Because the World is Cruel, and Promises Get Broken

It was a long hard week for me. Time to lose myself in someone else’s head. Who are the songs transporting me to another place?

FIRESChangeling – New single from Aedrea. The title here really tells the story. Such a bold metamorphic shift in sound. In particular the vocals have this wispy Chelsea Wolfe quality full of fairy fire flickering promise. The music is a shifting fantasia, almost an entire film score journey in five minutes. Tender raindrop keys, crushing storm front guitars, and bisecting buzzsaw percussion. A cacophony of sound and beauty. As an added bonus it contains a Bside called “exit/Void” with a spoken word poem surrounded by sinister overtones. Another glorious example of the captivating burning mind.

https://firesae.bandcamp.com/album/changeling

hallowed heartsRuins – NYC’s Hallowed Heart have a new 5 track EP. I love the opening concept of ruins. The things we left behind. The memory of who we were for future strangers to find and wonder at. These are not songs for the dance club. An energetic medium tempo darkwave for walking the dark streets. Pulling the collar of your coat up to stave off a bracing wind. A grey and bleak musical tone offset by the courage of Alex Virlios vocals that cover a wide range and spew forth challenge to cast light on the sullen path.

https://hallowedhearts.bandcamp.com/album/ruins

Stand Out Tracks:

Supernova – A lovely beckoning open with locomotive punching guitar sounds. Virkios vocals start by painting a rich baritone at home in the post punk style, but then crackle with energy for the chorus. I loved the punch and diversity of sound here. Real feelings of introspection and self discovery.

Circle – Beautiful firefly rising ballad to break the pace of the EP. I love the way the guitar lines push forward and guide the voice here. It’s a beautiful and maudlin song of spiritual longing. Two minutes in the ballad takes on real power and teeth.

Overall: This is an album that takes you to very specific moments and paints a picture in the mind. It’s a journey worth taking and a moment worth looking for.

IAMTHESHADOWEverything in this Nothingness [Still] – I have waiting long for this release on Cold Transmission Music. A re-release of the Portuguese darkwave darlings debut 2016 album. Pedro and company have been tantalizing fans with rich passionate heart bursting serenades. Getting to return to the opening stanza of their journey and combining it with the years of experience and musical wisdom is an experience to waken the ears and minds of their fans. The music is a crystal pool of water on an autumn night. Beautiful, bracing, and teeming with life. I’m going to now repeat a sentence I have uttered in every Iamtheshadow review I have written. “Pedro Code has the best baritone voice in modern goth/darkwave.” It is a force of nature that moves the heart like a poem by one of the great masters.

https://iamtheshadow.bandcamp.com/album/everything-in-this-nothingness-still

Stand Out Tracks: Every Freaking Song

Wait, thats not all. In addition to the album, they released a companion remix album and it is such a brilliant homage by some of the top artists in the scene….and me 🙂 It Includes Kill Shelter, Thewalkingicon, Antipole, Crying Vessel, The Frozen Autumn, and yes Amaranth.

https://iamtheshadow.bandcamp.com/album/everything-in-this-nothingness-remixed

I think what was so impressive with this was the extreme level of talent, as well as a deep personal admiration everyone involved had for Iamtheshadow. There is nothing more engaging for a remix album than when you can really hear a reimagining full of love for the source material. I’ll be selfish for a moment and say getting to sing a duet with Pedro was a dream come true and a terrifying challenge. Collin did a masterful job remixing the song as well. Again hard to choose a standout track, because every song was a passionate love letter to an artist we deeply respect.

White CauldronNine Hells – Wicked release from last year that somehow fell through the cracks on me. The nearby Colombus Ohio band is really hard to place in a box. Sharp spinning blades of Industrial, clashing with jittering witchouse, textural keyboards, and a coven choir of misty swirling vocals. Throwing so many elements together could cause you to be lost in the miasma, but the mix is precise and razor blended to let every element find a voice. I’m not sure how many members the band has beyond Bess but the ultimate power of the release is that feeling of 20 clashing minds swirling around and finding focus like a spectral eruption in a cemetery.

https://whitecauldron.bandcamp.com/album/nine-hells

Stand Out tracks:

Empty Tomb: This song is the cacophony at it’s best. The overlapping harmonies ranging from Nu Metal spitting to banshee haunt wails are a powerful and unnerving effect I found myself captivated by.

Die This Death: This opening bassline has such a filthy stank on it. It rises and grooves like a buzzing swamp consuming a corpse. The rapped out vocals almost put me in mind of Cypress Hill. Just such a unique and conjured ritual of darkness and decay.

Overall: This is a complex listen for all it’s parts. It often rides the line between background chill and chaos dance mix. With everything going on I found myself constantly surprised how easy it was to get lost in the flow of it. I want to take this ride again.

