Time for the Sounds & Shadows April Darkscene Singles Chart

It is time once again for our monthly Darkscene singles chart. I did a recent interview with Michael Nagy where I mentioned how I have come to value doing this chart once a month. It really shines a light on great new bands that don’t always show up in other charts. All entries are “darkscene singles” a very loose term, released in April 2022. They are voted on by the Sounds and Shadows Facebook group members of Djs, Review Pages, Promotors, Bands, and Superfans. I compile them and post the results. If you have a single release in May, make sure to add it to the polling.

  1. StoneburnerContracting Iris
  2. Eva XBody Talk
  3. Mark E MoonBlacklight
  4. Death Loves VeronicaWhen I Was Dead
  5. Silver WalksTear Me Down
  6. I Ya ToyahVast Spaces (Joy Thieves Remix)
  7. Scary Black – Transatlantic Tears
  8. Sever The Servant – Nowhere
  9. Der ProsectorStanding In The Embers
  10. AngelspitStand In Line

StoneburnerContracting Iris – Steven Archer is always pushing the edge hard and furious. This time by interweaving with Sci Fi author Peter Watts with a punishing new sonic canvas so relevant to the emotional mindset of the population. This artistic journey keeps getting larger and more intricate. Also be on the lookout for Stoneburner back on tour with Chant. Always a must see show.

Stoneburner’s “Contracting Iris”, features 2 tracks and a full-hour audiobook story written by acclaimed science fiction author Peter Watts

“Contracting Iris”, the new single from Stoneburner, takes the listener on a cinematic journey to the beginning of a future pandemic. Combining the classic Arrakis-era style with industrial beats and vocals, the single is a cohesive representation of Steven Archer’s ever-evolving project.

Contracting Iris | Stoneburner (bandcamp.com)

Eva XBody Talk – Another lovely shadow dance single from Canadian siren Eva X. I love hearing the soul and depth that keeps growing with every new release. Here making it to the #2 spot on the chart. This has a glorious submarine echo in pressurized depths flavor. Crystal mastering by Eric Oehler and enchanting video from Erik Gustafson.

Body Talk | Eva X (bandcamp.com)

Mark E MoonBlackLight – This single absolutely shreds. In a world where goth gets more and more fractured into sub genres. This is a pure blast of that old school traditional. Mark’s voice is a powerful and resonant baritone blending with Shelly to ride the front of a crackling dark wave. This is an instant hit from Cold Transmission and The Isle of Man.

Lux Vindictae | Mark E Moon (bandcamp.com)

Death Loves VeronicaWhen I Was Dead (feat. Tim Skold) – Texas songsmith Veronica Campbell has teamed with Tim Skold to make this twisting black oil symbiont sound that drips with necromancy and danger. Loving this slashing whip quick guitar riff and the determination and movement of her vocals. A song that won’t stop scratching the back of your neck.

When I Was Dead (feat. Tim Skold) | Death Loves Veronica (bandcamp.com)

silver walkstear me downDaniel McCullough has been slowly teasing me with masterpiece of an album for too long. Every single is crafted with such obsessive precision. I love the flow, the impact, and the vocal resonance from Coral Scere. Mixed by the living legend John Fryer another reason this album is going to rock the landscape.

tear me down | silver walks (bandcamp.com)

I Ya ToyahVast Spaces ( The Joy Thieves Remix ) – Well what isn’t to love here? The firework electronic one woman army spewing unmatched intensity, then amplified by the hairpin turning fury and percussion mastery of The Joy Thieves. Dee Nelson’s outro guitar solo is the fireball cherry on top of the sundae. Total Burner.

Vast Spaces ( The Joy Thieves Remix ) | I Ya Toyah (bandcamp.com)

SCARY BLACKTransatlantic Tears – Why everyone in this scene does not follow and know Louisville goth band Scary Black absolutely baffles me. Alphie is a cosmic force of genuine inflicted emotion, artistic expression, and perfect pop hooks. This is always some of the best new goth in the game and if you don’t know it you need to.

Transatlantic Tears | SCARY BLACK (bandcamp.com)

Sever the ServantsNowhere – I love this glorious team up from Hide Tepes and Michael Nolan. It is sinister, textural, and seeping with mystery. New material keeps surfacing and all of it is a powerhouse of talent and edge.

Sever the Servants | Sever the Servants | Sever The Servants (bandcamp.com)

Der ProsectorStanding In The Embers – The electro intelligencia punk band with another long awaited single. Absolute banger. They always leave me hungry for more and infused with perspective.

Der Prosector (bandcamp.com)

AngelspitSTAND IN LINE – California digital psychedelic freedom rock. I love the chaos energy and foot stomping dance energy. Aside from the acid splash on the dance floor single this track also features 13 badass remixes.

STAND IN LINE (SINGLE) | Angelspit (bandcamp.com)

I hope you found something wonderful here you didn’t know about. If you have a single in May you want to see added, go to Sounds and Shadows on Facebook. Support the scene, lift each other up, tell people about great new music. Also if you like Sounds and Shadows and want to support us, get a T Shirt in the link below.

Standing the test of time. Two PreGoth bands still leading in this Darkscene Rennaissance

Goth music has always been a scene obsessed with the past. By nature it came from a literary concept of macabre themes. Many of the bands that started this movement have actively pushed back, famously Sisters of Mercy for example. This month two bands that were there in that early pre-goth era paving the road for the decades, creating a new wave of splintered darkscene sounds. I love in both cases, these are not fan service records standing on the name of their past. They are fresh new ideas, forged in the skill and intensity that decades of releasing albums provide. So let us discuss the latest offerings from The Cassandra Complex and Christian Death.

The Cassandra ComplexThe Plague – Rodney Orpheus and The Cassandra Complex have been entrenched in the concept of what we would later call “goth” music since before we had a word to describe it. They have toured with and played festivals with the biggest names in the scene. Starting in 1985 releasing 7 full albums and 3 live albums the last of which “Wetware” on Metropolis Records in 2000. 22 years we waited for a return with “The Plague” to burst forth with a ferocious new energy. Early releases like “Grenade” were thick with an aggressive political message. I fell instantly for this return of piss and vinegar spirit blended with fine blade refinement. A razor edge between emotional concept and ability. Although these are new songs tackling modern concepts of a post capitalism world, the album serves as a greatest hit record. Drawing on individual styles that run the range of their history. It doesn’t forget the tongue firmly in cheek humor, using wit to mock the face of power.

The Plague | The Cassandra Complex (bandcamp.com)

Released May 6, 2022

Rodney Orpheus: vocals, vocoder, synthesizers, drum machines
Andy Booth: guitar, keyboards
Volker Zacharias: guitar, bass, keyboards
Axel Ermes: synthesizers

Produced by Rodney Orpheus @ Magic Library Studio, London
Cover Art by Antony Johnston

Photo by Patrick Beerhorst

Standout Tracks: This is not an album of singles. No fractured thoughts of refracted light touching unrelated ideas. This is a record of intent meant to be played in succession. I must stress the importance of reading these chapters in order to understand the story. To say particular songs didn’t grab hold of my lapels and shake me with staggering force would be unjust as well. I will call out three.

Hotline To Elvis – Opening the album with this blistering gallop of southern twang guitar and hooved pounding bassline. Living in Kalamazoo MI I remember the Elvis hotline. It is often forgotten that bizarre conspiracy theories were not new ideas. When people want to believe something, no matter how absurd, they found a way. I love how Rodney takes on just enough southern lilt to summon the shaking spirit of the King. I blast of fire to set the scene.

We did this interview with Rodney in 2020. We have another soon to release 🙂

Speed Of Sound – Ok, this is that track. A swelling ballad that captures a relatable experience that just hits different. The heart grasping hook of this bassline, Rodney’s genuine and tragic delivery with a Lou Reed poetry in blue collar hues. I must have played this track 20 times. I feel myself well up for every single one. A modern classic.

Old Boys Network – This song is about a collision of sounds and fierce satirical rebuke of the men in power which permeate and destroy every aspect of life. This synth line is a bouncing frenzy and Andy Booths guitar lines crackle with LA punk chaos. Rodney keeps the effect of clarity and grey pastel while spewing forth a Dead Kennedy’s rant.

Overall this is a triumphant return, an band that has earned the freedom and skill to treat their fans to a fearless and personal glimpse into the human experience in a failing system. It is my sincere hope that this is a path back for younger new fans to one of the bands that paved the way for the modern darkscene.

Christian Death Evil Becomes Rule – The most recognized name of the American Proto goth scene from Los Angeles “Evil Becomes Rule” marks the 20th studio album in a legendary career. In our recent interview Valor told me about EBR being a continuation of 2015 The Root of All Evilution. It would be easy to appeal to longtime fans, putting out similar albums in a fan friendly style. Some artists have wonderful careers doing just that. This has never been the Christian Death way. Always slicing the edge in every incarnation. Evil Becomes Rule took me to a new place I never expected. A shadow psychedelic blasphemy of triumph blending world beat Dead Can Dance and roaring power of Judas Priest. Maitri’s vocals are highlighted like never before and cast a sinister ritual of power.

Evil Becomes Rule | Christian Death (bandcamp.com)

Recording lineup:
Valor – Lead vocals, guitars, violin, cello, piano (inside and out), keyboards, percussion
Maitri – Lead vocals, bass guitar
Pao – Drums

Live at Reggies in Chicago

Stand Out Tracks: It is so hard use objective judgement for a song writer I have this much respect for. I will try my best to pick a few favorite tracks that struck me hard and made me revaluate the idea of what Christian Death is.

Elegant Sleeping – This track is a stalking wolf in a swirling forest mist. Maitri delivers such a delicious snarl to split the space between the dervish guitar rhythm. The break down sails right off the rails in a savage cacophony of chaos. A blistering and explosive avant garde.

Beautiful – There are other singles on this record. This one just rings out with such beauty and clarity. The chorus hooked me in hard, I kept hearing it in my mind wherever I went. Cobra strike guitar lead, dancing beside a merciless chant of longing. The organic crashing drum sounds really find their form. This single is such a penetrating reminder of how complex and emotive Christian Death are. Shout out to this gorgeous video as well to bring the concept into stark relief.

Who Am I part I – Another aspect of CD has always been a clear understanding of the power of pageantry. Drawn bow strings and the call and answer dialog vocals of Valors Bowiesque glam dueling with Maitri’s storm winds challenge. Crashing contrasting voices meeting in the middle to erect a swirling tower. A final crescendo on this journey through past and future.

Overall: I am left astounded at Christian Deaths ability to always be growing, always raising a challenge. I saw the first night of the tour in Chicago and was overwhelmed by the presence they create. Valor and company are excited for this record. That enthusiasm bleeds into every word and note. Seek out a chance to witness this live, there just aren’t as many true rock stars in the world anymore. You still have a chance to see one in an intimate setting.

Excitement at 11 as I review Procession Magazine and Cleopatra Records’ final installment of “The Unquiet Grave” 

Growing up in the Velveeta Valley suburbs of Detroit in a time before the Google search, Spotify playlists, Youtube suggestions, and Sounds and Shadows I had a sacred ritual. Once a month I would coat myself in black from head to toe and pedal my bike to a mini mall which contained a record store. Here in the new CD releases I would take my caddie/busboy money and purchase the latest Cleopatra Records sampler. Now these compilations took many themes, tribute cover albums, up and coming goth bands. This was how you found the next band that connected you to the wider world. I would race back home, tear apart the packaging and dream of one day seeing my own name in the liner notes. This ritual mattered, it made me feel connected to other kids like me that I didn’t know. Somehow, I knew they were out there. When I saw Procession Magazine bring back this series of goth compilations, my faith was confirmed. To see one of our songs, appear here, that dream has finally come true. So, I welcome you all to join me in my room, as I light a candle, press play, and journey into the macabre world of “The Unquiet Grave” searching for dark diamonds in a cruel sea.

The Unquiet Grave – Cover Model: Angela Benedict
www.instagram.com/angelamariebenedict/
Photograph by Zimmer-Range Images
Graphic Design: Rene Ramos for Procession Magazine
www.instagram.com/procession_magazine/
Compilation produced by Procession Magazine and Athan Maroulis
Mastered by Xris Smack at Mindswerve Studios, NYC

https://theunquietgrave2020.bandcamp.com/album/procession-magazine-presents-the-unquiet-grave-the-final-chapter

This album is massive in scope. Featuring 43 tracks from a wide variety of goth subgenres and cities. I can’t write about every single amazing band featured. A good portion of the fun of a compilation is the exploration of every track. Waiting for some to speak to you and searching for their album. I will call out some small portion that spoke to me.

  1. NOIRThe Burning Bridge – From NYC the mastermind curator behind this compilation Athan Maroulis opens the journey with this writhing serpent of smoking desire. I can feel the fingerprints of Erik Gustafson (Adoration Destroyed) on the guitars and production which ebb and flow with crushing dark waters for Maroulis vocals to ride upon. A fitting tribute to David Bowie and a powerful opening volley to set the stage.

