ARD “Take Up My Bones”
By Octopi Mills
Here we have ARD, with an album released by Prophecy Productions. The theme here deals with Saint Cuthbert of North Umbria (634-687). The promotional write up mentions a great deal of information of a medieval Anglo Saxon nature and gives a good historical lesson for those who are interested in the well written subject of this text. The promo was one of the most informative I have read and is important in understanding the elements and story of the album itself.
The music identifies as a sort of insular doom and "Burden Foretold" opens up with a melancholic atmosphere as the use of a very moving choral and old medieval style vocals is employed, giving a feel of authenticity. Gloomy piano arrangements move in like a grey Saxon fog upon a landscape that sounds like a recollection of lost antiquity channeled through mere men by such ghosts of blood and kinsmen. It is said the main writer Mark Deeks earned his PhD in Philosophy on the topic of "National and Eastern European Identity in Northern and Eastern heavy metal" and he might be known to you by his involvement with WINTERFYLLETH. Jo Quail from MY DYING BRIDE adds a cello performance.
The music has a cathedral type of sound quality at times and is often gloomy and dungeonish. Mark has taken on the role of many different instruments and creates a swirling ode to the times which he recreates here. Of note are the powerful, slow chant-like vocals; this cannot be understated in it's performance, nor outright told without hearing them. "Bough of Trees" creates an instrumental soundtrack piece before "Banner of the Saint", which carries the tradition and formula the album encompasses by this point, blasting forth slowly and warmly like a heavy wind set upon a stone keep. The music takes on an aerial, landscape feel; visual in its effects..."Only Three Shall Know" opens with the majestic chant style Deeks has developed here and rises into a slow, epic end. This was quite an interesting listen and I would urge those interested in these themes to listen to this unique offering here.