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Lupercalia * Soehrimnir (cd 2000 world serpent)

I have known this band for quite some time, because one of the members found my email address somewhere and keeps sending me newsletters. I didn’t hear their music before a few months ago when they played live in Utrecht (NL). This was a pretty good show from a magnificent violin-player (m), a wonderfull guitar-player (m), a beautiful singer with a dito voice (f) and some electronics for backup.
On this cd (which is their second by the way) the band consists of only the violin and guitar player and there a no female vocals like on stage. The music is also more traditionally folky than the medieval music that they played live, but there still are some medieval elements to be found on the cd. “Soehrimnir” is mostly pretty tranquil and even though quite alright, not really like what I remember from a few months ago. There is a bit too much focus on the electronic elements as well in my opinion, sometimes even sounding pretty silly.
I heard that Lupercalia is already working on their third album, so I hope that this singer really became a member and that they will focus on the real instruments.

Gaë Bolg and the church of fand * Tintagel (12″ 2001 le cluricaun)

Phew. I feared the worst for this 12″. It was actually only supposed to be available from the band itself. That I could just order it from my usual mailorder couldn’t be very good news. Further, Gaë Bolg had a steady downward line of quality in their music. Their contribution to the legendary Eisteddfod compilation is brilliant, their cd magnificent, but the Oran Môr split releases are pretty boring. Fortunately “Tintagel” sounds more like the cd with a lot of drumming and loud singing. Side B is not as funny as side A, but still agreeable. Anounced are a cd and a picture 12″. <4/7/01><3>

Faith and The Muse * Evidence Of Heaven (cd 1999 neu ästhetik multimedia)

This is the third release of this US goth act in 6 years. Those of you who are familiar with this band don’t need to be told that this duo is formed by William Faith (Christian Death, Shadow Project, Mephisto Walz) and Monica Richards (Strange Boutique). With the first two cds they gained much recognition for their splendid mix between gothic rock and folky/medieval tunes. However I’m no fond of gothic rock myself, I always adored this band.
On this third cd there’s less stress on the folky part of the band. Consequentally you’ll find more gothic rock on “Evidence…”, but Faith’s vocals are remarkebly absent, while he used to sing with the rock songs on the other cds. Of course there’s also a bit of folk here and acoustic songs, so nobody who likes the previous cd has to be started by these facts. As a matter of fact, this still is a damn good cd.

Corona Borealis * s/t (cd 2001 well of urd)

Even I take a risk sometimes buying cds. I bought this cd for the sole authority of the label, which is of course a sublabel of the Dutch metallabel Hammerheart and released cds by the two excellent bands Hekate and Hagalaz’ Runedance.
Corona Borealis doesn’t come close to the level of the two mentioned bands and this untitled cd contains nothing more than some tranquil medieval folk tunes with often too well-known melodies. Respectable is the wide range of traditional instruments, but the tracks are often too minimal (many have only two or three instruments) and are not very exciting.

Chirleison * A Whisper (cd 2004 fossil dungeon)

Like Mirabilis, the sound of Chirleison is gothic/medieval. Not gothic like Mephisto Walz (who also have a cd out on Fossil Dungeon), but gothic like the sound of 500 years ago. Chirleison makes smooth music with female singing, medievalish and some electronic sounds. I think this will appear to people who like the “heavenly voices” kind of music, however the sound of Chirleison is not entirely like that. A nice cd, but also this one is only 35 minutes.

