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WT go America? (with a little help from Mother Maiden...)
on 29 June 2011
1st off I'm not a WT's fan since day 1 (or a #1 fan as well, but I overall appreciate their work), I've discovered them for the beautiful song Angels, when they had already reached their place in the sun within the genre, & went back to check the rest, for me the perfect balance of their sound, is not exactly at their beginning or last 1, but somewhere in the middle...an example could be the old song "The howling" (The heart of everything-album).
By now, they've totally left behind that sort of celtic initial sound, & quite a lot of the typical melodic symphonic metal too (I guess it's called this way, just to give an idea): like Lacuna Coil's original blend (bad move in their case for me) & Nightwish (smart step to shake a bit the older sound) previosly did with their last efforts...many say to conquer a wider audience & become real worldwide stars (read "Americanize themselves" as music & often even videos, to get there), I've not prejudices of sort in this sense (I'm not an indie-lover either on the specific), the results depend on many factors, as usual (& of course it's also a matter of personal tastes, I must admit I'm biased because usually I prefer our EU music, but again, also overseas there are good bands).
Before judging I've tried my best to enter the mood of this new WT's effort, & I don't blame them at all for trying to step outside their own previous direction naturally, it's right that bands, even if successful with a certain approach, don't stay forever frozen in their own "cliché", even if brilliant...they have to evolve to grow & stay in the market "updated".
BUT I've also to admit that, even if this album isn't bad surely, & it's more or less what to be expected by a good band of their level, isn't "great" (of course this is only my feeling).
The music has lost that almost epic/operistic/goth vibe, & Sharon with mates have turned with decision towards a poppier rock kind of music (my fav song has to be FASTER, the catchiest of them all, with a grand guitar riff too, also SHOT IN THE DARK, & FIRE AND ICE among the few ballads, 1 that reminds us their older vibe): so that it's not so much more different from other US mainstream bands like Evanescence (at their top rock moment, without the rap or gloomy part!) for inst., also the bonus new song added also as videoclip, called WHERE IS THE EDGE-UTOPIA (feat. Chris Jones, for an upcoming real movie) sounds exactly how you'd expect from an American average rock track...
_Technically speaking, this time around they've been very ambitious more than "creative" in my opinion (because I've found there had been more fantasy, or better saying variety, into creating for every single song a kind of unique universe, than a full organic concept like here. Besides I don't like particularly when listening to a melody there's the name on it, like for SINéAD, when it's too focus on something & your imagination has to follow someone else's aim, I believe one should always feel freer to give his personal colour to a melody as well, even if the spoken original meaning could be another 1).
However, you'll find a wonderful packaging, which includes a poster of the comic "The Unforgiven", the base of this new concept (BTW even if the heroine is supposed to be Irish in the story, the creator is American, & it's evident from the colours & style of it, besides it's included as a visual bonus on the dvd part)...it could be a perfect gift for somebody if you wish too!
The dvd includes a nice long documentary feauturing the backstage of the whole set for the mini-films, & linked videoclips too (even the signature of all the fans from the fanclub that wanted to be present somehow in this new cd).
I won't go again into the plot of the comic used as a basis for the rest & full album's concept, because other commenters here did it perfectly well (however it's not difficult, you can find it all included in the bonus dvd, & the cd alone could be simply taken as stand-alone music too naturally).
All in all, even if it was ok & generally faster as pace than older ones, I couldn't help but feeling that "assembly line's feeling", perhaps also because the musical arrangements are so "clean & clear": also the choice of shooting all together the videos...& perhaps the dancing crew from "You think you can dance?" (shot in a pretty real Amsterdam's club) on "Sinéad" gave me the finishing blow, so to speak.
I've found Nightwish's "Dark passion play" better, talking about a changed heavier sound, without losing on the way the better of the band's essence...I didn't mean to be so long with this review, but this cd left me a bit perplexed, sorry! ;-P)