Originally written by Ramar Pittance
Let me ask you something. How much do you like Sentenced? Enough to dig even the bands that sound like nothing more than a loping, and obviously second rate facsimile? If so, then Tenebre have made the kind of album you just might like. For the rest of you, unless you have an unexplainable urge to delve into the dermis of the Scandinavian Goth Rock scene, I suggest you move right along.
Before I get into the actual review, I’ll shamefully confess to knowing nothing about this band’s ten year history and to signing up for this review because I liked the Argento horror film that they share a name with. So, I can’t tell you fans out there anything about progression or comment on the affect of the band’s revolving door lineup. But, here’s what it sounds like. Imagine a consistently mid paced version of The Cold White Light or Frozenera Sentenced fronted by the baritone cousin of Ian Astbury. This sounds like it fits the template for modern Goth Rock so snugly because it does. Unfortunately, Tenebre are only successful at manipulating this formula some of the time. “Silver Flame” is a plodding, guitar driven fist pumper that helps even out the lumpy pacing early on in the album. Unfortunately tecno-tinged ballads “Shine” and “Blue” drive the album back towards a lifeless middle ground. Other tracks, like “Pray” and “Nightmare,” show flashes of heaviness and groove, but are ultimately nothing but modest bright spots on a mostly tepid album. The title track, another sparse ballad, references The Cult’s latter day preference for fragile electronica and low register vocals, but also features a satisfying and under-utilized roaring chorus. Of these ten tracks, there is nothing remarkable, and the album ends unceremoniously on with a short, acoustic guitar driven track that offers little closure to an unfulfilling listen.
The production here is what you’d expect from the genre. Digital amps provide lush, clean tones and brisk, chunky distortion. The bass is audible, but doesn’t venture far out of 4/4 rock conventions. The drums are unexemplary and peppered with tambourine jostling
Every genre has it’s solid but unspectacular acts. On Heart’s Blood, that is what Tenebre sounds like to me. Those who don’t love the genre shouldn’t go anywhere near this, and I bet even the diehards will find this a little too droning and ballad heavy.