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Well, who’d’a thunk it…two weeks worth of what used to be the opening salvo in those increasingly enormous monthly reviews Third Eye was known for.  Like we’ve been been saying a lot lately…a lot of work to cover all this stuff, and breaking it all down into more digestible regular chunks like this is only making that point more apparent and noticeably valid.

So, yeah, here’s the second half of what, in our seemingly boundless naivete, we’d originally thought would squeeze into the first of 5 (now at least 6) smaller and more regular review shells.  Some interesting stuff to be found herein, oft of aching similarity in tone and approach, but where one of the two or three acts of like shakes out as a clear winner…and it’s not always the one you’d expect. Eyebrow appropriately raised, interest concomitantly piqued.

So without wasting anyone’s time further deliberating over such matters, we’ll dive right in and let the chips fall where they may, shall we?

Avaunt!

ROXY BLUE – Roxy Blue (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) (August 9)

Wow, Roxy Blue, the Van Halen wannabes.

We discussed these guys during our interview with Gigi from Phantom Blue (well worth a listen), but what I remember most about these guys is getting their cassette (yeah, it was that long ago) on the strength of their hit “rob the cradle” (don’t ask, it was different times)…only for the album to prove much like the same era’s Mr. Big, with one killer track and the rest of it proving more…forgettable, I guess.

They’ve replaced one member, the guitarist turned dental professional Sid Fletcher (here essayed by Jeffrey Wade Caughton). Doubtless folks are inserting Ted Poley jokes here, but hey, you have to move on in life when the opportunities aren’t there anymore…and these guys came just after Nevermind and the Seattle grunge wave turned all things metal into some sort of a comedy sideshow in the eyes of the genpop (yes, kids, the 90’s really sucked).

But while it’s nice to see most of the band back together and giving it another shot so many years on…with the loss of the all important guitar chair (Dokken without George Lynch? Ratt without Warren Di Martini?) and even their heyday being recalled as sort of…hmm…maybe that’s why this long overdue comeback album seems so oddly underwhelming?

Now, in purely objective terms, for those who’ve never experienced the self titled back in the day, how does this album hold up? Well…I guess if you take Trixter without the flash guitars, cross ’em with the post-Jani Lane Warrant and tag in a bit of recent Bon Jovi or Stephen Pearcy, you may enjoy this.

Just don’t expect any flashy guitar work, or anything more than safe, midrange sing-a-long soft-ish and somewhat countrified rock songs.

SPREAD EAGLE – Subway To The Stars (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) (August 9)

Oh, my God, is this a month for memories…seriously? Spread Eagle?

One of my favorite comedy hard rock/Hollywood metal albums of its time (rivalled only by Dangerous Toys’ self titled in that respect…and L.A. Guns’ self titled in sheer sleaziness), this one came to my attention more through my oft referenced drummer back in the day, whose tastes swung far more in this direction than my own decidedly underground “anti-poseur” thrash/proto-blackthrash/proto-to-actual death metal/proto-black metal ones ever did.

In fact, he was so vehement about a few of the tracks (like, for some odd reason, “scratch like a cat”) that a few regular plays of said tracks off his cassette whenever it was possible to sneak ’em in on the guy was enough for him to ask disgustedly, “here, d’you want it? I’m sick of this.” Of course I do, it’s catchy, sleazy AND it makes me laugh!

So yeah, a much more recent (think about a decade ago) flea market score of the CD for $2 confirms my long held love and amusement for Spread Eagle’s self titled…but that’s not even the funny part.

See, we have a connection to the band…or at least I do through some mutual friends and rival band members. Apparently one night, a group of ’em (including my drummer, said band’s guitarist (also a personal friend/rival), their bassist and a mutual friend from school days) picked up a few ladies at a rock club in the city, and brought ’em back home for the evening (long story there, will omit most details to protect the guilty LMAO).

One of these ladies’ big claim to fame, which she was prone to spout to all concerned as some form of presumed desirability?  That she (had carnal relations of a particular sort with) Spread Eagle.  As in the entire band.  All at once.  And, of course, she then repeated the performance to some degree or other with my pals as well.  Spreadin’ the love (and hey, as Bon Jovi once sang, “love is a social disease”).*

* being humorous here. To my knowledge, nobody contracted anything weird that evening.  Ah, the hijinks back in those days…

So it’s with redoubled amusement that I get to cover none other than the sleaziest band in sleazy Hollywood-style metal/hard rock of the GNR mode…let’s see just what they’re sharing this time around!

