Al1ce with Bellhead and I.X.XI, June 27, 2022, The Crubicle, Madison

by Jenny Wilson

I.X.XI

This was an incredible night at the Crucible. It’s the first time I’ve been tasked (I say task, but it was a joy) with doing short interviews with the artists before their performances. Everyone was lovely and so forthcoming with their answers. And the shows were stellar. So first off, I want to give a big thank you
to all the artists for their time.

The evening’s performances started off with Madison, Wisconsin’s I.X.XI, (who performs anonymously). I.X.XI started his project in 2012, shortly after his sister’s passing. He said that it is a project he initially thought would never see the light of day. But he wanted to finish the album, and being able to perform it would “help close a chapter he’d been leaving open for 10 years.” 

When asked about the themes and style we’d hear, I.X.XI. explains: 

“It’s about processing loss, survivor’s guilt, and other themes in time… the cyclical nature of life and death, but not in a reincarnation sense… I’m inspired by sci fi, samples of Battlestar Galactica and Westworld show up… and a feeling of dehumanization. The upcoming album starts with epic strings and pianos and then feels like it’s breaking down into something very mechanical, kind of like being an automaton is the only way you can get up in the morning. It was my grief journey, and then as it continues, you build your way back, to find creativity, beauty, and meaning in things again.”

Clad in a hooded cloak and mask, I.X.XI. began his set with the chilling, slowly driving beat of Eremite. Sporting two mics for differently distorted vocals, he ends the song with painful murmurs. He makes a point of immediately launching into each song without gaps. As he says, “I like having people feel uneasy. Everything brick walls… as soon as you think you know what you’re feeling, you’re feeling something else.” The next song, Gone, is painfully beautiful. Darkly cinematic waves ripple throughout, from this song to the next. As he moves through the song, Deep, the vocals become more intelligible, and incredibly moving. By the time we reach Breathing, we’ve moved into a cinematic dance song, with the devastating, repeated line, “Is it enough to say that I’m breathing?” This mantra, along with other moments in the I.X.XI set, brought me to tears. 

Being a longtime member of Sensuous Enemy and now also a member of Lorelei Dreaming, I.X.XI is relishing the opportunity to connect the music of I.X.XI directly to his own lyrics. As he says, on his other projects, he’s used to the disconnect between the music he writes and the lyrics written to them. Now he is able to say 100% of what he’s trying to say. He’s saying a lot, and it’s amazing to witness such deeply personal and touching moments in one man’s journey through grief. His set was a beautiful and thought-provoking experience.

Set list: Eremite, Gone, Fractal, Deep Guilt, Breathing, Don’t

I.X.XI’s first album is out soon, with mixing and production by Brant Showers of Bestial Mouths and Sølve.

https://ixxi.bandcamp.com/releases

Bellhead

Bellhead’s website tagline reads: Post-punk male-female duo band. Two basses and a drum machine. No Guitar, No BS. MADE IN CHICAGO. This description fits them to a T, but there is so much more to discover with this band. Bellhead has a sound that bursts from the stage with incredible energy, all led by a down and dirty grunginess that is both refreshing and grounding. Add to all this a lyrical and vocal playful seriousness and you’ve got something very special indeed.

Having both been in the scene and playing in multiple other bands for years (even in the same band at different times), Karen Righeimer-Schock and Ivan Russia decided to start Bellhead three years ago after getting drunk over some chicken shawarma during a snowstorm.

Their doubling of the bass works beautifully as the core of their sound. As Karen explains, she takes care of the low end, while Ivan takes care of frills and chords, sometimes acting like a guitar or synth (though Ivan took issue with such a slanderous notion). She continues by saying that while she handles the lead component, Ivan handles the rhythm. These factors were on full display during their incredible set. 

Karen and Ivan of Bellhead

Early in, they ripped into Mercy, a sexy throbber anchored by heavy riffs. Karen says that they encourage people to bring their own ideas to the songs, and this one shows off their more serious lyrical side.

