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|And if all paths lead but to the grave
Then let us dance along our way
|Faith & The Muse
(William Faith & Monica Richards)
Formed in late 1993 by two veterans of the gothic underground scene (William Faith and Monica Richards), Faith & The Muse is one of the few bands of the 90s to capture the essence of the early gothic/ethereal bands signed to the 4AD label in the early 80s. Their music would perfectly fit on an Ivo Watts-Russel compilation , along side bands like the Cocteau Twins, Xmal Deutschland, Dead Can Dance and the Clan of Xymox. In the early 90s, William was a member of Christian Death and their spin-off bands Mephisto Walz and Shadow Project. Monica was part of the group Strange Boutique since 1987.
Their first full-length album released in 1994 was an assertion of their years of experience in the darkwave scene, and comprised the club hit 'Sparks' and one of their finest songs ever: 'Elyria'. Following their first record release, F&TM toured the US with Rosetta Stone, Corpus Delicti and Das Ich, as part of the Procession tour. Their revelation on stage proved to be much more than an acoustic performance, but also a fine theatrical exhibition of artistic talent. Their second full-length album, released in 1996, 'Annwyn, Beneath the Waves' was even more powerful than their debut, covering a wider range of musical pathways and modern orchestral displays. 1999 saw the release of their much anticipated third album 'Evidence of Heaven', a haunting masterpiece combining elements of Victorian and Celtic music, with classical melodies and dark electronics.
F&TM is one the finest dark american bands of the past two decades, that delivers music covering a wide range of emotional spectrums, always with a unique distinguished artistic touch.
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 5/01
¾ 1994: Elyria
"A mix of acoustic renaissancey ballads and more dancey Siouxsie-ish goth. Faith and the Muse easily transcend the standard Gothic Rock structures, while still retaining the dark aesthetic. Weaving a surreal mixture of Classical, traditional/ethnic influences (Celtic, Eastern, etc), and dark rock stylings, they create music veiled in imagery that travels the spheres and the shadows"
-- www.projekt.com"The music on this disc is a striking amalgam of celtic folky strains, carefully cured pop and some rough-shod rocky terrain. William Faith and Monica Richards carefully orchestrate these 14 tracks to unfold like a mini-opera.."
-- Option magazine
1996: Annwyn, Beneath the Waves
"Loosely based on Welsh Celtic myths, 'Annwyn, Beneath the Waves' is a theatrical concept album: a musical journey down ancestral pathways and back full-circle to a concentrated burst of illumination in the light of our own day... From the powerful rush of 'The Silver Circle' to the silk water ambience of 'The Sea Angler', from the bitter roar of 'Cernunnos' to the celtic throb of 'Branwen Slayne', 'Annwyn, Beneath the Waves' is a masterwork, destined to bring Faith And The Muse to bright new heights of acclaim and notariety."
¼ 1999: Evidence of Heaven
"A heavy storybook of dark romanticism, archaic in nature, mold the illustrious theatrics found on Evidence of Heaven. Faith's guitar work is scalding, fiercely driven over Richards' haunting vocalics. Sonically, the band's demeanor is roughcast around dripping poetics, specifically on 'Scars Flown Proud.' This particular cut is raging with the fear of fear, but also welcoming the beginning of the next life. It's eerie in the manner that Richards' confident lyrics build momentum, making such complexities apparent for the remaining songs on the album. Chanting swirls on 'The Chorus of the Furies' for an illustrious soundscape, but the mystery comes alive on the acoustic tinged 'Importune Me No More.' Supposedly written by Queen Elizabeth I during the 16th century, the song strips Faith and the Muse's usual blackness for a gentle, more internal composition of lovelorn and independence. The honesty of the track is quite enchanting that such fabliau is reincarnated. 'Reine La Belle' also has the same effect. The Faith and the Muse weren't too careful with the overall production with this album, for they allowed themselves to freely achieve artistical perfection at their own level, especially William Faith's multi-instrumental compositions."
-- MacKenzie Wilson, AMG
2001: Vera Causa
"Release of the Vera Causa double CD is scheduled for October 23rd, 2001 on Metropolis Records. The CD will feature dance remixes, unreleased and cover material, oddities and some live tracks. Painting of "Pallas Athene" by Monica Richards."
