Voices – Frightened

“A terrible plague upon the chicken shop” …. more about that later!

These pages' readers might recall my 1st Voices review before their 1st album when I witnessed them 1st time live in 2012 and was caught totally by surprise! Since then, they have earned themselves a place among my fave bands, but who would not be if you have experienced the peril that was their 2nd album “London”,  a  night-time narration of the dreams and horrors that this city can throw at you!?

And just as one might be expecting another dangerous onslaught from Voices, they return sounding like a completely new band, despite no line-up changes, which means that as individual musicians and as a band, this is a way forward. So “Frightened” landed at my stereo 1 day ago, and after a whole 24 hours of spinning it (yes even on repeat while asleep so it enters my dreams as music should), I find I am being delightfully captured by its beauty – so I wake up and I cannot refrain, I simply am compelled to write about it – damn, it is so addictive...... already!

So what change am I talking about? Here caressing my ears is a salmagundi of influences - think anything from the bleakest of black (Ved Buens Ende/Virus & Burzum) towards goth-infused soundscapes (Katatonia, Joy Division, The Cure & Diary of Dreams) moving far afield as The Beatles, The Jam, The Police & David Bowie with a dose of Anathema during the acoustic parts & post-rock Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Maybe the closest resemblance to the new Voices in the current sonic world would be Vaura (who mix some of the above influences) but being a bit of a nostalgic fellow for a band that is forlorn yet not forgotten, I would not have been surprised that a band like Beyond Dawn would have produced such an album had they continued. A band that was always against the grain during its existence, changing with each album, and I feel the spirit of that here in Voices.

So what about “Frightened”?

- Is it a metal album? Surely it is NOT (at least not if you think of the term straight-forwardly).

- Is it a pop album? Definitely NOT (it is too thematically dark & sonically abrasive to be).

- Is this blackgaze? Possibly it could fit (but still there is way more to it).

- Is it an amazing album? Damn right if it IS!

I speak of many influences, but make no mistake that this is a disjointed cut-and-paste overload. On the contrary, Voices are an own unique band, and while influences inadvertently seep in, they are very controlled, and they flow in according to the scenario each song calls for. By that I mean that not all above listed influences appear in each song, yet on the other hand, despite the quasi-pop accessible songwriting (aided by an increase in clean singing), one can be amazed how seamlessly influences change when they do.

Of note, is the distinctively varied palette of drum beats flowing throughout calling for complimentary riffs, pushing the envelope forward. And a solid bass, that when it shines, it shines as never before, like on the track “Home Movies”. Mamma mia what bass lines!

Besides “Home Movies”, my current faves are “Rabbits Curse” (of course as it reminds me of Beyond Dawn), “Dead Feelings” (a maniac's cinematic dream put to sound), “Manipulator” (a danceable gothic metal track) and “Funeral Day” (whose metal riff from the outset comes in very punishing in an album where the guitar is not restricted just to metal). But this might change, as the more I listen the more sonic nuances I am discovering with every single track, each an overload of dreamy emotions in itself. Fuck, the song “Fascinator” from its lyrics hints to how Petor's cat reacts to the rain, although who knows an artist's visions eh, it could well be about a woman (suppose not as that would be too obvious and overdone, especially as Megan has since been chopped & sold to one of the many London chickon shop) or his bedroom blinds? Mental!

With the “Petrograph” single & T-shirts pre-teasers to the album both sporting the line “death is all I have in this life”, it comes as no surprise that this album explores the void of life (or as Petor puts it in the linear notes “my saviour the eternal void”). Hard to pigeonhole Voices, in my “London” review I called them A.O.M. (Adult Oriented Misanthropy), also due to their devious sexual inclination in lyrics. The erotica is not gone – of course not, London's Anonymous Sex Society lives on haha – but this time it is mixed with lots of dream so am gonna call them D.O.D (Dream Oriented Devilry).

Or as their lyrics put it “a terrible plague upon the chicken shop”, in other words a myriad of bleakest dark music influences marketed to you via a commercial fast-food take-away. Yet, make no mistake – it is still dark and here to fuck you, but while “London” was a harsh fuck, “Frightened” is a beautiful one!)

  1. Unknown
  2. Rabbits Curse
  3. Evaporated
  4. IWSYA
  5. Dead Feelings
  6. Manipulator
  7. Funeral Day
  8. Fascinator
  9. Home Movies
  10. Sequences
  11. Footsteps