Sunday Soundcheck: Set 048

10 min read

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arctoa's avatar
This week...

Rose Kemp

Golden Shroud - 2010

Unholy Majesty - 2008

A Hand Full of Hurricanes - 2007

Mini-Album - 2004

Origin Point:
United Kingdom

Sounds Like:
Folk Rock, Neofolk, Alternative, Progressive, Post Rock, Doom, Avantgarde, Sludge, Drone

Madness from deep beyond the Pennine hills.

Born in 1984 to members of folk-rock band Steeleye Span, it was perhaps inevitable that Rose Kemp would emerge as a musician in her own right. Starting with guest appearances with her parents, and finally releasing a folk-pop album in 2003, it was with the 2004 release of an untitled EP that her sound evolved into something approaching what it sounds like today. This development continued with A Hand Full Of Hurricanes, an eclectic mix of noisy rock and folk-pop moments that culminates with the driving Violence. After appearances with the likes of Ufomammut and Humanfly, and releasing a bizarre noise-rock EP with Jeremy Smoking Jacket, her sound shifted towards a doom-laden metal dirge. Unholy Majesty is a superb combination of earlier influences and almost sludge-like passages, whose stand-out tracks include Dirty Glow, Wholeness Sounds, and The Unholy.

In 2010, this all went out the window again with Golden Shroud, a three-piece suite of epic proportion that sounds like a grandiose deconstruction of consciousness. Starting each track with some demented analogue of a'cappella gospel, the music then explodes - slowly - in a dirty, funereal efflorescence of drone/doom metal. The latter half of Black Medik II would put the pioneers of doom metal to shame. The start of Blood Run Red, particularly with the vocal delivery, sounds like Ihsahn (of black metal band Emperor fame) gatecrashing an Altar Of Plagues concert, before the whole track unwinds into some nightmare mental breakdown; replete with mad nature poetry and backwards nursery rhyme. Finally, Lead Coffin is a crushing combination of sludge and doom; an appropriately apocalyptic end to a mighty vision of downfall.

While this release is not immediately accessible to anyone, and while some of the power-metal shrieks grind my gears a little, it's a masterful and enigmatic avant-garde composition that puts the listener in mind of historical revolt, like the rise and fall of Boudica.

This is proper female-fronted metal. Shove your Evanescence.

To listen to their music, simply click on the album covers to be taken to their respective pages. However, please excuse the lack of useful links for her earlier material; obscure would be an understatement of an explanation.For a guide, try to find the tracks Birdsong and Golden Veins from the mini-album, and Orange Juice, Dark Corners, Metal Bird and  Sheer Terror from A Hand Full Of Hurricanes. Additionally, If you've any recommendations based on this artist, or wish to promote some music that you yourself enjoy, please do so in the comments. Maybe I'll end up enjoying something enough to feature it myself.

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3wyl's avatar
Really nice! :O