Monuments – Napiers Bones
For those who are familiar with Gordon Midgley’s solo work I am pretty sure they will be certainly aware of his work he does with vocalist Nathan Tillett and their project that is known as Napier’s Bones. Since the pair found each other on Soundcloud back in 2014 and started to collaborate with one another, so far they have managed to release and put out an album every year. Monuments is their 5th and latest album to hit the shelves so to speak, and I have to say this duo seem to be getting better and better with every album they put out.
No doubt Gordon Midgley’s production work has improved over the years to which will certainly have contributed to why each album sounds and feels better, but I also cannot really take anything away from the composition side of things either. Napier’s Bones is a project that presents the music to you in the form of a concept story, and each album can be quite fascinating in the way they present it all to you. Which is very much in the same style as progressive rock.
Gordon Midgely is no stranger to concept albums and even his own solo work tends to focus on that side of things as well even with his instrumental albums to some degree. It was only October of last year that we got to see the release of his GREAT! solo album The Fall Of The House Of Usher which was a concept story album based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. There is no doubt that Midgely not only can write great music, but he is also a great multi talented musician who is full of ideas and is capable of playing what he presents to you as well.
Napier’s Bones may not be the type of band you will get to see play live. But both Messrs Midgley & Tillett have both played in bands live previously before. But just because they now tend to function on the studio side of things, one should never really be put off by the GREAT! work they do together with how they function as a team. This is a team that is capable of churning out some really GREAT! music and they certainly have the power to ROCK!. Before I go any further let’s take a look at the artwork and packaging as usual.
The Packaging & Artwork…
Well the first thing I should really point out is that no Napier’s Bones album comes in the form of a physical CD like in the picture above. But even though their music comes really in the form of a digital download. They do also send you the artwork so you can make it look like we have in the picture above by printing it out yourself and burning the album out yourself onto a CDR.
All the artwork is done by Nathan Tillett and I have to say he always tends to do a very impressive professional job of it as well. Besides the graphic design work he does, he is also very good with a camera and goes out and about to capture the subject matter of the concept story with his camera. This video below shows you the process of turning his original photograph into something that is more fitting with how he has done the design around it.
The Album In Review…
Napier’s Bones 5th album Monuments was officially released on the 24th August 2018. The album contains 5 tracks and has on overall playing time of 50 minutes, 43 seconds. The album was written, mixed and produced by Gordon Midgley in his home studio. I did mention that his production work gets better and better and I have to say this new album sounds purely fantastic, especially being that it was produced in his own home in Bradford.
All the material for the album was practically done predominately on his acoustic guitar, and Gordon started work on the first epic mammoth track “Standing Childe” way back in September last year. However due to the sudden loss of his father it very much put an halt on things, and he never got back to work on it till around Christmas in December of 2017. He also wrote “Waters Dark” in that same month. The remaining 3 songs for the album were written sometime between January – April 2018 and he had started work on the proper recordings of the songs in March 2018.
The other half of Napier’s Bones Nathan Tillett lives some 329 miles away all the way down Plymouth in Devonshire. He actually records his vocal parts on his ipad in his car and sends over the stems via the internet. His voice projects more of the raw power into the project and no doubt it works very effectively as well. Both Tillett & Midgley also have their own solo projects and have been involved in other projects besides Napier’s Bones but this is a project that perhaps is a bit more special and works really well I have always felt.
No Napier’s Bones album could ever really be achieved without the right weapons and tools at hand, and Gordon Midgley comes armed with an array of them to achieve what he’s after and get the job done precisely, efficiently and effectively.
Midgley is a very talented multi instrumentalist and has put in a lot of hours learning his tools of the trade so to speak. Predominately he is a bass guitarist and guitarist though his skills stretch out more beyond and he is just as efficiently good with his keyboard and drum programming skills and has spent the time with his effect pedals and studio plugins to get precisely the right sounds he’s looking for.
Both the Korg MS 20 and Volca Keys come in very handy and are very useful tools to get the job done. All those along with his microphones, amplification plus recording and mixing skills are more than enough to do a very professional job.
