Artist: Emilie Autumn
Title: “Opheliac” Deluxe Edition
Label: The End Records
Release Date: 10/26/2009
Genre: Avant-garde/Experimental Punk
If you are a fan of the strange or bizarre and what which comes out of left field and leaves you curious for more than Emilie Autumn might be just the musician you are looking for. I first heard of Emilie with her album “Enchant” and since that time have witnessed her transformation into an almost ever changing artistic entity. The “Opheliac” album was originally released out in Germany on Trisol and now thanks to her signing on with The End Records, the US fans not only get the album but also bonus disc of treats and trinkets. With two parts of the recording to examine I decided to break this narrative up into segments discussing each. Join me as we wander into the mind and madness of Emilie Autumn.
CD1: Is the main part of the “Opheliac” release and it is an interesting listen but this must be done with a very open mind as its not quite a Metal or Punk release but something entirely different. Emilie begins with a haunting harpsichord intro on the title track and then it’s into a pumping almost danceable tune where she sings of the “Opheliac” inside her. The bass and drumming appear to be electronic in nature across the board but the keys and violin playing are all Emilie. She follows with “Swallow” and showcases a wonderful register and a voice that features a slight sadness in some areas. “Liar” is a tune I have enjoyed and seen her perform in concert and while a darker number we hear some of her amazing violin as its intro. Believe me this woman can play and I am one day hoping for an instrumental release featuring her doing this. There is a subtle beauty being delivered in “The Art Of Suicide” and yes, more harpsichords which I really liked and then it’s off to a darker tune again with the very Depeche Mode vibe of “I Want My Innocence Back”. We’re only at track five and this is an album that goes in and out of numerous genres and styles making this a very “visual listen”. There are times when you feel as though you are listening to a book unfold in your mind since every tune seems to connect to the next. Skipping over to “Gothic Lolita” we find a great high register in Emilie’s voice as she sings to a demographic that is pretty much her core support as far as fans go. The song also had a Broadway feel and I could almost visualize this being done on the live stage as it played. Nice work. It’s followed by “Dead Is The New Alive” which in my opinion is perhaps the albums best tune and one that should be broadcast on both terrestrial and satellite radio stations. I would love to hear her do a more “Metal” version of this one or Doom it up a wee bit. I will leave some of these tunes to your own discovery but this CD closes with some outtakes from the recording session which are cool and strange at the same time. There is also a video of a “Day Out With Emily” which you need to watch in your computer or gaming station. Now onto CD number two.
CD2: With this disc we get what amounts to the bonus treats and there is some interesting stuff to be found on it. I won’t examine track for track but I had to say that I really enjoyed hearing Emilie’s stuff when done in the acoustic sense since it worked out so well. It’s nice to find ones material being able to cross from the electronic to the acoustic sense and still come across without losing its original point. Perhaps in some sense it comes across better depending on the songs premise. I think Emilie should consider a full acoustic release of her signature tunes. “Thank God I’m Pretty” comes to us in two versions and this song really reminded me of Amanda Palmer who I think would make a fantastic collaborator for Autumn. We get the regular version of this tune and one labeled as “shoe gaze” which I did not agree with as quantification until the fuzzy riffs came in at minute three. There is a lush orchestral instrumental presented with “Dominant” and it delivers us each of Emilie’s musical talents of harpsichord and violin. Listening to it I felt it was “end of the movie” music and mused that this would have been the perfect closer to the whole piece as the players and credits rolled past. She does a cover of The Smiths “Asleep” and offers up an amazing Bach piece on violin with “Largo for Violin”. There is a bit of quirky Broadway fun had with “Marry Me” which finds harpsichord, violin and vocals. Emilie reads a passage from her book “The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls” and does so in a British accent. I have yet to see this book but admit I am curious. The “Interview” with Emilie is conducted by the singer herself and she answers questions that she feels should be asked as opposed to those that she is asked. It’s amusing. She gives us a poem and then sings a schoolyard song with “Miss Lucy”. It was clear that she was having a blast with all the stuff she was dishing out on the bonus CD. You will need your PC to watch the video of her book signing and live footage and as mentioned before your gaming system will also work.
Closing up the release comes with a great booklet with plenty of photos of Emilie who you will notice is a very stylish individual in terms of the fashion sense. There are some drawings and liner notes as well as lyrics to some of the key tracks but it does not appear to be the full album nor include any of the bonus tracks words. I was okay with that on this release. Before I go, a quick recommendation. In concert Emilie’s shows are something to witness and combine Dark Cabaret, Underground Broadway, Music Concert, Visual Art and Acrobatics. There is truly a little bit of everything to absorb but it’s not for everyone. You need to be very open minded to different things. Being brutally honest you leave there with a sense of awe and curiosity about what you just took part in. Check this album if you are in the mood for something different but don’t judge it on the first listen since it does take a few go rounds to better understand and appreciate what she is all about.
4. The Art Of Suicide
5. I Want My Innocence Back
6. Misery Loves Company
7. God Help Me
9. Gothic Lolita
10. Dead Is The New Alive
11. I Know Where You Sleep
12. Let The Record Show
13. Opheliac Recording Out Takes
14. Video Extra: A Day Out With EA
1. Thank God I’m Pretty
4. Gloomy Sunday
6. Mad Girl (acoustic)
7. The Art Of Suicide (acoustic)
8. Thank God I’m Pretty (shoegaze)
9. Largo For Violin
10. Marry Me
11. Excerpt from “The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls”
12. Interview with Emilie Autumn
13. Poem: How To Break A Heart
14. Miss Lucy Had Some Leeches
15. Live In Concert/Asylum Book Signing/Reading (video)
Official Website: http://www.emilieautumn.com