October 3, 2019 Lindsay Schoolcraft – Martyr (Album Review)
Since 2013, Lindsay Schoolcraft has graced the stage with her presence as Cradle of Filth’s keyboardist. However, over the decades she has quietly worked on solo material using her exquisite vocal talents, playing keys, and plucking away at the harp, and now at long last her debut album Martyr is here. While the album was unfortunately delayed, Martyr is finally being released independently on Monday, October 7, 2019.
Hand in hand with Rocky Gray, formerly of Evanescence, Schoolcraft wove the incredible tapestry that is Martyr. It opens as “Saviour” unfurls with a delicate piano melody before once faint guitars tear through with a hint of dusky synth. With the addition of sonorous orthodox chant, and a divine Gregorian chant done by Vassilis Thomas and David Michael Moote, respectively, as well as an exquisite string composition in the latter half of the track, “Saviour” lives up to its compelling title.
The piano and guitar work in the beginning of “Dangerous Game” alternate between the same awakening riff before crashing cymbals merge with the rise of the cadent guitars. Schoolcraft’s vocals carry an airy quality with them as they soar over the menacing instrumental. The track is harrowing with an undeniable foreshadowing of another’s iniquity in lyrics such as “How long has this gone? How many more have you done so wrong?” as children’s voices echo the sentiment in the backing chorus.
Like an enchantress birthed from the darkness, the singing in “Stranger” is alluring. It evokes the essence of Evanescence’s “My Last Breath,” off of their 2003 album Fallen, with chugging guitars and angelic vocals that are everywhere and nowhere at once. Elements of Amy Lee are interwoven through the voice and styles of Schoolcraft and Gray in a way that beautifully rebirths all that makes stunning and hauntingly remarkable track.
Then there is “Blood From A Stone,” a deliberately-paced song encompassed by a melancholy piano piece and the gliding vocals of Schoolcraft. While the track is somewhat subdued the action allows the tale of love and loss to reach out for life through lyrics like “And the look in your eyes is of someone I don’t know.” In short, “Blood From A Stone” is splendid and rewarding given the patience to truly open up and listen.
Meanwhile, the seventh track, “Remember,” feels like the daydream of a fairytale with its capacious orchestral programming done by the hands of Spencer Creaghan and the accompanying childlike chorus. The crescendo of the song is Schoolcraft’s marvelous harp solo; her string work is undeniably otherworldly and enchanting with every note. This is while “Where I Fall” begins with a soulful acoustic guitar before Lindsay’s fearless, layered singing enters the scene. The guitars perform a striking cycle of riffs and melody in the explosion of the chorus, allowing the track to take a lush and breathtaking descent into the darkness within its subject, a darkness that resides within everyone.
The concluding eleventh track is a cover of The Cure’s “Lullaby.” Distorted strings pluck away at the unforgettable melody as stray guitar tones whir in the background. Schoolcraft’s vocals flicker and clip every lyric with the ease of Robert Smith himself and carry wondrous clarity with every dramatic delivery. Gray’s thundering and sudden guitar work plays off the wickedly whimsical instrumental to complete every facet of the perfect musical execution.
Anyone who has heard the soaring, classical style vocals of Schoolcraft live will be awestruck by the differing breed of vocals on Martyr. Schoolcraft’s voice is strikingly clear, bold, and unwavering as her lyrics reach through the very depths to her listeners. The tracks vary between the trio of gentler, simplistic piano-based songs, such as “My Way Without You,” to heavier Metal tracks like “See The Light,” which features the vocals of Xenoyr from Ne Obliviscaris, and songs that blend and sway between both, like “Where I Fall.” Gray’s use of bold and memorable guitar lines and rhythms are a standout feature of the album, in addition to the flawless arrangements by Creaghan and Matthew Van Dreil.
For all of these reasons, Cryptic Rock rates Lindsay Schoolcraft’s debut album Martyr 5 of 5 stars.