Bansheerie – The Witch of Glendale


[Reviewed by Damiano Lanzi]

The mysterious figure behind this project is apparently “a wailing mad banshee swept by the winds of woe” that tells four gruesome stories firmly rooted into the Anglo-saxon culture and in the “murder ballad” tradition. Each of these tales features a strong feminine presence, being about women who suffer and are persecuted for their supposed or actual involvement in esoteric knowledge. Every story becomes a song on this 16-minute EP by means of the voice of a (male) singer that comes neither from Ireland nor from England, but from… Kazakhstan. The first impression could be that the origins of the songwriter are too far away from the matter of his songs and from the heritage that they try to bring into music. But listening to this mini-album, you immediately feel the authenticity of the author’s intentions, as if the songs were one of the many English traditionals that we have known from English folk and neofolk music. This happens especially in the first two tracks, where many ingredients (the lyrics, some rhymes and the presence of symbolic characters such as the crows) are perfectly in line with the aforementioned traditional folkloristic ballads, showing an accurate philological research on the argument. The second two tracks are still rooted in the same imagery, but probably borrowed by more recent influences. For example “The Coven is Rising” makes me think about the occult prog-rock band Black Widow and their masterpiece “Sacrifice” and the themes found in some parts of “Lady Forlorn” seem familiar with the black-metal scene. Anyway the lyrics are always good, and the suspense is increased by the raucous dead-like voice. Also in the musical aspect there are good ideas and even if you can recognize the neofolk inspiration, this album shows more complex arrangements than many of the musician’s English and German colleagues. There’s a vast use of unsettling carillon sounds, along with harps, flutes and even a theremin (in “The Coven is Rising”). A bunch of songs that create a fascinating atmosphere. The brevity of the album is probably a defect, but it could be solved by listening to “Daughters of the Twilight”, a 2-song EP released this year that’s a natural thematic continuation of “The Witch of Glendale”.

BansheerieThe Witch of Glendale
Death Roots Syndicate, Roots0012
Digital 2014

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