Sequestered Sympathy

What a perfect album name and title for the current global isolation:

ExulansisThe tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.

Sequestered: To keep a person or a group of people away from other people.

Sympathy ; feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.

And what a perfect album for those longing to hear Fall of Efrafa or Light Bearer (still 2 of my favorite bands ever)

Oregon’s Exulansis released Sequestered Sympathy last year independently, but Germany’s Alerta Antifascista/Doomrock label, the label with ties to the likes of Vestiges, Archivist, Morne, Downfall of Gaia, Momentum, Anopheli, Morrow ;  other Fall of Efrafa/Light Bearer  sounding/associated projects, picked up this amazing debut album, and it’s a perfect match.

Plying a similar emotive, organic and epic crust/black/doom combination as the above bands,  but where Exulansis differ is the use of a full time acoustic/and five string electric violin, in every song, courtesy of Andrea Morgan (who also provides some somber female croons)  and it adds a despondent air of melancholy to the proceedings not unlike My Dying Bride‘s early work. And the end result is at times,  simultaneously vitriolic and miserably wondrous.

Littered with moments of violin laced or acoustic despondent clarity and furious moments of tumbling, blackened crust, Sequestered Sympathy, is an emotional roller coaster that immediately recalls moments of Light Bearer ,Fall of Efrafa and Vestiges. The album’s centerpieces are three rangy (9-12 minutes) numbers;  the opening title track,  standout Despondent”, and lengthy “Dead Can’t Die”. All three deliver taught build ups and peak with crusty blackened explosions, glossed with Morgan’s somber violins (and vocals), and it’s often utterly brilliant (i.e the mid section peak of “Dead Cant Die”).

The rest of the material (“Barren”, “John Bradley” and closer “A Helpless Witness, to Such Pain”) deliver moody violin laden filler that bridges the material with emotional gravitas, spoken words etc, but add to the album’s overall mood and effectiveness. And when it’s all combined, Sequestered Sympathy LP will certainly be on my year end list, and hopefully, a CD version will be released at some point.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 30th, 2020


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