Review Summary: A tribute.
Death is a difficult topic for so many reasons, and there’s a disparity in the way in which we deal with it. Although it is ubiquitous in our media driven modern society, within the western world it still carries with it a sense of taboo. More accurately, we acknowledge death and its consequences on a daily basis, but we rarely allow it the freedom to do more than that; to delve into the way we really feel
. Of course, it wouldn't be plausible or healthy to give ourselves up emotionally to every tragedy because we’d be constantly overwhelmed, but sometimes, a personal loss permeates that barrier, and it connects us to the very feelings we spend so much time avoiding.
When we're reminded that we are
finite, an emotional chord is struck within us which is raw and truly unique. Some people choose to tread the route of seclusion and brooding, whilst others constantly busy themselves and dive headlong into their greatest interests. And when a person does submerge themselves in their craft, it can often result in them penning their most efficacious works; and it’s exactly what Caspian have done here as they pay homage to the departed. Hymn for the Greatest Generation
is Caspian’s first release since the sudden passing of founding member Chris Friedrich, and it’s as poignant and immersive an experience as the band have delivered. Although it’s a stretch to assume that each and every remaining member of Caspian poured their hearts and souls directly into this release to create a fitting tribute, practically every inch of Hymn
feels so sculpted, and so emotive, that the notion becomes more and more plausible with each repeated listen.
The brilliant opener “Hymn for the Greatest Generation” best demonstrates the mood which runs throughout the E.P. Gentle acoustic guitars guide the song in and subtly give way to reverb drenched arpeggios, all the while creating a soft, gorgeous atmosphere which a violin later takes advantage of. It never builds to a crushing crescendo like it threatens to, choosing instead to ride the crest of the wave which the song has progressively swelled to. Forgoing this sense of restraint, “The Heart That Fed” builds to a busy cascade of cymbal crashes and obscured vocals, before going one step further and delivering a crushing volley of guitars. Although it’s a different beast entirely to the title track which preceded it, it still conveys the feeling of both hope and mourning, and none of the efforts here dwell too long in the minor for the release to fit simply into either category.
The fact that this could easily turn into a track by track is testament to the strength of the individual songs here, and they all differentiate themselves from one another whilst maintaining the powerful tone which is set throughout. Whether Caspian set out to craft a fitting tribute to their late friend or not, Hymn for the Greatest Generation
succeeds in being one – and it’s hard to believe that their strongest release to date is merely a coincidence.