The Holy Road – ‘An Unshakable Demon’ EP review

Photo credit: Phil Sharp

Jonathan Stolber’s The Holy Road follows up last year’s Piano Day release ‘The Minotaur (Mesto in A-Minor)’ with new EP ‘An Unshakable Demon’. The EP has been mixed by Steven Durose (Oceansize) and mastered by Frank Arkwright at the iconic Abbey Road studios and featured guest appearances by Drahla’s Chris Dufin, Eaststrikewest’s James Saddington and Maybeshewill’s Ben Weedon.

A child counting up ‘1, 2, 3, 4’ signals the start of the opening track ‘Title Sequence’ – an emotive and evocative piece with fuzzed-up hooks that reminded us of early Patrick Wolf. This is followed by the more assertive guitar sound of ‘Coming Up for Air’, a song that finds Jonathan offering observations about putting love at the forefront of everything you do. These musings are delivered against intense strings and industrial beats that, rather brilliantly, recall Brad Fiedel’s score for Terminator 2. ‘The Chauffeur’ opens in goosebump-inducing, glacial fashion before the drums take over, moving it into a more theatrical and prog-infused direction. Jonathan sings ‘I want to kiss you on the lips, tell you what I’m feeling’ before the closing minutes are filled with arty jazz moments akin to acts like Black Country, New Road.

‘A Quiet Dedicatcion’ is an altogether more ambient 81 seconds, offering a restbite from the intensity and finishing with glacial, uplifting tones, while ‘Slow This Down (Epilogue)’s dreamy soundscape provides you with some orchestral manoeuvres in the darkness… The EP wraps up with the perfectly titled ‘Against Social Media’. This opens with a twinkling glock-and-strings-led intro before piano interludes take it into the kind of space that serves Maybeshewill so well. It’s the kind of song you want to listen to in a darkened room with your headphones on at full volume, while the rain taps at your window – or alternatively, in the middle of ArcTanGent’s muddy field.

‘An Unshakable Demon’ is an EP full of sounds and emotion you won’t want to shake off.

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