An European duo formed in 2008, consisting of Ann-Mari Thim (Arcana, Seventh Harmonic) and Xavier De Schuyter. De Schuyter has a past (and a present) in the extreme metal and rock genre and ventured into the dark ambient/neoclassical genre to explore something different. Horror/Forsaken is a double album with a horror theme inspired by Dark Wave.
I am not a neoclassical fan. I find the genre to be tedious, pompous and predictable. And I can't for life of me find anything interesting in Ann-Mari Thim's vocal work. Sure the girl can sing, but this is as interesting as watching paint dry. I think it's pretty obvious I'm not an Arcana fan either. It's my understanding that De Schuyter invited her to participate in this project to add atmosphere. In my opinion this release would have been better off without her. De Schuyter is perfectly able to create atmosphere on his own, and his vocal work combined with the soundscapes actually forms a soothing, and at times edgy listeninge experience. I can tell he has a passion for music. There is a certain humble approach that shines through, there is nothing pretentious about his work. And that surprises me with regards to his interest in extreme metal where «image is everything». My advice to De Schuyter is to have faith in his own talent and intent, and to drop the dead weight. He doesn't need the name dropping. He is strong enough on his own.
I will point out that the dark ambient elements of this release outshines the neoclassical/Neofolk elements by far. But I fail to see the horror element, and being a devoted horror fan I can say that with a straight face. Horror to me is «The Texas chain saw massacre,» not «House on the haunted hill» the remake. I'm more a «Last house on a dead end street» kinda girl. The horror vibe in this release is more your typical Halloween party, where straight people dress up once a year. To me everyday is Halloween, and as a dark ambient fan, I don't feel a connection to this release. If anything, this release makes me much more curious about De Schuyter's other projects because he has obvious talent, and I can tell he really wants to communicate through his
As to the production, I have to say it's a little too over produced. I would have loved to hear more dirty sounding soundscapes to give the release a much needed edge. There are tracks that certainly stand out such as «The descent», with just a tad more dirt and rust this could have been a very good track. I read in an interview that De Schuyter walks round town sampling sounds he finds interesting. I would have loved if those sounds could have been more prominent. They drown in a very digital production. The CD cover is true to the genre. It's a pretty design, clean and simple as it should be.
To sum it all up, if you are a fan of the neoclassical and the vocal works in style of Arcana, or if you enjoy pretty, uncomplicated dark ambient, by all means buy the CD. If you on the other hand are looking for something with a little more teeth, I'd say wait for De Schuyter next release to see if he has found faith in his own talent. I will be keeping an eye on him.
Style: Dark ambient, Neoclassical, Neofolk
Label :Black Drone http://blackdrone.com/
Format: CD, digipak
Released: 19 May 2010
Free download: http://voidwork.bandcamp.com/
2 The soulless city
3 People of the monolith
4 Marble steps
6 The serpents lullaby II
8 The serpents lullaby III
9 Forever in fire
10 Post -apocalypse
11 The decent
13 The black goat