The latest release from Cleveland’s ritual metal band Frayle, Skin and Sorrow plays like a demonic insurrection; exhuming anger and sadness and channeling the energy of dead pasts through imposing guitar crunch and soul-stirring vocals.
Frayle is Gwyn Strang and Sean Bilovecky (formerly of Disengage), together who form an artistic nest of reprieve for when so many unwanted layers have been sloughed off, we are raw and worn. Yet we don’t want a cure. We want to feel the burn and freeze of reality against our skin, against our beings. From this place of embodying our senses, of tearing away the mask that covers our sacred vulnerabilities, we are able to actually begin to understand our experience and nurture it, forming a cocoon from which we can emerge indestructible. The band is rounded out live by Jason Knotek on bass and Jon Vinson on drums.
Skin and Sorrow on Aqualamb Records & Lay Bare Recordings, is that invitation to the liminal cocoon: where we receive knowledge and occasional sparks of creation through our rest into discomfort.
Gwyn’s whispering embodiment of Lilith, the archetype of sacred female knowledge exiled time and time again, with reflective and expressive lyrics throughout the album is an opportunity to connect with the deepest and most enigmatic parts of our subconscious, the collective therein, where are all beings are just trying to get through.
The album is devastating. It’s full of heartbreak and pain. While Gwyn’s otherworldly vocals slightly ease the sting and curiously court the demon that is emerging, the themes of loss and grief grab the listener’s heart with a full force like a hand emerging from a freshly dug grave, grasping to whatever life might be there.
Gwyn and Sean write and record everything from the third floor of their Cleveland home, on the edge of town, surrounded by ancient lakes and woods that echo the howls of coyotes. Their location allows a connection to the constant turnover of the natural world, the death that is pregnant with the new. Their settled nature in their home studio, means that there is always a container for the inspiration that comes looking for an incubator through for the music.
The album is heavy. Gwyn’s breathy vocals intertwine with the thorns of punishing riffs, allowing for an uncommon movement and flow. Songs like “All the Things I Was” and “Perfect Wound” lean on Gwyn’s deepest teacher and her greatest empowerment: Learning from difficult situations and moving on.
There’s a sensuality here, like pomegranates in the Underworld, where there is always a trickle of light from the garden above.
Skin & Sorrow is Frayle’s 2nd full-length album and it indeed feels like something very big is coming into being. This album is certain to make them a well-known name on the doom circuit. Fortunately the garden that they are creating from is so ripe with composted selves and outgrown ways of being that we can just expect more and more, deeper and more aligned, from this thrilling band.