BARA HARI Celebrates The ‘Lesser Gods’ On Her Feverish and Fresh First LP

Once upon a time, an elder goth told me “goths are corpses, and corpses don’t evolve.” There’s a lot to unpack with a sentence like that, but generally speaking, the idea that one cannot evolve, improve, or become better is a damaging one. What is old can be new again, if given the right opportunity to grow. With the uptick of the independent scene thanks to platforms like Bandcamp and sites like these, there are some who have decided to go about things with that old time tradition, albeit through the modern lens of production. 

To nail down the sound of the self-professed dark pop maiden BARA HARI is to take up a fool’s errand. One moment could bring something post-punk, while the next could go into dark electro-laden pop. After a few years and a handful of singles, we now have Lesser Gods, the singer’s first full-length, and it is equal parts celebration and revelation, steeped in darkness and uncomfortable subject matter behind ten varying dark alternative soundscapes.

The tone set by the opener “Siren Song” is haunting, an invitation into darkness that lives up to its name. Unease gives way to a post-punk groove on “Tempest,” with a bass line that harkens back to the old days of gothic rock and the first instance of Corey Hirsch’s lively drumming helping to solidify the rock foundation upon which this song is built. Sam Franco, the voice behind BARA HARI, has a voice reminiscent of Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia, with the harmonies to boot. The following track “Immoral Tales” further serves the comparison to the celebrated Italian alt-metallers, with the guitar work by Ian Flux getting a moment in the sun. “Violence Rising” builds up from its sampled vocalization and electronics to a Nineties-flavored goth- and alt-rock number, something akin to Garbage in their heyday. It’s a throwback with modern polish, and it makes for a standout single.

This ritualistic, opulent video for “Violence Rising” saw Sam Franco design the costumes herself, as well as edit and direct.

“Looking for Oblivion” takes things in a more electronic direction, with Franco’s vocal harmonies shining on this electropop tune. It’s accessible and blissfully uncomplicated, and would make for a great call to the dance floor. The next track, the cinematic and foreboding “House of the Devil” needs to feature in a film or television series as soon as humanly possible. It has that vibe of a main title theme, or perhaps it would be more suited for a montage full of secrets being uncovered. Heavy, swaying, and ominous, and yet still so easy to get into and find oneself humming along to the vocal melody, this song is another notable one. The debate over “Agoraphobic” being a song of the times is remotely debateable, but the trip hop influence and staccato guitar riffing capture the crippling anxiety disorder for which the track is named.

Vicente Cordero directed this colorful and macabre music video for “House of the Devil.”

“Delusions of Grandeur” brings the proceedings fully back to that rocking core with another guitar-driven track supplemented by lush synths and more of those sweet vocal harmonies. Again, Corey Hirsch’s drumming has a moment here, bringing the energy back up after the last couple of tracks brought the BPM down ever so slightly. The penultimate “Easy Target” plays around in Nineties and early Noughties alt-rock, with clean guitar lines floating over synths of many flavors and flourishes. We end on “Immortal,” another goth-rock banger with a prominent bass line and everything else that brought this record to the dance in the first place. 

BARA HARI doesn’t reinvent the goth pop wheel with Lesser Gods, but rather celebrates it and gives it a facelift. When the goal is a vibrant sound while maintaining that darker vibe, Franco and Co. can do that. If the aim is to evoke the sounds and the names of those who came before, they can accomplish that as well. For a first full-length, Lesser Gods strikes a balance between honoring the old blood while establishing themselves as the new blood, and in a scene as booming and saturated as the dark pop realm, a confident and capable voice like Franco’s is welcome.

Lesser Gods is available now via Re:Mission Entertainment.

Sounds and Shadows April + May Darkscene Singles Chart

We have returned to the Sounds and Shadows Darkscene singles chart. This month I have combined April and May but we have had the most votes cast to date. 2081 votes from our group of Bands, Djs, Reviewers, Promotors, and Superfans. These were all singles released in April/May of 2023 in the loose “Darkscene” genre. If you have a single out in June or know someone who does please add it to the Sounds and Shadows Facebook group poll, or become a Patron Subscriber. All the songs here are bangers, so please give a listen, support underground music, and tell us about your favorites.

  1. Ground NeroStars
  2. LeathersFascination
  3. The Bellwether SyndicateNoir Thing
  4. HealthHateful
  5. BellheadBad Taste
  6. Bara HariAgoraphobic
  7. VaselyneUnder Your Skin
  8. Self Titled AlbumHaunted Chuck E Cheese
  9. Danny Blu + Moris Blak – Cover of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation
  10. CARV.R feat (Mari Kattman) – Deflect
  11. Ego Likeness – Cover of Madonna “Live To Tell
  1. Ground NeroStars – April 2023 release out of Belgium from Mark Sayles (Mark E Moon) , Peter Philtjens, and Peter Smeets. The first thing I notice, glorious organic drum beats which make this feel more old school than any guitar riff could. Mark’s vocals growl like a lean wolf stalking under a full moon. The chorus opens with a captivating hook worthy of the Mission. It’s a modern day anthem plucked straight from the 80s.

Stars | Ground Nero (

2) LeathersFascination – Another April release from Vancouver Canada synthstarlight project of Actors member Shannon Hemmett. Every single released gets more sparkling and elegant. Shannon’s voice burns braver. I love the jet set Duran Duran 80’s opulence in every molecule of this sound.

