Time for the November Darkscene Singles Chart. This year has been flying by and full of amazing new music. I put out this chart every month to recognize incredible bands from around the world who don’t always get seen on other charts. Every bands here is chosen by our Facebook/Patreon group of Artists/DJs/Reviewers/Promotors/and Super fans. If you have a single releasing in December or know someone who does, please add it to our poll for consideration.
I will always keep supporting new darkscene music because it is my passion. I don’t like for this to feel like a business and will offer the same content for free. However the webpage/zoom account/mixcloud ect cost money. If you like what we do and want to support us for $1 a month. This is our Patreon page and Tshirts 🙂 For those that can, we really appreciate it.
Bow Ever Down – Goodbye – The fact that the absurdly under recognized Kimberly Kornmeier took 1st place in our chart this month fills me with emotion of why I started this chart in the first place. A talented professional that has been a part of the scene since 1998 with a soulful piercing voice and an empathetic heart being chosen by this group over more recognized names. This song was a tribute to Ghost-Youth an artist taken from this world far too soon. Lovely trancey production and sorrowful delivery. It’s hard to know the story behind this song and not mist up a bit.
2) Twin Tribes – Monolith – One of the hottest acts in modern goth dropped a new video and single from an upcoming album under the radar. Of course it is an absolute banger. Luis gives that whip crack delivery and the music has a gorgeous darksynth that was giving me Ultravox vibes. Some of the dark skies of previous releases were pulled apart to reveal clean beams of light and hope to the familiar Twin Tribes sound.
3) daddybear – Antisocial – Matt Fanale and Marie (Grabyourface) are two great tastes paired perfectly I am coming to associate together. Each of these new singles feels smooth and impactful. That fresh electropunk energy of intelligent message, effortless delivery, and fervent devotion to the cause. This vibrating bass beat is eroding pores into my bones. I’m here for it.
4) Sword Tongue – To My Apparition – Awesome Cali couple duo that has a strange mixture of Projekt Records and Prog Rock added an ingredient that makes everything better. Drum Daddy Dan Milligan (The Joy Thieves). Jennifers vocals really sail over a frozen fantasy world like a shield maiden bardic warrior. This track feels expansive and full of adventure. Exciting new direction.
5) Object X – Insomnia – Super cool father/daughter duo from Reno NV. Great synthesis of dreamy trance beats and 90’s alternative. The beautiful harmonies here carry an extra layer of soul from the family connection. This song makes me want to fall backwards through the bed into space.
6) BRIDES – If Love Was A Colour – I know we have seen Adrian a lot in this poll lately, but every song just keeps getting better. More abstract and reckless, more simple and to the roots. That dichotomy living together in real time. This project is the best thing he has ever done.
7) Mari Kattman – URGOD.AI – Another smash for Boston producer and digital disco priestess Mari Kattman. This one whirls like a sonic tornado through the club. The soundtrack to flying car you into the cyberpunk dystopia.
8) The Mystic Underground – Famous Last Words (Of A Generation) – Great opening thrum from the New York band. Vladimir Valette has a beautiful voice that crackles with energy and hops on a distinctive cadence. The lyrics are poignant and powerful. Great video as well linked below.
9) Dogtablet – Summertime – The always percussionally epic industrial legend calls in friends Dirk Flanigan, Mike Reidy & Roger Ebner on this filthy slinking jazzdustrial banger. I’m stumbling home from the warehouse district at 3am past mystery moisture rising from the manholes. This song is hot and wet.
10) Tears for ʇhe Dying – We Are The Darkness – I had the absolute pleasure of seeing TFTD do this song live opening for Twin Tribes and Vision Video. Adria shines like a star on stage. One of the top Death Rock bands in the modern era and this album will be something to get excited about.
Newest album release from Berlin based darkwave band Night Nail on Metropolis Records. Night Nail has been criminally overlooked during discussions of top acts in the modern darkscene. Their sound has always trended more towards the abstract and grimier underbelly of darkwave music. They are travelers, country to country, moving between labels, lean and hungry on untamed sonic ground. This follow up to the 2020 EP March to Autumn is another chapter is another bold shift in story and complexion. Adding Pete Burn (Kill Shelter) for mixing and mastering brings a cool gun metal sheen that highlights the passion in their narrative.