Astari NitePocket Full of Posies – Look if Astari Nite has a new single, I am here for it. That said, holy crap this is a jam. An enchanting garden of mythic colors and romantic poetry. It bounces between complex layers and stripped down emotional delivery. The vocals are that beautiful teardrop smooth Robert Smith croon which makes my heart well. This band continues to impress with every release.

https://astarinitengp.bandcamp.com/album/pocket-full-of-posies

Review of Shadow Assembly: Arcane Fusion

One of the things I love most about the current Goth/Industrial is the sense of community. If there is pettiness or competition between this wave of post goth, I am yet to see it. Having that level of support for each others projects can lead to some beautiful artistic cross over and collaboration. Michael Louis of Twilight Chronic took a twisted ritual dagger and jammed it in his own ego to birth the modern goth superband Shadow Assembly.

Available here on bandcamp:

https://shadowassembly.bandcamp.com/album/arcane-fusion

Arcane Fusion is the sophomore offering after their debut “Ghostcrawl” a twisted and brooding rock driven concoction with Brandon Prybus of Sonsombre. This new album opens the portal of darkness even further by using a different vocalist/lyricist for every track. This album is not only a prism of the wide varieties in modern gothic rock, but also a who’s who of the vocal talent of the current scene. I will act as your ferryman on the River Styx as I lead you through each track on this modern classic.

  • Beneath The Rows: Feat (Brandon Prybus of Sonsombre) When you think gothic rock in 2020 you think of Brandon. This opening track is a rumbling mid tempo growler perfectly suited to Brandon’s voice. It’s a cloak flapping in the wind, booted feet crushing worms on grave dirt. It’s icy wind on your face and howling a ghostly whisper in your ear. This hard stomping concept is a rethought soundtrack for Children of the Corn.
  • Plaything: Feat (Marselle Hodges of The Blue Hour) What a lovely transition. This is the first video from the album. It’s a sexy Switchblade Symphony style banshee swamp ballad. Full of mist and silk. I love the blend of sizzling guitar rifts and ghostly wails. This track made me an immediate fan of Marselle.

Down With The Dead: (Feat vISION) This is a fierce chanting call from a squirming mass grave. A lot of mid 2000 shock goth flavor. A mass grave rave rolling through the mud with lost souls and carrion creatures.

My Ophelia: (Michael Louis of Twilight Chronic) Absolute banger old school gothic rock. The palm muted guitar riff here just drives on an empty street full of twists and turns. Michael’s voice is a depthless echo calling out a deathwish in the labyrinth darkness. You really hear the soul poured into this song.

Michael Louis

Cult of Ishtar (Feat: Ariel Manikj and the Black Halos) This track is a ritual of summoning. Ariel’s vocals are exotic and delivered with intention. The bass line here is darkfunk explosion. A lost ruin of wild vines and blood sacrifice. I found myself wondering back into this sinister scene again and again. Time for me to start diving into Costa Rica goth.

Release The Ravens (Feat: Ken Magerman of Amaranth) Ok this is weird, I can’t review because…it’s me. I will talk about it though. I was highly honored when ask to be a part of this. Doing guest vocals and lyrics on someone else’s music is always bizarre. I tried to summon someone else, outside my usual style for Amaranth. Michael crafted this beautiful ballad and I kept picturing this person in isolation sending messenger ravens to a lost love now beyond their reach. Collin really captured a different me like the pro he is. Goth music really falls into that crooning baritone these days and I wanted to use my sing songy higher range. I feel like it had that perfect blend of cheese and power.

Green Farie (Feat: Nino Sable of Aeon Sable) If you have ever chased the green farie you know the surreal slither of the veil between worlds. Nino has that perfect muted horn twang to their voice. The lovely harpsichord sound of this delicate ballad is the adhesive that holds this evaporating beauty in tact. A very Dead Can Dance medieval goth resurgence. I can’t get enough of this track.

Dr. Dealer (Michael Louis) Another track from Michael this one slow and brooding with a slushy trancelike guitar riff. His voice is a chorus and of demonic voices in a psychedelic swirl. Mainline a spike of shadows and sink into the floor.

Lost Places, Forgotten Faces (Feat: Andrey Agapitov of Raven Said) One of the most underrated bands in the goth scene from Russia. This one is a spiral staircase spinner. Andrey whispers and croons from beneath shadows. The keyboard and guitars lull you into dream until the verse strikes again with a fearful energy. This song was meant for spinning on the dancefloor.

Woman Torn (Feat: Rod Hanna of October Burns Black) Modern hard rock goth artists Hanna brings out that southern style Fields of the Nephilim dirge energy to this synth and guitar rich midnight sky ballad. I love the sliding effect on the guitars and how it blends with his chorus rich voice. Bringing the past into stark relief in the present

Overall this album is a synthesis of talent that really highlights what is possible when you have a maestro that knows and loves the music other artists make and finds a way to make each tone flow together to build something greater than the some of it’s parts. It is currently available on bandcamp for digital download and a CD run. If you want a good place to place your finger on the pulse of modern goth, this album is a great place to start.

Goths for Sanctuaries: 9/24 – 9/29

Two things that give me hope in these dark times are my cats and live music. One of those has been painfully taken away from me. That’s why this weekend means so much. The sheer amount of amazing bands and DJ’s here is mind boggling. I think it really goes a long way towards how much our tiny furry gods mean to us. I’m going to try and touch briefly on a lot of what will be featured, but there is just so much. So I will start with the bands preforming live. Buckle up, because the scope of this weekend will be one to remember.

