Oct 2011 12

Sensuous Enemy - ParitySensuous Enemy
Category: Darkwave
Album: Parity
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: Madison, Wisconsin darkwave darlings release an EP of three new dark electronic and rock tracks, crammed full of remixes and re-imaginings by some of their most respected peers in the scene.

 

Sensuous Enemy’s latest EP offers a collection of original tracks and remixes of those tracks. The three new tracks include the sultry “Intentions,” a dark electronic song in “Mirrored,” and the rocking, almost metal-like “Kali.” Seven remixes follow, formulating varying takes on the three original tracks, as well as a few versions of “Whispers,” which is the opening track from their 2008 release Fragments. The band is made up of John Feriks, Chris Wenzel and Ali Philips, who each contribute to the programming, percussion, arrangements, and other instrumentations that they add to the respective songs, but is also fronted by the enchanting vocals of JAI, the female vocal focal point of the band and each of its tracks. The album was recorded, mixed, and produced by Dan Clark of The Dark Clan, and mastered by Eric Oehler of Null Device.

The EP opener is “Intentions,” a track that musically doesn’t offer any added excitement to the arena of dark electronics, utilizing a gothic rock formula that is a little too generic in terms of the huge wave of gothic rock female-fronted bands that are flooding the market out of Europe, particularly those from Italy. So for Sensuous Enemy to separate themselves from this crowded field, they will have to do a little better than this. “Mirrored” pushes away from the rock sound of the album opener, concentrating more on the vocals, a subdued electronic musical bed, and a driving bass line. This track is more in line with where the band’s strengths lie: strong female vocal presence and a low-key musical bed to create an emotional opus that listeners can actually get behind. The tide turns in a rather exciting way when the band introduces a heavy dance rhythm and thrashing metal guitar sound in the track “Kali.” The song is heavy, bombastic, energetic and full of life. JAI’ s voice is strong throughout, soaring during the choruses and entices playfully throughout the verses.

The remixes are all pretty solid, done by artists like CTRLSHFT, Heliosphere, DJ Psychotron, The Dark Clan, Incekt, and even by the band itself. Inevitably, as most remixes are, the reinterpretations and re-imaginings lean towards making the tracks more club friendly, adding pulsing beats, soaring synth lines, and polished interjections by the remixers so that their own signature stamp emerges out of the final cut. From this, most of the remixes morph themselves in to EBM stompers or futurepop dance anthems, effectively stripping away much of the original tracks’ dark subtexts. If not for JAI’s unique vocal delivery, the songs themselves would take on a life of their own, only retaining the base melody and hints of the electronic foundations that the originals contained. The exception to this rule is the over-the-top renaissance remix of “Whispers” by The Dark Clan, which adds an almost Gregorian Chant vocal accompaniment with layers of brass and string instrumentation on top of JAI’s soaring vocal centerpiece. It’s a beautiful track and saves the disc from its overtly club-like spin.

Sensuous Enemy is one of those bands that when you listen to them, you hear that each member is brimming with talent, but as a whole, don’t really seem to mesh well together. The remixes often sound better than the originals, and this is not supposed to happen. The band is still growing and sound as if they have a clear direction and grasp of where they would like to go. Unfortunately, this EP proves that the road ahead of them may be long and they haven’t figured out how to get to their destination yet.

Track list:

  1. Intentions
  2. Mirrored
  3. Kali
  4. Intentions (Oceans ov Bass Mix by CTRLSHFT)
  5. Whispers (Invocation Mix by Heliosphere)
  6. Intentions (The Light Asylum Mix)
  7. Kali (Your Empty Life Mix by Incekt)
  8. Intentions (DJ Psychotron Mix)
  9. Mirrored (Beta Virus Mix)
  10. Intentions (Re:Tension Mix)
  11. Whispers (Rach 3 Mix by The Dark Clan)

Sensuous Enemy Website http://www.sensuousenemy.com
Sensuous Enemy MySpace http://www.myspace.com/sensuousenemy
Sensuous Enemy Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sensuous-Enemy/97077419023
Sensuous Enemy Twitter http://twitter.com/sensuousenemy
Radio.Active.Music Website http://www.radio-active-music.com
Radio.Active.Music MySpace http://www.myspace.com/radioactivemusic
Radio.Active.Music Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Virginia-Beach-VA/Radio-Active-Musiccom/130074466228

Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
CDBaby

2010-10-23

Joseph Graham (ChromeSkinJesus)

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