IN FIRE AND IN BLOOD – Review by Eddie LaFlash

Hello titty bois and titty girls, this is Eddie LaFlash from Decent News and until Ken decides I’m too shitty at writing reviews I’ll be doing this for a while. Today I’ll be covering a single that Ken sent my way. IN FIRE AND IN BLOOD by ∆AIMON.

In fire and in blood - ∆AIMON

First off I’ll start with the title track. I want to start off by saying that this single has an incredible mix. Starting with these reverbed piano swells that lays a base melody for the track. It lays down a catchy yet ambient passage that gets interrupted with a cascade of strong ass synth pads before these Dave Gahan-esque vocals punch you right in the feelings. The song structure here is good, it directs you exactly to where the progression should leaving you with a very non jarring listen which is exactly what a great track like this should have. I would’ve preferred the female vocals to be a little higher in the mix, but that doesn’t matter because this track holds its ground so well.

Now we move onto the title track except this one has Wrecked in parenthesis. Now remember that bit I said about track one being a non jarring experience? Well, if you’d like a more jarring experience then the Wrecked mix will blow your fuckin pp off. While all of the elements and structure are present in this version, the kick has a breath of punchy distortion added aswell as some more frantic and upbeat hi hats. Dynamically, this has a little more looseness in the groove. One of these versions is guaranteed to tickle your fancy.

Track 3 is a cover of Scarecrow by Ministry. Now I’m not the biggest ministry fan (surprise) but that in no way effect how I feel about this cover. The crows in the intro got some “OOOOOO” points from me. That combined with the driving bass and the buttery sawtooth lead makes this track a nice long smooth drag off a cigarette. Then the chorus hits you abruptly and you get a little spooked and you drop your ciggy into your lap, but its okay. It’s a good spook, and you just go back to smoking your cigarette.

Overall, its a great listen. There’s alot of variety between the 3 tracks in this single that should hit everyone’s taste buds. ALSO, ∆AIMON gets even more “OOOOOO” points for having acoustic drums on this release. Not that that matters to me, its just cool to see and it definitely shows with how dynamic the percussion is on this release.

https://aaimon.bandcamp.com/album/in-fire-and-in-blood

Sounds and Shadows Top Postpunk/Synthwave/Darkpop albums of 2020

Part 3 of this series might have been the toughest to write. There was such a wealth of great new albums in this genre I found myself at a loss to pick and choose my favorites. However tough choices need to get made. These are all records released in 2020 and not singles. I feel like everyone on this list did something very profound.

Black Rose Burning – Open the Gates – George Grant is doing amazing things using stripped down elements of dark post punk concepts. His voice has this scintillating David Bryne expressive lilt. It harnesses such energy with an acoustic guitar and a percussive gate. It’s romantic, not like a relationship, but the way Star Trek is romantic about the love of stars and exploration. I find myself constantly lost in the beauty of it.

https://blackroseburning.bandcamp.com/album/open-the-gate

SceniusEnough Fears – I found this album at the very end of the year but I have a feeling this will be on my heavy rotation the next few months. The Leeds band is a bending maze of emotion and turns that I found myself deeply immersed in. The vocals from Fab Nau were so original and cutting. Perfect dark trance resonance and endless builds. This is a band I will be paying close attention to in 2021. I feel the beginning of something beautiful starting.

https://scenius.bandcamp.com/album/enough-fears

Vlimmer – XIIIIIIII – This series of albums reaches it’s conclusion in glorious and staggering fashion. Alexander Donat has an amazing gift to take emotion and transfer it into sound seamlessly. Taking a tiny burning ember of idea and gentle blowing on that fire until it swells into a blaze. Truly a criminally underrated talent in modern artistic expression through sound.

