As with most band biographies, they tend to big up the bands latest release. Which makes sense, because if you read that “this is an average album, not their best”, it would make you wonder why the label released it.
Here, with Soror Dolorosa’s 4th release, which comes in many formats, LP, Digipack, and others with various bonus material, I think it’s fair to say they’ve really come of age, some 16 years into their career, and the label have really latched onto this theory.
But opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one, and I actually prefer the dirty Bauhaus inspired Goth of their 2009 debut, Severance, that the shiny slick machine they’ve become.
Things do start off well though, with brooding title track which is a fine blend of Fields of the Nephilim, maybe with a bit of The Mission thrown in to add some melody. And this track can definitely live with the likes of Moonchild and Severina, both from the late 80s.
The haunting darkness of Locksley Hall has the feel of an Irish rebel song, but in dark, lullaby form and vocalist Andy Julia’s deep tones really captivate the listener.
It feels like I’m reliving my youth here as Everyway sounds like the Psychedelic Furs… but the song is a bit tame for my tastes as its way too poppy. And herein lies my problem with a lot of this album.
I get that bands mature, they evolve etc… and as we’ve seen with a lot of Metal bands, (Anathema immediately spring to mind as an example), sometimes it works. And at other times, I think bands can crossover a line, just a little too far. Soror Dolorosa are guilty of that (in places) on Apollo.
Obviously not on the whole album, but the pockets of shininess are a step too far for me. It’s like going to a retro 80s festival and expecting to see Bauhaus, Nephilim and the Mission and you get Level 42, ABC and whoever else from that era I hated…
If you cherry pick the best 40 or 50 minutes from this 70 minute album, then it’s amazing. But as you’ve just read, some of the songs aren’t to my tastes.
But whatever you’re opinion on the songs themselves, there’s no denying what an exceptional band Soror Dolorosa has become in terms of their musicianship. And that’s reflected in the work Prophecy have done in presenting their music in various physical formats.