Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Excelsis: A Dark Noel
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...
Clarissa | Ontario, California | 12/14/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've been wanting to check out the Excelsis compilations from Projekt records for a very long time now but I always seem low on cash around the holidays (gee, I wonder why?) and never end up buying them. However, this year I was lucky enough to find 'v1 - A Dark Noel' used for a reasonable price. I did the smart thing and started emptying my wallet early; thus finishing my shopping before Thanksgiving so I was finally able to get this.It's not that I don't like Christmas music (quite the contrary, actually) but I usually try and restrain myself from giving in and purchasing any since you can't listen to it whenever you want. But, then again, I do find myself enjoying the few CDs I do own that are festive. They're like hidden gems I get to rediscover every year and this is no exception. I'm glad I have this album in my collection but I am disappointed in 'A Dark Noel'. I think it's safe to say I find half the songs pleasurable and the other half intolerable. In all its many forms and styles, Goth is definitely my favorite genre so I thought it was a brilliant idea to select a bunch of artists that fit into that category and have them put together their own spin on some classic tunes, giving the usual approach to this joyful season a gloomier appeal for us lovers of the night. But while some were successful, others failed miserably. This type of music isn't supposed to be cheery so I was expecting and even hoping for a darkened tint to be cast over the melodies but some fall a little too deep into their shadowy vortex. I do find the eerie "We Three Kings" by Lycia to work but I can hardly stand the extremely low baritone of Padraic Ogl on "The First Noel" by Thanatos or the annoying static noise with faint, uninspired singing in the distance on "Jingle Bells (Snowblower)" by Loveliescrushing. There are, however, a few songs that save this record as otherwise resulting in disaster, such as the lovely orchestration of "What Child Is This?" by Balderas & Osborn, the somewhat upbeat "Welcome Christmas" from Dr. Seuss' "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" by Love Spirals Downwards, the ethereal vocal layerings of This Ascension's "Carol Of The Bells", and the pagan dance of "A Winter Wassail" by Faith and the Muse, which sounds very similar to Blackmore's Night. But even Black Tape for a Blue Girl's "Chanukkah, Oh Chanukkah" was pretty lack-luster so 'A Dark Noel' only receives an average rating.Despite my slight disappointment, I still hope to check out 'v2 - A Winter's Song', and 'v3 - A Prelude', which is only available at projekrecords.com, where you can also purchase the box set featuring the entire Excelsis collection."
Not what I expected, but certainly not bad.
Clarissa | 01/13/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What I expected to hear was various gothic bands administer the atomic drop to various Christmas songs (and one Chanukah song). Some of the songs fulfill that expectation. A lot of them are just good solid renditions of the original songs ("A Winter Wassail", by Faith and the Muse, is a good example of this), which are probably much funnier if you're familiar with more of the band's own miusic. All told, a solid album, but not exactly what I had in mind."
Aislinn N. Connolly | Sydney, Australia | 12/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Instead of enduring the Best of Aled Jones, Jingle Cats, or whatever else constitutes as Christmas music in your relatives household, treat them (and yourself) with the dulcet sounds of Excelsis. It consists of Projekt label artists and other renowned goth/ethereal/darkwave acts, all doing covers of christmas carols and other traditional, seasonal songs.With exquisite atmospheric artwork and music, this compilation evokes Christmas in a dignified, different and oddly nostalgic way. Despite the seasonal theme throughout, it manages to do so without being overtly religious or redundant. Most artists retain their own trademark style and deliver the carols with the same passion and musical quirks as they would their own compositions and I think that is what is inherently fascinating about this collection. Interestingly, it is possible to forget that you are listening to Christmas carols and instead indulge purely in the music.My favourite tracks are This Ascension "Carol of the Bells"; Black Tape for a Blue Girl "Chanukkah, Oh Chanukkah", and, rather appropritely, Eva O with "O Holy Night". Faith and the Muse add a pagan touch with their "A Winter Wassail"; and my own personal favourite, the brilliant collaboration between Lycia and The Unquiet Void for a mournful off-beat masterpiece, "We Three Kings". The only drawback, of course, is that these songs are really only appropriate during December's festive season, unless of course, like that old song says, you wish it could be Christmas every day."