Soulscape Grave New World
By Marcus Pan
All the finest elements of moody, powerful,
anthem-reaching gothic rock are here on Grave New World. Moody
electronic trance-like openings that spread into wall of sound post-punk drums
and well laced bass and guitar working together to support a strong voice with
dark lyrics and creepy innuendos. Soulscape, looking quite boring in its red on
black type case, picture of a crying angel statue on its cover, stereotypical
band photo with shining lights blasting over their well laid hair and dark
staring eyes...is this another band trying to go all Sisterlike?
Hats off to bassist Sam Ruppert for finding his niche
here...keeping his work on bass well played and with just enough complication
to stand out without overshadowing his own keyboards and the guitars of Michael
Verzani. We have Mel Draper on vocals, looking elven with his perfect hair and
pallid demeanor. No sign of a drummer but all three have some level of
"programming" credits on Grave new World, so they must come from there.
From the opening First Blood with its long, moody and
getting-you-in-a-dark mood programmed opening that shreds into percussion
straight out of the nearest gates to Hell, and You are My Disease lays
on very heavy handed keyboard work over top of which is laid what could be
either a guitar or more keys. For the most part their work blends well, but
occasionally get so busy as to be nearly messy...You are My Disease
being one of these possible pitfalls.
Mel's strong bass/baritone vocals betray his otherwise
shimmery and elvish appearance. Power ballad Rise Again is dangerously
sweet with a moving and swift percussion. I find myself impressed yet again
with the crisp, clean and rhythmic basswork by Ruppert. His style is very
similar to my own, so maybe it's bias...but it's very good. Check out Wyrd
Sisters for proof. Simple, crisp, powerful that not only opens but leads
here on the fifth track of Grave New World.
Hey new agers, check out The Crossing. Soulscape
talks about the arrival of Planet X/Nibiru...and treats it with more
seriousness than I assuredly could. Whether or not the trio is down with the
theory I don't know, but to each their own (one of the guys thanks "Icke" in
the liner notes...maybe David?) and I find the song filled with excellent male
harmonies, bright keys and littered with Soulscape's signature complicated
In the first paragraph I had a question. Is Soulscape
another band trying to go all Sisterlike? I can answer that now. Fuck SoM.
Soulscape don't bother with 8 minute long continuous same-played riffs with the
same thing a moody vocalist said for the past 14 measures going on and on
again. Soulscape do it better. If you took time out of the equation completely,
Sisters could be stereotypes of them and, quite frankly, it's about damn time
someone showed up that overzealous boor with better arrangements, more
complicated rhythms, better style and a more encompassing feel. I wouldn't be
surprised to see Unca' Andy opening for Soulscape some day.
PO Box 853, Park Ridge, IL, 60068, USA