Blood Axis, Born AgainAlan Smithee
Blood Axis is one of those bands whose albums come out rarely, and it has been a long time since their first work The Gospel Of Inhumanity.
The album starts with the song “Invocatio,” which immerses the listener in the world of ancient Gods, Men, and cycles of time. The text is taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and the music is done by Robert Ferbrache and Bobby BeauSoleil.
Next is the “Song of the comrade” which musically is a mixture of Americana and Folk. It sounds at times like an alternative version of a song by Slim Cessna (who is present on the album as well ), Jay Munly, or European “Surf rock” bands like Bambi Molesters. The lyrics are from the book Gedichte der Kameradschaft by Herybert Menzel (a member of the Bamberg circle of poets) and were adapted by Miguel Serrano for his NOS – Book of Resurrection. This particular song weaves in a kind of Kshatriya ethos.
The song “Madhu” (which in Sanskrit means “honey” or “mead” and according to the Upanishads “sweet” and “intoxicating”) starts with the sounds of nature and bagpipes followed by Michael Moynihan displaying his knowledge of Old English.
“Wulf and Eadwacer” has a beautiful medieval feel to it and is sung in Old English as well. It takes one into another time and world. The music is finely crafted by Annabel Lee and Robert Ferbrache and is in my opinion one of the best songs on the album.
“The Dream” is sung by Moynihan in Middle High German followed by English lyrics. It is a classic song by Walther von der Vogelweide, a famous poet knight from medieval times. The song has a sacral feel but carefully avoids the traps most of the bands of this genre will fall into. Annabel Lee’s violin certainly plays a large role in depicting and creating that sacral atmosphere.
The words of “Hard Iron Age” are again taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book One. Ovid writes: “Piety was dead, and virgin Astraea, last of all the immortals to depart, herself abandoned the blood-drenched earth.’’ Or, in the translation from the Blood Axis booklet: “Piety lay vanquished, and the last of the immortals abandoned the blood drenched Earth.” Here again we find references to Gods and Men which are so prevalent on this Blood Axis album.
“Churning and Churning” is song that displays Moynihan’s skills as a poet. When he says: “Have your ancestors all now withdrawn their hands? – These words from your mouths, can they still understand?” he points out the ruined state of this post-modern civilization; he is reaching for times that are unfortunately long gone. Furthermore: “Who now remembers, what was once handed down?’’ points at the state of a civilization which has forgotten its roots and has felled its own tree of heritage, culture, folklore, tradition, and knowledge.
“Vortex” starts with sounds of rain and thunder and creates in my mind a vivid picture of a house in the forest where someone sits before a crackling fire and contemplates the words of Richard Jefferies’ novel The Story of My Heart. Moynihan sounds splendid here. It is an intense experience, and I strongly recommend paying full attention to every word and every sound. This song has an absolute solemn beauty and already has the feel of a classic.
This song is followed by “Erwachen In Der Nacht,” personally one of my favorite poems by Hermann Hesse written during World War I. This song has an epic feeling which from a quiet and almost dreamy state of meditation shifts to a martial folk anthem.
“The Path” features Annabel Lee on vocals together with Michael Moynihan. The song is written by Michael Moynihan, and it further shows that his skills in crafting and weaving poetry are next to none when it comes to artists in this genre of music. I hope their next offerings contain more songs in the vein of “The Path” and “Churning and Churning.”
“Born Again” is an instrumental track the first part of which displays Annabel Lee’s love of traditional Gaelic music. It is wonderful to hear Dwight Pentacost’s banjo coupled with Annabel’s violin.
The album closes with the song “Exvocatio,” which is narrated by Michael Moynihan (the text is taken from George Orwell) accompanied by music by Bobby BeauSoleil in an arrangement by Robert Ferbrache.
The CD booklet has a beautiful centerpiece consisting of a monument accompanied with text by Jugendstil artist Karl August Donndorf called “Fountain of Destiny.” This monument has sculptures of lovers depicting Grief on one and Joy on the other side. The Goddess of Destiny is in the middle and has both her hands outstretched and closed. Her hands are closed to hide the destiny of the people. The photographs of Blood Axis in the booklet are captivating. Michael Moynihan is depicted as Albrecht Dürer in his famous self-portrait, while Annabel Lee’s photograph reminds me of Rembrandt’s picture “Portrait of a Lady with an Ostrich Feather Fan.”
Born Again is more than just an album for careful listeners. It is a fragment of a mystery that we all are searching for in one way or another. All of us are walking our own paths on the road of destiny that, in the end, will lead each of us to our own Ash Tree.
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