I was listening to this record in the middle of a field one night, gazing at Venus and the Moon and the few stars that New York’s polluted skies allow us to see and I thought about the Universe’s boundless phenomena we take for granted or don’t even bother to know about. Things the Pax Cecilia personified as beautiful and heart-wrenching at once. The atmospheric sound of “Blessed are the Bonds” is so profoundly instrumental, using mostly speechless music to ponder earthly issues from an aerial view where the best of the world is infinitely visible. If this album were written by an animal it would be a bird, any kind that flies high enough to forget about humanity and low enough to watch it writhe when storms come. Every tangible emotion is explored in depth throughout this album, qualifying it as more than simply entertaining music but a dazzling work of art.
“Blessed are the Bonds” was a group effort, but Pax Cecilia have an impressive chemistry together and as a result, this sounds like it was composed entirely by one person. Perhaps it was, but even then a clear understanding of each other is of this band’s most formidable influences as one could gather from their fluid mesh of sound. I think this record represents their brotherhood, musically…through catastrophic anger and serenity, the struggle between those two feelings is like a family trying to cut a path through their thicket of differences and tastes. If the lead singer is the eldest then the piano is his closest sibling, supporting his strong voice with ethereal notation and when silenced by crashing cymbals and a ravenous guitarist the oldest brother forces his voice into an aching scream to compliment their mutual anguish. Sometimes throughout this you may feel that it grows uneventful and boring but in my eyes widened by Pax Cecilia’s brilliance, those moments capture the mortality of these comrades as opposed to their spiritual explosions that result in songs like the Progress
and the Water Song.
Many “musicians” have such a distorted sense of themselves; they are not wise enough to portray their emotion as it really is, but Pax Cecilia nourish us with purity and reality – their music can soar with the clouds or dig deep underground and instead of finding heaven and hell, they sing and play about peace and chaos, as there is no savior or deviant in an epic sense, only the lonely chaotic space of our Universe. Only such a barren earthquake of a record could personify this.
As both a bountiful epicure and a vengeful warrior this album succeeds. the Water Song
is what the former could play to lull himself to sleep or what the latter would hear as a soothing stimulant on the eve of war. Imagine a vast palace bedroom or the soggy hills of a dormant battlefield as you listen. The song is one of the strongest examples of Pax Cecilia’s potent conversations with life itself, or God as some might say and a must for anyone wanting to fall in love with this band. But remember that it could take a long time to feel “Blessed are the Bonds” as it did for me. I didn’t think about half of the ideas I’m putting on this paper back then, and I was impatient. Maybe you are the same. This is an important album for anybody having difficulty with lengthy music – it does not pull over if you get lost however it isn’t impossibly complex, either. The only maze here is straight into the hearts of these passionate brothers. After listening a few times it’ll start to pull you in and even when it bores you, anticipation will keep you awake like it does in life when you’re looking forward to something wonderful. It is my honest belief that if you can enjoy this record, and it actually requires effort for you to do so, you’ve moved on to a whole new chapter of music if you hadn’t already. “Blessed are the Bonds” is like a human walking the long, shape-shifting hall of time, an experience we can all agree on.
The Pax Cecilia do use distortion but one thing I love about their music is the lack of necessity to use it to convey anger, dread or distress. Just with the pained violins and piano of the Tragedy
I’m moved the same way I would be listening to any crumbling soul yelling wretched rhymes over brash guitars. No, Cecilia’s comprehension of sadness is professional; they are poets, proclaiming that man makes love to sorrow
on the Tomb Song.
A man may whimper and weep in the jaws of depression but he feeds his ego and his ever growing mind with that intimate struggle – he must embrace his darkest days for the stoic character they’ll give him the bricks to build. A sweeping instrumental commandeers the rest of the Tomb Song,
and we’re just now realizing to its fullest extent the magnitude of this record. Three short bass notes spark the Progress
and that title says it all. Pax Cecilia’s metal tendencies have taken peace hostage for a night of violent reformation, a revolution you could say. This is the kind of metal that puts the body in a state of ecstasy like an audible drug catering to the savage desires and needs of the hot blood in our veins. The vocals are spoken through a mass of emotion and call to my imagination visions of a dying man whose undying zeal revolts as the Machine
blasts into life. Two worlds collided and the victor plays piano.
This album has ghastly secrets of torn spirits and lonely ghouls searching wastelands for anywhere to rest. Bizarre noises echo in the distance and an incomprehensible disembodied voice leads them on, but they can’t tell where, it doesn’t seem to be of this dimension, perhaps some hyper-being watching these ghosts from the comfort of paradise – a cruel tease; and that’s the Wasteland
for you. A lush atmosphere rears it’s gorgeous head in the next movement, so quiet and dreamy it’s curing my awful headache. I can’t question the variety of this band – name a genre, they’ve got you covered and it’s free of charge. At least it was for a while…the record, I mean. “Blessed are the Bonds” is the reason people say, or said that the best things in life are free. Although, the Tree
is a letdown considering what Pax Cecilia can really do but when this record entrances you as it will, you’ll just sail right through. Art in retrospect is useless and forgotten if it never made anybody think
and “Blessed are the Bonds” will be a fond memory. People have told me that certain music is best when you relax while it plays because you have the time and freedom to ponder each and every one of its beautiful features. This whole album isn’t all pretty, but the brutes usually do their jobs better if you want to know the truth.
After the acoustic meditation of the Hymn,
we come gradually to this journey’s end. A sense of closure is absent, instead I feel depressed and weary – but good music can be exhausting. People have done drastic things for the sake of aesthetic principle. The occasional piercing strum in the Hymn
remind me of dreams, or even nightmares that play out like a call to arms in the midst of a dense oppressive fog like sleep. The song recalls the finest moments of Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” and toys with the listener by fading a few times before actually concluding this hour long melodic nova. “Blessed are the Bonds” is both harmful and inspiring, a very common motif in a recording that should be a common possession among us brothers and sisters. Like an ear against someone’s chest, it hears the constant music of life.