REVIEW: Esben & The Witch – “Violet Cries”

Esben & The Witch / Violet Cries / Matador

Sometimes it’s exciting to be a bit terrified. UK three-piece Esben & The Witch aren’t afraid to illustrate such an unfamiliar emotion, what with the group reinventing a sound the common critic would associate with a faded piece of history called Evanescence. Violet Cries isn’t quite metal and is far from emo; it’s better than that. The debut from the BBC Sound Of 2011 nominee tranquilizes the term “gothic”. Where the rebellious whimper about having their heart shattered into a thousand uneven pieces, Esben & The Witch moan as if they fell into a lover’s quarrel and watched their beloved soul mate rip their beating heart from them, leaving an empty carcass of complex feelings.

Part of the gloomy dejection is due to singer Rachel Davies. Indie addicts will trip over their own feet to hear her voice, one riddled with a form of blues that was just meant to be with the group’s concoction of shoegaze post-rock and experimental electronica. “Your veins are my trenches, my gun is my own,” she proclaims on “Marching Song”, one of the few where lyrics are clear over the attrition of sound. Violet Cries dances with psychedelia, thanks to a ballad echoing with misery (“Marine Field Glows”) and a six-minute dream (“Eumenides”) laced with a horrific guitar riff that erupts into a celestial rhythm. It’s an atmospheric LP testing boundaries, artistic limits and volume and when it finds its soul (see opener “Argyria”), it’s a seductive nightmare.

Download: “Argyria”, “Euminedes”


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  • Tyler says:

    Evanescence’s follow-up to their multi-platinum 2006 release The Open Door is in the finishing stages and likely due out later this year, so “faded” they are not. Amy Lee will be back atop Billboard once again laughing at the haters from her lofty perch.


  • Anne says:

    this band is way better than Evanescence. so excited to pick up this CD

  • Anonymous says:

    i had mixed feelings about this album, but it’s grown on me, a lot.

  • Cole says:

    Tyler’s right. The band is great, but Evanescence is alive and well. They sold close to 10 million units their last album. I’d be surprised if Esben and the Witch ever reaches that level of success.

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