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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2017



01. Sólstafir
- Berdreyminn
02. Ulver
- The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
03. Au Champ Des Morts
- Dans La Joie
04. Anathema
- The Optimist
05. God Body Disconnect
- Sleeper's Fate
06. Peter Bjärgö
- Animus Retinentia
07. Friends Of Alice Ivy
- The Last Days Of Fenwyck
08. Isenordal
- Shores Of Mourning
09. Phallus Dei
- Black Dawn
10. Au-Dessus
- End Of Chapter

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Random album

Strap On Halo - Prayers For The Living (2016) - Review

Band: Strap On Halo
Album title: Prayers For The Living
Release date: 19 January 2016
Label: Self-Released

Tracklist:
01. Call For The Rain
02. Chameleon
03. Until The Break
04. Monsters
05. Devils Dance
06. Hunger
07. Desert Frost
08. Lenore
09. Little White Lies
10. Prayers For The Living
11. When They Come For You

From Midwestern United States on the Missouri River comes the female fronted trio named Strap On Halo. Even though the first foundations of the band were set back in 1994, the first release, an EP titled Cherry Flavored Quick Fix, saw the light of the day only in 2009 and called some attention to the band in American goth underground with their 80s inspired style. In the beginning of this year the band came out with their sophomore full-lenght named Prayers For The Living, a follow up to 2011's The Dead Don't Lie. Strap On Halo who in their line-up consist of vocalist, the goth lady Layla Reyna, guitarist Seán Rial and bassist Marc Rhön, are a band who will appeal only, and I mean it, only to those unpretentious gothsters who like their goth in its most purest peeled out form, without any kitsch, but also without beauty.

Prayers For The Living features eleven tracks, all of them very similar between each other, everything is pretty much minimalistic, in a way tribalistic, yet hypnotic. With quite captivating, but too much mellow voice Layla leads the listener through those vintage fueled sonorities. Typical, unpretentious howling traditional guitar lines, reminiscent to some early cold wave bands, then simplistic drum beats and linear reverberate bass lines which are just following the main rhythm, are nothing you haven't heard before. So, to make a notion with the likes as are The Spiritual Bat, Asylum Party, Faith And The Muse, Two Witches, Siouxsie And The Banshees or even Lydia Lunch, I think that you must have a picture in your mind about what kind of music I'm talking about. Strap On Halo don't try for a second to make something spectacular, they rather stick to the legacy of early incarnations of the genre. There's kind of that unmistakable American sound inherited in their music, so I believe that even those of you who like Christian Death, Kommunity FK or Nox Arcana can try this out.

The music on Prayers For The Living lacks in dynamics and density, that's for sure, but some nice rather groovy post-punkish upbeat elements and gloomy dark wave tinged synths here and there, for example in my favorite track "Hunger", do serve its purpose to create kind of a scarry captivating atmosphere. As well the depressive and melancholic "Lenore", then the rather folkish ritualistic "Desert Frost" and with catchy guitar lead spiced up "Little White Lies" are the tracks in which handful of gothsters could find some amusement. Prayers For The Living is after all an album that needs some attention, it's quite hard to get it in one piece, but it might became addictive in a strange way after some listens if the mood is right. The production is good, also the cover artwork works out, but to be honest I think that Strap On Halo forgot in which year are we now. Gothic rock, cold wave, dark wave, post-punk and other close genres evolved so much that I'm afraid if an album like this could get some exposure. It might have a title Prayers For The Living, but I think it's more like a lullaby for the dead.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 5,5/10

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Randal Collier-Ford
Album title: Remnants
Release date: 20 October 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber

Randal Collier-Ford's second album Remnants on Cryo Chamber is the most highly polished work of his to date. Over the last few years, Randal Collier-Ford has been putting out a number of albums across several labels, but Remnants is unquestionably his most dynamic release so far. With Remnants the industrial noise is toned down a bit in favor of some highly atmospheric and cinematic dark ambient. The elements wind, water, fire, can be heard throughout the album along with the more human sounds of footsteps and an impending sense of doom. Yet Remnants doesn't stray too far from Randal Collier-Ford's signature theme of magical machines in a sci-fi setting. Remnants touches on many different genres within the electronic/ambient realm, one moment the album is as brooding as a creature lurking in the shadows and the next moment it feels as if you are listening to the grand soundtrack to some yet to be written Alien movie. Soundtrack is a word I kept coming back to while reviewing this album. Remnants would be a perfect soundtrack, more importantly Remnants proves to us that Randal Collier-Ford was born to work on sci-fi/horror films! It seems as if Randal Collier-Ford is making a statement with Remnants, saying he can produce anything he puts his mind to. Randal Collier-Ford is clearly happy to leave his comfort zone. He could have written another album similar to The Architects and kept his fan-base happy. However, he decided to continue travelling further off the beaten path with this release.

Read a full review HERE