Politics Failing by Doktor Zayus

This independent single from SoCal’s Doktor Zayus covers all the bases for a four-on-the-floor club banger while the intro and interludes are interesting sonic experiments that warrant mention. Bosh Bonesy of Bricklayer Bosh provides vocals on the Club Edit Mix that makes me think of my favorite punk singers rather than a style typical of EBM vocalists. Imagine if Ari Up of The Slits went electro and you get the idea. Mind you, that’s not a complaint. It just comes down to personal taste on this one. If this isn’t your thing, the instrumental 8B-X2 Remix may be more your speed.

My only complaint is I would like to have seen more post-production on the recording. But look at it this way, the raw production quality also falls into the punk-rock aesthetic as well.

Between each remix is an interlude that is pure rhythmic sound design. If it’s meant to mess with the listener’s head, it worked.

While the recording is a bit rough around the edges, the ideas behind Politics Failing are solid. Anything I could nitpick about would be an easy fix while Doktor Zayus has the crucial parts covered.

https://doktorzayus.bandcamp.com/album/politics-failing

https://bricklayerbosh.com/

It’s Hard To Believe The Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Singles Chart Has Been Around A Whole Year

One year ago in October I was discussing with Hide, do charts still matter in 2021? What is the point in modern times and do the current charts accurately represent what our scene values? It was a pretty good debate discussing pros and cons. In the end I decided to try letting the wise and tasteful members of our Sounds and Shadows group. Comprised of Djs, Reviewers, Bands, Promotors, and Super Fans that are the lifeblood of this scene. No pay for play. Just a simple vote on what music you are hearing that makes you feel something. I wasn’t sure this would be something I would continue to feel the value of. 12 months later, I have come to really appreciate what this chart brings to the scene. The way that amazing music gets recognized here that doesn’t find it’s way to other charts. As always these are all singles released in October and voted on by our group members.

  1. Panic Priest AngelStealNegative Gain
  2. Object XOut Of Place
  3. IAMTHESHADOWThe Wide StarlightCold Transmission Music
  4. The Burying KindIn Black And White
  5. Dread RisksExtinction FormBrutal Resonance
  6. Dog Tablet Ashes
  7. Morgue VVitch X AllicornHigher
  8. Actors + Bootblacks Boys keep Swinging (Bowie Cover) – Artoffact Records
  9. CarrionCount The ScarsProdukt 42
  10. Mona Mur – Dream Rider – Give/Take

Panic Priest – ANGELSTEAL – Jack has a gorgeous and razor streaming style between the cracks of the darkscene. Warm crooning Baritone, waterfall backdrop synths, and lightning crackle guitar leads. Panic Priest always needs more recognition and having this single as number 1 is a fitting start. People need to start recognizing Jack as one of the top voices in the modern scene.

ANGELSTEAL | Panic Priest | Midnight Mannequin Records (bandcamp.com)

Object XOut of Place – From Reno Nevada a band I was not familiar with but shot to #2 on this chart. I really liked the single, a deep resonant poetry in the vocals and Nick Cave style organic ghost story style. I really love the vocal harmony here, as well as the horror movie samples from Bela Lugosi’s 1931 Dracula. The space opera bending guitars add a wonderful tension to the narrative. This track was a wonderful surprise I didn’t know I needed.

Out of Place | Object X (bandcamp.com)

IAMTHESHADOWThe Wide Starlight – I talk a lot about the expectational song writing glory and passion of Portuguese band IAMTHESHADOW. I will always buy anything Pedro puts out on Cold Transmission unheard, because he has never let me down . What always astounds me is how different every new album sounds. This new single is such a contrast to “Pitchblack”. It is expansive, hopeful, and dynamic with the soul and accessibility of Psychedelic Furs. A band that is always taking you on a fresh emotional journey.

The Wide Starlight | IAMTHESHADOW (bandcamp.com)

The Burying KindIn Black and White – I love everything about this release. The quality of the song writing and musicianship. The method acting delivery of the lyrics. When a band can get lost in the emotion of their own release it is a powerful thing that cannot be faked. This album is up for top releases of the year. This single will transport you places.

