Another year has ended and I scour for the positives. Privilege allows me to complain, but I’ve been fairly fortunate to survive this time. However, I have had a fair share of melancholy. I seem to have quite a grasp on this language as well, so I can lament. Fields of Mildew choose to do this through instruments. This is their EP, The Complete Woes.
I recently reviewed a neofolk project, so this was up my alley. I can really feel the tumultuous shift in emotion with progressions, each testing another element or contributing to the resurgence of a thought. Consider the first track on this album, Saudade. Aligning clearly with the album title, it is a minor scale composition that tends to reach out at moments. Using different tones, I hear strings that each grasp a certain layer of thought. Some fractals reach out like vines above a dense canopy, trying to shift the mix that has complete control. A tranquil and beautiful composition.
Just the beginning of the tone has the depth you need. I expect darkness from the lyrics and riffs of metal, but this has to be a compositional experimentation that lands on its feet. Triad of Incomplete Woes uses the silence between notes to encapsulate the underlying emotion. It has to be noted that there is a oppressive theme that makes a power move to stay on top, but elements of joy, maybe even frustration try to break through. The vocals adhere to the slow, dark theme that has taken control. Powerful as all hell.
Nostalgia is a popular streaming choice for FOM’s listeners. This epic uses the marching quality of the beat to build on a sensational progression. The serenity of the lyrical delivery balances the percussion very well, and the slow addition of certain elements is what brings about a change in sound and a cascading effect that the artist desires in this case. The slow flowing nature of the synths help in sustaining the continuity, as the lyrics progress to a deeper state of fugue as well.
The density of this album changes with Fog. We’ve entered several phases of the deploring individual or entity. Opening with vocals this time, the entire atmosphere is suspended in a state of sincere thought. Fog marks an inspirational twist of joyous realization in some ways. It’s experiments with several guitar tones, each taking its time to make its mark. It is a bright spot in this album, even with the composed solos, like embarking upon an ocean.
A Nether World has one of the best instrumental overflows in the album, according to me. The arpeggiated composition grips you from the beginning, with suspense in the flowing breeze. By the time the vocals enter, these chants sit comfortably on the instrumental that have already taken control of this passage of time. The little compression-distortion mix in the guitar tone makes quite the difference.
Fields of Mildew close this album out with The Dawn of Primal Fears. This is something that is ingrained in our DNA, so the sound must reflect the title that this song has been given. It does have a large dosage of mystery, with the repetitive bass sound dominating the track. A much more melodic approach in the vocals now make me want more of this style of singing. It compliments the chugging sound that has taken control of this track anyways. Close to the 5 minute mark, there is a tonal shift, increasing the intrigue I have for what is to happen. A glorious ending.
Fields of Mildew have thoroughly explored this theme, with many rarely thought of aspects. It makes for an enthralling, captivating album, but a heavy listen. You must focus to hear what is within the instrumentals and the lyrics, each are doing their part in composing part of the feelings that have been tested with the instruments. There are a lot of shifts, tone wise from Compilation I and Compilation II, though I recommend hearing how this progress has made this album sound. A great idea executed with extreme thought and preparation.