Emilie Autumn
Opheliac


3.5
great

Review

by Matthew Hopkins, The Witchfinder General USER (5 Reviews)
December 19th, 2007 | 22 replies | 13,185 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


2 of 2 thought this review was well written

“Courtney Love's ‘anarchy violinist’ returns to the stage and is keeping the spotlight all to herself.”

Those words were taken directly from Emilie Autumn’s Myspace page. Yes, after dwelling for many years in the underground goth music scene, this young lady’s first taste of fame was when the ex-Hole frontwoman invited her to perform violins on her debut solo album America’s Sweetheart (which didn’t exactly left a lot of critics swooning, but since I haven’t heard that record, I can’t exactly say if it’s good or bad). Then everyone’s favorite crackwhore asked little Emilie to join her all-female band and tour in support of the album. Through Kurt Cobain’s widow, Emily met Billy Corgan, frontman of The Smashing Pumpkins. She played violins and backing vocals on Corgan’s solo album TheFutureEmbrace, and also designed the costumes for Corgan’s video for “Walking Shade.”

After touring and recording with two of rock’s most notorious and, dare I say, scorned characters, Miss Autumn finally began working on a new album of her own. Finally, in 2006, Opheliac was born. I must say this is one of the best gothic albums I have ever heard. Entirely composed and performed by herself, this album has been described as a fusion of the classical and industrial genres (a mixture that the artist herself calls “Victoriandustrial”). However, I believe that there are more than those two genres to be found in here. Industrial rhythms, dance beats, growling vocals, opera chants, confessional lyrics, harpsichords and Emilie’s trademark distorted violin are some of the many surprises that this album has awaiting for the listener. Perhaps the latter is the most fascinating of them all; Emilie actually shreds her violin as if it were an electric guitar, demonstrating what a skilled musician she really is. However, this is not a perfect album. A couple of fillers and some subpar performances actually keep this album from reaching its full potential. Still, I must say that the good aspects of this album more than compensate for the bad aspects. Now… To the tracklisting, Batman!

”Opheliac”: The album opens with a melancholy harpsichord playing for a minute before giving way to a verse that kind of reminds me of The Return Of Saturn-era No Doubt (a good four years before Gwen Stefani unleashed the musical atrocity that was her first solo album upon mankind). As the tension on the verse reaches its peak, Emilie switches her mellow vocals to a desperate shriek in which the chorus is delivered. At around 3:38, a neat violin passage kicks in followed by a soft and mellow final verse. Then the chorus follows, the second time being accompanied by some hyper fast harpsichord line. 4/5

”Swallow”: This is probably the “poppy” song of the album. In some ways it kind of reminds me of The Gathering. Through there are some strings, the classical elements aren’t very prominent in this song, instead adopting more of a trip-hop sound. I personally like the drum programming on this one. A nice song that serves as a break from the drama of the title track. 3.5/5

”Liar”: The song starts with a cool distorted violin before some goth/industrial arrangements kick in. The verse and pre-chorus are good and catchy (“Angry-Emilie mode” activated), but the chorus is kind of lame (she just says “liar” again and again). Fortunately, the interesting harpsichord keeps it from being a total disaster. The third verse is just a very angry Emilie screaming “Are you suffering?” many times. Not the best track of the album, but has some good parts. Sadly, at the end of the song she got too close to the microphone while growling and all you hear is the air coming out of her mouth through the speakers. 2.5/5

”The Art Of Suicide”: A sad song. “Why life a life that’s painted with pity and sadness and strife” asks Emilie accompanied by some cool melancholic string arrangements. Here the classical Emilie is in full display, with some very little electronic touches just to spice things up. Towards the end the song starts getting kind of monotonous, but still enjoyable. 3/5

”I Want My Innocence Back”: Filler. A pretty much generic goth/industrial song, with no classical influence and no violin. The song is really repetitive but has some parts here and there that remind me of Switchblade Symphony (that’s a good thing). The growls towards the end of the song are kind of scary but still not good enough to save it. Better skip it, since what follows is way better. 2/5

”Misery Loves Company”: In my opinion, the best song in the album. It starts with a catchy synth line and the strings and violin soon join in. The fast, call-and-response verse all of a sudden morphs into a slow, melodic chorus. At around 2:13, the fun part starts, with Emilie harmonizing many voices along with a nice harpsichord line before going back to the slow chorus. The songs end with all the classical instruments playing in harmony. 5/5

”God Help Me”: Another pop song. Sadly this one is not as interesting as “Swallow”. The piano brings a jazzy feeling to the song, the vocal delivery is quite interesting, and the violin does its part really well. Unfortunately, it isn’t anything that Fiona Apple hasn’t done before countless of times. 2/5

”Shallot”: Another great classically influenced song. This one is actually a retelling of the story of Elaine of Astolat, a.k.a. “The Lady of Shallot.” Autumn even shows some sense of humor in the lyrics, such as Lady Elaine’s concern about “a drama queen” (Emilie) writing a song about her. However, the vocals on this song are quite fast and Emilie’s struggles in singing it are quite evident (you can actually hear her inhaling in between lines during the chorus). However, that doesn’t keep it from being a really enjoyable track. 4/5

”Gothic Lolita”: This one is some kind of “dramatic pop song”, yet still retaining the classical sounds (for its own good). Here Emilie sounds more morose rather than angry, which is good because it gives more variety to the album. The Switchblade Symphony influences are put to better use here than in “I Want My Innocence Back,” although the “I’m your anti-American dream” line sounds stolen from some Marilyn Manson song. The tiny backing vocals are probably the best thing about this song. 3.5/5

