Where She Wept - The Erotic Portrait
Self released
Atmospheric doomdeath with gothic touches
4 songs (34'33")
Release year: 2004
Where She Wept
Reviewed by Alex

This is a two-part review meant to cover both recent CDs by Where She Wept. If you are interested in one, then check out the other.

The Erotic Portrait is the latest CD by this atmospheric doomdeath metal band out of Niagara Falls, New York. Even though the e-mail address says “gothicband@” the transformation has been pretty much complete with atmospheric death parts and doom chords dominating the fray, and gothic influences being reduced to the margins and here-and-there touches. This CD is probably the best material to date delivered by the band.

Without much intro the band blasts right into a deathly focused Octobris. This short song is one of the best Where She Wept has ever written. Guitars by James are extremely prominent and lead incessantly. Tom’s singing is powerful, of the higher pitch growl variety. Where leads end, the riffing picks up accompanied with the lowest possible timbre voice. Melodic, yet atmospheric this song reminds me very much of the Italian atmospheric death band Novembre.

The rest of the album is along the lines of how Where She Wept “normally” does it. Long winding songs which are the sum of many parts is the signature of Where She Wept. Mournful organ chords go over slow pounding riffs in Cloaked in Dusk. Faster parts are subsequently replaced by acoustic portions with the soundeffects of some flying birds midway through the song. Spoken vocals take a running start, change into harsh growling and end up being tortured screams as the music also evolves almost to a point of funeral march. Piercing atmospheres alternate with blasting yet melodic fragments on Religious Art. From piano to heavy guitar chords to drum blasting, everything is needed for Where She Wept to create the oppressive gloomy atmosphere. Ominous bells, guitar leads and Tom’s from the depth vocals unite in a powerful ending. Tom has also quit using his cleaner gothic moaning, and to me it was a good thing as I really did not embrace that style completely.

Nobody ever said that dark doomy music is an easy listen. Where She Wept obviously does not subscribe to that theory either. Some atmospheric pauses on The Wooden Bird bordered on stagnation but were rescued by the double bass driven burst. I doubt any one can sit down, take one listen to The Erotic Portrait and say “I dig this from the start”. The CD has to catch you in the right mood, but most importantly you have to have some threads in your soul that would be easily touched by heavy mournful feelings.

It seems to me that the fans of My Dying Bride and early Anathema, early Lacrimas Profundere, even Opeth and the above mentioned Novembre would like to hear Where She Wept. If even few notes of Turn Loose the Swans caused you either to yawn or get depressed to no end, then maybe this is not your cup of tea.

The booklet on The Erotic Portrait now also has lyrics, and the whole demo looks very professional. This band, in my opinion, is ready for a record deal now. They have matured, settled on a style and can deliver their message.

Killing Songs :
Octobris, Cloaked in Dusk, Religious Art
Alex quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Where She Wept that we have reviewed:
Where She Wept - Dark Beauty and Desire reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Where She Wept - We Are The Orphanes of Heaven reviewed by Alex and quoted 70 / 100
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