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Artist
Black Nail Cabaret
Title
Emerald City
Format/Cat
CD
Label
Self-released
Style
Dark Synth pop
Date of review
4th October 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
8/10
Proving once more that alternative music is now truly becoming a worldwide phenomenon, the Bulgarian duo of Emese 'Emke' Arvai-Illes & Zsofia 'Sophie' Tarr here make their mark with this 12-track album that shows a great flair for producing music that, with its often lush melodics & evocative darkwave moods mixed with more straightforward synthpop elements & a greater variety of moods than is usually the case, should have a wide appeal. The opening 'Let Me In' is a good example of this as the duo set down a generally light mood in its layers of smooth melodic layers &, while the vocals don't seem to initially assert themselves they soon make their mark on the chorus while, continuing in the darkwave tradition of naming songs after women, 'Veronica' makes a more definite mark with its imposing rhythms & infectious riffs & is certain to prove popular. The guitar work of Tamas Szamveber is another important ingredient in the BNC sound, adding a gutsier, more organic edge to 'Jolly Queen' & a similarly grittier edge to the emotive mood of 'Time' whilst also complementing the symphonic tapestry of 'Gogo', which is slightly reminiscent of The Clan Of Xymox while the sultry spoken voice evokes the almost burlesque-like aura that seems to surround the duo. And proving that they're not content to stick to one mode of expression is the contrast served up by the soaring, evocative 'Storm' with its truly expansive feel or the yearning, vibrantly emotive feel of 'Butterflies' & the overtly happy & breezy mood on the penultimate track 'Nightsky' which follows on from the sassy, bluesy swagger of 'Bartender' which, with its appropriately smoking vocals & feelgood mood, evokes its title pretty much to perfection while the shorter 'Diamond Dogs' closes the album on a sensuous & atmospheric note &, no, it's nothing to do with David Bowie! This is clearly one talented duo who have put out a fine album that does have a homogenous feel but, within that, isn't scared to take a few chances & surprise the listener, more so than many bands who could be said to inhabit similar musical vistas, at any rate &, as such, it's well worth checking out.


 

Artist
Femina Faber
Title
Amplexum Mentis
Format/Cat
CD AEFF-06
Label
Calembour Records
Style
Neo-folk
Date of review
19th September 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
6/10
Femina Faber is the musical vision of Italian musician Paola Bianchi, aided by various guest musicians, whose sound on this, her second full-length album release, is a combination of ambient abstract soundscapes & medieval-flavoured percussion effects topped off by her own angelic voice which is the one constant facet of the album; whatever the music does, there's always that voice enunciating the Latin lyrics, to make the music her own. This is taken to its logical conclusion by 'Ne Me Demiseris (Effectio Mystica)' the a capella opening of which demonstrates her virtuosity in picking out each note while Fausto Balbo's guitar & 'mbira makes for quite a rustic track in contrast to the opening version which begins with all manner of abstract effects, like a dark marsh full of unimaginable creatures before it shows its true neofolk colours. The harp of Matteo Zenatti is another important factor in the music, playing host to a host of abstract, wraith-like chords on 'Amplexum Mentis' & evoking the artists' homeland on the closing 'Tenebrae Undique' where the notes are sprayed across the soundscape like aural confetti which initially makes for a fairly everyday feel although the sound is mutated slightly as if the view were seen through a distorting mirror. Elsewhere, an assertive guitar riff gives 'Formae Occultae' a feel that borders on an offbeat version of country, aided by a more straightforward rhythmic backing while 'In Mari Flamma' goes for a more IDM feel in the rhythms while Bianchi's multi-tracked voice harmonises with itself to set an almost sultry feel. These, however, are no more than flavours of more traditional styles that add spice to the rustic, folky moods of Bianchi's music, likewise the light breakbeats that scurry away beneath 'Inter Urticas Rosetum' while 'Emitte Spiritum Tuum (Inferium Visio)' starts with what sounds like the laboured breathing of a huge being & develops into a soundscape of chords, phrased effects & layered voices that once again shows the more atmospheric side of Femina Faber.


