In case you missed it is our new regular feature which highlights outstanding albums, from the last 5 years, which may have passed you by.
Who: My Silent Wake
Album: Damnatio Memoriae
Why: My Silent Wake, the brainchild of Ian Arkley (Seventh Angel, Paramaecium, Ashen Mortality), had been hammering away for nigh on a decade when 2015’s Damnatio Memoriae arrived. In that time, fans had been treated to everything from straight-up death/doom to acoustic albums and ambient instrumentals but Damnatio Memoriae – meaning condemnation or damnation of memory – marked a return to heavier realms and, just as its title suggested, practically cast aside all memory of previous releases as MSW upped their game considerably and recorded an album that should of sent traditional doom and death/doom fans into a frenzy!
The fast and playful tempo of “Highwire” toyed with the notion that doom has to lurch from one painfully drawn-out riff to another and recalled the majesty and traditional metal melody’s of Trouble’s “Assassin” while “And So It Comes To An End” drew comparisons with My Dying Bride’s melancholic gothic doom of old. Not forgetting that opener “Of Fury” was an immediate attention grabber and one of the most direct and awe-inspiringly heavy songs in My Silent Wake’s considerable arsenal.
The album’s centre-piece, “The Empty Unknown”, ran the risk of testing your patience at 14 minutes long but its droning ornate gothic beauty (early Paradise Lost were an obvious parallel) steadily crawled into your headspace. With cleanly sung passages jostling with deathly, yet audibly clear, growls and a mournful baritone, MSW ably balanced often beautiful and sparse guitars with the kind of chest-crushingly heavy riffing that would make Tony Iommi proud; a truly astonishing doom epic that numbed while it nurtured.
A band who never fail to surprise, Damnatio Memoriae was simply My Silent Wake’s finest hour to date. 9/10