My Silent Wake
Invitation To Imperfection
20th March 2017 – Opa Loka Records
02. Helgar Kindir
04. Bleak Spring
06. The Fear
07. Lament of the Defeatist
09. Song of Acceptance
11. You Drift Away
13. Return of the Lost at Sea
14. Melodien der Waldgeister
UK goth-doom outfit My Silent Wake have a longstanding tradition of tangential releases; EPs and splits and the occasional experimental record alongside main albums. Invitation To Imperfection is a full-length ambient/folk/acoustic record; a foray into some long-established elements of their sound that took a backseat for their most recent metal record, Damnatio Memoriae. It’s also an exploration of their gothic identity using a markedly different palette.
Straight off the bat, this is mainly for people already fond of My Silent Wake and who are familiar with their quirks. All these elements are there in their larger body of work, but here they’re elevated to the forefront. Their curious release philosophy gives them scope to eschew the constraints of structure to really go nuts for folky textures and instrumental, foresty vibes.
The folk moments drift pretty steadily into medieval territory but there’s a pretty strong dark ambient presence. On some of the nakedly folksy outings they sail close to dungeon synth, something I’ve never heard outside of Reddit forum boards; not so much a criticism as a way to place it within the recent synthwave explosion. In any case, the darkness elevates the folk elements to sound tense and effectively creepy when otherwise they could have been fantasy soundtracky.
The record is oddly cohesive, considering they could have gone in any direction. New elements are introduced gradually into the mix; some spoken word elements feature occasionally and new textures are woven in. Later in the record the appropriately-titled “Nebula” introduces some cinematic spacey synths. This turned out to be a personal highlight; I could happily take a full record of this.
The record concludes with the 20-minute “Melodien der Waldgeister“, a fragmented track that indulges some of their eerier folk elements. Percussion underscores a simple melody which drops out intermittently, with ambient sound effects being gradually introduced. Some of the sounds could easily be field recordings; the track jumps back to isolated footsteps which gives the impression of being haunted by woodwind players. It’s a curious conclusion to a varied record, but it’s effectively disorientating and the clearest statement of intent for the album.
This release is comparable to Neurosis‘ Tribes of Neurot project; I’d like to see more bands taking an opportunity to explore bizarre influences on off-script records. As an ambient album this is effectively gloomy and unnerving and the folk elements are authentic and not at all forced; it’s a risk to make something like this but here it works. Invitation To Imperfection is not likely to be the best starting point for newcomers, but for established fans it’s a reminder of My Silent Wake’s continued policy of sonic exploration, and for dark ambient fans well worth the investment.