Review by Ryan Murray | October 18, 2019
It’s been a long time since I’ve listened through a Goth Rock album, but Welkins Boreal’s new release “Phantoms of Yesteryear” is, for me, somewhat reminiscent of The Crüxshadows and Type O Negative.
“Sleep Eternal” is the album opener. Chugging guitars and pulsing drums opens up the album in this track that gives me a flashback to when I was younger. I used to really be into Goth Rock/Metal and this definitely brings me back to those times. This song, for me, is about the question of what lies beyond this life we live, and the eternal sleep of our physical bodies when we pass away. “Death is not the end. Perhaps a gate to sleep eternal. I shall begin my journey to the unknown.” This speaks to me on a personal level. When I was younger, I doubted many things, including at one point whether or not God was real. I started to fear my life and the inevitable end of it, worrying that nothing would come of my life and that I would pass away into nothingness when I die. Later in the second verse we hear “I am at peace now. In love with the eternal rest to be”, which also speaks to me on a personal level. As a Christian, I am at peace with the knowledge of my Faith and am not afraid of what death brings.
“Thirteen Moons”, the second track on this album slows things down just a bit with more of a down tempo song. This also has some symphonic elements to it which I really like as well. This song, for me speaks of the memory of a lost loved one that you’d do anything to be with again. “One day I feel you in the breeze. The next I tread an endless path. Yet I know our fates are intertwined. I’ll meet you there. I will find the way.” I hear this line and it makes me think of loved ones I’ve lost. There are so many things in this fleeting time we have on Earth that reminds us of loved ones. Sometimes it’s the way the wind hits you. Sometimes just a scent, or just being in a certain place where you’d spend time with the loved one. “I see your beacon even in the darkest of nights.” Love shines brighter than any darkness we face and helps illuminate our way to the memory of those we love and have lost.
“Apparition” is up next, and the tempo is picked up again. This song is rather catchy and continues with the idea of missing a loved one who has passed on. Even deeper though, this song speaks of someone feeling helpless and not being able to do anything to help their loved one who is falling apart at the seams. “You were falling apart and I couldn’t put you back together. Any attempt to reason with you – you seemed to know better. You tempted your demons rolling the dice of your life. I watched you up the stakes and lose night after cursed night.” I’ve lost two close family members to suicide and this part speaks to be deeply. One of the family members I lost I could see her falling a part and felt helpless to help her. I felt like the family situations that were u folding leading to her falling apart could have been prevented and I feel like I missed opportunities to reach out to her and remind her that she is loved. To this day, I still struggle with it.
Next up is “Sethian Seal”. This slows us down just a bit, but still groovy. This song brings us down into the underworld of ancient Gnosticism. The lyrics themselves don’t really intrigue me much on this song, but I was never really into the underworld and all that. Melodically and rhythmically in the other hand, I love this song! The riffs, drums and melodies are really great and as a musician myself I very much enjoy this track musically!
“Discordia” slows it down again with a nice piano intro, following into the verse with light vocals with a 2&4 click. This songs speaks to self loathing and the feeling of being broken hearted. In the first two lines of the song we hear “A broken soul like mine can never reach the truth. Wonder where I took the wrong turn in the bewilderment of youth. At first I only knew your friendly façade. Your choice of words was shrewd and made me lower my guard.” We all have faced situations in life where we feel broken and useless. Most of the time it causes us to reflect on our past, wondering where it was that we went wrong. We tend to end up in the dangerous cycle of self loathing, self doubt and self hate. We often times let the fake words of others lower our guard because we want to feel liked, so we allow our guard down to those who don’t deserve to be allowed in. Then we end up blaming ourselves, and the vicious cycle begins. “That it wasn’t always my fault dawned on me too late. The privilege was solely yours to belittle and berate. The devious games you played corroded my inside. The web you wove around me sucked out the last of my pride.” We are so quick to blame ourselves because of the web of lies we allowed to be sowed in and around us. This song, to me, is a great reminder that we have to be cautious of who we let in, and we need to guard our hearts.
“Thelemite” picks it up again a bit. This song speaks of the human nature of anger, or the “inner beast” that we all have. This song also references one of the religious laws of Thelema “Do what thou wilt…”.
“Dance Of Nightly Shadows” This song feels to me like a dirge. This song speaks of the underworld and being brought to the underworld upon sleeping. Somewhat frightened by the notion of falling asleep, once asleep the song refers to the soul traveling to the underworld. The song describes a sort of ‘nightly shadow play’ in a “macabre ballet”. All of the shadows leading of course to the entry of the “unholy portals of the underworld”.
“I Approach The End” Another one with chugging riffs, which for me never gets old. For me, this song speaks of someone bearing the end of their life, weighing what they’ve done with what they wish they’ve done. “The city lights reflect the ghosts of yesterday. Lurking behind every corner. Memories of sunny days that seem like years ago. No longer make me feel any warmer.” We always tend to analyze what we’ve done, and things that we regret doing always have a way of popping up behind every corner.
“Sorrow’s Shroud” wraps up the album with a down tempo, piano based song.
All in all, I would rate this album a 3.5 out of 5. It has it’s moments of great riffs, melodies and grooves and the vocals are classic Goth vocals which I like for the most part as well. If you haven’t already, please give “Phantoms of Yesteryear” a listen!
Overall Rating: 3.5/5