Review by Warren Mayocchi
Heaven metal is how Midwife classifies itself, a better description is what comes after those words in the band’s bio – “emotive music about devastation”. The tragic event working as muse for this album is the death of Colin Ward, close friend to Madeline Johnston (who is Midwife). There are numerous references to Colin, notably “2018” is the opening track and the year Colin died. The lyrics of “Language” provide a statement encompassing the purpose of this album titled “Forever”. There are not many words, and this is what they say, “How do I say it? In every language? I will never forget you.”
Overall, there are few musical words on the entire album, “Vow” is instrumental, and then there is “C.R.F.W”. Before examining that track, it must be said the music on the album are compositions of life’s empty moments. Each song is a gentle drone with enough embellishment to become more than a song, a quiet beauty in the drawn out seconds when the world continues around your personal stillness. It is a minimal style full of repeating patterns and slowly evolving melodic touches.
So, while the theme of the album is all about the mournful reaction to the death of a beloved person the music is not necessarily sad, it is the space which allows sadness and other emotions to exist. Absolutely fantastic, however there is a “but”. For those who appreciate the spoken word in their music “Forever” will be at a much higher rating, for me it is usually a distraction rarely done well.
On “C.R.F.W” Colin Ward is given three minutes and forty seconds to speak to us. The speech consumes ten percent of the album’s running time and I expect an extract from one of Colin‘s multimedia artworks and it dominates the sparseness of the surrounding album.
Given the album is a memorial to Colin Ward it definitely has meaning and the words spoken lend themselves to endings. For me it is a misplaced personal tribute to Colin, but I do imagine there are many who will be more enamoured with the effect than I. More so, “Forever” is a commemoration of Colin Ward, and that is exactly in accord with Madeline Johnston‘s artistic goal.
Rating – 78/100
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