'Demi Monde Bizarros - songs about sex, Satan and sado-masochism'
(Osmose Prod.)


MARK: 85/100



Notre Dame is the brainchild of Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Mercyful fate, Memento Mori, Dream Evil, Kee Marcello's K2, etc.) and this is their 5th release after the successful "Vol. 1: Le Theatre du Vampire" (2000), if we also count "Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You, the 2nd", the re-make with additional tracks of their starter.

Not much has changed, their formula is so ample and various that it becomes hard to repeat oneself, and this time they also seem to have done things in big, regarding the superproduction, the promotion and the quality of arrangements, easy, catchy and theatrical as usual.

After the well-chosen intro "The Thing", "Munsters" starts, throwing itself forward like a mix between Motorhead and Type 0 Negative, before a final mockering slowdown alà Addams family.
Following the interlude "The Ride" is "My Ride into Afterlife", kind of between T.0.N., Bauhaus and a touch of 'The Ghost of the Opera', gifted with a mind-penetrating obsessive guitar plot; soon comes the best part of the track: great drums, guitars, solos, and in the end Rob Halfordian vocals appear for the first time. Aren't they cool musicians?
Seducing female vocals rule "The Stripper", thrust into an aggressive metal structure, while again we meet Halford-like vocals in "Verbal Diarrhoea", a quite Fight-influenced composition, but there's no problem, cos it comes a superb solo like the ones you can't hear very often these times to make us forget all the issues about originality. Only skilled bands can play at these levels.
Another interlude ("Bon Voyage Mutherfucker!") and it's time to taste the masterpiece of the CD, "The Master, the Servant, the Slave", very close to the most doomy T.0.N., nevertheless the vocals are one more time debtors to Judas Priest's vocalist and there're also some female ones in the end.
"Beyond the Threshold of Pain" is dark modern metal reminding of the latest Marylin Manson (the most commercial unfortunately); the song is ruined by children's vocals that taste like mayonnaise on chocolate, whereas "Hitmusic for Hitmen" is strange but good.
The title track is hardcore with some death-not-growling vocals and "s/s Hellride" closes the studio tracks powerfully, with a crescendo bringing to nothing, for it abruptly interrupts itself. Some seconds pass and then we've got 2 live covers by Lee Hazelwood recorded in Gothenburg in 2000, "These Boots Are Made for Walking" and the excellent "The Wurld Is Sick...And So Are We".

Countless are the definitions that journalists have given to categorize Snowy and the 3 Stooges (erotic, horror, black, death, gothic, doom, shock avantgarde, evil metal, mood music, vaudeville, chanson, tongue in cheek rock...), what matters is that it's a nice band able to give strong emotions and not the common band, so all true metal believers are warned!
By the way, they've also made a short movie, "Thrillogy", so if you like them you can also begin searching for that DVD. More info @: www.snowyshaw.com or http://www.notredame.just.nu/