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November 29, 2011

Sopor AEternus & the Ensemble of Shadows – “Children of the Corn”: Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Children of the Corn” * “Bis Zum Hahnenschrei” * “Cornflowers” * “The Curse of the Mummy” * “Night of the Scarecrow” * “To Walk Behind the Rows” * “Harvest Moon (Cornflowers II)

Sopor AEternus & the Ensembe of Shadows Children of the Corn” – Viva Music Album Review:

Out in November 2011 with Apocalyptic Records, the new album from Sopor AEternus & the Ensembe of Shadows is a baroque musical contraption with a definite style and grandeur. In the shortest of whiles after the release of late 2010 “A Strange Thing to Say” and of early 2011 “Have You Seen This Ghost?”, the third and last part of “A Triptychon of GHOSTS (or: El Sexorcismo de Anna-Varney Cantodea)” is a delight and a truly erudite excursion in the dimmed depths of music, accompanied, Charon-style, by the unequivocal, and unrepeatable voice of Anna-Varney Cantodea.

Musically speaking, the production is a unitary chorale of floating unrealities and cadenced potencies, and a firm grip on the handlebar of the darkest pool. Imaginative in a manner that is at the same time true to life and elegantly far-fetched, the album’s sound consistency and definite feel is carried on in the rhythm and measure of classical elegy. “Children of the Corn” is a cinematic experience with a voyeur camera spotted on an imaginary and exemplary childhood at the exact moment in which corruption can permeate the thick skin of sweet dreams and bring in the less sweet smell of growing up, part in nature, part in trauma. “Bis Zum Hahnenschrei” (approximate English translation: “Before  the Rooster’s Crow”), plays with the Jesus story moment and renaissance tunes in a playful but cautious manner, as if handling the minutest and most precious rough diamonds. “Cornflowers”, the song is at the same carousal and elegy and pertains to a very classical scheme, speaking in musical undertones to centuries of human existence.

Not unlike it, but at a different level of perception, “The Curse of the Mummy” indicates a displacement and a return to innocence despite the rabid, forward-moving pace of humanity. In a dance macabre pattern, this return to innocence, to maidenhood unravished and purity unsullied carries forth and above water level a torch of wisdom and of resilience. With the advent of “Night of the Scarecrow”, the imagery becomes richer, while the organ powered requiem soars and makes the experience of the album tilt between poles of tragedy and optimism. A Viva Music favorite, “To Walk Behind the Rows” unapologetically brings with its appeasing music box filled with memories a draft of stillness and motion, a certainty of the unfathomable immensity of fantasy and depicts its role in the formation of emotion in mannerisms and quirks that you simply have to adore. “Harvest Moon (Cornflowers II)”, the album coda, reenacts the beauty of the earlier “Cornflowers” in a bagpipe powered advance at the head of which walks a true maven.

Children of the Corn” (Part Three of “A Triptychon of GHOSTS (or: El Sexorcismo de Anna-Varney Cantodea)”) is an unforgettable musical experience. Responding to the taste of baroque-crazed dark music lovers, the album transports in its many intertwined fibers a grandeur and strength of imagination that are at the same time enviable and dignified. With its multifaceted, baroque compositions, it may well sit on your CD shelf next to classical music and your relevant artists from the dark scene – and that’s a feat hardly any other album manages to outdo in 2011. Hats off, Sopor AEternus & the Ensembe of Shadows!

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