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Feather Mountain – To Exit a Maelstrom Award winner

Feather Mountain
To Exit a Maelstrom
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 03 July 2022, 3:57 AM

“To Exit a Maelstrom” recounts the loss of a close family member to a disease, which as Alzheimer’s slowly dissolves a human being, its personality, memories, and language and ultimately transforms the familiar into something alien. As the album title suggests, the illness can be perceived as being caught in a maelstrom, where one is swallowed by external incoming circumstances beyond personal control finally leading you to drown and be devoured by the chaos. It is also an album about fighting one’s way out as a relative, up from the maelstrom, to heal one’s wounds and return to life with new perspectives, which are undeniably delivered to those, who once stood on the bottom and gazed upwards. For the members in FEATHER MOUNTAIN, an important part of that struggle was their common space of intimacy, dialogue and music. The album contains eight tracks.

“August Mantra” opens the album. It begins with a heavy riff that backs off quickly. The vocals are ethereal, and the backing music showcases the bands skills. Much of the melody comes from the chorus, but those bass notes in the verse are fantastic. The song moves with a soft breeze, expanding and contracting, and the harsh vocals are a nice addition as well. “Beneath You Pale Face” begins with a softer and more introspective sound. This song develops into a heavier affair, with disbelief and anger showing their faces. “Pariah” has a stronger base, and the harsh vocals can be felt in your soul, conveying a sense of frustration and indignation. It gains power as it moves along, until red is the only color you can see.

“Cloud-Headed” opens with more smooth tones in the vocals and music. This probably refers to the state of someone who has Alzheimer’s, though they often have no idea that anything is wrong. The waxing and waning of heavier elements makes you feel the softer ones more. The harsh vocals are especially enraged. “Sincere” is more poignant song that embodies the title quite well. It’s an honest display of emotion, simple but very effective, especially in the harsh vocal passages and hardened sound towards the end. Tears of rage flow down the subject’ face and he cannot stop the flow of emotion. “Bliss” is perhaps a misnomer of sorts, or at least the kind of title that you have to dig further into. Who feels bliss? The person with Alzheimer’s, or their caretakers? I love the way this song opens up and embraces melody…the song is indeed blissful.

“Air Hunger” is a darker song that begins with heavy bass notes and some static elements. It develops with a smooth but eccentric display of musicianship. “Maelstrom” closes the album; a 10-minute song that wraps up the story. The song is tense at first, and also a bit hopeful in the message of trying hard to overcome these negative feelings that can quickly color your perspective on life. You can feel his struggle with this as the song plods on. Moving towards acceptance is much harder than raging despair. But towards the end, waves of euphoria wash over you conquer the demons.

This album was both moving and compelling in the message from the lyrics and the music. The tale, and the journey, is felt deeply. This is the kind of album that you need to take your time with and dig into a few layers at a time. When you do, and reserving judgement until the end, you will come out a new person with new perspectives by the end. This is the kind of power that a great album can have on the listener.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. August Mantra
2. Beneath You Pale Face
3. Pariah
4. Cloud-Headed
5. Sincere
6. Bliss
7. Air Hunger
8. Maelstrom
Andreas Dahl-Blumenberg – Bass, Vocals
Christian Dahl-Blumenberg – Drums
Jens Baalkilde Andersen – Guitar, Vocals
Mikkel Aaen Lohmann – Lead Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 24 March 2023

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