Artist/ Band: Outopsya
Title: Fake
Label: Lizard Records
Year of Release: 2012
Offical Artist/ Band Link

The Review:

Italian multi genre (prog electronic metal goth industrial avant garde) band hits hard with a double CD release called ‘Fake’. The band consists of musicians Evan Mazzucchi - bass, cello and Luca Pianini - Voice, guitars, synthesizers, drums. It’s a long affair to listen to but quite a trip. The first disc subtitled ‘Violet’ begins with the more electronic gothic side of the band’s mix. For me, the thing that instantly puts me off is the vocals which sound like a robotic Ozzy at times and pretty much takes you down to a low level of depression. I understand the recording has some relationship to ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ but as for a listening experience, this has some uncomfortable moments mixed with some great ones. Each time I am getting into it, and the instrumentation is interesting and enticing, and fully enjoyable, they somehow insert loud volume, distortion, or some other type of jerk you out of your skin tactic. Happily, this only occurs on the first CD and earlier cuts. I have no idea why they chose to arrange the tracks that way, since it’s sure to give a certain impression on the first time listener. For over a time of an hour and a half, you look for something to hold on to and actually like. I found some tracks excellent like ‘Engage’ (track 2), but then on track 3 (‘Rays Rays Rays’) the vocals ruin it again with their robotic cold goth styling.

I realize how much work went into this large production with just two members doing all the work. I feel it would have been better to have made this all (or at least more) instrumental or instead, to have made one of the CD’s the instrumental version and one with the vocals. At times though, I did like the quirky vocals like on ‘Noh’ (track 5). Both tracks 5, 6 and 7 reminded me of the better trippy sounds of Pablo’s Eye although a slight bit more sinister. It was at this point I began to open up to the recording. The composition skills are excellent when not in the gloomy goth voice and lyrics mode. I have never heard any better effects and cool electronic touches in tunes like ‘Nausia’ (track 7). The tendency to start quiet and calm, then to shock you somewhere is still prevalent but if you actually like the vocals, you might just love this whole thing. For me, songs like ‘Phantom’ (track 8) with the continued robotic goth vocals, keep me from liking this at the moment.

I did find another high point in track 9 (‘Lilies); a 15 minute composition with a huge variety of atmosphere. The formula remains with a slow, somber beginning with a relaxed and celestial feel. Superb keyboards with those creative effects and even exotic touches this time. You know you have something on this one as organ chords are now introduced. Oddly enough, the entire beginning of this reminds me of a track off Lancaster and Lumley’s ‘Marscape’, but wait...yes the vocals come in with that monotone vocoder mess, and you just have to bite your tongue and hope the rest of the song gets better. I decided to forgive the vocals on this one and enjoy the instrumental parts as hard as it was. Parts of this have a zeuhl influence and if you can imagine snippets of an electronica based King Crimson ‘Starless and Bible Black’ era, you might have a picture of this extended cut. In fact, there is one part about 9 1/2 minutes into the track that the vocals are pleasant and melodic, and not opposing. One thing to point out, this shows the band truly can write a nice song if they can lose the vocals. It might even totally surprise you to hear the last 3 minutes of this track as it goes into a highly musical stage with a very pleasing manner. It makes you want much more of this. MUCH more! Wow! Give me more please. You do get some more song oriented music with track 10 (‘My Joy’) and by this time, you might be more accepting of the more smooth and choral style vocals that are finally revealed. The sound of this work also will recall some nods to Goblin, as in fact this is much of a horror sound track type art.

On the beginning of CD 2 subtitled “Black”, things pick up in tempo and you have a more happy feel. ‘The World Has Been’ (track 1) actually falls into the progressive rock genre. Outopsya have a grand neo prog sound here. They also show off their capabilities with both writing and playing skills. Track 1 morph’s into track 2 (‘Anxious’) and stays focused but does move back into the gloomy electronic arena with that classic Kingdom Come ‘Journey’ style. (many may remember Arthur Brown singing on Alan Parson Project ‘Tales of Mystery and Imagination “Edgar Allan Poe”), and this double CD takes on that type of concept of dark music.

I found CD 2 much friendlier and tuneful. It contains the most accessible songs and also has a brighter atmosphere overall. You even get to hear some nice lead guitar, some great keyboard work, and hot drums (track 3 - ‘Enter The Brain’). And you wish for more of this one too! If you took ‘Lilies” off CD1 and added it to CD2, then this would be a fine release in many people’s eyes and ears, including mine. Hey, we do have the technology of editing. I would take out track 4 (‘Laterns’) since it goes back to dull and gloom vocals and machine music. Track 5 (‘Loving You Sick Part I’) is redeeming with it’s cool keys and galactic atmosphere. Once more, a ‘Marscape” similarity in the beginning, but then gives way to the metal prog side that doesn’t lose touch with the electronic side, and moves into the progressive rock spotlight. Impressive song writing again! Loads of styles and influences on this one, even Mike Oldfield. They end “Fake” with part two of ‘Loving You Sick’ (track 11) and it takes up where part one left off with good chunky rhythm guitar (Oldfield) and multitude of styles. They also bring in something different as the music slows down and this gorgeous undersea sounding part drifts in, and makes you wish they would build on that, but it simply fades out with a beautiful lingering feeling. Now THAT was nice.

If you like Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come ‘( Especially ‘Journey’) and Goblin, and some of the more esoteric electronic progressive rock bands, then this is for you. It has some stark machine like gloomy feel for the most part, with the keyboards being the highlight. Be prepared for lots of vocoder like robot vocals, some shock value, some dissonance, sometimes distorted, and gothic doom atmosphere. You’ll also find a few gems amongst the spread of conflicting ideas and directions. With that, you’ll be given some outright great compositions that make you wish the whole disc was filled with those. It’s a tough release to describe word for word but the 2nd time I listened to it, I was even more impressed. It could be more from dying for the great stuff while sitting through the bad stuff. I still have the same feelings about the vocals, and I wish they had brought in someone to do those, or kept them more expressive and less robotic. But I have to admire the band and this huge production of 22 compositions, some which are great, and melodic and lovable.

Reviewed by Lee Henderson on June 22nd, 2012


CD 1: Violet

01. Useless, Fake & Awful
02. Engage
03. Rays, Rays, Rays
04. Engage (reprise)
05. Noh
06. 99% Of People Will
07. Nausia
08. Phantom
09. Lilies
10. My Joy
11. Insane

CD 2:Black

01. The World Has Been
02. Anxious
03. Enter The Brain
04. Lanterns
05. Loving You Sick (Pt.1)
06. Khen
07. Virus
08. Loving Heart
09. Khen Khen
10. Enter The Heart
11. Loving You Sick (Pt. 2)

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