Biography and Review by Charles Moffat.
Accolade is a goth band based in San Francisco that began touring in 2006. When listening you almost expect them to have a quartet of backup musicians providing the rhythms, but instead its all done by musical genius and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Goldstein. Combined with the haunting vocals of singer Stefanie Reneé the duo have created some beautiful examples of gothic music.
When listening I find myself thinking, not of other goth bands, but of Trance music and Gregorian chants. Perhaps its just the ethereal quality of their work. When I try to compare to other goth bands I find myself thinking of "Away with the Fairies" by Inkubus Sukkubus.
And I can't listen to Accolade's song "Blackwater" without thinking of Dethklok / Metalocalypse. The Dethklok song "Go Into the Water" doesn't sound remotely similar, its just the name that messes with my head.
To make matters worse Accolade's new album Festivalia was created with a carnival theme... And I can't think of carnival music without thinking of the band No Doubt (which is a totally different genre of music altogether).
So as a reviewer I am rather divided on what to think of Accolade. Their work sounds great, beautiful even, but I find myself thinking of too many other things which are similar - no matter how remotely similar. I find myself wishing Accolade would do a version of Edvard Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King" (like Savatage, Apocalyptica and Epica did)... Why? Something about their skills and Stefanie Reneé's vocals that suggest to me that they could something spectacular that nobody has ever done before. Hall of the Mountain King is classical music, but it transcends musical genres... And there is an amazing number of heavy metal and goth musicians with a background in classical music.
So in summation I think Accolade's first album is good, but I find myself wanting more... Which we shall probably see soon enough. In 2012, Accolade welcomed a new member to the band, drummer Cade Burkhammer, who has joined them for live shows and is currently working with them on their next album, set for release in early 2013. So it should not be too long await to see what else they have up their sleeve.
Since its inception, Accolade has performed live in the Bay Area and Los Angeles with such acts as Unwoman, The Darklings, The Deadfly Ensemble, and The Crystelles (Featuring Gitane Demone of Christian Death).
In April 2012, Accolade released their first full-length album, Festivalia, available on CD Baby, iTunes, Projekt:Darkwave and more. This album, weaving enchanting melodies and carnival themes, features Stefanie’s ethereal coloratura soprano vocals and Aaron’s epic and intricate command of the antique reed organ, acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, drums and percussion. Included are twelve original compositions, as well as a cover of “Black Flame” by 70’s progressive rock legend Renaissance.
Accolade was also included on UK’s experimental legend Attrition‘s cover album Wrapped in the Guise of My Friend (2009), available on Wax Trax II (US and Canada) and Two Gods (UK).
Accolade has received favorable press in the US and Europe, including reviews in Sonic Seducer Magazine, Dark Spy Magazine, and Musical Discoveries blog. Their music receives regular airplay on independent radio stations across the country including KUCI 88.9FM (Irvine, CA), WMBR 88.1FM (Cambridge, MA) and WRUW 91.1FM (Cleveland, OH). The band has also been broadcast on various internet radio programs including Aural Apocalypse, A Darker Shade of Pagan, and Black Channel (Germany- air and internet).
“Accolade from San Francisco charm on their debut album "Festivalia" with a fantastic instrumentation and a beguiling fairy voice.”
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