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  Moonlight Cathedral
Artist: Various
Label: Cold Fusion Music
Times: 14 tracks/72:05 minutes

Moonlight Cathedral is the first album released by the newly-found record label Cold Fusion Music, with fourteen tracks showcasing bands that cater to fans of Gothic, dark wave or industrial music. "Lead Us" by Fearful Symmetry begins the album loaded with dark synths and impassioned vocals pleading to God to keep watch over us and protect us. This song is very strong with one of the most beautiful bridges I've heard in a while. Fearful Symmetry definitely will have a long career if the band keeps making beautiful art like this; they use string samples and guitars, among other instrumentation, to create a sound scape that begs the listener to become lost in this "sweet, sad music." The romantic gothic band from South Africa, The Awakening, delivers a very soulful performance with "Martyr," a very beautiful song that everyone should hear at least once. The soaring samples and powerful vocals by lead front man Ashton Nyte are simply magnificent. The melody of this song will be hard to get out of our heads once we hear it.

It's good to hear that the godfather of the Christian scene is still at it. Dead Artist Syndrome gives us "Christian America" to sample on this compilation, and Brian Healy still has hard-hitting lyrics to make us think and re-evaluate our relationship with the Lord in an honest, non-pretentious way. This is the hallmark of DAS music. The music is straight-ahead industrial/goth rock, sure to please anyone who can appreciate good art. Undish makes delicate dark music that's totally original and has the stamp of Heaven all over their sound. It is an imported band from Poland, and the lead vocals are handled by Ada Szarata whose vocal style will likely evoke comparisons to Dolores Mary O'Riordan Burton of Cranberries fame. Its music is the essence of what worship music be, totally honest songs that elicit communion with God. Undish's music requires us to sit down and take it all in, and if we do, we will not be disappointed because this music will move the audience.

Take ATC (or any other Euro-pop band) and add industrial samples and driving guitars, and we'd come up with the Perth, Australia exported band Paradoxx. It may sound weird, but the music is unique and very enjoyable. Listen to the band's song "Vampyr" and try not to get up and dance--great stuff. Tara Vanflower gives us the eerie offering, "This Womb Like Liquid Honey." This song can best be described as an experiment in sound, encompassing ambient, gothic, choir and dark wave elements. As it is very thought provoking, hopefully we will hear more from Tara in the future because this song is way too unique. The CD ends with one of--if not--the best Gothic bands, Saviour Machine. It blends numerous styles of music that define category, but maybe gothic, operatic, classical rock is a step in the right direction. The song, "The End of the Age," is taken from the band's last album Legend III:I, which is part of a trilogy of albums the band is currently making. It's a rock opera based on the book of revelation. "The End of the Age" has a glorious string section throughout that is just plain stunning. Eric Clayton is one of the best vocalists around, and after hearing it just once, the listener will see why.

All in all, this is a solid release. There are a few songs on this record that sound either flat or like every other gothic or industrial band we have heard before. But the solid tracks overshadow those moments and make for a project worth buying. For those who are interested in the Christian Goth/industrial scene, this CD would be the perfect introductory recording for this scene, and for those who are already entrenched in this genre, this compilation is another fine collection of "dark" music that is bursting with the hope of our risen Savior.

Aaron Anderson    8/22/2004

In addition to writing for Phantom Tollbooth, Aaron also independently writes poems, devotionals and more about the human condition. To read more of his writings or order some of his books go to:


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