Published on Sunday, 01 May 2016 20:00
Album title: The Old Curiosity Shop
Release date: 1 March 2016
1. Storm Within
3. Flower Of Pain
6. Spirit Guide
7. Voodoo Girl
8. Beckenham Vampires And Croydon Zombies
9. An Ode To Halloween
The British duo with an old fashioned name, Victorient, is out with their debut album. The band is quite young and since their formation the two released only two singles which are both featured on this full-lenght. The story of Victorient begun in early 2015 and in their line-up we can see two musicians with quite a different musical background, the multiinstrumentalist Sam Dunham-Carter known from doom metal underground and his wife, Tansy Dunham-Carter, who was involved in more ethereal sounds. With Victorient the two distinguish themselves from their past and create more gothic rock oriented material with strong impact of 80s sound, but as well there are notable traces of doom metal, post-punk and romantic goth. On their debut, The Old Curiosity Shop, they present nine very different tracks.
The album with a strange name The Old Curiosity Shop is a good start for this band, it's pretty original in a way, but not in a way that they invented something new, rather than that it's interesting how they mix together some quite opposite styles. I don't recall if I ever heard something that I would classify as romantic/doom/gothic rock, but how else could I describe for example the track "Boleyn" or the fantastic opener "Storm Within"? Slow rhythm, crushing guitar riffs, kind of industrialized, maybe even martial, yet tribalistic drum beats, nice female/male vocals, with some spoken words that make everything a bit dramatic, but blended with typical gothic rock or even post-punk guitar lines and some nice vintage keys/electronics that deepen the atmosphere. The romantic character of Victorient comes in front with "Siren", and the band offers a travel back in time with a walk through mysterious streets of Camden with the track named, yeah "Camden". They tend to mix some ethereal, spiritual stuff with typical drenchy punk vibrations and dirty deathrock on rather failed out "Spirit Guide", and try to lift everything up on strange horror influenced, rather groovy "Beckenham Vampires And Croydon Zombies", where male vocals take the main role. The worst track in my opinion must be the energetic punkish "Flower Of Pain", which works out quite silly in here. It's a bit weird but my favorite track is the closing one "An Ode To Halloween". Creepy cinematic horror atmosphere with spoken female vocals and some nice thumping percussions is a fantastic conclusion of this album that gives some mixed feelings with many ups and downs.
The main problem of The Old Curiosity Shop is production, mix and mastering. It's completely failed and ruins almost everything. I know that the band tried to create kind of a vintage unpolished sound, but they didn't make it out properly and the result is that the sound is just like on some kind of a very badly recorded rehearsal demo tape. I heard many releases that were self-produced like this one, some of them with use of just one computer and were way better than this one. But all in all, Victorient shows that they are a talented band, worth keeping an eye on them in the future as they did some great things already on this album. They know how to make interesting dramatic compositions with a pinch of theatricalism that doesn't make you bored and I must give them some credits to not making just another typical 80s influenced goth rock or post-punk release. Nevertheless, with a proper production this album could be a much better listen, but anyway, you don't lose anything because The Old Curiosity Shop is available for free on Victorient's Bandcamp page and I suggest to you all to give it at least a try, maybe after all you'll be positively surprised about it.
Review written by: T.V.