By the Spirits is a folk project hailing from the mystic woods of the Lower Silesian region near the ancient Sleza mountain in Poland. Founded in 2016, the solo-artist Michal Krawczuk created a remarkable catalog and played over 40 shows throughout Europe.
The essence of By the Spirits is to create folk-inspired music and lyrics that tell about the connections between man and nature, the spirituality within, love and death.
Visions is a compilation of old and new music that renders the scope of ‘By the Spirits’ aura thus far. Besides featuring the demo and EP material, the record holds three brand new songs, one cover version of Coil, and two alternate versions of previously published songs. It is out on the 2nd of August 2019 via Eisenwald.
Peaceful and reflective melodies, the strumming acoustic guitar and enlightenment felt by the subtle effects really relaxes the mind, body and soul. Visions is an album to chill out too and across 11 tracks, it delivers a mindful experience.
Moving tracks like Secret Trees, the darker and slightly more up-tempo Serpent’s Light and the wonderful sadness that pours from the title track impress in the first half of the album.
Think of a snowy forest, the land untouched and silence surrounds everything. It should be cold but it’s not as there is no wind, instead everything just seems frozen in time. A glorious moment of nothing but peace and serenity as life comes to a halt.
Of course with such emphasis on folk sounds, the vocals are left exposed and more open to study. Thankfully Michael Krawczuk’s craggy yet clear and clean voice is nigh unstoppable here and he delivers a masterful performance. Just listen to his range on Holy Mother and the haunting beauty of Watch the Stars.
This level of peace and comfort never gets old so even the 13 track run of the album doesn’t feel like too long. Land of Light’s effects really heighten the emotion felt, Church introduces additional female vocals that changes things up a little bit and Fields creates distance where closeness was once felt.
The final three are just bonus numbers. A cover of Coil’s Fire of the Mind and alternative versions of We Are Falling and Watch the Stars. A nice inclusion.
By the Spirits – Visions Full Track Listing:
1. My Sun
2. Secret Trees
3. Serpent’s Light
5. Holy Mother
6. Fir and Pine
7. Watch the Stars
8. Land of Light
11. Fire of the Mind (Coil Cover)
12. We are Falling (Alternate Version)
13. Watch the Stars (Alternate Version)
By the Spirits - Visions (Eisenwald)
The Final Score - 8/10