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Your Life On Hold - Burning For The Ancient Connection (2017) - Review

Band: Your Life On Hold
Album title: Burning For The Ancient Connection
Release date: 22 September 2017
Label: Solar Lodge

01. Phoenix
02. Attawapiskat
03. Exorcism
04. Already Lost
05. Rome
06. An Old Man's Song
07. Falling
08. Hope Is For Dreamers

We can't say that 2017 was until now really a good year for gothic rock, with exception of albums released by Merciful Nuns, Ritual Reaper, Soror Dolorosa, Miazma, Then Comes SilenceLa Scaltra and some others, if we can even count them as such, the rest was more or less, like in the last couple of years, just kind of bland repetition of everything already done in the past. But ok, it seems that gothic rock/post-punk bands in general don't even try to evolve further this genre, mostly because fans of the genre are quite happy if they get 1000 and one repetition of what was done in the 80s, a part with some honourable exceptions like, yeah, I'll say it again, Aeon Sable (!), of which I'm eagerly waiting for a new album. Nevertheless, one of the most prominent gothic labels, Solar Lodge, expanded a bit its roster of bands and beside the banshees of La Scaltra now we got a new name there, it's Your Life On Hold, a surprising addition for the German label.

Your Life On Hold is a solo gothic rock musical project by Belgian musician John Wolf, expressing the melancholic and gloomy aspects of life, which is often wracked by solitude and loss. After producing electronic music for over 20 years, Wolf got totally bored by the knobs and buttons of machines and computers, thus he found the proper musical style to express his immer torments in gothic rock and Burning For The Ancient Connection is his debut album. I don't find it strange at all that the German label Solar Lodge decided to sign Your Life On Hold, as it offers an intriguing approch to goth music, it's in a way giving it a new fresh breath of life, so let's call it post-goth.

Still, don't expect Your Life On Hold to explore new grounds, most of the songs are more or less based on generic gothic rock, it's also pretty much evident that albums like Mourning Sun of Fields Of The Nephilim, Vision Thing of The Sisters Of Mercy, Love of The Cult or even The Cure's Pornography, plus some more, influenced the sound provided by Your Life On Hold in a big way. You'll hear here plenty of familiar elements, but yet Your Life On Hold brings something pretty unique, a certain modern production and with addition of some uncommon elements the soundscapes on this album here and there reach unimaginable heights.

Burning For The Ancient Connection is full of dreamy rather depressive atmospheres, throughout the whole album there are magnificient captivating melodies, not to mention how well John's rather raspy deep, emotional and powerful voice when needed to express the anger kept inside, fits in here, and by a little help of Artaud Seth (Garden Of Delight, Merciful Nuns, Near Earth Orbit), who took over the mixing and additional programming, the songs got certain multidimensional span.

From the amazing opener "Phoenix" on we get amazing guitars that are many times pretty heavy, metallic, other times sparkly gothic, sometimes even reminding to Billy Duffy's (The Cult) grips, especially guitar lines in "Falling", often turning into dense wall of sound. Catchy refrains, gloomy ambiances, powerful vibrant drive, everything is coherent, thick and nicely flowing. The track that amazed me the most is versatile "Exorcism", which brings forth a very haunting mix of extraordinary goth, industrial rock, gothic metal, a bit of psychedelia, and yet it's nicely racked by unbeliveable dark synths, in a way like a mix of The Sisters Of Mercy and soothing side of Marilyn Manson. Also the more atmospheric or emotional tracks like is the last one, "Hope Is For Dreamers", brings forth very appealing dreamy, melancholic ambiental sound, reminding a bit to Germans Sweet Ermengarde. I must expose the vibrant but still very gloomy "An Old Man's Song", as one of the highlights of this album. Most of the tracks are quite addictive and some of them have parts that get easily stuck in listeners head, on the other side some generic gothic rock ones like "Already Lost" or "Rome" are sounding just like unnecessary fillers.

Your Life On Hold did a very good gothic rock album, and even though that is filled with amazing dark atmospheric sound, sometimes can as well bring forth some brightness and light. It's strong, very captivating, dynamic, it has depth, thoughtful sorrowful lyrics and these 45 minutes of playing time feels like ending in an instant. Burning For The Ancient Connection is a soaring album, gloomy, overall melancholic, still easy to get into its vibe and it has absolutely big replay value. Great powerful and clean production certainly adds extra poins. Burning For The Ancient Connection is a must for every gothster out there who wants some classy dose of modern sounding gothic rock.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10