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/xiiiiiiii-18

White Mansion – Human – Arkansas brings us this strong front to back traditional post punk. I love the bold transitions here and open air vocals. I think the name Human was perfect for this record because it is all about relationships. You can really follow the story. It’s organic, full of heart, and makes a connection.

https://whitemansion.bandcamp.com/album/human

The Secret French Post Cards – Colors – More glorious post punk darkness this time mixed and mastered by Pedro Code (Iamtheshadow). This record is so understated and comes at you in subtle ways. Olli Ohlander has a ringing and smoky delivery that chews up scenery like a master actor. Blended reverb and echo makes the guitar build tension that pulls you into the moment. Paint a picture in your mind with this record. Another Cold Transmission band.

https://thesecretfrenchpostcards.bandcamp.com/album/colours-2

Danny Blu – The Pale Horse – Crackling energy and neck grabbing hooks from NYC. Personal soul threaded into club kid sleek trance. This record is everything cool I want to give off. The smoky saxophone trills add a beautiful contrast note. The cadence they lyrics are delivered with are an extra percussion and rhythm. It leaves me longing for more.

https://dannyblu.bandcamp.com/album/the-pale-horse

Elz and the Cult – Bloodlines – Elz is one of those beautiful and unique humans that takes their internal light and bleeds it into every track they make. It has such a genuine and soulful flavor which modern darkpop is so hungry for. It is a record of personal intensity that stands out in the landscape. A true gamechanger record that everyone should experience. On Cold Transmission Music.

https://elzandthecult.bandcamp.com/album/bloodline

Korine – The Night We Raise – Philly based band that is taking the scene by storm for good reason. They have such a glamourous beauty. While the lyrics are full of edge and venom. They truly have mastered the idea of taking two things you wouldn’t think would make sense together and then synthesizing it perfectly. It’s elegant, profound, and makes you feel like you are on the inside of secret. Also it has that glorious shake that ass factor. You will dance to this record all night long. On Born Loser Records now.

https://korine.bandcamp.com/album/the-night-we-raise

Panic Priest – Second Seduction – Chicago based Jack Armondo finds himself once again on my albums of the year. This sophomore album uses his rich and powerful baritone to great effect but softens the edges of the guitars in the first album. Putting the synths forward really captures the neon industrial aspects of his city. I love the way he captured the concept of isolation in the middle of a populated concrete jungle that became so relevant to us all in 2020. An impressive offering both in connection and execution on Negative Gain Records.

https://panicpriestngp.bandcamp.com/album/second-seduction

Soft Kill – Dead Kids R.I.P. City – Portland postwave glory with gorgeous and rich vocals and rainy flowing waves of synth sound. This record is so efficient and full of intention. This is one of those records it’s never a bad time for. It has that voice of a generation The Smiths sound but with a speed and energy of the modern era.

https://anopendoor.bandcamp.com/album/dead-kids-r-i-p-city

Idles – Ultra Mono – I love this album for the punk side of post punk. It’s intelligent, political, smash your fucking teeth in complex blasting rock. It has the true core of Fugazi. I wasn’t quite sure where to put this under but it belongs on some list.

https://idlesband.bandcamp.com/album/ultra-mono

Kiss of the Whip – We’re Not Here – Baltimore is doing some amazing things in the current scene and KOTW are near the top of that list. There is an amazing feeling when someone has such a wizardry of an instrument that it transcends and lefts everything in the song around it. That’s how I feel when Tristan Victor plays keyboards. The wide open textures and landscapes that flow through your mind at razor speed. His melodic whisper growl vocals really draw you in and let those complex synth changes do their work. I continue to be impressed with every new growth.

https://kissofthewhip.bandcamp.com/album/were-not-here

Spectres – Nostalgia – Sometimes I want a record that really pushes the edges of a genre. Sometimes I take comfort in bands that do a familiar sound with perfect execution. This album is so full of feelings that transport me back. Each song is original and new but the pallet of colors is brilliant with New Order, The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen. The heartfelt homage to the music I grew up on cleaned and washed and sent straight to my heartstrings.

https://spectresvancouver.bandcamp.com/album/nostalgia

Loveblind – Sleeping Visions – What happens when a traditionally shoegaze label like Saint Marie Records puts together a superband of Shoegaze talent to make a darkpop album. In this case what happens is one of the most textural beautiful records of the year. Dorian Electique has a stunning and haunting vocal quality that floats on the waves of slushy wave crash guitars and striking drum beats. Every time I play this record I picture silk scarves flowing in my wake. it just makes life a little more beautiful.

