artist: Rose Croix
release: Rose Croix
year of release: 2011
label: Brave Mysteries
Three anonymous musicians gathered for this project on Brave Mysteries, which displays the virtues of that peculiar mixture of neo-classical, ethereal, and martial industrial made famous in the late eighties and nineties.
Main components of the music are synths and organs, percussion (mostly drums and bells), and the voice of the anonymous female singer, with an important role put aside for different kinds of effects and samples as well. The five compositions on the mini-album or EP all have a very strong theme of their own, and different perspectives. The opener is mostly built around vocals, organ, and drums, whereas the second track is a short instrumental in which the excellent percussion takes center stage, even providing many melodic elements.
The third track is a shorter, vocal based one, in which clever use is made of orchestral sample looping. The fourth track is the longest, and features a more electronic, driving beat, reminding me a bit of some work by labelmates Burial Hex. A most excellent track, very trancelike and catchy. The final track is another short one, focusing on timpani, voice, and cymbals.
As the label promotion points out, there are certainly reference points to be found for Rose Croix in the past: Dead Can Dance, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud, to echo two of them. I’d definitely add Sixth Comm to that list as well. However, I realise my surprise (and relief) that this style hasn’t been copied too often in recent years, at least to my knowledge. There is a significant risk of leaning to heavily on such illustrious forebears, but somehow Rose Croix avoids this. Instead, there is just the right balance between creating an own voice and incorporating great stylistic ideas from the past.
This ltd. 100 tape deserves to sell out quickly, as it should be of great interest to all the folks in the industrial corner with a bit of a nostalgic feel for this blend of sounds. An excellent first effort, and hopefully a precursor to new work which combines the current sound with a bit more avant-garde.
Reviewed by O.S.