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Descendants Of Cain - Conversations With Mirrors (2017) - Review

Band: Descendants Of Cain
Album title: Conversations With Mirrors
Release date: 21 April 2017
Label: Echozone

01. Shapes In The Mist
02. These Hands
03. Lost In The Woods
04. Unbreakable
05. Scaring Crows
06. Shallow
07. Let Go
08. A Thousand Years
09. The Echo And The Voice
10. Defiance
11. Lost To The Noise

The British band centered around the mastermind and main songwriter DM Kruger, Descendants Of Cain, are after four years of silence since their previous album, Hell Bar Blues, returning to the scene maybe stronger than ever. The band, almost a legendary one, was formed back in 1998 and released so far (including the new one) eight full-lenghts, with which they gained quite a reputation inside the scene. If they started out as a typical gothic rock band the things throughout the years changed very much and Conversations With Mirrors is an album that explores so very different angles of dark atmospheric rock music that is almost impossible to properly describe it. DM Kruger now really nailed it, this album, not only that is original, it also transcends the genre borders while keeping the primal atmosphere still very gothy and melancholic.

Conversations With Mirrors consists of 11 very emotional songs with a lot of character. Not only that Kruger's deep, strong and highly emotive raspy voice gets under your skin pretty soon, it also gives shivers down the spine. As well the instrumental side of the album is exceptional, yes, there are still evident gothic rock elements, but in this versatile output there are found also alternative rock, trip hop, neo-classical, electronic, ambient, even prog-rock, blues and old school new wave variations that certainly add a lot of charm and uniqueness to this music. All of the tracks are proper, lets say dark rock hymns, with highly coherent, eclectic and dynamic sound that even for a second doesn't cease to be very emotional and so very captivating. Every single song shows a bit different character, so there you'll find really impressive and emotive semi ballads, addictive thumping rock/electronic ones and some like is the beginning of the enthusing epic opener "Shapes In The Mist", songs with kind of neo-folkish supplement.

Constantly offering very soul melting melodies and intimate sound the songs can be so very addictive and in a way almost monumental. I find it pretty intriguing how Descendants Of Cain can build up the tension, for example in the before mentioned opener or in the sorrowful yet strong "These Hands", actually in almost every single song. How marvelously the band deepens the whole thing with unobtrusive yet sparkling electronic samples, for example in the haunting "Lost In The Woods", or how nicely here and there soothing piano, lush orchestrations or gothy synths lead the songs into magnificient ambiental crescendos that sometimes burst out like a pounding hammer on listeners soul. While goth rock and darkwave elements are keeping the sound constantly dark, there's present kind of nostalgia that so perfectly depincts kind of desperate feeling in for example "Shallow", or in one of the highlights here, the magnificient intimate semi-ballad with huge orchestrations, "Defiance". Pretty impressive is also the rather upbeat "Let Go", a song that nicely shatters the whole album with kind of a vibrance similar to the most rocking things that The Mission ever did, or how strong almost martial rhythm has the very next one "A Thousand Years".

Yes, Descendants Of Cain keeps the standards throughout the album very high, there's no single dull moment, but the best comes in the end, preceding the before mentioned highlight "Defiance", is the amazing soothing dark and so nicely building up in ambiance hymn that brings shivers, "The Echo And The Voice". The album then leaves the listener with kind of a bittersweet aftertaste of self-indulgent sadness when the outro "Lost To The Noise" closes up this journey. Conversations With Mirrors is an example of how to make so very developed sound that is crushing with kind of elegance all of the genre borders, it fights with stereotypes, succeeds time and is creating many surprises that the listener will explore once embarking on this so very emotional and melancholic journey. A very interesting addition, not really something new, but I find the pictures that substitute the lyrics really good, they say thousands words. This album is so very addictive, and while I believe that it will appeal mostly to open minded gothic rockers, I can easily recommend it to anybody who wants to immerse himself in a different world and let the music work its magic, away from monotonous charts and endless genre copies.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10