My Silent Wake: Damnum Per Saeculorum; a Review

My Silent Wake, formed 2005, are generally listed as Gothic/Death/Doom. Damnum Per Saeculorum, the band’s eleventh full-length release, is described as the band’s ‘fourth in the acoustic/ambient/experimental vein’.

I listen without reading any of the review package notes (including the quoted above).

msw rev 2

Immediately I’m transported to an epic scene; soaring above like an eagle, looking down on grassy cliff tops. Sea in sun, waves glittering as far as the eye can see one direction; soft green rolling away the other.

At the cliff’s edge, a Medieval funeral pyre and small gathering. Someone there is gripped with grief for a love lost; grief for knowing it wasn’t the first and won’t be the last; grief that gives birth to an energy demanding satisfaction.

Ready the longboats. Perform the Rites. Launch!

Across that sea is a wedding party preparing; unknowing fair maidens lay carefree on soft heather making garlands.

Fires are lit, festivities begun; but who will really be feasted upon once the visitors have come, the ravens landed? Running in panic, no longer fun; laughs become screams; flames start to burn . . .

On frenzy they feed.

Desperate hunger quelled—for the moment, at least—new fresh eyes are met; merry from drinking, across the lush raucous he approves with a nod; shy and nervous, she blushes, laughs coyly.

Love once again found. Mist from expended post lust breath reaches for stars to celebrate.

An attempt to prevent more sorrowful loss: invite the new love to ascend the ranks of Vampiredom. Ancient rites of sacrifice and seduction; solemn, yet somehow . . . alluring, sexy.

Alas! Again! To those of Faith, the lure of Eternal Heaven can, through fear of sin and Equal Damnation, well outweigh love here on Earth for its duration.

And so, with great regret and heart-wrenching dilemma, she says no . . . It doesn’t get easier, the weight unmissable, underpinning the fragility of life when valued.

Time moves on; so must he in desperate hope of cleansing from this ongoing drenching in despair.

Only now, a New World beckons; a greater sea to be travelled. But with it comes deeper depths for melancholy to reach with so much time aboard to mull over . . .

msw rev 1

My Silent Wake

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

While my take may have imposed vikings and vampires onto proceedings that hadn’t been intended, the track names suggest a similar train of thought to that found in the sound alone, never mind Ian Arkley’s and Simon Bibby’s powerfully emotive vocals.

  1. An Affectionate Remembrance
  2. Warhawks
  3. Diadem (The Rise and Fall of a King)
  4. Bacchanal
  5. Arfryn
  6. All Our Fears Are Over
  7. Fertile Ground Pt.1
  8. Of Loss and Regret
  9. Fall in the Sea
  10. To Feel the Caress of Long-Dead Lovers
  11. Triple Life
  12. The Rhyme of Winters’ Children
  13. Monochrome
  14. The Mourning Earth
  15. Berceuse

Damnum Per Saeculorum translates to: Loss Throughout the Ages.

Something that really grabs me about this album, the feeling of expanse. The amount of space I found while completely immersed in the depth of the music astounded me.

In being converse, it represents precisely what loss is: the presence of something empty where something once was:


It belongs on a big screen, a soundtrack for great landscapes. It elevates the listener, while remaining thoroughly grounded in the endeavour of love and the folly of trying to escape it.

The album contains a wide range of vocal styles, courtesy various band members; plus lyrical contributions and vocal/instrumental performances from close friends and family of the band.

While there is space to be found, this album is far from sparse. This is a big, full production; rich like a chocolate cake that would be flat and lifeless without the pockets of air that lift it to life.

Self-produced, and recorded in various sessions around the UK in late 2019/early 2020, Damnum Per Saeculorum was mixed by Simon Bibby (keyboards) and is due for release during July 2020 on Opa Loka Records; available formats: CD/Digital (links below).

My Silent Wake:

  • Ian Arkley – Guitars & Vocals
  • Addam Westlake – Bass Guitar
  • Gareth Arlett – Drums
  • Simon Bibby – Keyboards
  • David MacLean – Guitars

My Silent Wake links:

Other music related posts from me:

Thanks for reading 🙂

N. P. Ryan

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