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CD Reviews

Review of Esprit d'Escalier by Burn Magazine

The great thing about goth music these days is that it comes in so many forms . Manson is goth, Lacuna are goth, Nightwish are (were?) goth. All of which is a far cry from where it all started. Back in the day, misery, a drum machine and a guitar was all that was needed . and so it was that we had Sisters of Mercy and The Mission to keep us warm in our bedsits. The modern stuff, it has to be said, is too noisy for a good sulky wallow . so thank fuck that The Way of All Flesh are here.

Like Wayne Hussey singing early Sisters, this Sheffield four-piece bring misery to life in a way no one has managed in a long time. Self-produced (which normally means production quality suffers, to be honest), esprit has nine songs which bring to mind everything that was great about the 80s . the aforementioned Hussey and Eldritch (also both from Yorkshire . must be something in the water), along with a nod towards Bauhaus and, dare I say it, Soft Cell (ooh, another Yorkshire lot).

Final Resolve gets us underway, haunting keyboards to the fore, Sleepwalking is almost electro-pop before the guitars kick in, Never Again is led by the bass before Dave Flesh's impassioned vocals slither over the top . basically there's not a duff track on here. The great thing about this album is it's simplicity . the drums are kept simple, the guitars unfussy, the vocals direct and driving the songs. It's like being back in 1984 (there's a growing retro theme this month.).

What makes all of this tick, of course is frontman Dave. Part Andrew Eldritch (of Sisters fame), part Pete Murphy (Bauhaus), he still manages to sound original, his haunting tones spreading from the speakers and captivating you with tales of lost love. And if the eight original tracks weren't enough to get your attention (and they should be), then buy it for the cover of White Wedding. One listen and you'll forget that Billy Idol was ever seen snarling on your TV screens . this lot turn it into a goth classic.

Bring a little despair into your life . you know you want to.

4/5 stars

Review of Esprit d'Escalier by Underground Press Full Review

The Way of All Flesh gained and tested 10 years of experience before releasing their long awaited debut album, 'Esprit D'Escalier'. The band is deeply rooted in the haunting past of Goth-Rock with heavy guitar based melodies and deeply melancholic vocals but in the shadows of the genre they remain true to themselves. In the face of so many bands killing the essence of the music, TWOAF has evolved beyond and delivers a great sound. The album includes an epic cover of Billy Idol's "White Wedding".

4 stars

Review of Esprit d'Escalier by Shadowplay.ru. Full Review

"Unashamed Gothic Rock" as the guys from Sheffield call their music. In spite of the fact that the release is a bit late (you could listen to several tracks from the single that was issued two years ago) it hasn.t lost its charm and power and it is still very tasty, really tasty, and not just because of the black candy inside of each CD promo-package (may be, it was supposed to sugar the critics? Why not?). Nobody could find out the intended use of this .mystic. thing. But to say the truth, they don't need to give any presents - the music is self-made. For those, who appreciate the traditional gothic genre .1 - gothic-rock those who are sick and tired of the plenty of synth-pop and electronic music, this release will be just on time.

Although the release is a bit late, the lateness in this case is easy to explain. We could compare this lateness with generous wine or whisky. Truthfully speaking the brit-goth that the band plays is a rather canonical branch of gothic-rock. Saying with a certain part of exaggeration it is becoming older, and while listening to it too much it could be even annoying and no longer be interesting. As for this album, it is absolutely fantastic. It can make you to like it and it has its own charm, that is a little bit difficult to notice for the first-time listener. There are also several details, which are advantageous for the work with this album. This is right track order, that is not boring for the second time listening. And the performance technique is absolutely fabulous. The band greatly differs from the typical British gothic-rock by its powerful sound of guitar. Sometimes it seems to be too heavy, but this solid sound can't be compared with, even to masters of the genre. We should pay compliments to the velocity characteristics, which make the Way of All Flesh to sound modern and to be different from the other British gothic-rock bands, like Vendemmian or Inkubus Sukkubus. Because of the vocal, the album atmosphere has something painfully melancholic, similar to the bloody cuts, and as a result of this "espirit d'escalier" sounds rather vivid and can transfer the emotions and feelings from the lyrics of the album. Like the first time of listening to the band, really amazing feelings appear while listening to the musicians. work that corresponds to the name of their music.


