The cover is as psychaedelic as the music. A wizard sits in a duck-boat, with his companion corgi, whilst accompanied by a top-hatted gentleman riding a frog and a gnome atop a metallic fish. Around them, butterflies with strange patternings flutter. Behind, a forest of toadstools rises to meet the moon. The inside is fileld with whimsical colourful pictures, clearly detailed in colouring pencils - devils frolicing in bubbles, a grandfather and his grandkids staring at the Old Man moon. For Devil's Diner, candles are set, awaiting the diners. A manic jester, a frowning fairy and an angry wizard all illustrate the lyrics. Charming and delightful.
Our journey begins with "Boogie Bubble"'s sludgy guitar twiddliness before the bass and drums and full on guitars come barging on in, bringing with them delightfully bouncy rhythms and Daniel Brennare's slightly husky, raspy tones. This song makes me think of goblins riding bubbles. Or devils.
The opening chords of "Cosmic Weed" are also heavy and sludgy, as though slightly bogged down. The rhythm is slower, slightly doomy. The lyrics - well, you can pretty much guess what they're about:
"Come, come, try some cosmic weed and glance a world so strange indeed..."
Another with the typical doom arrangement is the crushing "When my Sun Comes Down" which has a haunting eerieness to it. The music is also kind of intense and low, making for a melancholic edge.
Then we slip-slide across the keyboard and enter into the rockin' beats of "Devil's Diner". The liveliest song so far, this is one that I have - on several occasions, danced to. Admittedly, not quite in the fashion of the scantily clad lasses in the clip. The piano and the rhythms give it an upbeat vibe.
This is followed by the almost folk-ish "Four Strings of Mourning". Again, the guitars and drums are mixed quite low, making them feel kinda sludgy and evoking feelings of forests and trees, their leaves turning from green to gold and drifting to the ground (but not quite as autumn themed as their next album). The slow paced verses lead into a slightly more upbeat chorus in which the music circles with the lyrics.I can almost hear the symphony of the frogs and crickets. There's a quite a decent guitar solo as well. It almost makes you feel a wee bit giddy. Or maybe that's because I'm doing as the lyrics say and:
"...spinning around in circles every day... spinning around and finding no new way..."The ghostly, spectral chords of the instrumental "To Die is to Wake" bring with them a melancholic, bittersweet echo of memories. The sort of song that carries you away on broken wings and takes you into the land of lost dreams.
"There's a fairy in my head and I call her Lady Rosenred" starts us off onto one of my favourite tracks on this album - the quite bouncy "Lady Rosenred" in which Jennie Tebler* does most of the vocals, with Daniel shadowing her. The references to "dragon fairies" inspired me to create a diminutive dragon species.
The next song is inspired by the Dragonlance books. "Raistlin and the Rose" is a haunting, melodic and melancholic number, filled with bittersweet rifts. It is an eerie and moody peace, fading out with echoing guitar and the spctral whisper of pipes.
"He calls him friend, and says he'll change, she calls him friend and he deceives again..."The album concludes with the mystical and enchanting "Crimson Cosmos". The slow, light guitars, the whispers of flutes and Daniel's low and powerful vocals combine together to create a haunting and oddly nostalgic** number. It brings a shiver down my spine, and a tear to my eye.
"One went to seek the loss. One went to seek the darker side of us. One went to seek the cross. Only to find a crimson cosmos."There is something of a leisurely laziness to this music, which evokes the mood of talls trees and enchanted forests. Of mystical realms, and childhood nostalgia. I would go so far as to describe it as having a sort of fantasy/stoner vibe. The doom influences are still clear here, but they have stepped away from the death/thrash and more into a haunting, evocative and somewhat spiritual eerieness. The low, sludgy feel to the instruments, the low vocals, the somewhat surreal lyrics all contribute to both be soothing yet interesting, and somewhat quirky.
I believe this album deserves 9/10.
* Apparently she's Quorthon's little sister.
** Of course, the nostalgic thing might just be me - This album has been with me for quite a time and I have listened to it on numerous occasions, thus it evokes many memories.