go in for but for some reason it grabbed me due to both the music and the great lyrics. I’m not saying I will own her entire discography but this album is worth being part of one’s collection.

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#9 Prong – Songs From The Black Hole

This being their 10th studio album, Prong decided to release an album of covers that highlights a fairly broad range of styles. I thought I was going to absolutely love this album when I first read about it and I do really like it (it made it to #9 after all), but I can’t find an instance where I like their version almost as much as the original.

The album kicks off with Discharge’s “Doomsday”, which is basically some straight ahead hardcore. This leads into a cover of Sisters Of Mercy’s “Vision Thing” which is actually a pretty faithful cover though the vocals can’t get as low as Andrew Eldritch. Still it’s one of the stronger songs on the album.

Following this is Butthole Surfers “Goofy’s Concern”, which is more of a hardcore metal version of the original. Think a bit like latter day Ministry. After this we have Adolescents’ “Kids Of The Black Hole”, which takes the tempo down a bit. There’s some pretty good drum work going on in this track and the song takes us into a more American punk sound than the prior tracks.

Black Flag’s “The Bars” turns up next and it sounds just as 80’s west coast hardcore as the original. The album then turns to a version of Killing Joke’s “Seeing Red” which for some reason seems like an odd choice for a Killing Joke song to cover. It’s a pretty faithful cover but just a bit more metal at the chorus. Tommy Victor can’t mimic Jaz Coleman’s vocals, but then again, who can?

“Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely” from Husker Du follows. It kind of reminds me of a more metal Foo Fighters covering Husker Du. It’s not the strongest cut on the album but does have some good lead guitar work. Fugazi’s “Give Me The Cure” turns up next played as good straight ahead hard rock.

Bad Brain’s “Banned In DC” has a fast, fast, fast start and then takes us into a slower second half.

The album closes with the oddest choice I think: Neil Young’s 1975 “Cortez The Killer”. It’s an interesting choice to end the album and actually is a pretty faithful cover reminding us that Mr. Young’s influence is far and wide.

As I said earlier, I thought this album was going to end up higher on the list. I might have chose different songs from the bands covered but still it’s a pretty strong slab of music and worth a listen or two.

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#8 The Prodigy – The Day Is My Enemy

This to me is their best album since 1997’s The Fat Of The Land. It’s loud, abrasive, beat heavy techno that is relentless. If you can’t dance to this, you are probably dead.

We begin with “The Day Is My Enemy”, whose harshness and chest thumping beats are counterbalanced by the vocals of Martina Topley-Bird. “Nasty” is your classic late 90’s Prodigy with Keith Flint’s sneering John Lydonesque vocals. It’s fast, then some slow breaks, then fast again. “Rebel Radio” sounds like a candidate for a 4th Matrix film. The song is filled with dirty vocal samples and sounds that bounce around with industrial-techno, hip-hop and world beat.

“Ibiza” is some beat heavy stuff with more of Keith’s sneering vocals. The song is an attack on the superstar DJ culture aka “music on USB sticks”. “Destroy” could easily have been at home on The Fat Of The Land. It’s a mostly instrumental number that kind of reminds me of Kraftwerk on Ecstacy. “Wild Frontier” opens almost like a John Carpenter opus but then quickly slides us down the rabbit hole of beat heavy, trippy techno.

The danger with this kind of music is that one is tempted to drag songs to 8 to 10 minutes or even longer. However, with all but one song less than 5 minutes in length, this album moves along with a nice blistering pace. Liam Howlett is one of my favorite techno musicians. He has total mastery of his gear and he clearly knows how to pace an album; in to and out of each track like a commando run.

“Rok-Weiler” sounds a bit like a metal song stripped of its traditional guitar, bass and drum and replaced with alien android electronics. “Beyond The Deathray” is reminiscent of 80’s post-punk electronica (think Numan or pre-girls Human League). It’s like a short bridge of a song to get us to “side B of the album”.

