Music Review - Nigredo by Diary of Dreams
One for those who dream of darkness...
So it's been a while since I've made any updates to the site. There's a myriad of reasons, but as I'm starting to type them out, they all sound like "blah blah blah" and "excuses excuses excuses". So, since things are a little slow right now, I figured I'd mine the depths of my (very!) old Amazon reviews, and maybe get some bands on some radars! That said, let's get to the reviews!
Adrian Hates and Co. finally return to serenade us into a world where darkness dominates. While less dance oriented than their previous releases, Nigredo proves that the band has lost none of their penchant for the cloudy and mysterious. This review is based on the limited edition release by Accession Records. The US version track listing is the same, but the limited edition has a larger boxed set feel, with a poster and larger art book. The album itself is a more cohesive effort from DOD, relying less on standout tracks and more on a complete package. That being said, here are the tracks the order they appear on the album.
Dead Letter - Good opening track, that gives a great indication of the general flow of the rest of the album. It starts slow, with Adrian whispering amidst ambient synth chords, then builds upon the ambience with a hint of a beat and a simple but effective piano melody. Eventually kicks into full DOD rhythm, complete with driving synths and guitars, and a more forceful beat. Drops back into lassitude at several points, but maintains an overall steady pace.
Giftraum - The first single taken from the album, and the shortest song as well. Club friendly with its momentum, it is a very straightforward track, structured around a repetitive and forceful chorus, coupled with stabbing chords and staccato snare attacks. Definitely fits better on the album than as a stand alone single.
Kindrom - Another club friendly track, and an overall better song than Giftraum. Sneaky synth chords form a short, simple intro, but are quickly subdued by the true nature of this beast. Slightly epic and somewhat defiant, the recurring arrangements and chorus force this track above the average. Probably my favorite song on the album.
Reign Of Chaos - Classic DOD track, structured and performed like many of it's predecessors on previous albums. If you like most of DOD's previous work, you should like this too. Simple one note bassline forms the backbone, paranoid whispers make several appearances, and wavy synth chords permeate this track. Half spoken, half sung vocals complete the package.
Charma Sleeper - Soft piano keys open this relatively relaxed track. More singing from Adrian than on the previous track. The toms, hi-hat, snare, and kick drum take center stage over the sequencers, synthesizers, and samples for a majority of the song, lending it the illusion of urgency. Several ambient and quiet sections add to the kick-back personality.
Tales Of The Silent City - Sporadic bleeps and other synth chords give this song a more stuttering and faltering feel than the previous tracks. Starts out with minimal percussion, softer vocals, and some light piano plinking like most of the songs on this album. Not bad, but not great either.
Portrait Of A Cynic - Piano...again! Although, this time around, it's a real composition that carries the song along. Patented DOD whisper vocals with minor reverb float above the keys, lending a more ethereal and subdued feel. Strings join in for the chorus and the volume kicks up a few notches, before sinking back down to a quiet outro.
UnMensch - Spacey and abrupt, with low, deep muttering mixed with more anguished singing. Doesn't sound much different than Tales Of The Silent City, and could almost be an extension of that song. Fits the tone of the album quite well, but fails to make a strong impression, so ends up being just another typical DOD song.
The Witching Hour - Great title, great echoing intro, and no pianos to be found. Is this still the same album? Seriously, this song is a bit of a departure from the established sound of the Nigredo. Rolling synthesizers sequenced to darkwave perfection. Has some minor but very welcome industrial leanings. Slightly distorted vocals on the verse, trademark Adrian on the chorus, and a beat that gets your foot tapping. Different, but that's ok.
Psycho-Logic - Hmmm... Very interesting track. Opens with Adrian whispering the track title, with a bit of strummed guitar thrown in for good measure. Then it kicks into high gear with a pretty standard butt-moving beat, and almost anthemic vocals. The chorus comes at you again and again, but the track fails to truly inspire. Nice to hear the guitar in the background, but this is one track that doesn't really stand out.
Krank: Haft - Somewhat distorted strings and a very common DOD drum loop open this track, and it works well. The second song on the album sung in German, the first being Giftraum. Half whispered, half sung vocals are almost drowned out by the percussion, strings, and synths. This track could have easily fit on Freak Perfume. Enjoyable song overall, and a good choice to start winding the album down with.
Cannibals - Soft piano, and a low, grinding noise greet the listener to this track, before it kicks into a standard DOD piano and drum intro. The vocals are delivered in a little different style, and the song itself has a very relaxed feel. Once the chorus hits, the floating synths really kick in, and the track begins to take a more solid form. Guitars make a small appearance as well, and fit well on the track. Another personal favorite of mine.
Mask Of Shame - Strummed strings on reverb, and soft vocals are on hand to close the album with. A very minimalist approach, until the chorus hits, in which case the volume rises a bit, and a few more synths come into play. No percussion here, just a synth based song to settle the listener gently down with. Definitely a good choice for the album outro.
Overall, not as good or as diverse as their previous albums, Freak Perfume and One Of 18 Angels. Some of the tracks really stand out here, but many just fall into the established DOD repertoire. The hidden track on the end is really just noise, and could have been left off. Less dance oriented than their previous albums, this one will appeal more to late night drivers and those who listen to music while lying in bed.
3 out of 5 dark and dying stars!