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Caustic Soul – An Absence of Warmth

As a general rule, concept albums don’t work. Longtime heavy metal hellions W.A.S.P. have done more in the last decade to prove this, thanks to not one, but several concept albums. They aren’t alone either. The musical landscape over the last 30-plus years is dotted with disasters so staggering that it’s a wonder anyone goes out of their way to even use the phrase “concept album.”

Fortunately where An Absence Of Warmth is concerned, local goth/industrial maestros Caustic Soul have avoided Spinal Tap tales of magical wizards exploring the darkness of the underworld on their way to slay the dreaded dragon of the shire. Instead, the trio’s latest CD takes on a more tangible topic of a war we’ve long since forgotten – World War I. As told through the eyes of a soldier on the front lines, Absence Of Warmth paints the cold, hard despair of what the world now knows as the deadly catalyst for modern warfare.


Lyrically and conceptually, the subject matter serves as the perfect complement to Caustic Soul’s brooding blend. Often caught between Queensryche’s Geoff Tate and the Ghost of Pink Floyd Past, vocalist Mike Atchley steers the songs through myriad emotional peaks and valleys, as orchestrated by bandmates and sound specialists Bill Neiman and David Spethman.

From the hauntingly beautiful “Solitude” to the deceitful, chest-pounding explosiveness of “Steel Thorns,” Absence Of Warmth traverses between the rapid-fire strobe of modern synth pop heroes Beborn Beton and the melancholy confines of The Cure’s Disintegration. Where artists like Dead Can Dance and David Eugene Edward’s Woven Hand shun total darkness, Caustic Soul isn’t afraid to take the emotional strengths of these acts and dim the lights even more.

It’s a formula that has worked well for the band, and An Absence Of Warmth goes the distance in terms of extending Caustic Soul’s reputation for combining introspective lyrics with soundscapes of vibrant decay.


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