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Wrong place, wrong time, wrong singer. - 95%

Dannu, November 6th, 2015
Written based on this version: 1998, CD, Earache Records

Entwined were a British metal band who emerged around 1998 and played, what most would describe as Gothic metal but the band were so much more than that. Entwined were rather unusually signed to Earache record, a label known for the more brutal side of metal and they appeared on Earplugged 3 the Earache compilation with their song 'Shed Nightward Beauty'. This is where I first heard them and it seemed to be a good move because not only did a lot of people hear about them this way but the track really stood out amongst the other harder hitting songs. First off let me say that 'Dancing Under Glass' was way ahead of it's time. Too far ahead of its time unfortunately. The UK in 1998 was awash with Nu-metal clones and rubbish alternative bands with the hardcore scene just starting to poke it's head in and no-one really knowing what to do with it besides be boringly brutal. Only two other UK bands were pursuing the synth metal route at that time and they were Paradise Lost and Cradle Of Filth so the album was a breath of fresh air on all counts.

Musically there isn't a bad song on the album. Honesty! Aside from the keyboards, which I'll get to in a minute, the band's first impressions is that of a cross between Iron Maiden and Metallica. Guitar harmonies aplenty and some really awesome powerchord style riffing is fused to perfection and keeps the album varied with the nice bits being backed up by the heavier bits when needed. Mark Royce's keyboard lines are lush and epic with arpeggios flying all over the place and some choice chords padding out the action. Additionally, the selection of twinkly patches and rich string sounds make every song sound huge. There is a lack of guitar solos for a band of this type but I know that they are only needed when they are needed and their absence doesn't take away from the music at all.

Production wise the album is what I would call very organic. The album was recorded and mixed by Russ Russell and by today's standards it's dull and muffled, but then again most modern metal albums are smashed by limiters and are chronically over produced whereas 'Dancing Under Glass' is quite easy on the ears. No triggers on the bass drum and the guitars are slightly fizzy but they are backed up with good mixing with the bass so no real power is lost when it gets heavy. It all sounds too good to be true but there is one fatal flaw from this album and that unfortunately is the vocals. Singer/Guitarist Steven John Tovey is so badly out of key on almost every song that it almost smears the entire experience of the album. The sad thing is that the timbre of his voice is actually quite good and gruff, but to put it plainly he just can't hit notes right and sometimes even the timbre fails (the droning first few lines of 'Under A Killing Moon' are particularly cringeworthy!).

I listened to this album constantly in the late 90's and being what I considered a professional musician I could look past the vocals and appreciate what else was there, but numerous attempts to show it to other friends were met with a brick wall simply due to the singing. In the days before Melodyne and Variaudio if you couldn't sing, it showed but should they have kicked him out the band? Absolutely not, he was the guitarist also and probably contributed a great deal to the songs in one way or another. Should someone have told them to get another singer in? Without a doubt! It's interesting that Tovey's new band 'The King Is Blind' which also features Entwined Guitarist Lee James, has him doing some pretty cool death metal screaming and this would have gone down much better on 'Dancing Under Glass' although I think the better option would have been to get a proper singer in as actual melodies would suit the beautiful music much better.

Lyrically, well I don't usually mention lyrics but I will here - for the Gothic type stuff they were doing they do fit rather well, though even at the time when I was right into that stuff I did think they were a bit 'too' flowery especially as Tovey himself is a big tough looking bearded guy with a shaved head, but as stated they do fit the feel rather well.

On a side note, if by some miracle the session tracks for this album were ever found and vocals were done with a fresh recording featuring a screaming Tovey or another singer I'm not entirely sure I'd be comfy with it as I'm just so used to the original by now. Conditioning can be a powerful thing! (By the way Steve, if you somehow ever read this, sorry about bringing up the vocals thing again as you're probably sick of it but it has to be a fair review.)

So there you have it, a tremendous album and a really talented band who were robbed of being huge by a sub-par vocal performance and the unfortunate circumstance of appearing at a time when no-one really gave a shit about that sort of thing. Fast forward 8 years and with the mid 2000s Finnish invasion and power metal craze sweeping the UK with keyboards and harmonies at every turn it's worth remembering just exactly who got there first.

Be open minded, listen to the music and enjoy this amazing album, warts and all.

Quite classy British gothic metal here! - 73%

Lane, November 27th, 2011

Entwined's one and only album 'Dancing under Glass' became my another favourite English metal album right after I bought it back in 1998. I wrote a review about it, too, but it was so bad I must write a new one.

'Dancing under Glass' still sounds good, which is kind of a surprise after all these years. See, Entwined didn't invent metal, they just got influenced by various thing they mixed in ther music. Succesfully. Gothic metal doesn't do much to me nowadays, but of course all the classic albums still rule. "Classic British gothic metal" reads on the sticker on the cover and basically, it's quite well put. Mixture of classic British gothic metal in vein of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and The Blood Divine, and British sounding heavy metal with some 'Master of Puppets' era (1986) Metallica style riffing is pretty damned good, presenting loads of catchy metal riffs and leads. This is heavy when compared to gothic "metal" of today, and thanks for that goes to rhythm section, too. The songs are nicely crafted, offering enough of variety. There are not much softer parts, which I think is a good thing. Organic production by Simon Efemey is okay, but still a bit blurred.

Keyboards play important part. At least now they sound general gothic stuff done to death, be it eerie, epic or piano work. At their best they make the band sound really epic. However, they do not ruin much in my opinion, but I seriously believe that Entwined would have worked better as 2 guitars/bass/drums band. At least when hearing the ballsless and powerless vocals. No skill to sing and most of time off-key, the vocals are bad (sounding like a worse of ex-Anathema / The Blood Divine vocalist Darren White). Okay, the voice isn't the loudest thing in the mix, which was a wise decision to make. Calmer clean voice is a tad better than awful rougher ones. Which aren't rough at all, to tell the truth. A few growled vocals show, that using growl would have been the ideal style here. Love themed lyrics are lame, but what to expect from such?

I considered hard, whether should I grant 'Dancing under Glass' a honorary mention or no. My choice is no, because of the bad vocals. I remember I got over them after a few spins and found out how good the songs are. And the songs are still as good as back in 1998. Almost classy stuff, this.

(originally reviewed for in 2005)

Majestic sounding album - 65%

MorbidAtheist666, June 2nd, 2004

This album is OK. It's got some substance on it. It features some great guitar work. The only thing is that the keyboards get really boring after a while. There are many flaws on this album.

One of the biggest flaws on this album are the vocals. The vocals are really awful on this album. The vocalist sounds really out key on this album. I also don't like the way the vocalist's vocals sound.

The keyboards are really monotonous. I hear the same keyboard sound on many tracks on this album. What's up with that? The keyboardist should of done much better. He's capable of doing good things.

The guitar on this album sounds pretty awful at times. The riffs sound really bland on the album. The guitar sounds extremely awful when single notes are played on it.

There's nothing really special on this album. I'm surprised that Entwined got signed onto Earache records. Where are they now? Too bad this is the only album Entwined released. They could of evolved into something really great. Maybe the vocalist would sound better on future releases. I don't know, judging from the way he sounds on here, I don't think he can sound any better.