If there is one truth that becomes more apparent with the passing years, it is that the goth scene just won’t stay dead. For every kid who trades in their Specimen collection for the latest Bis album, it seems that two new adolescents are drafted into the legion of darkness. While many people will agree that “Darkwave” grows more tedious with age, some seem to find solace in stagnation. We can always count on a band of teenage night‑creatures (and their middle‑aged admirers) to take the look and sound of 1980’s post‑punk and drive it further into the realm of self‑parody. “The Mystery of the Whisper,” the latest disc from the Cruxshadows, more than aptly proves this point. Upon first glance, it’s obvious that the Cruxshadows are the poster children for all that is spooky. The packaging embodies every cliche of the scene (or is that “lifestyle”?) ‑ spiky hair mixed with too much black eyeliner, bell‑sleeved dresses, ankhs, computer‑generated infernos, etc. As the album begins to play, the uber‑gothness of the Cruxshadows becomes even more obvious. Opening with the track “Isis & Osiris (Life/Death),” the band conjures up the spirit of Dead Can Dance. Lead singer Rogue does his best to capture the Middle Eastern‑vibe that sends all of the corset‑clad girls running to the dancefloor. Eventually, the Cruxshadows settle into the sound that dominates this lengthy release ‑ overly dramatic synthpop set off by flat vocals and lyrics that could have been lifted from SNL’s “Goth Talk.” Throughout seventeen tracks, listeners succumb to such profound statements as “everywhere I go they all stare/I don’t understand why they care/ They stare at me all in black/ And when I turn they stare at my back.” Needless to say, the Cruxshadows prove that we need to seriously consider driving the stake through goth’s tortured heart once and for all.
–liz (Dancing Ferret Discs)