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Woven Hand - Ten Stones CD (album) cover


Woven Hand


Prog Folk

3.57 | 21 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars For quite some time now, David Eugene Edwards has been pumping out some of this century's most intense country jams with (the now disbanded) 16 Horsepower and his current Christianity-themed dark folk/country rock group Woven Hand, both of which are powerful displays of how Christianity can strengthen the lyrical themes of music rather than hinder it with cheesy Sunday-school fairytale mentality.

The tracks on Ten Stones are all standard 3- to 5-minute tunes, but the sophistication of each individual song arrangement is nothing to scoff at. The verse-chorus- verse songwriting method is mostly eschewed, and Edwards instead opts for complete story-like compositional methods, like listening to little vignettes of religious punishment and sorrow. These songs aren't progressive in the usual stereotyped "epic" composition style, but the compact and dense compositional sophistication is where the progressiveness lies.

Ten Stones is a rugged, dusty sounding album. The standard rock instrumentation is so dirty and gritty, I can almost imagine the band, being parched and distraught, playing in the desert during a weak sandstorm as tumbleweeds and dismembered cacti blow across the landscape while scorpions and snakes burrow into the ground for shelter from what could possibly be an isolated drought as willed by God during a fit of anger against the sinning few. Not just the sound of the instruments themselves, but the passionate power of the players comes through with every strum of the guitar and every hit of a drum. Edwards especially offers up a great performance as always -- he sings with the most passionate, powerful, preachy vocals that sound like he's seriously channeling the upset voice of his lord through inexplicably comprehensible glossolalia. The production also enhances the overall musical experience, adding more of that dusty, dry, summery heat atmosphere.

As with most Woven Hand albums, or any musical project with Eugene Edwards at its helm, each song on this album stands out on its own. One of the most powerful songs on Ten Stones is "Iron Feather", a slow, piano-driven ballad whose sonic painful drama is completely oppressive, with lyrics portraying nothing but imagery of sadness of various sorts, getting the point across that our world is and always has been full of pain and misery. The following track, "White Knuckle Grip", with great contrast, is a groovy and extremely noisy country-blues song where Eugene Edwards preaches nearly spoken-word religious imagery into your brain while a confused accordion melody wobbles around in the periphery. Besides being mostly a country/folk rock album, there are moments that break from this most -- "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars" is a smooth latin-jazz or bossa nova styled song with Edwards doing what is basically his best Sinatra impression, with beautiful mellotron providing a dramatic backup. The final two tracks are mostly powerful atmospherics, which Edwards has been utilizing since he started this band, and it really makes for a great dramatic exit to a wonderfully dramatic album.

Comparing this album to anything besides previous Woven Hand albums or anything from 16 Horsepower is a bit difficult, as everything by these two projects have a very unique sound. Basically, this is some of the roughest, dirtiest, manliest Christian-themed country/folk rock music with the added benefit of progressive composition that you'll be able to find anywhere, like a country western soundtrack to the impending apocalypse.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |


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