‘Raising The Fires’ - Heg & the Wolf Chorus - expansive, mysterious narrative as strong as ever(November 21, 2016)
A while ago now, FolkWords described the output from Heg & the Wolf Chorus as ‘surreal spectrum of fascination-filled sound’ ... listening to the long-awaited debut album ‘Raising The Fires’, there’s no impetus to alter that view. Their propensity for expansive, mysterious narrative, amplified in this instance by constructing a concept album, remains as strong as ever. With an allegorical, pagan feel ‘Raising The Fires’ is a tale of world-ending cataclysm engendered by a white witch cursing those that burn her to death. Threatening and ominous, the narratives explore calamity and upheaval before morphing like the witch’s spirit, into the resurgence of myth, arrival of magical creatures and their reclamation of the land they once inhabited.
The haunting piano, singularly distinctive vocals, harmony-rich delivery and deeply emotive music combine to create a window into realms replete with shadows. The fear and darkness through ‘Hide! The Storm is Coming’, a sense of apocalypse revealed in ‘Praise the Storm’, thirst for revenge ‘The White Witch’ to sensations of shared beliefs with ‘Giant’ and ‘Fairy Hill’ into the recognition of ‘Dance of the Starlings’. Closing with convictions that allow the lucky few to ‘see’ the places uncanny creatures remain, ‘When it all Ends’ reveals the otherworld and touches its fragile dream.
‘Raising The Fires’ from Heg and The Wolf Chorus fulfils the promise of the preceding flurry of EPs and opens a door to imagined places and delivers ‘theatre for you ears’.
Playing on ‘Raising The Fires’ are Heg Brignall (lead vocals, piano) Vincent Martin (violin, vocals) Joseph Kelly (double bass, vocals) Francesca Dunford (accordion, vocals) Stephanie Taylor (percussion, vocals) Richie Dobson (percussion, vocals) and Gareth James Bailey (percussion, vocals) with Fiona Rutherford (harp) and James Breen (drums). Choral Section: Renie Shaw, Joanne Bocko, Karen Dickinson and Tree Blackmore.
Review: Tim Carroll