Lethe - When Dreams Become Nightmares (2014)
Debemur Morti Productions
Review by Trevor Proctor
When Dreams Become Nightmares is the debut album from Lethe - an experimental side project from Tor-Helge Skei (Manes) and the exceptionally talented Anna Murphy from Eluveitie, whilst also including close collaboration from Eivind Fjoseide alongside a plethora of guest musicians. Lethe started work on their music during late 2012 as a portal for musical experimentation between the ingenious couple, stating from the off “no rules, no expectations, no compromises.”
Available from the 17th of January via the excellent Debemur Morti Productions When Dreams Become Nightmares features, amongst others, a unique blend of post-metal, trip-hop, electro and experimental music to create an unbelievable, refreshing sound – to me it’s a bit like taking a bit of Ulver, a dash of DJ Shadow, a smattering of ambience, a good dose of darkness, some electronica, some nice guitar work and some excellent vocals - chuck them all in a blender and this will only come close to explaining what you get with Lethe. Their music is so varied and diverse it’s an extremely hard job classifying the sound they’ve created – better just to kick back and give it a listen yourself; you’ll find it well worth your while.
Having no expectations about this album is certainly a key to enjoying it – there’s everything here – some tracks are quite guitar heavy, others ambient, some electronica led and some of the best tracks are those where Murphy’s vocals are most prominent. The variation between the prominence of instruments effects or vocals across different tracks is also fascinating and another factor that sets the sound achieved aside from many other artists – one track could be quite guitar heavy, the next the guitar could hardly be heard yet still effective, and so on…
In Motion starts the album, it’s quite a slow track during which Murphy’s vocal skills are very prominent – she’s a most proficient vocalist and her voice is perfectly suited to this style of music, guitar is also quite noticeable but again works perfectly well as a driver for the track.
Transparent is a smasher of a track, electronica led it’s one of the more upbeat, electro led tracks on the album yet a work of true genius - quotes from “Sixth Sense” and occasional, deliberate misplaced beats bring us to the midpoint breakdown of the track where the music stops completely, the silence being broken by the whispered quote “They’re everywhere” and you’re thrown into a maelstrom of synth heavy, riff heavy dance, Lethe style. It works - it’s a brilliant track and you’ll listen to it time and time again, Transparent is a true gem that on the surface seems upbeat and lively but as always there’s a bleak, dark undercurrent, something you can’t just put your finger on, you just know there’s a sense of darkness infused throughout this track and indeed the album.
I could talk about merits for every single track from the album as there are so many and I loved every single track for differing reasons but this is for sure an album best listened to yourself to get a real feel for it – it’s an amalgamation of so many sounds, effects and influences with a nod to so many genres that classification of this work of art is impossible. Classification will no doubt vary between listeners but one thing for sure is that it’s a most refreshing, original sound and a must have release for anyone looking something different from the norm.
An absolute beauty of an album, I can’t believe this is my first review of a 2014 release and already we have an album that’ll certainly be on my top 20 list for the coming year – a big statement yes, but this is an even bigger album. Open your mind, leave your preconceptions at the door, kick back and listen to this melting pot of astounding music – you won’t be disappointed.
1. In Motion.
3. Come Look At The Darkness With Me.
4. Ad Librum.
5. Love Pass Filter.
9. No Reason.
10. When Dreams Become Nightmares.
When Dreams Become Nightmares is released by Debemur Morti Productions on January 17th, 2014.