Ode and Elegy
Ode and Elegy

Holy Shit!, Here is a wonderful, unexpected surprise.

Back in the mid 00s I was enamored with a band called The Pax Cecilia, who released 2 self-released and free releases with 2004s Ep, Nouveau and 2007s Blessed Are the Bonds, (which I covered back in the day at one of my other review sites Metalreview.com/ Yourlastrites.com here).  They played a form of largely ambient ambitious, orchestral post rock, metalcore that came across like Shai Hulud meets Neurosis with a full orchestra.

Since then, bands like So Hideous have played and popularized a similar style, but man were The Pax Cecilia special back in 2007.

But then nothing for years, until the Teethofthedivine email gets an email from  Kent Fairman Wilson looking for me and explaining his new project and release, Ode and Elegy. Originally meant as a new The Pax Cecilia release and utilizing former The Pax Cecilia members, as we as over 40 other musicians (including string quartets, brass ensembles, choirs, harpists, flutists etc.) the project evolved into something different and thus, sister act  Ode and Elegy was born.

Comprised of one, 55-minute piece, Ode and Elegy is one of those releases that just barely squeezes into the realms of metal, less so than The Pax Cecilia, but if we cover the likes of Prophecy Production’s or Equilibrium Music’s Avant-Garde neo folk and such, we surely can cover this. It’s largely instrumental, and largely classical music, with simply gorgeous, and I mean utterly knee wilting, wondrous orchestration with a few spurts of post-rock, metal, gruff screams/shouts and guitars here and there.

The ebb and flow of the material is one that follows the album’s themes of catharsis and loss and fits perfectly with emotive peaks and valleys that actually brought a tear to my eye at several points. The performances of the Sofia and Laurels session quartets and orchestras respectively, are truly amazing. Of course, the writing of Wilson and co is what drives those performances and the nuances and structures of one, 55-minute song is hard to put into words.

The affair starts slowly and surely (but even early on, the orchestration hits you right in the feels), with a delicate pianissimo and ends with a poignant metallic crescendo before fading out with a perfect classical decrescendo. But in between, there is plenty going on. While there may be only about 2o minutes of actual ‘metal’ mixed in with the purely classical music, it is delivered at perfect intervals. It’s not until 13 minutes in that we first hear actual ‘metal’-based, crusty riffs and pained screams backing the violins and cellos, that could be from any Halo of Flies or Alerta Antifascista Records record (i.e Lightbearer, Exulansis). 20 minutes in we get another more restrained post-rock sway and lurch, then a more atonal crumble about 6 minutes later. 32 minutes in you get the most expansive ‘metal’ segment that lasts a good 5 minutes and again comes across like those bands I just mentioned.

The two final pieces of metal come towards to end of the release, and when mixed with the orchestral cacophony, add fitting bouts of sheer, cathartic brilliance to close the album before the final 5 minutes shudders with climactic, dramatic prose and almost John Murphy ( 28 Days later, Sunshine) movie score-like poignant closure.

On top of being arguably one of the most enthralling and absorbing pieces of pure music I’ve recently heard ( and a must-listen on good headphones), this is completely free, both as a download or a physical CD that comes in a gorgeous hardbound booklet case . Again, for free….So go and grab this and support this ambitious and unique project, as well as truly independent music.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 22nd, 2022

Comments

  1. Commented by: Iwein

    On the same page!
    I have those Pax Cecilia releases too. It was pretty insane that they sent those CD’s for free.
    I’ve bought this one too. Payed €40 postage and taxes but i found it really really worth it. These musicians never disappoint.


  2. Commented by: Oli

    Oh shit, what a throwback. I remember loving those two releases back then.


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