BONJOUR TRISTESSE by SHADOWS’ GREY (Twilight Zone Records)
Fans of dark, emotionally drenched metal such as Tristania, Theatre Of Tragedy, and Green Carnation should prepare to encounter a new favorite when descending upon the somber reveries of Shadows’ Grey. Based out of Austria, Shadows’ Grey has unleashed a stunning collection of melancholic hymns entitled Bonjour Tristesse that is sure to gain the band an impassioned underground following throughout the world. Featuring a wondrous mix of clean male and female vocals and sweeping melodies that will haunt your senses, Bonjour Tristesse is sure to be a welcomed addition to many a music collection.
After a lone piano interlude recalling the ghosts of the past, opening track Cold kicks in with a rapturous ferocity. “I am the hate in you, I am your fear, I am the remembrance,” growls the unforgiving lyrical content, absolutely grabbing you by the throat. The listener is instantly hooked for the rancorous glories that follow.
I Search For You Hand is a song about recollections from another day – sorrowful remembrances not even the grave could diminish. Hurt is powerful and dramatic, threatening to explode off the confines of the disc with its poignant intensity.
One of the very best tracks on the album is Gone, featuring memorable performances from all involved. Melodic reveries and the voices of youth from days gone by make this a heartfelt classic. Especially impressive is when the bitter male vocals combine with the innocent voices of the children, marking a stark contrast that is mesmerizing to behold. One could only wish radio was adventurous enough to play a song like this!
A track that will leave an indelible impression is The Promise, a story of a father and son that is haunting and tragic. Another noteworthy cut is the concluding song Scargod, cinematic and impassioned, even when it’s just a remote acoustic guitar and a distant voice of betrayal narrating the proceedings.
There are 12 tracks in all, picturesque, reflective, and utterly devastating in scope. The musicianship and vocal performances all come together, presenting a work of sheer artistry. Martina Penzenauer has the voice of an angel, and her work on the album ranks right up there with metal chanteuses such as Cristina Scabbia and Liv Kristine. Albert “Speedy” Gruber is the true voice of the embittered man, showing heartbreak and disdain with his staggering vocal inflections. Together, they present vocal characters that will remain embedded in your mind long after the disc spins to an end.
Martin “Maze” Moser and Dominik Sebastian perform all the instrumental work on the album, presenting an effective score that is compelling and evocative.
Shadows’ Grey is destined to become an important band within the gothic metal arena. Like reading a novel filled with conflict and intrigue, Bonjour Tristesse is a richly rewarding experience that all adventurous music aficionados should seek out. A masterwork that is highly recommended!
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
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