https://saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com/album/sleeping-visions

Black Nail Caberet – God’s Verging On Sanity – This band from Hungary has been on my constant playlist. They had an album in my top list of 2019 as well. I love that they don’t sit idle and instead explore a new aspect of darkpop. Emese has a remarkable strength and depth to her voice that reminds me of Annie Lennox. The dance beats are a force to be reckoned with and are like a shot of energy in the arm. When I need to find a little something extra within myself this is the record I reach for.

https://blacknailcabaret.bandcamp.com/album/gods-verging-on-sanity

Algiers – There is No Year – If you have never witnessed Algiers live, once the world reopens that should be the top of your to do list. They are the best live show I have seen in the past 20 years. It’s breathtaking to behold. They are another band hard to put in a box in the most amazing away. Notes of Motown/Gospel/Post Punk/Electronica. It’s all thrown in the blender and spun to a smooth creamy glory. The lyrics are poignant, fresh, and delivered with a voice sorely lacking in this scene. This record is such an up and down journey through culture, injustice, and personal revelation. I really can’t stress the importance of this band enough.

https://algierstheband.bandcamp.com/album/there-is-no-year

Then Comes Silence – Machine – Swedish based dark rockers put out this album in March and I listened to it many times in it’s entirety. The single We Lose the Night is such a perfect jam it has to be my most earworm song of the year. Just walking through the world I found it constantly popping into my head. This record has what I think of as true Post Punk vibes. The bass is thunderous and driving. Vocals are enchanting and full of warm and captivating feeling. Also the track Ritual feat: Karolina Engdahl is a perfect duet to blend beauty and razor cuts. I was an instant fan for life.

https://thencomessilence.bandcamp.com/album/machine

Bootblacks – Thin Skies – NYC post punk stars took a giant leap forward in their evolution for this album. It truly takes it’s own life and direction. Adding on Jason Corbett (Actors) to chisel and magnify a sound that already had such a unique and dangerous flavor. It is sleek, mysterious, and is my number one soundtrack if I ever pull an elaborate jewel heist and car chase in the heart of New York City. I think the most magnificent part of this album is that it really took “Post Punk” someplace new. It’s easy to get hung up on nostalgia, and there is some of that here. There is also a sound so sensual and fresh. I can just smell the musk of this album. You need to feel it on your skin.

https://bootblacks.bandcamp.com/album/thin-skies

Our interview with Bootblacks

Empathy Test – Monsters – This album was my most played on bandcamp this year. I just couldn’t stop coming back to it. It holds a beauty and quality that touches on so many genres. It’s personal and full of imagery that transports you into a movie. Isaac has one of those once in a generation voices that speaks right to your heart. This record just struck a chord inside me like the first time I heard Radiohead The Bends. That feeling of dramatic intensity that makes me think of youth while the refined craftsmanship spoke to my changed perspective. This is a young band, and their potential to grow and make art on another level seems limitless.

https://empathy-test.bandcamp.com/album/monsters

Our Interview with Empathy Test

It’s Bandcamp Day and times are dark. So I am looking for ass shaking darkness.

Today is the day when Bandcamp (The one music streaming and distribution company that seems to care an iota for musician’s) waives it’s fees and gives everything spent, to those making the music. It’s been a tough few months in particular and I am in the middle of Sotember (The month each year where I recharge and drink nothing stronger than Earl Grey tea)

Death Loves Veronica : In The Silence

Newest single from Texas darkwave sultry star Veronica Campbell. This song has a brighter more open tone than previous offerings. It really highlights the elegant purity of her voice. Also included is a beautiful synth rich remix of “In The Silence”. A cascading waterfall of cool crystal sound.

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

Danny BluThe Pale Horse

I have been waiting for someone to put raw emotion and sass back into the darkpop genre. This album crackles with mid tempo dance beats to fill the back walls of the club. The lyrics are an inward journey with an 80’s Madonna soul. Beautiful modern layered vocals to create movement and build. It’s one of those sounds that flows through your earbuds and into your nervous system and flexes attitude through your body. I feel like other people can hear these songs through my movements when I listen.

