GEMINI FIVE – Black Anthem


Wild Kingdom
Release date: June 15, 2005

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In 2003, Swedish Gemini Five released a notably strong debut album, Babylon Rockets. The album was full of catchy and melodic Hard Rock songs — at their best easily comparable to early Mötley Crüe and L.A. Guns. Now Gemini Five has finished their following up album, Black Anthem.

Even though Babylon Rockets had its main focus on fun-driven and energetic, good-time-oriented Hard Rock compositions (occasionally it even had some Pop Music aspects), it still, at times, hinted towards Rock’s darker and more obscure traditions. For example, “Myself Esteem” and “Automaticool” sounded like Marilyn Manson, and “Hardcore” reminded of Him. With Black Anthem, as the album title too reveals, main songwriter and singer Tin Star and the rest of Gemini Five are exploring this darker musical landscape even further … too far, one might say.

Gemini Five seemingly doesn’t want to treat their audience with catchy choruses anymore. The four-piece has now chosen to be a Marilyn Manson sound-alike act, as the main part of Black Anthem pairs up unpleasantly close to the Mechanical Animal part of Manson’s career (hints towards Him are still apparent, and a small comparison to Stabbing Westward also makes a description of the recording further accurate).

Not that Marilyn Manson holds a patent for his sound, but as Tin Stars’ new voice mix sounds like such a conscious move towards Manson’s vocal expression, one might wonder what Gemini Five has against their own musical identity as they earlier this year walked into the studio. Their use of keyboards also gives away an obvious inspiration from Manson’s recordings. Tracks like “Flesh For Fantasy,” “Making Love Song,” “Bring On The Monkey,” “Love Venus,” “Sinners Paradise,” and “Silent Night” are all clear examples of this, with the latter sounding partly uncomfortably close to Marilyn’s “The Speed Of Pain.”

All right, Black Anthem definitely is something different from Gemini Five’s previous studio effort. It might be a disappointment to everybody who had hoped for a new row of catchy choruses and joyful, Glamish Hard Rock, but to those ignorant about the band’s past, this recording might break new ground. Let go of the fact that Gemini Five may now sound a lot like the aforementioned shock rocker, but besides this, Black Anthem might very well please those who find the time gap between other releases in this genre a bit too vast. Let it be said, despite Gemini Five’s unexpected change, they still deserve an audience.

Maybe the time is right for a new breed of Manson-sounding acts. Maybe there is no longer justice in calling them copycats, but just true to a new sound.

However, if you want to explore Dark Anthems’ finest moments, skip to “You Lead Me To Madness,” “Insane Is Sane,” and “Second II None.” The aforementioned “Bring On The Monkey” too conveys a thrill.


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