Having been blown away from his previous album, Three Rows of Teeth, Tom Slatter shows no sign of stopping. And his latest E.P., is going beyond the Steampunk universe of rogue surgeons, suspended animation, and body horror. That is to say that once you have those ideas of a dystopian atmosphere, you know something dark and touching is about to happen.
Through These Veins seems to be almost straight out of the stories from the minds of; H.P. Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City. For a story of an insane woman named Dr. Margoyle, who turns her patient into the macabre of living sculptures, knowing that we are entering the mind of this person to see what she is doing and why she is completely insane and out of her head by tormenting them like no other.
Opener, I Am Not Your Heart, begins with the String quartet from the Mellotron before the drums and echoing sounds of the guitar with a reverb pitch comes kicking in to set the tempo into a Space Rock sound as if Slatter is paying tribute to Steve Hackett and Manuel Gottsching of Ash Ra Tempel. And then everything starts to relax as he goes into a moody and ominous atmosphere as the lyrics show how disturbing Margoyle really is.
The musique concrete and avant-garde between string section and doomy Rhodes on Segue – I Am an Artist, is done as narration of the character as she, herself, explains why she calls it art instead of butchering as she is talking to the detective on her obsession of her work that is almost straight out of The Silence of the Lambs. Without my Medicine, complete with electronic drums, rhythm guitar, chords from the keyboard, and soothing vocals from Tom himself makes it emotional, and very laid-back as the lyrics deal with without Dr. Margoyle’s ingredients, she is a complete mess.
The closing title track, begins as a Rhodes lullaby for the first 28 seconds before going into the style of Camille Saint-Saens heavy inspirations of the Danse Macabre in the sinister waltz time signature and not to mention the string section, keeps the tension going in this jazzy-classical-rock sound. And it is really terrifying and menacing, but the lyrics that Tom wrote are staggering and mind-boggling.
I have listen to Through These Veins, about three times already and the story line may not be for the faint of the heart, but Tom Slatter has got something up his sleeve for The Steam Engine Murder storyline that he wrote. And I can’t wait to hear what he will do next with it to combine the symphonic, mysterious, and the darkness on the E.P. itself. All in all, it is a striking E.P. So say goodbye to Hannibal Lecter, and hello to Dr. Margoyle.