Musicians & Credits…
Produced by Gordon Midgley. Recorded between March – July 2018 at GM’s Home Studio in Bradford. Engineered by Gordon Midgley. Mastered by Gordon Midgley in August 2018. Artwork Photography & Design by Nathan Tillett. All music and lyrics by Gordon Midgley.
Gordon Midgley: Vocals/Electric & Acoustic Guitars/Keyboards. Drum Programming..
Nathan Tillett: Vocals.
The Album Tracks In Review…
Like many concept albums many artists will quite often either write their own stories or draw on source material from a book, or some ancient bit of history. Whether it be some sort of legendary thing about fables, fantasy, witchcraft or a true historic event like war for an example. For a reviewer like myself I quite enjoy doing a bit of my own research, especially when the subject matter has been documented and it’s quite easy to find it out on the net. Like most of the concepts Gordon Midgley writes about I always tend to find them interesting, and the fact that the album Monuments does have an “S” on the end of it, means there is more than one story going on here.
During the time of working on the album, every now an then Gordon will post the odd teaser video showing the progress of some of the tracks for the album. Though most of these are posted on Facebook, he will post the odd one on Youtube as well. This video is one of the two he made during the 2nd track on the album “Mirabilis“.
Here he explains a bit of background information regarding the subject matter he’s writing about, and shows you how the guitar parts fit into the track itself. It was around this time he had also purchased an Epiphone Firebird to add to his collection of guitars. he also has a Gibson Firebird to which he had long before this one. You also get to hear how Nathan’s great rock voice fits into the song.
No doubt you will find many influences in all the songs Napier’s Bones have done over the past 4 or 5 years. On this particular album you get to hear influences from Rush. Queen. Steve Hackett. Pink Floyd and many more. But of course Napier’s Bones have their own distinctive way of doing things themselves. Besides the musical aspects even Nathan Tillett’s voice is very much his own and it’s highly original material. So let’s now take a closer look at the album Monuments as I take you through all of its 5 tracks.
Track 1. Standing Childe.
The opening track on the album is quite a BEAST of a track and weighs in at a touch over 23 minutes. The 23 minute epic comes in 9 parts to put across the story of the first of the monuments we have here on the album. The standing Childe in some way could be seen as all that is left of Ordulf the son of Ordgar today. As legend as it Ordulf was known as Childe The Hunter a brave noble warrior who obviously must of made some sort of an impact enough to be remembered in honour of his name.
Speaking of honour the name Childe was most likely derived from the Old English name Cild and they changed it to Childe in honour of his name. Ordulf’s father was the Anglo-Saxon Earl of Devon from way back in the 11th century. No doubt over the many years many different stories have been told of Childe The Hunter regarding his party battles and the slaying of mythical beasts on Dartmoor’s moor, but the one thing that may be certain is how he met his fate.
He very much met his fate in the freezing snow with his horse. Although the horse kept him warm for awhile it was not really enough. He ended up killing his horse and then he disembowelled it and crept inside the warm carcass for shelter. Though nevertheless he still froze to death. But just before he did he supposedly wrote a note to the effect that whoever should find him and bury him in their church, would inherit his Plymstock estate.
Childe’s body was found later by the monks of Tavistock Abbey. However, they heard of a plot to ambush them by the people of Plymstock, at a bridge over the River Tavy. So they took a detour and had to build a new bridge to get across the river, which was just outside Tavistock. They was also successful at burying his body in the grounds of the Abbey and inherited the Plymstock estate.
The picture above is of Childe’s Tomb and was before it’s destruction which took place in 1812. The tomb was virtually destroyed by a man back then who stole most of the stones to build a house nearby, but it was partly reconstructed in 1890. Child’s Tomb still stands today the picture below is what it looks like now after the reconstruction.
The words Gordon Midgley has wrote for his story of Childe The Hunter’s party battles is put across in the way of making it that much more exciting, and I have to say I quite like how he has gone about it all, and put it all into context to be able to put it all across more effectively with the vocal side of things to coincide with the music.
As I mentioned before he has broken the story down into 9 parts. All of which are very much have subheading titles for each of the parts that are contained throughout the 23 minute blockbuster of a piece. The first subheading is titled “(I) The Childe” and this is very much an instrumental piece to set the scene for the epic story that is to unfold. It takes up the first 3 minutes of the 23 you get here.