First off, it’s half the band. Frontman Ray West and four stringer Rob De Luca hold down the fort, while Rob’s cousin Rik takes the drum chair, and a new kid (a Ziv Shalev) takes on guitar duties.

The sound…I don’t know, it sort of bears some of the classic Spread Eagle style, but doesn’t sound right. It’s like they stuck with the Open All Night sound, but updated it to a more 90’s/early millenium sonic pallette. And much like similarly minded acts (GNR, LA Guns, Dangerous Toys, even to some extent Dirty Looks), they’ve opted to drop the sleaze in favor of more “respectable” and middle of the road lyrics.

I guess if the self titled really brought a vintage NYC feel to the table (think the aforementioned by way of fellow locals Princess Pang, but with a lot more grit and seediness), this one comes off as the “respectable” second album. About the best you get is something like “the sound of speed”, which at least is driving and catchy.

Look, it’s nice to see ’em back and giving it another go. Just don’t expect the amusing awesomeness of the self titled, which remains one of my favorite (and most played) albums of their particular genre.

ARDOURS – Last Place On Earth (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) (August 9)

Ah, remember that Mariangela Demurtas mentioned from a duet with Chaos Magic’s Caterina Nix in last week’s reviews?

Well, here she is again, with her new band (essentially just herself and producer/stringed instruments/synth Kris Laurent, with the drummer from Tristania sitting in as session sticksman).

The Ardours sound does have a bit of gothic feel, but it’s more straightforward and pop/radio friendly in approach. Promo materials aren’t far off the mark in comparing ’em to The Gathering by way of Lacuna Coil, though Ardours are far less dark and aggressive than either of said acts.

In fact, there are moments that are practically major key synthpop, some shameless balladeering…hell, when we spoke with Murder of My Sweet’s Angelica Rylin about her solo project, even that felt more dark and gothic!

…well, that’s arguable, but you get the idea. Demurtas has a pleasant enough midrange voice, sort of like a less emotive or expressive Charlotte Wessels, or a variant thereof more attuned to pop radio than the gothic metal scene. As you can imagine, it’s all quite listenable, if a bit forgettably workaday, and more likely to appeal to fans of Evanescence than anything heavier, harder or darker most would associate with the gothic/symphonic metal scene(s).

A shrug of the shoulders, in the end, but nothing to really complain about other than the undeniable ennui this album is prone to elicit.

SOLEIL MOON – Warrior (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) (August 9)

Ah, you know what you’re in for when your experience kicks off* with “smokin’ pot in the parking lot…everybody knows the time and spot!”

* regular readers know the drill…

So yeah, that’s the opening salvo of the cutesy 70’s AM radio ballad (wait for it) “420”. “Slow it down, it’s high time.”

So after that, nothing else they can drop will really live up to that standard of pun heavy comic gold.

There’s a nostalgia trip for older car aficionados – “’72 Camaro”…hey, will an ’83 and a ’90 work for ya? Drove the latter for about 26 years, during which I got my wife a ’99 if memory serves.  These days, we’re a ‘Stang couple – test drove the Chevy showroom models a few years back, they drove like a damn Cadillac.  You can’t feel the engine and the road?  Sorry, that’s no fucking sports car, that’s yuppie bullshit.  What was I saying about (even older) car aficionados?  Anyway…

Yeah, this is an album for that crowd, the ones who were in their teens and 20’s back in the days of AM radio, disco and van culture, the guys you’ll catch on weekends doing little impromptu car shows in parking lots of VFWs and businesses closed for the day. The feel is there, the sound, even the lyrics are playing to ’em.

Nothing wrong with it, certainly quite melodic and polished…and nice pipes on frontman Larry King, I must say.

UNRULY CHILD – Big Blue World (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) (August 9)

We’ve covered this post-King Kobra project of the former Mark (now Marcie) Free a few times previously, for Can’t Go Home and Unhinged Live from Milan, and this is more of the same.

Leaning mostly towards the more light and easy listening end of AOR, Free lends some well seasoned, blues inflected pipes to songs that manage to cross the likes of Autograph, post-debut Black N’ Blue and Giuffria with even softer rock acts like Styx or Bon Jovi.

