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Odd, moody, ethereal stuff. - 88%

Empyreal, November 29th, 2011

In the past I’ve been rather wary of female fronted bands…but that is now changing as I discover albums like this, which defy everything that people think of when they think ‘hot-chick-fronted goth metal.’ Flowing Tears is a German band and they are just weird, weird, weird.

At first, the sludgy guitars and the super-low female vocals sounds a bit messy, a bit off kilter…but you can’t stop listening! There’s a real unity of effect here present on every song, and while they run together a bit at first, each one eventually reveals a great miasma of atmospheric bliss, some cool riffs and some great vocal hooks from singer Helen Vogt, who has one of the most distinctive female voices I’ve heard in metal. She never shows off and sticks solely to this low, moaning voice that ends up getting addictive once you listen long enough. The guitars are a low, rumbling bellow of hypnotic rhythms and chunky riffs. They never speed up to anything faster than midtempo, but the power here lies in the somber melodies, the arcane moods evoked…

Really this is an album best listened to as a whole, as each song builds on the last to create a 40 minute tour de force. It works better when you just let each song roll over you in waves, without breaking it up too much. The mood shifts seamlessly from moody, pensive crooners like “Believe” and “Mine is the Ocean” to aggressive, venom-filled biters like “Virago” and the nasty “Maladine.” The lyrics are all very cryptic and cool, and depressive to boot.

This is actually closer to the old 80s-90s gothic sound that a lot of people initially want when they hear the name ‘gothic metal.’ A lot of the songwriting focuses more on atmosphere and crawling rhythms than on riffs or vocals, and the whole thing is so opaque and mystical that it really is closer to Fields of the Nephilim than, say, Epica or something. I’m no expert on gothic rock music, I’m just going by what I hear, and I think this will appeal just as much to fans of that niche as people who like some straight up moody, atmospheric metal/rock.

So Flowing Tears is a cool as hell band, and I will definitely be listening to more of their stuff. This is not lighthearted music, and some people might be turned off by the odd mix of sounds, quite different from most other bands in the style. But the band’s talent shines through and what we’re left with is a very unique and cool piece of music. Get this if you want something to brood to on a rainy day.