Temple of Secrets
~reviewed by Jezebel
This CD was given to me in February – and yes, it took me this long to review it. Firstly, let me apologize. The only reason/excuse that I can offer up is that the spending of most of my time working four jobs while looking for full time employment plus getting married interfered with the timeliness of my reviews. This band is not the only one who has been waiting for a review. But with a new job, I hope to catch up on reviews…And this is the first.
I actually really liked the first Corrosion CD that I was given, The Elemental. It was well produced, and the music was an evolution of a trademark gothic sound. The band has the review on their website and I believe, uses a quote from my review as part of a header for their pages. And for this I am grateful
So, I was ready for something great from this album and from the band. I am sorry to say that I was disappointed.
The production quality of this CD is of a very low standard. The CD would only work on my boom box; not my CD walkman, not my home stereo. And when I did finally get it working, it cracked and skipped. I do not know if this is across the board of the pressing, but if it is, the band has a problem, as this is not up to industry standard.
Corrosion opens up with the title track, "Temple of Secrets". Now…unfortunately, this is where it begins to fall apart and that is not a good sign. Yes, most (I might be daring and say all) bands are influenced by Sisters of Mercy, but the chanting in the beginning of the track is so reminiscent of SoM that any validity the song may have had is lost. The guitar line, although very well played, sounds like its from "Snake Dance" by March Violets. And whereas on the first album, the vocals were powerful on the first two tracks (and as per my previous review lost and possibly out of Paul’s range on another), the vocals here seem to be, well, amateur-ish. Paul’s voice has lost its power, any kind of range and tone.
"Morning Dew" is a departure, if ever so slightly. Paul’s vocals work better here, but there is a distinctive 80’s sound to it and although thoughtfully played, this is still not a new twist on something old. Unfortunately, there is a Bryan Adams, "Summer of ’69" quality to it that really doesn’t work. And unfortunately, again, it sounds formula – guitar over a drum machine. The last album actually somehow overcome the lack of musicians actually playing on the album. This does sound like two guys. The programming on the drum machine was either skipping, out of time or just badly mixed with the rest of the tune, as it just didn’t work. The brief loud interlude of the drum machine was overwhelming, took over the beauty that was in the song and was unnecessary. Make a soft song soft. Let it be pretty.
Track three – "Cold Blooded Martyr" - suffered again from some bad mixing/engineering. The re-verb on the vocals made them sound like they were recorded in an empty bathroom. There is also a ghoulish – may I say Brickbat – quality to the tune that although is a departure, is not adequately explored to make it truly recognizable and respectable.
The final track is a remix (the disco remix) of the title track. Since I didn’t look down at the track listing when it first started, I thought they had done a remake of the "Communards Don’t Leave Me This Way". Although I understand the thought process behind it – “let’s make a dance floor fillable tune that has a techno/disco beat for the glow sticks to be shaken at” – I can only see it be liked by those at Slimelight who are too involved in partying to care about the quality of music that they are dancing to.
So – what happened? I don’t know. Perhaps Corrosion is trying something new with this album while trying to revisit their roots, that which influenced them. Perhaps there were production problems along the way. Or they are trying new production techniques. I am not sure.
What I do know is that what I liked about Corrosion, powerful guitars, great base lines, utilizing drum machines and technology in such a way that they brought in aspects of what was popular (techno/EBM) and mixing it with what is good about gothic rock is gone. There isn’t even a base line that I can speak of on this CD.
What I also don’t understand about Corrosion is the putting out of two four-track CDs in two years? Why not wait a bit and give us one gorgeous, well produced full album? I am a bit confused on the reasoning behind it.
It’s just not what the doctor ordered for overworked Jez. I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows that I ~live~ to like UK bands. I breathe wanting to support gothic bands in the UK and bring their music out to the masses. But unfortunately, this CD is just a rehashing of old sounds with a bad mixing of experimentation and techno bits. They did it right on their first album. They were unable to recapture it here.
All music and vocals are performed by Matthew North and Paul Roe