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Pythia - "Beneath the Veiled Embrace" (CD)

Pythia - "Beneath the Veiled Embrace" CD cover image

"Beneath the Veiled Embrace" track listing:

1. Sweet Cantation (3:54)
2. Sarah (Bury Her) (4:31)
3. Tristan (4:10)
4. Ride For Glory (4:42)
5. My Pale Prince (4:46)
6. Eternal Darkness (5:01)
7. What You Wish For (4:15)
8. Oedipus (5:28)
9. Army of the Damned (4:25)
10. No Compromise (5:14)

Reviewed by on January 18, 2010

"From power to speed to symphonic to nearly poppy, it’s all present, and you couldn’t say that they fail at any of it."

When Pythia released their debut EP "Sarah (Bury Hey)," you may remember that I said this was a promising female-fronted up and coming goth act. Unfortunately, it seems I may have spoken a bit too soon. It’s not that their full-length release, "Beneath the Veiled Embrace," is that terrible actually, but comparatively it doesn’t hold a candle to the sampler.

One thing that didn’t come out until I got a full taste of Pythia is how unsuccessful they are with the pretty female vocals amidst a backdrop of heavier instruments. This is an art form that some bands have mastered, but Pythia has not. Particularly in "Ride For Glory," these two elements don’t mix at all, and the harpsichord makes the tune a little too hokey even for fans of symphonic metal.

One thing I will give Pythia credit for though is trying out a variety of sounds. From power to speed to symphonic to nearly poppy, it’s all present, and you couldn’t say that they fail at any of it. The only problem comes in meshing it all together. In "Eternal Darkness" they manage to do just that, and what makes this track stand out is Emily Ovendon’s superb soprano vocals. Most of the time she sticks with mid-range notes, but she really shines when she puts on her falsetto.

Lyrically the album is solid, if a bit melodramatic, and instrumentally there are only a few missteps, though it is unfortunate that this happens in the closing track, "No Compromise." It becomes obvious here that Pythia is still a little wet behind the ears as they haven’t learned the importance of the opening and closing tracks, because "No Compromise" is one of the weakest songs on the album.

Still, "Beneath the Veiled Embrace" isn’t a horrible mix. It just doesn’t live up to the high hopes I had after hearing "Sarah (Bury Her)." Let’s hope that this is just a small hiccup in the band’s resume and that they’ll work out the kinks here before their next release.

Highs: Emily’s higher range vocals on "Eternal Darkness" and the good switch between styles on "Sweet Cantation."

Lows: Pythia struggles with trying to mesh a variety of instrumental styles, causing occasional tempo missteps.

Bottom line: A decent listen for fans of female-fronted bands, but not as promising as Pythia’s sampler EP.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)