No question, there’s nothing here that wouldn’t slide in perfectly to some John Hughes film or one of those Hardbodies style teen sex comedies from the 80’s and early 90’s, and there’s a lot to be said for that right there.

But if you’re looking for something that really soars, with strong guitar leads, bombastic keyboards and grit? This may not be your port of call.

Nice n’ easy does it…well, certainly not every time, as Frank once crooned disingenuously, but in certain situations and moods, yeah.

It definitely fills a given niche and scratches a particular itch.

FRANTIC AMBER – Bellatrix (GMR Music) (August 23)

oy.

Sounds like these guys started out promising, from the promo writeup: “started…by founding guitarist Mary Siebecke (ed. – who by the way is no longer with the group – cough), with the intention to play metal with women…an experiment through various genres with clean vocals.”

Unfortunately, they appear to have pulled in (wait for this…) a ballet dancer “on extreme vocals”, and that’s all she wrote.

Well, anyway, ignoring for the nonce the fact that we’ve got yet another Arch Enemy wannabe on our hands (rolls eyes, shakes head in disbelief), they’ve decided to make an entire album about “warrior women”.  Uh-huh.

Picture a Heartwork-era Carcass without any real hooks, an Arch Enemy with far less direction or concise songs. The vox are exactly what you’d expect (rolls eyes again), but admittedly, growl and shrieker Elizabeth Andrews is less annoying and ear-splitting than is typical for ladies making this bizarre choice of approach. She’s hardly as convincingly “scary” and manly sounding as Gossow was…but who the hell is? And really, ladies…why the hell would you want to be?

Despite all the meandering musically and the ridiculous femme growly vox, the band manages to pull off at least a listenable, more than acceptable for the type brand of this variant of melodeath.

It’s a hell of a lot better than anything we’ve been subjected to since Alyssa took over for Angela, let’s put it that way.

Yeah, I know – really low bar, there. But Frantic Amber easily scales it with aplomb!

 

LIV SIN – Burning Sermons (Despotz Records) (September 6)

Now this is more like it.

Another seriously aggressive yet melodic metal album, here you get a frontwoman who sounds a hell of a lot like modern day Leather Leone, hence bringing the rasp and bite alongside some bellowing power without going the absurd growly shriek route so many young ladies appear to think is a valid vocal approach these days.

Better, she’s fronting a band that, while knowing how to bring the punch (check out “dead wind intermezzo”, “at the gates of the abyss” or “chapter of the witch”), still pays more attention to proper melody and song structure than Frantic Amber would be able to pull off if their lives depended on it.

In some tracks, you could say these guys lean thrash…but it’s fuller of a sound than that, and less pointed. Then keyboards kick in, but it’s not exactly symphonic…it’s got a sort of modern metal feel, but bears more in common with a more classic European metal sound (think Jon Norum-era Europe, when they were still young and kicking some serious ass). And then throw those post-veterinarian Leather Leone vox over the top.

This was a bit of a surprise, and should definitely appeal to fans of more recent Nightmare or Crystal Viper – tough yet melodic, drawing all the right elements from AOR and earlier, less ‘extreme’ forms of metal while delivering it in a package sure to satisfy the most demanding of crowds.

Damn good stuff, hats off to ya, lady and gents.

Valis Ablaze – Render (Long Branch Records) (July 19)

Squirmy, twisty, ever-winding, never bothering to sit still and grab a good hook to shake it out for all it’s worth…yeah, this is modern prog, alright.

Mostly clean vocals, light and airy, almost indie or space rock feel, check. Guitar wheedly-whoo with a lot of processing, sweep picking and legato finger slides, check. Playing slow and mellow vocal passages against overly busy, cracked out guitar and spastic drum patterns, check.

I don’t know where the modern prog scene went off the rails. Was it a bit too much devotion to Watchtower, crossed with thinking Dream Theater was anything more than the sleepy MOR trash it was? Was there a bit too much exposure to Spheres-era Pestilence and post-Considered Dead Gorguts (not to mention the annoying Atheist) playing into the influences? Or does everyone just want to be Porcupine Tree? Any way you slice it, this is where I diverge.

Look, I’ll take any sort of prog over some of this aggro shit, nu metal, ridiculous growl n’ screamer types…

Here’s the bottom line. There’s a lot of garbage being produced and released out there these days, when older acts were precision refined by having to navigate their way through a legion of prissy A&R types and coke-addled label management…and that was after playing out enough to gather a sufficient fanbase and following to even bring ’em to the attention of a label scout in the first place.

