I need to start this review by stating quite simply, that for all intents and purposes this is a great record. Most people dismiss any gothic-symphonic metal that doesn’t come from Europe, and let’s face it, they’d probably be right to, those Europeans just seem to always get it right. In the case of As Angels Bleed – a four-piece gothic-symphonic metal band from Sydney, they should not be dismissed quite so easily.
Their self-titled debut took three years to make, and the hard work certainly shows. The record maintains a level of heaviness, while staying sensual and romantic from the opening Gregorian style chants of “Sinfully Yours” to the very last moment of album closer “Beautifully Decayed.” The album is beautiful. The minimal, thick guitar riffs, the occasionally killer solo, particularly in “Beautifully Decayed,” coupled with the 105 piece Hells Gate Symphonic Orchestra and The Choir Of The Dammed – put it far and away above many of the female-fronted gothic metal bands around today. Not to mention vocalist Avelina De Moray doesn’t adopt the overly breathy or operatic vocal style, winning it a few more points.
Earlier I mentioned that for all intents and purposes this is a great record, and have gone through everything that makes it so. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the theme of the record. The vampiric overtones are hardly subtle and let’s be honest, subtlety has never been a staple of the genre. Despite knowing all of this, the over the top dark lyrics, just don’t sit right with me.
Perhaps reminding me of a time in my teenage years where I tried to be “oh so dark and gothic,” it often feels that the band is just trying too hard to make a point – much like me as a teenager. Lyrics such as “your bloody kiss from gothic lips” from “I Drown” just makes me shake my head and laugh, rather than invoke an eerie feeling. And there is more where that came from. That being said, “I Drown” is still one of my favourite tracks on the album.
While the lyrics may feel a little forced, it is still a good record and deserves appreciation, particularly if gothic-symphonic metal is your cup of blood…err, tea.