Personnel: Rachel Davis (vocals); Thomas Fisher (guitar); Daniel Copeman (drums, electronics).
Audio Mixer: Felix-Florian T?dtloff.
Recording information: Golden Retriever Studios, Berlin.
Photographer: Adam Kola.
Esben & the Witch radically reframed their music on A New Nature, stripping their sound to a sinewy minimalism and expanding their songs with newfound confidence. Its starkness felt necessary, and though the band brings more color and atmosphere to Older Terrors, that spirit of bold reinvention continues. Recorded in their adopted hometown of Berlin, their fourth album consists of four epic-length songs. While many acts don't even attempt songs over ten minutes, Esben & the Witch are in their element when they go long. They proved this on A New Nature's striking 13-minute centerpiece "The Jungle," and they prove it again throughout Older Terrors, allowing sounds and moods to unfurl at a majestic pace. "The Reverist" simmers for four minutes before Rachael Davies' vocals grace the track, while "Marking the Heart of a Serpent" fills every moment with drama as it takes folk, prog, metal, and Middle Eastern elements into its scope. To match their longer songs, Esben & the Witch adopt a fuller sound on Older Terrors: Thomas Fisher's riffs are heavier, Daniel Copeman's drums are more pummeling, and Davies' voice has never sounded better. While her silvery highs and smoky lows on "The Wolf's Sun" still reflect a kinship with PJ Harvey and Chelsea Wolfe, the way she drives the album's moods and momentum is all her own; at one point, she wails "I am the magnetizer!" and it's a perfect description of her role within the band. The elemental power the band plays with echoes the forces of nature that inspired songs such as "Sylvan," which depicts a forest fire with such poetic beauty that it's hard not to be drawn into the flames. As its title suggests, there's an eldritch purity to Older Terrors' combination of post-rock, shoegaze, and metal that makes it some of Esben & the Witch's most ambitious and captivating music. ~ Heather Phares