Kathleen Yearwood ‎– Book Of Hate

Subterranean Records ‎– SUB 73-2, Amatish Records ‎– SW0394-2, Voice Of The Turtle ‎– VOTT CD001
CD, Album

Tracklist Hide Credits

1 Peggy Gordon
Cello – Tim Ashworth
2 Tam Lin 4:44
3 Who Killed Phillip? 5:39
4 Night Falls
Bass [Bowed] – Reg Elder
5 Pastorale 9:43
6 By Any Other Name
Vocals, Guitar [Electric] – Reg Elder
7 Lost My Way 3:21
8 Panik In The Cattle-Pen
Vocals, Guitar [Electric] – Reg Elder
9 Louis Riels' Farewell
Violin – Ross Campbell (4)
10 Amsterdam Street 3:21
11 For Jesse Bernstein 3:15
12 Fiery Heart 3:36



Packed in cardboard sleeve. The sleevenotes read, "Feel free to make copies for your friends … and enemies." The album is dedicated to Phillip Bearshirt 1951-1991.


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December 16, 2009
edited over 8 years ago

I think what I liked so much about this album was the insidious way, in which the menace built. It was kind of like when I watched the Blair Witch Project. I thought I was fine, I was even laughing in parts, but later in my bed, I started feeling weird, then I had to turn on the lights, and eventually the TV … at full blast.

It was the same with this album. I remember being intrigued when I first listened to it, and I was already anticipating listening to it again and uncovering all the layers of the complex musical arrangements, but when I went back to it the next day, I noticed I was afraid to hear it again. I couldn’t shake the feelings it had stirred in me. The first two tracks slid by without causing too much of a ripple. They were such pleasant traditional Celtic tunes, I almost started getting cosy. Apart from the very subtle hysterical edge to Kathleen’s trills nothing seemed too odd.

Then we come to the third track “who killed Phillip?”, and the spell starts to take hold. The song deals with the artist’s rage at the wrongful incarceration of a first nations friend of hers, and his subsequent death. The only accompaniment to the vocal is a kind of stark, disrhythmic clapping. Usually when listening to a song with an unpleasant subject matter, the listener can lose themselves in some aspect of the musical aesthetic, but on this track, Kathleen is merciless. As the chorus came round, in which members of the court answer the question posed in the title of this track (‘Who killed Phillip?’ ‘not I’ they shriek), I was assaulted by a macabre vision of puppets in a model courtroom, their mouths stupidly opening and closing as they spoke their denial.

By now I was resigned to the fact that this was going to be quite a dark album, and so I’d adjusted my expectations enough that “Night Falls” drifted by without it drawing any blood. However, the glibly named “Pastoral” begins with the startling sound of glass breaking and proceeds to mount into numerous permutations of terror, interspersed with interludes of mystical introspection. Kathleen uses a vocal technique, perhaps borrowed from Diamanda Galas, but evoking a level of unease in me, that Diamanda never managed to achieve. The song is utterly irascible, not to mention long, but at the same time, it must be acknowledged, that it is also beautiful.

Fortunately “Pastoral” is the climax of the piece, and from here on in the album begins to unhook its claws a little. The listener is afforded some much needed, hard rock release, on “By Any Other Name” and then the mood gets a little “prettier” for a while until “Fiery Heart” where it closes with a disturbing sort of elegy. The truly remarkable thing about this record is that it never once, falls below standard, in terms of songwriting, vocal ability, musical ability or artistry. Kathleen’s voice is both strong and versatile, all the instruments are played flawlessly, and the poetry is fierce. Whatever ugliness is there is very deliberate, and by no means due to a lack of beauty.