-- mercyground.com, 8/01
¾ 2003: The Burning Season
"The Burning Season, is a daring departure for the band, taking them well outside the realm of traditional goth rock; elements of trance, punk, jazz and straight-up rock 'n roll permeate the different facets of this diverse album, providing a unique and eclectic mix of sounds and styles that is at once familiar, but will surprise many established fans while attracting a whole new mix of music fans to the fold. In theme, The Burning Season finds Faith and the Muse approaching a broad array of topics, touching on personal and social issues in a very direct and confrontational fashion, far removed from the prosaic themes of their previous offerings. A bold new offering by a band with an eye for risk."
Musicfolio Picks: Sredni Vashtar, Boudiccea, The Burning Season, Whispered In Your Ear.
-- press release
½ 2006: Monica Richards (solo) - InfraWarrior
"Best known for her work in FAITH AND THE MUSE, Monica has been writing, recording and performing music in the Underground for over 20 years. Her debut solo album, "InfraWarrior," is the essence of "power from within": a personal view of primal energy and its release; a cathartic mix of Monica Richards' spoken word, and classic rich, textural vocals, drenched in cinematic soundscapes and world tribal/ritual rhythms. This evocative project is at once hard-hitting and sensual, a revolutionary and seductive culmination evolving from over twenty years as an Independent artist. Songs range from neo-classical and world music to avant-garde melodies, with each song telling its own story. At times personal and at times filled with rage at unaddressed social issues, Monica is not afraid to speak her mind. 'InfraWarrior' also features special guest appearances by William Faith (the producer), Matt Howden (Sieben + Sol Invictus), Jarboe, Paul Mercer (The Changelings), KaRin (Collide) and more."
-- press release"'InfraWarrior' is breathtaking craftwomanship. Monica's vocals are rich, lush and in your face goodness (aka Goddess). William's pro producing along with Monica's poetry is not an entire departure from FATM, more like an adjunct. Fell to Regret just whips me into a frenzy of feelings of hope, gratitude and feeds my inner animal. In Answer opens with pounding tribal drums and sails into a chorus of Monica. The music is driving...and makes me want to run in the woods after the light. Into My Own is what we call greatness. 'I'm not young, I'm not old, I've come into my own.' Monica shares a bit of the spotlight with friends in the community... Fred Smith, Kambriel, Jarboe, and even her father, Lloyd Richards, delivers a powerful Gaia."
-- Jules Cohen, RedJMusic/BMI
¾ 2009: :ankoku butoh:
Tracklisting: 01. The Woman in the Snow 02. Kamimukae 03. Blessed 04. Battle Hymn 05. Bushido 06. Nine Dragons 07. Harai 08. When We Go Dark 09. The Red Crown 10. Kodama 11. She Waits by the Well 12. Sovereign 13. To Be Continued
"According to the information of their German label [Danse Macabre], the lyrics are orientated towards the contents of the ancient Japanese religion Shinto. Moreover, butoh is the term for a Japanese expressive dance. Thus, the albums main theme should be quite clear. It is interesting how Richards and Faith translate the central aspects to music. The opener The Woman in The Snow is a meditative and ethereal piece focussing on strings and extraordinary vocals that create a very special and almost fairytale-like mood. The instrumental Kamimukae, an opulent and orchestral song, features rather classical sounds and leads over to up-tempo and punk-influenced Blessed which is strongly dominated by the siren-like vocals of Monica Richards, dynamic drum beats and rough guitars. Similarly to Blessed, Battle Hymn follows up with monotonous verses and battle cry-like male backing vocals resulting in a dark and threatening piece. There are some instrumental-only interludes, for example Bushido and Harai whose purpose is to build up an authentic and Japan-related atmosphere, I guess. Looked at and listened to individually, those tracks arent that outstanding but they contribute to the overall package in an expressive manner. I would like to highlight the fascinating and mysterious She Waits by the Well making clear that Richards vocals are an important instrument and able to reinforce the songs obsessive character. (...) [:Ankoku Butoh:] is an artful and elaborated album that requires attentive listening and the buyers open mind."
-- Katrin Renner, reflectionsofdarkness.com, 12/09
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