AmederiaI’m not normally one for reaching to the sky in a fit of unlimited melancholic gloom, but I’ll try anything once. I imagined that the slow and melancholic (henceforth abbreviated to s and m) piano intro would lead to something, and to a degree it does as a gothic type female vocal line enters the unhappy fray, aspiring to be epic. Dark patterns and growls join the angelic one. This isn’t worthy of comparison with Tristania as it lacks their quality and intensity but stylistically it’s in that area at this point. The guitar line is nice but lacklustre. It all seems a lot of effort for very little outcome. With its s and m tones, solemn beats and symphonic sounds, there’s a defined and constant ambience. “Who We Are” plods on and is followed by “Loneliness in Heaven”, a long-winded gothic dirge. The operatic vocals sound false. In fact the whole thing sounds tired and lifeless, deliberately maybe as this isn’t supposed to be fun, but on a musical level there’s no inspiration. Another angelic section fails to hide the fact that this is one paced. The piano returns. More s and m, more dreamy vocals and I am reminded of Dark Sanctuary. “The Dance of Two Swans” is soft and gentle but it’s a long and dreary ballad with no respite.

The mood changes a touch as the now slow and ponderous “Forbidden Love” is doom like. It feels like a long and drawn out torture. Growls give way to the sultry female and momentarily the drums inject life but it’s mainly mournful, plodding on without apparent purpose but with plenty of greyness. The growler and female vocalist seem to be attempting to whip up an atmosphere but I wasn’t getting it. The spoken word is then superimposed upon the air of sadness and gloom. “Angel’s Fall” is like a symphonic death march, almost coming to a dead stop. They’re suffering, I’m suffering. “I want to fly to see the sky”, then announces a deep-voiced gentleman. I’m tempted to suggest catching an aeroplane. The lady whispers and launches into a brief passage of song. She seems to have a bit part in this higgledy-piggledy musical play whose content and purpose are escaping me. And guess what – it’s mournful and gloomy and symphonic. “Angel’s Fall” is also lengthy, as this album is, but Amaderia don’t for me make best use of lingering time. The lady laments angelically, and the piano ends the track with more melancholy. I think I’ve got the message, but to re-emphasise the point “Together” is more drawn out reflection and mournfulness. It seems to be random whether it’s the growler or the lady who leads. Here it’s the growler. The track slows down and develops into a hymn before cranking up a bit and predictably regressing to melancholy and gloom. All this could possibly lead to is more tear-jerking symphonic reflection. Except that “Sunset” evoked no tears, just indifference and gratitude on my part that this gloom fest had finished.

I didn’t expect excitement but I did expect to find something beyond this world of gloom. But apparently not. “Unheard Prayers” is dull and dreary. It’s too long and there’s no co-ordinated direction that I could make out. It’s not dazzling musically or vocally, and the passages don’t fit together in any obviously meaningful way. It doesn’t reach any heights. What it does have is a lot of navel-gazing gloom but the point is made very early and it never progresses.

(3/10 Andrew Doherty)