3) The Bellwether SyndicateNoir Thing – I waited so long for this album and single from the Chicago legends. They just returned from a tour and trip to Germany. This whole record is produced within an inch of it’s life. This single is a furious rampage let off the leash. William Faith has a lip curl snarl in his voice. Blistering Sigue Sigue Sputnik time changes and Jesus and Mary Chain rockabilly bassline. If you have never witnessed this live you desperately need to.

Noir Thing | The Bellwether Syndicate (

4) HEALTHHateful – LA Electronica demolition experts with an explosive new single. This intro absolutely sizzles. Listening to it makes me want to plan a jewel heist. It crackles with danger, it drips with sensuality, it swirls with deception. There is a reason EVERYONE in modern electronica is raving about this trio.


5) BellheadBad Taste – Chicago bass duo keeps rolling out tension narratives of undefinable indie darkness that continue to be unnerving, captivating, and fresh. The vocals between Karen and Ivan are a dialog between thunderous baselines and slashing guitars. This is a dark star rising before our eyes.

Bad Taste | BELLHEAD (

6) Bara Hari Agoraphobic – LA based theatrical dark pop with this shock whip April single. I just had an interview with Sam about this single and video. She really captured the national emotion during the pandemic of the walls closing in. Powerful delivery on a slinky dance beat and sword strike guitar riffs.

Agoraphobic | BARA HARI (

7) VaselyneUnder Your Skin – The Dutch Duo of Yvette Winkler and Frank Weyzig on COP International return to our chart once again. Beautiful, delicate, haunting that organic connection of plucked acoustic strings against Yvette’s mournful plead. Around 2:40 the sky opens up with a sky fire guitar solo and vocal harmony. Raw emotion that gets under your skin.

Under Your Skin | Vaselyne (

8) Self Titled AlbumHaunted Chuck E Cheese – Once again Utah based shadowdelic band of Rob Fkin Varney,
Josh Hollar, and Tim Hall grace our chart. It’s always difficult to put words to the slushy decay and electronic assault. This track has a wonderful 90s alt rock hook that really captures the nostalgia of anyone who was abandoned in the animatronic capitalistic horror show that is Chuck E Cheese.

Haunted Chuck-E-Cheese | Self Titled Album (

9) Danny Blu + Moris Blak – Cover of Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson – I just saw this amazing tour a few weeks ago and the chemistry between these two top tier artists is a blessing for us all. I have long held that the Rhythm nation album was always an industrial pop record which defined the genre before we had a word for it. I love how this cover brings the best of both artists. Danny’s cadence is sharp and throws sparks with every steel foot stomp. The backing music is crackling precision and mysterious twists you can never quite predict. If you still have a chance to see this tour it was one of the most exciting things I have seen live in a long while.

Rhythm Nation | Danny Blu, MORIS BLAK | SHVDOW Records (

10) CARV.R Feat Mari KattmanDeflect – East coast team up of Cristian Carver and Mari Kattman two veteran performer/producers which united to unleash this jam. New England Poltergiest Disco at it’s finest. The percussion is such a cascading tight spiral which Mari’s voice dances on like a ballerina. I love everything about this pairing and hope there is more to come.

Deflect feat. Mari Kattman | CARV.R (

Chaos Magicks – Ritualistic Darkwave and More…

Ever since I heard the dark classic “These Remains” by the Thrill Kill Kult, I have been hooked on that sinister sound. It’s not quite dance music, but it’s not “not” dance music is it? It always made me feel like I was a character in a movie that snuck their way into the VIP room at the club only to find they stumbled into some modern pagan ritual, ala the masked ball from Eyes Wide Shut, but with the classical music soundtrack replaced by something akin to Skinny Puppy fronted by Chelsea Wolfe.

Take a ride with me and let’s listen to some of the artists that I think are exploring some of  these same sonic pathways today…

Cult of Alia – The Only Angel – This new track from Cult of Alia, the side project of David Wright from Creux Lies, gives me the feeling of a being in a 80’s vampire flick where the blood junkie in question stalks his prey from across the crowded dance floor. They lock eyes and the hunt begins. Great synth sounds and the pulsing beat gets your butt moving… Definitely looking forward to more from this project!

Bara Hari – Weapon Samantha Franco hits us with Weapon! Inspired by her experiences with the exploitative men in the music industry, she delivers an all too important (and honestly all too familiar) reminder that we need to get our shit straight and be fucking decent human beings to each other. But let’s be clear… This track is a serious jam. I love the video concept and I can totally see her kicking ass like the Bride in Kill Bill.

Owl Theory – Heaven in Reverse – This E.P. of dark, seductive, electronic pop came about from Jarod Gibson of Odonis Odonis doing a gothic / darkwave take on Harry Styles song ‘WOMAN‘. That track anchors a collection of dark pop that flows from the ambient soundtrack stylings of the title track, to the trip hop vibes of the track “Spin”. I love this record… once I start playing it I get lost in the sound and before i know it, it’s over and I gotta spin it again!

SØLVE – SVNT LACRIMÆ RERVM – Atmospheric synths paired with punishing industrial beats. This dark and powerful track is steeped in cinematic ritualism… Every time I listen to this song, it lingers in the corners of my mind and teases me with its aftershocks, making me want more.

Sidewalks & Skeletons – ETERNAL REST This track, featuring frequent collaborator Cash for Gold, throws shades of Crystal Castles for me, but they pair it up with some thick urban beats and blazes a dark path of its own. I love how they can take an airy synth typically found in traditional dance music and make it heavy enough to smother you.

I could go on and on, but I have to leave some room for the rest of the Sounds and Shadows gang to work in.

Hit this playlist at  to hear these tracks and more!