Hold back my dreams/I don’t want to wake up/Trade in tomorrow for yesterday/Ain’t got a prayer left to say

These hit you later, as you absorb the fact that the words are just as intense as the gorgeous and grinding music.

There are moments of levity and fun as they engage in brief and playful bass interactions onstage. Their general playfulness with lyrics comes into full view on their hit, Unicorn Bones, which, to my mind, is an instant classic (and a lot of press agrees). A menacing romp, it is an incredibly danceable song while boasting lyrics that keep you wondering what is happening long after the song is done.

Though Ivan says he tries not to think about it too much while writing them, their lyrics are clever and very different. Throughout the song, they play with things or ideas that together mean nothing, as the title itself shows so well. 

Bring me the necromancer, the alchemist, the topless dancer/with the bones of a unicorn, you’ll never be alone/… on deaf emotions hands resist me/she feels the spirit, yet the spirit doesn’t move me/like good intentions with broken glass/she turned from pale to blue as death came so fast…”

Their set is thrilling—with a sound so comforting to any lover of 90s alternative—yet so totally unique and perfect for this era. As Ivan explains, “We come from rock and roll, the programming element comes last.” Bellhead are an exciting mix of rock and roll and post-punk at its very best.

Setlist: Mercy, Fire Control, Bad Taste, Frankenstein, Sidewinder, Snuff Film 1974, Into the Deep, Runaway, Apathy, Nothing as it Seems, Unicorn Bones

https://bellhead.bandcamp.com

AL1ce

Seeing L.A.’s Al1ce live is a study in joy. Not just a band, but also a self-described tribe, Al1ce brings together six incredible musicians to create a world all their own. On this tour, they’re featuring songs from their upcoming two-part album, As Above (due out 10/22, with As Below following after). 

From the moment they began with End of Times, they exuded a combination of gratitude and elegance that I’ve never seen in a band. You also immediately notice their striking visual aesthetic, all draped in stylish versions of apocalyptic garb, faces painted in signature battle paint, all created by band member Sasha Travis. As she explains, they want to present not just as a musical but a visual unit as well.

Singers Tash Cox and Sasha Travis weave soft and beautiful vocals throughout the songs, sharing leads and harmonizing. With the incredibly talented Gordon Bash on bass, keys, and vocals, Steve Kefalas on drums and percussion, Scott Landes on guitar, and Carl Garcia on keys, the band creates an aural and visual experience that incorporates all the dark and light that post-punk can offer. 

Tash Cox

A band in the traditional sense first and foremost, they began with Tash and Gordon at the Musicians’ Institute in Los Angeles, and have morphed and grown in the years since then. Having been unable to perform during lockdowns, they switched to regular streaming of live performances and used the opportunity to “fill out the songs” as Scott explains. And full, and lush, they are. This is on display most strikingly in Breathe. A darkly seductive and soothing song, Tash, Sasha, and Gordon add Middle Eastern improvisation to their vocals and the luxuriant melodies and throbbing beat. The song builds toward a joyful celebration of unconditional love. 

And the celebration continued, with Sasha at one point jumping from the stage to ask the audience to join in a communal bashing of a cymbal, all to a throbbing industrial beat. It was a cathartic and extremely fun moment.

But Al1ce are not all dreamy and joyful… They can pivot to righteous anger on their cover of Björk’s 
Army of Me, followed later by the exciting For Dead. Led by Tash’s soft berating of an antagonist, the chorus explodes with rage and Scott’s powerful guitar riffs. The song shows off everything that Al1ce
is capable of.

Sasha Travis and Tash Cox

Ending the set with the hopeful Love is Forever, the band has shown why they’ve got a thriving and loyal following among their Mad Hatter Army. This band loves what it’s doing, and really understands how to build a world and leave a lasting impression on an audience. Most importantly, they understand how precious live performance opportunities are. 

Gordon Bash

As Tash explains while thinking on the lockdowns bands have had to endure, “I’m continually grateful, how amazing it is to play live… it’s something we’ll never take for granted.” In a musical scene that favors regular displays of angst and cynicism, Al1ce are a charming breath of fresh air. This photo sums up their general vibe quite well. 

