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Left Hand Solution: Fevered

If you ask me, female vocals and heavy metal are the best combination to come along since beer and...well, beer and just about anything else.

There's something oh-so-natural about the pairing: whether it's Anneke's melodic counterpoint to the music going on behind her, or Karyn's deathgrowl which perfectly matches the mood and tempo of the sound, ladies seem to tap into a previously unused well of emotion lying in wait at the bottom of the lake that comprises heavy music.

The only problem, at this point in the game, is the fact that this phenomenon is in danger of becoming a novelty, or worse still, a cliche. ("Who? Oh, that chick band.") None of us are bowled over by the fact that the new Galactic Cowboys album features a male lead singer; but a lady on the microphone guarantees a bit of special attention.

That's fine with me. So far, most of the bands we've seen with female leads have been extraordinary, and have deserved any extra attention they have received.

One group that seems to be getting the "chick band" stigma is Left Hand Solution, whose new album Fevered has just been released by Nuclear Blast. It's a dark, moody, and (oh God how I hate to use this word but here I go) gothic piece that succeeds wonderfully in creating the feeling these folks were after.

The vocalist here is a woman by the name of Mariana Holmberg, and she could not be any better suited to the music on this album. The guitar sound is heavy, dark and thick, and to this stimulus she responds with a restrained, almost light tone that works magic on these songs. She has a beautiful voice that conveys tons of emotion.

The songs themselves are wonderful, as well. I'm won over from the first few sounds on the album, as "Thorns" begins with an Angelo Badalamenti-esque feel that continues, although significantly modified, throughout the rest of the song. "Angels with the Last Plagues" also satisfies, very different in tempo and mood from its neighbors on the disc.

The only weakness here - and it's a small one, but it bears mentioning - is the lyrics, which are typical gothmetal stuff. (You know, angels, blood, blackened wings, poisoned thorns, that kind of thing.) It's a shame that the lyrics seem to have received so little attention, because the music is so grandly theatrical; these could have been tragic, upsetting, compelling, emotional stories told here, five minutes at a time. Instead, we listen to them for the music, and the sound of Mariana's voice, but not because of what the words are saying.

All complaints aside, Fevered is a great album, one that succeeds in perfectly capturing a mood, creating an aural setting and then taking the listener there.

Added: January 1st 2004
Reviewer: SoT Archives
Hits: 2864
Language: english

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