Review: Six Organs of Admittance - Shelter from the Ash (2007)


artist: Six Organs Of Admit­tance
release: Shel­ter From The Ash
format: CD
year of release: 2007
label: Drag City
dur­a­tion: 43:03

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Shel­ter From the Ash is latest album by Six Organs of Admit­tance, the main pro­ject of Ben Chasny (whom you might also know from his psychrock band Comets on Fire or his col­lab­or­a­tion with many pro­jects, among which is Cur­rent 93). I haven’t heard very much by this Amer­ican pro­ject, but the albums I’ve heard so far I like a lot, and Shel­ter From the Ash is cer­tainly no excep­tion.

The first thing that struck me about this album is the rel­at­ively large role for the elec­tric gui­tar, which gives it a more rock­ish sound, even remind­ing me of the legendary Swans at times, espe­cially on “Com­ing To Get You” and “Final Wing”. For me, this is one of those albums that you slowly get into, and that grows and grows, reveal­ing new things every time.
The album opens with the psy­che­delic “Alone With the Alone”, the per­fect intro­duc­tion to the rest of the album. “Strangled Road” is a fine, intro­vert bal­lad, where Ben is sup­por­ted dur­ing the chorus by the subtle vocals of Elisa Ambrogio. As befits a true rock bal­lad, the track ends with a beau­ti­ful elec­tric gui­tar solo. “Jade Like Wine”, with its won­der­ful melody, is cer­tainly one of my favour­ite tracks. It has - to me - a typ­ic­ally Amer­ican sound which appeals to me. This is imme­di­ately fol­lowed by another high­light: “Com­ing To Get You”. After an extens­ive intro, omin­ous drums and gui­tars take over, with equally threat­en­ing lyr­ics. Later the song really erupts with noisy, cor­ros­ive gui­tars and pound­ing drums. “God­dess Atone­ment” is an instru­mental with a very good melody and devel­op­ment; a fine inter­mezzo. “Final Wing” is a won­der­ful long track that starts off calmly, like a gui­tar man­tra, and after a slow devel­op­ment, it breaks loose with sear­ing elec­tric gui­tars and drums: bril­liant! The title track is also great: a track with busy drums and nice accents on piano, and another heavy end­ing. The album closes off with the sooth­ing “Good­night”. Like the title says, it’s a beau­ti­fully writ­ten lul­laby.

The Six Organs of Admit­tance atmo­sphere for me con­jures up asso­ci­ations with the movie Blue­berry by Jan Kounen. It’s a ‘west­ern’, where the prot­ag­on­ist among other things struggles with his inner demons through use of the psy­che­delic drink Ayahuasca. The rugged land­scapes, the mind-blowing trips, but also the threat and fear in the movie, these are all images I see in front of me when I listen to this music, and I love it!

Shel­ter From the Ash is a sub­lime album, that should be in every lover of var­ied pscyhfolk(rock)‘s col­lec­tion. The tracks never lose focus or struc­ture, and the var­ied atmo­sphere, which har­bours many con­trasts, hasn’t bored me yet. Def­in­itely recom­men­ded, and an album that’ll never be far from my ste­reo sys­tem in the near future.

Reviewed by DMK

Track­list:

1. Alone With the Alone (4:15)
2. Strangled Road (5:33)
3. Jade Like Wine (4:11)
4. Com­ing To Get You (7:28)
5. God­dess Atone­ment (6:01)
6. Final Wing (8:35)
7. Shel­ter From the Ash (3:24)
8. Good­night (3:36)

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