Erewän -
How Will All This End?

(CD2021, 51:37, Anesthetize Productions)

The tracks:
  1- Rising Sun On The Shore(04:06)
  2- Childhoods(05:05)
  3- Walk Away(05:32)
  4- Headline(07:07)
  5- The Banshee's Keening(05:45)
  6- Witches Of The Middle Ages(04:33)
  7- Twist Of Fate(05:24)
  8- Evil's In Us(08:14)
  9- Highlands(05:49)

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How Will All This End? is the first full length album from French multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Erewän. Having released some demos and various YouTube videos showcasing his musical talent, we are now given a full album of his work to explore. Here Erewän provides all of the lyrics and music, with guest features by Alexandre Lamia and Eric Bouillette, adding some additional guitar and violin (both talented artists in their own may know them from the band Nine Skies). There's a really nice harmony between modern and traditional instruments across the album. Mixed and mastered by Alexandre Lamia, the album takes us on a thought-provoking journey, brought to life by a landscape of Celtic infused, progressive folk-rock. Released towards the end of 2021, the album contains nine tracks and is bookended with two glorious instrumentals.

Album opener, Rising Sun On The Shore sets the scene nicely and certainly lives up to its title. Opening to the sound of the sea on the shoreline, it is accompanied by lovely, warm keyboards, whistles and guitars, painting a picture in the listeners mind of a beautiful sunrise. Some lovely acoustic and electric guitar fill the space to really get us in the mood for what is to come on the album. There is also a video on YouTube to accompany the song with scenes of sand, sea and sun rise - well worth a watch! My favourite track on the album at the time of writing. This then leads us nicely into the second song on the album and lead single, Childhoods. We are greeted by a delicate intro of guitars, pipes and keyboards. This takes us into one of the catchiest songs on the album with its memorable chorus, driving tempo and lead guitar provided by Alexandre Lamia. The lyrics speak of how the path we choose to follow is not necessarily determined by the environment we're born into and that the wheel of life is forever turning. "There's always a child being born somewhere, joining us to play the game". Next up is Walk Away which is complete with some tasty trumpet playing to give the song a unique flavour. I love the electric guitar solo in this which helps to elevate the track to another level as it soars out of the speakers - Erewän's talent can't be denied. The lyrics look at how a foolish sense of pride can make people arrogant and how harassment is still present in society today. Erewän sings "Hey you who talks too much, assaulting your prey with crude words" and "Please shut up and swallow your arrogance" and it certainly gets the point across. The hard-hitting 'Headline' looks at bullying in schools and how this can eat away inside at a child. It goes on to tackle the potentially catastrophic consequences of such hurtful behaviour. The horror of school shootings is illustrated with haunting strings, providing a sombre background to the sound of gunshots and people screaming - it sends a shiver down my spine every time I hear it. I like how the drums build towards the end of the song underneath the repeated line of "How can it be this way?" It's an intense song...hardly surprising though, given the subject matter. The Banshee's Keening was the second single from the album and is a delicious folk-rock number. The lyrics tell of an Irish legend whilst the drums rumble away underneath. The sounds of people talking, laughing and drinking give a strong visual aspect to the song, transporting the listener to an ancient, Irish Inn. The sound of the whistles on this track are divine and I'm sure the Banshee would approve. With its gorgeous, atmospheric intro, Witches Of The Middle Ages is a song that holds back on the rock and lets the folk instruments take centre stage. Through the lyrics we learn of an innocent lady that is judged for being different and declared evil by the inquisition. A definite standout track on the album for me. Then we come to Twist Of Fate, a song that addresses suicide and the impact it has on the people closest to us. "In all that mess, now it's too late, it's nobody's fault, just a twist of fate". There's gorgeous strings and acoustic guitar at the beginning with an electric guitar solo that simply soars. This song is just pouring with emotion. Evil's In Us is the longest song on the album and deals with how toxic mankind can be noting civil wars, intolerance, chemical warfare and genocide to name but a few. Lyrics such as "Evil is deep down inside men, evil is in each of us" strike hard. It opens with piano and vocals and goes on to feature some harmonica which is really nice to hear. The song draws to a close with the vocal refrain of the album's title "How will all this end?" and the sound of an air raid siren before an explosion brings the song to a dramatic end - simply haunting. Finally, the album is brought to a finish with the instrumental piece Highlands. This song features Alexandre Lamia on lead guitar and Eric Bouillette on violin. It has a nice energy about it, reminding us that regardless of the darkness life can cast over us, there is also lots of beauty to be found in it. A really strong piece of music, blending rock and folk seamlessly and bringing the album to a peaceful conclusion.

This is an emotionally charged album that mainly addresses the darker side of human nature, but still manages to give us some hope through the beauty of the music. I think the dramatic album artwork, also by Erewän, is great and fits well with the wider theme of the album. If you like your progressive rock peppered with a folky flavour, then How will all this end? is certainly a worthy listen. Overall, this is a really enjoyable album and I can't wait to hear what he does next. So, how will all this end? Hopefully with a lot more people listening to Erewän's music. Available now in a lovely looking, four panel digipack and you can also stream and download the album by checking out the links below.

**** Rickalonius Monk

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