Various reviews for the CD 'Dark Age'


'Dark Age' is ten great songs: earnest and melodic compositions, from folk artist 'While Angels Watch' lost in the depths of time somewhere in the British underground of the 1980's. Truly, a sort of general atmosphere hovers over the whole album. A piece of it is present in each of the ten components, but I find it incredibly difficult to describe in words. Something elusive, but invisibly present.

I have loved Neofolk for more than 20 years, but not so much lately. Recently I was pleased by the new Gae Bolg release and then while exploring another of the contemporary folk formations, 'Rome', I stumbled upon While Angels Watch by chance. I am very happy about this because I had not been particularly impressed by the recent release by Rome. But 'Dark Age' has hit the nail on the head. With a vocal similarity to the unforgettable Nick Cave and the creativity of Douglas Pearce. All elegant - no frills. You can quietly enjoy this music relaxing on the veranda on a warm summer day. There is no need to dwell on each track individually... it is as one big symphony. The band has stayed true to the classic style of the fore-fathers of Neofolk, such as Current 93 and Death in June.

Nowhere did I notice any falsity... not in the vocals, no electronics or in-game music which often occurs in the Underground scene by those who think they can sing and play as they like. None. Nor where there should be no place for mass consumption. While Angels Watch are true professionals; it's very unfortunate that there is so little of their musical heritage available to enjoy. With such a sense of style and melody they could move mountains. This is not the end.

Inspiration Magazine


I have always enjoyed the atmosphere of post-punk during the mid-80's. I am particularly pleased when such an atmosphere organically weaves in dark-folk. The penultimate is for me - Rome, the last - While Angels Watch. Enter "Dev", who cut his teeth in various unknown post-punk bands, and in the mid-80's rotated amongst  the WSD artists. In other words, he had every chance to stand in line with David, Douglas and Tony. But then - drugs, mental rethinking, "the pressure of demons", etc. As a result, only in 2002 came the album (Dark Age), whose style similar to the mid 80's, while the atmosphere gravitates more to the beginning of the decade. A melodic line and a voice terribly reminiscent of Nick Cave at the best of his years, the lyrics - Douglas Pierce times Crisis, and in general seems very close even to Rome - the same deep, primitive bass sound of classic postpunk, the same melodic riffs. If it were not for the martial drums and the availability of violins and pipes - it is, one might think, that you are listening to The Bad Seeds. Among the most modern producers, an explicit analogy can be made to Fire + Ice. In short, "Dev"- a real man, like Cave, who did not exchange romantic 80's nostalgic for commerce in the 90's. "What have you been, so you have left." I recommend this to fans of classic ENGLISH dark-folk, firmly inspired by the psychedelic 60's and post-punk 80's with results that have not yet been diluted in the jungle of occultism, the runes and World War II history.  