The Burning Bridge | NOIR (bandcamp.com)

3) Byronic Sex & ExileCu Foc – From Goth City Records in Leeds UK this was definitely one of those magic moments where I knew nothing of this band going in and immediately fell deeply in love. Throbbing and melodic gothic rock with a touch of western Fields of the Nephilim guitar twang. Crooning clear vocal delivery with just enough grit to feel dangerous. First EP dates back to 2016 and I will definitely be placing this on my list for a back catalog deep dive.

Cu Foc | Byronic Sex & Exile | Goth City Records (bandcamp.com)

5) Bedless BonesSad and Alone – This is an amazing track from an album I am quite familiar with. We reviewed it in 2019. Kadri Sammel and Bedless Bones have the distinction of being my favorite band from Estonia. I love the swarming dark forest life and creeping chaos. Kadri has a unique sizzling whisper of a voice with a cadence that makes it stand out in a crowd. Gorgeous witchcraft in midnight blue beams.

Sublime Malaise | Bedless Bones (bandcamp.com)

Slighter x Static LogicMirror In Darkness – Team up of LA based Cyberwizard Colin Cameron Allrich and James D Church to flip the script with this hurtling empty space driving beat spinning through a red light matrix. A synthetic breath on the back of your neck, a ghost in the machine.

Mirror In Darkness / Data-Loss | Slighter x Static Logic | Confusion Inc. (bandcamp.com)

A Cloud of RavensFlowers Melt Away – Our dear friends from Brooklyn Matt and Beth who are on Cleopatra Records have done this amazing tribute to Fahrenheit 451 the New York pre goth underground legends that included the previous mentioned Athan Maroulis on vocals. I really feel this slippery bassline and glam rich lilt of Matts vocals. I wonderful way to connect the past and future.

Flowers Melt Away | Fahrenheit 451 (bandcamp.com)

A Covenant of ThornsDahlia – This song holds such a special place in my heart. Scott-David Allen has brought the concept of romantic goth back into the forefront of the modern scene. Gorgeous heartfelt longing and loss, pulling apart your heart. This song was remixed on a compilation I put together at Sounds and Shadows which led to the collaboration The Burying Kind with Dan Milligan. If you have never explored the rich history of ACOT I really can’t speak highly enough of them.

Shadows & Serenades | A Covenant of Thorns (bandcamp.com)

Adoration DestroyedBlackout Again – Glamdustrial rockers from Austin TX led by Erik Gustafson. Off their album Ritual Deconstruction. AD always brings such a punishing and powerful mixture of bass beats and heavy dark cloud guitars. An important voice in the modern goth scene.

Ritual Deconstruction | Adoration Destroyed (bandcamp.com)

AmuletLast Ditch – Badass swamp curse energy from DC that again I am happy to say I found as a result of this compilation. Stephanie Stryker has one of those sky splitting voices that encompasses your entire sensory scope and this mello ground shaking bassline completes the ritual. I was an immediate fan.

House of Black + White | Amulet (bandcamp.com)

Dover LightsMemory Dissolves – So I was not trying to stumble on this band from the Ozarks. However when one finds a mixture between The Chameleons and Bruce Springstein it is unavoidable to call it out. I found this sound so mystifying and unique while pairing so many nostalgic feelings I couldn’t look away. This will definitely go on my deep dive list for later. I never knew I needed this, but I do.

Dover Lights (LP) | Dover Lights (bandcamp.com)

Eva X – Canadian darkpop goddess changes the tempo of the compilation with this driving foot stomping club hit. I love the twists and turns of cadence and tone. I always picture Gaby dancing in an ice palace full of refracting lights.

Black Blood (Dance and Destroy) | Eva X (bandcamp.com)

Cliff and Ivy: Alaska’s goth duoBring Us The Night – Our dear friends the power goth couple from Alaska. Again a wonderful tempo and intensity change for this journey. Breakneck deathrock with scintillating guitars and Ivy’s rock smashing voice. This track is a runaway ride in a minecar down a shadowy mountain. Wonderful music by wonderful humans.

Bring Us The Night | Cliff and Ivy: Alaska’s goth duo (bandcamp.com)

The AmaranthThighs – We have a song on this compilation. It is on our upcoming album Gothtimism. It’s weird talking about yourself. We write a goth song about waking up in a hotel with your partner and realizing a perfect imprint of your makeup pallet is on their inner thigh. The world needs more goth songs about going down.

Noxious | The Amaranth (bandcamp.com)

Shadow FashionChildren of the Night – I love the clash of emo and synthgoth from Texas based Shadow Fashion. Patrick the singer has an amazing voice and presence. It rides that perfect line between 2 kinds of nostalgia and a modern exuberant energy. Everything I hear from them is pure gold.

Children Of The Night | Shadow Fashion (bandcamp.com)

VAZUMUnspoken – Glorious GothGaze duo from our home state Michigan that have continued to crank out dark slushy walls of sound in a steady stream since 2017. I love the monster theme and water color tone. A truly unique and powerful sound.

Haunted House | VAZUM (bandcamp.com)

Doors In The LabyrinthDead Stars – The tragic and haunting gloom painting from Pittsburgh sonic texture artists Josh Loughrey. Powerful intensity that harkens back to Projekt records slow grinding emotional destruction. I’ve got to see them live before and the intensity of the experience is well worth the price of admission.

In The Shadow Of The Monolith | Doors In The Labyrinth (bandcamp.com)

I wish I could write about everyone present here, because they all have something to offer. Instead, I will let you make your own way down this murky mist covered river. Thank you again to Procession Magazine and Athan for putting together this immense undertaking. In the comments below tell me about a new band you discovered.

The Black Rose by Black Angel

Black Angel would have sounded right in place along side such powerhouse English alternative 80s acts as The Cult and The Sisters Of Mercy. Their sound even brings to mind acts from this side of the pond such as Screaming Trees and Mary My Hope. And that’s okay because this is album takes me back to the 80s in the GOOD way.

The Black Rose was released on April Fool’s Day but there’s nothing to laugh at on this record. These rhythm-oriented songs are nice and ballsy and incorporate the darker elements of bar rock. The gothic elements are there present. This record digs deeper to give you something that sounds like a backcountry balladeer set against a wall of guitar riffs. And the bass on songs like All Or Nothing conjure images of the tipsy dancer in the bar who refuses to sit down until her song on the jukebox ends.

Take Me Down is more solemn and the lyrics flow like an old singalong folk song. I caught myself singing along to the chorus. The lyrics on Look Me In The Eye carry the recurring theme throughout the album; as though addressed to a lady of dubious intention who’s done wrong, or maybe about to be done wrong. The same is true for the subsequent track, Sinner. Carnival Man opens with a dark organ and sits you down to tell the tale of a festive killer.

All in all, The Black Rose satisfies. This album works in a goth club, a biker bar, or on your car stereo.

https://blackangelmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-rose

In addition to the review Jaret had a chance to interview Matt of Black Angel 🙂 Please enjoy

Jaret : What inspired ‘The Black Rose’?

Matt: Good question, there wasn’t anything specific, I just have to keep writing, as soon as I finish one album, I get right into the next one. With Black Angel I knew there would be a five album progression for sure and I had all the names of the albums mapped out years ago, so it just felt natural when I finished Prince of Darkness to start on The Black Rose. I always tell myself to give myself a breather for a few months but I can barely get past a few days.

Prince of Darkness | Black Angel (bandcamp.com)

Jaret: Who are your influences and what did you take away from those artists?

Matt: My influences are 100% Goth acts from the 80’s – to be specific, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, The Cult, Bauhaus, Killing Joke, and The Damned, those are my keys influences, they wrote the best Gothic music – and in my eyes that has never been surpassed. Before I start writing I tend to listen to the these guys, in fact I just listen to their music all the time anyway, whether I’m writing or not – and each of them has something a little bit different – for example Billy Duffy from The Cult is my guitar hero, Peter Murphy is a vocal gymnast, Siouxsie has this fantastic intricate song writing ability, The Damned are just all out hundred percent top bollocks and energy and The Sisters of Mercy, especially on Floodland just encapsulated what Gothic Rock really was for me.

Billy Duffy (The Cult)

Jaret: Do you draw inspiration from sources outside of music, per se?

Matt: I guess life…. Most of my songs in someway are about relationships with people – and of course we are always learning, so there is always something new to write about on each new record. When I write it’s always about personal relationships, I have no interest in politics or anything like that it’s always about life experiences, and they say that is the best thing to write about, what do you have experienced yourself.

Jaret: Please describe a typical day in the studio. What is the chemistry like?

Matt: That’s another good question, I found with my writing process that if I set time aside and I sit down and decide ‘this is the time I’m going to write’, I can pretty much guarantee that it is not gonna happen. I am in the fortunate position that I do have a studio on my property so whenever I feel the need I can get something down whether it’s a vocal or a drum idea etc. I also carry around a digital recorder as there’s nothing more frustrating than losing that pearl of wisdom idea that you just came up with just because you couldn’t find a way to capture it. The whole process is fairly solo from the beginning, I normally write about 40 songs and then cull about 30 of those down to a good solid 10, hopefully by that point I’ve got a rough outline of how I want the record to sound if not I keep deleting and I keep writing. It’s not until the music is nearly 100% finished that I send tracks over to Corey for him to do his vocal magic.

Jaret: What’s next for you? How are you forming/adapting your plans in the age of COVID

Matt: Covid isn’t an issue for us, since then and during that time, we’ve managed to put two records out. We did think we were going to embark on a major record label deal in the near future but these things are always hugely complicated and there are a lot of ramifications to think about, so that’s not gonna happen for right now. We are still interested in getting our music out to a wider audience so we will still be seeking a publishing deal with a label somewhere. We would also like to play some festivals, it’s tricky for us to tour right now as with our individual careers there are so many commitments that are difficult to get around – but! – we would like to play, and we are hoping that more people will invite us to do so. It’s defo on the cards and will happen for sure.

Jaret: What is your take on the current state of the dark music “scene”?

Matt: The good thing is that people can easily create and release music, and that is amazing in itself. The other side of that is I do think the music industry, Gothic and Darkwave / Post-punk included, that maybe there is so much music out there – is that good or bad? Only you can decide. If we were to specifically look at Gothic music, well, when I got into it, that started over 30 years ago and everything had a certain sound and a certain flavor, the ‘goth’ umbrella these days seems to have grown a little bit wider, but I’m certainly not a gatekeeper and things do change and develop. I would say that I was a fan of the whole process in the 80s where a band would be groomed and produced and the music that they put out is what we consider as the classic Gothic music of today – and frankly no one has even come close to surpassing that.

Black Angel (blackangelmusic.com)

Jaret: Any final thoughts? (Impressions, opinions, funny thoughts, etc.)

Matt: I surely appreciate you reaching out for this interview and helping to keep the scene alive at Sounds and Shadows, I think this genre of music is really special and anything we can do to keep it going can only be a good thing…Black Angel will continue to do so for sure……

Rammstein’s “Sehnsucht” Hits Its Silver Anniversary, Still Golden After All These Years

To know Rammstein is to, at the very least, know the megahit that is “Du hast.” Whenever I tell someone that I speak German, especially in a club setting, I get asked if I know what the song is really about, or what the singer is actually saying. It’s at this point that I usually inform them what “Mein teil” or “Bück dich” is about. But we’ll get to the latter of those later.

After the success of their debut album Herzeleid, the Berliner godfathers of NDH (that’s Neue Deutsche Härte, or new German heaviness) had to go bigger. Truth be told, the album wasn’t as massive of a seller as one might think, but the band’s live performances helped to garner attention amongst a growing industrial metal scene. Think back to 1995, when Herzeleid was released. This was one year after The Downward Spiral, Ministry’s Psalm 69 was already three years old, and Rob Zombie hadn’t quite gone solo yet. Industrial metal was very much alive and well, but it was about to go to the stratosphere in the year of our lord 1997.

What brought them to the dance? Herzeleid has plenty of the threads that we would see in the later years of Rammstein, but it is far from the theatrical, over-the-top showmanship and lyricism that we would see on Sehnsucht and beyond. It’s very much an industrial record first and foremost, though the guitar gets plenty of workout. There are even guitar solos on tracks such as “Weisses Fleisch” and “Du riechst so gut,” and the ballad “Seemann” has one of the best bass guitar melodies this side of Primus. The grandeur comes in on “Heirate mich,” with a larger concept and lyrical storytelling. We know that Rammstein gets X-rated better than most, and we need look no further than “Das alte Leid” and the aforementioned “Weisses Fleisch” for examples of good fuckin’ songs (emphasis on “fuckin’”). 

Thematically speaking, the band was just getting warmed up on Herzeleid. The success of the album in their native Germany got them festivals such as Pink Pop, took them stateside for tours with Project Pitchfork and Clawfinger, and allowed the band to support The Ramones for eight shows on their 1996 “Adios Amigos” tour. David Lynch’s surreal Lost Highway also used “Rammstein” and “Heirate mich” on its industrial-heavy soundtrack. To say that the sophomore record was highly anticipated may be putting it gently, and that’s not a word that usually comes to mind when speaking of Rammstein. 