Facebook Event Link

Inkubus Sukkubus: British driving organic darkness that goes back to the late 80’s. They have this beautiful pagan ritual Stevie Nicks thing happening. I’ve never seen them play live so I am very excited for this one. I really love the unapologetic witchcraft vibe and expect this is a band that will lend extremely well to a live stream performance.

https://inkubus-sukkubus.bandcamp.com/

Chameleons Vox: Also from England this was a band that made me first fall in love with dark music. Their capacity to forge a perfect spiral staircase of a riff with thunderous drums and lyrics that captured my young imagination is a thing of legend. Getting a chance to witness this live performance let alone share a bill is a dream come true.

https://moochinaboutltd.bandcamp.com/album/return-of-the-roughnecks-2

The Cassandra Complex: No one has more goth street cred then Rodney Orpheus, they have played with The Sisters, Mission, you name it. I have been deep diving back into this band with some of Rodney’s solo releases lately. They really gave the goth concept it’s teeth on a science fiction themed intelligence. Lately I have really enjoyed the recent live streams and this performance will be a memorable one.

https://thecassandracomplex.bandcamp.com/album/everything-ive-always-wanted-live-in-berlin-2012

Ashes Fallen: The sinister guitar lord James Perry and lovely wife Michelle are putting the rock back into goth rock. The songs are epic in scope and full of complexity and power. Hailing from Sacramento CA, they have a lot of that Cali glam flavor with a stalking dark shadow.

https://ashesfallenmusic.bandcamp.com/track/we-belong-nowhere

Blood Bells: Texas death rock duo Blood Bells have that driving hallow abyss sound perfect for a late night drive on an empty back street below a full moon. Just enough punk edge to pour some piss and vinegar on your darkness.

https://bloodbells.bandcamp.com/releases

AngelSpit: LA Cyberpunk originally from Austrailia that is a true audio visual experience. They have been destroying stages since early 2000’s and have been doing a lot with streaming shows. It’s glitchy chaos magic Zoog has one of those voices that beckons to you through the fuzz. Pure energy through your ears down your spine.

https://angelspit-official.bandcamp.com/album/sputnik-meltdown

Amaranth: How the fuck are we on this bill with everyone I have listed so far? I’ll take it. We took everything we love, stole from in liberally and spewed it out as prog-goth. Lets hope we don’t embarrass ourselves.

https://theamaranth.bandcamp.com/

Spindly Killers: I don’t know them well, another UK band. They have a cool Johnny Cash meets Nick Cave thing happening. I look forward to learning more.

https://spindlykillers.bandcamp.com/

Stahschlag: Smooth and stabbing Industrial noise from Hamberg Germany. Mastered by the amazing Rob Early of 11 Grams. Really beautiful soundscape images with cannon fire drums. A bit of old Test Dept feel which should lend well to a live performance. Color me intrigued.

https://stahlschlag.bandcamp.com/album/annihilation

SugarPlum Suicide: Dancy Irish goth pop? I’m all in. Cerridwen Kitty has a great vocal lilt which helps carry a candy sweet beat. Gives me The Birthday Massacre vibes. I look forward to seeing how it plays out live.

https://sugarplumsuicide.bandcamp.com/

Luna Lacuna: A UK grudge alt rock band. I love the growling L7 vocals here. It’s smokey, filthy, and a great break in sound from some of the other acts. Plus bonus points for the Alester Crowley cat on the album cover.

https://lunalacuna.bandcamp.com/

Pro Patria: Belgian Industrial Disco Clash full of movement and rage. This is a steel surfboard with razor edges coming at you at full tilt. I really enjoy the unusual time breaks and ferocious growl of Peter V.

https://propatria.bandcamp.com/album/godless

Camlann: Holy shit does this band fill me with hope for the future. New signing by our friends from Cold Transmission Music these under 20 folks from Indonesia are playing at a level of depth and quality i could not have conceived of at that age. It’s a ceremonial drone of shadows on a cave wall, flickering and rich. This is the future I long for. Ony Godfrey has a voice that is haunting and elegant. Give me more.

https://camlannmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-forgotten-lost-fragments

Machines With Human Skin: Originally from Chicago our friend Adrian Halo brings their rolling 90’s industrial style grind. I’ve never witnessed it live so I am excited to see this energy brought to life. Pain and triumph rolled into a ball and flung at the wall with abandon. I love the marching tempo and raw emotion.

https://machineswithhumanskin.bandcamp.com/album/anagnorisis

40 Octaves Below: From Vancouver this EDM explosion is sure to get the party jumping. Slithering effect rich vocals and driving beats. Time to turn your computer up to 11 and stomp your boots. This is a horror film soundtrack to haunt your dreams.

https://40octavesbelow.bandcamp.com/album/digital-resurrections

Dead Blood Cells: UK based darkwave brings a slithering sweetness blended with electric glitch. I love that razor wire between post punk and Industrial feels. It’s music that comes in waves and the vocals are ethereal and penetrating. Can’t wait to see the live energy.

https://deadbloodcells.bandcamp.com/track/woman-in-white

Coor Brown Obles : SE UK artist with a dreamy organic bounce. A bit of Magnetic Fields alt vibe. I really like the vocals which fluctuate greatly within the songs to create dynamic build.

https://coorblimey.bandcamp.com/album/going-in-circles

This review has only covered the live performances. We haven’t even touched on bands doing pre recorded or DJ performances. Aside from the wonderful cause this event is shaping up to be one of the standout online events of the year. I hope to see you all there.

