Wrekmeister Harmonies

We Love to Look at the Carnage

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Since its formation around 2007, Wrekmeister Harmonies has evolved from an avant-metal collective producing monstrous drone symphonies to a more stripped-back, lyric-focused doom-folk unit consisting of founder J.R. Robinson and musician/vocalist Esther Shaw. 2018's The Alone Rush was the project's most direct statement yet, containing stark, unflinching lyrics about blindness and isolation, as both Shaw and Robinson faced the grieving process following personal tragedies. We Love to Look at the Carnage is similarly grim and sorrowful, yet also hopeful and passionate, finding positivity in the most dire situations. The arrangements are minimal but resonant, with shining keyboards and Shaw's gorgeous violin playing accompanied by soft, steady percussion from Thor Harris. Robinson's distorted bass guitar adds a spike of tension during several key moments, but it's still applied in a way that seems soothing rather than suffocating. The album's only other guest is Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart, whose whirring, clanging electronics are subtly layered in the mix. He also makes a brief vocal cameo during the unsettling "Still Life with Prick Cancer," which has possibly the most Xiu Xiu song title imaginable. At the center of the album is "Coyotes of Central Park," a gentle ode to moonlit dancing that is perhaps the group's most conventionally lovely song. "The Rat Catcher," however, is a chilling account of a struggle with drug addiction, ending up with a storm of feedback in anticipation of judgment day. "Immolation" ends with a dramatic vocal performance from Robinson, who bitterly rants about how intense feelings of love have been replaced by emptiness. The album is emotionally devastating, but it speaks to the power of persistence. While music dealing with similar subject matter can be harsh or alienating, the band perform it in a manner that feels sympathetic and ultimately healing.

blue highlight denotes track pick