Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief by healthylivingRelease date: April 7, 2023
Label: Co-released with La Rubia Producciones
As a music fan there aren’t too many things more beautiful than a song stopping you in your tracks whilst on a Bandcamp trawl. Edinburgh/Dresden trio healthyliving had that exact effect on me with its debut two track which also features album opener ‘Until’. From hearing that to reading a debut album was coming I was very excited about the possibilities and Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief does not disappoint in a single moment of its nine tracks. The trio includes accomplished members of Ashenspire, Falloch and Maud The Moth and on its debut creates a genre fluid enchanting, hypnotic doom rock masterclass.
To try and pin the band to any one genre is like trying to hit a moving target, not a rapidly moving target, more it evolves and changes just as I feel like I am about to get the pin in the right place. Often there is a feel of classic doom rock in a similar vein to Messa, with an equally impressive vocal display. ‘Until’ rattles open with its distortion, vibrating bass and pounding drums and when the vocals hit the track digs its claws in and often appears in my mind long after the music had stopped and it isn’t the only track on the album to do so. Then again the songs will move away from that.
Whilst ‘Dream Hive’ gives a moment of pace, most of the songs fall into a slow-core like atmosphere with mixes of drenching shoegaze distortion on ‘Gloom’, rousing crescendos in ‘Back To Back’ and downtempo beauty in numerous other places. Then you have an album highlight such as ‘To The Gallows’ where the band appears to slide to a post-black metal edge with blasting drums and a wonderfully distorted vocal which is reminiscent of Julie Christmas.
There is a bit of a stripped down simplicity in the music, the sound is rich and textured but each part of the band is audible throughout, there are no distractions to the great musicianship on display and often silence plays a huge part in giving the band confines from which to burst through. Interestingly 7 of the 9 songs were written in full instrumental structure with the vocals to be added later and it works wonderfully, wholly due to the talents of the three members. Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief is a stunning debut which is most certainly going to feature at the end of the year for me, the diversity and hooks of different songs keeps haunting me when I am away and embrace me when I am present, Roadburn is going to love this.