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I am new to metal, and I am epsecially new to Gothic Metal. Then again, I am new to almost every genre out there except for Thrash, Power and Death Metal. Though I must say I have heard enough Gothic Metal to know sound.
Post-Sentenced band entitled PoisonBlack are supposidly called "Gothic Metal". Personally, I don't really understand what is so gothic about them other than the lyrical theme, the vocals, and thats it. There is certainly no atmosphere in this, little progression, and it just drags on. I also don't really understand what is so metal about these guys, other than the distorted guitars, and that's about it. Really, this is more Metallic Rock. According to a friend, he feels that this is the first True Gothic Metal album he has heard, and not to bash him, but thats obvious bullshit.
Don't get me wrong though, Its an effort, and this album has a few decent songs like Love Infernal, and The Exciter. Isn't the key to success hard work?? No offense to the, but this shit is sounds rather rushed. Probably the most gothic song on here is The Exciter, hence it being one of the highlights.
A song I have a real hard time listening to is Glow Of The Flames- the opening song. Basically, it's a rip-off of "Only For The Weak" by In Flames. More like Glow Of In Flames. Another hard aspect to grasp is how little originality they put into this. Amatuers have made better than this, so PoisonBlack, I am sorry. With all do respect, in the words of Crotchduster - "You should maybe take up pottery or perhaps woodworking, cause your band sucks!"
BOTTOM LINE: These guys could have been good, but I will however check out their next release. This has it's ups, but it seems to lack the seritonine, making it more depressing and pitiful to listen to.
Poisonblack is more known for being Ville Laihiala’s (Sentenced’s ex-frontman) “other band”. They actually share a lot of similarities (probably more than they would like to): finnish (where else they would be from? Some would even call Poisonblack a "suomi metal" band, which, in my opinion, does get a little too exclusive), mezzo gothic, mezzo suicidal, mezzo hard rock.
Since we’re making those "disgusting" comparisons, it could be said that Poisonblack do sound more driven than Sentenced, being a much more plain, simple, labeable, gothic metal band - which is not bad. "Escapexstacy" will not surprise you, but it is indeed a well-written album, very fun to listen to, with good musicians and excelent lyrics.
It's remarkable that this release caused a lot of controversy in the media – some loved, some hated. Well, I’m sure every single album ever released is a little like that, but you some albums are just bound to be classics and, therefore, loved and/or respected for the majority of metal fans. “Escapexstacy” is definitely not in that category.
This CD starts off with “The Glow of the Flames”, a short, powerful, gothic tune, just like a gothic metal CD should be started off with. It then continues with “Love Infernal”, the song chosen to have a video clip made of, and one of the most acclaimed tunes off this album. I would highlight “All Else is Hollow”, “In Lust” and “Exciter” as “Escapexstacy”’s best songs, though. Whereas the “All Else …” and “Exciter” are, just to repeat myself, “potent gothic songs”, “In Lust” is more of a ballad with a great sad atmosphere.
I have no words to describe Laihiala’s lyrics. Ok, he may be a little repetitive (“fall from grace” and “debauchery” have got to be two of the things he loves the most to use), but he managed to insert a whole new style of his own. His lyrics, in this CD, praise love, sex, BDSM, lust, betrayal…all those sexy things that just went very well with the music that Poisonblack makes. It’s definitely another thing when you listen to the music while reading the lyrics. They’re just so…captivating.
To sum it up, “Escapexstacy” will definitely be on some people’s “best gothic metal CDs ever” – and will also be the soundtrack to a lot of lovemaking.
Poisonblack was formed so Ville Laihiala of Sentenced could play guitar, but I’ll go into that later. This album will sell simply because of who’s in it, but as usual I am not moved by this modern gothic work. The pick squeals actually sound out of place most of the time.
The first thing that really grabbed me on this album is J.P. Leppäluoto’s (Charon) vocals. He has a really pure baritone and you can tell he sings from the diaphragm. His vocals are clean and there is no straining he really stays within his range.
Well, Ville may not play guitar in Sentenced, but you can definitely tell that his influences are the same. All I hear on this album is the same tired style of guitar work that modern Sentenced uses with a few pick squeals thrown in. The guitar work definitely isn’t all that innovative, but I guess it really doesn’t have to be. It’s just your standard gothic metal style (‘Love Infernal’ does stand out to me), though his solos are very bluesy.
Even though this could have the Sentenced tag on it and only a diehard fan would be able to discern it I do have to give them some credit. In the generally gothic genre keyboards are overused and Poisonblack uses them very sparingly which gives this CD a little more spin value to me. The other thing that I am impressed with is the production. You can hear everything. Even though the music is pretty standard it’s nice to actually be able to pick out the bass line.
This album is for die hard fans of new Sentenced, Charon, or gothic metal in general. Overall this doesn’t add anything to the scene and could easily be called a cash-in project, but I don’t really like to say that because I believe that musicians should be able to have their other musical aspirations released. I may not like it, but if they are keeping their integrity I’ll accept it. Personally I won’t buy this album, not because its necessarily bad (though it would grate on me if I listened to it too often) but because its just not essential.