In November of 1996, the band traveled to Malta and entered Temple Studio with producer Jacob Hellner to record the follow-up to Herzeleid. By the beginning of April 1997, the band had a single in “Engel,” featuring vocals from Bobo singer Christiane Hebold. Bobo’s drummer Sascha Moser previously played with Rammstein’s guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe in the funk-metal outfit Orgasm Death Gimmick, reinforcing ties from ODG’s origins in the early Nineties. Prior to release of the iconic “Du hast,” the band remixed Korn’s song “Good God,” as well as released a Fan Edition of the “Engel” single, featuring two non-album tracks in “Wilder Wein” and “Feuerräder,” the former of which was a staple of the band’s live performances. The month of the album’s release saw both Herzeleid and the “Engel” single read Gold certification, and on August 25th, 1997, Sehnsucht was unleashed upon the world to rave reviews.

The artwork for the album was done by Gottfried Helnwein, who drew inspiration from his own work on the cover of Scorpions’ Blackout some fifteen years prior. Using surgical implements from surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch, six different covers were made for the album, one for each member of the band. While many different versions of the album have made their way out, I will be focusing on the standard 11-track version for the purposes of this retrospective.

The title track wastes no time getting to the stomping rhythm and monster riffage, as if to say, “Last time we kicked this off, we had to make a statement. This time you know who we are, so let’s just get to it.” And while the last record just hinted at sex in the opening with “Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?,” “Sehnsucht” is very clearly about blue balls and wanting to rekindle an old flame:

“Zwischen deine langen Beinen such den Schnee vom letzten Jahr,
Doch es ist kein Schnee mehr da.”

“Between your long legs, I search for last year’s snow,
But there’s no snow there anymore.”

Then we get to the would-be mega-single “Engel,” which I would make the case for being an industrial track with shades of metal. The guitars really only make an appearance during the post-chorus, and it’s the keys and synths that get any sort of “solo” before the final chorus. Lyrically, it’s hedonistic and anti-religion, with the baritone of Till Lindemann proudly declaring “Gott weiß ich will kein Engel sein,” or “God knows I don’t want to be an angel.”

“Tier” is a song that could have easily been a thrashy, pedal to the metal banger that even starts out that way. Instead takes a mid-tempo route, and to its benefit, making for a more dance floor-friendly number. It’s one of two songs on the record that talk of incest, though the rape-revenge route that the second verse takes is at least justifiable. 

“Bestrafe mich” is not a love song, it’s kinky and downright dirty in all the right ways. The bass guitar gets a rare moment to shine, with Oliver Riedel’s tight bassline driving the interludes between verse and chorus. There are readings of this song that make it about religion, a relationship between man and God (“der Herrgott nimmt, der Herrgott gibt,” or “the Lord takes, the lord gives,” a play on the old adage “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away”), and while it’s not my place to confirm this suspicion, it does hold water, holy or otherwise.

Then we get to “Du hast,” the song that launched a million German students or more. The double-meaning in the pronunciation is worth pointing out to the uninitiated; that is, as the song title is written, it means “you have,” but “hassen,” the word for “hate” is pronounced no differently, and the band even plays with this in the lesser-known English version of the song. The main riff is iconic, the drums that precede the verse serve as a warning to what comes next, and the showmanship and theatricality is classic Rammstein.

Then we get to “Bück dich.” Just as “Weisses Fleisch” was the sex song of its record, this song is, well, something else. Its neck-snapping pace and punishing riffing fit the loveless thrusting of its subject, sodomy. This song is infamous for getting the band in trouble during live shows, as Till has simulated anal with keyboardist Christian Lorenz, complete with squirting strap-on dildo and all the tender loving care that comes with that. In June 1999, this act would land the two in jail in Worcester, MA for the night due to the city’s stricter decency laws. The song was never released as a single, but it has a reputation all its own.

“Spiel mit mir” is as cinematic as it gets for the early Rammstein records. The strings plinking away between Till’s talk-sung lines and stanzas make for an uncomfortable listen, and given this is incest song number two, that tracks. Disturbing, haunting, and thematic is the name of this song’s game, and the line “Vater, Mutter, Kind” makes for a worthy crowd sing-along for live shows.

“Klavier” is to this record what “Seemann” was for Herzeleid, a power ballad about obsession turned deadly. Slow songs aren’t Rammstein’s usual modus operandi, but when they do decide to bring down the pace, they do so masterfully.

“Alter Mann” is a rarer cut, once again more of a techno / electronic song than a metal one. Dealing in old age, wisdom, and possession, this is a creepy track for sure, unfortunately lost to stronger efforts on this album. “Eifersucht” walked so that “Mein teil” from 2004’s Reise, reise could run. It deals in cannibalism, murder, and jealousy, and it’s a song that feels like it may have been left off of Herzeleid for whatever reason. 

We close with “Küss mich (Fellfrosch),” and this is straightforward industrial metal. Samples, a heavy main riff, and more bassy goodness from Oli Riedel. Allegedly, this song has never made the band’s live setlist, and that’s a damn shame given its crowd-popping potential and accessible groove.

This album has stood the test of time for a couple of reasons. The taboo material the band wrote and played about, the blending of metal and industrial music, and a fresh sound not felt stateside in some time. Sehnsucht allowed Rammstein to tour with the likes of Hanzel und Gretyl, Skunk Anansie, Soulfly, and even a couple of Latin American dates opening for KISS. Stateside, the band found its way to the Family Values Tour in 1998, and “Du hast” landed the band’s first of two Grammy nominations for Best Metal Performance in 1999. Rammstein also earned an ECHO Award for Most Internationally Successful German Artist, and the Live aus Berlin concert film that followed went on tour, and was released on DVD and VHS. 

The band wouldn’t return to the studio to record their next album, Mutter, until May of 2000, allowing for three years of touring, airplay, and publicity out of this landmark record. Is Sehnsucht their strongest record? Maybe, though some would say that the best would be yet to come, but twenty-five years later, Sehnsucht ist doch so grausam, und wir sind dafür besser.

Sounds And Shadows March Darkscene Singles Chart

I have never been a huge fan of “Charts”. As month 5 of me putting this out rolls around I always pause for a moment to reflect on do I want to keep doing this and why? Each time when I look at the bands who are featured I say to myself, this matters. Everyone here is chosen by the Dj’s, Reviewers, Bands, and Superfans who are all deeply invested in Darkscene music. There is no financial motivation. No Politics. Just who has our group excited. I’m always inspired to see how the bands chosen shine a light on music that needs to be heard. As always these are singles released in the month of March 2022. Rated by your votes.

  1. LyciaSimpler Times
  2. Eric ObertoCloser Than Ever Before
  3. Scary BlackTragedy
  4. Christian DeathBeautiful
  5. Dread RisksMachine Identity
  6. Object XCoasting
  7. FatigueThe Fall (Pierce Me)
  8. TenderlashZombie (Cranberries Cover)
  9. Night SinsViolet Age
  10. Thieve 6 Inside Out (The Heart In A Blender Song)

LyciaSimpler Times – A triumphant return for the Arizona based trance coldwave band. This track is a perfect blend of pastel light and dark hues. Oil spreading in a rain puddle. Mike VanPortfleet‘s vocals sit deep within the mix to create a gentle specter haunting your mind. I love seeing a band I loved in my youth break new ground while keeping their soul.

https://lycia.bandcamp.com/album/simpler-times

ERIC OBERTOCloser Than Ever Before – Texas composer, film maker making a bold return to music and immediately taking our chart by storm two months in a row. I love the way that Eric paints images and feelings with sound and vocal effect. This single makes wonderful use of a prowling tension that is always pushing forward but never losing it’s cold control. We had a recent interview with Eric where he shares his history and experience. Look for his music in upcoming horror movie projects.

https://ericoberto.bandcamp.com/track/closer-than-ever-before

SCARY BLACKTragedy – Another amazing single from one of the most underrated voices in the modern goth scene Albie Mason. I love the pounding thrum and vibrating batcave guitar. Albie has an abyssal sensuality so dripping and raw like blood drenched fangs. If you love goth music and haven’t heard Scary Black, that is the first thing you should do today.

https://scaryblack.bandcamp.com/track/tragedy

Christian DeathBeautiful – Living Legends of the goth genre come forth from beyond the veil with a second single from the upcoming album. I was at a loss for what to expect and nothing could have prepared me for this rich blend of organic strings, dark blue guitar waves, and venom dripping vocal chants from Maitri. As a 17th album I was immediately struck by how powerful Valor and Christian Death continue to strike. The contrast on the chorus is a sky splitting gorgeous hook, inspiring beauty on black feathered wings. “I want you to look beautiful, at my funeral”. I’m actually interviewing Valor tomorrow and I can hardly contain myself.

Dread RisksMachine Identity – Another two time winner the Doomdustrial band from Texas with a second single off of Automated Disappointment. This release comes courtesy of label Re:Mission Entertainment. It’s brutal, cruel, and furious with a chanting cadence of nearly hip hop horror. Dread Risks are doing something fresh and special the world needs to be aware of.

https://remissionentertainment.bandcamp.com/track/machine-identity

Object XCoasting – So I don’t know much about the Reno NV band, so lets learn together. I love that is a father daughter project, I fully support that kind of purity. This is a dreamgaze indie float through amber waves of grain. Rachael Fuhs has a bright and captivating vocal style. I look forward to more.

https://objectx.bandcamp.com/track/coasting

FatigueThe Fall (Pierce Me) – DJ Sawtooth of Massachusetts additional project. Loving the dark water currents and hovering trance vocals. Great synth builds and dance floor power. The final build gathers speed and energy in the perfect moment. I love when an artist understands timing composition.

https://fatiguema.bandcamp.com/track/the-fall-pierce-me

TenderlashZombie – North Carolina darkwave artist covering the 1994 classic from the Cranberries. Candy really put their own spin on this, a slower minimalist grind of ringing synth bells and wispy phantom fury. Another great band from Swiss Dark Nights label that I will be digger further into.

https://tenderlash.bandcamp.com/track/zombie?fbclid=IwAR0SrJlJJsMe29ioS974Z90W1svHg9yvy8efNRdm6bC0SmVtWM6xP3QsYzo

Night SinsViolent Age – First single from the upcoming June release of Philly dark dance act Night Sins. Huge 80’s Depeche Mode vibes. I love the thumping drive of this baseline. A familiar retro vibe but a nice execution with a lot of heart. I’m a fan.

https://bornlosersrecords.bandcamp.com/album/violet-age

Thieve6Inside Out – Ken, are you the type of asshole who would include your own single on a chart you put out? If people vote for it you are godamn right I am. Amaranth + The Joy Thieves have teamed up to form Thieve 6, releasing a electropunk cover of 1998 Alt rock classic Inside out while donating all proceeds to humanitarian relief in Ukraine. It’s a great cause, the track slaps, and it answers the question once and for all “Do you like the heart in a blender song”

https://thieve6.bandcamp.com/releases

I will have the voting available in the Sounds and Shadows facebook group for April if you have a single you are releasing or love then stop on by and cast your vote. Keep supporting underground music.

Jean-Marc Lederman “Night Music for Seahorses and Manatees”

Jean-Marc LedermanNight music for seahorses and manatees – Legendary Belgian producer from COP International has created a new aquatic themed electronic voyage to the depths of the unknown. I don’t speak of it much but I have had a fascination with sea life that bordered on addiction. There is something about the alien danger and beauty in the unreachable ocean depths that has always captured my imagination. I love how Jean Marc has captured the constant execution of concept.

https://jmlederman.bandcamp.com/album/night-music-for-seahorses-and-manatees?fbclid=IwAR1xQztbl6CKOwBne8yFzzqzopcyFOO5AAx-n7lc1xuvhqKhG1_Wx_NgJRk

Sharks: We’re Gonna Need Bigger Slippers – Ok this song is a Jaws reference which is always a powerful nostalgic start. Where much of this album breaths with a sun filtered bright colorful contrast to Ledderman’s last few darker ideas. This song is a stalking predator of fast moving tension and deep shadowed water. A thirsty darting unease that is ever present in the sea.

Night Music for Seahorses and Manatees – The title track which encapsulates the bright alien exploration of the world within a world. An homage to both the Sealab ideals and to French electronic artist Philippe Zdar. I’m always amazed that legend though he is, Jean Marc’s humility seeks out ways to lift up others who have inspired him.

Song To The Siren (Feat: Emilegh Rohn) This team up of COP International artists Emilegh Rohn (Chiasm) and Jean Marc has turned out to be one of the most powerful and seamless collaborations of the last 3 years. Here a cover of the Tim Buckely song from 1970 “Starsailor” made popular by This Mortal Coil in David Lynch“s 1997 film Lost Highway.

In 2022 many artist have managed to stay relevant through nostalgia and delivery of what has been successful for them in the past. The thing that has left me in continual awe of Jean Marc Ledderman is his ability to always explore new ground with wreckless abandon. Each new album is a fresh idea, not just for him, but for the world of music.

