On the day that I shall receive a CD from Casket Music that´s actually easy to listen to, I will perform my oh so well coordinated Black Metal tribal dance in front of my closeby neighbourhood, and we´ll all have a huge celebration afterwards. My god, this label has a way of hooking up with the strangest bands, it´s amazing really.
TOR MARROCK hail from the south west region of Great Britain, also known as Wales. Welsh Gothic Death Metal, kinda throws you off doesn´t it? Oh well, I´m trying it on cause this obscure trio does play some form of experimental, Gothic influenced Death Metal mixed up with ordinary Heavy and Doom Metal. “Death Of Summer” and “De-Nude Our Poisoned Minds” get things started in boring fashion, sounds like MANOWAR going darker and heavier (except the vocals of course), seriously it does. This is their first “professional” release as a band, and as with any newcomer the problem lies in the shattered songwriting and bleak sound production, which usually demands experience (if not the rare case of inborn perfection).
While some of the songs on “A Gothic Romance” show promise, be it a beautiful lead melody or a dark, calming soundscape, one of the band´s upcoming trademarks, the pieces don´t seem to come together as a whole, but rather end up like scattered parts within a song. Sometimes the end result is exciting, take the title track (an homage to PARADISE LOST and CRADLE OF FILTH no doubt) or the really mesmerising “Silence” for instance. Vocals could´ve been better but they don´t ruin the music, there´s an obscure quality in the delivery amidst the gothic atmospheres.
Clearly these guys have a long way to go, yet at the same time I feel there´s something really exotic about their sound, an x factor that keeps them apart from being associated with too many bands. The band may have ties to various Heavy, Gothic and Death Metal scenes, and while not as fast nor brutal, there´s definitely a strong link towards their innovative countrymen in AKERCOCKE.
So, not exactly a successful beginning, but an interesting take off nonetheless. “A Gothic Romance” is worth checking out for its genuine atmospheres, musically and soundwise, the band needs more work.
(Online February 17, 2008)