Many will remember this Gothic Rock group hailing from Portugal with their album Traces of Solitude in late 2002 when they released their album on COP International. But this band didnt start then, their history dates back to the start of the new millenium, in the year 2000 the band was formed by Pedro Morcego (vocals and programming), David Reis (Guitar), Nuno Soares (Bass) and Pierre Dumond. They would release their debut album Nocturnal Frequency that same year on the popular UK label Nightbreed Recordings. They were later invited as supporting act for the legendary and infamous band Sisters of Mercy where they were branded as too Goth and received national attention because of the encounter. After being signed to COP International in 2002 they released their sophomore album and have now every couple of years have released a new album including Calling The Fiends in 2004 and InStinct in 2006. With their 2004 release the lineup included new member Andre Joaquim and listed Pierre Dumond as a special guest. Once again the lineup seems to have changed slightly with David Reis missing and Pierre Dumond listed as a regular member of the band. It is notable that they have also appeared on a couple of compilations, including the popular Dark Awakening Vol. 2 compiled by DJ Dirk Neveling.
With these four albums weve been treated to a maturing Gothic Rock sound. The easiest comparison is with other popular bands that made the Gothic Rock scene so big in the 90s, including The Wake, Screams for Tina and others that delve into the deep vocals, grinding guitars and rough and grooving deep bass. With each album the sound has matured slightly and drifted between Electro-Goth with more electronics which we heard a lot more on their sophomore album and the guitar-driven Gothic Rock sound on their first and third albums.
With these three good releases and a worldwide presence with their label, this should be a band that fans should watch and enjoy. Check out selections on Gothic Paradise radio and read and keep up with more info on their official website listed below.
Once again COP International has released this gothic rock band's fourth album to the masses hungry for and awaiting more goth rock sounds. And once again the style continues to maintain that solid goth sound although at first listen it seems the band is trying a bit too hard to bring the vocals deeper and at the same time adding more harmonizations again like the classic death rock acts. I feel like the band really pulled their sound together well with their previous album and may have reached their peak then because this latest work is lacking somewhat the maturity that their third album brought to us. It's not all bad, in fact it's better than average, check out the details...
Many of the same elements are present in this work, including moderate electronics adding more depth and breadth to their music, and of course the over-the-top deep vocals and grooving, grinding guitars. The album kicks off with an eerie, short instrumental piece that adds a nice touch to the album. This moves immediately into "Total Eclipse", a moving goth track with that grooving bass that very nearly overpowers much of the rest of the music. Excellent guitars and minimal electronics and plenty of samples provide a haunting backdrop on this and many selections on this album. The vocals are extremely varied between the extremely deep to the higher lamentations, sometimes harmonized, other times layered and others just lost and alone.
As the album moves along it remains fairly static and homogenous, not really experimenting in any variations, the same level of electronics, percussion style, vocal style and guitars permeate and move each track along. "Fresh Meat, Sweet Taste" possibly deviates the most, yet at the same time remains a solid goth rock piece and has become a favorite from the album. Another effect used, and possibly over-used on this album is the vocal echo. On a few tracks it mixes well with the music and overall mood, but piece after piece uses it with "Exile" possibly sporting it the most that without it could possibly be another favorite piece. The electronics really pick up on "Time is the Master" and again the echo is there with the delay increased amplifying it even more for a haunting effect that by this time on the album has lost it's ability to portray it's purpose.
Once again the themes of the album are somewhat personal and haunting, again something that goth fans of the 90's can really appreciate amidst the incredibly over-indulged, angry political scene that has saturated the goth/industrial arena. The poetry actually exists in these songs and they mix well with the music and vocals, increasing the emotional intensity that listeners can understand and relate to as we all go through times of loss or expectation in our lives. And so these human elements provide the saving grace for this album and make it worth going out and picking up.
Calling The Fiends Review
I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the release of this third album by these Portuguese Gothic Rockers. Based on their previous work I knew pretty much the style of music and what to expect. But with each new release there is a slight anticipation in what new would be offered on this album. I cant say that I was surprised, but pleased with what I was presented when I listened the first time. I think that fans of the 90s Gothic Rock sound will be pleased.
I think a notable feature with this album is the inclusion of spooky sounds and lyrics in the music, including the eerie intro. It seems that even some of the most Goth groups lately are so busy being angry about politics and such, that theres no room or time left to include some of the romantic or mysterious bits that those of us in the scene enjoy in the first place. This album delves right into all of that with tracks like The Last Frontier to Hollow Land with the driving beat and deep vocals releasing the depressed feelings to leave it all behind and the chants of In My Head with the haunting images portrayed by the music and lyrics.
The vocals are more diverse in this album delving into the deep hollow and cavernous sounds with layered echoes and ranging to the high and dramatic similar to Christian Death and similar bands. I have a couple of favorites on this album which happen to mix just a small amount of electronics with driving beats and fun lyrics and vocals. After the Chaos is the first with a fun, up-beat rhythm grooving along with a slight post-punk atmosphere. Please, Please, Please is probably my favorite on this album and probably the most typical 90s Gothic Rock style track on the album. This one really delves into the excellent and classic elements of a solid beat and vocals that start deep and the music starts minimalistic and builds into a driving force with guitars ringing through the air carrying the music out with a nice forceful surge. This song is very well done and could easily become a club and cult classic. The fun doesnt end here with 11 nice tracks included and the finale Caged Melody wrapping it all up with a sort of Dark Wave, slow ballad to put it all to bed nicely.
While maybe its not the best Goth album out there, and some of the vocals and little elements here and there could use some polishing, I think this one mostly has all of the great elements and ranks up with some of the greats of the last couple of decades. Overall this one should be enjoyable to all fans of that classic Gothic Rock sound made famous by the infamous Sisters of Mercy, the legendary Mission UK and Fields of the Nephilim. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.
Label: COP Internation