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Feather and Fate
Feather and Fate
Image © 2001 Project Records

(29 July 2001) The third album by vocalist Lisa Hammer and multi-instrumentalist Eric Hammer performing as Mors Syphilitica is a 14-track project entitled Feather and Fate (Projekt (USA) Projekt 118, 2001). It is their first release on Projekt Records who now handle the group's promotion and distribution. Eric insists on performing the instrumentals on the albums himself to achieve his aims for sonic purity. The duo are joined by David Mecionis (bass) and Hajji Majer (drums) when they perform on stage.

Listeners will instantly appreciate the duo's attention to detail from first listen with the lushness of the arrangements and Lisa Hammer's lovely soaring vocal excursions. A modern interpretation of the earlier gothic genre, the group's music draws on roots of various ethnic cultures, but it is first and foremost vocally strong. The music is quite moody and dark in places. We preferred the brighter numbers and focused attention heavily on "The Hues Of Longing," a Renaissance-style track with layers of vocals and shimmering guitars that opens the album.

"Naturally Cruel" is a modern gothic-style anthemic track with seriously sung vocals and further shimmering electric guitars. Although Lisa's vocals were set back in the mix, we found the excursions to the higher notes quite intriguing. "Only A Whirlwind," "Fountain Of Tears" and "Galatea" continue to build the theme in a similar style, while "The Chains of Reason" has harder electric guitar parts and more dramatically daunting vocal excursions.

The album's ethnic-oriented tracks provide an interesting contrast to the other numbers. The middle-eastern texture of the title track and standout track "My Virgin Widows" are notable examples; here Lisa's vocals soar delightfully above the crisply played instrumentals and vocal harmonies. We especially appreciated the layers of Lisa's vocal work in "Glorious Breath," one of the album's moodier tracks.

"Nostalgia's Sea" and "A Fever Dream" are more symphonic and vocally brighter, as rich vocally as they are melodic instrumentally. "Sins Of The Dove" is one of the album's brightest track blending gothic with lush progressive and folk arrangements; Lisa's multi-tracked vocals are absolutely delightful. The album concludes with the rhythmic "How Long" with similarly lush vocal harmonies.

The latest release from Mors Syphilitica Feather and Fate will serve long-time enthusiasts and new discoverers equally well. An album with a modern gothic edge and stunning female vocals, it should appeal to a broad audience. Sample the sounds and read more about the band at their website. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Certain to delight female vocal enthusiasts, this album is worth further exploration. Take a journey today, this one is a nice listen!

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