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Hyoscyamus Niger - Sen


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Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane) - poisonous fetid Old World herb having sticky hairy leaves and yellow-brown flowers. All parts of the plant contain alkaloids. It grows near wilderness as well as wastes and dumping grounds. In spite of being poisonous it is widely used in medicine.
I am welcomed by such an explanation of the band’s name etymology at the very beginning of their website. I like the idea - it contains everything what is most appreciated in gothic –we’ve got the motif of loneliness in it and of beauty on impoverished, abandoned land, and of the poison simultaneously having curative effect. Surely it is possible to add to it some kind of darkness and mystery.
Why do I say "gothic" instead of cold wave? The answer is as simple as that – I am welcomed by the remarkably gothic music marked by depression and the titles themselves are the quintessence of dreariness. I felt cold wave in the vocal which makes an impression of being taken out of the eighties. It can be appealing but I don’t like it much. Well, I’ll write about it later.
The single "Sen"/"Dream", released in 2006, contains three songs: the title "Sen"/"Dream" and synthetic version of "Kwiat ciszy we mgle"/"The flower of silence in the mist" and live version of "Sen"/"Dream" from the charitable festival Offensive.
As I have already mentioned – there are elements of electro-gothic and cold wave mixed in the music and musicians themselves call it "electronic psychodely." There is something about it, however, while listening to it I couldn’t help but to associate it with Diary of Dreams. What’s interesting, the band admits that they are fascinated by Joy Division or Bauhaus who cannot be identified here in any way but in the vocal.
"Sen"/"Dream" and "Kwiat ciszy we mgle"/"The flower of silence in the mist" constitute for me musical, vocal and topical complements – very good choice for the single, you may fall in trance. Short, well short (both songs last together less than 6 minutes) but nothing more is necessary in this kind of music since it’s not yoga nor free CD with relaxation music.
And now, let’s concentrate on vocal. While the music with its simplicity and trance is at least enjoyable (at least properly dark), the vocal is stunning. Here we’ve got one hundred per cent, cold wave wound, misunderstanding of a world, tones so deep that it is almost impossible to understand lyrics, sudden shifts from silent to laud singing and paying more attention to emotions than to clarity of the sound. Nevertheless, whispers in "Kwiat"/ "The flower" are very pleasant, I don’t deny it – I would listen with pleasure to a song entirely whispered by Tomasz Sokołowski (vocalist and songwriter), instead of live version, which in fact does not add much to the single, except for making sure that the band on the stage sounds in the same way as in the studio.
I can’t even write that the vocal is bad because being objective if it was intended to be clearly cold wave one with all its advantages and disadvantages – it surely is like that. But personally I’m not convinced by it – I find this kind of singing, pompous and yawning-like, irritating.
And to sum up – for whom the record is? Surly for the fans of Wieże Fabryk and of the early achievements of Closterkeller, for those who are not afraid of a little bit gloomier, slower atmosphere. All of them should be satisfied.

Setlist:
1.Sen/ Dream (synthetic version)
2.Kwiat ciszy we mgle/The flower of silence in the mist (synthetic version)
3.Sen/Dream (Offensive 2005)
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Translator: morrigan
Add date: 2011-07-27 / Music reviews


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