Giles Corey - Giles Corey
Buy on Bandcamp
Buy Reissue Vinyl Box Set From The Flenser
Dan Barrett, the man behind the name Giles Corey, released this debut back in March of 2011 and recently reissued the album with The Flenser. The album makes its first appearance on vinyl with this reissue box set, which includes a reprint of the 140+ page booklet that accompanied the initial release. While this is Giles Corey’s debut, this isn’t Barrett’s release. Barrett is more known for being half of the musical duo Have A Nice Life, solo electric act Black Wing, and more, including running a small label in his hometown of Middlefield, Connecticut: Enemies List.
Under this moniker, Dan Barrett brings us a collection of acoustic arrangements mixed with a lot of noise, occasional piano, and very minimal drum work. Barrett mostly utilizes a very soft vocal performance with the underlying theme of suicide across the album. While it isn’t metal, it certainly carries a heavy emotional weight through its depressive theme and discordant sounds. Songs like the opener, ‘The Haunting Presence’ have Barrett hanging on every other syllable: “Giles Corey, bloody, gorey.” He doesn’t use a lot in the opener, but the eerie and haunting feeling creeps up on you. At the climax of the song, we hear a raw tape of Barrett pounding on piano keys and shouting as if in pain.
Later on, we get a different element to the lyricism and music. The third track, ‘Grave Filled With Books,’ provides the expected slow, soft vocals and guitar. “I am entombed in my bed, with those words that you said, that I kept: that I'm not the only one that you've never loved.” After a break of a beat or two, we get a bright swell, and a self-deprecating “Boo hoo.” Musically, this isn’t out of place or uncharacteristic of the established feel, but it's interesting and in my opinion necessary to keep the album from being too dark. While there's a lot more to talk about, I find that listening to this yourself, picking it apart and checking out the booklet is an experience that I don’t want to ruin.
This is a really good album. Is it something that I’d say you have to be in the right mind for? Sure. If this is your first time listening to Dan Barrett, should you be familiar with his other work beforehand? I’d say so. I find Have A Nice Life easier to listen to, and I think there's much more to like. There's a quote from someone on Bandcamp that bought the album and I thought it paints a pretty good picture of the album: “It's haunting all right. Like, wake up at 3am and can't get back to sleep haunting. You'll start to see things moving just outside your peripheral vision but when you turn your head, there will be nothing there. I would have paid more if I could have.” - ‘Matt’ mcsmith69.
I did end up paying more for this album. The Flenser did a really good job bringing this to vinyl and the booklet is high quality.
- Alex B.