'The Play of Pain'

(Jetnoise records)

MARK: 88/100

New spokesmen of the Russian Dark/Gothic scene, Fright Night show 3 fifths of the members steadily in the band, while the others vary from song to song and also live. 10 tracks lasting 59 minutes, embellished by a good recording, dry, not smutty, not excessively powerful, but everything is defined; the bass is almost always audible (and it gives amazingly pleasant lines), in crowded passages, too.

The opener "His Death" is opened by elegant keys, and soon after it shows the piéce de résistance the 5 piece's debut album is based upon: a well-performed and conceived alternance or overdubbing of the two vocalists: the male voice is very theatrical and lugubrious, whereas the female one is melancholic and nostalgic. Great are the two declamatory breaks where the male voice, the piano and the drums seem to go their own way, but the rest of the track also enjoys modern keys lines which never exceed in penetrating the mix.
One of the highlights, "The Letter of the End" is a romantic/tragic composition made even more precious by the sublime choice of use of archaic English terms. Not only will you be stunned by the dreamy part where her voice flies on keys seeming refined wings, but also by the initial male vocals that will have you understand why there're similarities with Lacrimosa or Scream Silence (which are actually both less heavy than Moscow's combo). We need to stress out the Jazzy part before the reprise of the repeated oniric flight structure as well, closed by a Winter's guitar solo.
Pulsating, mortuary and vampiric, "The Blood" was written with the intent of hypnotizing, thanks to the best male vocals and most crushing riffs of the full-length. Marvellous keys imitate a violin's cry, later adding further nuances to the sadness of the song in a way a real violin couldn't sound; moreover, the track is matched with a sensual videoclip, the first ever official promo from the band, a reason more to start the band's approach from here.
No song here included is more autumnal than "The Summon", a musical painting depicting both the yellowing of leaves and the whitening of a person's hair; you won't but appreciate the lyrics describing the will of joining a dear or a beloved six feet under. Unfortunately the result is partially smeared by Winter's performance, not only vocal-wise but also regarding her pronunciation, not immune from embarassing mistakes, ruining the general atmosphere. More training and less hurry are going to deliver an aura of professionalism next time.
The palm of most 'Rock' and lively song goes to "We Will Go", destined to make all Goth freaks dance at home or at the concerts; this composition can also count on diverse facades: for instance the lines of funereal organ keyboards, or the unexpected stop 'n' go preceding another axe solo and another dive into Dark. The closure slows the rhythm and it stops reminding a tired, old and dying heart.
Well-chosen is the song to cover, Uriah Heep's all time killer "Rainbow Demon" - that Vintersorg already covered years ago - and quite appreciable is the outcome; you can distinguish the classic's outlines but at the same time you can perceive the customizing by the Russian musicians indeed!
"Two Roses" can make you think of a Gothic freak trying to cover some Metallica's hit off of their "Black Album", but when Ergil's voice appears all these thoughts fade away; his male vocals are rich in bass harmonics, and thus turns to be stentorian and evocative. It is a ballad, yet pitch-black, hopeless and grey, like the clouds and the heavy rain on the protagonist's head. Only flowers on the bier can be left, one can just sigh and recall the past, and still nothing is ever able to resuscitate the cold corpse. A masterly job!
"The Cross and the Pyre" is the sole track where the Rock guitar riffs are balanced by massive doses of orchestral keys lines; the central part contains another gentle Jazzy insertion, where drummer Lars boasts his ability in placing the proper accents on the cymbals.
The top of the platter is represented by "Cristopher Lee"; from the piano to the vocals, to the delicate guitar solo, till the keys reminding me of a harp. A simple pattern with the exception of a couple of weird digressions, nonetheless perfect, dedicated to the British actor who made the fortune of Hammer and Charlemagne Productions.
Not morbid as the other previous ones, "Black" bestows privileges to absurd and magic feelings and music solutions; the keyboards sounds utilized are here sharper and the female vocals in the background for the first time seem to mean this song doesn't belong to this world...

A catchy booklet and band photo makes this album a must for the majority of Gothic and Dark lovers; however, even if you're not a freak of these styles, you might find at least 3 songs desirable, so give the Muscovites a chance and purchase a copy in order to have a brand-new soundtrack for your next autumn days.


Line-up on this record:
A. Ovsiyenko/V. Stepanov - b.
A. Ovsiyenko - male v.
Marianna Lukianova - g. and female v.
S. Polyanina/M. Scherba - keys
V. Mironov/A. Zelentsov - d.

Marianna Lukianova, Pr. Budennogo 1/1-2-5, Moscow 105118 - Russia

Official sites:


-The Play of Pain (CD - 2010)