Often when a band gets recognition later than others with a similar sound, the generic/clone label gets thrown around a lot, with little accounting for nuances between the younger acts and their older influences. These subtle differences can often make the difference between a METALLICA and a SLAYER, although in the case of this particular outfit, a unique middle ground between the melancholy atmospheres of WITHIN TEMPTATION and the ballsy female fronted rocking of LULLACRY. The completely original elements of “Tales For Bad Girls” may be few, but there is definitely something to be said for the quality of the performance and the resulting enjoyment factor on display.
Much like WITHIN TEMPTATION and their less metallic American cousins EVANESCENCE, FOREVER SLAVE shares a generation gap with the Death/Doom roots of the Gothic Metal style and comes off with more of a Rock oriented sound than that of the pioneers of the genre. Most of the songs are mid-tempo, there are a lot of technological additives and keyboard ambiences that fill in the background, and the occasional intercession of a male voice lacks the guttural/harsh character of the prototypical beauty and the beast formula. Melody tends to take precedence over riffs as well, though the presence of the guitars is much larger here than in the case of WITHIN TEMPTATION, and the riffs are a little more elaborate than the 2 chord grooves that usually backup Amy Lee’s voice.
The area where the band really breaks away from the others is in the lyrical themes. The band’s English is a little bit fragmented at times, but the dreary emotions are still well established, going back and forth between the dark and depressing path paved by THE SINS OF THY BELOVED and the witty sarcasm of TYPE O NEGATIVE. A good example of the former is the really rocking yet lyrically depressing “Kristin A.I.D.S.”, which puts forth this really beautiful melodic line, augmented further by Lady Angellyca’s angelic voice, while describing the decaying life of a bedridden woman with a fatal disease. The feminine version of Peter Steele’s lyrical wit can be heard in fun yet ironically serious sounding songs like “Dickhead!”, “Gothix Girls” and “My Girl (She loves her)”. Musically they sound a little closer to LULLACRY but with some keyboards and EVANESCENCE style synthesizer tricks, but the words definitely bring back memories of “October Rust”.
Obviously this album isn’t quite a perfect blend of differing elements and occasionally the songs get a little more derivative than they need to be. You take one little listen to the intro to “Afterlife” and you definitely hear a melody that is dangerously close to quoting something off of “The Heart Of Everything” or “Fallen”. “Larmes Et Roses” also gets really close to fully sounding like a LULLACRY homage at the beginning, though when the keyboards kick in it gets closer to early LACUNA COIL. The thing that really makes up for this is that the lead guitar work and the riffs are quite interesting. Several of these songs have really good guitar solos, although they tend to be pretty short, and bring out a somewhat technical side of the Gothic format that isn’t usually explored.
The only real complaint I can launch at these guys is that they’ve gone a little bit heavy on the vocal effects and electronic percussion sounds for my personal taste, but this is definitely something that a fan of the more Rock oriented side of this style can appreciate. I’d recommend WITHIN TEMPTATION’s and TYPE O NEGATIVE’s latest releases slightly more than this, but this is solid and enjoyable work. Lady Angellyca’s vocals are the main draw and basically a slightly deeper and fuller version of Sharon Den Adel’s, but there is definitely a solid musical element at work here that is charming despite the very standard and Rock oriented format that is superimposed upon it.
(Online November 23, 2008)