Qual is the solo project of bassist and co-vocalist William Morris of the phenomenal group Lebanon Hanover. To begin with, let me point out that this album is just Gothic (with a capital G) as FUCK in terms of subject matter, execution, and composition. These elements may do little to persuade purists who would view only a “Sisters” or “Mephisto Walz“ sounding band could be labeled Goth; but the dreary minimal electronics, church reverberating organs, desolate, and hopeless melodrama (and Goth knows I love the melodramatic!) are all in abundance.
An aspect that seems amiss from a few songs were the discernible lyrics one is used to hearing from William’s previous vocal work with Lebanon. The vocals seem a bit muffled on some songs, reminiscent of the fantastic track Midnight Creature from Tomb for Two. I can feel the angst, the emotion and heart-wrenching still, but being able to recite a band you love either through a lyrics sheets (which can be found via: septic-qual.tumblr.com you’re welcome!) or clearly mixed vocals is a practice often overlooked. However, I suspect this move was intentional; interpret the emotions conveyed in any manner you like.
Sable is cold, stark and swimming in a chasm of reverberation. Spit on Me is brooding and sluggish, the River Styx of bodily fluids. Flay is a masterful demonstration of mechanical Darkwave, slow-dancing and pleasantly macabre; it is perhaps my favorite track. Benevolent Technologies is surely a club floor hit (If your local DJ has ANY taste whatsoever.), with strong minimal industrial influences, depicting a nihilistic future. O’ornate Spade is elegantly disparaging, with minimal electronic arrangements.
The Geometry of Wounds, the abnormalities of beauty made exquisite through retrograde. Luxurious Bleedings has more themes of gore; the haunting church organ transports you into the realms of horror film noir. Putrid Perfumes is enchanting and worthy a tiptoe through the local cemetery. Desolate Discotheque is about dying on the dance floor of a club, I think…simply exquisite. The final track Rip Doth Thy Scarlet Claws is a requiem of death.
“As the darkest things in life doth make my heart rattle against my ribs”
This entire album is stark and cold, the haunting sounds, though some may think cliché, are irresistible to those of the pointy boot persuasion. Being a fan of Lebanon, I knew a little of what to expect from William, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it so dark, and tormented. This album is absolutely going into my therapeutic depression playlist. I look forward to hearing more affliction from this solo project in the future, until then please check out Qual‘s bandcamp : www.qual.bandcamp.com for song samples, information, and tour dates. To those who use dark music as a therapeutic catharsis will absolutely want to own this album, a purchase I highly recommend. ► by Dj Detra