Advertisement

Album Review: Precious — He Has Abandoned Us


Precious

He Has Abandoned Us
preciousiowa.bandcamp.com

Precious is Cedar Falls’ Oliver Weilein, and He Has Abandoned Us is a concept album based around the story of a man (of unspecified historic time) who loses his family to the plague and retires to an abandoned temple to beseech God, who never answers him.

He Has Abandoned Us is mostly made with synthesizer and sampled sounds. Weilein has a deft touch for layering sampled choir and orchestral sounds to make epic, lush dirges. Even with today’s advanced computer-based sampled instruments, it’s easy to make crappy-sounding music, but Precious’ songs avoid that trap. The synthetic violoncello sound that anchors “I Shed My Blood For You, Lord, I Beg Of You // Self Flagellation,” for example, has a subtly modulated timbre that rubs nicely against the ear. On other tracks a muffled voice sometimes speaks, more as atmosphere than narrative.

He Has Abandoned Us is tagged as “Black Metal” on the bandcamp page, but there’s very little of the roaring guitar and thundering drums of that genre. The only link to black metal seems to be that these songs are like the traditional opening track of metal records: a dour, neo-classical preface to the main event of roaring guitars and punishing drums. Keeping things quieter and more ambient just deepens the mood.

It’s easy to make fun of the operatic hopelessness of the black/doom metal genres, but it’s a feeling with which most people can identify from time to time. Weilein’s hero is a bit like Camus’ Sisyphus: He accepts his depressing fate, but keeps going. Camus says, “We must imagine Sisyphus happy.” Though happiness violates genre conventions in the case of Precious, embracing and wallowing in despair can feel pretty good when it’s done this well.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 242.


Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV » editor@littlevillagemag.com

Advertisement

Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!

July 2020 marks Little Village’s 19th anniversary. With our community of readers alongside us, we’ll be ready for what the next 19 have in store.

BECOME A SUPPORTER:

Regular

$10/mo or $120/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.

Italic

$20/mo or $240/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.

Bold

$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
LittleVillageMag.com connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.