Label: Neurot Recordings
Release date: May 29, 2012
Dirge is the word for Los Angeles based trio, Ides of Gemini. Fronted by bassist and vocalist Sera Timms (Black Math Horseman), along with partner in crime, guitarist and songwriter J. Bennett, Constantinople represents the band’s full length birth. Timms and Bennett released a demo in 2010, and those songs appear here in better regard, along with real drums from Kelly Johnston.
Moody and evocative, Constantinople takes listeners on a dark journey through the cavernous and winding tunnels of our souls. “The Vessel & The Stake” starts out with a build of guitars before dropping into a stark procession of movement towards eternity. Timms’ vocals are haunting and cold, with Johnston’s drums adding a foreboding weight to the track.
“Starless Midnight” is comparatively uplifting, placed between the album opener and the relentless abyss of “Slain in Spirit”. The latter, while an intriguing listen could have been pared down a full-minute to remove some moments of monotony.
In fact, despite moments of caliginous brilliance by the trio, much of Constantinople is a dreary dirge that sweeps through the deserted streets of melancholy and anguish. Plaintive laments drone on until one song melds into another.
If black medieval heaviness is your thing, you have come to the right place, for Ides of Gemini serve it up in seven-course bleakness. There exists a sparseness to Bennett’s writing, and in particular his guitar phrasing that enervates the songs: Which in any other genre of music would be a bad thing, but here it fits the vibe of the album with stark beauty. This allows the tenebrous nuances of Timms’ vocals to wrap around the listener’s id like a gossamer vise.
Constantinople is one of those albums that will have a very defined appeal to a limited listenership. Ides of Gemini serve up a slab of brooding weightiness that rests like an anvil on one’s chest. Still the nebulous allure of Timms’ rapturous vocals combined with the oppressive rhythms and somber lyrical tapestries laid bare by the band, make Constantinople a stygian joy for the ears.