F U L L . R E V I E W S
Dark Tales of Forgotten Mindscapes was described by the band as "a concept album based on founder Steve J.'s personal experience with depression." So, with that, one would expect to experience some empathy while following in the shadows on a dark, convoluted journey. One anticipates the story, the mood, the setting, and the anguish that the suffering of depression inflicts. One expects a concept in a concept album.
There was no concept. There were songs performed with moderate and sometimes adequate skill, there were flashes of diversity with some prog capabilities, but there were no shadows. As much as I listened, there was no experience. All I could do was just hear what was going on. Frankly, "Tales" gets about as dark as a lit hallway with a 40-watt bulb. (If they want to know what real "dark" is, they should take some notes from Blut Aus Nord or Schammasch. It's not the same as "pissed off").
What was going on starts with the snorefest called "Inception". Now, what that is supposed to mean is difficult to decipher with a cliché thunderstorm (yeah, that's never been done before) and some acoustic strumming and then some metal riffs. Something happened, but what, who knows? The music doesn't illustrate, it just changes. I did not get a sense that anything actually happened, just sound.
And this is the project, throughout. Unremarkable guitarwork that is played well enough to convey every riff we've already heard before to paint a picture of…what? Some solid drumming carries the band fine, but to go…where? Every time there is a sense of atmosphere or an attempt to get inside this patient's head, the band pushes the "hell no" button and goes into just another metal song that's fronted by a vocalist that sounds like he needs a lozenge.
It saddens me because this album is obviously done with good intent. The composer(s) really wants this to be impactful. Unfortunately, other than some personally poignant lyrics, it's not. But, in all fairness, it sounds like they just bit off more than they could chew. And that not only brings failure to the band as a band, the consequence of their inabilities can potentially have a negative impact on those under depression’s oppression and those who are trying to understand the infliction. Sufferers know exactly what they’re supposed to be feeling and they’re the ones who are going to call Requiem’s bluff. I am not discounting Steve J.'s experience – no no, not by any means! And I am truly so sorry that he has endured such pain. However, it is clear that there are simply not enough strong composing skills among the members to share or relay that intense, drowning, suffocating pain as effective art.
About this Writer:
T. Ray Verteramo // T. Ray is a product of New York Mediterranean upbringing, discovering Alice Cooper before puberty, and Iron Maiden after. Taken underwing by the former managing editor of Hit Parader magazine in 1985, she took to freelancing, writing up the local and national circuit for 7 years. A new millennium, a published dystopic thriller, and a CNN article on life in metal in the 80's later, she's been thrown back to the wolves, into a much darker and deeper part of the forest.
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