"First Year Departure" (My Kingdom Music; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

The Italian band Room With A View, formerly known as Black Thorns Lodge, should make all fans of gothic metal take notice of their avant garde approach to this under-appreciated genre. "First Year Departure" is a moody, introspective effort that impresses in its ability to remain true to the genre and stretch the genre's boundaries without seeming contrived or stiff.

The music on "First Year Departure" generally is a fairly straightforward, low-key gothic metal, but there is a very broad palette of sounds accenting the entire disc including some fairly brief, yet heavy moments that are sure to startle the listener. Also, by listening to "First Year Departure," one is likely to get the feeling they are walking through a small city at night with a cultural scene brimming with creativity as the band has taken pains to add a variety of sounds and moods to capture an entire bevy of everyday sounds that gives "First Year Departure" a cloak of realism that is unmatched on other albums.

To my ears the vocals could use a little more confidence, but after multiple listens the vocals seem to have just the right amount of restraint and depressed delivery that fits the mood of the music.

Room With A View's "First Year Departure" is obviously not as whacked out as Maudlin of the Well, but similar in a much more subdued manner. Actually it may be best to consider the sound of Room With A View to be much like Pain Of Salvation as done in the gothic metal style rather than a prog-metal style.

Fans of Katatonia will like Room With A View's "First Year Departure."

"First Year Departure" was produced by Christian Ice.

Room With A View is Francesco Grasso on vocals and guitars, Alessandro Mita on guitars, Fracesco Lonetti on bass, and Fabio Cappabianca on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03 Jun 2024 13:03:50 -0400 .