Review Summary: A somber, desolate album that matches it's ambiance with great musicality.
Dark, desolate, dynamic, diverse… All of these words accurately describe the tone of Blessed are the Bonds by the Pax Cecilia. It’s atmospheric, and holds a certain dark beauty to it. Each song is ever changing, but never lets go of the mood that the entire album is based around. The album itself is a journey, progressing from orchestral buildup, to almost blackened post-rock, back to a beautifully done orchestral conclusion.
What I absolutely love about this album is that it does not rely on traditional instruments to create an incredibly heavy feel. Heavy can be misconstrued, here. Sure, there are the moments where it appears that each member of the band is playing their instrument with the devil’s ferocity, but the musical delivery on this album ranges greatly. It begins with somber, tortured clean singing accompanied by violin, cello, and piano. On the opening tracks of the album, the piano provides the tone, and does an absolutely phenomenal job.
This opening section of the album is where the heavy, heavy tone is really set. There are no screams, no distorted guitars, and little drum work. Instead, the classical instruments develop an atmosphere that comes across as pained and tortured, leaving you feeling like at any minute, hell could unleash. Rest assured, hell does in fact, unleash. Upon reaching the middle tracks, the listener is greeted with a scrambled mess of distorted guitars, drums being played by a madman, and some incredibly tortured screams and howls. What amazes me is that despite the drastic change of instrumentation, the atmosphere remains the same. You never lose the feeling that they are telling the same story.
Once the ferocity of the album tones back down, and a very smooth transition back into softer music takes place, the tone changes a bit. You can simply tell that the conclusion of their story is coming, and a bit of the desolation is lifted. It’s still very fitting, and still quite somber, but the music seems a bit relieved. There is no longer the yearning, the questioning in the music’s tone. It now seems to have come to a realization, and acceptance. It may be difficult to understand what I’m getting at here, comparing the music to an attitude. That’s because the music on this album seems to be a narration, and carry the weight of the story solely on the music’s shoulders. I recommend a listen, and not just a background listen. It’s a very good, if not great album. Sure, it can be a bit taxing to listen to because of the length, but it is well worth sitting through. If you really listen to the pain, the attitude changes and allow this album to take you on a musical journey, you will appreciate the album so much more.