Flowing Tears – Razorbliss
24/05/2004 § Leave a comment
There’s something intrinsically pleasing about owning Razorbliss. I feel like it’s almost a guilty pleasure, a saccharine, gooey truffle of metal lusciousness that I shouldn’t be enjoying as much as I am at the moment. This thing has been hanging around my CD player for so long and has had so many repeat spins, that surely soon the two will fuse together in some sick and twisted gadgetried love-fest and I’ll never be able to prise them apart. Still, that might not be so much of a bad thing. Razorbliss is a pretty faultless piece of work. It delivers pleasing, potent, deep and delightful nuggets of Gothic goodness that leave a pleasant taste in your mouth for a long time after you first got your grubby mitts on them.
That’s not to say that I wasn’t surprised on first hearing this. I didn’t expect the third Flowing Tears effort to be anything particularly remarkable. As far as I was concerned, Flowing Tears have always been the victims of some kind of weird and indiscernible repression, unusual and uncharacteristic among metallers. I always thought that metal was about a] crazy people making crazy music or b] seemingly repressed people letting out all their angst by making crazy music. And then you have Flowing Tears. They’re just so…nice. If you could invite a metal band round to your kid’s party instead of a magician or clown, you’d choose them, and they’d gladly snaffle down the jelly, ice-cream and biscuits any day rather than sneak off to pop a few pills at the nearest opportunity. But what they’ve managed to do this time is exploit what they are capable of to their fullest ability, and the result, rather than being something that leaves you feeling unsatisfied and unfazed, is nothing short of being something wonderful.
Flowing Tears seem to have sat down, worked out the best things about their sound and come up with a winning recipe. The songs here may be short, with only one clocking over the four-minute mark, but you hardly notice the shortness of the songs because they’re just so good. I’ve lost count of the amount of times when I’ve listened to other songs and thought “that shouldn’t be there” or “when’s this one going to finish?” [ahem – Myriads], but there’s none of that here. Everything seems sharp and honed to perfection. The guitars are sometimes refreshingly heavy, the synths are beautiful and fit the songs naturally [in places reminding me even of Type O Negative’s Bloody Kisses] and the guitar solos, though simple and a doddle to play, give the songs a certain pace and lift that tracks on Serpentine could never boast of. It’s for this reason that numbers such as Believe, Radium Angel, Unspoken and the title track really are quite special, and make this album stand a chance of being the jewel in the femme metal crown this year.
The other thing that surprised me about this was the fact that FT’s new vocalist, Helen, sounds so similar to Stefani that had I not been told that FT had a new vocalist this time round I really don’t think that I would have noticed. She sings just as huskily, just as smoothly and just as sultrily as Stefani could. Of course there’s probably a good deal of emulation going on there, but that’s not a complaint or criticism unless we want to play the lack of originality card, but FT have never been ones to stray from their own well-beaten path.
In spite of all this, Razorbliss has been criticised for being overrated and for being thought of as the masterpiece of 2004 when it really isn’t. Well, let me remind you, ladies and gentlemen, that this has been a pretty stagnant year for Gothic Metal and it’s at times like these that albums like these stand out like diamonds in the rough. Razorbliss is by no means the greatest thing that’s happened to Gothic Metal, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable 45 minutes of entertainment. It makes up for all the things that Serpentine was missing and FT have actually managed to carve themselves a respectably fine position within the genre. I don’t know how long they’ll keep it up for or how well they can develop their sound from here, but with this gem of a CD, such postulation almost seems pointless.