Fire and Ice
Hollow Ways


4.0
excellent

Review

by Haz USER (6 Reviews)
November 6th, 2011 | 9 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


Out of all the people associated with the Neofolk scene, I find Ian Read to be a most intriguing, quiet figure. The reasons for this perhaps boil down to the fact he doesn't see himself as a musician, but rather a person who uses his musical gifts as an extension of esoteric, arcane beliefs. Germanic paganism, runes, sorcery, it's all part of a profound cycle to Read, who is a qualified Rune-Master in the Rune-Gild, and the once head of the now defunct Arcanorium College Department for Rune-Lore and Germanic Magic. In short, Ian Read has other interests to attend to. Which is fine, but unfortunate as when Read does decide to lend his talents to songwriting, he is capable of producing albums like Hollow Ways.

This sense of pervading mysticism is a big part of what makes the music of the Neofolk scene what it is. It a strange conception in reflection, that a focus on marrying their ethos with earthy folk music could have been born of industrial music and post-punk, by a bunch of modern occultists who, if you are to believe the rumours, are also into neo-nazism. It happened however and Ian Read was always behind the scenes, whether in the personal lives and studies of his musical contemporaries, or contributing guest appearances on albums such as Current 93's Swastikas For Noddy.

The music is lush traditional folk, with crisp, beautiful guitars, employing piano, string and wind instruments into arrangements. Whereas previous album (and Read's first), Gilded by The Sun, employed some eccentric nods to ambient and rock music, Hollow Ways is a pure folk album at heart. Read is a very careful writer, the lyrics to all songs here (especially Lord of Secrets, The Old Grey Widowmaker and The Rising Of The Moon) are top notch. His vocal delivery isn't much different from Douglas P. or Tony Wakeford in that kind of barmy, British way, but Read is by far the better singer of these three. Dutch occultist writer Freya Aswynn makes a vocal appearance on Seeker, spicing things up a bit with her ancient sounding voice. It is a beautiful song.

Read has crafted one of his best albums in Hollow Ways. Though the Fire + Ice discography is small, one gets the sense that when Read sets his compass towards music he spends his time wisely, carefully constructing his art as some kind of spiritual rite of passage. Whether or not these mystical qualities communicate anything meaningful to the listener, at the end of the day Read's patience has gifted us with an excellent slice of modern folk music.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
WashboardSuds
November 6th 2011


5020 Comments


pretty solid review, sounds like a mystifying listen

Haz
November 6th 2011


268 Comments


Mystifying would imply confusing, I wouldn't say that about this at all. ;) Is mystical the word you are looking for?

OllieS
November 6th 2011


2033 Comments


Wow cover looked similar to Cynic on main page

botb
November 6th 2011


9718 Comments


i thought this was the fire and ice hardcore band haha

i was like wtf they put out something i didnt know about?!

WashboardSuds
November 6th 2011


5020 Comments


Mystifying would imply confusing, I wouldn't say that about this at all. ;) Is mystical the word you are looking for?


yeah, thats better haha

Relinquished
November 6th 2011


25192 Comments


sweet review, band deserves one

Haz
November 6th 2011


268 Comments


i thought this was the fire and ice hardcore band haha

i was like wtf they put out something i didnt know about?!


There is also a dance pop group called Fire & Ice.

Technically, Read's project is stylised as Fire + Ice. The database is buggy when it comes to using
symbols, though.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2011


16137 Comments


Really sweet album. Good to see this reviewed and with a good review at that, Haz.

Haz
November 6th 2011


268 Comments


Thanks man.



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