Participation Mystique is an album that beckons the listener in with a smouldering subtlety that then gives way to the immersive and heady haze of a full blown inferno. It is at first listen delightfully slow and sombre but as it builds it reveals the powerful beast that lurks beneath the surface.
The first track sets the tone, with a resonant drone and almost tribal percussion. The chanting vocals emerge onto the track with a mesmerising and mystic quality. It’s like the recitation of a prayer or spell. It creates a sound much larger than the scope of its parts and it vibrates in the listeners core.
The second song serves a slightly more intensified vibe that flows effortlessly from the first. Here we are able to grasp a little more firmly onto the lyrics and mood that the band is creating and the poetic and profound journey the album intends to take us on.
With the third song ‘I Know You Know‘ the atmospheric build of the first two tracks finds its ecstatic release. Where track 1 and 2 are content to let their power tingle in the static electricity of coiled limbs, track 3 pounces and delights in the raw and pure beauty of the hunt. It has this intoxicating timeless quality to it, the chanting and soul charged drone mingles with the hypnotising beat of the drum to create this soul cry that wouldn’t be out of place round a Viking bonfire before battle. The vocals have an animalistic quality to them that squeezes out every drop of passion and power from every word.
With the fourth song it returns to a much more serene and spiritual beat. The drums however are somehow bigger in this lullaby like landscape. They pound out a heartbeat that syncopates with the listeners to draw them into the misty and ethereal soundscape.
‘I Am The One‘ builds upon the marching drums at the bottom of the track with a tinkling turn on the keys that sinks into the hum of the track to create another dive into an almost meditative state. The vocals pierce through with perfect clarity given their ghostly positioning in the mix and delivery.
Track 6 seems like a slight departure from the sounds that came before and yet at the same time not. It has a pulsing introduction that wouldn’t be out of place in a synthwave playlist. From there it slips back in to the haunting vocals and tribal drums that we have become used to and acts as another breath in the ritual.
‘Buttons‘ is a track that exists on another plane of reality completely. It has this beautiful spectral frequency bubbling in the background that soundtracks an astral journey and out of body experience. It’s another chance to grasp hold of the gorgeous song writing and lyrical content that lies at the heart of this album. It’s far too easy to get swept up in the feel of the music, and miss the individual pieces. Here we find a moment to focus on the now, and look inward, outward, and forward.
The penultimate track takes us back to the fire, we sit and stare into the flames, as the drums wash over us and consume our consciousness as we connect with those sat beside us to become one. The songs foster this feeling of clarity and higher thought, it feels like the music is tickling your synapses and infusing them with this electric state of arousal. The lyrics mirror the state of elevation that the music creates with this poetic marriage of raw beauty and absolute bliss.
The final track is bittersweet. It has this finality to it, like waking from a dream. It has a beauty of its own and it is very tender as it allows the listener to slip back into the cold embrace of reality.
The album as a whole feels like it happened in another dimension, like whilst you listen you somehow slipped slightly between realms and the journey leaves you feeling full of this otherworldly energy. The aftermath is something to bask in of itself, you can almost hear your soul still resonating with the music. It’s like meditation but with more vigour. It’s like the warm glow of the best orgasm you ever had. It’s like the touch of warm clean sheets after a week in the woods.
There is something magic and mystical about Lore City, their music consumes you and vibrates your very atoms. You cannot help but feel changed after it and immersing yourself in the healing energy of it leaves you humming with the residual frequencies.
It doesn’t feel like it comes from this decade, or even this century, it feels like they unstitched it from the fabric of the universe and wove it with the truth and teaching of every eon that came before, and all of those still to come.
Listen to this album. Buy it. Cherish it. Let it mingle with your very essence and brighten your future.
Words by Matt Miles