In 2019 at the beginning of my goth renaissance UK producer Pete Burns released the album “Damage” in response to the trauma he was experiencing over the passing of his mother. He wrote the lyrics and music to each song while bringing in a different up and coming vocalist for every track. The result was a magical instant classic which became my top albums of the year for this review page. Damage was so far ahead of the game in what would become the new standard for both collaborative possibilities as well as a defining new tone in goth/post punk.
All songs written by Pete Burns except
The Necklace – words by Johan Lange, music by Pete Burns
Backing Vocals by Lynsey Burns
Concept and Artwork by Pete Burns
Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Synths and Programming by Pete Burns
Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Pete Burns at The Shelter
Fast forward to 2021 when Pete collaborated with one of the great guitar wizard of the modern Post Punk era Karl Morten Dahl of Antipole for “A Haunted Place“. A textural sonic painting where Pete took the helm of his own vocal duties. A flash negative exposed shadow dance. A beautiful departure with a focus on tone and abstraction.
Welcome to present day. Kill Shelter releases their third album Asylum, and the world has started to catch on to the soft-spoken genius setting the standard for this new wave. Featuring a slew of the biggest names of the scene: Stephan Netschio ( Beborn Beton) , Valentina Veil (VV & the Void), Karl Morten Dahl (Antipole) , Emanuel Åström (Agent Side Grinder) Alessandro Belluccio (Ash Code), William Faith (The Bellwether Syndicate), Ronny Moorings (Clan of Xymox). An impressive list of talent and experience which speaks to the respect Pete has catered as a producer and song writer. This album tackles an even darker theme of trauma and the most shocking pain of the human experience. Casting a light through a wide range of vocal prisms. The completion of a journey started just after Damage in 2019 and meticulously refined over four years.
One of the powerful aspects of Damage was how it used the vehicle of a record to expose new listeners to collaborators with projects that all demand attention. I found several new bands that helped bridge my way into the modern Darkscene. Previous to creating Damage, Pete partnered on a blog with Christian Schaefer called (Rule of Three) to discover cutting edge bands and share them with the world. I am going to explore some of these standout tracks and the singers with the compilation feel this album has.
In this Place: Featuring Beborn Beton – Singer Stephan Netschio of the German darksynth band has a voice that coasts the perfect line between grit and ice. Unnerving tension meets guitar percussion that staggers and ripples. I love the way it builds and expands without increasing in volume or speed. A masterclass in emotional impact with subtle elements.
Queen of Hearts (Feat: Valentina Veil) – Domestic violence is a difficult topic to address. Clashing fronts of synth and percussion is given gravitas by Valentina‘s overlapping vocal performance. A disassociated wispy dream with retro energy of Projekt Records. The entwined guitar lines feel like two rippling ropes shaken in alternate succession by someone working out. The spoken word section delivered in another tone solidify the duality of concept. Valentina was meant to be on Damage, it is so fitting she finally makes an appearance on a Kill Shelter album.
Buried Deep (Feat: Antipole) – This track could have been on “First and Last and Always” with it’s bottom of the well bass resonance and shadow ripple guitar leads. In that vein Pete summons a cyborg Eldrich delivery both haunting and frozen as it faces a heavy weight too much to bare.
The Necklace (Feat: Agent Side Grinder) – Swedish synthrock darlings with dance club scintillation and unique vocal tone/cadence that I could always pick out of the lineup. ASG vocals always feel like chorus vocals, but I have no reason to confirm. The same spotlight production that sounds on another level. This track has a switchblade danger to it’s tone that stands the hairs on my arm up.
Feed The Fire (Feat: Ash Code) – The shooting star Italian Darkwave band that has become a scene force in record time preparing is for a tour of Central and South America collaborated on this sleazy shadow disco track. Explosive rising synth spell strikes and particle accelerator guitars. The vocals capture the effortless cool dynamic Ash Code are famous for. Another heart wrenching concept done with razor sharp execution.
Cover Me (Feat: The Bellwether Syndicate) – If you were to ask me who gives off the most live rockstar energy in the modern darkscene, the answer is William Faith. This is another true club jam that will send folks charging to the floor. William‘s vocals are sheer romantic goth perfection. The lyrics are a darker poetry which helps form the complexity of meaning. William is a legend and Pete gave him an Aston Martin as a vehicle to drive to the front of the club and shine.
All Of This (Feat: Clan of Xymox) – To say Ronny Morning was a definitive voice in the scene is a vast understatement. One of the inventers of darksynth post punk. This jam is a charging quartet of apocalyptic horses. A culmination of dark tides eroding an unforgiving shore. The progressive time changes and subtitle phrasing are a work of genius and emotional impact that hits you when you least expect it.
Overall: Kill Shelter has done it again. Creating a personal emotional journey through post-traumatic stress with expert production and collaborative vocal performances that shine a light on some of the top singers in the scene. I can’t wait to release and rare upcoming interview on the Sounds and Shadows youtube page. We dig deeply into the process and feelings of one of the most important artists the modern era. When we speak to future musicians who are in the know about what influenced them in our time. Kill Shelter will be the Joy Division like name that trend setters were appreciating in the present.