Released: 2004, Century Media
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Finnish goth-rockers, Lullacry, fresh off a North American tour opening for Nightwish, have just released a little five song E.P. to get some buzz going for their full-length follow-up to 2003’s CRUCIFY MY HEART. FIRE WITHIN is surprisingly good given that most E.P.’s are simply throwaway crap or of interest only to band completists. This release contains two new songs, a cover version of a W.A.S.P. classic and two re-recorded songs. Still new-ish vocalist Tanja (she replaced former vocalist Tanya—don’t ask—in 2002) does a superb job and her smooth, lush voice adds to the hook-filled melodies and incredibly catchy choruses. The rest of the band fills the bill but are nothing to really rave about (with the exception of Nightwish, don’t female-fronted bands always seem to suffer the same fate?!). As a teaser, FIRE WITHIN will keep Lullacry devotees happy and should bring some new fans into the fold, as well.
“Fire Within” has a fuzzed out, almost industrial guitar sound that grabbed me right away. Tanja snarls her way through this track almost sounding like what Gwen Stefani would if she rocked out and dropped the ska gig with those greasy-looking dudes in No Doubt. Sami Vauhkonen’s leads are pretty slick, especially at the closing of the song. The band tackles “L.O.V.E. Machine,” a W.A.S.P. classic from 1984, and puts a fresh twist on it, altering the lyrics to suit Tanja and stepping up the buzzing bass thanks to Heavy. “Be My God (Tribal Reprise)” originally appeared on the album of the same name in 2001. The song was originally done when Tanya was still in the band, so Tanja’s vocals are a new take on things and the increased drum beats (hence “tribal”) add to an already great song. “The #1 Rebel” is basically a pop song, complete with hand claps and a slinky keyboard that slithers through the ultra-catchy chorus. “Crucify My Heart (Piano Version)” has been stripped down to the bare essentials as Tanja, a piano and some keyboard sampled strings are all that exists. Her voice is right in the spotlight here and she clearly lives up to the hype. Her mournful vocals and Sauli Kivilahti’s melancholy lyrics will have their goth fans drooling.
Much to my disappointment, I missed Lullacry on the final date of the Nightwish tour and this nifty little release makes me even sorrier. FIRE WITHIN has something for everyone: a crunching, guitar-driven track, a classic metal cover, a poppish track and two Lullacry gems from the past all rolled into one. With its cheap sticker price, I can’t recommend FIRE WITHIN enough.
KILLER KUTS: “Fire Within,” “#1 Rebel”