THE PROTAGONIST: SONGS OF EXPERIENCE
CD: Cold Meat Industry CMI153 [2005]


The Sick Rose
Hesperia
Spirits of the Dead
Down There
The Hunt
Strife
La Finé de la Journée
Sermon

Just how many years has it been again? Seven? Possibly slightly longer…this being the year of our Lord 2006...so let’s call it 7+ years to put it into perspective. That’s a long time since the critically acclaimed debut release "A Rebours"; but Magnus Sundstrom has been a very busy, busy boy. Setting up the Fin De Siecle Media record label and releasing acts as diverse as Moljebka Pvlse, L.E.A.K., Akala, Negru Voda, Contrastate…some of which you’ll find reviewed on this site…and many others has taken up most of that precious time. Not only that but he put out his own releases under the Des Esseintes name…again to be found reviewed on here…and very positively at that it must be reiterated. After such a barren period of inactivity on all things The Protagonist will "Songs of Experience" be a Cassius Clay / Mohammad Ali grand comeback or an Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards fall from grace into the snow?

Featuring eight tracks, some of which are re-workings from earlier rare compilation pieces and the rest new compositions, the music veers towards the darker edges of Neo-classical with nods towards the great literary writers Blake, Shakespeare and Baudelaire. Light and frothy make no appearances here. "Songs of Experience" is a serious endeavour where romantic visions are eventually crushed asunder to be replaced by the black cancer of frailty and despair. Any joyous moments are rendered obsolete by the funeral march accompaniments which reign above all. The stirring strings and other classical instruments are brought fully into the fray as the percussion acts as the backbone onto which the meaty flesh of the music is carefully laid layer by precious layer. The highly charged atmospheres written large across the whole recording. Such is the sheer magnificence of this recording that poets, past and present, would struggle to put into words sentences to do it justice. Reminding me of Puissance, minus the monotone delivery of the words, in places (the strong martial flavoured fragments making their presence felt throughout) "Songs of Experience" is an opulent gargantuan recording from Magnus and marks a welcome return to this dynamic Neo-classical performer so long off the scene musically. Absence ultimately does make the heart grow fonder.


ANM

[The Protagonist] / [Cold Meat Industry]

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