was formed by Andy Deane and Gopal Metro in 1996 in Charlottesville, Virginia. 1997 saw the release of their first demo cassette and also saw them win the Virginia battle of the bands. In 1999 they released their album Where Shadows Lie
on an independant label and later re-released on Cleopatra Records
in 2000. After an extensive tour with The Cru¨xshadows
and the release of their cult classic Death Rock EP
, they then signed with Metropolis Records
where they have released a follow-up to the Death Rock EP
with Songs for the Dead
along with several other full-length albums, with their latest releases coming every 2-3 years. The band now consists of Andy Deane, Tony Lechmanski and Marshall Camden.
This dynamic band includes so many styles in their music, yet manages to stay within the Gothic genres and appealing to fans of these elements. With fast-paced yet almost ethereal synthpop in some songs like their popular club-track "Rain Within Her Hands" and many tracks on their later albums, to the harsh punk/deathrock sounds so prevalent in their Death Rock EP
and Songs for the Dead
. Over the years I've seen the music progress through these stages, not from one stage to another, but rather touching each one in a unique way and bringing out some of the better elements of each and adding a "Bella" touch to it all. Their sound continues to improve in many areas and you can be sure to hear a great variety. You can catch many of these on the Gothic Paradise radio shows as they continue to release new material.
Exorcisms - Review
It's hard to believe this band has been going strong now for 18 years and this is now their eighth album.
The band continues to explore and create great music while still remaining true to their roots. The ten solid tracks give us a great selection of music across 45 minutes with a diverse and enjoyable mix.
Right from the start we're presented with a new favorite from this album with the title track "Exorcisms". From the first note there's no mistaking this is Bella Morte
with their mix of driving electronics and guitars layered with other subtle synths and the heavy percussion. Andy's melodic vocals come out strong and immediately the listener could be listening to a track from fifteen years ago as easy as released yesterday. This powerful track also has an excellent video which can be viewed from the band's website or on Youtube directly. With this album as with previous works the band explores various genres a bit and all the time just having fun with their music. On this album they take a bold move and cover "Never Let Me Down Again" from Depeche Mode
. They do a great job, Andy even singing the deeper, solid vocals much like the original, in fact they really stay true to the original track in so many ways but at that signature touch to it that is their own with the grinding guitars takinga prominent role. It takes guts to cover such a favorite classic track like this, but these guys manage to pull it off well.
The album moves along with a great variety including more great, powerful club-friendly pieces in "Water Through Sand" with a bit more of a melodic synthpop style like some of their previous hits while still maintaining that solid layer of guitars to give it that darker edge. Spilling over with raw emotion we have "Reflections" as another moving favorite that fans of their classic melodic pieces will definitely love. These somber moods come out strong whether it be these faster paced danceable tracks or the smoother, slower mid-tempo ballad-like pieces. The listener is left enthralled and captivated by the powerful emotions that permeate the air from these pieces. As the album starts to come to a close, we're presented with a bit of relief from these emotional pieces with a bit of their punk sound on "A Quiet Place To Die". The inclusion of this piece provides just the right amount of diversity and sets it up perfectly for the equally dynamic and powerful finale "Entwined". This mid-tempo piece is the epitome of the captivating nature of this band with it's heavy synths, somber guitars and mid-tempo beats providing the back-drop for Andy's vocals.
There you have it, another great work from this band that just keeps going strong. Fans new and old can enjoy this work as it presents something new while using something tried and true.
Before The Flood - Review
Here we go with another great album from this band after a three-year break, though I would say band members haven't been resting with live performances and based on the great material presented here.
Also, front-man Andy Dean has released an album with his side-project The Rain Within
and also released a novel. The band has been busy playing live shows and writing new music and here we have the results. We have eleven driving tracks that span their tried, true and mature sound of melodic synthpop meets hard-core death rock and post-punk sounds.
I think we've really seen this band continue to grow over the years as they settle down, and maybe as they've been able to explore and experiment with other side-projects, this one has now become very solid and not quite so schizophrenic. They still incorporate a very broad range of styles, thoughts and emotions, but it all comes together so well on each track. "Skin" kicks it off with some great tribal drums, very heavy and very moving, a great introductory track for this album. The pace and pulse quicken as we move along across "Falling Star" and a favorite from the album "Lights in the Sky". This latter piece incorporates some old-school sounds along the lines of Billy Idol
which are classic, incorporated with solid Bella Morte
roots for a driving, dance-friendly and fun piece.
