Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble of the Shadows – A Strange Thing To Say CD + DVD
release date : November 20, 2010
released by : Apocalyptic Vision Records
info : www.soporaeternus.de
reviewed by : Meagan Hendrickson
I was given the Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble of the Shadows album A Strange Thing to Say by Mike our music editor and I was a little confused by the packaging as the CD+DVD pack was far from something I’d expect to enjoy. The cover showcases alien imagery, odd video game-esque design, and an overall appearance that left me with an inquisitive moment. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I sat down to give Sopor a good listen and fell in love with the voice of the fabulous Anne-Varney Cantodea and then proceeded to give myself a good slap for thinking so snarkingly.
While Miss Cantodea labels herself as goth and others label Sopor as darkwave, I find the baroque instrumentation familiar to dark cabaret and neo-classical sounds, with the use of strings, pipe organs, brass, and woodwinds. The renaissance instruments mix together with flawless melodic brilliance to my refreshed ear, as it is nice to hear real instruments used and not purely synthesized. Paired with the music, Anne-Varney Cantodea’s (or AVC for short) chilling voice tells stories of love, humor, and sadness, as exhibited in the title track, “A Strange Thing To Say”. The whole album is accompanied by a full booklet that includes the song lyrics that are filled with AVC’s poetic words, macabre sense of humor, and striking imagery.
Included in the album package is the video for the song, “A Strange Thing To Say”, that was mostly shot with an old DV film camera. The imagery of AVC staggering throughout city streets, in front a liquor store, a gaming casino, and a carousel was a little odd to grasp at first (and I understand performance art!), yet the awkwardness settles when the video turns into lovely ghostly visions that fit the symphonic melodies. My favorite highlights of the video are Anne-Varney Cantodea’s graceful dance and whimsical facial expressions she uses to emphasize the lyrics. She truly uses her body, voice and words to express the sorrow, love, and the macabre passion of her music.
If you’re a stranger to Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble of the Shadows you may be a little perplexed by AVC’s appearance in comparison to the music. Her Nosferatu-like visage and over all styling in comparison to the music is like hearing a sweet lullaby with your eyes shut and then opening them to see a morose vision before you. If you have a taste for the dramatic, macabre, and the occult, you will enjoy the unique combination. Definitely one of the most unusual artist’s I’ve ever encountered who has been under my radar until now. I’m glad to have added Sopor Aeternus & the Ensemble of Shadows into my music library.
recommended tracks : Stains of You, A Strange Thing To Say
if you like you may like : The Deadfly Ensemble, Voltaire
overall 9 . music 9 . lyrics 8