The members of Al1ce stand outside The Crucible.

https://ilikealice.bandcamp.com/

PlayPlay

Sounds and Shadows June 2022 Darkscene Singles Chart

It is once again time to reveal the winners of our monthly darkscene singles chart chosen by the Sounds and Shadows collective. Each month we take submissions for the top single releases in Goth/Industrial/Darkwave/Coldwave/Shoegaze/EDM whatever. Then votes our cast by the Artists, Djs, Fans, promotors, reviewers in our group. This month of course since my band Amaranth had a single in the chart, I am way behind. This chart seems to always elevate the cutting edge in what is happening in our scene. Below you will find the chart and a link to all the bands that won in June. If you have a release in July, make sure to post it in our Facebook group.

  1. Dead CoolSend Me An Angel (Real Life Cover)
  2. Blood DanceWicked King
  3. The AmaranthGothtimist
  4. Kill Shelter (Feat: Agent Side Grinder) The Necklace
  5. VaselyneHere To Begin
  6. Silver WalksAlbatross
  7. BellheadNo Dead Horses
  8. La MuertaHeadhunter
  9. SpankthenunI Self Me
  10. Sea LungsTruffle Pig

DEAD COOLSend Me An Angel – From Wilmington, North Carolina the darkwave duo of Johnny and Angela Yeagher made this broken glass glittering on concrete version of the 1989 Real Life dance classic. A cool take on the original with much more menace to change the feeling. The band continues to be a fan favorite with our listeners and a number 1 single win speaks to their bright future.

▶︎ Send Me An Angel | DEAD COOL (bandcamp.com)

Blood DanceWicked King – Having the Mexico City Electro Goth make #2 on our chart is a big deal to me. Casting a light on the incredible Latin darkscene movement has been a major goal of mine this year. Seeing our members embrace this sinister blend of traditional goth and cold wave atmosphere fills my heart with delight. Only a few singles out for the band so far and already they are turning heads in the scene.

Wicked King | Blood Dance (bandcamp.com)

The AmaranthGothtimist – Now it is always awkward tooting your own horn. This is the first time our band Amaranth from Kalamazoo MI has had a song in the chart. This one is really special for me. It is the idea behind Sounds and Shadows in sonic form. Bringing together an enormous crew of guest musicians, artists, producers, and friends. To create a song which speaks to the importance of our friends in the scene listing us up when times are darkest.

Jason Corbett (Actors) , Jean-Marc Lederman (The The; Gene Loves Jezebel; Fad Gadget; The Weathermen; Rohn-Lederman), Dan Milligan (The Joy Thieves; The Burying Kind), Kimberly Kornmeier (Bow Ever Down), Katy May (Katy Needs A Life), Saphira Vee, Brian Graupner (gothsicles; Gasoline Invertebrate) , Ryan Flint (WitchHands), Matt McIntosh (A Cloud of Ravens). Cover Art: Albie Mason (Scary Black) Mastering : Pete Burn (Kill Shelter)

Gothtimist | The Amaranth (bandcamp.com)

Kill Shelter (Feat: Agent Side Grinder) – The Necklace – Speaking of Pete Burn the incredible Scotsman who made the #1 album of 2019 “Damage” has returned to that core concept with the latest single. Much of Pete’s work features guest vocalists. This first single off the upcoming 7/15/22 album Asylum has world renown Swedish Post Punk band Agent Side Grinder. Crashing and slashing with emotion and runaway train basslines. The melody here is infectious and twists suddenly through old city streets. To say I am waiting for this album with baited breath is an understatement. We have an upcoming interview with Pete. If Kill Shelter isn’t firmly on your radar they need to me.

▶︎ Asylum [US Version] | Kill Shelter (bandcamp.com)

VaselyneHere To Begin – From Amsterdam, Netherlands this is the second month in a row the COP International band has had a single high in the charts. Yvette Winkler and Frank Weyzig have another soulful organic that harkens to early Projekt record sounds. Crashing waves of sound and salt battering the rocks in an endless struggle that feels epic in scope. I feel like Frank takes all the right turns here. Including a blistering solo around 3 minutes. Yvette gets to show her vocal range and soul on this track. I see a widow on the cliffside tearing at her hair in anguish, waiting for a ship she knows is never making it back to shore.

