I was literally in tears when I heard that Stephanie Duchéne had left FLOWING TEARS, she was so much for the band, her voice meant so much for the songs. A shock of this magnitude only makes me treasure albums like “Jade” and “Serpentine” more than I had done before. With their new album “Razorbliss” coming out March, which will be their first with new singer Helen Vogt, I wanted to get nostalgic for once with the band’s best album (IMO) “Jade”.
“Jade” was released at a time when the overcrowded Gothic Metal genre needed a facelift. FLOWING TEARS are one of Germany’s best kept secrets in Metal. In the early days of the band they used a different name, I think it was FLOWING TEARS & WITHERED FLOWERS, what a charming name. They released two albums under this moniker titled “Swansongs” and “Joy Parade”, which I haven’t heard (they seem to be impossible to obtain), then it was changed and cut down to just FLOWING TEARS.
The band decided to switch to a more accessible song writing style and the first offspring of the new adaptation is this marvellous album entitled “Jade”. “Jade” is a Gothic Rock album that cuts deep and leaves trails of red on the floor, a bittersweet album. Rock inspired Gothic Metal with great melodies, complementary keyboards and great female vocals from the rather unknown female Stefanie Duchéne is what you’re in for. Stephanie’s seductive voice is the primary weapon here; her voice is as beautiful as the imagery of her physical appearance on the shadowy band picture and unlike most female Gothic Metal singers she has low tonal register that’s darker and... well, jaded if I may say so.
“Jade” is one of the best records of its genre, the songs are simple but brilliant, the heavy riffs and beautiful melodies go hand in hand, the vocals are great and the atmosphere is really chilled and relaxed, almost romantic at some points. “Sistersun”, “Swallow”, “Lovesong For A Dead Child”, “Radio Heroine” and the title track are just some of the highlights of this album. “Coma Garden” is really chilled in its atmosphere and is perfect if you want some stressless music without panpipes.
In some songs there’s a male singer (I suspect it might be guitarists Benjamin Buss) doing some less effective singing, it sounds like he’s doped, dying or something, but it’s only a few lines so it doesn’t ruin anything; it’s a thing I could do without although he does fit into the final song “White Horses”.
This is easy listening Metal where simple song structures and good choruses play an important part and complexity is left behind. Recorded at Woodhouse Studios with producer icon Waldemar Sorychta (SENTENCED, THE GATHERING, LACUNA COIL) you don’t have to question the quality of the sound.
I’ll be following this band closely because this album has truly marked itself as one of my favourite Gothic Metal albums in recent years. What the future holds is of course uncertain. If Helen Vogt is as good as she’s rumoured to be and will surpass the quality of Stephanie, this Metal head will not stand on ceremony, I’ve got to hear something... NOW!!! So if you like Gothic Rock with Metal influences and relaxed atmospheres, this one is for you. (Online February 15, 2004)