CD Review

Ophelia's Sweet Demise - "Dark Serenade"

By Marcus Pan

Dark SerenadeBased in the Milwaukee area and leaning heavily on older style darkwave, Ophelia's Sweet Demise provide a moody sound. The band is made up of Daniel Kufahl (formerly of Theatre Des Vampires on bass and vocals), Katrine DeWinter (formerly of Infinisynth on programming, drums, keyboards and vocals), Tracy Schmidt (on guitar and flute) and the newly added Patrick (guitars) who doesn't appear on their "Dark Serenade" release. "Dark Serenade" is indeed a fitting title for this 13 track CD made up of flowing melancholy.

OSD are self-promoted and have opened for such acts as Projekt recording artists Black Tape For a Blue Girl. Their thirteen track "Dark Serenade" release was previewed by their smaller six track EP, "Absinthe," five tracks of which are included on the new "Dark Serenade" since the former has been sold out. The only track from "Absinthe" not on this CD was the track "Magik, Magik." I don't know why and have never had the pleasure of hearing this one.

The music of Dark Serenade is slow and moody. The keyboards seem to almost battle the guitars on some songs and on occasion it works…on others it takes away from the lyrics as sung (in a very Murphy style of half-song half-speak) by Daniel. Many of the songs are similar and could stand to have a lot more added to them…a bit more complication is really the only way I can explain it.

Dark Serenade is something you put on to relax. In soothes you with stories of missed opportunities, desire and loss. The group owes a strong debt to the oldest of the goth rockers - Bauhaus (for their strong bass lines and Daniels vocals); Siouxsie & The Banshees (for the carnival-like synths in many of their tracks and for Kat's vocals). Their music occasionally has strong, tribal-like drums and, again, the almost cat-like fights between Tracy's guitar and Kat's keyboard. Some might say they stick too heavily to the old style, rarely straying. Some of it, again thanks to the dreamy synths, might be called almost ethereal in its floating sound. Especially the track that bears the album's name, used well to close this CD.

It's a strong release and I hope to hear more from OSD. Maybe next time they can put in a little more experimentation and stray a bit from the root-gothic sound. Kat and Tracy could write tracks that rather than fight, instead complement each other's work. And I think that if Daniel opened up he could probably find a voice more his own. Ophelia's Sweet Demise has a lot of talent…this is quite obvious. What they need to do now is develop a direction more their own.

Contact Information for Ophelia's Sweet Demise:
Mail: 544 East Ogden, Suite 700-212, Milwaukee, WI 53202