Here To Begin | Vaselyne (bandcamp.com)

silver walksAlbatross – New resident of New York Daniel McCullough has assembled an Avengers team of electronic talent to release this long awaited album. This month’s single is another textural story delicately crafted. This psychedelic electro goth just stands out fresh against the backdrop. I love the politically charged themes beneath the historical feel. This record is an early contender for top albums of the year.

Silver Walks is Dan Mccullough with Tim Heireth, Ian Staer, Eva X, Stella Soleil, Marc Heal, James Francis, John Jacobus, Ryan Mast, Coral Scere and you

albatross | silver walks (bandcamp.com)

Bellhead – No Dead Horses – Special release from Chicago double bass duo Bellhead on Give/Take records. I really like the theatric dark indie style here. Karen and Ivan always know how to find a new swing to their core concept. This single has some Nick Cave meets Jesus and Mary Chain vibes set in the south-west desert wasteland. They have a brilliant chemistry of call and answer vocals that reminds me why i fell in love with the Pixies.

No Dead Horses | Bellhead | GIVE/TAKE (bandcamp.com)

LA MUERTEHeadhunter – This Belgian band has been a part of the scene a long time. In June they released a new album on COP International which features this cover of the Front 242 classic. This is a great call in of legendary industrial classic to create a fire wizard space rock version of the chant. La Muerte is smashing walls to get back into your life or opening a door to find an underground classic for the first time.

Headhunter | LA MUERTE (bandcamp.com)

spankthenunI Self Me – Incandescent post apocalypse burner from Texas Industrial guru Eric Hanes. Badass sledgehammer smacks on the Depeche Mode dance club. I love the filthy edge that Eric soaks every delicious pop hook in. An innovator and hat aficionado you need to be aware of.

I SELF ME (single) | spankthenun (bandcamp.com)

Sea LungsTruffle Pig – An amazing new Australian super band with another smash single. This is a criminally underrated band with a unique throwback shadowy madness that darts between ahead of it’s time and raw with nostalgia. Ant Bannister does a masterful job of mixing to create a strange stomping Syd Barret fighting The Damned in an Ed Wood film sound. Is that description as strange as it feels. Good, unique sounds should feel that way. Jarrad Robertson and Andi Lennon are a song writing force that needs attention.

Truffle Pig | Sea Lungs (bandcamp.com)

Please take a moment to listen to these amazing artists, and submit your single to Sounds and Shadows July releases.

January 2022 Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Singles Chart

The first singles chart of 2022 is complete. As always these were the singles voted on by Sounds and Shadows group of Dj’s, Reviewers, Artists, and Super fans in the encompassing Darkscene genre. This is a chart that is chosen with no pay for play by your votes on songs that moved you. This month it featured some scene giants, as well as fresh new talent. In February if you have a release to contribute place it on the chart for voting.

  1. Stabbing WestwardGhost
  2. Vulture CultureToxic
  3. Long After MidnightPainkiller (Digital Monster Remix)
  4. BellheadNothing as It Seems (Stabbing Westward Remix)
  5. ESA Laudanum Dance
  6. Cat-Hall/DissonanceSlow Burn
  7. Death Loves Veronica – When I Was Dead Feat: Tim Skold
  8. Dogtablet You and Me (The Burying Kind Remix)
  9. Author & PunisherMaiden Star
  10. Morgue VVitchIn The Garden Of Monsters

Stabbing Westward – Ghost – LA Industrial Rock legends continue to fire out new music on COP International that tantalizes and sets the standard for the combination of electronic aggression and percussive guitar starburst. Chris Hall has an iconic voice that somehow gets stronger with every release. This single exploring that dissonant feeling of distant echo we are all plagued by in these times.

