Who are some of the Non Binary artists in the modern Darkscene?

The modern Darkscene has always been a place to push the boundaries of standard definitions of gender and self concept. Exploration of what society has subscribed is called into question through self discovery. Much like the umbrella that is goth and the genres within the artists who create the music form a broad and complex spectrum. I don’t want to dive deeply or speak for those that make up this rich tapestry. Instead I will focus on shining a light on some of the great non binary artists I have discovered.

Mystic Priestess – Oakland California dark punk band brings a cobweb lace batcave chaos full of elder goth tones and floor shaking intensity. The percussion is a non stop primal assault. The effective use of time change and intensity make each song dynamic and captivating. The instrumentation used shows a range and craft to the rough and passionate style. Eternal Resurrection features a muted saxophone that perfectly contrasts and shows a depth beyond standard 4/4 punk. The vocals carry a chanting energy teeming with life and prowling danger. A creature from a buzzing bog moving with jerking purpose ready to strike out at anyone who makes eye contact. I love that no matter how deep I dove into this album, I never found the floor. There was always another layer.

https://mysticpriestess.bandcamp.com/

Favorite Track: Christian Lies – This opening tom fill makes my heart beat fast. It’s one of those recorded tracks you can’t help but picture live. The energy is infectious and the breakdown at 1:40 just collapses the floor and leaves you in a free fall ready for the trap to spring. A politically charged flame thrower that holds the spirit of what punk was always suppose to mean. I want to hear this song as I charge up the hill to burn post world capitalism from the landscape.

Sister Sarin – I first became aware of this Baltimore artist when they played percussion for Steven Archer with his Stoneburner project. Hemlock has one of those terrifying and remarkable energies you can’t help but spot from across a room. The sound is immersive and textual. A carefully orchestrated journey that makes the abstract realm of emotion take on shape through tone and hook. I’ve always been fascinated with chimes. That place where percussion and melody meet. Hemlock has an amazing talent for creating a dance of these aspects that seem to always strike a cohesive picture in my mind. Right Where I Belong is one of the few tracks that feature vocals and they are gorgeous. A sort of David Gahan’s ghost calling from beyond the veil. This EP is my soundtrack to a steamy ivory bathhouse lit with candles. It’s a challenge, it’s a comfort, it’s real.

Favorite track: Tripwire – Here those amazing chimes are on display. The percussion is complex and in the front. It’s a mystery of anticipation I’m drawn to because I want to be surprised.

https://sistersarin.bandcamp.com/album/whats-left-unsaid

Vortex Empath Xen, Moira Scar – Another Oakland California talent. A very experimental and raw sound with a minimalist efficiency. Sometimes with something this raw in production it might have a hard time capturing me, the more i listened the more it grew on me. It feels like being invited into an underground lair of where a secret society is preforming Kaos majick with thick smoke and hundreds of flickering candles. The guitars growl firing around the room like a demon summoned by Raw Power. This was never intended to be an easy hook driven listen. I feel the intention is to be unnerving. The vocals are delivered with power and unity like a flung spell taking shape from the void. I found myself constantly wondering if a cleaner production would clarify or ruin the vibrating hunger. This is an album you need to be in the right place for, however if you are in this place, it’s staggering and emotive.

https://moirascar.bandcamp.com/album/between-worlds-lp-bonus-tracks

Vinsantos – I first witnessed NOLA artist Vinsantos opening for Peter Murphy in a Chicago church and my heart stood still. It was as though they grabbed ahold of the center of their rib cage, tore themselves open, and 1000 ravens and doves flew out. The entire catalog is masterful in a way that makes the hairs on my arms stand up. This single in particular is a blend of the conceptual story telling of Robyn Hitchcock and the effortless emotion of Q Lazzarus. This song builds, it delivers, it places it’s hands on the side of your head and makes you stare into the windows of it’s soul. You need this, everyone needs this.

https://vinsantos.bandcamp.com/track/chimera

HIDE – If there is something more intense, powerful, and visceral in the modern scene than HIDE, I am hard pressed to say what it is. The Chicago based duo play slow meatgrinder machinery sounds that roll towards your body and you watch yourself chewed away by the awesome, unstoppable force of the lyrics and soul splitting delivery. There is nothing fun or happy go lucky about this phycological assault on the senses. This is true high art delivered with a morning star to the face instead of a paint brush. Sometimes when you hear an album, you are changed forever and terrified to keep listening. This is one of those records. You need to summon your courage, you need to listen, you need to be changed.

Favorite track: Daddy Issues – Holy shit, a brutal and unapologetic judgement on modern society and rape culture and Brock Turner. The fury and delivery of his fathers quote is staggering in it’s force. They hold a mirror up to society and then smash society over the fucking head with it.

https://hide3.bandcamp.com/

Synth Witch – An artist from Portland Oregon that does lovely slow creeping interstellar travel sounds. Gorgeous textured bleeps and bloops I want to fill my ears while constructing high risk plans in the dangerous far reaches of space. One of those artists that truly captures a visual wavelength without the use of lyrics to paint the picture. Set the controls for the heart of the sun and sail away.

