Mathieu Vandekerckhove, the backbone of Amenra has just released his second solo album “Forever and A day”. It took nearly 4 years from his first release “Now and Forever” but you’d agree it was worth the wait. I am thrilled and honoured to share “Forever and A Day” with you and simultaneously afraid of lacking adequate words to do Syndrome justice. “Forever and A Day” is a meditative journey meticulously crafted with an acoustic guitar. Loop after loop, wave after wave, it will force you to reinvent the concept of heaviness.
“Are you afraid of your own darkness?” – whispers Mathieu and delivers a highly intensive and dark set that captivates you for good 33 minutes. His guitar and haunting, almost blood-curdling voice give you goosebumps like riffs of bands such as Amenra or Year of No Light would. Having said that, the first ten minutes of the album could be described as Year of No Light “Desolation” meets Amenra “Ritual” acoustically.
Syndrome, in a medical dictionary, is defined as a set of medical signs and symptoms that are correlated with each other. What a perfectly accurate name for a sonic project that combines drone with melodies, heaviness with an intimate personal touch! Yes, “Forever and A Day” touches you, hits you, nails you down, paralyses in a similar manner as soundscapes of Sunn O))) do. Both exhilarating and depressive, very personal lyrics of this one-track album provoke a range of emotions from fear to melancholy and passion and place SYNDROME alongside great storytellers such as Steve von Till.
“Don’t be afraid. You are safe now. Forever…” – words resolve in a slow, repetitive ambience.
Having said all that it took me more than one listen to become friends (or lovers) with “Forever and A Day”, but as the fox in The Little Prince I was slowly but confidently tamed by its genuine sonic experience.
Verdict: 9/10, so grab your copy of “Forever and A Day” from Belgium underground label Consouling Sounds.