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Sarah Jezebel Deva - "The Corruption Of Mercy" (CD)

Sarah Jezebel Deva - "The Corruption Of Mercy" CD cover image

"The Corruption Of Mercy" track listing:

1. No Paragon of Virtue
2. The World Won't Hold Your Hand
3. A Matter of Convenience
4. Silence Please
5. Zombie
6. Pretty With Effects
7. What Lies Before You
8. Sirens
9. The Eyes that Lie
10. The Corruption of Mercy

Reviewed by on November 10, 2011

"Besides production and mixing that could use a lift, this album comes close to being the paradigm of good symphonic/gothic music. When Sarah Jezebel Deva sings with her full range of power, it makes the songs all the better."

Frontwoman Sarah Jezebel Deva is back with her second LP "The Corruption of Mercy," which the vocalist has spent plenty of time on after not being entirely satisfied with her debut. With a new guitarist and drummer involved, the new album comes across with a more metallic edge than its predecessor. Deva needs no introduction, being the veteran backing vocalist for almost twenty years combined in Cradle of Filth, Mortiis and Therion. Having gone solo quite a long time ago, "The Corruption of Mercy" is another good step in showcasing her considerable talent.

Best described as gothic/symphonic metal, the band that she has assembled this time around is pretty capable of delivering well-arranged songs that highlight her powerful vocals. The symphonic stylings of "No Paragon of Virtue" contain great transitions throughout the track, except for when the choruses tend to bury her voice. Deva is so adroit in her vocal fluctuations throughout the song though. She can shift from an operatic pitch to a sinister undercurrent on a dime, sounding like a more subversive Siouxsie Sioux.

While her powerful vocals are her trump card, sometimes the lyrics tend to get a bit trite, as in the song "The World Won't Hold Your Hand." The lyrical content and passive style she displays on this one make you feel like she is holding back and not realizing her full potential. "A Matter of Convenience" delivers doom in an electronica style, made even better when she injects her droll musings into the lyrics, "I need my whiskey to get me through...I'd rather watch paint dry." Also conveying world weariness is the subtle but deadly "Silence Please," which blends her sublime soprano notes with violin, building into a good crescendo of rhythm, drums and chant.

The stand out song from the album has to be "Sirens." It is immediately catchy, yet intricate, and hooks you upon the first listen. It shines due to the precise interplay of her lilting vocals with the guitar leads of Pzy-clone through each musical chapter. "Zombie" (a cover of a song from The Cranberries) is more rudimentary in black metal style than the overall symphonic direction of the album and is not their best suit. Deva is in her element when she sings to more complicated and fluid arrangements.

When her vocals take a turn for the 'spoken,' as in "The Eyes That Lie," her talent gets buried. She is so much more effective on tracks where she belts it out. The song gets very disjointed musically, as it flows back and forth from slow to rapid like a seizure. The title track also shows her talent as a singer. She rises above the orchestral stylings sounding almost angelic, but at the same time, conveying a nice devious undercurrent. That's the dichotomy that is Sarah Jezebel Deva.

There are a couple of slower, short ballads with piano and other musical subtleties that round out the release and are not of consequence, but overall, "The Corruption of Mercy" nails it on at least half the songs. Besides production and mixing that could use a lift, this album comes close to being the paradigm of good symphonic/gothic music. When Sarah Jezebel Deva sings with her full range of power, it makes the songs all the better.

Highs: Sarah Jezebel Deva truly shines when she doesn't hold back.

Lows: Production and mixing buries some of the album.

Bottom line: "The Corruption of Mercy" is a very capable symphonic/gothic release.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)