https://stabbingwestward.bandcamp.com/album/ghost

Vulture Culture – Toxic – Florida band I don’t know much about yet that got huge hometown support for this grinding 90’s “Broken” style single from a live recording. It’s filthy and intrigues me for their future.

https://vultcult.bandcamp.com/

Long After MidnightPainkiller (Digital Monster Mix) – I love seeing a band close to me in Grand Rapids Michigan crack this chart. Every single release and collaboration leaves me staggered and impressed with the range and quality of songwriting. This razor edge pop rock industrial bleeds jagged glass clarity and vocal intensity. This band has really been taking the scene by fire, and I can’t wait to hear what is next.

https://longaftermidnight.bandcamp.com/track/painkiller-digital-monster-mix

BELLHEADNothing As It Seems (Stabbing Westward Remix) – Chicago based electronic demolition experts that rock two bass thunder and no apologies are remixed here by the previous mentioned Stabbing Westward. I love the machine gun cadence poetic delivery of the vocals. A unique and explosive sound between stalking and smashing.

https://bellhead.bandcamp.com/track/nothing-as-it-seems-stabbing-westward-remix

ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse)Laudanum Dance – Jamie is a force of nature leading the charge of modern EBM. Every song burns with napalm intelligence and body blow intensity. Just when you think everything has been done before, ESA reminds you that their is new sonic ground to explore and it is filthy as it is mean.

https://esangp.bandcamp.com/album/designer-carnage

Dissonance – Slow Burn – I am in love with this team of Cat and Melodywhore. James seems to know all the best ways to unleash Cat’s boundless vocal intensity and smoky beauty. This song is a burning panther slinking up an active volcano.

https://dissonanceband.bandcamp.com/album/slowburn?fbclid=IwAR2PzSNqKsEzNyhCiEgNt2fqV3fVv0sC4QvbC1EPOq37x9ikornp1eMJ1MM

Death Loves Veronica Feat: Tim Skold – When I Was Dead – The Texas siren from Cold Transmission music has teamed with legend Tim Skold on this stutter beat stomping whisper that is haunting as it is explosive. I really love the sword slash guitar riffs which are not a standard for Veronica. It has a fresh feel on something I already love.

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/track/when-i-was-dead-feat-tim-skold

DogtabletTJY4 (The Burying Kind Remix) – There is so much to love here. Legend Martin King (Test Dept) and Jared Louche (Chemlab) blending a trance driven beauty. Then remixed by Scott David and Dan Milligan of (The Burying Kind). It’s a gorgeous fantastical garden of wonder sprawling into mystery. You need this now.

https://dogtablet.bandcamp.com/track/you-me-the-burying-kind-dream-mix

Author & PunisherMaiden Star – San Diego sky splitting sonic destroyers A & P make the chart for a second month in a row with their single Maiden Star off of “Kruller“. This song is amazing and needs to be played on the largest sound system you can gain access to post haste.

https://authorandpunisher.bandcamp.com/track/maiden-star

Morgue VVitchMidnight Sun of Summer (Slighter remix) – Kansas dark trance producer Tara has teamed with California electro sculptor Colin of (Slighter) to create this dark crystal winding path of beauty and arm weaving dance magic.

https://morguevvitch.bandcamp.com/track/midnight-sun-of-summer-slighter-remix

February single chart starts on the 10th. What new releases are you excited for?

Who is the Next Wave of Industrial/EDM Making My Gears Turn and Glitch

In my youth I didn’t really have a punk rock phase. My angry phase was Industrial. Ministry, NIN, Skinny Puppy, Test Dept, KMFDM, Die Warsaw, Lord of Acid, Neubauten, Front Line Assembly, Front 242, Leatherstrip, Chemlab, were the fiery steam fire oily sounds that spoke to my soul. As time went on my anger and napalm softened and I moved away from this soul. In the past few years I have found myself rediscovering and broader and more intricate hard electronic sound. Here are some of the echoing booms filling my warehouse.

