Liv Kristine… there is no person who was one day, or currently, into symphonic/gothic metal that doesn’t know this name. The woman that introduced me to darker sounds, more than a decade ago, is alive and doing very well. I clearly remember when I first heard ‘Nymphetamine’ and I wondered who that girl with such a pristine voice was. Soon after, I’ve got to know Liv was huge name in the gothic metal scene. Theatre of Tragedy and Leaves’ Eyes. However, our paths diverged as I evolved to a symphonic/melodic death listener. Not so long ago, I found myself thinking about what happened to the old school gothic metal bands. Where did that deep/touching sound go? Did all the bands with power females turn either into a symphonic/progressive metal band? Fortunately, I didn’t need much time to have the sweet taste of it again. ‘Vervain’ drives me back to my teenage years, where the female voice is enhanced, where there is no need for a massive guitar and drums buildup. Liv’s soprano presentation is solid and full of emotion.
The first highlight of this album is the duet with Michelle Darkness – ‘Love Decay’. Once again, Liv delivers a “Beauty and the Beast” scenery, in a slow passed melody filled with stunning, well blended vocalizations. The second biggest surprise on this album is the collaboration with Doro Pesch, on the stunning ‘Stronghold of Angels’. This song takes me back to Within Temptation ‘Enter’ era. The contrast between these power females is amazing, to say the least. Having two amazing and unique voices working side by side is out of this world. Listen to that chorus, the guitar work is deep, emotional with an enchanting keyboard escorting and building up the momentum. This momentum is followed by another great song: ‘Hunters’. Unlike the first part of the album, now you can feel a change, Liv teases you for more. And she was right. When you were least expecting, ‘Lotus’ is presented. I personally missed the heartbreaking ballads, and this song is an amazing piece of sad music. Piano and Liv are probably the best combination you could have in this sub-genre. We all know how stunning Liv’s voice is but when you add that pure soprano emotion to it, everything becomes a dark fairytale.
I’m still amazed how good Liv is at making catchy yet haunting choruses, and you can listen to them through the entire album. There isn’t a bad song in there. ‘Vervain’ is indubitably the best gothic influenced album of the past years, and it was the first one grabbing my attention and taking me back to a path yet to be explored, the path left years ago. If you are missing those raw, twisted and romantic emotions, ‘Vervain’ is definitely an album to keep very close and explore again and again, every day.
Review by Salomé Sequeira
27th Oct 2014
1) My Wilderness
2) Love Decay
4) Stronghold of Angels
8) Two and a Heart
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"If you are missing those raw, twisted and romantic emotions, ‘Vervain’ is definitely an album to keep very close and explore again and again..."