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Valentine Wolfe – The Nightingale: A Gothic Fairytale

Valentine Wolfe
The Nightingale: A Gothic Fairytale
by Andrew Sifari at 11 October 2015, 10:03 AM

For those with a fascination for all things dark and haunting, South Carolina’s VALENTINE WOLFE are eager to spin their macabre yarns. Formed in 2006, the duo of Sarah Black and Braxton Ballew return with another collection of Victorian-inspired odes: “The Nightingale: A Gothic Fairytale.”

The band has a reputation for imaginative storytelling, fueled by a love for Victorian culture as well as dramatic, powerful music. One might expect the absence of electric guitars to leave something of a sonic void, but Ballew’s bass rumbles loud and (somewhat) clear through the captivating soundscapes shaped by Black’s operatic vocals, which dominate the band’s sound. From the twilight twinkling that introduces opener “Black Feathers” to the foreboding violins of “Ghost of Her Self,” the melodies flow like a calm stream in a darkened wood; soft and mesmerizing with a touch of mystery. Combined with thunderous drums and a host of atmospheric effects, it makes for some captivating music.

Personally, I’ve felt divided about this album since my first listen. There’s no denying that “The Nightingale” is a quality record; it just appeals, aesthetically, to a particular kind of music listener (It’s probably a safe bet that your local thrashers won’t be jamming to this one any time soon.). Also, while the quality of the music itself is consistently strong, its not terribly diverse on a track-to-track basis, so it never really picks up steam as it progress. Nitpicks aside, “The Nightingale: A Gothic Fairytale” is effective in what it sets out to do: deliver moody, compelling tales with heavy overtones. It makes for more ambient than active music, a soundtrack to the fantastic and ominous with no shortage of memorable moments. I’d recommend this album to anyone with a fascination with the dark side and an appreciation for haunting, atmospheric music.

3 Star Rating

1. Black Feathers
2. Dark Desire
3. The Place Where Evil Grows
4. Inside My Nightmare
5. Devil’s Bane
6. Darkling, Listen
7. Twisted Melody
8. Precious Moments
9. Moonlight Prayer
10. Belladonna, Deadly Nightshade
11. You Could Never Have My Heart
12. Ghost Of Her Self
Sarah Black – Vocals, Electronics
Braxton Ballew – Bass, Electronics
Record Label: Independent


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