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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Beyond The Void

Gloom Is A Trip For Two

Review by Gary Hill

Let’s just start this off by saying that title alone earns this group bonus points. You just can’t get much better than that. As to the CD – the sound on this does a good job of merging metal (more along the lines of the epic and power varieties) and Goth into a coherent and strong musical style. The one complaint is that the formula gets a little old. The truth be told, though, this is strong enough that even with that caveat I’d consider it an album worth listening to over and over. The vocals remind me a bit of Geoff Tate – at least his deeper, tones (think of the Empire era balladic numbers). There isn’t a lot of variation in the vocal delivery, but it’s a cool style. What is the bottom line? This is an excellent disc despite a general lack of variety. If they changed things up a bit here and there imagine what they could do.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Her Dive Into Midnight
Drums start things off and then other instruments join in a fast paced, heavy grind. Keys come across and this carries for a little while. A short drop back intrudes, but then we’re back to the main song structure. After stripping it down a bit the vocals enter and this is very Gothic in nature. We get a killer guitar solo and then they drop it way back for dark and heavy ambience. When it jumps back to the song proper it’s with a new intensity. This is a killer song and a great way to get into the mood.
Seductora
This is mellower and more delicate – kind of like some French café music turned Goth rock. As they move into the chorus, though, it powers out to a dark European power metal sound with dual male and female vocals. They alternate between these two styles (with some variants) as they carry onward. We get quite a tasty technical guitar solo on this piece. They drop it back to an almost classical motif (keyboards sounding like strings) to end.
Faminine
They don’t mess around on this one. It’s more pure Gothic metal. There is a drop back to keyboard textures for one verse, but overall this one is pretty much pure rocking out. The guitar solo on this is even stronger than those on the previous tracks.
Cyanid Eyes
An almost fusion ballad approach leads this off and holds it for a time. As the vocals join we get some percussion along with it and a shift towards more rocking motifs. They bring in the crunch further down the road as they carry on. This has one of the catchiest choruses on the CD.

Gloom Is A Trip For Two
This grinds in with metallic fury but they drop it to a bass heavy stripped down motif for the first verse. The vocals are similar to the rest of the disc, but they seem to work better here. Not that they are bad elsewhere, but they just stand out here. I like the cool riff that makes up a big chunk of this track a lot, too.
Nihilism
Piano and voice serves as the motif for the first verse. They bring in other musical elements but maintain the balladic stylings as they continue onward. In some ways this reminds me a bit of some of the moody balladic numbers Queensryche was fond of in the Empire era. It’s got more organic piano than that, but the tone is similar. It turns crunchy past the halfway mark of the song, but still stays within the same general song structure. They drop it down to a guitar driven ballad motif with both male and female vocals for the closing segment.
Let Me Reap
They power this one in. Keyboards are almost in a Gary Numan vein over the top. When it drops back down to mellower territory for the verse I’m again reminded of The Ryche. The chorus is a more anthemic metal motif, but with Goth overtones. They keep this one pretty organic as they carry on.
Rid Of The Earth
Coming metallic like much of the rest of the disc, they drop it to an almost jazz-like arrangement for the verse. The chorus is more metallic in an anthemic way. They alternate between these two seemingly disparate sounds and somehow they complement each other nicely. A pretty balladic keyboard section eventually ends this.
Hateworld
We’re back into Rycheian balladic motifs here. This is brought up and begins to resemble the rest of the music here. It’s not bad, but doesn’t really stand out.
My Life Is A Lie
By this point the formula is starting to wear thin. This isn’t a bad song, but it doesn’t have anything unique about it either. The guitar solo is quite tasty, though.
Unwanted
In a lot of ways little has changed when we get to this song. Somehow, though, this one just works better than the rest. It manages to stand above the rest while still using the same general format. That says a lot about how strong this track really is. There is an incredible symphonic style section that somehow reminds me just a tiny bit of ELO – if they were more metallic and darker. This extended outro is simply incredible in terms of emotion and texture. In fact, this track might be my favorite on show here, to a large degree because of this closing section.
A Minute Before Dawn
This never grows beyond mellower motifs. Instead it chooses to maintain a dark and gloomy atmosphere and texture. I like this track quite a bit, but I’m not sure it’s the best choice for closing the disc.
 
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