Today, a teenager pretty much never has to leave his damn bedroom, and can produce something sounding pretty damn ” professional” – no label, no producer, no studio, nothing. Just drop it up on a bandcamp and see who bites – look at that Stevie T guy, and how dead on his genre parodies are. You seriously think that guy’s got touring experience? Please…

So what happens is, you get a whole lot of detritus, with moments that work…and a million shitty bands, with a few dozen that actually deserve pride of place, and maybe a hundred or so worth listening to at all. There’s no gatekeeper, no quality control.

Not saying these guys are a shitty band – they can clearly play, the production is strong, the vox are fine, it’s even atmospheric if you concentrate on the vocal phrases and ignore all the sputtering start/stop gibberish going on behind ’em on guitar and drums.

But is this progressive metal in the proper sense…or the related jazz fusion, even?

Younger ears influenced by the subpar acts mentioned earlier will argue this point, but I’m sorry – no way.

I do like the Fauntslike space rock/indie trance business at core, and the clean, almost chanted midrange vox that center all the nonsense that does its damnedest to bury same.

As such – has definite merits and promise…just needs to lose a few members, or better: give everyone but the singer a fucking valium or three.

Maybe then the next album will make proper musical sense.

Unprocessed – Artificial Void (Long Branch Records) (August 9)

Take Valis Ablaze’s failings and amp them up a bit, while turning down the positives a few notches and washing it through some pretty crappy, thin toned trebly production (think the original mix of Breeding the Spawn, or early Norwegian black metal here, it’s clean, but pretty bad).

I did like a few clean toned guitar and bass unison runs (like the closing passage on “ruins”), but shouldn’t that bass be a fuck of a lot fatter sounding and far more prominent in the mix, given just how much he’s grounding the sound here?

I know, it sounds strange to be coming off more positive in tone about Unprocessed than Valis Ablaze, particularly after that first paragraph…but while they’re clearly not done wiping the bowl clean in the djent ghetto (“house of waters” is filled with embarrassing screamo vox and atonal stutter rhythms, while guitars go full on wheedly-whoo around ’em…), there’s more than enough saving grace to be found: sweet melodic choruses, that rather noteworthy bass work and plenty of unison phrases between him and the guitars.

Get a better producer. Drop the screamo crap. Fine tune this one, you’ll blow Valis right out of the water.

Has serious issues, as noted earlier. But I definitely liked major swathes of this one, and am hearing a lot of potential here.

If only they’d lose the screaming and leave that atonal stuttering shit behind, you’ve got one hell of a band on your hands here.

LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE – Bleeding The Stars (Oblivion / SPV GmbH) (July 26)

German gothic metallers Lacrimas Profundere are back with yet another of their thrice a decade releases, this time with a new singer in tow.

We’d previously reviewed their Antiadore and Hope is Here, but this one’s a whole ‘nother ballgame, and deserves to be treated as a new beginning in the best sense of the word.

Particularly on the stronger tracks (like “celestite woman”) new kid Julian Larre comes off as easily far superior to their prior frontman, opting for more of a throaty Moonspelllike baritone than the more reedily thin feel Rob Vitacca brought to the band.

Songs are slow, building to a more bombastic depressive feel than you’d expect, while still playing more or less in the Moonspell/early Theatre of Tragedy ballpark. The production comes off a bit hissy and underwater…but this could be related to the download provided more than it may sound in a more direct from studio to ear format like the CD. There’s enough about this that sounds very right to give that sort of thing a pass.

While faster tracks with more snarling (like “father of fate” or the slow but growly “I knew and will forever know”) still kinda suck some serious ass (it’s in this respect that we can say without compunction, Theatre they’re not!), there’s a major percentage of this album that just works, and works much better than the same band’s own past work to date.

If you’ve been kicking around the thought of checking out this band the last few times, but never got around to it…or even if you did and found them somewhat lacking! – no question, this is the one to dig into.

This is their make or break moment.

And so far as we’re concerned, they pass with flying colours.

