And We Should Die Of That Roar - ‘Deathbed Lullabies’ (album)
It’s the end of the working week, the sun is almost shining and there’s even some positive news about gigs restarting in Iceland, so i’ll bring things back to earth with a bump with some thought provoking Nordic noir. We pride ourselves in featuring some pretty dark stuff, but And We Should Die Of That Roar really pushes those boundaries with his new release, entitled ‘Deathbed Lullabies’.
And just in case you think it’s just the album title which is on the dour side, just wait for the individual song titles, which include the likes of ‘Deep in Earth’ and the particularly cheery ‘I’d Rather be Dead’.
We haven’t featured And We Should Die Of That Roar previously, a name which does sound more like a post rock outfit, but actually is the recording name of multi-instrumentalist Hardy Hum. Originally born into a musical family in Yugoslavia, he played in a number of bands in Sweden where he is now based, before establishing himself as a solo artist, releasing the equally upbeat ‘Where We Should Lay Our Bones’ back in 2018, a follow up to a self titled album in 2014.
Now it’s at this point where I’d normally say something like ‘but don’t worry, because musically this is not as miserable as it sounds’. Well it pretty much is as miserable as it sounds and collectively I’ve found it a little draining, but individual tracks are fascinating musically and lyrically, and there is no doubt that AWSDOTR has developed a pretty unique style, of which I really can’t think of too many comparisons. Regular readers may remember our features on Iranian / Danish musician Murky Munroe (previously of Black Dog Howl), and vocally there are some similarities – albeit AWSDOTR generally sounds like Murky after a particularly heavy night on the whisky.
As for those individual tracks, well ‘I Found God’ begins with a memorable guitar theme, before a crash and a bang and the lyrics are growled out “I found God / Found him down on his knees / See, in my church / God begs forgiveness from me”. Now this left me a little speechless for an opener, but the idea of the album is that each song provides a glimpse into “those oft-neglected and hidden dimensions of human existence”, in this case the ”mocking gaze of eternity”.
Musically ‘Darkness Calling Me’ works better for me, and the caustic lyrics are more identifiable, “Straitjacket of liberty, now everybody’s insane…. I’m where everybody’s dreams go to die”, whilst I really like the contrasts in title track “Deathbed Lullaby’ with an almost jaunty accompaniment to the darkest of stories that builds to the climactic line “No matter how deep or hard your prayer / The ferryman takes no one without a fare”.
In between we’re offered the Edgar Allan Poe inspired ‘Deep in Earth, whilst the grandiose bluesy “I’d Rather Be Dead” is a huge highlight. And concluding track ‘Hands Clapping’ opens up into the most gorgeous of melodies, a masterpiece of a song where Hum’s vocals show their extraordinary range.
I can’t deny that even at just 7 tracks the cumulative effect of the lyrics and music has made ‘Deathbed Lullabies’ pretty hard work to listen at times. But his dark perspective on human suffering has started to grow on me, with undeniably clever lyrics and a songwriter happy to square up and confront topics that others might not want to touch. AWSDOTR might be brutal at times, but his songs are immersive and persuasive, with an undeniable individuality and even a swagger at times that really sets him apart. If the four horsemen come hurtling in my direction, I really want him on my side.
Find more info on his website.
If you like And We Should Die Of That Roar, please check out Murky Munroe and his former band Black Dog Howl.