MSA


GIVEN that a fair proportion of what passes for Neo-Folk is often little more than a variation on the recurrent DEATH IN JUNE theme, this release from WHILE ANGELS WATCH is a real breath of fresh air. Originally conceived in 1986 along with Gary Smith (SOL INVICTUS) and Patrick Leagas (SIXTH COMM) and then temporarily placed to one side for over a decade, WAW has re-emerged from the shadows with a musical extravaganza. On reflection, however, this seemingly inexplicable period of gestation seems to have vastly contributed to the CD's deep and compelling nature, and each track has been immaculately polished since the days when WAW was releasing its music in cassette form. Acoustic, electric and bass guitars; percussion and drums; flute and French horn; piano, trumpet, violin and viola; each combine to give this recording an incredibly full-bodied and complex flavour. Indeed there are no repetitive three-chord offerings here and the first time I listened to this album I ended up playing it four times in a row. Anyone familiar with the talented violinist, Matt Howden (SIEBEN, SOL INVICTUS), will appreciate his role in the production process. Meanwhile Dev's voice steadfastly refuses to remain part of a singularly definitive style and his vocal range is quite impressive. The opening track, "Our Last Fanfare", is about the coming demise of humanity and the inevitable transition between the old world and that of a new Golden Age. Here the music drifts gently like a melancholic Celtic air, before a deep bass rhythm and clattering drumroll add a more upbeat modality to Jane Howden's flute-assisted harmonies. 'Sister of the Sea' is a nautical ode to the catastrophic and deadly lure of the siren, confirming the similarities between Dev's characteristic barritone delivery and that of Nick Cave. The delivery itself is rather unusual, too. 'Burn Like Ice' is etched upon sweeping waves of Classical guitar and the lyrics totally refuse to adhere to the typical dictates of modern formulaic verse. Again we have the Nick Cave influence, but this time the singing is truly wonderful and accelerates with a frenzied emotion before mellowing out altogether. This allows Jane Howden's poetic recital to act as an intermittent perlude to a choral duet: "Two crashing waves / One master one slave". Next we have a guest appearance in the shape of none other than Ian Read of FIRE + ICE. 'Medusa' rumbles along menacingly and bears a refreshingly nationalistic quality in its refusal to bend in the face of adversity: "And here we are as pillars of stone / We cannot move our roots from our home / Here we were born and here we shall die / Defending land with blood and with pride." This time it is Ian's job to assume a lowered vocal undercurrent, whilst Dev's rising harmonies further demonstrate his great range and versatility. 'Death In Avalon' is less than three minutes in length and slightly reminiscent of OSTARA and STRENGTH THROUGH JOY. Matt Howden's engrossing bow can be heard scything in the background above Jane's bewitching vocals. These delicate harmonies continue into the next track, 'The Warmth of Being', as a repetitive and plodding keyboard intro gives the recording a carnivalistic quality; its fluttering flutes and dark incantations ("Virgin / Mother / Crone") weaving a timeless epitaph to the endless cycle of female power and entrapment. Meanwhile,'The Waiting Ground' is a fitting testimony to just how different and original this album is when compared to many of its neo-folk contemporaries. It is at once both endogenous and exoteric. Lyrically it almost verges on R&B and the inclusion of a wailing guitar solo conjures up memories of CURRENT 93's psychedelic conclusion to 'Hitler as Kalki'. I mentioned earlier the penchant for history and homeland which pervades 'Medusa', and this theme is continued in 'Behind the Mists'. The song is a lament for the ancient and now dwindling ways of our forefathers, echoes of a forgotten world in which songs were sung and battles were raged in Englands green and pleasant land; a country which is now entering its final death-throes. 'Eye for Eye' bears the sadness of CURRENT 93's 'Soft Black Stars', but is none so forgiving in its sentiments: "You servants of false power / You who go nowhere / Just to a bottomless pit / Of dreamless sleep / Drowning us and ours / In your filth." This is a warning to the faceless automatons of the Establishment, whose materialistic wiles bring to mind G.K. Chesterton's new unhappy lords ('The Secret People'). Somehow the track seems to fuse the vocal style of Tony Hadley (SPANDAU BALLET) with 'The House of the Rising Sun' (THE ANIMALS), although WAW will probably think I'm mad for suggesting as much. The album's final offering - 'Silence' - is a torrid gale of high winds, screeching crows, peeling church bells and explosions. Its sustained and crowded atmosphere is a stereophonic pendulum. Don't be put off by the lime green packaging, this CD is fantastic. "The rest", according to Dev, "is silence".
Troy Southgate, Synthesis


A new epic sap from England, here the pleasant and precious return of this great folk project made of hard essences and tenacious inspirations. Refined soundscapes and shining tales fuse in 'Dark Age', 11 solemn and intriguing compositions crossed incessantly by the pulsations of ice and fire. A sequence of crepuscular abodes and burning archetypes, which illuminate our minds with the exalting notes of strings, percussions, guitars, piano, flute and trumpet. Melancholic and romantic symphonies endowed with vibrating folk lashes. The vigorous, narrative voice of Dev (and his enchanting lyrics) leads us along Nordic mythologies, autumnal paintings, ancient splendours, invulnerable edicts. The prestigious prescences of Matt Howden (strings, voice and also co-producer), the voices of Jane Howden and Ian Read (feat. Fire + Ice) enrich the contents of this album. Influences and similtude's: Sol Invictus, Sieben, and Nick Cave: that is to say, nowadays the most appreciated, honest and concrete style. Ascending the secret steps of purity...