Favorite Track: Dangerous – This immersive soundtrack for a space heist is effortlessly cool. Perfectly tailored leather jackets in dirty space.

https://thesynthwitch.bandcamp.com/album/synth-witch

Arden and the Wolves – Wonderful talent from Los Angeles that also does a podcast about magic and art(I linked it below) . They have a voice that absolutely drips with power. A look and sonic energy that resonates with every step. I found myself struck by the theatrical delivery and spiritual passion. It almost feels like the goth version of modern secular music delivered by a soloist in front of a choir . Shadowed by the mystical roots to make a contrast. This is a teaching sound, each time i listen I feel like I am unraveling a story.

https://ardenandthewolves.bandcamp.com/track/mary-did-you-know

Interview with Daniel Graves Aesthetic Perfection

DORIAN ELECTRA – Artist from LA doing a blood pumping spicy trip hop. I love the way they spray the sexuality around like a firehouse. The vocal timber has a really unique feel and the energy is pure darkpop adrenochrome pumped right in the vein. The album brims with guest artist which adds a lot of flavors and complexity. This has such glorious relatable pop sensibility but delivered with razor edge and soul.

Favorite Track: My Agenda (Feat: Village People and Pussy Riot) – This has such a slinky beat and a real fire in the vocal delivery while holding a smoldering flame of pop beauty.

Darkswoon – Portland artist with singer Jana Cushman who also has done soundtrack work for the film “My Summer As A Goth”. Smokey driving shoegaze flavor. I really love how the music has a wall of sound shoegaze feel but the vocals are very forward and ring clear like a bell. Andrew Michael really puts on a clinic with the movement of a fuzzy swelling bass tone.

Favorite Song: The Flesh – Huge 10,000 maniacs meets Kevin Shields vibes. This song is a twisting mechanical snake with Jane pouring visceral soul from their mouth. Chefs Kiss.

https://darkswoon.bandcamp.com/album/bind

Sawtooth – New England EDM artist Lillian Edith Martin that does a body shaking synth heavy dance drive. I love the labyrinth of staircases and moving paths. It’s glorious to hear dance music take on such a fantasy tone. It’s like listening to imagination. Some great collaboration with Juliet Brownell-Lee (Gorgeous vocals) and John Greene (Makes my arm hairs stand up). I have gotten lost in each of these tracks in different moments for different reasons.

Favorite Track: Crawling Towards the Light Feat: Juliet Brownell-Lee – Such a perfect homage to fantasy and nostalgia with modern dance flavor and perfect movement. This song is such a journey.

https://djsawtooth.bandcamp.com/album/cold-days-ahead?fbclid=IwAR0H33llKTEuxy5L8QuAePa_r6vaugHJCxMF43oFsd8uFiEPfS8CXxxmPD8

grabyourface – Marie does the most amazing sad industrial hybrid music. Tortured soul bearing poetry poured over a beat like blood down a fountain. Hearing the courage with which they reveal the most intimate aspects of their soul in every song fills me with strength every time I hear it.

Favorite Track: Shore – From the album Sea in 2020. When you think of a song as haunting and revealing. Every time I hear this is leaves me shook. The imagery, the self reflection, the tone.

https://grabyourfacengp.bandcamp.com/album/sea

Shadows Beloved – My dear friend Adrian Auchrome from Maine does such an amazing job of resurrecting old school traditional goth like Rossetta Stone and seasoning it with anguished vocal delivery. What really hits my heart every time is the guitar tone perfection that blisters to the front to take center stage. This album is so under appreciated in the discussion of the modern goth renaissance. Emotional abstracts and artisan crafting in perfect blend.

Favorite Track: All We Want – Adrian is at their best when letting their beautiful voice be itself and ring forth. This song captures that. The guitar solo is a powerful masterclass in modern traditional goth.

https://shadowsbeloved.bandcamp.com/releases

Sloar&Mordor – Wisconsin artists Matt Florence and Svea Tiberius Trzebiatowski bring their love of Science fiction and pop culture into this dungeon synth art house explosion of Easter eggs and shake that ass beats. I love the spoken word delivery and raindrop synth sounds.

https://sloarmordor.bandcamp.com/track/its-too-bad-she-wont-live-but-then-again-who-does

Kali Ra – Oakland California artist does amazing offbeat driving guitar slather that I want to be my entrance music when I walk into a party. It’s dark and has it’s own saunter. David Goad has a 30’s phonograph sex appeal on their voice. It’s breathy, beckoning, and full of temptation. The album “The Monarch” leaps around between tone and style ranging from 90s goth pop to 70s Glam rock. Their voice is the one thing that ties together all these colorful threads stretching out on a loom of sound.

Favorite Track: Gaslight – The spirit of Brian Eno has been summoned and infused with youth to entertain me in the modern age. I also love what a contrast this is to the other tracks.

https://kalira.bandcamp.com/album/the-monarch?fbclid=IwAR2wxt1hCLgmNLPnIs9xFCPUMdDzXWnnvcYZd0nuYHznc2028WXEzBhFoN8

Dea Decay – Florida Dj/Artist Dea does this lovely candy sweet synthpop full of magic and color. If I had to choose a word to describe their sound it would be vibrant. It features samples and head bopping energy.

