Cadaveria is an extreme heavy metal band founded in 2001 by two former members of Opera IX--Cadaveria (vocals) and Flegias (aka, Macelo Santos, Drums). Joining them are Frank Booth (Guitar), Baron Harkonnen (Keyboards), and Killer Bob (Bass). For those unfamiliar with their work, they have released three CDs so far: The Shadows' Madame (2002), Far Away from Conformity (2004), and In Your Blood (2007). Their fourth release, Horror Metal¸ attempts to take what they have already done and make it flashier. What listeners receive is largely a heavy metal hybrid of styles that includes, but is not limited to, elements of death, thrash, symphonic, and doom. The result is a little like Dr. Frankenstein's monster--an odd-shaped creature that represents a mass of feelings and emotions, ranging from ugly, horrific, frightening and, at times, offering slight hints at something beautiful.
For me, the best thing about this release is Cadaveria's vocals. She is capable of great range, from her severe raspy, guttural, growl, to her more traditional, classically-inspired, style that brings a nice contrast to the consistent rhythmic pounding of the band. In a track like "This is Not the Silence," listeners will hear how well these two styles can blend together. I was also impressed with the concluding song, "Hypnotic Psychosis," which uses the band's hybrid mixture of metal styles to good effect. The band plays well throughout and they sound great, but the overall musical experience was a little monotonous at times. I think established fans of Cadaveria will find plenty to enjoy here. My own favorite track was "The Oracle (Of the Fog)," mostly because it began with a solid, guitar-driven introduction and moved through enough of a range of sounds, both vocally and musically, to attract interest. "The Oracle (Of the Fog)" captures the essence of Cadaveria's overall sound on this recording. I was also drawn to "The Days of the After and Behind," particularly the echoing, nearly jangling, guitar parts that made up the last few minutes. Those who are willing to give Horror Metal a couple of listens to peel back all the musical layers will find some good writing here.
Does Horror Music work? Not quite. Even its cover, where the male members are dressed like the undead and Cadaveria like a Gothic matron, is too campy to get the attention it really deserves. It's one of those recordings that too self-consciously names itself as something new. Sometimes it's better to let listeners name the style rather than to have it come proclaimed through the title. Horror's connection to metal has always been well-known, anyway. Didn't Black Sabbath take its name from a horror movie? Horror literature and film rightly belongs within heavy metal, but I'd like to see these influences come through the music more than in its presentation.
1. Flowers in Fire
2. The Night's Theatre
3. Death Vision
4. Whispers of Sin
6. The Days of the After and Behind
8. The Oracle (Of The Fog)
10. This is Not the Silence
11. Hypnotic Psychosis