Weeping Silence – Theatre of Life
Theatre of Life
Malta. Where is it? What is it known for? Aside from annoying little terriers – I’m cohabiting with one right now and this is not a breed of dog I’d ever consider getting for myself, let me tell you – who comes from Malta?
Well, Malta is a tiny country made up of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Sicily, Italy. It’s main export is limestone, but it’s also an important shipping port, and has quite a fantastic history since it’s location was quite strategic to people like the Greeks, the Romans, and Napoleon – to name a few. And aside from irritating, white, floppy-eared ankle-biting barky canine brats, some Gothic-y musical goodness also hails from Malta, in the form of a septet known as Weeping Silence.
Their newest release, Theatre of Life, is WS’s third album and the band has been around in some form or other since the mid 1990s. It now contains two married couples: Rachel and Joseph Grech are vocalists with Rachel being the main one, and Alison Ellul on keys and her husband Mario on guitars.
Overall, WS’s sound is full, atmospheric, heavy, and evocative. It has everything in it that makes Gothic metal great: gloomy choir arrangements, powerful vocals, heavy guitars, dark imagery, and moody melodies. In fact, this is some of the best Gothic metal I’ve come across in quite some time, and when I first heard the album, on the suggestion of one of my colleagues at Sonic Cathedral, I was out for a walk on an overcast wet coast afternoon and the music struck such a strong chord in me I was a little bit blown away.
Opening with “Of Light and Shadow”, the listener is immediately introduced to the dramatic sound WS creates with choirs and the soprano vocals of Rachel, accompanied by a sparse symphonic arrangement. All three of these elements compliment and contrast with each other to create a spine-tingling experience. We then go into a reflective, almost bluesy guitar solo, and then the song moves into a crunchy guitar section accompanied by a more rich symphonic arrangement. This song actually contains several distinct sections, which makes it sound more progressive than the run-of-the-mill Gothic stuff so prevalent in the genre today. It’s impressive.
The second song, “Dark Waters”, is also memorable because of the contrast in vocals in the chorus. In the background we hear a lower-pitched vocal with a soprano belting over the top. And again, WS uses a choir arrangement to add depth and atmosphere to the song, along with some very dramatic synth sounds. This song features another excellent guitar solo with its own distinct section in the song.
Theatre of Life just doesn’t quit. All eight songs have unique structures and try on different atmospheres. Except in the case of “Monuments”, which is an instrumental, the pieces all are of a decent length, ranging from just over five minutes to well over seven minutes, giving each song plenty of time to develop a sense of epicness and build up impact. Tempos change often, from slow to mid-pace, to faster sections, and I can’t say enough about how much the guitar work rocked.
Oh, and I love the cover art, too!
Weeping Silence has another album in the works, which should be out in 2012, and I’m looking forward to that very much.
Allyson’s Rating: 4.0 out of 5