Justin Deaktivere: composition, guitars, saxophone, keyboards, midi, and drum programming
Valentina Veil – additional instruments and voices
NIGHT NAIL – Fates Explained – From the title track this album has a wonderful shimmer effect from layered instruments. A hidden waterfall of slushy darkgaze guitars to peer through at the mysteries beneath. Brandon‘s rich dreamy baritone has a Mark Sandman quality that highlights the surrealism of the music. Valentina has an expanded vocal presence which is always a good thing. The range of this record is really impressive. In a time of short story singles “Fate Explained” is a complex winding novel. Track 4 Cells shifts gears into a dark glam which could have been a lost B side from “Hunky Dory“. Track 5 “Madness and Foul” features a bouncy gothjazz bassline Mick Karn would delight at. I really enjoy the way these songs demand engagement. This isn’t music to talk over in the club and not absorb. This is music shared with loved ones in a small gathering with a bottle of red. A soundtrack to a discussion that matters.
I only have one complaint, which feels hypocritical after praising them for not staying in one lane and exploring new sounds. I kept waiting for that distinct Justin sax solo to charge forward in a song and it never came. As someone who lives for slutty muted Saxaphone in darkscene music I hope it makes a return in the next record 😉
Interview With Night Nail :
Ken: It’s been 3 years since your last full-length release. What has been the biggest change to both your sound and inspiration?
Night Nail : Thank you, Ken, for this opportunity to talk with you! Congratulations to you and Sound and Shadows for building a successful, inclusive, supportive, darkwave community within Facebook and the blog. It is hard to be objective about the ‘changes’ we made in our process or notice the things we did differently. Having the experience of making the previous records, “March To Autumn” and “LA Demons,” definitely helped make this album. Also, being in an ‘extended’ lockdown for over 3 years due to the pandemic, due to family needs, jobs, etc, Night Nail was not able to tour, as much, as I wanted to, but, this also helped. I was envious of my friends’ bands touring after COVID lockdowns and having success with it. I know people really needed to get out to see live music, again. I was frustrated. Add a long, wet, dreary Berlin winter to that equation and there is not much else to do but record music. Also, I listened to my inner voice which said to continue to be forward-thinking and bigger picture, about it all. That voice promised me that the rewards of having a fresh, new album, singles, and music videos would far outweigh playing loads of shows, post-pandemic. That voice was largely right for us, because, in honing our skills, learning from our mistakes, and learning what we really wanted for ourselves, musically, that ‘harder’ choice, to stay home and make the music even better, paid off. We also applied for a grant with our demos and were selected by a grant called Initiative Music in Germany which funded the recording, videos, mastering, promotions, and the vinyl release. After that, we got signed to Metropolis Records.
Ken: I am an enormous fan of mixing/mastering producer Pete Burns of Kill Shelter. What was working with him like? What did he bring to the sound of this record?
Night Nail: Pete Burns is talented beyond measure. More than that, he is a person with huge integrity. He doesn’t shy away from challenging projects, like Night Nail. I admit that I initially had some pretty wild ideas about what the album should sound like and close friends who listened to the early demos of “Fates Explained,” kinda thought I had lost my mind. I think Pete Burns may have felt that, too. I don’t know. But, we had committed to the album. Pete performed his magic rituals over the production, so to speak, and employed his skills in production to make the mixes coherent and powerful. He added additional instruments when we needed them and really stepped it up; especially with bass guitar. There were a lot of gaps that needed filling. We talked a lot more about inspiration BEFORE mixing “Fates Explained” and we discovered we both had an appreciation for the rhythm section for Japan’s “Quiet Life” and the ensemble, harmony section of Echo and the Bunnymen’s “Ocean Rain.” Those two albums set the stage for the dialogue. In the end, this record came out exactly as it needed to be. For me, this is the pinnacle for Night Nail and our best work.
Ken: The title “Fates Explained” conjures a bold image. To wrap logic around portents of the future. How did this title tie together the threads of these songs?
