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Theatres Des Vampires - "Moonlight waltz" (CD)

Theatres Des Vampires - "Moonlight waltz" CD cover image

"Moonlight waltz" track listing:

1. Keeper Of Secrets (5:31)
2. Fly Away (3:32)
3. Moonlight Waltz (4:28)
4. Carmilla (5:03)
5. Sangue (3:58)
6. Figlio Della Luna (4:24)
7. Black Madonna (4:57)
8. Illusion (5:05)
9. Le Grand Guignol (3:55)
10. Obsession (4:23)
11. The Gates Of Hades (3:28)
12. Medousa (4:36)

Reviewed by on September 7, 2011

"… it's mostly a mix of bad vocals, overdone synthesizers, and an almost pop feel that stands in stark contrast to the symphonic black metal hat the band claims to wear."

I have to confess that before reviewing "Moonlight Waltz" I wasn't familiar with Theatres Des Vampires. Not being a big fan of Italian metal or black metal, this female-fronted symphonic black metal group had flown under my radar. After hearing "Moonlight Waltz" I doubt I'll be rushing out to pick up the rest of their releases.

Instrumentally, Theatres Des Vampires is a solid group. The mix of violins, grinding guitars, and power tempo is a winner, but the addition of a xylophone in tracks like the album opener "Keeper Of Secrets" makes it hard to take this group seriously. This faux pas is unfortunate too, since there's an impressive guest appearance in this song by Mercyful Fate's Snowy Shaw. If you can get past the bad intro and the less than impressive vocal talents of Sonya Scarlet, this isn't a terrible track.

Speaking of vocals, throughout the album I kept thinking how sad it is that Scarlet is front and center. She became the lead vocalist in 2004, about the time when a lot of metal bands jumped on the female vocalist bandwagon, but her voice simply doesn't compare to other females in the genre. It isn't classically beautiful nor is it deep and haunting; it's simply scratchy and mediocre. The backing vocals by Lord Vampyr far outshine hers, with their smooth, melodic, slightly eerie feel you'd expect from a vampiric band.

So as not to sound like I'm completely bashing Scarlet, I will say her vocals work fairly well in the fourth track, "Carmilla." This is a heavier track than the others, and really is the first sign I see of any black metal influence. There's a mimicking going on between the guitar and violin, adding a symphonic element, and though it sounds ironic, the violin in this piece is bad ass. "Carmilla" is definitely one of the few golden nuggets on the album.

Another highlight is a cover of "Figlio Della Luna," which is the first glimpse you get of Theatres Des Vampires actually being a vampire band. Heavy symph, lots of brass, a big booming sound, and a hushed piano with subdued vocals make this hauntingly pretty.

The album closer, "Medousa," also fits the bill, with its loud power metal sound that makes it very different from the rest of the album. It's a rare gem that brings a goth sound to the album and makes you wish the rest had sounded this good. As for the rest, it's mostly a mix of bad vocals, overdone synthesizers, and an almost pop feel that stands in stark contrast to the symphonic black metal the band claims to wear.

Overall, there are a few tracks that might be worth checking out on Youtube, but the album as a whole doesn't really warrant coughing up money for.

Highs: The guest appearance by Snowy Shaw on the opening track and the backup vocals by Lord Vampyr are a blessed relief and help keep this album afloat.

Lows: Scarlet's voice is annoying and at times her lyrics are unintelligible.

Bottom line: Theatres Des Vampires leaves listeners cold after a disappointing hour of mostly unimpressive symphonic tracks.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

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)