Thursday, September 24, 20203:00 PM – 4:00 PMVideos: Raven Said, The Quinsy, The Black Capes, Onism, Lupe4:00 PM – 5:00 PMVideos: Karluv Tyn, Doppelganger, Mechanimal, Angel of Dust5:00 PM – 6:00 PMVideos: Atomic Neon, Other-Ed, This Eternal Decay, Your Life on Hold6:00 PM – 7:00 PMVideos: Ground Nero, Enhok, Nairod Yarg, La Grazia Obliqua, Trouble Fait’, Iamnoone, Talk to Her, Love the Ghost, On the Floor7:00 PM – 8:00 PMVideos: Les Longs Adieux, Dageist, From the Mouth ov Belial8:00 PM – 9:00 PMVideos: Saigon Blue Rain, The Blind Ruffians, Ultrviolence9:00 PM – 10:00 PMVideos: Sunshine Blind / Caroline Blind, Vampires of Rome, Massive Ego – Reading10:00 PM – 10:30 PMLIVE: BLOOD BELLS10:30 PM – 12:30 AM (overnight)DJ Set: Rockin’ Robert C (US)Friday, September 25, 202012:30 AM – 1:00 AMVideos: The Long Losts1:00 AM – 4:30 AMDJ Set: Kale Shelter (US)4:30 AM – 8:00 AMDJ Set: Vox Sinistra (US)8:00 AM – 1:00 PMDJ Set: The New Order Melbourne (AU)1:00 PM – 3:00 PMDJ Set: Graveyard Death Cult (DE)3:00 PM – 5:00 PMDJ Set: nAo12xu (JP)5:00 PM – 7:00 PMDJ Set: Dmitry Flo (RU)7:00 PM – 9:00 PMDJ Set: Evangel (DE)9:00 PM – 11:00 PMDJ Set: Geisterwelt (DE/GR) (Videos: Lefki Symphonia, Giant Waves, Dead Souls Rising)11:00 PM – 2:00 AM (overnight)DJ Set: Vade Retro & Jo the Waiter (UK)Saturday, September 26, 20202:00 AM – 4:00 AMDJ Set: Dead Souls Gothic Lounge (US)4:00 AM – 6:00 AMDJ Set: The Sisters of Mondays (US)6:00 AM – 8:00 AMDJ Set: Dave Bats (US)8:00 AM – 10:00 AMDJ Set: Miz Margo (US) (Videos: Dark Door, Sombre)10:00 AM – 3:00 PMDJ Set: Spooky Shaz & Poisondwarf (AU) (Videos: Suzi Sabotage, October Burns Black, Brigitte Handley)3:00 PM – 4:15 PMLIVE: LUNA LACUNA – Videos: Grooving in Green – LIVE: DEAD BLOOD CELLS4:15 PM – 6:00 PMDJ Set: Caroline Carnivorous (NO)6:00 PM – 10:00 PMDJ Set: martin oldgoth & Mortasha Kinski (UK/AU) (Videos: Hapax, Sounds Like Winter, Gene Loves Jezebel, Black Rose Burning)10:00 PM – 11:00 PMDJ Set: Mistress McCutchan (CA)11:00 PM – 1:00 AM (overnight)DJ Set: Hi-Fi Hillary & Kale Shelter (US) (Videos: Sjöblom, Then Comes Silence, Twin Tribes)Sunday, September 27, 20201:00 AM – 3:00 AMDJ Set: Veganinblack (US) (Videos: Nite)3:00 AM – 5:00 AMDJ Set: Slavezero (US)5:00 AM – 7:00 AMDJ Set: Pirate Twins (US)7:00 AM – 9:00 AMDJ Set: Vox Sinistra (US) (Videos: Ash Code)9:00 AM – 9:30 AMLIVE: CAMLANN9:30 AM – 12:00 PMDJ Set: The New Order Melbourne (AU)12:00 PM – 3:00 PMLIVE: COOR BROW-OBLES, PRO PATRIA, STAHLSCHLAG – Video: Feather Trade – LIVE: SPINDLY KILLERS3:00 PM – 7:00 PMDJ Set: Cyberpagan (DE) (Videos: Dead Inside, Date at Midnight, 1919, NU:N, Audra)7:00 PM – 8:00 PMLIVE: INKUBUS SUKKUBUS – Videos: Mephisto Walz, Autumn Tears8:00 PM – 9:00 PMLIVE: CHAMELEONS VOX9:00 PM – 1:00 AM (overnight)DJ Set: Red Party NYC (US) (Videos: Bootblacks)Monday, September 28, 20201:00 AM – 2:00 AMLIVE: AMARANTH, MACHINES WITH HUMAN SKIN2:00 AM – 4:00 AMDJ Set: Kangal (US)4:00 AM – 5:00 AMLIVE: 40 OCTAVES BELOW, ASHES FALLEN5:00 AM – 6:00 AMVideos: L’Avenir, Shanghai Beach6:00 AM – 7:00 AMVideos: Sonsombre, Ren Flowers, Pilgrims of Yearning, El Ojo y la Navaja7:00 AM – 8:00 AMVideos: Mordelin, Blood Handsome, Synthax Xtructure, Unidad Obscura, Hallows, Lycia, NNHMN8:00 AM – 9:00 AMVideos: Vyrtual Zociety, Lore, The Dramedy, Kurt Riley, Electric Press Kit, Chiron, The Coloirs of Silence9:00 AM – 10:00 AMVideos: Spankthenun / Th3Count of DEATHLINE INT’L DJ set including Deathline Int’l and Cop Int’l label bands10:00 AM – 4:00 PM- Break -4:00 PM – 7:00 PMVideos: Mosquito, Ego Bliss, Death Party UK, Global Citizen, Chaos Bleak, Sometime the Wolf, Nature of Wires7:00 PM – 8:00 PMVideos: Iamwarface, Senex IV, Accrogeist8:00 PM – 9:00 PMLIVE: THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX – Videos: Vice Squad, Frostofdoom9:00 PM – 10:00 PMVideos: Frostofdoom – LIVE: ANGELSPIT10:00 PM – 11:00 PMVideos: Skeletal Family, The Secret French Postcards, 13th Sky, Deliverance MX, The Secret Post11:00 PM – 11:30 PMVideos: Pass / Ages, Red Vienna11:30 PM – 2:00 AM (overnight)DJ Set: Miserable Mondays (US)

