Music Reviews



O QUAM TRISTIS: Meditationes ultimes

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1975)
Jun 11 2005
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Artist: O QUAM TRISTIS (@)
Title: Meditationes ultimes
Format: CD
Label: Palace of Worms (@)
Rated: *****
While listening to O Quam Tristis I've been thrown back in the middle age. It's medieval folk with latin lyrics, if you're familiar with bands such as like Ataraxia, Qntal e Dead Can Dance ("Aion" era) you probably know what we're talking about. I like this album: it's solid, "focussed" but at the same time kinda heterogenous, it contains a various range of atmospheres. The most of the times the mix of electronics and traditional instruments is well done, some other times the mix of "eighties-oriented" keyboards sounds a bit strange together with that traditional vocals/instruments. Palace of Worms describes this record as "a modern interpretation of medieval and ancient folk music" and after all it's the best possible definition for a work like that. The most interesting thing of this release obviously is represented by the vocal parts (gregorian chant have been a real turning point in the history of music) since the male singers are good, but the female ones are even better. This' the third cd by O Quam Tristis and the band shows how maturity helps to refine the "modus operandi" in songwriting. The funny thing is that while one may expect an epic record with a completely ethereal mood, "Mediationes ultimes" is full of mid-tempo "danceable" tracks (Quoniam tu solus, Terrae for exemple). If you imagine a cd overwhelmed with evocative songs give it a chance since in the past some songs would have been a great soundtrack for a banquet.

SILENT LOVE OF DEATH: The poet's senses

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1974)
Jun 11 2005
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Artist: SILENT LOVE OF DEATH (@)
Title: The poet's senses
Format: CD
Label: Palace of Worms (@)
Rated: *****
Romanticism in full effect, from the name itself of the spanish combo to the lyrics and the artwork of the cd. Piano, Keyboards, acoustic guitars, violins, vocals "a la Ian Curtis" and some military rhythms (but not yet neo folk). This cd demonstrates decadece and new wave can still get along together very well. The packaging is really nice like the rest of the Palace of Warms' releses and all the new age/dark-dogmas have been respected, the sound is good and the Toledo brothers know how to write depressive ballads. Listening to the whole cd I noticed it's a bit too long and I think it's sad cause without a few songs "The poet's senses" could have been much more "heartbreaking". Even if every single ballad is really inspired, most of the tracks arrangements could be improved (that's a personal opinion). This last thing anyhow has also to do with the fact this cd has been recorded almost three years ago therefore it can be considered a really good debut. Dark-folk traditionalists can put the name Silent Love of Death in their agendas but if you're looking for a Sol Invictus, Blood Axis, Curent 93 oriented band, well you'd better listen the cd a couple of times.

LIBERTÉ: Romantique

 Posted by Sir Logla   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1965)
Jun 04 2005
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Artist: LIBERTÉ
Title: Romantique
Format: CD
Label: Dark Wings (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
The Rostock/ Germany based trio LIBERTÉ was founded back in 1998 and the current line-up is: INES HÜBNER (voc), STEFFEN POHL (keyb, voc) and KARSTEN VEDDER. The eleven songs of the album are the essence of five years of studio work, live performances and advanced song writing. The title "Romantique", express very well what you can find in this album. LIBERTE merge romantic thoughts and melancholy in a dark sound consisting of electronic classical arrangements, drums, warm guitar sounds interwoven with beautiful, sensual female and male vocal lines.The lyrics, written mostly in English, with only a few in German, deal with dream sequences, mourning and death, desires and loneliness as well as the ever present but hard to reach love. Musically the tracks made me think about the best tracks of the first Xymox, only with the sound a bit more modern. I find each individual song to be well-written and well-executed, I would also suggest that any fan of goth rock and darkwave give this album a listen, you could discover a great band.

Mephisto Walz: Insidious

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1948)
May 31 2005
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Artist: Mephisto Walz
Title: Insidious
Format: CD
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
Rated: *****
I give southern California-based goth rock troopers Mephisto Walz every bit of credit that I can find from their latest release, Insidious, for upholding the true spirit of Christian Death (of which Walz instrumentalist Bari-Bari, t/n Barry Galvin, was once a member), but they seem to be running out of breathing room. Certain of the song concepts work really well--in "A Magic Bag," the first track, singer Christianna tells this story:

"William likes his suffering
All the attention-love it brings
Club to club he revels 'round
Another fool for the lost and found
William is a serious guy
Carries a sword by his side
Tied with twine to a ragged string
His idea of a wedding ring

"A magic bag suddenly appears
Plastic straws like rabbit ears
Carved bone dice across the bed
He took his coat, covered up his head
And to his made up gods he cried
Give me another place to hide
William likes his many friends
Lives his life to meet their ends"
...

We definitely want to hear more about pagan lost souls like William, who perfectly mirrors so many among us--the dice-carrying, Medieval sword-wielding, RenFaire-going, role-playing gamer, who can't seem to figure out which world he really belongs in. Sound familiar, anyone? (I assume, too, speaking of Christian Death, that in an alternate sense there's no intended reference here to poor Rozz Williams?) "Nightingale," an interpolation of lines from "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats, and Handel's "Ombra Mai Fu" aria, rendered on synth with a guest vocalist, make up the last two tracks. But Keats and Handel can't save the fact that MW could use a few shots in the arm. This CD, and their genre in general, are awfully close to falling into a formulaic rut, as the particular Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance influences they employ here and there sound less and less refreshing. The sixth track, "I Want," which has a chorus that strongly recalls Berlin's "Riding On the Metro," would indicate to some that MW are in desperate need of some new musical DNA. And it could be said that, by handling all of their own recording and arranging, MW are staying true to the punk-rock, do-it-yourself ethos in which they were initially forged as a band (not to mention staying within budget, always a legitimate concern). Still, a session drummer (for example) would have bolstered their production significantly (fellow Christian Death alum drummer David Glass makes an appearance on "One Last Day," but that's it). Make no mistake, the songwriting and overall pacing of Insidious is great, and those MW fans whose hindsight is less than 20/20 will be immune to any cliches. But we all still deserve better, and should rather see them break the mould next time around.

SIVA SIX: Rise New Flesh

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1942)
May 24 2005
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Artist: SIVA SIX (@)
Title: Rise New Flesh
Format: CD
Label: Decadance Records (@)
Rated: *****
Siva Six is a duo formed by Z and Noid and even if RISE NEW FLESH is their first release, they aren't newcomers, because in the past they have been members of Wintermute, Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh and Horrified. With Siva Six the duo decided to focus their efforts into the production of a saturated sound which take inspiration from the e.b.m. / industrial scene. The ten tracks of the CD don't leave space to mellowness and fit the fifty minutes with music made of distorted sounds and 4/4 rhythms. Sometimes (mostly on intros and outos) the sound is influenced by dark ambient (see "Another dead world" or "Deep black well", for example, where the horrific ambience form a ideal soundtrack of the next chapter of the Resident Evil saga) and goth (see how they use the choirs). The whole result is a mix of danceable industrial harsh electronic music which could also work outside the clubs. During the whole album there are different evidences that Siva Six aren't just another Hocico's clone: different use of ambient solutions, different melody, etc. but a major diversification of the atmosphere of the tracks could help the listener into the identification of the band with their own original sound.


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