In Black and White | The Burying Kind (bandcamp.com)

Dread Risks – Extinction Form – New Video single from our favorite Texas DoomDustrial band. It’s hard, mean, creeping danger, which culminates in a sledgehammer delivery of broken pieces and mysterious questioning. This is a band I really need to see live.

(36) Dread Risks – Extinction Form (Live) – Elysium Austin, September 16, 2022 – YouTube

Dogtablet – Ashes – Industrial legend Martin King who i recently had the pleasure of meeting in person at Cold Waves with this tantalizing delay deep space exploration single from the new EP. I always love tracks of this project where Martin lets his own voice shine. Every new song for this project feels like a hound off the chain running free, because these expert songsmiths have nothing left to prove and are releasing abstract concepts without limits.

Ashes | Dogtablet (bandcamp.com)

Morgue VVitch x ΔLLICΘRNHigher – New Collab of ethereal witchtrance crystal towers. Tara’s climbing vocal style paired with the sleek sky climbing synth structures and a glorious blend of dream inspiring fantasy. Two great artists leaving me hungry for what is next.

Higher | Morgue VVitch x ΔLLICΘRN | Allicorn (bandcamp.com)

Actors + Bootblacks Boys Keep Swinging – What is not to love about two of the top names in modern darkscene teaming up to cover a David Bowie deep cut while producing a gorgeous gender fluid video. This video is absolutely staggering. If somehow you don’t know about these bands, do yourself a favor and open up to the glorious new wave of modern postpunk

CarrionCOUNT THE SCARS – Wonderful crunchy horror synth from Hide Tepes. This new single is mixed and mastered by Mike Nolan in Michigan and adds a refinement and focus to the brilliant artistic expression that Hide hurtles with reckless abandon into everything he does. A storm of broken shards raining down.

COUNT THE SCARS | Carrion (bandcamp.com)

Mona MurDream Rider – Another single off the latest album of the Berlin electronic punk icon. Sparkling and jagged like a skiff hurtling through the desert. I love the purposeful force of this track, the way it doesn’t fit in any box but it’s own. This whole album is a modern classic. I did a recent interview with Mona and it gave me a fresh appreciation for her contribution to the modern scene.

Dream Rider | Mona Mur (bandcamp.com)

This chart has been growing every month for a year. If you have a darkscene single release in November or know someone who does, make sure you add it to the Sounds and Shadows Facebook group, and support underground music.

Aesthetic Perfection – Live at The Casbah, San Diego, CA, 11/06/2022

I didn’t write this review the very next day after the show. I spent the following day basking in the afterglow and just reminiscing this sublime experience; like a freshman the morning after a classic rager. With some shows, the band plays and the crowd stands there and watches. Other shows make the crowd feel like they were truly part of an event. Seeing Aesthetic Perfection’s American Psycho Tour come through San Diego was such an event.

I’m glad I arrived at The Casbah early. Turns out there were actually FIVE bands on the bill, rather than the advertised three. More on that later.

Opening the show was LA’s Arden & The Wolves, which came as a total surprise to me. As we’re both friends of Sounds & Shadows, Arden Leigh and I had been in communication for various reasons over the last several months. But as A&TW was a last minute addition to the bill, I was thrown a pleasant curveball on this. If fact, so many members of the “family” were present this night, it felt like a Sounds & Shadows mixer.

Photo: Mary Strong

Simply put, A&TW have their shit together. The playing was solid and on-point, with Nick Mason (NOT the Nick Mason of Pink Floyd ) having the tightest drumming of the night. Pete Mills on guitar and Justin Emord on bass compliment Arden Leigh’s commanding stage presence. With the disciplined polish to her look and sound, I got the feeling Arden could have done this show in her sleep. She was, however, very much awake with an energy and enthusiasm that sucked in any onlookers. And with the number of San Diego fans who turned out to see this LA band on a Sunday night, it’s obvious that this is a band with traction and an appeal that will only grow over time.

