the faces of sarah
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the faces of sarah

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For a band who got plenty of UK-based support and word-of-mouth excitement just because they could play gigs with melodic power, as did Belisha, the line-up problems and a short passage of time since then may not have seemed to done them any great favours, but their lack of live activity certainly hasn’t helped. You always have to wonder, after such a promising start, whether a band is off somewhere, secretly recording epics, and this 5-track promo CD maybe gives a few hints.
They have a video/DVD of ‘Misery Turns’ coming shortly, featuring Candia from 'Inkubus', which could be included on a Metal Hammer freebie, and they’ve a new EP planned. The Metal Hammer release may help introduce them to the widest audience they require, because here is a band, going on ‘Impurity’, who understand what made The Mission work, and ' The S*s*e*s' too come to that, and therefore produce a sleeker, modern version, with a different guitar sound. No, I don’t mean to imply they’re copying, as that’s boring, but they’re in that rock-based tradition, minus any hippy elements, and the guitar starts to slap you repeatedly as the chorus gets underway, becoming a constant thrill as the song unfurls.

It’s big, it’s very clever, and it’s probably a load of bollocks lyrically, but made to sound impassioned and quite glorious.

‘Now That It's Over’ has the ' dead man’s hand' rock- grinding riffology, and the old slow, dark vibrato of an Eldritch cloning experiment, where words are made to sound perilously morbid. I never listen to the words when they come at a crawl and rely instead on the guitars which are reliably thick and strangling nicely. The vocals just sound too po-faced and consciously created as a ‘style’ to be taken seriously, but if you liked ‘The Final Countdown’ you might well enjoy this!

‘Song For Kali’ is total rock slaughter, with just enough gaps and surges to send you hurtling happily into mental oblivion as you shudder along, because it’s a compulsively barbaric thing, and obscenely catchy, even if they do seem to be singing ‘Charlene’. A secret ‘Neighbours’ tribute? (Probably not.)

The real skill opens up slowly during the quivering delight of ‘All I Want’. Twice as good as any of the others, this is remarkably soft but stuffed full of feathery ideas and an exquisitely emotive panorama. It gets noisy and wallows in its own turmoil. With these, they do depart from the Goth scene and into rockier waters, but good luck to them; you can tell it’s perfectly natural.

‘Keep Breathing’ is 'Gothtastic-lite rock', and rumbles along with a comfy guitar guide and shattering vocal fury, which is neatly impressive and still ends up on the rockier side of the fence, which is no great surprise, or problem. If they haven’t progressed noticeably in the next twelve months they’re finished, and the tiny UK Goth scene certainly can’t help them any more, so they have to help themselves. It’s still dark, it’s still moody and it looks like success.

- Mick Mercer


A DVD a 5 track double package this could have been counted as a CD single as much as a DVD release, but given the rarity of bands in the goth genre being able to release DVDs, it seems fitting to recognise the remarkable achievement by considering it first and formost as a DVD release! The EP consists of 5 new tracks featuring the bands latest line-up and continues their considerable growth in terms of musical cohesion and power. Personally my favorite track was the emotionally strong 'Now That Its Over' but it's a close run thing with the more rocky and catchier 'Impurity"! The DVD features a professional shot vidoe for 'Impurity' that has all the requirements of a MTV hit - it is stylish, urgent, has great effects and basically looks stunning. The video for 'Misery Turns' has a greater focus on live footage featuring the renowned talents of Inkubus Sukubus Candia on my favourite post millennial UK goth- rock tracks and it is a real bonus to be able to watch it on TV. There is also a 20+ minuste documentary on the making of 'Impurity' video, which is interesting, and bound to become essential viewing for anyone trying to enter the world of video making - I hope the boys have got in touch with University departments about this - could make them a fortune! Finally there are 2 photo collections which run for ages but require you to press the forward button each time - this would have been better as a slow running film imho! - Kaleidoscope April Edition 2005


The London based band Faces of Sarah are on the brink of releasing their second album. "24", released in 2001, was already a success and this EP called "Impurity" gives an insight in what the band has in mind for the future.