The Next Wave of Goth Is Now

Goth music and culture has always been rooted firmly in the past. It often has felt this subculture awards time served in the scene and knowledge of the obscure history of the bands, clubs, and fashion of our progenitors. However in order for a culture to carry on it must evolve and strike a chord in future generations. This happened in the 90s, then again in the mid 2000’s as new waves of goth music found and audience. Each time adding to the story by paying homage to the generations before it. As time went on “Goth” has splintered into smaller subgenres which have pushed further from that original concept until a tangled and complex web reached towards the edges of other genres. I for one embrace how rich and diverse the concept of goth culture has become. In future articles I want to explore some of these subgenres and how they are impacting modern music. In this article I will be focusing on the return to the core. That first idea of guitar driven dark music, with throbbing basslines, ethereal keyboards, and haunted lyrics with romantic natures.

1st Wave: The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, The Birthday Party, Sisters of Mercy, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Fields of the Nephilim, The Mission.

2nd Wave: Rosetta Stone, Nosferatu, The Wake, Children On Stun, Dead Can Dance, Lycia

3rd Wave: Angels of Liberty, Merciful Nuns, Switchblade Symphony, O’Children, Ritual Howls, Pink Turns Blue, The Horrors, Sunshine Blind, Golden Apes, Black Tape For a Blue Girl, Razed In Black.

Finally a new slew of darklings is raising that torch and producing the next wave of goth rock. I think it is key that these are bands who came up listening to the post synthesis goth and found their way back to the root. It gets me excited for the future.

The Kentucky Vampires: Hailing from shockingly, Kentucky, here is another band that brings old school sinister pipe organ and fire bright guitar riffs. From Secret Sin records the tone and emotion of their 5 records is everything true fans of 80’s death rock long for. Abbas has a haunting voice full of chorus and foreboding. Brandon of Sonsombre does mastering for them and helps add a sense of continuity to this new goth sound.

https://thekentuckyvampires.bandcamp.com/album/crimson-curse

Scary Black: Another amazing new goth act from Louisville KY. What the hell is in the water out there. This is a one person band that has such electric energy and frightening tone. Singer Albie has one of those deep baritone voices that comes from the bottom of a well and fills you up with emotion. 3 albums and the napalm fire single Starlight Dancer.

https://scaryblack.bandcamp.com/album/are-you-afraid-of-the-dark

Twin Tribes: These lovely lads from Texas have taken the world by storm. Dreamy private ritual sounds that bring the beauty and heartbeat of The Cure back into the mainstream. Tender poetry and swirling texture smoldering in a cauldron on a moonlit night. Already with two breakout albums and additional singles they are setting the standard for the softer side of gothic rock.

https://twintribes.bandcamp.com/album/ceremony

Black Angel: London UK artist Black Angel is putting the bat cave rock back into death rock. I feel so much of The Mission and later Sisters dancy flow to gothic rock. Their music reminds me so much of the goth club scene, swinging arms, leather and lace. Gothic music has always been tied to expression with the body, that is something Matt Vowel’s has grasp and fused into the future.