Photo: Mary Strong

Next up was an act I knew nothing about ahead of time, Halo Boy. Now this was an interesting twist I didn’t see coming; hip-hop infused indie pop with a none-too-subtle industrial edge. Sounds like it would be a hot mess, right? Instead, Cameron Cade takes all these influences and intelligently combines them into an eclectic blend where no two songs sounded the same and kept the crowd guessing where it would go next. Afterwards, I overheard people in the audience comparing them to everything from Imagine Dragons to Hollywood Undead. Linkin Park was another name that popped up more than once in the conversation as well.

Halo Boy’s live show is very energetic with the zeal of youth. This guy was on fire and wasn’t afraid to singe the onlookers who were standing too close; jumping into the crowd, giving random hugs and starting a mosh pit. The rhythm section was locked in and took the songs where they needed to go. And I had to give the bass player credit for showing grace under pressure after his E string broke on the last song.

Following Halo Boy came the band I was most excited to see initially, Philadelphia’s genCAB. Having written about genCAB previously, I was intrigued by how they would pull off their sound live. Turns out the lineup on this night was stripped down to the duo of David Dutton and Cristian Carver.

Don’t get the idea that this made the show any less. They were having a ball onstage and the enthusiasm was contagious. And while the band was perhaps a bit socially lubricated courtesy of the friendly Casbah bar staff, they steered into the skid and made even their mistakes work for them in a fun and powerful live show.

David exudes a natural onstage charisma and Christian was on a epic tear with crazy flying hair and flying drumsticks. And while all the bands brought their “A” game, genCAB proved to be on a level that was easily on-par with their LA counterparts.

Three bands in and not a dud yet. Josie Pace hit the ground running to keep the show moving along. Talk about showmanship! Josie and accompanist Ken Roberts stepped onto that drum-cramped stage and proceeded to own it. Funny thing, but I realized that I was more familiar with Josie’s oeuvre than I thought thanks to the Sounds & Shadows Spotify playlist. Next thing I know, I’m singing along to songs like Underestimated and Storm And Stress.

I’m hard-pressed to decide between Arden and Josie who had the strongest voice of the night, as both of them kicked my ass with epic vocal performances. I’ll just call it Apples & Oranges and leave it there. Pace closed her truncated set with a cover of Placebo’s Pure Morning that I liked better than the original. I went in thinking I didn’t know what to expect only to come away with a fanboy crush.

And, of course, we have Aesthetic Perfection as the headliner.

Sexy, weird and loud; this show had three of my favorite flavors. Daniel Graves is certainly a performer with an ability to move the crowd, even if he did get a humorous talking to from drummer Joe Letz for forgetting the next song on the setlist. Constance Antoinette Day did the heavy lifting; playing guitar, keys and bass variously throughout the set as she effectively played up the gothic sex kitten image.

It took me a while to recognize Letz, although the androgynous latex look doesn’t disagree with him. And his fetching blond wig was a nice touch. He flailed, he gyrated, he drank from a dildo-shaped water bottle. Those of us in the front were in danger of being hit with water or flying drumsticks at any given time. At one point, I was worried about getting smacked by the floor tom. I feel for the drum tech on this tour.

Most of the songs were newer, if not from the newest release, MMXXI, but there were indeed a few crowd-pleasers to be had. It wasn’t the tightest set I’ve seen, but that didn’t seem to be the point. Make it hard, make it punchy, make it memorable; that was the order of the day.

My only complaint? It turns out that A&TW and Halo Boy were added to the bill after winning a battle of the bands in Los Angeles. However, it was explained to me that each tour stop was supposed to have a local act as an opener. As a native-born lifelong San Diegan, I wish to point out the following: LOS ANGELES IS NOT SAN DIEGO. Thank you, that is all.

San Diego was the last leg of the American Psycho Tour in California. Those of you who get a chance to check out Aesthetic Perfection on the road have a raucous night full of music and antics to look forward to. Although there may be moments when you’ll want to keep a safe distance from the stage.

