The Kingdom Field


Musicians like Jayn H Wissenberg make the music world a sweeter place to exist in. […]
By Daniel Fox
February 2, 2015
Darkher - The Kingdom Field album cover

Musicians like Jayn H Wissenberg make the music world a sweeter place to exist in. Not because of big, happy choruses, blistering solos or abusive blastbeats, but because her songwriting is as close to the soul as a listener can venture. Coming from a background in Dark-Folk, previously the frontwoman for UK-based band THE STEALS, more recently she has moved onto her own solo work under the name DARKHER, with a debut, self-titled EP released in 2013, and the second, "The Kingdom Field", released at the end of 2014.

I prefer not to think of "The Kingdom Field" as a collection of songs, but a singularly-massive, 22-minute, soulside journey. For the most part, it is about as far away from the metal or rock spectrum that an electric guitar can be carried, her work weaves Gothic themes and eery atmosphere around a base of dark ambiance. Even more stripped-down than the similarly-styled French act, LETHEAN DREAMS, I experience similar feelings with Jayn's work; it is hard to pick out individual notions between the mix of entrancement, sadness, introspection and soul-searching curiosity that washes over you with each of the four movements. "Ghost Tears" feels like a constant, steady drizzle of chilling rain, the soundscape misted with fog and slow-moving shadows. For the unaware, the best way I could describe Jayn's voice would be to mention work from the likes of THE GATHERING (or, again, LETHEAN DREAMS). Not arranged at the forefront, her vocals become woven into the melody and atmosphere of the tracks.

Initial listening of "Hung" gives the impression that it is describing a sorrowful spectacle of a poor soul awaiting execution; it may well even be a metaphor for it. "Hung by the wings of wonder...Hung for the blessed to be." Make of this track what you will, but I certainly consider this the most captivating 6-and-a-half minutes of songwriting I have experienced in a long time. Gentle weaving of piano and clean guitar melodies thread the tapestry; Jayn's voice paints the picture. "Foregone", if considered with Doom-tinted glasses, may well fit into that spectrum; slow and dirgy, it sluggishly inches forward on a vehicle of fuzzy, powerful riffs; Jayn's voice moving from sadness to a mood that is moreover foreboding. The title track is almost-entirely instrumental (or, at least, lyrically-void), and consists of essentially a 4-minute interlude, interestingly-located at the end of the EP, and extremely minimalistic and stripped-down, even by previous standards. A peculiar note to end the album on, I don't understand it's placement within its tracklist at all, nonetheless an extremely moving piece.

The music will put you to sleep, and not out of boredom; it will ease your mind to rest, or it may do the exact opposite, and send you down lengthy, maze-like trains of thought. Either way, you will slip into dream-space.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect

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"The Kingdom Field" Track-listing:

1. Ghost Tears
2. Hung
3. Foregone
4. The Kingdom Field

Darkher Lineup:

Jayn H Wissenberg - Vocals, Guitars

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