A Dream Of Poe
Lady Of Shalott
posted on 8/2010 By:
There was a time in my life when I probably would have been a lot more receptive to a work like Lady of Shalott -- back when this gloomy/goth/death metal scene wasn't packed to the rafters with overly weepy puds who look and sound like they just schlepped out of a failed audition for "club patron #1" in Alex Proya's The Crow. But now I'm one of those jaded assholes who can no longer see past the sadsack stone angel wings, bloody tears and plush Nightmare Before Christmas toys to appreciate the seemingly one out of every twenty bands that can still do the style proper justice these days. It does still make me happy to stumble upon the occasional Daylight Dies, however, because when the mood is hanging just right and the clouds are giving me a good 'n' proper soak, that sort of heavy melancholy can still hit the ol' spot. It just so happens those pangs today are mostly indulged through projects such as Tenhi, Of the Wand and the Moon, Agalloch and Neun Welten. Plus, I still have a fairly small arsenal of elder Anathema, Katatonia and Empyrium to choose from.
Portugal's A Dream of Poe is the side-project of multi-instrumentalist Bruno Santos, and Lady of Shalott stands as his second self-released EP since the project's inception in 2005. The material presented is pretty standard gloomy/goth metal fare, but it's nothing I'd consider an utterly "crude" interpretation of the style. The self-titled track plods from the gate at a glacial, moping pace and does an admirable job of stirring together the requisite doleful riffing with a mixture of sulking clean vocals, death growls and the occasional smattering of ghostly female cooing in the backdrop. Things blow south during its climax, however, as we're subjected to a measure of Robert-Smith-by-way-of-Tom-G.-Warrior moaned poetry lamenting over all things pale, lace and sorrowful in the land of the dead. Interestingly and oddly enough, this tune is immediately followed by a shorter version that thankfully sheds the closing sobbing prose.
And speaking of Robert Smith, fans of The Cure will either be delighted or horrified by the idea of yet another gloomy metal band covering their Maudlin Maharajas, as A Dream of Poe dip into Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me territory with their version of "If Only Tonight We Could Sleep." I'd say it certainly sounds like a gloomy/goth metal band paying homage to their King, but the vocals fall short of the original by a sizable measure. Following this, the 10-minute "Laudanum" dashes in a little taste of "God is Alone" anger, but it loses ground by completely forsaking the death vocals in favor of Paul Pacheco's slightly off-kilter clean croon. "Whispers of Osiris" unfortunately does the same, but it closes things out with probably the most afflicted weepy guitar work to be heard on the EP's surprisingly lengthy 36-minutes.
I realize I'm coming across fairly harsh with my picking apart of Lady of Shalott, but I'll also admit that this project shows enough promise that I believe folks who really love to sink their teeth into this particular style would find things to enjoy on this EP. And a flowery bow and nod of acknowledgment is definitely due the band because they offer ALL their material for free download at their site. So, if the idea of inhaling all things gloomy/goth gets you high, I suggest you head over and see if A Dream of Poe lights your dreary fire.
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