Music Reviews

Black Tape for a Blue Girl: Tarnished

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 04 2004
Artist: Black Tape for a Blue Girl
Title: Tarnished
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Projekt
"Tarnished" is the new single from the album "Halo Star" by Black Tape for a Blue Girl, a long-standing act in the underground goth scene. Here, the band finds itself returning to its roots somewhat while still marching ahead and honing its sound. Male vocals have returned to the scene after a long stretch without them, as well. Tribal beats undergird floating ambient melodies to create a drifting, flowing river of dark but hauntingly beautiful tones sure to capture the listener in its siren call. Classic gothic vocals that avoid the pretentions of many wannabe goth acts bring the melancholy message to your ears. Black Tape for a Blue Girl is not industrial goth or metal goth or whatever. It's just pure, shadowy emotional music for when your body is lethargic but your mind is out searching in the ether ... Also included on the three-song single are "Remnants of a Deeper Purity" and "Damn Swan!"

Mollyllama: Albatross 2

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 02 2004
Artist: Mollyllama
Title: Albatross 2
Format: CD
Label: Stiffink (@)
Now here's a band that doesn't sound like everyone else. Mollyllama's "Albatross 2" is a CD that manages to resemble various things without actually sounding like any of them. At times subdued, drifting dark rock with vocals calling from a distant, at other times running with some churnier energy (but still subdued and moody), Mollyllama touches on a variety of offbeat influences, such as The Cure, David Bowie, shoegazer stuff and ... and ... and ... Jesus, who knows? Psychedelic, trippy and just a little gothy, but in a good, not pretentious, way, Mollyllama has crafted a floating river of emotional collision whose impact is subtle and relies on the listener being floated into the music for a ride along the underground.

Postmortem Past: Injesting the Jacket

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 01 2004
Artist: Postmortem Past (@)
Title: Injesting the Jacket
Format: CD
Postmortem Past's "Injesting the Jacket" is a pretty unique dose of what is essentially very subdued but at the same time very aggro (in attitude if not technical sound) and very ominous. The artist's intent was to blend goth rock and industrial and revitalize what Postmortem Past sees as a limp genre whose best sound was on hiatus. The band here presents its take on the end of the hiatus. Like other dark industrial acts, the vocals are very distorted and this makes them a little hard to understand (coupled with the overall deepness musically - you'll have to turn this CD up a little), however, this is typical of the genre (one of the few things typical about this band, I imagine) and you can't really complain about that. It's a staple of the sound. Deep bass and synth creep along at a deliberate pace that only enhances the darkness. The beats are fairly industrial in the purest sense of the word, featuring a semi-klankiness that enhances the grim ambience of the proceedings. This CD is very dark and very goth and therefore Postmortem Past has achieved what it set out to achieve. Comparison wise, the closest band I could think of in terms of what this reminds me of is Pig on his slow, non-loud, dark and gothed out days (think his remake of Smashing Pumpkins' "God"). Postmortem Past is as industrial as hell but is definitely a dark Stygian molasses river of goth forbodings. The production could stand to be a little crisper but a well done release nonetheless.

COUP DE GRĀCE: Place Of No Return

 Posted by Ferruccio Milanesi   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 29 2004
Artist: COUP DE GRĀCE (@)
Title: Place Of No Return
Format: CD
Label: EQUINOXE Records (@)
Distributor: MASTERPIECE Distribution
Rated: *****

BUY from  HERE
This is the first album for the German band COUP DE GRÂCE, showing a mixture of Gothic Rock, metal riffing, and neoclassic/neofolk influences, with the use of bagpipe and violin. The first song "Until the End" is more metal oriented, with somethings that reminds me of TIAMAT’s "Clouds", involving and rhythmical. Both the second track "Untitled", with a neofolk opening with violin (à la ALGIZ) and "When You Are Gone", with acoustic guitar intertwining with bagpipe, start softer to explode with harder metal electric guitars and a rocker attitude, with sometimes growling voice. The chorus of "When You Are Gone" is really good, such as the melodies of "Running Away", probably, in my opinion, the best chorus in all the album. "Deathbed" is like a Gothic Metal song, orchestrated and powerful, but it’s not "doom" because of a jumping and shaking rhythmic section. What is, I think, the lack of this album is the rough sound of the violin, not giving the right sweetness and atmosphere to songs, and above all the unripe use of vocals: English pronunciation is too "deutsch" and, even if probably this is the singer’s strongest feature, the voice is nearly always whining, and it could be annoying at last. It’s a pity because the singer Martin Krauß has a good timbre and could surely do better in the future.
So, a good album showing an interesting new band, but they have to dedicate more time to smooth some roughness, both in sounds and composition.

Libitina: The Shadowline

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 28 2004
Artist: Libitina (@)
Title: The Shadowline
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

This is the third album by Libitina, a UK goth band, Libitina. As one of the rising goth acts of our time Libitina combines elements from the more traditional goth-rock sound with modern rock and synth elements. This album sees a bit more focus on the electronics but without losing any of the traditional goth heart and soul. Late 2002 saw the retirement of their previous frontman Peter and this is the first album to feature Phill (Thank the gods it's not Paul) as the main vocalist. Libitina would sit nicely next to bands like Behind the Scenes, Cruxshadows, Bella Morte, and Written In Ashes. I've always liked that Libitina is never too mainstream yet easily accessible while at the same time brings in elements of dark spirituality while not being overt and takes the subtle approach much like Faith & The Muse might. Goth music has always been that which approaches the darker sides of humanity while at the same time being unafraid to inquire about the unknown and Libitina does this nicely. Great to listen to in your bedroom, private dungeon, or stomp on the dancefloor to. The mixing of electronics into traditional goth-rock has somewhat blurred the lines between Darkwave and Goth but it seems to be suitable when bands like Libitina can maintain the more traditional sounding elements of the Gothic genre without losing it to the coldness of electronics. Nicely done!

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