Suicidal Angels – Years of Aggression (NoiseArt) (August 9)

We’d given a pretty decent review to these Greek thrashers’ Divide and Conquer a few years back, bar a bit of iffiness on the vocal end (at the time, we heard a lot of Forbidden’s Russ Anderson in there).  The riffs and solos, though? Impeccably old school Bay Area thrash, crossing Forbidden and Exodus, possibly with a hint of Vio-Lence.

Little changes this time around, save more road-hardened grit and gravel to our frontman’s tones. The inflections? Still Anderson all the way, for better or worse. And by comparison to the snarl n’ growlers we hear all too often in more contemporarily minded thrash acts? I’ll take this any day!

There are a lot of bands trying their damnedest to recreate the sound and feel of the 80’s scene…these guys are definitely working somewhere around the top tier in terms of success at recapturing same.

Put simply? Put on your denim with all the patches and bang your fucking head.

Hatriot – From Days Unto Darkness (Massacre Records) (July 26)

We spoke to Legacy (nee Testament)/Exodus/Hatriot frontman Steve “Zetro” Souza a few years back, admittedly mostly for the history he brought to the table…but hey, the guy’s in a band with both of his sons, you have to give ’em props just for that. Seriously…would you want to tour with your dad, however cool he may or may not be?

So here we are again, but with Zetro back in the Exodus camp these days, the boys have got a bit of a problem. Rather than try to find someone to fill the man’s rather uniquely tinged vocal shoes, four stringer Cody Souza pulls a Cronos (or Glen Benton, or Jeff Walker) and steps up to the mic…to middling results.

No question, he’s got the Souza spit-snarl going on…but ultimately this comes out more Demolition Hammer by way of Morbid Saint (or perhaps even the Florida Solstice) than it ever does Exodus or Legacy.

The songs remain aggressive but a bit samey and indistinguished (which was also a problem last time around, it must be said), and the end result is a very modern metal/thrash sound that bears more in common with stuff like Hammercult than their father’s more famed acts.

Depends on what you’re looking for, really. They certainly bring an almost Exoduslike crunch on tracks like “frankenstein”…maybe it’s just the production, too much noise and clashing going on to really shove the riffing front and center like it ought to be.

BULLET – Live (Steamhammer / SPV) (July 5)

You know, in a lot of ways, it’s hard to believe Sweden’s Bullet aren’t a much older act.

The cheesy lyrics celebrating metal, the NWOBHMlike riffs and chant-a-long choruses, even the weirdly girlish shrieks of frontman “Hell Hofer”, who sounds like some unholy cross between Cinderella’s Tom Kiefer, his wannabe Dizzy Dean Davidson from Britny Fox and the guy from Angel Dust, fronting early Rage or Exciter.

As such, I really liked the music – something this old school is playing right up the nostalgia alley – but the vox were…acceptable, sure, but hilariously mockable (just like the aforementioned trio of – cough – “vocalists”.)

The only question is, when are they going to cover “girlschool”?

Fun if you’re in a very retro mood, just don’t even think about trying it with your more ‘extreme metal’ friends.

Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown – Truth and Lies (Snakefarm Records) (June 28)

You know, you hear a long dramatic build like that on “couldn’t see the fire”, the eyes light up. The attention kicks in to full force, you’re expecting something amazing.

So why does every track fall back on tired, 90’s post-metal but not quite grunge tropes, as if someone gave Jackyl a few valium and crossed ’em with Black Label Society or Alice in Chains (check out the solo section of “shock and awe”)?

Yeah, there’s too many hints that this could actually go somewhere, all of which are dead ends leading to the same old countrified Southern rock/groove/blooze sort of sound we spent the better part of an entire decade trying to get away from and move beyond to better things.

Those enamored of that early to mid 90’s sound, Tyler and company are your boyz (a misspelling that similarly dates back to that decidedly iffy era).

He is Legend – White Bat (Spinefarm Records) (June 28)

We had a few laughs on their few a…er, few years back, and here they are again, mixing Kornlike nu metallish rhythms, detuned guitar and squelched harmonics with vocals that cross Rob Zombie with the likes of Layne Staley. It’s all quite 90’s, particularly on slower tracks like “uncanny valley”.

mmm, yeah, there’s really nothing more to say here. If you dig the whole retro grunge/Southern groove/”alternative” thing, you’ll probably love these guys.

If your feeling is at best mutedly accepting of same like yours truly…well, let’s just say they achieve their goal of sounding appropriately reminiscent of their chosen sound and era.