Video Premier: Landscape Body Machine “No Cable”

in 1996 Canadian terror tech artist Craig Joseph Huxtable issued a politically charged molotov cocktail upon dance clubs around North America. The influence of that sizzling motion puzzle is still felt on the modern scene today. Today Sounds and Shadows is proud to premier a remixed video for “No Cable”. The track will be released on bandcamp 4/15/22 and features additional remixes by Urceus Exit, Caustic, The Gothsicles, and Slighter. Pristine enhanced production by Chris Peterson allows the thunderous bass beat to burst into your chest. The video by Jason Chaos features a robo stegosaurus made of cars, exploding rockets, and more profanity than is recommended to play in your work cubical. An eerie and aggressive fever dream set to trance synths. Anyone who has ever had to call Charter customer service can instantly relate. I am eagerly awaiting what this team of electropunk luminaries unleashes with the unburied source material. Watch and Burn my friends.

https://landscapebodymachine.bandcamp.com/album/no-cable-2022-remix-ep

I Just Need A Tiny Moment, For Me and For This Music.

Tomorrow April Bandcamp Day embraces us. I returned from a desperately needed weekend getaway to see Actors at Smalls. Out at a bar, seeing one of my favorite bands playing live. With my friends around me, dancing, smiling, drinking. Ok the drinking got to be a bit over the top and I got sloppy gushing to Jason after the show. I think you take my point, it felt like fun was in the world again. Feeling locked away for so long. Work, isolation, trying to finish an album, seeing so much music come sailing over my head at the speed of light. Wanting to share but not finding the spoons to write reviews. Kicking the can down the road until tomorrow. Seeing that show though, it reminded me why I started. This new album was a progressive step forward for Actors, the excitement of a new member, music into energy, into joy, into energy returned. I came home reminded I needed to stop. Stop pushing myself to write because I had so many bands to share, so many friends to send my love to, and just stop. Stop and listen to music. Write about it after. It would be done when it was done. I might not finish for Bandcamp Day. When I do finish, I will tell you about the songs I stopped to listen to, alone in the silence.

Gasoline InvertebrateCracked Wax Battery – Brian Gaupner (The Gothscicles, Space Couch, TigerSquak Records) holds a special place in my heart. I feel a bit of twin spirit in how he approaches music. That feeling that music is an experience better shared. The visual of a Cracked Wax Battery is such a striking image. That bleeding yellow goop pouring out of an old battery carcass. Bringing in great artistic names that are also friends of a mutual vision like: Gopal Metro , Ed Cripps, Zoog Von Rock, and MORIS BLAK. A plasma whip of electronic dance beats cracking the air with aerobic intensity. Brian takes some of the jovial madness of Gothscicles off his voice and replaces it with hissing menace. The NES throwback energy of these synth lines are a nerdcore street cred of belonging. Gasoline Invertebrate always makes you feel inside the curtain.

Fav Track: Please Rate Your Pain – This song is everything the album is striving for, distilled down into a concentrated idea. The samples which raise a gallows humor poke at society. The rippling checkered cloth of constant motion. Brian’s continuous chant against the monetized concept of pain Olympics in modern society.

https://gasolineinvertebrate.bandcamp.com/album/cracked-wax-battery

silver walkstear me downDan McCullough the recent New York resident has continued to blow me away with every thread he slowly unravels for this album. This latest single out 4/8/22 is a super band level support cast to bring the shimmering sand swept race through grains of time to life. Coral Scere delivers a breathy elegant leaping vocal performance. In fact this single features an all star cast.

music written and arranged by Daniel Mccullough
vocals and lyrics by Coral Scere
backing vocals by Tim Heireth
additional noise loops – Steven Archer

all tracks mastered by Eric Oehler at submersible studios, Wisconsin
artwork by Steven Archer
silver walks logo by Jim Marcus

I really feel this in my bones. Dan has been taking his time to hone each song to perfection. The attention to detail and craft show. This is special.

https://silverwalk.bandcamp.com/album/tear-me-down

Panic PriestSecond Seduction – So this is a 2020 release from Chicago synth crooner Jack Armondo, one of the best baritone voices in the modern darkscene with an amazing ear for melody and construction. This album released on Negative Gain was a forceful step forward for the artist. It has a cavernous echo of isolation which was so relatable and present for many in 2020. The guitar work was an ever twisting glass staircase of builds and contact. Adam Black of Midnight Mannequin Records took on the mission of bringing this powerful album into vinyl format with this re release. The expansive warmth really deserves this hand held delivery. Looks like I need to buy this record again.

https://midnightmannequin.bandcamp.com/album/second-seduction

Black AngelThe Black Rose – Dark rock deity Matt Vowles has released another new album, honestly I don’t know where he finds the depths and time to keep churning out this much material at a high level. Where 2021 Prince of Darkness had a very LA hard rock 90s flavor, The Black Rose goes back even further with a modern gothic slant on early devil rock like Black Sabbath. It creeps in like a dream with slow stinging drums, deep lacerating guitar riffs, and a staggering vocal melody somewhere between Ozzy and Lane Staley. Someday soon a wise label is going to snatch up Black Angel and push them to the moon.

All tracks written, recorded and produced by Matt Vowles on behalf of Solid Recordings Publishing 2022
Vocals by Corey Landis and Maneesha Jones
Album cover by Eshmoon DM

https://blackangelmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-rose

VaselyneHere To Begin – New 2 track EP out from Amsterdam based new members of the COP International family Yvette Winkler and Frank Weyzig (ex Clan of Xymox). I love the forceful proclamation of a title “Here To Begin”. All sales from this EP will be donated to support The Ukrainian People in their struggle for freedom. I’m always an enormous fan of bands that step up for their beliefs. The music has a travelers sung story around a crackling fire feel. Faces wreathed in shadows with distant pounding toms and blended finger pick acoustic and slushy growling wolf guitars. It builds like a spell into a gorgeous blown glass solo. I love the warmth and organic construction. This begins an intriguing new sound for the diverse COP roster.

https://vaselyne.bandcamp.com/

Latenite AutomaticStatues – So I am standing near the merch booth at the Actors show in Detroit, and Jason introduces me to this handsome young rake and says “Ken, this is Scott, you need to check out his band”. Well I am always going to take that recommendation. Thus I was led to Canada based Latenite Automatic. I was struck first by the dangerous blend of club beats and rock and roll attitude. The vocals are a dark growling vibration sitting under the surface of the mix. Breaking the water in parts to create tension and intensity. The solo of this track sets the fretboard on fire. You have my attention gentlemen, time to dig through the back catalog.

https://lateniteautomatic.bandcamp.com/

StoneburnerContracting Iris – I know, Ken, you are always talking about Stoneburner. Well, have you heard Stoneburner? There is a reason. A new 2 track EP based on the science fiction story by  Peter Watts. I love the ambitious artistry of this concept, where music is inspired by the written word, they find each other and build a stronger broader idea. The story now has an audiobook version with Steven’s score and Donna reading. I hope Steven has pioneered another idea that catches on in the scene. The music conjures images of Lynch “Dune” with it’s post apocalyptical chaos and danger, set against a background of high leather fashion. I kept picturing Sting doing a knife dance in a pit of unworthy opponents.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR0ca30k7SPvPjRMeLXKsFNjuuvSCQai8vFqjhMF4dr0TMuiPmpquGtzT-s

Sever The ServantsNowhere – Second single from the powerhouse team up of Hide Tepes and Mike Nolen. A mechanized iron lung terror track. A shambling chant of desperation and quest for meaning. I love hearing two artist I am a fan of individually finding ways to smooth each others edges and improve the effect of both. Now on Produkt 42 a new label getting big steam in the scene.

https://severtheservants.bandcamp.com/album/nowhere

PSY’AVIAHBittersweet – Massive new 42 track release from Yves Schelpe led project Psy’Aviah. This is bursting with guest talent like Claus Larssen (Leætherstrip), Mari Kattman (Helix) , Cat Hall (Dissonance), Kimberly (Bow Down Ever) and so many more. I don’t have time on bandcamp day to give the true deep dive of justice this release deserves. It is glorious higher thinking trip hop electronica with a poets soul. A robust and soulful stew of Portishead, Suzanne Vega, with modern spice and production. I’m honestly floored by the world building ground covered in this single release. It feels like 3 albums of contrasting and quality material. We should all pick this up and explore it deeper together.

https://alfamatrix.bandcamp.com/album/bittersweet-bonus-version?fbclid=IwAR3scZq_alMH4iax-nYcBANuus6LZVhgUj4Jihcj96v-Ds-cHPI47w5jObw

As always if you have something awesome to add, please share a comment below. I always want to hear about new music.

Artists Donating Proceeds To People Hurting In Ukraine

The world is a bit scary right now. A lot of giant dark clouds hang over us. What is happening to the people of Ukraine is first and foremost in many minds. Art/Music has always been a means of expression for the suffering of the world. As well as a way to give hope. So as reports started coming in several bands in the darkscene released singles with proceeds going to support humanitarian efforts. I will share some of those now

Lifeline InternationalCome Together – So I will age myself here, but back in 1985 the famine happening through out Africa gained public attention when pretty much every popular star in music came together to preform a single called “We Are The World”. When I heard this Beatles cover electrified and amplified by Christian Petke (COP International) and Legendary producer John Fryer my heart stood on it’s edge in that same way as in 1985. This track features : members of Faith No More, Stabbing Westward, Rammstein, The Hardkiss (Ukraine), Revolting Cocks, Filter, Pigface, Agnostic Front, Basement Jaxx, Gravity Kills, The Cassandra Complex, Mesh, blackcarburning, The Joy Thieves, Deathline International, Vaselyne, and Black Needle Noise. I know that might not feel like Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Kenny Rogers to the rest of the world. To Goth/Industrial fans, it’s pretty close. Massive fuzzy funk riffs, earth shaking percussion explosions, vocals that deliver distinctive sounds and seamless overlap. The opening track of Abbey Road which was supposedly written for Timothy Leary’s attempt to become Governor of California has always struck an emotional chord of counter culture rising up for change. The addition of Queen’s We Will Rock You at the end is a fitting signature to the journey. There is a VERY good reason this has remained the number one seller on Bandcamp in any genre.

https://copinternational.bandcamp.com/album/come-together?fbclid=IwAR1TeoC2Su1dgJD9JeEao_G0CMMXHs6XzEcCxrIdD09j_G4834CbKdJBUtc

A Cloud of RavensThe Call Up – Brooklyn NY goth rockers ACOR follow up their stand out album Another Kind Of Midnight with this shadow disco flavored cover of legendary punk act The Clash. Mathew’s vocals are a crooning whisper in contrast to the original, yet never lack for intensity. A cutting electronic veil of synths and foot stomping percussion. They are donating all proceeds to International Rescue Committee. This transitioned from a 4/4 vamp banger into a elastic and textured dance floor electricity. I think Strummer would have appreciated.

https://acloudofravens.bandcamp.com/track/the-call-up

Ashes FallenStand Your Ground (for Ukraine) – This single from California goth rockers Ashes Fallen was featured on their album “A Fleeting Melody Out Of A Fading Dream“. This version with all proceeds to Direct Relief for their humanitarian mission in Ukraine. It features a remix by The Axiom Divide. The original is such a mist rising from concrete dark edge call to arms banger. The remix pulls back the teeth to reveal James emotional vocal performance and subtle colliding synth streams. It adds a reflection of sorrow to the aggression of the original.

Ashes Fallen is James Perry, Michelle Perry, and Jason Shaw.
The Axiom Divide is Jay Tye, Brent Heinze, and Misti Laubscher.

https://ashesfallenmusic.bandcamp.com/album/stand-your-ground-for-ukraine

Warm GadgetLost Weekend – So this is an enormous value compilation for $12 featuring 99 tracks. All proceeds go to Vostok SOS and the Ukrainian Red Cross. An ambitious undertaking in it’s scope and delivery. With contributions from more than 27 countries: Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, USA and others. There is too much here to go through every individual band. I will focus on this one track from Oregon based hammering hard rock synergy Warm Gadget. I always get chunky Helmet slither math vibes from them. I love the stretch and build happening here. You would be seriously hard pressed to get a better musical value to support the cause.

Tim Vester :: Vocals, Lyrics & Effects

Colten Williams :: Programming, Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Samples, Production, Engineer & Additional Vocals

Austin Williams :: Additional Vocals & Guitar

Billy Mickelson :: Additional Guitar

https://componentrecordings.bandcamp.com/track/lost-weekend

Thieve6Inside Out – Ok, this is shameless self promotion. However it is also a single with all proceeds going to Razom, a humanitarian relief charity chosen by Myah who had just lived in the Ukraine as part of Peace Corp. Those that follow Sounds and Shadows have probably heard of my fanboying for 90s Alt rocker Eve 6 and his twitter page. It has gotten to be a bit of a running bit in the Facebook group. So when Dan Milligan of Joy Thieves/The Burying Kind fame about doing a cover, Collin and I (Amaranth) went to work. We had no idea when we started what Dan would eventually bring together. I’m proud of the result, and proud to raise money for the cause it goes to. We also got to bring in the talented Whitney Flaherty to produce the inspired cover art. I’m still waiting for Max to ask me :If I like the Heart In A Blender Song“.

