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Stronger than most other gothic bands - 87%

PorcupineOfDoom, January 11th, 2015

There's an idea that 'gothic metal' means the same thing as 'female-fronted wannabe metal'. That seems to be a common train of thought among metalheads, and although it is applicable to some bands (mostly falling into the symphonic gothic category), Blackthorn isn't one of them. Alright, they have got a female vocalist, but she does screams as well as cleans. Alright, they have a keyboard who is largely present, but the riffs from the guitars are pretty strong and do a lot to guarantee that this can be seen as a legitimate metal band.

First things first, I like to bring up the band Serpent & Seraph, mostly to talk about Kas St.Clare and her awesome vocal abilities. So that's what I'm going to do here, compare one aspect of that gothic metal band to this one. Kas sings in a different way to Aina, so in a sense it's hard to compare the two of them. Aina tends to use operatic vocals, which means she never really shows off just her great her range is. Plus the screams that the band say they use are few and far between, if used at all (I'm not sure I heard them once). For only operatic cleans she does have a good range, but compared with Kas who can do operatic cleans, regular singing and death growls, Aina doesn't really stand out. Don't get me wrong, because she's certainly not bad and I do enjoy listening to her voice, but she's not the best that I've ever heard.

However, what they might lack (ever so slightly) in the vocal department is made up for with the rest of the band. The guitars are so much more forceful than Serpent & Seraph (where they can hardly be heard), and although they serve mostly to be the foundations of the band they still have some nice qualities about them. At least Blackthorn like to play something heavy enough for the metal elitists, which I'm not sure Serpent & Seraph manage to do.

The drumming is a little annoying though. Not so much how the drums are played, because that's actually done very well and I'm actually quite surprised to find drumming of that calibre fitting into a gothic metal band. It's nicely varied but the guy never tries to overtake the rest of the band to advertise himself. Sadly there's something about the sound quality that just doesn't sound right. So what do the band do? Of course, they push it further into the listener's face and make it very noticeable. Sod's law. Something had to ruin it.

Even though this is a relatively short album in a genre that has its fair share of haters, I enjoyed Gossamer Witchcraft a great deal. I'm more accustomed to listening to this stuff than some, but I feel it was thirty-five minutes well-spent and I'd urge you to listen to this band if you're even remotely interested in gothic metal or metal bands with female operatic vocals.