Steven Severin - 23 Wounds Of Caesar album review

The evil Banshees do… Severin’s ambient doomscape

Steven Severin - 23 Wounds Of Caesar album artwork

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You’d be forgiven for thinking Severin’s spent his last two post-Banshee decades ensconced in some distant gothic castle, occasionally indulging in a little light masochism and obsessively researching catalepsy.

Life after Sioux has been significantly less Prince Prospero than one might imagine for the bassist formerly known as Spunker. In fact, in the intervening years since his ’89 solo debut (music for Nigel Wingrove’s controversial Visions Of Ecstasy), he’s forged a reputation as a respected composer of powerful avant-garde soundtracks. And he’s nothing if not prolific. 2017 sees a glut of releases (all via his website), preceded by 23 Wounds Of Caesar, a 23-minute ambient work as challenging and effecting as anything you’ll hear this year. First, a word of warning, 23 Wounds is to Hong Kong Garden what Fripp and Eno’s Swastika Girls was to Virginia Plain. We’re not in Bromley now, Toto. So, as Caesar might have put it, caveat emptor. Against a backdrop drone that’s half gaping maw of Hell and half air-con unit, Antony’s ‘Friends, Romans’ speech from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar plays out before commanding beats kick in oppressively. It’s a bit Coil, it’s a bit cool. Investigate.

Ian Fortnam

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 20 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.