Moonlight Waltz served as my introduction to Theatres Des Vampires, so you could say I was a bit of an "unsuspecting" listener when approaching this one. Considering the amount of praise this band receives, I had somewhat-high expectations for their 2011 release. If you've taken a peek at my rating already, it's needless to say that Moonlight Waltz didn't come across nearly as convincing I initially predicted. Sure, the musicianship is professional, the music is bombastic, and the production is polished and powerful, but that only goes so far when the music feels this generic and uninspired. I guess fans of Theatres Des Vampires and melodic gothic metal may like this one - you can count me out, though.
The music here is symphonic and melodic gothic metal. The female vocals from Sonya Scarlet often take center stage, but there are also many other guest vocalists, as well as a full orchestra adding plenty of symphonic elements. Of course, the music is extremely polished and professional, but I honestly feel that it lacks "bite" (pun intended) and the instrumental portion of the music is often uninteresting and boring. As such, this is a standard issue with female-fronted gothic metal acts - Theatres Des Vampires focuses far too much in the vocal department, and leaves the instrumental section fairly simplistic and unadventurous. And considering the fact that I don't really enjoy Sonya's vocal delivery, that's an exceptionally large detriment. There are a few memorable melodies here and there, but they are too few and far between to justify stomaching the album's entire duration.
This album is definitive proof that "good musicianship and professional production" does not automatically mean a winning masterpiece. Moonlight Waltz was an extremely difficult album for me to sit through - this is 55 minutes of music that makes me cringe constantly. If unadventurous, clichéd, and often cheesy gothic metal is your thing, you may find something to enjoy here. After all, this is an unquestionably professional product. I guess 1.5 stars are fair in this case. From a purely subjective point of view, you can easily subtract a full star from that rating.