Review Summary: Dark, moody and strangely appealing
I just can’t get over the beauty of “Iris”. The soft piano accompanying a slow but steady build-up of drums and guitar as the singer transitions from an almost feminine like sounding verse to a complete outburst of a chorus. If there is but one track on this album you wish to hear before passing judgement, please let it be this one. The lyrics will leave you mystified; the music will blow your mind.
So how does the rest of this album stack up to such a masterpiece? Actually rather well. Originally from Germany, the guys of Semtex: Ray, David, Joki and Simon have crafted an interesting mix of catchy vocals and grandiose instrumental work. Joki the vocalist, as mentioned earlier, is all over the place, ranging from purposefully off key bits of singing (trust me, they work), to raspy shouts, to straight up deep sounding screams. Enough cannot be said about this true gem as he puts you in a dark and emotion filled state that is so appealing you will not want to leave. “A Fragment of the Sun” for example overtakes you with heart tearing sadness from the get go but as the song progresses, the hope gradually builds.
The rest of the crew performs just as well to help bring Jokis words to life but also provide some change of pace. Not every track is a moody adventure. “Day by Day” for instance is a much happier piece where the instruments get a chance to show their strengths early on. It’s an excellent track that, with similar songs fusing soft and harsh singing, round out the album nicely, preventing it from becoming monotonous. Unfortunately, the tracks that don’t follow this proven formula end up lacking a bit. “Balls to the Wall” starts off with punk like riffs and is performed entirely with the singers’ raspy voice. It shows diversity and increased intensity but loses its weight in meaning compared to the previously mentioned songs. Speaking of meaning, the lyrics although very simplistic by nature hide deeper significance within which works well with the bands delivery.
I honestly can’t remember how these guys appeared on my radar but I remember having to listen to the CD a few times before really discovering them. The limitless vocals make them stand out and the epic choruses help them remain. With fourteen tracks, if counting the very brief intro “Truth be told”, the album can seem a little long and some songs are weaker than others but there is definitely quality to be found here.