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Cadaveria: The Shadows' Madame

I've mentioned in previous reviews that I have a soft spot for Cadaveria. This is mostly because when I first started writing for Sea of Tranquility, the album Horror Metal was among my first reviews. So was Strix Maledictae in Aeternum by Opera IX, the band Cadaveria left in the early 2000s to pursue different creative possibilities.

I like both Cadaveria (the band) and Opera IX, but I think I understand one of the reasons why Cadaveria (the singer) left. By her own account, she wanted more creative opportunities. Opera IX is a good band, but they seem stuck in a very serious Gothic / demonic phase, one that no longer has enough momentum to drive their albums as much as they might. The Black Opera, Cadaveria's last album with Opera IX is a thematic album about conjuring demons. It isn't bad, but it is a little lackluster in parts. In those days, however, Opera IX still had a certain momentum going for them. They were extending a sound that many listeners would have still considered somewhat fresh and exciting. These days, though, everyone sings about conjuring demons.

The Shadows' Madame, Cadaveria's first album after her departure from Opera IX originally came out in 2002. Unfortunately, it's sold out and only available in used copies, most of which are either hard to find or are offered at ridiculously high prices. My copy, which I was lucky enough to find at a used CD store, was under ten dollars, but it is heavily scratched and mostly unplayable. I was happy to hear it was being reissued, mostly because I wanted to hear the whole thing without playback problems. Now that I've listened to it several times over the last couple of weeks, I'm pleased to report that it sounds great.

I prefer The Shadows' Madame to Horror Metal, Cadaveria's latest release. I like it because it serves as a nice companion to and departure from The Black Opera. I was interested to note that many of the song titles on this release share an interest in the occult—see, for example, "Spell," "Declaration of Spiritual Independence," and "Circle of Eternal Becoming," to name a few—but that they also suggest a larger freedom. Notice that many of the tracks suggest growth, expansion, development, becoming, and independence. In other words, this album makes a clear point: Cadaveria is free to explore things in her own way and on her own terms. If, at times, she turns her attention to things Opera IX covered, at least it will be on her terms.

The music on this album is mostly mid-tempo metal played that sounds like a mix between death metal and just plain heavy metal. The band sometimes suggests that their music ought to be called Horror Metal. That works, but labels are tricky. Simply put, the music here is a little brighter and a little livelier than most doom metal. It isn't necessarily commercial, but it does reach toward a slightly more playful heavy metal than the kind that's obsessed with sadness. The best tracks on this album, in fact, are those that nearly burst at the seams. My favorite song, "Absolute Vacuum," is particularly good at playing off of Cadaveria's softer voice. There's also a killer guitar solo here that helps bring the album to a powerful close.

To my mind, this is Cadaveria's best album, one that should definitely find a new group of appreciative fans.

Track Listing:
1. Spell
2. Declaration of Spiritual Independence
3. In Memory of Shadows' Madame
4. Circle of Eternal Becoming
5. The Magic Rebirth
6. Black Glory
7. Absolute Vacuum

Added: July 18th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2528
Language: english

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