posted on 3/2008 By:
I once read an interview with Anton LaVey wherein the interviewer asked the founder of the Church Of Satan about his opinion of metal. LaVey's response was something not unlike this: metal isn't evil; the only truly evil music is carnival music. (LaVey himself had traveled with the circus in his youth, and he played the calliope and kept lions as pets and such.) I'm not quoting that perfectly, I know, but I read that like fifteen years ago and they say the first thing that goes is the...uh...um...I forgot what we were talking about.
Oh, right... Eternal Deformity
Anyway, since I've seen the movie Freaks, I share LaVey's opinion of circuses and carnivals. They're far creepier than anything some church-burning, corpse-painted blasphemer could devise. With that in mind, it's a shame that Poland's Eternal Deformity trade primarily in theatrical goth metal instead of something a bit more sinister, because I was hoping for some spine-tingling Something Wicked This Way Comes-referencing creepshow type shit. (When I mention Something Wicked, I mean the Bradbury novel, not the Iced Earth album.) Instead, what's here is no more devilish than the last Alice Cooper tour. It's about the show, the mood, and not about the fright factor, and that's a shame, because carnies are freakin' scary.
Mostly, as I mentioned, Frozen Circus is goth metal, with dashes of power, black, and prog, all performed with a heavy dose of theatrics. The band members go by names like "Announcer," "Illusionist," and "Lion-Tamer," and there's a whole art-rock aspect with the carnival theme. Despite that the effort is conceptual, the album doesn't appear to have a distinct storyline, and only moments like the coda of "Crime" and the intro track "Retrospection" exhibit actual carnival music stylings. (The stuttering time-changes in that last part of "Crime" are the album's only truly weak moment, since they sound more like the CD player skipping than an intentional musical idea.) The production on Frozen Circus is slick as hell, with dominant keys and solid-state guitars. Eternal Deformity is more concerned with mood than brutality, and the production reflects that emphasis.
The songs are surprisingly lively, considering the usual gothic reliance on melancholy moping (There's that power metal influence I mentioned.). These tunes are eerie but not frightening, morose but not weepy, dark but not deviant. The album starts strong with the blackened power of "The Force Of Your Heart," and treads similar ground in "So Silent." On a moderately negative point, when it all comes down, the best song here is the cover of Depeche Mode's "Little 15." (The result: I knocked a half-point off for the centerpiece being written by someone else some two decades ago.) Aside from that borrowed glory, the album closer "Lovelorn" is also worthy of mention, which opens with the album's most somber moment with some nice work by cellist Acrobat.
As with most Polish metal bands, Eternal Deformity performs their chosen style with appropriate reverence, skill and aplomb. Goth metal may not be your favorite, but it's hard to deny that these guys do it well. Goth metal is not my favorite, either, but I do enjoy it, and I'd say that fans of slicker, darker bands like Entwine and HIM would find this worthy of a spin or three.
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