Mephisto Walz

The Fossil Dungeon, 2004

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Mephisto Walz, though never widely popular, has been making records since 1985. This band (consisting of vocalist Christianna and multi-instrumentalist Bari Galvin), in spite of its long presence in the music scene, has never broken out of the gothic circle into the commercial realms of alternative music. Judging from the duo's latest effort Insidious, it would be fair to say that it is high time that this duo found some decent recognition.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The band started off in the 80's as a goth-rock band; there is not much change in the band's sound, even 20 years later. Insidious is an out-and-out goth-rock effort, and the sound brings back the memory of good old gothic rockers like Sisters Of Mercy, goth-punks like Siouxie And The Banshees, or goth-tinged punk-pop rockers like Billy Idol.

In addition to the brooding sound and elusive lyrics ridden with healthy doses of dolefulness, Insidious acquires elements from other forms of dark 80's alternative music that are almost forgotten these days. The straightforward expression of affliction in gothic music is blended with Galvin's fuzzy guitar hooks, which are very shoegazer, a form of music that was equally moody as gothic, only more ambiguous. The gothic melancholy is further ameliorated by Christianna's beautifully ethereal vocals that can be as angelic as Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser or as remorseful as her "electronic-rock" counterpart, Curve's Toni Halliday. Either way, Christianna's vocals add a charm of mysteriousness and prettiness to the music.

Insidious's dated sound might not appeal to the new generation of goth-rockers who prefer a more audacious and arrogant avatar of gothic music, in the style of Marylin Manson or Nine Inch Nails. However, this record could be an apt introduction to a subtler form of goth-rock that has long been forgotten, and to a great band that has a uniquely retro sound for the present time.

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Rating: A

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