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Solid Debut - 82%

Gothic_Metalhead, July 23rd, 2019
Written based on this version: 2008, CD, Sleaszy Rider Records

I'm going to start this review by saying that this is the first time I had ever heard of Malta. It's a country I never really think of or hear any news from, let alone any metal music that comes from this country. However, What it did provide is a gothic metal band that have released music since the late-2000s, Weeping Silence. Weeping Silence popped up as a similar artist for bands like The Gathering, The Third and the Mortal, and Theatre of Tragedy, and I can see why with their debut album "End of an Era." I always had problems with bands sounding too similar to influential gothic metal bands unless your The Sins of Thy Beloved. I couldn't listen to Cemetery without saying that this one album sounds like "Clouds" by Tiamat. While Weeping Silence's "End of an Era" sounds too similar to The Gathering's gothic metal era, the band still managed to make a good debut by making a soothing, calm, and melancholic sounding sound. I believe that Weeping Silence's sound here sounds darker than The Gathering.

The music is very Soothing and Melancholic in many directions. It adds live strings, dark and not overused keyboards, and arrangements that are slow and heavy at times. Compared to listening to the band's newer material, "End of an Era" is that kind of album that isn't too overpowering with symphonic elements nor bland music. Throughout the album, it manages to have that calm and sad atmosphere, that not a lot of new gothic metal bands don't do anymore. I appreciate the level space the album gives in each Song where every instrument sounded tight. It shows that an album don't need too much guitar, or keyboard, or even fast drum beats to make a good metal album, especially in gothic metal. My only big complaint is to me it still sounds similar to The Gathering only this is one so differently which is not entirely a bad thing.

The vocals were also pretty good as well. I actually enjoyed Rachel Grech's singing in this album, because of how serene and soothing it sounds. However, her vocal approach sounds too similar to Anneke Van Giersbergen. The only difference is that Rachel has more sadness expressed when combined to the music. A minor problem was that there wasn't a lot of heavy guitars incorporated into the later Songs, while its not a big concern I feel that not enough heaviness in the album it makes it feel like a drag to get through the entire album. Even when it does show some heavy guitars I feel that sometimes it was not too great especially from a Song like "Darkness in My Heart." "Darkness In My Heart" does have some good atmosphere through the keyboards and through Rachel's singing voice that made it a saving grace for the song. Despite that, I enjoyed the musical approach that "End of An Era" has, I just think it could have been done a lot better.

"End of An Era" also has some pretty good lyrical content. The lyrics show some sadness in it's Songs and it resonates well with the tone of the music and Rachel's singing. Though I feel the lyrics would have sounded better if the band again didn't sound too similar to The Gathering. Other than that the lyrics are done well and leave nothing short or make the Songs too wordy.

Weeping Silence debut is still solid and was still enjoyable to listen to despite similarities to The Gathering. They do manage to make something a bit darker than what The Gathering has done, but I feel that they don't do anything too unique to make them stand out from a lot of the female fronting gothic metal bands of that time. It's still worth it to listen to "End of An Era" as it does have good Songs and great instrumentation and lyrics to make the band not seem like a blatant copycat.

From Malta & Beyond! - 80%

Perplexed_Sjel, May 21st, 2009

Maltese metal isn’t on the tips of everyone’s tongue. Malta is rarely ever on the tips of anyone’s tongue regardless of musical discussions unless, of course, you’re Maltese or have some sort of ties to Malta (a good friend of mine is actually Maltese). Malta is small developed country in Europe and is densely populated with an estimated population just over 400,000. Considering my background (being born and raised in London, England), I find it extraordinary when I find obscure bands from obscure parts of the world developing their way through the metal scene, especially when the bands actually turn out to be half-way decent. Take Beheaded, for example. This brutal death metal band have been successful for many years and come straight out of Malta. Their masochistic style oozes brutality and with it, a certain charm amidst the chaotic sound. As unbelievable as it is to spot a band of that nature within a country such as Malta, who’s national identity within the metal scene is small, but strong, there are a number of bands within this tiny European country trying to pioneer their way out of it and across the world with their brand of music - Weeping Silence are one of those bands.

Although, unlike Beheaded, Weeping Silence do not ooze chaotic charm, the band do exhibit a delectable charm and class that keeps them a cut above the rest with their seemingly gothic inspired branch of doom metal that incorporates a variety of influences and divine instrumentation, from the accessible bass that sways slowly close to the ground, to the floating female vocals that come across so airy and exquisite. Hopefully the title for this debut isn’t suggesting anything with the use of subtleties. ‘End Of An Era’ is just the beginning of this majestic bands career, with any luck. This is a strong start to life in metal, though it would seem a number of past and present musicians have had some experience with the genre before, which is an important factor in the overall sound of the band. Experience might not be everything if you have exceptional musicians to carry the music forward, but since Weeping Silence are about subtle effects and moving progressionist themes, pretension and being forward in terms of pushing the instrumentations ability on to the listener are not what the band want to do. Experience is vital in other forms here. The band have some mature heads on their shoulders, allowing them to manufacture a style that is unique to themselves and themselves alone, despite the fact that we, the listener, may be able to suggest possible influences.

Given the fact that Weeping Silence has a number of musicians present within the band, including two vocalists, two guitarists, a violinist and a keyboardist, the levels of musicianship allow the band to allow each musician his or her own specific role, even if it does come across as slightly synthetic and excessive. For the most part, it doesn’t even feel like Weeping Silence use as many musicians as they do, especially in reference to the vocalists. The female vocals are present throughout, whilst the male vocals are largely sparse and ominous. In my opinion, the male vocals aren’t really required. They don’t suit the style of the band, nor do they fit the content. For example, the clean, and rather operatic female vocals compliment the keyboards, which set down a symphonic base and alongside the progressive sounding guitars, the vocals are perfectly fitted between all the cogs in this generally well thought through machine. There are some areas that feel incomplete and overly excessive, without ever pressing the listener, which is a concern. The fact that there are two guitarists, for example. There need not be two because one would be sufficient enough to play this generally slow paced and clean style of gothic inspired doom metal alone.

The second guitarist does what most do within this field, simply engage the listener with an even cleaner guitar but seeing as other elements do this, and better, it seems almost inferior and unworthy of inclusion. The bass, which is distinctly audible, the harmonious female vocals and the exceptional keyboards which oddly contain the most emotive passages, allowing the listener to sway along to this classically inspired section, feeling every twist and turn of the divinity that pushes through the hollow guitars. Having never heard Weeping Silence before this debut full-length, I cannot judge the bands previous material, which was written several years before this came out in 2008. There have been former musicians, as stated, so obviously the sound wasn’t working out as it once was. It sounds clear and concise now, with a lot of emphasis of subtle elements like the bass and keyboards, both of which are key to the soundscapes and the conjuration of the moving songs. The vocalist reminds me of a number of gothic based vocalists from other bands. Her voice is distinctive, but classic of the genre which Weeping Silence apparently don’t play in (which I find hard to believe having heard this largely gothic based music). I wouldn’t suggest that this is as special as they come, but its good enough to warrant praise in certain specific areas. I’ll be interested to see where they go from here. From Malta and beyond!