Ken Magerman: lead and backing vocals, clips and phrases
Collin Schipper: guitars, backing vocals, wicker cabinet
James Scott: bass guitar, origami
Myah VanTil: backing vocals, faith in nothing
Damien Faust: guitar, finalistic rendezvous
Dan Milligan: drums, guitar, synths, ginger ale

https://thieve6.bandcamp.com/track/inside-out

Now for those of you that prefer a more direct support. I will call out some bands in our scene in the Ukraine that are suffering and could use your support.

Icy MenLow Light – Based in Kyiv/Kiev our friends on Cold Transmission Music Lytvyn and Den Stavitskiy who we have reviewed previously do a frozen darkness coldwave that resonates in the heart. The driving bass in abandoned subways, pounding movement. Frosty breath vocals delivered with cutting logic. I fell in love with this record in 2020 and hold a good thought for the next release.

https://icymen.bandcamp.com/album/low-light

BlazerJacketGet Out (feat. Dirty Bird 13) – Another artists from Kyiv Denis Cherryman has a new retrowave shimmering single of oil on water in the morning sun. Creating an image of serenity before the violent guitar crunch and broken glass vocals shatter the surface of the water. Without warning another change from Psalm 69 Ministry fury to hypnotic retro melody hook. I love the bold transitions, I love the message of warning. Have a thought for Denis, I look forward to his next release.

https://blazerjacket.bandcamp.com/album/get-out-feat-dirty-bird-13

Sexual PuritySuffer | Hope – I love the erratic percussion builds from Dnipro based Coldwave artists Sexual Purity. Anastasia has a captivating and emotionally tortured voice. It drips with animal hunger and menace. The style is very minimalist like a swirling nightmare you can’t hold in your mind. I look forward to more exploration of diverse styles in the future offerings. I was haunted and intrigued. Track 3 “In The Ocean” was a standout for me in the way the vocals took a more jagged and dangerous edge.

Music by Oleksii Donets
Vocal and Lyrics by Anastasia Romanova

https://sexualpurity.bandcamp.com/album/suffer-hope

When the world is suffering it is often artists who put the emotions into a physical form. Here we are just scratching the surface of amazing bands that offered up their art to support the people effected by this horrible conflict. Hopefully one of these offerings inspired you to do something for those suffering. Please if you know of another artists doing a song with the proceeds going to humanitarian relief leave a link and comment below

Cold Transmission Spotlight Volume 2

In the past 4 years German based label Cold Transmission has been responsible for amassing and growing some of the greatest talent in the modern darkscene. Andreas and Suzy Herrmann have created a music label experience that feels like family. With a hawk’s eye for talent and a focus on growing creative expression. They have built up an amazing roster of talent around the world. Here in their second compilation to celebrate their releases you can experience some of the best and brightest for one low price. Mastered by the talented Pete Burns of Kill Shelter and featuring artwork of Yvonne Kiel this CD is a who’s who of the modern darkscene. In addition to the amazing music compiled, a portion of the proceeds is donated for humanitarian purposes in Ukraine. I wish I could review every track on this stellar offering, but I will shine a light on a few highlights.

https://coldtransmissionmusic.bandcamp.com/album/spotlight-vol-2-a-cold-transmission-label-compilation

1.IAMTHESHADOW – On Winter Leaves Embrace 04:34
2.The Secret French Postcards – The Line 03:20
3.Night Nail – Co-Morbid 03:30
4.Silent Runners – My Truth 02:44
5.Cerulean Veins – Dance In The Darkness 03:56
6.Iamnoone – Together Alone* 05:25
7.Camlann – I’m Nobody 03:06
8.The Ending Nights – A Landscape To Die 03:29
9.Palais Ideal – Age of Intransigence 04:55
10.White Mansion – Cancel The Sky 04:02
11.Reconverb – Vanishing Paintings 03:18
12.The Cold Field – Burnt Hill 03:26
13.Grey Gallows – Chains* 04:39
14.MARY – Devouring Me 03:29
15.DILK – Bad Habits 04:05
16.The Gathering – Empires 03:21
17.Cruel Reflections – Heaven or Hell 03:52
18.SHANX FM – Yesterday 04:13
19.Mark E Moon – Hearts Keep Bleeding (Demo)* 04:44
20.S Y Z Y G Y X – Cold Touch 03:43
21.ULTRA SUNN – Young Foxes 03:56
22.DEAD LIGHTS – Plastic Girl 04:04
23.CIRQUE D’ESS – Hole-Frog (Radio Edit) 04:20
24.Bedless Bones – Where Is My Voice (Tamhiis Remix)** 06:23
25.A Sinister Light – Telephone 04:06
26.NOROMAKINA – Dark 03:06
27.LETTEN 94 – Empty Landscapes 05:00
28.Incirrina – Shrapnel Words 04:20
29.La Mécanique – MDMA 03:48
30.Dead Astronauts – She Haunts Me 03:43
31.Cult Of Alia – The Only Angel 04:30
32.Death Loves Veronica – Burn 04:53
33.HALLOWS – All That Is True Dies 03:59
34.Sundata – Alright 03:34
35.Ohne Nomen – Vampire* 04:20
36.New Haunts – Echo 03:57
37.Control Room – Are We All Alone 03:54
38.Carlo Onda – Fürchte Dich** 03:35

IAMTHESHADOWOn Winter Leaves Embrace – Pedro Code has a once in a lifetime voice. The Portuguese darkwave artist is the flagship of Cold Transmission. An emotive passion sailing a turbulent sea of beauty and melancholy that moves the heart of everyone who hears it.

https://iamtheshadow.bandcamp.com/track/on-winter-leaves-embrace

The Secret French Postcards – “The Line” – Swedish darkwave poetry forward band with elegance and subtitle style. I love the whispered intensity and Johnny Marr style lilting darkness on guitar.

https://thesecretfrenchpostcards.bandcamp.com/track/the-line

NIGHT NAILCo​-​Morbid – Our dear friends in Berlin the abstract shadow rock of Night Nail. I love the complex and unique beauty with a focus on emotional impact over hook. Dynamic and courageous changes with interesting instrumentation. Night Nail treads fresh ground like protogoths Bauhaus while creating a style solely their own.

https://music.nightnail.com/track/co-morbid

CamlannI’m Nobody – The ridiculously talented young folk from Indonesia. How I wish that I sounded this way when I was their age. It is sleek, passionate, and overflows with a unique darkness. This band has such a bright future set out before them.

https://camlannmusic.bandcamp.com/track/im-nobody

The Ending NightsA Landscape To Die – Another project of Pedro Code. This a apocalypse death disco offering to sum up the last few years. Precision , Execution, Beauty, Passion, swirling in a violet fog. A transcendent art piece to speak to turbulent times.

https://theendingnights.bandcamp.com/track/a-landscape-to-die-3

PALAIS IDEAL – Age Of Intransigence – Netherlands post prog rockers John Edwards and Richard van Kruysdijk continue to create some of the most dynamic and intelligent science fiction thought rock in the scene. This is music that displays technique and ability while challenging you to higher thought.

https://palaisideal.bandcamp.com/track/age-of-intransigence

MARYDevouring Me – I genuinely feel this 2020 release from Toronto is one of the most underrated records in recent time. Driving and intense basslines that cast rippling waves is a crystal pool. I love the cadence and timber of the vocals. This feels like 4 clashing brilliant minds carried out by one train of thought. I really hope we get another album from Mary soon.

https://maryofficial.bandcamp.com/track/devouring-me

Mark E MoonHearts Keep Bleeding – From the Isle of Man this track is a demo version of the crooning old school goth style of Mark Sayle. Their album Old Blood in 2021 was a true opus for one of the strongest examples of trad goth in the modern age.

https://markemoon1.bandcamp.com/album/old-blood

DEAD LIGHTSPlastic Girl – London based sinister synths that recently had a top single on the S & S darkscene charts. It is dance and deadly with captivating vocals that lift your feet off the ground. The type of glamourous dance floor beats that cannot be ignored.

https://deadlightsband.bandcamp.com/track/plastic-girl

Dead AstronautsShe Haunts Me – Seattle dark synth stars continue to sound years ahead of their time. 2021 album Silhouettes is a memorizing conversation of internal dialog and duet relationship that sends the listener on a journey. I highly recommend that journey.

https://deadastronauts.bandcamp.com/track/she-haunts-me

Death Loves VeronicaBurn – The Texas demon lounge smoky vocal tendrils paint sinister pictures with visceral imagery and stained glass synth walls. The German label supports many American talents and Veronica continues to grow and impress.

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/track/burn

I could have easily talked about several more bands here I love. The point is this compilation and this label are offering a gate way into some of the best darkscene music the world has to offer. 38 tracks for 15 dollars is an absolute steal.

Exorcism by Sidewalks and Skeletons

Those of you who are not familiar with Sidewalks And Skeletons are at a disservice. This UK band has been making compelling sonic cascades for nearly a decade. ‘Exorcism’ is the newest full-length addition to their catalog (courtesy of Re:Mission Entertainment) and… Well, I supposed that S&S mastermind Jake Lee puts is best himself:

"'EXORCISM' is an album that explores the frailty of human existence, 
and the harsh realities of the world. We all start the same way - 
Innocence among chaos. We are all thrust into this existence and 
left to find our way. And YOU have ended up HERE. So this is for you. 
This is your Exorcism."

Guest vocalists are featured throughout these 14 songs, with Ferngazer, Goo Munday and CASHFORGOLD lending their heavenly voices to supplement the soothing yet catchy synth lines.

The remaining tracks change gears, the track Cybercrimes is an example, so there’s never a chance for any one hook to get tiresome. And believe me, this one is LOADED with tasty hooks. ‘Euthanasia Daze’ and the title track are also examples of the diversity; the beats border on hip-hop territory at times while the ghostly vocals keep the song aloft.

There is something for everyone on this record; whether you just want to tap your foot (the song ‘Holy’) or bang your head (‘Name in Blood’). In fact, it’s very clever how the breakdowns on tracks like ‘Name in Blood’ jump genres entirely.

‘Exorcism’ is a record that defies pigeonholing and is hard to categorize. And that’s a good thing.

https://remissionentertainment.bandcamp.com/album/exorcism

VOCALS:
“SHADOW” – GOO MUNDAY
goomundayngp.bandcamp.com

“ETERNAL REST” & “NAME IN BLOOD” – CASHFORGOLD
cashforgoldmusic.bandcamp.com

“INTO THE DARK” – FERNGAZER
ferngazer.bandcamp.com

Sounds and Shadows February 2022 Darkscene Singles Chart

It is once again time to release the Sounds and Shadows Darkscene singles chart. Ok admittedly I am behind as always and this is the chart from Feb. As always these are singles released in Feb voted on by our members of Bands, Djs, fans, and reviewers. Representing the fan picks for the month in all genres of the darkscene. (goth/Industrial/Synthwave/Darkwave/EBM/EDM/ect) This month featured a few sad stories, because two bands that were chosen are no more 🙁 . I love what this chart has come to represent. Songs chosen by the people who love and support this scene regardless of label, influence, or history.

  1. Dead Cool Game of Trust
  2. Massive EgoFake Star
  3. Sapphiria Vee Feat: Roger EbnerNot Meant For Me
  4. Dead LightsDoom Doom Trash
  5. The Palest Grey – Suicide
  6. Lorelei DreamingOf Stars (Daddybear Remix)
  7. Secret ShameHide
  8. Sidewalks and Skeletons Feat: Goo MondayShadows
  9. Moris Blak xx Moaan Exis Feat:GrabyourfaceState Rejects
  10. Junksista Fuck Your Pretty Face

DEAD COOLGame of Trust – Wilmington, North Carolina stellar splashing synthwave goodness full of mystery and mayhem. Ringing front striking vocals and cascade keys. The husband and wife John and Angela Yeagher create a sinister story that is always driving forward. Awesome cover art to complete the image by Morgan Elizabeth.

https://deadcool.bandcamp.com/track/game-of-trust

Massive EgoFake Star – This was a happy/sad story. The London based dark synth act released this single and EP which is a sizzling assault of tongue and cheek satire and blood pumping dance chaos. Sadly the band has decided to call it quits to focus on health and personal concerns. We are left with this buzzing shadow storm electric single.

https://massiveegoofficial.bandcamp.com/

Sapphira Vee Feat : Roger Ebner – I love this bold crackling new energy from Sapphira Vee. As I state often on this page the addition of saxophone adds depth and sex appeal to everything. Roger Ebner (Pigface) give a muted perfect accent to these whispy tendrils of emotion and poetically delivered vocals.

https://sapphiravee.bandcamp.com/track/the-gift-was-not-meant-for-me-ft-roger-ebner

DEAD LIGHTSDoom Doom Trash – UK Batwing EDM kicked out this absolutely banger from their upcoming March 2022 EP. It’s tight lightsaber fencing lunge and parry to make your dancefloor burn with desire. This album can’t come soon enough. Rain down ask and destruction on the writhing forms in leather and lace.

https://deadlightsband.bandcamp.com/

The Palest GreySuicide – Florida based deathrock newcomers comprised of members of Obscura Undead. A lurking and spine tingling promise which sadly will not go forward. The band completed this EP and then went their separate ways to pursue other projects. We are left with this driven and frantic single of old school bat cave croon and danger. We can only hope that the individual member continue on in future projects.

