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Press Review: Examiner.com

Review of Voice Of December’s “The Guest”

By: Octavio Ramos, Santa Fe Metal Music Examiner

Formed by the founding members of the Gothic act Dark Truth, Rio Rancho’s (right next to Albuquerque) Voice of December play Gothic metal with industrial overtones. The band’s influences include Lacuna Coil, Type O Negative, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd. Their full-length studio CD is The Guest, which is put out by Mysteria Records.

The predominant sound on The Guest consists of Gothic metal the leans more toward doom metal, with slow, heavy structures heightened by some soaring vocal performances and churning guitar riffs. Guitarists K. Traci Ruin, Rob Smith, and John Roberts set the stage with riffs that are somber and heavy but also bring with them a sense of accessibility that makes them catchy. Keyboards add to the dance-like vibe, with Ruin, Smith, and drummer Don Ivie setting down some industrial-driven stings and some alluring washes.

The band’s rhythm section propels the band quite well, with drummer Don Ivie and Ben Bunner either evoking slow, doomy drives (such as the opener, “Things) or mid-paced, catchy rhythms (such as on the title track). Bunner’s bass comes in different flavors, as he uses four-, eight-, and 12-string woofers to create low notes that range from rib busters to sensation burners.

Ruin takes center stage with lead vocals, and his croons are delivered with a low register but are nevertheless clean. Backing him up is Rob Smith, as well guest vocalist Beth Armstrong. Armstrong’s contribution on several tracks is subtle but welcome, as she serves as foil for Ruin’s hardened delivery. When she’s not contributing vocals, Ruin uses both his hardened approach, as well as a softer, gentler delivery.

Lyrically, the band falls right into the style of Gothic metal. For example, the lyrics to the Middle-Eastern-tinged “Seven” capture the essence of sardonic melancholy: “Tears stained/my mind is drained/I’m overcome with grief and pain/Why was I hollow?/Oh, why was I cold/I just watch as the apocalypse unfolds.” After this comes the bite: “Wicked grins/Seven deadly sins/Nothing ever washed away/The endless stains of another bad day.” Particularly effective are lyrics to “Faded Tattoo,” which capture the old-school goth vibe quite well and have a hypnotic quality to them.

Overall, The Guest has a lush sound, one filled with just enough melancholy and gothic sensibilities to please those into Gothic metal but also impress fans of doom and heavy metal in general.
examiner.com review