ROMANTICIDE is the Gothic Rock side project of Italian singer/keyboard virtuoso Sandro Manicone. Now, Manicone also plays in a HIM cover band, so it’s no surprise that ROMANTICIDE bears more than a few similarities to the Finnish band. Lucky for Manicone, this debut EP is actually quite decent, delivering very radio-friendly Rock with dark undertones.
The first song, “Six Feet Under Your Grave,” is probably the strongest song on the EP; nearly every part of this song is enjoyable. The moody intro, the smooth verses, the fantastically catchy chorus…what a well-written song. Its follow-up, “Dark Romance,” is almost as good, but falls a tad short. “Lady Of Desire” is on the same level as “Dark Romance.” However, the final song, “Yesterday’s Grave,” is a great little ballad that works well with Manicone’s voice. Normally, Gothic Rock ballads are boring, depressing pieces of shit that exist only to cause head trauma in orphans, but “Yesterday’s Grave” is oddly calming.
One interesting aspect of the album is Manicone’s magnificent keyboard work. Though his idol may be STRATOVARIUS’ Jens Johansson, Manicone shows that he knows exactly when to play and when not to play by opting for a slow, moody, atmospheric keyboard sound on the album rather than just shredding (and boy, can he ever shred). Listen to the clips of his cover of SKID ROW’s “18 And Life” and his keyboard solo “34 Seconds Of Fire” on his MySpace; it’s a completely different Sandro Manicone than what appears on the ROMANTICIDE EP, both in terms of vocals and keyboards. Versatility appears to be his middle name.
All told, this EP is nicely done. The songs are exactly what you’d expect from a Goth Rock band, and while this may work against ROMANTICIDE sometimes, at least the songs are catchy enough. I wouldn’t say no to more ROMANTICIDE sometime in the future.
(Online June 14, 2008)