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R.E.T. : Coming Soon...

More Gothic Metal than Doom, Czech veterans R.E.T. nonetheless offer a well-polished darkness.

Reaction Extasy Trance are a long-running Czech ensemble playing accessible, professionally polished Gothic Metal, weaving an appealingly upbeat sound that draws influence from bands like Tiamat and Theatre of Tragedy. In their third decade of activity, R.E.T. have modernized a bit from their '90s roots while still offering the requisite sense of musical darkness. Currently an eight-piece, R.E.T.'s new album (and sixth overall), 'Coming Soon...', is a vocal showcase given solid support by a very capable band.

Lead-off track 'Dialog' opens softly, with a gorgeous and patient synthesizer intro describing a nighttime oceanscape before the full band kicks in with suitably heavy strumming metal guitar and double-kick drums to match. The rhythmic base 'Dialog' establishes here holds through several following passages, including verses carried by female vocals alternating with ferocious, modern death metal growling. Listen closely for nylon-string guitar adding an additional layer of ear candy during the lighter parts. This characteristic of having more than one attention-worthy layer of sound happens at any given moment, continuous throughout the album.

Sonic beauty in darkness is the operating aesthetic, with no clashing dissonance or punishing brutality in R.E.T.'s garden of morose wistfulness. Despite using ingredients of extreme metal, 'Coming Soon...' stops short of being much of an "extreme" listening experience. Chord progressions resolve "properly", lending a sense of closure and completeness in songs like 'Twilight Of The Fools', a multi-faceted, album-representative song. (Though it's not flawless: elsewhere, R.E.T. ride one rhythmic idea a little too close to the exhaustion point, making repeat listens a bit of a test of patience). Even when the guitars and drums are pounding, there is still a permeating sense of floating, an everpresent upward pull.

'The Peace Overdose', despite being the album's shortest track, may be its most memorable, with busy, almost-frantic drumming combined with the deep death-growls reminding me of recent Virgin Black, while simultaneously the clean tenor voice brings to mind Swedish power metal a'la At Vance. Guitars break from repetitive chugs for a soaring lead break. (Female vocals are absent on this one, but they are welcomely present almost everywhere else.)

While tempos are on the slow end of moderate, it would be a stretch to say that this is doom metal. 'Coming Soon...''s title track, with its cathedral dirge (the architecture, not the band) comes close, but doesn't hold throughout its length. Doom/Death adherents will find bits and pieces that satisfy, but this is an album aimed primarily at an audience whose tastes start at My Dying Bride, early Within Temptation, and move gothward from there.

I enjoy 'Coming Soon...' as a well-constructed and interesting album, but it's one without a visceral or cathartic dimension. Admirable professionalism and compositional surehandedness is clear, but the songs don't quite sweep me up in pure emotional abandon. I suspect R.E.T. has what it takes to reach that level, though 'Coming Soon...' isn't the album that gets there. It is, however, a better-than-adequate album from an experienced band who most definitely know what they're doing and how to do it.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. The Dialogue With Thanatos
2. Twilight Of The Fools
3. Crystal Spikes Of My Sadness
4. The Peace Overdose
5. Coming Soon
6. All That Is Gone

Duration : Approx. 41 minutes

Visit the R.E.T. bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-05-20 by Mark Rzeszutek
Rotten Copper
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