MANDRAGORA SCREAM - review added 3rd November 2009
Album Review: Volturna (2009)
For fans of: Dark Metal... and hmmm...
Volturna is the fourth album by Italy’s female fronted dark metal outfit Mandragora Scream. It follows 2001's Fairy Tales From Hell’s Caves, 2002's A Whisper Of Dew and 2005's Madhouse.
The band itself has its roots back in the late 1990's when singer Morgan Lacroix produced a demo EP. Not long after she was introduced to guitarist and composer Terry Horn. It was only a year later that the first Mandragora Scream album was released. Their debut came out on Nuclear Blast, which by most accounts is no small achievement.
On Volturna, the band is completed by the singularly named Furyo on drums and Max River on bass. The sound is a kind of Transylvanian computerized take on industrial dark metal. There are obviously real instruments in the mix, but the end result is strangely artificial. There's no doubt the band have managed to put atmosphere on the record, but there isn't a lot and it doesn't make up for the shallow facade of music.
I love the intro. It has a wonderful laid back yet theatrical feel and promises great things. The first proper track, 'I'm Goin' Alone', isn't too bad either. I say not too bad. The basic sound is good, but the singing is of debatable quality. The track goes on way too long too. Of the original work, that's unfortunately about as good as it gets. Saying that, the cover of Sonny and Cher's 'Bang Bang' is worrying competent, the cover of Visage's 'Fade To Grey' is interesting too...although not necessarily good.
If you like the idea of a mild take on Cradle Of Filth's vampire-esque musings, crossed with Bjork's madness and a dollop of industrial dance electronica, you might be tempted to give Volturna a go. There is the odd highlight here and there, but in the end it's mostly a mess. It really isn't for me I'm afraid.
Check out... The cover of 'Bang Bang'.