CD Review

Oneiroid Psychosis - "Garden of Remembrance"

By Rat Bastard

Garden of RemembranceGarden of Remembrance is the third full length album from brothers Lars and Leif Hansen, collectively known as Oneiroid Psychosis, and one of the first offerings from the new darkwave label, Nilaihah. Those familiar with Oneiroid Psychosis' previous releases can expect to hear more of the same: another collection of well-crafted dark and atmospheric songs, with lots of creepy synthwork and, of course, the icy and sinister, yet eerily melodic, voice of Lars Hansen.

The opening song, Dark Day, sets the tone for the entire album, within which not a single happy major key melody is to be found. In short, bouncy dance music seekers should look elsewhere for entertainment. Even the more upbeat pieces, such as October, seem much more suited for stalking to than for dancing. Lars and Leif Hansen have a definite liking for more "organic" synth patches (harpsichords, pianos, strings) which predominate throughout the album and keep the music decidedly separate from most electro dance music. Of course, there are many who will have no problems stomping around to A Soul Upon All This, which moves along noisily at a moderate death-march pace. Still others will find it more suitable to just sit still let themselves be lost in the morose musical wonderland presented for them, especially during the album's more dirge-like moments.

Instrumental pieces are spaced throughout, providing even more atmosphere to an album already chokingly thick with it. While the music of the entire album can stand well on its own, I think that Lars' vocals really help Oneiroid Psychosis to stand out (or perhaps "overshadow" would be a more appropriate term here). Crystal clear and equally as sharp, they add a certain edge that the oft-heard distorted cookie-monster vocals could never hope to.

Garden of RemembranceSeveral of the songs on Garden of Remembrance remind me of something not unlike what I might expect to hear performed by Sopor Aeternus (or rather, they sound like what I imagine an electro version of Sopor Aeternus might sound like). This is, of course, not a criticism, but a comparison for the sake of additional description (and just a personal observation). As an aside, I would also suggest that anyone pleased by Garden of Remembrance give Sopor Aeternus a listen as well.

All in all, I am very pleased with this album, and plan to check out Oneiroid Psychosis' previous work (from which I've only heard the odd song here and there). I heartily recommend Garden of Remembrance to any fan of the electro/darkwave genre, especially those seeking something with a bit more bite than much of what passes for 'darkwave' these days. Granted, the term 'darkwave' is a little ambiguous, but Oneiroid Psychosis is one of the few bands to which the term can be fully (and appropriately) applied.

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