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Angel - A Woman's Diary - Chapter I (CD)

A Woman's Diary - Chapter I
by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 22 June 2005, 7:41 PM

How many of you kept a diary when you were kids, teenagers or even as grown ups? How many of you still keep one for your most inner, emotional, hidden thoughts? One thing's for sure. Helena Michaelsen's debut album, with her solo band Angel, A Woman's Diary - Chapter I, is certainly one remarkable musical diary unveiling itself to all those who dare look at it. Here's the sad story of a little girl, through the misty tunes of Angel…
But first - as usual - let's just take a look at Helena's biography. Beautiful looking Helena Iren Michaelsen fills our ears with beautiful vocal lines from the snowy (in the winter at least) country of Norway. She's been the singer for Norwegian Goth metallers Trail Of Tears' first two albums (Disclosure Of Red - 1998, Profundemonium - 2000) but then departed and joined After Forever guitarist Mark Jansen, ex-Cassiopeia guitarist Ad Sluijter and keyboard player Coen Janssen, Gurthang and Axamenta bassist Yves Huts (a.k.a. 'Enuresor') and drummer Iwan Hendrikx of M-90's, Silent Edge and Exivious. They all formed the venturous act Sahara Dust which would later be renamed into Epica and gain immediate commercial success. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you believe in destiny) Helena left the band a year later and…In 2003 joined God Dethroned's pairing of guitarist Henri Sattler and drummer Ariën van Weesenbeek in a new force entitled Imperia.
In 2004 Imperia released their debut album entitled The Ancient Dance Of Qetesh through the Ebony Tears label while in the meantime Helena also covered Dead Can Dance's The Lotus Eaters for a tribute album released by the Greek Black Lotus Records (click here to read this amazing tribute album's review).  In October 2004 Helena would see to her solo ambitions in the form of Angel which signed her a deal with Black Lotus Records. Shortly after, the promotional single Don't Wanna Run was recorded (in December 2004) and now, this summer, it's time for the release of A Woman's Diary - Chapter I (which went out on June 20th).
So what secrets lie within Helena's diary, waiting to be discovered by your very own ears? Melodies of sorrow, melodies of nostalgia, of love and hate, of passion and anger. The entire album is one big trip through memory lane together with a little girl that fills in the pages of her diary with her thoughts, with her feelings as the years pass by and she grows up to be…a woman. That's the feeling you'll get after listening for instance to songs like Little Princess or Little Girl. Soft and innocent, these songs are just like a little kid, emotion-wise. Butterfly is just like the happy tune you'd play for a scene where that little kid seems to be the happiest human being in the world, running around, playing…her (only) 4 minutes of real joy before anything bad happens.
Then with songs like Lead You Through Fire (awesome Goth song) or the soft, sorrowful ballad Mother (which is one of the saddest songs I've heard in a long time) something goes completely wrong and that little girl's (or a young woman by now, let's assume) life changes dramatically, past the point of no return in the fields of sadness and hatred. That's also where Fallen Angel and A Woman's Diary would also come in (the story). And then you've got Glow In The Dark… which makes an awesome ode to melancholy together with Mother, despite it's nah nah nah parts (man, I desperately need a glass of whiskey while writing this review). Flames Of Desire is a sexy, fast, gothic song, with Helena doing high-pitched operatic vocals, Goth vocals…you name it.
Darkness is one hell of a spooky song, especially when you're listening to it at night, real loud on your headphones (I guess it's all the women screaming in pain or terror in the beginning) and to me it seems this is the breaking point, where the woman (created for the purposes of my review…) snaps and lets hatred fill her veins. It's a weird tune, with a sampled beat and effects. On Love of My Life we have a love story, an endless caring, a story of a feeling that lived and died…and then it's the Funeral which really gives me the chills; what a grey end for this fantastic release - no words, just music…just like the music that would be played on a funeral, the funeral of this chapter or the funeral of this imaginary soul I made up while listening to the album.
In conclusion, I really like A Woman's Diary - Chapter I, it really gets me down (the way I like it, music-wise) and I'm sure that any one of you reading this album review will love it, if you're a person that knows how to decorate your emotional downfall with the proper music. Helena Michaelsen's got an awesome voice but most of all she knows how to sing out her emotions. Only thing that bothered me a bit was the production which could have been much, much better.
- Album Highlights: A Woman's Diary, Little Princess, Mother, Glow in The Dark, Flames Of Desire, Love Of My Life and Funeral (though just an outro).

4 Star Rating

Fallen Angel
A Woman's Diary
Little Princess
Lead You Through Fire
Glow In The Dark
Flames Of Desire
Little Girl
Love Of My Life
Helena Iren Michaelsen - Vocals & Choirs
Jan Orkki Yrlund - Guitar & Programming
John Stam - Guitar
Gerry Vestreken - Bass
Steve Wolz - Drums
Audun Gronnestad - Orchestrations
Record Label: Black Lotus Records


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