Review: T.O.L.D-It’s Not About The Witches

The Order of Life and Death, or T.O.L.D, have announced the completion of a debut album set to be released on the 17th June 2016. ‘It’s Not About The Witches’ features eleven tracks of unique melodies, combining different musical styles to create a host of captivating music which will undoubtedly appeal to listeners with varying music tastes.

From the gospel input in Return Forever, to the religiously inspired lyrics of Lucifer’s Eyes, to the Classical-electronic transitions in The Fool, Daniel James Smith, Producer Tom Biller and Mixer Peter Katis, incorporate a vast array of musical styles to cater to the wider music society and portray overall versatility of T.O.L.D.

The track The Fool perfectly displays this collaboration of musical styles. Listeners are initially introduced to a simple piano solo that portrays the classical influence on Smith’s music. Gradually the solo increases in technical ability, and the involvement of layering piano and synthesized background accompaniment begins. Surprisingly, however, this cuts to complete silence, and transitions into a heavily synthesised electronic section only a minute into the track. Smith also includes an offbeat pulse, a repetitive melodic structure, minor chord progressions and electronic instruments to exhibit a contrasting style of music. Towards the end of the track, in a 360 degree spin, listeners are returned to the classical era, ending with the elegance of the solo piano with which the album begins.

In a stark contrast, Lucifer’s Eyes has a lack of musical transitioning. Instead, steel drums, electronic accompaniment and evocative lyrics are sustained throughout the song. A constant tempo and rhythm throughout the track  help to maintain its hypnotic feel, which is readily associated with the steel drum sound. This technique, coupled with the use of synthesisers, encompasses listeners with a positive vibe; we almost forget the underlying theme of this song- the Devil. Lyrically, the repetition of: ‘I can’t see the way out/ Devil’s taken me now’, which is layered over the accompaniment, symbolises how we are wrapped up in the triviality of  life so much that we forget what else surrounds us.

The inevitability of death and the religious allegory of the Devil’s grasp form an evocative lyrical meaning to the piece, one which displays yet another talent of T.O.L.D- the ability to sustain the attention of listeners whilst inviting them to view life from an alternative, religious perspective. As a result of such provocative lyrics and an enticing motif, we as listeners are made to feel as if the Devil’s eyes, Lucifer’s eyes, constantly look upon us. The use of the ‘I’ throughout this song also suggests that there is a level of personal experience involved in this track, displaying T4C’s view of the new album: that it ‘showcases his deftness at telling stories both personal and poignant.’

Evidently, this album is multi-layered, not only in terms of melody, rhythm and technique, but also in regard to meaning and personal experience. Smith’s creativity is definitely one to be inspired by- and this album is hopefully the first of a continuing display of T.O.L.D’s extraordinary musical ability.

Emma Humphrey

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