“Rhythm Bomb” starts with a heartbeat like beat and continues to build as the sampled vocals kick in. The song features samples of American house music band Jomanda. “Roadblox” is the longest of the songs clocking in at 5:01. It’s possibly the fastest tempo on the album with way cool pitch bent synth lines.

“Get Your Fight On” opens with a treated guitar riff then propels headfirst into a hard as fuck dance track. This too, could easily be worked into a hard rock/metal song. This ain’t DJ shit. These are songs! “Medicine” has a hard world beat feel to it. The horns give it a bit of a North African/Middle Eastern feel. Towards the end it has kind of a “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” bass rhythm line with a sax line that gives the song a techno-Bauhaus feel.

“Invisible Sun” takes the tempo down. Again this is one of those songs on the album that you know could be a great slow metal song. “Wall Of Death” closes the traditional album with some ‘in your face’ techno with a bit of horror-rock sound thrown in. It’s a great closing to a fine album.

“Rise Of The Eagles” is a bonus track thrown in on some releases. It starts with helicopter and motorcycle samples then treated sampled bass. Then the percussion kicks in along with the vocals to give it a 60’s psych/garage vibe. The “all dressed up and ready to go” vocals definitely reminds me of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult.

I might have rated this album higher if it had more Keith Flint vocals on it. His voice always amps up the aggression on an already aggressive album. Still, I do love this album.

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#7 Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

Finally, after a string of albums that were definitely not his best, Marilyn Manson, somewhat unexpectedly returns to form with his strongest album (his 9th) in far too many years. The thing about Manson is he’s usually only as good as the other band members he writes and records with. This time it’s with Tyler Bates, who Manson met through their mutual involvement on the show Californication. Tyler brings a more blues-influenced sound to the proceedings and it really works well, though one might not think so at first.

“Killing Strangers” opens the album and it wastes no time starting off with a more blues influenced tone. To me this song has a weird late career Doors on a goth trip vibe to it. After this we get “Deep Six”, clearly his best single since “Mobscene”. This really kicks the album into a higher gear after “Killing Strangers”. It’s a really great song with some of his finest wordplay (“You want to know what Zeus said to Narcissus? You better watch yourself”). “Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge” is full of 70’s hard rock guitar with a modern rhythm track. Upon a couple listens, it’s evident this could be a pretty good Iggy Pop song.

“The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles” has kind of a slowed down “Beautiful People” drum line. It feels a bit like it could have been on Mechanical Animals. It also has more of that interesting wordplay (“Lazarus ain’t got no dirt on me.”). “Warship My Wreck” has a slightly Gary Numan feel to it in the beginning. This song also effectively features Manson’s trademark layered thick screamed vocals. The song is very soundtracky; like they listened to a lot of Reznor/Clouser beforehand. That’s not a bad thing by the way.

“Slave Only Dreams To Be King” isn’t really a great song but it still clings to the overall theme and style of the album so it doesn’t really disappoint. Taken by itself, however, it feels like more of a b-side to a single. “The Devil Beneath My Feet” takes us into a bluesy glam sound of a darker Marc Bolan.

“Birds Of Hell Awaiting” – Jim Morrison and The Gun Club performing at a bordello on the set of a David Lynch sex scene, with Robert Rodriguez as unit director. I’ll just leave it at that. “Cupid Carries A Gun” is where Marilyn meets Nick Cave at the crossroads of Holy Wood and The Golden Age Of Grotesque.

“Odds Of Even” reminds me of a slow Alice Cooper song on the B-side of one of his earlier albums. It has a very 70’s blues/shock sound to it.

The album closes with the extra cuts: “Day 3”, “Fated, Faithful, Fatal” and “Fall Of The House Of Death” which are acoustic re-workings of “Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge”, “The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles” and “Odds Of Even” respectively. They are all good versions and stand on their own as fine songs.

It’s great that Manson has finally righted his ship with this release. Here’s hoping it is a trend and not a fluke. Bravo Marilyn.

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#6 Wire – Wire

This is a band that has never disappointed me (though I do love some albums more than others). They have been consistently releasing really great music throughout the 2000’s.

