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A damn good try - 74%

gasmask_colostomy, June 13th, 2018

There are a plethora of bands playing gothic metal and pretending that they are the only ones doing so. Since EverEve have tried to label themselves cygorome (cyber gothic rock metal) you’d guess that they were one of many who like to think of themselves as special. The reality is that Tried & Failed is not a far cry from the other post-Moonspell and Tiamat groups who have tried to make the genre both accessible and dark at the same time. In fact, I wouldn’t say that EverEve have failed in that attempt, merely that - reasonable quality aside - there isn’t much to make this stand out from the others.

Dealing with that word “cyber” at first, there isn’t enough of industrial in these songs to warrant such a description, although there are pronounced electronic elements that come to the fore in the intros to several songs, notably ‘Pine Oil Heaven’, which carries the effect into a vaguely mechanized chorus groove too. Don’t worry, the lyrics aren’t an advertisement for a pine oil shop. Another wrangle that often gets brought up with these kind of goth bands is whether they are actually metal anymore: as far as Tried & Failed is concerned, the crunch of the guitars is not too far from the focus at most moments, doing double duty with the keyboards in many of the songs and even hitting harder with some big riffs when ‘On Thin Ice’ kicks off. Something final to consider is actually how much of a true “goth” album this is, because I usually think of gothic music as a downbeat and melodic experience. There are slow moments to be found here, though the vast majority of the songs are uptempo, utilizing the keyboards to form symphonic backing to big choruses that swell hopefully with Michael Zeissl's grave but lofty voice. The pace is also quick enough to seek airplay in cyber/goth/steampunk/freak clubs; however, I suppose that the trend has long passed and, incidentally, so have EverEve.

Many of the songs follow a similar path to the style I’ve described, balancing greater industrial influence on the busy and moody opening to ‘I’m Not Afraid (Of Losing You Again)’ with melodic guitar shapes on the title track that remind me of Paradise Lost’s neglected late-‘90s work. There is room for a few quieter moments, particularly the two-part instrumental ‘Thighs Wide Shut’, the title of which is club-goth gold, while ‘Anima Sola’ is a pretty good downbeat pop rock number with big chorus backing that lets the pensive and romantic lyrics come to the fore. Only ‘Hide from Me’ seems like a poor decision, seemingly trying to sound like old Linkin Park by adding turntable scratches and hip-hop drum and bass.

Although I thought at first that Tried & Failed would be a boring and generic experience, I’m pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful treatment that they’ve given to well-worn subjects and a genre that, these days, is past its sell-by date. This final album by the group has aged well since 2005 and leaves no indication that EverEve failed, though certainly that they tried.

--May Diamhea's feat of 100 reviews in 7 days remain unbeaten --