Selective Perception EP
Who could have known that 15 years after mythical Still Patient? splitted up they would be back better than ever. It turns out that it's definitely so and there's no cliché at all. Finally, the Germans have found the way to successfully combine what made them a recognizable Gothic Rock hallmark during the 90s, with the wide-range of styles absorbed by each member in the meantime. Thus, the hybrid returns firing on all cyllinders, celebrating its 25th anniversary as if it was the first one. As a consequence of this re-ignition, they are back on stage and two new releases will see the light this year. One is "Retrospective - 88.2.99", a compilation based on the band's first era including remastered versions and some exclusive tracks - scheduled for release on February. The second is the subject of this review, "Selective Perception" EP, which contains 4 brand new songs as well as an exciting revision of their classic "Anavryn" - originally released in 1992. In addition, the mini-album has passed through the expert hands of producer Kristian "Kohle" Bonifer, widely known for his work for Crematory, Powerwolf and Agathodaimon - to mention just a few, who has duly polished the ferrous content of the tracks. But, though the Germans dabble into metal - among other disciplines, they remain connected to their Gothic Rock roots. Further, those filtered influences enrich and refresh their signature blend of forcefulness rock, catchy electronics and dark ambiances. This is particularly noticeable in "Anavryn II", which runs faster than the original, propelled by a rush of meandering chords and rattling drums. Bouncing against the wall of sound, the melodies that thrilled us decades ago burst anew, more gleaming and assertive. Andy Koa is in full swing and his profound voice has reached an optimal expressive level. The mixture is spiced up with a churning, sharp bassline and overall this track never fails to send shivers down the spine. Those having rock running through their veins, will feel the adrenaline pumping out when listening to "All is Well". Downtuned groove riffs join the moody bass figures to take by assault the song, while its pounding dynamics trigger the overspeed warnings. Low-pitched, rumbling vocals infect all the sections with its rocking allure - specially through the addictive choruses. Though sounding fueled and sassy, the song remains within the blackness limits. Rock'n'Roll in their very own way; a lesser known facet that Still Patient? might exploit more often. Now that batteries are fully charged, it's the right time for us to dive into the epic gloom of "Impact". Koa's harsh moans are set in bleak contrast against a melancholy piano and yearning guitar leads that put sensitivity to the test. It's a slice of melodic, sweeping Gothic Metal perfection that recalls Paradise Lost at their most debonair. "Screaming Red Roses" follows that mournful path, albeit its driving is more anthemic and there's occasional keyboard flourishes releasing the tension. It's hard-edged Gothic Rock, led by a robust pace. Around it, flawless croons and melodies project a warmly dark atmosphere. Although inventive and modern, its sound is reminiscent of what the Germans themselves - along with some of their countrymen - contributed to this musical genre in the mid 90s. This could also be applied to "The Brood of Liars", where the all the band's periods seem to flow together. It's based on their own-brand alternation of environmental and rhythmical passages, sounding painfully tuneful in its slowest parts because of an efficient interplay of synths, guitars and vocals. So it's perfect closer for this EP, which embodies the band's fine-tuning exercise of revision and update. "Selective Perception" marks the start of a new phase, showing a refreshing, improved version of Still Patient?, featuring inserts in satin-finish steel but yet in synch with their classic sound.
Review by Billyphobia