Time for the November Darkscene Singles Chart. This year has been flying by and full of amazing new music. I put out this chart every month to recognize incredible bands from around the world who don’t always get seen on other charts. Every bands here is chosen by our Facebook/Patreon group of Artists/DJs/Reviewers/Promotors/and Super fans. If you have a single releasing in December or know someone who does, please add it to our poll for consideration.
I will always keep supporting new darkscene music because it is my passion. I don’t like for this to feel like a business and will offer the same content for free. However the webpage/zoom account/mixcloud ect cost money. If you like what we do and want to support us for $1 a month. This is our Patreon page and Tshirts 🙂 For those that can, we really appreciate it.
Bow Ever Down – Goodbye – The fact that the absurdly under recognized Kimberly Kornmeier took 1st place in our chart this month fills me with emotion of why I started this chart in the first place. A talented professional that has been a part of the scene since 1998 with a soulful piercing voice and an empathetic heart being chosen by this group over more recognized names. This song was a tribute to Ghost-Youth an artist taken from this world far too soon. Lovely trancey production and sorrowful delivery. It’s hard to know the story behind this song and not mist up a bit.
2) Twin Tribes – Monolith – One of the hottest acts in modern goth dropped a new video and single from an upcoming album under the radar. Of course it is an absolute banger. Luis gives that whip crack delivery and the music has a gorgeous darksynth that was giving me Ultravox vibes. Some of the dark skies of previous releases were pulled apart to reveal clean beams of light and hope to the familiar Twin Tribes sound.
3) daddybear – Antisocial – Matt Fanale and Marie (Grabyourface) are two great tastes paired perfectly I am coming to associate together. Each of these new singles feels smooth and impactful. That fresh electropunk energy of intelligent message, effortless delivery, and fervent devotion to the cause. This vibrating bass beat is eroding pores into my bones. I’m here for it.
4) Sword Tongue – To My Apparition – Awesome Cali couple duo that has a strange mixture of Projekt Records and Prog Rock added an ingredient that makes everything better. Drum Daddy Dan Milligan (The Joy Thieves). Jennifers vocals really sail over a frozen fantasy world like a shield maiden bardic warrior. This track feels expansive and full of adventure. Exciting new direction.
5) Object X – Insomnia – Super cool father/daughter duo from Reno NV. Great synthesis of dreamy trance beats and 90’s alternative. The beautiful harmonies here carry an extra layer of soul from the family connection. This song makes me want to fall backwards through the bed into space.
6) BRIDES – If Love Was A Colour – I know we have seen Adrian a lot in this poll lately, but every song just keeps getting better. More abstract and reckless, more simple and to the roots. That dichotomy living together in real time. This project is the best thing he has ever done.
7) Mari Kattman – URGOD.AI – Another smash for Boston producer and digital disco priestess Mari Kattman. This one whirls like a sonic tornado through the club. The soundtrack to flying car you into the cyberpunk dystopia.
8) The Mystic Underground – Famous Last Words (Of A Generation) – Great opening thrum from the New York band. Vladimir Valette has a beautiful voice that crackles with energy and hops on a distinctive cadence. The lyrics are poignant and powerful. Great video as well linked below.
9) Dogtablet – Summertime – The always percussionally epic industrial legend calls in friends Dirk Flanigan, Mike Reidy & Roger Ebner on this filthy slinking jazzdustrial banger. I’m stumbling home from the warehouse district at 3am past mystery moisture rising from the manholes. This song is hot and wet.
10) Tears for ʇhe Dying – We Are The Darkness – I had the absolute pleasure of seeing TFTD do this song live opening for Twin Tribes and Vision Video. Adria shines like a star on stage. One of the top Death Rock bands in the modern era and this album will be something to get excited about.
Bootblacks – Forbidden Flames – Brand new single we have all been waiting for. Well worth the wait. New lineup, new Post Apocalypse Disco sound. Panther is charging to the front of the mix with a Dave Gahan croon that I didn’t know I was missing in life until I heard it. Northern light synth pastels twined with dancing delay guitars. Holy crap this has me excited for the next record.
