Insomniac Folklore mystifies with the gloomy “Everything Will Burn”
Insomniac Folklore might be one of the more fascinating acts I’ve come across in recent years.
The two times I have seen them perform have both been at Urbana, IL’s Audiofeed Festival. In 2016 and 2017 I got to catch a portion of a set they performed suitable for children – complete with an appearance of the lamb puppet “Wallace.” In stark contrast, I caught them playing the end of this record in the tent they call “The Asylum.”
“It may come from the earth / It may come from the sky / It won’t really matter when the end is nigh.” This bookends the album on a high (low?) note within the apocalyptic paradigm the vaudevillian collective paints for a dozen tracks. Though there is a sense of finality in this line (in it’s tone, not just the fact it’s at the end of the album), it sort of retroactively sets the tone for the entire record. I know that each time I listen to the record going forward I’m going to do so with that feeling in the back of my mind.
One of the things that struck me while initially glancing at the track-list was the band’s word choice for dividing the album into fourths. Concept albums being divided into parts is nothing new – but when I saw the word “tetrad” I thought of the blood moons. I remember a few years ago hearing of a new book by pastor John Hagee on phenomenon of four lunar eclipses happening in quick succession in the near future, an in conjunction with prominent Jewish holidays. In the past, many of these have been in line with important events relevant to the Jewish nation, so Hagee was suggesting that perhaps these signs could point to something eschatological (end times related) – but maybe not.
Whew, that was a tangent!
So, what musically stood out to me? Well I’ll say that just as lyrically the album’s tone is consistent, the band is good at maintaining a consistent melodic atmosphere – with some nice easter eggs every now and again. I read in the band’s press release that in the doom-metal inspired “Dust,” which replaces drums with pots, pans and dried out cow bones. My inner supernerd is going “that is SO COOL!”
Tyler Hentschel does a good job at maintaining a sense of eerie command in his vocal style. The album’s title track channels the book of Ecclesiastes pondering the meaningless-ness of it all. Creepy organ underlies the track as Hentschel sings “Everything will burn…” in a tone that marries the creepy and a sense of resignation. “Black Widow” stays with the theme of the record but strays further into the band’s more familiar dark cabaret style. “Dust”, apart from the recording method I mentioned earlier, also comes across as one of the more creative tracks I’ve heard this year. I get a hankering for doom metal in limited doses (see Mount Eerie’s Clear Moon record – specifically the track “Over Dark Water”) and this track delivers.
I mentioned earlier that the album is broken up into fourths – in this case interludes introduce each section. Not only do the tracks serve as proper introductions to each quarter of the record, but they also serve as a reprieve from the outright doom and gloom of the more traditional tracks.
Overall, I would say that “Everything Will Burn” isn’t my most favorite release of the year, but it’s certainly one of the most memorable ones. And when push comes to shove, I’m guessing for that reason this album will be in my top 20 come year end.