Another musical revelation, another blazing scroll
Don’t come to David Eugene Edwards looking for a catchy melody to whistle. If there’s something getting stuck in your head while listening to his austere, harrowing Americana, it’s the cutting edge of a heavenly archangel’s flaming sword. Ten Stones finds the songwriter adhering to the stylistic template he’s been refining since his days fronting 16 Horsepower. Edwards unleashes his chilling signature holler, foregoing traditional melodies in favor of a near-chanted rock liturgy about Old Testament judgment (“Not one stone / Atop another will stand... / This weary melody ends / The host of heaven descends”) and humanity’s moral decrepitude. If this new record departs stylistically from his massive catalog in any way, it’s the infusion of crunching, distorted guitar. His previous solo records under the Wovenhand moniker felt more foreboding than explosive, the gathering of black clouds threatening but never quite lashing the parched earth below. Searing guitar riffage on Ten Stones’ opening track “The Beautiful Axe” offers a sonic facsimile to the fire that cascaded down from heaven, singing the hair off Elijah’s arms and consuming both altar and sacrifice when he confronted the prophets of Baal. Edwards is similarly unafraid of using pyrotechnics to testify on behalf of his one true God.