Distorted - Voices from Within
Gothic Metal
12 songs (52'54")
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

It must be a dream of every metal fan to form their own band while in high school. Israeli Distorted apparently lived this dream way back in 1996 and after the strictly underground 2006 debut Memorial their label invites us to judge the perfection of the Distorted Beauty & the Beast version with Voices from Within. So, was the album perfect? What is, under this moon anyway? Nevertheless, the album is a mature and confident effort, which also garnered a load of respect on my part to this Israeli act I wasn’t familiar with before at all.

Without resorting to gimmicks, symphonic huge production or aping Epica and After Forever with whom Distorted apparently shared live stage, the band grounds its foundation in surprisingly heavy, especially in terms of bottom end, sound. At the same time, Distorted do not make their origin their only reason for an artistic outlet either. They do not hide behind mid-Eastern influences, instead making them subtle inspirations, both in riffs and melodies, the most obvious being the distinct riff in the title track and the slower doomier Escaping from the Mind-Grid.

Voices from Within does not resort to tacky balladeer stuff either, not until the bonus track closer As You Lay anyway, where vocalist Miri Milman carries her part a capello for half the song until soft acoustic solo kicks in. Instead, for most of the album the music is rather intense and unrelenting, sometimes coming in the form of the deliberate heavy chords (One Last Breath), but often carried by stormy double bass as its non-stop perpetual engine (Fading, Obscure). Borderline thrashy (Fading), the heaviness and melodic gloom create the desired dark and ominous result. Letting Go is that perfect closer track which combines Moonspellish drum solo, heavy riffs and serene female voice, emotional and ever-contrasting to the seemingly oblivious steady rhythms. To keep things from morphing into each other, Distorted does find room for a more quiet, almost romantic A Soft Whisper and short Dark Tranquillity guitar sounding instrumental Theom.

By definition, Miri Milman had to be made the centerpiece. How many female fronted bands do you know where the vocals weren’t the focal point? It could be the reason some fans would never embrace the genre, but it is certainly not Distorted fault, as their adaptation of the concept is certainly convincing. With Voices from Within you do not lose forest behind the trees. The music can be appreciated as a whole, Miri’s vocals being not the only attraction. She fluctuates between Anneke von Giersbergen modulations, ringing boyish fervor and Amaran-like seething intensity. There is no sappy soprano here, but when necessary Miri does not hesitate to push herself ripping off some higher notes (title track, Letting Go) or giving tribute to the late Ofra Haza in a floating Hebrew lament (Escaping the Mind-Grid). Miri’s Beast partner, guitarist Raffy Mor, is a rather standard version of the creature, staying on the gravely side, some duets sounding quite interesting though (What Remains). A clear male voice, one of the many album’s guests, on Letting Go makes for an interesting counterpoint which comes almost too late.

Not revolutionary, Voices from Within is certainly a very enjoyable album, buoyed by the fact the band is certainly trying to stand on its own two feet rather than cash in on the Scando-goth of Theatre of Tragedy and Tristania or Euro-operatics of Epica. Coming from a populated genre Distorted has its own face, and that is a lot more than I can say about many other bands in that particular realm.

Killing Songs :
Fading, Obscure, Letting Go
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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