email@example.com | battle creek, mi | 08/30/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a Swans fan I picked up this CD out of curiousity, wondering what Jarboe would do on her own. I was mesmerized. It's gothic beauty. I remember a review I read of the Swans album The Burning World, in which the reviewer equated the album with the perfect beauty of a freshly slashed wrist. He wasn't being sarcastic. If you enjoy the macabre, or are looking for the perfect cd to set the tone for your halloween party, Sacrificial Cake should be your starting point. I adore this album."
If you like someone really on the abyssmal edge,
Noel Pratt | Washington, D.C., and better places | 07/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"--not someone just playing around with goth or whatever. This is an archetypal dark woman. I tend to write some reviews prematurely, after only one listen sometimes, like with this one. But at least I know Jarboe from Swans. I was very impressed with the consistency and macabre spirit here, track to track. In fact, folks, it really feels like a Swans album, maybe between TGA and SFTB. Complete with great art pieces; this isn't one to burn and sell. Very easy to see why Gira accepted her into his own dark world. She had a couple of jewels while in Swans, got better and ready to bust out (you could tell) in SOUNDTRACKS-- , and here is putting it together w/ a bit more panache. A very welcome find."
The heart of darkness
Pieter | Johannesburg | 03/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album opens with the melancholy torch song Lavender Girl, an atmospheric number that is similar in style to Jarboe's work on the Swans album Children of God and with the World of Skin project. Ode To V is equally sombre, with the singer vocalising and intoning a poem over an eerie drone with found sounds and a delicate drum pattern.
This version of My Buried Child is more acoustic and primal than the one on Swans' The Great Annihilator album. Not Logical has a beautiful mix of Jarboe's sung and whispered vocals, whilst Spiral Staircase is a flowing, dream-like song. The tempo increases with the energetic Yum Yab, a rock song with raw vocals and a menacing undertone.
Still there is no relief! Surgical Saviour is a slow brooding number with eerie laughter and mournful backing vocals, followed by Cach Toi, the recital of a French poem. The next one, Tragic Seed, has a slow instrumental build-up to its vocals and children's voices. Phew! The more accessible rock structure of Troll Lullaby comes as a welcome break amidst all the gloomy atmospherics. Its lilting beat and strong tune make it one of Jarboe's great rock songs.
The nightmare returns, however. At this point, the listening sessions are oft terminated due to the listener's inability to absorb such relentless gloom. The rest of the tracks veer from the most oppressingly bleak torch songs to the downright ghoulish, as on Troll, the album closer. The music is innovative and memorable, but it all becomes too overwhelming.
Perhaps this was Jarboe's way of exorcising the worst of the dark emotions from Swans, but it beats even the legendary VU chanteuse Nico, and people like Lydia Lunch, in the depressing and spooky department. Swans fans (only the strong in spirit) will appreciate it, but a more accessible introduction to this amazing artist is her impressive compilation Mystery of Faith.