Monday, October 26, 2009

What's in the Confession Box?

Everyone knows the gothic rock sound, even if they don't know they do. Everyone knows the alternative/gothic-rock sound pioneered by groups like The Cure and Husker Du, and the alternative-metal/gothic-rock sound that made Evanescence a household name. Some might even associate Marilyn Manson with gothic rock, though personally I think he's just an amazing alternative-metal musician who's shock-rock tactics are brilliant.
But all those people who thought that gothic-rock was ridden out, stretched as far as it could go, and finished by 2006 are in for a shock, and a treat. What's that treat? Confession Box, a hard-rock duo out of Sydney, Australia. Gothic rock has been married to many things in the past, but these are the first people I've ever heard of to really marry the gothic/hard-rock sound to techno and synth.
Composed simply of Alexis Logan (lead vocals and acoustic guitar) and Stephen Harris (guitars, bass, and sampling), Confession Box has that hard rock guitar screech of Evanescence coupled with the cold feel of Gary Numan's synth style.
Confession Box has just recently released their debut album, Tangled Web We Weave, and I gotta say, I've listened to just three tracks from this album, and I gotta hear the rest. Recorded on Harris's home recorder, I'm struck by the first track, "Trust No One." The track is slow in the first few seconds, but picks up immediately with a hard-edged guitar riff, and then Harris goes to town, layering guitar upon guitar, and creating a complex background for Logan's chilling, almost machine-esque vocals. Her voice, though, meshes so well with the guitar and sampling it sounds as natural as if they were all one; a well-oiled machine of melody and grit. The keyboards particularly, provided by Harris, remind of of such tracks as The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" and Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This);" chilling, yet incredibly melodic. And then, as I'm riding out the synth and guitar progressions the way I do with a Doors song, it's over, and all I know is I want more.
And that's what I get, right from the crash of the crash, Con Box launches into "Foolish Games" a sick, rendition of the modern alternative/synth-goth song. I especially love Logan's double-tracked vocals here: they give the track a much-enjoyed haunting tone that reminds me vaguely of the way Layne Staley's and Jerry Cantrell's vocals mingle in Alice in Chains. Harris, here too, is on his mark with his guitars and bass, providing a strong, pulse-pounding beat while at the same time belting out a riff that would make the Scorpions salivate. 
Riding out the last bits of the reverb, I'm pulled into the last track I listen to, "Who the Hell Are You." This one is slightly more techno than the other two so if you like anything Sounds or Shiny Toy Guns, this track will make you go "HELL YES." It's cold, it's creepy, it's catchy, it's brilliant. Logan and Harris really pull it together on this one, barking up the techno-tree while at the same time dragging you through a valley of synthed-out guitar riffs and melodic vocals. A must-hear song on a must-hear album. If their other songs are anything like these, then Confession Box has nothing to worry about, and can look forward to a long and prosperous career in the alternative/goth-rock community. 

Sounds Like: Shiny Toy Guns, Evanescence, The Sounds, The Cure, Savage Garden

Key Tracks from Tangled Web We Weave: "Trust No One," "Foolish Games," "Who the Hell Are You"

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