Francesco G, Twilight Zone

With
a very characteristic voice - that for good or bad is the first thing that surprises of While Angels Watch, this English project made its first appearance after some compilation participations. Despite that distinctive singing, not very common in the Neo Folk scene, if you reiterate this CD playing you will get used since at least the personal voice marks deeply the music behind. Personally, I still have difficulties to appreciate some tonalities the singer gives to his voice, but for the most part, it's deep and at the same time warm and sincere temper is what has a value at the moment of appreciating the songs. I could always compare his voice with even some recognised good artists but I will not do it in this case, because I have never liked to look for similarities when listening to any musical work. Moreover, this voice is enough peculiar to starting to think in a similar one so easily. Although this is the first "official" release by WAW, the project exists since the second half of the eighties, when some demo cassettes were released. Dev, the main and central person of WAW, even collaborated with Sixth Comm. After a gap of almost ten years WAW reawakens releasing a new demo that was a first door into a new epoch resulting in this first album. WAW has been part of important compilations like "Le Jardin Des Supplices", "Songs for Landeric" or "Sol Lucet Omnibus" (Sol Invictus Tribute). But if you need more information including future activities and news of a next album in preparation you can visit the site http://www.falling.org.uk/ Well, and what about the songs? Musically this may attract the usual Neo Folk followers but not always each of them is so easily described under that general portrayal. The album is produced by Matt Howden, and the English genius also collaborates on drums and percussion, and obviously with his string abilities, viola and violin, as well as with his voice. Jane Howden also helps and sings in some songs, and a last important collaborator participates too: Ian read of Fire and Ice leading with his voice one of the best compositions of the album. The limited to 588 disc is a compendium of very good songs and others that due to his music content or their style attraction are less interesting in my opinion. The mark of Howden's instrumental treatment is quite evident in some occasions, his peculiar way of playing, specially on strings, is a very positive virtue, but at the same time determinates so clearly a concrete mood and I am wondering if his aid will be required for future albums. The main member is in charge of a multi-instrument performance and of interesting lyrics, completing this growing interest I have had after repetitive listens. Because this is a positive virtue, to have an increasing appreciation for an oeuvre, even when I think that some of the songs are not precisely extraordinary. In my opinion the best songs musically are also the best lyrically, and the first example is "Our Last Fanfare", with its apocalyptic visions enflamed by the act of strings and strictly treated drums. But especially the sound of the flute and that expressiveness of the voice are really something noteworthy. From its early bass and acoustic guitar touches after a flow of strings and reciting, all introducing what later becomes great with the intervention of the wind instrument exhaled by the drums. Passionate verses follow over exquisite instrumental treatment while Jane's backing vocals supports perfectly the flourishing parts of all instruments. "Medusa" first part with Read's voice is something of an outstanding result and significance. That later reiterated strophe with combined voices or Dev's solo, and that string varied treatment drive to cascades of emotions strongly affected by words themselves. This is an extraordinary song that shows the best possibilities of the project in all terms, but one can never avoid the sea of turbulent subtle beauty of the strings while bass, drums and guitar make the rest. The other two best songs in my opinion are "Behind the Mists" and "Eye for Eye". The eighth is deeply bound to its lyrics while soft guitar touches and placid background, though marked by evident bass touches, advances with the violin usual brilliance, giving words its deserved place. The piece has a certain feel of inevitable fate and of a dormant desperation notably represented by the constancy of the song development and the voice variable desperation. Passion and incisiveness of the tonality of the main voice is something to be remarked and a virtue that plays his role during the crucial moments or phrases. The ninth has a classical commencement of extraordinary beauty with that piano, clavichord and string play. A ballad that seems to penetrate the senses growingly, while instrumentation is subtle and elegant all the time. This classical dimension acquired, later obtains different proportions while the moment of the last paragraph arrives, reaching the best place for the lyric significance, especially when combining the sobriety and passion of voices. There is an instrumental version of this song included in the "Songs for Landeric" compilation, there is titled "A Gift for A Gift", and adapted for the purpose. "Eye for Eye" best virtue is the contrasting character of a bitter text with the sweetness of the instrumentation but mainly of the strings, which are a real classical piece of immaculate effect. Very nice ballads that maintains the line and development of the album can be found in titles such as "Sister of the Sea" (see our comments of this song in the compilation "Le Jardin Des Supplices" review), even better during "Burn Like Ice", or a very nice richness of instruments probably at the level of already mentioned tracks. "Death Of Avalon" is really near the latest Sol Invictus style, that way of guitar playing and the strings and percussion handled by Howden are so evident, although nice to hear and read. Like in some parts of "Burn Like Ice", "The Warmth of Being" is greatly adorned by the wind instruments surrounding the intensity of both Jane and main singer's voices. A great harmony conducts the piece along the whole but mainly during the last sobriety of fundamental words utterances. It is interesting to discover the increasing impetus of "The Waiting Grounds"; also I would place this song among the most interesting ones though an effort is required in my case to appreciate all the singing postures. "Dark Age" is a good album; maybe not an essential album but it has essential songs. The invited musicians are of a high standard and the main responsible has created an oeuvre where honesty and sincerity is palpable, some virtues that I miss every day more and more among this doubtful musical scene. For sure this is a base for next works of higher consideration, there is a lot of talent here and not only the music but also the texts clearly demonstrate that. Maybe during some moments I wish this were more original but here there is enough to appreciate for a debut album.
F. Paco González, SDC Magazine




