The Dead Sea
Featuring a fantastically macabre set of illustrated cover art from Matthew Woodson (www.ghostco.org), The Dead Sea is Xela\'s ode to all things maritime with the album\'s thematic thread detailing a doomed ocean voyage that meets an abrupt end amongst a swarm of malignant zombies. Drawing on the work of 1970\'s horror directors (Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and George Romero et al.) and their respective soundtracks, The Dead Sea pays a considerable debt to the likes of Goblin or Fabio Frizzi albeit frayed with a bloodied disposition that reveals a love of Earth, Circle and Wolf Eyes. Nowhere near as oppressive as this description could have you believe, Xela also exposes a deep seam of kaleidoscopic folk amongst his collection, with generous nods going to the freewheeling antics of labels such as Fonal and The Jewelled Antler Collective. Opening through the lace-curtained drone of The Gate, Xela manages to be both wilfully obtuse yet unremittingly focussed as a cold-water batch of foggy soundscapes briefly parts to reveal some insistent percussion. Next up are the heat-haze melodies of Linseed and its tender coalition of acoustic shards and mealy rhythms, before a Victorian music box is exposed to some virulently thrumming necromancy for the startling Drunk On Salt Water. From here Xela continues to coax both light and dark from a palate of instruments he\'s accrued whilst travelling the globe, ranging in style from the throbbing Theramin-heavy electronics of Creeping Flesh and the tarnished grandeur of Savage Ritual, through to the seething distortion of Humid At Dusk and nervous shimmer of Briefly Seen. Horrifically good!