AYIN ALEPH - Ayin Aleph I

Ayin Aleph - Ayin Aleph I

19 songs
79:43 minutes
***** ***


What looks on the surface like just another female fronted gothic metal album turns out to be something quite unique. Ayin Aleph is not only a beautiful woman – and mind you, I have never seen a better looking singer in my entire life – she is also the mastermind behind the project which bears her name. She composed all the songs, played piano and harpsichord and does the vocals. Although Ayin Aleph is from Russia, and old enough to have performed even still under Soviet rule, she lives now in France and is therefore accompanied by French musicians, many of them members of Misanthrope, a rather popular death metal band from that country.

Ayin Aleph’s background is classical. She is a trained pianist and opera singer, and that shows on her debut album Ayin Aleph I. Not only is she using elements from classical music, but she transfers the dramatic elements of opera – acting, plot, pathos – into her songwriting, making every track seem like a miniature operetta full of darkness and dread. Although her band adds elements of metal, she manages to maintain her own style which is closer to Dresden Dolls, Emilie Autumn and even the late Klaus Nomi, although with a definite metal edge.

I don’t doubt Ms Aleph’s talents as a songwriter, but sometimes she could be a little more accessible for the sake of her potential audience who might not always be that literate when it comes to Romantic music (I at least am not), and placing her easier stuff on the beginning makes entry into the album easier, but in the end, eighty minutes is just too long, and you wish she would have opted for something more compact, say half an hour shorter.

Ayin Aleph I is still an impressive debut, full of musical surprised, drama, gloom and originality which is very rare in contemporary female fronted heavy guitar music. Ayin Aleph is planning already a second album, titled Ayin Aleph II, which will contain acoustic and rearranged versions of some of the songs from this debut. There is definite potential in this true artist who combines baroque, metal and acting into an mind-opening whole.

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