A debut release from Spleen Arcana, a band who essentially comprise French multi-instrumentalist Julien Gaullier and for whom The Field Where She Died has been very much a labour of love for the past five years with some of the material even being conceived as far back as the year 2000. Gaullier is unashamedly influenced by vintage prog artists and even goes so far as to include a Mellotron to add that true touch of authenticity; but this is more than just a nod to the past and the end result is both well crafted and thought provoking.
There is always danger with one-man projects that they will slip into self-indulgence but Gaullier manages to avoid this pitfall by achieving just the right balance with the four longer songs all around the ten minute mark and the mournful "The Missing Piece" offering a concise interlude. The atmosphere here is decidedly downbeat with only the occasional uplifting melody, and Gaullier's vocal style could easily draw comparisons with the likes of Anathema.
"Trample On Me" begins with a gentle piano before the riff kicks in and a slightly sinister vocal with the lyrics describing a feeling of betrayal. There is an overwhelming sense of loss, sorrow and melancholy throughout and this is particularly evident on the compelling "The Tears Are Made To Flow", inspired by the writers travels around Ireland, which weaves a bleak journey of despair. The Field Where She Died reaches its conclusion with the bombastic "A Kind Of Heaven", Gaullier unleashing a sparkling two minute solo at the half way mark as it winds towards to a dramatic conclusion.
An album that is well worth investigating and ahead of the planned physical release Julien has made the whole thing available as a free download via the link below.
1. Trample On Me
2. The Missing Piece
3. A Picture Of Two Lovers In The Mist
4. Tears Are Made To Flow
5. A Kind Of Heaven