Blood Axis * Blòt: Sacrifice In Sweden (cd 1999 cold meat industry)

Late 1998 the Swedish cultlabel Cold Meat Industry had its 10 years aniversary which they celebrated with a feast/concert. As main act (after Ordo Equilibrio), they didn’t get one of their own bands, but Blood Axis, who by then had reached a cult status themselves. The concert was recorded, the sound was polished and released as the cd “Blòt: Sacrifice In Sweden”. Many tracks known from the debut cd, tracks from several compilation on which BA appeared throughout the years and even tracks that I didn’t know yet can be found on this cd. The sound is incredible, the performance of the tracks powerfull and nowhere you have the idea of listening to a live cd. Maybe this is is even a bit better than “The Gospel…”. <25/12/00><5>

Blood Axis * Storms Of Steel Over Germany 1998 + Unreleased

Two P2P items that were new to me. The first is a live-registration from the 1998 tour, I was in Gent, Belgium, this was recorded somewhere in Germany. The playlist is similar to that of the “Blót” cd (live in Sweden). The sound quality is… alright. It seems that this recording was released as a bootleg.
“Unreleased”, a Blood Axis folder that you can find on some computer actually doesn’t contain unreleased material, but mostly tracks that appeared on various compilations and by far not all. There are only nine tracks, while there have been many more contributions to compilations. But… there are a few versions that I didn’t have yet, so… <16/12/06><3>u

Autumn Tears * promotional sampler compilation (cd 2001 dark symphonies)

This is the first time that I get a promotional sampler to introduce a band. This is a cd that will not be for sale, but which is meant to make me advice you to buy the albums of Autumn Tears. Therefor tracks are included from all three albums and the mcd.
What Dark Symphonies probably didn’t know, is that I have known Autumn Tears for several years. I ‘even’ own their debut album “The Garden Of Crystalline Dreams: Love Poems For Dying Children… Act 2” from 1996. The reason that you never read about Autumn Tears in these pages is that I do think the music is good, but I don’t like it enough to play it very often, or buy it.
What I already knew, and what becomes quite clear on this promo sampler, is that Autumn Tears started quite atmospherically with quite some medieval influences, but that they work towards a more orchestral and at times neo-classical approach. But especially the great female vocals still give a medieval atmosphere to the music, also in the newer songs.
And listening to this promo cd I come to the same conclusion as listening to the cd that I already had: the music is very nice and at times beautiful, but after a song of four I have heard enough of it.
Still this American band deserves the attention that it gets in the gothic scene and if you like atmospheric and orchestral music with medieval influences, you might want to give this band a try. There are three “Love Poems” (2, 1 and 3) and between 1 and 3 a mcd called “Absolution”. Everything is available from Dark Symphonies in the States and well-obtainable in Europe as well. The cds are always packed very luxery by the way.

Ataraxia * Mon Seul Désir (cd 2002 cruel moon)

However I still love their music I wasn’t planning on buying this cd. I have over 10 albums of this band and even though every single one is pretty good to very good it becomes a bit too much and I don’t play them very often anymore either. But a while ago I saw the band live for the I-don’t-know-how-many time and naturally they were great which brought doubt back to my mind, so in the end I did get a copy.
“Mon Seul Désir” is a medievalish album and very short (42 min). Most songs are nice, but overall this cd isn’t as great as other albums of this band. Maybe I should make a list of which five albums you buy best?

Ataraxia * Sueños (cd 2001 cruel moon)

I wonder if there is any presure for the band. After 9 full-length cds and a variety of other releases of which the last 5 are nothing less than masterpieces and the rest is exceptional or ‘just’ very good, would they be striving for an equal level of quality or just make music as they like it? When I heard of a new upcoming cd a while back my expectations were naturally high, since Ataraxia is definately one of my favourite bands. So when I got it and listened to it, my only conclusion (even with the high expectations) could only be: “what else could it be than another masterpiece?”.
“Sueños” has the more medieval sound that Ataraxia produces on many of their cds (in contrary to the more neo-classical cds that they also make) and if I’m correct this disc contains old, rare, unreleased songs and songs that were so far only to be heard on live performances.
The cd is divided in three parts and all songs have a short description of when, how or why it was written. It agains comes in a good-looking ‘disc box slider’ on Cold Meat Industry, and according to the band new songs have been written and recorded and there will be a lot of live performances this summer. If you want to (try to) keep up with this band, be sure to visit regularly and subscribe to their newsletter. And of course buy “Sueños” asap!