Always a chaotic and wonderful time of year. I’ve had a huge focus in my review writing lately around singles. I think the whole industry has felt a shift in this direction. That is why it is important to take time and celebrate artists who release full albums tied together with an idea. To recall times sitting together around the speakers with friends pulling apart the strands of lyrics and ideas. Before I work on the Oct Darkscene Singles Chart, I am going to dive into some more expansive work driving my mind. Be on the lookout as well for some exciting new interviews on our youtube channel. If you like what we do, feel free to support with our Patreon page below
genCAB – Signature Flaws – Philly based industrial synthwave full of jagged glass and insight on the human condition. had a new October release. David Dutton is a master at surfing the razor edge between pop hook and unnerving dissonance. Infectious drum beats that hang just outside of time, never allowing you to feel comfortable. Combining this with clear delivery and an emo cadence. A unique vision within a genre full of repetition. With this 3rd full album release I am ecstatic to see David lean further into the abstract edges that makes his music connect.
Album Flow: It really fits together. The sound has over-arching themes but the dynamics really take a journey. I also love the emphasis placed on lyrics. These songs really let you into the mind of the author, flaws and all. This is a record you can really feel the intent, and attention to detail that went into subtitle sounds. The order of delivery holds true meaning.
Signature Flaws II – This song is a total masterpiece, the perfect break and epiphany moment in the middle of the record. Beautiful soft fur behind razor teeth. The background of strange electronic harpsichord tones make perfect accents.
Cancer Causes Life – Just shimmering with spinning violet light. Gorgeous vocal shifts to really make this slow jam feel full of movement. As a song writer I just love to hear this level of craft and soul.
VNV Nation – Electric Sun – I recently got to do an interview with Rowen which will be released soon. This album came out April 2023 and has been spinning around my rotation ever since. This album has a dark color to it. Every track feels large in scope and sets a tone of impending doom. In true VNV nature, it also is a call for unity and hope. A desire to face this darkness hand and hand. The synth banks form towering shapes that rise in terrifying representations of order. The narrative quality of the lyrics and the expressive delivery of the vocals leave me feeling like a spectator in some grand playhouse. Watching the protagonist belt his sorrowful story to the back of the wall. Is that to say there aren’t club bangers? Of course not, the energy is infectious, stomp your feet. Just also take the time to sit on a rooftop in the evening air and reflect on the world rolling by while you take in every word.
The Game – A scathing view of the post Capitalist world. The gorgeous Peter Gabriel cadence makes the message here feel enormous. The back beat on the drums is a marching rhythm, constantly driving forward like the game itself. The house always wins. This one got under my skin.
Run – 100% Bonafide BANGER. The tempo is slow and crawling but this is a boot stomping through the concrete with water spraying overhead from the sprinklers as you spin in time. It builds you up, it breaks you down. The breakdown at the four minute mark is an emotional outpour into a sky splitting elation. I felt like my soul ran to the top of a mountain.
VEiiLA – Sentimental Craving For Beauty – VEiiLA is pronounced “Vay-la.” It’s a stylized reference to a Baltic mountain-dwelling demon that lures men into her cave by singing and then devours them. Don’t threaten me with a good time. A new album on Projekt Records sent to me by Sam which I feel headlong into. A delicate beauty with 90’s trip hop elements, including a sprinkling of Beth Gibbons in the vocal delivery. Twinkling light arpeggiation taking us to an other worldly fairy fire mystery. This album makes great use of the “whisper factor”. When you shout something to the rooftops people natural lose focus. When you whisper a secret, everyone wants to lean in to be part of the inner circle. Veiila makes you lean in close, hanging on that whisper, then explodes in a shower of color. The flow of this whole record always leaves you shrouded in mystery. The other master stroke is the jazzy loose guitar winding clean and instinctive tendrils around that voice.
I Had A Dream – This song is full of magic and dark whimsey. You follow that lovely sound into a shadowy place and suddenly you are lost. Menacing low synth bass sounds bounce against the tiny bell sound sparkles. This track is a expert class on how to build tension, hit a peak, and explode with energy. The whole record excels at this but this track hits you right in the iris.
Common Decency – Nice glitchy witchaus drum beat that really frees the vocals to shine. Range and soul in equal measure. One of those tracks that would be at home in almost every situation.
Black Angel – LASCIVIOUS – I know you were all starting to think, Ken, are you only reviewing electronic trance and future pop? Well count on Matt Vowles, Corey Landis, and Maneesha Jones to hit us with a hot dose of gothic rock wrapped in tight leather on the back of a roaring engine. The title drips with danger and sensuality. Cracking organic drum snaps. Overlapping guitar lines weaving around a race track. I really enjoy the way Corey’s vocals fit a very Eldrich rhythm while having a lip curl snarling tone of his own. This record runs around a lot of trad goth elements then sprays them down with late 80’s LA hedonism. The effect becomes a blend of stalking shadows and care free excess.
She’s My Suicide – Loving this filthy guitar sound with a slow Concrete Blonde crawl. Landis uncorks a mixture of burning beam and rusty metal. This song was made for loud club speakers.
Killer – The drums in the opening here scream Banger. Guitar riff is a drag race right down your throat. Jones does a nice chorus harmony here sprinkling some Vision Thing spice.
daddybear – IA MALI EN – A new release from Matt Fanale (Caustic/Klack) where he again teamed up with French revolutionary artist Marie (Grabyourface) to make fog machine sensual grindwave. The pairing produces something I can best describe as modern. Because there really isn’t anything like it. Glitterbomb gold raining on a floor of midnight epoxy. Marie’s vocals drip a haunting whisper muffled by a lit Gauloises dangling from their lip. It is so effortless, lounging within the slashing beat.
Bedless Bones – Mire of Mercury – Brand new record from my favorite band from Estonia. Kadri Sammel is a unique vocal experience in her timing and enchanted forest delivery. This record seems to follow itself in reaction like rippling currents on still water. Every shift setting up another variation. This isn’t an album for the thumping club speakers. This is a record for an exclusive party with friends on the rooftop overlooking ancient ruins. A shimmering atmospheric hallucination that echos faintly in your memory.
Blood Citadel – This track stands out for it’s immersive Projekt Records world beat transportive nature. Running barefoot through the night through ancient ruins listening to the whistling breath of yesterday’s spirits. Great use of toms thrumming to a build. It makes me feel lost with cold wind biting at my face.