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Theatre Des Vampires: Moonlight Waltz

There's precious little in life as fun as reading publicity material for bands. I've actually read that the Helloween spin-off Bassinvaders are worth listening to for instance. The bumph for the latest release from Italy's Theatre Des Vampires reads thus; "The brand new album from the Vampire Theatre - modern and refreshing Gothic Metal at his (sic) best, with a Bloody Touch. Their music represents a musical travelogue through a beautiful yet unspeakably grotesque realm of the imagination, that owes something to the cinematic vision of Gothic director par excellence Tim Burton, the stylish splatter of Italian horror, the symphonic excess of her opera, the blood-soaked allure of her long history - combine to make Theatres des Vampires one of the most elegantly dark, and eerily compelling gothic metal bands the world has to offer..." Clearly (and patronizingly we'll have to ignore the grammar mistakes.)

OK, let's have a look at the major claims shall we? "Modern and refreshing Gothic Metal at its best." Moonlight Waltz is fine but by no means the best thing since sliced bread. "One of the most elegantly dark and eerily compelling gothic metal bands the world has to offer..." Again, we're in hyperbole mode but that's not to denigrate the album in any way which has many fine qualities. Snowy Shaw shows up on the opening track "Keeper of the Secrets" and "Cadaveria" and Eva Breznicar from Laibach help out on "Le Grand Guignol" and "Medusa" respectively and these are suitably powerful and gothic.

One of the ways I like to score my reviews is by the tracks I give at least four stars to on my IPod and there are enough on Moonlight Waltz to keep the band's "near religious following" satisfied. One of the songs that I gave four stars to is "Illusion" which, as is often the case with Theatre Des Vampires sounds a little like Lacuna Coil and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Equally, as is generally the case, the real star here is lead vocalist Sonya Scarlet who at times is frightening and at others highly beguiling which again draws us back to the conclusion that Moonlight Waltz is a solid if not exactly ground breaking album.

Track Listing:
1. Keeper of Secrets" (feat. Snowy Shaw)
2. "Carmilla"
3. "Moonlight Waltz"
4. "Fly Away"
5. "Sangue"
6. "Figlio della Luna"
7. "An Illusion"
8. "Black Madonna"
9. "Le Grand Guignol" (feat. Cadaveria)
10. "Obsession"
11. "The Secret Gates of Hades"
12. "Medousa" (feat. Eva Breznikar)

Added: April 26th 2011
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2645
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Theatre Des Vampires: Moonlight Waltz
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-04-26 14:59:53
My Score:

Moonlight Waltz served as my introduction to Theatres Des Vampires, so you could say I was a bit of an "unsuspecting" listener when approaching this one. Considering the amount of praise this band receives, I had somewhat-high expectations for their 2011 release. If you've taken a peek at my rating already, it's needless to say that Moonlight Waltz didn't come across nearly as convincing I initially predicted. Sure, the musicianship is professional, the music is bombastic, and the production is polished and powerful, but that only goes so far when the music feels this generic and uninspired. I guess fans of Theatres Des Vampires and melodic gothic metal may like this one - you can count me out, though.

The music here is symphonic and melodic gothic metal. The female vocals from Sonya Scarlet often take center stage, but there are also many other guest vocalists, as well as a full orchestra adding plenty of symphonic elements. Of course, the music is extremely polished and professional, but I honestly feel that it lacks "bite" (pun intended) and the instrumental portion of the music is often uninteresting and boring. As such, this is a standard issue with female-fronted gothic metal acts - Theatres Des Vampires focuses far too much in the vocal department, and leaves the instrumental section fairly simplistic and unadventurous. And considering the fact that I don't really enjoy Sonya's vocal delivery, that's an exceptionally large detriment. There are a few memorable melodies here and there, but they are too few and far between to justify stomaching the album's entire duration.

This album is definitive proof that "good musicianship and professional production" does not automatically mean a winning masterpiece. Moonlight Waltz was an extremely difficult album for me to sit through - this is 55 minutes of music that makes me cringe constantly. If unadventurous, clichéd, and often cheesy gothic metal is your thing, you may find something to enjoy here. After all, this is an unquestionably professional product. I guess 1.5 stars are fair in this case. From a purely subjective point of view, you can easily subtract a full star from that rating.

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