The CRUXSHADOWS

Album: "Fortress in Flames"
Label: Dancing Ferret Discs (2004)
Style: Electronic Gothic Rock
Songs: 14

B
 

Reviewed by: Darklight

Hot on the heels of their excellent Ethernaut release, The Cruxshadows unleash this great collection of new tracks and remixes.

The new song "Dragonfly" kicks things off great. It's an energetic track with a catchy chorus. "Edge of the World" and "Fortress" are the other new songs offered here. They're good, but not as good as "Dragonfly". "Edge of the World" is a solid heavy song, but "Fortress" is a little too mellow in my opinion.

The real meat of this CD are the remixes. And most of them are superb. The remixers here include: Clan of Xymox, Subway to Sally, Razed in Black, Neuroactive, Iris, Trevor Brown, Absurd Minds, Alice2, Ego Likeness and In Strict Confidence. Unfortunately, these artists chose to remix some of the same songs. There are two remixes of "Cassandra", two remixes of "Love & Hatred" and four remixes of "Citadel".

The best remixes here are "Never Surrender/Citadel (Clan of Xymox remix)", "Citadel (Iris remix)", "Citadel (Absurd Minds remix)", "Love & Hatred (Alice2 remix)" and "Cassandra (Ego Likeness remix)".

The two most disappointing remixes here are "Citadel (In Strict Confidence remix)" and "Cassandra (Razed in Black remix)". In Strict Confidence and Razed in Black are usually great remixers, but you wouldn't know it here. I expected the In Strict Confidence remix to sound like a dark electro-industrial track, but instead it sounds like a generic rock song. And Razed in Black simply turned their remix into a repetitive trance song.

The bottom line is that this is a good remix album with a few new songs, but it could have been a lot better. Each remixer should have chose a different song to remix, and In Strict Confidence and Razed in Black should have done a better job. But this is still a must for fans of The Cruxshadows.

 

Album: "Ethernaut"
Label: Dancing Ferret Discs (2003)
Style: Electronic Gothic Rock
Songs: 12

B

Reviewed by: Darklight

What I like about The Cruxshadows is that they have their own unique sound quite unlike any other band. When you hear a song by The Cruxhadows you know instantly it's them. They create hybrid music that blends a lot of different genres into one. They have the electronic edge of EBM, the melodies of synth-pop, the guitars of rock, the vocals of gothic and even violin for a more classical vibe. They're all very talented musicians that create some great upbeat catchy tunes that you can't resist.

The electronic programming is energetic, the beats are solid, the melodies are enchanting, the guitars and violin are played to perfection and Rogue's mid-toned vocals sing well with a lot of emotion and range. When all of these elements are brought together the outcome is a quality electronic gothic rock hybrid sound that will appeal to a large listening audience.

There's a lot of variety included on this CD. No two songs sound alike. The majority of songs offered here are enegetic featuring fast paced electronics, heavy beats, loud guitars, frantic violin and passionate singing. There are a few slower songs to be found here as well that add nice diversity to the album. But I admit that I like The Cruxshadows best when they deliver heavy driving electronic rock songs such as "Cassandra", "Love And Hatred", "Winter Born", "Untrue" and "Citadel". I could take an entire album by them that sounded like "Winter Born".

While I like this album a lot, it still has too many aspects about it that don't appeal to me. I would seriously like to see The Cruxshadows record a consistent and focused album that sticks more to an EBM and synth-pop sound.

 

Album: "Wishfire"
Label: Dancing Ferret Discs (2002)
Style: Dark synth-pop / darkwave
Songs: 14

B

Reviewed by: Darklight

Iíll admit that The Cruxshadows have never really appealed to me in the past. While their unique synth-based gothic music has always been good, it just wasnít for me. However, the band has changed somewhat on this release adding more elements to their sound that I like such as greater electronic programming and energy.

The Cruxshadows consist of Rogue (vocals), Chris Brantley (keyboards, backing vocals), Stacey Campbell (guitars, backing vocals) and Rachel McDonnell (violins, keyboards). All four of these musicians are very talented individuals showing off their skills on the music offered here. While I usually would shy away from music that contains guitar and violin, these instruments are mixed so well into this music that I couldnít imagine it without them.

Thereís a lot of variety to be found on this CD. There are energetic dark EBM/synth-pop tracks ("Return", "Binary", "The Seraphs", "Tears", "Earthfall", "Orphean Wing", "Resist/R", "Spiral") slow and moody gothic ballads ("Go Away", "The 4th Phase", "Roman") and funky mid-tempo songs ("Spectators", Carnival").

With fourteen varied long playing tracks, you get a lot of music on this album. And itís for this reason that the CD canĎt be quickly listened to. You will need to devote a good hour or so to listening to this disc from beginning to end. Because this CD works best in its entirety. While some albums you can just play a few stand-out tracks to get your fix, this Wishfire disc is best enjoyed from start to finish.

My only real complaint with this CD is that thereís more of a retro 80s New Wave sound present then I would like. This is especially evident on the song "Spectators". This is the only song on the album that I dislike. Itís too relaxed and funky, with an old school 80s sound, for my tastes. Itís not bad enough to skip past, but it does hurt the flow of the album somewhat for me. It would have worked much better as a hidden track as it sounds out of place mixed in with the other tracks.

There are so many different elements offered throughout this album that it will most likely appeal to a very large listening audience. Thereís the driving electronic edge that will appeal to EBM and future pop fans, the retro New Wave sound that will appeal to 80s synth-pop fans and the dark gothic moods for the gothic fans.