Rain - _Starlight Extinction_
(Adipocere Records, 2001)
by: David Rocher (6.5 out of 10)
Face it: it's hard to avoid hasty comparisons when approaching a Helvetic quartet playing electronic, atmospheric, mid-paced techno-enhanced metal -- and indeed, this comparison with atmospheric experimental masters Samael turns out to be Rain's addictive sting and curse also. Their sting, because these Swisses are proficient enough in their ways to skillfully impose their personal brand of electronic experimentation fused with low-cased metallic power; their curse, because whichever way you turn when listening to _Starlight Extinction_, the ineffable shadow of post-_Passage_ era Samael looms ever nearer -- somehow, I have a hard time deciding whether I should congratulate Rain for daring to tread in the experimental musical tracks of their masters, or whether I should sneer at them exactly for that same reason. In fact, the sheer deserving professionalism with which Rain go about their music -- whether on CD or live, as I have had the pleasure to behold -- pulls it off with little difficulty, leaving one to enjoy the intriguing power encased within this third release of theirs. After several careful and rather less biased further listens, the main weakness in Rain's songwriting in fact reveals itself to be the lack of dynamics their music suffers from; many a track gradually builds up a powerful aftermath, a raging crescendo towards a musical storm... but the much-awaited maelstrom in fact scarcely ever seems to come. This is probably imputable to the more ethereal, distinctive techno slant Rain grace their material with, an orientation which is rather stronger in these ways than Samael's. Altogether, however, even though _Starlight Extinction_ doesn't score a direct hit on me, its carefully calculated musical approach, generally interesting songwriting, huge sound, ample and spaced-out tones make it a truly commendable listen for the more open-minded fringe of metalheads out there.

(article published 7/3/2002)


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