 

Artist
The Frozen Autumn
Title
Emotional Screening Device
Format/Cat
CD TFA-05
Label
Calembour Records
Style
Goth
Date of review
19th September 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
8.5/10
Hot on the hells of their most recent album 'Chirality' comes this reissue of The Forzen Autumn's 2002 release, presented here with completely new cover art, designed by band members Diego Merletto & Froxeanne (The Count's appearance was a long way off at this point!) as well as a full lyric booklet making this a worthwhile reissue (unless the original was deleted in which case it's an essential one!) Musically, it also demonstrates just how they've progressed in the intervening period, despite saying true to their cold, darkly emotive style, as the new wave influences are far more apparent here than on their more recent releases with the bass & guitar work that is a constant facet of the album harking back to the 80s, most notably during the surprisingly poppy numbers 'Silence Is Talking' & the more empathetic 'When You Are Sad'. Likewise the fact that 'Is Everything Real' & 'Sperm Like Honey' both dip their toes into synthpop waters with typical analogue-flavoured deliveries are indicative of the more obvious synthetic elements that also make their mark throughout, adding an almost spikey contrast to the deep, regretful-sounding synth leads of 'Freon Heart, Fayence Mind' where Diego's smoothly downbeat vocal delivery leave you in no doubt just who you are listening to, a fact that holds true even on the title track which wouldn't sound out of place on John Foxx's album The Garden! Likewise, Froxeanne's pure, almost glacial delivery which makes for an almost uplifting feel when combined with the obviously synthetic musical soundscape of 'Verdancey Price', is equally important to the band's sound & she again makes her presence felt on the 9 minute 'Wintertag' where the increased duration allows the listener to really immerse themselves into the mood of the music. What this all adds up to is a more 'down to earth' version of the band's sound although the instrumental 'Precious Lives' bucks this trend with its dream-like feel giving rise to all manner of fantastic feelings & visions as the backing sequences play host to floating chords in a manner that could easily appeal to Tangerine Dream fans everywhere. Similarly, the slowly unfolding opener 'Second Sight (D) sets things underway with liquid synth leads contrasting the downbeat manner which, itself contrasts with the (A) interpretation of the track which closes the album on a slightly brighter note, albeit one that won't leave your heart untouched. Of course, their many releases have proved time & time again that The Frozen Autumn never could leave your heart untouched & this fine album is no exception.


 

Artist
L'ame Immortelle
Title
Momente
Format/Cat
CD TRI 444 CD
Label
Trisol
Style
Emotive goth
Date of review
15th July 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
8/10
With Nachtmahr being seemingly here, there & everywhere of late I did wonder if Thomas Rainer would ever have the time to do another L'Ame Immortelle album. After all, it seems ages since the last one but, fortunately for us all, he & the goddess that is Sonja Kraushofer have done just that & here make a triumphant return with what is possibly the most heart-breaking album you'll ever hear! Once again, the subject of a relationship split is the driving force behind this album & while their music has always been an emotive, often plaintive journey through dark emotions this is taken to new heights here, helped by the widespread acoustic elements such as the viola/violin & piano work that prove so effective in bringing a more human feel to much of the album &, in this regard, perfectly compliment Sonja's vocals which take the lead on a majority of the tracks & have never sounded more heartfelt; indeed it's impossible not to be moved by the raw grief of 'No Goodbye' & 'Why Can't I Make You Feel', the latter of which in particular sees her scaling new heights of vocal magnificence with a performance that is so heart-rendering to the extent that it's impossible to escape the feeling that she is reliving a very real hurt that is still very raw &, as such, is impossible not to empathise with. Even when the album does pick up speed, as on the electro-based 'Absolution' or the more rock-inspired 'Dort Draussen', both of which see Rainer taking over lead vocal duties, the mood doesn't lift a great deal although 'Demon Be Gone' does boast a more defiant edge which hints at moving on & living life anew. However, saving the best for last, comes the wonderful 'Hold Me' which is slightly more restrained but all the more effective for that & possesses a reflective & bittersweet beauty that, if you can listen to it without shedding a tear then you simply don't have a heart. Surely anyone who has ever been hurt will find this album affecting them greatly, it's the most human album the duo have ever done & an utterly triumphant return, God, it's good to have them back!!


