By Blood Alone - Eternally (EP)
Jericho Hill Records
Gothic Metal
4 songs (22:32)
Release year: 2005
By Blood Alone
Reviewed by Ken
Surprise of the month

These days the label of “goth” is abused more than Arkansan wives in trailer parks. H.I.M. is considered to be a gothic rock band. Evanescence is labeled a gothic metal band! The list is endless, and though it’s arguable that these bands are in fact gothic bands, generally they simply incorporate some slight gothic elements, but gothic they are not. New England is not a place I’d expect to find good goth, let alone great goth, but Massachusetts is home to the amazing Autumn Tears—shocking enough!—and now from the cold shore of southern Maine comes By Blood Alone, a goth-metal band that also encapsulates the true sense of the label “goth.” Like Autumn Tears, the keyboard (organ, piano, etc.) is very prominent in the music, Jenny Williamson is more the backbone of the band than a secondary player (the typical fate of a keyboardist). The black-and-whites set the tone and atmosphere for each song, creating an eerie backdrop, which gives contradictory life to the sometimes pop-like, but oft somber and depressive songs.

The album begins with “Every Night,” a heavy, but dreary song that shows lead vocalist, Cruella, sounding very much like the stunning Anneke van Giersbergen (lead vocalist from The Gathering). The chorus is very catchy, the musicianship is superb and though the song is heavy, it never feels heavy musically, but depressingly heavy atmospherically, stylistically. This song is worth the price of admission alone. “Eternally” follows with a slow, pounding drum beat courtesy of John Hoerner (since replaced by Art Rossi), some melancholic guitar work and a soulful vocal melody. About halfway in, after the first chorus, the keyboards join in, leading into a nice solo. The song follows a slow, mournful path to its end.

Doom metal stops by in the name of “Darkman.” The creepy tempo—subtly accentuated by Cruella’s heavy-hearted and dispirited vocals, piano, violins and sorrowful guitar work by John Graveside—meanders on like the steady crank of a casket being lowered into the damp earth. The album comes full circle with “Deny Yourself,” a driving, heavy number with all the trimmings: another great, hook-laden chorus, some standout bass work from Jack Doran, keyboards, double-bass, excellent vocals and some heavy, galloping riffage.

Like the legendary Bauhaus (arguably the most famous gothic rock band ever) stylistically mixed it up in the 80’s, By Blood Alone have combined many different elements from rock, metal, doom, gothic romanticism and even a little pop, and created a tapestry that is undeniably gothic in style, but also much more if you can listen beyond the free-form, minimalist nature of the songs. With the EP only having four songs it can be a little disappointing; not because the music is a letdown, but because it leaves you wanting more. It’s not easy creating genuine gothic music—whether the sub-nature of the music is ambient, rock, doom, metal, or any number of styles—but to combine multiple styles and weave such a flawless web is extremely rare. By Blood Alone have done so with this EP.

AUDIO: Every Night, Eternally, Darkman and Deny Yourself

Killing Songs :
Every Night, Darkman and Deny Yourself
Ken quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by By Blood Alone that we have reviewed:
By Blood Alone - Thunderbirds reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
By Blood Alone - Seas of Blood reviewed by Alex and quoted 77 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 23 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:24 pm
View and Post comments