There is no place left to hide when listening to Into The Depths Of Hell. An album of thematic and tonal density, Joshua Burnside’s latest offering is unrelenting in its atmospherically soaked mood that runs both within the undercurrent and foreground.
Creating its own defined sense of place and space, the music of Into The Depths Of Hell contorts the indie-folk flourishes of Burnside’s songwriting within an uneasy soundscape of scratching and distant sounds.
Starting with the bang and clatter of ‘I Saw The Night’ the taut tension that ebbs and flows within the record is laid bare before a deftly woven vocal reaches above the buzzsaw organ that dominates the song’s backdrop. This strong contrast of organic and thematic textures is perhaps the album’s most vital element, as it abstracts the over-arching sound of Into The Depths Of Hell.
But Into The Depths Of Hell is not an album without sonic dynamism. From the airy rolling and tumbling of ‘Under The Concrete’ to the ethereal ambience of ‘Whiskey Whiskey’, Burnside’s alluring voice cuts through via stacked harmonies and emotively introspective lyrical passages, adding a layer of melodic beauty to the darkly lit backdrop of the record.
Indeed, this juxtaposition allows for the brooding undertow of Into The Depths Of Hell to have the impact it needs. Whether it be the stark, minimalist opening of ‘And You Evade Him/Born In The Blood’ to it’s obscured closing or the pulsing indie fervour of ‘War On Everything’, Joshua Burnside weaves a feeling of import to every note and word via a production that creates definition and texture to the meaning behind the music.
And so it goes, Joshua Burnside’s Into The Depths Of Hell is a work of thematic depth. This is an album with sharpened corners, edges and peaks, wherein Burnside’s lilting voice is given a different context depending on the words and moment within the record as a whole. All of which results in a challenging but richly rewarding listen.