Ides of Gemini, a trio from Los Angeles, California, features the likes of Sera Timms, J.Bennett (music and film journalist) and Kelly Johnston. They released their first EP “The Disruption Writ” on their own in 2010 which obviously caught the ear of the folks at Neurot Recordings, bringing new opportunity to the table. They’ve now signed with them and are set to release their first full length album, “Constantinople”, engineered and mixed by Chris Rakestraw (Danzig, Skeletonwitch) May 28th, 2012.
Chris Rakestraw does a superb job at taking the tracks from “The Disruption Writ” and turning them into entities of superiority on “Constantinople”. Like Burzum caught up in a sand storm, the album starts off with “The Vessel & The Stake”; by far the strongest track, both lyrically, instrumentally and in terms of vocal performance in my opinion. Timms’ vocals are absolutely striking, with enough conviction to draw a dragon from its layer and fall to its’ knees.
“Slain in Spirit”, a track slathered with layer of atmospheric black metal guitar benefited greatly from the re-recording. Kelly Johnston’s drum beats which were once militaristic with incredibly stagnant pacing have been adjusted with some additions, creating a more engaging experience. It still could have been pushed further though; with more instrumental heft and perhaps fewer lyrics, it could have made for a more captivating four and a half minutes.
Followed up by “Resurrectionists,” Timms’ uses her vocals with skill. Echoing throughout corridors of the mind, it embodies the resurrection theme in a very ominously conscious manner. The mood created by the guitar/bass tracks was a refreshing angle to the typical chaos and symphonic violin scratching of a cinematic resurrection rendition.
Staggered with brand new recordings such as “Starless Midnight”, “Reaping Golden”, “One To Oneness”, “Old Believer” and “Austrian Windows”, the quality is pretty solid. Playing around with atmospheric soundscapes, elements of post-metal, black metal and psych-doom, Constantinople shows the bands ability to expand and take their sound in different directions.
For former fans, there’s quite a different feel to Ides of Gemini’s than Sera Timms’ other project, Black Math Horseman. Whereas Black Math Horseman makes you feel as if you’ve taken a wrong turn into a desolate medieval village, illuminated by the flicker of mere lanterns, Ides of Gemini hovers above complete darkness in a realm that can only be felt by those who welcome it.
The captivatingly simplistic, black and white cover art was created by Timms and Bennett. Hinting at the scratched and speckled form of a sickle scythe cradling the moon, the design hovers above the band name; its extended I’s shelter the title like the supports of Corinthian columns. In terms of graphic design, it is simply beautiful.
Having had the expectation when I was given this release, of something entirely new from what I’d already heard on “The Disruption Writ”, I was a little disappointed to see half of “Constantinople” be comprised of it. Still, once I’d had a few comparative listens, I could see the improvements and enjoyed the cohesion that had been established between the old and new for a unified release. Keep an eye out for their split with Vermapyre too, who contrast Ides’ ghostly tracks with dense fusions of noisy clusters. This trio has established some great tour dates coming up with the likes of Alcest and Nachtmystium so they’re certain to expand their audience and continue to rise with the coming tide.