Formally known as simply ‘Voltaire’, Aurelio Voltaire has stood the test of time as a musician. For fifteen years and through nine full length CDs (and several shorter ones), he has maintained a loyal army of fans, some of them sticking with him from his very first release. To this day he continues to add new legions to his following. Some of that is due to his consistency as an artist who delivers finely crafted songs with meaning, soul and a unique, wry wit. But those who know him know he keeps very close ties with his fans both new and old. He runs his own Facebook page, runs his own Twitter and Youtube channels and stays for hours after shows, diligently standing at his merch booth meeting and greeting all who’ve come to the show. For this reason, it may come as no surprise that Riding A Black Unicorn Down the Side of an Erupting Volcano While Drinking from a Chalice Filled with the Laughter of Small Children is perhaps his most fan-driven album to date. The lengthy title was given to him by a fan simply describing Voltaire’s music on his Facebook page. And at a time when Voltaire had covered so much musical territory from cabaret to country, from ska to reggae, he reached out to his fans and asked them what THEY wanted to hear him do next.
“Some told me I should write some blues songs, some said cabaret, some said Goth and steampunk and dark folk, one even said heavy metal! So… I did my best to do it all,” says Voltaire.
The result is an album that takes all of the musical genres that Voltaire has traversed in the past, polishes them and takes them to a whole new level. The musicianship alone is amongst the best of any Voltaire album with Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls on drums, Melora Creager of Rasputina on cello and David J. of Bauhaus on bass.
Fans of Steampunk will love the ballad The Mechanical Girl while fans of Voltaire’s dark cabaret will enjoy Cathouse Tragedy and The Straight Razor Cabaret. Those who asked for Voltaire to return to his earliest acoustic, dark, Gothic folk were answered with When the Circus Came to Town and the heart-wrenching, anit-bullying track Innocent. Don’t Go By the River, The Dirtiest Song that Ain’t and Oh Lord (Wake the Dead) will absolutely thrill those lively yet morbid souls who count the Cab Callaway-meets-Jack Skellington stylings of Ooky Spooky as one of Voltaire’s best albums. And that one person who asked for a heavy metal album might just find Voltaire’s epic homage (albeit all acoustic) to Iron Maiden, the title track, Riding a Black Unicorn… to be their favorite track.