The lineup: NAO itself is the child of longtime Current 93 member Michael Cashmore, and this album features guestwork from David Tibet, Douglas Pearce, Rose McDowall, and Steven Stapleton. Beauty Reaps the Blood of Solitude features all the usual elements: soft acoustic guitar, mixed percussion, keyboards, strings, woodwinds, industrial noise . . . really, all the elements. And they're all well-done. And all the songs are excellent. And there's incredible variety. "Beauty Destroyed" would almost fit in on a more harsh Nadja record - but there's enough Nadja in this issue. "Obsession Flowers as Torture" starts off with classical guitar and moves into incredible heavy martial industrial sounds.
Since this is Michael Cashmore's project, not a vocalist's project, there's a LOT more going on instrumentally here than with most neofolk albums. In Gowan Ring comes to mind much of the time, particularly with the well-developed interaction of strings and guitar. Tibet's lyrics are as bizarre as ever. The melodies are beautiful and thoughtful. The rendition of Paul Giovanni's "Willow's Song" is beautiful. "My Black Diary," notwithstanding the heavy ambient music at the beginning, would fit wonderfully on a Death In June album. The record as a whole flows beautifully, with connected themes and lyrics throughout. Definitely recommended, for anyone.