Rating:
9.1
Mandragora Scream - Fairy Tales From Hell's Caves
9 July 2001


01. Fairy
02. The Time of Spells
03. Five Tear Drops
04. Brain Storm
05. Crying Clouds
06. Angel Dust
07. Little Zombies
08. Child Of The Moon
09. Starquake
10. Fairy Tale From Hell's Cave (Eva's Stardust)


Mandragora Scream is an Italian gothic band from Tuscany. Their story began with the singer Morgan Lacroix who was inspired by Dante's "Divine Comedy". So the band created their first album "Fairy Tales From Hell's Caves". One doesn't have to have read Dante in order to understand that album, the music speaks for itself well enough. The album, as it has been stated, pictures a journey through a place that more or less resembles hell. When Dante was accompanied in hell by Virgil and met his muse Beatrice then here we only have one guide, Morgan Lacroix, who represents the character of a vampiric fairy. Imagine yourself being lured to take a step through a door - dare to do that and the door has already slammed shut behind your back. Now you hear the clanking of metal chains pulling the iron gates open and the screams from the flames somewhere down below will overwhelm you.

Thus begins the musical experience that the album is. This work has many qualities and is a fine introduction to the band's discography. The album balances the softness and the aggressiveness of the music very well both in the tracklist order as well as inside the songs themselves. The style pays homage both to earlier gothic groups such as Christian Death and also has some allusions to Italian power metal. The real heart of this band is the voice of Morgan Lacroix. It is dark and passionate, very low, sometimes even resembling a male voice, so that it becomes quite a task to decide whether it's Morgan or the male vocalist Terry Horn singing. Morgan's voice gives the music it's quality. Her vocal technique could also teach a lesson to some people who think that gothic metal is only centered around a light and/or operatic lyrical voice. Out of all the songs on this album, "The Time Of Spells", "Five Tear Drops" and "Little Zombies" would be worth extra mentioning. All of them have both aggression and mild attitude in them. "Starquake" and the title track are fine songs with a dreamy atmosphere and "Child Of The Moon" is a passionate duet of Morgan and Terry. Many songs of the band use voiceovers and film-like sound effects. These can generally either add atmosphere to the music or become annoying. In Mandragora Scream's case they are essential to make the music even more thrilling. The band even dares to take sound clips from different films and add them to the appropriate songs as voiceovers.

If you stay with Morgan's voice til the end of this album you'll finally leave the caves of hell, fly through the skies, between the stars and then you're left in silence to contemplate on thoughts this album might have provoked. In the very end you'll hear the sound of a small waterfall, the farewell chant of the fairy who lead you and the cries of a small child probably forebode the start of something new and better. The journey ends in a garden of paradise.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 9


Band profile: Mandragora Scream
Album: Fairy Tales From Hell's Caves


 


written by Ernis | 09.02.2008


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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