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Crimson Sky - Transcendental Trip

Crimson Sky - CD Review
Transcendental Trip

Transcendenta Trip



CD Info
8 tracks
Metal Scrap Records
English, Ukrainian, French, Latin lyrics


You just can’t get enough Ukrainian Gothic Doom. And Crimson Sky has been doing some version of it for a while now. The band formed in 1998 in Rivne. Vocalist Bohdan Torchylo was the founding member although there has been a small village of musical participants. And that includes female vocalists. The position on this release is handled by Myroslava Romaniuk although she is by no means the first. But, she’s damn good. However, this is not entirely a female vox directed musical entity. Borden continues to do the male vocals and he is a solid growler. Interestingly enough, Myroslava is listed as being the lyricist, much more on that directly. There’s another female musician, Liudmyla Savchuk who does a solid violin. Ukrainians do love their violins and nothing does more to enhance the sound of a Gothic Doom approach than that dark, psychologically twisting violin. You get that here.

The sound was originally meant to be a melancholic and heavy music within the scope of Gothic Doom Metal. So, things have remained fairly consistent; this release continues that theme. There has always been an interest in maintaining a keyboard component, that function is addressed here by Anatolii Kyryliuk. You get a lot on some numbers, less on others. But, there’s lots of guitar work, solid drums and excellent composition. I have to assume that’s Bohdan although that’s a guess on my part.

The band has a solid live performance rep within the Ukraine. They’ve played with some of the biggies, including Cemetery of Scream, the band largely recognized as having originated the Gothic Doom genre. Interestingly enough, they’ve performed with a number of western bands who seem to share their interests including American Technical Death Metal band Nile, Canadian Technical Death Metal band Gorguts, and Swedish Death Metal band Deranged. So, the band has been around.

The band suggests their music is made up of melodic contrasts, epic narrations, dramatic dialogues, Folk motives, and even Jazz elements. Not sure I heard the Jazz all that often but I’m not an expert in that particular style so my opinion means little. But the Gothic Doom, no doubt about that. They do, however, have some interesting twists on the subject. One of them is the use of completely instrumental work to convey the message. One of these is Blind Alley which is largely provided by that violin I was talking about. The instruments behind seem to be acoustic, not something you get often in this kind of music. But, the violin provides a sound that clearly approximates everything dark in this style of music and violinist Liudmyla sure seems to know how to use the instrument to its fullest. It’s a lovely track, something very different from what we typically get in this style of music but more than a little entertaining. And there are others that provide a similar approach, the opening track called, appropriately enough, Intro for instance. You kind of know when it ends and we move into the second half of the track called Searching for Light. Here we are introduced to that death vocal, and it’s a good one. The message is very much in keeping with this style of music:

In silence, in darkness I am chained for good, / I wander the callous world that is doomed…

Some faceless conscience is looking for life, / The feelings are fading in the bitter strife, The Universe can’t hear the prayers of ours / Because the sky's studded with ashes of the stars.

Other tracks go in more traditional directions. You have to recognize that Gothic Doom is one of the more beautiful forms of Femme Metal. A lot of melodic material, some of the finest female vocals, all that. But, there’s also the utilization of harsh male vocals here which generally gives it the Doom component. And Crimson Sky makes sure this part of the package is provided in spades. Bohdan Torchylo is one of the better growlers I’ve heard and he does a lot of it here. Tracks like Mag Mell Osmose do a fine job of positioning the male vocals against the female. I know we like to talk about the female vocals and compare them to other female vocals, but the similarity here for me was between Bohdan and the Crown Prince of Goth, Morten Veland of Sirenia. They both have the ability of changing the tone of their growling at will, sounds like two different people some times. But, it’s outstanding.

Lyrics, as I mentioned, are more than interesting. In fact, they are some of the best I have ever heard, from anyone. The band suggests they “were satiated with metaphors and symbols, including mythological and romantic images, as well as surreal aggressiveness and transcendental philosophy.” OK, sounds good to me. But the lyrics are in English, French, Latin and Ukrainian which is rather like Russian and my expertise there is limited. So, I’ll stick to the English parts and you can work on the Ukrainian, French and Latin when you get the package. But, there are several that beg consideration. The music here is all solid so picking a track to focus on is probably driven by which lyrics I like best. That’s also a tough one, they’re all solid. It’s always difficult for me to hear lyrics like this and then have to compare them to what we get in America, where you expect lyricists to be familiar with the language. Unfortunately, for the most part, big name American sounds rarely have anything to say that’s worth listening to, unless you’re overly excited by “Yea. . . Baby, Baby. . . .Yea. . . Yea. . . . “ You won’t have that problem here, the poetry is outstanding. And, one of the best may be Ember of Deities. This is one of the more Doom sounding tracks, but the lyrics sure sound Gothic to me.

This story is a core of tragedy, / Gracefallen lives of Aidenn in demise,
Jeremiad of ardent elegy / That gave a birth to nymph of vice
Selene in chains, don’t lie to stars, / Reveal to me denuded self,
Your hematite can darkly mar / The stylus of a saint…

Tune of a legend / Sings dithyrambs of hate.

Veritas odium parit! / Soul is the wildest hawk,
Words of forgotten Bible / (Words I forgot) / Hunted away…

Cought by Rain returns us to the instrumental work, again heavily involving the violin. More Doom here and the violin contrasted against the keys and the acoustic guitar provide a sound that can only come from Eastern Europe. A beautiful track.

Beyond Senses returns us to the Doom sound over Gothic lyrics. This is pure B & B, but, as good as the music is, the lyrics are better:

When I used to exist, I thought your Light would never fade,
I appeared in the mist with harrowing inhuman shades…
Is it You, my gone beloved, iron-voiced wanderer?
When you speak in such awe, my earthly Soul is hard to bear.

I contemplate your dovelike glance ‘til your image is erased,
I forget my provenance and mirrors can’t reflect my face.
After death there was something cold ruining my last memories,
But I feel how you grow old when autumn trees shed morbid leaves.

Will you transcend ice? / Specters enchained my heart.
I’ll spellbind your frail Sighs… / We’re doomed to stay apart
Feel wan Renaissance. / Only if you were near.
Oh crestfallen essence! / Slowly I disappear…

There was an epoch of my bliss, but then a time of sable kiss
When I was lying in a rave and dreadful sounds were in my grave.

Keep my funeral farewell… not in Heaven, nor in Hell
Transcendental trip will last ‘til they liquidate my Past.

The final track is Quinta Essentia. I think this is the Jazz track, it begins with a Sax, yea, that’s gotta be the Jazz. But, this is Jazz / Gothic Doom, which is certainly a new one on me. This one has another twist. It’s mainly in French. But the French yields nothing in the telling of the tale, and the vocals here are among the best, all done by our Ukrainian vox Myroslava Romaniuk. And trust me, the music looses nothing when she turns to the French:

Elle est retrouvée. / Quoi? – L'Eternité.
C'est la mer allée / Avec le soleil.

Transcendental Trip is Gothic Doom, but, it’s more than that. This is solid music, well performed, well written, and done with two outstanding voices backed by solid instrumental music. But, it may be the lyrical work that sets it apart, this is one of the best I’ve ever heard in that regard, and I’ve been listening for a long, long time. Ms. Romaniuk has written thoughts here that “transcend” the music, good as it is. And that’s more than enough reason to give it a 10/10. Gothic Doom indeed.