CD Review

Deep Red – “A Brief History”

By Marcus Pan

Deep RedI’ve been noticing a pleasant trend with the recent slew of CDs and other music material that has been coming in – while most of these bands are new to me there have been a few that have come in that I have heard of before. I find it strange getting a CD from a group that I’ve already listened to and enjoyed in the past – an ego thing I guess. This time the band name, Deep Red, rung some bells, but I couldn’t place it at first.

Deep Red sent me a CD consisting of a number of selections from their recent releases and compilations. It’s a promo CD with a good mix of their material giving the listener an excellent idea of how they sounded in the beginning and how they sound now – they’ve stuck close to their original sound which is nice because it’s a very good one to stick to. The revelation about recognizing bands that have submitted recently occurred when track 6, “Holy You,” began playing. Like Seraphim Shock (which I reviewed in Legends #86), Deep Red appeared on Cleopatra’s “Goth Box” compilation with this piece. I had heard them before, from there as well as on some Internet radio stations I tune into on occasion.

After going through quite a number of bands with female vocalists that take the “diva approach” – higher octave singing, soprano rather than an alto level – I was rather pleased with the selections sent to me by Deep Red on their promo CD, “A Brief History.” At the start, Deep Red had the vocals of Martha Arce, but she has since went on to other things. DCastro then took in Sarah Gleason and finished the outfit with Mario Soto. The female vocals of the songs on this CD are lower and more subdued – alto singers do exist! Sometimes, if done right as Deep Red has done, you would be hard-pressed to find anything sexier than a low female voice…

Deep Red began in 1996 in Miami. They were quickly signed to Candyland Entertainment, a European label began by members of the band Project Pitchfork, and released “The Awakening.” They’ve toured with Project Pitchfork as well and on “A Brief History…” there are two remixed versions of Deep Red’s single “I Live,” by this band. The stronger and more-punk style version of this song, the “coin mix,” is by far my favorite of these. They have an upcoming release, “DarkwaterS,” scheduled to arrive sometime this year, around September/October.

All of the music is very concentrated on blending the various instruments together. The keyboards and synthesizers provide a strong backdrop for the low, droning bass sound that lurks below with the drumbeats, bubbling up to the surface of the songs through the erotic vocals. The perfect blending of all the instruments and the vocals as well are proof that Deep Red have an excellent match with each other – there are no stand outs and no grandstanding soloists. Just musicians, one for all and all for one, working together to create a wonderful combinations of sounds that fit together like the tightest puzzle ever made.

Deep Red maintain an ethereal quality, DCastro using his computers and electronic equipment to mix together a flowing combination of sounds that the band is fond of calling “virtual darkness.” Their latter work included here; “Blind Rage” and “Anywhere Out of This World,” (the latter of which appeared on Cleopatra’s tribute to Dead Can Dance), still stick to the sound of their earlier works. A male vocalist takes on the lyrics of the final track – “Anywhere Out of This World” – a wonderful surprise.

Some of my favorite tracks from “A Brief History…” include “Blind Rage,” from the upcoming release of “DarkwaterS” and recorded this year. “Blind Rage” provides a more danceable ethereality. Sarah’s alto voice is elegant and strong. “Holy You” is also a favorite, but as this track has appeared on Cleopatra’s Goth Box collection I won’t spend too long covering it in depth as most of you have probably heard it already. The first track on this CD is “Darkwaters.” This one is the title track from their upcoming release and is a lovely song with the potential to carry you with it. “Dark waters run, drowning my faith, drowning my sorrow.” I will be requesting this one the next time I reach a dance floor – I imagine closing one’s eyes as this song plays and takes you with it on the floor is something akin to ascension.

Deep Red is a good study of what happens when you combine people that all have similar capabilities as fine musicians. Not just a guitarist and a drummer and a singer – MUSICIANS, each capable in their own right, aspiring together to channel cosmic energy into a digital media. The fact that they included two versions of “I Live” onto this CD is what I’d like to think is a portent. I hope Deep Red lives and continues for a long time.

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