Minstrelix – Rose Funeral of Tragedy (demo) – 3/5
Often when I write reviews I'm careful about how I word things so as to best adequately describe what I wish to convey, and sometimes it comes quickly, sometimes it doesn't. There is an exception – though it'll be proof-read at a later date – where it comes out thick and fast like a metaphor I can't think of that wont sound silly, usually when I've had a couple of drinks (just enough to make me vocal) and then discover something that makes me want to be vocal. Very vocal. Owing them the interest from their impressive speed/power throwback with “Reflections,” they had worked a wonderful marriage of that odd school of Japanese metal where they're still trying to catch up the last twenty years; Power and Thrash are still “the new thing,” and with an American vocalist who didn't just sing the higher notes but instead displayed a gorgeous baritone that's rarely seen in music, it constituted an instant interest. Except now she's gone, and so has the drummer she rode in on.
It all starts out a little sinisterly; as if trying to be grandiose in its introductions but secretly hiding something, clearly the fact that they have a new male vocalist that ironically more often sounds like more of a woman than their last did. When he finally arrives – after much build up from the other musicians to try and compensate for his lack of manliness – the result is not as disappointing as I was preparing myself for. Whilst not as rich and full a sounding vocalist, he displays a similar range and manages to step into the boots of their last more impressively than I could have expected, but the problems are still yet to come. If the thin, powerless feel to his voice wasn't enough of an obstacle, it isn't long before he tries his chops at a blackened growl, which if 'Demoniac' has taught us nothing else, simply doesn't fit.
But lets focus on the positives for a little while; for all my apprehension at the new melodeath direction they've taken there is little that is to be said against the guitars and keyboard work; both have taken what they've learnt and upped the ante, working with the drums (which are still present at this point) supplying plenty of that upbeat classic speed to play their solos against one another in a furious neo-classical frenzy. The growls, too, when you become accustomed to the notion of their existence aren't particularly bad; monotonous perhaps, but as a means to separate the tone of particular passages show promise. This band stood out in my mind in no short part because of Lola, their previous vocalist, and if they can't find someone to adequately replace her (and perhaps the replacement will improve when he becomes more comfortable in his surroundings; I haven't given up hope on him yet), then my last hope for them will be that they become instrumental and give the guitars and keyboards all the attention they deserve. And so with bated breath I wait for the full-length, still a little unsure of what's to come.