Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ides of Gemini: Old World New Wave (2014)

Ides of Apollo

When we last left our heroes, they were doing a little something I called "dream doom." I wasn't the first to call them that, but I found it appropriate enough. The earthy female vocals delivered in an ethereal style, the slow but not terribly heavy guitar riffs, and overall dreamy feel was pretty well summed up by that.

With Old World New Wave, they've changed direction. They still do a bit of the dream doom ("White Hart" or "May 22, 1453"), but new influences have taken a prominent place. Opener "Black Door" is a bold statement of the change, with an uptempo riff and big chorus that--other than the vocals--sound like a completely different band. Indeed, it could be a Dawnbringer cover. But that's not indicative of everything else on the new album.

In fact, other than a little throatiness reminiscent of the great 80's chick-rockers in "Valediction," the opening track is a bit of a feint. It's not more heavy metal at all. "The Chalice & the Blade" could be a SubRosa song, sans violin, with a drum beat that could be a simplified Kylesa bit. Which works well, because Sera Timm's vocals aren't too much different from the SubRosa vocals. In other places, they've taken on a strong resemblance to witchy, occult rock a la The Devil's Blood ("Fememorde" especially).

I'm not sure whether there's a particular reason the only bands I'm mentioning have female vocalists, but there is something of a thread running through them--other than the obvious.

The evolution is welcome. Compared to the other bands I've mentioned here, Ides of Gemini don't quite hold up, but they're also quite a bit ahead of many of their peers in female-fronted doom--and their sound is unique among the lot. It's worth taking a listen.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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