Friday, March 6, 2015

Mini-review: Schoolcraft “The Dead of Winter” (single) (2015)

“The Dead of Winter” single cover

If the name Lindsay Schoolcraft rings a bell, most likely it is due to her role as keyboardist and female vocalist for the gothic black-metal outfit Cradle of Filth, but Lindsay has been creating her own music before and since joining the Filth; much of which is described as gothic or symphonic rock. While her new band certainly takes up a lot of her time these days, Lindsay always finds time to compose new original material; just last year, her Cradle of Filth cohort Dani Filth was featured as a guest vocalist on the Schoolcraft track “Fading Star”. Although the band is currently hard at work making a new album, Lindz found some time to record a couple of new songs and a cover tune. At the stroke of midnight on March 6th, Lindsay revealed her latest single on the official Schoolcraft Bandcamp page. After just a couple of hours, I felt inclined to write down my thoughts on the new tunes from the new 3-track single, “The Dead of Winter”.

“The Dead of Winter”
A slow, haunting piece that starts off with pianos and builds up to guitars that are strong but not overpowering the gentle melodies. Lindsay's voice sounds so mournful on the verse “I can't remember from October to December”, and her vocals are clear and pure throughout. There is a heaviness to the song, but it never tries to upstage the song's softer, more orchestral elements; such as the gorgeous cello part in the middle of the song. A captivating song that you can just immerse yourself into as its magic carries you away.

A cover of the Madonna song from the late ’90s, I just completely fell in love with Lindsay's version. The original is great, and has always been a song that has been begging to be given a symphonic rock makeover. Lindz meets the demand perfectly; her voice just as hypnotic on the chanting parts as Madonna's was, and the music with just as much grandeur and theatrical ambiance as the original. Add in the romantic, dark, and dramatic elements of Lindsay's music and vocals, and you've got an electronic pop classic turned into an operatic-goth masterpiece.

“Solstice Day”
The final track of the 3-song single, the shortest song of the three reminds me, musically, of the “Summer Wine” cover by Ville Valo and Natalia Avelon; that same slow and melodic, yet infectiously catchy sort of tune. Lindsay has a way of drawing you into this sort of other world through her voice, with nothing more than a few descriptive lyrics and some emotional vocal harmonies and chants. Absolutely gorgeous in its stunning simplicity.

Overall opinion: If you are a fan of gothic rock, symphonic metal, classical components in heavier music, or the female voice, then Schoolcraft is just the music for you. Lindsay is neither the over-the-top operatic voices that dominate the femme-metal scene these days; nor is she the tough or abrasive “rocker chick” voice that encompasses the other side of the coin when it comes to female voices in metal music. She has a gentler voice, but one that conveys strength and passion. If you listen to “The Dead of Winter”, perhaps you will begin to understand just what it is about her voice that made Cradle of Filth choose her as their female vocalist simply by just coming across her music online. She has that ability to make you stop dead in your tracks and listen, without ever coming across as too bombastic or too aggressive. While it will probably be some time before another full-length Schoolcraft album comes our way, “The Dead of Winter” shows so much promise as to what we can expect from Lindz once she has the chance to give us more music!


Thanks to Lindsay Schoolcraft for giving me the chance to hear this song a few hours earlier than everyone else, thus giving me more time to process the music and write down my thoughts!

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