Ides Of Gemini graced the world with their presence a few years back with the graceful and magical Constantinople record. It was a record I have enjoyed many a time, and have looked forward to a follow up. Well now it is here, Old World New Wave has landed but do the Ides Of Gemini still have that magic that propelled Constantinople to such heights?
Opening with the rumbling Black Door, we are automatically catapulted into a smoky room, full of darkness and ritual. There is something eerie about the vocals, ethereal and haunting. It is a head nodder, a grooving number. The Chalice And The Blade is more progressive, encapsulated in a beautiful spiralling riff that is surrounded by more of those ghostly vocals. Ides Of Gemini are an enigma in this age of occult doom with female vocals. They have the low end, the mournful riffing and the ghostly ethereal quality that you’d expect, but they don’t sound like anyone else. They SOUND like Ides Of Gemini. It’s a startlingly realisation that all the bands you thought they sounded like, actually sound like them.
Seer Of Circassia is another example. Ides Of Gemini don’t really provide that groove or 70s rock that a lot of more occult doom bands do. They linger on the edges of memorable, retaining hooks but without seeming to be at all accessible. Seer Of Circassia doesn’t come across as an instantly catchy number, but after a few listens gets under your skin. White Hart is the same. A slow burning and melancholic track, it is replete with beautiful vocal harmonies and is a bit of a centre point for the record.
The percussive and atavistic May 22, 1453 is next. Ides Of Gemini create a powerful and enthralling sound out of less is more. The riffs are simple, gloomy and hypnotic. The drumming is tribal, ritualistic and the vocals are simply the icing on the cake. A dark cake full of misery. Maybe chocolate too. We don’t know.
Fans of Constantinople will not be disappointed with this. From the mournful The Adversary, to the occult chanting of Fememorde, Ides Of Gemini have crafted a slab of primal doom, dark but intensely beautiful. Another example of how well female vocals can work with doom, but the music is strong enough to work without that tag. Ides Of Gemini don’t have female vocals as a gimmick, but as a necessity. This record will haunt your days this year.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson