Alien Angel Super Death—if that isn’t a metal album title, then what is it? Perhaps with a swig of whiskey one can successfully label it folk right on the first go. Wherein Swiss artist Verena von Horsten’s latest record fails to sonically convince listeners that it’s a folk record right out of the gate, it succeeds in embracing the renegade folk attitude propped by names like Dylan, Cohen, and Cash for ages before the synth rocker was even born. Her songs are compositions that are born out of the darkness from an artist unafraid to wear her heart on her sleeve, and in that throbbing sincerity that she puts forward, von Horsten is undeniably folk.
Following her brother’s own death four years prior to the release of this album, von Horsten makes a rallying shout to decry the taboo perception of suicide that still pervades much of the world’s society. This was the turning point in her life—one already succumbed to great sadness following a history of sexual abuse when she was a child—creating a record and living through her music to come out on top of the idea of giving up on the world. She sought music as a place of rebirth, and with an entrepreneurial spirit to innovate the rock scene, she found it.
If that were not inspiring enough of a story to get people to listen to her album, perhaps it’s the fact that this sentiment seeps through the record’s very pores that will compel them. Fragile, tranquil, and as capable of tearing down preconceptions as tall as how others view suicide so poorly like that of a tempest. It’s a powerful work and, when you consider the story behind it, vital—and, astoundingly enough, something that explains the power behind what initially seems like an oddball album name altogether.
Words by: Jonathan Frahm