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Poisonblack
Escapexstacy
May 2003
Released: 2003, Century Media
Rating: 2.8/5
Reviewer: Night of the Realm

Poisonblack is a new band out of Finland with some familiar faces: Sentenced vocalist Ville Laihiala sheds his traditional role and picks up the guitar, and J.P. Leppaluoto, also of Charon, handles vocals. Finishing up the band is Janne Kukkonen on bass. We also have two session musicians, Tarmo Kanerva and Marco Sneck, handling drums and keyboards, respectively.



Let’s get one thing out of the way here: if you’re looking for a metal fix, you might want to look elsewhere – but stick with me for just a bit longer! If melancholic goth-rock with a touch of metal is what you’re after, then you’ve found it. I can tell you that melancholic goth-rock most certainly was NOT what I wanted when I first popped the album in, but I ended up enjoying the album more than I thought I would.



ESCAPEXSTACY is your fairly typical post-Sentenced goth rock, and there are no real surprises here. Many of the songs tend to run together with the same monotonous drone (which I’m sure is “necessary” to capture the “anguish” of the goth aspect...heh), and plenty of “where did the guitars go?” moments as J.P. sneaks in a few vocal lines. Though I find J.P.’s voice to be a little too slick in some places, his vocals have a rich, clean sound instead of whiny and limp.



The strongest tracks on the album are clustered in the beginning. “Glow of the Flames” leads things off on somewhat of a weak, droning step, but starts to pick up towards the end of the track. “Love Infernal” is the first good track, reminding me quite a bit of Type O Negative throughout. The Zakk Wylde-esque solo around the 2:40 mark is a nice treat. In fact, when Ville actually wants to deliver some decent riffs, he can provide them, most often with a certain Zakk Wylde flair to them. “The State” is up next, my favourite of the album. It gets off to a slow dirge-like start, but picks up some good riffs somewhere along the line, which, combined with a great chorus makes for some excellent listening. After “All Else is Hollow,” which features some nice groove-laden guitars, the album starts to slide.



“In Lust” is one of those tracks that doesn’t do anything but meander for five and a half minutes. “Exiter” (Dammit, I though maybe we were going to stand back for Exciter) could be another good track with some aggressive guitars, but the silly keys and geigh spoken/whisper interludes really kill the song. “Lay Your Heart to Rest” is the last great track on the album. This one is very much like “The State,” but with better guitar work. The middle passage and solo really stick out with a forceful groove. The album plummets once again after this into “With Her I Die,” another track that goes nowhere, except for about 30 seconds of a very good, emotional solo starting at 3:09. “Illusion/Dellusion” has somewhat of a ballad feel to it, and sounds like it could have come right from the last Sentenced album, THE COLD WHITE LIGHT. “The Kiss of Death” ends the album with some of the more aggrressive riffs on the album, but only through parts of the track. Unfortunately, the guitars just begin to come alive in the last 30 seconds of the album.



One more thing I enjoy about the CD is the artwork. I absolutely love the cover! The beautiful goth chick with flaming red hair, clad in black leather, and blowing a handful of black feathers around. I wish I knew who she was as she iss acknowledged only as “Mistress Violet.” One more familiar face shows up here; Sentenced drummer Vesa Ranta contributes the photography and artwork for the album. I wish I had a full album in front of me as the layout looks very nice thus far.



Ville Laihiala has stated repeatedly that Poisonblack is not just a side project as he gives Sentenced a temporary rest, so I suspect we shall be hearing more from Poisonblack in the future. Ville has demonstrated that he can lay down some damn good licks if he’d only put his mind to it. ESCAPEXSTACY contains the potential for some good songs to escape if they would only cut the droning sameness that drags much of the album down.
Track Listing

1. Glow of the Flames
2. Love Infernal
3. The State
4. All Else is Hollow
5. In Lust
6. Exiter
7. Lay Your Heart to Rest
8. With Her I Die
9. Illusion/Delusion
10. The Kiss of Death

Lineup

Vile Laihiala – guitars, backing vocals
Janne Kukkonen – bass
J.P. Leppaluoto – lead vocals

Session musicians:
Tarmo Kanerva – drums
Marco Sneck - keyboards


Next review: » Poisonblack - Escapexstacy
Previous review: » Poisonblack - A Dead Heavy Day

Poisonblack
Escapexstacy
July 2003
Released: 2003, Century Media
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Now this is cool! This disc oozes style. PB is the anticipated solo type project of Sentenced’s lead man. More bands could learn from this example. You can have a groovy, sexy death rock style and still be heavy and interesting!



