Emotionally driven, from start to finish, is the debut Brian Larkin album, Far Enough Into The Void. To many the name might not ring a bell, but I’ve had my ear to this man’s musical grindstone for quite some time and have been anticipating this release, which occurred on January 15 of this year. Fueled by a score of harrowing and joyful experiences, Larkin has managed to create an album so diverse that it captures a gamut of feelings to which we can all connect. It’s not an easy listen, but for an album that serves as a companion piece to Larkin’s life, it is vastly rewarding.
It’s hard to argue with an opening track such as “Disembodied Profanity”, one of three vocal tunes on this otherwise guitar-driven opus, which sets the tone for the beginning of our journey down the rabbit hole. And like Alice, who encountered strange and amazing things, we find ourselves stunned at the variety of tunes and moods laid out before us. Odd time signatures, death vocals, soaring melodies, pummeling riffs, boogies, and tracks that take a lesson or two from classical masterpieces are just some of the many faces by which we’re overcome. Obviously, this might be a bit overwhelming, so let me try to provide a few highlights that shine especially bright to me.
“Delete You” is a crazy tune that begins with what I would imagine an extremely talented jazz musician would sound like strumming chords on a dose of speed. Soon, however, we’re hit with a smooth, winding solo that tickles every surface of my eardrum. Speeding up and slowing down; it’s all done with a tender touch that caresses each note. But we’re not done yet! The middle of the song is filled with a riff that follows its own tail, serving as the underpinning for a truly terrifying guitar solo! The uninitiated may need to take a breather after this.
“Words Fail” is the kind of song that makes me feel like I’ve drifted off somewhere so wonderful that I can’t think of anything better to do than simply lay back and take it all in. With a melody that will carry you in its arms and tell you that everything will be alright, I can’t say much more than that this song is beautiful.
“Darkest Place” is one of the few vocal tunes on this release, but it is no less grand than any of the other theatrics we’ve encountered along the way. For those who aren’t aware, Larkin was the vocalist of Dark Empire’s album, From Refuge To Ruin, and backup vocalist on the album Abnormal by Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, thus already proving his abilities as a great singer. For this song, he’s mentioned how greatly the album Normal by Bumblefoot had impacted him musically. He takes a page right out of Thal’s book, coming up with a tune that makes the listener reflect on their own life while being absorbed by the music at hand. Larkin did this so well that Bumblefoot actually contributes solos to this song, melding the first perfectly with the mood, then using the second solo to completely change the spirit into something magnificent and uplifting.
I could go on and on about the music that appears on this release. I’m in love with too many of these songs to do them all justice with just one review (even the ones I’ve already mentioned, I don’t feel I’ve adequately described). Whether it be the groovy nature of “Self-Deprecation Boogie”, the funkiness of “Habit Magnet”, or the back and forth melody and riff-ripping nature of “The Situation In Room 205”, I find myself entranced. As I said earlier, this is not an easy listen. There is so much emotional turmoil that one may not be able to successfully take it all in at one time. However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t try. Brian Larkin has proven with Far Enough Into The Void that he is not only a masterful guitar player, but a great songwriter. We’d all do well to learn this sooner than later.