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The second album since the departure of the band’s founder and lead singer, Alessandro Nunziati, the second album with only Sonya Scarlet on vocals. It is very strange as a Theatres des Vampires (TDV) album, because it is completely different, and not like their older albums, it’s more like an album from The Birthday Massacre. No extreme vocals, just very strong keyboard-based music.
If I’d rate it as a TDV album, I would give it 20%, but this music worths 95%, because it is actually very good, strong, well-written, melodic, catchy and emotional in my opinion, and it is interesting that the band wants to try something new. Sonya’s voice is definitely better, she has a very unique voice that fits very well to this music, she is fantastic as a singer, but this music needs a male voice too, more than we have on this one! (Even with the guest singers, like Christian Ice on ’Blood Addiction’, Giampaolo Caprino (Stormlord) / Luca Bellanova (ex-Stormlord) on ’Wherever You Are’ and 'Butterfly'). We even can hear her singing some opera vocals with the help of Hanna Kej on ’From the Deep’ and ’Anima Noir’. For my taste, Giampaolo Caprino has the perfect voice for gothic metal, he was a perfect choice.
Fabian Varesi takes his keyboard playing to a higher level and makes his instrument dominate, the whole album is full of symphonic, electronic and industrial elements, the main melodies are mostly by keyboards, and it is a pleasure for keyboard-lovers!
The other instruments? Nothing special, but this doesn’t mean that they are not well-written and well-placed. The production is perfect, you can hear all the instruments separately. By the way, this is the first time we can hear the new guitarist, Stephan Benfante. He does a great job, the solos are good, but his playing is average and more simple.
Believe me, if you can accept the fact, that the band is not what is used to be, and if you are familiar with industrial and electronic gothic metal, you will certainly like this one. If not, and you want to hear some real Theatres des Vampires music, then listen to Lord Vampyr’s solo albums, you won’t be disappointed, I promise!
Theatres des Vampires are not your average metal band any longer. Since the departure of Lord Vampyr, the vocal duties are being taken over by Countess Scarlet. I did listen to one of their songs from the album ‘Bloody Lunatic Asylum’ and honestly, the band sounded good back then. How about their latest offering Anima Noir? Would there be anything to glorify their good old days?
There are a few highlight tracks in this album. However, I am not going to describe all of them one by one because it will become too tedious and bland. Obviously, the overall nature of this album is keyboard dominated but that does not bring down the album’s decent quality. Although most metal fans would consider this band as an embarrassment to the genre, somehow I believed that Theatres des Vampires are worthy to be around. The most astonishing aspects of this album are, first the brilliant production. No question about it. Interestingly enough, you can hear every inch of the instruments in its entirety. The guitars are polished and heavy, well, at least to me. Of course, the bass guitar is highly audible and pounding that it complements the bass drums. Yes. That is another main highlight of this album; the drums. Perhaps most of you may overlook the person who sits behind the drum kit and does all the pummeling. Despite the basic patterns of his drumming technique, he never strays away from the tempo that is the good thing about him. Don’t ever dream of having blast beats or rapid double bass for this band, or otherwise you will catch a damn fever. Too bad, I do not remember his name but never mind, he gets the credit all right. The song “Rain” is a cover from The Cult, which honestly I do not really know much about the original band who recorded the track. This song is all about danceable beats. It is perhaps almost impossible to head bang along to such a kinky track.
I know it may sound ridiculous to most of you metal warriors out there, but hear me out; the second aspect that has attracted me into liking this type of music is how Theatres des Vampires managed to survive as a band that now have shifted from blackened Gothic metal into what they are today. I absolutely praised their courage and willingness to progress without having to worry about losing their fans or how would extreme metal fans view the band’s theatrical imagery and average stage performance. I do admit that at first, I find it so hard to enjoy Anima Noir but after a few listens and careful consideration, eventually I love the band for what they are and what they do. Of course, I would say Sonya Scarlet is not your typical operatic or melodic vocalist. She has her own distinct styles that perfectly blend with the new music of Theatres des Vampires. Her voice is somewhat “resilient” and deep. To some listeners this may appears as annoying but let us just say that Countess Scarlet is good at what she has been doing now and then. There are moments where I would enjoy her vocals, especially in tracks like “From the Deep”, “Butterfly” and “Wherever You Are”. Scarlet has unconsciously unleashed her passionate vocal talents in these songs. It is the voice of a bloodthirsty woman in the dungeons of loneliness. Perhaps it is the studio trick, perhaps not. In the choruses of “Two Seconds” Scarlet has more power in her singing while maintaining the amorous catchiness throughout the chorus. Good one though. Finally, this album closes off with the haunting title – track ballad. Not much to say here. It is just like any ordinary ballad out there. Well, 80 seem to be the lowest possible rating for Anima Noir. Like what I did in the past, I never wanted to overrate certain bands just because they appealed to my personal flavor in particular. Because not everything is what it seems, like what this album has. Clearly not an album of choice for metal heads but I just want to try new things. I would rather listen to this one than Bring Me the Horizon.
Okay, here are some thoughts that I would like to share with you. Theatres des Vampires are not a great band but at least they are honest to both themselves and their fans. They are not that bad either. If you are looking for a band that has extreme ideology, uncompromising velocity and deadly musicianship, stay away from this album. Better, forget about buying it altogether. However, if you are sick of head banging and want to enjoy yourself on the dance floor, I suggest you buy this record or better yet download the whole album to save your money. (I would want to encourage piracy but given the fucked up system of my country’s government, it seems to be the only way.)