(CORRECTION: Halo Boy and Arden did not win the Battle of the Bands for Los Angeles, BlakLight did and played with AP on that date. Arden won for San Diego. Halo Boy was a last minute addition to all the California shows.)

https://ardenandthewolves.bandcamp.com

https://www.youtube.com/c/HaloBoy

https://josiepace.bandcamp.com

https://gencab.bandcamp.com

https://aestheticperfection.bandcamp.com

Retail Therapy by Fact Pattern

When I first saw the video for Fact Pattern’s Retail Therapy, I thought it was a bizarre subliminal infomercial. It took a moment to realize that was the intention. This being my first exposure to Fact Pattern, I didn’t know what to expect. The video rolls out like the infomercial from Hell; everything that’s reviled about consumerism all wrapped in a stylish package. Guests appear in a talk show format seemingly with the belief that whatever snake oil the host is hawking will be the panacea to their lives… or not. The video’s director (and Fact Pattern bandleader), Ian Flux nails it on the head with a spot-on observation and critique of consumption over introspection. And it’s done with high production value and a keen eye for detail.

The video coincides with the release of Retail Therapy as the final single from Fact Pattern’s 2021 EP, From Where You’re Hiding.

As for the song itself, the level of quality remains consistent. The heavy riffs and bellowed vocals drive home the feeling of disquiet that is the theme of the song. The instrumental break towards the end of the song shows off the band’s musicianship without taking away from the crux of the lyrics. Additionally, the Blak Emoji remix is definitely worth your time as well.

Since taking the time to give From Where You’re Hiding a proper listen, I feel like Fact Pattern is really out to say something; compelling the listener to introspection and all the horrors that it may entail. The production quality is top-notch and crystal clear. From Where You’re Hiding is heavy as hell but still quite listenable.

I’m so pleased that From Where You’re Hiding did not escape my radar. I’m already looking forward to more from Fact Pattern and will be listening to their back catalog as well.

https://factpattern.bandcamp.com/album/from-where-youre-hiding

https://factpattern.bandcamp.com/track/retail-therapy-blak-emoji-remix

https://blakemoji1.bandcamp.com/

Darkness falls across the land The midnight hour is close at hand. Creatures crawl in search of the best in new darkscene music.

It is Halloween weekend, that special time of the year where everyone celebrates leaning into the darkness which our scene embraces all year long. As I get ready for an Amaranth show on Sat I will share some reviews of what I have been listening to during the spookiest of months.

Ashes FallenNew Normal – Brand new Single from Sacramento goth rockers, this one has this awesome Batcave B52s vibe. Energetic and dangerous like a twirling skirt on a dance floor. I can hear the curl of James lip on the vocal deliver. The keyboard has a Hammond B3 organ feel that adds to the Skoth Madness effect. banger.

New Normal | Ashes Fallen (bandcamp.com)

Cyborg AmokEtiam – Another quirky goth rock hybrid blend from the Father/Son NJ project. A definite psychedelic Syd Barrett meets Depeche Mode flavor. The multiple decades of influence, sharing music within your family really gives a unique sound and every song feels like a legacy and discussion.

released October 8, 2022

All songs written by Greg Bullock, (except, Golden Years, by David Bowie).
All songs performed by Cyborg Amok:
Greg Bullock: Lead Vocal and Synthesizers.
Brydon Bullock: Drums/Percussion and Backing Vocal.

Additional musicians:
Adam Vaccarelli: Bass on all songs (except Wicked Close).
Frani Lugo: Guitar on (Some) Sleep Tonight.