The album leads off with the pulsing “Blogging”. The song is not hard rocking but it does get you moving as the guitar and vocals slide all over and around Graham Lewis’ bass line.

“Shifting” has a real organic feel to it like something that started off as a Githead track but somehow made its way to Wire. Graham does a great kind of Malka Spigel bass line.

“Burning Bridges” would sound just as great if Graham did the vocals. Some of the phrasings in the song seem Beatle-esque to me. “In Manchester” kind of starts off like a latter day Peter Murphy song before kicking into a fairly up tempo number with a real catchy, bouncy bass line.

“High” somewhat reminds me of the stuff they were doing in the 80’s without it sounding dated or nostalgic. “Sleep-Walking” brings the tempo down quite a bit from the previous song. It’s a very brooding and haunting number that could easily be the soundtrack to a dream.

“Joust & Jostle” was the first single from the album. It too has a cool bounciness to it, making it very danceable. This was the first song I heard from this album and I thought if the rest of the album is just as good, we’re all in for a wild ride. At times, it reminds me a bit of XTC but I’m not sure why.

“Swallow” is another song that I can easily hear Graham singing. It might have been cool if they traded lines or verses with each other. This is one of those songs where you just want to close your eyes and melt into the rhythm. “Split Your Ends” is full on classic Wire. Kickass driving bass and drum with guitar lines and chords weaving above and below.

To me, “Octopus” is the most “post-punk” sounding number on the album that has some really intelligent arrangements. “Harpooned” closes the album with a hard, heavy fuzzy distortion sound that builds throughout the number. It has a bit of a Killing Joke feel to it. Colin repeatedly sings, ‘I’m worried, I’m worried…’ adding to the tension the song invokes. The song continues to build until it finally crashes into a wash of heavily distorted guitars.

This is one of Wire’s strongest albums in some time even though they’ve been consistently releasing strong material. If I have any complaint, it would be that I would have liked to hear 2 or 3 songs with Graham on lead vocals. He has a good deep voice that compliments Colin’s higher tenor. It’s only a small complaint and these guys are also so prolific with various side projects that I’m sure I’ll get to hear plenty of Graham’s voice (See #5).

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#5 Hox – Duke Of York

Hox is Graham Lewis of Wire with Andreas Karperyd, the first for the duo since 1999. This is one great album to listen to late at night in very low lighting.

“Anthracite” oozes and pulses with arcs of icy electronics. If Gary Numan or Nine Inch Nails wanted to get a little more experimental in their work, they’d best be studying something like this. “Javelin” has more of a musical feel than “Anthracite”. It’s as if Wire traded in their more traditional instruments and instead picked up some electronic instruments.

“Correct Co-ordinates” sounds like one of those weird but cool Wire b-sides that make you think they should do a whole album of this kind of stuff. It also feels like an updated track that never made it to Brian Eno’s and David Byrne’s “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts”. “It’s Too Much” has the feel of a soundtrack piece. The pumping rhythms and very much alive bass line reminds me of an anthem to a very dystopian world.

“X In Circle” starts off very Eno-ish with maybe a dash of “Close To The Edge” era Yes intro that nicely melds into something akin to Bowie’s b-sides on the Low and Heroes albums. “White Space Conflict” begins with a tribal techno intro, like world beat on an alien landscape. It also has a ritualistic sexual feel to it like something Chris & Cosey might come up with.

“Track And Field” starts off in a very deep space vibe then breaks into both a subdued and frenetic pace. I’m hearing some early Human League (before the ladies came on board) with maybe a dash of Aphex Twin thrown into the mix.

“Goodbye” starts off with a simple techno tribal line with added fills of percussion as it moves along. Then a more rock oriented bass line emerges that rides along an ethereal synth line. Graham’s vocals ride nice and clear on top of the mix, saying goodbye to a good friend.

The album closes with “Frequency” which starts with a couple bass lines that lead into treated vocals by Graham. The phrasing is very Wire-like; so much so, I could hear Colin singing on a track like this. The song leads out with the line, “I walk with you…” sung repeatedly until the end.

