Pale Roses – Fear of Dawn.
- Label: The Eastern Front.
- Year: 2010.
- Style: Neofolk, no curlicues!
- Format: CD.
With a song called “Sol Invictus”, a dark balladry sound, traces of Tony Wakeford’s lyrics and a characteristic but not always perfectly in-tune voice, you could almost say that PALE ROSES is a SOL INVICTUS tribute band. But that is to simplify things… PALE ROSES is doing their own thing but isn’t afraid to scream out their most obvious influences. And there are far worse bands to be influenced by.
“Fear of Dawn” is the band’s first album, and while it is rather enjoyable most of the time, it suffers from a handful infant-diseases that makes it almost awkward at other times, diseases that only time and experience will reduce. And while it’s not perfect, PALE ROSES is among the most interesting débutantes on the dark folk scene this year, which means another band to keep under the radar.
Anyhow, the songs that are kept within the strict boundaries of neofolk does sound great. The guitar work is nice and the vocalist (his name is still a mystery to me) sounds best when kept low. I like how the music slowly crawls up in a shy manner, to later disappear without leaving a trace. It’s mysterious, like neofolk should be, and it’s really neofolk as neofolk should sound, with bands like the aforementioned SOL INVICTUS in mind, but also FIRE+ICE and BACKWORLD… Lyrics about war, mythology and life’s darker sides… The best example of such a song is “Niflheim”, that has both verse and climatic chorus to brag with.
But then we have the weak spots. “Four Winters” pops into mind. It’s more upbeat, easygoing and contemporary. And falls. The attempt to sing out falls, and the decision to multiply the vocals in the chorus makes it sound like a drunken football choir at an afterparty after a disastrous match. But it’s forgiven when hits like “Hero’s Dawn” overshadow. I also fancy the a capella experiment in “Lord Gregory”, preformed in classic ANDREW KING manner with a strong old British feel to it.
As I said earlier, and as you understand, there is much that is great about “Fear of Dawn”, but it comes with some troublesome flaws that can be hard to overlook at times. Still, if you’re looking for some new and true neofolk, stay here for a while.