Doomy goth-metal riffs dominate on "Impurity" and I think that's just what the fans like about this band. Faces of Sarah takes no risks and steers clear with firm songs.

The intro of "Song for Kali" leaves no doubt about that. This anthemic song with it's catchy chorus sets the tone for the rest of this EP. The title-track seems to leave room for a more modest and quiet approach but once the heavy guitars kick in the sound is steady.

"Misery turns" is the highlight of this promo EP. With the help of Candia mcCormack of Inkubus Sukkubus the band has created a song with a high potential. The voices of this guest singer and Faces of Sarah singer Nick Schultz merge together nicely.

The DVD that accompanies this EP features a live version of this song recorded at the Gotham festival in 2002 and the title-track "Impurity". Considering the releases of other bands in this genre "Misery turns" could be the gateway to bigger succes.

"Now that's it over" is a slower ballad like song with distinct bass play and melodic guitars.

Swirling guitars are on the forefront during "Keep breathing".The song is diverse with a decent tension span. It alternates between intense and more introvert moments.

If the forthcoming album "Nothing remains" is as solid as this EP Faces of Sarah will serve those interested in goth-metal well.
- www.gothtronic.com (Frank-Jan van Zutven)


Warning: these guys are bloody dangerous. They’ve managed to turn cynical old me into a wide-eye, heavy hearted useless romantic after one listen of their stunning release. How on earth have they managed that?

So yes, I like this album. A lot. I’ve fallen flat on my face for the intense emotional feel of this album. Sigh. If you’ve given up on gothic rock, then think again. There’s quality stuff out there, and The Faces Of Sarah are here to prove it.

The quartet hail from good old London town, UK, and even though they have been around since 1998, they always have been discreet, slowly but surely building up a good reputation on the alternative scene.

Their first album “24” was released in 2001, and they have toured with bands such as The Mission, Theatre Des Vampires and NFD, and played at festivals like the Whitby Gothic weekend and Gotham 2002 (singer Nick Schulz’s formidable duet with Candia from Inkubus Sukkubus will probably be always remem- bered fondly by the audience).

Now signed to Malicious Damage (the label run by Mike Coles, long-term Killing Joke associate), the band have at last completed their second full length album, “Lament”. Produced by Paul Miles (Nefilim), who also plays the guitar, this release takes us to the epic, gushing side of gothic music. On the sleeve, black clouds are gathering in a dark blue sky, obscuring the last sun rays. This is a tormented image that perfectly reflects the inner turmoil expressed by the lyrics. Is it a coincidence? As I write this, torrential rain is falling on London, the sky a dirty and sad yellowish-grey.

The emotional tension on here is almost palpable, and if the lyrics are indeed full of longing, heartbreak, loss and anguish, the band never fall into the gloomy depth of an overblown ‘gothier-than-thou’ melodrama. This is a very human, sensitive record, one you would take with you to your favourite room in the house to curl up to whenever you feel low.

The Faces Of Sarah possess several fundamental strengths, the most obvious one being Nick Schulz’s voice, certainly one of the most glorious I have ever heard. And let me tell you the quartet can definitely write a tune: their melodies are simple yet incredibly catchy, and I still have several of the songs going around my head. TFOS juggle two different worlds, with one foot in the dark recesses of gothic tradition and the other in the more accessible realm of solid, mainstream classic rock.

Some of the tracks have an uplifting anthemic quality and are played with an impressive energy, like “All That You Used To Be” or “Another Breakdown”. But allow me to personally pick some standing out tracks, each of them expressing a different mood or state of mind: “Fallen” features gloomy guitars and chords, and an amazing performance by Nick that just swept me off the ground, his voice exploding into the air, high and clear.

