Thursday, March 5, 2020

Bad Seed by Scott Lawlor

Bad Seed
Scott Lawlor
Written by
Steve Sheppard

This new release by Scott Lawlor maybe the darkest he has ever manifested, and deals with a subject that as far as I can remember, may have never been done before, to create an album to deal with the emotions, occurrences and feelings from a unique perspective about child abuse.

This seven piece suite starts with the opener The Pain of Memory; the perspective here is deceptive to say the least, we hear a child’s laughter while Lawlor performs a gentle, almost childlike energy on the keyboards, but there is a deeper sense within the weave of this offering that needs to be looked into, as hiding in the shadows of this track is something so dark, so terrifying you may just miss it, listen carefully to this piece and feel the intensity and apprehension of what is to come.

This is one of the most impressionist albums I have ever heard from the artist, but he is in a fine creative flow currently. The second labyrinth on the album has been reached, and upon the frame of the doorway is the title marked The Regression Room. Without doubt an eerie sense of foreboding can be found here, one that wouldn’t go amiss in a Tim Burton movie. The sterile environment of a mind yet to be bent to a will unknown is laid here brick by brick, and one can feel the child like innocence and a creeping movement of unreality forming all around.

Boiling Rage, a track that is self-explanatory perhaps, here Lawlor brings us a menacing backdrop of ambient tone, it is a kin to a Crow landing upon a carcass seconds before commencing its feeding frenzy, but on the cruel winds of this quite powerful piece, is one of the best performances on keyboards and synths I have heard from the artist, as he draws us a compelling, a riveting and an utterly alarming musical narrative; the cleverness of a hovering anticipation of utter fear is felt here like never before.

The title track is behind our next dusty door, Bad Seed is before you, imagine being told you were the sum of all evil, a worthless cocoon of skin wrapped around a pointless skeleton, from abuse comes guilt, from guilt comes, the constant reality of bargaining with a higher power, the result of self-blame and laying in the basement of utter self-loathing is a true Bad Seed. Lawlor’s talents excel here in manifesting a world free from the one thing we all crave, hope.

We now move to my personal favourite room within this dark dimension, it is entitled The Bleeding Soul; from the energetic refrains of this track, it peeks in through the tattered remnants of my palace of pain, my cathedral of ugly memories. Lawlor’s skill at creating a hidden dimension of mournful abandonment is breath-taking, his manifestation of these hallways of despair is literally mind blowing, the organ sound here is one that I love, but one I fear the most, as it is the creator of musical shadows of nothingness.

There is within this realm of mists a way out, a way past the deceptions of pains rich tapestry of lies, a doorway to another reality free from it clutches, and now if we cross this next threshold we will find this very emergence of a possible sanctuary, one that is entitled Haunted Memories. Time is the saviour, and from what was once a razor cut so excruciatingly tender, after a while it becomes part of a tale of past hurts and sufferings, but growing within is a slow, but ever onward intention, a curative essence of recuperation. Lawlor draws us a misty image of the vagueness of hope with his synths, and does it in a way that even the most hardened of us can feel the possibilities of an opportunity to rebuild, slowly begin to grow once more.

The last room to visit before we vacate this land of dark musical mists is entitled Healing Scars; this is a magnificent composition, one that contains a wonderful sense of arrangement, the string like sounds and the choral effects are transcendent and draw a final line in the sand for our protagonist, after all he has survived and finally won the day. The sense of craft here by Lawlor to leave the album like this is well noted, and much respect has to be given.

Bad Seed by Scott Lawlor is without doubt one of the most dark and heart rendering albums I have had to review, it took me back to a few hallowed halls of hell myself, but through music we all heal, through the splendid ability to be creative, this gives us a sense of precious hope, and Scott Lawlor has done just that by producing one of the most poignant albums this year with ease, an album narrated with tone, a dark sense of ambience and an inspired sense of genius that go into illustrating perfectly, the suffering of an innocent, and the  eventual long road out of nowhere, an exceptional release indeed.

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