Fav Tracks: Paradise City/White Knight

https://dannyblu.bandcamp.com/album/the-pale-horse

Wingtips: Tears of Pearl

Chicago retro-synth dreamboats Wingtips have done this fitting tribute to criminally underrated 90’s Aussie pop band Savage Garden. I love the interlocking vocal duet here. The frosting sweet swirl of keyboards and chimes on this song make my heart dance with delight.

https://wingtips.bandcamp.com/track/tears-of-pearls-2

DJ Version 666Dance of the Profane

Firebrand driving doom dance with a nice sprinkle of Industrial guitar and finger firework keyboard work. I really like the effective chanting vocals which hit right on the needle of what I want from a club jam. Extra bonus remix layers on some teeth and glitch for a aggro feel. Stomp your feet and scream obscenity.

https://djversion666.bandcamp.com/album/dance-of-the-profane-single-and-remix

KlackProbably

Listen to Klack or I will attack, and you don’t want that. A fresh new feel here from Matt and Eric. I really have enjoyed every evolution of this project. This has a Construction Time Again DM flavor. It has clever carefully placed samples. The beats have a real shake that ass groove. The keyboard melody lines are beautiful retro hooks. I really fell hard for these breathy cleanly delivered vocals. It’s something I hadn’t heard from them before and immediately wanted more of. The lyrics really became a strong suit here. This is an album plucked out of the timestream and dropped hard in 2020.

https://klack.bandcamp.com/album/probably

Broken Nails: Control the Delusion

Kim Bell and company have released this lovely shadowpop with misty daybreak darkness. It has a dreamlike quality, with a Til Tuesday retro flow. I really like the front edge of Kim’s delivery on the vocals. This really gets me excited for the future direction of the project. Now on Swiss Dark Nights

https://swissdarknights.bandcamp.com/album/control-the-delusion

GoFight: Freestate

I will always buy every GoFight release. I will never regret my decision. Jim Marcus understands the blending of body gyrating dance music in the way an Indian executive chef understands the blending of spice. The layering of elements allows you to get lost in what kind of a song you are listening to. His voice is that perfect growling beauty snapping at your heart with desire and terror. Another single, another home run.

https://gofight.bandcamp.com/album/freestate

Mary: Die Before Death

I think this band from Toronto now on Cold Transmission takes the award of the day for something I had no idea I needed and now can’t live without. The scope of tempos here run from blistering car chase to lullaby shouting fuck. Gorgeous dreamy vocals that would make Robert Smith raise an eyebrow. I’m not sure where this was hiding but it just took my 2020 by storm.

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

I’ll Give You Something To Cry About

It’s been a really tough week for me. It’s been hard to find the motivation to write or do much of anything. Today was a little better. I haven’t found myself listening to less music, just finding it harder to hear the words to describe it in my mind. Today was the first time I had felt like I could talk again. So I have an enormous backlog of music to write about. Lets get some of that out now.

ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) – “Eat Their Young” If ESA’s latest album Burial 10 was a barb wire wrapped bat beating the shit out of you with electronic destruction. The new EP Eat Their Young is the same effect with a razor sharp sword. It has a purpose and intent with it’s execution. Back again is Corlyx Caitlin Stokes adding a sensuality and velvet glove to the relentless destruction. Power and Beauty in equal measure in this must have EP from London England. Also the video for the single is a masterclass in modern music/image synthesis

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

Corlyx – “Together Apart” – Speaking of Caitlin, her and band mate Brandon Ashley are back for a follow up to their album “In2 The Skin” 1st single is out now for a Sept 15th release. It’s another burner. Porcelain Skin brings that same darkpop flavor of broken glass candy and ghostly light. Caitlin has a beauty and truth with crawls under your skin and infects you with a cracked mirror of perception. Can’t wait to hear how the rest shakes out.

