They’re back, and still evolving. Moving further along from the more darkwave feel of Holy, this “EP” (10 tracks, over 50 minutes!) is a taster for the forthcoming album Exile Paradise. And what a taste. The sound of this is fresher, more alive than before, and perhaps more straightforward sounding. The one criticism, perhaps, in the past is that the band have often been very self-indulgent – with immensely long albums, all kinds of strange filler tracks and then of course their thematic approach to each album, coupled with the stunning artwork – meaning that not everyone will make the time to fully appreciate this band’s uniqueness.
Where Sun And Moon Unite
Buy from: Bandcamp
This EP finally might just give the chance to do this. Antje Schulz is now full-time member of the band, as opposed to just being an occasional guest vocalist, and her more frequent appearance brings vast swathes of colour to what was previous a much darker picture. She has a wonderful, sweet voice, tempered by a dark wistfulness that permeates every line – and she works as a colourful counterpoint to Dennis Osterman’s deep, forbidding vocals.
So anyway – the songs. Opener Promised Land, in it’s Extended Mix form, is incredible, especially the wonderous chorus, but is trumped by the Club Mix which is perhaps one of ISC’s finest ever moments. Paradise Regained is almost as good – and is another that would make a good single, and is perhaps the closest track here to the ISC of old (the comparision made all the more stark with Antje’s omission from this). The two slow tracks, Diamond and Pearl are both a bit odd, and the former at least feels like a very long filler track.
Two of the five remixes are worth a mention on their own – new track Wintermoon (Samas Traum Remix) is an awesome guitar-based stomp, with yet another glorious chorus from Antje, that could well have been yet another single from this! What will be interesting will be to see if this track makes it onto the album, and in what form – as this version is surely good enough! The sole “old” song is the Blind Faith and Envy mix of Emergency, which sheds a whole new light on the track – by stripping the background down it puts more emphasis on Antje’s vocals and gives it an even stronger feel than before.
All told, it’s a triumphant return – and if the album is even close to being as good as this, it really will be something special.