#90 | Album Review | Flowers for Bodysnatchers – Alive with Scars

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Flowers for Bodysnatchers is a neoclassical dark ambient project from the mind of Duncan Ritchie. His Cryo Chamber label debut, Aokigahara, released back in November of 2015. Several months later, he followed this album up with its companion piece, Love Like Blood. In 2017, Duncan crafted a harrowing haunted house tale titled Asylum Beyond. And now, here in 2019, we descend deeper into the confines of Duncan’s psyche with his latest opus, Alive with Scars.

In the months leading up to Alive with Scars‘s publication, Duncan cast a mini album, a prologue, into the ether. This foreshadowed the concept of his new LP, which he describes as the exploration of “the life long struggle of living in a diseased body. A body slowly being destroyed from the inside out by its own central nervous system. A body that with the passing of time will waste and wither to its own unique sonnet of pain and torment.” It was not until the full Cryo Chamber release, however, that Duncan divulged this concept articulates his near ten-year experience of living with Multiple Sclerosis—an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks itself, degrading healthy tissue that insulates the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system.

Alive with Scars is a deeply personal album that bleeds with heart-wrenching, and at times, utterly ferocious arrangements. Seldom does warmth percolate in this dreary struggle. From the eerie crawl of nausea-inducing orchestral strings to the gaping maw of hopeless black ambience and the bone-piercing industrial beats, Alive with Scars harbors tones immediately familiar to those acquainted with Duncan’s work, though it simultaneously treads new sonic terrain, bringing us closer toward understanding his existence with Multiple Sclerosis. Much more can be said here in this summary, but we will leave it to the podcast to channel our respective sentiments about this superb record. Thank you so much for listening. 

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You can obtain a digital or CD copy of Alive with Scars from the Cryo Chamber label Bandcamp page. On the Flowers for Bodysnatchers Bandcamp page, you can listen to the mini album Alive with Scars – Prologue, which was released in September of 2018. If you would like to hear our exchange about this mini album in podcast form, you can do so by listening to the following episode.

If you would like access to our notes for this episode, you can peruse/download those by becoming a patron on our Patreon page. Thank you for your continued support.

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