My silence didn't warn you from asking me about "Once Beautiful"?
Well, neither did it fool my editor. He absolutely wanted me to get e-mail in the vein of "Why do you write about music that you don't like? Die, motherfucker, die!".
So here goes: Don't buy, don't listen to, don't even think about this American, washed out copy of anything remotely darkwave and neo gothic. With a backdrop of thinnish sounding, mostly electronic soundscapes that are quite frankly painful to listen to (they are that badly produced). Jeff Diehm sings depressing lyrics in a whining tone of voice.
That actually sums it up. Neither the quite nicely arranged strings in "December" nor an appearance by Tina Root from Switchblade Symphony saves "Once Beautiful" from being a disaster. Yes, the hooks are nicely executed and the ideas for songs are there, but I actually can't say why you should listen to this travesty of gothic music anyway.
I mean "You feel the end of pleasure/You feel the end of pain" ("World Down")? Honestly!?
Maybe, I say maybe, if you are a die-hard fan of The Crüxshadows, you might get something out of this. I know I don't. And yes, I really like this kind of music, thankyouverymuch! I just don't like it being made fun of.
For the record: The first time I listened to "Once Beautiful", skipping through it in 40 second snippets, I thought I would grade it with a five or a four. Then I listen through it carefully. So now you don't have to.