The Twilight Series
Belgian record imprint Alfa Matrix has spent 12 years making interesting new excursions into metal and dark electronica. They have at their disposal a wealth of earnest goths (Diskonnekted, Ayria) and a number of established rivethead veterans (Mentallo and the Fixer, Leæther Strip). It’s unclear how much this really good label wants to wade into the mainstream, but The Lovelorn Dolls seem to lead them too far out from shore with their debut LP, The House of Wonders.
The duo of Ladyhell (Kristell Lowagie) and Corpus Christi (Bernard Daubresse) finally have an outlet for the album they started in 2011. Problem is, The House of Wonders amounts to little more than 14 themes for the same bad horror movie, full of beautiful people dying horribly. From the orchestral intro and outro to everything in between, it feels by turns amateurish and derivative.
You hear the lack of polish in the wavering Belgian accents (“Purple,” “Save Me from Myself”) and especially in “After Dark,” where you want to sing what should be the “right” notes in the chorus, but it doesn’t sound like Ladyhell shares your enthusiasm. The back half of the album, then, contains too many sonic references to alt-rock one-offs like Veruca Salt (“Aux Dieux”), Papa Roach (“No Life”), and, of course, the lady-metal godheads in Evanescence.
There are a few moments on The House of Wonders that are, well, nice—“Mother of the Universe,” and especially “Rats.” Nice, however, damns The Lovelorn Dolls’ industrial metal with faint praise. This is music that’s too pretty to be heavy, too plodding and by-the-numbers to be memorable. If you record a cover of Depeche Mode’s “In Your Room” and it makes you think of how much better Lacuna Coil did on “Enjoy the Silence,” you’re doing something very wrong.