ThanatoSchizo

Insomnious Night Life

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

No one can accuse Portugal's ThanatoSchizo of lacking ambition, since the band's second opus, 2003's Insomnious Night Life, is a veritable smorgasbord of disparate musical styles and unexpected turns and tangents. The kind of band that truly qualifies for the "progressive" tag line, ThanatoSchizo melds elements of folk music, goth rock, ambient electronica, darkwave, and death and black metal among its many ingredients, baking them all into an epic feast that is instantly impressive. But, at the same time, schizophrenic songs like "A Promenade Portrait," "Upshot Veil," and the title track (note the Marillion influence) are also flawed by their own overreaching nature, stretching themselves far too thin and dimming the impact of their more inspired moments. Ironically, these memorable snippets usually arrive within the album's polar extremes: either in their softer acoustic moments or their full-fledged death metal outbursts. Dual vocalists Eduardo Paulo and Patricia Rodrigues don't help matters, either. His regularly off-pitch gothic monotone and Akerfeldt-schooled death growl joust for position with her pretty but far too timid soprano on virtually every track, but neither of them has the charisma or sheer chops to do the grandiloquent musical canvas laid out behind them proper justice. Once ThanatoSchizo resolves its vocal deficiencies and fine-tunes its bloated compositional excesses, there's no telling what wonders the band will create, but for now listeners who approach Insomnious Night Life must do so not only with open minds, but with forgiving ears as well.

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