It opens up with the eerie sound of the wind and the crashing waves of the sea and with some ambient guitar. All of which take up around 22 seconds before it then bursts into action with powerful power chords on the electric guitar, all supported very well by the drums and bass, and a rather nice lead synth playing a fine melody at first.
The synth takes on the lead role and fizzles and sustains its way out nicely at around the 1:10 mark. Then we get this lovely little change with the acoustic guitar coming into play to which is accompanied by a lovely flutey sound from the mellotron. This all builds up very well and at around the 1.5 minute mark and Brian May swings into play for a bit of the action but Midgley is having none of it and soon swings into action on his electric to shut him up for awhile :)))))). It’s all pretty hot and it builds up with some mighty power to hammer its way into the next section which is the second part of the monster piece.
“(II) Mark Well” is a beautiful acoustic song that runs from 3:01 – 5:40 and I love the way the whole thing runs so smoothly into play from where the last part ended. It all fits into place so well and we get some beautiful acoustic work from both 6 and 12 string guitars. Tillett’s vocals are quite golden on this lovely ballad, and not only does he have a great ballad voice but it can change with more powerful expression at any time to suit the moods throughout the piece, or any piece for that matter.
Besides the lovely acoustic guitars (which are superbly recorded by the way) and Tillett’s GREAT! voice. You also get some fine effective electric guitar bringing in some ambience along with some choral sounds from the keyboards. I love where the bass guitar comes into play around half way through it and this is also where the 12 string guitar comes in as well to accompany the 6 string. The piece is filled with beauty, even though the story line is perhaps haunting.
It’s certainly one of my favourite sections of the whole piece, and perhaps apart from the lyrics being story based, it could possibly be the single from the album. I love how it all builds up as well at the end and Brian May comes back for another blast with the twin lead guitars to end it all off. It really is a superb well written song.
“(III) Born to this Duty” runs from 5:40 – 8:01 and is another great acoustic song that features both Tillett & Midgley taking on the vocal duties. Once again the transitional change is very smoothly done and Midgley’s voice is more haunting. it also follows Tillett’s in a sort of answering back way. The acoustic guitar runs all the way through this track and the track that follows it in this particular part gets accompanied by a dominant bass line and Steve Hackett drops in with his very well phased guitar :))))).
It builds its way up strongly towards the end and the power takes us into the next part “(IV) Like None Before” which is quite a short section and runs from 8:01 – 9:51. This section runs at a faster pace and the acoustic guitar is strummed along with a sort of a Jimmy Page droning style. You also get a bit of synth and some more flying around on the electric guitars by Midgley. It also gives Tillett the chance to bring out more angst with his great voice with the powerful build up, and it builds up very and falls down at the end very well to take us into the next part.
The next section “(V) Where Horizon Meets The Sky” runs from 9:51 – 12:09 and this is what I call the 70’s Rush section and this section totally ROCKs! it s way along with very powerful bass and power chords from the guitar, and even the synth work is reminiscent to Rush too. The only real thing that sets it aside is Tillet’s voice which works GREAT! and once again delivers the angst and great expression for the song. “Where Horizon Meets The Sky” is very much the main battle were Ordulf gets to slay the BEAST.
“(VI) Fate Will Do As It Must” is another short section that runs from 12:09 – 12:49 and once again the strumming acoustic Jimmy Page droning style guitar comes back into play at pace and is accompanied by the drums, bass and more May-ish lead tones on the electric guitar. Each section runs and blends into one another so well and it works very well in giving you something more to keep you listening and attentive to how the story all unfolds. The power fizzles out effectively at the end to bring in the next part which is where the freezing cold proves to be more of a battle than the BEAST for Ordulf.
The next part “(VII) Today It Ends” is more of an ambient section which utilises guitar effects and more Hackett like lead lines to put over the snow storm and the fact that the freezing cold is setting in. Even the bass line runs along like a clock counting out the hours Ordulf is held down by the storm and is a bit like Roger Waters. This section runs from 12:49 – 16:26 and Tillett’s voice echoes the thoughts Ordulf has he reflects over his life and ponders over if this what we live our lives for.
