Voices of Destiny - Crisis CultVoices of Destiny is a German symphonic metal band putting out their third record in 2015 (well, 2014 for Europe, but for some reason we didn’t get the promo). Since you’ve most likely never heard of them unless you’re buried deep in the belly of the symphonic metal scene, the best way to describe them is to say that they have a brand of music that’s a combination of the modern beauty and the beast style we all know and have mixed feelings about and, well, “core.” After putting out a pretty good debut in 2010 (From the Ashes), they followed up what was a bit more of a straight record with Power Dive in 2012. On Power Dive the band introduced Deadlock-like breakdowns, but still managed to produce a pretty good record with singer Maike Holzmann’s unique soprano doing a lot of heavy lifting. While they weren’t quite taking the symphocore scene by storm, Voices of Destiny had two decent-to-good records under their belt and seemed to have some promise.

Then tragedy struck. What horrible destiny befell Maike I can’t be sure, but I assume that she was hit by a truck and was replaced with Ada Fletchner at the very last minute before the release Crisis Cult. Why? Because Crisis Cult has struggles, but the absolute weakest link is the new front woman. Though, this wasn’t immediately obvious when I popped on Crisis Cult to give it an initial spin. In fact, opener “Wolfpack” is also the record’s absolute peak, and I thought “Hey, this sounds alright!” While Ada’s harmonies are a bit off, the growls and thick guitar work made me think that the record as a whole could have some real promise—especially when the chorus kicked in. The track is slick, with cool harmonies and a great keyboard arpeggio underneath, and a Nightwish or Epica vibe that—being the poseur I am—I like.

Voices of Destiny show flashes of being a band that has potential. Every song has riffs or ideas that I like. The opening riff to “The Easy Prey” sounds heavy and driven with great keyboard melody, while “To the Slaughter” has great modern death metal riffs, and Lukas Palme’s death metal vocals are beefy and tough. The production is of the modern Swedish deathpop fare like Scar Symmetry and all the bands with similar sounds, but here it is tight and works well for them. Unfortunately, though, the record is basically an unmitigated disaster from the third track onward. While there are moments of clarity or decent ideas, every song is seemingly marred by something stupid, half-baked, rushed or are just plain poorly conceived. The aforementioned “To the Slaughter” starts off with dubstep nonsense and has straight up out of tune vocals. “21 Heroes,” which bursts out of the gate with fire, is subsequently drenched in cold water by absolutely ridiculous spoken lyrics, while Ada doesn’t have the power to carry an otherwise decent chorus and the whole song collapses in on itself.

Voices of Destiny 2014

And not to harp on the vocals too much—I feel a bit guilty, frankly—but “At the Edge,” a pretty banal ballad as it is, actually features such audibly tuned vocals that you can hear the vocal distortions. “The Great Hunt,” which brings the record to thankful close, features a vocal monologue at the end that is 100% Grade A nonsense, starting with sentiments about how we should all love each other, and then ending with something about fight or flight responses and the ridiculous and outstandingly trite “Are you a sheep or a wolf?” Wut? Did anyone bother to take the 5 minutes necessary to read what they’d just written? You realize that English is a language that people actually speak, right? Our words mean something and when we string together sentences, they represent entire ideas! Using “cool words” and tough sounding phrases does not poetry make. The real icing on the cake, however, is that the end of the track “Stormcrow” features the worst breakdown that I have ever heard in my life. I am not exaggerating: the absolute worst breakdown I have ever heard. It is embarrassing.

Honestly, Crisis Cult is the kind of stuff that record labels are supposed to curate out before it ever hits the reviewer’s ears. That an album was recorded doesn’t mean that the label can’t shelve it. In fact, it’s a fairly common occurrence at major labels to just let mediocre-to-crappy records sit on the shelf where they won’t hurt anybody’s career. Crisis Cult is amateurish, inconsistent, embarrassing and frustrating. Voices of Destiny went from being a promising band, to being a band that is obviously no longer ready for prime time. While there may be/have been promise here, Crisis Cult is proof that while showing up may be half the battle, the other half is execution. And this was a rout.


Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 7 | 320 kb/s mp3s [CBR]
Label: Massacre Records
Websites: voices-of-destiny.com | facebook.com/voicesofdestiny
Release Dates: EU: 2014.10.24 | NA: 01.20.2015

 

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  • Vega Magnus

    Go check out Ada’s old band Coronatus instead. They aren’t anywhere close to perfect, but they have their moments. Their fifth album Recreatio Carminis is a pretty solid album all the way through IMO. They also just released a new album in December that I have not listened to yet.

    • Honestly I don’t really want to. If this record is anything to go by, she can’t actually carry a tune.

      • Vega Magnus

        But she is only one of two or three vocalists in Coronatus depending on the album so she isn’t having to carry the music by herself.

        • Ahh, interesting. Give this record a listen. The vocal harmonies are frequently painful.

          • Vega Magnus

            I think I’ll pass if you don’t mind.

          • I feel kinda bad. I have a rule about listening and reviewing, but I can’t imagine that anyone from the band is going to enjoy reading this review.

          • Vega Magnus

            Here’s a question for you. When bands who speak English as a second/third language write English lyrics poorly, which type of failure would you prefer: trite cliches and “cool words,” or malformed philosophical drivel like Epica? I’d pick Epica’s specific type of badness because at least they are TRYING and failing to say something.

          • I find Epica to be unlistenable because of their lyrics, so I guess I’d prefer that bands produce something that isn’t distracting. But I guess at least Epica tries, their problem is that their lyrics are simultaneously stupid and preachy.

          • Vega Magnus

            And Epica often screws up the tone of the wording they are going for. They’re a serious band attempting to say serious things, but then they go off and insert words like ain’t and losers into their lyrics and it really takes one out of the mood they’re going for. I know why it happens. In an old interview with Mark and Simone, they basically said they write their lyrics with a thesaurus, which can work very badly if you don’t understand the context that the synonyms for words can vary in what context they are supposed to be used. I think every non-native Enlgish speaking band that is trying to actually say something in their lyrics should have a native speaker proofread their lyrics before recording. It doesn’t really matter for less serious bands, (For example, I don’t care if Coronatus’ songs about Skyrim questing and sex are clunky lyric-wise or not.) but if a band has delusions of grandeur, a little proofreading could go a long way.

          • Kryopsis

            I’d assume that a band’s ‘delusion of grandeur’ would prevent it from asking somebody to proofread their lyrics. Epica is a bit of a special case because the lyrics are very clearly discernible. Most Metal bands just chain words together and hope that nobody would figure out the meaning when they lyrics are growled behind distorted guitars and blast-beats. Just look at song titles and albums names for Tech Death bands. You can tell they dive into dictionaries, find the longest, weirdest words and arbitrarily shove them into a song. It’s not like anyone listens to the lyrics or reads liner notes in 2015, right?

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Lyrics are a funny thing. They can look so goofy when you read them in the liner notes without the music and vocals to lift them up off the page. As AMG noted in his review of Trollfest’s Brumlebassen, the chorus “Give us your cash, give us all your hard-earned dollars, please!” is silly. However, when you actually hear them sing that, it’s one of the finest moments on the album.

            Richard Wagner was well known as a lousy writer. After he finished writing the libretto for one of his music dramas, it was typical of him to give a reading of it to a select group of friends. Most of them sat there bored senseless, as the text was dull and mind-numbing. When finally paired with his music, the words suddenly became heroic and transcendent. There’s something magical that happens when words and music come together..

          • But Trollfest also doesn’t take itself seriously. They’re a big effing joke, so they can kind of get away with whatever.

          • That’s cool, except you really need a native speaker to proof read your shit.

          • Correcting a lot of texts from young Swedish students, I’m interested to note that the students who have the best spoken English also tend to have the most inappropriate written English. That is: they almost write like they’re on the Internet, or they use a lot of slang. This is a common problem.

