Tradition or New Paths?
Although ZERAPHINE have only been around for a few years in this shape and form and the band are
"merely" presenting their third album, there are certain factors in their preferred creative process that
have become a kind of tradition for the group from the German capital. Like the fact that the musicians
ensconced themselves in the preliminary stages of the recordings at that farm in the Spreewald area
again, where they came together to lay the musical foundations for Blind Camera. They subsequently
returned to the studio of Berlin producer Thommy Hein, who had also directed the recordings of their
previous albums. Within these familiar surroundings, ZERAPHINE felt ready to tackle a number of
musical changes. To transform their sound the way they had in mind, the quintet concentrated on
working with contrasts within the individual songs. Kaltes Herz (Cold Heart) or I'm Numb are perfect
examples of how the instrumentation in the verses differs from that of the choruses, lending a special
significance to the individual passages. Some listeners may feel this change of the sonic picture isn't so
distinct as to be considered characteristic of Blind Camera. Paradox as it may sound: perhaps the real
achievement lies in the perception that leads the listener to believe that nothing much has changed. The
fivesome have invested a lot of effort in recording these sections in such a way that no breaks are
created, despite the varied instrumentation. Numerous innovations – such as the increasingly complex
vocal lines – are initially registered on a subconscious level and only come to light once you've listened
to the record intently a number of times.
German or English?
Surprisingly, the arrival of their debut, Kalte Sonne, in 2002 triggered a discussion that continues to this
day among the band's audience about which of the two languages – German or English – suites
ZERAPHINE's music and contents better. The fact that Kalte Sonne was recorded entirely in German
had merely been an experiment for vocalist Sven Friedrich, certainly not programmatic for the future.
With the exception of two tracks, the successor album, Traumaworld (2003), was recorded entirely in
the mother tongue of pop music – and surprise, surprise: ZERAPHINE sounded good in English, too!
Blind Camera has opted for the golden mean, English and German lyrics balancing each other. Again,
this was no deliberate decision. As far as Friedrich is concerned, each respective song only works in its
chosen language, so the decision which language to use was more or less a subconscious one. Fact is
that this bilingualism suits the five from Berlin extremely well, nonchalantly breaking up the sonic picture,
oozing international charm on the one hand and proving on the other that German lyrics can have high
standards and lots of emotions – just allow the words of the anthemnic Kaltes Herz to work on you.
Gothic or Alternative?
Those infamous pigeon holes, loved and hated all at once. Similar to the language problem, the style
question is always raised from outside, never from within the band. If you ask ZERAPHINE's members
what kind of music they play, you will always get the same answer: "Whatever music we like!" Still,
stylistic classifications can of course be made. If the debut, Kalte Sonne, still displayed gothic traits, its
successor revealed more alternative influences, and Blind Camera operates between these two poles. A
track like the furious opener I Never Want To Be Like You celebrates pure alternative guitar music on an
international level. Soon afterwards, however, gothic roots begin to peek through. I Feel Your Trace sets
off the wonderfully screaming guitars to advantage, like The Mission at their best. The big plus of
ZERAPHINE mark 2005 is that the band expertly combines different styles as well as different
instrumentations. Gothic, alternative and electronic influences complement each other, forming the
band's typical, unmistakable style. There's obviously a reason that their role as support act during the
recent HIM tour turned into a triumphal march. Gig by gig, the musicians took the hearts of the HIM fans
by storm – an accomplishment that no other band has made before them. The effect manifested itself in
the phenomenal attendances of ZERAPHINE's own subsequent mini-tour.
Seeing or Blind?
The odd music fiend may hesitate when hearing the moniker of the new ZERAPHINE album for the first
time. Blind Camera sounds like a car without wheels, a record player without a needle. That's not quite
the way it's meant. Naturally, the camera in the album title isn't blind in the true sense of the word, it
does work. It's still possible to see through the viewfinder, it's only a question of what the eye perceives.
Symbolically, the "blind camera" stands for the ambivalence of looking only at a part of a context which
may express something quite different once you grasp the overall picture. Or, to take us to the new
album's theme and its lyrics, which mainly deal with people's negative characteristics: an outside look at
a person or at an event in which that person is involved can be different to your own perspective on that
person. Musically, the album title is taken up by the three instrumentals, Blind Camera I to III, which
each contain the melodies of other songs. While parts I and III feature elements from Until I Finally
Drown, Blind Camera II plays with components of Falscher Glanz.
Talking of "seeing": Blind Camera will be available in a limited edition, including a 45-minute DVD with
lots of video footage and insider information!