Premiere: Longhouse – “The Vigil”
If you dig Khemmis, Mastodon, Cult Of Luna, Spirit Adrift, or just wanna soar those lofty heights that only quality palatial doom can offer, then get in here. Take off your shoes first though, show some damn respect for once.
In preparation for the release of their follow-up to their 2015 debut Earth From Water, Ottawa’s Longhouse have given us a sneak-peak into the album’s closing track “The Vigil”. Part sonorous sky-dance, part ochre-stained feet scratching to gain traction amongst the gritty soil, this ten-minute closer is an evocative piece which shows that while the band seem very comfortable with their place amid the sludge-pit, they can gracefully ascend atop elegant harmonies on a whim. Bassist Joshua Cayer’s snarled rasps and and guest vocalist JD Gobeil’s powerful commandeering bellows ride high on the sonic crests created by the robust chordal front of the palm muted guitars.
The album is a thunderous affair, monumental in stature yet devoid of pretence, II: Vanishing‘s music befits the reverential subject matter. The album’s lyrics deal with Joshua’s desire to further immerse himself in the rich culture of his indigenous ancestry and instill this wisdom unto his children. His family’s community is Kitigan Zibi, based outside of Maniwaki, QC, and are Algonquin First Nations. His aspirations to reconnect with the traditional totemic values of his lineage are combined with a grounding in modern issues affecting Indigenous people of the area in the current day. Two such themes highlighted on the album include Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in Canada awareness (track 2 – “Vanishing”), and a dedication to the memory of the thousands of children who were buried in unmarked graves as a result of abuse and neglect after being forced into boarding schools run by the church and government institutions around the turn of the 20th century features on “No Name, No Marker” (track 4). Here’s what he had to say about the song we’re premiering today –
“This song was written as a collaborative effort with JD Gobeil from Loviatar. It is an exploration of stories of the Thunderbirds. In First Nations stories and traditions, the Thunderbirds are powerful spirits, second only to the Creator. These immense birds dwell in the mountains and have the primary purpose of protector and nurturer of Mother Earth – guarding her from harm, quenching her thirst, and replenishing her garments. Thunderbirds are the enemy of the horned-serpents, who live deep beneath the waters and threaten to spread across the land and devour all life. They hold a constant vigil, to protect Mother Earth and all life from their foe. The Thunderbird is a good spirit, however, they are to be feared as they are quick to anger by those who ignore or disobey the natural laws, and are indifferent to humans and animals in their guardianship of our Mother, the earth.”
II: The Vanishing will be released on April 14th at Longhouse’s bandcamp page with a cassette release marked for June 2017 through Sunmask Records. In the meantime you should head over to the band’s Facebook page and show your support.