Favorite Track : Catronica – Look I love the new She-Ra and in particular Katra. Feel good adorable energy and breakneck fun pacing. Yes please.

https://deadecay.bandcamp.com/track/longing

WINGTIPS – Chicago synthdriven apocalyptical dreampop which captured my heart a few years back and continue to impress. Gorgeous flowing imagery turned into sound and fired out of a smoke machine to create a shimmering wave of deeper dreaming. One of the truly exceptional performances to see live in the modern scene. One of those bands that continues to evolve in complexity with every passing year.

Favorite Track: Last Minute – They have had so many amazing songs since, but you never forget your first love. When I heard this track I was instantly transported to the post apocolyptic John Hughes prom and I never wanted to leave. It’s unforgettable beauty.

https://wingtips.bandcamp.com/

Since I have come this far 🙂 I also want to give a shoutout to three Djs very near and dear to my heart that help make this scene what it is 🙂 Pat Allen, Kate Mior, and Azy Bats. All of them are great ways to hear the best in new music and keep your finger on the pulse of the modern scene. Pat 626, Darkness Forever, and Obscura Undead.

https://www.twitch.tv/obscuraundead

https://www.twitch.tv/darknessforeverto?fbclid=IwAR1DoSc2nTMPQ8BvgNQl2uiwYUpECGgI6OoNduE6okkRei_m73WvzU76cRw

https://www.twitch.tv/djpat626?fbclid=IwAR0ozOND2F39s30h_Tp37HOTOS5eb5pXpJRRFeIw5dpr-GN_uc0F9GYL73Y

My Brother Got me a $100 Bandcamp Gift Card For My Bday! What did I get so far?

It is like the whole goth community got a birthday infusion. I am on a reckless spending spree of new music. Here is some of what I am listening to right now. As always if you have a band you want to see reviewed, comment below.

Lyres Of UrEscape From Modern Man – New single from our talented young contributor Lou Blacksail with cover art by Joshua McCallister. I continue to be impressed by the passion and vision of this young songwriter. A raw and bass driven wind tunnel of echo’s and sinister carnival keyboards. I can feel the snarl curled lip in every delivery. Sometimes when I hear a mix that has a raw feel, I am taken out of the moment. In this single that way different aspects charge to the front adds a boldness and bravado. I feel like this is an artist the shines with potential and leaves space to grow. The emotion and natural intuition for form and hook are unmistakable. I am more impressed by everything I hear.

https://lyres-of-ur.bandcamp.com/track/escape-from-modern-man

Suzi SabotageNazi Goths, Fuck Off – With everything facing our scene I am amazed no one has released a track like Finnish siren Suzi Sabotage that takes the blunt power of a barb wire baseball bat that attacks the worst aspects of goth with unbridled fury. A slinky dark synth build with a razor edge message that pulls no punches. The new generation of goths demand an anthem of political passion and Suzi has delivered. A perfect punch the masses can rise behind. Nazi Goths Fuck Off.

https://suzisabotage.bandcamp.com/track/nazi-goths-fuck-off

Precious BonesMAGNA FRACTURA – I love the name, the concept, and sound of New Jersey barb wire rockers Precious Bones. Antoine Poncelet & Guy Tetro unleash an Iggy Pop/New York Dolls late 70’s chaos venom. A tight coil of front edge intensity and pulsing electricity. I love the call and answer style of the vocals which put me in mind of the Vaselines. It flows through the pipe of uplifting joy and angry edge. This whole album is such a runaway stage coach sparking cobblestones in a tight alley chase. The organic slicing fury mixed with dangerous violent stories that has a real murder ballads feel. I love how this tale keeps changing speed and turning. I never want to look away. Horror punk with a retro feel. August 2021 release. This album is dedicated to the memory of founder Guy Tetro, a tragic story and impressive release.

Favorite track: Mysterio – Thick pulsing baseline. Start and stop reckless abandon. The vocals are the perfect volley of story telling dialog. It’s engaging and edgy without trying to sound that way. It’s one of those tracks that hits perfectly on it’s intent while the listener is left feeling it was a perfect storm with no destination in mind.

https://preciousbones.bandcamp.com/album/magna-fractura

StoneburnerSpectrum – Another face blistering hurricane wind blast from Steven Archer. This time taking a revealing and visceral offering about mental health to offer connection through the turbulence. I love the wide prism of colors in tone for the single and remixes. When I think of Steven’s sound I use words like focus, contrast, and intensity. This track is a softer and varied concept which shows range and subtilty. The bsides Bahr Bela Ma and Open Letter redirect back to the percussion assault and rhythmic chant vocals I associate with Stoneburner. This unity with COP International continues to let the wolfcore off the chain and give a fertile field for raw creative energy to foster. John Fryer has once again found a laser prism to channel the emotion of Steven’s art.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/album/spectrum

