O HEIÐRÚN ‘The Human Voice Is A Disease’ Album Review

o Heiðrún

Article By: Leanne Ridgeway

Blackseed Records presents the August release of ‘The Human Voice Is A Diseasefrom o Heiðrún. Forged in the Steel City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this release holds all existing o Heiðrún recordings to date, in one haunting compilation.

These six songs were previously only available in separate, very limited runs on cassette, CD, or vinyl releases featuring other experimental noise artists such as Zaimph, HOGRA, Agathocles, and Vomir. Being that I wrote this press release, I figure this might be an ideal time to throw my review of this album into the mix. We also have the album streaming in full. So, do me a favor… go click play now, wait about 20 seconds, then read on.

First, the prerequisites – there are no guitars being shredded. There is no bass being throttled. This is clearly not a typical ‘Riff Relevant‘ style or genre, but in that same breath… this is so very HEAVY.

Chilling, isolationist soundscapes from a doomed soul demonstrate the raw aural wails of times past, times dark, and times of unflinching ethereal turmoil. o Heiðrún pours from the mind and essence of Shy Kennedy – also known for her powerful vocal leadership of Pittsburgh’s doom metal quartet Horehound, as well as the creator and organizer of next month’s Descendants of Crom heavy music festival.

This is not a genre I normally listen to. I love my guitar riffs, those thundering bass lines, drums hammering until my head is counting pedal thumps per second. This has absolutely zero of what I typically want to hear. This is 100% pure vocal riffing and manipulations. While it may not be for everyone, I still think everyone should hear it at least once.

This compilation melted the icy, black depths of my heartless soul. This is the soundtrack to all of your anxiety, your fear, anger, frustration, rage, and every single doubt in every moment of life’s torment. This is the monster in your closet, smiling, waiting to taunt you. Translation: it disturbed the ever-living hell out of me.

‘The Human Voice Is A Disease’ Tracklist:

01. lighthouse
02. a dusting of filth
03. follow me to the sea
04. death will cradle us
05. Pestis
06. creature

With o Heiðrún, Shy is a tempest force all her own. Her vocal tones reminiscent of a netherworld wraith, she shares the pain of this realm with us all. Fans of Ambient Noise, Dark Soundscapes, Drone, and Experimental Doom anthemics will find themselves unnerved and enamored by o Heiðrún. ‘The Human Voice Is A Disease‘,  in spite of its title, displays a stunning vocal range. It evokes emotion in the listener, if only you leave your control in her hands.

Shy Kennedy‘s voice alone would guide you well far away from your comfort zones. Before the end of the album, I wasn’t even sure where those boundaries existed anymore. I’m still unsure if I was afraid or calmed. I’m a fairly dark-minded, cynical sort. During my listening, I had the inclination to want to use this release as almost a form of aural meditation. Yes, to many this may be an unsettling experience, especially if one were to listen through headphones. For me, it was oddly soothing.

The expiration of all that dwells in the recesses, those ‘dark corners’ thoughts, the ones that haunt you. This is a purging of all that black sludge buried in your mind. Borrowing someone else’s voice do all the screaming that you can’t quite ever bring yourself to do. Giving some sense of relief, just to finally get it all the way the fuck out of you. Shy can do that for you here, with o Heiðrún.

In an alternate interpretation, this entire album would easily transfer – exactly as it is – to score a suspenseful, superiorly creepy film. It has that build-up, the surprise moments, the seat-edge, shoulders hunched, a flurry of atmospheric change that lends your mind to a suspension of disbelief.

All writing, vocals, sounds, noise, and recording were performed by Shy herself and are presented in their fully unmixed and unmastered state on ‘The Human Voice Is A Disease‘. All artwork created by Blackseed Design.

To celebrate the release, a live Pittsburgh performance will open the night (along with Brown Angel) at Club Café on August 18th for the infamous noise pioneers Dälek (Facebook Event). The digital release is available now via oheidrun.bandcamp.com and physical CDs will be released on August 15th.

o Heiðrún:

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