 

Artist
The Frozen Autumn
Title
Chirality
Format/Cat
CD TFA-03
Label
Calembour Records
Style
Melancolic electro-goth
Date of review
7th June 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
8.5/10
To listen to The Frozen Autumn is to be drawn into another mysterious world that is constantly enveloped either by an impenetrable mist or an eternal winter & yet which isn't without its own cold melancholic beauty. The music of long time TFA stalwarts Diego Merletto & Froxeanne, who are joined here by new member The Count, has always been this cold, darkly melancholic entity &, even if they stick very closely to their own mix of 80s gothic moods & dark wave sounds on this latest release then that matters not at all as the magic shows no signs of waning. Indeed, if anything, they're just getting better & better all the time as this is easily as good as anything they've released in the past & could well be their finest release yet with virtually every track proving its worth, starting with the superb opener 'Before The Storm' as massed melodic layers create a quite compelling sonic tapestry with each new element taking the track up to new emotive heights in a quite masterful manner. Diego's downbeat vocals add the finishing touch on what is a quite stunning opener & while it might seem a shame to get what is probably the highlight out of the way first there is still so much to discover here, such as the darkly romantic 'Breathtaking Beauty' where the melancholic chorus is contrasted somewhat by the more uplifting chorus & the slow & deliberate feel that permeates 'Rallentears' where the resonant rhythms are embellished by some strong bass chords & finally soaring synth leads which are the icing on this particular cake. Likewise, the epic feel that resonates through 'The Last Train' just has to be heard to be believed as the cold but sumptuous synths & melancholic guitar work that any goth fans will love weave yet another musical spell in a manner that again demonstrates their mastery of their chosen style. Froxeanne's vocals have always been a major asset to the band & they are no less so here with 'Sidereal Solitude' benefitting from an unusually warm & very womanly performance while 'So Brave' sees her voice becoming more & more tortured as the piece progresses in a manner which makes it clear she's digging deep into her soul to know such heartfelt passion, so much so that the less intense feel of 'Victory' comes as a much needed breather &, like 'In The Golden Air' feels like a rare ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds & illuminating their dark world for just a brief while.


 

Artist
Sopor Aeternus And The Ensemble Of Shadows
Title
Have You Seen This Ghost?
Format/Cat
CD AV-027- CD
Label
Apocalyptic Vision Records
Style
Dark gothic cabaret
Date of review
28th February 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
7/10
Anna-Varney Cantodea's latest album is the newest instalment from a unique artist who has perfected a unique combination of poetry, art & sound that sounds as if it were the soundtrack to a dark Victorian cabaret, sounding at once old yet modern, abstract yet emotional & with lyrics that are not so much sung as recited, such is their poetic resonance, being overtly sexual in places yet becoming increasingly tragic & lovelorn as the album progresses. Indeed, the theme of unrequited love is a constant one as AnnaVarney takes the listener on a tour through the darker reaches of love, loss & pain with, it seems, no light at the end of the tunnel. Musically, it's a unique fusion of classical, gohic & darky romantic motifs, with the orchestral elements, provided by numerous guest musicians, setting the mood throughout as the album's backbone, whether providing a surging backdrop for the numerous up-tempo moments or the touching fusion of strings that give the opening of 'Starlight Seen Through Veils Of Tears' (even the titles say so much!) an almost heartbreakingly emotive opening before the mood changes as the piece transforms into an almost dark cabaret-like offering with vocals that become almost desperate in their intensity. This change of mood is one that's typical throughout, very rarely does any one track stick to its initial premise, the one exception being 'At The Stroke Of Midnight Gently' which is so short it could hardly do anything else, the sound giving rise to visions of some dark, satanic jester cavorting madly. 'Cornucopia D'Amour' is another good example of this constant progression as the sound of chiming clocks that feature throughout the album & which give it a distinctly Victorian edge, are then joined by some haunting violin & viola work that is so authentic it's easy to imagine a string quartet playing this at a Victoria Gothic gathering & while the drums that provide additional impetus later on do dilute this somewhat it never completely goes away, the overall mood remains the same. One move that is certain to raise a few eyebrows is the covering of a couple of 80s er, classics, namely Lionel Richie's 'Hello', where the schmaltz of the original is replaced by something far darker which fits the album to a tee (as do the lyrics, incidentally) while one can only guess what Jim Steinman would make of the reinterpretation of Bonnie Tyler's 'Holding Out For A Hero' which again fits in well with the rest of the album although more liberties are taken with the source material as the mid-section takes on a decidedly manic feel, like a descent into madness before relative normality reasserts itself for the climax which, like the beginning, would be more recognisable to anyone familiar with the original! Likewise, Marianne Faithful's 'Sleep' is given the Sopor Aeternus treatment & again sounds like a piece of genuine Victoriana with vocals that are as emotive as ever for all their strangeness while this generally mournful mood is taken to its logical conclusion on the closing 'The Hours Of Sadness' which seems to sum up the album both lyrically & musically with its lovelorn mood offering no sense of solace in a manner that's offbeat, uncompromising in its misery & yet, strangely beautiful with some deeply moving lyrics that act as a postscript to this typically unique release from AnnaVarney Cantodea & her dark ensemble.


