REVIEW: V/A - "The Nature of Gothic - The Whitby Compilation"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

Nature of GothicBefore we go into this compilation review from the newest genre-topping label of the United Kingdom, first I went to tell you a little about running this rag o' mine. Specifically I'm going to tell you about one of the hardest jobs of being the editor of Legends Magazine. Now fortunately, I have been blessed with a good review staff that spans the globe. From Austin in Houston to Henry G. in Manilla, Dan and Chris here in Jersey with me, Wilde over in NYC and the new Shae/Angel Wylde team out in Illinois; and this is just a partial list. And lets not forget Catherine, who is somewhere in space following what I believe to have been an alien abduction. These guys and gals keep yours truly from going insane as the number of incoming review submissions has steadily increased and shows no sign of going down. And before you think this is a complaint, allow me to say please submitting the music formats we cover. That's why I hired all these people in the first place.

But the downside to having the staff around to help me out is that now I have to send them all this music, some of which I really enjoy, and they get to keep these CDs that I only get a chance to spin a few times before they are sent off for assignment. Fortunately, the UK outfit Eternia has opened their new label, and now I have in my hands a CD that contains some of the absolute best tracks from many of these CDs I've been missing since sending the full lengths off to my reviewers. So before any of those greedy bastards could pick up this one, I'm writing this review myself. And now I get to keep it, damnit, it is MINE! And now that we've told our little story, I send my apologies to David and continue with the review of what I find to be the best compilation to come out since Niahlaihah's Resistor(1).

The Nature of Gothic - The Whitby Compilation has a great collection of tracks. You'll find moody, moving pieces and riff-tinged metalics laced with electronic beats and morose soundscapes. While I admit there are better tracks than others here, you will be hard pressed to find one you'd call bad; not by any stretch of the imagination. The roster includes some lesser knowns (at least to yours truly) like Pathian, Animus Ex Machina and From the Icy Coast along with heavy-hitting artists like Tri-State Killing Spree, This Ascension, Attrition and even Collide. Let's take a look inside, hmm?

Contact Information:
Post: The Chapter House, Brunswick St., Whitby, YO21 1RB, United Kingdom
E-Mail: info@gothicnature.co.uk
Web: http://www.gothicnature.co.uk

Doll Factory - Touch
Opening the CD with some light and fluffy keyboard melodies, DF brashly step into a fast moving, guitar-tinged track that really kicks off TNOG with aplomb. Danceable and driven, lightly touched by vox and furious, Touch is a highlight to the compilation, completely skewering the "save the best for last" ideology in the nuts.

Contact: http://dollfactory.org

Loss of Will - What They May
Here's an act I haven't had the pleasure of hearing before, and they make a powerful showing on the compilation. Whether or not this is their first appearance I know not, but from the smooth arranging I would guess they've been recording for some time now as their skills show. Great vocal work, especially during choruses. Similar in make-up and style to the previous track with great electronic and synth work prior to heavy choruses.

Contact: http://lossofwill.cjb.net

Acid Ice Flows - Surrounded
AIF is going to have swirly goths falling for them around the globe with their track Surrounded. Morose keyboard melodies combine with a slow-moving beat to create a morbid scape of sound.

Contact: http://www.mp3.com/acidiceflows

Pathian - More Than Pain
A well-arranged instrumental, Pathian's More Than Pain is synthetic strings with a swift beat. A nice placement here as it speeds you up from the slow Surrounded to the rivethead furiousness of Frequency.

Contact: http://www.pathian.co.uk

From the Icy Coast - Frequency
Another highlight to this CD, FtIC create a heavy, rivethead industrial track. Frequency is excellent with subdued vocals, guitar-laced synth work and a driving, minimal beat around which the rest of the arrangement can wrap itself with ease.

Contact: http://www.mp3.com/theicycoast

Tri-State Killing Spree - My Socrates
3SKS' Happy, Death, Heaven(2) was one of the top CDs I had to pass along to the staff in the past, and their appearance here was a welcome sight. You'll find one of their strongest tracks here, My Socrates, that will have swirly goths and Cure fans awash in angst. My Socrates is based around keyboard chords with swirling guitars and excellent male vocals.

