The ancient Greeks believed in mythical beings that sang to weary sailors, drawing them to their beautiful voices but in the end only offered death called sirens. ODDKO are an act from Los Angeles and have been around since 2011. 26th of November saw the release of the single “Siren Song“, with the man behind it all, Giovanni Bucci being joined by Francesco Paoli (Fleshgod Apocalypse) and Dave Tavanti (Kpanic) to record the EP, DigitalGods. Bucci is also known for being a filmmaker and specializing in special effects.
“Siren Song” is very much about the commercialism of society, so much so the release date coincided with Black Friday.. An observation about people who feel that life will never complete if they don’t own the latest or the newest product. The producers get rich, those that consume poorer and the environment pays the biggest price in all this greed.
This video is a pretty show of virtual special effects which obviously this is due to Bucci’s prowess in this field but I have to say, he actually writes a mean tune as well. I am trying to put my finger on what I like about this track. Is it the catchy chorus? The orchestration? The huge guitar riffs that thunder through or is it Bucci’s passionate vocals? It is more than likely a combination of this and the theme they are pushing home.
From the Ukraine, hails the band Mirratal. Since 2013, these guys have been honing their skills by releasing singles and E.P’s but now have unleased their debut album, “Castaway”. These natives of Kyiv describe their style as progressive symphonic metal.
“Abyss Of Lunacy” begins with an actual real cello playing which is really nice to hear instead of the normal computer generated classical instruments which can be very prevalent in this genre of music. The frentic cello is the intro of a band about to give us a really big sound and then the blast beats of the drum kick in. This is a powerful first song with nice harmonizing and a good use of creepy whispering as well as play off solo’s of guitar and synth. They even managed to fit in a choir behind. This has started well.
Then next song has a hail of guitar before the synths break through. The lead, Igor Roshenets doesn’t sound like Vile Valo but something is the way he sings makes me think of him. Maybe it is the passion he sings “Poison” and other songs. I really like the slightly middle eastern sound they incorporate into this and yet there is much wailing guitar.
With the title “Timeless Sea”, you expect a more sedate piece, an oboe wistfully plays and some fellow is talking about psychology…… and then…. it goes full bore. No taking it easy for these guys. This is pretty deep talking about multiverses and time beyond us all that is the endless journey to this timeless sea.
Duelling synths and guitar of Andrii Pavlenko and Sergii Stygar respectively, mark the beginning of “Distinguished Phrases”. Then Roshenets wastes no time launching himself right into the middle of the maelstrom. A song about depression brought on by the cruel words of others. This goes though lulls and then frenetic neck breaking speeds.
No fooling me this time with a nice sedate piano and violin. You know that isn’t going to last and true to form “Mystery” takes off but it is very pretty in some ways. The harmonies and the poetic lyrics though no less metal. The charged piano playing is quite delightful.
Number six has a lovely intro of classical proportions and joins with a nice clear guitar. “Find Your Name” is a duet with female singer, Kateryna Kapshuk (Scarlet) . It is one of those pieces that builds and builds apon itself, with layers of music, instruments and vocals.
Next is “Run” which evokes all sorts of ideals. Monastic choral singing with bells tolling with a provincial French over tone… getting a ‘In The Name Of The Rose’ vibe. This is a slower power number with doomsday is nigh connotations.
And so we come to the title track. They have blown me away already with the electronic beginning changing it all up. Clearly these guys like to be constantly giving themselves a challenge but by using different techniques even within the one song. This goes from power and questioning to ambient and peaceful. Of course this doesn’t last, so bring on the metal choir!
Ever feel like you are going insane but unable to tell anyone? Then you will understand “Sounds” perfectly. Was it the loss of something or someone? Love, love, love the sound of a harpsicord and it is used to blinding effect to help create that disquiet, uneasy tension. I somewhat wonder if this song is what it would be like inside the head of one Captain Jack Sparrow.
BONUS TIME!!! and last number on this album is called “The Wind”. Fabulous percussion with again that wonderful use of orchestration. This shows a great appreciation for the art of music and an ability to incorporate real symphonic instruments with metal and bring a purely instrumental piece to life.
For fans of good drumming which Sergii Ivanov delivers in spades (that guy must be so tired after shows because I felt exhausted just listening to the blast beats he was putting out} or those that really like great guitar solos or thoughtfully crafted music with a very classical grounding, then this is for you. The vocals are strong and soaring for those that want that revelling high.
This album has obviously had a lot of thought put into it by Mirratal as well as passion. This is one of the better symphonic releases in a while and I urge you to check out “Castaway”.
Midnight Creatures is a two man gothic/metal rock band from Australia with Jordan Von Grae on vocals and Lachlan Blackwood bringing the guitars and programming. Together they have brought their first born offering to the table on the form of an E.P. called I.
This is a 3 track E.P. and the first track is “Hope and Faith” with a strong piano and guitar sound. Waiting for love to be returned when given. Though as we all know that this never always the case. Heavy on the symphonic gothic guitar sound on this number.
“Daylight” starts and continues with a solo piano and in some ways this reminds me of Muse and could be the whimsical way it is sung. A song of love lost and a female remembered by the way she moved in the daylight.
This could be a tribute to Valo and HIM from the Love Metal period, “Salt of My Earth”. This is in no way a bad thing as this ode to woman being his part of his existence, is very sweet and romantic in that dark and not gooey way goths do.
So a three part ode to love. Waiting for requited love, memories of love lost and bound to a great love. What more could you want? You can most definitely hear the influence of HIM and Von Grae‘s vocals do remind me a bit of Muse‘s lead singer, though Jordan‘s voice rings clearer I feel and not so nasal. Lachlan Blackwood also does a great job on guitar.
These two lads seem to be stuck in the gothic romantic era and if Lord Byron had been a gothic rocker, he would have joined them. Do check them out on Bandcamp.