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Wash, rinse and repeat. - 69%

Liquid_Braino, February 14th, 2013

Lunatica! Like Metallica, but CRAZY!

Wouldn't that be something. No, this gang are part of the whole 'corset metal' scene that was spreading like wildfire back in the early 00's. I mean, look at them, there's even the requisite bald man in the background. As for whether they lean towards the gothic side or symphonic angle, in this case it's clearly the latter musically, while lyrically both uplifting and downbeat lyrics are utilized. With their pop-leaning followup, The Edge of Infinity, being my introduction to the band, I wasn't anticipating much in terms of quality outside of maybe a murkier production, so after a few songs in I was actually enjoying it simply because it actually rocks a bit, certainly compared to their next release.

Listening to the album as a whole, though, results in its flaws eventually revealing themselves, and there's no shortage of them, but I will say that the production itself is fine. Without a doubt a it's a substantial improvement over their debut, although considering how atrocious Atlantis sounds, that wasn't exactly a major hurdle to jump. The synthesized orchestration, which may have sounded suitably bombastic and lush a decade ago, hasn't aged particularly well. The prominent placement of the keyboards in the mix doesn't do the songs any favors as a result, draping them with thick layers of chintziness.

What hurts the album most though, emerging to light by about the halfway point, is just how similar most of these songs are to each other. Almost every tune operates off open E chord palm muted riffs and progressions at mid tempo to upbeat pacing. Only the title track, a ballad no less, offers a bit of variety. When I'm dealing with something like this, I always try to place myself into the band's creative process. "This song is great, let's do another one just like it, and then another one....fuck it let's just do a whole bunch of the same shit." Yeah, it boggles my mind.

Andrea herself isn't bad at all. Nothing special, but for the most part it works in that her voice itself is reasonably endearing. Not as technically accomplished as, say, Liv Kristine, but hell I find that Liv's voice has all the appeal of a horse's ass compared to this chick, at least concerning the Theatre Of Tragedy days.

As for the band, with the exception of the keyboardist spazzing out on the synthesizer, the musicians keep things pretty forthright and simple, with only a few tunes changing things up on occasion. That isn't to say the album is nothing more than a repetitive snooze-fest, as individually, at least half of them are catchy enough to sing in the shower. Belting out "Give us this day all that you showed me, the power and the glory 'til thy kingdom come!" while soaping up your privates is a prime way to start the morning. As well, after a couple of listens, I could discern some of the tracks that best represent the band, such as the killer vocal hook of "Still Believe", the punchy zest of "The Spell" and the climactic surge of "A Little Moment of Desperation".

The trouble is, that initial spin of the entire release is crucial in presenting the band, and they come off as a one trick pony. By track nine I couldn't believe they were still kick-starting their damn songs with open E shit yet again. How do they not get bored out of their minds? It's like some collective tunnel vision they possessed during this recording. They had an idea...one fucking idea...and that's all that matters, except for the curveball they threw in regarding the ballad, which sheds a little light into the direction they would veer in the future.

So it's a grower, thanks to some good songs that would have stood out even more if there was more variety to Fables & Dreams. I would also consider it their best release, certainly from a metal perspective, but it's not something I would rank on a top ten list concerning the genre they inhabit.