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Thy Kingdom GoneI think gothic metal is unfairly labeled as “lacking in creativity” and “dead.”  Bands like Sirenia and Lacuna Coil, with their new over-produced mainstream appeal, certainly aren’t helping to break this stereotype.  If one looks hard enough, though, there is still so much untapped potential in this genre.

Flowing Tears is one of those bands that could still give any gothic metal fans hope about the genre.  They’re not as popular as, say, Tristania or Theatre of Tragedy, but the consistent quality in their music—even if it is a bit niche—has earned them a decent following of devoted fans, especially in their homeland of Germany.

The band’s latest album, Thy Kingdom Gone, stays true to their previous work.  This is actually a concept album, although the actual concept appears to be a bit lost in translation.  Two of the band’s founding members, Björn Lorson and Christian Zimmer, died in a car crash prior to the album’s creation, meaning that this album features a lot of darker, more somber themes not present in Flowing Tears’ earlier work.

Vocalist siren Helen Vogt is back; after recieving numerous positive reviews about her debut performance on 2004’s Razorbliss, she proves that she’s not a one-trick pony.  In a genre full of “dog whistle” soprano singers, a voice like Helen’s is more than welcome: her voice is very deep and powerful, very much reminiscent of Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia.  On Thy Kingdom Gone, Helen also (impressively) uses harsh vocals in a few songs.

Orchidfire” opens the album, giving a taste of what’s to come.  Everything is here: crystalline production, impressive guitars, liberal use of keyboards, and (of course!) Helen Vogt’s voice.  One might also notice that the band is continuing to keep the heaviness that they introduced in Razorbliss.

That heaviness seldom ceases, with tracks like “Grey” and “Thy Kingdom Gone” keeping both metalheads and goths infatuated.  The latter is sung almost entirely by guest vocalist Vorph (from the legendary Samael), and it’s quite a treat.  Vorph should consider working with Flowing Tears more in the future, because he is the perfect “beast” (as in “beauty of the beast”) against Helen’s voice.

It wouldn’t be a Flowing Tears album without creativity, because that’s one of the most appealing things about them.  “Miss Fortune” is a seductive track that sounds like it comes straight from a German cabaret, complete with a piano section at the end.  “Kismet” stays true to this theme, starting out with a modern soundscape before revealing itself as an athemic ballad.

There aren’t really any negative things one could say about this band; if you like gothic metal, you’ll like this, and if you don’t, you’ll probably find something to like in this album anyway.  If I had a seal of approval, I would give it to Thy Kingdom Gone in a heartbeat.

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Song of the Moment: Debris – Theatre of Tragedy

In a post about the content of blogs, Weronika Jańczuk (a wonderful author) mentions having some kind of consistensy in your blog posts; something to give your blog a personal flavor.  Because music is such an influential part of my life, I’ve decided to do a “Song of the Moment” on the top of every post, similar to Weronika’s “iTunes Highlight.”  There is no real criteria a song needs to meet to warrant being placed in my Song of the Moment, but it will of course always be a song I genuinely enjoy.

“Debris” was picked for a very simple reason.  I like it.  Nell Sigland’s voice is as heartfelt as ever, the hook is infectious, and the metaphoric lyrics stay true to Theatre of Tragedy’s artistic edge.

We’re nothing but debris…

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... to my little corner of the internet. I'm Ben Schroeder, an aspiring writer and music enthusiast. Please leave a comment if you have the time!