No Stars Upon The Bridge (Black Vinyl)

SKU: SVART119LP
Label:
Svart Records
Category:
Doom Metal
Add to wishlist 

"After the tragic passing of Aleah Stanbridge in 2016 and the subsequent release of her solo debut with Trees of Eternity, it seemed to the outside observer that one of the more depressing moments in recent metal history had come to a close. Not so for her grieving partner, Juha Raivio of Swallow the Sun. Opting to forgo his band’s recent tour of North America, he immersed himself instead in the creation of a new project named Hallatar, which would use Aleah’s poems and writings as a foundation for one last tribute to a departed love. To aid in this very personal project, Juha recruited Tomi Joutsen (Amorphis) to handle vocals and Gas Lipstick (ex-H.I.M.) to man the kit. The resulting No Stars Upon the Bridge is a massive and emotionally raw slab of soul killing doom death – as much a vehicle for its creator to work through his grief as an opportunity to share a bit more of Aleah with the world. This is the kind of album you know going in will be a heavy, harrowing listen, but even so, I didn’t expect it to hit as hard nor resonate as deeply. Simply put, this is a profoundly depressing yet beautiful and nakedly vulnerable work of art, the likes of which doesn’t come along often.

Composed of 6 main tracks, No Stars Upon the Bridge is broken up by a series of short spoken word interludes using recordings of Aleah. This gives the already downcast music a very haunted feeling, as if Aleah is speaking to us from beyond even as we share in her partner’s disabling grief. Opener “Mirrors” comes to life with a simple but huge doom riff accented by sweetly sad trilling similar to vintage Paradise Lost, though My Dying Bride and Swallow the Sun‘s sound is present as well. When Tomi comes in, he sounds nothing like what you’d expect. To say he goes all in would be to understate his performance. His unsettling suicidal-depressive blackened crackles and croaking are offset by deep funeral doom groans and growls, with only occasional moments of plaintive clean singing to break up the unrelenting grimness. “Melt” is darker still, with a desperation in Tomi’s voice akin to that of a man sobbing and howling over the fresh grave of a loved one. The riffs feel oppressive and bruising, but are broken up regularly by calm, soothing strumming. The funerary doom is always just a breath away though.

As if things weren’t already bleak enough, “My Mistake” features Aleah’s vocals in a ghostly duet with Tomi over the top of post-metal and Agalloch‘s inflected riffwork sure to tear your heart out [correction: “My Mistake” features Heike Langhans from Draconian, not Aleah. h/t Gage Love. – Ed].1 “Severed Eyes” features Tomi’s soft clean vocals prominently and is all the more despairing for it. Closer “Dreams Burn Down” is the highlight, again using Aleah’s vocals, this time dropping them in at the perfect moment to totally annihilate whatever sense of hope and joy is left in the dark corners of your consciousness. It’s a beautiful and heart-wrenching piece of music.

The production is quite good with a big, powerful guitar tone, and though it does tend to dominate the proceedings much like on Die Healing by Saint Vitus, there’s plenty of room made for Tomi’s vocals and the drum sound which is solid and organic. At just over 40 minutes it’s the near perfect length for such emotionally challenging music, and by keeping the songs under 8-minutes, it has a good flow with no track bogging the progression down.

With Juhu providing guitar, bass and keyboards, there’s no doubt this is his child, and from that dark place he’s found himself comes a strength of writing and composition to rival anything he’s done with Swallow the Sun.2 The depressive riffing is straightforward, but when teamed with the melancholic trilling, it takes on the form of a psyche hammer and smashes the happiness out of the listener. Of special note is Tomi’s tour de force vocal performance. He goes well beyond what we’ve heard him do with Amorphis, borrowing and at times surpassing his time in Corpse Molester Cult for sheer extremity. Had it not been for the promo sheet, I’m not sure I would have realized he was involved. His tortured delivery is a suitable proxy for what Juhu has likely been feeling and that pain comes across all too clearly.

No Stars Upon the Bridge is both a memorial and a vessel in which one man’s despair is interred forevermore. This is the sound of someone raging at the dying of the light, and while that isn’t something you want to hear often, it should be heard. Few albums will ever be this honest and real, and reality isn’t always what we wish it was." - Angry Metal Guy

