THE THREE HEADS OF CERBERUS – The Last Hour

Well that's kind of a cool title for a little special feature, isn't it?  We previously referred to this as "Triple Header" the last time we did it, which was way before this new version of the site launched.  Since then we've only done our "Double Header" feature a few times, but not the triple.  So what are they exactly?  Well, it's simple, sometimes we receive so many releases from a single label or band we're pressed to select what to review in particular, not wanting to give too much attention to one thing, but at the same time, if what we received is all worthy of attention, not wanting to pick one release over another.  So hey, why not just lump them all together for a single review, giving shorts blurbs for each?  That makes it simpler, which was the original intention.  We just needed a cooler title, and here it is, THE THREE HEADS OF CERBERUS.  Today we're checking out the work of The Last Hour, a dark, atmospheric, one-man Goth project from out of Italy headed by Robert Del Vecchio, formerly of the band Gothica.  Two of the following reviews are singles, one is a full-length, making this feature all the more pertinent since reviewing singles isn't our thing.

Oblivion (Single)

This is where it all started when we were first made privy to The Last Hour, mostly because the artwork made us need it desperately.  This one was primarily intended as a teaser for his upcoming album Deadline, released roughly seven months after Oblivion, including both tracks here, but different art.  Let's get back to that art.  Man, being perhaps one of the most ingenious usages of color contrast combined with the languid, it's easily one of the best we've ever seen.  The esoteric quality of the masked figures, the red scarf loosely drifting in the wind, and the pale girl of white hair around whom it is wrapped.  Though only two tracks long, Oblivion was enough of a teaser that we felt almost violated.  More please, if you're going to do that much just go all the way.  The Last Hour's clear skill in electronica is evident, as well as his introspective vocal tone, which combined make for perfect, modern Goth.  Our only complaint is that both songs are taken from the same, then-upcoming album (see below).  So they're essentially now pointless in this capacity, other than goddamn yes that art.  Would have been nice, as you'll see with the final single below, to have a special song included for just this release.  Score: 4.1 / 5

Deadline

This is the real milk and honey for The Last Hour's current discography.  Oblivion gave you a taste, and now it gives you the entire dinner, in a room bedecked with candelabras, tattered tapestries, rotting furniture, and the skeletons of the family who there perished in wait.  Modern Goth often misses the mark because it focuses too much on beat, fusing EDM/EBM with false Industrial that basically recycles the same thump so cyberpunk deadlock Schwachkopfen can trounce about.  Real Goth was built on emotion, that was the origin of the term, actually, because it was first called positive punk since it was structured like old punk with a fragile, atmospheric approach.  Once electronica was added, it kind of went stale depending on the band, but luckily these past few years a few acts, such as Jessica93, have brought it back to its roots while keeping it modern.  The Last Hour is part of this vanguard of new Goth, largely speaking.  His electronics are delicate, yet complex when required, creating that wonderful, pensive presence of early Goth without descending into beat-focused idiocy.  Deadline has not a single lame track, musically speaking.  The only complaint to be made are the vocals.  Overall they fit the standard, with a touch of echo, but at times the delivery comes off as meek, simply because it needs more emotion, and possibly formal training.  For the most part it works, but that tends to be because one's mind is focusing on the splendid music surrounding it, making it seem, at times, like it merges better than it does.  Many times he has that languorous quality you crave, but sometimes it sounds rather dull because of delivery.  Try some training, we say, which should be considered a recommendation, not simply criticism.  Score: 4.5 / 5

Everything Fades Away (Single)

Now here's what we're talking about, oh yes.  Interestingly this is, in our opinion, the best work The Last Hour has released to date, in spite of the fact it's only two songs.  Properly speaking, this makes us long for cassingles to make a comeback, because this is exactly what we'd seek.  This single features one of the most prominent tracks taken from Deadline, but, unlike Oblivion, it also features an entirely new one as a proper single should, something to entice you into a purchase (please make a cassingle out of this).  The Last Hour is here at full power, with awesomely dark cover art that makes one want to start formally learning how to lament in old style, and his electronic mastery is made all the more prominent with the vocal power of the mysterious Label Mou, whose haunting, touching, yet eerie vocals could pull tears out of the eyes of Oedipus.  This then, gives The Last Hour an idea of what we were saying about the vocals above.  It may not be entirely that he himself needs to develop his style, it may be more pertinent to include other vocalists within the greater work, just like this, to completely redefine Goth.  Though the one track we've already heard, "Something Is Still There" dominates to such a degree that this release warrants nothing less than a perfect score.  Score: 5 / 5

 

The Last Hour Official Facebook

Labels: Seventh Crow Records, The White Room

Written by Stanley Stepanic