Released: 2003, Spinefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
One of Finland´s favorite Gothic rockers To/Die/For have not only recorded their eagerly awaited follow-up album to their successful EPILOGUE album, but they have also recorded their best album to date in my opinion!! I know, these are all shamelessly brave words from me (again?), but JADED could well be considered the band´s most mature, catchy and varied album in their whole career. What has happened then in the T/D/F –camp between their last two albums? Just at a crucial moment before the recordings at Astia Studio for JADED were supposed to get started, the band´s long-time guitarist J.P.Sutela stepped aside from the band and left an open slot for another guitarist who was recruited to To/Die/For´s line-up in October 2002. The new guy was named Mika “Alli” Ahtiainen… I don´t know how much I should give credit to him for having any impact on the rest of the guys, but JADED is the kind of album from them that I have been able to enjoy the most so far.
On JADED the band continues on their chosen musical path more determinedly and more convincingly than ever before, proving to be hell of song writers when it comes to writing catchy songs that stick in your mind indelibly after the first spinning. For this particular album, they have managed to write a few songs like that; actually, I could claim that there´s some really ´ace & spades´-stuff on JADED. The most melodramatic yet melancholic moments you are about to witness with such songs as “Dying Embers” that is actually like a real epitome of a well thought-out Gothic Rock–tune as for an opener like this. The song structure itself is somewhat simple and stripped-down all-in-all, but when you are able to conjure up a couple of real catchy riffs and a memorable enough chorus part for a song like this, you obviously cannot lose. That´s basically all you need. Also such songs do follow in the footsteps of “Dying Embers” in terms of catchiness, and the bit more groovily rockin´ song “Too Much Ain´t Enough” that brings heavily the Swedish industrial ´disco-metallers´ Pain in my mind for some reason; “The Unknown - II” which has a really heavy instrumental background by To/Die/For´s standards, but has been softened by Jape´s sensitive yet fragile vocal delivery; the title track “Jaded” is just an irresistibly catchy song from start to finish – much thanks to its awesome chorus part; “Fall Strains”, that melts tons of the thickest ice around it in seconds due to Jape´s incredibly melodramatic use of his godly voice. “Fall Strains” happens to be my personal favorite song off the album.
But there´s even more… “Anos de Dolor”, the 8th song in order off JADED, turns out to be the whole album´s heaviest number; and yes, it´s the guitars that play the most important, leading role once again behind things heavy as Devil´s three (!) horns. And…:´In a slaying chorus part we do trust again…´, of course… it´s, especially in To/Die/For´s case, warmly mind-sticking choruses seem to be a very essential part of their songs as the dudes always supposedly put lots of their time and effort for finding such choruses for their songs that basically never fail to offer something memorable for listeners. It´s some sort of “secret weapon” for them.
The last song on the album titled “Silence Tells More” sounds almost eerie, mellow and somehow so ethereal; credits for reaching that particular “magical” atmosphere for this particular track, without any intentions to compromise, must be thrown in two female session vocalists´ direction, Anna Lukkarinen and Jonna Imelainen. These two girls really did an adorable job with this particular tune in my honest opinion, so hats off to them for taking the song to atmospheric yet beautifully breath-taking heights.
And what could a To/Die/For –album be without at least one ´80s –flavored disco hit. I guess it could be as impossible as H.I.M. without its true Gothic icon and frontman Ville Valo. An evergreen Cutting Crew classic “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” works out just fine in its treatment by these guys. I suppose we can only give a wild guess what´s gonna be next on their menu as far as all these evergreen classic disco oldies are concerned. That only remains to be seen… (-er…) I mean, or to be heard.
JADED was a great experience of pieces of well-made and churned out Gothic Rock songs that don´t fade away from your mind within the first incoming 10-or-so seconds - and it forces you strangely to pick it up over and over again when thinking of your loved one. It´s music for the true lovers more than anything. See, even the web address of the band´s official homepage contains that hint…