Released: 2006, Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Imagine a group consisting of Glenn Danzig, Jyrki from The 69 Eyes and Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy sharing lead vocal duties, The Cult’s Billy Duffy on guitar, playing songs with a Moonspell/Paradise Lost/Tiamat gothic leaning and that pretty much sums up the sound of Sweden’s Tenebre on HEART’S BLOOD. The band has been putting out albums steadily since 1996—this is their fifth full-length—with many lineup changes along the way (only drummer Andreas Albihn and guitarist Richard Lion from 2002’s ELECTRIC HELLFIRE KISS) but Tenebre’s latest effort is a delicious slice of hook-filled gothic doom that fans of Type O Negative, Fields of Nephilim and even H.I.M. as well as the above-named bands can sink their blood-stained fangs into.
“Silver Flame” and “Mistress of The Dark” kick off with a riff reminiscent of The Cult/Sisters of Mercy circa 1987 and choruses that are as dark and moody as they are pleasing to the ear (think Type O Negative’s “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend”) . Original vocalist Kalle Metz returns after skipping ELECTRIC HELLFIRE KISS and his soothing baritone drips with atmospheric gloom. The haunting intro to “Blue” paves the way for a vocal performance from Metz that is equal parts David Bowie, Ian Astbury and Glenn Danzig. Basically a gothic power ballad in the vein of Sisters of Mercy, the track will have as many people reaching for the nearest bottle of pills as it will lighting up after-hours European goth-metal clubs. “Pray” rumbles along with a heavy bottom end from Albihn and bassist Jenny T that is equally catchy. The keyboards of Ivana Satana (great name!) are subtle throughout the CD and never overwhelm the music, instead letting the guitars and vocals remain up front while offering more of a nuanced ambience. “Nightmare” is one of the heavier tracks on HEART’S BLOOD and the Moonspell parallels are instantly drawn with a pounding riff, gruffer vocals and a speedier tempo. Still, The Cult’s influence is undeniable in Lion’s guitar solo. Metz channels his inner Jim Morrison on the title track with a smooth clean vocal before launching into a croon that would make Danzig himself proud. The acoustic album closer, “Night Reborn,” drips with gothic bleakness, thematically focusing on doomed love and inevitable death (“From darkness you were born, to darkness you return”).
Each and every song on HEART’S BLOOD is a winner. This is probably the most pleasantly surprised I have been by a CD in quite some time and it is refreshing to hear a band whose influence is so clearly worn on it sleeve sound so fresh. Metal fans searching to replace Sentenced’s air of utter hopelessness need look no further. The vocals are engaging, the melodies are pleasing and the cross-genre appeal is obvious. Tenebre has a winner on its hands.
KILLER KUTS: All!