Tacere – A Beautiful Darkness – 4.5/5

Ok, so I used to have something of a fetish for the whole female fronted symphonic power bands. (Nightwish-esque) and amongst my search for new bands, came across this one. (Though it should be noted they are prog/symphonic/power)

This is a band that stands out from the rest, building on the groundwork set by others. A dark foreboding atmosphere is ever present, aided by the relatively basic, but often addictive, guitar-work and beautiful keyboard work (utilising the sound of different instruments to provide such sounds as violins to the mix). There is the occasional solo, fitting and memorable if nothing spectacular.

It opens with “Deep Tears of Tragedy,” with possibly one of the best solo’s on the album, a catchy violin sound, but all of this is nothing when it comes to the vocals. As is common with bands in this genre, the instruments often find themselves doing little more than providing a musical playground for the vocalist (though here this is not so much the case), meaning the end result must be nothing short of perfect to draw your attention.

Other bands have flaunted with the idea of “beauty and the beast” vocals, soft female vocals working with a more aggressive male voice (E.g. After Forever, Epica) but here they go beyond that. There is largely a 50/50 split between the vocals, neither side dominating, and both parties able to sing emotionally, varying pitch, volume and aggression. The result of this sounds like a constant argument between two people, both vying for control, a constant struggle or battle, and this is what puts them above the rest in the genre. The songs remain distinct, from the highly aggressive “Bitter, Regressive” to the heavily piano-laden “Black Roses” to the softer vocals on “phantasm,” often accompanied by only an acoustic guitar, each song retains a sense of individuality.

This is a band that attempt something I haven’t heard done before, or since, and it’s a shame they don’t get more recognition.

Highlights: Bitter Regressive, Black Roses, Deep Tears of Tragedy

Tacere – Demo (2008) – 3.5/5

The first thing to note is that a lot of the gothic sound has disappeared. The female vocals take over a lot more here but don’t have the same power, and the male vocals are clearly weaker. Some of this slack is picked up by the guitar and keyboard which have a noticeably bigger part.

Apart from that, the sound is largely the same - a solid effort but nothing spectacular. For a demo the production is phenomenal. It’s simply the weakness in vocals which carried the last album simply doesn’t match up here. The atmosphere isn’t as thick, and whilst there are moments of brilliance (see the entire of "Storm of the Century", it simply isn’t the same. Still good for a fix if you want more Tacere, but it shouldn’t be the first thing you hear from them.

Highlights: Storm of the Century.

By T. Bawden