https://blackangelmusic.bandcamp.com/album/kiss-of-death

IAMTHESHADOW: When I think of goth, I think of passion and vocals that capture a room. Lisbon Portugal’s IAMTHESHADOW does that in spades. Pedro Code has the best baritone in modern goth. It’s sexy, crooning, dangerous music that sounds like a full bodied red first touching your lips. It’s music to give yourself over and get lost in. Like the first time you heard Peter Murphy and thought this is the sound that encapsulates the image i want to see in the mirror. Now on Cold Transmission Music.

https://iamtheshadow.bandcamp.com/album/pitchblack-2

Cliff and Ivy: Alaska’s favorite goth couple Cliff and Ivy have brought back the isolated howling wolf tooth and nail of goth. The punk blend of The Damned and Alien Sex Fiend. It’s raw, fierce, and unapologetic. Ivy takes the back of your head with her beautiful prose, then smashes your nose with a headbutt of power. Cliffs thick guitar riffs are a growling beast let off the chain. Iron Gauntlet in a velvet glove.

https://cliffandivy.bandcamp.com/album/the-best-of-cliff-and-ivy

Crying Vessel: Slade and Basil also bringing that softer dark edge to gothic rock. Horror author Slade is integrating imagery of the macabre an sinister with a glam razamtaz feel. Gorgeous layered production and flange rich echo’s that simmer with Bowie and Love and Rockets. That special darkness you find on the edge of a rainbow after a storm. Available on Cleopatra Records.

https://cryingvessel.bandcamp.com/album/pleasures-for-the-wicked

Mary: My newest goth obsession from Toronto. It is fast paced, spicy, with an old school New York feel. Strong sweeping vocals with a lot of depth and meaning. It also has a complete album feel with the sweeping tempo and dynamic shifts. Take me through the full range of emotions in one record. Another Cold Transmission signing. I expect big things in the future from him.

https://maryofficial.bandcamp.com/album/die-before-death

Death Loves Veronica: This lovely lady from Texas brings that same Souxie dripping soul and witchcraft elegance to modern goth. It’s smoky and pours straight from the vein into your ears. Really nice use of guitar to add weight in the right moments. Goth needs to echo through the listener on a personal level. You need to feel what they feel and that is what Veronica captures so elegantly.

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-silence

Sounds Like Winter: All the way from Australia Art Banister’s popping sharp edge retro feel goth rock has a lot of that true early Joy Division/Warsaw vibe in the drum and tempo. The vocals are forceful and ringing in a hopeless monotone. All that fuzz and emptiness given flesh.

https://sounds-like-winter.bandcamp.com/album/no-interest-single

Adoration Destroyed: Also from Texas this band is leather pants sexy in musical form. Masters of blending modern pop and old school shadow shock. It’s animalistic and winding with crackling electric dance destruction. Erik has a voice that calls to you come hither and has a 10/10 on the shake that ass factor.

https://adorationdestroyed.bandcamp.com/

Orcus Nullify: The doom and shattering gothic rock sound and poetry unafraid to lean into the cheese and imagery of early goth. Thunderous bass driven rock about bog witches and grave dirt. I love the courage and delivery of this South Carolina sensation

Witchhands: Colorado doom metal with raw open wound sounds full of decay and ritual. That place where early goth rock stayed into metal and pain. Spewing forth a filth and blood soaked pageantry with blistering guitars mashed with organs and echos.

Redwing Blackbird: Another Colorado band with blistering speed and The Damned edge punk feel mixed with true goth sensibility. This album picked me up when i am feeling low…and then sends me low again. Great production and electric tempo.

https://redwingblackbird1.bandcamp.com/album/too-klaus-for-comfort

Amaranth: Ken, do you have the strength of character to not engage in shameless self promotion and include yourself with this wave of goth bands? Fuck No! I feel good about the music we have made coming back. It veers from old school to proggoth/ to industrial but fuck it, it’s good. Give it a listen 🙂

https://theamaranth.bandcamp.com/album/spreading-the-charred-remains-of-hope

I also wanted to call out a few bands that rose from the grave to join the modern scene but have been making music all along 🙂

Caroline Blind: The stunning voice from Sunshine Blind has returned to cut an amazing solo album. Bringing in a who’s who from third wave goth to accompany her on this soulful and rich goth endeavor with a more organic feel. Her voice grabs hold of the heart strings and rides your into the ground. Breathtaking music contributions from Rich W. (The Wake), David Wolfenden (Red Lorry Yellow Lorry), Dave (The Dramedy), Ashe Ruppe (Delphine Coma), George Earth (Switchblade Symphony), Gordon Young (Pretentious Moi, Dream Disciples, Children on Stun), CWHK (Sunshine Blind), William Faith (Bellwether Syndicate, Faith and the Muse) and Geoff Bruce (Sunshine Blind, Faith and the Muse). Everyone who shows up hear really shows the impact of this artist on the scene and how much power this newest release packs.

https://carolineblind.bandcamp.com/album/the-spell-between

The Wake: Speaking of The Wake, they have just unleashed a new album in 2020 and it is game changing outstanding. This record is going to get it’s own review but to not mention the power of this release would be an oversight. Such a sky opening laser of guitar beams interlaced with velvet smooth vocals and a canopy of bass to hold it inside. My breath is taken.