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • First studio album with Ozzy in decades.  The music harkens back to the early period of the band.  Slow moving and of course those devastating Iommi riffs are all over the place.  Ozzy?  Ehh....errmmmm....ummmm...he sounds ok actually.  Its not 40 years ago so Rick Rubin kept the leash on him and within the context of the material he doesn't distract.  Live?  Probably going to be a trainwreck but its amazing what they can do in the studio these days.  At the end of the day this album sounds like Black Sabbath and probably far better than what you were expecting.  You can't ask for more.This is the deluxe 2CD edition that comes with 3 bonus tracks.  Its a digipak with a nice 3D cover.
    $6.00
  • Peculiar but interesting band from Belgium. Oceans Of Sadness mix progressive, death and doom metal influences freely and even incorporate some 70s flavors as well. The music is a bit off-kilter in the same way that Pain Of Salvation used to be. Vocals are a mix of clean and coarse. The odd use of Hammond organ in places is a weird stylistic choice that just helps to set these guys apart from the norm. If you like your prog metal to the left of center check these guys out.
    $8.00
  • Excellent debut from this Finnish occult rock band.  Led by the sultry voiced Jess, JATAOs go the 70s retro route in similar fashion to The Devil's Blood and Ceremony.  In fact there is a remarkable similarity to the first album from The Devil's Blood although Jess' voice isn't quite as operatic as Farida Lemouchi.  Keyboards are present (even hear some 'tron samples in the mix) but they aren't as prominent as used by The Devil's Blood.  Long guitar driven tracks have a mystical, almost psychedelic, vibe.  If you were told this had this been released on Vertigo 40 years ago you wouldn't even blink.  Highly recommended.
    $9.00
  • New remixed, remastered edition with a bonus track and additional vocal and keyboard passages."My fellow BW&BK scribe (and boss) Chris Bruni described this album as "a masterpiece for the ages." Whether or not this description sounds hyperbolic even by metal scribe standards, well, that's a decision to be reached by the ages, I suppose. The specifity of this masterpiece (and it is) deserves clear focus. The Swedish doom metal outfit has passed beyond the promise of their debut to crystalize into one of two great bands striving for a seat on metal's highest throne-- the other one, naturally, being Opeth. But more about them soon!"Ghost of the Sun" sets the quality standard that the rest of the album more than exceeds. The Beatlesque harmonies are just the beginning. And not to profane any purist ears, but if you can stand the thought of emopunks The Ataris, whose videos blanket MTV and annoying popups dominate MP3 sites -- anyway, if you can stand the thought of The Ataris being cited in the same breath as Swedish doom, well, let's just say these guys are on the same page, a page called nostalgia.Let's be blunt: if you have a heart, Katatonia will break it. Whether it's the mournfully accepting Beatles reference in "Ghost of the Sun" -- "You said hello/I said goodbye," or it's charging chief riff, like a crystal shard through hope's molecular structure, or the way Jonas Renske's voice breaks like fragile glass and coheres around a cool determination; whether it's "the way the light hits the room" in "Criminals," in which love and its denial are coded in the discourse of penalism [check out Foucault's Discipline and Punishfor more on this]; or the coda, "Inside the City of Glass," which as the 13th song at the same time completes the cycle begun on "Ghost" -- there's so many layers, and rich at that, on this album that all I can say further is, buy it and cherish it. Chris is right." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • Second album from this Swiss band draws very heavily from the Katatonia musical gene pool.  Melancholy metal that actually has a groove.  Some of the proggier bits remind of Tool.   
    $13.00
  • "In 2012 Katatonia released Last Fair Day Gone Night on vinyl (and vinyl only), which is a live compilation of shows the band played in 2011 and includes a performance on the band's 2001 Last Fair Deal Gone Down album in its entirety. Now the band will be releasing the same set on September 30 via Peaceville Records, which will also include two DVDs! One of the DVDs will be footage of the shows from the audio CD above and a second DVD will be a 20-year retrospective for the band.While the music portion is pretty damn good, I'm interested in the retrospective and to hear the band chronicle their history! Especially how they went from being a band playing stuff like Dance of December Souls to what they are now. A lot of that history is readily available online, but hearing the stories from the group will really bring it to life!"
    $20.00
  • New live set from Katatonia concentrates on material from The Great Cold Distance as well as other nuggets from the back catalog. The show was recorded at the Summerbreeze Open Air Festival in Germany on 8/17/06. This arrives as a classy 2 disc set. Disc 1 is a standard CD while disc 2 is a DVD-V with the concert mixed into 5.1 sound.
    $5.00
  • Ninth album from this Swedish band.  Katatonia's music shares a kindred spirit with that of Opeth and Tool.  Very much emotion driven with a dark vibe through out.  