Giles Corey

I've been trying for three days to write a review for the Giles Corey album. Every time I type some words, I immediately delete them because they suck. I want to get off the internet, walk to the edge of the world and hurl myself off of it; I should at the very least punch myself in the face for being an asshole stupid enough to think that I could write a good review of this. Because I can't. I'm apparently not any good at this anymore, because my ability to communicate what I think and feel is destroyed.

I keep thinking, "Well, if I listen to it one more time, I'll know what I want to say. I'll know what to write then." But with every listen (I've played the disc well over a dozen times now) I feel more and more inept. Just a little more worthless every time. So you should know before you read any further that this is a horribly written review that does absolutely no justice to the music.

We cover a lot of music here. Much of it is metal. To hell with metal. There's no need for it when this exists.

This is the long awaited, highly anticipated self-titled debut album from Giles Corey, the solo project of Dan Barret from Have a Nice Life and Enemies List Home Recordings. Giles Corey plays folk music - dark, eerie, chillingly haunting and melancholy folk music. The album's principle subject matter is suicide, so you can understand why the music would be dark and depressive, but just calling it "depressive" or "gloomy" does not appropriately convey what this record has to offer, because this is not just music. I'm tempted to call it the absolute height of art, because it is so communicative, so expressive, so damn poignant. But to call it that would even be a failure, because it's still something else...

So I search around for words, more words... words that can help me express to you what this album and book really are. Sure, it's music. And yes, of course, it's art. It's also literature; it's experience. Still, these words leave me empty because I haven't quite found the right ones. Language is a fucking killer; it can do so much but often says so little.

From the opening strokes of the piano keys on "The Haunting Presence," this album just feels huge. This may have something to do with the fact that I, like many other people, had heard the demo tracks that have been floating around the internet and had been waiting for this album for what seems like eons. That first track let me know immediately that this album would meet, exceed, and demolish my expectations. There are similarities to what you hear from Have a Nice Life, but this is a different animal entirely. I can't bare to compare this to anything else. That's not fair.,

Because this is the most heartbreakingly honest and genuine thing I've ever heard. In a music scene that at its best is still littered with pretension, this stands alone as a pure and wholly original exploration of the dark side of the human consciousness and will.

The first four tracks take us on the journey, the bleak, hopeless journey to the edge. "I'm Going to Do It" doesn't sound like a threat, as it often can from someone who is suicidal. It sounds like a revelation - and not just a revelation of the artist. There are spirits present on this record - ghosts. And plenty of them. They seem to be at work on this track more than any other, and they're revealing plenty about themselves as well. Read the book that accompanies the CD and you will understand more of what I'm talking about.

"Every one, trapped. Every person who has ever died. No moving on, no other life. No matter what they did. There are only so many possible combinations, so many permutations. It isn't possible to escape; it isn't possible to end without regret. Everyone goes to the same place, which is nowhere. "

It sounds like a suicide note at times, but... it's better than that.  I hear songs like "Spectral Bride" and "No One Is Ever Going to Want Me"  and it sounds more to me like it's saying "I've gone to the dark side, I've traveled to the very edge. I've looked abject failure and the epitome of human frailty directly in the eye, and yes, I've seen and even walked on that other side. But somehow, some way... I'm still here." By the time the last track, "Buried Above Ground"  is complete, things have come full circle. It's that intensely personal. That disturbingly real

And at that point, I realize that in my search for the words to describe this record, I've overlooked the one important fact that has been staring me in the face since I pressed play that very first time: there is no way to accurately describe this record, no true way to talk about how it sounds or what it feels like, or what it even is, because no one has heard anything like this before. No one has done this before, and I may go so far as to say that no one will ever again.

Not just a record, not just a book, not just a revelation or experience or anything else. Whatever it is, whatever you or I may call it, only one word truly gets to the heart of it: perfection. And it is that perfection that brings the tears to my eyes every time I listen to this. It's unavoidable. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

The only thing I've left to do is implore you to buy this record before it sells out - and it will sell out. I'm guessing fairly soon. To not buy this would be to cheat yourself. Someone will get it and upload it, and some of you will just download it, but you'll seriously be missing out. Buy the CD and read the book that comes with it and try to find yourself somewhere in it. It may not be for you, but for me, Giles Corey is a mirror. And a pretty darn clear one at that.


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