Lebanon Hanover – Besides The Abyss
14.00€ – 20.00€
Besides The Abyss
A new era for the band, whereas previously, Larissa Iceglass and William Maybelline had been a couple. In the two years since the Release of Tomb for Two, the two find themselves two no more. Yet the pair were still not solo even though they had ceased their romantic relationship. Moving on with new partners and relocating from Berlin to Athens, home of their label Fabrika, Lebanon Hanover would release one of their best albums yet.
The record’s title Besides The Abyss, with a well its cover, is both a play on words (similar to the expression Elephant in the Room), a well as a Jungian metaphor for an uncertain future. The abyss is the Shakespearen undiscovered country, the fear of the unknown; referencing the English Folk Nursery Rhyme Jack and Jill, a generic pairing of a boy and girl as noted by the bard himself.
Richer and sound, Besides the Abyss is a sonic Deprofundis, with songs and melodies that descend into the very Depths of Sorrow. And what emerges is some of Lebanon Hanover’s deepest work, with William and Larissa broadening their brushstrokes with more varied instrumentation and refined song structure, asking the question: “Well, what now?”
The album opens with the ominous guitar-driven Hollow Sky, accompanied by its haunting music video’s verdant vistas. The song, with Iceglass’ ghostly vocals, shimmers with that sounds like an Omnichord flittering like sonic firefly lights and brooding bass. This perfectly scores the less traveled wanderings through the dark wooden path of Dante’s perdition, leading to the titular well that graces the album cover.
The Crater opens with an unsettling riff and bass, with low, repetitive frequencies on the synth create a sense of unease. Here, Iceglass’ recounts a fatalistic requiem for the king of romance that is cataclysmic and leaves a scar upon the earth.
With Fall Industrial Wall, once again, Iceglass channels a silky and Nico-like emotive deadpan; against a dirgelike melody backed by minimal synth, bass, and drum. Almost medieval and plaintive, with its folk droning horns, deep and shallow in their resonance. This song is anachronistic, setting the scene of ruins centuries-old with crumbling edifices strewn about like memories lost in time.
With the poetic lyrics of The Chamber do we find the eponymous abyss. Here, dualities are laid bare; besides love, there is heartbreak, and without this sorrow, what meaning would there be to love if one knows not what it is to lose? This song encapsulates the idea that love is heartbreak, and love lost is reaching the deepest chamber of the heart. This is carried through a sombre horn, minimalist drum machine, and deliberate bassline overlaid with Iceglass’ German and English lyrics.
The Well is led in with a softly distorted bassline overlaid with eerie banshee howls give way to Iceglass’ otherworld vocal refrain, echoing through time as if emanating from a hole in the ground, and encircling that hole is a garden of woe and despair.
The sinfully seductive song The Moor features a captivating SAX SOLO courtesy of Perseas; a welcome shift in tone, juxtaposed well with the intensity of Iceglass’ tenebrous vocal purr. This hitherto unexplored foray into dark sensuality takes the song into sordid mid 80s territory, bringing to mind a dusky drive along a serpentine road, with equally haunting instrumentations straddling time with icy fire.
Broken Characters is an acoustic folk interlude featuring Selofan’s Dimitris Pavlidis on guitar. Here we find a more gentle approach with its earnest and romantic lyrics. The song’s melodic hook is a soft caress along with the forlorn horn elements highlighting Iceglass at her most Nico-sounding vocal yet, singing the sorrowful truth that most artists are indeed broken characters.
Chimerical opens with dirgelike synth organs. The chill of winter has befallen the lamentations sung by Iceglass’ carried by haunting chord progressions and minimal percussion, plaintively beseeching the song’s subject to remain elusive, idealistic, and a dreamer.
After an album highlighting more Jill than Jack, our male protagonist finally makes his ascent in the sonorous and breathtaking Dark Hill, a masterful march of sweeping synth horns, and trepidatious drum machine with William Maybelline’s bellowing voice cracking like thunder, rattling the atmosphere like his heart against his ribs.
Spirals swirls in a cautionary knell of cathedral-esque droning synth dirge, with Icarian lyrics shining like a sombre ray of hope; like the sun’s rays creeping into the darkest of places. The song, minimalist in its tight percussion, echoes with the solace of Larissa Iceglass’ vocal litany; invoking elements of the supernatural, almost like a Casio preset sequenced to the beating of an angel’s wings.
If Bernhard Could See Us is a haze of romance and nostalgia, both lyrically, and in sound. Anchored by a poetic guitar, and bass, the dream doesn’t end here, and the spirit of love lives on forever: like a song, like poetry. Like a memory etched in time; passion put into both words and melody. Sadness is Rebellion, but so is love.