Night Nail: I tracked most of “Fates Explained” on my MacBook at home with the help of Justin Deaktivere, Ilija Gavrilenko, Valentina Veil, and Pete Burns. Everyone pitched in. I know ‘albums’ as art pieces are relics of the past and the single-song, digital downloads are popular. For me, in refusing to give up on this concept of the ‘album’ and writing each song with loose connections to each other, I push the music closer in the direction, that I love. I can only make music that I love, at this point in my life. The title for the album is literally something that came to me in a dream. In that dream, I find a mirrored version of myself, lost in Berlin. I know that over time all mirrors break and return to sand. To prevent it, I began to sell my music as a spiritual remedy in a liquid form to treat the illnesses of the robotic-like humans. I am confronted by many versions of myself. The dream ends with me inventing a new identity and a way to finally escape the city through a specific wavelength of neutrinos generated from sunlight. When I woke up from this dream, I realized that ‘fate’ is really just me, being scared, and fatalistic, but adaptive. It was intense. All the songs on the album were tracked with this dream in mind.
Ken:Valentina has achieved great personal success with VV and the Void. What does she feel is her greatest contribution to this album? Do the two of you find ease in creating art together?
Valentina: I have always loved how Brandon’s voice and mine work together. I’d say my greatest contribution to Night Nail was on an early song called, “Never Dream”. It was also our first collaboration right at the beginning of our relationship so I find it very special both professionally and emotionally. We worked a lot together in the last few years and I am always happy when Brandon comes out of our home studio asking me to listen to a new track and add something to it. I consider it a privilege to see how every song develops and be included in the process. It’s wonderful and inspiring to have him around and to have the opportunity to contribute to Night Nail songs. The way I contribute happens in a very natural and casual way. I listen to the track and then I tell him, “I hear this synth, here, I hear this guitar on this part, there,” and then, I add whatever I feel and Brandon keeps whatever he likes. He often asks me to add some vocals but despite being a singer-songwriter myself, I much prefer contributing by playing synths, beats, or guitars as I usually hear notes that don’t necessarily need a voice but an instrument. On the latest album, I particularly loved playing guitar on “Pull Off” in the second part of the song and I also adore the backing vocals I got to add on the first single “Narcoleptic Dream Catcher.” They add a bit of soul to the song and make it even more of an ‘ear-worm’ track, I’d say. We both inspire each other a lot and yes, I think we find ease in creating art together. Whether it is a song, or a video, or a graphic project we work as a team respecting each other aesthetic view.”
Ken: Are you heading out on the road to support Fates Explained? Where are you looking forward to playing?
Night Nail: Yes, we planning to tour the EU, UK, and the US. The dates are being planned. I am looking forward to playing anywhere I haven’t played yet, the East Coast, in particular. We would also be willing to go to South America, Central America, Asia, Australia, and ANYWHERE where an opportunity presents itself to perform, live, and, of course, where our passports/visas are accepted.
Ken: You made a change to the legendary, darkscene, label Metropolis Records. What will that mean for the future of Night Nail?
Night Nail: I guess it depends on how this record does. I am honored to be on Metropolis Records. I had my eye on their label for many years now. They are doing a great job with promoting and releasing our music and we are even starting to get into bigger alternative music charts. “Narcoleptic Dream Catcher,” our first single, has landed on the ‘Top 5’ on the Deutsche Alternative Charts. This is a new for us. There is a sense I get from the music business nowadays that the record label will ONLY augment and support you as much as you demonstrate a willingness to work for yourself. For me, the work that befalls the artist today is massive. We wear every hat, do we not? (ie recording, mixing, producing, selling music, shipping vinyl, promoting, music video production, music video editing, acting, directing, promoting, touring, roadie, managing, etc.) It is all done with a painstaking effort, but, well worth it. We are unabashedly, willing participants in our ‘FATES
Bootblacks – Forbidden Flames – Brand new single we have all been waiting for. Well worth the wait. New lineup, new Post Apocalypse Disco sound. Panther is charging to the front of the mix with a Dave Gahan croon that I didn’t know I was missing in life until I heard it. Northern light synth pastels twined with dancing delay guitars. Holy crap this has me excited for the next record.
2) Vaselyne – Necromancer – Another trip to our charts for Amsterdam shadow rock Vaselyne. Loving this chorus vocal right out of the jump. Like Abba on a bad acid trip. You really feel the protagonist emotions of scared and horny as you back towards the corner from this stalking master of the undead. Slow, filthy, captivating. Really love the Kill Shelter remix as well.
3) MORIS BLAK – The Abstract with GenCAB – Two great tastes that taste great together. Boston Bass Wizard Moris Black pulls back the mayhem to combine electro emo songsmith David Dutton to make this absolute banger. Songs don’t need to be this catchy while making me want to break stuff. This track would make every club night better.
