Artist: King, Andrew
Title: The Harbinger of the Decaying Mind
Label: Old Europa Cafe
Format: 10"
Catalog #: ak10
Condition: mint
Price: $12.00


By now, Andrew King might be a familiar face in the neofolk and industrial scene. He has collaborated with well known artists as Sol Invictus and Knifeladder, and recently with French ambient project Les Sentiers Conflictuels on the excellent 1888 album about Jack the Ripper. This 10" EP - limited to 500 copies and with a wealth of info on the tracks - contains material from a period where King was not in the spotlight as much. It contains a mixture of live recordings and early versions, of which some tracks later appeared on the The Amfortas Wound album. The first three tracks are from a rehearsal session from 2001. "Proto-Azazel" is a setting of a war poem by David Jones, and together with the following "Gethsemane", it forms a gripping piece about the grim side of war. This latter piece, based on a poem by Kipling, is similar to the version on The Amfortas Wound, impressive with its combination of drone loops, war drum percussion, and dark lyrics. The version of "The Knight Templar's Dream" is, in my opinion, better than that on the full length album, because of the more varied organ melody, which adds an epic touch to the already impressive Masonic hymn. This is also how Andrew performs it live nowadays, though with far better vocal performance than on this early version. Following are three more traditional songs. "The Captain's Apprentice" - about a captain regretting the lethal flogging of his boy - is brought in an appropriately downcast manner, with near-weeping voice. "Henry My Son" is the oldest recording, from 1999, with Andrew singing an unaccompanied version of this traditional song about a boy being poisoned by his sister. The EP ends with a powerful rendition of "Worcester City", again preferable to the version on the full length album, because it is brought in a slower, more ominous matter, and with suitably heavy percussion. It's a powerful ballad about a servant who loves his mistress, but poisons her out of jealousy. What these recordings lack in sound quality and, here and there, vocal performance, they make up in power and honesty. If you enjoy Andrew King's other material, this EP is highly recommended. For those who aren't yet familiar with his work, the split with Changes or The Amfortas Wound might be a better starting point. Or better yet, try and see Andrew performing live, an experience which outshines anything put to record so far.