Death In June - Essence! review



Reviewer:
N/A

3 users:
6.33
Band: Death In June
Album: Essence!
Release date: November 2018


01. Welcome To Country
02. God A Pale Curse
03. The Trigger
04. Snipers Of The Maidan
05. The Humble Brag
06. Going Dark
07. The Dance Of Life - To Shoot A Valkyrie
08. No Belief
09. The Pole Star Of Eden
10. What Will Become Of Us?
11. My Florida Dawn


2019 is now upon us, but before we truly embark, let's talk about why 2018 was a significant year for neofolk, one other distant relative of metal.

There's Death In June...

Neofolk is a genre that has become associated with metal mostly through its influence of atmospheric black metal or doom metal, through the likes of Agalloch and Empyrium. Death In June sits on the more acoustic side of the genre rather than the industrial one; they are (an) early originator(s) with their more post-punk first albums released in the early '80s, when Death In June was actually a band, with Sol Invictus's Tony Wakeford as a member, before becoming Douglas Pearce's solo project. The band and the genre as a whole have been going in and out of relevancy in the last 15 or so years, with this band and Douglas Pearce becoming more isolated (from his regular collaborators) and stripped-down (in sound). Essence! comes as something of a surprise despite not coming after any long break, solely because it feels like an actual Death In June album after a long time.

The sound feels a lot richer and reinvigorated on Essence!. While obviously acoustic guitars and vocals are still the main focus, the album is not subtle in its use of noise, samples, layered synths, percussion, bass, and folk instruments. This does bring back a sound that still retains an ominous edge, but is overall more lush and a lot more upbeat, being somewhat similar sounding to something like darker '60s pop (just listen to the keyboards in "What Will Become Of Us"). And it's often this contrast of ominous and upbeat that is so compelling on songs like "Going Dark" or "God A Pale Curse", striking something of a sweet uncanny valley. Each layer adds more to the sound that is greater than the sum of its parts, adding everything together in a way that is not very complex, but very compelling.

Obviously the sound is not the only thing that makes this album so engaging, since after all the strongest quality of Death In June's music has always been Douglas Pearce's vocals. It's not quite hard to notice signs of him having grown older, but even when they do appear, he doesn't sound strained; rather, those signs add a bit of flavour. The upbeat singing voice contrasts with his dark lyrics, especially the repeated lines in the more neofolk songs like "Like a fly on the wall at my own funeral I am free" and "What a miserable life we would have made / We met on the dark net" in "Going Dark" or "To shoot a Valkyrie / To shoot a swan / The deep state goes on and on". I would quote more lyrics, but I guess it's best if you listen to them yourself.

Essence! truly captures the essence of what makes Death In June great. Dark lyrics, ominous moods that sometimes contrast with upbeat melodies, sometimes not, excellent layering and a certain oddity in sound. It is also their (or rather his, as you'll notice a lot of neofolk projects are centered around one person) best record in more than a decade.

...and then there's Current 93.


 



Written on 04.01.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 112 users
04.01.2019 - 10:50
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Make sure you click the last link to continue reading
----
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
Loading...
04.01.2019 - 14:16
VIG
Viggg
I need to get more into neofolk. I've only heard one album by DIJ and one by Sol Invictus and I absolutely loved both of them. What is the next DIJ I should listen to? (the first was But, What Ends When The Symbols Shatter?)
Loading...
04.01.2019 - 14:27
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by VIG on 04.01.2019 at 14:16

I need to get more into neofolk. I've only heard one album by DIJ and one by Sol Invictus and I absolutely loved both of them. What is the next DIJ I should listen to? (the first was But, What Ends When The Symbols Shatter?)

This one is pretty good so it wouldnt hurt.

Since you already listened to a 90s DI6 album, try an 80s one like Burial or Nada!

Once you get more into DI6 and Sol Invictus, you can try to get into Current 93 with Thunder Perfect Mind
----
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
Loading...
04.01.2019 - 14:50
VIG
Viggg
Written by RaduP on 04.01.2019 at 14:27

This one is pretty good so it wouldnt hurt.

Since you already listened to a 90s DI6 album, try an 80s one like Burial or Nada!

Once you get more into DI6 and Sol Invictus, you can try to get into Current 93 with Thunder Perfect Mind

Thank you, I will listen to all of those soon.
Loading...
06.01.2019 - 22:38
VIG
Viggg
Well, you are right about the vocals, I can tell he is older now, and his style isn't as strong as it was in the 90s. Overall, though, I find this kind of average, because a lot of the songs don't need to go on for 5 minutes, they could be shortened, and would be more enjoyable. Really, when I wanna hear repetitive music that's really long, I would listen to stoner metal or something. Not that 5 minutes is incredibly long, but with a lot of these songs it gets quite annoying.

I'm gonna check out the Current 93 and Sol Invictus albums you reviewed next, then Thunder Perfect Mind.
Loading...
06.01.2019 - 23:05
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by VIG on 06.01.2019 at 22:38

Well, you are right about the vocals, I can tell he is older now, and his style isn't as strong as it was in the 90s. Overall, though, I find this kind of average, because a lot of the songs don't need to go on for 5 minutes, they could be shortened, and would be more enjoyable. Really, when I wanna hear repetitive music that's really long, I would listen to stoner metal or something. Not that 5 minutes is incredibly long, but with a lot of these songs it gets quite annoying.

I'm gonna check out the Current 93 and Sol Invictus albums you reviewed next, then Thunder Perfect Mind.

I find repetitiveness in neofolk more compelling than in other genres. I don't know why I feel like it works here more than in anything else. Might have to do with the post-punk/industrial origin but that's less obvious here.

Still glad you did enjoy it a bit. Curious to see what you think of the next ones.
----
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
Loading...
06.01.2019 - 23:12
VIG
Viggg
Written by RaduP on 06.01.2019 at 23:05

Still glad you did enjoy it a bit. Curious to see what you think of the next ones.


For sure. I'll let you know!
Loading...

Hits total: 3584 | This month: 190