Neurosis guitarist and vocalist Scott Kelly took up a solo career back in 2000 when he recorded debut record ‘Spirit Bound Flesh’. Away from his work making chaotic post-metal, the songwriter went on to write his second solo attempt seven-years later, releasing 2008’s ‘The Wake’. Four years on from the successful album and he has given us ‘The Forgiven Ghost In Me’ and it’s his most personal to date.
What makes this third record more effective is the stripped-down acoustic nature of it. It’s simple, and minimalistic, meaning that Kelly’s sensitive lyrics dominate the record, providing a thematic centre-piece throughout. Kelly is proverbially walking out into a barren desert landscape with no material garments, lying bare and channelling years of experiences, thoughts and feelings. The way Kelly delivers his lyrics is significant too. It’s done in his unique twang and whilst he hasn’t got a squeaky clean melodic voice, it’s similar to Dylan in the respect that he has a recognisable rasp that carves a deeper personal feeling to a piece. It’s better than layering on the kind of generic, note-perfect spiel you’d find on a mass-produced, chart-friendly turd. That much is certain. ‘The Field That Surrounds Me’ is a standout track for the low harmonies, subtle hum of keys and quiet trumpet backing. The broken, depressive quality induces of a feel that could be appreciated by many-a Swans or even Cash fan.
Kelly really succeeds in creating the spiritual atmosphere and desolate landscape in the mind’s eye, and with that, it’s – strangely – a pleasure to experience and look back upon the tender existential footprints that ‘The Forgiven Ghost In Me’ leaves. 7/10
Reviewed by Calum Robson.
The Forgiven Ghost In Me is out now on Neurot.