The Serbian project Venefica has been going on since '05, with a very varying line-up aside of it's founder and main composer Marko Sinadinovic. Marko's history in gothic metal music shows well in the band's style, which is somewhere between ambient, neo-classical, gothic and darkwave, with the main focus and emphasis being on deep, dark atmospheres teamed with beautiful melodies.

As one can see, the album consists of a whole twenty songs. Even though it seemed intimidating at first, it eventually proved to be one of the main elements that make this album a success. The songs vary from simplistic piano-only melodies to songs that have some flute as an additional melody, to a few songs with very dramatic male or female vocals in the lead, to some songs that are almost fully based on some lighter electronic synth sounds and a musical style less chained to the neo-classical genre, and with a possible slight organic touch by some wooden flutes. Some songs also include some programmed percussions, but most of the time the songs' rhythms are based on the piano patterns and their lower notes. The overall mood is both beautiful and dark, even depressed at times, and only rarely can one hear a glimpse of hope such as the piano melody on track 17.

Even though some of the electronic songs, such as the album's even medieval title track, stand out the mass greatly with their lighter and even somewhat one-dimensional soundscape structure, it's these moments that make the album last for it's lenght. They pass on a breeze of fresh air to the listener, so that s/he won't get worn out by the amount of songs and their variation, both style- and soundscape-wise. For example the title-track's follow-up "Morphine Raindrops" and the songs "Dormancy" and "Letter from the Lost Days" have depressive and even oppressive moods due to their deep and heavy piano work, so the listener will most likely appreciate the lighter moments - even though they might not sound ideal amidst the wholly organic songs.

Do also note that the album has a couple of cover songs. Even though Venefica's versions of "Lilium" and "Requiem for a Dream" aren't really as good as the originals, they do present the band's own versions of those compositions in a more than decent manner - and the original compositions are so good that they fit in more than well on the album, and thus were a good choice by the band. The same goes to "Aerith's Theme", except for that the band's vocalized version might even beat the original one in some aspects. Well done.

The band's previous full-lenght "Scarlet" from '08 is greatly different from this one. It has a more crudely dark and a more organic and minimal approach to the neo-classical genre, it's instrumental, and almost fully based on a cello and a piano - similar to the album's most oppressive songs mentioned in the third paragraph. I think that the band's more electro-based expression presented on this record is not the band's goal or ideal style per se, but more of an image of the band's current situation on the journey towards it. It's an experimentation of sorts to guide the band forward.

Overall the album has a really good flow and more than decend melodies teamed with deep atmospheres. Although the electronic sounds are not perfectly teamed with the organic sounds, far from it actually, it doesn't manage to damage the compositions by a lot or to lower the album's overall value too greatly... but still, they are the one thing that bother the listening experience due to sticking out, and hold the album from being great. They are just plain unable to create as deep atmospheres as the organic instruments are, and would've needed a great deal of work to fit in to the soundscape and to contribute more to the album than serving as variation and lighter moments. They need a more professional sound.

7˝ / 10