Though barely a blip on the national radar, Atlanta's Order of the Dying Knights has built up a small but loyal following in the Southeast's goth scene. The first minute of their self-released debut shows why, with mesmerizing samples, haunting drones, and hypnotic percussion creating a riveting sound obviously influenced by Dead Can Dance. But then the melodramatic voice of Joseph Sikes kicks in, and chills of mediocrity shiver down your spine. It's not that Sikes is a terrible singer -- with a bit of training he could sound like a lightweight cross between Peter Murphy and Dave Gahan -- but in conjunction with his Goth Poetry 101 lyrics, the effect is hilariously cheesy. Try a few sample lines from the title track: "You are my utopial oasis in this white-trash world/so pure and so uniquely refined/if I scourge the earth and universe eternally/I would never discover an essence of your kind." Yikes, right? It's a shame, too, because the soundscapes that support his high school-quality lyrical masturbation show promise. Keyboardist/guitarist Joseph MCannon creates layered synth textures that lend a dreamy quality, while percussionist Dale Nacke is obviously familiar with world music traditions. By sampling sitars and other Eastern instruments, then adding ethnic percussion and Rosamond Fletcher's captivating violin melodies, ODK concocts a lush, exotic sound. It's just too bad Sikes lacks the vocal power or lyrical prowess to match.
AllMusic Review by Bret Love