Fool’s Ghost – Dark Woven Light Review

Dark, cinematic, and dreamy is not the typical combination of descriptors used for bands signed to heavy metal label Prosthetic Records. Nevertheless, there’s a first time for everything. Prosthetic Records released one of my favorite metal albums of 2019 (Paladin‘s Ascension), and now they are releasing Dark Woven Light, the debut by Fool’s Ghost, a husband and wife duo from Louisville, Kentucky. Upon listening to the first track on the album, ironically named “Epilogue,” the band’s Kentucky influences dazzled via hints of twang and slide guitar. The subtle incorporation of bluegrass elements combined with the band’s Kentucky roots reminded me of Panopticon‘s album Autumn Eternal. My experience with Dark Woven Light was off to a lovely start.

Fool’s Ghost is composed of Amber (Liberation ProphecySandpaper Dolls) and Nick Thieneman (Young Widows, Breather Resist). One minute into the album, Amber’s voice gently levitates, soft and velvety, adding a whole new dimension to the band’s sound. For me, Amber’s vocals and flexibility in tone are a true standout on the album. Uplifting at times (“Epilogue”) and plaintive at others (“Chasing Time”), her voice fills up every nook and cranny of space made available to her. Fool’s Ghost have Kevin Ratterman (Emma Ruth RundleJay JayleJim James) to thank for producing Dark Woven Light and helping ensure the delicate layers of Amber’s voice mesh together beautifully. As you venture deeper into Dark Woven Light, you will begin to notice the simplistic song structure of Fool’s Ghost‘s music. “Fugue,” arguably one of the simplest tracks on the album, is also one of my favorite moments. Repetitive synth arpeggios percolate, and I feel a shiver up my spine when Amber’s chilling voice falls into place at a higher register. Both ethereal and haunting, her voice reminds me of Julianna Barwick‘s vocal processing with electronic loops. “Chasing Time” gives off a Trees of Eternity vibe, again relying on Amber’s vocals to take center stage, while “Sparked” and “All Hours” rest more heavily on rhythm and groove to carry the songs.

Pardon my use of yet another quote from my favorite ambient pioneer Brian Eno, but I just couldn’t stifle the urge. Eno designed the music for his album Music for Airports to evoke the feeling that, “well, if you die, it doesn’t really matter” as opposed to the “very happy music” of airports or airplanes that scream, “You’re not going to die! There’s not going to be an accident! Don’t worry!” Fool’s Ghost‘s Dark Woven Light fits in securely with Eno‘s school of thought. The album matches the mood of acceptance literally on the track “Shut Away” when Amber laments, “I’m not fine. You’re not fine.” Less directly, the overall tone of the record is somber rather than cheerful or encouraging despite Amber’s soothing vocals.

Dark Woven Light starts out incredibly strong. My biggest quibble with the album is that Fool’s Ghost reveal all their tricks in the first half. After the first four or five tracks, the album meanders and doesn’t seem to go anywhere. On their debut Fool’s Ghost are a one-trick pony. But it’s the band’s simplicity which allows them to carve a very specific niche for themselves while sounding practiced and mature. I eagerly await their second album already.

Fool’s Ghost are redefining what it means to be classified as a heavy band. Dark Woven Light might not be hallmarked by cookie monster vocals or chuggy guitar lines, but it’s no joke that Amber and Nick’s debut is one heavy pill to swallow. The last piano notes and desolate ambiance of the tenth and final track “Ghost Heart” certainly left an impression on me.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Prosthetic Records
Websites: foolsghost.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/Fools-Ghost
Releases Worldwide: March 20th, 2020

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