Braindance Redemption (self-released on Progressive Darkwave, 2001) Braindance is the band of vocalist/songwriter Sebastian Elliott and guitarist/songwriter Vora Vor, formed as a studio project in New York City in 1992. They label their blend of art metal, goth, industrial, doom, and dark electronica "progressive darkwave," as featured on their previous self-released CDs "Shadows" and "Fear Itself," with various other musicians in the band playing keyboards, bass and drums. "Redemption" was tracked in 1998 and 1999, but the release was delayed into 2001 by the departure of other band members, financial troubles, and other music business hurdles.
Composer/programmer/guitarist Vora Vor
"Redemption" flourishes with deep synth textures, throbbing drum beats, and chugging guitar riffs around Elliott's husky vocals. His stern voice recalls the vocal sounds of bands like Type O Negative. The repetitive monotone guitar riffing not unlike White Zombie is more rhythmic than melodic, appropriately leaving the melody roles to the synth and other programmed sounds. Vor skillfully uses guitar arpeggios as a melodic element in "Resurgence," rather than in their cliched role in a guitar solo. She also plays exciting and tasteful guitar leads in several tracks, like "Resurgence," "Return," and the short but fiery solo in "Relentless." Braindance is "progressive" in an art-rock sense, but don't look for syncopations, odd time signatures, or technical instrumental passages in their dark, electronic-driven metal. The ballad "Return" marks the high point of the record. The acoustic guitars sound immaculate and lush, filling the luxuriant backdrop role in this song with a more natural sounding element than the synth backgrounds in other songs. Elliott's voice soars in the vocal lines, and the ideally placed tempo makes the song swell with feeling. The quirky instrumental "Requiem" uses violin and viola in dissonant chords followed by chugging guitars to build the gloomy mood as the record moves toward the final tracks. The lyrics cover standard goth type themes like betrayal, broken dreams, pain, and of course, redemption. But when Braindance finds a vocal refrain they like, they beat it into the ground by repeating it over and over, sometimes four times or more. Even with changing a few lines, such as in the chorus of "Relentless," the overall effect is still sluggish. This excessive repetition may feel less ponderous in a live setting, but on a studio CD it slows down the flow of the music. "Reduction" strings together three minutes of split second samples from sci-fi and other movies, old and new Star Trek, and cartoons like the Simpsons, in a random sonic collage that has no apparent thematic relation of the samples' meaning or context in their original works to the Braindance music. For example, sampling Dennis Hopper in "Apocalypse Now" quoting T. S. Eliot references many different layers of literary and cinematic symbolism. But by failing to link their music with that sample, and most of the other 100+ samples in "Reduction," Braindance ends up in this track looking like amateurs who just load a pile of cool sounding quotes from hip sources on their record just to show how cool they are. In contrast, the samples in "Remission" take sonic roles in the music and combine their meaning with the lyrics.
"Redemption" sounds immaculate, especially for an unsigned band, with recording and production quality befitting a major label release. Vor self-produced the record, which was recorded in studios in New York and New Jersey. The grandiose scope and presentation of "Redemption" match the brash language on the Braindance homepage about "constructing a new genre of music that transcended categorization." "Redemption" is solid gothic art-metal, well written and excellently recorded, if overly ponderous and turgid in places. Braindance may not be transcending categorization or "boasting unparalleled originality and creativity," but they are doggedly perusing their own blend of goth and art metal with skill and a dark art-rock vision. Fans of goth, atmospheric metal, and rock/electronica blends should pick up "Redemption" when the band has restocked with a second print run. Reviewed by Scott Andrews [email@example.com] More Info:
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