I’ll keep this review short as it has been reviewed a couple of time already on this site. Eye catching packaging!! The band know a good thing when they see one and have heavily featured a model on the cover and in the art. The design and layout is gorgeous and the photos of the model only add to the sexy vibe of the lyrics, which focus on sex, death and other romantic topics.



PB have amazing guitar tone and I’m glad that Ville put down the microphone and picked up the guitar to realize his artistic dreams. Great tone and tempo which remind me of a cross between Type O Negative (on a happy day) and Sentenced (on a happy day). These songs are very well produced a heavy crunchy sound, a good mix, good drum sound everything loud and upfront.



The songs are strong, decent arrangements with room to breath and catchy as all hell. It seems weird to enjoy a disc that walks that fine line between sex and death without being trite or morbid. Poisonblack have succeeded!
Track Listing

1. Glow of the Flames
2. Love Infernal
3. The State
4. All Else is Hollow
5. In Lust
6. Exiter
7. Lay Your Heart to Rest
8. With Her I Die
9. Illusion/Delusion
10. The Kiss of Death

Lineup

J.P. Leppaluoto – lead vocals
Vile Laihiala – guitars, backing vocals
Janne Kukkonen – bass

Session Musicians:
Tarmo Kanerva – drums
Marco Sneck – keyboards


Next review: » Poisonblack - Escapexstacy
Previous review: » Poisonblack - A Dead Heavy Day

Poisonblack
Escapexstacy
February 2003
Released: 2003, Century Media
Rating: 4.7/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

From my neighbour country of Finland comes the band Sentenced. The singer and frontman Ville Laihiala wanted to do something as a guitarist so he formed Poisonblack. I have not followed Sentenced at all so I don’t know so much about them except for the last record from 2002, the masterpiece “The cold white light”. According to the info note this is not a project or something to do while the ordinary band is resting,Ville has put all his energy on this debut album. Poisonblack were formed at the end of 2000 together with some talanted and close friends.



Ville wanted to concentrate on just playing the guitar so he contacted J.P and wondered if he wanted to sing on the debut. The two met when Charon was support to Sentenced on the Crimson Tour.This debut was recorded in the Neo Studio, I’m not sure where the studio is located but I presume it’s somewhere in Finland. The band plays gothic metal, there are some similarities with Sentenced and bands like Paradise Lost and the swedish band Marble Arch. The sound on this debut is very dark. J.P’s voice sounds very sad, ordinary gothic band has keyboards high up in the soundpicture, Poisonblack has more hard and heavy guitars instead. The lyrics are about lust and addiction for life, sex, fire and death.



“THE GLOW OF THE FLAMES” heavy, hard metal with a lot of guitar and it has a very sing along friendly chorus. “LOVE INFERNAL” the whole band in the intro before J.P starts to sing, very slow in the beginning before the tempo rises, and it goes into gothic metal. “THE STATE” more calm, gothic, it goes very slow. Here, J.P sound incredibly sad in his voice. It has very hard guitar throughout the song. “ALL ELSE IS HOLLOW” hard, gothic metal, much like Paradise Lost. “IN LUST” incredibly sad intro, this is more kind of a ballad. “THE EXCITER” a lot of keybaord and very hard guitars. It is very hard and gothic. “LAY YOUR HEART TO REST” J.P with calm guitar that follows him in the intro before the tempo risesa little bit. This song could easily have fitted in on any of the later records with Paradise Lost. “WITH HER I DIE” calm and very sad gothic metal song.“ILLUSION/DELLUSION” hard and fast gothic with very heavy metal guitar.“THE KISS OF DEATH” finishes this strong album up. Very sad gotic metal,a lot of keyboard that backs up J.P.



Ville has created a strong debut with Poisonblack.J.P has a very strong voice and a very big vocal range.The cover looks good made by Sentenced-drummer Vesa Ranta.If you like gothic metal with very hard metal guitars you have to take a look at this album.
Track Listing

1. The Glow Of The Flames
2. Love Infernal
3. The State
4. All Else Is Hollow
5. In Lust
6. The Exciter
7. Lay Your Heart To Rest
8. With Her I Die
9. Illusion/Delusion
10. The Kiss Of Death

Lineup

Ville Laihiala – Lead, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
J.P Leppäluoto – Lead Vocals
Janne Kukkonen – Bass


Next review: » Poisonblack - Lust Stained Despair
Previous review: » Poisonblack - A Dead Heavy Day





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