Strange Days - Review
Six years since their last EP release, we now have their follow-up here in the form of Strange Days
Carrying on in their style of dark and driving gothic rock we're presented with five of these grinding tracks for a short but solid EP.
"Berlin" comes right out with the driving beats and grinding guitars and heavy dark vocals. The onslaught of these elements come at the listener in full force with an edgy sound on this and the rest of the tracks. "Psycho" has a nice mix to it with the female vocals over somber bass and subtle guitar on each verse while the chorus builds each time with the grinding guitars building to a dynamic and driving climax. Coming out strong with some old school heavy guitars, "Once in the Dark" hits a climax on the album with all the perfect elements of heavy and dark gothic rock striking a nice balance between them all. "Dirt" presents the female vocals once again with the somber moods backing her up nicely with similar patterns to "Psycho" with the track progressing to a frenzied finale. "Unreal" kicks off with this frenzy of guitars which can get just a bit annoying depending on the mood of the listener. Maybe while thrashing alone in the car or at the clubm it's ok, but just listening on the radio or other situations it begins to grind on the nerves just a bit. If you can get past that bit from piece to piece, especially on this final track, then overall the album is a nice collection.
In summary, it's a nice short collection of heavy gothic rock for those into the heavier, grinding elements with a somber, classic gothic rock feel.
X-Lives - Review
This band is formed by the Greek duo of Nikos and Pepi in 2004.
We finally have their debut EP X-Lives
featuring seven excellent old-school gothic rock songs that will make any true goth fan swoon.
A true favorite of mine that fits right in with the best tried and true sounds of the gothic rock genre kicks off this disc with "Dark Love". Everything from the solid bass, the heavy, deep vocals, driving drums and cliche lyrics make this the perfect track and sets the pace for what makes an excellent album. Female vocals take the lead on "Faint" for a nice little twist, but the guitars remain driving overlaying the moving beat for another stellar track. A bit of a classical rock sound comes out in "Electrify", mostly with the vocal styles that sound familiar to Jefferson Airplane
(ie. Grace Slick) fans, but the gothic rock music remains strong, keeping it grounded and actually creating a really catchy tune.
At this point we reach something of a mid-point on the album and we're thrown right back into the heart of the goth sounds with the driving guitars and heavy, deep vocals on "Lifeless". Over the course of these tracks, the feelings and emotions of the peak of the goth sound of the 90's come flooding out, bringing a feeling of nostalgia for the endless "goth" compilations featuring mostly gothic rock instead of a few goth tracks mixed in with heavy gas-gargling vocals and techno-driven tracks. It's nice to hear these beautiful pieces in their dark simplicity. Though maybe not the perfect production, it's a great style and it comes out well on each track. "No Time" follows up with a more driving sound, though this piece does slightly get lost amongst the others with it's cookie-cutter sound. "Say" recovers nicely though bringing the album back into balance with it's unique sounds of somber guitars, a slightly less driving beat, though the overall intensity of the moods remain strong. This brings us to the "bonus" track on the EP with "Los Angelina". This definitely brings out the fast-paced driving sounds of what you might expect from prominent UK goth bands, but their own unique style remains solid and this is an excellent piece to wrap up the album with.
It's so nice to have more of these excellent goth bands. We've been presented with several this year and this is just another great addition to any fan's collection.