Breaking off at this point we experience the dark and thought-provoking ballad-like piece "Here With Me". The solid steady beat still goes on, but this piece incorporates piano and dreamy background synths as a backdrop to the somber vocals. This poses as a sort of interlude before picking right back up with the grinding guitars and driving beats on the title track and another favorite from the album "Before the Flood". Andy's melodic vocals are a great lead to these tracks and as we move on "The Morning Sun" shows us a great mix of melodic synths mixed with the heavy percussion and heavier guitar with a bit of an old-school hard-rock meets punk style for a definite classic piece. The album moves along across the rock-ballad piece "Line of Sight" and even more so with "The Road". These provide some good variety just within each piece, but it's fun how the classic sound really comes out, some people may not recognize it, but those of us that have delved into so many genres over the years, whether on purpose or not, recognize that classic guitar-rock, big-hair, heavy ballad style.
The final trio of tracks continue on the excellent variety and powerful sound the album is built on. Starting slowly on "Bones Below", it quickly breaks free to an onslought of synths, guitars, driving drums and the melodic, powerful vocals belting out the anthem that this track is. "Undertow" carries on in similar, yet distinct style, heavy again on the drums much like the album started, providing a great backdrop for the subtle guitar for a somewhat minimalistic style until it all comes crashing together for the chorus on each verse. This builds to a driving climax and then drops off to leave us with the finale to the album "Oceans Wide". Incorporating that previously described ballad-rock sound once more on this dark, moody and somber piece which waffles back and forth between piano ballad and driving mix of punk and rock, grinding guitar and heavy percussion, all held cohesively together by the smooth, yet powerful and steady vocals.
This can go down as a new classic album from this band. Fans will love it for the broad range of styles anchored and easily recognized as Bella Morte
for another great and powerful album. Enjoy!
Beautiful Death - Review
It's been a couple of years and time for another album from this dynamic band.
I think that this latest work continues to see the band delve into a range of genres, but I think they've found a nice balance in the music, making it all a bit more cohesive and enjoyable for the typical fan. This is something that is really enjoyable to see with a band like this, to remain true to their post-punk and gothic roots, but grow, learn and create some really great music.
With eleven solid tracks, this album hardly ever slows down or decreases in intensity, but at the same time has some great variety all built around the grinding bass and Andy's smooth vocals. "Find Forever Gone" kicks off the album with a soft, sweet piano intro and soft vocals, but that is soon thrown aside as the grinding guitars and percussion kicks in. This driving style continues and builds in intensity with "Can't Let This Die" with a very heavy punk influence at various intervals and more with "Black Seas Collide".
This intensity is the mark of this album, but excellent pieces like "The End of the Day" starts soft and slow and then takes off once again with a catchy chorus and driving rhythm and thought-provoking anthem-like lyrics and vocals. Though the intensity and styles continue to vary throughout the album, I think the post-punk, goth influence seems to have won out over the synth-laiden tracks. Piece after piece remains driving and intense as we get driven through "In the Dirt" or buffeted through the grinding guitar of "Burn the Sky". Some distorted electronic percussion kicks off "Eternal", but we're quickly thrust back into the harsh, grinding goth, punk, metal sound, maintaining that solid and cohesive sound even though bits and pieces might fool the listener into thinking they're taking another path until the finale to the album when they finally do wrap it up. On this final piece they include a beautiful piano solo with some classical touches for an excellent way to end the album.
Once again I think this band shows more maturity, a solid and cohesive sound that makes it nice to sit down and enjoy the album from start to finish.
Bleed The Grey Sky Black - Review
From the first few minutes of this album I knew we were in for another hard-edged roller-coaster ride through post-punk, metal, goth, synthpop and everything in between. This band has really taken to the extremes in so many ways through their mixing up so many genres, in many ways returning back to the original post-punk days, but bringing out their own powerful, unique style.
Like their previous album As The Reasons Die
, they are all over the place, however their continuing maturity shines through on this work as the cohesiveness is stronger, allowing the listener to easily sit down and listen to the entire album from start to finish and not feel completely confused and lost at the end.
"On The Edge" kicks it all off, hitting hard as ever with this piece as in this one song they drag you through fast-paced punk and edgy metal. This is toned down quite a bit through a fast-paced new-wave style piece "Torn", though still containing an edge, it's mainly a fast-paced melodic piece. But nothing can prepare you for "The End Ahead" which comes at you out of nowhere, lulling you into a sweet, soft piece and then dashing it all to bits when the guitars and drums kick in. This is definitely a favorite piece with all of this coming together so well.
