Acoustic interpretations are nothing new for fans of Diary of Dreams, but until last year they have appeared as appreciated live numbers only. This changed with the release of The Anatomy of Silence, where German darkwave hero Adrian Hates strips some of his projects most loved songs into nothing but skin and bone. Being classically trained on both guitar and piano, it is a moment for his compositions to rise and shine. Picking songs from a career spanning over 20 years and 13 full-length releases, the background material to choose from is dense, and the songs are recreated as new portraits coming from not only different albums, but also from different styles in Diary of Dreams’ history.
From the very start, it is obvious that this is a release that stands apart from the ordinary Diary of Dreams record, as the well-known dance-style synth intro of “AmoK” has been exchanged for a sensitive piano. Then appears one of the greatest joys in this album; Adrian Hates exceeds in his vocals, his voice lifted more than a couple of layers up in the production, emotion shining brightly through his usual raspy style. Backed up by not a single synthesizer, but strings, double-bass and some sparse percussion, new life is brought into lyrics and songs which I thought I knew well. Even as the atmosphere calms, the piano still manages to lead straight into those foreboding, melancholic lands where Adrian Hates rules as master, shrouding the listener in a vivid kind of darkness. Some of the pure instrumental power is indeed lost on songs like “Giftraum” and “Rumors about Angels”, but this is greatly compensated by exposing more subtle melodic strengths and a new sense of vulnerability to them. More quiet compositions, like “Immerdar” and “She and her Darkness”, pass over into ascetic qualities, revealing more of their full emotive power, turning almost unbearable. When “Traumtänzer” ends the album, I am struck once more by the fact that this is a memorable moment, tying together so many parts into a unity both beautiful and full of afterthought, perhaps more powerful than any original state can ever be.
There is both peril and opportunity to a record like The Anatomy of Silence, switching the well proven concept that is Diary of Dreams into bare essentials. The risk is that it can only be appreciated by those whom are already familiar with the music, the chance that it opens up to new listeners heavily depending on the quality of both of these specific recordings themselves, but also weighing the sum of previous works. But I will not hesitate to say that Diary of Dreams has succeeded in a way that can appeal to both old and new ears. The dark foreboding feeling that is a token has merely found a new form of existence, the hard edges missing, but not missed. The Anatomy of Silence is also an album that makes me want to delve into old loved records, reliving moments, listen more closely to some, compare with new senses, while feeling how time has passed, but for once leaving me without any disappointment at all.
01) AmoK (Feat. Torben Wendt)
02) O’ Brother Sleep
03) Butterfly: Dance!
07) Rumours about Angels
08) She and her Darkness