Sunday, May 03, 2009

Hanging Doll - Reason And Madness
Once Bitten

More female fronted orchestral metal in the dark, this time from the hallowed rock wastelands that be Birmingham. Maybe by its very definition it’s too easy to castigate such bands as all too reminiscent of Evanescence and dismiss it off to its room with no tea but this does have much more drama, metal and, yuss, orchestrating than simpering bedroom pouting. Classically trained songbird Sally Holliday sure can warble and shatter temple domes though the faux-black metal for the screamo kids guttural growling often found submerged beneath her lead vocals grate. With suitably ‘disturbed’ and high-blown lyrics (eg ‘Lone silhouette comforts me through eventide’, ‘through these aqueous cascades ofmy tears’) - or of the literary persuasion in comparison to the first kill inside the opening credits style horrorpunk - this commits the all too easy mistake (sin?) of mistaking long, drawn-out songs such as Sweet Retribution for epic grandeur and icy majesty, though it does have it’s moments of whisking you away on whispers cascading through mist-shrouded cathedral halls and crumbling archways as on A Formidable Mistake and Hope Springs Eternal. Of it’s symphoniously metallic ilk Reason and Madness is never gonna be a lax choice for lovers of the Lacuna Coils of this world, ticking the boxes for bombastic production with lavish sonics and more metal than many to create an enticing realm to slip into.
Stu Gibson

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