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Well Worth the Wait - 92%

IcemanJ256, January 10th, 2012

Just when I thought Of the Wand & The Moon albums couldn't get any better, and that they have perhaps achieved their peak, "The Lone Descent" breaks through the haze with an unrelenting force. I have a tendency of saying that each new album I hear is "their best" or "my favorite," so I will refrain from doing so, but I will say that I am very pleasantly surprised and this album was well worth the wait.

Compared to the others, this is perhaps one of the most well-rounded releases. Each song is brilliantly written, and different enough from each other to provide a nice variety. Most songs seem a tad more accessible or even - dare I say - catchy, especially my favorites: "Absence," "Sunspot" and "We Are Dust." However, they still retain that signature dark sound Kim always nails. Gone are the ultra-ambient tracks with tribal drumming, which is fine with me because I never liked them too much.

Stylistically, I can't say they've changed too much, but they do continue to experiment with different instruments and ideas. This album includes cello, omnichord, piano, trumpet, violin, and several guest musicians. There are even a bit of electronic elements such as on "A Pyre of Black Sunflowers," but they somehow fit it in perfectly with their signature sound. "We Are Dust," heard on the EP "It's Like Dying on Christmas Day" earlier this year, sounds like a creepy, twisted Christmas song complete with "jingle" bells.

I love how the first few seconds of "A Tomb of Seasoned Dye" sounds so peaceful and innocent and then it sort of "dies" and quickly turns to chaos, only to be revived again shortly, reflecting its extremely contemptuous and perhaps apocalyptic lyrics. "Is It Out of Our Hands" is perhaps the most minimal track, but the violins and cellos do a wonderful job of creating an almost paradoxical "warm" feeling while the vocals and lyrics strip that away, leaving emptiness and dreariness. I have always been amazed how OTW&TM songs can do that. There are still some very basic, stripped-down songs like "Immer Vorwärts" and "Watch the Skyline Catch Fire," which are still just as good as ever while being reminiscent of past albums. They both sound like they contain accordion but that doesn't seem to be listed.

Overall, this album is a great addition to the band's discography, and is another must have for any fan of neofolk.

Originally written for Amazon.com