Bristol based death rockers / gothic gods / darkwavers (call them what you will) Cauda Pavonis are a bit of an institution on the UK underground.With a string of impressive albums, eps and other releases dating back to the 1990's and a gig list that includes headline slots at the famous Whitby Gothic Weekender, they have built themselves a reputation as being one of the UK music scenes best kept secrets, and now we have their latest studio album on our hands.
Now if you have yet to experience the Cauda sound I will try to explain. Built around the powerful and compelling vocals of Su Wainwright, the band are rooted firmly in the old school gothic rock traditions of Lords Of The New Church, Libitina etc.. but also bring in other styles like an almost Gary Numan use of synths and sequencers, Within Temptation style vast soundscapes and a Theatre Of Hate style dance-ability. All in all a sound that is compelling and engaging. And what is more they know how to use it to maximum effect. Just take the albums lead single Forgotten Heroes - here you get a driving beat, a catchy as hell hook, meaningful lyrics and a vocal performance from Su that can only be described as spine tingling.
There are nine tracks on offer here, each one a real golden nugget of deathrock excellence. Cuts like Warriors with its old norse spoken intro, the moving ode to escapism of World Beyond The Window and the majestic title track are all classic Cauda material that will enthuse their existing followers and entice newcomers with equal measures. However on a closer listen you find the real secret to the Cauda formula, their attention to detail and the quality of their arrangements. Opening number 11th Hour starts out with a ticking clock riff motif which returns in various forms through out the track and is joined by a chiming counterpoint line over the chorus. On the dark fairy tale Terror In The Nursery you get hints of musical boxes, and creepy 'beast beneath the bed' style licks, plus some blood chilling growls on the bridge (from drummer Dave Wainwright). I could go on, but I don't want to spoil your fun, get the album for yourselves and find the licks and tricks for yourself - they are there on all the tracks if you care to look.
This a class album from a band on fine form, apart from the aforementioned Su's vocals, you get the rhythm section of bassist Rob Quick and drummer Dave Wainwright driving the whole thing along like a hard steamed locomotive and the guitar of Chris Hines adding to make the already wide sound as vast as the plains of chaos themselves.
In short, this is the jewel in Cauda Pavonis' crown and an album that will treasured by all fans of dark music for a long long time
For fans of.... Theatre Of Hate, Libitina, Lesbian Bed Death, Xmal Deutschland..... etc