CarrionShatter the Seals – New two track EP on Brutal Resonance from the charred angels of Carrion. I love the new direction. The monster is no longer lurking in the darkness, it’s sinister intention a slow whisper behind your back. Now the monster is charging towards you full speed with teeth barred and howling your doom. The vocals are a striking snake hiss. The drum beats are frantic and marching. Biggest of all this guitar distortion is clean, mean, and red eye glaring at you. The seals have truly been shattered and the demons unleashed on this plane. I’ve never heard Hide lash out with such unbridled intention. Buy this album, bath in blood, smash your meaningless possessions with a baseball bat.

https://brutalresonance.bandcamp.com/album/shatter-the-seals

Ratio StrainCentury Of The Self – San Diego band I am just finding from the drummer of W.A.S.T.E. This release came out in January 2020 but i am glad to discover it now. 8 songs of mind shattering hard industrial which is going to hurl a challenge in your face like a gallon of moonshine to the eyes. The vocals are sample laden and I will admit made me blush several times. This is music intended to cause discomfort. It’s also slick tight dance beats that had my head bopping while I stood in fear and awe. The panning of the drums was an expertly done effect and really makes the room spin to the napalm explosions. You think, you dance, you shake, you break.

Favorite track: Objectify – This song made me wildly uncomfortable and unnerved. A real blinding light held up to the misogamy prevalent in he world. It is not a soft message and hurled with such strength and aggression it left me speechless. (Warning) Not safe for Work 🙂

https://ratiostrain.bandcamp.com/album/century-of-the-self

VlimmerMeter b​/​w Kartenwarten – Alexander is back again, with a new two track EP and again stretching the range of one of the great sonic sculptors of our time. This is shake your ass club thump. The open expansive feel of the synths, the thunderous driving bass, I couldn’t help throw my hands in the air. Beautiful syncopation and vocal cadence. Track one Meter has a Blondie Atomic energy while pulsing in hues of violet and crimson.

Favorite Track: Kartenwarten – The glorious sway and slide of this track. I’m on a cliff staring at the sea, feeling the slow shifting power of dark water. So many textures and concepts bleeding together in harmony. A true work of beauty.

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/meter-b-w-kartenwarten

Lorelei DreamingFuture Fables – Long have I awaited this 6 track EP complete with wonderful remixes by Chicago dystopian pop princess Laura. It’s so clear and textured from their previous release. Laura’s voice breaks through the wall and takes it’s rightful place on center stage. The album opens with an absolute banger in Of Stars. I’m loving the rippling synth sounds to add a fantasy feel. Each song is a striding step forward for an armor clad paladin facing down the demons surrounding her. This album was so worth the wait and every song is an adventure. The remixes are a brilliant contribution with the likes of Kanga, Sawtooth, Eva X, Angel Metro, and more. I love seeing so many top tier ladies involved.

Favorite Track: To Leave This Heaven – Sparkle explosion of dance delight and spinning cyclones. A real Violator Depeche Mode swagger with silk swirling gentle touch.

https://loreleidreaming.bandcamp.com/album/future-fables

Interview with a Komrad

Komrads: The one man industrial crusade led by Zachary Burnett hailing from Rochester,NY recently signed to Negative Gain Productions and is not wasting any time. August 20th will see the release of the album “The Wolf”, the follow-up to 2018`s self-released “Resistor”.

I`ve trudged through the debris of broken analog synthesizers, drum machines and ash to find front-man/leader of the revolution, Zachary Burnett and interrogate him about his latest collection of machine-driven hymns and the Komrads agenda.

Let`s start off with something fairly simple, what is the origin of the name Komrads

I picked the name for a couple reasons.  The main inspiration was Waynes World 2 when Wayne holds a fundraiser at a Soviet Union themed club called Comrades to raise money for Waynestock.  I changed the spelling because if Korn could do it then why can’t I?  Also it’s a gender neutral pronoun, an all inclusive term.  When you’re at a Komrads show, we’re all comrades.

You started out as a full band and eventually ended up as a solo project which seems to be the opposite of how things go in this scene with bands often started as a solo thing and evolving into a full band later on, how do you think you`ve benefited from this move?

The main reason I went solo was because of the relentless touring schedule I was working up toMy previous band members, Jesse Halstead and Joe Sexton, we’re great sports and I couldn’t have gotten this project rolling without them.  But life happens and spending months on the road with an unsteady income is less than appealing to most sane people understandably.  The biggest benefit of being solo is I have little to no overhead cost and if I wanna pull over and go to Starbucks for the third time that day there’s no one to argue with.

Your new album “The Wolf” shows great musical range, opening track “Crossfire” setting the tone with it`s doomsday sound design, “Exile” showcasing the rock/metal influence and “The Cure” seemingly living in between post punk and industrial. To what do you attribute this seamless slithering between the worlds?

It’s mostly to keep things interesting for myself.  I’m a fan of all genres within the “Goth” realm and I love to pick elements of each and mash them together.  Sometimes it turns out great, other times not so much.  I started this project without really picking a direction to point myself fully at.  It’s definitely been an experimental journey trying to figure out exactly what Komrads is to me.  With this album I’ve found a lot more confidence in what I want this project to sound like.

This is your first time operating within the industrial borders [or lack-thereof] what made you wanna go this route? What about the industrial concept so to speak was it that attracted you to it?

