Thursday 21 February 2013

Review: Kaltherzig - 'The First Cold'

'The First Cold' 

This is another one of those releases that has been floating around for a while, well over a year in fact, but has only just popped up in the reviews tray. The début full length album 'The First Cold' by Belarusian trio Kaltherzig is an exercise in the kind of romantic electro-darkwave akin to the likes of Blutengel. However Kaltherzig's take is more measured and sombre sound that doesn't so much dispense with the dance beats but does downplay them somewhat.

The band fundamentally have a very pleasing sound combining haunting atmospheres with deep baritone vocals and catchy melodies. However they just don't quite have that kick to them that always seems to be hinted at but never actually materialises. This coupled with a relatively slow overall pace means that this album tends to feel quite sluggish, which is a shame as there are some genuinely strong songs here. 'Nameless Tomb', 'Funeral', 'Frigid Heart', and 'Pale Guest' all feature some brilliant melodies, pop hooks and toe-tapping beats while also managing to maintain a po-faced gothic credibility. However the most the song with the most dance floor potential is 'Inversion Of The Passion' with it's more up-tempo approach and good use of female vocals (which often feel a little mismatched on other tracks).

The instrumentation does feel a little out dated and overall the album sounds like it could have been composed in the mid-90s. Though the album's mix is perhaps the biggest culprit in dulling the band's effect. Despite the overall cold atmosphere, it doesn't really give the vocals much opportunity to really soar on the choruses and the music just feels flat and crowded throughout.

There is a lot of potential bubbling away under the surface here. A lot of the songs on 'The First Cold' are very well-written only to be ultimately constrained by a less than perfect execution. Though it is early days yet and more experience in the studio may yield a more rounded follow-up.

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