The Cassandra Complex: Rodney Orpheus of London’s Cassandra Complex has been keeping the goth sound alive for years. A tantalizing and sinister painting of sound with the history of human experience brought shining and new with each release. Recently on bandcamp he put out some remasters of those lovely goth anthems back into the light. A true crooner of the poetic experience of early goth music who actually toured with the early progenitors.

https://thecassandracomplex.bandcamp.com/album/wetware-2019-remaster

I didn’t come close to hitting everything, and with facebook now stopping videos, lists like this on our page might be the best bet for a full playlist of new music. So If I missed something you feel meets the requirement of guitar based goth made in the last 4 years. Please add in the comments and I will try and get it included. Much love, Precious Ken.

Before The Internet There Was The Label Compilation.

I am not a baby bat, nor am I the most eldest goth in the crypt. I started discovering myself musically at the end of the 80’s. It was a glorious time to find dark music. However we didn’t have all the tools we have today. The internet was around (I’m not that old) but the BBS/AOL world was not the endless ocean of bands we have at our finger tips today. You really had three main options for discovering your next favorite band. 1) Have a cool older relative/friend. 2) Go to the club and ask annoying questions to the DJ (Hard when you are a teenager) 3) Buy the latest compilation from your favorite label and hope for the best. For me this meant A LOT of Cleopatra samplers.

I started wondering in this world of Spotify and ITunes hitting you with a fire hose of what you need to listen to next, where does the label sampler fit? Most of you that read this page know I recently put out a compilation myself called “Tiny Gods Who Walk Beside Us“. It really gave me an appreciation for both the power and effort it takes to put one together. So I thought I would share some of my favorite new compilations for a new generation of dark music fans.

Blood and Dust – Released on Venus Aeon 5/1/20 goth rock label of TG Mondalf. They do quite a few compilation as they seem to be one of those glorious outfits that really cares about sharing new music with the world above their bottom line. This compilation has a really special concept and drew in some of the hottest names in next wave gothic. I had a discussion with Brandon Pybus (Sonsombre) on our podcast about the close connection between southern outlaw county and Traditional goth. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, had a darkness, a mystery, a danger to their sound and aesthetic which carried into early goth lords like Fields of the Nephilim. Here at the crossroads of those genres where devil deals are stuck this huge assortment of talent pays homage.

1.October Burns Black – Arrowhead 03:50info
2.Sonsombre – Slow Kill (Fields of the Nephilim Cover) ◊ 03:44
3.Black Angel – She (Deluxe Version) 05:24
4.Amautica – Estos Abismos (Silas J. Dirge Mix) ◊ 03:34
5.Raven Said – Shadows On The Ceiling, Shadows On The Floor 04:00
6.Dark Side Cowboys – Signs of Life 12:54
7.Cliff and Ivy – EightStar * 04:14
8.Caligulust – Drifter Δ 03:29
9.The Dust Ryde – Gunslinger 03:32
10.Guillotine Dream – Code 04:13
11.Silas J. Dirge – Ghost Town * 04:12
12.Tidal Baby – The Visitor * 04:56

https://venusaeon.bandcamp.com/album/blood-dust-a-gothic-western

Some Favorite Tracks:

October Burns Black – Ed Shorrock and company have stayed tried and true to purist gothic rock and bring that sizzle and lariat spinning overlapping guitar riffs. Organic snap and haunted vocal lines. This is the opening track for a reason, it grabs you and holds you in awe.

Sonsombre – (Slow Kill) Probably the hottest new name in Gothic Rock on Cleopatra records absolutely unloads on the scorched earth cover of Fields of the Nephilim. This track is so full of reverence for the source material, you can really hear they are true fans. It still manages to burn it’s own trail and have that unmistakable Sonsombre sound.

Raven Said – (Shadows on the Ceiling Shadows on the Floor) This Russian goth duo has a true wild sound. That ever present sense of a starving wolf just outside the view of your fire. I love the menace and venom.

Cliff and Ivy – (Eightstar) Alaska’s favorite goth couple brings the fury to this lawless land. I love the whip snaps and border war ferocity. The distorted guitar gallop at full tilt like a run away stallion.

Rainbow Goth Volume II – So lately compilations often come in the form of charity releases. This one which Amaranth took part in the last two years is put together by Cliff and Ivy for  Identity Inc, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization which provides vital services to LGBTQ+ youth, elders, families and the community in Alaska. A great cause which has always been intricately laced with the goth community. 31 tracks that cover a lot of genre ground and highlights new talent.

