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Valentine Wolfe - Once Upon A Midnight Award winner

Valentine Wolfe
Once Upon A Midnight
by Stephanie Hensley at 16 September 2013, 4:36 PM

Some people are born to make beautiful music. It’s just in their blood. You know it the first time you hear their creative expressions; they have something special and not quite like anything else. This can certainly be said about VALENTINE WOLFE. Using metal as a foundation, they add electronica driven beats, mix in elements of Goth, Industrial, as well as other unexpected touches and form a new sound they dub Victorian Chamber Metal. Soaring above all these dark and metal tones are the sweet, siren-like, operatic vocals of Sarah Black.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, their latest effort, “Once Upon A Midnight” is now completed. This latest effort combines their unique music with yet another work of art. Presented in large comic book format is the artwork of Jacob Wenzka. Visually stunning, this graphic novel contains page after page of frame worthy art. Pairing perfectly with the full length CD this combination offers a fresh multimedia approach to the literary works of Edgar Allan Poe.

Blowing the dust off of the musty old books, VALENTINE WOLFE manages to breathe new life into the works of Edgar Allan Poe with this interesting interpretation. If you are a longtime fan of Poe’s works, be prepared to fall in love all over again. Perhaps you’ve never been exposed to his literary accomplishments, and for you, a brand new treat waits. From the first tinkling notes of “The Tell-Tale Heart” you are transported back to a day of fluttering lace curtains at the windows, and the scent of absinthe fills the air. Dreamy and surreal, “The Tell-Tale Heart” begins your descent into the wonderful yet darkened world with a driving beat, eerie bass and angelic vocals.

Dark and foreboding, “Annabel Lee” became an instant favorite of mine with its catchy rhythm and vocals that seemed to float above graceful gothic tones. “The Fall of the House of Usher” is one of the more upbeat songs, though it dances through its fair share of elegant tempo changes and offers one of many great beautiful musical interludes interspersed throughout the whole album. “Ligeia” and “The Lake” both bring the tempo down a notch and give you more unexpected ethereal sounds. You might swear that’s a cello in there, but it’s actually the incredibly talented Braxton Ballew putting a spin to the sounds of his stand up double bass.

Catchy and with more interesting sounds added in, “Morella” became another instant favorite. I loved the vocal effects in that track and in “The Bells” also. The latter I thought was pure gold the way they combined the music and vocals. Two of the final up-tempo tunes, “Spirits of the Dead” and “The Oval Portrait” definitely grabbed my attention, the latter of which was nothing short of otherworldly. Ending on a somber note, “The Assignation” gives you one last wonderful yet dark impression of VALENTINE WOLFE, and it’s one that leaves you wishing for more.

If you are a fan of NIGHTWISH, RASPUTINA, EMILIE AUTUMN, and KAMELOT, chances are very good that you will enjoy VALENTINE WOLFE. You will hear those inspirations scattered here and there, little nuances, though they certainly have their own sound. “Once Upon A Midnight” is definitely worth a look (the graphic novel is amazing) and a listen (the music is too). I already can’t wait to see what comes next.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Tell-Tale Heart
2. Annabel Lee
3. The Fall of the House of Usher
4. The Masque of the Red Death
5. Morella
6. The Lake
7. Ligeia
8. The Oval Portrait
9. The Bells
10. Spirits of the Dead
11. The Assignation
Lineup:
Sarah Black - Vocals
Braxton Ballew - Double bass
Record Label: Independent
     


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