• Rating: 4.5 / 6

The dark rockers from Germany known as The Cascades are about to unleash this 13-track opus of theirs via Echozone and the album, which is entitled "Phoenix", is a delightful and interesting slab of gothic melancholy that brings to mind acts such as The Cure, Gary Numan, and the likes.

The fact that The Cascades have been around for thirty years says something about their perseverance and legacy; these guys have been doing their own thing for decades and did not exactly pop out of the ground yesterday. Their songs also reveal a certain confidence and experience that undoubtedly ties in with the fact that The Cascades have been crafting memorable goth rock for years and that they know damn well how to write a catchy tune. "Phoenix" is hardly original or innovative as such, but then why should it be? Like I said, the band harken back to the late 80s and have merely done here what they have been doing for ages, which is to conjure up songs with massive hooks and wicked choruses to them that are simply bound to thrill you. There are some rather fascinating nuances and colors to the cuts in the sense that The Cascades have a formidable way of weaving somewhat simple melodies together to great effect and making it all sound thick and layered. "Station No. E" and "SuperStar" perfectly illustrate this and possess both hard edges and polished sophistication. The sharp and punchy "Blood is Thicker Than Blondes" and the riveting title track are probably the standout pieces on the disc and definitely ought to receive plenty of radio airplay. "Ihr Werdet Sein" is a tad mundane while "Zeros and Ones" also falls short of achieving anything worthy of note, but apart from those two there are no uninspired tracks, really.

The Cascades have opted for a crisp and clear sound that highlights every instrument and the entire thing sounds quite balanced, which works in favor of the song material. The tracks lack neither bombast nor power, and the vocals courtesy M.W. Wild are superb in the sense that they fit the compositions incredibly well.

"Phoenix" is a well-written, emotionally engaging, and above all captivating album that all lovers of dark and gothic rock music ought to immerse themselves in. Moody and morose, but glorious all the same.