4) Black Angel – Killer – Matt with another flame thrower opening riff out of his headstock. I just did a full review of the album but this single is definitely the flagship. Large, leathery, audacious, a danger energy that doesn’t quit. These vocals are two people standing on the back of a moving motorcycle, balanced and fearless.
5) BRIDES – Private Apocalypse – Adrian has really found his true voice in this project. Just slipping between the cracks of The Swans and Sisters why spitting poetry in the voice of Gmork from The Neverending Story. People really need to get aware of Brides because they are bridging the gap between traditional goth and the filthy dark future.
6) grabyourface – Haine X Guillotine – Our favorite French Sadustrial Revolutionary Marie with a poignant call to arms. The opening salvo is a lovely spoken word build into a gatling gun drum machine. This makes my brain feel like it is inside Akira.
You made our lives hell. You turned every second into suffering. There is gonna be retribution some day. We will burn your palaces. We will burn your banks. You starved us so well, you have made us capable of literally eating you.
But while you’re dying in the flames of the hatred you have sowed. Never forget. You killed us before we killed you.
7) DEAD COOL – Faith or Misery – North Carolina darkSynth with a new single who’s opening volley slashes so hard it must have been done on a keytar. Johhny spits out lyrics with lip curled menace. Angela’s bass line is hot asphalt winding through the city. A banger that asks an important question.
8) The Waning Moon – Annabel – Ariel Maniki and Zac Campbell return to the chart once again. Complex as a spell weaving the mist around the battle field. A high speed ballad of fingertips and rumble. I could see this project becoming the main focus for both of them.
9) Who Saw Her Die? – Burn It All – Terrordustrial from Louisville, Kentucky, Stephen Beasey and Brian Cain served up this mechanical spider nightmare fuel. I’m glad I got to visit the broken world in this single, because I would shiver at the idea of seeing it in reality.
10) Deus Ex Lumina – We Are Dead Tonight – Berlin by way of Buenos Aires, velvet cloth unspooled and wrapped around the room in synthy seduction. I close my eyes and I am in a cathedral rave where all the statues and painting’s eyes are following me. I didn’t know much about this band before but they are a great find.
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.
2020 Electrojazz album from Meat Beat Manifesto member Ben Stokes. Ben Stokes is an OG industrial icon from Chicago who has produced videos for Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Meat Beat, KMFDM and many more.The multimedia project started in 1988 and has three LPs available on Bandcamp. Working out of San Fransisco they did video work on Autoimmune, as well as co writing and producing the new album Man From Mantis. From title track one of Seeing Is Believing I was struck by the blending of EDM sonic imagery and samples to tell a dance floor bardic tale. The track names themselves help lead you on the journey. Seeing is Believing, Seeing, Seen unspool a thread of this unified theme. Ben is known for his video art for some of the biggest names in Industrial, getting a chance to delve into the music of his mind, beyond the visual interpretation of other artists is a glorious new prism. The samples have an amazing 60s instructional video feel ala LA Style. Crispy back beats that unspool a groove, instead of relying on upbeat techno attack.
Wonderful interview here by our friend Rexx on STATIK TV
DJ Jerks – Track 5 which features a video of amazing stop motion action figure style. A slippery slow beat dance groove. I’m not sure where these samples came from, but they really lend a sense of cohesion to emersed you in a Bioshock world of found footage. This track really have the energy to make a dancefloor cook.
After The Music Has Stopped – I love the slutty muted horn effect and 60’s Barbarella sci fi vibes here. A sexy silver body suit walking bass groove. This is peak cocktail party music.
Disco System – Riding that cowbell into the sunset and I am here for it. One of the most up tempo tracks that really sizzles that line between electro disco and fusion jazz.
At twenty tracks this album is a true journey. In both musical narrative as well as a nostalgic emotional trigger of my youth in the rave scene of Detroit. An ever pulsing heart, a bounding danger, a cold synthetic dream. I am transported back to those humidity dripping walls in some forgotten warehouse as a conductor behind two turn tables moved his hands to control the tempo and emotion of your night.
Overall this record is a wonderful experience to take in the sonic musings from someone so relevant to the visual aspect of this scene. It can be easy to get boxed in by our own talents and Ben Stokes has shown that Electonic music has always been in his soul. This can be as a visionary for others music, or wielding the sculpture himself.