Drums, Vocals and “(Some) Sleep Tonight” Guitar recorded at Retromedia Studios, Red Bank, NJ
Engineered by Adam Vaccarelli.
Synths, Loops, Sequencing and some backing vocals recorded in GABWorx, Studio B, New Egypt, NJ
Engineered by Greg Bullock

Produced by Greg Bullock
Mixed by Adam Vaccarelli at Retromedia Studios.
Mastered by Mark Trewella at Full Circle Mastering, Ashville, NC

https://gabworxllc.bandcamp.com/album/etiam

Desmond DoomSurf​-​Goth EP – My favorite Shoegaze is The Jesus and Mary Chain style surf Shoegaze. It makes sense I fell immediately in love with Australian surf goth with a haunting blend of New Order Movement and the slushy cascading bop of The Ventures. A lot to get lost in here, people need to know about this.

Surf-Goth EP | Desmond Doom (bandcamp.com)

Secret ShameAutonomy – Currently out on tour with one of my favorite modern darkscene bands Vision Video I am constantly amazed by the slippery edges and bursting intensity of the NC band. I’m just blown away by how many sonic emotions are crammed into this firefly jar. The haunting lilt of the vocals, the gnashing wolf jaw guitars, the shifty darting baselines. The production here is razor sharp. Anyone who says modern music lacks complexity is not listening to this. 10/10.

Recorded at Drop of Sun June 2021 and February 2022 by Alex Farrar
Mixed by Alex Farrar
Produced by Secret Shame and Alex Farrar
Mastered by Carl Saff

Cover art by Lena and Aster
Cover photo by Jonny Leather
Layout by Nathan

credits

released October 28, 2022

Lena – Vocals, synth
Aster – Guitar, backing vocals on Zero
Matthew – Bass, synth, backing vocals on Hide, additional guitar on Accelerate and Pink Staircase
Nathan – Drums

Additional guitar and backing vocals on Hide by Lemon Malandra

Autonomy | Secret Shame (bandcamp.com)

METAMORPH (Margot Day)Kiss of the Witch – Lovely new shadowhouse from New York with the captivating Margot Day and produced by Erik Gustafson of (Adoration Destroyed). This is wispy ghost grind, club music with a captivating cyclone of soul circling the abyss. I love hearing Erik’s fingerprints behind Margot’s storytelling and delivery. A powerful combo to fill the room behind your cauldron.

Kiss of the Witch | METAMORPH (Margot Day) | Metamorph (Margot Day) (bandcamp.com)

Tears for ʇhe DyingEyes Wide Open in the Dark – I have an upcoming interview with the raw stalking intensity from the Georgia batcave project Adria Stembridge. The purple flame fury of her truth will make the hair on your arms stand up. You can really hear the devotion to early goth sounds in every track. Blood runs down the walls of my vision when I play this EP. A wandering chaos surrounded by tendrils or The Cure Pornography and sinister siren vocals full of Switchblade Symphony. One of those bands I really look forward to seeing live to fully appreciate

Eyes Wide Open in the Dark | Tears for ʇhe Dying (bandcamp.com)

KMFDMHY​Ë​NA – So this isn’t a band that needs my support. One of the well known voices in Industrial music. I recently saw them for this tour in Pontiac while seeing Bradley Bills of CHANT. This album brings you much of what you love if you are a fan of KMFDM. Bonfire bright drum beats overlayed with trash compactor crushing guitars. I think the biggest change from the KMFDM of my youth is the maturity of Sasha’s voice. It is a more mellow growl without losing the glistening sharp metal.

HYËNA | KMFDM (bandcamp.com)

Kali DreamerOctober Requiem: 1988 – Derek Christopher turned me on to this Columbus OH artist who is doing a truly unique blend of old school goth and hip hop cadence with a macabre edge. I was immediately hooked, the poetry of the lyrics with the truthful confidence of cadence. You can’t mistake the terror rap elements of Esham in the dark lyric style but the talent and beauty of Kali’s vocals add a modern and gorgeous element. I was truly floored by the quality of this. I just don’t hear enough to suprise me with it’s uniqueness anymore. This album achieved that.

Favorite Track: Hellbender – This was relatable, bouncing, heavy concept gorgeous flow. The guitar was a perfect contrast. Everything about this fusion sound is pure chef kiss.

October Requiem: 1988 | Kali Dreamer (bandcamp.com)