While
Angels Watch is the recording name of a London based multi-instrumentalist/songwriter and vocalist, Dev. After playing in mid-eighties underground band 'Flowers in the Dustbin', and appearing live in 1985 with a project with Patrick Leagas (Death In June, Sixth Comm, Mother Destruction), Dev released two cassettes then stopped recording and performing live for over ten years. On 'Dark Age' Dev plays everything from guitar, piano, french horn (sample) to bass and drums. This release is produced by Matt Howden (Sieben, Sol Invictus) who also adds violin and along with Jane Howden, vocals. Ian Read (Fire + Ice) contributes vocals to a number entitled 'Medusa'. 'Dark Age' has been taking the Dark Folk scene by storm. The 'end times' drama of tracks such as "Our Last Fanfare" and "The Waiting Ground" is matched by severe introspection in songs like "Behind the Mists" and "The Warmth of Being". Dev uses the themes of catastrophe and renewal and wrestling with inner demons, but through the sheer force of his songwriting ability has raised the stakes of a whole genre. Comparisons with Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Gavin Friday and even Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet have been made along with the more obvious references to Sol Invictus. 'Dark Age' shows that Apocolyptic/Dark/NeoFolk can develop and improvise whilst still retaining integrity and quality. The downside is that this release is strictly limited even though I am sure there will be quite a clamour for a re-release... the While Angels Watch WWW site is magnificent too.

