Germany's Flowing Tears' new album Razorbliss sees them going for a change in the vocal department, replacing the highly popular Stefanie Duchene with another female singer, Helen Vogt. Without doubt, Vogt is a competent vocalist with a lot of charisma and a great voice that fits the relatively more updated and somewhat mainstream sound of Razorbliss. The songs of the band are still as inspirational and moving as ever, but perhaps a bit more polished and aiming for a more mainstream market this time. However, to make up for the commercial attitude, Benjamin Buss plays some of his heaviest and thickest guitar chords to date, matching the ethereal programmed synths and the occasional electronic rhythm work, and providing the album with a edgy rock sound throughout.
Most of the songs are successfully balanced between electronic samples and heavy guitar parts with Vogt's vocals layered on top of them all. Filled with huge melodies, large chunks of guitar riffs, varied keyboard patches, and even oriental signatures, the title track does a great job introducing the songs on the album, as each following track pretty much expands on these musical ideas, except being less busy and more to the point. Very brief Floydian (or should I say later day Tiamat-style textures?) atmospheres start "Bleed", one of the songs where former Angel Dust vocalist Dirk Thurish guests and exchanges verses with Vogt. The chemistry between the singers is sublime; Thurish' deep yet angry voice contrasts Vogt's more confident and laid-back lamenting. It's a great song with beautiful synths and electronic parameters underlying gothic rock's heaviest guitar parts. Often repeated guitar licks and sprinkled keyboards accentuate the dark "Undying", featuring both silent, whisper-like vocals and a catchy modern rock chorus, all with a very focused bass bottom. The electronic pop on "Radium Angel" and the dreamy yet heavily guitar-driven "Firedream" help diversify the release before the calmer, more piano-induced melodic rock number "Ballad of a Lonely God" kicks in and concludes with a driven, frantic guitar solo, unlike most songs gothic rock bands' songs nowadays. If Flowing Tears had gone for a more defined direction of this type, they could have offered a much-needed breath of fresh air into this genre, which is obviously getting more stale day by day. The following songs pretty much continue in the same way, except that they are more minimalistic, as on the moody "Snakes of Grey" or the Egyptian-themed "Maladine", a song featuring a traditional Arabic string instrument and Vogt's sorrow-filled, irresistible vocals.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by noted producer Waldemar Sorchyta, Razorbliss is a sonic joy to listen. The loud-loud-loud approach of Sorchyta seems to have worked well on this type of songs. This is a fairly good album, but considering Flowing Tears' potential, it could have been more original.
- Radium Angel
- Ballad of A Lonely God
- Snakes of Grey
- Mine is the Ocean
- Pitch Black Water