Originally written by Jeremy Garner
Pleasure and Pain is the follow-up to the 2004 release Nightbreed of Macabria. I never got a chance to hear that album, but to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t. However, I am familiar with their 2001 release Bloody Lunatic Asylum, which still remains to be one of the biggest shitfests of an album I’ve sat through. After listening to it, I promptly threw it the hell away. Now, Theatre Des Vampires has abandoned their gothic symphonic black metal roots and have instead offered their own personal sound of predictable gothic influenced rock that showcases their self-proclaimed vampiric metal and manage to yet again astound me by remaining to be the band I hate more than any other.
I really don’t know how to convey how bad this album is, there’s just so much wrong with it that it’s frustrating the bloody hell out of me. Not even the numerous guest appearances of Bruno Kramm from Das Ich, Flegias from Necrodeath, Dhiloz from Ancient, and members from Ensoph and Stormlord can keep this album from being anything more than a forty five minute shit fest just like the rest of their albums. Trying to get other peoples’ talent to rub off on you from proximity isn’t the best tactic for releasing an interesting album when you already couldn’t release an interesting song to save your life. I’ve lost absolutely all respect for the artists who’d stoop to waste their time associating with this shit. After nine years and numerous releases all this band has managed to do is routinely plague the metal community with half assed gothic, vampire obsessed pop rock.
I’ve never had a problem with female vocals, whether they be sung in a normal tone like those of Amaran or operatic like those in some symphonic black metal bands, but these are by far the most overdramatic, appalling attempt at sounding macabre I’ve ever heard. The vocals of Sonya Scarlet are by far amongst the worst female vocals I’ve ever heard in my life. The vocals on the songs “Pleasure and Pain”, “Black Mirror”, and almost all of the others come out as something between a half moan and a sputtering, irritating whine. Other times, the vocals assume a more direct, pseudo operatic approach. The accompanying male vocals are somewhat derived from that of Moonspell or a pathetic attempt at copying Type O Negative. The music is almost as bad as the vocals, almost. I might be able to tolerate the vocals if the music was interesting, but there’s no respite from the torture apparently. The music has a certain tendency to loop the same basic, uninspired, boring, riffs over again and again while maintaining a mind numbingly linear progression that any no talent hack with a guitar could figure out in a matter of minutes. More yet, the song structures are simple and repetitive like the song “Rosa Mistero” which is literally one of the most boringly linear and repetitive songs I’ve ever sat through. The song “Black Mirror” incorporates a terrible synthesizer part reminiscent of really bad electronic techno/dance music. The keyboards littered around the songs don’t help either, they just add to the overall trite, ridiculous aura this album exudes.
I really can’t bring myself to call this album extreme in any sense of the word and keep a straight face at the same time. I do have to admit that this album is somewhat original, but originality doesn’t always equal quality. This release is targeting a certain audience, and if you’re not a part of that audience, chances are you’ll run like hell from this album. If you want gothic rock, there’s much better material out there that doesn’t stoop to this ridiculous level. I’ve heard plenty of bad metal albums, but absolutely nothing this repulsive. I try to remain objective in my reviews, but this album is just plain horrible. I know no one likes a critic who takes a shit all over their work and art, but I can’t imagine anyone that would actually defend Pleasure and Pain as art.
Now that I’m done with this review I’m going to go promptly burn this CD. Don’t buy this album for any reason whatsoever, you’ve been warned.