What the hell was that!
Eh? Really? It might be all my fault for not reading the press release, but on grabbing this CD, I looked at the cover, went "ho-hum" female fronted goth metal" and prepared myself for a second rate Epica impersonation. I did not expect Diamanda Galas fronting a black metal King Crimson tribute act. Because that's what I got!
There really ought to be some kind of warning message for records like this. I don't want Parental Advisory, I want Mental Advisory. Really! A Russian born, French based, classically trained pianist mixing up huge swathes of goth, metal, Tori Amos and gibberish into a frightening world of baroque'n'roll, isn't the kind of thing you stumble across every day of the week. Nor would you want to.
It's a mad, mad world you're being invited into, and it's not one for the faint of heart. Most of the tracks are built around some very basic metal riffing, but then the insane caterwauling begins and the weebly wobblies kick in, and you're left with that feeling you got after watching Tod Brownings Freaks for the first and last time.
Doubtless, this is 'art' in all its farty sense, something that is way beyond me. Thankfully. However, in between the banshee like wails, there is definitely a talent at work here, as the intricate arrangements and layered music displays, powered along by the bass player and guitarist from the French extreme metal band, Misanthrope, who themselves claim to be inspired by the spirit of Moliere. So it's easy to see the common ground as Ayin Aleph claws her way through the likes of "Valpurgis Nacht" and "My Bloody Marriage". Factor in some grinding guitars from Kill II This fella, Mark Mynett and it's an unholy racket.
Musically, there are common links to acts like Aesma Daeva and Lorde Of All Desires and Le'Rue Delashay, but Ms Aleph is in a world of her own, when it comes to assimilating her influences. That's when she's not recording four seconds of silence and programming it as Track 13. I doubt you will ever have heard anything quite like this, which is in itself a major achievement in our over saturated musical world. If you're considering a nervous breakdown anytime soon, you may want to consider this for your own personal soundtrack.