2) Vaselyne – Necromancer – Another trip to our charts for Amsterdam shadow rock Vaselyne. Loving this chorus vocal right out of the jump. Like Abba on a bad acid trip. You really feel the protagonist emotions of scared and horny as you back towards the corner from this stalking master of the undead. Slow, filthy, captivating. Really love the Kill Shelter remix as well.
3) MORIS BLAK – The Abstract with GenCAB – Two great tastes that taste great together. Boston Bass Wizard Moris Black pulls back the mayhem to combine electro emo songsmith David Dutton to make this absolute banger. Songs don’t need to be this catchy while making me want to break stuff. This track would make every club night better.
4) Black Angel – Killer – Matt with another flame thrower opening riff out of his headstock. I just did a full review of the album but this single is definitely the flagship. Large, leathery, audacious, a danger energy that doesn’t quit. These vocals are two people standing on the back of a moving motorcycle, balanced and fearless.
5) BRIDES – Private Apocalypse – Adrian has really found his true voice in this project. Just slipping between the cracks of The Swans and Sisters why spitting poetry in the voice of Gmork from The Neverending Story. People really need to get aware of Brides because they are bridging the gap between traditional goth and the filthy dark future.
6) grabyourface – Haine X Guillotine – Our favorite French Sadustrial Revolutionary Marie with a poignant call to arms. The opening salvo is a lovely spoken word build into a gatling gun drum machine. This makes my brain feel like it is inside Akira.
You made our lives hell. You turned every second into suffering. There is gonna be retribution some day. We will burn your palaces. We will burn your banks. You starved us so well, you have made us capable of literally eating you.
But while you’re dying in the flames of the hatred you have sowed. Never forget. You killed us before we killed you.
7) DEAD COOL – Faith or Misery – North Carolina darkSynth with a new single who’s opening volley slashes so hard it must have been done on a keytar. Johhny spits out lyrics with lip curled menace. Angela’s bass line is hot asphalt winding through the city. A banger that asks an important question.
8) The Waning Moon – Annabel – Ariel Maniki and Zac Campbell return to the chart once again. Complex as a spell weaving the mist around the battle field. A high speed ballad of fingertips and rumble. I could see this project becoming the main focus for both of them.
9) Who Saw Her Die? – Burn It All – Terrordustrial from Louisville, Kentucky, Stephen Beasey and Brian Cain served up this mechanical spider nightmare fuel. I’m glad I got to visit the broken world in this single, because I would shiver at the idea of seeing it in reality.
10) Deus Ex Lumina – We Are Dead Tonight – Berlin by way of Buenos Aires, velvet cloth unspooled and wrapped around the room in synthy seduction. I close my eyes and I am in a cathedral rave where all the statues and painting’s eyes are following me. I didn’t know much about this band before but they are a great find.
Time again for the Darkscene Singles Chart. Where members of the S & S Facebook and Patreon group of DJs, Artists, Superfans, Reviewers, and Labels vote on the top songs released in August. The songs can be anything in the broad Darkscene genre. We have an amazing collection of music lovers in the group who always lift up songs that captivate the heart, and often aren’t a focus for other charts.
Steven Archer – I Am The Walrus (Beatles Cover)
The Amaranth – Thighs
Ashes Fallen – Damn Me
Bestial Mouths – Road Of A Thousand Tears
Bellhead – Valentine
cEvin Key – The House That Tried To Kill Me
Unitcode:Machine (Feat Stabbing Westward) – Cold
Brides – Chalices
Black Rose Burning – Night Terrors
Vandal Moon – Satellite
Steven Archer – I Am The Walrus – The WolfLord has returned with a new solo single cover of the Beatles. You really don’t see enough Industrialdelic Beatles tunes and this was a big hit with our listeners. Buzzing outer darkness chaos exploding with pinpricks of colored light. This was always one of the Beatles strangest offerings and Steven pushes it right off the cliff into the mouth of an exploding Katju Seabeast.
