BRAINDANCE: Fear Itself CD Unique Gothic metal dark progressive metal; complex arrangements. Dream Theater, Tiamat, Moonspell, Amorphis. CHECK audio


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5.0 out of 5 stars Unique gothic metal,
This is actually a 1995 CD that was way ahead of it’s time! The New York club scene was rocked by these gothic, futuristic, intricate musicians. The album contains epic melodic tracks linked by sound-effect intros and outros that include movie dialogues, readings and plain wierdness. The music is dark progressive metal with gothic influences and complex arrangements. Clean vocals and Yes-like vocal harmonies play off against heavy crunchy guitar (a woman named Vora Vor who is simply marvelous on this CD) and soaring keyboard symphonics. Very memorable melodies and intriguing lyrics makes this one of my favorite CD’s in the last couple of years! There is no one else out there quite like Braindance’s style but maybe Tiamat or Moonspell comes to mind.

5.0 out of 5 stars Braindance—Fear Itself,
Amazing… Produced in 1995, although you’d never guess it. Stunning guitar and bass riffs, impressive percussion, and an amazing vocalist makes up this NY based “”progressive/gothic”” band.
Vora Vor (guitar) and Sebastian Elliot (vocals) write beautiful music: ballads and heavy pieces. At times it resembles the fast progressive sound of Liquid Tension Exp. or Dream Theater. Vocals are often compared to those of Type O Negative or Moonspell. If you enjoy this, the band’s new album, “”Redemption,”” should definitely be on your list.

Double Edge Music ‎– DEBD002
CD, Album


1 To The Threshold Of Dream 2:34
2 From Whence It Came 6:08
3 Fear Itself 3:36
4 Voices Are Calling 6:58
5 Compound Fracture 13:06
6 Only A Moment 5:50
7 Emergence 2:05
8 A Storm Is Rising 6:43
9 Crime & Punishment 6:45
10 One 8:32
11 Ice 5:43
copyright 1995 Double Edge Music, Inc., NY

When I first heard this band back in the mid-nineties, they sounded like the most intense, frenzied and adventurous band to be associated with the progressive metal scene. Back then, aside from a handful of American bands breaking through (spearheaded as always by the mighty Dream Theater), it was still a very much niche subgenre.

Obviously, since that time, the prog-metal scene has become huge, with lots of bands springing up; mostly from mainland Europe and mostly with female singers fusing progessive metal roots with gothic metal and neo-operatic influences. In 1995, one of the first bands I heard doing anything similar were Braindance and 2 decades later, they still remain somehow more inventive than any of their contemporaries.

Hailing from NYC, Braindance aren’t your typical prog-metal band. Progressive metal it may be, but the band bill themselves as ‘cinematic new romantic progressive new age gothic metal fusion’. Intrigued? Slightly confused?

Aside from their refusal to be musically pigeon-holed, they also create a mystique around themselves. According to an early press release from the mid-nineties, their then bassist, Eiki Matsumoko, claimed to be ‘a multi-disciplined warrior transplanted from Japan, who proceeds with a focused attack unparalleled in the realm of electric energy’. It would appear that everyday sanity is all but a past luxury for this man. Based upon his work on the earlier Braindance releases, he is, however, an excellent bassist; as you’d imagine, his complicated bass parts compliment the work of Braindance’s drumming bod, Notorious (who remained with the band until 1998), perfectly. Notorious plays a combination of acoustic and electronic drums and by the time I discovered Braindance, he’d been playing in bands on the NY club scene for over a decade. His style of playing is strong, but occasionally erratic, as you’d expect from someone specializing in this style of progressive metal.

Sebastian Elliot (vocals), is a singer with a fantastic range. Sounding like a cross between Queensryche’s Geoff Tate and the late Geoff Mann of UK cult prog-pop heroes Twelfth Night, would ensure that he would be a great front man for many prog outfits; for Braindance, however, this is not enough. For maximum effect, he also sings in a very deep baritone, bringing in a strong goth-metal influence (Type O Negative spring to mind regularly).

Vora Vor is the band’s guitarist and by 1995 was a veteran of the NY rock club scene and classical concert stage. Her playing can only be described as amazing. Playing heavy, crunching riffs interspersed with fast, widdly (technical term) solos, she gives the band a serious cutting edge. Left with the difficult task of holding the band together is Robynne Naylor (the last to join the band in 1996), who creates a blanket of swirly keyboards for Vora to play over.

That brings us up to speed and Braindance’s debut full length CD, ‘Fear Itself’. For this album the band have opted for a far more goth-metal approach, with the Type O Negative influences more upfront.
The album begins with a man giving a huge speech regarding aliens landing on Earth and throughout the album, samples are used to great effect. There are samples here of Darth Vader (yay!) and Richard Briers. How did a goth-prog-metal fusion band from New York end up with a Richard Briers sample?!

‘Crime & Punishment’ focuses on the bands electronica influnces. A keyboard led piece, it manages to feel both cinematic and ambient.
With only a keyboard, a pulse beat and samples to carry it, you’d think it’d drag and feel like filler, but somehow it holds the listener’s attention and provides respite from the more intense moments of ‘Fear Itself’. This leads into ‘One’, a brooding ballad which sounds like Pete Steele fronting Dream Theater. The mid section, featuring chorus vocals works excellently with both male and female voices. The only downside is that is rather brief. The title track is mostly instrumental and has a pulsing nature on the slower sections. While essentially a showcase for Vorâ™s guitar, it features brief, Yes-inspired vocals.
‘Compound Fracture’ is a very much a centrepiece for ‘Fear Itself’. This thirteen minute epic features some fantastic guitar work. Rhythmically, itâ™s one of the albumâ™s most complex pieces.

For me, the true standout moments include the slightly arabic feel on the vocal melodies of ‘Only A Moment’ and the goth-pop of â˜Voices Are Callingâ™, which turns all neo-progressive rock at the end, like a hybrid of Shadow Gallery and classic Yes (reprising the vocal section from the title track). In reality, though, ‘Fear Itself’ is a disc with something to offer most fans of progressive metal.

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Weight 0.1 kg


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