Adrian James | Das Gift

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A Perfect Circle Peter Gabriel The Cure

Album Links
Any Cover You Like (Pink Floyd Tribute) Das Gift Official MySpace Page

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United States - Arkansas

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Rock: Modern Rock Rock: Goth Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Das Gift

by Adrian James

A dark, meticulously-layered 14-year project by former violinist of Evanescence that features bilingual lyrics and eclectic instruments.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Mutability
0:58 $0.99
2. Das Gift
5:19 $0.99
3. Et Tu?
5:14 $0.99
4. Beautiful Womyn
3:52 $0.99
5. Killing Jar
3:52 $0.99
6. To Die For
1:00 $0.99
7. Ein Grund zu Leben
0:58 $0.99
8. Ein Grund zu Bleiben
1:01 $0.99
9. Real
5:57 $0.99
10. Ich Frage Mich
1:52 $0.99
11. Et Tu? (Reprise)
1:10 $0.99
12. Perfect Song
6:10 $0.99
13. Solitary
3:13 $0.99
14. Perfect Song (Reprise)
1:10 $0.99
15. I'll Never Leave
6:06 $0.99
16. Lull
7:00 $0.99
17. Denouement (Last Dance)
3:26 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Das Gift (The Poison) is a dark and pensive 14-year project by Adrian James, the former violinist and designer of Evanescence.

With 17 tracks, the debut is one-man-band James's magnum opus. Each song seamlessly flows into the next, moving through bilingual lyrics and piano instrumentals. Eclectic instruments range from electric mandocello to violin - a list as diverse as the time signatures culled from a background of jazz and orchestra.

Defying classification, the music sits somewhere in the spaces between alternative, progressive and gothic genres. Das Gift draws comparisons with psychotropic acts like Tool, as well as Pink Floyd. James points to early Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Cure's "Pornography" album as inspiration for the pounding drums and pipe organ. But while it has dark aspects, the CD is still rendered approachable by smooth vocals and touching ballads.

Review Excerpts:

One of the better albums I have heard in some time now, and that is no exaggeration...WELL worth the wait. Das Gift features rich and meticulously arranged layers of sounds ranging from acoustic, electric, synthesized and exotic, coupled with smooth vocals...these are certainly the most earnest and articulate lyrics of what I've seen lately. Highly recommended. - Jessika

MALICE RADIO, Pennsylvania
The Next Pink Floyd…I was transfixed through the entire album…It was at some point in [I’ll Never Leave] that I started to cry.

AJ’s vocal delivery can be very emotionally penetrating. Only a really anthracite soul would fail to be touched…by this heart-wrenching material.

GOTHTRONIC, Netherlands
"The instrumentation on this album is rich, and varies from piano to guitar, violin and bass....The cover artwork is wonderful."

Brings back the roots of Goth with a cathedral rock feel, dark poetic lyrics with a very personal feel, and well-pronounced down tempo beats.

TOM WOOD of MAGIC 105 FM, Arkansas
"Das Gift" stands out among the new music I've heard this year because of the strangely appealing combination of layered heaviness and strong melodies that float above the atmosphere that is created.

Das Gift fights against a watered-down music industry...the mundane music that populates the FM dial. - Shea Stewart

Melancholy and a darker, goth-tinged version of early Peter Gabriel, progressive but catchy enough to attract a broad range of fans. - Matthew Johnson



to write a review

Libby Talley

Adrian James is one of the most dynamic original musicians in the world today.
The CD is awesome. It's melodic with a rhythm that makes you want to nod your head while relaxing. As you listen to Adrian James' music and lyrics you'll think of far off places of dark brooding fantasy.

Robert Dickey

I have to give an unbiased opinion of this album.. I've heard it, no, listened to it. Remarkable layering. Subtile, yet interesting time signature changes and deep emotion. Adrian has expressed his very soul. I heard the album before it was ever put to cd. I've had the honor of seeing him live. Das Gift never fails to deliver

Lisa Missen

Highly-developed woven tapestry of black velvet and metal ribbon. The vocals and lyrics are haunting,longing, bitter-sweet and fragile. As an old Goth, I truly respect the creative dramatic vision of this compilation.


das Gift
A compelling collection of songs - some are haunting and some speak directly to me. Very good single-malt sipping music.

Colter McCorkendale

A layered, remarkably realized a symphony in several movements.
If Peter Gabriel joined A Perfect Circle, the resulting sound would probably resemble Das Gift. Not quite goth, not quite metal, this one-man project is monikered as "Das Gift" in the same fashion that Nine Inch Nails is really just Trent Reznor. Listening to this layered, remarkably realized vision, you wouldn't suspect it to be the brainchild of just one person. Adrian James is a multi-instrumentalist and former violinist for Evanescence...and Das Gift's conception represents years of hard work without a band with which to collaborate. The end result is an album that sounds more like a symphony in several movements than a collection of individual songs. Sonically, the record is also a gorgeous thing to behold. The production values are top notch and it's a great disc for headphones.

