Where She Wept - Dark Beauty and Desire
Self released
Atmospheric doomdeath with gothic touches
3 songs (21'13")
Release year: 2003
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.

Last time I listened to Where She Wept it was stormy, muggy and oppressive outside. It is again summer here in Ohio, but weather has changed now, it is so much better and even pleasant. Well, Where She Wept has changed a bit too, but I can’t say they have become much easier on your hearing senses with their Dark Beauty and Desire EP.

Whereas on We Are the Orphans of Heaven the band was equal part gothic and atmospheric doom with some black metal elements, the band is veering much more strongly in the atmospheric doomdeath now. In other words, if there were strong My Dying Bride influences before, but Cradle of Filth could be heard too from time to time, the latter now has ceased to be. Also, on We Are the Orphans of Heaven the band had what I called a “promise of Sarah”. Sarah was a clean female vocalist about to join the band to contrast Tom’s clean gothic and harsh singing.

On its own two tracks of the EP (the third track being The Gathering cover of Sand and Mercury), the band largely delivered on the expectations. The title track starts with the array of solid pounding doom chords. I still don’t quite like Tom’s clean gothic singing style, it is way too moany for me, but his semi-clean lower register clean vocals and, especially, deathly growl have improved tremendously. He is audible, not so screechy anymore, and just as emotional. Sarah’s singing contrasts Tom’s so well, and her practically a-capello voice modulations over tribal drum beat are very cool. The song ends with beautiful gothic keyboards crushed by the doom heaviness and hellish vocals. The closer The Fire Before Me is largely similar with keyboards much more prominent in creating a background atmosphere. Slow and pounding guitar chords eventually develop into a double bass driven explosive crescendo. When hammering chords return, a string instrument (cello?) and keyboards provide for a contrasting solo. Tom’s chilling screams “Why?” conclude the 9 min epic.

Sand and Mercury cover is a pretty loose rendition of the original. The Gathering song had almost a 4 min instrumental intro, then Anneke would float over the top without much in a way of rhythm section, and eventually all parts of the band would converge in the end. I will be honest here, and say that Mandyllion is probably my least favorite The Gathering album, the bookends Nighttime Birds and How to Measure a Planet? standing much higher on my list. So, that did not bode well for Where She Wept. Also, the fact that Sarah was in the band, but female vocals are reduced to the background singing only is also a puzzling choice. Instead, Tom uses his gothic style, and then even throws some gruff stuff in the end. The whole song is cut about in half, with the opening melody repeated not as often as in the original. That is why I called the cover “loose”.

Further, I learned that Sarah subsequently left the band soon thereafter, so that could explain she is not used as often as I would have liked. Another loss was the absence of violin which added such a nice romantic touch to We Are the Orphans of Heaven.

It did feel like with Dark Beauty and Desire the band was somewhat at the crossroads honing in on the style. With the subsequent Erotic Portrait all t’s became crossed and i’s dotted, and the band delivered their strongest material to date on it. See the link to the review below.

Killing Songs :
Dark Beauty and Desire
Alex quoted no quote
Other albums by Where She Wept that we have reviewed:
Where She Wept - The Erotic Portrait reviewed by Alex and quoted 77 / 100
Where She Wept - We Are The Orphanes of Heaven reviewed by Alex and quoted 70 / 100
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