https://thepalestgrey.bandcamp.com/track/suicide

 Lorelei Dreaming – Of Stars – daddybear Remix – Chicago EDM Fantasy weaving Queen released this remix album with several wonderful re imaginings from top talent in the scene. This one a burning firework display by Matt Fanale (Daddybear). I love this bracing breathy barrage of bardic inspiration pushed from the battlefield onto the dancefloor by one of the masters of the genre.

https://loreleidreaming.bandcamp.com/track/of-stars-daddybear-remix

Secret ShameHide – Asheville, North Carolina driving dark alt band is just disturbingly good and continues to leave me floored with every single release. Rifle crack drums, polycolor slush pedal guitars, and ringing chat vocals with inspire and cast emotional magic. Hit after hit for this band.

https://secretshame.bandcamp.com/track/hide

Sidewalks and SkeletonsSHADOW [ᴡɪᴛʜ ɢᴏᴏ ᴍᴜɴᴅᴀʏ] – I recently had the pleasure of interviewing this UK band as well as upping my witchhaus education. This single is a pulsing shot of pure adrenochrome tempered with the gorgeous chime wave vocals of Australia’s Goo Monday. I started with this single and fell deep in love with this record.

https://sidewalksandskeletons.bandcamp.com/track/shadow

MORIS BLAK, Moaan Exis, grabyourfaceState Rejects – Ok, there is so much to unpack here from Boston EBM darling Moris Blak’s new single. For starters it absolutely slaps. It features the most selected singer in the history of this poll Marie Dragontown of Grabyourface. It also features fellow French explosive rage dance band Moaan Exis. Somehow these immense artistic talents come together in creative cause to spew napalm chaos glory into your eardrums. I am staggered, I am spent, holy shit.

https://morisblak.bandcamp.com/album/moris-blak-x-moaan-exis-state-rejects-moments-of-dissent

JUNKSISTAFuck Your Pretty Face – German electronic whisper punk from Diana Noir released on COP International is a raindrop blue hue builder full of menace and danger. Throwing a burning brand at the concept of the value of beauty standards. I love the boxer weave drum beat and snarling challenge.

https://junksista.bandcamp.com/album/fuck-your-pretty-face

Remember to cast your votes for March in the Sounds and Shadows group for the singles that are inspiring you. A musical revolution is happening.

I Am Tired, Oh I am Weary, I Could Sleep For 1000 Years, but that Won’t stop me from sharing Hawt new Music :) Bandcamp Friday Approaches

So the world is in turmoil with war and pain. It has seeped into our scene and cast a wicked shadow over our lives around the globe. In addition the news that Bandcamp has been bought by Epic Games. A large company known mostly for Unreal Engine and Fortnite. I don’t pretend to know what this will mean for the future of independent music. Generally speaking in my experience involving a big company in something doesn’t make it better. However the technology of Bandcamp has not really progressed much in the past few years as it has grown. Perhaps the resources and tech of Epic will improve the experience of Bandcamp while maintaining it’s independent opportunity . For now I shall remain optimistically terrified and keep writing reviews of the glorious new darkscene music I am finding.

Sidewalks and SkeletonsExorcism – I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sidewalks and Skeletons for the webcast and was really excited to expand my knowledge of the “WitchHaus” genre. When I first decided to dive in I reached out to a few friends: Kenzi Burke (FIRES) and Hunter Hunter (W/O) for suggestions. Sidewalks and Skeletons of England was one of the first suggested. I suppose going in I had some pre conceived notions of what “WitchHaus” meant, but I have to say I was presently surprised by the texture and diversity of sound on this album. From track one “Exorcism” a glitchy sliding bass beat slither of technomancer energy tendrils, to “Shadow” feat: Goo Monday with it’s throbbing electronic club pulse, this album rings with a clarity and precision that tells a winding story of internal energy. I kept being struck by influences I never expected to encounter like shoegaze and ethereal which gave the entire journey a slick and winding synthesis. I am always impressed when in 2022 I hear something new. A fresh blend of ideas from a chemist taking previous concepts and making new science. It doesn’t happen enough. It is happening here.

Ok I picked Eternal rest but this was such a close second. I want to wear a black turtleneck and do a jewelry heist listening to this track. Then escape in a high speed chase in a mini Cooper.

Favorite Track: Eternal Rest (With CashforGold) – This is what I was searching for with WitchHaus. Violet mist rising from a concrete floor. Ice rink backbeats sliding effortlessly around strobing lights. I was also introduced to the breathy beautiful vocal stylings of CashForGold who I learned was a Detroit native. Subtle electronic textures you can feel.

https://remissionentertainment.bandcamp.com/album/exorcism?fbclid=IwAR1I8OeIQpXQO_4qv2hFA63RG5H5S50DClXwiFhpyulzlA66ijEHETqI_XQ

https://sidewalksandskeletons.bandcamp.com/album/exorcism

Morgue VVitchLore – New three song EP from Tara Saavedra who I got to see at 2021 Cold Waves in Chicago. I feel like the buzz around this talented artists continues to expand with every telling. Much like the title of this new EP their Lore is being whispered around the scene like a guarded secret we cannot help but share. These tracks are a transportation to a garden of shadow dreams. A spinning layer of veils and enticing vocals that remind me of Tina Root with their charismatic enchantment and alien foreboding. A dark Grimm fairytale of electronic texture. Experts Production by Tara, as well mastering by Francisco Mendez. The future is so bright for this project.

Favorite Track: Lore – The title track is such a haunting and dynamic resonance of phantom images. I love the way drums/synths/vocals all sit in the mix in even measure until you are captured in a virtual sonic reality.

https://subgoth.bandcamp.com/album/lore

Dread RisksAutomated Disappointment – “GiddyYip this DeathRock Electro Cowboy shit!” A wise man once said about Texas IndustroDoom band Dread Risks. That wise man was me. Releasing 3/25/22 on ReMission this album is a return to the meaner barb wire aggression of industrial music. As an evolution from the past this aggression is no longer aimed outward but directed at addressing and concurring personal trauma. I love the molten glass cutting attack and melodic beauty of the vocals. The overhand bastard sword swing of the drumbeats. Berserker rage in clean focus. This is the next great wave in electronic musical concept.

S

https://remissionentertainment.bandcamp.com/album/automated-disappointment

Récipe MoradoRe•Habilitación – The Oscura Festival introduced me to Venezuelan post-punk band Recipe Morado, and I was immediately entranced. Relentless basslines follow you like a bloodhound while Siniestra’s spectral vocals ripple like an aftershock Even with a limited understanding of the lyrics I felt the pull of emotion and energy. The snare beats snap with crisp intensity on “Vueltas en Sante Fe” pushing the pedal to the floor with 90’s dark rock flavor. I love the bounding chaotic style changes throughout the album. A darting shadow always changing form. The Central/South American darkscene is a rich and fertile land I must continue to explore.

https://recipemorado.bandcamp.com/album/re-habilitaci-n

SnogEight Offerings For The Undead – From Australia artist Vince Valentini of Fate Razor places you in an intimate craft and pushes you a pole at a time down a winding River Styx. Leaning into crafted poetry and slow grinding rhythms. This is a whispering demon of Nick Cave void seeking sensuality blended with the clean complexity of Robyn Hitchcock story telling. With track 4 “Domesticated” the tone does a hard turn into slow sewer sludge industrial crawl. I love the twists and turns of this journey. An introspective thought piece that follows the journey rather than steers the course.

Favorite Track: (I Am Not) An Algorithm – A beautiful oscillating electronic pulse with overlapping vocal melody repeating a self actualizing chant . Hands reaching out to touch reeds on still water. I felt like this track connected all the parts reaching for light in the combined concept.

https://schmerkindustries.bandcamp.com/

Ashes FallenStand Your Ground – Always impressed by the ever expanding range of Cali goth rockers Ashes Fallen. They also seem to always be actively seeking ways to address the pain and injustice in the world. Here with a new single with all proceeds going to Direct Relief for their humanitarian mission in Ukraine. I love the punchy Dave Vanian snarl to James vocals. As well as the blended harmonies from Michelle and Jason. A very throwback Synthpunk edge which feels relevant to the world situation. A bonus remix by The Axiom Divide to cast a shadow against the fire.

https://ashesfallenmusic.bandcamp.com/album/stand-your-ground-for-ukraine

Sever The Servants – Brand new collaboration that sprung from the Sounds and Shadows group. A world grinding doom tank apparatus rolling through a nightmare hellscape of Hide Tepes and Mike Nolen imagination. Stone walls on all sides as Hide starts filling the room with dank modular synth water. Mike who doesn’t usually do vocals hisses out a poisonous danger that left me floored and impressed. I hungrily await the future offerings of this project. A perfect synthesis of styles to form a stronger bond.

https://severtheservants.bandcamp.com/album/dread-bloom

ERIC OBERTOCloser Than Ever Before – Brand new single from ex Tungsten Coil star reborn. I had Eric on for an interview which will release tomorrow 3/4/22. I loved hearing the story of him coming back into the music scene with an emphasis on horror film soundtracks. This single is a glitchy prayer of longing into a dark starless sky. I defiance of mortality through acceptance. The track comes with a cinematic video co directed with Erik Gustafson of ADORATION DESTROYED.

https://ericoberto.bandcamp.com/track/closer-than-ever-before

The Raven

by Jean-Marc Lederman Experience

It is from gloom-laden antiquity that the Jean-Marc Lederman Experience brings forth the latest compilation album, The Raven, featuring some of the most well known names in the Gothic Industrial soundscape. 13 tracks inspired and adapted from the works of Byron, Shelley, Poe, and even cinema from the Classic Hollywood era, this album has something that will appeal to all tastes and appetites, no matter how dark.

Jean-Marc Lederman

The man behind the project is Jean-Marc Lederman, a Belgian better known as Jimmy-Joe Snark III of The Weatherman. A man who’s placed his name on a variety of projects throughout the last few decades Lederman has been refining his craft since he was 18, and was first inspired by electronic luminary Brian Eno. Some notable projects of his include Gene Loves Jezebel, The The, and Fad Gadget. On this album, he has brought together some great minds and song-scribes such as Christopher Hall, Mari Kattman, and Emileigh Rohn.

Mari Kattman of Helix opens the album with “The Cold Heart Slept Below”. The track, the title of which alludes to The Telltale Heart, opens with a backdrop of a clock ticking steadily before the main beat and Kattman’s entrance. The track has a wonderful, almost dark-jazz type element that marries well with Kattmans vocals.

Conrad Aikens poem “The Vampire” is the inspiration of the second track of the same name by Stabbing Westward. Christopher Hall conjures bloodthirsty fiends and the struggle to escape them which is destined to be a fan favorite on the album. There’s no hint of cringe-inducing melodrama here, only the story of a creature that is going to rip you apart and eat what it finds inside. “The Vampire” would be equally at home on any Halloween playlist or any other time of the year on the dance floor of whatever Goth-Industrial night is smart and lucky enough to play it. Stabbing Westward never disappoints.

Unique among the tracks are numbers 3 and 13 respectively as these are not merely inspired by past works but adapt them completely to musical form. Track 3 “She Walks in Beauty” performed by Mark Hocking‘s band Mesh is a full adaptation of the Lord Byron poem of the same name. The albums final track is a musical adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” by Magnesium Burn‘s Christina Z. Both of these are fun to listen to and amount more to a reading of the aforementioned works set to music done in each artists style. Similar to the two aforementioned tracks is “Frankenstein” by Dr. Strangefryer. The lyrics of the song are made up of prose from Mary Shelley’s book. The accompanying industrial music fits well with the scene of Dr. Frankenstein witnessing his creature awaken for the first time.

Track 9 features Sound’s and Shadows own Duchess. Ken Magerman, and his band Amaranth. “Crushing Weight” is the bands take on Poe’s “The Raven” rebooted as a modern day panic attack brought about by the phantom bird visiting an introverted and reclusive Poe. Magerman‘s echoing vocals eerily convey the mood and essence of the man’s frantic uncertainty as he is buried beneath the inescapable truth the bird portends.

Stefan Netschio provides a personal nostalgia trip for me on track 11, “Smouldering Corpse In The Mourning Sun”. An avid listener of Stefan Netschio‘s band Beborn Beton since my teenage years he has long been able to bring a darkly elegant sound to every project he is a part of.

Emileigh Rohn

Emileigh Rohn, or Chiasm as she is better known in the Goth-Industrial world, sings a rendition of “Pretty Fly” in track 12. Originating during the classic age of Cinema in the 1955 horror film “The Night of the Hunter”, this spooky lullaby is sung by a little girl named Pearl to her brother as they drift down a river at night, pursued by a serial killer preacher. Rohn‘s rendition of it is just as dreamlike and spooky and remains my favorite track on the entire album. At only 2 minutes and 16 seconds the track is the shortest on the album but is not to be overlooked.

