The success of a band defines itself by the fan engagement it gets, on live events and any support medium currently available. It basically represents the sum of the actions of all its member musicians – and their hopefully outstanding contributions.
And many times you will find band members in these bands that seem to shine. And kinda stand out from the others, in the bright light the band and its brand disperses overall.
Then – suddenly – the shining ones decide to leave and tempt to go their own way. Either totally separate or as solo projects that will still guarantee them a space back into their old folds later.
And this is understandable. As artists, those musicians sometimes need to attack new projects, they are creative people after all. Yet, success is not always a given. And all will, of course, depend on how you define it.
As always, sometimes the new music convinces, and sometimes less so. Like Anna Murphy, formerly of Eluveitie, who attempted her luck with Cellar Darling, but was never able to convince this crew. Or take Sharon den Adel of Within Temptation with her own solo project My Indigo that blew us away instead. Whilst her alma mater’s contribution clearly didn’t.
The newest addendum to this eclectic crowd is Lindsay Schoolcraft with her new solo record Martyr. She is surely known for her involvement with Cradle of Filth, Dani Filth’s outfit of the mighty screams and garish costumes. But will she be able to convince the RMR deck crew and the outlook at the masthead, too? Because for now, Ms. Schoolcraft feeds off the comfortable riches CoF was able to provide earlier. Some sort of a mighty brownie point, that will definitely give her a headstart. But not necessarily a free pass to success.
Once the first track Savior takes off, the direction is set. You find yourself in Gothic Metal territory. More precisely, your metallic ass just locked on to some early version of Evanescence, I kid you not. With some very strong similarities towards things that Lenore S. Fingers does all the time a bit later. The album gets you a medley of mid-tempo and gothically-tainted songs. Interspersed with a few ballads, of which Blood From A Stone probably sounds best. Which again somewhat outlives its welcome a bit later with a length it does not really deserve.
Schoolcraft injects an – at times – pretty good flow into her solo project. And – finally – also makes use of her many talents as a multi-instrumentalist. Yet again, the piano contributions for sure navigate nowhere near the waters that Amy Lee would usually occupy. Albeit that the troubled My Way Without You contains a pretty sturdy piano contribution that gets near the old Gothic Metal masters of earlier times.
Also and sadly, the harp often disappears into the mix, so bad is the compression at times. And that is a pity. With a somewhat better use of that instrument, the band could have injected a truly baroque flavor into Martyr. Some sort of a Victorian thunderstorm of darkly obvious tableaus in all their stark, succulent, and slightly decadent detail. If only they’d not purchased so many bricks on some of the tracks.
That said, Martyr boasts that very same somewhat monotonous vocal delivery that already drove us to tears on the latest record of the aforementioned Lenore S. Fingers. Vocals on an even keel, no belting or other itchy sections, no puny little thunderstorm anywhere in this tepid ocean of clears. You won’t even need the master to smoothen anything out. So much so that by the second half of the record, the vocals get in the way of the nuances that are surely on this disc somewhere.
Not that singing along sections of – seemingly – your own personal diary may help things moving either. Carach Angren took storytelling without rhymes to the next level, but with Lindsay Schoolcraft, it sounds – well – just like some journal entry.
To conclude, Martyr is one of those records that refuse to connect. Even inducing the Stockholm Syndrome by generating a gazillion of listens won’t help. There’s always this slight feeling of annoyance once the record has come to an end. I did find no crunchy beat, no riff to stand out, and – for sure – no vocal delivery that was able to keep my interest for more than two tracks.
In other words, I failed to feel the vibe, this passion, and energy so important to the success of a new record. So, this one is – sadly – not an album that I will return to. And is it a sign of Gothic Metal on the decline? Maybe so, maybe not.
But I do sincerely hope that by the time Lindsay Schoolcraft is ready for her second offering, things will have improved.
Ed’s note: The review got us delisted from some of Schoolcraft’s social media accounts. Looks like we struck a chord somewhere. Some are more thin-skinned than others. What can I say? RMR – July 2022.
Record Rating: 5/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Official Site
Release date: 7 October 2019