Moi dix Mois - Lamentful Miss

review - 30.10.2006 12:00

Review of Moi dix Mois's newest single.

Touted by some as only worth buying for the first press poster privilege (due to featuring re-recordings of two previously released songs as b-sides), Moi dix Mois' latest offering turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

The title track, whose world-weary lyrics tell the story of a sad angel, is a melodic mid-tempo number built around Mana's and K's twin guitars. It opens with a typically ominous intro - the sound of wind blowing - before Seth's velvety vocals cut in, followed by solid riffs which set the theme of the song: this isn't the Symphonic Metal opus you may have expected. Instead, the composition emphasises the elegant harmonies of the twin guitars while going easy on the synthesizer, which is only really noticeable in the chorus, skipping symphonic elements altogether. Traditionalists may be disappointed but I like the ever growing variety in Mana's work and the song works perfectly well without them. Seth pours a lot of emotion into his singing and, unlike on Beyond the Gate, I don't have any trouble hearing him over the music. Overall, the song takes the Metal sound introduced on Beyond the Gate and develops it further while still keeping the familiar Moi dix Mois vibe.

On to the b-sides. Both songs were chosen to showcase the new five-member line-up as they are both key songs during live performances. I'm not a fan of remixes, which in my opinion are usually redundant, so my expectations for the re-recorded and re-arranged versions were rather low. However, once again I was pleasantly surprised.

The new Perish is a bit heavier than the original, which always sounded a little anaemic. It has a cleaner guitar sound, having been recorded with a Fender Stratocaster instead of Mana's Jeune Fille, and Seth manages to sound seductive and sinister at the same time. Heavy reverb gives it a distant, mysterious quality, but also makes it sound a bit muffled, losing some of the 'oomph' it would have otherwise had. This could have been the definitive recording of Perish, but while I prefer it over the Nocturnal Opera version it lags behind the live performance on Scars of Sabbath.

Forbidden, the original 'fan song', was never a favourite of mine - until now. This new version is much more punchy than the original and captures the energy of Moi dix Mois' live performances. Gone is the mechanical sounding drum machine. The powerful, organic sound of twin guitars and live drums is pitched against a startlingly fresh and clean harpsichord, and Seth handles the death voice much more expertly than his predecessor Juka while still managing the honeyed tremolos.

In keeping with Moi dix Mois' tradition, the single also includes instrumental versions of all three songs, totaling a generous six tracks.

In summary, far from being a filler this CD makes you hungry for more. Yes, the b-sides are re-recordings, but Lamentful Miss is a charming addition to Moi dix Mois' repertoire and overall this single has more energy than anything they have released since Nocturnal Opera. Thumbs up!
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