Beyond this, there is a lot more to the album, the stories it has tell tell definitely make it worth a listen. Ancient poems and macabre tales from the past conveyed through the filter of modern day dark wave artists is a natural enough pairing in itself, but Jean-Marc taps into something special here. Edgar Allen Poe and his works have long been inspiration for the thematically darker artists that have come after, but my personal intrigue was stoked by the other sources that were drawn upon for the creation of this album, and it is in their adaptation that it’s charm truly lies.

Interview With Jean-Marc Lederman:

James: What was it that inspired the other sources of the album beyond Poe?

JM: I wanted to do something darker than my usual work and had the idea to take several
writings from the goth authors to oblige me to turn more somber.
I was of course well on point about goth and goth culture (for Christ’s sake, Peter Murphy
slept in my mother’s bed, she wasn’t in it, back late 80’s) but started to read and
document myself more on the subject of goth in art and literature, which is the way I
always do when I start a new album: I want to dig more into the album concept, and
doing so I learn and discover more about it, its surroundings and the areas I could expand
to. The concept always evolves from a genuine interest I develop about something or a
certain frame of work I want me to discipline into. Or an idea I find funny and a possible
vehicle for a cool album.
And at the end of the adventure, I want my listeners, the artists involved and myself to
have a solid, bold and interesting album to dive in.
So, I compiled texts from the usual suspects (Mary Shelley, Oscar Wilde, …) but also less
known authors like the US author Percy Byshee Shelley. But some are total outsiders of
the known authors, like the one Jean-Luc Demeyer (F242, of course) picked up: a very
unknown early dark ages french poet.
But I didn’t want the influence to be only about texts, but also insights from the other
arts, like cinema (Night of The Hunter, horror movies, etc…) or even architecture and
paintings.
Eventually, the scope moved to be about dark sides, being them in us, in nature, in
mythology…So, while it started being about goth culture, it ended up being much larger

James: Were they pieces that resonated with you personally?

JM: Yes, I cannot work for something I’m not passionate about.
All the pieces are equally resonating with me even though I do have some tracks I favor
because there the magic really worked: “Pretty Fly” with the very talented Emileigh Rohn
(from US band Chiasm) is a good example. I have wanted to cover that song from that
incredible movie for years and Emileigh just nailed it in a single take. But all tracks are
special to me: I wouldn’t put them in the album if it wasn’t resonating strongly in me.

James: How much input were the artists given in their contributions to this album?

JM: Pretty much all control. I would contact singers and ask them if they wanted to participate. They had really quite
a lot of freedom, the main idea being for them to sing or recite something which would
represent some gothic /dark aspects for them. If they were game, I would then send them
a poem or a writing and the music customized for them. Some would jump in straight
away, some would ask for a different text (or different music) so I would let them choose
a text or even write one on their own.
I wouldn’t dare have an artist being unhappy about his work: they have the last call on
the mixes of course. With some it’s very easy, they love it and it’s wrapped in a few days,
for some it takes a few “trial and errors” before we get to a mix we are both happy with.

James: Was there much discussion with them regarding the songs they were to craft and the
individual inspirational sources?

JM: The texts were only proposals and so was the music I would created for them.
I think artists like to work with me because they know I’ll tailor things around them. One
of the main reviews feedback I have from my collaborative works is how the song and the
singer are so embedded into each other: one can really feel it’s been fine tuned around
the voice and the end result is strong because of that. It’s not a voice being dropped in a
song, it’s a coherent musical universe.

James: Or were they involved in the selection of the topic?

JM: The freedom given to the artists make them very proactive: some created their own lyrics
(Lis Van Den Akker, Azam Ali,Chrystopher Hall, Ken Magerman,Jim Semonik, Stefan
Netschio), some glued very much to the text (Christina Z and her dazzling performance of
The Rave (Poe) which was in fact the 1st track done on the album, Mari Kattman, Elena
Alice Fossi, Mark Hockings, Dr Strangefryer, Jean-Luc De Meyer)

James: Given the sheer amount of darker literature throughout history, were there song ideas
that were cut and would you ever consider doing a sequel album to this one, inspired by
other literary or cinematic works?

JM: Oh yes, there are ideas that weren’t used. It always happens when you embark on
projects like this: you search, you find, you complete…but sometimes it just doesn’t work,
whether it is the text or the music but it’s the rule of the game: not everything can work
out, you need to allow yourself space for failures in order to achieve your vision/the vision
of the other artists.
A sequel would be so not like me 🙂

You can purchase the album on bandcamp from COP International.

https://copinternational.bandcamp.com/album/the-raven

By James Kelly

Nothing Tastes Better Than Buying a New Release On Bandcamp Day Feels.

As the first Friday of February descends upon us Bandcamp (The best way to support new artists) has brought back Bandcamp Friday where every cent spent goes to the artists making the music. Here in Michigan we are buried in fluffy crystal snow and have no where to go. So make a cup of hot coco, grab a warm blanket, and tuck into some of the great releases which have found their way into my collection.

Sapphira VeeAerial HumanSapphiria Vee has sprouted wings and taken to stormy skies with the newest release “Ariel Human“. A bracing new pace and sinister promise. Featuring a rouges gallery of impressive collaboration from Jean Marc- Lederman, Roger Ebner, then Mixed and mastered by sonic wizard Jules Seifert. Send your mind a flight. Sapphira’s ability to draw talent towards her with both her powerful voice and magnetic personality gives her access to a wide brigade of masterwork tools. As a producer she knows just when and where to implement each sound like a conductor in a symphony. Available 2/4/22 on Distortion Records.

https://sapphiravee.bandcamp.com/album/aerial-human

The Palest GreyAlways Haunted – Long have I yearned for this release of wine stained lips and flapping leather wing goodness from Malek, Ripley, and dear friend Azy of (Obscura Undead). Lofi open maw bounding horror charging down a darkened hallway by furious clomping drums and tendril rope guitars. This is wonderful music created by people who LOVE batcave goth. You can really hear that homage in the intensity and intent. The EP also includes a Virgin in Veil cover which is a powerful deep cut. I love how the vocals have this hazy shadow monster undefinable quality that fluctuates in range and ferocity. Out on 2/4/22

https://thepalestgrey.bandcamp.com/releases

Katy Needs A LifeWith Friends Like Bees – This is another special release. I feel like I watched it grow up. Born here right in Kalamazoo MI, in Collin Schipper‘s (Amaranth) studio, done by Katy May (Sounds and Shadows). This record is everything I love about ultra sad dreamgaze pop, with none of the pretention I often associate with the genre. Every song is a flailing arms, heart flinging, explosion of narrative intensity. The music of Reggie, David, and Jake is a furious and frantic cohesion of chaos and pastel dreams. Katy has a voice full of purity and unapologetic raw truth that blasts through a sea of cold ultra produced crystal. This is such wonderous walking around with your own thoughts music.

Stand Out Track: I’m Going Down – This album is such a complete journey, I love each story and song. That said this track is constantly in my playlist when I need a moment. It’s a heavy builder that taps the emotion of great hits like Black Parade by MCR. It’s a nuclear unhinged crest of beauty and pain flung forth with reckless abandon. The perfect closer to the album.

This record is the first full length with the entire band and spells a glorious future for Katy and company. On top of that it is expertly mastered by none other than Jason Corbett (Jackknife Sound Studios) (Actors). I think sometimes those of us that do musical support of others get lost when it comes to our own projects. This is an unforgettable must have record.

https://katyneedsalife.bandcamp.com/album/with-friends-like-bees-2

Black Rose BurningThe Wheel – It’s strange, I feel like I have already reviewed this record, because I listen to it all the time. George Grant is a legendary part of the New York darkscene who has produced and written magnificent music that infuses heady concepts of fantasy and science fiction into beautiful towers of narrative beauty. With that history laid out, this album is the true opus of his career. A distinctive and complex expression of the modern post punk/darkwave scene. George has one of those voices of shooting star power which rings in the memory every time you hear it. I have said before it feels like Peter Gabriel doing goth music about Issac Asimov. This album is a must have in your collection. Also Mastered by Jason Corbett (Maybe you should ask him about mastering your band)

Stand Out Track: A Little Too Little – Grinding and filthy bass driving contrasts Georges lifting windswept beautiful vocals. I’m genuinely amazed this wasn’t a hit from the 80’s I had just forgotten about. A pleading love song tempered with regret. This song stabs me right through the heart every time.

https://blackroseburning.bandcamp.com/album/the-wheel

What are you going to buy this bandcamp day?

January 2022 Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Singles Chart

The first singles chart of 2022 is complete. As always these were the singles voted on by Sounds and Shadows group of Dj’s, Reviewers, Artists, and Super fans in the encompassing Darkscene genre. This is a chart that is chosen with no pay for play by your votes on songs that moved you. This month it featured some scene giants, as well as fresh new talent. In February if you have a release to contribute place it on the chart for voting.

  1. Stabbing WestwardGhost
  2. Vulture CultureToxic
  3. Long After MidnightPainkiller (Digital Monster Remix)
  4. BellheadNothing as It Seems (Stabbing Westward Remix)
  5. ESA Laudanum Dance
  6. Cat-Hall/DissonanceSlow Burn
  7. Death Loves Veronica – When I Was Dead Feat: Tim Skold
  8. Dogtablet You and Me (The Burying Kind Remix)
  9. Author & PunisherMaiden Star
  10. Morgue VVitchIn The Garden Of Monsters

Stabbing Westward – Ghost – LA Industrial Rock legends continue to fire out new music on COP International that tantalizes and sets the standard for the combination of electronic aggression and percussive guitar starburst. Chris Hall has an iconic voice that somehow gets stronger with every release. This single exploring that dissonant feeling of distant echo we are all plagued by in these times.

https://stabbingwestward.bandcamp.com/album/ghost

Vulture Culture – Toxic – Florida band I don’t know much about yet that got huge hometown support for this grinding 90’s “Broken” style single from a live recording. It’s filthy and intrigues me for their future.

https://vultcult.bandcamp.com/

Long After MidnightPainkiller (Digital Monster Mix) – I love seeing a band close to me in Grand Rapids Michigan crack this chart. Every single release and collaboration leaves me staggered and impressed with the range and quality of songwriting. This razor edge pop rock industrial bleeds jagged glass clarity and vocal intensity. This band has really been taking the scene by fire, and I can’t wait to hear what is next.

https://longaftermidnight.bandcamp.com/track/painkiller-digital-monster-mix

BELLHEADNothing As It Seems (Stabbing Westward Remix) – Chicago based electronic demolition experts that rock two bass thunder and no apologies are remixed here by the previous mentioned Stabbing Westward. I love the machine gun cadence poetic delivery of the vocals. A unique and explosive sound between stalking and smashing.

https://bellhead.bandcamp.com/track/nothing-as-it-seems-stabbing-westward-remix

ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse)Laudanum Dance – Jamie is a force of nature leading the charge of modern EBM. Every song burns with napalm intelligence and body blow intensity. Just when you think everything has been done before, ESA reminds you that their is new sonic ground to explore and it is filthy as it is mean.

https://esangp.bandcamp.com/album/designer-carnage

Dissonance – Slow Burn – I am in love with this team of Cat and Melodywhore. James seems to know all the best ways to unleash Cat’s boundless vocal intensity and smoky beauty. This song is a burning panther slinking up an active volcano.

https://dissonanceband.bandcamp.com/album/slowburn?fbclid=IwAR2PzSNqKsEzNyhCiEgNt2fqV3fVv0sC4QvbC1EPOq37x9ikornp1eMJ1MM

Death Loves Veronica Feat: Tim Skold – When I Was Dead – The Texas siren from Cold Transmission music has teamed with legend Tim Skold on this stutter beat stomping whisper that is haunting as it is explosive. I really love the sword slash guitar riffs which are not a standard for Veronica. It has a fresh feel on something I already love.

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/track/when-i-was-dead-feat-tim-skold

DogtabletTJY4 (The Burying Kind Remix) – There is so much to love here. Legend Martin King (Test Dept) and Jared Louche (Chemlab) blending a trance driven beauty. Then remixed by Scott David and Dan Milligan of (The Burying Kind). It’s a gorgeous fantastical garden of wonder sprawling into mystery. You need this now.

https://dogtablet.bandcamp.com/track/you-me-the-burying-kind-dream-mix

Author & PunisherMaiden Star – San Diego sky splitting sonic destroyers A & P make the chart for a second month in a row with their single Maiden Star off of “Kruller“. This song is amazing and needs to be played on the largest sound system you can gain access to post haste.

https://authorandpunisher.bandcamp.com/track/maiden-star

Morgue VVitchMidnight Sun of Summer (Slighter remix) – Kansas dark trance producer Tara has teamed with California electro sculptor Colin of (Slighter) to create this dark crystal winding path of beauty and arm weaving dance magic.

https://morguevvitch.bandcamp.com/track/midnight-sun-of-summer-slighter-remix

February single chart starts on the 10th. What new releases are you excited for?