Mike Shankland, Darklife

"A masterpiece of modern dark songwriting."
Legacy, Germany 


While Angels Watch is the project of multi instrumentalist, singer and song writer Dev. Prior to the formation of the band Dev played with two obscure bands that went by the names of 'Flowers in the Dustbin,' and 'Tom's Midnight Garden.' Both of which appeared live back in the early 80's, but disappeared later on. Since then Dev has slowly released a few cassettes and appeared on a few compilations before finally putting together the first full length While Angels Watch album. Joining Dev on this album is Jane and Matt Howden and Ian Read. Jane contributes her fabulous voice to a few songs while Matt adds his extraordinary violin skills and has produced the album as well. While Ian Read adds his often times melancholic voice to one of the songs. While Angels Watch specialize in a neo/dark folk style that's both conventional but at other times a bit more alternative than most bands in this genre. The closest thing I could probably compare it to would be something like Sol Invictus with more of a darkwave undercurrent and simply more alternative sound to it. Dev's vocals are a little weird as their more low and bassy sounding than most singers in this genre. Not that I dislike them, but it's taken a few listens to this album before I became comfortably with them. Dev's guitar work is quite admirable on most of these songs and with the addition of a little piano, military styled percussion, and Matt Howden's stirring violin skills the listener is in store for one lovely album drenched with a great atmosphere that's filled with emotion and beauty. The absolute highlight of the album is the 9th song 'Eye for Eye.' Easily the most melancholic song on this release it opens with a very lovely piano solo upon shortly Matt Howden's violin comes into the mix. Dev's vocals on this song are incredibly sad sounding and since the music's very sad and beautiful sounding as well this is a very emotional song. The first four minutes of this song is flawless in delivering a very melancholic mood, but after the four minute mark the song changes quite dramatically. At this point the music becomes very epic and unfolds into one amazing neo folk/classical piece. Other notably songs would include 'Medusa,' 'The Warmth of Being,' and the more up tempo piece called 'The Waiting Ground.' All things considered 'Dark Age' is a very impressive album that's unparalleled in its ability to deliver complex musicianship, and great folk songs. Highly recommended!   9/10

Blackwinged, Lunar Hypnosis




While
Angels Watch is the musical project of Dev, an early member of Sixth Comm. However 'Dark Age' shouldn't be regarded as their debut as numerous cassettes were in circulation a number of years ago. In fact, Dev took a ten year hiatus from the music scene while his former colleagues forged careers with Sol Invictus and Sixth Comm. 'Dark Age' is a luxurious release draped in strings, violins and percussion accompanying the obligatory acoustic guitar. Dev has a distinct vocal slightly similar to Nick Cave and Michael Gira. For some, like others in the folk scene, his vocal may be an aquired taste. 'Our Last Fanfare' sets the scene with booming bass, a soaring flute providing the melody played off against martial percussion. It's a strong opener and one of the highlights of the album. 'Dark Age' is swathed in lush orchestral strings and stirring percussion, so it's not surprising to find Matt Howden (of Sol Invictus) collaborating and producing. Jane Howden provides alluring backing vocals adding an ethereal quality to these carefully crafted compositions. 'Sister of the Sea' bathes in a melancholic Death In June vibe. The forlorn 'Burn Like Ice' ranges from pretty acoustic folk to soft female vocals to aggressive strumming. Ian Read (of Fire + Ice) guests on 'Medusa', a highlight of 'Dark Age'. Its ingenuity springing from a trio of voices and a weeping of strings. 'The Warmth of Being' features a lead vocal from Jane Howden over a tranquil piano and a swirling flute melody. On 'Eye for Eye', another strong piano based track, While Angels Watch come across sounding like an apocalyptic Bad Seeds. 'Dark Age' has been a favourite of mine throughout the festive period, and I am already looking forward to Dev's forthcoming work with Patrick Leagas. Along with Naevus, While Angels Watch represent another exciting proposition in an already overpopulated musical field. Seek it out, if the above appeals to you. 'Dark Age' is limited to 588 copies only.
Tony Dickie, Compulsion Online 


One of the biggest advantages of writing reviews of music (or any other kind of review) is that we learn a lot during our researches. The history of While Angels Watch was, for me, a big surprise. In the end of the '80, Dev played with Patrick Leagas and participated on the recordings of the first Six Comm record; besides which he has already three editions on tape - the last one dated early '90. Besides some tracks on compilations ('Le Jardin Des Supplices', 'Sol Lucet Omnibus' among others) I didn't know anything about this project. In 'Dark Age' the influences of 'World Serpent sound' of the late '80 is very noticeable but magnificently updated with the collaboration of Ian Read and Matt Howden. This is definitely an edition that will please all the followers of the so-called dark-folk and projects like Death In June, Sol Invictus or Sixth Comm.
Rui Carvalheira, Dagaz Music


