There is something ominous, foreboding, and dangerous about cemeteries and ghost towns. Folk tales and legends about all the nasty, evil things that linger in those hollow empty places. Yet still, there is an allure there that makes them sought after, a draw that tells us to find the stories left behind, the melancholy, and the beauty. Stone Speak by Apocryphos masterfully endeavors to tell some of those tales to us.
Stone Speak tells us the story, through beautifully droning instruments and field recordings, what we have forgotten. Ghost towns and cemeteries continue to live on after we abandon them. There is something there, something inexplicable with words, that continues to thrive. There is a beauty in places like this, places that time and humanity has forgotten but continues to live on.
Stone Speak takes the listener through the shadows beneath the sun with the slow, droning sounds. The drone is mournful, epic, and deep. It is not harsh, heavy with feedback but clean, in its own way. Having recently written a short story about a semi ghost town, I can see the images in my head clearly, I can see the rusted metal strewn on the ground, the broken and cracked grave stones being battered by wind and dust, being slowly buried alive. There is no life in places like this, not that we understand but we understand that this place is not empty. There might be something sinister hiding in the shadows but at the same time, there is something melancholic. The music hints at the foreboding and at the hopeful. The ability to pull off both is an incredible feat.
The album is over too quickly, even though it clocks in at just under fifty minutes or so, I find myself craving more. This is not at all a detraction at all, but a compliment. Very few times have I wanted an album to be longer (most of the time I wish they were shorter because they begin to kill the atmosphere, but I digress) and this is one of those times, I could listen to this for hours. I feel like I’m driving through my home state of New Mexico in the early gray light through a landscape of half empty towns and quiet deserts. There is something I can’t put into words about this music and sound, something that evokes a melancholy in me that I didn’t realize was there.
The theme of stones and what they mean to the things that are left behind plays beautifully throughout the album. Stones as foundations, as markers, are all crumbling, slowly but surely. Yet still, all the same, they are trying to tell us their stories before they fade away forever. Stone Speak tells us the stories of what we have forgotten. It’s beautiful.
Listen and support!