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Cadaveria - "The Shadows' Madamme"
Scarlet Records / SPV 2002

Sometimes an artist of proven skill and creativity might surprise us with an utterly substandard and disappointing piece of work. And that is what we have here. About a year after Cadaveria (vocals) and Flegias (drums) have parted with Opera IX ( which used to be a rather original band of considerable quality ), we are already faced with 2 new albums - one by the new-formed band Cadaveria, the other by the (renewed) Opera IX. Flegias is supposedly sharing his growls with a death metal band... Italian as well.

After listening to the new Opera IX piece of work, all I could do is sigh. Maybe Cadaveria did contribute more than just (sometimes rather brutal) vocals to the band. Maybe she was the creative spirit behind Opera IX. And with this thought in mind I reached for the CD I'm reviewing here, hoping to find that dark and powerful sound once again. Wrong.

"The Shadows Madamme" is both, forced and lacking in all senses. It is somehow obvious to me, that it wishes to sound better and different from (the old) Opera IX (media statements aside). And fails on both accounts.
The vocals - sometimes a trademark of Cadaveria (and her ex band) have regressed drastically. Clean vocals are oversampled - and that with no sensible connection to the music - although that doesn't hide the fact that the actual singing is slightly off key. Cadaveria's voice sounds like whining (on fuzz and echo samples). What's more, there is just way too much of them. Much more than the "angry" vocals. "Angry", because the growls and roars just don't sound as powerful and convincing as they used to. But nevertheless, the record would sound much better if the "angries" would be the only type of vocals on it.
Instrumental-wise, the album is played okay, but is all too packed with cliches (starting with the very riffs). In the way of defining a genre, the thing is a mid-paced Gothic/Black Metal, hanging somewhere between blandly indecisive and overcrowdedly confused. The passages are unclear or just plain ugly, the solos - although well played and rather good - just don't fit in and create a feeling of soulless tehnicism, the occasional attempts to sound aggressive just don't convince.
Lyrically and atmospherically, Cadaveria would seemingly like to be a cosmic-mythologic-occult band... oh, well, they just aren't. The songs are merely simplified and "cosmified" rip-offs of some more straightforward Opera IX works.
Comparing the overall musical impression to the physical appearance of the record, the band seems to have spent more time with various stylists and photographers than actually making the music. A half-exception would only be the title track (and I'm being VERY gracious here) and a couple of half-minute sections from the other six tracks... Oh, and the sound quality is not that bad.

In short: even if you are THE biggest fan of Cadaveria or ex-Opera IX, don't buy this album!!!!!!! The spirit of what once was is dead... or at least deeply comatose. These 38 minutes of self-ridiculing will in no way bring it back. Listen to the old Opera IX albums and mourn. And if you want GOOD cosmic-style lyrics in the darker metal waters, go for a consistent artist that hasn't disappointed yet, like Vintersorg or some such.

Author:   Jaša

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