Paradise Lost – One Second (Review)

Paradise LostThis is a remastered version of Paradise Lost’s classic 1997 album One Second.

What can you say about this album if you haven’t already heard it? It’s just so good.

Following up the metal masterpiece that was 1995’s Draconian Times was always going to be a tricky proposition, but the band certainly didn’t opt for Continue reading

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Embassy of Silence – Verisimilitude (Review)

Embassy of SilenceEmbassy of Silence are from Finland and this is their third album. They play Progressive Rock.

This is bright, upbeat and cheery Progressive Rock with Gothic elements and just a tinge of Metal. Good songwriting and the abundant energy that the band pour into the tracks mean that Verisimilitude is a winner.

Although there are Gothic elements, these are only added in for extra colour as the main base of the band is a Progressive one. This is good, as Gothic Rock/Metal has been so thoroughly done to death over the years that it’s a style that’s usually simpler and duller in many ways than what we find on this album.

As the band’s songwriting is based mainly on Progressive Rock rather than the Gothic variety, this allows them to avoid the obvious pitfalls of the Gothic Rock/Metal style. On this album the band have the mix just right, concentrating mainly on the Progressive and just adding a bit of the Gothic in here and there.

Verisimilitude is a well-done and enjoyable listen, with each of the songs having character and presence. The Progressive Rock influence is evident in the guitars and the keyboards, as well as the overall feel and style of the songs.

There’s a rich tapestry of orchestration and added layers of atmosphere to the songs and a good amount of diversity and variety of feeling and moods on the album. This is also true of the singer’s voice, which is used to great effect throughout. She has a top quality voice with a good range that’s more than capable of dealing with whatever is thrown at it.

Impressive and professional; Embassy of Silence have created a cohesive and compelling album that’s based around energetic and impassioned songs with bright hooks, catchy melodies and music with substance and depth. Who can ask for more?

Highly recommended.

 

The 69 Eyes – The Best of Helsinki Vampires (Review)

The 69 EyesThe 69 Eyes are from Finland and play Gothic Rock.

This is a pretty epic Best Of album, spanning 28 tracks across 25 years. Most bands will never be that prolific.

I haven’t actually heard The 69 Eyes before but they’re certainly a band I’ve been aware of.

As is the case with Best Of albums like this it’s essentially a greatest hits package, and the quality of the songs reflect this.

It shows a remarkable consistency over the band’s long career. Times, style and fortunes may shift and change, but a good song is a good song regardless.

These are catchy, memorable, Gothic-infused Rock songs with personality and choruses aplenty.

The singer has that kind of deep, charismatic voice that is essential for this kind of music and it’s easy to see why he has captivated so many hearts over the decades with his vocal performance.

There is a lot of music on this release, almost 2 hours in total. But even given the constraints of the genre there’s a decent amount of variety here, with everything from up-tempo rockers, moody slower songs and outright ballads getting a chance to shine. The band have suffered no shortage of inspiration over the years, that’s apparent.

From my own point of reference, they combine elements of HIM, Ashbury Heights, Mono Inc., Paradise Lost, Tiamat, Type O Negative, Moonspell and Sentenced; although I’m well aware that it’s probably the other way around in reality.

With such a wealth of riches in one package, if this is your kind of music then it’s hard to go wrong with The Best of Helsinki Vampires.

I’m sold. Sign me up.

Atriarch – An Unending Pathway (Review)

AtriarchAtriarch are from the US and this is their third album. They play Blackened Doom Metal.

Atriarch play a curious mix of Doom and Blackened Gothic Rock. Neurosis-style Doom and dark-Stoner sensibilities combine with almost-Darkwave Pop moments and Blackened influences. The juxtaposition of the two is handled well and is an uncommon approach. The band have certainly developed their own style in this regard and are to be applauded.

Each of the tracks take elements of these influences and blend them together to greater or lesser extents so that the resulting album has a unique character and flavour to it.

Genre-shifting in mid-song is a hard thing to do well and not many bands attempt it for this reason. Atriarch have not completely mastered it but they’re definitely more proficient at it than most. There is a lot of variety, interest and depth to these songs because of how good they are at merging their differing influences and distilling them into something that works well for the listener to enjoy.

An Unending Pathway is the kind of album that is unexpected and abnormal. Some people won’t take to their individuality, of course, but I believe that as long as the music’s good anything a bit different should be embraced and supported.

Atriarch are a bit different, their music is very good indeed and therefore you should embrace and support them. Off you go.

Lethe – When Dreams Become Nightmares (Review)

LetheFormed by members of Manes and Eluveitie, Lethe play dark and multi-textured experimental music.

Combining the best parts of Rock, Post-Rock, Electronica and Metal to create 10 tracks of emotive songs that instantly capture your attention while also having enough depth to keep you satiated in the long run. Bands such as Ulver, Arcturus and Manes are the obvious starting points and Lethe should definitely appeal to fans of these groups.

The main vocalist is a very talented person. Her vocals are exceptional and she shows great range across the album. She has great character and talent, and infuses both of these into every song to create the right mood for each. The occasional male vocals that swim in and out of the various tracks simply add another dimension to the proceedings.

The music doesn’t let the side down though – each song is crafted to a high standard by experienced personnel who know exactly what to do to achieve the effect that they want. The songs are passionate and dark, with Gothic Rock stamped all over some of them but not in a commercial stadium-friendly way, rather in a more personal way that allows you to have a relationship with the actual songs rather than some stylised version that will eventually become stale due to overexposure and lack of substance. This is female fronted Rock for people that don’t like female fronted Rock.

This is an astoundingly good album that combines catchiness and intellect to produce sophisticated dark Rock. What a fantastic way to start off 2014.