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The Cascades - Phoenix (2018) - Review

Band: The Cascades
Album title: Phoenix
Release date: 19 October 2018
Label: Echozone

01. Avalanche
02. Blood Is Thicker Than Blonds
03. Dark Daughter's Diary
04. Phase 4
05. Station No. E
06. Phoenix
07. Behind The Curtain
08. This World Is Yours
09. Superstar
10. Ihr Werdet Sein
11. Zeros And Ones
12. Diane (Hüsker Dü cover)
13. Für F.

The legendary German gothic rockers, The Cascades, who were founded back in the glorious days of goth, in 1988, returned! They already announced that something is happening with their double album, Diamonds And Rust, the collection of songs originally released between 2001 and 2006, and a second CD including unreleased songs, demos and a brand new title called "Wenn der Regen kommt". This new track was actually the first recording of original members after almost a decade of absence from the scene. The band which is masterminded by vocalist M. W. Wild, who in the meantime released a bunch of not so successful solo-albums, the last one was The Third Decade, released in 2017. Ok, The Cascades offer now something much more captivating, more gritty and powerful gothic rock, maybe their best and most mature work until now, an album that has an overused but fitting name Phoenix.

Phoenix consists of 13 songs of pure gothic rock that is catchy, dark, melodic and it has a pleasant atmospheric sound. It's gothic rock that with a modern crisp production evokes the spirit of 80s and early 90s goth, and those who knew The Cascades from before know what to expect, even though that their music has a lot in common with the most rocking The Sisters Of Mercy, The Cure or The Mission, but tends here and there to go also in some a bit more modern waters. The attentive listener will notice also segments in certain songs that have something in common with acts like Tiamat, Lucyfire, Gary Numan and even with Rammstein. So yeah, it's not an original stuff at all, neither is anything innovative, but believe me that it has some memorable hooks and wicked elements that will bring shivers down the spine.

Nevertheless, The Cascades do rock, and they do it with right amount of freshness and grit. Most of the songs are pretty simple, based on the core powerful catchy refrain. The rhythic line is strong, guitars are in a typical gothic rock vein with a heavy edge, here and there are thrown some pretty cool leads, but in my opinion guitars could be just a little bit more fronted. The keys and some electronic samples add a certain dark ambiance that enriches the music in a good way. There are many highly captivating melodies and emotional parts, just listen to the first two singles of the album, "Behind The Curtain" and "Station No. E" and you'll get my point. The main thing here that stands out are M. W. Wild charismatic, deep, emotional and dark vocals, that are at the same time enough gloomy and enough powerful to make a huge impact on the listener, just like a mix between Andrew Eldritch, Wayne Hussey and Johan Edlund. Sometimes the band goes really heavy and creates a dense wall of sound, like for example in the tracks like is the opener "Avalanche" or in the amazing title track.

The songs that stand out from the rest in the compositional style are of course the rather industrial "Ihr Werdet Sein", which sounds just like if Rammstein, Gary Numan and The Cure had a child raised together, and the bold cover of the legendary American punk/hardcore band Hüsker Dü which later became a hit as the Therapy? version, "Diane", where we can hear nice female vocals by guesting Canadian singer Esther K. Widmann. I was also taken away by the emotive melancholic semi-ballad "Superstar" and by the groovy darkness named "Dark Daughter's Diary". Actually on this album there's no bad song, the only thing that bothers me is that quite a lot of songs have kind of similar compositional style, making them a bit too predictable, even though that the band tries hard to make them not to sound alike. Otherwise, The Cascades on their new album offers some amazingly well done dynamic gothic rock with extraordinary drive that is a must for every fan of gothic rock.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7,5/10