Gothic Metal

Edenbridge – The Bonding Review

Edenbridge – The Bonding Review

“When I reviewed Edenbridge‘s Solitaire album a few years back, I suggested their sound was only metal if you use the most generous and inclusive definition of the word. Their (slightly) evolving approach makes them sound like Nightwish‘s prettier, quieter sister and many of their songs are so light, ephemeral and gauzy, they seem more akin to New Age meditation soundscapes than anything heavy or hard. While that may seem like some kind of indictment on the pages of Angry Metal Guy Dot Com, I mean it in no such way. In fact, I’ve enjoyed almost all their output because they’re so good at crafting soothing, sugar-coated odes to tranquility and I’m utterly at a loss to resist the charms of Sabine Edelsbacher’s beautiful and enchanting voice.” Lush and gorgeous music is in short supply in metaldom. Does Edenbridge‘s ambitious new opus help reduce the deficit or is it just so much empty fluffery?

Lacrimas Profundere – Antiadore Review

Lacrimas Profundere – Antiadore Review

“More goth-metal from Napalm Records? Sure, I think we all need a break from the endless waves of retro-death, retro-thrash and black metal (which is by definition retro). Lacrimas Profundere has been around forever and over the past five or six albums, they’ve settled into a comfort zone of glum, goth-rock in the same vein as Entwine, H.I.M., To Die For and naturally they include plenty of nods to The Cure and The Cult. While one can hammer them for essentially releasing Ave End over and over again, their knack for keeping things catchy and lively continue to draw me back time after time. While I think their Filthy Notes For Frozen Hearts was their best release in this cycle, I was more than pleased with 2010s The Grandiose Nowhere and still spin it pretty often when that urge to be morose hits me.” Steel Druhm is on a goth-metal kick, so you all must deal with it and play along until we go back to death metal 24/7.

Within Temptation – The Unforgiving Review

Within Temptation – The Unforgiving Review

As one of the elevated culprits who took guilty pleasure in bringing the so-called “female fronted” symphonic metal genre to fame, Within Temptation has often been right next to the milestone names of Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy, Nightwish, After Forever and the like from this infamous subgenre [Also known as “Chick Metal” by this member of The Patriarchy – AMG]. This is often accompanied by blunt comparisons, senseless “expert” statements and, of course, rabid hate from people who just can’t appreciate chicks in metal [Example: my earlier comment. – AMG]. But hey, life goes on and so does the music industry. Whatever the case, unlike their colleagues who have gone through hard time line-up changes that have proven catastrophic at times, Within Temptation has continued to add new chapters to their own story. Through times of war between legions of Tarja and Anette die-hards, crazy Vibeke rumors in the air, Floor & Sander drama break-ups, the flame of Within Temptation continued to burn ever brighter, offering fascinating music with each release.

Before the Dawn – Deathstar Rising Review

Before the Dawn – Deathstar Rising Review

Ah, the life of a reviewer. It has it’s share of perks for sure. The promos, the forum for spouting self-righteous opinions, the money and of course, the women. However, all of that glory fades when compared to the thrill of reporting that a beloved band’s new album is fantastic. This right here was a release I’ve been waiting eagerly for and I had to beg, harass and harangue Angry Metal Guy into letting me review it. Because he’s a harsh but fair employer, he finally relented and let me address the sixth album by these gents from Finland (although that probably means I have to review a crapload of cheesy metalcore albums in the near future [How’d you know!? – AMG]). For those unfamiliar, Before the Dawn is a little difficult to pigeonhole neatly into one genre. They’re essentially a melodic death metal unit with a fair amount of gothic, and at times, doom metal added in. It’s been a successful and highly enjoyable combination and these guys always impressed me with how they blended heaviness with melody and huge hooks. I’m very happy to report that Deathstar Rising is another big success for these guys, contains some of their best material so far and is one of the best releases of the still early year.

Ava Inferi – Onyx Review

Ava Inferi – Onyx Review

Gothic metal, or as I’ve come to think of it, hot-babes-with-epic-pipes metal. I used to love it but admit to getting burned out on it over the last few years due to the over proliferation of these types of female fronted acts. Of course, some bands do it way better than others but it just seemed like there were a million generic, plastic imitations running around and I eventually washed my hands of the whole style. So when I was assigned the new Ava Inferi album, I didn’t have high expectations to say the least. Onyx is the third album by this Portugal based crew which features the guitar work and song writing of Rune Eriksen (Aura Noir) and the vocal stylings of Carmen Susana Simoes. Although these folks are usually classified as gothic/doom, there’s really no doom in their sound in the conventional sense. No crushing riffs, no mournful dirges. Instead, they strive to create a somber, melancholy feeling by playing sedately, with minimal aggression. While I wasn’t blown away by their previous material, this one managed to get under my skin and really grew on me. I must caution however, although I liked it more than expected, I get the feeling many metal minded individuals will not feel the same way.

Shadows’ Grey – Bonjour Tristesse Review

Shadows’ Grey – Bonjour Tristesse Review

You know, if you read this blog all the time you’d probably be getting the impression that I hate female fronted bands who are doing sort of the gothy thing. But that’s not true. It’s actually something I really enjoy when it’s done right! I have no issues with gothic metal, I don’t find the sort of dramatic, over-the-top stuff to be a turn off really. It just needs to be done well, something that it is serially not. And there are varying levels of ‘not done well,’ but let’s say that Shadows’ Grey, the German band formerly known as Scargod who had one EP in 2007, is one degree of the idea.

Sirenia – The Enigma of Life Review

Sirenia – The Enigma of Life Review

So, I must admit, I was excited to hear this new Sirenia record. For whatever reason I’d not spent much time getting to know the band of former Tristania founding member Morten Veland and I guess I figured that Sirenia had to be pretty good ’cause, well, I’m willing to give people who have done cool shit the benefit of the doubt. Of course, it’s been a decade since the band formed and I’ve never had the kind of intrinsic motivation to actually go out there and try to learn the about the band, and after listening to The Enigma of Life I’m pretty damn glad I never wasted my damn time [see the final note, however – AMG].

Tristania – Rubicon Review

Tristania – Rubicon Review

Norway’s Tristania have been quite the durable and enduring entity, weathering the ebb and flow of musical trends and surviving numerous line-up changes and defections, including that of founder Morten Veland. From their humble doom/death beginnings, the ever changing line-up has increasingly evolved into a standard gothic metal act with less and less emphasis on the metal part of the equation and that process continues for better or worse here on album six, Rubicon. Long gone is the Tristania that delivered the genre classic Beyond the Veil and well regarded follow-up World of Glass. Instead, Rubicon finds them dealing in fairly average, somewhat nondescript, if professionally done gothic music that’s very light in the metal department.