|Review: Rain Fell Within - Refuge|
Label: Dark Symphonies
Year released: 2002
Genre: Gothic Metal
Review online: March 31, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.2/5 (84%) (5 Votes)
Rain Fell Within took me by surprise with the quality of "Believe", their debut. "Refuge" is the follow-up, the second and last CD from this superlative and original band. Shortly after recording was completed the band broke up. So RFW are no more, and the members have scattered to a half-dozen other projects, and we are left with only this last recording. Fortunately, it’s an amazing CD.
For the uninitiated, Rain Fell Within play a gothic, atmospheric style of metal with rich keyboard and guitar harmonies mixed with the lush operatic vocals of front-babe Dawn Desiree. This has a lot in common with goth-doom bands like After Forever or even Tristania, but without the death-growls. Rain Fell Within are more melancholy and doomy than other bands in the same vein, and more classically inflected as far as arrangements and vocal melodies. The whole is a beautiful and arresting sound that is much more distinctive than you would expect. This is not tremendously heavy, or what would be called ‘crunchy’, but this is superlative metal nonetheless. There is a great deal of variety in the songwriting, with acoustic parts sequeing into more metallic passages and the keyboards adding to the melancholy atmosphere.
Dawn Desiree has a fantastic voice, more operatic than Flor Janssen or even Tarja, she moans and howls with genuine feeling and almost frightening intensity. She’s easily the centerpiece of the band, but the music backing her up is of consistently high quality. The music on "Refuge" is complex and symphonic, without being in any way reminiscent of power metal or movie soundtracks. Rain Fell Within are refreshingly free of the clichés of their chosen subgenre, and the result is an uncompromisingly artistic album without a single nod to commercialism. Some may find this a hard listen, as there is almost nothing here resembling a standard metal hook or chorus, but repeated listens reward with a complex and involving musical experience unlike almost anything else. "Refuge" is a singular and challenging musical statement.
The CD package is a digipack, but much sturdier than the usual flimsy construct. The art design, as we would expect from Dark Symphonies, is really beautiful and reflects perfectly the moody grace of the music. In the band pics the members look young enough to make me feel really, really old. And did I mention Dawn Desiree is gorgeous? Man oh man.
This is a great CD, really different and with impressive composition and musicianship. If you like gothic stuff that doesn’t wallow in self-pity or metal that is really classically inspired (and not just infested with movie-soundtrack worship). Then you should definitely check this out.
Standouts: Torn Apart, In My Dreams, Into the Tower, Burned Away, Passing Time.
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|Review: Believe (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)|
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