The Eternal Return is a theory that there is infinite time and a finite number of events, and eventually the events will recur again and again infinitely. Nietzsche goes into detail about this theory and the paralyzing effects this thought has. Fast-forward a couple of hundred years and Kleingott is the neo folk singer-songwriter project founded in Rome (Italy) in late 2010 by Gerardo Perilli that centers an album called Deathbed Tales around this subject. As you might expect the songs are dark, often creepy and isn't something you are going to pop in at a dance party.
Most of the songs on the album revolve around his guitar and voice with some occasional organ, white noise or dissonance to add another layer of ominous atmosphere. Gerardo Perilli is the main songwriter and vocalist who sings in a deep baritone and often sounds like he is an ancient clandestine voice from the knights of Templar. It fits the music like a glove and he manipulates it over the course of the album to create a symbiotic relationship with the music.
The album starts with the haunting “Where time goes,” which is a sparse but effective opener. The lyrics center around The Eternal Return as he sings “Where does time go where did it come from we've all been there thousand times before.” Towards the end of the song the acoustic guitar transforms into a backing, skipping loop that doesn't sound inviting even though it’s exactly the sound Perilli was going for. “Years of drought” is one of the most ambitious songs on the album as the seven-plus minute song layers multiple instrumental parts and distorts his voice so much that it becomes barely recognizable. “Elytra (bones for wings)” is a song where Perilli experiments with a devilish sounding vocal style while “In the saint's noon” takes his voice and mutates it into shards of white noise.
The album closes with “Someday in Summerland,” which takes his voice manipulation and experimentation into deep territory. It creates a dichotomy by playing the warm full-bodied low end of the guitar against the harsh waves of white noise, which reside in the higher frequencies. The song then transforms and unfolds into itself as it sounds like a backward void simulating The Eternal Return.
The concept behind this record is a bit grand and difficult to fulfill. It’s a serious subject that Perilli takes on with just as serious of an approach. Some better production would have benefitted his vision but overall he does a good job at creating a fitting atmosphere for the subject. I advise giving Deathbed tales a spin and seeing if it’s your cup of tea. You should know by the first song whether or not you will be listening to the entire thing.
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