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The Reticent - The Oubliette CD (album) cover


The Reticent


Experimental/Post Metal

4.21 | 46 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars "Voices of Old People," a track on side one of Simon & Garfunkel's 1968 classic record Bookends, features recordings of elderly people summarizing and reflecting on the lives they lived and which will soon come to an end. Stitched together by Art Garfunkel, the track is part of side one's broader concept of telling the story of growing up and growing old in post-war America. It is a brilliant illustration of how sampling spoken word conversations can enhance music's story-telling potential. On The Reticent's late 2020 release The Oubliette, a similar stylistic flourish is employed throughout the record. However, whereas the samples on Bookends are meant to portray the self-reflective and celebratory nature of growing old, The Oubliette uses them to magnify the tragedy and abject horror of growing old with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

As the record name suggests, a person who develops dementia in his or her old age will increasingly find themselves imprisoned; both physically by the walls of the elderly care facility charged with their care and mentally as the patient is no longer capable of successfully interacting with their surroundings.

Musically, Chris Hathcock, the mastermind and primary instrumentalist behind The Reticent, successfully employs a mix of prog, folk, and death metal, in addition to the above mentioned sampling techniques, to explore all facets of the tragedy befalling Henry, the elderly character whose decent into the depths of dementia are detailed throughout the record. On tracks like "The Captive," "The Palliative Breath," and "The Nightmare," its hard to avoid making direct comparisons to Opeth, particularly the riffs, acoustic passages, and mix of soft vocal harmonies with hard death growls. Of course, Opeth have not made music like that this in over decade so I personally have no objection to other bands, especially ones as competent as this one, giving it a go themselves.

The Oubliette is definitely not a perfect record. With 3 songs over the 10 minute mark, its almost inevitable that some musical ideas will not land with the listener. But this is also a very understated record. This will definitely take even a dedicated listener a few spins to really wrap their head around it. But once they do, the payoff is immense.

ssmarcus | 4/5 |


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