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They should have stayed underground - 50%

Zeroumus, March 14th, 2005

When reviewing a band that is currently in the mid-underground spotlight, bias tends to run rampant in reviews, but this review will have nothing of the sort. I have had this album for a few weeks now, and it was certainly not neglected. As with any new album that is failing to impress, I gave it time to build, listened in different mindsets, at varying times, and in alternate environments, and I will strongly state that I do not “get” this album. Or, in another wording, I found nothing of mental value in Genevieve. Not many people will admit to not “getting” an album because most would consider that to be synonymous with stupidity, particularly an album that has been regarded as a thinking-man’s release by some. But, not comprehending an album hinges on personal taste, hardly intelligence. Clearly, LVG and SGL have more entwine with their music than nature themes, and although most will claim that they understand the band, the truth is that only the members of this enigmatic organization do (interviews have revealed that although the musical aspect is of two people, there are many others involved).

Getting to actual album itself, the music is well constructed. Anyone who enjoys repetitive structures that seep into the listener and tug them along in a most subtle manner will certainly enjoy the background noise of Genevieve’s songs. The vocals are understated, and do well to complement the style of the music. However, these elements are not enough to enjoy the album. In an attempt to interpret the album (there is no lyrical content), I read up on the band’s background and their views, and found that Velvet Cacoon’s music is very personal to them, their history, and their surroundings. Truly, this music was not made for the masses, and their former distribution to their circle of allies was more befitting of their art. And so, my given score is based on the music and nature themes of the album, the elements that made full sense to me, and I would rate them average. Despite all of the methods the band has said to use to record their music, I’ve heard very similar guitar styling from other bands, the vocals are nothing extraordinary, and neither is the drum machine use. The atmosphere is genuine, which is where my praise for this album would derive.

But then, one might wonder why there are so many raving reviews and chatter about this album. I would refer to the reasoning behind all of that as the Moonblood phenomena (although the band would roll their eyes at linking them to Moonblood, I would assure that this relation is not about the actual music). For anyone not familiar with Moonblood, they were a band that strived to stay underground, and succeeded for quite a while, but ultimately failed in the end, and ceased their existence. They were not a groundbreaking band, merely a talented black metal band that were adept in creating good music. But yet, copies of Moonblood’s official releases are constantly scoured for, and when sold on eBay, they catch a hefty price, and are more than likely the biggest music victims in the underground to bootlegging. The reason why a decent band is sought after as though they are now is due to people who thrive on anything strange to them. The oddity about Moonblood was that they never released anything on cd, and a majority of their releases were rehearsal tapes. This sparked a massive interest from the Internet community. Velvet Cacoon is now suffering the same musical affliction – the only blatant difference being that VC’s mistake was releasing a readily available album on a well-known, reputable label, whereas Moonblood mostly became known due to Kanwulf’s (Nargaroth) respect in the liner notes of the rather popular Black Metal ist Krieg album. Had this album been Velvet Cacoon’s first release, I highly doubt it would have drawn as much acclaim as it has. Once people learned of their unusual views and many limited releases, they began frothing at the mouth to attain more from this band; nearly every message board that has anything to do with metal seems to have threads along the subject of “Where can I get more Velvet Cacoon???” lately. Along with their views, people are clearly intrigued by the diselharp (I will not lie, I was as well, but I would never like a band for some crazy instrument they built), and that seems to play a factor as well. Furthermore, the fact that LVG is a female member has also drawn in many people on concept alone. These notions are outright awful reasons to enjoy a band’s work, and I assume this will be the only public release of VC’s, if they are truthful in their statements. And just like any overrated band, the loudmouthed fans are as pretentious as the Opeth followers, claiming that only elevated minds will understand them, and that they are better than the metal scene, and so forth, which only further solidifies the theory that people will cling to what is strange in different in the world of underground music.

For those that prefer a track-by-track review of albums, I apologize for the long-winded conjectures, but this is a release that has been praised for reasons other than the actual music, and they had to be addressed. To conclude on the album itself, the first two tracks are the high point, and are enjoyable. The last track is absurd, as it portrays nothing one couldn’t hear by stepping into certain wilderness for seventeen minutes, and is the low point of the album. For the low price that Red Stream is currently carrying it for, anyone with extra money may want to see what all the praise has been about, but for those who must choose what they purchase carefully, I suggest looking elsewhere – Velvet Cacoon is best saved for their own members.