So there just within the first three tracks the album has explored more ground than most artists do in their lifetime. The album continues on in much the same way, exploring so much in music while bringing some great lyrical content combined with excellent musical production to the listener. Once again diversity is the name of the game throughout much of the album, from the electronically driven "The Alone", or the metal piece "Bleed Again" to the soft ballad-like piece "Dust" with soft piano and some excellent female vocals for a soft touch. This is quickly left behind as the bpms kick up to high speed on "As The Storm Unfolds" in true punk style, people should really love this piece!
The album continues to grind along with excellent intensity, and then as if it fits right in without even a second thought we're presented with their cover of the oldie track "Earth Angel". Their rendition is awesome and actually shows how little music really has changed as this style brings out what is so popular in the rock-a-billy, punk and goth crossovers that are so prominent right now. At this point we get to "Grey Skies Black" which is what I like to call classic Bella Morte
style, plenty of guitars and an edge that accompanies Andy's smooth melodic vocals with plenty of thoughtful gothic touches throughout. This leads us to the ending of the album "Haunted" which wraps it all up slowly building in intensity from a sweet ballad to a final, crunching metal climax leaving the listener breathless.
I think that pretty much sums it all up, it's great to see them maintain their diverse and strong styles yet they've been able to pull it together so well through a mature sound that I really enjoy on this disc, hopefully you'll agree and will enjoy it too.
Songs For The Dead - Review
Fans of the cult classic Death Rock EP
can pick this disc up and really just continue where they left off.
This disc was recorded over the space of just a few days and so everything is presented in pretty much a live setting. Not much editing has taken place so it just comes across as a very harsh, fast-paced punk/deathrock disc.
In all there are eight tracks presented which really delve into the punk scene of the 80's, not the bubble-gum pop stuff you hear today as soundtracks to all of the teen movies, but the good punk that many goths started out listening to over two decades ago. "All I Have" kicks it off with that incredibly fast-paced beat that would get punks jumping all over the place. And it just continues on and on, with "The Forgotten" to "The Stranger" with one break in between and the final two tracks providing a finale far removed from the thrashing guitars and punk flavor.
"The Devil's Eyes" still have that punk flavor without the driving beats and jazzy styles. "Final Words" really brings the style back to a slower and darker sound. The guitars are still there, in fact this time they come out in almost a goth-metal fashion. And an untitled track wraps up the album with a little horror movie soundtrack bit that fits surprisingly well with this disc.
Those that are familiar with Bella Morte
will realize that this isn't necessarily the material that appears on the full-length albums. So I think the typical fan of their electronically driven sound are not going to automatically enjoy this album unless they are also a fan of the punk and death rock sound. Though their shows tend to lean more towards their punk offering, I think true fans will enjoy this disc.
As The Reasons Die - Review
It's been just two years since the release of The Quiet
which was accepted by fans of different genres with positive reviews. Now we're presented with this latest album which continues to cross genre lines from song to song.
At one moment the listener is taken from harsh, post-punk style deathrock then to a mid-tempo ballad or an upbeat synthpop track.
"Beneath" kicks it off with punk-style vocals and guitars that give way to smooth mid-tempo ballad-like vocals. "I For An I" does this same thing, going back and forth from harsh, fast vocals to smooth ballad-like style. While I enjoy these smooth vocals on some of the synthpop tracks on this album, it seems it really breaks up the flow of the music too much when they're included in the fast punk-like tracks with the grinding guitars and pounding beats.
It has been hard to pick a favorite track on this album. It seems the listener will have to decide what mood they're in, if they feel like the harsher grinding guitars or the smooth synth tracks. "Many Miles" is one of these mid-tempo tracks that takes a minimalistic approach until each chorus when the guitars really kick in. Then you have "Forever Grey" which is an anthem-like punk track with that fast drum beat and grinding guitar riffs.
While I always enjoy the amount of variety this group manages to pull off, it seems this album bounces around a lot so it's not very cohesive. It's still very enjoyable as a whole and can be a lot of fun or dark and moody. No matter what your mood, there is probably something on the album you can enjoy. You just may need to be tossed around a bit before you find it.
Label: Metropolis Recrods