Danse Macabre - _Matters of the Heart_
(Hammerheart, 2002)
by: Adam Lineker (1.5 out of 10)
There are certain things a band has to get right to be taken seriously. You would think that the least this lot could have done was to get their own name pronounced correctly, especially as it cheesily dominates the choruses of two songs on this EP. But alas, it was not to be and Danse Macabre, or should that be Danse McCarbrer, literally fall at the first hurdle. There are many things wrong with this band, and even more things wrong with this EP which they have created. The music, despite being entirely unimaginative, is about one of the only things they come close to getting right, as it possesses a somewhat danceable goth groove. The guitar sound is warm but fuzzy, only achieving punch when joined with the bass and drums. Nothing else is allowed to shine however, as it is all wrapped in a cloying fog of pretentious and misguided gothic nuances that would warrant them a good kicking in any other profession. The singer's voice is nothing but totally embarrassing; rather than sounding like Sisters of Mercy or Him, it is just sickeningly over-the-top and cringe-inducing. The lyrics are poor enough to make even Manowar look away and blush. It is always best to put remixes at the end of the record as bonus tracks, as most artists do, or even cash in by releasing a remix album, which a lot of artists also do. This little lot stick a remix of Danse Macabre on straight after the original. It is just awful. The song is basically the same but sounds like early-'90s dance. The impact of the guitars and drums that gave the original some sort of danceable groove is now lost and the whole texture is thinned out. Add in some very awkward swinging in the stereo imaging, an unbelievably poor MC mutilation of the lyrics ("Da-Da-Da-Danse McCarbrer") and a silly title ("Lonely Puppet Remix") and you are lost for words or, at worst, driven to end your life. The use of effects and samples is quite poor all round, although most of the music isn't really too bad. It is just that the techniques, embellishments, vocals and remixes are just so kitsch. Even though all previous artistic "flair" has gone horribly wrong, they have quoted themselves inside the sleeve in a nauseating display of arrogance and backslapping. By the time you reach the "Addicted Heart Remix" of "Oblivion" you have to wonder if they are having a laugh. Yet another remix follows, this time of "Trojan Horse" (dear God -- the "Hungry Ghost Remix"), all of which is recited in a voice which makes Dani Filth's stage voice seem respectable and serious. The music is so full of cheese it is outclassed by most action game-show themes -- particularly The Crystal Maze. This is terrible. Only one track attains anything close to respectability; "And I Bleed" is just a little better that its contemporaries, simply because it is not as embarrassing. That's barely one out of five. This EP is not worth your attention, let alone your money. Please Hammerheart, no more.

(article published 1/9/2002)

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