Aerial Ruin - Loss Seeking Flame

06 Apr 2022 - Thorsten

Doom Folk | Release date: 09 Mar 2022 | Favorite song: Ideation

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Metal can be a lot, and maybe something outside of metal music. As long as it got the spirit. Aerial Ruin is surely no metal music, but the man behind it is metal as … . His latest full-length, Loss Seeking Flame might be one of the most unconventional metal records of the year, because it isn’t – but he is!

Erik Moggridge surely knows his metal scene and as he now lives in the Pacific Northwest he is also living in a highly vibrant music environment, and he surely enjoys that. His latest record is surely an exhibit in “music you wouldn’t have expected” after you saw the mastermind behind it. Erik is surely a man, from whom one wouldn’t expect lofty folk-songs.

There are four songs on Loss Seeking Flame (do you notice the title which is surely a good proper metal title?!) and the first three of those combine for 21:19 minutes. However, the last track is longer than those, with 21:27 minutes! Therefore we have to talk about that track in a little bit of detail later on, even though we can already say that this length is not that unusual for Funeral doom songs – like Bell Witch’s ”Mirror Reaper” on which Erik has also been featured. Bell Witch and him have also started the Stygian Bough-project several moons ago, so here you see another connection to the metal scene.

During our interview (keep your eyes open, people!) Erik said that his songwriting usually starts with a vocal harmony which he would then play around with while accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar. The lyrics then follow later, which is a bit unusual for the genre but maybe also not so, if we consider that he has no real deep knowledge of Bob Dylan, the great role-model for music like this.

When listening to the record, or to any other Aerial Ruin record, one very quickly will notice the vocal similarities to Simon & Garfunkel (yes, he sounds like a blend of both!) and the warm guitar-picking that also accompanied them pretty much. His voice has this soft, near-fragile timbre and the intonation and the delivery is also immensely lush. A voice one just wants to listen to, not because of its broken-ness but because of its warmth and decisiveness. In many parts of his songs one can hear a multitude of vocal tracks laid over each other which then creates the effect of a small choir or a voice with a lot of echo when it actually is the result of over-dubbing. Highly effective one must say! In that sense it sounds like one of those perfect Laurel Canyon records, or aforementioned Paul & Art, or even in some aspects like the wonderful Canterbury-scene vocals of this unfortunately not-popular-enough-nowadays branch of 70s British prog.

However, one track, and the one track, we must talk about is the final track - ”Ideation”. Nearly 1300 seconds of a miracle of folk. Yes, Dylan also had tracks over 10 minutes, but this one is more than 21! It starts with a simple and effective guitar motif which is repeated for a long time. But then the violin parts by Andrea Morgan come in and the track takes a completely different turn and becomes something that Midwife or Have A Nice Life would also be really proud of. Andrea’s longing violin drones really turn this into something else and one doesn’t even notice how long the track is because each single element in it seems to be nothing but a result and a necessary annex of the part before. Erik mentioned that he hadn’t even noticed how long the track had become while he and Andrea exchanged bits and versions. Within the track it is displayed clearly that he uses his voice like an instrument and that often it’s even the basis for the songs because it usually starts with him having an idea for a vocal line or a vocal part without lyrics so that these parts are him vocalizing. That surely sets him apart from many of his metal peers as metal songs are usually arranged around a guitar line.

Erik Moggridge is a bard of the 21st century – his vocal line are heavenly arranged and his music as a whole is something that should not be regarded as background music. It is music to be sat down to, to be listened to carefully, to be digested with calm and decision. Just like it has been created. Is is your regular metal music? Hell, no! Is Erik a real metal guy? Hell, yes!