Echozone [Release date 05.06.15]
Florian Grey is a German singer/songwriter who cut his musical teeth with Eves End and has played live with the likes of Tarja Turunen. So it is no surprise to learn that this is a very genre-bound gothic/dark rock album with some symphonic and pop overtures.
It is a well put together collection of ten songs and two arranged poems. The production is assured and musicianship is good, occasionally very good. Nevertheless, it remains an album that is unlikely to break out of its niche.
The overwhelming mood is atmospheric melodrama and brooding turmoil. Keyboard sweeps and fuzz-guitar are used heavily on much of the material. The most accessible tracks are probably the opener ‘My Fear’, and parts of ‘In Control’.
The keyboard driven ‘Nocturn in Es’ summons up some rather pleasant Cure moments. And arguably the best track, ‘A Black Symphony’ is really rather good, with strong rhythms blending well with sharp, pulsing guitar and an tempo vocal performance.
Unsurprisingly, Florian’s voice takes centre stage. However, it is more often than not the fragile, tremulous quality that is exploited to the full. There is more heavy breathing on here than in your average Three Peaks fell run. The whispering and then octave spanning delivery on tracks like ‘Laudanum’, ponderous phrasing on ‘Strange Ways’ and the grinding misery of ‘The Way I Die’ do not sit easily with this reviewer.
There are just not enough of the powerful hooks or spiralling dramas for me. ‘Once’ is an unholy alliance of fairground keyboards with gothic, high dudgeon vocals. As bizarre as it is painful. Both ‘The End’ and album closer, title track ‘Gone’ revert to sparse, grief-laden melancholy.
Taking a step back, ‘Gone’ nevertheless presents a perfectly competent and well crafted collection of inventive material within this genre. The ambition of Mr Grey cannot be doubted. For purists of dark pop or gothic/symphonic rock, there will be enough here. ***
Review by Dave Atkinson
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