Press - Reviews
19th April 2003
InsomniousNightLift review,

(Rage Of Achilles)

InsomniousNightLiftYes, I know, awful name for a band, but Portugal's ThanatoSchizO aren't quite as bad as their chosen moniker. While not nearly as good as How Like A Winter, their Mediterranean style of progressive, soaring doom rock is acceptable and hints at better things. For a musical reference look no further than The Provenance, as they play a similar style of sultry, ambient, artistic and soulful doom metal, laced with hints of goth and death metal. Not nearly as polished as The Provenance, ThanatoSchizo are in dire need of two things: a name change and a little more direction. A lot of the material is of a wandering meandering type that never really seems to have beginning or end points; it's almost like "Well, we are too artsy for choruses and verses". What I did enjoy is the delicate innate ethnicity, not like Moonspell's, "Hey were from Portugal!" early days but subtle injection of acoustics and gypsy-ish atmosphere. It's enhanced with the female vocals of Patrícia Rodrigues, whose childish tone contains innocence and sensuality that it reminds me of Pale Forest's Kristin F. Rodriguez is underused on this album, unfortunately. However, her heavily accented spoken word intro to song "Sublime Loss" is far less impressive than her singing. Less can be said for male growler and crooner Eduardo Paulo. His growl isn't really along the realms of genre flag bearers Thalarion or Poema Arcanus. His bellow doesn't give the doomier moments much weight, and I found the clean vocals to be soulless and flat. I would have preferred ThanatoSchizo take the all female approach like Madder Mortem or The Gathering. The album as a whole is an ambitious affair encompassing all ranges of music, much like the stable of bands at The End Records, it often defies categorization. >From the spellbinding doom ballad "The Journey's Shiver" to the irritating goth pop-ish bounce that starts and ends "Dance of the Tender Leaves", they virtually try to hit every genre niche possible. Even the more psychedelic doom rock inspired title track smacks of Eternity-era Anathema. It either hits right or comes across as confused with its own identity. At over an hour long, the constant morphing of styles doesn't ever set in, and the end result doesn't fulfill the talent and effort of the band. Add to that the genre requisite "long song syndrome", and only the most ardent listeners will be rewarded with some of the album's highlights. There are enough highlights to warrant fans of the genre, but casual fans will get bored quickly. One such example is "The Journeys Shiver", and those patient enough to sit through the songs forced depressive tone and warbling clean vocals, will wilt as the song is saved by Patricia's soft hue, and then a final piano break and riff that's simply jaw dropping. But moments like that are few and far between some competent but average doom/goth filler. To be honest, it's not actually until that moment that I'm fully into the album. Aided by the nine minute opener "Reminder", my attention is wandering early into the album, wondering when it will peak my interest. Whereas HLAW either had me enamored with their lengthy intros or jumped right in, ThanatoSchizo has me pushing the Fast Forward button, and it's pretty much every song that forces this. Granted, when 3 minutes into "Reminder", it does kick in with some robust riffing, but oddly out of place female vocals. It then, wanders for the next 5 minutes. The ethnicity I was referring to surfaces on "Of Lunar Water", with a superb acoustic opening leading into a more traditional metal rock tune of various pacing and unusually focused structures instead of their preferred drawn out style. It also displays Eduardo's better vocal performance of the album, with Vincent Cavanagh-like sorrow mixed with his growl. When the band come together as they do on this song it's pretty darn impressive, but again also somewhat of an exception. The more confusing aspects of the band's overly ambitious sound surface on "A Promenade Portrait", which sounds plain and muddled, including some questionable drum fills from Paulo Adelino. Production-wise, things could be better as during the slow emotive riffs, the guitars don't move me like they should in this genre, sounding a bit empty, and with no more clout than a regular rock act. You could do far worse than this album; it's certainly ambitious, and you get the feeling this lot truly did pour themselves into their chosen art. But there is also better out there, too. Still, I'd recommend it to fans of the genre as they are and intriguing band with talent and room to grow. (After you hear How Like A Winter)

Erik Thomas
5 CDs + 1 EP + T-shirt
€50.00 / $65.00