Star of Ash Iter.Viator

You wouldn't guess from this debut release that vocalist Heidi Tveitan is actually chanteuse Ihriel from Norwegian black metal band Peccatum. Here it looks like she's giving the mellower approach a try, and with much success. Her voice is more comparable to the ethereal goth-pop style of Liz Fraser than anything metal-y, and so it should be with her classical training behind her. I think what brings it out here is the neo-classical instrumentation: dark piano and strings and that shoegazer "wall of sound" guitar. It does take on a bit of a trip-hop feel here and there, but the focal point of these seven songs is the arrangement and composition rather than the rhythm. Just to let her roots come through, there are a few freak-outs where amidst the sober Dead Can Dance-inspired requiems Tveitan all of a sudden raises her voice to an ear piercing wail (look out, Diamanda!) and the music spirals into a chaotic frenzy. Perfect background music for a perfectly gothic night in. (Jester)