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Seadem – Skhôlè

Seadem is a new French project from the mind of Ombeline Duprat whom joins a long line of talented female artists in this heavenly voices style of neoclassical that is often associated with the Prikosnovenie label — artists such as Artesia, Faun, and to a lesser extent, Priscilla Hernandez and Louisa John-kroll.  In fact, whether a coincidence or not, Frederic Chaplain of the French Prikosnovenie label has mastered this work.  Ombeline has composed and performed all tracks on this record with the help of various guest musicians/vocalists.  Despite this, she is normally accompanied, at least live, by a few helpful friends in Johanna Fahkry, Guillaume Donizaeu, and Kooalia Reznikoff.  This is the debut release for this artist, but if you think that the name sounds familiar and you were in attendance for the Wave Gothic Treffen festival last year, you might have caught their set there.

It seems that “Skhôlè” is a release that is a bit more feminine than some may be used to coming from The Eastern Front.  With the martial / militant appeal that The Eastern Front have become known for in the past few years, some may find themselves caught slightly off-guard by this effort.  Knowing this, the composition of the tracks is well-done featuring an atmosphere that is dark in a neo-romantic way and the performance from the instrumental perspective is excellent in it’s melancholic textures.  The vocals are dramatic if not over-the-top in their operatic fashion, but for those whom love the heavenly voices genre it should be most welcome.  The only real let-down in the music is the lyrics in which the vocals are performed off of.  It seems that the push to make this album mostly English has caused some problems both lyrics and in pronunciation for the vocalist — the translations needed serious work.  As such, the vocals would have been received better had they simply stuck to their mother tongue of French.  Mostly the music is synth-laden featuring a wide array of bells and strings, but also features acoustic instrumentation such as clarinet and flute.

The album title has been translated as “vampire”, and lyrically most tracks seem to follow in this vein of dark folk tales, especially of Romani (gypsy) origin as is seemingly highlighted by the album artwork.  It’s not apparent how much is based off of the lyricist’s writing or from historical folklore, but she has been noted as a writer in the band’s biography.  The album has been released as a jewel case CD with an eight-page booklet containing original artwork created by Tanya of The Eastern Front and the lyrics to all tracks as well as production notes.  “Skhôlè” is well-done for a debut release though the band does have some growing to do.  If they stay true to themselves and go with fully French lyrics in the future, they may make a more successful sounding album for their sophomore effort.  Certainly a project to keep an ear out for!

Rating: 3.75/5
Written by: Sage
Label: The Eastern Front (ISR) / FRONT029 / CD
Operatic Neoclassical / Heavenly Voices

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