Coburg - The Enchantress,
A little while back I heard from Dean Baker, keyboard player with Galahad, who asked if I would be interested in hearing a new project that he and Mark Spencer were involved with. Mark filled in with Galahad for a while, and of course he and Dean were both part of the reformed Twelfth Night, so I was intrigued to say the least, as although Galahad have been around for more than thirty years, it was only during the Twelfth Night period that band members were active in another outfit. Coburg only came together in July 2017 after Anastasia Coburg (Jet Noir, Naked Lunch – lead vocals and lead guitar) approached several musicians she had either worked with in the past or were on her professional 'Wishlist', including her brother Pietro (Jet Noir, drums). The line-up is completed by Dean (synths, programming and backing vocals) and Mark (bass guitar and backing vocals) with Sarah Sanford (Jet Noir, rhythm guitar and backing vocals) and Tony Mayo (Naked Lunch, vocals and percussion). Now, to be honest, I haven’t come across Jet Noir or Naked Lunch before, but I may have to do some digging to find out some more, as this debut album is one that I have enjoyed immensely.
Over the years, Galahad have been through a few different musicians, but to my ears the one who has made the largest single impact to the sound of the band is Dean, and anyone coming across ‘Battle Scars’ would have some problem realising that it was the same band who released ‘Nothing Is Written’ (apart from Stu’s vocals of course), as not only has the music become far heavier, it is driven far more by the keyboards than it was previously. I don’t know how much impact Dean had on the actual songwriting on this album, but he obviously had a major role to play in the arrangements as his style is very much to the fore.
Anastasia has a great voice, and a strong sense of melody, able to power through in the manner of Doro when she needs to, but it is when she is at her most reflective such as at the beginning of “Requiem” that her class really shines through. The album itself is straddling many styles, from progressive rock, prog metal, melodic rock and symphonic metal through to elements from Rammstein. One of the joys is the way that the music has been structured so that often it is just Dean and Pietro supporting Anastasia, and this allows the band to provide tremendous contrast when they all come back in together. The aforementioned “Requiem” is musically all over the place, with poppy synths that easily give way to a lead guitar at just the right moment. Opener “A Cold Day In Hell” is riff heavy, with bass and drums playing a basic pattern, and it is the vocals that lift the song as it moves to the bridge, and straightaway the listener is entranced. Anastasia’s voice has a slight catch to it, which provides far more depth and allows her to portray emotion in many ways, and it took me a long time to work out who she reminded me of. That person was Candia of Incubus Succubus, and Anastasia has a very similar gothic approach, with her vocals high and proud in the mix.
This is a superb debut, which I have really enjoyed, and if they have produced this after only a short time together, what on earth are they going to bring us in the years to come? Go to the website and discover more, your ears demand it.