Duncan Evans - Lodestone (Prophecy Productions)

A dark folk masterpiece...
Release Date: 
2 Dec 2013 - 11:30pm

Fans of heavy metal may know Duncan Evans better as Henry Hyde Bronsdon, which is the nom d’axe he uses when otherwise employed as purveyor of six string tapestries in Brit prog metallers  A Forest of Stars; With Lodestone young Dunc is involved in laying his own soul bare so there’s no need for pseudonymic impishness here – this is an album primarily about honesty, with all artifice and bombast stripped bare.

Lodestone is what you’d call a singer-songwriter album; Its mainly Evans and his acoustic guitar, and there is a lot here to enjoy if you count artists such as Richard Thompson, John Martyn or Roy Harper among your own personal favourites. Hell, I don’t particularly like any of those blokes and I can’t get the album off the stereo, so maybe the appeal of well written songs performed with passion, fire and no little conviction stretches  way beyond the folkish niche to which Lodestone will inevitably be marketed.

Evans is a storyteller, and each song on Lodestone has a clear narrative to enjoy should you want to invest the time and energy in listening to what he’s saying. However – and this was a big highlight for me – the actual songs are much more than the usual strumalong troubadour accompaniment, meaning that Lodestone can be enjoyed purely for the musical content too. It’s a late night album par excellence, made to be played when the lights have been dimmed and the red wine is flowing in accompaniment to wistful nocturnal rumination.  A lot of time has clearly been spent on the arrangement of these songs, which are surprisingly ‘big’ sounding given the sparse instrumentation, with the likes of The Old Lies, Girl on the Hill and The Sailor Boy (which carries a bit of a whiff of Jethro Tull about it) in particular rewarding repeated listening. 

Obviously this isn’t for everyone reading Metal as Fuck – probably not even all A Forest of Stars aficionados will be particularly interested in it – but if you like a break from relentless riffage every now and then, then this dark folk masterpiece is a must have in your collection. Highly recommended.