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Boring - 55%

mz_412, September 19th, 2005

Gothic rock is a term which is used to death to label anything that is not quite metal but darker than more conventional rock bands in atmosphere. Daeonia could be classed under this label and are one band who I believe fit in this particular field. Daeonia are not what you would expect from a Candlelight release, a Dutch six-piece who came across as a mix between the almost poppy upbeat yet melancholic hooks of Vendemmian, Ikon and even Fields Of The Nephilim if you want to push it with vocals that are a cross between Moonspell's Fernando Ribiero and HIM's Ville Valo, all given depth thanks to dense soundscapes that constantly lies in the background. The band also hold quite a strong influence from the eighties and names such as The Cure and The Mission. This band were plagued by problems and broke up after the release of this album. Musically Daeonia were one of the more interesting bands on this circuit mixing simple gothic rock, classical and atmospheric strains so effectively. Classical grand piano is heard quite often throughout this album. The only real thing bringing this band down are the vocals which do not change at all and sound unfortunately too similar to Ville Valo but dropped a few octaves. Imagine Fernando from Moonspell trying to sing falsetto like Ville but cant make it as he has a deeper voice. The singer ends up sounding flat and makes it difficult to fully connect with the music. Daeonia sound at their best during the interludes and breakdowns occuring frequently where the guitarist and keyboardists talents really come upfront into the spotlight.

'Crescendo' is packed full to the brim with catchy melodies and hooks. The main one which is destined to get lodged in your head is the chorus of 'Meridian (11311999)'. Another catchy part is the keyboard line of 'The Bridge And The Ashes' sounding like it should be in an old sci-fi computer game. 'Within The Blink Of An Eye' is a great song opening with a lone piano playing conveying shifts in mood getting more intense as it ebbs and flows from loud to soft. This is accompanied unfortunately by covals which I mentioned earlier. As this song progresses we hear beautiful ethereal guitars, atmospheric soundscapes and distant echoing percussion. There could be no finer interlude to split the album in half. 'Requiem' is another song similar to the beautiful and melancholic second half of 'Within The Blink Of An Eye' which slowly draws to a close to finish this album. Additional ethereal female vocals are heard in the somewhat more cheerful 'The Ghosts Of Christmas Past' courtesy of Robynne Leah from the band Sepherium lending a romantic twist to Daeonia's already darkly romantic sound. Some interesting time signatures are heard with the tracks 'Bitter Sweet' and 'In Cimmerian Dreams' which seem borrowed from jazz. There is an underlying hint from traditional Dutch music which makes it obvious that Daeonia reside in Holland, similar to fellow countrymen Within Temptation who hold a similar traditional streak in their sound. This is also coupled with the singers strong Dutch accent.

Visually the booklet for 'Crescendo' is striking. Graphic design with an emphasis on the eye, the gateway to ones soul. There is also a cosmic and astronomical feel to it. 'Crescendo' is definately a well crafted album from a mature band which flows and reads like a book. Although I found Daeonia's sound too bland and mellow at times and too romantic sounding in others there are enough progressions and intriguing elements to hold my interest. I guess if you are a fan of eighties goth like The Mission or The Fields Of The Nephilim, or modern bands like HIM and Moonspell then you will discover much to treasure about this album. Daeonia do have a dense and thick sound aided by constant background atmospherics giving them some sort of a backbone. What metalheads will think of this I have no idea as there is very little, if any metal on offer here. This is not my favourite album but it is nowhere near as bad as they could be. I guess this band will remain as the band who did a cover of The Sisters Of Mercy's 'Alice' as that is all they are destined to be. It is a shame that the rest of their material cannot hold up to expectations.