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Review: WEEP – Alate
WEEP – ALATE
Projekt Records 2012
The lineage of Doc Hammer’s musical career contains some of the most gothic of gothic bands. Starting with Requiem In White, which had a hard-hitting and mystical sound that combined heavily distorted guitars and operatic vocals, continuing through the nefarious ritualism of The Order Of The NCS to the more etherial Mors Syphilitica, which is probably the best known of the three. Weep diverges in tone from some of these past endeavours in some respects, but the gothic musical foundation built remains solid beneath.
Halved Heart contains what might be the most dramatic chorus on Alate. An almost orchestral and just short of bombastic layering of harmony guitars, keyboards and it sounds like the ebow comes out for a bit of sustained drifting melodies. There’s something recalling Hawkwind in the Xenon Codex era here. On Lies Like Prayers those who may have asked the unlikely question of what Requiem In White might have sounded like with Billy Corgan in the lineup get their answer. There is some similarity between Doc Hammer’s vocals on Alate and Mr. Corgan’s but with a hint of Brendan Perry. “I hate singers. They’re these overly confident douche bags for the most part.” Doc Hammer is quoted in the press release, but he does more than just dig into the vocal chores here. His vocals have an emotional roughness to them that is very compelling.
Drift Towards Home recalls Requiem In White’s phrygian mode orchestral evocations, but transcends what a lesser song writer would have done with it in twisting shifts in modality that bring the listener back to the starting place with a dramatic inevitability. In fact, most tracks on Alate are rich with such subtle but effective elements. There is a maturity in the song writing throughout Alate that shows that Weep do this for the love of their art.
The production of Alate is tight and repeat listens are successively more rewarding. While people are justified in awaiting the next season of the Venture Bros. with great excitement, Alate deserves to be heard. This is a the work of an artist hitting his stride with the help of musicians who are equal to the task of delivering the well developed material of this release.
The cover of the Bauhaus classic The Passion Of Lovers is muscular and driving. Just as faithful as it needs to be, keeping all the personality of WEEP. No mean feat. It is a testament to Weep that a cover of such a classic track is not the highlight of the album. From the chiming guitars and chorus that stays in the brain on opening track It’s So Late to the resounding bass, strumming acoustic guitars and majestic balladry of closer Alate Ardor there simply is not a weak track. This record is, according to Doc Hammer “not some smarty-pants release that critics and hipsters chew up and spit out, but a thing that delivers its milky payload for years to come.” An alate is a young future queen of a social insect like ants and termites that has wings so it can fly off and establish a new colony. We can hope this is a metaphor for the stage of Weep’s career Alate the album represents.