After the negativity for her decent debut solo album with even Sarah Jezebel Deva herself not over enamoured with the end results there has been a subdued anticipation for its follow up even with the impressive pedigree of artist. For all of those holding back investigating The Corruption Of Mercy released via Listenable Records, the recommendation is easy just dive into its splendour and enjoy. The release may not quite touch album of the year standards but its generous and glowing sounds matched by eager intensity and emotive energy is a sure thing to pleasure the senses and feed all harmonious and adventurous taste buds.
It does seem strange that it had taken until 2008 for Sarah to take the step into the limelight with her own solo work. Fourteen years as a backing singer with Cradle of Filth, and work with bands like The Kovenant, The Gathering, Mystic Circle, Trigger The Bloodshed, Mensrea (GWAR side project), Graveworm, Tulus (Name later changed to Khold), and Creations Tears (Featuring ex Paradise Lost drummer Lee Morris) has sealed her place in metal even if it subdued her potential in many ways. 2005 did see her join forces with Tommy and Chris Rehn to form Angtoria whose album God Has A Plan For Us All gained strong acclaim. The band never toured with her COF duties always the pull away for her. Three years later she did take the move to go solo releasing her debut album A Sign Of Sublime , featuring a host of guests including Dave Pybus (COF/Angtoria/Anathema) on bass, Chris Rehn (Angtoria) keys/programming, Martin Powell (Ex COF/My Dying Bride/Anathema) keys and Max Blunos (Trigger The Bloodshed) on drums.
For The Corruption Of Mercy which she started working on immediately after her debut, Sarah Jezebel Deva brought together a permanent and touring band under the umbrella of her name consisting of guitarists Dan Abela and Jonny Gray, bassist Ablaz and drummer Jamie Abela. The album also has the guest wizardry of Pzy-Clone from The Kovenant to contribute programming and orchestration. Recorded at Legacy London Studios, England the project’s official website states ‘Sarah feels “The Corruption Of Mercy” should have been the first album.’ With the major step forward in all aspects musically, lyrically and song craft it is understandable and the reason people should not think twice about checking the album out.
The songs within the album are as firmly varied as Sarah’s vocals are impressive; her soaring and glorious tones matched by the diverse and large soundscapes conjured up, though at times the band unveils the simple and elegant sounds to equal effect. The release starts off with ‘No Paragon of Virtue’, a large dramatic song with soaring orchestral sounds fused against driven energetic heavy riffs and thrusting beats. The song sounds like an even more theatrical version of Stolen Babies but staying well within the bounds of pomposity. The song is immense and grows even deeper into the heart the more times one enters its charms.
The straight forward and satisfying direct rock flow of ‘The World Won’t Hold Your Hand’ comes next before passing over to the melodic majesty of ‘A Matter of Convenience’. Though it is not exactly a ground breaking song its smoothness, expressive vocals and lyrics, and captivating allure makes it a highlight amongst many. The dark synth vein running through it brings a twinkling wickedness also adding to its power.
A great song that leads into the album’s finest moment in the glory of ‘Silence Please’, which like the opener it is another grand and sparkling theatrical flourish of sounds. Sarah’s vocals are as expansive and wonderfully soaring as the orchestral arrangements both swarming over the striking intense riffs and attack. One can imagine it framing any highly dramatic gothic movie scene or dark hearted animation, the sound larger than life and as powerful as one would wish.
The remaining tracks all bring bright creativity and impressive substance from the stunning piano and voice piece ‘Pretty with Effects’, the pulsating urgency and striking harmonies of ‘Sirens’, to the folk metal tinged immensity of ‘The Eyes That Lie’ a track that Arkona would eagerly grab, the songs ripple with engaging mesmerising beauty and beguiling energy, Even the cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’, a track well bled dry by multiple versions is a mighty fine and different effort.
The Corruption Of Mercy is a thoroughly impressive and enjoyable release and evidence that Sarah Jezebel Deva herself and the band are a more than formidable and important part of anyone’s playlist, and as this piece comes to a close whilst listening once more, the album is nearer that best of the year step than ever before.