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Review: 'Palace Of Tears, The'
'Of Ruination'   

-  Genre: 'Punk/New Wave' -  Release Date: '31st October 2020'

Our Rating:
‘Of Ruination’ is pitched as ‘seven tracks of somber beauty and otherworldly seduction’, and the New Orleans duo consisting of Erick r. Scheid and Leah Darkling promise ‘hypnotic electronics, heavily layered processed guitars and sultry vocals’. And they certainly deliver, with a spellbinding set that’s rich in ethereal glory, with Leah’s vocals dominating and defining their sound in a truly unique way, with the closest comparisons being Jarboe and Zola Jesus.

‘The Womb Full of Black Nectar’ may be a shade pretentious in both title and content, but the majesty of the soaring operatic vocal over a glacial synth-led instrumentation that marks a clear lineage to The Sisters of Mercy’s ‘Floodland’ is truly hypnotic. Similarly, ‘masque L’Intrigue’ is a sweeping current of coldwave, drawing on Depeche Mode and ‘Disintegration’ era Cure.

‘Tears of the Moon’ is minimal in terms of instrumentation as icy synths and flange-coated guitar spirals layer like mist on frost while a mechanoid drum thumps away characterless – and Leah’s voice transcends earthly bounds as it drifts into the stratosphere. Elsewhere, ‘Cold Dead Sin’ broods darkly in a style tooted in late 90s second wave goth. The title track takes things to another level: while drawing together all of the album’s defining elements it adds bold bursts of grainy guitars, overdriven and with a heavy metallic sheen. Cinematic synths shimmer serpentine shapes and the expansive, repetitive motifs are reminiscent of The Sisterhood’s ‘Gift’.

Cold, dark, and stark, ‘Of Ruination’ is impressive in its ambition, and what’s more, it fulfils it.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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