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Scandelion - Nonsense

Scandelion - CD Review



Self Released
10 tracks
Mostly English lyrics


I covered Scandelion’s last release a couple years ago, liked it a lot. Named it one of the top 5 releases in the world that year. This one’s better. And, there are significant changes. At that time, Scandelion was a band, calling the Canary Islands (Spain) home. Today, things have changed. Scandelion has always been a project headed by Jorge Afonso. He did the growling and the keyboards, providing some of the finest symphonics in the genre, and one of, if not the finest, growlers in the business. Today Scandelion is Jorge Afonso. . . and some friends. Jorge packed it in and moved to London a while ago. But, a lot of those friends are very talented musicians from the Canary Islands; they just have distance between them these days. But he found a way to utilize their talents here, and the results are spectacular.

To be clear here, there’s more of Jorge on this release than the female vocals. They appear at different points, and they are solid, but this is B & B with an emphasis on the Beast part. Of course, some folks like growlers, some are less in favor. But, yours truly holds a double doctorate in statistics and growling appreciation. And, I learned from the best. SonicCathedral’s Robin Stryker, our resident expert on boy bands and growlers, has educated me to the intricacies of the growling world and I consider myself a second level talent evaluator in the area. And Jorge is up there with the top growlers; we’re talking Morten Veland and peers. But this release covers a lot of territory, both musically and lyrically.

The first thing to consider is that this is Gothic, fookin’ Gothic in the finest tradition of the term. There are those who scream that Gothic is too much female vocal, too much opera, too much weak beauty without the guts. I’m not one of those; I rather like a solid female vocal driving the train. I mean, that’s kinda what this site is all about ain’a. But, I understand that others hold different opinions. Well, what we get here is something to address that deficiency. . . such as it is. And that’s the genius of this release. It’s Gothic, in every sense of the word, but you get it with a much harder bent. It’s not Hollenthon doing With Vilest of Worms to Dwell but it’s not far from it, and there’s more female talent to appreciate. Jorge has developed a concept and brought it to fruition utilizing everything available in his world. . . and I find no fault with it.

So, there are two things to consider here. First and foremost, there’s the music. And, assuming you don’t have a coronary every time you hear a growler, there is absolutely NOTHING that can be viewed as a negative with that music. It’s diversified, it’s solidly produced, and it includes male and female vocals at the top of the category. The instrumental work is solid; gripping symphonics, drums to take you to the heights of Gothic Nirvana, guitars that pound at the highest regions of the genre. I don’t know when I’ve heard something better.

The second category is the lyrics. Now, growlers can be a little difficult to understand, and even the female vocals here can be a bit difficult, they exhibit a solid Spanish accent, and, on occasion, they are actually in Spanish which certainly doesn’t bother me. But, I’ve had the opportunity to review those lyrics carefully and, believe me, they leave little to be desired. We’ll look carefully at those lyrics as we progress here.

The work begins with a spoken word in Nonsense, Part 1. Those lyrics come from Edgar Allen Poe's “Alone”. There’s a dark overtone to the work, not that anything from Poe needs to be darkened. The focus is polar opposites, the light and the dark. And it is these dichotomies that drive the release. I asked Jorge about the theme, he responded, “’Nonsense’, as ‘The Garden of Lies’ is a conceptual album. The songs are not related, but share a common theme, the ‘nonsense’ that is the human mind, the feelings, the dreams, wishes, desires...”. That certainly gives us a lot to work with. And the thunder begins with the second track.

My Darkest Thoughts takes us to the entryway of this pathway to hell. We get instrumental work that covers a universe of Gothic metal, symphonic Gothic metal. The vocals include both growling and clean vocals; there are no female vocals here. This is a trip to the darker side, just something to make clear that this will not be a pleasant journey. Lyrically we are told:


Clearly, we’ve gone beyond much of contemporary mucis. And Jorge’s death vocals take us to a darkness that can only expand on the message.

The female vocals begin to appear with the next track Dusk in Your Dreams. Interestingly enough, these female vocals are as good as I’ve heard. You remember Vibeke Stene from Tristania? Yea, so do I, and you’ll remember her more after listening to this one. It’s limited in scope, but, we haven’t heard a finer femme vox than this in a while.

You get a little more of this in the next selection, My Tears Drown Your Heart. Again, it’s limited, but it’s worth the time to listen. And, the rest of the material is solid, all components. There’s a solid symphonic, there’s a metal that drives the sound, and the ever present death metal will meet all requirements.

Die. . Or Die. . .Your Choice seems to be the big one on the release. You get it all here, female vocals, death metal vocals, solid instrumental work. There’s more solid metal here, with more crunching vocals than we need in our every day lives. As good as it gets. And what may be the most important vocal is the male vocal.

I should point out that Jorge does more than just death vocals on this release. Nonsense Part II gives us a clean male vocal, along with a crusifying female vocal. It’s a short one, but one that seems to capture a part of this release that is beyond escaping. And that’s the strength of the release, there’s just too much excellence in so many ways to ignore, it covers just too many components of the music.

Tragic Soitude takes us again to a dark moment. And this is something Scandelion does especially well. This is Doom Metal, with a crushing death metal vocal. There’s a female background here, one that augments the primary direction. We also get a clean vocal, again agumented by that femme vox. And this is one of the strengths of the release. We get it all, everything this genre has to offer, and as dark as we can imagine.

Pain of Dying Soul closes out the release. Here the metal takes over. Guitars take us to the dark side. We begin with clean vocals. There’s a guitar component that will satisfy the metal heads. But, the death metal vocals take over, with those guitars leading the way to a dark satisfying region of the human experience. Keyboards join in, symphonics to lead us to the ever satisfying death meatal vocals that take us where we need to go:


Gothic never sounded better. Jorge has it down. The release was free for a while on the website. Might still be. And there isn’t a better deal around. Take the Doctor’s advice, this will get you well, in oh so many ways.