It’s As Cold As my Dead Goth Heart, Time for New Music

So I have been buried in everything I have wanted to do so far this year. Between work, the amazing Oscura Festival, End of the Year top albums. I finally have a moment to stop and catch my breath. Just in time to hear Bandcamp Friday is back on for next week. So how about I review some new music which is warming my bones as the world freezes over.

binzatinaAnestesia – This first album is from 2018, but I am just finding it and it NEEDS attention. This was a recommendation of our dear friend Juls (Pilgrims of Yearning). The band hails from Chile and combines a 90’s triphop Portishead slither slide drum beat, with and smoky lounge sensual vocal performance by Lya Godoy. This sound is a warm bath in the dark surrounded by candlelight. It’s flickering pictures on the wall with a healthy dash of explosive dynamic in just the right moment to wake you from your trance. Lulling you just as quick back into dreams. Beauty, passion, depth, this is the sound of your next romantic escapade.

https://binzatina.bandcamp.com/album/anestesia

DogtabletTJY4 – Brand new January 2022 release from Industrial scene legends Martin King (Test Dept), Roberto Soave (Associates), and Jared Louche (Chemlab). This new remix EP hits the mark just as you would expect from masters of the craft with the unbridled freedom to create expressionist sonic art. Giving over the reins of vision to great up and comers like (The Burying Kind), Sapphira Vee, and Melodywhore to expand the vision into fresh ground. Dogtablet continues to amaze me with their understanding of how to turn raw sound into transmitted human emotion.

https://dogtablet.bandcamp.com/album/tjy4

ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse)Designer Carnage – The greatest thing to happen to modern EMB industrial does not disappoint with the latest offering. Out on 2/14/2022 but available for pre order now. This remains the hardest, meanest, smartest, body earthquake, grit your teeth, be invaded by the spirit music. Jamie continues to skate the razor edge of unnerving terror and sonic rapture. He is officially on my “I will buy every release unheard until you fuk up two in a row list”. I see absolutely no chances of that happening any time soon.

https://esangp.bandcamp.com/album/designer-carnage

Dove TribeCollected Prayers – I have been waiting for this project to find it’s perfect stride for so long. Norway’s Hide Tepes has captured the low-fi bat cave early Sisters of Mercy tone and seamlessly blended it with their own emotive high art abstract. When I need an artist to push my boundaries and remind me of a time when music was raw, unruly, and unpredictable. All four tracks are captivating narratives that change direction and speed like a foreboding wind. There is one that stands out to me “When The Music’s Over” a lip curled prayer in the early art house sewer of early Bauhaus and “StillJoy Division. That haunting overlapping guitar riff, that cursed mantra to keep moving forward lest you disappear. This is one of the great visionaries of the modern scene.

https://dovetribe.bandcamp.com/album/collected-prayers

Blood DanceBurn Slow – Second single from Mexico City SynthGoth Blood Dance. This lovely creeper with some deep goth roots. The beats were a slowly boiling put but these carefully placed guitar leads are all sizzle. This track also features backing by Bari-Bari. This track really gets me excited to keep delving into the rich Mexico City darkscene.

https://blooddance.bandcamp.com/album/burn-slow

Bradley CoomesCommunion – Louisville KY songsmith Bradley Coomes has brought together an eclectic range of vocal talent to synch with his emotive shimmering 3D sonic images. This is one of those albums that really matches it’s cover art. An impressionist feeling exchange ranging from early 2000 minimalist opium rock like Low and Mogwai. To a sunrise shadow of dreampop. The way each guest vocalist is used to perfect effect really shows the love that went into this songcraft. If I had to choose a favorite track, I was absolutely captured by “Sabrina” featuring California shadowpop crooner James Edwards of (Male Tears). Expansive beauty and symmetry while cracking with golden strands of brimming romance teetering at the brink. I also want to shout out Jennifer Wilde of (Sword Tongue) for stepping so far out of their established style on “Little Bird” to shine with sullen Haight Ashbury mystical swirls that cast a striking contrast on the rest of the journey. Memorizing and hopeful in equal measure.

https://deusmarginalia.bandcamp.com/album/communion

The GatheringParade – New album from Vancouver Cold Transmission band The Gathering. While the previous LP was a nostalgic homage, “Parade” leans into the resurgence of Post Punk / Darkwave building up in real time. The album was recorded by Jackknife Sound by Jason Corbett (Actors) and also has additional vocals by fellow (Actors) Shannon Hemmett on “Ocean Star“. I love the unstoppable forward momentum and crisp accented drum beats. Everything vibrates with a clarity and precision that stops me in my tracks with my mouth open appreciating the ice sculpture prism of every track. Standout track is “Building A Bridge” with it’s zig zag endless pin prick attack. The blending choir of vocals create a haunting melody that was stuck in my head for days. There is something so special when someone uses the patience to have a song concept reach it’s height of development.

https://thegatheringbc.bandcamp.com/album/parade

Récipe MoradoRe•Habilitación – I discovered this gorgeous flowing up-tempo post punk from Venezuela at the Oscura Festival. Complex high energy tendrils of complex shoegaze supported whisper punk. I love the reckless abandon of the constantly shifting music and controlled reaction of the vocals. A wonderful synthesis of modern clarity and Jesus and Mary Chain effortless abandon.

https://recipemorado.bandcamp.com/album/re-habilitaci-n

December 2021 Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Chart

So I am a bit behind the ball again. I do want to make sure I am continuing to publish these charts chosen of the top singles released in December chosen by the DJ’s, Reviewers, Bands, and Superfans in the Sounds and Shadows group. Make sure to cast your vote in January.

  1. Gravity Corps – Another Day
  2. Daddybear (Feat Grabyourface) – Boss Bitch
  3. HAEX – Cursebreaker
  4. Deathline International – Parasite
  5. Author and Punisher – Drone Carrying Dead
  6. Eva X – Whipping Girl
  7. Batavia – Epitaph
  8. SYZYGYX – Light You On Fire
  9. Angelspit – Stand In Line
  10. Rosegarden Funeral Party – In The Wake Of Fire

Gravity CorpsAnother Day – Spacey driving dance beats from Mark Sousa. This futurepop trance rhythm with the melodic bass whisper vocals and sharp mastering of Eric Oehler (Klack). This is sensational music to fire finger guns on the dancefloor to.

https://gravitycorps.bandcamp.com/track/another-day-ep-version

daddybear feat: grabyourface – Boss Bitch – Well the amazing duo of Matt Fanale and Marie Dragontown have done it again and found their way to the top pf our darkscene chart. Stalking apex hunting vocals stanking up the dancefloor with raw sensual pheromones and sinister beats. Sometimes two humans just share a mind perfectly and create a seamless blend that achieves glory. This is one of those times.

https://daddybear.bandcamp.com/album/boss-bitch

HAEXCursebreaker – A latecomer in 2021 that made our albums of the year. This filthy concrete sledgehammer blend of industrial and nu-metal is a terrifying decent into forbidden alien chaos magic. Adam Jones growls mean and it makes my knees weak.

https://haex.bandcamp.com/track/cursebreaker

Deathline InternationalParasite – Old school Front Line Assembly sample heavy lashing punk fire boot stomper from the head of COP records, mixed and mastered by living legend John Fryer. Sinister Guitar Lord James Perry of Ashes Fallen adds a powerful lick to ice this delicious cake. A lot of talent was brought together to make this sizzle, and it does.

https://deathlineinternational.bandcamp.com/track/parasite-single-mix-john-fryer

Author & PunisherDrone Carrying Dread – So when I saw a 8 minute 16 second single from the San Diego band I thought, how does this work? I was so wrong. This works. It’s an ever expanding Machines of Loving Gracesque emotive and beautiful journey of dread and introspection. It’s simply magnificent. I don’t want to be this in love with it, but it is SO GOOD!

https://authorandpunisher.bandcamp.com/track/drone-carrying-dread

Eva XWhipping Girl – I love listening to an artist grow with every new release before my ears. Gaby continues to sharpen her sound and produce a glorious darkpop full of strength and soul. This track holds a fiery defiant energy and cutting intelligence. I can’t wait to hear what is next.

https://eva-x.bandcamp.com/album/whipping-girl

BataviaEpitaph (C​-​Tec Cover) – So I absolutely love it when a band covers an “underground” band. Although C-Tec is a Front Line Assembly side project, it isn’t terribly well known. Batavia continues to be one of the most underrated bands in the modern electronica scene. This cover is gorgeous and powerful. The team of Ed and Terri just have a magical and expressive connection that seeps through everything they do. They have joined the “Must Buy” club for all future releases because it seems they cannot miss.

https://batavia.bandcamp.com/album/epitaph-c-tec-cover

S Y Z Y G Y XLight You On Fire – Luna Blanc continues to explode with smoky sensuality and undefinable energy. This new single is stripped down and focused with captivating depths to fall into.

https://syzygy-x.bandcamp.com/track/light-you-on-fire

AngelspitStand in Line – Second single from Diesel Priest. Electronic political punk root explosion with a thinking persons razor resolve. Get inside the system, then become a bomb, then explode in a visceral bloody paste of art glitter.

https://angelspit-official.bandcamp.com/track/stand-in-line

Rosegarden Funeral PartyIN THE WAKE OF FIRE – The amazing Texas dark rock band I always find myself not diving deep enough into for no apparent reason, but every time I take a moment to listen like I am now, I am struck by how damn amazing they are. Leah Lane is a force on vocals. The music is gospel choir uplifting and soulful. Every instrument is perfect precision. It’s a gorgeous single that deserves your attention.

https://rosegardenfuneralparty.bandcamp.com/

Sounds and Shadows Best Albums of 2021

This year has had the release of so many amazing albums. I’m a bit at a loss of how to do a Best Of List. I have so many records I loved after I made a list, then a list of another 100 I loved. It caused me anxiety thinking about how to categorize or order them. So instead I am going to treat this like a montage in no particular order. Just thinking about all the things that brought me joy in this dark year fills my heart with hope for the future. These are not singles, EPs or Full lengths released in 2021 with all genres mixed together in a blender like the Darkscene gods intended.

Actors – “Acts Of Worship” – This album is going to change the standard. Rather than think of it as an album out of time. Hear it as the type of puncturing emotional thought pieces we talk about as nostalgia from a previous era. I choose to see the hope it promises. To be a place where those that remember the past, and those that are blazing new ground in the future meet. Where they say this was the moment where the music we talk about twenty years from now with a new generation is remembered. It’s a powerful feeling that you can be apart of now. This is my album of the year. The second time I have given them this award.

https://actors.bandcamp.com/album/acts-of-worship

Creux Lies – Goodbye Divine – October was the month of spooks, a shaky return of Halloween since the long-endured pandemic and a myriad of releases by many artists within the undead world of dark-alternative music. Among the wave of new, brooding and shadow-y music unleashed upon the world shines one LP that stands apart from the cobwebs and screeching bats in the night; ‘Goodbye Divine’, the second album by moody, Sacramento post-punkers, Creux Lies. More than three years after the band’s debut record, ‘The Hearth’, Creux Lies brings us a new collection of eight tracks packaged with an avante-garde painting by Alex Kanevsky on the LP’s cover. Preceding the release, the “New Romantic” quartet appeared in promotional images portraying them as disaffected souls in serene, open fields; a fitting aesthetic theme for the music’s despondent sonic-template. “Jungle” kicks off the record with a wave of sinister keyboards before the rest of the band commences their wall of gray, foreboding rhythms, setting the tone for the LP’s thematic statement. By track four, we are treated to the bitter-sweet, emotional “PS Goodbye”. Singer, Ean Clevenger croons against the soft-rock instrumentation with lyrics, “Mercy you, you helped me shine. Although the last, it was the very first time.” One of the most distinguishing elements of Creux Lies’ sound is Clevenger’s vocal contributions. – James Edwards

https://creuxlies.bandcamp.com/album/goodbye-divine

Rohn – Lederman – Venus Chariot – My love for Belgian composer extraordinaire Jean-Marc Lederman is deeply known on this page. His previous work includes ( Fad Gadget, The The, Gene Loves Jezebel, The Weathermen) as well as some of the most thought provoking higher tier concepts in electronica music of the past 5 years. Teaming here with COP International and exceptional producer/Vocalist Emiliegh Rohn of Michigan they blend into a poetic electrified katana of grace and fury. I have spoken of this record in the Sounds and Shadows group but was shocked I had yet to write a formal review. When I hear someone of Jean-Marc’s pedigree say “This might be one of the most important albums I have ever released” it tends to make your ears perk up. This album is full of endless fusion energy both in the intricate hair splitting craft of the music, and Emileigh’s power whisper beauty. it’s the record I reach for whenever I need to force my body into action. A well of strength at your fingertips for these draining times. Greg Rolfes provides cover art to set the tone of this runaway stampede of electronic elegance.

https://rohn-lederman.bandcamp.com/album/venus-chariot

Black Rose Burning – The Wheel – George Grant of New York has taken an already amazing sound to a completely different level. This new album is progressive, complex, expertly executed emotional darkscene that permeates the skin and resonates in the chest. These vocals harken to a previous time of dripping Peter Gabriel emotion that spiral in crystal facets on top of shifting translucent hooks. It ebbs and flows through a stylistic spectrum and delivers with every memorizing tale. I continue to be blown away by one of the most criminally overlooked master songsmiths of our scene. This is a record that needs mainstream attention.

https://blackroseburning.bandcamp.com/album/the-wheel