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Earthrise – Until We Rest Beneath the Winter Way

Until We Rest Beneath the Winter Way
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 03 October 2022, 1:39 PM

From Bandcamp, “Until We Rest Beneath the Winter Way” frames vignettes into the life and times of Laika, the first animal sent into Earth’s orbit. Each track on the album represents a slice in history, as she endured it. The album culminates with the launch of Sputnik II, the second major event in humanity’s reach to the heavens, symbolized by a lifeless canine body orbiting the Earth for months on end – a somber meditation on humanity's innumerable self-inflicted tragedies, as if stuck in orbit, forever.” The album contains nine songs.

“The New Man” is the first. The sound is quite heavy, with harsh vocals, and down-tuned guitars…both despondent and brutal. There is just a bit of melody here and there and I like the contrast. Towards the end, some ambient and atmospheric elements play nicely with the sound. “From Below” begins with clean and tense tones, almost as if you were peering into space from the cockpit of a rocket in orbit of the earth. Harsh vocals mark the feeling of anxiety which would inevitably result from this experience. “Hypervigilant” is another heavy, lumbering sound of down-tuned guitars combined with much more ambient music. Through three songs so far there is a bit of repetitiveness, but I am enjoying the desolate sound.

“Generation Loss” is another lengthy offering. It begins with absolutely empty and lonesome sounds, seguing into more of a punishing sound together with harsh vocals. The story of Laika is actually quite sad, when you consider the Soviets essentially sacrificed an animal in the name of space exploration. This song grossly articulates that feeling. The ambient moments at the end hold all hope that is quickly fading. “Our Work in the Stars Cannot Wait” is a fitting song title on the album. Consider this…what would one hope to gain from space travel? There is no chance we can make it to even the closest star, so why bother? I believe the bleak, somber, and even the heavier, angrier tones in the song echo this sentiment best.

“Prisoner’s Cinema” reflects the things the dog saw from her first band views. The sights were beautiful no doubt, but she was a prisoner in the orbiting space machine; her fate sealed when the idea was concocted. The music is very ambient and sad…did she know that she would eventually die, and what was it like to die alone? “Engineers of the Human Soul” is another fitting song title for the tale, reflecting the arrogance of the humans who came up with the idea in the first place. The song is equal parts anger and hopelessness, and this tale grows wearier as it wears on. “Void Hymn” is the longest on the album, at over ten-minutes in length. The first half of the song is ridiculously heavy and brutal, without much of a let-up. The second half mixes in some more solemn notes. A void hymn is an interesting oxymoron…a hymn (song) that is void (nothing). Let that sink in. Perhaps it’s the most telling title on the album.

“Tears of Burning Light” closes the album. Initial reports indicated that she died on day six in orbit, with the truth was she died within hours from overheating. These tears were most likely what she felt as she drew her last breath. Big, heavy accents open the song, nearly devoid of all melody. One, two, three…time beats slowly as her anticipation grows. It’s like the final march to the stars, but she never makes it. Some ambient moments mix in towards the end, with feedback buzzing from the guitars. The juxtaposition of these two elements is stark. Overall, both the song titles and the bleak music fit very well with the theme of the album. The desolate sounds on the album are magnified through heavy, depressing tones that are equally part rage, and part despair.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The New Man
2. From Below
3. Hypervigilant
4. Generation Loss
5. Our Work in the Stars Cannot Wait
6. Prisoner's Cinema
7. Engineers of the Human Soul
8. Void Hymn
9. Tears of Burning Light
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 09 December 2022

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