PROMETHEAN MISERY – GHOSTS (PRC Music)
Promethean Misery is an Australian-based, one-woman project geared towards the ecstasy of doom. This newly released album, titled Ghosts, is dark, gloomy, and haunting — which is everything you’d want in a Neoclassical Doom album. Her music contains atmospheric, classical symphonic sounds, while maintaining the feel of pure angst. It’s like Easy Listening, but for Goths.
To be honest with you, I’m a little biased. This isn’t the type of music I would listen to on a regular basis. Okay, scratch that. When I was 16, I would be absolutely losing my mind over this album. The problem is, I’m not 16 anymore, and I’m no longer an angsty teen; I’m an angry adult. With that being said, one needs to be professional and open-minded, so I gave this album a whirl.
The opening track, “The Music Box”, starts off with a creepy music box (hence the title) with haunting vocals. It’s like Nightwish and Within Temptation on mass depression. There’s minimal male gutteral vocals, with the female vocalist taking over. She reminds me a lot of Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation).
I was taken back to the late 90s-early 2000s when I would listen to this type of music. It made me very nostalgic for a time I have been longing to experience again (geez, Viv, angsty much?). The vocalist, Samantha Kempster, isn’t a flashy singer by any means, but she doesn’t really have to be. You feel her soul through her voice, and that to me has always been more important than flash. The music made me feel nostalgic enough to keep listening.
The second track, “The Darkness”, starts off beautifully. I hate to use the word “haunting” so much, but that’s really the best way to describe it. There’s a haunting beauty to it that I can’t really describe. The lyrics are as depressing as ever.
“A darkness seeping through skin – my poison, my drug, my flaw – It contains me, it keeps me – But I bear its soul…”
Unfortunately for me, the song itself does nothing for me. It’s beautiful, and very well angst-ridden, but it really does nothing to grab me. It’s solemn, it’s gloomy, and I think the only time I’d really appreciate it is if/when I’m feeling suicidal (something I’d rather not think about, thankyouverymuch). Do I like it? Meh, but I can definitely think of quite a few people that would go insane for this.
The third track, “Habitual Red”, starts off almost ethereal with disturbing (almost beautiful) carnival tones. All I can picture are evil clowns, with a demented dwarf eagerly trying to get me into the Freak Show tent. “Step right up, and feast your eyes on the two-headed beast!” The song refers to death by smoke inhalation/burning to death, and it’s utterly self-absorbent and depressing.
“…I breathe in your death – Ash in my mouth, mud lung…”
Or…the entire song could be about something else entirely. She could be sitting in a tiny, smoke-filled room feeling all artsy and melancholy. Maybe she’s describing how she feels when she inhales her clove cigarette…or I’m being a sarcastic asshole, and I need to move on. My apologies. Moving on.
The fourth track, “Spirit’s Requiem”, describes the loss of a loved one. Towards the end, you realize the writer is the culprit to the friend’s demise, and she is pleading to her friend’s spirit for forgiveness. The song is laced together with piano, strings, and a harpsichord with an atmospheric touch. Unfortunately, again, I can’t get into this. I guess you have to be in a special kind of mood to really appreciate the tone, and I’m just not feeling it. Is it well-written? Yes, but again, I believe you have to be in a certain head space to fully appreciate it, and I’m thankfully not in that type of mood today. Ha, there’s a first.
Finally, we get to the closing track, titled “Portrait of My Need”. It’s about the longing of death; to not feel anything anymore. Emptiness and despair are gone, and she yearns for that so badly. In my most depressed state, I can honestly say I have been there, and I can relate to this. The song does have redeeming qualities to it that the previous song(s) didn’t. Honestly, that was the album’s saving grace for me. It’s pure, beautiful suffering.
In closing…look…as sarcastic, and a little bitchy as I may have sounded, this album isn’t bad. With all due respect to the artist, it’s just not my cup of tea. Don’t let some of my harsh opinions reflect how you might feel about it. Samantha Kempster is truly a talented, untapped artist who deserves more recognition. If you’re into this sort of thing, by all means, have a listen. I think you will truly enjoy it. My rating is based off of the music alone; not so much the “woe is me” lyrics. It wouldn’t be fair to the artist if I gave a low score based on the lyrics. Bloodrock Media Rating: 4 out of 5 axes.
01. The Music Box
02. The Darkness
03. Habitual Red
04. Spirit’s Requiem
05. Portrait of My Need
Samantha Kempster – Vocals, lyrics, piano, violin, and other instruments
Lee Tassaker – Death growls (tracks 1 and 2)
Giovanni Gariano – Guitars (track 4)
Check out Promethean Misery here:
Written by Viveca “Venom” Manis for Bloodrock Media on January 19, 2018
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