https://rainbowgoth.bandcamp.com/album/rainbowgoth-2

1.Sky Lee Vague – Vampire Winter 05:28
2.New Zero God – Hell Bet On Me To Lose 03:34 video
3.Ravens Moreland – Comes The Bite 04:41
4.The Dirty Horror – Twenty Three 05:10
5.Scarlet Fever – Sea of Mercury 04:42 video
6.Amaranth – Deliverance (A Covenant of Thorns Remix) 04:52
7.Burn The Earth – Resurrection 05:37
8.Sombre – Linsay 04:23
9.Count Vaseline – Texas Band 01:26
10.Lisafer’s Screech of Death – Candy Necklace 03:07
11.Swansect – Kaldt Kappell 03:46
12.Fudge Bubble – A Prayer to Fudge Bubble (Confessional Mix) 04:16
13.Frozen Charlottes – Residue 06:22
14.Burn The Earth – Lockdown 02:45
15.Das Funus – My Dark Shadows 04:11
16.Count Vaseline – What’s Your Name, Where Are You From, What Are You On? 01:42
17.Burn The Earth – This Broken Land Will Rise 05:33
18.Full Of Grace – If God Should Ask 04:53
19.Prague Dead Souls – Terminal Souls 04:58
20.Jexx Livzin – Petrified 03:13
21.Fatigue – Heresy 05:18
22.Vanessa Rowan – Voce Di Strega 03:49
23.Jay Draper and the Subterraneans – Land of Anxiety 04:32
24.Ascent – Starlet 03:57 video
25.Planet Glee – Prayer of The Elementals 03:48
26.Rob Byrd – Whisper Lake 05:19
27.The Gay Sportscasters – Cleo’s Gone 02:29
28.TUNNELMENTAL – Falling Up 03:22 video
29.Stardust Heroes – Bloodguilt 06:56
30.Caligulust – Depressor 04:01infobuy track
31.Cliff and Ivy – Velocity Drift 04:35

Some Favorite Tracks:

The Dirty Horror – (23) LA death punk full of gnashed teeth and inky darkness. Danna Marie is a seething powerhouse of intensity and expression. Chunky machine gun guitar riffs firing out in circles.

Sombre(Lindsey) – French ShadowWave with this beautiful melodic duet really breaks up the batcave intensity of the rest of the compilation. Flowing and warm the melting watercolor sound is lovely to the eye, heavy to the heart.

https://thebandsombre.bandcamp.com/album/linsay

Burn The Earth(Lockdown) – This LA/Melbourne team up has two tracks on the compilation. Really cool slushy delayed guitar sounds set the stage for Jeremy Bornstein clear ringing spoken word style melodies. Beautifully crafted songs which flow together in perfect measure to build towers of sound.

Look I hate to do this, but A Covenant of Thorns did an amazing remix of Amaranth‘s Deliverance and you really need to hear it. Scott David Allen absolutely killed it.

Electronic Saviors VI – So when it comes to compilations that give back to charity, this is the gold standard. Jim Semonik of Distortion Productions started this compilation several years ago while battling cancer to raise money and awareness for research. This 68 song Goliath of the biggest names in Goth/Industrial is the final addition of the project and a must have for anyone with an ounce of rivethead in your heart. The artist list is downright staggering. I wouldn’t begin to know how to choose favorite tracks. Other than Steven Archer who assures me always has the best tracks. Honestly I probably need a separate review just for this compilation and it would take me 6 hours to do it justice. In the meantime just trust me, go to the link, pick a random name, and leap into the chasm.

https://metropolisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/electronic-saviors-electronic-music-to-cure-cancer-vol-vi-reflection

Cold Transmission (Spotlight) – Ok I might be jumping the gun here. This release is not available until 6/25/20. However the amount of talent, diversity, and creative freedom that CTM has built into their stable has made them one of the most respected voices in darkwave/post punk/cold wave. They have earned a level of trust from me like those old Cleopatra compilations of the 90’s. When they tell me I need to hear a new band, I need to hear that new band. You need to hear that new band.

https://coldtransmissionmusic.bandcamp.com/merch/spotlight-a-cold-transmission-label-compilation-double-cd?fbclid=IwAR0JSsmZ4_8tj9ZhMKeFUb39f9uDZR_HkvKHop8ouq76S1enBAIkfpPc94Y

CD 1:
1. S Y Z Y G Y X – Kill the Pain
2. ELZ and the CULT – HORRIFIED
3. Kiss of the Whip – Put You In The Past (exclusive)
4. HALLOWS – Subtle
5. Bedless Bones – Split
6. La Mécanique – Dernier Voyage
7. DILK – Pluto
8. iamnoone – Stranger (exclusive)
9. ICY MEN – Полупустые автобусы (Uninhabited Buses)
10. White Mansion – Clear Your Head
11. Iamtheshadow – Off My Hands (exclusive)
12. Clone Culture – You Are The One
13. Control Room – Are We All Alone (exclusive)

CD 2:
1. The Gathering – Trying To Call (Colibri Mix)
2. Palais Ideal – Erase (Original Mix)
3. Mark E Moon – Dancing (With The Lights On) (exclusive)
4. MARY – Frantic
5. The Bluebeard’s Castle – Plunge
6. The Secret French Postcards – Out Of You
7. Vestron Vulture – Hair On Fire
8. Silent Runners – Forgotten
9. Push Button Press – Mire And The Sea
10. Carlo Onda – Kopf oder Zahl
11. ROSI – Tanzen
12. Monographic – Addicted
13. Paradise Cove – Lost
14. Reconverb – Hem 

Who are the compilations you are currently trusting to bring you that next band you are in love with that you didn’t know about yet? Comment below