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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Black Ships Ate The Sky
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£26.03+ £1.26 shipping

Now, first off, I am not one of those C93 fans who believe that David Tibet is unimpeachable, flawless, an unfettered genius. Having come across him as a fan of Death In June (whom he has collaborated with several times), I found, on first listen, some of his work to be quite overbearing, and considerably less profound than Mr. Tibet obviously intended.

However, with Black Ships..., Tibet has made probably the first truly essential album of the 21st Century. Quite how he and his large team of collaborators (including Marc Almond, Antony, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and many more) have managed this is quite beyond me, but the simple fact is that this epic length (21 tracks, 72 minutes) yet tightly constructed album is near-flawless. A concept album of sorts, dealing with an expansion and exploration of a nightmare suffered by Tibet some five years ago, 'Black Ships Ate the Sky' is a mixture of the plaintive, acoustic guitar and string led poems-to-music that has become the C93 oevre, and different representations of the same track, Idumea, by various vocal and instrumental collaborators.

These are the trump card and key to the album's success; in allowing each of the frankly astounding range of talent he has collected to arrange and perform a version of the song (a beautiful traditional hymnal) the album becomes a jewelled wonder in your hands - a true thing of beauty, becoming instantly as varied and wonderful as the artists themselves, and juxtaposed with Tibet's solo apocalyptic musings (which have risen to a new level of quality on tis release), the overall 'grand narrative' effect, which could have been disastrous, comes off seemingly effortlessly.

A patchwork of differing but similarly anchored styles, a gathering storm leading to the violence of the penultimate track, the album is simultaenously a delight which one can revel in thoughtless, just enjoying the sound, or a weighty sonic tome to be engaged with utterly - abosrbing each piece of imagery as they flood towards you like the eponymous vessels.

As I said before; possibly the first masterwork of this century.
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on 12 December 2009
Musically the most beautiful Current 93 album since 'Thunder Perfect Mind', in lyrical atmosphere 'Black Ships' is closer to 'Lucifer Over London'. I once stayed in an outer northern suburb of London, not far from St. Albans, and 'Black Ships' does indeed invoke memories of evening descending over that vast, murky, contaminated city. You almost feel the presence of Whittington, sitting with his cat on Highgate Hill, waiting for black ships to tear apart the sky, as hallucinatory figures of nursery rhyme and legend dance through Mr. Tibet's imagination.

The lyrics are a constant flow of shifting images, and at one point it even sounds like Tibet is getting political for perhaps the first time ("there are liars who I know they are liars...the big pot boils with centuries of conspiracy, and cabbages and kings who have had their cake and ate it...")

This change from his usual demeanor makes a far more convincing attack on corruption than that of some always-angry punk band...but the feeling of impending apocalypse predominates, as usual.
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on 31 March 2008
Unlike the previous two reviewers, this is the first album I've heard by C93. I was introduced to David Tibet through Nurse With Wound, and after reading a bit, I decided I needed to hear some of his music. This seemed like a good place to start.

After only a few tracks I knew I had made a good decision. It was powerful, moving and hallucinatory. I knew I was listening to the work of a genius (well, a lot of geniuses, if you count all the contributions). Who'd have thought that having 9 different versions of a single track on one album would work? Certainly not me. The recurring motif only adds to the overall power of the album, and with each repition focuses the mind on the devastating lyrics. Meanwhile, Tibet's story builds and builds in intensity until the climax.

I've owned this album for such a short amount of time, I think I've only managed to listen to it once straight through with distraction. Despite this, I can see it becoming one of my favourite albums ever. Current 93 are definitely a band I'm going to have to look a lot closer at.
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