44FLOOD: Tome: Vampirism Album Review
Saltillo, Richard Waters, Kevin Allen, Paintings for the Flood,
Tony Wakeford & Renee Rosen, Fink, Sunday Munich, Collide,
Monica Richards with Paul Mercer, Edward Ka-Spel, Jarboe, Rhys Fulber
Reviewed by Steve Seigh
Music forces me to shut my eyes. As both lids descend, my lashes intertwine with one another and a thin veil between myself and the rest of the world is formed. With both of these exterior eyes tightly shut, I surrender my consciousness to sound. Forcing the levator palpebrae superior of my third eye wide open, I allow the visions to come.
I’m surrounded by tall grass. The sun burns a bright white light above my head, and the breeze causes each and every sharp, green blade to sway and twist around my wandering form. Several paces in front of me there is a pool of water – obscured only slightly by a swirling of mist above its reflective surface. Staring back at me from the water’s reflection is a stranger. It’s me, only it’s the version of myself that I fear. Weak, beaten, and withering – this version of myself calls to me, asking me to look out across the pond. There I see a woman. Her face is pale and her skin bears spidering cracks like that of a broken china doll. She has no hair, only black tendrils that writhe and coil in the breeze. When she smiles at me I can see fangs pinching her bottom lip. Her dress is but a shadow on her slender form as she stares intently from across the water. She is beautiful.
I can’t help but stare. I want to call out to her but am unable to bring the words to my tongue. I feel paralyzed, but in that same feeling there is an overwhelming peace, a calm. I look on as she extends her arm. At the end of it her creator has adorned her with elegant hands, her fingers are long, complete with razor-sharp nails. She points to me, her black eyes urging me psychically to gaze into the pond. As she dips her finger into the pool the water turns to gold and my reflection changes. Suddenly, I am who I wish to be. Music begins to fill the air. Violins and ethereal voices rain down from above as a renewed sense of purpose and longing within me is ignited. I am ambition. I am fire. I am sound. I am music.
Across the pond the woman has vanished. She is gone, and has left nothing on the air but the smell of crushed roses and lilac. I can still feel a kiss on the wind that she’d blown to me before we parted ways. I feel the fangs inside my own mouth, now. This is how I became who I am now. This was my convert into vampirism.
– oOo –
I thank you for indulging me in my overly long and visual introductions to my album reviews, here at Talking Comics. Now for the real reason why you’re all here.
The album that accompanies TOME: Volume One: Vampirism opens with a track entitled “A Necessary End” by Menton3’s own musical project, Saltillo. In my estimation, this song seems poised to comfort listeners of Menton’s last musical presentation (his band released an album to coincide with $$Flood’s epically cerebral comic book, Monocyte) by allowing them to first hear a familiar sonancy before moving onto to something far more eclectic than expected. “A Necessary End” begins with a sorrowful combination of strings. As an underlying swell begins to build the musical arrangement is soon accompanied by a series of beats followed by enchanting female vocals. While painting a dark landscape inside of the listener’s head the track manages to lift you up and invite you to experience the rest of what this ambitious album has to offer.
Vampirism took me by surprise in the sense of that I was not mentally or emotionally prepared for the wide array of ideas that it expresses throughout its 59.7 minute presentation. Where tracks like Saltillo‘s “A Necessary End”, Kevin Allen‘s “Domine Memorabor”, Tony Wakeford & Renee Rosen‘s “Victor In Aeri”, and Monica Richards with Paul Mercer‘s “Oreiades (Live)” paint a vast, and ravaged landscape of sound, there are tracks like Richard Walters “Annie Hall” that pierce the album with a soft, shining light of diversity and emotion. There’s also good news for those listeners who are looking to read the massively sized TOME: Volume One: Vampirism to something perhaps a little more Gothic and surreal by way of Collide‘s “Razor Sharp”, Jarboe‘s “realm”, Edward Ka-Spel‘s “A Sad Day in November”, or Rhys Fulber‘s “Kantubek.”
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about Vampirism – the album – is that there is a track lurking within its contents for everyone to enjoy. If operatic hymns and soaring, ghostly vocal work don’t make you move your bones then perhaps the delicate and quiet embrace of Fink or Sunday Munich will speak to you. Much like the book that serves for the inspiration of this musical collection- Vampirism – the album invites its listeners to experience music from a multitude of angles.
From what I can gather, the idea for both the book and the album is to bring artists together artists who embrace the dark themes, inherent in the ideas of vampirism, and want to share these themes with those who aren’t afraid to lose themselves in the exploration. 44Flood is a gathering of artists whose ambition knows no bounds. Since the beginning of my involvement with the medium, I’ve never known a group of comic book artists to work so hard at giving back to those who support them since I’ve been involved with comics. Their efforts could serve as an inspiration to others and it’s my hope that in the future brings more projects like TOME ventures executed with such dedication and grace.
Music is an escape. Music is inspiration and emotion come full circle. TOME: Volume One: Vampirism is only the beginning. I have no doubt that more and more wicked things are to follow from 44Flood. Tilt your head back, brush your hair away from your neck, and let go.
This review was written by Steve Seigh – Executive Editor of Talking Comics. You can hear Steve on the Talking Comics weekly podcast as well as find him on Joblo.com where he writes a featured, bi-weekly column called Ink & Pixel. His Twitter handle is @dead_anchoress.