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schonwald abstraction
Artist: Schonwald
Title: Abstraction
Genre: Darkwave
Release Date: 20th November 2020
Label: Manic Depression Records

Album Review

You have to get noticed, when floating around in the frozen musical seas of Coldwave / Dark Wave. If bands in this genre are icebergs, then there are lots of insignificant ones, bobbing around harmlessly. There are one or two of those massive bastards that should be impressive but remain hidden enough to still sink the odd unsuspecting ship. And then there are those that are both dangerous and beautiful, the ones that make captains of ships go “Look! An iceberg” before a few impressive pics are taken for their friends on Instagram. And it’s a crowded sea, especially for Italian bands, so having a German name definitely helps. So here comes Italian duo SCHONWALD, with new album ‘Abstraction’. Ahoy there!

‘Desert’ wastes no time in dropping you off somewhere bloody cold, despite its title. And the deathly chill of the vocals on ‘No Return’ tell you - well, that you ain’t going anywhere soon. Layers of frosty gloom aren’t so much sprinkled here, as dropped in great dollops from a significant height. ‘Polar’ is almost a pop song in comparison, and propels itself along on a good pair of melodic skis, while ‘Inner Sin’ goes for full-on melancholy at first, and then races off into the distance like a thing possessed.

There’s plenty of manic distortion swirling around the vocal monotone of ‘Fall Apart’, some sinister messing about on surreal instrumental ‘Echo’s Dream’, and an early 80’s cassette-demo feel to ‘Passion Of Lover’. ‘Reflex’ bounces around like a winter hare, and by the chorus is all prettiness and lightness of step. But the lightness doesn’t last long, and the layers of distortion on ‘violet’ do an excellent job of putting MY BLOODY VALENTINE and THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN in a bag, shaking them about a bit and feeling more than happy with what comes spilling out. Which leaves the guitars on final track ‘Fire Fire’ to ratchet up the anxiety and tension, which they do admirably, building this up into something quite magnificent. I think epic would be a fair description.

This is an excellent album by a band at their peak. If SCHONWALD are an iceberg, floating around in the frozen musical seas, then you really do need to take note. Dangerous and beautiful, it’s what lurks beneath that really makes them special.


01. Desert
02. No Return
03. Polar
04. Inner Sin
05. Fall Apart
06. Echo’s Dream
07. Passion Of Lover
08. Reflex
09. Violet
10. Fire Fire


Alessandra Gismondi – Vocals / Bass
Luca Bandini – Guitar / Synth / Drum Machine

Website /

Cover Picture

schonwald abstraction


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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