Myth Of Origin – Sane Asylum
2018 saw the birth of Myth Of Origin, a Dutch five-piece Symphonic Metal band with a flair for dark, ethereal music. Their sound is a lovely blending of many things Metal. They have some Electronic and Techno elements, but the single biggest influence I hear throughout is Gothic Metal. There are variances and twists to the music and the lyrics, creating a massive soundscape that draws the listener in and gives them plenty of room to wander and get lost in the ambiance. Powerful vocals and power melodies combine for a great listen.
- Claudia Wevers – Vocals
- Michiel van den Berg – Guitars/Backing Vocals
- Marc van Herpt – Guitars
- Patrick Pullens – Bass
- Rob Reijs – Drums
January 27, 2023
- Sane Asylum
- Black Horizon
- In My Darkest Hour
- Gravity Of This Matter
- Over The Edge
- The Hunt
- Screams In My Castle
- Claim The Firstborn
- The Word
The album opens with the title track, an instrumental, heavy on the mental. “Sane Asylum” has a lot of ambient, eerie sounds that slowly grow in intensity, building to something. With the creepy nature of the tones, the whispers, and the footfalls going from a slow walk to a run, you almost feel the madness building. The spoken line at the end, “save me from the void,” ties into the last song. This is the first real indication the entire album will tie together, revealing a story of mental health and the loss of it.
“Black Horizon” then arrives with a massive guitar riff and frantic rhythm, only to have that dropout, and the vocals come in on a musical downturn for the first verse. The chorus goes back to the original phrasing, looping through a few iterations, much like the cycle of life. Lyrically, the song is about the looming madness seen in the distance. We can prepare, but not avoid, that darkness. Slowly, that blackness will envelop us. The keyboard tones are frenetic and wildly different from the guitars, creating tension to help define the stress of the words.
The gentle intro to “In My Darkest Hour” belies the chaos within the mind. The words remind me of some of my biggest regrets in life, those things I look back on and still feel a certain amount of shame about. Again, the chorus has a heavier, darker tone that recurs, much like memories coming back to mind, sometimes unbidden. The whispers feel like regret driving you slowly to madness. The harsh vocals reinforce the brain screaming at you to forget this while constantly bringing it back into consciousness.
“Gravity Of This Matter” starts with an aggressive guitar riff and a powerful rhythm. The vocals come in over that phrasing, keeping the tune moving at the same pace, unlike the last couple of songs. Lyrically, this is about a situation that weighs heavy on the mind. Their story is about a boy witnessing the Holocaust. While nothing is equal to the Holocaust, on a personal level, it’s like seeing the madness coming and knowing it will slowly take over. It’s the realization that you cannot escape the inevitable.
“Over The Edge” has a Power Ballad feel to it. The voice falls under the keys in the mix, and I’m not sure if that was intentional or not. It almost feels like asking for help from the bottom of a well, reaching out when you’ve hit rock bottom. The guitar solo is pretty outstanding in this song, more so than in others, but that’s just my opinion. Lyrically, it’s about those closest, the well-wishers, actually doing more harm than good, effectively pushing someone over the edge rather than pulling them back from it. They try to help but don’t know how and end up saying things that actually isolate you more.
In “The Hunt,: the lyrics make me think of being unable to overcome whatever it is chasing you, being unable to “get the monkey off your back.” There are a lot of vocal harmonies in this one, making it feel like trying to take on the world. This is not the internal struggle; it is the fight you face with family and friends and, by extension, society as a whole. The riff is again heavy, but what sticks out on this track is the drumming. The variable phrasing and patterns are very well done, bringing the different emotions out of the lyrics and creating different moods with different styles. The whispered and harsh, screamed vocals help with those mood changes.
“Screams In My Castle” has one of the darker Power Metal riffs. Based on the story of H.H. Holmes and his twisted life, this one is representative of the “skeletons in the closet” in a very real sense. Some people with severe mental health issues refer to their mind as a house, and the different problems reside in separate rooms” within their mind. The symbology of the H.H. Holmes “murder house” fits the lyrics beautifully, especially the fact that you cannot escape this internal hell. Musically, the heaviness of the riff and the shifting pattern of the bass/drums with the changing guitar phrases feels like walking through different rooms in this mental horror house.
The heaviest riff on the record is the one that leads off “Claim Of The Firstborn.” Based on the legend of Rumpelstiltskin, it has a creepy darkness to the vocals and the lyrics alike. The haunted vocals are delivered with pain and longing, not just madness. The lead work of the guitars is outstanding, but the bass and drums steal the scene here. That thundering undercurrent beneath the riff drives harder than anything in the song. The bass drum pattern and the higher-end fretwork on the bass are both delicate and powerful simultaneously.
Getting back to where this all started, “The Void” is where we reach the end of the story, the depth of our despair and madness. The guitars, both lead and rhythm are stunning. The bass is perfectly aligned with the kick of the bass drum, creating a tempo that holds the guitars perfectly in place. Since the lead and rhythm guitar spent more time doing their own thing, that was extremely important. Usually, a song fades out, and that just indicates the end of the track, but here, after everything we’ve heard, it feels like it is disappearing into the very void the song is about.
Myth Of Origin has created a world inside of a mind, then taken us on a journey to its’ descent into madness. They’ve done this with the words and the sounds. The music is every bit as important as the lyrics, which is usually the case, but I sometimes forget. This is a soundtrack for a horror movie that is entirely inside the brain. The historic references reinforce that this is not a new issue; it has been going on since the dawn of humankind. This is a story as old as time.
The use of different vocals, clean, harsh, harmonies, and choirs make the different sections feel unique and individual, all while keeping them within the confines of the story. The various guitar tunings, rhythmic patterns, and keyboard tones create both tension and harmony across the entire record. Using the exact musical and lyrical phrases throughout the album ties the whole thing together in one neat package. This is an incredibly well-executed album and is one of the first significant contenders for album of the year for 2023.
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 10
- Production – 10
- Overall – 10.00