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Cold. Icy like a vacuum. Dark and insular to the point where even the word loneliness has lost its meaning, and as it leaves your mouth the very word turns to glass and shatters on the unseen floor. There is a certain stately dignity to this negation of light and hope, and Avrigus captures it too beautifully. And though I use the word “beauty,” it is not the concept as we know it. This is a beauty you want no part of, even in distant whispers. The Secret Kingdom is a draining and exhausting experience on all levels. As I/you listen, it takes everything from us, every thought, every feeling, every hope and reduces them all to bitter cold wind that blows quickly away. Skeletal orchestras, cavernous percussion, howling winter, broken church organs and then these sounds drop away suddenly — only one lone voice remains, male, female, it matters not, whispering in your ear, singing unhurried lullabies of every failure we’ve ever shared. It’s almost too much to bear. And just when our final resolve is crumbling, and maybe darkness is the way, the infernal music ends. But it’s not enough, is it? It’s never enough. We keep replaying The Secret Kingdom, over and over and over and over and over. Because as much as it hurts and as much as it tears at our very soul, we NEED to understand this music, we need to get inside of it, and twist in vain, again and again. Quite simply, I’m obsessed.

Hammerheart, PO Box 45, Natick, MA 01760, http://www.hammerheartamerica.com

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