Throughout 2021 I was busy writing/recording the Carrion album, working on sound design jobs and so on, unfortunatly there wasn`t much time for reviews/interviews but now that things are out and done with I requested upcoming releases in the Sounds & Shadows Facebook group and you all delivered great and varied stuff!
Ephemeral Form – Light With Shallow Disguise
First one out is Ephemeral Form with the single ” Light With Shallow Disguise” for which they have also published a music video in late December 2021. I was immediatly mesmerized by this, both the song itself and the accompanying video. There
s a strong urge to compare the song to the Reptile House EP by you-know-who to give you an idea of what to expect. Its a slow paced, atmosphere heavy track, barritone vocals and sparse guitars that crawl and slither like serpents throughout the four minutes of run time that ends up feeling too short. You may wanna loop this song and just let it devour you as if you`re the tail of ouroboros.
The black and white video conjures experimental avant garde noir films, a great fit for the song really.
The song is taken off their first EP, produced by Jim Walker of Push Button Press, released January 7th indepently via Bandcamp with a sister EP to come during the summertime.
The Neuro Farm – Confession
Released in October of 2021 “Vampyre” is the latest offering from Washington
s The Neuro Farm. A concept album pulling its inspiration from vampires through the ages going back to biblical times.
A plot summary written by the band follows:
“Vampyrism is a curse dating back to biblical times. Our titular heroine, lured by the promise of immortality, is given this curse by the egomaniacal leader of a vampyric cult. But within the cult there is a growing sense of disillusion, and she builds her own following. Eventually, she spurns her maker, rebelling against him and his decaying institution. She says a final farewell to her mortal husband, turning away from humanity and embracing her new nature. She slays her former master in the “midnight massacre” and declares herself queen.“
Concept albums can go either way and vampires are certainly not a new theme within our scene so it`s easy to go into this with certain preconceived ideas. Luckily, The Neuro Farm seems to rise ot the occasion. Confession is track number five so we find ourselves right in the middle of our tale. Reversed vocals layered over tribal drum patterns and bass that give off a a near middle eastern vibe immediatly grabs you and pulls you in. Highly melodic vocals with a dark allure and almost operatic sections make for an interesting listening experience as gutiars make themselves known in short bursts throughout.
A full album review may follow at a later date but for now I`ll just urge you to click below and hear for yourself.
Sea Lungs – Piss Up A Rope
Following their debut in March 2021, Australia
s Sea Lungs brings us the single "Piss Up A Rope" with vocals that immediatly makes one wonder if Rozz Williams is alive after all. While it could be seen as a quite standard deathrock track that`s too easy and too lazy. The guitar work is interesting and varied, each section flows together seemlessly as the slow paced drums drive ever on underneath. Their Bandcamp page has this statement along with the single “Sea Lungs are sending a strongly worded suggestion to the narcissistic billionaires who are strangling the joy out of this world…..” given the connections between goth/punk/deathrock whatever name you prefer it is certainly nice to see music in this vein managing to be more than just fantasy horror stories. Towards the end we even get an almost industrial section where it seems the machinery is about to come to a full halt before pulling itself back out and wrapping up.
Luscious Apparatus – Infiltrate
Luscious Apparatus is a four-piece act from Portland, Oregon with a self-described tendency for cimeatic soundscapes and textured synth work. Infiltrate is the debut single released January 6th 2022 along with a fittingly atmospheric artwork that alone should be enough to intrigue you and pull you in.
Described as the bastard child of Garbage and Nine Inch Nails, the moment you hit play this becomes clear however at the same time I
m not sure if I want to give anyone any ideas on what to expect, go into this with a blank slate and simply let it be what it is; and it is good.
Infiltrate perfeclty balances the twilight areas of gentle atmospheres and lush guitars that punch you in slow motion like an iron fist in a velvet glove. I can only speak for myself but I can
t wait to see what else this group will come up with as time goes on, definetly up to a fantastic start, its is truly a sin and a shame that this is all we have at the moment but hopefully something will follow soon to sate our ever hungry maws.
Anti-Social Club – Death To The Fight
Anti-Social Club reimagines their 2008 song ” Fight To The Death” with their latest single released December 20th 2021 and the result is a synth and guitar driven “bop” as the kids may call it. Catchy vocal lines acccompanying funky synth lines and intermissions of spoken word makes for a mixed bag that throughout the 4 minute run never feels boring or as if too much is going on at once, a reimagination well done and the quote abrupt end grabs you by the neck and pulls yo back out leaving you no choice bu to play it all over again.
System 6 – Epic
Industrial act System 6 kicks off the year with a cover of the Faith No More song “Epic”, while never a big fan of Faith No More myself System 6 has put together a quite enjoyable rendition of the song that if nothing else checks all the points for what you
d want in industrial music without accusing them of pandering or sounding too alike anything else. Stomping drums, fuzzy distorted guitars and affected vocals run rampant throughout the 4 minutes and 37 seconds with a chorus section that is catchy enough to warrant a replay or two for sure however seen as this is a cover one cant fully credit the band with this I suppose. Nevertheless it
s worth checking out wether youre a fan of the original or you`re a fan of industrial music. Speaking for myself, having heard the original I believe I prefer System 6 take on it.
Modal Citizan – Balls
Hot on the heels of their 2021 EP Idolatry, Modal Citizan is back with the single ” Balls ” and I feel as if I
ve entered a time machine and landed in a NIne Inch Nails rehearsal room sometime in the 90s. While alot of industrial music these days seem to consist of a far more club oriented style with harsh synth work, distorted vocals via the Boss SE-50/70 and Ministry styled chugging guitars Modal Citizan is capturing a different aspect to the genre and its quite refreshing despite the above NIN comment which could really only be a compliment. Throughout the song you`ll be met with a few interesting tempo changes and the last few seconds sound like a cassette player getting stuck, all compositional choices that prevent the song from feeling too repetetive and shows that Modal Citizan is an act to keep your eyes, or rather ears, on this year to see where they take things next.
Dragon & Jettenbach – Serenity Of The Meatgrinder
Taken from their just released album ” Tales From The Algorithm”, Serenity Of The Meatgrinder is an over eight miute long atmospheric dirge full of ambiance, cinematic texture and industrial styled sound design that creeps, crawls and evolves , the title is indeed a perfect description of what you`ll get here but at the same time given the tropes of certain words and machinery related terms within industrials more experimental corners one could just as easily be mistaken and expect something much harsher and leaning more towards noise. The avant garde and experimental sides of industrial , or the roots of the genre rather is what originally intrigued me about it and pulled me in so I for one am quite happy with being sent new music that manages to capture that essence without simply being 10 minutes of distorted microwave sounds. This is a clearly well crafted piece of music and piques my interest enough to leave myself a mental note to check out the full release and add it to the list of album reviews to get done this year.