 

HELL’S ADDICTION – V1.0 (March 5)

UK act that borrows a lot from the crunchier, more metal leaning end of the old GNR Hollywood hard rock/metal scene (Dirty Looks, Hericane Alice, that sort of thing. I’d mention Vain, but those guys were special…very much in a class by themselves.)

There are riffs that sound like they were ripped off of XYZ’s debut, but with the louder, sloppier Marshall driven feel of a Cats N’ Boots or Badlands. It’s powerful shit, with punchy drums, thumping bass and driving guitars…and a frontman who comes off like the late Henrik Ostergaard, which while an acquired taste, ain’t exactly a bad thing to be pairing with this style of music.

The only thing that surprises me here is that they’re Brits…this is a very ’87-’91 West Coast sound they’re working.

The ballad, quite simply, doesn’t fucking work (excepting the solo section, which suddenly goes all dramatic and minor key for its all too brief duration)…but the other three tracks are top notch.

KISS KISS BANG – Hearts on Fire (TLG / INgrooves)  (May 31)

Blue moon of Kentucky, just a-keep on shinin’.

Or so I was hoping, when I heard where these guys hailed from…and some old fashioned, crazed backwoods rockabilly would have been absolutely killer.

Instead, what you get here is a far more generic if admittedly still quite retro minded Southern rock of the 90’s, with bits of grunge (Alice in Chains vocals and a bit of that depressive feel), groove (Deliverance era CoC’s in there to be sure) and GNR wave rock (Junkyard and Jackyl at the very least).

Again, nothing wrong with ’em if that’s what you’re looking for.

I’d just have preferred some Charlie Feathers or Joe Clay here.

The Spider Hole – To the Monsters (May 25)

…and while that last one blows over most readers’ heads, we move on to the desert home of the generator party, Phoenix, Arizona, for this frankly bizarre genre mish-mosh of styles.

So, ever want to cross Danzig and/or The Vladimirs with Mighty Mighty Bosstones-style ska, a touch of Chris Isaak cum Mazzy Star by way of Nick Cave sparsely existential dark Americana, and the sheer deliberate weirdness of The Residents?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. Me either. Who the fuck would

But that’s what you’re dealing with here, with a band that’s working a GWAR sensibility (well, OK, not that puerile, but still…) over a catch-all musical palette that spells Residents (or as the promo materials note somewhat aptly, Tom Waits) more than anything else. With some faux-to-comic goth lyrics.

…damn, that was weird.

I guess it’s the sort of thing you have to hear live and very, very drunk with likeminded friends. Mock and laugh to the goofy lyrics, get discombobulated by the bizarrely shifting and generally inappropriate use of unrelated genre, stumble out of the place having giggled yourselves to tears and very likely pass out on the sidewalk from imbibing wayyyy too much.

Then, hey, The Spider Hole…geniuses, right?!?

Surgeon’s warning: do not approach this while sober.

Even when quite loaded, results will certainly vary.

Them Fixes – Electric Prophetic (June 16)

When you say Nashville, most folks are thinking schmaltz. The Grand Ole Opry, Graceland, Porter Waggoner’s glittery suits, Minnie Pearl’s price tag sporting hats…and in more modern terms, way too much polish on their country.

So where does this rather grungelike act come from? It’s hard to believe that’s their home base…and yet…

They seem to identify as a sort of crust/stoner act, which is still right up that grunge/90’s rock alley…so if that’s your thing, they certainly make a hell of a ruckus for a “power trio”.

Carpathia – 1912 (June 10)

Modern rock, somewhere bordering emo and metalcore but without all the strict affectations of either genre.

Frontwoman Samantha Alice certainly belts out angry, often corner of the mouth delivery alto vox with occasional frantic builds to screaming, but the latter is kept very much to a minimum…if anything, she’s doing that closed throat “intimate” thing like she’s trying to be Amy Lee gone even more pop.

The music ebbs and swells to little dramatic/aggressive peaks before unravelling into quieter, more brooding valleys…but it’s never easily pegged or bears all that much of the tropes of gothic metal, either.  It’s strangely familiar…but never exactly X or Y, always managing to fall somewhere in an unforseen grey zone between.

Moody, depressive, pissed off, nice emotive vocals to match all the sub-symphonic dramatic feel the band sets up for ’em.

Yeah, I kinda liked this one, sure.