Darkscene Albums currently making my heart sing

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

Sounds and Shadows | Music Reviews, Interviews, Videocast Connecting the Darkscene | Patreon

genCABSignature 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.

Favorite Tracks:

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.

Signature Flaws | genCAB (bandcamp.com)

VNV NationElectric 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.

Favorite Tracks:

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.

Electric Sun | VNV Nation (bandcamp.com)

VEiiLASentimental Craving For BeautyVEiiLA 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.

Favorite Tracks:

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.

▶︎ Sentimental Craving For Beauty | VEiiLA | Projekt Records (bandcamp.com)

Black AngelLASCIVIOUS – 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.

Favorite Tracks:

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.

BLACK ANGEL – ‘LASCIVIOUS’ | Black Angel (bandcamp.com)

daddybearIA 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.

IA MALI EN | daddybear (bandcamp.com)

Bedless BonesMire 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.

Favorite Track:

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.

Mire of Mercury | Bedless Bones (bandcamp.com)

Dimensional Holofonic Sound – Seeing Is Believing

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.

▶︎ Seeing Is Believing | Dimensional Holofonic Sound (bandcamp.com)


Wonderful interview here by our friend Rexx on STATIK TV

Favorite Tracks:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

1.Seeing Is Believing 03:53 video
2.Seeing 02:51
3.Seen 05:18
4.A Fine Record 02:33
5.DJ Jerks 04:10 video
6.Universal Translator 02:39
7.Blurry Breaks 06:04
8.Pursuit 02:03
9.Seeing Is Believing (Remix) 02:25
10.After the Music Has Stopped 04:01
11.Market is Prime 02:59
12.Visual Audio 04:40
13.Sound System 03:52
14.2020 Vision 03:03
15.Disco System 03:39
16.DJ Jerks (Instrumental) 02:38
17.Computerized Turntable 00:53
18.Travelogue 02:24buy track
19.Flame 00:39
20.1980 Vision 02:53

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.

Helvete Inc. “The Godhead” Video Premier

Brand new single and video from Baltimore suicide rock artist STR Helvete! After a two year hiatus Helvete Inc. returns with new collaborator “DrumDaddy” Dan Milligan (Joy Thieves) and producer Erik Gufstafson (Adoration Destroyed) to unleash a savage electronic entropy doused in guitar driven gasoline. Briming with life and corruption this creeping track boils over and fills the dancefloor with green fog. STR’s voice cuts through the static with a subtitle melody.

Revel in this ignorance
Confess my sins, kneel and repent
But this ever present nothingness is eating me away
Kill for unseen entities to justify existence
Hold onto faith but drowning in the lies

What is it that you pray for?
The Godhead
What is it that you prey for?
The Godhead


released November 3, 2023

A Major Arcana work
Produced and mixed by Erik Gufstafson
Mastered by STR Helvete
Recorded in The Void

Dan Milligan– Drums
STR Helvete– Music, lyrics, vocals

The Godhead | Helvete Inc. (bandcamp.com)

White Zombie’s ‘La Sexorcisto’ as a Breakthrough Record and a Sign of Things to Come

The music of Robert Bartleh Cummings, better known as Rob Zombie, has become some of the most memeworthy material in the rock and metal world. That said, I’d make the case that his work with his previous band White Zombie is far easier to lampoon. In these times, particularly in the late Eighties and early Nineties, the band’s sound was more groove-oriented, riding the thrash-laden wave of bands like Pantera, Prong, and Sepultura. Rather than get political or outright aggressive, the work of White Zombie was a throwback to B-movies, schlock, and exploitation of all sorts.

They say that moaning isn’t an instrument, but three decades later, he’s still using such samples, so…

While the band’s sound originated more in noise and punk rock, it was on their third album, 1992’s La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 where things turned more towards groove and, to a lesser extent, industrial metal. The latter wouldn’t be the modus operandi of the band until 1995’s Astro-Creep 2000, but bits and pieces of what would allow Rob Zombie to make a career singing about the Munsters’ family vehicle and the apparent copulation of all of those around him in flying saucers can be found far, far back.

The opening sounds of “Welcome to Planet Motherfucker / Psychoholic Slag” sound like a warp-speed trip to Hell before we’re left in a synth-laden abyss. The guitars kick in, the band follows, and the groove for this journey is dialed in like a set of coordinates. Rob’s vocal delivery is somewhere between rapped and sung, using as much real estate per line as he can. What follows is a heavy, pocketed vibe that is easy to dance to or bang one’s head to, something that we can still say about Zombie’s music all these years later. A brief interlude with radio commercials and dial tuning gives way to “Thunder Kiss ‘65,” one of the simplest and best riffs in the metal world. Behind “Smoke on the Water” and “Paranoid,” it’s one of those riffs one first learns when learning guitar, and why wouldn’t it be? It’s a foot-stomping, gravel-singing good time jam-packed with samples and swagger.

