REVIEW: Spiritual Bats - "Sacrament"

By Wilde

Chain Border

SacramentPure gouda. That said, a little gouda is often a good thing. The Spiritual Bats have been around for a while; a late-80s-style goth band from Italy, the Bats are very tight rhythmically, and very professional. Vocalist Matteo and guitarist Dario are members of Italy's Alchemisti Painter's Group (est. 975 CE), which produced their album art. Other members include percussionist Rosetta, whose tribal drumming integrates well with Loren's basslines, and Vanessa on drone-style keyboards. The Bats have done some work with Mors Syphilitica/Requiem in White frontman Eric Hammer, who did the album graphics for Sacrament. This is their sophomore effort, their first being Confession, also on Alchemisti. They've also had tracks on Cleo's The Unquiet Grave comp, and Delinquent Records' More Black Than Black.

As for the album, their music, while very goth, shows some strong deathrock influences; there's a bit of deathrock-type distortion on the guitar, a bit of periodic B-horror Castlevania-style cheese on the keyboards. However, 80s-esque as the sound is, it's produced with 90s technical finesse. Dario writes the music, which is fairly repetitive, and Matteo writes the lyrics, which are particularly bad depressive tripe (read: goth as fuck). Complicated melodies seem to be sort of an alien concept. The overall musical effect is excellent, if unimaginative.

Honestly, the SB's music strongly reminds me of a lot of 45 Grave-era deathcore punk, although not quite as unabashedly humorous. The song lengths stay fairly short, another punk element.

Sacrament - A standard fast goth track with a ritual sound, which is appropriate for the subject matter.

Reflection of You - This one is permeated with a cheesy Halloween toy-style wailing effect, which pretty much gives any serious depressiveness this track was aiming for a swift kick in the pants.

Lost Souls - LS is a mid-paced, slightly chaotic track with a spinning, wraithlike feel to it. The longest offering here, it tends to drag a bit after a while.

Ritual - This is where they attempt to get creative rhythmically. Surprisingly enough (and unusually enough for a goth band), they're tight enough to pull it off and still have it sound fairly good. Rather impressive in a Vincent Price sort of way.

Dazzling Lights - Two words: Scooby Doo. We've got a Damned-style guitar line, stock Casio-sounding "Spookhouse" effects, and a waltzing tribal beat. At some point the beat goes into an odd disco tempo. Odd, but entertaining.

As an offering of good old-fashioned gothiness, Sacrament stands out as a model of its kind. I'd highly recommend this one if you creatures of the night are in the mood for something a little less dread and dreary than usual. Italy's put out a lot of good goth, and this is one of the better offerings. Thumbs up, Gene.

Contact Information:
Post: Firenze 35, 03100 Frosinone Italia
E-Mail: Spiritual.bats@rtmol.it
Web: http://www.mp3.com/spiritualbats

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