Does anyone remember a band in the eighties called ‘The Associates?’ They had a singer called Billy Mackenzie whose voice was so unique that some people couldn’t listen to it. Well Jonas Radehorn of ‘The Citadel’ has a voice that if I was feeling generous could be described as unique and if I wasn’t could be described as ‘waily waily’. It wanders all over the register and you’re left with the feeling that could he get it under control it would be quite good, but at the moment it’s just completely distracting.
It doesn’t help that he is so ‘up front’ in the mix that everyone else in the band is pushed way into the background, when he sings they are drowned out, unsurprisingly he is credited all over the ‘making of’ page with some mixing, some recording, the album artwork and photography. I can almost see him in the studio turning his vocals up a bit when no one is looking.
The music is doom laden and quite heavy, it would have been pretty powerful had it not been drowned out. Mostly it moves at one speed and contains almost no interesting guitar parts at all, sticking instead to chugging riffs. I mean come on, a couple of blinding solos would have brought this to life in a way that Jonas’ ‘soaring’ vocals do not. I kept waiting for someone to come forward and widdle some strings but I guess Jonas would have turned them down on the mixing desk or booted them out of the band if they tried to attract some attention.
This really is my main bugbear actually, even when Jonas isn’t singing the music never really comes to life, he stops singing and the rest of the band just carry on as if there were no instrumental break. Have I been mean enough yet?
Even the good things I have to say are still tinged with a black lining. There are some catchy melodies and the whole thing is competently put together but you just know this could have been so much better. There’s a track called ‘evil kingdom’ with a good whoa whoa bit that could have been anthemic and even though the production is good quality it has a lifeless feeling to it that drags the songs down and keeps them all at a level so the whoa whoa bit just plods along instead of making you hold your hand aloft whilst singing along.
It’s a missed opportunity that could have been something more making it a bitter experience.