A new album review, for Through The Shadows by Italian band The Spiritual Bat, has been posted over on the review page. Follow the link for the full review, or just get the text below:
Through The Shadows is the debut of Dario Passamonti’s newest project, The Spiritual Bat, an evolution of his past work with Rosy Garrì in Spiritual Bats. The album proves that old-school gothic rock is not dead, it just moved to Italy.
The bookends of the album, “Through The Shadows” and “Sogno Tribale,” both bring the Bauhaus classic “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” sharply to mind, and it’s not a bad starting point for comparison. Their tone is highly evocative of the early post-punk goth era, featuring highly prominent basslines and rock drum beats overlaid with piercing vocals.
Speaking of vocals, Rosy’s tone and voice are a near-clone of Nocturne’s Lacey Conner, but with a bit more versatility and less of a metal edge. Her delivery is more akin to Elizabeth Fraser (of Cocteau Twins fame) in her more coherent moments, and it really adds a lot to the authentic old-school feel of the album. Through The Shadows was originally conceived as an instrumental work, but the extra effort dedicated to the lyrics and vocals has paid off well.
Many songs are still instrumental, however, and in many ways they are the best tracks of all. Bruno Lombardi, from the Italian National RAI Orchestra, has contributed his mastery of the flute to four compositions: “Wandering On Cobble Hills,” “Prague,” “Primordial Call,” and “Twins.” The first two are particularly gorgeous and must be heard to believe; there are a number of gothic bands who employ “classical” instruments to good effect, but none match Maestro Lombardi’s skill and creativity. His playful riffs add an upbeat fun that keep this old-school album from being the same old Siouxsie retread we’ve all heard so many times before.
Through The Shadow’s lone weakness is that occasionally, when one element of a song is really stealing the show, everything else tends to sit back and watch. This is most evident on “Prague,” where the flute is absolutely breathtaking, and the synth line is simple though effective, but the drums are mostly relegated to a canned loop. It would have been a great touch to add some native percussion or something else other than the standard kit.
The Spiritual Bat has taken a classic style that’s been posed to death, and given it a breath of desperately needed fresh air.