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Miranda Sex Garden - Suspiria CD (album) cover

SUSPIRIA

Miranda Sex Garden

 

Prog Folk

3.54 | 13 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Following with MIRANDA SEX GARDEN'S career, it's time to review their second album "SUSPIRIA"; a record that marks a radical change, because they leave the beautiful classical madrigals for Rock music, don't know if full Prog, Gothic, Industrial or a complex blend of the three, but surely a very original sound in the 90's.

Despite what some respected reviewers believe, it's more than evident for me that we are before a band that has it's roots in Gothic music from the Late Medieval Period, the complex organ performances in "Open Eyes" for example, present clear reminiscences of the "Notre Dame Period" (1300's) and the vocals in tracks as "Ardera Sempre" are clearly oriented towards Folk music of the 1400's, so yes, I do believe they play Gothic rather than Goth (Also known as Victorian Gothic revival).

Even though "Suspiria" is much more melodic and less aggressive than their later albums, we can witness the seeds of their peculiar Industrial - Post Rock - Alternative - Prog sound, combining the melodies with tough passage in which the dissonances are delightful.

The album starts with "Ardera Sempre" (Forever Burn) a track that begins with a long, experimental and mysterious introduction that combines, sounds and haunting echoes, but this lead to a very fast and fluid passage where the voices of Katharine Blake, Donna McKevitt and Kelly McClusker take us to a point where the Pagan and sacred seem to hold hands, the frenetic instrumentation, just completes the scene.

From the start that aggressive Industrial sound is present and helps to make the song flow `perfectly from start to end, incredibly beautiful song.

"Open Eyes" is opened by a Gothic organ that decreases in intensity to allow the voice to cover the scenes as a dense mist covers the land in a winter morning. This time the chorus are much more elaborate and melancholic, may seem a bit repetitive, but that's the effect the band pretends to create, a perpetual circle, pay special attention to the fantastic violin passages that can be heard softly in the back. As good as the previous track.

"Sunshine" is something special, because they seem to open the gates and set the beast free, until this point they seemed repressed, like trying not to show us all their weapons, but now they let themselves go and the heavy artillery free, excellent drumming, the vocals are extremely complex and elaborate, the orchestral instruments play softly while guitar and keyboards pass over everything. Frenetic from start to end.

"Distance" is opened by a melancholic and paused piano, in the background an almost haunting voice adds the touch of mystery required, then a second voice enters to the chorus and a third one singing three different lyrics and or sounds, when one is soft and high, the other is loud and low covering all the musical spectrum. Again strong arrangements.

Play has just everything, for several minutes flows gently in a tense calm guided by the beautiful voice of Katherine, until they explode in a burst of sounds, howls, noises that create a wonderful chaos, now they seem closer to what is known as Darkwave, but much more elaborate and experimental.

"In Heaven (Lady In The Radiator Song)" has a short and claustrophobic violin intro that leads to a vocal passage where Katherine dares to take risks and be different, even more radical when the other two vocalists join her in a terrifying lament that tries to turn into a sweet melody but is brought back to the dark side, it's clear that the Purcell School of Music has done a great job with this girls being that they have absolute control of everything they do, doesn't matter if they are respectful or irreverent, the sound is always perfect.

"Bring Down the Sky" marks another radical change, if all the previous tracks had a Medieval Religious/Pagan touch, this one is hard to be defined, now the Rock component is more evident, the tense drum section prepares the audience for an explosion that seems to be there but never blows, leading instead to a `passive instrumental break that seems like the eye of the storm because after a few minutes of tense calm, the repetitive guitar enters in the scene with it's constant sound that goes in crescendo with a terrifying violin in the background,preparing us for a new explosion that again never happens but instead leads to a very fluid passage where the whole band and voices present us an extremely beautiful section, if this guys know something, is to play with the audience.

"Feed" is a lesson to those bands that focused in Celtic music but fell in the tedious monotony of New Age, MIRANDA SEX GARDEN never tries to relax us, they threaten our senses, jumping from calm melodic passages with sweet voices to dissonant vocal arrangements and contradictory instrumentation, it's a shame many other talented vocalists didn't dared to be different as this girls and guys.

"Inferno" is the central piece of the album, the tension MIRANDA SEX GARDEN creates from the start with that constant violin is just breathtaking, the keyboards add more drama to the scene while the sound effects create moments of horror, what a perfect infernal atmosphere has been achieved here.

And when the moment comes the drums blow with desperation and strength to allow the guitar in an unusual style to join the feast, but again they change and the violin takes the lead with a spooky melody which again leads to another explosive passage where all the instruments jump inside in a complex cacophony more common in Avant bands than in folk one, superb song.

After the previous tension, some change is required and "Willie Biddle And His Waltzing Maggot" provides a it, first with a strange collection of sounds that could be described as a magical traveling fair that changes into an angelical chorus to come back to the chaotic sound, still I'm trying to understand this.

The album is closed with "My Funny Valentine", some sort of Cabaret Jazz music that gives the relief necessary after the festival of sounds and effects that the band has provided for almost an hour. The vocals are amazing, not the most complex track, but has it purpose and fulfills it, special mention to the accurate drumming that helps to create the scenario.

Even when I love this album and would love to give a perfect rating, I believe has a few weaker moments that don't allow to call it a flawless masterpiece, but is very close to that status, 4 solid stars that should be 4.5.

Only for those Prog listeners who are ready to take risks.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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