What really pushed me into this territory was the fun factor.  Maybe not a whole lot of people think of the word “fun” when they hear industrial.  I’ve been drifting back and forth between the post punk/darkwave and industrial realms for a few years.  After touring with Skold and opening for Pigface, Suicide Commando, and Psyclon Nine I found myself enjoying the energy output at those shows more and more.  It seems more fitting for me to pursue that route given I already instinctively have an angsty, aggressive approach when I produce electronic music.  So diving deeper into Industrial just seemed like the next logical step for me.

Komrads – The Wolf

The wolf as a symbol is found throughout time in nearly every culture, which interpretation, if any, influenced the album to the point of choosing it as its title?

I chose to name the album after the track I had titled The Wolf.  It was the last song I had written for the album and it’s deeply personal about my resentment and outright hatred for someone close to my immediate family.  I won’t go into details about this specific person but due to a series of events over the course of many years, this persons involvement within my family has left me sort of cast out, a lone wolf you might say.  

Who is responseable for the albums artwork and what was the idea behind it?

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed as I often do and I came across this outrageously badass drawing of my favorite Pokémon (Haunter). I immediately followed Keith West/HangxFang after checking out the rest of their work. I asked if they could draw up something for me with a Wolf as the focal point in a cemetery of sorts and barely a week later I’m looking at what would become my album cover. I’m planning on working with this artist again and I highly recommend them. Very friendly and fast turnaround for quality work.

The music of Komrads is largely built on hardware equipment and heavy use of sampling, was this a conscious decision? Why not simply open Fruity Loops and program up a beat or two?

I guess you could say it was a conscious decision to use hardware instruments as opposed to software.  I played guitar in punk and metal bands for years, some drums too so having a hands on approach just made more sense to me.  I want to physically feel the instruments I’m playing, twist the knobs and push the pads myself.  Maybe my performance will be less precise and limited but that brings me back to the fun factor.  Physically hammering on MPC pads and dialing in the synths and drums as they’re looping brings me a lot of joy that I don’t feel when just sitting in front of a computer screen.  My DAW is largely just a means to record the outputs of my gear.

On the topic of equipment, which piece of gear would you say was essential to the creation of this album and why?

I couldn’t have made this record without my Akai MPC 2500.  That is the key to all of my operations for this project.  I’ve compiled tons of samples on it and I love the workflow.  Aside from that I heavily used a Roland SE-02 and Korg Minilogue and often ran them through an Industrialectric Incinerator silicon fuzz pedal.  I practically made those synths scream and chug like guitars.

You`ve played a fair amount of shows and tours, opened for several well known acts within the scene and have a tour of your own coming up in October. Being a solo act how do you go about translating the music for the stage? Do you have a live line-up with you and if so, who does it consist of currently?

As of right now I perform solo live as well.  I used to bring all of my gear with me and that became a massive headache.  Now I have a minimalist rig put together so I can get on and off of stage in less than five minutes to make way for the other acts.  I run backing tracks, several pedals I process my vocals through, and a synth or two for some extra flair and performance.  I also supply and operate my own lighting rig.  I’ve spent countless hours dialing in lights that bring a lot of movement and life to my stage performance.

Having a consistent flow of releases whether it be stand alone singles, EP`s or whatever else, what do you have planned after the album drops?

I have a couple things in the early stages of planning but nothing set in stone.  I am planning on releasing remixes off of this album in one form or another.  I also have plans to collaborate with a few other artists but I won’t be divulging any further information on that at this time.  I’m lending my vocals for a few features that will be out late this year or early next year as well.

Blind [Single from The Wolf]

As you know, Sounds & Shadows is all about supporting smaller artists/bands from around the globe. Who are some of the current underground acts you`re into these days that you`d want our readers to check out?

STCLVR (pronounced Street Cleaver) is easily one of my favorite underground acts in the scene right now.  They’re a solo industrial artist based out of Jamestown, NY.  They slam out releases quickly one after another lately and each one blows me away.  I highly recommend checking them out if you’re into harsh industrial.  Some other favorites I highly recommend are 6th Circle, Bustie‘, and The Russian White.  All three of those acts vastly differ from each other but they’re all among my favorites that I think deserve a little more credit

When industrial was but a foetus [pun intended ; ) ] there was various political as well as spiritual and occult ideologies tied in to the music whether that be in terms of the creators outlook or the methods and equipment used to record said music, while this seems to have taken the back-seat in the modern era in favour of the more club-friendly interpretations of the genre I`d wanna know if the ways of old has any influence on how you create, think about and execute your art?

I think a lot of the original and older acts in the Industrial genre had no intentions of receiving club play.  I don’t set out to write music with a political agenda but sometimes, and more so especially on this record, that’s exactly what happens.  When I’m not yelling about my personal feelings my anger/grief usually finds itself pointed at political issues.  I do appreciate when my music is played in clubs and I do strive to write hooks now and then but I’m writing this music to build a connection with an audience.  I’m of course influenced by the likes of Skinny Puppy, NIN and Ministry, but I want to take that influence and combine it with everything else that makes me who I am, and put it out there as something new and fresh.

