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Oh yes. You wouldnít really expect anything other than quality considering who is behind this, and you will be pleasantly punched repeatedly by superb tracks once you have it. It isnít all fantastic, but thereís a bright array of stirring encounters to be faced.
NFD are gruff with maggoty vocals and I canít believe the chittering guitar wasnít boosted more because they have a real star in their midst and this could have been verging on classic. Dead As Romance are smokily fey, and a touch old-fashioned, while the genuinely old school The Naked And The Dead haunt their classroom happily, and brusquely. Meticulously twilight deviance from The Empire Hideous is almost soothing, as though they were deviant nephews of Wreckage, and thereís spirited nonsense from Murder At The Registry, and deceptive, quality turmoil from The Sins. We also get two very beautiful tracks, with Eternia at their liveliest, and Myssouri offering highly adventurous lessons in stealth
I would be dishonest if I didnít highlight a few of the weaker tracks. The Deep Eynde appear in fine fettle, but simply donít sound that cool in this company, sadly, but it falls to Bella Morte to have the weakest track of all, where the pace and agile guitar rescue it, as the vocalist simply doesnít project forcefully enough. Compare them to Belisha - they are from similar territory - and you see the same thing. Belisha have a real grand strut, and pure terrorist guitar, but theyíre missing a vocal dictator on the punchy chorus. Him and Mr Bella Morte need some cardio-vascular work which benefits the lungs enormously. It will allow them to keep up and move ahead rather than being submerged inside the noise. If you canít project, you canít compete.
You might think that with Ghoultown weíve reached the dead wood stage - stop it, Iím killing me! - but no, for while this is seriously lightweight, in that the actual strength of the song struggles to come through, there is a wayward charm about them which is distinctive, just as The Brides carry us, kicking and screaming for freedom, over the threshold in their typically, obscenely catchy manner; destination Frivolity. It is a perfect end.
The feeling which comes out of this record, regardless of the minor weaknesses, is character, which is what every band needs, and what most simply donít have. This bunch all possess that elusive characteristic, and youíll surely follow these artists with glee.
A fine record.
NFD - Darkness Falls