I also like the way “What D’Ya Know” starts slowly, only to swell onto a full-on explosion of sound. The atmospheric and stripped down “You Should Have Told Me” gives way to the angry “Sick and Tired” on which Nick is in highly defiant mood. The gripping “Where Were You” is a desperate call for help that deeply touched me and made me feel quite emotional. The title track closes the album: slow and evocative, it is inhabited by a melancholic piano and a wailing Pink Floydian guitar solo.

A tribute to hard work and well-honed craft, “Lament” is an extremely well made, powerful, polished, driven album. For the romantics at heart.

Fabienne T., 04 Nov 2006 - www.virus-mag.com


Goth, thou art reborn. The Faces of Sarah have taken up the banner once carried by such luminaries as the Mission and Fields of the Nephilim and the result is a mouthwatering Gothpop offering. Opening track “All That You Used To Be” is a strong melodic track accessorised with up-to-the-minute emo overtones. The Faces of Sarah combine the Cure’s genius for a catchy tune with some more stately, less punky moments to produce a stylishly evolved gothic sound. As well as edgy Cure-style melodies such as fourth track “If I Could I Would But I Can’t”, there are some beautiful slower-paced tracks like dignified third track “Fallen”, where Nick Schultz’s strong vocals contrast with an intricate, gentle sound and slyly cynical lyrics like, “Feeling sorry for myself again/I must apologise…”

This album is so chock-full of musical gems that it’s hard to choose between such as the bittersweet “You Should Have Told Me” and “Where Were You” and the more menacing, darker pieces like sixth track “Sick and Tired”. The Faces of Sarah haven’t even left one weak track on the album to complain about. It’s gorgeous. It’s faultless. It’s a crime to leave it on the shelf.

By Claire Thomas

This release was published on 06 Nov 2006. - www.subba-cultcha.com


As I have written before, I have a hard sense for the newer forms of Goth, with externally parts of the metal music. It all loses its charm, with the instinctively darkness and the sad lyrics, with very few exceptions. Bands as, for example Paradise Lost and Swedish Beseech has made the path clear, which makes all the metal heads and even some of the more original Goths.

With a great sense of scepticism, I noticed how The Faces of Sarah already on the first song on this record cuts right trough my heart, with the classical Goth guitars and the more fast one, the earlier mentioned metal. All of the CD continues to play on the melancholic, the sadness and the distant parts of reality, which none of us ever are going to reach.

This is one of the few records that I actually like straight on, from song to song. If you have a sense for the poetical melancholy and heavier kind of music, why are you still reading, order it from the record company right away!

Oskar Hardin - www.neurozine.com


Tthese are Underground heavies (in The Goth Rock scene, of course)! For the recording of their 2 nd full-length, the new line-up of the band (now comprising singer Nick Schultz, guitarist Alan Tampion, latest addition and bassist Davy Thompson, and drummer Steve Higgins) teamed up with ex-Nephilim's Paul Miles as producer and 2 nd guitarist.

The end result of which gives us 11 delicious Gothic Rocking songs...or rather 10, because the album closing title song is of quite a calmer pace, albeit balladesque in fact, even including some piano play. The focal point of the band, however, is in their singer. Because Nick Schultz has quite a unique voice that reminded me in a very weird way of '80s GothPop icon Alison Moyet. Remember her? And that typical combination of headyness and nasal in the vocals? Well, this guy could be her (twin) brother, or something like that! Imagine thàt with contemporarily heavy (well...Hard) guitars, blended into compositions which ooze melancholy overall (at first, and before reading up on the guys, I actually thought they were some kind of Post-"Sad Dad Trad Rock" band)...can you imagine that? If not, try out the band's website facesofsarah.com for a download or something, eh?