“(VIII) Not Enough” is Ordulf’s last attempt to try and save himself and is the part where he kills his horse and disembowels it, and gets inside its carcass for more warmth. But his luck runs out and the storm is not giving way even to this mighty warriors strength. This section is very well portrayed in an heavenly choral kind of way as it opens up with more Hackett like guitar phasing on the electric and the acoustic guitar also comes back nicely and slots into place in a more subtle way for Tillett to express the emotions with his fine voice.
It also runs directly into the final part “(IX) Behold The Childe” which rounds the story of perfectly with more beautiful acoustic guitar work and electric lead lines, keyboards bass, drums and great vocals. It’s one big epic journey from start to finish and there is never a dull moment in it. Even though the epic is 23 minutes, it seems to be over in no time at all with the enjoyment you get from the piece. It’s all been very skilfully woven together and this is my personal favourite track on the album and merits my top spot of the album award.
Track 2. Mirabilis.
The 2nd of the monuments is that of the alchemist and English philosopher known as Roger Bacon who was also known as Doctor Mirabilis. No one was ever really sure of the year when Roger Bacon was actually born, although he did get about enough for people to take notice of some of his works he did back in 13th Century. Bacon’s major piece of work was the Opus Majus. To which was written in Medieval Latin and sent to Pope Clement IV in Rome in 1267.
Bacon studied at Oxford and became a master there lecturing about the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle though there was no evidence he was ever awarded a doctorate. The title of Doctor Mirabilis was very much posthumous and figurative, though there was no doubt he was considered to be a very wise man and studied very hard in many subjects. He was also a Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empiricism. In the early modern era.
He attributed the Secret of Secrets (Secretum Secretorum) the Islamic “Mirror of Princes” to Aristotle, thinking that he had composed it for Alexander the Great. The guy may very well have studied that hard that it fried his brain :))))). He was regarded as a wizard and particularly famed for the story of his mechanical or necromantic brazen head. He also dabbled in the occult and black magic and thought he could create life from metal. It’s perhaps just as well he was not around in the late 20th century to see Metal Mickey. He most likely would of flipped his lid and tried to say that he created him :))))).
But no doubt Roger Bacon had done enough to leave his mark in history back in the 13th century, and his monumental statue was erected near Ilchester in Somerset, England. For the order Friars Minor.
Without a shred of a doubt Messrs Midgley & Tillett have cooked Roger’s Bacon very well indeed. The magical intro gives you the feeling that Bacon is working away in his study or laboratory winding up his mechanical mechanisms to try and bring them to life. Roger Bacon was one of the first Westerners to build chiming clocks, the designs came from the Arabs who took their inspiration from the Chinese. The bells add more to the haunting and mischievous dark goings on with black magic, adding to the magic once again we get some gorgeous work on the 6 & 12 string acoustics along with some more Hackett like lead work.
Both Midgley & Tillett do a grand job on the vocal duties and the piece builds up with some electric force with the drums, bass and more great lead work from the electric guitars. It then comes down with the bells and the haunting feeling of it all and fades its way out very well indeed. This 2nd video is another fine example of just how well it’s all worked out and gives you more of an insight of what the song is all about.
“Mirabilis” is another really great song and fine piece of work and is very much another contender for the top spot on the album, I like the chord progression and acoustic work on this album a lot.
Track 3. Waters Dark.
The “Waters Dark” is the shortest track on the album and is just over the 3 minute mark. Unlike the first 2 tracks, these last 3 songs on the album are not so much perhaps monuments, and to be honest because of the titles of these final 3 tracks on the album, it was not so much of an easy thing for me to look up on the net to see how they related to any sort of person who had made an impact enough to leave behind a monument so to speak. I also never had the lyrics at the time either. So I very much ended up asking Gordon if he could shed a bit more light on them for me, to which he provided me with some very useful information and gave me more insight into them.
Although it’s true not all the tracks on the album are monuments, they do however have the odd bit of a connection with one another on some of them. For example the lyrics in this song mentions the chiming of the York minster bells, to which “Mirabilis“ also had bells in and also “Waters Dark” is also mentioned in the last track on the album.