Find Komrads on the following pages

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/komradsofficial

Bandcamp: https://komrads.bandcamp.com/

Negative Gain Productions: https://negativegain.com/

New album ” The Wolf ” out August 20th 2021

Actors – “Acts Of Worship”

There is a shift that has happened in modern music, of how music is released. A focus on speed and constant content of singles in the streaming world. The art of tension and anticipation between releases has become an artform which has fallen by the wayside. In 2018 Actors released “It Will Come To You”. It captured the imagination of the scene which propelled them as a modern voice for a genre based in nostalgia. Three years later that title that won over new wave of Post Punk/Synth fans has come to ring all the more true. The slow gleaming trickle of singles leading to the promise of a sophomore album have fallen like individual raindrops on the thirsty tongues of their growing fanbase. The addition of a new bass player Kendall Wooding adds another element to the chemical reaction. The patient crafting of new songs which hold that emotional connection, while growing in complexity and range. The story of Actors has always been one of communication and relationships within the human experience. “Acts of Worship” elevates that connection to explore the spiritual macro concepts which bind us together.

Acts of Worship | ACTORS (bandcamp.com)

Kendall Wooding

Going to do something a little different for this review because I am so invested. A song by song breakdown of my impressions:

Love U More – A delicate symphonic intro that opens the curtain. Jason’s voice is sorrowful and and ripe with longing. The chorus is a perfect way to display this fresh sound of collaboration. A true harmony of individual styles. Shannon’s vocal’s fire forth with a confidence and balance that leaves you looking up to the sky. I love the clear heavy footed walk of the bass. The flickering electric street lights of the guitar lead. This track is here to set the scene. To re-introduce beloved characters and place them in a new adventure. The most striking aspect is how much the concept of the song feels uncharted. The genre is familiar. The style distinctly Actors. The texture and melody feels like the future. Something we have yet to hear.

Like Suicide – It can be hard to separate an artist from art. When people hear “The Joshua Tree” by U2 these days the first thing that pops to mind is a Bono joke. The impact that album had with it’s ballads in particular. A voice so dripping with mystery and unfettered passion. A romantic beauty in a time of consumerism. That lost concept is what stirs within me in this soul barring heart dancer. It’s a catchy croon that glows with soul. That place where what is pleasing to the ear and painful to the heart go to share the struggle and triumph of life.

Cold Eyes – A forceful driver of city lights blurring as a they pass by the passenger window. Love this overlapping guitar part between muted crunch and crackling lead. The singing has a voices in your head surrealism. A hallucination effect that leaves you questioning what is real. I think this song has a classic Actors feel which helps connect “Acts of Worship” to “It Will Come To you”. This is the preservation of continuity song.

Obsession – This song felt personal for me. We all have felt this isolated time to dwell on people or things we are missing. Swirling shadows in the water, violet hues and reflected neon light. Jason’s voice takes on that airy Ian McCulloch beauty. Letting you sink within your own destructive thoughts and lose yourself between the water and the mist. One of the deepest most revealing moments of honesty. This song in particular felt like a real look behind the bands eyes.

Photo by Pedro Santos

Death From Above – What a glorious tone shift. I found myself transported like a World War 2 fighter pilot blazing towards a synthwave animated landscape. The hook and harmony of this track is captivating. The strong down strike percussion that personifies the aerial assault. The record player effect of the vocals enhanced the vintage feel to create a sharp contrast against the digital soul of the music.

Killing Time – Strong opening of magnetic fuzz on the guitars. The shifting polarities kept me bouncing around the room. The last two years has seen time slipping past us. Days bleed together and we need to force ourselves into these moments. I love the tension breaking shouts of “Hey” to stir a unity and freeze frame. An anthem to stop the push and pull of life and hold us in this moment until the pull sends us back into a volley. I am impressed by the ambition of this track. It pulls off the difficult task of complexity without sounding complex.

Photo by Pedro Santos

Only Lonely – The bouncing funky bass line of this track has huge John Taylor emotions. Jason swings into a husky whisper on vocals. A secret that pulls you in and sets you up for the call and answer chorus. A much brighter and meringue peaked dessert tone. The lyrics still deliver a pang of longing to add shape and depth to one of the most tender fashion walk singles on the album.

Strangers – Another engulfing single on an album full of singles. Strangers hits on all cylinders. The lyrics paint a picture in beautifully blended water colors. The music is that razors edge of expansive synthetic beauty and sizzling rock energy. I feel like this is Jason’s strongest vocal performance. Utilizing everything he does well at it’s highest peak. It is decisive, emotional, and resonates with a concept which relates and challenges. This is the type of powerful track lost in the modern age full of poetry and delivery. A true modern classic. My top track on a top album.

End of the World – A nice tension building intro for a cosmic journey watching the world grow small. The radio announcer crackle effect on the vocals creates weight and acceptance of a world slipping away. That progressive keyboard line pushes to center stage and sets the tone of emotional longing for La petite mort. As life hurtles towards uncertainty we take a journey of acceptance. This was one of the most musically powerful tracks. A haunting tone of post apocalyptic hope in a desolate moment.