Described as "Epic folk music with Darkwave undercurrents and Neo-Classical overtones", Dark Age is strongly song-orientated, and the singing is very folky and quite raw - positive aspects in my opinion. While Angels Watch is Dev who sings and plays a wide range of organic instruments - acoustic, bass and electric guitar, drums and percussion, flute, French horn, piano and trumpet. He is joined on Dark Age by guests Ian Reid of Fire + Ice and the ubiquitous Matt and Jane Howden. The lyrical material ranges from cosmic themes typically given a dramatic Sol Invictus-style treatment to more personal reflections which tend to enjoy a lighter approach. The opening track, 'Our Last Fanfare', rejoices (presumably ironically) in the doom of humanity, and is typical of the former style, while 'Sister Of The Sea' (about a mermaid) could have come from Ralph McTell! Other echoes are apparent: 'Burn Like Ice' is in the style of American contemporary folk or neofolk with an ending reminiscent of Velvet Underground. My favourites (besides the opening track) are 'Medusa' - an heroic doom-laden track sung by Ian Reid, 'The Waiting Grounds' - a story of lost love with a good apocalyptic-folk style tune, and 'Behind The Mists' where the words unfold with a great rhythm echoed by reflective violin riffs from Matt. The other songs on the album are 'Death In Avalon' - a mainly instrumental track with a short text intertwining love, heroism and death, 'The Warmth Of Being' - a more obscure song about the three ages of woman, 'Eye For Eye' which threatens revenge against the servants of "false power", and 'Silence' - another predominantly instrumental track in orchestral/filmic/atmospheric style with some spoken word. The album should appeal to both Sol and Fire + Ice fans.

Rik - FLUX EUROPA


After contributions to the compilations "Sol Lucet Omnibus" and "Le Jardin des Supplices", I was curious what a full-length album of While Angels Watch would bring. My first impression is absolutely favourable: "Dark Age" really is a superb album! Although this is the offical debut, this English act is certainly no newcomer.The history of While Angels Watch starts in the mid 80's, then with temporary members as Gary Smith and Patrick Leagas, who later departed to join Sol Invictus and Sixth Comm respectively. Between 1986 and 1991 three cassettes of While Angels Watch appeared, before falling into a long wintersleep. Ten years later 'Dev' revived the project, and not in vain! On "Dark Age" Dev, who plays various instruments, is helped by some experienced musicians. Matt Howden produced the album and added his typical violin sound, Jane Howden also played along and Ian Read (Fire +Ice) added his characteristic voice to a song. But not only the combined skills of some talented artists make this a fine album. The songmaterial is also very strong. The ten songs combine epic folk, darkwave and neo-classical influences. You may have to get used to the peculiar voice of Dev, but that's about the only obstacle to enjoying this album... Besides, most neo-folk singers are not known for their classically trained voices... The first track, 'Our last fanfare', is probably directly the highlight of the album. You immediately recognize the strings and percussion of Matt Howden, and the grave and dramatic voice of Dev sings a slightly apocalyptic text: "For the end will surely come / No more moon - no more sun / Death & decay rule the world." But don't despair, the present doomed world is not the final station: "A new world of harmony / Will be our destiny / rejoice!" Outstanding elements in this song are the flute which carries the melody and the cheerful drumming which gets more dynamic as the song evolves. 'Sister of the sea' is a lovely acoustic song, a tranquil and romantic piece, with guitars, a soft violin and sparse drums. "And there she enchants me again..." More emotions follow on 'Burn like ice', another romantic ballad. The protagonist sings somewhat tormented: "Nights I don't sleep - the games you make me play". The song gets more energetic towards the end, until a surprising poetic break follows, in which Jane Howden joins Dev at the microphone. Next is a traditional folksong about the mythical 'Medusa'. A lovely modest song, with a deep bass and a great role for the strings. No one is more suited to sing this song than Ian Read! More mythology follows: one of my favourite tracks is 'Death in Avalon', a great vocal cooperation between Dev and Jane Howden (who sings a bit spooky) and with lovely guitars, strings and drums. 'The warmth of being' is another nice tune, with romantic flutes and piano and a few rather bold strings. The female and (whispered) male vocals are full of passion. 'The waiting grounds' is more grim and down-to-earth: "Seems all I do is wait and sit and wonder how". Though the song is pretty sober, it has a nice climax. 'Behind the mists' tells us a dark fantasy tale about the days of Camelot, about the Silent Tower, the place were angels watched, about faeries in the mist and almost forgotten battles. The piano music of 'Eye for eye' starts deceptively sweet, for a song with lyrics as "Murder it tastes sweet / The smell it is strong". In fact, this seven-minute song nicely builds up the tension, with a fabulous ending, with very intense vocals by Dev, who calls 'join our song'. "Silence' is the epilogue of the album, filled with ravens and church bells and distant voices. Although I write this review in the first week of 2003, I consider "Dark Age" to be one of the highlights of 2002, a timeless album full of passionate beauty.
Hans D., Funeral Procession


