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Die Verbannten Kinder Evas - Dusk and Void Became Alive
CD Reviews
Written by Alexandra   
Saturday, 05 May 2007
Die Verbannten Kinder Evas - CD Review
Dusk and Void Became Alive

CD Info
Napalm Records
9 Tracks
English lyrics

It has been seven long years since Die Verbannten Kinder Evas (German for "the banished children of Eve") has released an album. The extended delay of the release of Dusk and Void Became Alive was due to founding member's Richard (a.k.a. Protector of Summoning fame) Lederer's unforeseen difficulties in finding a vocalist dedicated enough to see the album's recording process through to the end. Over the thirteen some odd years of DVKE's existence, the vocalists have changed with each of the band's four releases, the only constant member remaining Richard. This latest effort features 19 year Christina Kroustali (credited on the album as Lady of Carnage), whose beautiful semi-operatic voice compliments the neo-classical sound scapes very well.

With Dusk and Void Became Alive, composer Lederer delivers another ethereal album of dark romance, sombre atmospheres and lush, haunting beauty. The sepulchral images of the album's cover art and liner notes are perfectly suited to the cold and unearthly mood of each of the songs. Fans of previous Die Verbannten Kinder Evas albums will not be disappointed, as the style has not changed in any overly marked way from the past three releases, although the songwriting structures do show more maturity. The music is again composed solely of layered keyboard and vocal melodies, at times simple, at others twining in more complex, almost orchestral sound structures. Although the majority of the vocals are performed by the marvelous Christina, Richard does share the vocal duties on some songs as well, unlike 1999's In Darkness Let Me Dwell, where Tania Borsky was the sole vocalist. Richard's participation in the vocals is not unexpected, however, as he did sing on the band's first two releases, 1995's self-titled debut and 1997's Come Heavy Sleep. Richard's almost chant-like vocals however, although pleasant enough and suited to the music, are no match for Christina's.

Also unchanged from previous albums remains Richard's penchant for taking his lyrics from the romantic poets of yesteryear, such as Shelly and Dowland. On DAVBA, Lederer again uses poetry from Dowland, but substitutes Shelly with the words of a more modern poet, Grigorii Petrenko, who also contributed lyrics to Richard's industrial project, Ice Ages, and whose poem DAVBA also gave the album its name.

The poetry of both Dowland and Petrenko are just dark and melancholic enough to be the perfect match for the music they accompany.

DABVA opens with the slow and majestic title track, which sets the dark, sombre and beautiful tone of the album. The arrangements are nearly orchestral, but sparse, allowing Christina's expressive voice to shine through with a quiet yet definite power. This first song offers an initial glimpse of just what Christina has to offer vocally, from the deeper richness of the lower octave verses, to the higher octave range and controlled emotion of the chorus. Good as the title track is, the first song to really stand out for me is the next track, Misery. The music is slightly more complex, and the vocal melody line is particularly haunting and beautiful. Christina's vocals are achingly bittersweet and the idea of misery has never sounded so appealing to me. Winter's Night, the third track on the album is by far my favourite. It grabbed my attention immediately with its lively melody and bombastic drumbeat. A perfect example of neo-classical darkwave at its best, with a driving beat and epic feel, I could almost see it becoming a club hit for those who have passed beyond the veil, a true danse macabre. Okay, maybe the emotions the song conveys for me are making me a bit melodramatic, or maybe the images of the artwork have seeped into my subconscious a little too deeply, but this truly is a gem of song, and makes the album worth owning for me. Towards the end of the album falls Moon Muse, which recaptures this sense of energy and nocturnal mystery. Like Winter’s Night, the song begins bombastically with a beautiful melody that lingers in my mind long after the CD has stopped playing. This song features a polyphonic chorus with the harmonious and sublime layering of vocal lines. With her bewitching, siren-like vocals it is easy to imagine Lady of Carnage as a moon muse herself.

As beautiful as this album is, and as well as it flows, there are a few points where I can see room for potential improvement. I know that this musical style is not for everybody but even as a devoted fan of the ethereal and neo-classical genres, and an admirer of the music of DVKE for several years now, I can see certain drawbacks to this album. The first is the overall "sameness" of several of the songs. Apart from the songs I highlighted earlier, the songs can tend to bleed into one another after awhile, and while they make perfect mood music, they don't always hold my attention. Also, while it is evident that his songwriting is maturing over time, I would love to see Richard dabble with more experimentation stylistically, as was apparent in DVKE's first self-titled release. The music was rawer then, and the production standards not up to par, but the experimentation made the music more dynamic and exciting. I would also be curious to hear DVKE using real instruments along with the keyboards in the future. Adding real strings, or guitar or piano would definitely add depth and richness to their sound, I think, and would not detract from the overall darkness of the music whatsoever. Finally, and this may be due to the contrast with Christina's heavenly voice, but Richard's voice could use a bit of work, as it sometimes sounds flat to my ears. It may be as simple as adding some variation to his pitch and tone occasionally.

All this aside, however, I do feel that Dusk and Void Became Alive is a darkly beautiful album and was well worth the wait. It should be eagerly lapped up by both fans of ethereal/neo-classical music and some of the more depressing or gothic forms of metal as well, who can probably find something in its sombreness to appeal to them. It

successfully maintains its dark atmosphere of beauty, romance and melancholy throughout, and I am really happy that Richard found Christina to work with, whose immense talent leaves me amazed that she is only 19! I am sure that, between the two of them, the next Die Verbannten Kinder Evas will be even more chock full of breathtaking aural splendour.


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