DARKWELL are back, with a mini-CD, but its playing time of more than half an hour shadows quite a few regular albums, but that's just a side-note…
Gothic Metal is the profession of the Austrians, but without a male counterpart to the clear voice of front-angel Alexandra Pittracher, who undoubtedly is the focal point of the DARKWELL-sound. Another point that makes them differ from the majority of their colleagues is the fact that they do not only chew up the same usual clichés of the genre, but tries to walk different paths, without getting lost in completely other directions.
Here and there they even have been declared "future of Gothic Metal", big words and I am inclined to say that with "Conflict Of Interest" they have created a musically absolutely outstanding Gothic Metal-piece, which is oozing ideas and still always remains comprehensible and catchy! "Thy Curse" alone is a masterpiece for itself, just like "Elsiabetha" and also the complete new interpretation of Tanita Tikaram's "Twist In My Sobriety" is just great.
And the two live-tracks showcase that Gothic Metal on stage can be truly powerful as well. But of all things what at times bulks in my ears is Alexandra's vocals, which for my ears sometimes sounds a bit off the pitch, although all harmonies fit, so it most probably is my ears (so you can add one or 1,5 points, if your ears tell you something different!)...
But still all in all an outstanding release of Gothic Metal, which really makes you await the next album eagerly, which hopefully is not too far off anymore! (Online August 4, 2002)