Killing Ophelia marks the debut of another Aslan Faction side project as Lee Lauer teams up with vocalist Karen King. On paper, the combination of King's dark, sultry vocals and Lauer's powerful electro sounds like a winning team and indeed it would be were it not for the rather flat production which mars the beginning of this album, which will almost certainly prove off-putting on first listen. This is most noticeable on tracks such as "10.06" where King's vocals all but drown out the promising electro backing (and sound horribly out of tune as a result) or the darkly symphonic "Of Your Own Making". This is particularly jarring as the vocals and music seem so mismatched it's as if they were performing on different tracks!! The more rhythmic offerings that dominate the second half do fair slightly better and the album improves to some extent as a result as "In With The Lights Out", "Choke", "Fear Of The Dark" and "Oblivious" provide some indication of what the duo are capable of musically. The latter track in particular does full justice to King's vocal talents with a resonant and emotional delivery and "Hyde" is given a more haunting feel by her ethereal wordless voice (fans of the AF track "Bring On The Dying" will know what I mean!). In fact, as the closing "Crossfire 2" and the superb "Apprehension" prove this wordless style is an effective addition to the band's musical arsenal. with the latter track proving itself an undoubted highlight through an expertly rendered concoction of King's plaintive style that, in unison with Lauer's spoken voice (which is all the more effective for being barely audible!) and haunting massed chords hint at all manner of possibilities, carried along by a solid rhythm that, even at close on 8 minutes doesn't last a moment too long. "Never" likewise benefits from the vocal interplay of both participants as Lauer's backing vocals add that extra grit.
Despite my gripes it would be unfair to totally slate this album as, despite my gripes, the duo's potential for greatness in undeniable, indeed there are many good ideas found throughout the album, if they could have got the production spot-on then we'd be talking 'world beating' instead of 'pretty good' so perhaps a listen before you buy would be in order.
Artist Link: http://www.blackrain.de