After her extremely impressive and enjoyable Bloodlet EP from earlier in the year, this new album contains more alluring, dark, and wonderfully-realised music.
Ghosts has a different character than Bloodlet, however; this album is focused on the piano, and there’s not a distorted violin in sight. Don’t let this put you off, however, as there are still plenty of metal influences in the work, and even frequently manages a heaviness all of its own.
The music is a beguiling mix of 90s doom metal and luscious cinematic Gothic soundscapes. The album is so rich that it feels like it’s going to rise out of the speakers with a life of its own, while the artist’s singing voice is simply exquisite. Male harsh vocals occasionally appear too, which further enhances the 90s doom metal feeling in many ways, striking in me a melancholic reminiscence of unparalleled and sadly departed bands such as The Sins of Thy Beloved. In many ways Promethean Misery is the spiritual heir to bands like that, only with more of a drawn-out misery-fuelled doom feeling.
The sheer size and impact of this music belies the fact that it’s essentially just one person with piano/keyboards and a violin. How she manages to produce music as well-rounded and substantial as this is anyone’s guess. One can only assume nefarious pacts with dark powers have happened at some point.
The piano on this album is alive with a dark vibrancy, and performed with obvious love and passion for the atmospheric darkness that gathers around a lot of metal seemingly so naturally. As well as The Sins of Thy Beloved there are echoes of other bands too, such as My Dying Bride’s miserable grandeur, as well as the Gothic ostentation of early Cradle of Filth; bands that added to their core with swathes of layered feeling and texture.
What the artist behind Promethean Misery is so good at doing is drawing out these rich accompaniments to the metal genre and giving them a life all of their own. Whereas so many bands see them as mere enhancements to the main delivery of guitars and drums, etc., she sees the potential of in their own right. Crafted into the luscious forms that we find on Ghosts, and given a compositional life and presence that’s undeniably powerful, the music on this release is as enjoyable as it is full of flavour and seductive appeal.
Atmospheric, haunting, and imbued with a deep, dark beauty, Ghosts is a wonderfully immersive listen.