[sic] Magazine

Geist & The Sacred Ensemble – Within

You wouldn’t want to run into ritualistic Seattle collective Geist & The Sacred Ensemble in a dark alley, the chance they may transform into horrifying night beasts at the merest glimpse of the moon an everpresent concern. In that vein, the band’s third album, Within, picks up exactly where their last doom-folk opus left off. It’s an album full then of sinister shuffles, as well as frontman Michael “Geist” Sauder’s meditative chanting and it flows like an initiation rite, pulsing from subtle bass rhythms and the ambient chatter of percussion and chimes through to heavy-lidded gloom and bleak dirges that herald the arrival of some destroyer.

Ethereal musical saw weaves through the solemn progressions of “Late Night Lullaby” like a creeping mist, the hairs on the back of your neck rising involuntarily as if someone were walking over your grave. Tieing the Geist & The Sacred Ensemble oeuvre together, “Beyond This Vessel” shares a name with their previous release and sounds like Swans tuning up on sweat-lodge drones while Michael Gira clears his throat. Nine-minute opener “Ode To A Graey Sky” strikes a compromise between cross-Atlantic spelling variations and and flickers from creepy folk acoustics to ghostly rock, Sauder’s vocal again drawn out like Gira. “Whatever happened to innocence and purity?” he intones on repeat. A blackened void of terrors, Within plays hopelessly like the two have been struck from the world from this point forward.

~Within is out now on cassette via Moon Glyph.~