Photo by Pedro Santos

Once More With Feeling – The ending of a journey of one of the most complete records of the modern era. To say it leaned into the epic and expansive is an understatement. This song has a true OK Computer emotional range and scope. We have witnessed the end of the world, but are left with a resurrection and resilience. To push on, to survive while towers of magma shoot into the sky of a new world. I love that instead of going out on a single, instead we are played out into a promise of future adventure. A glimpse on the horizon of a world to come.

Acts of Worship” 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.

It’s been a long time since I had the spoons to write reviews. Friday, is Bandcamp day. So this is what I’m listening to.

It’s been a tough few months. Finding the spoons to write with my voice has been a challenge. So I have a lot of albums stacked up in my Bandcamp list. I’m feeling hopeful tonight. Going to try and summon that spark and share some of what is making these dark days bearable. As always if you have something you want to see reviewed put it in the comments below.

Manticore KissIntertwined – I am genuinely upset this EP has not gotten more attention. The Vancouver duo was recorded by Jackknife studios. As we all know everything Jason touches is gold. The band features Kat Bastow – Vocals, Keyboard, Electronics and Ari Mansell – Vocals, Cello, Violin. It has a unique and expansive electronic sound of world beat synthpop somewhere between the soulful depth of Dead Can Dance and shimmering beauty of Erasure. Both vocalists are talented and inspired. A crystal ballroom waltz in perfect syncopation. This album was a magical pool to dive into and transport you to a fantasy world of beauty and lost romanticism. I was staggered by how immersed in a dream every song left me. These are dark and challenging times. To create music so easy to get lost in is a balm I didn’t realize how much I was longing for until I was lost in it. The harmonies were a true dialog that added depth and perspective to the story. A captivating surprise that made an instant fan of me.

Favorite Track: Forever – This dark tone and winding melody was absolutely mesmerizing. The synth pads were full of movement and gorgeous refracted light. The lyrics are imagery rich poetry and painted by perfectly synched harmony. This is like a Tolkien prose in musical form. The chorus is a spiritual hymn that makes your heart thump in your chest.

https://manticorekiss.bandcamp.com/album/intertwined-full-ep

Jean-Marc LedermanThe Bad Tempered Synthesizer – It can be so difficult to review Belgium composer Jean Marc Lederman, it seems everything new he does pushes hard against the caul of artistic boundaries as to what I think of as “songs” in the traditional sense. Every new release is such a dynamic experience that teaches me something as a songwriter as well as about my own human journey. This 12 song album was is an homage to Wendy Carlos an American composer who helped develop the original Moog. A true pioneer who changed the face of modern electronic music in so many ways. Jean Marc spins a bleep bloop tale of expression and change without ever uttering a word. It feels like a racecar driver putting a prototype car through it’s paces, taking what the engineer had made and conducting a series of tests that showed the absolute limitations of sound and emotions capable by a single instrument. I feel like every new release is a challenge to what is possible to create within the concept of being a musician. An unfettered freedom of firing a rocket towards the sky not caring where it comes down. It makes me hopeful that this kind of courage and ambition can still be celebrated in the modern era. Where it feels everything has been done. The past, the future, the respect to those who came before, and the brazen chaos. All here in a glass bubble, frozen in a moment in time. This record is not pop hits, not hooks, even though the songs are pleasing. This is high art, designed to set you on the road, and allowing you to take your own journey.

https://jmlederman.bandcamp.com/album/the-bad-tempered-synthesizer

Abbey DeathDeath is For the Living – July 2021 single from Darktonica independent couple Abbey Death. I really love the lofi minimalist tone for how much is going on. Valarie is a tempting whispery invitation luring you towards deaths sweet embrace. Nex descends on the chorus with a harsh jagged glass terrifying tone. The blend is a culmination of the romanticism and fear or the unknown in one. The late 90s flavor guitar lead builds the tension for the layered vocal choir at the end. It’s nostalgic in a way seldom seen, a throwback to the late 90s’s early 2000s. A Steel teeth and silk cloth style that flows and leaves me excited for what is next.

https://projektrecords.bandcamp.com/track/death-is-for-the-living-featuring-addam-robert-paul-name-your-price-download

Armalyte Industries – This is an amazing celebration at an outstanding price. Armalyte is setting a standard for boutique labels and celebrating 20 years of putting out music that carves the line between rock/metal/industrial. 24 tracks with some of the biggest names in the genre, and some of the hungriest new sounds for the future. The online live stream highlighted the best aspects of the current industrial scene, lifting each other up. This compilation is sawblade sharp and electrically charged. An old school exhibition that puts on display all the label has to offer. A chance to hear collaborations by the likes of <PIG> and The Joy Thieves, Industrial mainstays like Spankthenun, and exciting new trend setters like Der Prosector. This is a must have to find 5 new bands you didn’t know were your future favorites. I love the quality, the execution, and what a compilation like this represents. Mastered by Jules Seifert at Epic Audio Media.

