Saturday, June 6, 2020
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Artist: Cathedral In Flames (@)
Title: Children Of The Blackest Hole [EP]
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I've said it before - send me vinyl and you go to the top of the review pile. Here's a band who did just that, and all the way from Prague, Czech Republic, and a gothic rock outfit no less. (I'm tickled black by this!) 'Children Of The Blackest Hole' is the debut EP by Cathedral In Flames, the band being Phil Lee Fall - lead vocals; Gatsby - bass, programming; Billac de Ville - guitar; Ambra Von Bernstein - backing vocals. The EP is only five tracks but they're all good, and somewhat different. The information so far had to be gleaned elsewhere on the web, being that there was no one-sheet accompanying the album, and nothing on the album but the band name, album title, and track titles. I also have to assume this was self-released as there is no label info either. First, you need to know this is not "modern goth," that sounds either very electro or alternative melodic metal with a sprig of darkness. This is old school goth that harkens back to Sister of Mercy, Christian Death, and Fields of the Nephilim. Great! (There's some labels that could actually use an act like this on their roster...use an act like this on their roster...do I hear an Echo?) Okay, so about Fall's vocals - take a little Andrew Eldritch, and some Carl McCoy, season liberally with Pete Steele, top it off with a dollop of Nick Cave and a touch of Till Lindemann, add a dash of a Slavic accent and you have the voice of Cathedral In Flames. Deeply baritone with a whiff of pretentiousness, just the way good goth should sound. Beginning strong with "Red Car," which sounds a little derivative but effective nevertheless, the song has all the hallmarks of old school goth, and a dynamic chorus to boot. Fortunately, all the lyrics are in English. Title track ("Children of the Blackest Hole") is up next with a change of pace, a slower, moody number that shows some diversity in the band with some spot on piano. Ambra's backing vocals on this one adds effective atmosphere. Speaking of atmosphere, "Hungry As The Grave" is full of it, and once again Ambra earns her keep in the vocal department. Instrumentally, the bands works very well together with no one particularly dominating, but all striving together to bring their dark sound to fruition. "Python" is the song I saw in the band's performance video, and I have to say that Ambra appears to be the most animated member of the group, and quite a looker as well. The song is a solid piece of work, although not my favorite on the EP. That honor would fall to the last track, "Gunslinger's Blues," with a Nick Cave meets Ennio Morricone vibe. Plenty dramatic, and a little bit creepy, something you just have to hear. Ambra's vocals on this one remind me slightly of Die Form's Éliane P. This EP is definitely going to leave you wanting more from Cathedral In Flames, and I hope they remember me when they put their first full album out. A worthy purchase, and recommended on vinyl, even if you have to jump through a few hoops here in the U.S. to get it, currency conversion and whatnot.

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