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SnakeSkin - Medusa's Spell (2020) - Review

Band: SnakeSkin
Album title: Medusa's Spell
Release date: 7 February 2020
Label: Hall Of Sermon
Genre: EBM/Industrial/Darkwave

01. Loaded Guns
02. Medusa
03. Once
04. Upon A Time
05. Move On
06. New Skin
07. Don't Give Up
08. Goodbye
09. Fuck U2
10. Recall IV
11. Fuck U2 (RMX by SITD)
12. Medusa (RMX by Frozen Plasma)
13. Medusa (RMX by SnakeSkin)
14. Upon A Time (RMX by Vasi Vallis)
15. Goodbye (RMX by SnakeSkin)

The godfather of beautiful darkness, sorrowful soundscapes and never-ending imagination; Tilo Wolff has returned with again another masterpiece. In case you are wondering if just so you happened to miss a new Lacrimosa release, you did not, because Mr. Wolf and his musical colleagues HannesB and Thomas Daviero revived SnakeSkin with another wonderful, tenebrous, lustful work of art.
I am quite convinced every Lacrimosa fan is familiar with this exceptional EBM/darkwave project, which is actually quite difficult to put in a genre, as it features so many elements, from industrial to avantgarde even, but in case this is your first time encountering this side of Tilo, let me tell you the beginnings go back to 2004, when the debut Music For The Lost saw the light of a day. Two years later, Cantatronic with iconic opener “Etterna” was released and introduced Kirsten Doelle as a collaborator, again reaching new spheres in SnakeSkin's music. Years of silence were finally broken again in 2016, with Tunes for My Santiméa. By the words of Tilo, SnakeSkin was born as he wished and felt the need to express himself in a different way and wanted to divide that sound from Lacrimosa, thus SnakeSkin was born. With industrial sound and luscious electronic sounds being the core, SnakeSkin doesn't fall into the category of every day’s dark electro sound, as it incorporates many orchestral features, fascinating vocal work of the aforementioned tremendous opera singer Kirsten Doelle and serves with a profound and exceptional pallet of emotions, from deep melancholy to horror-esque ambient.

The fourth effort of this Switzerland based project will take you on a long and heavy, emotionally draining journey, with a sense you are being engulfed straight into the abyss of darkness. The heartstrings of music lays in use of dense sequencer efforts, heavy distortion, keyboard arrangements as well as featuring very well equilibrated orchestral touch. Besides wonderful vocals of Mrs. Doelle, Tilo steps in with his vocal duties and as those familiar with his work he has done in his more than 30 year long journey in the music scene,  and he sounds like a shape-shifter; his voice is sometimes razor sharp and clean and on the other hand distorted and can go from sounding like a fallen angel, to being a vile predator dragging you straight to Hell. Tracks such as opening “Loaded Guns”, “Fuck U2” and “New Skin” sound like compositions made for goth dance clubs, with some sort of in-your-face energy. Oppose to that, Lacrimosa fans will probably find more comfort or cosiness in “Once” and “Move On”, two startling works of art, featuring crestfallen ambient created by a precise use of orchestrations and soul-piercing vocals. As for the raw darkness and obscurity, “Upon A Time”  is a track with that vivid dreadful and ghastly ambient, portraying that distinctive SnakeSkin feature, we witness on their previous albums. 

I never considered SnakeSkin’s music to be and easy listening or elusive per se, as the compositions and overall atmosphere can be quite difficult to digest. SnakeSkin will surely take you on a mind-consuming, heavy expedition through a melange of musical sounds, so profoundly mesmerizing, abysmal, heavily obscure, almost paranoid, with a slash-and-brurn moments peeking to its surface. This is not merely a music album, it's a wholesome work of art – it's an industrial cabaret, a psycho thriller, a horror musical and a dark drama in one. The only thing I’m missing is the length of some tracks, I could easily listen to “Move On” being a 10-minute lasting hypnotizing odyssey, but the complexity and diversity of the album makes up for that. Like Medusa pierced and enchanted her prays with her evil look, Medusa' s Spell is casting a venomous and seductive spell on a listener.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 8,5/10