The trap of darker genres of music, be they goth, progressive metal or even grindcore, is that their predilection for melodrama renders them inaccessible to folks who don't participate in the genre's trappings. Das Gift, by contrast, sneaks up on you and ingratiates itself in an almost Toad the Wet Sprocket fashion. It's downright earnest (perhaps this comes from the years James spent with acoustic-based Christian rock band Narrow Road). And aside from several lyrical passages sung in German, there's a surprising lack of pretense. Perhaps the key is James's voice; there are no histrionics, no howling, no barbaric yawps, just a resigned and regretful rasp. You get the feeling that he's not singing in German to be scary; he just likes German and it can convey for him what English can't.

Vlad McNeally

Surpassed all of my expectations...Triply more interesting than (Evanescence)
"Das Gift" is the first solo release by this Little Rock, Arkansas, musician who is best known as the violinist and designer for the ridiculously successful goth-metal crossover act, Evanescence. Using a little multilingual wordplay in its title, "The Poison" has taken Adrian James fourteen years to create, and is triply more interesting than his more successful band.

Where Evanescence is best known for their resident diva and a numerous collection of chart-climbing power ballads, "Das Gift" offers something sur- prisingly different. More sonically akin to the work of dark psychotropic acts like Tool, James' creations are neither pop nor metal, but instead something abstract and melodic, cinematic and diverse.

Composed to be taken in as a solid work rather than a smattering of singles, James' compositions seam- lessly slide from one to the next, hitting crescendos and scenic lulls while utilizing a pleasingly diverse cabinet of instruments.
Like a memory of the drum line to Joy Division's immortal "Dead Souls", "Das Gift" emerges from a similar musty tribal drum line, its sluggish lope thickened by the dour murmur of bass guitar. Somewhere within this mire, violin shudders nervously while guitar pierces high and soprano to give the murk bright contrast as James' voice seeps in like a velvet wind.

The comparison to Tool becomes far more apt with "Et Tu?", where mathematical guitar progressions mimic the drum work as it lingers over from his preceding track. As the guitars dissipate into thick metallic washes, the vocals stretch out like pulled nerves, raw yet thin with emotion.

However, the first true turn in tone strikes with "Beautiful Womyn"; with this ballad, James relaxes away from his sonic drama to dig into more intimate soil to offer a moment of simple adoration amongst Gift's weightier creations. Accompanied by the gentle jangle and intermittent sharp plucks of acoustic guitar and subtle shades of piano, James' voice here ebbs and flows between moments of emotional strain and gentle pensiveness.

Through a tangle of brassy winding guitar, "Ein Grund zu Leben" resonates with the divine chrome shades of pipe organ. Its thunderous ring is cathedral high, and when merged with its dirging electric guitar and dramatic puzzle of drums, it provides a interesting amalgamation of churchliness and psychedelic rock.

This feeling trails on until reaching the sunset heat of "Real", where James' dusty vocals pine for something intangibly divine over a soundtrack of tribal-tainted drums, zippering organ intonations, and the toll of leviathan- large bells. Like a guitar's gentle reflection on a memorable moment of heartache, "Perfect Song" gently strums towards a nostalgic solo conclusion over polite raindrops of piano and wintry tambourine. Afterwards comes "Solitary", where James focuses purely on piano to paint a picture of melancholy; tender and ringing, it is exquisitely pensive and serves as excellent segue between the bulk of "Perfect Song" and its nice denouement reprise.

Initially, I was wary due to the 'self-produced side-project' status of this disc, but Das Gift surpassed all of my expectations; while I find his top-selling project a bit tedious and monochromatic, James' work here is quite captivating. The relapses to reprises do seem a little redundant, and there are points that feel like needless deja vu. However, in terms of continuity, it is a rather solid body of work. Hopefully, a few reviews from now, James' talents will better put to use within Evanescence, because this disc proves that he's certainly an untapped asset.

Vlad McNeally, 31 May 2007

Raven Melonai

Original, compelling, dark and fantastic
I was shocked to find such original music in such an unlikely place as Arkansas. Inside the beautiful packaging you find layers of complex instruments and composition, a sexy voice and powerful lyrics. The music takes you on a journey, allowing you to see things through the artist's eyes. I was brought to tears by the passionate vocals and beautiful imagery, and completely pleased that I found this CD. This is the best thing I've heard in a while!