If the title of Voltaire's latest CD, Riding a Black Unicorn Down the Side of an Erupting Volcano While Drinking from a Chalice filled with the Laughter of Small Children does not warn you in advance, this CD is definitely not for the young ones. Voltaire is a unique artist whose music is intended for adults with a twisted sense of humor and a taste for the macabre. But within that genre, there is no one better than Voltaire.
Riding a Black Unicorn begins with a melodramatic, over the top flourish with the title song, which is a heroic ballad that also introduces the lush music that provides the accompaniment for Voltaire's rich, full voice throughout this recording.
This music is provided by alternative musicians as noted as David J from Bauhaus, Brian Viglione of the Dresdon Dolls, The Red Hook Ramblers, and in particular, the haunting cello of Melora Creager of Rasputina.
The music continues with another fairly straight, haunting ballad, "Innocent," and then my personal favorite song on the CD, "The Mechanical Girl," a steampunk morality tale which explains exactly why you should "never take a child from a loving parent, especially ones who make children who shoot rockets from their eyes."
Then there's also "The Dirtiest Song That Ain't," which is a sing-along that invites the audience to provide the words Voltaire can't say in the (completely fruitless) effort to get on the radio. One cannot imagine the world in which this song would make it on any commercial channel, but for the perverse among us, it's great fun. Just remember, once again, this CD is for adults (And yet, there's not a single dirty word in the song).
From there, it's all an amazing journey into the dark side, with bright, bouncy cabaret music and murder, perversion, and characters who walk just the other side of sanity. "Straight Razor Cabaret," "Don't Go By the River," "Cathouse Tragedy," and "Oh Lord (Wake the Dead)" all fit this mode.