Album Review

Orchis – “a Thousand Winters” – [Infinite Fog Productions]

Naysayer   9/8/2013   A Library, CD

This 2009 rerelease of Orchis’ 1997 album “A Thousand Winters” is a gorgeous, lush, dark, neo-folk album that takes the listener to an ancient Europe (I think more British Isles) filled with mystery and the unknown. The winter can be felt. The cold, the dark, the wet, the gloom are all present in the instrumentation. Flutes, acoustic guitar, and almost military style drumming join with chants, choral singing, and impish voices to create this mood. Is this the music you hear when the devil baby is born?
Possibly. But to remind you that this is contemporary, distortion and electronic twisting of the sounds help merge the feeling of time. The trio made up of Tracy Jeffery, Amanda Prouten and Alan Trench have a strong musical background working with numerous other projects. On “A Thousand Winters”, they have created a concept album about a time in Europe when Paganism ran the lives of the people, when people believed in faeries, Golem and Pan. This vague idea of Christianity is coming forward but the villagers scoff at it, laughing at it’s believers and ministers. As the album moves forward, Christianity becomes stronger and the beliefs of the Pagans become more and more muddled, eventually lost to simple obscure tales of the past. Lyrics are read and sung in interesting harmonies. They are dark and murky tales of the gods of the past, the beliefs of the time, and the change brought on by new ideas. This is a solid album that grows on the listener with continuous plays. Try it out many times and dream of a past country life on the highlands, living in your thatched roof home, watching out for the spirits of the night to come and take you away.

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