Renowned for his stints in black metal projects such as Darvulia, Peste Noire and Celestia, French drummer and vocalist Andy Julia took his love for all things cold-wave and originally formed Soror Dolorosa in 2001, alongside ex-Funeraell members Franck Ligabue, Hervé Carles and Christophe Guenot.
Initially a drummer for the band, Julia made the move to the front of the stage before the four-piece released debut album ‘Blind Scenes’ a decade after their formation. The French act return with second album ‘No More Heroes’ after their debut pleasantly stunned us with a fresh yet unexpected transition to differing musical avenues.
This second attempt follows on from where that exceptional debut left off and builds on their cold retro sound with extra twinges of gothic rock. ‘No More Heroes’ isn’t merely a gorgeous, gothic rock affair though; it’s wrapped in silky dark romanticism, instilled with teary dark-wave subtleties and spattered with a post-punk edge that elevates the listener into an entirely new world of beautiful sadness.
‘Hologram’ might be one of the slower tracks of the bunch, but it’s one of the strongest. There’s a slithering, almost dirty, Badseeds feel to the bass-line, except it’s coated with a dreamy Bauhaus-like synth and perfected with hypnotic and echoing wah-wah effects. Vocally, what’s great about Julia is the fact he can reach low to hit the deeper, baritone notes and still make a seemingly effortless transition into some higher notes with Robert Smith-like (The Cure) quality to them. His icy vocalising is the source of Soror Dolorosa’s intimate, personal and sensitive atmosphere. ‘Motherland’ is a track Cutting Crew only wished they could have been good enough to make in the mid-‘80s, while ‘Wormhole’ has that distinguished, reflective French sound in the mesmerising guitar picking; the kind that you can hear coming through in acts like Alcest, Les Discrets and even Italian post-rockers Arctic Plateau. However, the difference is in the delivery and Soror Dolorosa cloak it in a sombre, dark-wave ambience and give it that extra bit of mascara-smudged, gothic melancholy. A very strong second release makes Soror Dolorosa an exciting revivalist in cold-wave music.