The Blessing of Curses
In the drab wasteland of what’s considered “industrial” these days, there are few bright spots that gleam in the mire. Voodou’s The Blessing of Curses is a rare gem in the industrial-electronic strata, and you don’t even have to dig that far to reach it.
The original Blessing was self-released in June 2000. Almost two years to the month, Voodou has re-released their debut, however this time on Invisible Records and this time produced by Martin Atkins (who also lent his considerable talents to the arrangements, edits, and programming.) Having cut their teeth on the Marilyn Manson tribute Anonymous Messiah and opening for the likes of Godhead, Gravity Kills, and Pigface, Voodou has evolved from their original three-piece outfit of Chad Wilder on guitars and bass, Michelle Walters on vocals and keyboards, and David Flick handling the programming, synth work, and sampling, to a five-piece unit that now includes bassist Billy Miller and drummer Ben Buchanan, with additional guitar help from Jeff Winfrey.
Yes, the most impressive thing about Voodou is vocalist Michelle Walters, who actually seems to be interested in singing, not shrieking like a tortured cat in heat like other frontwomen of the genre. Her seductive voice is sweeping and majestic, purring evilly ala Annie Lennox or Shirley Manson on “Dogfight” and “Deep Light Blue” and sounding eerily like Siouxsie Sioux on “Silver And Gold.” Her sultry vocals turn “The Heretic” into an industrial lullaby and sweep the listener up in the epic tide of “Trouble With the Fix.”
While Ms. Walters’ voice is stunning, the music behind her siren’s cry is equally commanding and richly complex, deftly complementing the sheer power of Ms. Walters’ vocal style. The guitars, bass, drums, and synthesizers weave together creating a dynamic soundscape of industrial and electronic music with a wonderful gothic flavor, instead of coagulating into a discordant wreck. All of the instruments are carefully balanced — the guitars don’t drown out the synthesizers, the drums don’t overpower the bass, and Ms. Walters’ vocals can be clearly heard, not drowned into the mix — a credit to the engineers and mixers.
With its compelling sound, intricate song structure, and Ms. Walters at the helm, Voodou is a shining example of what can be done with industrial-electronic music.