This Russian band on the Mals label combines several styles on their ‘End of Time’ release. This is their 2nd recording. It recalls much of the ethereal gothic and world bands of the 80's and 90's. With that is brings in the darkwave sound at times. All the songs are fairly low key with a mostly soft sound. It’s not until you get to track 4 (‘Time Enough For Love’) that is begins to bring in some unusual slices like accordion sound samples that pose as bagpipes, in a short Scottish folk part that just seems to fit perfectly in this sound. So at this point, they have the world folk style being introduced.
I warn everyone that if you tried to listen to just clips of this, or skim thru the songs for a few seconds each, you’d miss the changes and varied styles mixed in all over this CD. For instance the 5th song (‘Cold Rain’) begins ordinary with the alternating male vocals, but an eastern motif is brought in on a bridge, then violin is used through in places to give more mystery. The song first strikes you as a heavy guitar rock song, but tablas and eastern sample keyboards are used nicely. The following song (“Farewell Guru”) uses more eastern motif with ghostly female voice, piano, sitar, tablas, djembe, and various other ethnic percussion samples.
You have about a half and half performance of male vocals or female vocals on the 12 songs. The songs Jodi Krangle sings on are more folk ballad and have a sameness unfortunately. Each piece stays at an 84-91 bpm on the timing. It’s my biggest complaint, that they don’t have hardly any variety at all in the tempo of their compositions. It tends to lull you into a mundane listening experience. And that is too bad, because with an attentive listening, you can find neat parts and a decent composition skill level. There are ample musicians playing with lots of different instruments used on the whole CD. So many good qualities are here, but just some further thought needs to be given on their next release, as to the tempo issue and also to both the male and female vocals being more varied. This CD stays far too easy going and restrained for it’s own good. One exception to the tempo set is Track 10 (“Dance Goes On”) which goes down to 50 bpm in tempo and sounds a lot like Peter Murphy on the vocals and the music brings in a mediaeval part that once again is very interesting.
The efforts on some songs breaks my heart when I have to minus points for all the monotony and lack of dynamics, tempo variations, and good lyric creation. You know how you hate it when something is almost there, but just void of a few important things? This comes in that category.
As much as I hate to say it, I can’t find more good things to say except that on the last track (“Waltz With a Vampire”) which is all instrumental, I do believe they would be better off if they would stay all instrumental on their music altogether. For me, the vocals detracted from the music except for a few places. I’d like to hear their next CD, as I do think they have talent, and some good things to give. I think their debut CD ‘Arrivals - Departures’ had more texture, a stronger presence, stronger more immediate songs, and more variety by far. So I’ll be curious to hear their third release.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on April 26th, 2012