SpankTheNun: The Texas industrial sensation from Eric Hanes is bringing Industrial back to it’s early core. It’s catchy and dancy, with steel jaws of metal drive guitars and distorted growl. I love the clarity achieved through modern tech that takes the early feel and refines it into the modern expectation of laser focus. The new album out “The Bunker Tapes volume 1” is a perfect homage to the past with a fresh hypersonic spin.

https://spankthenun.bandcamp.com/album/the-bunker-tapes-vol-i

Stoneburner: Steven Archer of Ego Likeness started the project of to express a different aspect of his music. This is truly taking the concept of Industrial music into a higher form of evolving art. It’s high concept sci fi with tribal organic drum beats and lyrical poetry that pushes the boundaries of the human experience. The albums are ever evolving and are done with a vision. He also is a master of interactive experience and blending of visual and sonic art. Truly breaking ground for a new concept.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/album/beauty-is-terror

GoFight: It’s hard to think of Jim Marcus as “new” Industrial. Die Warsaw was one of those early bands that taught me the idea of Industrial music could mean something more than macho angry aggression. A beauty and subtlety that made me dance and sing along with glorious pop hooks while maintaining that furious grinding filth. Jim continues to write songs that capture the mind and infuse the body with buzzing chemical energy. A relatable idea with sharp edges and teeth. One of those beautiful ideas that blends accessibility with higher thought. Jim has always been the cutting edge of Chicago Industrial and has not missed a beat. New single out Freestate is another masterpiece of technique and torr ant.

https://gofight.bandcamp.com/

I Ya Toyah: The one woman army from Chicago is a explosion of energy, love, and pain. It’s has a soul that really sets it apart from a lot of the genre. Ania has a voice and song writing style that captivates with it’s power and passion. The songs move with intention and the lyrics have a personal flavor that makes you a part of them. The live stage show is truly something to behold. She is a voice for the future of what electronic music is capable of.

https://iyatoyah.bandcamp.com/album/code-blue-album

The Joy Thieves: Another Chicago band ( A Lot of good Industrial came from Chicago). This one a super band helmed by Dan Milligan has brought amazing talents from several Industrial mainstays to ride that line between hard rock and industrial. I once describes them as Clutch beating the shit our of Stabbing Westward with a baseball bat. It’s furious aggression, blistering guitar work, progressive percussion, and napalm vocals. It’s a compilation of talent to rival bands like Pigface with it’s own organic concept.

https://thejoythieves.bandcamp.com/

Fee Lion: Another Chicago act with more smooth cold blue edges. A powerful and sensual voice with distinctive electronic dance club explosions. Very avant garde and and invasive. A true master class in how to use push pull dynamics to pull in your audience. Only a few releases so far but already setting the stage for a power player in the genre.

https://feelion.bandcamp.com/track/baby

Klack: Madison WI collaboration between Matt Fanale (Caustic) and Eric Oehler (Null Device) have formed up to make EDM for a new generation. It’s clever, conscience, and shoots a bolt of electricity into your spine that shakes that ass. The vocals are the perfect blend of both talents that brings the revolution and makes it fun. It’s an iron gauntlet in a velvet glove. Get Klacked and stay Klacked.

https://klack.bandcamp.com/album/two-minute-warning

Moris Blak: Boston MA, Hard EDM industrial is not here to take you gently into emersion. It is fierce and limb flinging excitement adrenochrome shot into your mind and designed to make you let go of all control. He also does some intense remixes and mind bending live shows. This is not a throwback sound. It is straight alien brain melt.

https://morisblak.bandcamp.com/

ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) – The British master of EDM dance club excitement. When using bass beats like a sonic weapon it is a true challenge to construct ear worm melodies that cut to the forefront. This music is a virus that infiltrates every cell of your being and demands you dance. The newest album “Eat Your Young” also features the amazing Caitlin of the band Corlyx. Immersive filthy grinding dance beats that ride you hard and put you away wet.

https://esangp.bandcamp.com/album/eat-their-young-the-scorn-ep

Curse Mackey: – This is a scene veteran that has been a key member of one of the biggest Industrial bands Pigface. He has recently released his first solo album “Instant Exorcism“. Aside from the amazing vocals and pedigree of this record, I think what really moves me are the thought and poetry of the lyrics. This is truly and out of the box thinking persons Industrial sound. A must have.

