It has been just a handful of months since the Chilean multi-instrumentalist and composer Sergio González Catalán gave us the last monumental album from Rise To The Sky – Stay With Me When You’re Gone – and little more than a year since its predecessor, the towering monolith of sorrow that was Every Day, A Funeral. Yet he has returned once more with another staggering, deeply affecting outpouring of intense emotion. Two Years of Grief is the seventh full length album to emerge under the tattered and faded banner of Rise to The Sky. Out on June 16th, 2023.
Sergio explains the significance of Two Years of Grief:
This album will always be very dear to me. It marks the end of a series of albums about grief, which started with Per Aspera Ad Astra, which was the initial shock of my father´s passing and continued with Every Day, A Funeral and Stay with Me When You’re Gone. They were years of disbelief, confusion and doubt. But one day I knew that he was coming back home. Two years after my father passed away, I was able to welcome my son to this world. Now I know that, through my blood, I have brought him home. And this album tells that story.
It’s always a good day when we have new Rise to the Sky music to listen to, even if the journey we’re taken on is far from one of joy. Across many releases, Rise to the Sky has proven itself to be one of the most emotionally captivating experiences. Yet, complimented by undeniable beauty and resounding heaviness. Listen to Rise to the Sky and expect to feel, which is very much the case with Two Years of Grief.
Listening to Sergio González Catalán find a way to deal with the loss of his father has been staggering. The way in which the artist has conveyed his sorrow, pain, frustration, and anger has proven to be intensely special. Now, two years on, the artist closes the book on this period of his life and asks the listener to accompany him one more time into the darkness, so together, we can see the light.
Featuring seven tracks (eight if you include the bonus track) of blackened doom with intense amounts of atmosphere. Two Years of Grief hits an immediate high with the enormous Funeral for My Home. A track notable for the frantic tempo shift and guttural roars that express a whirlwind of frustrations.
It’s hard not to shed a tear for anyone who has ever been Burdened by Grief, as Rise to the Sky layers some of the most forlorn melodies over rolling bleakness. Before I Knew that Joy Would Die takes the sorrow felt to new levels, yet it never weighs you down. That has always been such an important aspect of Rise to the Sky and it’s heartening to find that it continues here.
Especially as the effect this music will have on you will change depending on your own personal circumstances.
Regardless, the characteristic feeling of anguish is prevalent as Becoming Flesh and Bone, the title track, and Can’t Hide from Pain whip up a storm of thought-provoking and heartfelt melodic heaviness. Leading to one of the grandest and most detailed tracks Rise to the Sky has ever put out in From My Blood I Bring You Home. A track that passes the 14-minute mark, combines mournful ambience with hopeful melodies, defiant blackened doom, torturous drifts, and a phenomenally intense final few minutes.
It is one of the best things heard this year and one of the best things to come from Rise to the Sky. It’s the perfect finale to this journey too, which does make the bonus track of My Light Dies seem a little redundant. At least until you hear it and find it’s lighter, melody-driven, and features clean singing, up to a point. It’s unlike anything else on the album, so is at least a source of interest.
Once again Rise to the Sky has crafted something deeply personal and deeply affecting with Two Years of Grief.
Rise to the Sky – Two Years of Grief Track Listing:
1. Funeral For My Home
2. Burdened by Grief
3. I Knew that Joy Would Die
4. Becoming Flesh and Bone
5. Two Years of Grief
6. Can’t Hide from Pain
7. From My Blood I Bring You Home
8. My Light Dies (Bonus Track)
Rise To The Sky - Two Years Of Grief (Meuse Music Records/Tragedy Productions)
The Final Score - 9/10