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theshallowgraves smokescreenforyourbrokendream
Artist: The Shallow Graves
Title: Smoke Screen for your broken dream
Genre: Gothic Rock
Release Date: 10th April 2013
Label: Echozone

Album Review

THE SHALLOW GRAVES… from borrowing inspiration to bad cliché…

At which point does an attempt of continuation becomes a badly done replication? Is not even about ripping off from some recognised style or set of bands, but to work their influence dispassionately and end up with a sad attempt of a “what if.” This is the unfortunate case of THE SHALLOW GRAVES´s first LP ‘Smoke screen for your broken dream.’ Veteran Goth rocker Christian Roßbach (ex-Chassalla / ex-Madre del Vizio / Jessica´s Ascension) and partner in crime Julian Shallow tried their best into channelling several old-school influences on the genre but fell short through their reinterpretation of what could´ve been a nice continuation of Gothic Rock with a fresh and new approach thanks to the advances in sound technology.

Throughout the album we can distinguish clear appropriations from several bands: voice treatment from TWO WITCHES, LOVE LIKE BLOOD and Rosetta Stone, the sluggishness and ritualistic choruses from MERCIFUL NUNS, some guitar riffs from SCREAMS FOR TINA and CHILDREN ON STUN, and a Synth Pop experimentation of upbeat rhythm from PRETENTIOUS MOI?. With so many great bands behind a new project, either it succeeds by taking the music and sound to a new level, or it succumbs to the pressure of the past. Smoke screen for your broken dream is the latter. The album feels like a washed-out blueprint from the Old-School goth that the band was just too lazy to commit and ended up in a rookie product that should not have been the case given the history behind the band members.

The whole album is boring, each track is cyclical and predictable, with a few dips here and there of strength. From the immature ‘Intro’ which fails to engage to the abrupt change in the second track ‘The Field of Love’ that reminds of PRETENTIOUS MOI? dulling down the strength by a monotonous a cappella ending that is just too much for an ear; the lack of imagination is palpable through the badly use of echo to instil an emotion. The texture in ‘Times are Changing’ promises to change the so far humdrum experience and it does, giving hope beyond the lifeless voice, just to be slowed down with a bad King Porl´s voice emulation and the repetition of the same musical structure in ‘In my hands.’

The minimal interpretation of PRETENTIOUS MOI? in ‘Summer rain’ offers some redemption thanks to the solid bass support, to fall from grace once more when given the same echo treatment cliché that failed already in ‘The Field of Love,’ becoming another lame attempt to play with the choruses sounding stuffy and tedious. The next track, ‘Cold Night’, goes by without shame nor glory. ‘In the house of tomorrow,’ the copy paste guitar riffs from CHILDREN ON STUN´s ‘Sidelined,’ become a nice earworm.

And then ‘Even my breath is borrowed’ kicks in. Was it a rhetorical statement? or did the band thought it would be THE hint to let the listener know, for real, the whole album is but a mockery? a joke? Yet, this is not the end of it by far. “Led by lust - and lust is what leads her,” should´ve been seductive, challenging and inviting but it stops middle invitation. The same CHILDREN ON STUN guitars pursuing minimalism, only bring it down to a shortcoming. Borrowing from MISERYLAB’s ‘All that guilt’ is cyclical too although manages to keep a good level of tension and upbeat to, for the first time in the whole album, trigger a want to listen through and through. Keeping the rhythm ‘Heartthrob & Sighs’ reaches the climax that breaks the dullness and gives hope that the band might find their sound one track at a time. Up to here the regular LP ends, but there are the added bonus tracks…

FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM´s ‘The Sequel’ finds its way as a cover. Long story short, some covers are better not happening. And then we get the parade of remixes of songs that might not have had salvation, yet thanks to the special treatment, lifeless tracks certainly become what we have been expected through almost 49 minutes. ‘The House of Tomorrow’ extended version by Ashley Dayour, is almost tribal, and although the “dialogue from a movie” trope might be a classic, it certainly strengths a mix well done. Yet is Tim Chandler´s ‘Times are Changing’ remix that illuminates all. Good acoustic guitars, old MEPHISTO WALTZ effect that makes it all worth it. The reworking of ‘The field of Love’ is a surprise indeed; a track thought to be beyond redemption and at risk of following the same faith considering that Jessica´s Ascension is a Chris Moribund´s project, it certainly shades a different light by instilling some life through the synth pop treatment.

The next track, ‘Cold Night’ remixed by NPH, not everything that shines is gold and just as the original track, although with better sounding, it goes through without shame nor glory. The curtain falls down, the smoke dissipates and we reach the end with a good song, ‘Brickbats and Highheels’ extracted from the band's first EP ‘Those Hollow Eyes’ fully demonstrates that the will is there and that good tracks can be done, giving the listener hope for the future material that might, just might, not panic under the pressure of the past and will understand that borrowing is only to make things bigger and better.


01. Intro
02. The Field of Love
03. Times are changing
04. In my hands
05. Summer rain
06. Cold night
07. In the house of tomorrow
08. Even my breath is borrowed
09. Lead by lust - And lust is what leads her
10. All that guild
11. Heartthrobs and sighs
12. The Sequel (Fields of the Nephilim)
13. In the house of tomorrow (Ashley Dayour extended remix)
14. Times are changing (Tim Chandler remix)
15. The Field of Love (Jessica’s Ascension remix)
16. Cold Night (mpx remix)
17. Brickbats & Highheels


Julian Shallow
Chris Moribund

Website /

Cover Picture

theshallowgraves smokescreenforyourbrokendream


Music: 4
Sound: 7
Total: 5.5 / 10

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