Sometimes you meet with artists, or records, that manage to transmit you strong emotions independently from the specific music they play. Tomb, which is the latest LP released by American singer-songwriter Angelo De Augustine, represents one of these cases. The LP is third of a discography which includes his self-released debut album, 2011’s Spirals of Silence, and his previous 2017’s LP named Swim Inside the Moon.
Tomb develops over a profound and universal statement: we grow up following some dreams that, at same point in our life, may be erased because of external factors. There are two ways to cope whit that: we give up or we try to emerge from the darkness of our disillusions, elaborating the loss and trying to come out stronger than before.
Throughout our lives we bury many dead things in our hearts and minds. There they go to rest and hopefully are reborn as something beautiful for the world to behold.A. De Augustine, from his webpage
This album is, at its core, a prayer for hope and clarity, and a prayer for loveA. De Augustine, from Tomb’s Bandcamp page
It’s easy to guess that this subject is deeply related to the artist’s personal life. As he explains in his website, as a teenager De Augustine dreamed of being a professional soccer player and even reached the international circuit before being derailed by an injury that left him unable to play. Soon after, a friend of the family gifted him a guitar and his dedication to soccer was replaced with singing and songwriting.
Tomb reflects a beginning for Angelo — both emotionally and in his career. It’s a motion towards positivity, addressing lost love, the worthwhile cost of honesty, and the ramifications of regret. In the end, Tomb isn’t about burying or hiding something away, it’s about opening the seal and letting something new emerge. It’s about telling people how you feel when you feel it, instead of burying everything over the span of years. Like the best heartbreak albums, Tomb transforms inward pain into universal beauty. The songs have helped him to heal and now they can help those who hear them.An excerpt from the album’s Bandcamp page
The songs of the album are built on simple, I would say “basic”, sketches of melodies, played by Augustine on the guitar or the piano, on top of which we have gentle layers of synths and his ethereal voice. Rarely, we hear some simple beats in the background. Such an essential arrangement certainly gives intimacy and lightness to the songs, but at the same time makes the music of the album extremely fragile. We really need to be in a condition of absolute tranquility, and silence, to enjoy the songs of Tomb. Otherwise, all the delicacy and the intimacy of this music are destined to succumb under the chaos that surrounds us.
Listening to the music of Angelo De Augustine is like enjoying the recitation of a poem, and in this sense his work is actually in between these two different forms of art. However, I’ve personally experienced how these lyrics tend to slip away into the background noise as I gave up some of my attention from the music.
Musically speaking, my overall rating for the LP is 6/10. But as I said at the beginning of the review, there are things that cannot be measured with numbers. And the universal message that’s carried by this work goes beyond a simple collection of short songs.
My favorite songs are You Needed Love, I Needed You and the title track Tomb.
Angelo De Augustine is featured in MODERN SONGWRITERS, the playlist I’m curating on Spotify with all the best and latest songs from contemporary songwriters.