Velvetseal - Lend Me Your Wings
Dark Balance
Symphonic Metal
9 songs (35:38)
Release year: 2009
Dark Balance
Reviewed by Goat

So let’s be brutally honest, now. Gothic Metal bands with female singers and heavy Symphonic elements are hardly rarities, and Hungarian four-piece Velvetseal aren’t breaking any barriers with their debut album Lend Me Your Wings. Counting off the points on the checklist: yes, their singer Gabee is as vocally skilled as she is good looking, capable of hitting the high notes and providing a light, pleasantness to proceedings... Sharon Den Adel meets Simone Simons, if it needs to be put any plainer. Of course, the symphonic elements are well-done and professional, much better than the backing ‘Metal’ elements which are quite modern, downtuned chugs that actually hold otherwise decent songs like the title track down. I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime and criticise a production for once; although the symphonic elements sound great, if you concentrate on the Metal parts there’s a clunkliness to the bass and drums which sounds less than great, as if Gabee’s vocals and the orchestral moments had been cut and pasted over the top, which they probably were. It sounds decent as a whole, but if you’re aiming for a Metal audience then the Metal elements should not sound like they’re from an Evanescence demo, as several tracks (especially the first chunk of Torn Within) here do seem.

As you’d expect if you listen to much of this sort of thing, there’s a track (The One) with Eastern sounds on the introduction, and whilst it’s hardly original (I always suspect these bands of sitting around, desperately trying to think of something extra and original to throw into the mix, until suddenly their gaze is drawn to the takeaway curries on the studio table. Eureka!) it still makes the song one of the better tracks present. Sadly, that’s not saying much; none of the songs here are really good, never grabbing your interest and holding it, never having a particularly noteworthy semblance of motion or drive. You never feel like the album is taking you anywhere, making it rather a problem since Gothic Metal’s very drive is escapist.

I’d give the album average marks if it weren’t for the execrable ballad Where Statues Cry, crouching partway through the tracklisting and hiding its malice behind a bundle of soppy nonsense that will make the few teenage girls out there that normally like this sort of thing run screaming for their elder brothers’ Anaal Nathrakh collection. Even Gabee sounds poor, like she can’t quite believe she is being asked to waste her talents on this sort of nonsense. The track following, The Divine Comedy? (note the cunningly-placed question mark, giving it ironic connotations – or so the band doubtless thought) is the sort of Poppy, catchy Metal that you’ve forgotten half a second after you’ve heard it, but it becomes a killing song here just because it’s a step back up after Where Statues Cry. That is honestly one of the worst songs I’ve heard all year, and if the rest of the tracks were half as bad I’d be Crap Of The Monthing Velvetseal quicker than you can say ‘whoa, coming from the guy who gave Shallow Life 75, this is serious criticism indeed!’

With a quick word for the ‘I can’t believe it’s not a drum machine!’ tap-tapping of This Tragic Overture, which makes Mortician sound like they hire Neil Peart to do their drums in comparison, I’m going to finish by carefully advising you not to listen to this album. Although Velvetseal are pretty poor, they never quite are offensive enough to earn complete derision, but neither will Lend Me Your Wings do anything but sink without a trace into that great dark pit where b-division Gothic Metal bands go to die. Elsewhere in this week’s update lies a review for a band called Ava Inferi; go and check them out instead.

Killing Songs :
If I must: The One, The Divine Comedy?
Goat quoted 48 / 100
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