Monday, 22nd January 2018. 7:23:31am ET
Reviews CD Reviews Gothic Beltane- World of Dreams


  Artist: Beltane
CD Title: World of Dreams
Label: Electron
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 6/26/04

Beltane follow a classic modern formula on their second full-length album, World of Dreams, combining danceable darkwave, moody ethereal, and goth rock tendencies. Centered on producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Paul Handley, the group's largely synth-based sound is fleshed out by not one, but two attractive female vocalists with something of a classical vocal leaning. Sophie Horwood tends to cling to a more technically strong but slightly less emotive delivery, while Karina Eames (who also plays guitar on a couple tracks) does the opposite. The group also benefits from real violin courtesy of guest Belinda Gelhert.

The album's overall sound is a somewhat generic mishmash of different gothic elements. Take the ethereal tendencies, violin, vocal melodies, and occasional semi-pretentious lyrical wording of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, throw in some old Switchblade Symphony and Sunshine Blind CDs, add a slight dash of electronica in the form of programmed synth arpeggios, stir well, and you have Beltane. The formula often works but sometimes sounds dated and does little to set the band apart or make it stand out from the rest of the goth crowd.

The opening "A Distant Place" is a template for the rest of the album, jumping back and forth between moody, sparse synth-based sections and more up-tempo goth rock/darkwave sections. "Impassioned" is, arguably, one of the album's best tracks with snaking violin amidst intertwining keyboards, Black Tape for a Blue Girl-esque vocals, steady electronics drums, and a few cool synth production touches. The upbeat electronic drums and driving synth work and bass turn the album's title track into something more cohesive than much of the album's other material, while "On the Fly" blends danceable electronic percussion with mysterious eastern-tinged melodic content for a straightforward classic goth offering. "Fly to Thee" follows the same formula as the album opener, alternating sparse ethereal moments and goth rock sections for another fairly interesting track. "Foreign Shore" is a more up-tempo electronic offering backed by pulsating synths and pounding electronic drums, while "Majestic Freedom" is a somewhat slower, plodding rock number with good violin work and the album's only semi-catchy chorus. "Tomorrow's Creation" takes the album in a straightforward bass-driven electronic goth rock direction filled out by synth arpeggios. "Onward & Upward" kicks off with an ethereal intro before evolving into a goth rock song anchored by distorted guitar riffing, while the steady thumping drums and dreamlike synth melodies of the mellower "In the Shadow of Night" flourish before stepping aside for the album's almost metal-oriented instrumental bonus track. Two other instrumentals, "Alluring & Intriguing" and "Aurora", round out the set, the former being a nice ethereal interlude with great violin and the latter being a relatively unexceptional minute and a half long keyboard piece.

While there's really nothing here that's exceptionally memorable or noteworthy, World of Dreams is still a solid and well-written album with proficient performances and fairly strong production. It may be a bit too generic for some, but ethereal/darkwave fans will probably dig the band's work and find the album to be worth checking out.

Click to Order

 

Beltane website: www.beltane.electronmusic.de

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