I haven’t managed to catch up with My Silent Wake since their 2015 album Damnatio Memoriae, which is a shame as every time I listen to this band I’m reminded just how good they are.
There Was Death is 63 minutes of atmospheric death/doom metal. This is a simple and accurate description, but doesn’t really do justice to the depth, breadth, and nuance of the material on this album.
At this stage in their career it’s obvious that My Silent Wake know exactly what they’re doing with this type of music, and this album is professionally presented and delivered in all areas. The most important of these, of course, is the songwriting; after all, it’s the music that truly counts above all else.
The songs on There Was Death are well-constructed and have clearly been given the necessary consideration and thought when they were being created. The songs are compelling and enjoyable, taking the listener on a worthwhile journey through the playing time. The band continue to take influence from the old-school UK doom metal scene, using this as their muse to craft their own individualised take on what makes for atmospheric, sorrowful, heavy music. My Silent Wake have been doing this for some time now, and There Was Death ably demonstrates that they have learned a lot over the years.
Enhanced by well-judged keyboards, There Was Death may be steeped in atmosphere, but doesn’t lack a brutal edge; this is death/doom after all, rather than purely doom metal. Some of the material on this album is among the band’s more direct, meaning that the death metal side of their personality shines through stronger from time to time. This is counteracted, of course, by their more mood-driven and emotive proclivities, and overall across the album these different aspects are balanced well, resulting in a very enjoyable and engaging piece of work.
This may be My Silent Wake’s tenth album, but the band show no sign of running out of steam. There Was Death is an accomplished and satisfying listen.
Favourite track: Ghosts of Parlous Lives. A very emotive and powerful song, bolstered by choral female singing and some impressive vocal patterns from the band’s singer.