“Waters Dark” is based on a legend from the York area and is about a person who goes alone to a place on a river on a May Day to place 5 white stones into the water. A kind of ritual sort of thing I suppose, and by doing such a thing the person is granted a vision of the past and the future. Gordon also told me that Nathan had followed instructions and tried it out, but he’s still waiting for the vision :))))))).
The song itself is another fine acoustic song that has the calming flow and feel of a river with how it’s all put so well across. Tillett is once again on the lead vocals and Midgley echoes along with the backing harmonies. Once again we have some fine work on the acoustic guitar and more Hackett like phasing and phrasing on the electric guitar and they do another grand job here of it all.
Gordon also told me that he wrote the song after his father died last year. I also think some of the lyrics reflect the pain and the time it takes to heal after his sad loss too, and once again the lyrics very well written. I actually remember when I lost my son a few years ago now, I went down to a river on my own and sat on the bank, and stared into the water to collect my thoughts.
Track 4. Free To Choose.
Well I did mention earlier that the 2nd part “Mark Well” of the mammoth BEAST of a song “Standing Childe” that opens up the album could be the single of the album, apart from the lyrics being more story based. But this song “Free To Choose” I feel would certainly be the most fitting song to choose from the album and would even work with the lyrics that was written for it. I also feel it’s got the right temperament and the right up-tempo feel to it, it’s a great song that lifts up very well with the chorus of the song.
The song itself is about the painter Robert Lenkiewicz. Like most painters it’s also very hard for them to get any real recognition for the great work they really do. For example Lenkiewicz was born in London, and because he was the child of Jewish refugees his paintings were very much rejected by the establishment in London. So he ended up in Plymouth where he got a lot more appreciation for his great works of art.
Since Robert Lenkiewicz died back in 2002 in some way I suppose he did leave behind a sort of monument in the way of a Murial. The Barbican Murial is one of his most famous Murial’s that he painted next to his own studio in Plymouth back in the early 70’s and was completed between the years of 1971 – 72.
Robert Lenkiewicz and his Murial The Barbican.
The above picture above is a photograph of Lenkiewicz and his famous painting taken back in 1979. Unfortunately today the Murial has faded badly over the years and they have had to prop the walls up with timber to try and stop it from collapsing. Gordon took a trip to Plymouth himself to get a photograph of it himself, and you can see how it’s deteriorated over the years and the timber propping it up is holding it all together.
Nathan used to see the painter around his own town of Plymouth back in the 80’s. He was also quite a ladies man to 100’s of them and he also had 11 children all of which are artists in their own rights. Like many painters when Lenkiewicz died in 2002 despite his prolific output of over 10,000 pieces of work he had done throughout his lifetime. He only had £12 in cash in his possession. He never had a bank account and was said to owe over 2 million pound to various creditors.
Since his death, some examples of his best paintings have been sold for six figure sums in various London auction rooms. Media reports put the value of his estate at some £6.5 million. This figure included a cursory valuation of the artist’s antiquarian library of rare books on witchcraft, the occult, metaphysics and medieval philosophy. It all sounds like he may have been loaded. However, the sale of this entire collection by Sotheby’s in 2003 raised less than £1 million.
Like most painters they are perhaps worth more after they have gone, and they was very much more or less poor whilst they was alive. Though no doubt I rather think Robert Lenkiewicz was a man who perhaps enjoyed his life and just like this song says in the words “We are Free to choose this way, free to think, free to be who we are Free expression here, free to love while it lasts” That’s most likely how he lived it, and it’s another GREAT! song.
Track 5. From The Heights.
When I first seen the title for the final song on the album, it had me thinking along the lines of something more associated with one of Gordon’s other hobbies which happens to be mountain climbing. But what we have here is based around has to which one of the Bronte family actually wrote “Wuthering Heights“. Well one thing for certain is that is was not Kate Bush even though she may have wrote a song and sang about it :))))))).
Patrick Branwell Bronte better known as Branwell Bronte was refereed to being the mad, bad and dangerous brother of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. Although he was the only brother the 3 sisters had Branwell Bronte was also an English painter, writer and artist. Though some may have called him a piss artist when he gave way to drugs and alcohol addiction :))))).
