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Mely > Portrait of a Porcelain Doll > Reviews > kluseba
Mely - Portrait of a Porcelain Doll

Numbing melancholy at its greatest - 90%

kluseba, January 30th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Silverwolf-Productions

Mely were an excellent Austrian gothic metal band that I discovered when they opened for German symphonic metal group Xandria about a decade ago. The group immediately stood out among many exchangeable gothic metal acts. The main reason was the band's incredibly atmospheric music inspired by melancholic doom metal and lethargic gothic metal without female voices, harsh vocals or any other distractions. Mely's pure music is mysteriously hypnotizing but never boring as the choruses are quite catchy and the few guitar solos simple but very efficient. The group recalls the best moments of Type 0 Negative's and Paradise Lost's mellower moments.

This type of music works best if you give it a few spins to fully unfold. This record gets better the more you listen to it carefully. The sinister quasi-title track ''Bricks Against Porcelain Dolls'' has a disturbing and eerie soundscape and meanders between a dark verse and a desperate chorus. The vocals vary from almost grim spoken-word sequences over mysterious whispers to melodic clean vocals. The saddening lyrics are also worth one's attention. The album cover reflects the track's topic perfectly and is just as haunting as the song itself. Another outstanding track is the lethargic ''Hell Low'' that takes some time to quick up the pace and leads to the album's catchiest chorus. Even though this track was chosen for a few gothic magazine compilations back then, it isn't even remotely commercial but has the same gloomy and sinister atmosphere as the other tracks with a slightly more modern production and sound. On the other side, the simplistic but efficient ''Don't Wake the Sleeping Dog'' almost entirely relies on acoustic guitars and mellow vocals before the track reaches its emotional climax in the final third before melancholic piano sounds perfectly close this quiet grower.

Portrait of a Porcelain Doll is greater than the sum of its part thanks to an incredibly melancholic atmosphere and a coherent flow between the different tracks that are all worth your attention and time. Despite its simplistic musicianship and seemingly unspectacular execution, less is so much more as this album really exemplifies what gothic metal should be all about. This is a haunting album to listen to on a rainy autumn night on your own with a good drink and dimmed lights. It's a shame that Mely don't seem to be around anymore because they were easily among the best gothic metal band's of this millennium's first decade. If you can get your hands on any of Mely's records, don't hesitate to discover the profound world of authentic gothic music.