Translated by Aleksei Doroshko. If you can improve this translation, drop us an email.

Review of Esprit d'Escalier by Alternative Pop. Full Review

TWOAF debuts with a really good material, and the only disadvantage of the album is the lack of a drummer. A live percussion would give it a real kick. Apart from this, I'm 100 percent satisfied as I like their music a lot. I like the lead guitar and those hard, rock-like riffs. TWOAF uses the power of string instruments. UK has been missing powerful guitars since the time Killing Miranda and Rosetta Stone departed towards industrial rock and The Dream Disciples and Passion Play left the stage from unknown reasons. Many tried to fill the hole, including Descendants of Cain, The Faces of Sarah, Voices of Masada. It is nice to see a light in the tunnel finally. If the gents could only eliminate some tiny mistakes, and get a drummer, they could prove really successful. Their first album already won my respect as was the case with Killing Miranda and Passion Play. I'd like to see them go further on the second album. White Wedding makes the record a bit more delightful, and you probably know who the original author was. ;)

Grade: 9

Tranlation by Sebastian Szulc

Review of Esprit d'Escalier by Gothtronic. Full Review

Goth-rock/goth-metal with darkwave influences. That's the best way to describe the music on "Esprit d'escalier". The songs are solid with melodic guitars and synthesizers. The band lacks a drummer, it uses electronic percussion. Occasionably the album resembles the sound of the Sisters of Mercy's "Vision thing". With "Final resolve" and "Sleepwalking" the band starts in high gear. Voor those interested in 80's prog-metal this album has also something to offer. Vocalist David Redford has a pleasant voice and the album in general is an enjoyable listen. As the album progresses it becomes calmer and more etherical with an emphasis on the guitars. These sound remarkably tight and atmospherical. The title track "Esprit d'escalier" is a decent rock ballad en is a welcome variation with regard to the previous, faster songs. A conspicuous song is the cover of Billy Idol's "White wedding". It remains faithful to the original and fits in well with the other songs. The closer is the elegant "Blood and sand". Considering the fact that this is a debut album it's a sound and solid piece of music. It gives you the impression you're listening to an experienced band.

Grade: 8

Review of Esprit d'Escalier by Grave Concerns. Full Review

I really like what I had heard from this band. So I contacted them to review their cd. It's like listening to the band Jethro Tull but a goth version of. LOVE IT! There's a slight metal feeling to this as well. I absolutely love the goth/synth track called "Fragile world". This band fits on the shelf next to Bella Morte's most recent releases. Other stand out tracks "Never again", the danceable "So cold" (this song has an old skool vibe to it too), "espirit d'escalier" and their Billy Idol cover of "White Wedding" is a bit edgier than Billy's version and that's really cool to. This band is worth checking out and hopefully they will follow up with a cd as strong.

Review of Esprit d'Escalier by Mick Mercer. Full Review

The label on the sweet promo gift of a stick of black seaside rock says, quite logically, 'Unashamed Gothic Rock' and they further label themselves Musical Instruments Of Mass Destruction, although that isn't so accurate.

'Final Resolve' also purrs into perfectly constructive action, with cutely dipping synth behind the proudly marching, swaying guitar and we meet our first set of diffident Goth Vocals. These go hand in gerrluv with the melody, and it's a cool one, as the guitar and synth mesh and throb. 'Sleepwalking' takes a lighter approach with the varied guitar spreading outwards as the synth goes frisky, giving the vocals get some more space to emerge, and it's an easy winner 'Fragile World' rolls out a resolute Goth riff, with a mellow undertow for fulsome balance, then a growing guitar presence reaffirms why Goth can have such a noble feel, typically offset by modest vocals. They do it well, bringing in a convincing sense of atmosphere, then 'Never Again' has a choppier route to follow, with fantastic guitar ringing out behind the increasingly confident singing, and the glowing synth work laid over a stern bass carpet. Variety, they have it.

'Andromeda' could have been some milky bout of bleepiness, but it's taut with guitar friction, thromboid bass and agitated pace, although the ending could have been sharper. 'So Cold' droops along with a groaning doominess, lit by pert guitar and an escalating urgency which the vocals brings through as they gather themselves for an almighty push, but it's still quite controlled with a nice bounciness emerging. 'Esprit d'Escalier' is slow and borders on ponderous given the way the words have to be rushed in part, with the guitar bleeding to little effect, and considering they've waited for so long to release a debut only having nine songs is weird (the songlist on the rear sleeve is also inaccurate) and letting one of them be a cover of 'White Wedding' is positively silly. It is cute though, as it should be, and soft-focus, showing the singer one important fact. When he goes for the big emphasis he can do it, which means he needn't mope around the lower reaches so much of the time.