The painting above was painted by Branwell Bronte and it shows his 3 famous sisters. He even painted himself in the picture, but afterwards decided to paint it out. Branwell also had two other sisters who died just before his 8th Birthday and it deeply affected him. His father very much taught his son Branwell himself at home even though he was advised to send him to school and gave his son a classical education. Even though all 3 of sisters went to school to be educated a typhoid epidemic spread around the school that led to the death of both Maria and Elizabeth Bronte. Their father took Charlotte, Emily and Anne out of school and decided to teach them as well at home.
During the 19th century sickness and epidemics such as typhoid and tuberculosis were nothing unusual and it took its toll on many, and not many lived to grow old. Many were dead by the time they reached 30 including the family in question here. Charlotte was the eldest of her 3 sisters and was near enough a year older than her brother too. Yet she lived the longest out of them all. Though she did not quite make 40 and died at the age of 39. She got to live 10 years longer than her youngest sister Anne and 9 years longer than both Branwell and Emily who died in the same year, and the latter of the two lived only 3 months longer.
Branwell brought his own death upon himself, and unlike his sisters the only real thing that killed him was his own addiction. In many ways I suppose he was the black sheep of the family because he could not hold any kind of regular job, he was often up to no good by trying to cheat people out of money, and even turned to blackmail to get the money to pay for his dirty habit. Well that’s how I see his life anyway by just reading up on it. I can see why he was seen as the mad, bad and dangerous brother because basically he was a disgrace and embarrassment to the family more than anything else.
Most of his early works regarding his writing were done in collaboration with his oldest sister Charlotte to which were mostly poems. Branwell was no novelist like his sisters even though he may have had grand delusions of grandeur as a child. But as he got older he never bothered pursuing a career at all. Even the poems he sent in to try and get some kind work were left unanswered. All his other work were all in fact done with his sisters in collaboration (including a play he did with Charlotte).
Unlike his sisters Branwell liked to have a good time, and spent most of his time with friends in public houses getting pissed out of his brains. Even though he tried to further educate himself he soon gave up more or less on everything he did. Unlike both of his sisters Charlotte and Emily who did go on to further education and even became school teachers. So is it possible that this guy could write something like Wuthering Heights?. Personally I very much doubt it, but you never know.
Emily on the other hand was not like her sisters who were more well known for writing novels, and the only novel credited to her name was the first part of Wuthering Heights. Not even that at first was credited to her real name and all the Bronte sisters did in fact go under pseudonym names. They may very well have had their reasons for doing so as well, after the disgrace and embarrassment their own brother Branwell had brought to their family name. Branwell could not even get admitted into the Royal Academy Of Arts for his paintings, never mind get his poems and a book published (if he did really write one that is). However he was the first Bronte poet to get some of his poems published in local newspapers under the name of Northangerland.
There is no doubt that there was certainly quite a lot of criticism going around when the book Wuthering Heights was published. Many believed because of how it was written that there was no way a woman could of wrote it. But just by reading the background of Emily’s life I would say that Wuthering Heights is more or less an autobiography of her life with the madness of her brother thrown into it all. Emily was the shy one who kept herself to herself, and it just may be the case that she was abused more than the others was at an early age. A lot of that anger about men and all the sickness she went through could of certainly wrote that book.
There is no doubt that Charlotte was the one who helped Emily the most, and it was her that stumbled upon Emily’s poems and other written material and was the one who very much made sure they got published. Emily wanted nothing to do with it and was much more closer to Anne than Charlotte. When the book was first published Anne was even credited to the writing and it was first published under both Emily & Anne’s pseudonym names of Ellis & Acton Bell.
Many publications have been published over the years that have intended to show that Branwell was the real guy behind the story of Wuthering Heights. Such as the likes of Stella Gibbon’s 1932 novel “Cold Comfort Farm” and Pauline Clarke’s “The Twelve and the Genii”. The only real person who could of really answered as to who really wrote it was Charlotte Bronte and she very much took that to her grave.
The words that Gordon Midgley wrote for “From The Heights” very much portray the life of Branwell Bronte down to a tee. It very much describes the talented young side of Branwell‘s early life up to his pitfalls, downfalls and failures later on in his life, and how at the end of it all, how he was painted out of history. Midgley’s story also pertains to the possibility that Branwell may well of wrote the first draught of Wuthering Heights and Emily was the one who took it and finished it off. It’s also not known if he was aware of his 3 sisters debut novels that got published in 1847 the year before he died.
