It’s clear before you even start listening to Belladonna that they’re going to be something special.

It’s not often that you get a band that claim to have single-handedly created an entire new genre of music (rock noir, if you were wondering) and list as their influences Motley Crüe, Kate Bush, and Edgar Allen Poe, among others. All of those things point toward Belladonna being a highly interesting, if not especially cohesive listen. However, their fourth album “Shooting Dice with God” proves that Belladonna are more than a slightly pretentious curiosity, they’re also a really good rock band.


First track “All is Vanity” begins with the strumming of single guitar chord, the kind of noise which often announces the arrival of the newest gunslinger in town in old Westerns. It’s a fitting introduction to this unconventionally beautiful album. Soon, the song segues into a slowed down guitar riff, with front-woman Luana Caraffa’s deep melancholy vocals enhancing the haunting and hypnotic effect. As the song opens out into a faster, almost anthemic chorus, it becomes clear that we are dealing with music of the highest calibre here, with every note seemingly planned to wring the maximum emotion out of the listener. It is all too clear why this band have shared a stage with everyone from Siouxsie & the Banshees to Nine Inch Nails, as they are seriously good at what they do. Too often, female fronted rock can sound shrill or strident, but Belladonna provide a dark gothic edge to the songs they sing, ensuring they never slip over the line into screechy hectoring.

Another highlight of the album has to be “Abduction” a soaring power ballad which opens with an ethereal synth and piano intro before developing into a wonderfully complex song that could easily fill a stadium. With Belladonna, the little touches on each song are part of what makes them so wonderful as well, and “Abduction” is a case in point. There are little sci-fi synth sound effects at the beginning and end of the song, and hidden away in the mix at specific points during. Not enough to be cheesy or ridiculous, but just enough to reinforce the whole alien, spacey theme of the song. It’s such a nice touch, and something most bands wouldn’t even have thought of. This attention to detail is continued throughout the album, both on the harder rock tracks, such as the fast and furious “Ishtar Blues” or even the slower tracks, such as the absolutely spellbinding “Wonderlust”.


Overall, “Shooting Dice with God” is an absolute treat of an album. It’s basically the album equivalent of a red velvet dress: richly textured, gothic and just a little bit sexy. It’ll certainly captivate Belladonna’s existing fans, and if there’s any justice, it should gain them a whole host of new ones.

Track Listing
All is Vanity
Karma Warrior
If I was God
Ishtar Blues
In My Demons Name
Aura Blues
Primal Dream
Multiverse Love
I Set My Controls To Overdrive


Words By Elinor Day.