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The Benjamin Gate
2001 ForeFront Records
The best word I can think of to describe Untitled, the debut project from South African rock band The Benjamin Gate, is a rather nondescript word- "cool." Yes, Untitled is very, very cool. The Benjamin Gate's sound is very European, and this album is one of the freshest CD's to come out in quite some time. The Benjamin Gate sounds very unique, and the closest thing I can compare them to is Chasing Furies, although they also remind me of the Cranberries, Luna Halo, or SCSI at times. With heavy bass and a plethora of guitar effects, the music is melodic and yet very noisy.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this album is the fantastic rock 'n' roll voice of 19 year-old lead singer Adrienne Liesching. Her vocals are so unique and powerful that one cannot help but enjoy them. Her voice goes from deep and melodic (on "All Over Me") to aggressive and rock star-ish ("Lay It Down") to haunting, Dido-esque ("Halo").
The variety on Untitled is incredible. "Nightglow" is a European techno/dance song, while the thrashing rock song "Rush" features a brief rap interlude, and "Hands" is a thoughtful piano ballad. Many of the songs, however, such as "Scream," "Blow My Mind," and "Live Out Loud," are straight up modern rock.
The lyrics are generally worshipful with a level of poetry and introspection in Liesching's lyrics that I enjoy. With high doses of originality, good lyrics, great rock music, and excellent vocals, this is one record that any rock fan's collection is incomplete without.
Josh Hurst 10/17/2001