The House Of Usher – Roaring Silence (Equinoxe Records, 2018)
The House of Usher are part of the canonical school of Gothic Rock, and each album explores its nuances and limits. With Roaring Silence they follow this path and also offer songs accessible to the ears of non devotees of the genre.
- Between Here and Hereafter.
- Death of a Swan.
- Ordinary Days.
- Where Dragons Sleep.
- Navigating By the Stars.
- Back to Earth.
- God Only Knows.
- Tear in the Ocean.
A review of Roaring Silence – At the end of the World –
In a first contact, songs like Death of a Swan or Arrival give the impression of having an open and almost commercial character, in the 80’s Pop-Rock style and that could leave a mark on any follower of the so-called Remember Music. But in later listenings the true essence emerges, which are the folk songs in their traditional sense, those songs and melodies sung by the worldly people that are part of the cultural heritage of each region or locality. This impression is due above all to the voice of Jörg Kleudgen, who throughout the album demonstrates his versatility in melodies, tones and timbres; so much so that in songs like Navigating By the Stars is easy to confuse him with another singer, seems a different voice.
It could be said that the first half of the album is more oriented towards these popular roots, while the second half is immersed in more gloomy territories. According to the promotional text, the album presents a duality of tranquility and noise that reflects a world increasingly characterized by internal and external conflicts.
In Roaring Silence we find old band members: Bianca Stücker (support voices and singer in The Violet Tribe), Markus Pick (founder member and lead guitarist), Ralf Dunkel (bassist since 2000), Robert Nessler (bassist from 1992 to 1994), Georg Berger (guitarist since 2007 and member of Finnegans Wake and Violet) and Dominic Daub (additional guitars and band member). They also have the collaboration of Michael Scholz (Garden of Pleasures, Shadowplay, Taste of Decay, etc.) on additional guitars and synthesizers for a couple of tracks.
With such a varied array of new and reoccurring artists around this project born almost three decades ago, it is clear that the band generates an interest with which many musicians have injected tenacity and probably a huge affection; what we call here “for love of art” and which invariably results in a series of albums whose songs are honest. Gothic Rock from the old school in which they are looking to compose the perfect song (as Jörg told us in the interview we did), constantly bringing new sounds and ideas.
Roaring Silence is an album that has to be listened to on a decent sound system and at a good volume to soak up the strength of the bass and the drum machine, the hypnotic character of the guitars and the melodies with hook of the voices. In this way, starting with a song like Between Here and Hereafter is an enjoyable one.
Arrival presents a percussion and synthesizers that evoke a certain Celtic air, reinforced by the already mentioned “ancestral” melodies of Jörg. In Ordinary Days guitars draw attention when using effects on riffs that give the impression of crying. Meanwhile, Jörg enters directly with a melody that looks like the continuation of an earlier speech, the snapshot in the story of a daily life with its inevitable ration of vulgarity, although the video clip shows the eternal hope of rebellion.
With Laika we found an extensive theme whose development lasts almost 9 minutes. It begins with those infinite and reverberating guitars which stands as the band’s hallmark, and ends with psychedelic melodies, probably with the intention of reflecting the cosmic atmosphere that surrounded the unfortunate and famous astronaut dog.
In United there’s the only detail that hasn’t convinced me, a background effect that sounds like the acoustic signal of some electronic device and that repeats itself occasionally like a loop, something that, lacking to know the content of the lyrics, doesn’t seem to me to contribute anything special and that becomes irritating. Otherwise it’s a good song, calm and very enjoyable.
Where Dragons Sleep opens the album’s most gothic part with keyboards that, together with the vocal part, are ominous. When listening to how the synthesized drums are incorporated and later on the rhythmic and cutting guitars, you feel that this song can only go in the right direction, without hurrying to impact the listener; another example of this artisan love poured by the band.
Navigating By the Stars is one of the highlights of the album, likely candidate to be played at clubs for its energy and elegance. His distinction with respect to the other songs is due to be based on the precepts of the “Sacred Trinity of Gothic Rock” (Sisters, Mission and Fields), very much in tune with the first album of his compatriots Sweet Ermengarde. This should come as no surprise since Jörg was involved in the development of their first album Raynham Hall giving his voice in the choirs as well as the authorship of the lyrics, and becoming the lead singer in their first two concerts.
Back to Earth is one of the songs where the guitar shines brightly, using the arpeggios with delay in the verses and adds a delicious melody that excels in the choruses, reaching the climax with an added riff superimposed and that with its insistence gets recorded in your head.
God Only Knows (included in the Imaginarium EP) is another noteworthy for the nuances of Bianca’s voice in the choirs. It is a very defining theme of the band’s style for fans who know their career. Titles such as this reinforce the impression that The House Of Usher is a Gothic Rock band with the alternative character of belonging to the underground, but also seems to have a conservative imprint in the religious or spiritual realm, almost as an acknowledgement that, whether we like it or not, the genre of Gothic literature inherits Christian mythology through the influence of the Middle Ages. An impression that would be interesting to confirm with the members of the group and especially with Jörg as lyricist.
If you have reached this part of the review, you will agree that we have given you enough elements of judgment to know which paths this album follows and if you want to discover the rest of the tracks. All in all, Roaring Silence is a worthwhile album if you like Gothic Rock and are willing to discover its many benefits, consistent with the previous records of The House of Usher. You can order it through the band (by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org) and Amazon in Germany, as well as other distributors such as Out of Line.