Seven regular players (plus two guests) for this German "Black Chamber Orchestra", out with a surprisingly good 11-track cd. Acoustic guitars and strings provide a rich background for Marcus Testory's theatrical, tortured voice, at times really reminiscent of Nick Cave or even Mark Lanegan. There's a great care for arrangements and, at the same time, a sober, folkish quality in these ballads. There are wild and dramatic moments ("Ceremony after a Fire Raid", a Wedding Anniversary cover with words by Dylan Thomas, and the narrated "The Ballad of the Half Brained Man"), but also incredibly catchy tunes ("Pleasure and Pain", "Mistakes", "Toscana", and the traditional "Another Conversation", again with lyrics by Thomas) which could receive intensive airplay and sell thousand of copies since they really stick into your brain after the first listen. Sounds and production are very good, too, and the booklet is well done. It's not my favourite kind of folk music, but this work has a very high quality, and those into dark, melancholic ballads should purchase this without further delay.