This project was formed originally by Joshua Gentzke in Buffalo, New York as a simple solo work with a 4-track demo. Eventually he would unite with other band members and and put together an EP that made it into the hands of several labels, but would result in signing with the Eis und Licht in Europe. Over the next 7 years they pulled together tracks for three full-length albums on that label. During this time Joshua has managed to live in several parts of the world including Europe where the music would continue to mature as they released each new work.
While Joshua remains the original founder lending his deep vocals to the music and also contributing on guitars, mandolin, bass and concertina, he has surrounded himself with an excellent group of musicians including Kathryn Gentzke (vocals, chimes, hand percussion), Kevin Sweet (piano, dulcimer, organ, keyboards, vocals), Shane Halanan (percussion) and Katherine Trimble (cello). The music from this group is thoughtful, emotional and sometime dark folk-oriented. The acoustic guitar and somber vocals with occasional keyboards are the main driving force behind the music which creates a certain peaceful atmosphere that one might picture while sitting in Old Europe near a castle around a small campfire.
We're certainly excited with the addition of this band to the Projekt label and to our pages and radio waves of Gothic Paradise. This band brings out the best of the folk-oriented genres (ie. dark and neo-folk similar to Nick Cave, Sol Invictus and Dies Natalis among many others). We look forward to many more new releases here in North America to make up for the lost time and works we've missed from Europe. Be sure to visit the band's website and myspace pages for the latest news and information.
A Lantern Carried In Blood And Skin - Review
I have to shamefully admit that the first time I heard this band was on the recent Projekt sampler with the inclusion of their track "into nothing (blackwatersong)". I was immediately pleased with this track as it quickly became a favorite from that disc.
So now we finally have something for North American neo-folk fans to enjoy from this grab. This disc is an excellent introduction to those of us unfortunate enough to have missed out on their previous three European releases. We're presented with ten tracks that span these previously released albums with a little bit from each one all packaged in a beatuiful digipack with booklet containing band info, beautiful artwork and lyrics.
As I've listened to other anthology albums, in general you can always detect how the band has progressed or changed over the years, in some cases quite drastically. While there are slight differences between tracks on this album, I thought it was interesting how well they all came together. If I didn't know any different, I would have said that this was just a new album released by this band all recorded within the space of a few months. This shows how well the band has maintained their direction and style over the years through thought-provoking lyrics, deep vocals oftentimes harmonized with soft female vox or joined together in a chorus of all (or many) band members. Then the smooth musical compositions that come together very well with occasional violin, soft cello and synthesized strings and piano, but with the ever-present softly strummed acoustic guitar grounding the folk elements for a solid foundation.
If I were to get into each piece on this album, this review would turn into a novel. There is so much that I enjoy about each track as I go through each selection and pick them apart. The first few pieces really come out with powerful and captivating emotions accented by the heavy percussion and moving guitar on "horizon" and "into nothing (blackwatersong)". This latter piece still remains a favorite even on this album among so many stellar pieces invoking thoughts and feelings of longing or nostalgia before or after a long journey or when a loved one sets off on their own long journey through life. While I love Joshua's deep and moody vocals, the addition of Kathryn on backing vocals or even when she takes the solo part on "flowers under glass" is spellbinding to say the least, launching this band from folk to ethereal in a second.
As the album moves on there are pieces where the tempo and even mood picks up from dark and brooding to almost revelry if you can imagine that. "for an autumn girl" is slightly unique in this way with the added keyboards, but the spirits are lifted a bit on "your lily white hands" with it's lilting groove and tamberine. The album drifts along from one emotional piece to the next until it finally comes to a close with "distance". I though this was a perfect finale to this album and is the most unique piece on this album really standing out among the rest in style as Kathryn takes the vocals and the strumming guitar is notably absent and replaced by ambient soundscapes and soft, subtle guitar instead. This happens to be one of the first tracks with heavy rotation on the Gothic Paradise ethereal radio show and whenever I hear it, I think it's actually a piece from All My Faith Lost
and have to keep double-checking to see if it really is Lux Interna
. The bottom line is that this is an awesome track and certainly a bonus on this album taken from their previous album Ignis Mutat Res
which makes me want to go out and pick it up to see if there's anything else like this on their other works.
Well, there you have it, another captivating group on the Projekt
label for us to enjoy. I look forward to several more albums from this band of this calibur and I'm sure they could do it. In the meantime we'll certainly enjoy this as well as the other previous releases that we can get our hands on.
Label: Projekt Records