After those minor disappointments 'Blood And Sand' ends as a sensitive rollercoaster which is convincingly done, indicating a songwriting ability they need to develop because the way this moody thing is elongated with subtle twists accentuated by glorious guitar really is excellent, and despite the rather slack finish they've got something here to be proud of. Ditto the album, which isn't explosive, but has a fine consistency and now calls for them to break out and believe in themselves.

English translation of a review of Eprit d'Escalier from Darkpage. Full Untranslated Review

The first time I noticed this band was on the compilation of New Dark Age vol. 2 and I said to myself that "Final Resolve" is absolutely fabulous. Moreover, comparing with young and actually undistinguished death rock/dark post-punk bands this real British gothrock of Sisters Of Mercy and Rosetta Stone is not just actual. There is all the best from the gothic rock of 80-90.s in it. Voices Of Masada and Dr. Arthur Krause crowded into the place near The Way Of All Flesh but it.s just addressed all the attention to the band. It is also clear enough that TWOAF is as good as its elder brothers Rosetta Stone. Since then, I thoroughly examined every information about the band. In 2005 The Way Of All Flesh produced their first so long-awaited album. For all these 10 years it has been tested by the time and has been created with great experience.

Touching the album, moving from one track to another, I made sure that the band seriously announced about itself by 9 tracks of "Esprit D"escalier". The album opens with the all-powerful hit - "Final Resolve", which you will listen yourself stupid. Its guitar collages remind Vendemmian, and as for bass reefs and drum differences you can compare them with Rosetta Stone. "Sleepwalking" is rather aggressive and embays you to the tremendous hopelessness. Here you are. Beyond The Wall Of Sleep. "Fragile World" is prettified with background symphonic effects and sounds really seriously and amazing. As for rapid "Never Again" it makes you to fall down with massive stream of sound. "Andromeda", a thoughtful, with tempo change and very unordinary, becomes a suitable continuation of the album. And the real decoration of "Esprit D"escalier" is a romantic and sensitive "So Cold". It makes the hearts to beat faster. Dark and tragic ballad "Esprit D"escalier" speaks for itself. The album couldn.t be imagined without this song. There is also the fast and successful cover version of Billy Idol "White Wedding". At the end of "Esprit D"escalier" there is a turn of the deep and very interesting second ballad "Blood And Sand".

Fantastic and real gothrock is so rare nowadays. 5/5

Demo Reviews

Review of our current demo recording by Mick Mercer. Full Review

Interesting three tracks from the Sheffield fourpiece who do the right thing and announce themselves as UNASHAMED GOTHIC ROCK. (Full marks!) And although they look old school and mention Mission, Sisters, Nephilim and (odds ones out) Bauhaus, this isn't entirely the case. Yes, I tended to know what they were going to do next before it emerged, so they do have a fairly orthodox habits, but apart from the final track, they're fairly spry.

Clear, and without bombast, they set slow atmospherics in place for 'Final Resolve', with some damn fine wiggly percussion, which remains one of these greatest traits. They have a way with rhythm, to keep your interest perky, and this stealth offsets the slightly chintzy dated guitar here, while Redford's attractively mild vocals also command respect, although by being less than belligerent it does mean the guitars are held down in the mix or he'd be swamped. It's a bright, workable sound.

It gets better in 'Andromeda' despite vocals being hard to distinguish at times, so they do mess about, and when it kicks off it does in a spirited fashion. They have a real feel for space, and it gives the song a second wind as the guitar fizzes and whisks about.

Then they rather drown their charm with 'So Cold' which is overlong, with bleaty/droney vocals and the bass seems rather bobbley when left exposed but it does settle down with the vocals overheating while swinging capriciously atop an elegant guitar hammock. In truth, that last song is nowhere near as good as the others and either needs radical surgery or a swift burial. A band with good ideas also needs common sense.

