Thursday, 19th July 2018. 10:33:31pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Gothic Soulscape- Grave New World


Artist: Soulscape
CD Title: Grave New World
Label: Self-Released
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
Date: 9/26/04

The debut full-length from Chicago's Soulscape is easily the best goth release of the year, no two ways about it. From the first piano notes to the reverberating guitars and orchestral strings of the last track, this is pure gold, with the power of early Sisters of Mercy, the emotional impact of the Mission, and the raw energy of the Damned all blended together with a modern electronic sensibility that builds on the scene’s early roots instead of abandoning them for techno trendiness. “Dreamfree” and “The Crossing” work electro and EBM influences into the mix with analog synths that blend with the guitars instead of overpowering them, while the fingerpicking on “Hearts Are Hollow” and the throbbing bass of “We Are Your Kings” drive the point home nicely that drum machine or not, this is still rock music. There’s also a nod to the medieval side of things, with chimes and tribal rhythms evoking an ancient Nordic past on “Wyrd Sisters.” British expatriate Mel Draper has the perfect voice for this kind of stuff, deep but with a great range, emotional but just a little ragged, like Dave Vanian when he went pop. Lyrically this is heady stuff, less melancholic than triumphant, with “First Blood” and “Rise Again” being particularly good anthems to raise your fishnet-clad fist to. Occult themes from Norse runes to Qabbalah abound, and “The Crossing” succeeds where The Cruxshadows fail by turning space alien mysticism into accessible pop music. Soulscape even breathe life into old codependency metaphors on “You Are My Disease.” In lesser hands this could be banal, but when Draper sings, “Like rabid dogs we all strain and tear at our own throats,” it feels fresh and powerful. A flawless album, from start to finish.

Go get it now at www.soulscape.org and you can say you’ve been following them since the beginning.


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