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The Symphony of the Night - 95%

Lasombra1750, October 16th, 2013

After the killer album that "The Vampire Chronicles" was, Theatres des Vampires continued pretty much with the ideas of their second album while at the same time adding new elements. In first place, this is the first album with Sonya Scarlet as a vocalist, but her role is pretty much limited to backing vocals and choirs with her partner, Justine Consuelo. Second, the band decided to drop the thrash metal and traditional heavy metal influences that were present in the past album, instead the symphonic gothic metal and melodic black metal parts were increased with the adition of even more keyboards, operatic backing vocals and male/female duet dynamics.

The best part of this work are the keyboards, something that comes as no surprise, since co-main songwriter Necros is one of the best in the business. The keyboards are way more varied and take a more symphonic and classical approach than in the second album. Sure, we have still the good-ol' church organs that were overused in the past releases on songs like "Dances with Satan", "Une Saison en Enfer" and the intro of "Oath of Supremacy". However, the best part comes when the symphonic and classical elements take part in the music: "Oath of Supremacy" has a very beautiful piano-driven mid-part, "Till' the Last Drop of Blood" has some really nice choral arrangments in the main part of the song and finishes with a great piano outro, and both "Lunatic Asylum" and "Altar for the Black Mass" are great songs with their good use of synths, the latter also has a spooky piano intro that could perfectly fit in a horror movie.

Let's move on to the vocals, which have always been one of the strengths of this band. Lord Vampyr's vocals are excellent as usual, be it his high-pitched shrieks or his low-tenor clean vocals. And yes, Sonya Scarlet makes her debut here, but she is exclusively used as a background vocalist and chorist, alongside her partner Justine Consuelo. The female vocals are only used in the choirs of songs like "Dominions" and "Dances with Satan", for spoken parts and monologues or the ocassional operatic vocals in "Till' the Last Drop of Blood" and the outro of "Lunatic Asylum".

Another thing I liked was the drum work which was a lot better than in "The Vampire Chronicles". In that album, the drums took a thrashier approach which was good but not outstanding, here they are played in a more power metal fashion that works very well and gives a lot of energy to the music. The influence of power metal in the drumming can be heard especially in the choirs and outro of "Dances with Satan" and the first part of "Lilith's Child". Another good thing about the drums is that blast-beats make a return since the first album with some brief moments in the fast, melodic black metal parts of "Til the Last Drop of Blood" and "Dances with Satan".

The guitar work is still pretty good, but isn't as creative as in the past album. The guitars are used more as a backing instrument now, and there aren't as many solos as in "The Vampire Chronicles", such a pity. But hey, at least the guitar sound is more powerful and the riffs are very catchy, there some beautiful leads on "Oath of Supremacy" and "Lunatic Asylum". Also, I liked the acoustic/clean guitar parts of some songs such as the intro and outro of "Une Saison en Enfer", that reminds me a lot of Moonspell's "A Werewolf Masquerade". Bass, while it isn't as outstanding as in the second work, is clearly audible and adds a lot of depth to the music.

And again, the only major flaw of this work are the lyrics, something that comes as no surprise considering the comical and over-the-top nature of the band. To summarize, Theatres des Vampires comes up again with an awesome album, and choosing the best album of the Italian band between this one, "Iubilaeum..." and "The Vampire Chronicles" is a hard pick. If you like melodic black/gothic metal or bands such as Cradle of Filth and Siebenbürgen better, then this is the album you're looking for.

Favourite songs: "Une Saison en Enfer", "Dances with Satan", "Altar for the Black Mass", "Lunatic Asylum", "Oath of Supremacy", "Dominions".

Obscure, or what? - 85%

zervyx, April 7th, 2006

Before Scarlett became the front singer of the band, before they changed their sound, before Theatres des Vampires became what it is today; they had quite an obscure atmosphere around them. “Bloody Lunatic Asylum” shows that tough but melodic obscure sound.

Usually when we read “Gothic/Black”, somehow Cradle of Filth comes to our minds but "Bloody Lunatic Asylum is not that similar to early CoF era, the only similitudes are the vocals and the keyboards, other than that this album is more melodic.

In this album I can recognize elements of different metal styles. The guitars and vocals are usually into Melodic Black at the times. Keyboards, male clean vocals and guest female vocals are in the Gothic Metal field. The drumming, in the other hand, switches to common euro-power metal style at the times, its definatly not old school black metal.

“´Til the Last Drop of Blood” starts with gothic keyboards, suddenly joined by guitars and “Cradle-ish” vocals. The chorus is a blast, tough drumming, tough guitars but also an obscure atmosphere and some female clean singing mixed with the screams of vocals.

“Une saison en enfer” has beautiful keyboard figures during the verses, and I should remark that there’s plenty of clean male and female singing here.

“Lilith’s child” has a great euro-power metal drumming and the guitars have a technique that can often be seen in Amon Amarth and melodic black metal bands. There’s a bridge in the song, quite atmospheric, latin lyrics, and studio effects that makes it sound like a horror movie.

“Dances with Satan” starts with an organ sound, which is joined by the “Cradle-ish” vocals that will stay for most of the song. There’s a good double bass drumming in the chorus and the organ during the whole song is awesome, you can actually listen how the song turns rougher as it goes. Other interesting details are the “satanic” and “Latin” lyrics here.

The best songs of the album are “Dances with Satan” and “Dominions”, which has an awesome melodic catchy chorus with clean vocals mixed with the typical screams. This is a good example of a song that can be listened many many times, only because of the chorus.

I can truly state that “Bloody Lunatic Asylum” is one of the most obscure albums I’ve ever heard, quite recommended to people that like Gothic/Meloblack and Melodic Death Metal.