It has taken me a while to write this review, but it is always delicate to review the work of a friend, as one is never sure that one's opinion will sound biased. However, I could no longer pass over this album that I consider as one of the best albums released in 2002. Our long-standing readers already know that this 'new' English act is in fact the solo project of Dev, who is back after a ten-year break from the scene. After two promising recent compilation releases he has at last released his first full length album on the French label Cynfeirdd. Aided by Matt and Jane Howden for the music and Ian Read on vocals (Medusa), he offers the listener a superb collection of epic Neofolk ballads in the purest English tradition. The music is a combination of strings, percussion, acoustic guitar, piano, flute and trumpet that marvelously underline Dev's particular voice, that sounds like a cross between Tony Wakeford and Nick Cave (can anyone think of a better combination?). The songs flow perfectly, forming a coherent and mature album containing timeless classics such as, "Our Last Fanfare", "Sister of the Sea", or "Medusa". But if these mature and rich compositions are largely inspired by traditional English folk songs, they also encompass other influences such as the Velvet Underground or Scott Walker (Burn Like Ice). If these ten songs bring to mind the 'classic' WSD sound of the early nineties, they are nevertheless inhabited by the strength of Dev's personal, artistic and world vision, expressed in the strong lyrics that are reproduced in the booklet accompanying this release. It has taken Dev a long time to complete this album, but as with a good wine, this maturation time has been beneficial to the music - only in this case, the music is much sweeter than wine.

Ian C., Heimdallr


I first encountered While Angels Watch a while ago when Justin from Cold Spring forwarded me a 2 track CDR that showcased material from the band. To be honest I was surprised how good the tracks sounded but never really thought much more about them until the Sol tribute 'Sol Lucet Omnibus' CD was released, which featured the stunning rendition of 'Heroes Day'. A little while later, when 'Dark Age' arrived out of the blue, I was really looking forward to hearing this full length release, and after numerous listens the wait was definitely worth it. Although featuring the talents of Matt and Jane Howden and Fire+Ice's Ian Read, While Angels Watch manages to steer away from the conventional neo-folk sound that you may well have expected and have incorporated a wonderfully dark alternative sound that is awash with subtle darkwave undertones in a way that resembles perhaps Nick Cave or even David E. Williams' output. This said, 'Dark Age' still manages to retain lavishly stirring neo-folk qualities that will keep even the hardest admirer of the genre happy. With the addition of Matt Howden's beautifully moving violin accompaniment on many tracks working with the deep guttural vocals and military-esque percussion it's easy to become swept away with the atmosphere and emotion that is dripping from every track which creates an air of timeless beauty, but also a feeling of isolation and loneliness is wrapped tightly in each composition, making listening an emotional rollercoaster which you want to ride again and again. While Angels Watch have managed to compose a wonderful powerful structured and highly enjoyable release that is bound to attract them their fair share of fans, and rightly so. Great stuff.

Lee Powell, Judas Kiss