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Wovenhand

The Threshingfloor

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Label: Sounds Familyre

Resurrect Jim Morrison, inject him with multi-instrumental prowess and teach him 21st century production methods and you might hear results similar to David Eugene Edwards’ Wovenhand. Chances are if you’ve heard even a fraction of a Wovenhand tune, you know what I’m talking about. The enigmatic mountain man and his resonating baritone voice return for another bout of what you’d come to expect from him: the fantastically intense, the intensely eerie, the eerily…religious? As with his previous works, Edwards spares nary a lyrical theme on anything but the Lord, his teachings and his spirituality. Quite the juxtaposition against Wovenhand’s progressive shade of folk – an unmistakable acoustic brand of industrial metal. No wonder Tool recruited them for their latest tour.

To preface with a sample lyric: “It is his spirit/ It is his fruit/ Lord Jesus/ Come bestow belief/ The beauty of the finished work/ You regard him not risen/ On the ancient horizon.” The Threshingfloor repeats with similar poetic sentimentality, immediately mirroring the Lizard King’s own mythological pride during the late ’60s. Edwards’ droning, earth-shivering music complements his religious hubris in a most unique way. Throw out every preconceived notion you have about Christian rock; Edwards does Jesus his way. Like the Roman Church, the influences of Edwards’ music span the world over. It’s easy to single out the various subtleties of tribal Native American rhythm sections, medieval guitar chords, holy Eastern chanting and Western banjo licks – all in a shell of acoustic grunge that sounds like it was recorded in a Tibetan monastery. Sound overwhelming? At times it is, but Edwards executes such anxious music without inflicting or displacing anxiety onto his listeners.

“Sinking Hands” begins the superficially apocalyptic album on a dark note. The song sounds like a humble companion piece to Soundgarden’s Superunknown. The title track – another album cornerstone – breaks in next with a vigorous drumbeat and monotonous Eastern melody, almost taking cues from the likes of bands like Monster Magnet and Days of the New. The album continues in this template, simultaneously evoking timbres of ecstasy and dread. “His Rest” and “Behind Your Breath” could be considered highlights, but aren’t too above any of The Threshingfloor’s other entries. Ironically, Edwards ends things traditionally on the album’s one bluesy track, “Denver City,” which patters along in such a stark contrast of upbeat rock ‘n’ roll.

As usual, Edwards takes everything that’s pretentious about progressive rock and Christian rock and uses it to his advantage. The mood, the melody and the passion are all present, unfiltered. The Threshingfloor is less a progression of Edwards’ craft than it is a continuation of what he does best. As long as the music is this captivating, that’s entirely fine with us.

by Jory Spadea
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