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Paid Charons Fare : Mourn (Re-issue)

Nice to see solo project Paid Charons Fare's debut finally getting a physical release, and with some extra tracks to enjoy as a bonus.

Well, here's another of the GSP many and diverse/semi-random-seeming (delete as applicable) re-release selections of the moment - Paid Charons Fare's 2015 debut EP, with a couple of extra tracks tacked on and a proper digipak release to frame it. I remember chatting to sole band member Heiko at the time, and getting a physical release at some point was one of the things he wanted to do, albeit not as an outright priority. Nice to see it finally making an appearance in the real world!

And on that side of things, I have absolutely no complaints about GSP's tidy handling of the package. A six-panel digi that covers all the essentials, including lyrics - well that's a nice enough format to be worth the price of admission, especially compared to the previous download-only (with cover art) option. I guess it's a bit of a personal thing, but a) I'm old enough to always prefer some kind of physical package and b) have never found a truly satisfactory way of getting purely electronic releases to sound as good - they're limited to playback via PC and mp3 player, and much as I've spent cash on getting those as audiophile as possible, they still don't ever hit quite the same heights as my hi-fi set-up. So, this version ticks both of those boxes, and I have to say, it sounds nothing but better the more you can wind up the volume and really give this sparse, brutal and impassioned Death/Doom some proper airspace.

I guess you're not getting too much extra, in musical terms - the extra couple of tracks not straying too far away from the original premise of the album, but the Anathema cover is certainly sufficiently morose and aggressive to make you think they really could have stuck with a Doom vibe all those years ago and still gone to some very interesting places. Well, so be it, since that particular baton's been left for other bands to pick up, Paid Charons Fare make more than a decent fist of it.

I'm not going to go overboard with this - the original release was a well-executed visit to fairly well-travelled territories, and especially commendable for sitting at the top end of the solo-project spectrum in terms of arrangement and production. Solid as they come, but still slightly hampered by being within the limitations of the home studio, one-man-band format. Nonetheless, I still like the way Heiko uses his vocal range, and balances out the instruments within those boundaries. And I do think this extended, improved version adds more than enough to be worth notching the mark up a little - there's just the caveat to add that this really is one for fans of basic, classic, no-frills Death/Doom albums looking to extend their collection.

And if that's the case, well, you'll struggle to find a lot better or more proficiently presented as a contemporary take on established grounds. Whether you missed it first time around, or simply have the shorter original lying about on a hard drive somewhere, you can't go far wrong with investing in this version. It does exactly what it says on the tin.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Mourn
2. The Mourners Anthem
3. When Time Turns Minutes To Days
4. Alone
5. Dead Inside
6. Unforgiving Light Of The Sun
7. Lost Control (Anathema cover)

Duration : Approx. 52 minutes

Visit the Paid Charons Fare bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-08-29 by Mike Liassides
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