Lots of wow, little to keep you listening
Kids clad in black, frilly shirts, eyeliner, crazy wind tunnel hair dos, and lyrics about coffins and roses. It can mean one thing, it's pseudo goth and this time it's an opera, a concept album drenched in interesting song titles, provocative lyrics, crisp playing and multi layered vocals. If I were to let the press release speak for me, 'Lover's Requiem' is "A cinematic tale of monumental proportions." But this isn't a press release, and one of the jobs of the reviewer is to sift through all the media bullshit to try and obtain the truth, some sense if you will, of the sonic barrage that are, I Am Ghost.
The band make it obvious to the listener where they sit, musically speaking. They are goth, mixed with emo, spread evenly with some hardcore. This mix of styles has given them the mantle of 'Epicore'. It's easy to hear why. This album is brimming with huge grandiose music and unrelenting songs that spiral around your head. From the introductory piece, 'Crossing The River Styx', with its gorgeous Latin Choir and building melody, to its reprise on 'Beyond the Hourglass', 'Lover's Requiem' is brash and classy sounding enough to make you stop and take notice. It has that WOW factor many albums and bands fail to capture. I can't deny that on the initial few listens I was impressed with its sound and delivery. The vocals of 'Steven Juliano' and 'Kerith Telestai' weave potions of melody through the canals of your ears until you are somewhat spellbound. With great tracks such as 'Dark Carnival of the Immaculate' and 'The Denouement' my ass wasn't exactly kicked but it was given a slight pat with a table tennis paddle.
I found myself coming back to 'Lover's Requiem' numerous times, but after a while the WOW factor started to diminish and my critical perceptions began to rear their ugly heads. I suspect the likes of Kerrang and Q, who have given glowing statements in regard to this album, haven't given it a thorough listen, because underneath all the trimmings and great production the album is flawed in several areas. It's easy to get fooled by the image this sextet has. The actual music this band produce is nothing short of pop metal produced by ten-a-penny bands you can find on the Scuzz Channels of this world. On occasion they have a sound of Evanesence thanks largely to violinist/vocalist Kerith. But this is about as goth as it gets. If you feel wearing black, frilly shirts, eyeliner, crazy wind tunnel hair dos, and lyrics about coffins and roses is enough goth for you, then this might be album of the year.
After my initial wooing I suddenly realised that apart from the choir led introduction, the first nine songs all sound the same. As I sit here writing this, I STILL can't tell one song from another except for the stand out tracks mentioned earlier. They're all the same tempo, style and short of any kind of identity. The vocals are whiny, the guitar work is widdley without producing any kind of definite riff work, and after a while the clean production is mixed so inoffensively that all the metal and heaviness has been expunged. In the end I found myself getting irritated by the same thing repeated over and over, like a joke that has been told to you ten times in one day. The WOW factor had vanished as quickly as it arrived. Had I written this review within the first two days of receiving this album it would have been very different (a reason why every album should be given numerous listens).
'Lover's Requiem' is for the goth kids of this world, and on that level it works brilliantly. Also, for the quick fix crew you can't go far wrong by picking this long player up from your local record shop. For those who like variety, a more engaging listen so to speak, then certainly check this out but have something else to fall back on. I didn't and I'm still trying to recover. Now where's my new Iron Maiden album?