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Weeping Silence - Theatre of Life
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Written by Doctor T.   
Tuesday, 06 December 2011
Weeping Silence CD Review
Theatre of Life
Weeping Silence - Theatre of Life

 

CD Info
2011
Ravenheart Music
8 Tracks
English Lyrics

 

The Gothic music genre, as with other musical classifications, is one with a beginning of sorts, and a longitudinal flow that passes through time. Music, like everything in life, seems to have a beginning, a flow, and, generally speaking, an end. These ends can be literal or figurative. They can come in degree. Gothic music doesn’t have a long life history, I doubt many would give it more than 25 years of history at this point, and that’s probably being generous. Some would suggest that it has fragmented into a variety of sub genres, to slightly different children that reflect, at one level or another, the parent from which they originated. And, many of the musical groups who originated this direction have also passed on or morphed into musical entities with different or at least slightly different musical interests. Clearly this is the case for several of the bands that have been around for a while, Within Temptation, Therion, even Nightwish to some extent. But, there are some who seem to remain comfortable with the more traditional Gothic perspective and who remind us that there is still a story or two to be told within this realm. Weeping Silence may be a good example of this truth and, in fact, they predate Within Temptation. They tell their tale with a beautiful, atmospheric Gothic music that can still take us to those mystical places that reflect a doomed reality, one where hope is questionable, where eternity is the only true given, where pain and remorse are our only guarantees. This is music where the message can’t be separated from the music, where the music supports the themes with a haunting sound, one that addresses the darkness of the soul, the existential qualities of reality and the limits of our understanding. And, in that respect, it remains one of the more interesting and intellectual musical forms of our time.

Weeping Silence is from Malta, a group of islands in the Mediterranean with a colorful history, although most of us couldn’t find it without assistance from Google Maps. The band is a relatively large musical entity, seven full time musicians, including two married couples, and a significant supporting cast who assisted in the production of this music. Gothic traditionally seems to require relatively large casts, especially given the tendency to utilize the chorus that seems to be a part of much of that musical landscape. And Weeping Silence uses a good one, it’s heard on several numbers and creates a feeling that significantly augments the overall sound and feel of the music.

There are some interesting things I could relate regarding the band, their approach to their music and their upcoming plans, however Sonic Cathedral will be publishing a full interview conducted by staff writer Robin Stryker in the very near future, in fact, it might beat this review to publication, who knows. So, having read that interview, I’ll attempt to focus on other areas so as not to overlap. And, with this music, there’s a lot to talk about. The music took time to create, and even longer to publish, so there is a history to it. It was actually composed largely during the 2004 – 2005 timeframe, at a time when there was a more traditional Gothic perspective than exists today. But, beautiful music is timeless, and this is some beautiful music with some interesting thoughts being delivered throughout. Additionally, there is a clear distinction between this and their previous full production, End of an Era which moved at a slightly different pace and provided a somewhat different musical direction. But, there are some similarities. Rachel Grech, a member of one of those married couples, continues as the featured vocalist. However, the central cast has grown somewhat as well as adding support musicians. The music has grown as well, there is a more expanded sound, one that seems to make greater use of the keyboards than in that previous production, and the keys are often combined with the chorus to provide that singularly Gothic sound that requires a more expanded personnel roster.

The music isn’t exactly what I’d consider to be true metal in nature although there are certainly the requisite instruments to produce that form of music. You do get some solid guitars, especially given that Mario Ellul is a name that has been around for a while and recognized as one of the truly great axe men in Gothic metal, or any other kind of metal for that matter. But here, that axe doesn’t really drive the sound, although it’s noticeably apparent, especially in certain numbers, or even as an introduction. But, that sound can be tempered, for instance on the third selection Within White Walls where we get a subdued guitar line that takes us to the doom metal which is the signature sound for this work. That sound continues, over a low key symphonic as our vocalist recounts a tale of woe. And, it doesn’t truly alter until we get the more enhanced keyboard symphonic turned up a couple notches about a third of the way through the song. At that point, the music begins to climb, psychologically, you could argue that we are experiencing an upbeat in mood, an elevation of the spirit. But it’s a temporary respite, doom metal is doom metal and the beauty of the vocal takes us back to the morose perspective where this music lives. Lyrically, this one is probably not as dark as some, but the feeling that is established does take us to the darker corners of human reality:

Icy lake of frozen memories / Sliding days of in between
Reflections bleed and bloom / Life forms with twisted shadows
Lurking figures, living memories / Hollow faces appear amidst / Ghastly dreams in horrid nights
Tragic, infinite daydream

Theatre of Life also captures this musical direction. You get a little more epic sound here, and you get an introduction to the range of the featured vocalist. Lady can really hit the high notes, and, in fact, lives there for parts of the CD. But, it’s the LARGE sound that hits you between the eyes with this one, that focus on the symphonic that has traditionally been a part of the Gothic of much of Western Europe. Again, we get an interesting guitar component, but clearly one whose purpose is to augment rather than to drive. And, towards the end of the work, we get the choral component that is another requisite component of the European Gothic, and one of the reasons why this is my absolute favorite approach to music.

The approach to the music is pretty consistent; however, there are some slight deviations, at least to a degree. Promises Broken actually begins with some crunching guitars and this direction takes us to sounds not regularly heard on the CD. But, they are tuned down as the vocals begin, and we are taken to a darker place:

As I sit here on my own / Reflecting on my life
Things not as they were meant to be
When did it go wrong? / Did you think I would not bleed?
How foolish I’ve been / I gave you my heart
And you tore it to pieces

The song produces some upbeat moments musically, but they are tempered as the song moves between segments. We understand the directions, when they are upbeat, are only momentary. And the conclusion provides us with a Gothic moment to remember, surging symphonics, a crushing choral vocal, and a full operatic lead. Perfect.

One of the more beautiful selections is a fully instrumental one entitled Monuments. Again, mournful, haunting and reflective. And, it seems to capture the musical theme of the work, without the vocal or the message. It’s superb, as is the entire work.

My understanding is that a new release is upcoming. It has a slightly different feel, and a significant guest vocalist. But, I’ll leave that revelation to the Robin Stryker interview. For now, this should satisfy your need for solid Gothic metal, in every way possible.

9.5 / 10 

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