- - - - - -

Onyria - Break the Silence

Onyria - CD Review
Break the Silence

Onyria - Break the Silence



CD Info
Break the Silence Records
10 tracks
English / Italian lyrics


It’s always interesting to hear new ideas in the music industry. Of course, some are just new twists on old ideas, but, as the technology grows and continues to make an impact on the music business, bands are forced to adapt to survive. This can go in multiple directions. Some bands, like Whyzdom in France, use cutting edge technology from the software industry. Others use lawyering techniques to include components like massive sounding choral work. . . all developed using just a few individual voices. Some of these technologies are beyond my understanding, things like adjustments to the sounds of drums that provide an otherworldly final product. Onyria has another idea, not entirely new, but it is representative of some ideas that are driving the industry. Their thought was to utilize various digital outlets to make their music available, with the expectation that it would broaden their appeal and lead to a wider listening audience. The band says, “The album can be bought on several digital stores (itunes, amazon mp3), streamed online (spotify, youtube, bandcamp), bought on bandcamp and various other sources. We are approaching a new era of digital music and we felt that the best way to be heard is that everyone has the chance to hear our music. It's not important if you buy the cd or if you stream the songs on youtube: our goal is reached if you become a fan, and eventually come to see us live.”

The focus of this release is guitarist Simon J. Gillman, who is originally from London, and vocalist “Helena”. That’s all I got, Helena. Seems she doesn’t want to reveal her real name although I understand she is currently living and studying in the north of Italy, near Bolzano. She is originally from Sardinia, as are a number of other musicians in this genre. The two are heavily involved in the entire Onyria effort according to the band, “The lyrics are written by our singer Helena, while the music (arrangement, composition, recording, engineering, producing, mixing and mastering) is done by our guitarist Simon J. Gillman”. And that involvement here includes the label, as the band explains, “Yeah our producer/guitarist started his own label/recording studios some time ago and we are releasing and producing our stuff under our own label -- for now.” Not something you see every day but, in these times, innovation means life, and Onyria seems intent on making things happen.

Well, all that aside, this is some really good music. Helena, or whoever it is, has a vox to fascinate the listener. You get a solid symphonic, killer metal and production that leaves little to desire. Who do I compare it to, well, a lot of Italians take this route, you rarely get shortchanged by Italian Gothic. But, there are some things here that you don’t always encounter. And, exhibit one for the prosecution is Lagrimas De Cinixiu. Now, this one will take some Come to Jesus commentary as they say in Georgia. The track has a lot of things I generally support; you get some solid metal, you get a femme vox that shreds the musical soundscape, you get background choral material, but, er, I mean, you get. . . . .rap. Somewhere the gods of Goth are counting my time, preparing a dark welcome, adding up my souls worth and probably finding it wanting on the balance scales of life. I confess, I have sinned. But, damn, this is just fine. Some material actually works with a bit of rap, or hip hop which is probably more in line with what we get here. The band talked about the track in connection with some of the harsh vocals found on other tracks; “On several tracks there are harsh vocals performed by the guitarist, and on track 9 there's a featuring by Sardinian rapper Quilo , well-renowned in the Sardinian scene, during the bridge.” Well, it ain’t exactly Jay-Z but it probably qualifies as rap and I got no complaint. When it works, go with it, this track may be the finest on the release. And the thoughts, expressed by Quilo, take no prisoners:

quilo su komandanti / sardigna / noooo frimma
sardinia is my nation

fogu Ë infamia / fogu e cinixiu / nieddu ca crobu

abruxiat custu fogu Ë infamia / e sa terra zerria candu e niedda s'aria
e sa die Ë iscuria peus de sa notti / bogada sa vida allumiada sa morti

Well, that may be the only rap oriented track, but there are plenty of others that go in a hard direction. Revenge sure sounds like a sound track that should accompany my next interaction with one of my ex’s. You get a scorching femme vox but this track includes that male growler. You get background material as well, lots of it, symphonic, metal, piano, all the things I need to frame my arguments with the dearly departed wedded mistakes. And, the message might work to my benefit as well:

You taught me another way to hurt
But without violence, disillusion burns more
And you know what I mean, that your business
Is to sell a dream and fake realities
Stripping out the dignity / I don't care about your will
Maybe nothing, will change / And the worst still remains

Where was this stuff when my divorce attorney needed it?

There’s a whole lot of great emotional metal here, stuff that will fill most of your waking moments of deep need. It seems like that’s what drove most of the writing, makes you wonder what the interpersonal relations were when it was written. One of the tracks that focus on this direction is Fake. Again, you get an overwhelming vocal that is backed by a solid pounding metal. But, Helena, or whatever, seems to be able to make emotion a part of the delivery on every track. My Addiction takes the emotion in another direction. No, I don’t think we’re talking coke heads here, it’s more personal. Or maybe not:

You're my valium you can calm me / You can kill me if you're missing
You're so attractive an addiction, / I'm your slave you're my perfection
I thought that life was just all here / I felt the end was really near
But now I'm sure I'm not more / I'm not the wrong one

There are some tracks that take us to a much more ballad oriented interpretation of the Goth. Save Me from the End is haunting, it’s painful, and, it’s beautiful. . . in a truly dark kind of way. There’s some guitar work here that will burn itself into your mind. But, the vocals are lovely, assuming you like the dark interpretation of that sound. And, this is not the only track that goes in that direction. Damned is, well, damned. You can hear the darkness here, the pain, the realization of hopelessness:

Roses without petals / Moving in time
Of slow symphonies / Sung by the night

It seems that I have slept for centuries / In dark and cold places
In the darkness of the soul my blood is pulsing slow
Is a pleasuring suicide that's not scaring me / The agony of your taste that slowly consumes me

The entire release takes this tack, beautiful, dark, open to interpretation. You won’t get a more solid Gothic sound. But, for me, one of the more interesting components is the vox, something you might not concentrate on given the overall excellence of the material. I’ve often been told that vocalists in this genre are only good doing dark Gothic material, might I suggest this is fantasy. And, should you be looking at the argument objectively, I offer the following for your consideration, this is not your typical Goth. . . .give it a listen and get back to me. This girl could sing the Lords Prayer and turn it into solid Gothic.

Onyria is another solid Italian sound. And, in this case, you have no excuses for not listening, the opportunities for purchase are as good as it gets. As is the sound.