          • Kryopsis

            I happen to like Epica and yet I definitely agree with the ‘stupid and preachy’ part.

          • Vega Magnus

            Their lyrical badness hit critical mass IMO with the track Reverence- Living in the Heart from The Quantum Enigma:

            “To really know yourself, ignore your mind and find yourself again

            Life is always challenging

            To really find yourself, you can’t be blind to signals you obtain and gain

            Thoughts are slowly changing here”

            Among other facepalm-worthy lines. And I too typically like Epica, but goddamn when they suck, they suck hard.

          • Kryopsis

            What I find interesting is that while some European bands write questionable lyrics while speaking English as a second/third/fourth language, the overall quality of texts is hardly better when you examine the songs of American or British bands.

          • Jean-Luc Ricard

            Agreed

          • This is absolutely true. The only difference is that the American bands don’t really fuck up grammar, but there are very few bands that write good lyrics at all. I think my favorite are “Fate of Norns” from Amon Amarth, and they’re ESL.

  • Kryopsis

    Judging by that promo shot, nobody actually wanted to be part of this. I mean just look at their faces!

    • The only thing I can think is that they’re doing their own sort of interpretation of The Human Abstract’s photos from the Digital Veil era.

      • Vega Magnus

        I like how only two of the five are actually looking at the camera. I’m just gonna assume that something mildly interesting was going on behind the photographer.

        • Yeah, I think the picture is kind of representative of the band, actually. Awkward. Over produced. Not fun to look at/listen to.

  • Lasse Momme

    first Sphere sighting of 2015?

    • Nope. Angra has a quite subtle sphere. Also, the sphere should be in the center of the image in question.

  • Grymm

    It’s good to see the druid guy from the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction expansion find work as the cover model for this album.

    • You know “Werewolf: The Apocalypse”? Do a google image search.

      • Grymm

        Garou-vy!

  • Feeblejocks

    Sucks. Awesome album art, though. They even threw in a sphere!

  • Jean-Luc Ricard

    They’re not out of tune, they’re polyharmonies!

    • Grymm

      She’s the Tomas Haake of vocals, except she’s melodic… and bad.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    *deliberately ignores horrible album*
    I see you (AMG) have been posting reviews more often these past weeks. Are you back in full force or is this a temporary thing? We could all use s’more angry reviews and “conservative” (but honest) ratings and in our lives.

    • Yeah, I’m making time for AMG a lot more right now. I feel unhappy being out of pocket all the time. I like to write and I’m trying to stay on top of the goings-on. I also felt really crappy having missed a lot of stuff at the end of the year, and I don’t want to do that again this year. I am still the boss: though, Druhm and X do a lot of the heavy lifting, but it’s important that I weigh in on stuff. It’s fun, but it’s also kind of my responsibility.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Yeah, big props to Sir Druhm and Madam X for keeping the site running smoothly. Not taking anything away from the other writers but I like the way you do things (it’s the reason I stuck around from way back when) so welcome back into the fray.

  • Doomdeathrosh

    This begs the question: Would Maike have made it any better? I don’t think so…

  • Josh R.

    I have to hear this terrible breakdown. Is it comparable to a Green Bay Packer breakdown?

    • TOO SOON!

    • Grymm

      Someone call the Burn Unit.

    • jorge

      no way you`re comparing this album to the recent loss of the packers against the mighty seahawks???

      I`ve read the comment and remember the game and laughed big time (sorry packers followers)
      horns up from chile

  • Feytalist

    Man, this is a shame. That embedded song is actually pretty good.

    • This was my thought, too! First track on the record and I was like “yeah!” So you can imagine my shock and despair. Especially since I had to listen to it several times in order to write a review.

  • Styler

    I had to find the track Stormcrow just to get to hear the breakdown at the end. It’s the first time in a long time that a ‘serious’ metal piece has made me laugh out loud.