Mandragora Scream


Written by: PP on 18/12/2009 16:36:11

Italy's Mandragora Scream are one of the strangest bands to have landed on my review plate. Not because their sound is particularly original or mind blowing (it isn't), but because I've never come across an act that's so obsessed with....vampires. That's right. Mandragora Scream can be described as gothic industrial metal, alternative rock, dark metal, dark wave, or even gothic pop if you want to stretch the envelope. They share a common sound with bands like The 69 Eyes, and to an extent, even HIM, and possess a very Finnish sound in general. Except where HIM plays 'love metal', you could say that Mandragora Scream play 'vampire rock'. Their entire second album revolved around a concept stoy about vampires. In an ideal world, Mandragora Scream would quickly be passed by and forgotten, but unfortunately, we live in a post-Twilight movies world, where everything vampire is suddenly pop (think about the popularity of The Vampire Diaries, True Blood TV series), which also means that Mandragora Scream have shifted over 24,000 records combined of their first two records.

"Volturna" is their fourth album and my first acquaintance with the band, and the first thing that comes to my mind from their programmed samples is this crazy alternative gothic club I once checked out in Milan, where they had girls dancing in cages, pyro technics all over the place, and freaking strange techno/electronic pieces injected into gothic tracks. I'm serious, that place was fucking weird. That feeling is further fortified through the simple instrumentation that's focused more on creating a gothic, industrial atmosphere than on blowing the listener away with fantastic riffs or other technicalities. Pop melodies are afloat throughout the album, best seen in single "Breakin' Dawn", the rock-oriented "Killin' Game", and the pop ballad "Blindness". There are many sections where you can't shake The 69 Eyes off your mind. Whether that's a good or a bad thing depends entirely on your opinion of the gothic rock genre. The album also features two covers, "Bang Bang" (Sonny & Cher) and "Fade To Grey" (Visage"), which are executed quite poorly, however, and "Volturna" would've been better off without them, also because at one hour and 15 tracks, the record's perhaps slightly too long for its own good. Otherwise, Twilight and The 69 Eyes fans, look this way.


Download: Farewell, Breakin' Dawn, Killin' Game
For the fans of: The 69 Eyes, HIM, Theatres Des Vampires, Macbeth, Flowing Tears
Listen: Myspace

Release date 20.11.2009
Massacre Records

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