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Cyclocosmia: Deadwood

An idea that first formed in the mind of producer James Scott as far back as 2011, Cyclocosmia is a symphonic doom outfit where the man in question handles all of the instrumentation and production, while Venezuelan born, but England based, singer Lorena Franceschini provides most of the vocals – Scott adding a few growls here and there. The 'doom' part in the genre tag comes from the gloomy, claustrophobic nature of the ten tracks, rather than any crushing guitars, in fact there's a lightness of touch in both the arrangements and Franceschini's vocal approach. This is a lady who possesses an impressive range and power and yet (thankfully) she is much more interested in being sympathetic to the as often as not, fragile, string led backing. The themes this album works round fit its uncompromising, dark atmosphere, mental illness, grief, homesickness and abuse of power all themes explored; the motivation behind bringing these topics to life the desire to assure those in similar mind sets that they are not alone. However where a little light, or hope would have brought a different tone to proceedings, the never ending feel of despair ultimately makes for a tough journey.

A few guest contributors do appear, violinist Pete Hartley bringing an unexpected focal point, while Sebastian Cure adds some extra guitar and Draven Grey, piano – he also mastered the album. However Deadwood feels much more like a singularly personal beast and as such can be tough to break down; something the overly dense production doesn't help, especially during the heavier, more brutal sections. It's these little points of detail that leave the feeling that there's more potential here than truly comes to fruition (the album cover isn't likely to draw you in either and while I appreciate we're dealing with weighty themes here, the gloomy look on the faces of Scott and Franceschini in the booklet simply give off an air of disinterest, which I've no doubt really isn't the case). When Deadwood hits the spot, as it does in the intricate, lengthy introduction to "Little Girl Lost", there's a real sense of tragic beauty. However the heavier sections in the likes of "Shackled" leave a feeling of confusion and disjointedness. Although overall the good outweighs the not quite so good.

You have to be in a certain frame of mind to be able to engage with what Cyclocosmia are trying to convey, for in no way is this a 'light' listen. However if you are looking for a female fronted act that refuses to conform to the symphonic blueprint of recent years (album opener "Marionette" even feels like you walked in halfway through the song, rather than at its beginning), then this duo may just be it… although don't expect an easy ride.

Track Listing
1. Marionette
2. Wither
3. Ubasute
4. Season of Regret
5. Little Girl Lost
6. Shackled
7. ...y dolor en la Tierra
8. Aftermath
9. Faceless
10. Under the Silent Stars

Added: August 28th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Cyclocosmia on bandcamp
Hits: 1631
Language: english

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