My Silent Wake – Damnatio Memoriae

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/Label: House Of Ashes Productions
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Released: 10/04/15
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coverBand Line-up:

Ian Arkley – Guitar, Vocals & Keyboard,
Addam Westlake – Bass,
Gareth Arlett – Drums,
Greg Chandler – Additional Keyboard & Vocals,
Martin Bowes – Synths on ‘Black Oil’ & ‘The Empty Unknown’

Track Listing:

1. Of Fury
2. Highwire
3. Now It Destroys
4. Black Oil
5. And So It Comes To An End
6. The Innocent
7. The Empty Unknown
8. Chaos Enfolds Me


Entering their tenth year as a band, MY SILENT WAKE demonstrate a prime example of a hard-working band that love what they do. These Somerset doomsters herald the decade of their existence with their EIGHTH album in “Damnatio Memoriae” and their love of their craft is evident as always.

There’s something about their overall sound which is ever-so captivating – it has never had the prototypical wall of noise and feedback you normally associate with doom, nor does it have the cold, unfeeling characteristics of death metal. Rather there is a warmth and rawness that gives quite a compelling “underground” sound. That this is their eighth album, it has clearly become their hallmark sound – so fans of a slight rough-around-the-edges album will dig this.

The cuts on offer here are typical MY SILENT WAKE: mid-tempo stomps with crunchy, low-strung guitars, gritty vocals all intertwined with clean breaks and claustrophobic atmosphere. “Black Oil” is prime example of this – drawn out notes, spoken vocals and an overwhelming sense of impending doom, whilst “And So It Comes To An End” brings small drops of melody into the fold. The lead guitar, whilst not overly technical, nails every poignant note and adds that little bit of sparkle to proceedings. Latterly, the haunting “The Empty Unknown” takes the crown for heaviest and longest track, all the while making use of an extended clean break through the middle that is then built upon to the track’s tumultuous conclusion.

“Damnatio Memoriae” is a fine album, and demonstrates MY SILENT WAKE’s incredible work ethic and consistency of the ten years they’ve been around. In places, the mid-tempo nature to almost the entirety of the album can leave one wanting a little more, however the aforementioned subtleties in melody and compositional inflections save the day. It’s not often that’s the case with death/doom, but it’s welcome. If no-frills death/doom is what you’re looking for with none of the speed-merchant or super-technical tropes of other bands, then this will suit your palette quite delectably.

Review by Lee Carter