Ophelia's Sweet Demise originally formed in 1997. The band ended up releasing an EP and two full lengths before going on a long hiatus in 2001. It was 2012 that the core members Daniel Kufahl (vocals, bass, guitar) and Kat Murrell (keyboards, programming, vocals) got back together and started working on their recent release Sonata Noire.
The music on Sonata Noire felt like something out of a dark opera. I was reminded of Meatloaf at times and I don’t say that in a bad way. Kufajl and Murrell split vocal duties. Sometimes they sing together or solo. Either way I was impressed by both their vocal performances.
The album opens with “Let It Go” which is atmospheric and thematic. Just about everything is covered in reverb from the synths to the vocals which give the music an ethereal quality. There are engaging juxtapositions between beauty and darkness throughout the song. There isn’t much of a hook but the song makes up for it in other ways.
“Domain” is damn near haunting between the synths and vocal performances. The music actually reminded me of NIN in some ways. The guitars are heavy with distortion as the drums provide a kinetic energy underneath the atmosphere. On the title track they sing “You are always near” but something feels so ominous about it due to the music and delivery.
The most single worthy and accessible song is arguably “Bad sands”. I thought the vocal melody was particularly strong and memorable on this song and would be most likely to be embraced by a large demographic. “Only You” is another extremely atmospheric, ethereal sounding track that has hints of bands like Joy Division and even David Bowie. As the album comes to a close “Dangerous” and “Winter Song” were the other songs that stuck out to me.
Sonata Noire is a fluid album that feels cohesive. The songs run into each other well and it's obvious the band found a sound they wanted to build upon. That being said I think this music will be appreciated by a niche audience. That might be you so check it out.
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