Metal Bulletin Zine (est. 2006) is a metal music zine (Seattle region), online and on paper. 160 issues so far.
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Monday, October 7, 2019
review: Lindsay Schoolcraft
7 October 2019
Sound: The style of the album is dark pop-oriented heavy rock, in the style of goth rock and metal.
Production: The production showcases the rhythms of the songs and the singing. It is not a busy production, but a rather big-rhythm orientation designed to create feeling, above all. The uptempo songs are meant to bounce, and slower tracks are on the minimalist/somber side of things.
Instrumentation: Brooding keyboards/piano, melancholic vibes, dark pop romanticism and the like are the objectives. The rhythm section has a functional, and even the guitar—with its broad strokes and simple, heavy chords—are secondary to the keyboards, vocals and the overall songs. Lindsay Schoolcraft is the keyboardist for Cradle of Filth, and that right there tells you a lot about the skills and experience of Schoolcraft, given the work ethic of the long-running extreme metal veterans.
Vocals: For the most part, melodic singing in a pleasant, soft tone would be a good way to describe the vocals. There’s a bit of extreme metal vocals (track 8), but that’s an exception.
Songs: One category of mood of the songs is the prototypical melancholic goth style, with a bit of guitars and big, simple bouncy tracks (tracks 1, 2, 3, 8). A second type is a pensive/morose feel (tracks 5, 6, 7, 10, 11). A third kind would be songs that are more along the lines of catchy ballads (tracks 4, 9). Track 11 is a The Cure cover. It is a mellow goth rock track, soft enough to be a children’s lullaby but too creepy (lyrics: nightmare about spiders eating a person), and seems perhaps like a horror movie song.
Lyrics: There are no noticeable profanities to be heard, if any at all (This reviewer missed them, if they’re there). In general, the lyrics center around emotions, relationships and human problems like that.
Potential audience: If you enjoy soft keyboards/piano and goth rock, and soft singing, you would be correct to investigate this album.
Similar bands: In metal music there are not many bands that sound particularly similar to this album, in the experience of this reviewer, given that this is not (yet?) a whole subgenre of bands who are pumping out multitudes of albums like this every month. On the other hand, there have been times when old bands like Paradise Lost and Tiamat have come at somewhat similar vibes from different angles, in different era with male singing.
Assessment: Considering that they made a video for track number one, one of the more metal songs on the album, it is clear the album is being marketed as gothic/symphonic metal. In that case, one criticism that can be pointed out is that the majority of the album is not in that style. Fans expecting that sound may be disappointed, while those that enjoy a broader variety might find the album to be a good change of pace. Another matter is that at times the vocals seem underproduced or too minimalistic. The production team could have embellished the vocals a bit more by working more on the decorative aspects of the singing, for a more full and pleasant listening experience, given that today’s gothic and symphonic metal audiences are used to singing that has more production. Anyway, these criticisms are from the perspective of metal music, and are not necessarily true if the album is viewed from a non-heavy rock perspective. For example, like The Cure track itself and The Cure songs in general, that type of song seems underwritten: oftentimes songs by The Cure don’t milk the chorus excessively, and often end just when the chorus could have been built a lot more. To end, the album will be a different type of listening experience for fans of Cradle of Filth, it will be more easily understood by fans of gothic metal and should be also understood by fans of bands like Lacuna Coil, Within Tempation and Evanescence (whose former drummer Rocky Gray co-wrote this album). The album has plenty of personality and plenty of songs that should be considered good by the devoted fans of gothic heavy rock with melodic singing and somber melodies.
Lindsay Schoolcraft - Savior (Official Music Video)