~reviewed by Mick Mercer

When I was reviewing this a small moth actually landed on my nose! He asked what I had on because the headphones were irritating him, and so I told him of this album, in an encouraging, heartfelt manner, for while I generally have little time for the male angsty side of Goth where treated vocals mix with the Industrial undertow, and Rock threatens to overwhelm all, with Caustic Soul, I’m intrigued.

I wouldn’t say this is utterly fantastic, because of one simple thing which is apparent right from the start. They have so much talent, they make the album genuinely varied throughout and any clichés which seem to be forming soon dissipate, but they can’t really explode. Many a track builds with such spectacular ease, you think we’re heading for truly epic territory, which would easily set them on top of the thrusting industrial Goth heap, only for their riffology to get stuck in third gear. At some point they lack the glycerine fluidity which is required to stoke things up and take off with breathtaking power. They get so far, then stop, teetering on the edge of potential greatness.

Another bad moment comes when you realise they have not only covered ‘Scarborough Fair’ but done nothing to invert it, meaning that it remains an utterly shite waste of your time, but that’s the downside over and done with, and the rest of the album, even without their inability to truly achieve lift off, is the unexpectedly attractive vocals, which have gravitas aplenty, and the richly imaginative musical tapestries they urinate against with such pleasure.

And I confess, I don’t recognise this quote, but they start ‘Trine’ with my favourite sample yet hard on a song, as some madman rants, “I believe in cruelty and infidelity. I believe in slime and stink, in every crawling, putrid thing, every possible ugliness and corruption, you Son Of A Bitch!!!” Is it Rumsfeld’s video diary? I know not. Then the songs somersaults away, riffing madly.

‘Eryux’ is Pained Goth par excellence, ‘Dead Doll’ an aching ballad which become a rabid monster, and ‘Goodnight’ an exquisite floaty thing, with the gentility bracing. Yes it goes mental towards the end, because that’s what these bands do, but it’s still lovely. Curiously, you also get to imagine Abba running around with intestines hanging from their mouths during the opening to ‘Sick’ and then the bowel-scraping really begins.

Before I’d finished reviewing Shelly (tortoiseshell and yowly) came and sat on the info sheets they’d included, and swished her tail about to the magnificent autocratic vocals, and frosted brutality in song, proving they appeal to man or beast alike.