Flowing Tears

Thy Kingdom Gone

Written by: TL on 25/10/2008 19:37:14

A while ago we writers had a brief discussion about the value of good cover art. Well, point in case, the cover art for Flowing Tears new album "Thy Kingdom Gone" is so cool it managed to make me select the cd for review, despite my non-existent knowledge of the band. Turns out they're veterans of the German gothic metal scene and have survived substituting a pregnant singer and losing two bandmembers to a traffic accident, in order to fall in line with such symphonic metal outfits as Nightwish and Within Temptation on "Thy Kingdom Gone", their sixth full length album since their 1996 debut "Swansongs".

Sonically, Flowing Tears fall in between the two mentioned contemporaries in that they're not as poppy and straightforward as Within Temptation, nor as epic and symphonic as Nightwish. Outside of those comparisons, they're characterised by their singer Helen Vogt, who for a female singer in a band like this, has an unusually deep voice, which she wields as confidently and proficiently as most of her opera-metal colleagues. Also, the overall soundscape is more consistently dark and brightened by fewer obvious melodies than you'd expect, and as such, it might even be appealing to people who dig the more mellow southern style of Moonspell.

A trait that does not serve the band well though is the distinct anonymity of the guitar, considering what kind of band they are. For far too much of the album, the guitarist seems strangely content with a very safe chord-based playing style, leaving the spotlight almost entirely to Helen's vocal, unless he's performing a subtle intro or a solo, occurrences of the latter not even being that impressive. Effectively, "Thy Kingdom Gone" has more than its share of moments where it feels a bit too safe. Consider that what I speak of is a metal band with little focus on guitar work (and no violins to make up for it, no Turisas), and tell me that it doesn't strike you as a bit odd? I for one wonder why they haven't picked up a second guitarist.

Overall though, "Thy Kingdom Gone" is not bad. Production, mixing and performance are all superb, and there are plenty of keyboards and programming to sustain the thick mood the band is playing for, despite the lack of captivating guitar work. I find myself enjoying it a lot more now, letting my surround speakers engulf me in the music, as opposed to when I was letting it bore me through my iPod headphones, so I guess sound quality also has a lot to say when it comes to listening to this one. No matter how you spin it though, I'm still more compelled to pull out Moonspell's excellent "Night Eternal" from earlier this year.


Download: Orchidfire, Thy Kingdom Gone, For My Enemies
For The Fans Of: Nightwish, Within Temptation, Moonspell
Listen: myspace.com/flowingtearsofficial

Release Date 20.10.2008
Ascendance Records

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