 

Artist
ASP
Title
Fremd
Format/Cat
CD TRI 431 CD
Label
Trisol
Style
Gothic rock
Date of review
26th March 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
7/10
In case you didn't know, ASP are big in Germany, big enough to be billed above VNV Nation at Mera Luna, at any rate! Bandleader Alexander Spreng & his cohorts have, over the years, developed an appealing mix of straightforward infectious rock songs & longer, more gothic-orientated numbers, a mixture, I guess, that has enough different elements to attract a wide range of fans. Their rocky numbers, in the shape of 'Wechselbalg'& the slightly regimented but even livelier 'Eisige Wirklichkeit' really do motor along in an immediately infectious style while the opening 'A Prayer For Sanctuary' builds from its mysterious opening into a full-blooded piece of gothic electronica with Rammstein-style guitars & choir-like vocals that emphasise the title's religious connotations. Elsewhere 'FremKorson, Erstens' transforms from its medieval opening into an almost punky number & shows a good deal of progression while 'Schoen, Schoen, Schoen' retains something of the pomposity that is a feature of their longer offerings such as 'The Mysterious Vanishing Of The Foremar Family' where the English lyrics perhaps make up for the fact that not enough really happens to justify the 9 minute duration although the medieval flavours that 'FremKorPerson, Erstens' initially shows before it transforms into a pacey, almost punky number, are a better example of what they can do with the freedom that such longer tracks allow. Likewise 'Angstkathedrale', which runs to over 17 minutes, proves another highlight although this cheats slightly by being two tracks in one as, after establishing a darkly repetitive, if slightly hypnotic mood with heavy guitar riffs & chant-like gothic vocals that give way to an excellent instrumental section that boasts some impressive musicianship it then undergoes a total transformation into a catchy, infectious piece much like their shorter ones & is one of the album's highlights without a doubt. The closing 'Unverwandt' likewise progresses from its slow opening, led by some impressive violin work that later on meashes excellently with the guitar riffs & scorching lead soloing as the piece picks up the pace briefly before returning to its initial premise & building to a rousing, full-blooded climax. Throughout the band's expertise is evident with high compositional skills & an equally high level of musicianship as well as a mix of complex songs & some good old fashioned rocking much in evidence throughout the album; on this showing it's not hard to fathom why they're so popular in their homeland!


 

Artist
Sophya
Title
Words & Sounds
Format/Cat
CD
Label
Out Of Print Records
Style
Goth
Date of review
26th March 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
7/10
Originally from Israel but now based in Amsterdam, the duo of Sonya Rozenblum & Idan Karutchi have put together this vinyl/download-only release that brings together 14 tracks recorded & released between 2000-2011 although, if you didn't know that, it could easily be taken as a complete album in its own right. The Sophya sound is based around Sonya's ethereal, exotic voice & synths & Idan's guitar which seems on such tracks as 'Desert Heart' & the short 'Third Wish Pt.1' to be influenced by the instrumental bands of the 60s such as The Shadows, strange as it might sound, but here it is altered & placed in a totally different setting in a manner that seems to add an element of the everyday into an otherwise mysterious, evocative dream setting. There is a definite influence of 80s goth in places, particularly the earlier tracks with the opening duo of 'More' & 'Another Day' proving reminiscent of Siouxsie & The Banshees & even The Mission but the music is given a more ethereal mood by the lashings of echo that permeates the whole affair while some fine piano work permeates 'Captive Beauty' before 'Downstairs' again sees the band spinning a mysterious web of words & music, like a waking dream given musical form. Taking this particular aspect to its logical conclusion is the closing 'Pale Blue Moon' which is executed so perfectly, with its phased guitar & bewitching voice that it's hard to imagine any other song that has evoked its title so perfectly with a dark serenity that makes this an album for relaxed & contemplative listening, preferably late at night with the lights either down low or non-existent. The first hint of change comes with the scratched record effects that set the scene for 'Art' where the uneven rhythms add an almost medieval feel while the heavier guitars on the chorus verge on dark rock, almost. From here on in, the album does take on a more varied approach with some effective synth work & Idan's vocals giving 'Sixteen Rings (For A Memory)' a plaintive feel that is more down-to-earth & less dream-like & this becomes more pronounced hereafter; the feeling cannot be denied but there's a definite 'real world' feel to the up-tempo albeit lightweight numbers 'Desire' (which is a new piece that will appear on their next album) & the rougher, more authentic-sounding 'Fifty Four' where the brighter-sounding chorus sees the band at their most upbeat. This is even the case on the languid & gently unfolding 'Blossom' that separates the two & where the massed vocals, gentle guitar & piano make for a sensuous feel that, at over six minutes long, gives the track an almost timeless feel that allows the listener to really become lost in the music. The slightly shorter 'The Games They Play' achieves a similar feat again returning to the gothic styles of the earlier tracks with the constant guitar & mysterious voices being built upon, layer upon layer in a manner that is hypnotic in it repetitiveness & enthralling in its gathering momentum whilst retaining the trademark Sophya sound.


