The Veil of Queen Mab - Review
This is the lovely sophomore album from this talented duo featuring Alessandra's magnificently captivating voice.
It comes packaged in a stunning digipack and golden CD with gold foil print on 16 pages featuring beautiful artwork and information. The album is packed with fourteen spellbinding tracks featuring all of the great neo-classical and gothic-related styles we've grown to love from bands like this.
This album is presented in something of a thematic work with the fourteen tracks centered around the legends of Queen Mab which appear in many writings and mythology. With that as a background, perhaps the music will take on a little more life to the listener and reader. The haunting vocals on each track are mesmerizing and captivating as we float dreamily from one piece to another. They span from the tender, dreamy ethereal styles to the overpowering siren-like vibrato-rich soprano that take hold of the listener by the deepest and most powerful emotions. The musical compositions are focused mainly in the neo-classical realm, and when combined with the captivating vocals, the resulting music is very powerful and motivating.
Favorites on this album include nearly every track as it really is very homogenous with the thematic approach. For me the more ethereal pieces such as "El Velo Azul" have grown to be favorites. This piece is somber, not too dark and brooding, but moves along softly and sweetly with a great neo-classical touch with just a bit of unobtrusive percussion as a nice bonus. There are others along this style that I also enjoy, but along different lines, the introductory track "The Fairy Appears" is moving and very dark with the heavy, deep cello and various layered string-like synths (or actual acoustic instruments as it may be). Harp, flute, viola, violin, dulcimer and a myriad of synthesized keyboard sounds all create the stunning music behind each piece. Even on the subtle "Le Lacrime Di Proserpina", each soft instrument becomes a soft, silky smooth layer to augment and hold up the soft, almost whispered vocals. Each of these pieces show a bit of creativity and a load of talent that true talented artists can appreciate and enjoy.
The album wraps up nicely with more sweet tracks from "A Forest" and on through to the final piece "Asturiana" with it's soft acoustic guitar as the key instrument, bringing out the soft, somber moods to really wrap it all up as a neatly packaged masterpiece. This album truly is a great work and it is a great pleasure to recommend it to all readers who enjoy the soft sounds of ethereal and neo-classical music.
The Garden of the Hesperides - Review
This is the new project from ex-Gothica
soprano Alessandra Santovito.
She has joined up with Francesco Forgione who plays double bass and keyboards, for this new project. This album serves as the debut from this duo which introduces us to the mesmerizing mix of ethereal and neo-classical music. We're presented with this album in the form of 14 stunningly beautiful pieces.
The somber moods of this disc come out so well from the very first introductory track "Walking Roots" as we are treated with the low, smooth rumbling of the double bass. This blends well with the next piece "Hesperos" which brings out Alessandra's heavenly vocals. These vocals become the melodic lead to many tracks while the somber, layered synths and deep, reverberating double bass provide the solid foundation. As the album moves along we have a few ambient and new age soundscapes that provide a layer of a sort of background beauty, whether it be a mix of running water, various ambient-like synths or the inclusion of the harps on the title track "The Garden of the Hesperides".
Overall the musical compositions are somewhat minimalistic, though the few additions of layered synths and previously described foundational aspects of the music make it sound full and well balanced. Pieces like "The Magnificence of the night" is a perfect example, slow, simple yet combining and including everything from the bass, violins and harp along with the ethereal soprano vocals. One thing is for certain, the way the music is composed and mixed on the album, you really need to listen to it turned up loud and in an environment where you can feel the music as much as hear it. To try to listen to it as background music or in any environment where there is any competing noise just doesn't do it justice. As I've listened to the album in various settings from having it turned up way loud in my car to listening while working, my favorite is to put all other cares aside and stick on a nice set of headphones and just listen to the album all the way through.
Many of the tracks are somewhat short, but all are beautiful and captivating. Many will be familiar with "The Warm Whisper of the Wind" from the appearance on the Cold Meat Industry
sampler Flowers Made of Snow
. This still remains a favorite of mine from this album with it's haunting air of beautiful vocals mixed with a solid classical musical setting. "Artemisia" is another favorite with it's medieval sound of timpane and bass moving the music along to provide a backdrop for the haunting vocals. The album moves along after this piece from one captivating track to the next, some sporting percussion while others remain somber and simple. There's a taste of the mediterranean mixed in on some pieces like "Loto Nero" and makes a nice contrast with the immediately following piece "Nana" which is simply a harp and the soprano vocals, similar to something you might expect right out of an area from Vivaldi or one of the other Barroque masters. The remaining tracks build on these neo-classical styles and wrap up the album with the exception of the final piece "Walking Roots II" which brings the album to a fantastic close.
With that we come to the end of the album and the end of this review. I hope that people can take these descriptions and decide for themselves based on their own likes and dislikes if this album is for them. However, I will say that if you enjoy anything by bands like Alessandra's previous project Gothica
or other neo-classical contemporary artists like Dark Sanctuary, Arcana
or other similar bands, you'll love this new album.
Label: Equilibrium Music