1.DROWND – Lust (Demo) 02:43
2.Cubanate – Transit (2021 Remaster) 05:50
3.Chemlab – Exile On Mainline (Demo) 04:05
4.PIG X The Joy Thieves – Badland(er) (Blowtorch Blues Remix) 05:24
5.Jim Davies – In Shadows 04:15
6.Seething Akira – Paralysed Algorithms (The Algorithm Remix) 04:03
7.Der Prosector – No Amnesty / Car Bomb 2021 09:00
8.i! – Kingdom Of The Snake 07:32
9.Haloblack ft. PIG – Punch The Deck (Dirty) (2021 Remaster) 03:38
10.Skatenigs – Hell; And Back (Ten Feet Tall Remix by The Joy Thieves) 04:54
11.Dead Animal Assembly Plant – Colors Under Attack (Live @ Primal Recording Studios) 04:14
12.Concrete Lung – Destructive (Live from Lockdown) 03:49
13.Tayne – Coherent (Live @ SS2) 02:02
14.Featured – Shelter 04:07
15.Paresis – Higher Plane 2021 05:20
16.Khaidian – Evasion (Khadian’s Star Chamber Remix) 04:17
17.Je$us Loves Amerika ft. Chris Connelly & Gord Young – The Great Pretender 05:01
18.Be My Enemy – Metalhead 04:21
19.K-Nitrate – C-Resistor 04:28
20.Needleye – Cut Myself (Punish Remix by Marc Heal) 03:44
21.Digicore – No You Don’t 03:10
22.Flesh Eating Foundation – Words Without Echo (First Echo Version) 03:32
23.SPANKTHENUN – Right Father 05:43
24.Chris Connelly – Teddy Bear’s Picnic

https://armalyte.bandcamp.com/album/armalyte-xx

Monsieur Pompier’s Travelling FreakshowTeatime Terrors – Wow what a fresh fun take. The fever dream carnival cacophony of sound. Elements of of Zappa, Man Man, synthwave, and Syd Barrett. The lyrics are a clever, humorous, psychedelia space opera. It’s so exciting to see a band throw caution to the wind and create something truly strange and beautiful. I think the greatest power of this record is the creativity of the characters. Each song is a page from a vibrant comic book concept transported into pixilated retro mono synth songs. I really hope to see this album played live someday, because it sounds like a magical party brought to life. On Cleopatra records.

https://monsieurpompier.bandcamp.com/album/teatime-terrors

nino sableThe AHHH – New lofi minimalist terror trance single from Nino. This track is straight up nightmare fuel with a haunting growl and skin crawling poetic lyrics. You need to listen to this track, not right before you go to bed, but you need to listen to it.

https://ninosable.bandcamp.com/track/the-ahhh

Rohn – LedermanWatch Out – I know, I have already talked about Jean Marc in this review. Michigan native Emileigh Rohn has an uplifting electricity in her voice that fills me with hope and energy. Her recent tracks with John Fryer’s my new favorite get stuff done music. Now she teams with another living legend in Lederman to focus that fire into a swirling slow motion golden whip. Add in top tier remixes from Assemblage 23, Mark Hokings, and Leatherstrip and COP has put out another home run single. After working with electrosynphonic masters to create emotive sonic paintings like this, the only question that remains is. What will she do next?

https://rohn-lederman.bandcamp.com/album/watch-out

Cult Of AliaOfferings – New grinding mist rolling future sounds from David Wright on Cold Transmission. I love the fusion of darkscene genres here. The vocals drip from the microphone with sensuality. The songs all hold this enveloping mist quality filling the city streets and holding it’s listeners hostage in the darkness. The creative use of digital sounds add a deliciously unplaceable flavor and build the tension. Split Seconds in particular is such a cerebral thriller of fear and longing. This makes me want to slow goth wave my arms on a dancefloor.

https://cultofalia.bandcamp.com/

C Z A R I N AWonderland – I love a good dark pop as much as anyone. This new single from Czarzina is a napalm fire burst. Perfectly crafted, full of soul, and a hook that releases technovirus tendrils and plants itself in your head. We talked recently with her in a podcast that will come out Friday 8/7/21 about how this song was based on her experience of moving to Spain where she learned the spiritual history of the region. Easy on the ears, piercing to the mind. <chefs kiss>

https://czarinaofficial.bandcamp.com/album/wonderland

Red Meat – Manchester UK’s dancetastic hard edge industrial is a album every DJ needs to download and use to blow the walls apart of every dance club in the world. Rhys Hughes has that filthy Uncle Al sex voice which makes you want to shake your body harder and meaner than you ever have before. It’s that perfect mix of glam and grime skirting a razors edge of the danger you want to stick around for. I love hearing music that isn’t my style, but is delivered with such quality I can’t help myself being drawn in by it. This whole album is pure club magic that makes me long for sweaty bodies spasmodically jerking in time while the crumbling walls of a filthy warehouse thrum in the darkness.

https://dronemcr.bandcamp.com/album/homo-vulgaris

daddybear (Feat: Grabyourface) – Science Fiction – Wow Matt Fanale really brought it with this new single. Teaming up with Marie of Grabyourface was a perfect icing on the cake. This is a jam of hypnotic proportions and the message is you must move. Marie’s voice is a smoky sensual alien being both exotic and alluring. The single also has a really cool trance like bside and a holographic wavy Sawtooth remix. Turn the club speakers to 11 and feel it flow through you.

https://daddybear.bandcamp.com/album/science-fiction