L’Ame Immortelle – Drahtseilakt

In a music scene influenced by ambiguous seasonal trends, it’s simply amazing to see how a groundbreaking band such as L’Ame Immortelle keeps on creating innovative music. After decades, Thomas Rainer and Sonja Kraushofer are still a superb powerful duo that reconfirms a dominant artistic role with the latest release entitled “Drahtseilakt”.
“Sag Mir Wann” definitely focuses on a traditional electro goth music theme but there is also a dreamy rock rhythm that adds a vibrant dose of energy. As always, Sonja’s eclectic interpretation spices up the song’s structure.
“Eye Of The Storm” features a sorrowful piano melody that gives way to a lively electronic music core that makes you want to dance immediately wherever you are. The Nachtmahr remix of this song features a more energetic rhythm that leans towards industrial style but still preserves the emotional value of the original version.
On “My Memory” the highly atmospheric musical layers are further enhanced by theatrically dramatic vocals. This is a slower song with passionately melancholic melodies that will certainly stand out at the very first listening.
“Sehnsucht” is probably one of the darkest songs on “Drahtseilakt”. Since the very beginning you will feel hopelessly entangled in the romantic gloomy musical tapestry marvelously enriched by Sonja’s poignant interpretation which focuses on inner glowing emotions rather than delivering just a display of vocal techniques.
“Drown Them” is a perfect song with an addictive rhythm that will make you fall desperately in love right away. Sonja’s vocals here fully showcase her technical skills as well as a flawlessly intricate interpretation that reminds me of her vocal style in Persephone.
“Einsamkeit” is another delicate soft tune but it certainly doesn’t have the sugary feel of the usual ballad. The harmonious orchestration and the piano arrangement successfully craft a magnetic ensemble of desolate melodies, yet later on Sonja’s determined vocals portray a feeling of courageous renaissance.
As much as I enjoy the electro aspect that made L’Ame Immortelle a true icon in the darkwave/gothic niche, on this particular album I find myself deeply drawn to the slower melancholic songs. Overall, “Drahtseilakt” is a mature work of music wisely crafted by truly experienced musicians that delightfully incorporate multiple influences and offer a high degree of variety that could appeal to any audience.

Liv Kristine – Vervain

It’s always a pleasure to listen to the solo work of a talented artist and with the fifth solo album entitled “Vervain” Liv Kristine reconfirms her absolute supremacy as one of the most creative singers in the metal scene. As expected all the songs on “Vervain” are composed to make Liv’s vocals the main focus, therefore in terms of songwriting there’s nothing groundbreaking or particularly original. Yet, it comes easy and quite spontaneous to fully appreciate the delicate gothic oriented musicality of this album which might remind of her past vocal performances inTheatre Of Tragedy.
“Love Decay” is particularly intriguing because of the charming duet with Michelle Darkness from End Of Green. This is probably the most gothic track on the album with slow decadent guitars appropriately tuned on the somber side. The unusual contrast between Michelle’s baritone interpretation and Liv’s delicate vocals create a mysteriously dark atmosphere that would certainly please a more metal oriented audience.
On the title track it’s inevitable to notice how Liv makes all those technical operatic vocal phrases sound so effortless and almost easy, yet we all know that few singers can nail that kind of stuff. The musical theme is once again quite simple and straightforward with a strong focus on the melancholic, yet rather catchy and dynamic, chorus.
“Stronghold Of Angels” will easily become a hit. Seriously, who wouldn’t fall in love with a duet featuring the iconic Doro Pesch? I’m not even a bit surprised to see how Liv and Doro successfully deliver a bright passionate performance that fluently provides a glowing harmony and a delightful strength to the hyper melodic guitar core.
“Hunters” is almost certainly the catchiest song on “Vervain”. There’s a Nordic feeling throughout the song which well supports the whole array of popular dark rock elements further enriched by marvelous operatic backing vocals.
The omnipresent romantically heartbreaking ballad entitled “Lotus” despite the usual, maybe abused, recipe of slow motion piano and guitars is still a greatly enjoyable moment. This is mainly due to Liv’s majestic performance that bears a sensitive burden of human emotions that will touch any listener.
If you’re in the mood for some gloomy darker tunes make sure to check out “Oblivious” which revolves around gothic/doom fusion riffs diffusing through a highly atmospheric music theme enriched by Liv’s elegant vocals.
With “Vervain” Liv Kristine goes back to explore the darker roots of her musical career and it’s just lovely how the lack of unnecessary complications allows the listeners to focus on the encouraging artistic energy that surrounds the whole album.

Insomnium – Shadows Of The Dying Sun

It feels good to see that Finnish act Insomnium is back with a powerful new album entitled “Shadows Of The Dying Sun”. Some of you might have noticed that the band has been working hard for many years and this time with a passionately crafted collection of songs, Insomnium might get a real chance to step up in the scene. As they say, if you follow your true vocation you will certainly succeed.
With its melancholic wintry riffs, “The Primeval Dark” is a poignant introduction to the melodic musicality that embodies the artistic pathway on this album.
When “While We Sleep” kicks in with a super flamboyant melody in a poetic crescendo followed by romantic clean vocals, it’s clear that Insomnium has concocted a fascinating musical recipe that could easily conquer the lost souls of a wide audience. The genuine passionate delivery and the lack of superfluous soulless technicality make this song easy to love at the very first listening.
“Revelation” proudly follows the intense melancholia that constantly pervades through the whole album. As in other tracks, there is still a more brutal facet with thundering drums and strong growls to satisfy even the stone-hearted crowd.
If you crave more death metal style action, you’ll certainly enjoy the savage attitude on “Black Heart Rebellion”. As in a constant spiritual dwelling, a woeful emotional suffering is well displayed in the pressing guitar driven rhythm, while the idealistic longing for the heartbreaking melodic guitars cannot be denied easily.
“The River” is full of poetic darkness and there’s nothing wrong with the desire for mellow gloomy melodies as long as it is pure. Somehow guitars and drums manage to conjure a taste of vintage black metal that never clashes with the romantically charged acoustic moment.
The title track is a hymn to the poetic nature of Insomnium’s songwriting. Rather than being an attempt to create a catchy tune, this track carries a considerable emotional burden that required the most melodic side of the band’s artistic pathway. You simply cannot pour your heart out pounding on the snare as fast as possible, so the feverish need for a more delicate guitar riff and soft whispers is unambiguously comprehensible.
In the end, “Shadows Of The Dying Sun” is a charming piece of art that has the power to bring some luck and well deserved recognition as Insomnium continues to grow stronger and brighter.