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2.0 out of 5 stars some simple megalith, 27 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Cold Heaven (Audio CD)
Despite my clearly not counting myself among the swelling ranks of the sugary followers of the Babylon Whores and even though I found their previous release, Trismegistos, wholly uninteresting, Mikko nevertheless put his gun in his pants, polished his boots and sent me a copy of their new Cold Heaven (Heroine/MFN CD) for review. So here sit I, having listened to it umpteen times over the course of many days and nights, about to transmute their blood into ink.
Seemingly all that remains of Trismegistos is third track Beyond the Sun. I remember finding its opening lyrics "If a tree falls down/Does it make a sound/If there's no one to see" as irritating a platitude as I find them now, but the song itself, like everything on and about Cold Heaven, is immeasurably better than anything on Trismegistos and as good as any a starting point for my inky journey into the Whores' world. Beyond the Sun begins like a deathly cover of the fade of the Beatles' I am the Walrus before crashing into Megadeth in their heroin-gorged prime (Peace Sells/Rust in Peace), then spurring in a more generally heavy metal direction, all this before Ike Vil's vox comes in and the whole thing turns into the strumpets' own brand of +Death Rock+.
Fleeting shadows of Megadeth seem present elsewhere on Cold Heaven: following track Metatron trundles along and, at given moments when it thinks I'm not paying attention, squeaks just like 'Deth used to do (and I love guitar-squeaks - always have, Clarence, always will), while Flesh of a Swine begins like the greatest song Dave Mustaine never wrote: bleeding-fist-against-strings bass, pounding tribal drums (not totally unreminiscent of Santana's once-teenage prodigy or the Woodstock crowd rain chant), a perfectly-timed Tom Warrior grunt, and 7-string guitar that defines the metal genre at its best... I'm in cold heaven for those 43 seconds before it all devolves sharply back to a muted background for the vocals which simply do not do the music any justice, sounding like Mazza Walkyier in those disastrous Skyclad moments when the latter thought brooding narration was what other people quite rightly called pointless inaudible murmuring.
For me this is the flaw in the whole record. Cold Heaven is a surprisingly heavy album and Ike Vil is a fine and original vocalist when he snarls loudly and really pushes the words aggressively out but, much like all blown instruments which need a modicum of force to produce a tuneful sound, when he sings quietly it all just gets wimpy and even sometimes jarringly off-pitch, as on Omega Therion with its upbeat central riff oozing the kind of catchy decadence to be found pouring out of Samael's Passage (appropriate, since Omega Therion seems to be about the angel in question) and on the slightly Therapy?-sounding Babylon Astronaut. It's a pity really, since one only has to listen to opening stormer Deviltry to hear Ike Vil giving it his best shot, with slight shades of an ultra-heavy Dinosaur Jr., or the too-catchy In Arcadia Ego (annoyingly sung "Win Arcadia Ego"), a song otherwise burdened by an irritating initial high-pitched riff and twittering birdie sample which never fails to have me crane my head out of the window and reach for my Desert Eagle. Meanwhile Ike Vil sings in a way that makes me wonder whether he's been overdosing on Type O Negative or whether the two simply drink the same panacea. The slightly Sisters of Mercy (but otherwise very heavy) Enchiridion for a Common Man probably confirms the latter.
Cold Heaven ends with the title-track, which initially sounds like a Kari Rueslåtten song with the Kari taken out of it, before segueing into a lush keyboard flood that only makes me wish the Whores had had enough spare cash to pay a classical orchestra to play it instead.
Well, there you have it. I guess I'm entitled to my wrong opinions...
Mikko: But would you go to see them live?
Kola: Absolutely.
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Cold Heaven
Cold Heaven by The Whores of Babylon (Audio CD - 1997)
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