Crimson Tears – Gothica
03/10/2005 § Leave a comment
You always have to be careful when calling your band anything with the word ‘Crimson’ in it, it conjures up all kinds of nasty images. Remember Crimson Tide? It just sounds terribly unfortunate, like it’s something that your chemist wouldn’t even give you a remedy for on prescription. ‘Crimson Tears’ isn’t a whole lot better, but at least it sounds more wholesome. Call your band Crimson Tears and your first EP Gothica and it becomes clear about what direction you’re heading in musically. Whatever happened to letting the music guide you, to not letting the call of a sub-genre be your muse and to not pandering to commercialism, hmm? Well, obviously those are not huge concerns for everybody, in fact, I may as well go outside and shove a big bandwagon in the middle of Europe for everyone to go and jump on. No remedies needed there, prescription or otherwise.
Nevertheless, in the UK we should be grateful for the fact that Crimson Tears exist at all because what we have here is actually rather a good EP, in fact, it’s the best Gothic Metal with female vocals to come out of this country possibly ever. I don’t know what it is about the UK, but we’re fabulous at losing at our own games – cricket, football, Gothic Metal, you know the drill. We started the damn thing and everyone else excels at it. Well, I don’t know whether we’re anywhere close to regaining the Gothic Ashes but at least we’re clawing our way in the right direction.
Crimson Tears comprises of five members, their ages ranging from late teens to mid 40s. This is, in an embarrassing way, the English version of Morning. Not since the days when I first fatefully spun Circle Of Power has a band been made of such a spaghetti’d hotchpotch of ages and experiences. Nevertheless, the difference between the two groups is stark from the first listen. The first thing that hits you about Gothica is the fact that the sound production on this album is solid. So often with these first EPs you get guitars that sound as if the strings are made of mushy peas while the snare drum sounds like the tin they came in. Not so here: everything is full, commanding and delightfully imposing and Gina Oldham‘s vocals are everything that they should be. There is the odd moment when they seem to lack a little feeling, but then, when singing lines like ‘take me to heaven and play me like your guitar’ it’s difficult not to laugh. Maybe they had to edit that out.
The first song, Eternity, is probably the best on the EP, with Gina‘s vocals climbing steadily throughout and building to a climax that sounds like, well, the beginning of the song but in a higher register. It’s successor, My Plea, is very Nightwish-esque especially with the orchestral hits on the keyboard and the chain-gun riffing followed by twiddly guitar interludes. This isn’t actually bad stuff and there’s certainly a good amount of potential here. Crimson Tears have obviously created some sort of foundation for themselves and if the Nightwish-esque ditties weren’t intentional, then more songs like these might certainly snare other fans who like to spend their time skirting the top ridges of the genre. The title track, Gothica, is a slower and longer number which gets a little repetitive after a while, whereas Crimson Tears really put the boot in for their finale, Gardens of Sorrow, which could certainly qualify as an entrant in a Nightwish simulation contest.
Nevertheless, Gothica should not be sneered at, since in spite of its obvious intentions to be recognised and appreciated for what it is, a new mewling infant in the Gothic scene, the music it carries is brimming with promise. There might be a little too much of the recognisable form in songs like My Plea and Gardens Of Sorrow, but the overall result is a very positive one. I get the impression that this is Crimson Tears’ first toe in the water, first attempt at recognition, and it’s recognition that they deserve, since Gothica is very much a grab at the torch rather than a stab in the dark. These people know where they want to go and with a little drive, which judging by Gothica I’m sure they’ve got in them, they could definitely carry the banner for UK Gothic Metal. For a long time we’ve been waiting for someone to do just that, and maybe that time is not too far away.