Release DetailsLABEL Adipocere
RELEASED ON 1/1/2004
posted on 5/2004 By:
When an album comes across my desk described as “nu-dark”, that immediately raises red flags, and brings to mind some hideous Frankenstein-like monster created from the corpses of Marilyn Manson, Static-X, and the annoying aspects of Cradle of Filth. Luckily, what I did hear was nothing like my expectations. Leiden is a French act (enough French comments are made here at MR, I’ll let this one slide), that plays some female-fronted, Gothic music with traces of doom and death metal. Imagine a lovechild of Nightwish and Tristania that isn’t quite as effective as either parent.
Berengere has a well-fitting voice for this project, mid-paced and a little haunting. She is offset by the death vox of Wilfried, who also plays guitar and programming. Empty contains a heavy dose of keyboards and electronica. This may be a turnoff for some, but they play well into a sound that seems to be their own. I can’t quite think of a band that sounds like Leiden, but that may be due to my own unfamiliarity with the underground gothic scene. Most of the guitarwork on this album is atmospheric: heavy chords with lots of sustain. When they do riff, it’s thick chugging and plodding grooves. The acoustic is unveiled on a few tracks, but they don’t do anything astounding with it.
Empty has a clear production that’s geared towards the low-end. No complaints about the mix on my end. “Gangrene” invokes a little bit of evil, with haunting keys intertwined with breakdown riffs. “Les Maux” is probably the most accessible song, and possibly the best. It’s not as “gothic” as the rest, more upbeat than usual, and has quite a few neat little twists. “Cry” almost reminds me of Nightwish in their darker moments, or newer ...And Oceans. My major complaint is that too many of the songs fall into the pattern of getting a nice little rhythm going, then dragging it out for too long. There isn’t much differentiation between tracks, and I can easily get lost in the album, not having any clue which song is playing.
Will the average metalhead enjoy Leiden? I’m guessing not, but for those with more gothic tastes, they may be a good fit. The girl can sing, and the band can set a moderately dark atmosphere. I’ll probably never listen to this again, but it did rise above my initial expectations, and that’s got to be worth something.
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