This is the first album from The Minstrel’s Ghost since 2012 and is also planned to be the final release from the band as leader Blake Carpenter has decided it is time to move on. Blake provides some of the lead vocals, plus rhythm guitar and keyboards, and is again joined by Tony James Martin (bass, lead vocals). Jartse Tuominen has joined to provide lead guitar (which was provided by the much-missed Colin Tench on the last album), and drums this time are by Mark Troup (who also provides lead and harmony vocals). There is something missing from this album, as there is no real spark or vitality. There is nothing inherently awful about it, but it feels as if it is just meandering along waiting for an idea. It certainly doesn’t sound as if it is the third release by a band, and if I had been just given this without any information I would have expected it to have been a debut release by an unsigned band, as opposed to something on the mighty MRR.

Yes, it is a dark tale, but there are too many times when it feels contrived and false as if there was no real heart and soul, no emotional connection with what was being performed. It is an album which I have to say didn’t improve with repeated playing and is one I can’t imagine I will ever be returning to.

5/10 Kev Rowland