Graham Lewis is an extremely talented musician. We all knew that from his work with Wire. But his many side projects are equally as good as Wire. This album is no exception.

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#4 The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015

If a year prior someone had told me I was going to put a JSBE album in my top 5 albums of the year, I probably would have laughed. Hey I’ve always liked JSBE but #4? Well they did it with this one.

The album starts with “Funeral”, which sounds a bit like the Beastie Boys when they rocked instead of rapped. It has a totally downtown New York kind of feel to it with some 70’s era Stones guitar work in there. “Wax Dummy” continues with that 70’s era Stonesy sound but with hint of a post punk explosion in the Bowery. It would be cool to hear Mick Jagger cover this.

“Do The Get Down” has a total Beastie Boys percussion intro that then evolves into something like Jack White jamming with Mike D. “Betty vs. The NYPD” gets more into the classic NY punk or like the Cramps take on Manhattan with the New York Dolls.

“White Jesus” starts like The Cramps dropped in on a Stone’s rehearsal and just went from there. It’s got that bad vibe sound that feels real cool. “Born Bad” is blues punk heaven. It’s got some really strong drum work and the song eventually bleeds into a brief Psych-60’s guitar solo.

“Down And Out” is a song I bet The Strokes wished they had written that also has some Lou Reed flavorings and maybe even a little bit of later period Velvet Underground. “Crossroad Hop” has a Jack White in the Bowery feel to it. This is the kind of music we’ve heard live, where the band is tapping their feet on a beer soaked stage with an occasional broken syringe lying about. We’ve all been there. Towards the end, Jon pulls out some cool slide guitar work.

“The Ballad Of Joe Buck” has a kind of Red Hot Chili Pepper’s mid-80’s thing going but with an influence that is more NY than LA (obviously). “Dial Up Doll” has that mid-70’s deep in the city rock sound. In all honesty, the song is kind of filler but it still beats many bands’ ‘porterhouse steak’ songs. “Bellvue Baby” is like a deep album cut from the Stones circa 1972 but with a much dirtier mix. This strikes me as a good song to fuck to when you have a bottle of Jack in your left hand and a joint in your right hand while you watch your lover ride you. The short guitar solo rocks too.

“Tales Of Old New York: The Rock Box” is Jack White jamming with the Beastie Boys in some basement shithole that smells like stale beer and fresh piss. The album concludes with “Cooking For Television” another slab of gritty NY blues punk. This album doesn’t end with a whimper at all.

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#3 Public Image Limited (PIL) – What The World Needs Now…

I guess John Lydon should really be calling this band The John Lydon Band since he’s been the only original member for years. This is a strong album start to finish and it’s also measurably better than 2012’s “This Is Pil”, which is not a bad album at all.

“Double Trouble” kicks it all off with a simple bass and drum line for about 6 seconds then John’s spoken word intro comes in with “What you fucking nagging again” going on about the broken toilet and how a plumber should have been brought in to fix it. This is classic sneering Lydon served on a platter with jagged guitar and a bass line that propels the song along like a train. This might be my favorite cut on the album.

“Know Now” reminds me a bit of Killing Joke, mostly due to how it begins with a fading in guitar followed quickly by the drums and bass setting the foundation to the guitar line that reminds me a little bit of Geordie from Killing Joke. I’m not sure why John felt compelled to write a song about “Bettie Page” but he did. It has a really good guitar line that courses through it with an echoey almost 60’s feel to it.

“C’est la vie” seriously sounds like a lost track from the “Metal Box” album. Its slower tempo and moody guitar and bass would easily fit onto that album. “Spice of Choice” sounds like something PIL would have done in the late 80’s. This is where PIL gets about as commercial sounding as is possible for them.

“The One” really reminds me of something Joe Strummer would have recorded after The Clash broke up. Everything from the music, backing vocals and even the way John tosses out the lines evokes Strummer, though the two don’t sound anything alike. “Big Blue Sky” is like a collage of different song styles that seem to work here with elements of ska, reggae, funk with a 70’s vibe buried into it. Then the chorus sounds a bit like a 70’s anthem rock song. You would expect this to not work at all but it somehow does.

“Whole Life Time” gives us that great PIL-funkadelic sound; kind of like early 80’s Talking Heads but with a nastier tempo. The driving bass line and up front percussion can easily get asses moving on the dance floor. “I’m Not Satisfied” is very much like Gang Of Four when Sara Lee was with the band. The scratchy guitar owes a lot to Andy Gill too.

“Corporate” again gets back into that “Metal Box” era, especially with the very Jah Wobble-like bass line. The guitar line and John’s vocals sound pissed off and for good reason. Listening to this makes me think I’m at a Rage Against The Machine concert performed in a swimming pool under water and I’m headbanging under water.

“Shoom” is the most techno-y song on the album with a simple but great opening vocal line of ‘Fuck you. Fuck Off”. Throughout the song, John wails “What the world needs now is another fuck off”. Amen brother. There’s a bonus track called “Turkey Tits” that closes the album. It’s amusing but can be considered a throw away like maybe a few of the songs on The Clashes’ “Sandinista!” album. You don’t hate it but it’s clear not a lot of effort went into it.

At age 60, John Lydon hasn’t lost any of his sneering anger at all. He’s using it to channel more sophisticated rants than he did as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. I like the way he’s matured. He’s pissed off but you can tell he’s having fun being pissed off. What the world needs now…are more John Lydons.

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#2 Killing Joke – Pylon

Killing Joke has been one of my favorite bands since I discovered them in the early 80’s. It never ceases to amaze me how they are largely underappreciated, especially here in the United States. They’ve had a misstep in the late 80’s but they quickly rebounded and have been running strong ever since. Their latest, “Pylon” is a killer piece of music.

“Pylon” starts off with “Autonomous Zone” which a pounding, pulsing furious track with scratchy dissonant guitar. You know right away this album intends to get right to business. “Dawn Of The Hive” kicks off with a heavy industrial metal riff. Jaz Coleman’s echoed vocals ride on top of this heavy swelling sea of noise.

“New Cold War” is a post-punk, prog-metal masterpiece with Jaz’s furious vocals. “Euphoria” is another up-tempo track borrowing heavily from the post-punk sound. It sounds a bit like their early to mid 80’s sound but the thing with Killing Joke is that no matter when it was recorded, it never sounds dated later.

“New Jerusalem” begins with a droning bass synth with a hint of Middle Eastern synth effects. Then Geordie, Youth and Martin kick in with a mid tempo heavy sound with Jaz starting off rather calm then working himself up into a frenzy as the song really begins to take off. The intro to “War On Freedom” reminded me of something that might have come off their “Revelations” album with Geordie’s guitar work from the 1982 era. But the song soon ascends into that dark, post apocalyptic sound they’re currently known for.

“Big Buzz” also has that “Revelations” feel to it as well as something off of the “Night Time” album. There are some really beautiful, yet hard guitar and vocal melodies in this song. Jaz’s vocals can still soar on top of the songs, which is amazing since on many songs, he almost growls out the vocals. With “Delete” you think if Tommy Victor of Prong earned an art degree prior to him picking up a guitar, this would be the sound of Prong.

“I Am The Virus” is a runaway train of bass and drum with Geordie deftly weaving guitar riffs all over it. Jaz is killing it on vocals. His growl is angry yet artful, not metal caricature. The album closes with “Into The Unknown” that has a dizzying pace that won’t let up just because it’s the last song.

The deluxe version of the album comes with a second disc containing 5 additional tracks. They aren’t throwaway tracks either:

“Apotheosis” – Like 90’s Ministry “Jesus Built My Hotrod” but without the humor.

“Plague” – Nice plodding, marching bass/drums with distorted guitar.

“Star Spangled” – This could have fit nicely on the “Pandemonium” album.

“Panopticon” – Opens with a Manson-like riff but then becomes something more.

“Snakedance (Youth ‘Rattlesnake Dub’ Remix)” – Clearly the weakest track on the album but is still an interesting dub mix akin to what Adrian Sherwood does.

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#1 One-Eyed Doll – Witches

Okay, I know those of you who know me will tease on this because I’m a huge fan of the band and I know them personally. But this album is clearly the best thing I heard in 2015. Based on the Salem witch hysteria of 1692, “Witches” is a concept album that deftly handles the subject matter as opposed to making it into something cartoonish. After listening to it, I actually went online to study more about this part of American history.

“Ember” opens the album with a piece of music played on bells (or a synth with a bell patch). This line will appear elsewhere throughout the album, though played differently. In the background you can hear an accusatory voice that eventually gets swallowed by Kimberly Freeman’s furiously played guitar and scream along with Jason Sewell’s drums. Then Kimberly repeatedly wails “My soul’s an ember in the flames of Hell”. The mood is set.

“Prayer” follows and it’s a much quieter, slower piece with acoustic instruments, strings and what sounds like analog synths, giving it somewhat of a 70’s prog feel to it. “Black In The Rye” follows and we’re once again thrown into the realm of hard rock. The song delves into one of the prevailing theories that rye crops were infested with a mold that had hallucinatory properties when ingested, which explains why people were seeing things.

“A Rope For Mary” follows. A slower piece that builds in intensity as it progresses, the song is about Mary Eastey, who was accused of being a witch and was later executed by hanging. “More Weight” is a heavier piece (no pun intended) and tells the story of Giles Gorey, who was pressed to death by rocks laid on top of him because he refused to enter a plea in court.

“Remember” is an acoustic, instrumental piece of mandolin (?), violin and guitar giving the album a kind of intermission interlude quality. “Witch Hunt” follows as a heavier hard rock number that delves into the accusations of witchcraft that lead to convictions that culminated in hangings. “Stillness” is one of the most beautiful songs on the album. Starting off low key and mostly acoustic, it later builds in intensity. Kimberly’s vocals throughout the song are amazing. The song is about a woman who has been hung and slowly passes:

“Stillness

Finally confusion is gone

And as they said all along

I can fly”

As one listens to the album, musical themes re-emerge in reworked fashion. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the song “Afflicted”, potentially the opus piece on the album, tying the story and themes together in a lengthy work that brings things to a climax. The analog synths give the piece a classic feel to it especially as each line is layered over one another. About a quarter of the way in, marching guitar chords propel the listener. Toward the end, Kimberly’s swirling harmonies fly high above the fast kick drums and guitar.

“Betrayed us

Her name has been inscribed

In the pages

For all ages

With his power

She holds me in captivity”

One might think the album could end at this point but there’s more…

“Sorrow” is a short track that ties the lyrical and musical themes together once again. This then leads into the last song, “The Ghosts Of Gallows Hill”, in my opinion the best track on this exceptional album. The song is about those who paid the horrible price of this hysteria – those who were accused, tried, sentenced and hung:

“We are the ghosts of Gallows Hill

We sing forgotten stories of the past

By moonlight, we dance on Gallows Hill

Remember, so that we may ever last”

Just before the middle of the song, Kimberly sings these soaring harmonies that can literally take your breath away. I could listen to this part of the song over and over again (and have, many times). Her vocals are so powerful without ever being over the top. I think it is one of the best vocal performances to close a song and album. The song then goes into some of the music themes previously explored which fades out as an organ/synth and bell fades in, with frogs croaking in the background. This lasts for about a minute and a half until it fades all the way out. Magnificent.

Sometimes I get a little nervous when a band I have invested so much time, emotion and money into announces a new album. I hope it’s going to be good. And there’s a part of me wondering, “what if it sucks?” (This has happened before). I remember listening to “Witches” start to finish in my study the day I got it. After “The Ghosts Of Gallows Hill” faded out, I just sat still, processing everything I had heard. After a few minutes I went to the kitchen where my wife was sitting. I remember telling her, “It’s fucking brilliant”. It still is.

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