 

Artist
Tying Tiffany
Title
Dark Days, White Nights
Format/Cat
CD TRI 446 CD
Label
Trisol
Style
Gothic rock
Date of review
26th March 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
7.5/10
Tying Tiffany's previous album People's Temple was my first experience of her music so I didn't realise at the time just how different its pretty trad goth/punk style was from the more straightforward pop sound of her previous releases. The Italian artist's latest album is more of a steady progression from its predecessor rather than a startling new development with Siouxsie & The Banshees continuing to be a major influence on her, so it seems. The music, however, is given a much bigger, more dramatic feel by Lorenzo Montana's production which is reminiscent of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound which proves to be something of a double-edged sword in that while it does make for a more distinctive sound, which is always welcome, of course, it does also tend to 'soft focus' the music in a sense, perhaps rendering it a little too polished & there is a case to be made that a more traditional, raw sound would have been welcome in places, particularly on such tracks as 'Unleashed' which is exciting enough & with some pitch-bending synths making for an attention-grabbing opening but its nicely thrashy edge would have been better left in a more unrefined state. Likewise 'Lepers Of The Sun', which benefits from John Koester's smooth & distinctly masculine co-vocals, does retain a dynamic mood throughout although it's hard not to wonder just how much more of an impact its surging guitar riffs would have had had they not been so polished. It does, however, suit to a tee the sensual, alluring mood of '5 AM', adding to the increasingly expansive mood that it achieves as it progresses as well as the plaintive air of tragic faded glamour that marks the closing 'White Night, which builds in intensity until her voice seems to drown in the sea of music & the dark dream-like mood of 'Universe'. There can be no doubt that Montana's work is an important part on the album, making its mark straightaway on the opening 'New Colony' which begins with a seemingly impenetrable wall of sound that is so overwhelming it says a lot about Tiffany's voice, sounding here like a solo chorister, that she's able to get above it & while the guitar & drums that come in later bring a more traditional gothic mood, the music retains its own feel throughout; her influences are obvious but she's not content to copy & she makes the music her own. 'Dark Day' & the more overtly bombastic 'Drownin'' both benefit from the contrast that comes from the mix of dramatic music & her, at times, somewhat petulant-sounding voice as does the exciting 'She Never Dies' where the authentic drums & bass guitar work bring the 80s very much to life, albeit in an up to date setting & thus acts as the most explicit statement as to what the album as a whole is about.


 

