CD Review

V/A - "Praying for Something New"

By Marcus Pan

Praying for Something NewI've always liked compilations. They're usually a bitch to review, but they provide those of us looking for something good to listen to a decent idea of what's out there without dropping a dozen dollars for a CD from each band. And the name of this compilation says it all - I'm praying just as hard to hear something different. Put out by Kyan records based in Clearwater, FL, Praying for Something New is a ten-track collection of artists attempting to bring us something fresh and new in the gothic genre. Some tracks are ritualistic, others are more electronic. Some are darkwave style rock and still more have a more eclectic hard-to-define sound. And that is why, with any good compilation, we must take a look at each band and track individually.

But before we do, let's take a look at a bit of small print on the jacket of the release: "Tracks 3-10 are paid advertisements." What? A gothic infomercial? I have never and will never believe in the compilations that require you to pay to be on them - it's not a good representation of any band. Maybe I could record myself farting on a snare drum and give Kyan a buck or two to let me be on their next one, eh? What ever happened to the idea that talent be a pre-requisite for compilation appearances?

Contact Information:
Mail: Kyan Records, P.O. Box 6745, Clearwater, FL, 33758-6745
E-Mail: kyan@kyan.com
Web: http://www.kyan.com

Allegory - They
One of two lucky bands that didn't have to pay to appear here, Allegory is a Kyan group presumably based out of Florida like their label although I can't be sure because the contact address provided for them is that of Kyan Records. They do have their own e-mail address however. Allegory appears here with a track called simply, They. Featuring very muted and distorted vocals and a shuffling beat track that drags you from one scratch-sound to another, They does have a flowing key melody. It's buried behind the warped vocals, scratching metal and muted beats - but it is there.

Contact Information:
E-Mail: allegory@mindspring.com

Sunday Munich - Prozac
Another Kyan label group that didn't have to pay to appear, Sunday Munich is a droning group fronted by a bright female voice. The drum track of their contribution, Prozac, is morose yet stable and the piano melodies are simple and light. The song starts to drone after a bit, though. Probably could have been done better sped up a bit.

Contact Information:
E-Mail: sundaymunich@kyan.com

The Freight Elevator Quartet - Pomoerotic & Gilgamesh
Surprisingly enough, these guys (gals?) have a drum 'n bass sound that is fun and lively. The drums are everywhere, hitting everything, and the bass has a grinding, guttural sound. This is a near-instrumental track with diva-style female utterings that make up all that is vocal about Pomoerotic. It's an interesting arrangement - lively, somehow sexually tense and rapid moving. Closing the album out, they also appear again with Gilgamesh. This track is not as lively, but the drum 'n bass styling that they've delved out in Pomoerotic is there. It's more controlled here however and the background is kept windy with occasional samples of monkeys (I swear I heard one, really I did), bells and jungle aromas. A chaotic melody is provided by what I think is a highly-distorted guitar. I find it amazing that a group this interesting had to pay anything to appear on some two-bit infomercial. I'll be checking them out in the future.

Contact Information:
Post: c/o Luke Dubois, 414 W. 120th St., Apt. 605, New York, NY, 10027
E-Mail: freight@ music.columbia.edu
Web: http://www.fe4.com

Bacchus - Cum
A bass-laden darkwave track, Cum (and yes, it is spelled that way) is a slow-moving, Xtian Death style song. Bacchus is fronted by a deep female vocalist. It's a decent song, but nothing I haven't already heard before.

Contact Information:
Post: 6119 Davis BLD., Camp Springs, MD, 20746

Full Blown Kirk - Mars
Another female-fronted group, Full Blown Kirk's Mars is writ in a dragging, jazzy style of music. It's different than a lot of stuff I've heard before, but the sliding bass is actually annoying - buzzing and tugging in your ear like a stuck wasp. The dreamy-style guitars add to this. This is one of the reasons why I usually avoid the "pay-to-appear" compilations where anybody can show up.

Contact Information:
Post: 614 North Mantua, Kent, Ohio, 44240
E-Mail: jmin@fullblownkirk.com
Web: http://www.fullblownkrik.com

Little Miss ConceptionLittle Miss Conception - Cold
These are the ones that were nice enough to send me this compilation for review and you can take a look at them to the right - my thanks to Eve for taking the time out to do this. LMCs contribution, Cold, is a strange piece with influences from a lot of different places. During the vocalizations of the lead singer there are bell-like soundings that revolve around his low-pitched singing. The guitars are played lively during lyric breaks with a high-pitched cry. The drums are standard issue metronomics and the guitar riffs are SoM fare.

Contact Information:
Post: Antoinette Records, P.O. Box 11, Many, LA, 71449
E-Mail: diem13@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palms/9863/shadows.htm

Thoughts of Grief - Son of the Son
Two vocalists take the stage in Son of the Son, one female one male. Together they form a silly duo of a diva chick and a grumbling marauder. The musical melodies are well-done, although nothing new, but well-played and practiced. The female sings along with the guitar riffs while the guy will just croak his way through something that, I guess, could be a language. If they dumped the grumbly thing, I think it would be a nice track. Instead it comes out comical.

Contact Information:
Post: c/o Rene Schmidt, Stoechhardtstrasse 11A, 20535 Hamburg, Germany
Web: http://www.thoughts.de/

Ophelia's Sweet Demise - Demise
This was a pleasant surprise. I reviewed the release Dark Serenade by Ophelia's Sweet Demise in Legends #87. Slow and moody with keyboards that battle guitars. Daniel's vocals are a half-speak half-sing Murphy style. The darkwave sound of Demise is given a brighter shine by the melodic synthesizer melodies throughout.

Contact Information:
Post: PMB 120, 544 East Ogden, Suite 700, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Phone: (414) 265-5484
Fax: (414) 273-7785
E-Mail: ophelias_demise@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.clivebarker.com/ophelia/

Dead Letter Office - Unspeak
Vocals are chant-like and hard to understand. I found it to be monotonous, boring and unmoving. The chords of the melodies seem to be forced against each other - I never did like that forced-flat sound. And then the melodies are gone, and there are just groaning voices. No.

Contact Information:
Post: 722 Dennis Ave., Sliver Spring, MD, 20901
E-Mail: DLO444@aol.com
Web: http://www.angelfire.com/md/deadletter