It doesn't come more melancholy than this one... "Despite being into their third decade, gloomy Swedish progressive metallers Katatonia are still producing fine work. 2009’s Night Is the New Day was heralded as the band’s finest ever album, and with prog’s increasing influence evident across the more facile end of the metal spectrum, this band is doing better than ever. Dead End Kings marks another progression for this outfit – in terms of album structure, anyway. While their previous effort was a sumptuous effort with a sum greater than its parts, this ninth album is a collection of fantastic, searching songs that stand alone as well as they do together. It’s still completely and utterly miserable, though… so very, very miserable. The cellos in opening track The Parting add solemn layers to music that is already laden with sorrow and introspection. It’s a multifarious affair from then on in. The slightly sinister Hypnone adds strength before the album succumbs to the mellow, emotive The Racing Heart. Buildings is the most resolutely metal track here. Its humungous riffs are positioned at exactly the moment where the listener may have been lulled into a false sense of security, bludgeoning guitars swelling the song’s belly with a fiercely charged beauty. There are other moments of grandiose, majestic beauty breaking up the murkiness, but Buildings is the only piece of metal you’re going to get.Dead Letters is massively reminiscent of Tool – and while the American prog-grungers remain at work on their overdue fifth LP, it’s a very welcome sound. It doesn’t last though. As with everything Katatonia do, the song wanders off into another direction, atmospheric moments splintering into sparse orchestration, Jonas Renkse’s murmured voice flying across the top throughout. <br><br>The closer is certainly the finest standalone song here, bringing Dead End Kings to a glorious and complex end. There’s no grand climax. It just fades to dust, allowing you to reflect upon yet another excellent album from Katatonia." - BBC
    $15.00
  • "1981's Mob Rules was the second Black Sabbath album to feature vertically challenged singer Ronnie James Dio, whose powerful pipes and Dungeons and Dragons lyrics initially seemed like the perfect replacement for the recently departed and wildly popular Ozzy Osbourne. In fact, all the ingredients which had made their first outing, Heaven and Hell, so successful are re-utilized on this album, including legendary metal producer Martin Birch (Deep Purple, Whitesnake, etc.) and supporting keyboard player Geoff Nichols. And while it lacks some of its predecessor's inspired songwriting, Mob Rules was given a much punchier, in-your-face mix by Birch, who seemed re-energized after his work on New Wave of British Heavy Metal upstarts Iron Maiden's Killers album. Essentially, Mob Rules is a magnificent record, with the only serious problem being the sequencing of the material, which mirrors Heaven and Hell's almost to a tee. In that light, one can't help but compare otherwise compelling tracks like "Turn Up the Night" and "Voodoo" to their more impressive Heaven and Hell counterparts, "Neon Knights" and "Children of the Sea." That streak is soon snapped, first by the unbelievably heavy seven-minute epic "The Sign of the Southern Cross," which delivers one of the album's best moments, then its segue into an unconventional synthesizer-driven instrumental ("E5150") and the appearance of the roaring title track. Side two is less consistent, hiding the awesome "Falling off the Edge of the World" (perhaps the most overlooked secret gem to come from the Dio lineup) amongst rather average tracks like "Slipping Away" and "Over and Over." Over the next year, the wheels fell off for Black Sabbath, and Dio's exit marked Mob Rules as the last widely respected studio release of the band's storied career." - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • This is the US deluxe slipcase edition featuring 5 bonus tracks and a music video.
    $8.00
  • San Francisco's Orchid has been kicking around a bit, jumping around a bunch of small labels.  A buzz has been developing around the band so it was only a matter of time before they stepped up to the big time - they got snatched up by Nuclear Blast.  I would say that NB scored a major coup here.  Orchid's reputation has been built upon a doom metal sound that draws heavily from the early Black Sabbath canon.  Plain and simple.  These guys have the retro sound down pat and the look as well.  If you are into doom its not going to come any better than this.  Highly recommended. 
    $13.00
  • Eighth album from the Swedish masters of melancholy may well be their best. Katatonia's music is all about atmosphere and mystery - all served up with a bit of a moody and depressing feel. Night Is The New Day finds the band inching a bit closer to Opeth territory but doesn't get quite as heavy and vox are never growly - just plaintive and emotional. They do come up with some amazing riffs that suck you right into the tune. David Castillo's production gives the whole album a contemporary sheen. A real stunner.  
    $8.00
  • "Opeth's 2002 and 2003 records Deliverance and Damnation were initially meant to be released as a double album to showcase the two sides of the band's sound. That never happened obviously, though this is the closest we're ever going to get to that vision!The four CD set, or three LP set, features new stereo and 5.1 mixes for Deliverance done by The Pineapple Thief's Bruce Soord and for Damnation by Steven Wilson. The artwork has been redone by Travis Smith and Mikael Åkerfeldt himself and Jerry Ewing of Prog have both contributed new liner notes. Here, take Åkerfeldt's word for it!“Myself and Martin Mendez are very excited to see the re-release(s) of ”Deliverance” and ”Damnation” coming out. The 5.1 surround mix for ”Damnation” was done a while ago by my buddy and co-producer for both albums, Steven Wilson, and I’ve been itching to have it released as it’s simply stunning! My new-ish friend, Bruce Soord, has done a fantastic remix for ”Deliverance”, literally giving new life to the record and making me start loving it.Finally! It was with pure excitement I went through the tracks, discovering them again. I’m especially impressed with the sound ofMartin Lopez drums but also baffled by how wicked and strange this album is. I’m scratching my head wondering how the hell we came up with these songs. On top of everything, our old-time head of ART, Travis Smith, has touched up on the artwork having it looking great (bleak) too! Enjoy!”" 
    $36.00
  • "Although Paradise Lost never really released anything that could even remotely be considered crap, In Requiem stands as one of their best works - and this is saying a lot. To be placed on the same pedestal as Icon, Draconian Times and One Second, the music on this record speaks for itself and it of interest to anyone considering themselves a fan of this band or of doom metal, gothic metal or any other melancholic type of metal." - Metal Storm
    $15.00