”Dead Is The New Alive”: It starts as another kind of generic goth song (albeit a really good one), but then it starts taking a form of its own. Don’t be fooled, what you hear at the beginning is a distorted violin. The verses are good although not particularly innovative, but if you are patient you will be rewarded with a great violin solo that wouldn’t sound out of place in a metal song (if played in an electric guitar). This song actually has the potential to be a good single. 4/5

”I Know Where You Sleep”: An angry, fast paced and very experimental song. There are no real classical influences until after the second chorus, when a catchy fast verse accompanied by a nice string/harpsichord arrangement starts. Then a verse that reminds me of Mindless Self Indulgence (with its distorted high pitched ultrafast vocals) kicks in before going back to the chorus and finishing off with the harpsichord, all within its three minutes of duration. Because of its experimental nature and plain weirdness, it ranks among the best of the album. 4/5

”Let The Record Show”: A synth line opens the closer for this album. Then Emilie starts singing in a way that depending on your tastes is either cool or annoying (I like it myself). What really lift this song are the great violin lines and the chorus which is actually quite good. Not exactly a masterpiece, but a good song and good closer to the album. 3/5

Opheliac also comes with a second disc that includes some extra songs, spoken word tracks and videos. I’m not really going to review the songs from the second disc since they are pretty much outtakes that aren’t really interesting. The only exception is the track “Marry Me”, which features an excellent Victorian sound, some really well written lyrics and what probably is Emilie’s most powerful and impressive vocal performance in the whole album. It would have been wise to take one of the fillers out of the main disc and put this track instead. The spoken word tracks are quite interesting and the video tracks are basically live performances and some curious stuff like Emilie showing her female fans how to put on a pantyhose or tie a corset.

Final Rating: 3.5/5


user ratings (111)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Shattered_Future
December 19th 2007



1539 Comments


Sounds interesting enough, but I'm hesitant given who she's played with. Oh well...

Spectrum
December 19th 2007



347 Comments


She played violins for Dethklok's "Dethharmonic", which I thought was awesome. I might actually give this a chance.

Zoo
December 19th 2007



3759 Comments


Sounds somewhat intriguing. Perhaps when I get around to listening to the 23 albums I have downloaded I'll look for this.

Nice review. Yeah, it's a track by track which some will complain about but I don't necessarily care when the review really gives me a sense of the sound, and you did that. Good work.

rasputin
December 20th 2007



14516 Comments


One of the better tbt reviews I've read. This looks interesting, I might look into it.

XulOnerom
December 20th 2007



1818 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you ^^. I believe it is an improvement over the last tbt I made some time ago. Glad you liked it

Iai
Emeritus
December 20th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No way! I was planning on reviewing this, haha. There's a song on the bonus disc called "Thank God I'm Pretty" that I absolutely love. But yeah, really solid album. She's an insanely good violinist.

Metalikane
December 20th 2007



851 Comments


There's a song on the bonus disc called "Thank God I'm Pretty" that I absolutely love.


I agree, good song. Its pretty funny as well.

BallsToTheWall
January 7th 2008



44164 Comments


I just read this. This sounds very intriquing, going to listen to this right away. Good review too.

Altmer
August 18th 2008



5652 Comments


vocals are good, violins are good, synth beats need to fucking DIE

Spectrum
October 10th 2008



347 Comments


So it turns out that this review was cited in the Bull Moose Music mailings for the release of the Deluxe edition. I should correct myself: not merely cited, but directly quoted. I guess this means we're a legitimate review site now!

Essence
October 10th 2008



3577 Comments


Shame, it's only a half decent review.

Spectrum
October 10th 2008



347 Comments


But you're missing the point! We're a real review site now! A chain of music stores recognized one of our reviews in a mass-mailing, this means we can't be anything but.

Essence
October 10th 2008



3577 Comments


O YA DUD PEPLE WIL LISSEN 2 US NAU

Spectrum
October 17th 2008



347 Comments


But... but! I don't understand why you would be sarcastic about these things! We clearly have opinions that matter to the rest of the world, to be included in such places of note as a highly impersonal e-mail simultaneously sent to thousands and thousands every week! Why should you mock me so derisively?
...yeah, I think I'll cut that out now. I just found it rather interesting (and entertaining) and thought I ought to share.

XulOnerom
October 28th 2008



1818 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really??? They cited my review???

Wow, I feel honored. Thank you for letting me know n_n

Do you have any links?? I wanna see it!!

Krimmberlin
July 25th 2009



3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Quite a good review, I must say!

Another song on the Bonus CD that's also quite nice is 306. Kind of a creepy song, but a very good one at that.

Sethcanes
August 14th 2010



45 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is pretty cool. Like mix between NiN, Apocalyptica and Stolen Babies.

Zyb
August 16th 2010



40 Comments


The second disc was criminally neglected by this review. It's not fair to call it a "bonus" either. Outside of the poems there's nothing to indicate that they're outtakes or of sub-par quality. They're definitely better than the worst on the first disc and her violin is featured more prominently. The deluxe version of the second disc is especially great.

omnipanzer
October 22nd 2010



21418 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really couldn't listen to this album all the way through. 30 seconds to a minute per song was all I could give. To align this with industrial is an insult to all industrial artists that came before. It's really closer to "Synthpunk" this album reminded me a lot of MSI who I also dislike greatly. I think she will do much better when she has matured a bit. Laced-Unlaced is much much better IMO 4/5.

Digging: Grant Lee Buffalo - Fuzzy

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
December 1st 2010



14983 Comments


i hate this chick :/



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