CD Review

Erotic – “Never Sleep Again”

By Marcus Pan

Never Sleep AgainThe thing with continuing to record with a band is that you get better as you move on. You continue to improve, you improvise, you increase your skills. In short, grasshopper, you grow to be one with your craft. Or do you?

Erotic's previous CD, A Million Empty Lives, was written up in Legends #141. DJ Mort, about this previous album, said back then that if you "are looking for some good well recorded music then you certainly won't find it here." He also summarized thusly: "My thoughts are this: there are some good ideas bouncing around, but no actual direction being taken in order to come up with a more tight knit sound. A bit more practice and a couple of negative reviews may find these boys either packing it in or coming out a year or two from now to really make us all eat our words."

Now the 2005 release of Never Sleep Again has arrived and is expected to hit the streets in early June. I'm wondering if I should break out the ketchup and get to snacking on the words of our previous review. But, alas, we're still seeing the same thing. The very low budget production (even with a small amount of cash you can make this sound better). Having to turn my radio volume up to near 10 so I can hear it some is damned annoying. Songs like Three Years, for example, have many elements inside which is normally a good thing, but when they don't mesh well they just come out sounding sloppy and very amateurish.

The vocals are another thing I can't get past. In most instances they flatten well below the make-up of the other music. Prague, for example, has a really good guitar riff on it, but Razor's flat delivery crush it and the added bubbly programming just makes it come out sounding like someone forgot to take the tape out of the washing machine while recording. Likewise the heavy Maiden like Dress in Black opens very powerfully with well written guitars, keys and percussion all jamming together. But again the vocals...flat, unfeeling, unsteady at times. I hearken back to my Witchkrieg review for more on this type of problem.

Cum Again is a cool song – I really dig the melodic keys that open it and the guitars are, as per usual, well played. It doesn't suffer as badly from the flat vocals as it takes a more speaking stance. The best you'll find here on Never Sleep Again methinks. The metallic slicing effects around sample areas are pretty cool too. The following Should've Known reminds me of Zakas, only not as well thought out. It's strangely catchy, though...not sure why.

The Close My Eyes Forever cover (Ozzy/Ford) isn't bad, but it smacks of the "trying to hard" syndrome. It's also annoying that it's listed on the jacket as the ninth track but on my radio as the eighth (the mysterious track called PaxilCR45 has gone missing it seems).

As Mort said...there's a lot of promise and possibility here, but sometimes some people just don't try as hard as they should or could. I know Erotic has so much more to offer, and the black metal scene is so low-key right now it's a good time to come out and make a slamming stand on it. But it's not going to happen with such under par productions, unpracticed vocals and music as loose and unintegrated as they're now becoming known for here.

Contact Information:
Gestalt Records
Post: 3650 Osage St., Main Floor, Denver, CO, 80221, USA
E-Mail: dave@gestaltrecords.com
Web: www.gestaltrecords.com

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