Artist
Sopor Aeternus And The Ensemble Of Shadows
Title
Have You Seen This Ghost?
Format/Cat
CD AV-027- CD
Label
Apocalyptic Vision Records
Style
Dark gothic cabaret
Date of review
28th February 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
7/10
Anna-Varney Cantodea's latest album is the newest instalment from a unique artist who has perfected a unique combination of poetry, art & sound that sounds as if it were the soundtrack to a dark Victorian cabaret, sounding at once old yet modern, abstract yet emotional & with lyrics that are not so much sung as recited, such is their poetic resonance, being overtly sexual in places yet becoming increasingly tragic & lovelorn as the album progresses. Indeed, the theme of unrequited love is a constant one as AnnaVarney takes the listener on a tour through the darker reaches of love, loss & pain with, it seems, no light at the end of the tunnel. Musically, it's a unique fusion of classical, gohic & darky romantic motifs, with the orchestral elements, provided by numerous guest musicians, setting the mood throughout as the album's backbone, whether providing a surging backdrop for the numerous up-tempo moments or the touching fusion of strings that give the opening of 'Starlight Seen Through Veils Of Tears' (even the titles say so much!) an almost heartbreakingly emotive opening before the mood changes as the piece transforms into an almost dark cabaret-like offering with vocals that become almost desperate in their intensity. This change of mood is one that's typical throughout, very rarely does any one track stick to its initial premise, the one exception being 'At The Stroke Of Midnight Gently' which is so short it could hardly do anything else, the sound giving rise to visions of some dark, satanic jester cavorting madly. 'Cornucopia D'Amour' is another good example of this constant progression as the sound of chiming clocks that feature throughout the album & which give it a distinctly Victorian edge, are then joined by some haunting violin & viola work that is so authentic it's easy to imagine a string quartet playing this at a Victoria Gothic gathering & while the drums that provide additional impetus later on do dilute this somewhat it never completely goes away, the overall mood remains the same. One move that is certain to raise a few eyebrows is the covering of a couple of 80s er, classics, namely Lionel Richie's 'Hello', where the schmaltz of the original is replaced by something far darker which fits the album to a tee (as do the lyrics, incidentally) while one can only guess what Jim Steinman would make of the reinterpretation of Bonnie Tyler's 'Holding Out For A Hero' which again fits in well with the rest of the album although more liberties are taken with the source material as the mid-section takes on a decidedly manic feel, like a descent into madness before relative normality reasserts itself for the climax which, like the beginning, would be more recognisable to anyone familiar with the original! Likewise, Marianne Faithful's 'Sleep' is given the Sopor Aeternus treatment & again sounds like a piece of genuine Victoriana with vocals that are as emotive as ever for all their strangeness while this generally mournful mood is taken to its logical conclusion on the closing 'The Hours Of Sadness' which seems to sum up the album both lyrically & musically with its lovelorn mood offering no sense of solace in a manner that's offbeat, uncompromising in its misery & yet, strangely beautiful with some deeply moving lyrics that act as a postscript to this typically unique release from AnnaVarney Cantodea & her dark ensemble.


 

Artist
Clan Of Xymox
Title
Darkest Hour
Format/Cat
CD TRI 419 CD
Label
Trisol
Style
Goth
Date of review
28th February 2012
Reviewer
Carl Jenkinson
Rating
8.5/10
There can be few bands who are as reliable & yet always surprising as Clan Of Xymox & there can't be many bands who are only now releasing their best material yet after having been around for so many years but that's what Ronny Moorings & co have done here as this is a quite superb album that has everything you'd expect from The Clan & more. Its strength lies in the fact that, while it continues the established Xymox sound with Ronny Moorings' vocals being as distinctive & as plaintive as ever, it's not afraid to take chances, witness the analogue synthpop stylings that grace the opening 'My Reality' or the almost industrial hard edge of 'My Chicane'. For all that, though, this is a Clan Of Xymox album through & through with 'Delete' quickly establishing itself as a future classic through its combination of lush, rich textures & superb dark melodics as does 'She Did Not Answer' which, aided by its dynamic sequences, excellent synth lines & danceable rhythms being contrasted by the downbeat lyrics, cannot fail to grab your attention the second you hear it. There are, of course, a good number of darker tracks here, among them 'Deep Down I Died' where the dark melodics are offset by more abstract effects that could have been the soundtrack to a dark fairy tale, at least until the lyrics bring it back to reality & which is then followed by 'In Your Arms Again' which almost seems to be a direct continuation, the two certainly compliment each other. Whether this was deliberate or not is unclear but if it was an accident then it was a very fortunate one! As the album nears its end 'The Darkest Hour' makes its mark with a carpet of sumptuous floating melodics & atmospheric elements that border on the cosmic with an inherent richness that is embellished by the orchestral elements that appear later, leaving the upliftingly glorious closer that is 'Wake Up My Darling' to round things out in a hearteningly authentic fashion; so much so that it's not stretching the imagination to much to imagine The Beatles coming up with something similar were they still recording today. It certainly is a fitting end to this quite superb album which sees The Clan Of Xymox at their very best.