Monday, August 21, 2017

Bella Morte : "Year of the Ghost"

It's almost time for Dragon Con , so these con regulars who are also playing this year have released a new album. It starts off strong with a more classic goth sound. The lower vocals feel more comfortable than when he goes into his upper range. I think on some of the albums more ballad like moments his voice benefits from the more polished production and the added bells and whistles. Though "My Only One" is almost too influenced by Trent Reznor. He is a smoother crooner where Reznor has a more desperate whisper to his voice, but I can hear shades of "Hurt".  They find a more Sisters of Mercy like rock drive with "Black Orchids". But he is more of a baritone than a bass so his voice never drops as far down into the crypts of the vampire sound. I can however live with what they are doing here.

They bass follows the same tempo as the previous song, to create a similar vibe though maybe a little more post punk here considering the tension of the guitar. I think these guys who came in at the tail end of the Cleopatra years recognize the face of goth has changed. They return to the more flowery goth sound on the verses when the vocals come. I think when his voice goes up into the chorus it's a smoother transition than what I remember hearing previous from these guys. I like the darker pulse that "Burn" gets started with. The piano comes in and they tenderize the groove more than I might like making it more touchy feely. He does use some interesting intervals in the melodies. Some of the synth sounds are questionable and the bass should not sit as far back in the mix.

"Darker Waters" has more whispered vocals and the bass sound is struggling to be present. The chorus falls in with their normal formula. Think I preferred the chorus of the previous song. But the guitar line on the bridge is rather forward thinking. They go full on metal for " Prayers For the Damned" it has almost and old school Iron Maiden feel to it. Of course I am going to think it's one of the album's best songs. The they back off again for the moody " Dead of Night". The guitar here is more Cure like in the verses though it rocks out on the chorus. I do like the call and response on the chorus. Not sure about the keyboards , across the album they are hit or miss. They close the album with a cover of VNV Nation's "Further". It seems slightly redundant for them to do so. But Andy does a good job of singing it.

I think this album shows growth for them. Not sure about the synths in many places. Andy's singing has matured in all the right places and they are more self aware here. I will round this one up to an 8 and see how it sits on me.


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