2) The Amaranth – Thighs – I know what you are thinking. Ken, you won second place in your own poll. (Nudge nudge wink wink). Well perhaps this is the one arena where a new Amaranth single can compete against the heavy hitters. I refuse to think that. I love this song. It’s sleezy, I got to dust off my sexy growl. The concept of passing out after playing a show and waking up to find a perfect imprint of your makeup pallet on your partners inner thigh was one that resonated with me. I will not apologize for increasing the number of songs in the world about going down on folks. Lovely cover art by Hemlock. Expert Mastering by Pete Burns. I love Kam’s live drums mixed with their electronic beat.
3) Ashes Fallen – Damn Me – California Goth Rockers with a slamming new single fresh off their appearance at the Murder Of Crows Fest in NYC. Loving the bouncing 80s guitar vibes mashed against The Cult style dark rock. Michelle Perry brings more confidence and gusto to every new release. Cover Art by Michelle Perry. Mastering by the legend Gordon Young. James Perry has put together an all star team and their future keeps getting brighter.
4) Bestial Mouths – Road Of A Thousand Tears – I talked about this upcoming release during the Negative Gain Records interview. How excited they were that Rhys Fulber himself had ask to be involved with the project. When I think of new bands doing something truly unique and fresh to stir an emotional experience the Sacramento, California band is at the top of my mind. Lynette Cerezo swirling chant resonates like a druid high priest lifting exaltation to the power of the dark forest. This track is one of those you can get truly lost in. The craft of the strings, the exploding percussion. I want this song as the intro to the next great warrior hymn period piece.
5) Bellhead – Valentine – New Video single from my favorite double bass duo from Chicago. We have an interview with them releasing soon. This track is Ivan’s voice at it’s most sensual and frightening. Karen gives a perfect Kim Deal call and answer. The piano is a gentle intimacy that highlights the edges and makes this song live rent free in my mind.
6) cEvin Key – House Tried To Kill Me – cEvin Key is a legend. He was in Skinny Puppy. So no wonder his new release got deserving attention on our chart. Off upcoming album Brap and Forth releasing Oct 6th the name is certainly apt. This feels like a private room electronic brap session in a trance rave. Textured organic meat walls pulsing and damp. I like that the flow isn’t something you need to follow. You sit in place and it creates a cyclone of motion around you.
7) Unitcode:Machine (Chris Hall Stabbing Westward Remix) – Cold – How does one improve on one of the spiciest dance singles of the year? Add Chris Hall, it was that simple. Texas Native Eric Kristoffer on COP International continues to show a flare for 90s dancedustrial hooks while maintaining a calm reserved elegance. Like a Jedi in a lightsaber battle. The song never needs to raise it’s voice to feel powerful. Soon to be headlining the Dark City Fest in New Orleans. If you get the chance to see Eric live, you must.
8) Brides – Chalices – August was a big month for Sounds and Shadows writers with Hide also making the chart for this new project Brides. I absolutely adore this direction for him. It’s inspired shadowfolk with contagious darkwave edges. His voice rings like the snarling lean elder wolf mouth crusted in glimmering ice. Brilliant and haunting, I can’t wait for more.
9) Black Rose Burning – Night Terrors – Always a fan of Brookland based Black Rose Burning. Right out the gate this new single has a guitar resonance that made me think of The Church “Reptile“. George croons and sears the back of the wall with vocal intensity. Haunting thoughts from the edge of an inky black universe.
10) Vandal Moon – Satellite – Another California band on the chart. Vandal Moon is one of those bands I always hear people I trust raving about and haven’t spent enough time with myself. This single is purple poison dripping from a dagger. Streams of spotlight synths panning around the room. This bassline thrums while hugging the curves. Nice rising decay on the vocals ala Pretty Hate Machine. Fun and briming with science fiction heist.
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, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Fields of the Nephilim, The Mission, Christian Death, Alien Sex Fiend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
BRIDES – Newest project from Adrian Borgia of Norway usually known for his lovely crafting with analog synths which really finds it’s stride by blending old school death rock with bleak emotion and infectious pacing.
NIGHT NAIL – American transplants in Berlin Germany newly signed to Metropolis Records. Night Nail is a complex abstract take on modern goth with experimental instrumentation and wonderful vocal harmonies between partners Brandon and Valentina. Hues of Japan under a cloud of extreme darkness, Night Nail is never afraid to take chances in the pursuit of new sounds.
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.
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.
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.