Chaotic Waves - Felix Bada/Severe Head Trauma
By Art Cain
Do you remember the first time you heard Marilyn Manson? Probably not, because, as interesting an artist as he maybe, for most of his shocks he's relied heavily on visuals outlining a simple truth - rock music rarely provokes fear or apprehension, regardless of its pretensions to do so. Kiss, Alice Cooper etc the list goes on and on of horror merchants whose music would be hard pushed to make all but the most fragile of hearts race.
It is, then, rare to put on a rock/pop record that makes you nervous - full points then to Felix Bada, Gothic songwriter who manages to make the hairs stand up on the back of the neck , and not just for the corny d.i.y. drumbeats on his self-produced album under the moniker Severe Head Trauma. No, the first track 'Intruder' is out there in all senses - rich, lush, and more than a little deranged, and yet at the same time compulsive listening. Bada's voice, deep and dramatic, more than makes up for the doom+gloom-by-numbers lyrics ("Ashes fall from the burning dove, ashes from this old corpse of love" or "Fire from hell shall not consume, body and soul of me and you") .
The lyrics may be - unintentionally - laughable, but the music is powerful, original, and not just a little bit deranged. There's more than a little bit of bowie going on here, from the vocal inflections through to the self-mythologising, which is all good - coupled with a heavy electronic/goth fusion that knows how to build up and tear down a song.
From the songs on display a number of criticisms come through, though. We've touched on the lyrics already - while there's plenty of imagination going on musically, the lyrics tend always towards stock-standard conceits and imagery (Rule #1 if you're in a goth band that wants to stand out, try purging your songs of all references to 'temptation','hell', and above all else 'soul'). The band's sound is both it's strength and acchiles foot - rich, layered, seering and soaring, it establishes itself as original and defining, but it's overused - some songs that veer away from the sound are desparately needed, if only to highlight how original it is.
The most obvious blemish, though, are the self-consciously high-in-the-mix drumbeats, obviously lovingly programmed but placed annoyingly between the listener's ears in danger of obscuring the substance of the songs.
The good news, though, are that these are all things that are easily fixed, probably by a good producer able to hone in on the things that make Bada original, and chilling.
***End of Review***
Highly creative and passionate!
Indie-Music - Indie-Music.com
Chaotic Waves... the first track: Intruder.
Title - Simple, direct, and universal in it's potential meaning...
Melody - Good music on verses. Good music in choruses. I really like the Verse guitar progression and the way it sets the CH up...
Structure - Good sectional contrast. There is a clear / distinct sectional delineation.
Lyric - First line makes me want to hear more. Cohesive. Good use of imagery. Communicates emotion to listener. Vocal does help to sell song. A very honest vocal.
Overall - Right out of the gate, I noticed a blend of many different influences ranging from Alternative Rock to European textures. I'm detecting so many cool / classic Goth touches i.e. The Damned, Bauhaus, etc... A good 1st impression - You've got a good voice, that is rich in passion & tonality.
Listener ID #95 - Taxi (Oct 23, 2007)