Music Reviews

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Title: Like a smoking gun in front of me
Format: CD
Label: Madcao/ File 13 (@)
Rated: *****
Their debut release was good, this one is way much better and is having a good resonance 'cause of the many u.s. connections it has. The italian readers of Chain dlk probably know this band has become quickly popular as "the band with the drummer of Massimo Volume", but for those who just know the last band, there's no other musical relation with Franklin Delano. The sound of this release brings near to those coming out on Perishable label and not just for the fact Rutili, Massarella and friends (Califone, Red Red Meat, Loftus, etc.) are appearing as guests here and there, but for the fact also Franklin Delano are reinterpreting american folk music to create something new. If on their debut Delano sounded really focussed on songwriting, on "Like smoking gun in front of me" the band has gone far away into an acid trip and started mixing elements from Califone, Jackie O' Motherfucker, desert rock a-la Calexico with fading drones that arise from the back of the scenario. Brian Deck was sitting behind the mixing desk giving it all an "american-sensation" as you can get from the title (the cd is coproduced with File 13 from Chicago). Differently from their previous album the band has put more emphasis on long instrumental passages cast into the framework of "folk ballads" with a good result. Everything is surprisingly good, let's say sometimes it works much better than many releases on Perishable, this cd is just a bit too long since sometimes it feels without a couple of tracks it would have been almost perfect. After their recent u.s. tour they've had some line up changes, I can assume the sound is probably changing again, but this' a good picture of their "lysergic" period: sometimes it sounds like a well done mix of Perishable's "folksters" and Kranky's "droners".

ATARAXIA/AUTUNNA ET SA ROSE: Odos Eis Ouranon - La Via Verso Il Cielo

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 05 2005
Title: Odos Eis Ouranon - La Via Verso Il Cielo
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Equilibrium (@)
Rated: *****

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I can't even remember when was it the first time I've heard about Ataraxia, but I sure remember the first time I've heard their singer's voice on the record of this old friend of mine (Mox, the drummer of Monumentum), she was singing Visage's immortal "fade to gray" and the result was a gothic death march that blew everything away. I don't even know if the band's singer is still the same but there's no doubt Vittorio Vandelli focussed a lot the work of Ataraxia on talented female vocalists as you can hear. This' a special acoustic performance that comes along with the Autunna et sa rose cd in a classy digipack limited to 2000 copies on the portuguish Equilibrium label. While I don't think anyone into Ataraxia's medieval music will be disappointed by these acoustic reinterpretations (the four piece consist of piano, vocals, guitar and drums/percussions), I think "Strange light" (that's the title of their cd) could introduce many goth and "borderline" listeners to some of these decadent, enchanting ballads. The recording it's nothing but excellent, above all considering it's a live set. Some of these songs keeps the original phatos untouched even if without their original arrangements. I wouldn't say this a good "collection" to introduce the band but anyhow it could be a good way to start.
Autunna et sa rose is more classical music, this trio (soprano, cello, piano) is not medieval at all since what we have here is classic-contemporary-chamber music with a classic background (I suppose). I know many will be disoriented by the opening track since it sounds really close to that contemporary classic "that's not for everyone", but since the folks at Equilibrium haven't gone mad all of a sudden, right from the second track you'll discover how this split release together with Ataraxia makes really sense. Autunna's composition wander much more around the piano (at last the pianist is the composer, therefore: why not?) and both the vocals and the cello cross the piano works giving strength to the whole plot. Personally my taste for classical music is oriented somewhere else but I can't say I remained untouched by some passages composed by Saverio Tesolato. I can't say if the definitions: "neo-classical" music will be misleading or not but while Autunna's piano could be also compared to some of Nyman most inspired and classical passages, Ataraxia obviously have a strongest medieval/ancient feeling. If you're a fan probably must have release, if you're new to both of the bands this' all is interesing anyway above all the Autunna's cd (but that's a personal opinion).

SILVERY: High Class High On Silvery

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 01 2005
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Artist: SILVERY (@)
Title: High Class High On Silvery
Format: CD
Label: Dark Wings (@)
Rated: *****

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Born in 1999 thanks the will of Rico Hüllermeier (keyboards) and Rosa Unrau (vocals) Silvery started to define their music style and after a first period of side projects and other distractions, the band started to record "Sinners and Lovers behold each other", their first official demo-album. Their music contains different influences: goth, synthpop, pop and metal. They worked hard and even radio and clubs in U.S.A. gave them attention. On 2004 they recorded their first album "BlackBox" and after a year "High class high on Silvery" saw the light. The album contains twelve tracks (there's also an hidden track at the end of "The morning") that range from the electronic pop rock of "Searching for my lost lover" and "No way out", the metal rock of "Joy" (the most energetic track of the album along with "Hollow") and the rock ballad of most of the remaining tracks which start with a slow rhythm just to give some energy during the refrain. Personally I found the production of the album too polished and focused on Rosa's vocals. Each track tend to have a luscious effect: it is like the song must seduce the audience. Probably the band is trying to reach a wider audience (the same of bands like Garbage) but in my opinion sometimes some sort of wilderness is needed.

Charlotte's Shadow: Love and Hate/No Tears

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 26 2005
Artist: Charlotte's Shadow (@)
Title: Love and Hate/No Tears
Format: CD
Label: Cynfeirdd (@)
Rated: *****
First debut release from Spain's own Charlotte's Shadow. A mixture of goth/new wave with dark male vocals and female ethereal vocals. Guitar and synths fusing together over drum machine rhythm pattern. Male and female take turns singing on different tracks and also duet together, and as one sings lead and the other one on background. All 12 tracks are very good and outstanding. Favorites included "Life Is A Monster", "I'm Not Afraid", "Gimme Life", "No Tears", "A Better Place", and "Far Away". This self produced release has a good sound quality production. There is also a hidden track included on the disc. The track is a remake of The Cure "Boys Don't Cry". Majority of the tracks are danceable and worth listening to. Charlotte's Shadow is the new cream of the crop in making GOTH and DARK MUSIC to check out.

The New York Room: Courtesan

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 08 2005
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Artist: The New York Room (@)
Title: Courtesan
Format: CD
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
"Courtesan" is New York Room 3rd release, a follow up from their second album "A Colour Of Midnight". This is beautiful, dreamy, colourful, and brilliant! Songs about love, love, love, that have an inspirational touch that will warm the soul of a lover. Matthew Ervin, the man who's behind this musical project introduces us four different talented beautiful ladies who can sing like a bird and take you on a journey that's magical telling a story how a woman is feeling. Music is diverse from dream-pop, jazz, new-age, gothic, darkwave, and trip-hop. Matthew's songwriting skills so complex with deep feeling and meaning. "I Wear Your Ring" is a darkwave piece that's emotionally expressed. "Baby Blue" and "Floatful and Remembering (The Scarlet Hours I Was A Rose)" have that Cocteau Twin sound flavor. "The Thistle In The Kiss" brings out the passionate feel about a lover's kiss that succumb a woman and got her head over heels. The softly medley "Breathing Farewell's Sigh" is a jazzy tune that can captivate the lover's heart. As "Frost At Midnight" takes a turn to a broken heart situation where a woman who had a complicated time to break away from her man, but finally found the way to do so. The instrumental "Dies Irae" is a gothic tune that reminds me of the theme from Stanley Kubrick award winning horror 1980 film "The Shining". The New York Room has put alot of hard work in creating this superb album that is classify as challenging, remarkable, seductive, romantic and sentimental. Feel love in the air!

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