Scott Taylor listens to Metamorphosis, the new album from rising Welsh music star, Bethan Lloyd, who fuses rave, harmony and powerful vocals to create a haunting sound.
Bethan Lloyd’s Metamorphosis is accurate in both being the title of her new album as well as what this album represents in her musical career. This record is a true coming into form and realisation of artistic capability and prowess.
This album is a beautiful yet haunting mix of trance inducing electronic and synth heavy backbeats with avant garde pop. There is a huge amount happening all at once, being very aurally dense whilst also feeling well balanced and spacious. The album doesn’t smother you, as the production and mixing are done to such a high quality that it feels that you are truly just within the world that Bethan wants to draw you into, and that world fully encapsulates you.
Metamorphosis has such a strong sense of direction that it is clear Lloyd has true mastery over her craft. Her use of vocal layering as well as the impressive range of vocals she puts on display is truly inspired. Her voice is not just something thrown on top of an instrumental backing track, but is an instrument that she uses to create vast esoteric soundscapes. Despite how much of this record is made using her voice, Bethan Lloyd is not just a vocalist or musician on this album. She somehow manages to make herself blend into the record as a whole, so that at no point does it ever feel like you are listening to Bethan on a record, but a record that happens to feature her instead. The opener, ‘Boss of Big Dreams’ shows this perfectly. It starts the album off to a loud and booming beginning that lays everything Metamorphosis will have to offer you on the table, without expounding upon those ideas too intensely. Metamorphosis is a work that opens itself up to you with repeated listens, and is a truly complex and intricate collection of tracks woven together with purpose and a direct, clear vision.
An album like this requires a strong opener to hold the attention of the listener and display the many ideas it has on offer, and ‘Boss of Big Dreams’ is that strong opener. It grabs hold of the listener and fully encompasses them. It is hypnotic, almost shamanistic with its chanting and vocalisations over heavy and intense electronic beats and synthesisers. It is ironic that an album so artificial and electronic should feel so natural and in tune with its creator, especially when it relies so heavily on synthetic and unnatural musical backdrops.
Metamorphosis has a dark, brooding side with ‘Boss of Big Dreams’ and the slightly industrial in tone ‘Antares’, there are also tracks which are more relaxed and beautiful if not haunting in their beauty. This is most noticeable in ‘Aria’ where Lloyd’s main vocals are most removed from the rest of the mix in order to place them at the focal point which helps create a poignant and moving experience. ‘Aria’ leaves a great impact and is one of the best tracks on the record, however nothing on the record can compare to its finale, ‘Whatever We Delete’. Metamorphosis builds and evolves through its run time to a truly impressive and perfect closer that slowly grows into a shining example of the true talent of Lloyd. ‘Whatever We Delete’ is like the opposite of opener ‘Boss of Big Dreams’. Instead of being a loud and very dense introduction to what Metamorphosis has to offer, the closer instead serves as a more spaced out and relaxed way to bring the album to a close so that you can truly digest and take the album apart.
There are thousands of albums released each year, and very few of those will feel truly unique or inspired or leave an impact, which is what makes Metamorphosis such an important and impressive outlier of the year. There is nothing else that sounds like it that is as well refined or crafted. Bethan Lloyd has created a meticulous piece of beautiful art, and it deserves every last bit of respect and praise that it can be offered.
Metamorphosis is available now.