Encased in Ice and Sealed in Snow is my seventh release, and fifth LP overall. This is the first concept album I've released in more than a year, and the final chapter in my Europa trilogy. After my last LP (Sorry, We're Closed), this release is a bit of a return-to-form, and in a lot of ways is actually a throwback to my debut EP, Dance With Me Upon His Secret Ocean. Encased in Ice and Sealed in Snow's concept is my most ambitious yet, with 45 minutes of atmospheric ambient music to continue the narrative storyline from Dance With Me Upon His Secret Ocean and Secrets of a Melting Moon.
Encased in Ice and Sealed in Snow begins right where Secrets of a Melting Moon left off, with an astronaut wandering the cold, vast surface of Europa, Jupiter's fourth largest satellite. After being led to nowhere in search of the source of a mysterious radio transmission, the astronaut finds herself stranded and alone. Out of exhaustion, she passes out, only to be awoken by a violent blizzard. She trudges through the storm as best as she can, until finally she spots a cave in the distance where she can take shelter until the storm ends. Out of desperation to reach it, she runs across a frozen lake where the ice is very thin, with the ice shattering beneath her feet with every step. She barely makes it there, narrowly escaping death. As the storm wreaks havoc outside, she falls asleep for the night, determined to set out again in the morning.
She wakes up the next morning and leaves the cave, and finds the surface has completely frozen up again, and on the freshly fallen snow stands a group of ghostly, blue-colored spirits. One of them approaches her, and instructs her to follow him on a journey across the surface of Europa to the ruins of the spacecraft that once carried her, her crew, and her fellow astronauts. She follows the spirit for several days, as she is led through frozen hills and the ruins of what was once Europan civilization.
Finally, she arrives at the ruins of her spaceship, only to find the dead bodies of her fellow astronauts inside. Suddenly, she realizes the spirit has disappeared. For the first time since she landed on the moon, the astronaut realizes how alone she is, and runs away from the ruins and back into the desolate environment. At last, she comes to terms with how bleak and empty everything on Europa is, and how the beauty of the snow and the ice is just a guise. She removes her helmet, and before she dies, she breathes in the cold Europan air for the first time.
After death, she is welcomed by the spirits of the moon, revealing themselves as the astronauts who were sent on missions to rescue her, and the thousands of people who attempted to colonize the moon years after her expedition. The spirits tell her that, due to her mission to Europa many years ago, humanity became fascinated with the moon and attempted to establish a colony there. However, just like her, they discovered that the environment of Europa is uninhabitable, and every person who lands on Europa is destined to die there shortly after.
The deluxe edition of the album is available upon download. It is includes two bonus tracks, and an alternative album cover. Download is completely free, but as always, any and all purchases of whatever amount are greatly appreciated!
**Thanks to my friend Andy Dooley for doing the art for this album. In addition to that, he also helped cowrite the track "Secrets Encased in Ice and Sealed in Snow," and was overall just very supportive of this project. He has a bandcamp too, and if you have a chance, I highly suggest you check it out. Link: andydooley.bandcamp.com