As if that wasn’t enough, we get spoiled with one of the best road songs there’s ever been, “Black Sunshine,” featuring narration from punk godfather Iggy Pop. I remember it from Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, some may remember it from its feature on Beavis and Butt-head, but if you don’t remember it all, do yourself a favor and play it back. It’s in this track where we get that griminess that turns things ever so slightly towards the industrial beats which Zombie’s music would later enjoy, but there’s loads of groove and gusto to be had here. “Soul-Crusher” is, by contrast, very guitar-driven and takes things back to their noise rock, Make Them Die Slowly days, before things arrive at a thrash-inspired, ride-heavy rhythm. “Cosmic Monsters Inc.” doubles down on the thrash influence, with loads of palm muted riffing and an airtight rhythm section. 

While yes, every metal band ever has been touched by Black Sabbath, “Spiderbaby (Yeah-Yeah-Yeah)” does so more than just about anything, particularly in the bridge found just after the three minute mark. The drum fills, the riffing, it all feels like it was lifted from Osbourne-era Sabbath, and if you’re going to imitate anyone, go for the gold and go for the godfathers. The clean guitars which open “I Am Legend” are a departure from what we’ve heard so far, but before long, the monolithic riffing returns, as do the solos that so many in the Nineties say were killed off by grunge. Clearly White Zombie missed that memo, as we get another shred of shred from Jay Yuenger to take this track home with the classic big rock ending.

Another “Knuckle Duster” interlude gives way to “Thrust!” and the title more than advertises what the song brings. It’s full speed ahead, bouncing and banging with the classic White Zombie sound that we’ve taken the first half of the record to establish. We even get a sample from the zombie film that started it all, Night of the Living Dead, and while that seems like an odd choice for a song called “Thrust!”… fuck it, it’s about zombies, we’ll allow it. A third interlude called “One Big Crunch” gives way to the thumping drums of “Grindhouse A Go-Go,” with a stop and go main riff that begs for an air guitar accompaniment or pantomime. 

“Starface” is still very much a rock and roll song, but damn if this one doesn’t have the most dance and disco influence, from the guitar playing to the drum techniques used by Ivan de Prume. This one leans more groove than metal, but it’s still plenty heavy. The near-seven-minute closer “Warp Asylum,” however, is another Sabbathian nod full of big riffs, big drums, and a doom and gloom feel, the “slag” part of the titular psychoholic slag. It’s a big, gnarly crescendo, a summation of everything that brought us this far, and everything that will take White Zombie, and in particular Rob Zombie, into the future for decades to come.

Folks will be most familiar with the singles “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and “Black Sunshine,” but let the rest of the record play and you’re in for an answer to the grunge movement. You want Sabbath? You got it. You want all of the movie references to make Ebert and Roeper blush? Come closer. You want guitar solos? Pilgrim, we will show you some guitar solos. This is an essential record, patient zero for Mr. Zombie and his decades-long reign as the king of grindhouse-inspired grooves and macabre-themed metal.


While scrolling around various Bandcamp sites and checking out the “If you like X you may also like..” section at the bottom I spotted this four song EP from Indonesian Post-Punk act Klandestine…

I`m not quite sure what drew me to it but I suspect it had something to do with the fact that the majority of the releases Bandcamp suggested were ones I already was aware of and heard, and of course liked, for anyone who may be curious the others included Acts Of Worship from ACTORS and FIERCE by Hante just to name a few.

A crawling serpent through what looks like a white maze-like square on a black backing. A fairly traditional type of cover art as far as our scene is concerned but they, it caught my attention, it did it`s job.

Skepticism, the title of the first track, not my attitude going into this. Lyrically it laments the increasing same-ness of the world, the death of individuality, the ever blurring lines of right and wrong. At least that is my initial interpretation after reading along on my first listen. Musically it feels almost noir like in its introductory notes with mysterious melodies slithering along as the almost staccato like vocals enter the frame. Subdued effected guitars sprawling alongside a steady drum.

Definetly getting Rozz-era Christian Death but without making me think that I could just put on an actual CD album instead as it doesn`t seem to really try to be that, the influence is undeniable but that can surely be said of more than 90% of bands in the scene, some do it better than others of course.

On Suspiriorum the vocals are pulled back but not so far you strain to hear them, what stands out about this is definetly the guitar lines, lyrically it nods to the Dario Argento film Suspiria as the title may suggest, it just so happens to be one of my favourites (the original that is) which could heighten both my enthusiasm and criticism I suppose.

Sin introduces itself slowly, a droning pad, tribal drums and a slow heavily effected guitar enter the stage one by one before all melting together in a deathrock-witch-brew.

Snow Flowers On Eve Mourn is our parting song and it kicks up the pace again ever so slightly after the previous atmospheric affair. The chorus is one of the more upbeat moments of the EP although tempo-wise all four tracks are fairly consistent with minor deviations, not so much a complaint as merely an observation.

I may not have mentioned that as far as I can tell this appears to be the quarteds debut release and with that in mind it certanly isnt a bad start. Ill make sure to keep an eye on them and hope for a follow-up be that another EP or a full-length album. As I said, not a bad start though I have no doubt this gang has so much more to offer.

Check it out yourself and give them a follow: