Kleingott – Deathbed Tales


[Reviewed by: Damiano Lanzi]

The Roman project Kleingott delivers an esoteric neofolk that, with its harsh and mechanical guitar chords, may resemble Sol Invictus. “Deathbed Tales” is rich of philosophical references: the author Gerardo Perilli has taken inspiration from the concept of Eternal Recurrence as found in Nietzsche. Death, evoked in the title, is not intended as the terminal point of life, instead it’s celebrated as a regenerating force, the ever-renewing origin of a vital cycle. This circular conception of existence is immediately made clear in the opener “Where Time Goes” in the verses “In this perfect circle all roads lead there, by this endless ring all ways start there”.

“Years of Drought” opens with ebow guitars and shows a dreamy songwriting, dilated and irregular verses. It soon becomes evident that this album is based on strong contrasts, both musically (gentle acoustic arrangements versus Gerardo’s demoniac and hissing voice) and thematically (life and death, past and present). The third track is a good metaphor in this sense: “Elytra” are the hardened wings of Coleoptera. The wing, that usually symbolizes lightness and freedom, becomes here a defensive tool: a strident and clever image. “In The Saint’s Noon” has a nice intro with a Spanish guitar arrangement, while “Lorelei” is probably the finest piece of the record, developping the theme of rebirth and the contrast between the male and female element, highlighted by the vocal duet. The song begins with a female voice that soars in a Gregorian chant, while the section sung by Gerardo recalls closely Michael Gira’s deep, zombie-like voice.

The album is pervaded by a deep sense of indolence, of waiting, like a numb awakening after a long sleep, but the conclusive “Someday In Summerland” offers a different key of interpretation. The apocalyptic intro curiously contradicts the lyrics, that depict the possibility of a serene future together with a loved person, in bucolic and sunny imagery. The anguishing music appears to be a warning for the listener: these images may be borrowed from imprecise memories of an idealized past, they’re utopist, insidious. But in the end the tonal opening and the verse “So let’s start rejoicing right now” clarifies the author’s optimistic perspective of the uncertainty of life, underlined by a quick alternation of major and minor chords in the ambient coda.

KleingottDeathbed Tales
CD/digital 2013

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