Review of our current demo recording by Meltdown Magazine. Issue 16, First Quarter

They say they're "ashamed Gothic rock" (that should be unashamed! - ed) and they're not wrong! TWOAF are a four-piece from Shefield who play a very upbeat blend of classic gothic rock but without the melodramatic vocals. This addition gives them a contemporary edge even though their music is deinitely evocative of early 90s Goth. A very promising demo from a band you should be hearing more of soon.

4/5 Skulls

Review of our current demo recording by Kaleidoscope Magazine. Issue 16, Summer 2004

A Sheffield based 4-piece with a drum machine, it comes as no suprise that they were originally formed in 1996, as they evoke the sound and feel of the gothic guitar rock movement during the mid 90s. Think Vendemmian, Revolution By Night - you're getting close. Sound, competent goth that will be sure to please the trad fans, as there isn't much else going around that captures this particular era so well. A Band to watch out for - check them out on www.twoaf.com.

Review of our current demo recording by Sandman Magazine. Sheffield Issue 15, December 2003

This ploughs the same furrows as Depeche Mode or Placebo and is therefore likely to whip our teutonic cousins into something of a frenzy. Thrashing guitars overlay Mode-like electronics in a manner that isn't entirely disagreeable. Like Sheffield's legendary Artery this pulses along but again falls foul of the curse of shoddy recording quality. A plenary reminder of how depressing the Eighties were, but this lot clearly deserve a second listen.

English translation of our demo review on Stillborn Webzine. 21/02/04.

A really good demo for this goth-rock quartet from sheffield..

The Way Of All Flesh brings you 3 beautiful tracks in this demo, of pure, gothic rock (instant kudos for your name! although also for me it resembles a name of another grindcore group!) and although declared influences are from Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and Fields of the Nephilim, I found them a goth-rock hybrid for multiple personalities with good ideas. From the three tracks I was given my favourite was 'So Cold', an obscure and primordial venture into darkwave which continues with references to The Cure and a grand work of guitar.. the drum machine and bass weren't much in evidence. For some listening to the vocals, Dave Redford demonstrated the best of an alto range, when around the top of the range, or conversely, at a really deep bass level, our Dave loses many of the points he gained in his favour.

To sum up, three optimal tracks of gothic rock with a romantic twist from a secure and capable band already performing on a high level, it's not bad.. so why haven't they got a contract?

Translated by Tanyafish. Let us know if there are any errors.

English translation of our demo review on Shadowplay.ru.

This demo including 3 tracks belongs to the band which is at the backyard of the British goth scene since the middle of 90-s. The material represents high quality but standard brit-goth !!! of the middle of 90-s. And it has all necessary characteristics like drum-machine (who talk about themselves -Yeah, we play with drummachine !!! And, so?), clear bass line, rock guitars and corresponding dynamics. I'd like to compare it with their compatriots (among the most famous in Russia) like Libitina, Inkubus Sukkubus, Children On Stun or Die Laughing. Besides I'd like to mention that the band played with the Dream Disciples. You can guess who had some influence on the musicians don't visiting their site. Of course it would be early Sisters, Bauhaus and Rosetta Stone. Alice Cooper and the Ministry are also mentioned on the site. But frankly speaking it's difficult to feel some kind of their influence. It is very pleased that the musicians take this position of the local goth band without any illusions and even with a humor and of course their try to change the situation. And I wish them good luck in these changes and their further development.


Live Reviews

Live at Dark City Festival, Sheffield by Sandman Magazine. Sheffield December 2003 Overspill Reviews

The lights are low, the floor is a sea of black and the snakebite is flowing. Welcome to Dark City. Traditional-looking goth band 'The Way of all Flesh' open the proceedings, their performance thriving on lyrics such as `they walk into the night' and `I can't believe I love you', the brooding intensity of which is compounded by Reford's clear singing voice and synthesised sounds. They finish amusingly with Sisters of Mercy cover 'Alice', jokingly donning goth hats and their best dark expressions.

Live at the Varsity, Wolverhampton. 19/10/2001. Full Review

...Due to our slightly late arrival Way Of All Flesh were well into their set, but from what we did see of them they were more than impressive. They come from the more metallic side of goth to deliver a sound that's neat industrial that could be compared to Squid (only better than that). Songs such as Sleepwalking show the bands impressive songwriting capability and intense playing. I hope to see a lot more of Way Of All Flesh in the near future.

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