Utopia AFM Records
Having never listened to Norwegian Gothminister before, I was a bit disappointed at first with the concept of the album,; it’s a story of a lawyer by day and a Heavy Metal artist by night. So we are talking Mr. Jekyll and Dr. Hyde basically, a format that has been done so many times. But having said that, it’s always fun to have a new twist on well-known stories and I feel Gothminster have achieved this on 'Utopia'.
The double life starts to test the mans will and sanity until it eventually drives him to insanity, into a total raving lunatic! The bands leader Bjørn Alexander Brem takes the lead and acts out the story and it unfolds in all its glory. Opening with 'New Beginning' there’s breaking glass, a child crying, then a symphonic build up as you ready yourself for the story to be told, its dramatic and effective, then 'Someone Is After Me' opens with heavy, metallic industrial ingenuity and you really feel like you are being pursued as you get drawn into the nightmare that is insanity!
The next track 'Utopia' is gothic and deeply rich. I love the female backing vocals they are atmospheric, evocative and stirring. There’s a lot to choose from on this album, without a bad track anywhere really. 'Horrorshow' oozes fear and dread, it will haunt your very being, it’s a cracking song and will please Goths and Metal-heads alike. It's mechanized, clever and leads nicely into 'Nightmare', there are orchestrations throughout the album, but they really work more than anything on this track, its heavy and other worldly, love it!!!
There are musical interludes and as the album approaches its end the madness emanates more and more seeing the lawyer’s world becoming even more unstable. 'Raise The Dead' is the penultimate track it is like a death star scything through an endless void, its heavy cutting deep into the flesh of its intended victim. The album finishes with the piece de resistance for me 'Boogeyman' it sounds the death knell, it is dramatic, foreboding and powerful as it penetrates into his dead skin mask!
The album has been out a while and has given this reviewer a chance to see what other reviewers think of it, some have slated the album unfairly I feel.
Personally I think it’s a brave thing for these Scandinavians to do and for me 'Utopia' works without being closed minded and overly critical! I always feel with albums like this, you need to give the album a fair crack of the whip and not just one spin on the turntable. This is the Norwegian bands fifth release and is I am told the heaviest to date.
Now there are a lot of electro metal bands about at the moment and Gothminister in my eyes are up there with Rublood, Deathstars, Rammstein without a doubt, I fully enjoyed this album and think it’s one not to be ignored if you are into this genre of Electro Metal or even relatively new to it. Also there is a full length concert/film included with the limited edition version of 'Utopia' as well. Just give this a listen.
Review by: Seb Di Gatto
1. The New Beginning
2. Someone Is After Me
9. All Alone
12. Raise The Dead