Poisonblack is a new band out of Finland with some familiar faces: Sentenced vocalist Ville Laihiala sheds his traditional role and picks up the guitar, and J.P. Leppaluoto, also of Charon, handles vocals. Finishing up the band is Janne Kukkonen on bass. We also have two session musicians, Tarmo Kanerva and Marco Sneck, handling drums and keyboards, respectively.
Let’s get one thing out of the way here: if you’re looking for a metal fix, you might want to look elsewhere – but stick with me for just a bit longer! If melancholic goth-rock with a touch of metal is what you’re after, then you’ve found it. I can tell you that melancholic goth-rock most certainly was NOT what I wanted when I first popped the album in, but I ended up enjoying the album more than I thought I would.
ESCAPEXSTACY is your fairly typical post-Sentenced goth rock, and there are no real surprises here. Many of the songs tend to run together with the same monotonous drone (which I’m sure is “necessary” to capture the “anguish” of the goth aspect...heh), and plenty of “where did the guitars go?” moments as J.P. sneaks in a few vocal lines. Though I find J.P.’s voice to be a little too slick in some places, his vocals have a rich, clean sound instead of whiny and limp.
The strongest tracks on the album are clustered in the beginning. “Glow of the Flames” leads things off on somewhat of a weak, droning step, but starts to pick up towards the end of the track. “Love Infernal” is the first good track, reminding me quite a bit of Type O Negative throughout. The Zakk Wylde-esque solo around the 2:40 mark is a nice treat. In fact, when Ville actually wants to deliver some decent riffs, he can provide them, most often with a certain Zakk Wylde flair to them. “The State” is up next, my favourite of the album. It gets off to a slow dirge-like start, but picks up some good riffs somewhere along the line, which, combined with a great chorus makes for some excellent listening. After “All Else is Hollow,” which features some nice groove-laden guitars, the album starts to slide.
“In Lust” is one of those tracks that doesn’t do anything but meander for five and a half minutes. “Exiter” (Dammit, I though maybe we were going to stand back for Exciter) could be another good track with some aggressive guitars, but the silly keys and geigh spoken/whisper interludes really kill the song. “Lay Your Heart to Rest” is the last great track on the album. This one is very much like “The State,” but with better guitar work. The middle passage and solo really stick out with a forceful groove. The album plummets once again after this into “With Her I Die,” another track that goes nowhere, except for about 30 seconds of a very good, emotional solo starting at 3:09. “Illusion/Dellusion” has somewhat of a ballad feel to it, and sounds like it could have come right from the last Sentenced album, THE COLD WHITE LIGHT. “The Kiss of Death” ends the album with some of the more aggrressive riffs on the album, but only through parts of the track. Unfortunately, the guitars just begin to come alive in the last 30 seconds of the album.
One more thing I enjoy about the CD is the artwork. I absolutely love the cover! The beautiful goth chick with flaming red hair, clad in black leather, and blowing a handful of black feathers around. I wish I knew who she was as she iss acknowledged only as “Mistress Violet.” One more familiar face shows up here; Sentenced drummer Vesa Ranta contributes the photography and artwork for the album. I wish I had a full album in front of me as the layout looks very nice thus far.
Ville Laihiala has stated repeatedly that Poisonblack is not just a side project as he gives Sentenced a temporary rest, so I suspect we shall be hearing more from Poisonblack in the future. Ville has demonstrated that he can lay down some damn good licks if he’d only put his mind to it. ESCAPEXSTACY contains the potential for some good songs to escape if they would only cut the droning sameness that drags much of the album down.
(Originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, May, 2003
Well what can I say? It’s better than Sentenced that’s for sure. Sentenced is good, but not much gothic/goth metal in the world will beat this album. Perhaps Entwine, but that’s it! When a lot of people say that Norway is the best country at Black Metal and that they are outstanding in the genre, the same with Sweden and Melodic Death Metal and they are probably right if we measure in success. I would now like to add Finland and their superb Gothic/goth metal scene with clean male vocals. Bands like Entwine, To Die For, Sentenced, For My Pain (Three members from Eternal Tears Of Sorrow).
The commercial success has not been waiting, with the band Him who plays “Love Metal” which sounds very to familiar to goth, but with the simple difference that they suck(and sound like for that matter) like a vacuum cleaner, but what do you expect from “MTV metal”?
The most of reason of why this is a good album is simple because Sentenced vocalist is such a damn good guitarist! It sounds like he have played guitar all he’s life (With my luck he probably have)
Poisonblack will probably lead the Goth scene for some time, if all of the members will continue with this band…which will not happen since this a side-project, but a damn good side-project!
Favourite tracks: With Her I Die, Illusion-Delusion, The Kiss Of Death