ECHTRA's "BardO" is the second installment of the Passage Cycle, a tripartite exploration of the […]
November 4, 2018
Echtra - BardO album cover

ECHTRA's "BardO" is the second installment of the Passage Cycle, a tripartite exploration of the transmission of one's essence between lifetimes; this second Chapter focuses on the interstitial space between death and rebirth. Inspired by the Vajrayana's experiential identification of this liminal sphere as the place of reckoning, a phantasmagoria facilitative of the full ripening of one's karmic imprints, ECHTRA crafts an aural ode to the soul's journey through the in between. The album contains two extended tracks, both exactly 23 minutes in length.

"BardO I" opens in solemn but pretty acoustical guitar tones. As it moves forward, it lifts you up and carries you on a breeze away from your loneliness. Or, is it taking you to a place so dark that you cannot ever escape? The paradox here is considerable. Around the six-minute mark, tortured vocals enter the fray. From there, it manages to straddle a line between the light and eternal darkness. At about the half way mark, it begins to drone, as the notes are swallowed slowly into the atmosphere around it. It then turns darker, with a more mischievous sound, like the coming of shadowy figures, marching to your doom, as the incensed vocals seek to burn out your very soul. It reminds me structurally of that ominous closing sequence in the movie "Signs," when an alien that was left behind goes in for the kill.

It segues into "BardO II," with the ominous tones hanging on for the first couple minutes. Some Black vocals enter and quickly depart, leading to some dissonant clean guitar tones, with haunting background ambiance. It slowly descends into darkness, one step at a time, getting colder and colder as it progresses. Then, enters vocals that tell a tale of despair, and are washed away by the steady rhythm of an acoustic guitar, playing softly, seemingly toying with you. It slowly starts to build again, with distorted guitar dialing up in the background, and then a deep and dark riff plunges you into the abyss. Layers come at you, and everything begins to blend together in madness, and it abruptly ends.

This is a wonderful album. The thematic elements of the space between life and death are reflected in the nature of the music. It waxes, and then wanes, with all the mystery of the night's moon. It dies, and is reborn with renewed life. The arrangements are very imaginative and extravagant, and the journey quite personal. Immerse yourself in this journey and allow yourself waken in this mosaic of epic storytelling.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








"BardO" Track-listing:

1. BardO I
2. BardO II

Echtra Lineup:

Joshua Phillips - Everything

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