In many ways Branwell‘s innocent childhood and last years of madness could very well portray the character of Heathcliffe in the book. In the end he threw himself over the cliff so to speak. But no doubt he left a legacy and the picture he painted of his 3 sisters may even be a monument of his own history, even if he painted himself out of it all.
“From The Heights” is very much another great piece of work and strong contender for the top spot on the album. Tillett’s GREAT! voice puts over this final chapter of the GREAT! story very well with how he has expressed it all. Midgley comes in the right parts with his vocals to back it up and support and once again we have a very powerful song that is well hauntingly done with the use of acoustic guitar, electric guitars, bass and drums to raise the game and lift it all up with its superb intense build up and puts an end to one really superb album.
To sum up Monuments by Napier’s Bones its certainly an album that has plenty to say with all 5 of its tracks and story lines put to them, and is certainly an album that gives a reviewer like myself plenty to speak about. I found all the subject matter throughout this album purely fascinating, and I knew very little and certainly in most cases nothing at all about the impact and monumental history of how these people left their mark on it in one way or another in this world.
The fact that I knew very little and nothing at all about the people that are contained on this truly GREAT! album, made it that more fascinating and exciting to read up on it all. Though please do not take my own personal views of Branwell Bronte’s personal life of how I seen it with my own observations.
My own personal observations have come from mainly reading upon both his life and his sister Emily’s life, and I have not gone into any great detail by reading entirely all the other various publications in my own research on the subject matter. And I am far from any expert who knows the inside out of that classic novel Wuthering Heights either or how it really came about.
There is no doubt that a great deal of thought and effort has gone into the making of this album and it stands up very well as a testament to the history of the lives it portrays, and how it’s been put across. When it comes to concept albums and the source of the material that we have here, it very much suits the world of progressive rock to a fine art, and no doubt this prog rock album is a very fine work of art that truly GELS with how it’s all so skilfully been very well constructed and woven together.
My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Standing Childe“. “Mirabilis” and “The Heights“. I also think it is very hard to pick a favourite out of the 3 tracks and I could even include the other 2 tracks in these highlights. But I could just of easily of said the whole album and as an album it purely works solidly as one.
Monuments by Napier’s Bones is a very strong body of work and is very much a solid album with all the material that was written for it. There is no doubt that an album like this will, or should appeal to many who like myself are into the world of prog rock and concept albums stories and conspiracy. For those who are into such GREAT! music I can honestly recommend this album 100% and it does not in any way at all disappoint in the slightest bit either. The album very much will stand up and speak for itself, and I suggest at the very least you give it a listen.
Napier’s Bones may very well be a two man outfit, but there is no box of magic tricks or gimmickry that has been added to this album in the studio at all. It’s all purely done with the use of real instruments, real guitar effects, real voices and real sweat apart from the drum programming and even that has been skilfully done. To put it all in a nutshell Its very much the work of two very well skilled musicians who purely make a great team.
Like I have mentioned before regarding overall quality of Gordon Midgley’s production work. it very much has been improving all the time and this album comes with a superb production. I also personally think this album is their best album yet, and If you are into the likes Rush/Queen/Steve Hackett/Pink Floyd and many, many more there is no doubt Napier’s Bones will appeal to your taste. Monuments is a masterful magnificent album that portrays an hauntingly dark, thrilling and mischievous look into those who left their mark in history. Most of which you most likely would never had heard of, which makes it even more exciting.
The album Monuments by Napier’s Bones is free to listen to and can also be purchased as a digital download only for as little as £4 or more @ Bandcamp. You can listen or even purchase it from this link here : https://napiersbones.bandcamp.com/album/monuments
This Bright Winter’s Day Sally Forth Feel The Bite Of The Wind From The North…
The CD track listing is as follows:
01. Standing Childe. 23:03.
02. Mirabilis. 10:25.
03. Waters Dark. 3:07.
04. Free To Choose. 5:59.
05. The Heights. 8:09.