So cold. Yes, so cold it would be on a winter night “under a freezing moon” when listening to the debut album from the Italian SO COLD. At least most of the time as the generic sounds this band produce are capable of lighting barely a small and temporal fire. Listening to this piece is more or less like eating something that does not leave any memories, does not have any exquisite aftertaste or sometimes even any taste at all.
“Gone With The Storm” hangs on to heavy Rock sound surrounded by Gothic Metal aesthetics. In this case, however, there is no place for sad keyboard layers or operatic female singing. Instead, the listener gets a bunch of distorted guitar-driven compositions that together with the pretty strong clear male vocal lines make the whole record. During most compositions the band maintain mid-tempo and just like in numerous other works of this kind one will not find here any furious passages. In fact no extraordinary efforts from the bass or drums department emerge at all during the nearly 45 minutes of the album. They just fulfill their standard role in such music without trying to give it some more variability. Not surprisingly several moments of “Gone…” are devoted to some slow ballad sounds in the form of “For The One…”, beginning of which is the most distinctive part of the album, though, this distinctiveness can be talked about merely for the reason of the fragment being played slower than the rest. The spacious guitar arrangement combined with tranquil keyboard tunes draw one’s attention and might make a decent impression on the listener, yet even if it is nice, one can not attribute this stuff any unusual features. It gets even a bit worse when the group continue with their usual way of playing that sets focus on melodic vocal lines and strong guitars. At least Michele, the band’s singer, does not deliver the lyrics in a maudlin way full of pretentious emotional touch. Feelings are surely there, yet he is still very solid in his efforts which can be considered as the best feature in terms of this work.
As mentioned above, no great work from the rhythm section can be found here and so is there nothing amazing in the guitars. This is partly a result of the compositions being very compact and thus not having enough space for lengthy and intricate instrument passages. The riffs are rather simple and their main task is to create solid support to the vocal lines. The lead guitar contribution is no more advanced and is mainly concentrated around bringing in some short melodic strings of sounds that never evolve into for instance splendid solos. Obviously, I am aware of the fact that it was not the band aim to make an epic and complicated piece of art, yet the way they are creating their music – without any diversity – somehow makes me bored, even though the compositions are not that bad and each of them could be a radio hit. The biggest problem is their repetitiveness and I think it is here that the band should try to improve.
Among the few positive things about the Italians’ album I could surely mention the production. It is pretty warm and the warmth can be felt especially in Michele’s singing. At the same time there is no impression of the work being overproduced, on the contrary, the instruments’ sound seems to lean towards the more organic side of musical production.
To sum it up – it seems very unlikely that SO COLD gain some wide critical acclaim after publishing an album of this kind. The majority of their recipients would most probably be people enjoying sounds from Finnish Goth/Rock metallers like HIM or SETHIAN and those who sometimes listen to a number of hits from later PARADISE LOST or KATATONIA. But isn’t it enough with bands of this kind on the Metal scene? “Gone With The Storm” is a bunch of melodic and energetic compositions that at the same time show no remarkable value and are simply weary on the long run. The guys seem to have artistic potential and it might be better if they chose to show it by exploring other territories than such straightforward Goth Rock/Metal.
(Online March 27, 2010)