https://cursemackeyngp.bandcamp.com/album/instant-exorcism

Silverwalks: Criminally underrated sci-fi electronic backdrop creator from Philly. This new single is “Lantern” is an absolute burner. One of those songs I can’t hit play enough times on. It has a true Gary Numan quality in it’s texture and flow. I loved it so much I had to have an Amaranth remix done. Transport yourself to an alternate sonic reality with this band.

https://silverwalk.bandcamp.com/

Melodywhore: This glorious electronic music wizard has forged really taken the old Industrial concept of collaboration. Blending a softer more passionate dance grime energy. Using a variety of musicians and vocalists. This latest track for BLM charities is beautiful and powerful. Giving voice to rage using an intelligent whisper.

https://melodywhore.bandcamp.com/

DEAD AGENT

Dead Agent is the solo project of Ed Finkler, also known as Funkatron.

Musically it leans more towards the EBM side of the spectrum but manages to do so without feeling like something we`ve heard a thousand times before during the last X amount of years.

While its mainly instrumental there`s heavy use of samples and other sound design techniques to create the illusion of vocals as can be heard on the track “Frentik“.

Ed was once part of the band Cult Of Jester where we saw him in the role of a vocalist fronting an industrial rock band so to see him return to music in such a different yet at the same time familiar manner is definitely interesting. Dead Agent is a project to keep your eyes on going forwards.

DECENT NEWS

From Connecticut we have Decent News who we have featured on the site before in various scenarios. They deliver a refreshing take on the blending on industrial and rock/metal. The guitar work especially stands out from the crowd as one can pick up on some clear early thrash metal influences at times as opposed to what has seemingly become the standard industrial guitar consisting of simply palm muting and tabs that look something like this: 0-000-00-0.

Having carved out their own sound they manage to evolve and progress with each release within the confines of their world which is quite an underappreciated talent.

VANITY KILLS

From the UK comes Vanity Kills delivering some dirty, gritty rock n roll with filthy, dripping electronics sewn in like a patch on a vest.

They wear their influences on their sleeve and take it all the way whether that be sonically or visually, yet also manage to do things their own way and leave an open wound on the otherwise often too mechanical world of industrial rock.

NOTHING VALENTINE

While Darrin Lewis may have spent years as vocalist for the metal/deathcore band Beside The Silence he’s now working under the moniker Nothing Valentine creating what I‘m tempted to call a blend of pop and industrial but still retaining the heavy element of earlier projects.

Debuting with the song #GothGirl almost a year ago, he later followed up with the politically charged track “Civil Unrest” which showed a thematically and in many ways musically heavier side to NV which might not have been according to the audiences expectations after hearing the more light hearted first single but this is exactly why he`s on the list. Expect the unexpected whether it be in terms of music or the overarching themes.

BLAKMOTH

Of course we have to include Blakmoth as we just did an interview with him.

Blakmoth creates what he refers to as “Doombient” consisting of heavy rhythmic drum work and droning ambient soundscapes all created with modular synths.

Having recently signed with Errorgrid Records and with a new release on the way despite having released “Deathshead” only a couple weeks ago Blakmoth is highly productive and is always seeking to push the envelope and challenge the audiences ideas.

I hope that with time well see more modular based artists pop up and break out of lighthearted bleeps and bloops for just a moment to explore the dark side of synthesis that Blakmoths music beckons us towards.

ECHO BEDS

From Denver, Colorado comes the duo known as Echo Beds with amplified oil barrels, broken tapes and generally less than perfect instruments they create noisy yet catchy and often strangely melodic tunes reminiscent of early Swans meets EBM or something along those lines. Visceral yet danceable, not too harsh for the new comers to the experimental part of the industrial genre but just enough to entice you to go deeper and explore a side of it which is often forgotten about these days despite being the source of the genre. This one is truly DIY or die voltage therapy.

CARRION

Industrial Rock isn`t exactly what Norway is known for musically although one might be able to draw comparisons between the early days of industrial and black metal in terms of extremity ,avant garde-esque tendencies and against the grain approach.

