THE RETICENT - The Oubliette
Album: The Oubliette
Genre: Progressive Metal
Release Date: 25 September 2020
Label: Heaven & Hell Records
Looking at the amount of colorful cover artworks that are around currently, THE RETICENT’s fifth album “The Oubliette” can easily slip through with its mainly grey appearance. But there couldn’t be a better one for this release: It's a recreation of the final self-portrait by artist William Utermohlen (1933 - 2007), before he fully succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease, and this painting gives a heartbreaking impression about the fractured reality of Alzheimer’s sufferers. And so does the album, with seven songs, that represent different stages of this cruel disease. The man behind THE RETICENT is Chris Hathcock (ex-Wehrwolfe, ex-The Torture Cell), and he’s a master of progressive story-telling.
At the beginning, we’re introduced to Henry, a friendly man who isn’t aware that he is at a nursing home now. The song starts with spoken words, then guitar and touching vocals fly in. With the drums, the song gets more dynamic, different musical styles represent Henry’s moods between worrying about the unfamiliar surroundings and hopeful feelings.
The next stage, “The Captive”, is full of anger and despair, musically represented by death metal parts, as Henry thinks he is wrongly imprisoned. The rhythms make you feel his unrest perfectly. “Stage 3: The Palliative Breath”, a beautiful but sad song, demonstrates Henry’s thoughtful moments with clarity. Because of him losing the contact to the real world more and more, he retreats into his own “Dream” world (Stage 4), where he can be free and reunited with his wife, but soon falls down into “Stage 5: The Nightmare”. Black metal elements alternate with symphonic parts to give an impression about the demons and inner fights Henry has to deal with.
The last two songs are just heartbreaking, and accompany Henry during the final days, his mind locked inside a body, without memories to comfort him. The album slowly fades out, peaceful, with different sounds… Spoken words show the despair and thoughts of the people around.
Music is an incredible gift to express all kind of feelings, and THE RETICENT brings in a wide range here: sadness, anger, despair, confusion, but also beautiful moments full of peace. “The Oubliette” is an expressive album, musically impressive, and highly emotional in its message. Not an easy one, not for everyone (especially in case you’re affected by this disease in your surroundings), but it’s a challenging piece of art, and maybe can raise awareness for people who have to deal with Alzheimer’s Disease (directly or indirectly) as well.
Chris Hathcock - Guitars, Vocals, All instruments in studio
1. Stage 1: His Name is Henry
2. Stage 2: The Captive
3. Stage 3: The Palliative Breath
4. Stage 4: The Dream
5. Stage 5: The Nightmare
6. Stage 6: The Oubliette
7. Stage 7: ___________
Hymns for the Dejected (Demos) - 2006
Amor Mortem Mei Erit (bleak acoustic release) - 2008
Le Temps Detruit Tout - 2012
On the Eve of a Goodbye - 2016
The Oubliette - 2020