Published on Sunday, 11 May 2014 16:03
Album title: Night And The River
Release date: 23 May 2014
Label: Équinoxe Records
01. Ghosts And Machines (Redemption Street Pt. II)
02. Morning Heir
03. What's In A Moment?
04. The Age Of Love
05. Night And The River
06. Ghost Ships For Tomorrow
07. Ways Of Fate
08. Rose Imperial
09. The Long Last
10. Pictures That Stay (East Westphalian Hunger)
Many of us believed that the bold - in my mind fresh and redemptive - hardening of gothic rock in the mid-90's was fated to dissapear with the turn of the century, as only a few long-running acts seemed willing to sustain that guitar-fueled current and newcomers looked were interested more in mere throwback mimicry. Fortunately, incipient outfits then - seasoned gothrockers nowadays - such as the East Westphalian quintet Reptyle have proven over more than a decade that those thinking that way were so wrong. In fact, The Germans have managed to preserve those intense memories through wholly-owned, instantly recognizable forms which have remained unmoved by passing trends.
Reptyle's third full-length album, Night And The River, definitely lives up the band's solid reputation in the gothic rock circuits. It comprises ten tracks of gloomy rock'n'roll, filled with immediacy, catchiness and flammability, but also coated with a tuneful varnish whose aroma lasts in memory. Though Reptyle defies comparison, this repertoire somehow sounds to me like Draconian-era Paradise Lost played by Dronning Maud Land or Secret Discovery and vice versa. Pick up the flashy, explosive opener "Ghosts And Machines (Redemption Street pt. II)" or the wailed, doomy "Rose Imperial" to see exactly what I mean. However Night And The River teems with pleasant surprises, including constant changes of mood, tempo and texture, as well as a flawless, truly signed performing. Thus the instrumental "Ways Of Fate" is an absolute jaw-dropper for gothriders: bass thrums with stadium-size echo and paired with classic riffs at full load. Precise, exuberant percussion propelling the whole thing and sinous strings and keys injecting melancholy in adequate doses when the track shifts down a gear. For its part, "Morning Heir" comes up with a groovy strings/drums interplay like winking at the their compatriots Bloody, Dead And Sexy, even though the song remains 100% Reptyle. Precisely, there's a rich variety of nuances underlying these ballistic tunes. For instance, check the distant-sounding, post-rock guitar buzzings present in "The Age Of Love", which otherwise shines in all its motorized glory and resinous choruses. Also pervaded with rocking allure is "Ghost Ships For Tomorrow", while an ominous vibe is provided in addition. Singer Zulu's harsh, throating invocations result in a maelstrom of churning bass, meandering riffs and haunting synths. Unfeigned, massive gothic rock loads, that you can also find in "The Long Last" and "Pictures That Stay (East Westphalian Hunger)", both of them relying on an anthemic driving that never fails to send shivers down the spine.
Though this five-piece equally blows away when taking their feet off the gas, as demonstrated by the dark grey, mournfully epic "What's In A Moment?", which leaves an stimulant Nephilim aftertaste and, above all, "Night And The River", whose bittersweet tune and far-reaching vocals penetrate deep in mind and, once there, they become perennial. It seems totally apt title for an album where the perdurable and the mighty interacts to the sake of gloom. If you're more into leather than lace, Night And The River should bring a tear of joy to your eye. Strongly recommended.
Review written by: Billyphobia (Virus G)