As we all know, a feedback intro is always welcome. An album that starts with the squeal of speakers usually indicates extreme distortion to follow. In this case, the feedback acts like a violin or a flute, providing a unique texture in a unique way. Arne Heesch’s voice rings loud and clear in the recording, bringing focus to the many elements that enter the mix as songs and lyrics pick up intensity.
Arne Heesch is well known as a foundational member of German noise rock legends Ulme and is currently playing in the sludge/doom outfit Treedeon. Demons Are Scared is his first solo album, bringing together older revived tracks and newer songs that conjunctly serve to illustrate a new dawn.
This album feels like a contribution to two traditions more closely related than it could seem. It’s a different take on the folk canon, as well as a distinctive offering to the growing bodies of rock & metal as their evolution continues.
Sick Of Saying Goodbye opens the album, which is going to take us on a journey from the folk tradition to modern metal styles and production. To my ear, Heesch distinguishes himself from other folk metal projects in keeping close to the singer songwriter ethos, which transcends cultures and nationalities around the world.
The sensitivity on display is bold, sincere expression leaning into the intensity that’s just enough to rock, and for the more distorted and aggressive sounds to merge beautifully with the acoustic guitars and melodies. The cover art does a great job of representing the sound of the album. Simple but rich with a crisp beauty, featuring lettering done by artist Conny Ochs.
Heesch’s stories and songs are dramatic affairs, employing layers of acoustic and electric guitars, and all manner of instruments to communicate, to tell the tale. Always in the center remains the voice, the heart, and the acoustic guitar, speaking of demons within and out, madness and love made inseparable, powers of mind and hand, sky, earth, and fire in his eyes.
Heesch’s stories and songs are dramatic affairs, employing layers of acoustic and electric guitars, and all manner of instruments to communicate…
Treeprayer is a powerful song to nature. The singer becomes a character, carrier of burdens, soldier of love. This character is capable of starring in many stories, all of them seemingly, although impossibly related, from the singer’s own experience, and these stories are full of glory and loss, all the drama of humanity. The singer’s great gift is allowing us to feel it all. The way great folk music bares the soul of its singer is the way this music shines.
The Glowing is a strong yet sensitive bluesy number which gets to catch the ear, while somehow also being highly meditative.
The female vocals by Heesch’s partner Yvonne Ducksworth (also of Treedeon and formerly Jingo de Lunch) often provide the necessary counterpoint to Arne’s constant, imposing presence. It’s nice to see the female vocals be on their own at times on Demons Are Scared, it really allows Ducksworth’s wonderful voice and unique contributions to shine.
There’s a common vibe between the start and the end of the album that makes it feel as if it has really come full circle from quite a journey, sealing the narrative of the character. At the end of the road, there is rest.
Demons Are Scared was recorded in the singer’s living room by Ulf Reinhard, who also contributed additional guitar and keyboard work. It was then mastered by Exile On Mainstream alumni Stefan Brueggemann.
Scribed by: Goro Riffs