Carrion, lead by S&S writer Hide [Adrian Kjøsnes] blends elements of traditional rock n roll with a tad of 90s Nine Inch Nails style steeped in occult philosophy and mysteries.

Having just released the album “Testament Ov The Exiled” now is the perfect time to check them out if you haven’tt already to hear Hides most recent experiment mixing distorted guitars and modular synthesis into a blend of structured yet still chaotic noise and…Power ballads. Yes, you read that right.

MISSFIT TOYS

Having recently released the single “Blithe Din” along with a ton of remixes [Including Dead Agent and Decent News] this Florida based aggrotech band is perfect for those who love catchy synth lines that worms their way into your ear while banshee like vocals speak of biblical themes full of symbolism painstakingly researched for accuracy and adopted to whatever vocalist Richie V. Suriv attempts to express.

Having already built a following within the U.S alternative scene playing with acts like Psyclon Nine, Dope, Skold, Combichrist and more this is not one to miss, oh, and they`ve got their keyboards on a chain swingset 😉

https://missfit-toys.bandcamp.com/album/blithe-din

Zwaremachine: Loud and nasty from Minneapolis, this band is a grinding tidal wave of shrapnel and hiss. It rolls over you in slow driving sludge and flashing lights. Bringing gore and empty warehouse space into stark relief that transports you back to a 90’s rave in Detroit. Join in the chant and leave your inhibitions at the door.

https://zwaremachine.bandcamp.com/album/be-a-light-special-edition

11 Grams: The team up between Rob Early and Simeon Fitzpatrick that cuts the clean razors of electronic science fiction and dance club fury. This is two masters of production riding an electric wave of futuristic beauty and construction. It’s transformative and honed to make rooms sizzle.

https://11grams.bandcamp.com/

StatiqBloom: This New York band is frightening and cold. It’s movement is infectious but the tone is dark. A Sinister horror film brought to life. Definitely EDM dance movement but one that leaves you anxious and clawing at the wall. You can’t sleep because you can’t relax in this terrifying landscape.

https://statiqbloom.bandcamp.com/album/beneath-the-whelm

TH Inc: Chicago, Illinois Hailing from the beating heart of American Industrial music comes the sonic power house TH Inc. Electronic music pioneers Christopher Turner (of Nookleptia and the mixcloud show The Garbageman Show) & Robert Hyman (Drummer of Mr. Russia, member of Melter and owner of Lens Records) first came on the scene with the darkly haunting 8 minute “Drawstring” and the pair continue to dish out fresh dark DIY industrial reminiscent of Throbbing Gristle, Brighter Death Now, and the edgier side of COIL. If you missed out on or just miss the raw paranoid energy of early industrial and noise, but need a taste of something new, look no further. 2020 has seen the Release of 2 albums the gritty pulsing Circuit Flare, and the epic droning of The Tarkovsky Suites.learn more @ thincband.com

Bellhead: Chicago, Illinois Also from the land of WAX TRAX, this 2 Bass & a Drum Machine, Male/Female duo gave us their first taste of their mix of industrial sleaze with the thick dirty sound of “Fire Control“. Bellhead have kept it up with a hand full of releases including the 2020 EP “Unicorn Bones” and the Single “Sanity Assassin” an edgy in you face cover of the Bauhaus song.Keep you eyes on Bellhead, especially if you are a fan of the 90’s industrial rock style of Orgy and Snake River Conspiracy and even later Thrill Kill Kult.

https://bellhead.bandcamp.com/

eHpH: Denver, Colorado By now I am sure you have noticed we here at Sounds and Shadows are fans of eHpH and Bleeding Light Music in general. I feel I cannot say enough about eHpH, they come to the table with a fresh take on EBM and the darker side of synth driven industrial. From track to track you feel something that could have easily hit the dance floors of 90’s/2000’s goth industrial clubs and yet sounds strangely original. eHpH is that seductive dark stuff that draws you into this world.

https://ehph.bandcamp.com/