It has been quite a while since I've heard gothic rock in its pure form like Sweet Ermengarde offers on their debut album. "Raynham Hall" is going to establish the Germans as serious contenders for the genuine scene acts. The band was formed two years ago and took its name incidentally from the Lovecraft's short comic story. The line-up consists in five musicians who sharpened their experience before in Rake's Progress and Neon Dream: Lars (bass), Marco (guitar), Danny (guitar/keyboards), Rafael (drums) and Kuba (vocals).
Throughout the nine tracks of lush atmosphere and beautifully enhanced production, there is plenty of room for each instrument to breathe in its own significant way. The band's ability to weave the crafted bass lines (which are the compositions backbone) with the mournful distant-sounding guitars, the delay dretched chords and the floating percussion compacting all the sections is remarkable. Kuba's distinctive and deep vocals hover above it all, switching easily among baritone vocals, gritty growlings and chrystalline tones. Thus, "Raynham Hall" provides rich soundscapes filled with quiet sorrow and otherworldly obscure sensations.
Although some tracks reach the seven-minute mark, they are so far from resulting redundant or out-of-place due to an excellent and gradually crescent performing as demonstrated by "Necropolitan Rest", with a cinematic western touch, or "A Promise to Fulfill", which projects a dreamy/progressive vibe. The dreamscapes flow from each song to the next, and together with the variety of sounds and themes introduced, contribute well to the album's overall success. Thus, the listener can taste the doom ominous flavor that is present in "Part of Me" and "Kisses" (which in a special version has already been released featuring The House Of Usher's singer), the charming string melodies weaving each other in the ethereal "Heaven's Far Away", the pleasant melancholy evoked by "In The Time" or the ghostly coldness that the title track distils, just to mention some of the anthems compiled in this album.
In essence, "Raynham Hall" is a crafted piece of atmospheric and spine-shivering gothic rock which affects your moods till the point that an occasional rapture can occur. This album is unique in its kind nowadays. Highly recommended.
Review by Billyphobia