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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2017



01. Lacrimosa
- Testimonium
02. Sólstafir
- Berdreyminn
03. Soror Dolorosa
- Apollo
04. Ulver
- The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
05. Myrkur
- Mareridt
06. Sun Of The Sleepless
- To The Elements
07. Moonspell
- 1755
08. Au Champ Des Morts
- Dans La Joie
09. Andras
- Reminiszenzen...
10. Svartsinn
- Mørkets Variabler

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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: The Human Voice
Album title: Silent Heart
Release date: 21 January 2016
Label: Cyclic Law

Silent Heart is a deep and moving experience from beginning to end. Never becoming overwhelming yet always holding onto the listener emotionally, it dives deep into our psyches and tears at what makes us human, what makes us feel. Silent Heart was years in the making and Harleif Langas proves yet again that the best things take time and patience to create. Silent Heart is arguably one of Langas' best albums to date, and probably the most emotionally gripping of all. While Northaunt often gives one the feeling of being in the midst of a dark and desolate landscape, The Human Voice manages to manipulate the mind itself, pulling us through deeply melancholic and personal passages, reflecting the dark waters of a tortured soul.

Read a full review HERE