Blimey was it really way back in 2011 when this house of vampires last took us on a ‘Moonlight Waltz.’ I guess it doesn’t really matter quite so much when you are immortal but us fans do age all too quickly unfortunately. It’s album number 10 and apart from a freshly blooded guitarist it would appear the rest of the gang have survived being staked out to continue upon their musical quest. TDV have been playing shows recently but not made it over here from Italy for some time and I guess this could be about to change as they have fresh material and victims to hunt. Moving significantly from their blackened metal roots over the years to more gothic orientations this selection of 11 tracks shows further development of the clan and some new ideas. First thing that is noticeable is the accessibility of the material with songs all shorn of fat and honing in at around the short and sharp 3-4 minute mark.
First of these ‘Morgana Effect’ comes in brooding on bat wings and darkness as Sonia Scarlet gets her fangs in and the drum battery pounds in fast and furiously. This is suddenly a lot more savage than expected and thrashes it up over the beguiling and siren-sounding sultry vocals. It sounds like the work of a band who are invigorated after a long rest in their coffins and there’s an electronic edge delivered with panache. Combining everything from darkwave, to thrash and even with a slight nu flavour there’s quite a lot going on already. ‘Resurrection Mary’ has a real retro keyboard flavour reminiscent of the likes of The Birthday Massacre as it gets its bounce on, the chorus is a right old earworm and this even has a poppy edge to it, gorge too much and like candy itself you may overindulge and make yourself sick. ‘Delusional Denial’ goes for grand-guignol pompous and theatrical symphonics before both male and female vocals interplay but it is the almost near rave etched energy of ‘Parasomnia’ that is the evident hit and is likely to have you up and moving from the dark corner of the club and hitting the dance-floor. Naturally there is going to be the other side of the coin and slow burning songs like the title track are dark and delicious in their own way working more as romantic sounding ballads. I particularly like the Italian horror motifs on ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ too sounding very Goblinesque and Fabio Frizzi like within the orchestrations.
So there are numbers to get up and groove around to and there are those that are dreamers. For me there was also a big surprise in something right out the tomb of the past with a cover of Depeche Mode classic ‘Photographic’. It’s far from an obvious choice and not one of the many singles From way back in 91 and on the ‘Speak And Spell’ album I recognised it almost straight away and love this catchy re-interpretation of the song which once heard will be lodged firmly in the membrane. It has to be said it would have been an interesting paradox if the vamps had done ‘I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead’ from the same album but this is a blistering cover! ‘Opium Shades’ is pure and sickly pop chorus wise and takes a bit of getting used to, instrumentally it has a thick bass heavy ballast and it feels like two different worlds mixing which is somewhat odd but works fine. The final moonlight sonata of Autumn Leaves poetically wraps it up in an autumnal hue that is as gorgeous as the onset of nights drawing in and that chill in the air. All in all a good, enjoyable and even fun album with tricks and treats found at every turn.
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)