David Eugene Edwards has never required amplification to create music that feels highly charged and coursing with an uncanny power. On his 1996 debut album with former band Sixteen Horsepower, Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes, the Colorado-born singer/songwriter merged disparate aesthetics of The Gun Club and old-time Americana, crafting haunted Old Testament dirges through primarily acoustic instruments like banjo and bandoneon. Even with the volume cranked and the fuzz enhanced on albums like Low Estate or much of his tempestuous work with Wovenhand, Edwards is always the most intense element of the music he makes, a figure who speaks through spiritual imagery and the voice of a soothsayer. To hear his music is to feel its impact.
Hyacinth only seems to amplify that intensity, even as Edwards returns anew to a primarily acoustic approach, its songs written largely on an old banjo and nylon-string guitar. His first proper solo album after two decades with Wovenhand, Hyacinth is draped in apocalyptic pall and chilly tendrils of darkwave, its atmosphere co-crafted by producer Ben Chisholm, whose work with Converge and Chelsea Wolfe would certainly qualify him for splashing the canvas with doom and portent. But even amid the subtler moments, wherein the gentle plucks of Edwards’ guitar are left to resonate on their own amid his commanding vocal delivery, Hyacinth is a commanding set of songs.
Full review: treblezine.com