Steve Von Til – A Life Unto Itself

rec-alui

Just like Wino, or fellow bandmate Scott Kelly, when taking time off from his day job, Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Steve Von Til likes to stray from metal and dabble in acoustic albums. A Life Unto Itself is Til’s fourth under his own name, following on from 2008’s A Grave is a Grim Horse [both Neurot Recordings]

Much like his previous solo outings, it’s an acoustic album of dark Americana; sometimes folky, sometimes straying into more country territory, but always fuelled by a slow burning melancholy. Accompanying Til’s gravelly baritone are slide and steel guitars, fiddles, piano, plus occasional synths, and the variety of styles and sounds on offer ensure that while the mood rarely lifts it remains a compelling listen throughout.

Whether it’s the haunting seven minutes of the title track, the eerie ‘Night of the Moon’ or the introspective ‘Birch Bark Box’, every track boats layers of subtlety, texture and emotion. Til’s poetic introspection moulds the best of latter day Johnny Cash and Nick Cave and feels very personal, and suit the leaden pace yet sombre atmosphere that Til’s music creates.

While musically Til’s solo material is worlds away from his work with Neurosis, it retains that same crushing feeling of oppression. A Life Unto Itself is a hard, tiring listen and not one for those wanting an acoustic experience to relax to [Wino’s outings with Conny Ochs are far more uplifting in comparison], but it’s a rewarding listen for those willing to revel in the misery.

 

7.5/10

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DAN SWINHOE