In Pieces Holy

Judging by Holy, In Strict Confidence represent an ambiguity of genre and sound. The group crafts a hybrid of goth, dark-wave and ethereal music that brings forth a moody presence ranging from angst to anger to sorrow. Despite hailing from Germany, the group’s roots are not thrust to the foreground. They instead use their European influences to accentuate their music. The trouble is that most of their songs tend to drone on without purpose, and the group leans towards commercial appeal rather than innovation. "Babylon,” the exception to the "non-German presence” rule, is quite fluffy — a fact that overshadows all elements of darkness. "Sleepless,” probably the most accessible addition to the line-up, abuses ghostly vocals that serve only to cloud the already crowded emotional landscape. This does not mean there is no merit to this release. "Closing Eyes” is a pretty good track, showing In Strict Confidence can be intense when they want to. If you enjoy the darker side of the music world, but are annoyed with the in-your-face shock associated with many modern industrial efforts, this release will have something to offer you. (Minuswelt Musikfabrik)