Hailing from Athens, Greece, The Black Capes (Consisting of vocalist Alex S Wamp, guitarist Thanos Jan, bassist Dorian Gates and drummer Christos Grekas) originally formed in 2016 yet despite their relatively short existence thus far they’ve achieved a fair bit! Their debut album “All These Monsters” was produced by the people behind PARKWAY DRIVE and FALLING IN REVERSE…and they’ve done some solid European touring; establishing themselves in strong alternative markets such as Germany. Now in 2020 they aim to push things further with their sophomore album “Lullabies For The Dead”, due out April 10th via Dark Tunes Records. Let’s check it out…
We open up with the promotional track “And I Wait” but we don’t have to wait long AT ALL to hear some wonderfully hard rocking, bass-driven riffs. We surge right into it here to be fair and the up-beat barrage of guitar is the perfect counter for Alex’s deep vocal drawl, which is a classic trope for such Goth rock, but that’s not detrimental. The gruffness to the vocals likens The Black Capes to fellow Greek Goths SADDOLLS in ways, allowing for a rough around the edges sense of character, while maintaining all of the hooks (Including that smooth guitar solo) and this is a good start. This is emphasised on album highlight “Rain” which amps up the melody wonderfully. The deep emotive baritone takes on more of a croon, which allows for a sound more akin to THE 69 EYES when they first started dabbling in the dark arts, think “Wasting The Dawn” era…but the track picks up towards the end for a feisty little crescendo and it’s a great track this.
Influences don’t stop there either, as proven on tracks such as “The Blood Is The Life”, which incorporates an almost middle-eastern sense of string instrumentation, something the likes of TIAMAT have dabbled in in the past, while “From Beyond The Grave” tips the hat to bands such as A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH with its slow, deep, methodical chugging riff work, before “Gotham” delivers a tighter guitar sound, channelling the likes of PARADISE LOST to great effect towards the tracks climax. The haunting background moans providing a sense of atmosphere too, so too with the piano and synths on “The Gun Of Love”, allowing for a chilling listen. We eventually finish up on “War Is Where You Make It” and if anything it’s sadly the weakest track on the album…the incredibly lethargic doom-inspired chugging of the riffs coupled with the deeper, depressed tone of Alex’s gravelled vocals resembles proto-Goth outfits such as FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, and while that’s not at all a bad thing, it brings the mood down entirely after such a solid, bold sounding album.
As oxymoronic as that last statement sounds for a Gothic rock album however, “Lullabies For The Dead” is a superb collection of grandiose Goth that spans multiple eras, allowing for multiple influences to shape a noticeable variety in styles within just ten tracks. And to think, they said not all heroes wear capes? Looks like Batman has some competition…