As far as Goth Rock goes, this may well be one of the nicer releases this year. Still, although I am a huge fan of this kind of (really unique) vocals, I am also rather a more cheerful kinda guy...so when rating the album, I hàve to allow for some personal feelings as well. Thus, while I will not place the album into my "Best Albums Of 2006"-list, I WILL give them a top rating of

95/100

Tony.
- www.concreteweb.be


Artist: Faces of Sarah
CD Title: Impurity
Label: self-released
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 5/14/05

Blending elements of gothic and heavy alternative rock, Faces of Sarah's 5-song Impurity EP serves up about half an hour of powerful, metal-infused dark modern rock and danceable melodic goth rock with a sometimes distant but noticeable The Mission influence. Combining a bass-driven, guitar-heavy sound with often subtle underlying electronics and steady drums, the band weaves a web around vocalist Nick Schultz, whose delivery ranges from soaring, guttural goth rock vocals to an effective albeit more contrived and slightly Manson-eque timbre/inflection on the verse of "Now That It's Over". With strong performances and a penchant for epic theatricality, Impurity is a fairly solid slice of modern goth rock wrapped up in a well-produced package.

Opening with its title track, an up-tempo, bass-driven energetic rock number with soaring lead guitar, the disc then flows to the heavier "Now That It's Over", anchored by great distorted riffing and a semi-catchy epic chorus. "Song for Kali" is another fast dark goth rocker with a spectacular chorus, while "All I Want" serves as the disc's obligatory ballad, an excellent track carried by electronic drums and light guitars and highlighted by a heavier chorus before a lovely piano/string outro. "Keep Breathing" ends the disc on another louder note, upping the tempo yet again for another club-friendly, bass-centered goth rock track featuring a killer interlude accented by electronic arpeggios.

It'll be interesting to see what the future holds in store for Faces of Sarah, with a new full-length apparently on the way. For now, however, Impurity's blend of intense, melodic goth rock is a rather good taster.
- http://www.angelfire.com/ny2/graveconcerns/review_facesofsarah.html/


Wow. If truth be told, I put off listening to this CD for some time. The band’s name didn’t make me want to listen to it, and to be honest I thought they were going to be some sucky emo band.

I was wrong, oh, how I was wrong.

The Faces Of Sarah are a slick, anthemic goth rock band from the good ol’ shores of Blighty. Now, when I say goth, I don’t mean the tripe that seems to get labelled as such frequently these days. Make no mistake, this is rock.

There seems to me to be three distinct influences on their music, and these are Anathema, HIM and The Cult. Indeed, the music on Lament is blessed with a hard rock anthemicism, which is redolent of such songs from Ian Astbury’s gang as ‘In The Clouds’, while being heavy enough to bring comparisons to Anathema’s Alternative 4 opus. It’s a lot heavier than you might expect, while possessing a soulful melancholia befitting the subject matter.

Vocalist Nick Schultz is blessed with the perfect voice for his band’s music, and he conveys a fantastic sense of emotion and power. If initial listens bring up comparisons to the arch-dandy of Finnish goth Ville Valo, subsequent plays blow him clean out of the water. His impassioned crooning gives way to driving lyrical work of such power that you can’t help but feel the sincerity in his voice.

In Lament, we have a hard rocking, meaningful album of surprising depth and power. If this sounds like your cup of tea, you owe it to yourself to own it.
- Rocksomething.com


Discography

Belief 1999
24 2000
Misery Turns E.P 2002
Impurity DVD/E.P 2004
Lament 2006

Other
Sonic Seducer Cold Hands Seduc 2001
Various artists - NEW DARK AGE vol. 1 2002
Malicous Damage Records Compilation 2005

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

British Goth Rockers The Faces of Sarah follow up their critically acclaimed debut album 24 with their second album Lament released on Malicious Damage Records.

Over the last few years The Faces of Sarah’s reputation and following has grown steadily, not only in Europe and the UK, but as far afield as Chile, Japan, USA, and Australia.

2005 saw the band on top form with a brand new line-up and Malicious Damage were impressed enough to include a track from their Impurity EP on the compilation The Clock Machine Turns You On, and now, eighteen months down the line, the band are ready with their first full album in five years.

This powerful album sees them teamed up with guitarist Paul Miles(ex-Nefilim). Lament was released on 30th October 2006 on Malicious Damage Records. A single and video will follow in Jan.