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SpiRitual: Pulse

Slowly but surely, The Lasers Edge/Sensory record label is moving toward heavier and darker material. Spiritual, a new German project fronted by Darkseed vocalist Stefan Hertrich, picks up where the latest albums by Zero Hour and Death Machine left off by injecting ethno metal with caustic male vocals and warm, ethereal female voices. Think Devin Townsend gone Goth to a world beat.

Lyrically, Pulse is a deeply personal – dare I say, spiritual – record, rife with words of hope, courage and perseverance. That's something you don't hear much of these days in metal that borders on extreme. Hertrich wrote the music and lyrics for all songs except "Khundas" and "Nowhereness," which feature ethnic lyrics penned by Russian vocalist Yana Veva, who also offers respite from Hertrich's harsh delivery by sharing singing duties on those tracks, as well as "Nahash." Hertrich also composes soundtracks for PC games, and that influence can be heard throughout the eight songs on Pulse, where instrumentation, melody and lyrics flit in and out, attention-deficit-disorder arrangements that somehow manage to align themselves in solid sonic pieces. Some of the songs begin to tread the same musical ground, but the atmosphere Hertrich, Veva and company create on Pulse transcends mere structure and creates a magnetic mood in which darkness dominates but doesn't shut out the light.

Pulse is supplemented with a classy multimedia section that includes a video clip for the title track, as well as texts written by Hertrich and noted German author and scientist Christian Rätsch that delve into the effects of Gothic metal on listeners and the good and evil inherent in metal music. The term "thinking-man's metal" is overused, but Pulse — from the mysterious artwork, to the creative use of female vocals, tribal percussion and flutes, to the deep-rooted lyrics, to the bonus multimedia material — defines the essence of "thinking-man's metal." Hertrich isn't exaggerating when, in the liner notes, he humbly refers to this surprisingly appealing album as a "piece of art."

Track Listing:
1) This Battle Is Yours
2) Symphony of Life
3) Nahash
4) Pulse
5) Khundas
6) You Believe
7) Save and Heal
8) Nowhereness

Added: August 29th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official SpiRitual Web Site
Hits: 4293
Language: english

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SpiRitual: Pulse
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-08-29 20:48:37
My Score:

Ethnic World music meets gothic death metal on the debut for SpiRitual called Pulse, a rich and adventurous collection of songs put together by Stefan Hertrich of the German gothic metal band Darkseed. At times massively heavy, at others meditative and highly progressive, Pulse will surely appeal to metal fans who clamore for bands like Orphaned Land and Moonspell, as well as Devin Townsend. Songs like "Nahash" and "Symphony of Life" contain a great dramatic brought upon by the alternating of ethereal female and male death growls, not to mention plenty of ethnic instruments as well as brutal metal riffs. The title track is a wonderful trip into Middle Eastern metal melodies and powerful death metal, and "You Believe" is like an odd mix of techno, The Gathering, and Amorphis. Quite nice actually.

The Lasers Edge/Sensory is really branching out these days, and SpiRitual is a very strong addition to their already growing roster of solid artists. For a very different and rewarding listing experience, check out Pulse and prepare to be invigorated.

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