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vicanselmo inmyfragile
Artists: Vic Anselmo
Title: In My Fragile
Genre: Gothic / Alternative Rock
Release Date: 19th August 2011
Label: Danse Macabre


Album Review

When VIC ANSELMO’s debut ‘Trapped in a Dream’ was released in 2008, there was no critic, who could avoid to overwhelm that Latvian beauty with enthusiasm and chorus of praise for an album, that had to deal with comparisons to names like BJÖRK, TORI AMOS or MOREENA MCKENNITT. This sudden popularity brought her some very busy last two years, filled with lots of collaborations (for instance with the English Synth Pop band MESH and with INNER FEAR, a project of Martin Skaroupka, drummer of CRADLE OF FILTH), a dozen of festival appearances (WGT, Gothic Festival, Castle Party), a tour with Germanys flagship electro avant-garde duo DEINE LAKAIEN and last but not least a club tour with her own band. But for the fact that she seems to be a musician from the blood, she never stopped to write new songs throughout the whole time and this led to ‘Into my Fragile’, the second full-time album, that was recorded in her hometown Riga over the last month for seeing the light of the world these days.

Framed by a fictive love story, placed in a post nuclear setting, it is of course that “infamous” second album, all eyes are focused on (especially in regards to its glorious predecessor!) Do we have to take the enacted fallout literally?

So let me start with a reassuring statement deep down from the bottom of my heart: that girl is an exceptional artist by definition. Although she optically seems to have clearly outlined affectations (her interview in the Latvian issue of the FHM magazine was headed with “Gothic Girl”), her music is doubtlessly free from any borders and templates. Moments made of roughness, cloudlessness, anger, innocence, melancholy, pathos and a subliminal kind of erotic are embedded in soundscapes constructed with classical alleys, electronic milestones, Spartan horizons and sprawling skies... I could go on with that for hours. It’s necessary to mention that, besides her songwriting skills, she has another unbeatable ace up her sleeve and that’s her incredible voice. It’s sound is the Ariadne's thread, that guides through the albums variety of emotions, that makes you feel protected and threatened, takes you in its arms and spits coldness down our feet. It captures you and makes you feel uncertain about what will come next.

But let’s take a more detailed look at the eleven songs, that albums contains of regularly. To be honest, the albums starts (after a short atmospheric intro) with two of its weakest moments, named ‘More Than You Can Comprehend’ and ‘Open Wide’. For avoiding any misunderstandings: the songs are not bad and they fulfil their purpose regarding to the introduction of the forthcoming atmosphere, but take the ear-catching vocals away and they become averagely in a strange way. Something somewhere between EVANESCENCE and WITHIN TEMPTATION - that kind of Goth Metal you’ve heard a thousand times before. But (fortunately) things change with ‘Horizon’, a sinister electro piece, unfolding the lyrical menace in an amazing vocal manner, proving the abilities of Miss Anselmo as a singer. But with slipping to ‘Wellspring’ we reach the “true” fragility of the album. Melancholic piano tunes and shading strings, topped by her yearning and lamenting voice... not more, but full of an emotional density, finding its climax in an orchestral rebellion - it’s the chasteness, that clears the way for the vocals and that is what makes the intensity almost palpable.

‘Bones Blues’ is a little rocking bastard, combining electronic flashes with sawing guitars and demonstrating again how manifoldly Miss Anselmo can field her voice, oscillating between a child-like chant and highly reserved distance. ‘Ashes’ derives its strength from the melodic atmosphere and the sad fog pitches , that waft close above the floor. Time to mention, that even the instrumentation surprises with inventiveness. So you can find harps and a harmonica next to buzzing synth noises and heavily distorted guitars, a musical complexity, that allows you to discover new details with every listening. Passing the complex arranged ‘Secrets of the Universe’, that sets the melodic singing against war-reminding sirens and marching drums for causing an atmosphere of hopelessness and despair, we reach ‘Das dunkle Land’, a cover song of Germany’s dark electro pioneers DAS ICH. Unfortunately I have to confess that I don’t know the original song, so it’s difficult to compare, but Vic Anselmo has arranged the composing so that it fits seamlessly in the albums content. Electronic arcing mingled with walls of screaming guitars, interrupted by passages, that sound like taken from a funeral soundtrack. But for the reason alone to hear the lovely accent, associated with the German words, makes it a charming hearing.

‘In the Darkness’ sounds a bit like a composition from musical, with its loosely arrangement, clung to the single lines and coloured in with flutes and rivers of strings, what dresses it all in a comforting, spring-like atmosphere. With ‘The Day’ we reach the official last track, that parades the whole albums musical variety again. Moments of hard-rocking guitars alternates with quiet piano breathes, guiding a voice, that whispers and screams, seeks and reflects, always clothed in a stunning clearness and a ground-moving profundity. Additionally there are four more tracks, recorded live during the acoustic tour with DEINE LAKAIEN (‘Who?’, ‘Bones Blues’, ‘Leaving Eden’ and ‘Tumsha Nakte’ [a Latvian traditional]) and again I have to say that those Spartan acoustically arranged songs suit perfectly to the mood Vic Anselmo is able to create only by her voice. That combination of “simple” piano tunes and her seducing, bewitching and compelling vocals fabricate an unbelievable density and an atmospheric magnetism. As if you turn on a filter to inhale the pure essence of some impressing musical delightfulness.

Resume: VIC ANSELMO has managed to impress again with her work. ‘Into my Fragile’ is an album full of musical variety, great arrangements and artistic sophistication. It’s an album full of atmosphere and emotional energy, impelling and stirring, but its strongest moments are the quiet ones, when all becomes dispensable in the witcheries of her voice...


Tracklist

01. Introduction
02. More Than You Can Comprehend
03. Open Wide
04. Horizon
05. Wellspring
06. Bone's Blues
07. Ashes
08. Secrets Of The Universe
09. Das Dunkle Land
10. In The Darkness
11. The Day
12. Who? (Bonus track; Acoustic Live, Zürich X-Tra)
13. Bone's Blues (Bonus track; Acoustic Live, Offenbach Capitol)
14. Leaving Eden (Bonus track; Acoustic Live, Offenbach Capitol)
15. Tumsha Nakte (Bonus track; Acoustic Live, Offenbach Capitol)


Line-up

Vic Anselmo


Websites

www.vicanselmo.com


Cover Picture

vicanselmo inmyfragile


Rating

Music: 9
Sound: 8
Total: 8.5 / 10


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