Ross Kemp eh? When he isn’t terrorising the villains of Walford he’s off following the army in Afghanistan or fearlessly investigating ultra-hard street gangs. So it’s quite a surprise to find him releasing a folk/doom album (This album is by ROSE Kemp – Baldy-Hardman/Musician Differentiation Ed). Fuck! I had so many great Eastenders lines ready as well. But “Fuck” is a good way to start this review, as not only is it the opening word of the album (admittedly it’s a beautifully delivered choral “Fuck” but it’s a “Fuck” nonetheless) it’s also a succinct utterance that perfectly captures the confusion created by the merger of folk and doom that makes up Golden Shroud.
Eastenders jokes aside; Rose is pretty much folk royalty. As the daughter of Steeleye Span’s Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp her heritage is unquestionable, but her interpretation of her roots are as far away from foldy-roldy maypole circling as you are going to get. As this, her three track, 43 minute, doom-folk opus Golden Shroud eloquently demonstrates.
When it comes to genres clashing the results can be hugely mixed, my street-dance/ambient project clearly was doomed to failure from the outset. And, whilst on paper, this would also seem to be the melding of two incompatible palettes, in reality, it emerges from darkness like a witch weaving her spells straddled upon the shoulders of a broad-sword wielding black-knight.
Encompassing chugging and marching doom on opener ‘Black Medik’ through to the drawn out and deliberate drone metal of ‘Blood Runs Red’ the musicianship never misses a step. It’s always rife with purpose and provides a suitably macabre backdrop for Rose’s voice to chant, wail and gnash at from the shadows.
It’s the perfect album to convince your neighbors that you’ve opened a dungeon in your spare bedroom. It’s also a hugely innovative body of work that takes numerous steps in new and exciting directions. Whilst it may prove too dark for some, for others it will be the ideal soundtrack to the onset of winter.