Review: Ardours – ‘Last Place On Earth’

ArdoursArdours are a new project made up of long time friends, vocalist Mariangela Demurtas and multi-instrumentalist Kris Laurent. With Demurtas relocating from Italy to Norway, to join up with metal band Tristania, the chance to work together was put on the backburner. But now the stars have finally aligned and ‘Last Place On Earth’ is the fruit of their labor.

Laurent’s heavy use of synths, combined with the melancholic vocals from Demurtas, gives Ardours an interesting sound. Their facebook page describes Ardours as “Alternative Gothic Metal” and “Alternative Gothic Rock Metal with an 80’s twist”. Yes, there are several gothic traits to be found throughout the album, but they are quite subtle and don’t batter you over the head. However, a track such as ‘Truths’ leans more towards a modern, symphonic metal vibe, rather than a Cure/Sisters Of Mercy inspired one. Beginning the album with a strong instrumental track like ‘What Else Is There’ will always bring a symphonic metal comparison, although once it bleeds into ‘Catabolic’, it’s hard not to pick up a Lacuna Coil thread, especially with Demurtas’s deeply evocative vocals. Then again, Lacuna Coil have never hid their gothic/synth influences.

‘Last Place On Earth’ is perhaps the most commercial moment on the album, the synths are magical, and Demurtas sounds empowered. This leads into the John Carpenter inspired intro to ‘Design’, all synth work borrows heavily from the ‘Master Of Horror’, consciously or not, it does. The centrepiece of this, their debut album, is ‘The Mist’, a dark atmospheric slice of music that leaves quite an impression on the listener. Gentle string arrangements seep through the speakers as Demurtas mourns, while the synths gradually build and help create a brooding vibe. ‘Therefore I Am’ follows on and again you could class it as symphonic metal, but less bombastic and more riff orientated for sure. It’s use of electronica brings with it a fresher, modern feeling, along with some stellar drum work from Tarald Lie whom Demurtas borrowed from Tristania.

“Gothic” is such a vivid and wide-ranging description, but there is no point in wrapping oneself up in what actually constitutes as gothic, instead just enjoy the top-notch music on offer. With her vocals being a highlight on the recent Timo Tolkki album, Mariangela Demurtas is threatening to become a much sought after vocalist, it will be interesting to see how Ardours progress.

Available now through Frontiers Music.

Review – Dave


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