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In the past I’ve been rather wary of female fronted bands…but that is now changing as I discover albums like this, which defy everything that people think of when they think ‘hot-chick-fronted goth metal.’ Flowing Tears is a German band and they are just weird, weird, weird.
At first, the sludgy guitars and the super-low female vocals sounds a bit messy, a bit off kilter…but you can’t stop listening! There’s a real unity of effect here present on every song, and while they run together a bit at first, each one eventually reveals a great miasma of atmospheric bliss, some cool riffs and some great vocal hooks from singer Helen Vogt, who has one of the most distinctive female voices I’ve heard in metal. She never shows off and sticks solely to this low, moaning voice that ends up getting addictive once you listen long enough. The guitars are a low, rumbling bellow of hypnotic rhythms and chunky riffs. They never speed up to anything faster than midtempo, but the power here lies in the somber melodies, the arcane moods evoked…
Really this is an album best listened to as a whole, as each song builds on the last to create a 40 minute tour de force. It works better when you just let each song roll over you in waves, without breaking it up too much. The mood shifts seamlessly from moody, pensive crooners like “Believe” and “Mine is the Ocean” to aggressive, venom-filled biters like “Virago” and the nasty “Maladine.” The lyrics are all very cryptic and cool, and depressive to boot.
This is actually closer to the old 80s-90s gothic sound that a lot of people initially want when they hear the name ‘gothic metal.’ A lot of the songwriting focuses more on atmosphere and crawling rhythms than on riffs or vocals, and the whole thing is so opaque and mystical that it really is closer to Fields of the Nephilim than, say, Epica or something. I’m no expert on gothic rock music, I’m just going by what I hear, and I think this will appeal just as much to fans of that niche as people who like some straight up moody, atmospheric metal/rock.
So Flowing Tears is a cool as hell band, and I will definitely be listening to more of their stuff. This is not lighthearted music, and some people might be turned off by the odd mix of sounds, quite different from most other bands in the style. But the band’s talent shines through and what we’re left with is a very unique and cool piece of music. Get this if you want something to brood to on a rainy day.
What do you get when you grab Stefan Gemballa by the nuts and tell him to crank it the fuck up already?
Well, he cranks it up!
Teeming with passion, Flowing Tears' follow-up to "Serpentine" is very solid indeed. While Serpentine did tend to drag on in parts, these states of boredom are eliminated on the newest release. Much more guitar driven, this album features much more solid riffing throughout. The rhythm section also exhibits more variability, as one will hear more varied drum patterns. Helen Vogt is a competent vocalist, but it is irritating that she can do no better than simply mimic Stefanie Duchene's style (and Duchene did it BETTER!). Nonetheless, she is adequate, and wails like a siren. Razorbliss will indeed move Flowing Tears towards the forefront of melancholic gothic metal, as they have perfected the art. Nothing horribly innovative or mind-blowing, but any fan of this style should be satisfied with "Razorbliss."
Yet another departure from their breakthrough Jade. Razorbliss features a new vocalist Helen Vogt which doesn't turn out to be a disappointment because the female vocals on the album are typically well done. One reason for this is because Vogt and recently departed Stefanie Duchene use similar vocal styles. Vocal melodies are great but the music on this album is rather disappointing. It was still great although the new overdriven distortion guitar stylings lack the atmospheric beauty of their previous guitar harmonies(ala sistersun). They have pretty well abandoned their old guitar harmonies in favor of a more generic, heavier guitar(sound) approach which has been heard countless times before and essentially ruins the ethereal atmosphere they once had. The inclusion of guitar solo's is a strength but its direction like the album in general seems to be bringing this group in a more mainstream direction.
Pretty well each track on this album is well done although you aren't bound to find many standouts. Title track is great but quite a generic opening but it picks up and gets great. Fortunately that lessens within the album. Virago is one of my personal favorites, with pretty good rhythm, nice keyboard touch on the intro. The vocals are what put this and most of the album over the top, the varied vocal style on the chorus I enjoyed. Believe includes male vocals that are screamed but not that heavy almost with a typical mainstream chorus almost solidifying their new direction. Ballad of a Lonely God is a great ballad and contains the most memorable chorus on the entire album. Awesome keyboards, atmosphere and one of the better guitar solo's on the album as well. Top track. Bottom Line? If you are into quality female fronted rock-metal bands you should give this album a shot(although you should start with Jade). Fans of Jade who disliked Serpentine will most likely not find any comfort with this album. Wouldn't highly recommend because there are better albums in the genre but its still a great listen. Favorites : Title Track, Virago, Ballad of a Lonely God, Unspoken