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Victoria K – Essentia Award winner

Victoria K
Essentia
by Rachel Montgomery at 19 May 2020, 8:08 PM

VICTORIA K is a band I would have welcomed on my iPod mini as a teenager, along with acts like EVANESCENCE, TRISTANIA, and THEATER OF TRAGEDY that populated my playlists and mixed CDs when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Hailing from Australia, they cite gothic and symphonic metal bands like NIGHTWISH and WITHIN TEMPTATION as influences, but the one that comes out the most is EVANESCENCE, particularly vocalist Amy Lee. Formed in 2016, vocalist Victoria K released her first album with guitarist Brett Garsed. Her haunting vocals caught attention in Australia and the UK and earned the singer a finalist spot at the Australian Independent Music Awards. After touring with bands like ELUVEITE and working with renowned vocal coach Terry Siganos, the band’s sophomore album is here, polished, and incredible.

The album’s opener, “Freedom Unchained” begins with a gothic waltz melody, accompanied by haunting soprano vocals backed up by gravel. With the vocalist’s operatic and ethereal quality, she reminds me of a lower-registered Amy Lee of EVANESCENCE. In fact, this entire album’s atmosphere, lead vocals, and gothic overtones are incredibly similar to the iconic goth band from the 2000s. Amy Lee’s influence comes out strongly in the beginning of “Surreal,” when the singer takes on a breathier, wistful timber. Sheri Vengeance is featured on two songs, “Forsaken” and “Matrix.” The former is a conventional waltz-goth song like the opener. The latter is a more of a standard power metal song with more prominent electric guitars and traditional, understated elements. Vengeance also features on the opening track and on all three songs, her guttural vocal work provides an intense contrast to the lead. The track “Shroud Of Solitude” is exceptional in that it features hurdy-gurdy player Michalina Malisz of ELUVEITE. The unique instrument adds a level of mystique to the song and a haunting, old-world overtone to it. Another element that’s wonderful on this album is the ambiance. In “Haunted,” the intro carries these tintinnabulating piano sounds that capture the scene of a dead, winter night. “Mist Filled Sky” begins as one of the slower songs on the album and features a broken guitar chord through the first verse before exploding into an intense chorus. The closing song, “Lacuna,” the album version of the 2018 single, is also a waltz-time song, creating an interesting bookend with the opening track. It has a more power metal vibe to it, with a swaying, orchestral instrumental break leading to an intense ending.

Overall, the album is haunting, beautifully produced, and has become one of my new favorites. If you’re into goth metal, especially haunting, female-fronted goth bands, this is one to check out!

Songwriting: 9
Production: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Freedom Unchained
2. Surreal
3. Forsaken
4. Matrix
5. Shroud of Solitude
6. Haunting
7. Freaks
8. Mist Filled Sky
9. Humanity
10. Lacuna (Album Version)
Lineup:
Victoria K - Vocals
Sheri Vengeance - Extreme Vocals
Julia Mammone - Guitar
Marty Kawaler - Bass
James Davies – Drums
Record Label: Rockshots Records
     


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