I need to start this review by stating quite simply that for all intents and purposes this is a great record.
Many are quick to dismiss any Gothic-symphonic metal that doesn’t come from Europe, and let’s face it, they’d probably be right to: those Europeans just seem to always get it right. In the case of As Angels Bleed, a four-piece gothic-symphonic metal band from Sydney, however, they should not be dismissed so easily.
Their self-titled debut took three years to make, and the hard work certainly shows. The album maintains a level of heaviness while staying sensual and romantic from the opening Gregorian style chants of “Sinfully Yours” to the very last moment of “Beautifully Decayed.” It’s a beautiful album. The minimal, thick guitar riffs, the occasionally killer solo, particularly in “Beautifully Decayed,” coupled with the 105-piece Hell’s Gate Symphonic Orchestra and The Choir of the Dammed put it far above many other female-fronted gothic metal bands around today. Not to mention that vocalist Avelina De Moray doesn’t adopt the overly breathy or operatic vocal style, winning it a few more points.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a great record, and those things above makes it so. However, one thing doesn’t sit right with me. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the theme of the record. The vampiric overtones are hardly subtle and and subtlety has never been a staple of this genre. But, perhaps reminding me of a time in my teenage years when I was trying to be “Oh so dark and gothic,” it often feels that As Angels Bleed is trying too hard to make a point – much as a I did then. Lyrics such as “Your bloody kiss from Gothic lips” from “I Drown” are more laughable than invoking any feeling of eeriness. And there is more where that came from. That being said, “I Drown” is still one of my favourite tracks on the album.
While the lyrics may feel a little forced, overall this is still a good record and deserves appreciation, particularly if Gothic-symphonic metal is your cup of bl… err, tea.
1. Sinfully Yours
3. Blood Kisses
4. A Love Worth Dying For
5. I Drown
6. Carfax Abbey
7. Driven to Flames
9. Beautifully Decayed