Music Reviews

Weltschmerz: Capitale de la Douleur

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 02 2002
Artist: Weltschmerz (@)
Title: Capitale de la Douleur
Format: CD
Label: Eibon (@)
Weltschmerz (the world's pain, in German) are an Italian gothic band who started out around '94 on initiative of Monumentum's bass player Anthony Duman (I remember reviewing one of their earlier works on L'Alternative Dramatique once) but apparently they've been going a long way from there and are now signed to Italy's quality dark label Eibon (whose owner Mauro Berchi, mastermind of Canaan, also plays guitars with this band). "Capitale de la Douleur" comes as a beautifully packaged jewel case inside a cardboard box, with a nice smelling booklet containing the lyrics (in English, French and Italian; if you ask me gothic in italian sounds a little cheesy, but I guess it's a language like any other). Their music has evolved into a slow and grand gothic-dark mixture with layers of orchestral strings, slow but driving and huge doom metal sounding drumming (phat reverberated snare and lots of cymbals), melodic distorted guitars, many chorused arpeggios, piano, pushing bass lines, deep vocals (also a female vocalist is to be found on a bunch of tracks). It all evokes a little the Nephilim, Beyond Dawn and sometimes I even thought about the Spanish Heroes del Silencio, but it was probably just the Latin-ish language that brought that up in my mind, 'cause the Weltschmerz are a lot darker than that. In fact, the melancholy expressed by these eight tracks goes way beyond what dark-goth bands usually pull together: Weltschmerz is so grande that it's almost epic, and the powerful negativity that comes across is almost disturbing. This was such an intense and oppressive listening experience that you are gonna be begging for some sun after it.

The Soil Bleeds Black: Mirror of the Middle Ages

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 01 2002
Artist: The Soil Bleeds Black (@)
Title: Mirror of the Middle Ages
Format: 12"
Label: The Fossil Dungeon / World Serpent (@)
Distributor: Middle Pillar (US), Dark Vinyl (Europe)
The Riddick brothers are back with what probably is their most medieval album to this date, just one more work of love in the plethora of releases since their beginning, in 1992. 11 tracks on two sides (yes you've read right, this is a thick phat 12" LP, and for those who just don't get it -the vinyl thing I mean-, there will be a CD version of this record coming in the summer on World Serpent Distribution) with an array of traditional Renaissance percussive instruments (kick drum and tambourine mostly, but also timpani, woodblocks and stuff like that), string instruments (harpsichord, lyre/lute, acoustic/nylon guitar, dulcimer/zither etc) and lots of different breath instruments (flutes, pan-pipes, recorder, bagpipe/cornamuse/bladder pipe -only once, on side A- etc), as well as jew's harp, organ -just once, on side B-, bells and more. [I may have missed, added or wrongly identified some in the list, because there are some many, and they're so alike and so rare]. Eugenia Houston, with her high-pitch voice (ideal for this kind of chants), has pretty much taken over the singing job. While the twins orchestrate the songs, only occasionally do they contribute with their deeper vocal tone to remind what TSBB are also known for. But like I said earlier, this is quite definitely their most medieval/folkish work ever. It sounds like they put the dark vein aside and concentrated on actually quite solar folk tunes, embracing an authenticity that I have previously only heard from La Camerata Mediolanense. And because the italian guys I just mentioned are among the leaders in the genre, if you are into middle-age sonorities you should know better and make sure that this record becomes part of your collection, no matter if on CD or LP.

Hexentanz: The Sabbat Comes Softly

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 01 2002
Artist: Hexentanz (@)
Title: The Sabbat Comes Softly
Format: 7"
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
Distributor: Middle Pillar (US), Dark Vinyl (Europe)
The Soil Bleeds Black's side project (together with Psychonaut 75) called Hexentanz (the dance of the witches, in german) is an evil sounding collaboration that aims at «expressing the mythic image of sorcery and witchcraft as it stood in the Middle Ages». For all you vinyl-hungries out there, here is a 7" with silver and black art work. The opening track is an occult and almost tribal chant (I keep thinking of witches dancing around the fire) with blasphemic voices that really seem to come from ancient rites. The second track could well be a more shadowy TSBB composition. Side B opens with scary processed voices and droning dark ambient sounds, and continues with more percussive marching peace and flutes. Again very close to what TSBB's last record sounds like, except this is a lot darker and devilish, and the vocal parts (not TSBB's vocalist) are more like recited. This EP wouldn't look bad in the Cold Meat Industry catalogue and if it came out at the time of the Blairwitch Project these guys would have probably got the gig.

REGAN: Sellisternia

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 31 2002
Artist: REGAN
Title: Sellisternia
Format: CD
Label: High Priestess (@)
Distributor: Projekt, CD Baby, CD Street, etc.
SELLISTERNIA ("Feast for the Goddess") is the first release of a girl who fell in love with techno rhythms, gothic atmospheres and medieval singing style: this girl is called Regan. The reasons of this musical blend is because the past musical experiences Regan had: she studied classical music since the early ages but in 1993 when she left Boston to move to L.A. she started to link with people of the DJing and goth scene. This brought her to strengthen her interest about electronic, industrial and gothic music. SELLISTERNIA is like divided into two different parts: the first five tracks (along with the last one "Airetaina") are more influenced by classical music, medieval melodies and fairy voices (part which is boring for my tastes). The following six are more intestesting as they mix jazz, ambient, techno and goth with 50's style vocals. Even if this music isn't my cup of tea I found this CD interesting because of the variety of musical ideas but if you love these kind of sounds for sure you'll find it more than interesting.

FEAR OF DOLLS: Bless This Broken Body

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 24 2002
Artist: FEAR OF DOLLS (@)
Title: Bless This Broken Body
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Self Released
Fear Of Dolls is basically a Greg Forschler's project (which is also a member of Faith & Disease and former member of Ninth Circle) born in 1995, which basically gathers around him different artists' personalities (in fact actually he's seeking for new members). Some years ago I reviewed what I think it was their first demo tape and I remember that it impressed me because it was going beyond the classic concept of gothic music. Also this new MCD titled BLESS THIS BROKEN BODY shows a band which want to make of experimentation its aim. Even if the music is quite different, their approach remember me Virgin Prunes with their sick ballads and twisted marches. The three tracks of this MCD (plus the hidden intro and outro) are personal and sick as hell. "Screaming Inside Her", "Bless This Broken Body" and "She Was Laughing" are like tortured souls' screams which are echoing inside doubting beings. Keep on doubting and on experimenting and there will always be an interesting band worth the following...

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