Contact: http://www.tristatekillingspree.com

The Agency - Blue Movie
Just in case the experimental crowd thought they were left out, The Agency provide a scratchy, noisy opening with Blue Movie. Adding squealing guitars over smoother chords with just a touch of feedback, the slower beat smoothes it out so you enjoy it more. The chorus, "You are so precious now you're not," is one I can't get out of my head.

Contact: http://www.mp3.com/TheAgencyTX

The Strand - Bookmark on the Shelf
The Strand is one of my new favorites. They appeared on Resistor as well, providing a highlight track called Cleanse. For those familiar with that CD, you'll be surprised as you are treated to a slower, moodier track from their debut In The Trench(3) release.

Contact: http://www.strandland.com

This Ascension - Mysterium
Stepping away from the electronics for a while, one of my favorite ethereal-style groups, This Ascension(4), take you on a heavenly ride with Mysterium. Wonderfully arranged with some of the most beautiful female voices you can find, this track comes as a surprising yet welcome change on the compilation.

Contact: http://www.projekt.com

Animus Ex Machina - 1
Just to keep you guessing, after our ethereal ride with This Ascension the CD drops you headlong into a rivethead nightmare from band Animus Ex Machina. 1 contains heavy riffwork, twice-laced vocals and tearing choruses. Another highlight to this CD.

Contact: http://www.mp3.com/Animus_Ex_Machina

Attrition - Lip Sync [xenophobia edit]
Keeping the heavy industrial flow going, heavy hitters Attrition(5) provide a remix of their Lip Sync single. There's much I can say, but does anything by Attrition need any amount of introduction at all? I mean, hell, it's ATTRITION for fuck's sake…

Contact: http://www.attrition.co.uk

Autumn - Even Now
Returning to the style that This Ascension began (and, admittedly, probably better placed nearer to each other, but that's really the only critique on track arrangement I can make throughout the CD), Autumn's wavy guitars and sublime female vocals float you about before dropping you into Eternia.

Contact: http://www.autumn-us.com

Eternia - Rain
The band behind this very compilation, Eternia(6) is another who's CD I released for review in the past with trepidation. Rain is one of their most beloved singles, and begins a triplet of closing tracks on The Nature… that end the compilation on a higher level.

Contact: http://www.eternia.net/eternia

The Machine in the Garden - The Unaware [smoothmotionmix]
Another powerful act, Middle Pillar Presents recording artists Summer Bowman and Roger Frace give us another feel of The Unaware. Always beautiful and minimal yet superbly arranged, The Machine in the Garden(7) are an act that have taken the world by storm for years now.

Contact: http://www.tmitg.com

Collide - Halo
Karin and Statik - two musical pioneers responsible for many groundbreaking releases, including one of my favorite music videos EVER (Son of a Preacher Man). David pries out of them the track Halo from the duo's latest, long-awaited Chasing the Ghost(8) release. It closes the CD on a smooth yet stompable note.

Contact: http://www.collide.net

And there you have it. The Nature of Gothic - The Whitby Compilation I predict to be one of the hottest releases of 2001. With fifteen tracks that run the gamut from swirly moods to heavy rivets, and a total of fifteen tracks, you'll get your money's worth with this CD. And one of the best parts - all profits go to The Forget Me Not Trust Fund and Shirrin Rescue Centre (gifts for terminally ill children and a purebred cat shelter, respectively). So even if you have absolutely NO taste whatsoever and it turns out you don't like what you hear on this disc, hell, you made things a little nicer for a couple of kids and some fluffy animals. How can you possibly go wrong?

(1) See my review in Legends #101.
(2) See my review in Legends #96.
(3) See my review in Legends #109.
(4) See the exclusive interview in Legends #100.
(5) See the review of their Heretic Angels release in Legends #108.
(6) See the review of From Dungeon's Luxury of Doubt in Legends #110.
(7) See reviews of The Machine in the Garden releases in Legends #91.
(8) See my review in Legends #110 and other previous reviews in issues #89 &#99.

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