https://corlyxngp.bandcamp.com/

MelodyWhore – “This Is How We Were Taught To Pray” New single release from electronic sin wizard MelodyWhore out of Texas. This single was written as a charity donation for BLM. Jimmy called in some of the top names in the scene to contribute with remixes and vocals. The song is a powerful hymn of equality in a call to take down an unfair establishment. This one gives me chills with it’s intensity and soul shaking faith. I was lucky enough to contribute myself on the Gothic Tabernacle Choir remix. A Great cause and outpouring of talent forged together into one of the most spine tingling singles of the year.

https://melodywhore.bandcamp.com/

Carrion – “The Tempest” Swirling ash and oblivion from Norway’s Carrion. A new single of slow fuse creeping doom that shows you the horror to come and leaves you chained waiting for the inevitable destruction.

https://officialcarrion.bandcamp.com/

Hallowed HeartsInto The Fire” I really like the way this album bends the line between goth and post punk with a slight lean towards goth. It’s emotional and flows like a rippling black ribbon. The melody lines are captivating and seamless. Some beautiful guitar rock elements with gentle curves to match the tight post punk base lines. Impressive.

https://hallowedhearts.bandcamp.com/

Stoneburner – “Dark Ambient Album” Steven Archer is always twisting the joint to find a new position. Never comfortable in one concept he is an ever moving force. This new 6 song EP steers away from the vocal driven industrial of the last few albums into texture sonic painting. Full of strong effects and video game soundtrack pastels. From one mountain many rivers may flow.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/

EchoBeryl – “The Awakening Of The Mutant” From Cold Transmission this French synthtrance retro dance dream keeps the imagination flowing. The album is an homage to 50’s and 60’s sci-fi drama. It’s a modern concept through a retro lens. Set to release Aug 21st currently 2 tracks are available for pre order and both are a teleport beam to both the past and the future.

Review of Elz and the Cult “Bloodline”

So this has been an eagerly awaited release for me. Due out 5/22/20 on Cold Transmission records. I have in my hot little digital hands early so I can go through and give some impressions. Elz is a dear friend and all around amazing human. This Turkish based project is breaking new ground in the abstract dark pop genre for the last few years. We had Elz on our podcast to discuss this record when it was still coming together, please enjoy at this link:

https://elzandthecult.bandcamp.com/album/bloodline

Songwriters; ELZ, Sharon Engelhardt, Nigel Strong.
Produced and performed by Taner Yücel.
Mixing by Taner Yücel.
Mastering by Görkem Karabudak.
Vocals; ELZ, Eylül Deniz, Efe Akıncıoğlu, Taner Yücel, Sharon Engelhardt, Görkem Kasal, Deniz Aksoy & Ayça Sarıönder.
Photography: Berk Çakmakçı
Art Direction by StudioPul

Recorded at Taner Yücel’s homestudio & Mayday Studios, Istanb

I feel like Bloodline was an amazing creative step forward for Elz to really explore the creative brilliance that was always inside them. It is such a beautiful amalgamation of sexy over the top 80’s pop with a soul like Madonna fused with sinister Geiger like sonic imagery. Right from the first track it is dancing with ballet dexterity on giant metal spider legs in intricate patterns while screaming the injustice of it’s existence. This record never stops moving and it drips with dark sex appeal and the blistering drum beats are a jolt of energy that make your capillaries pop in your circulatory system.

The lyrics are true Oscar Wilde style slash open a vein and spew your essence at the listener. Elz has genuine front person star power and a captivating voice that guides your hand as you apply your make up at the mirror. It’s one of those sounds that has the ability to make the listener associate with the singer and infuse their attitude on you. I genuinely believe listening to this record will make you hotter.

Lets talk favorite tracks: This 12 song album is a complete work with no throwaways. Of course i have favorites

Ultraviolence: Ok these songs are glorious on their own. The videos though are masterworks and an enormous amount of effort goes into the aesthetic concept matching the music. So always watch those. This song is bracing, it hits hard and the chorus is a razor chain lashing around the room. It also has such detailed construction and perfect pop beat. Every floor of every goth club must one day shake with it’s power.

Horrified: The husky come hither whisper of these vocals make the hair on my arms stand up. The chorus is a sky opener and it really captures the idea of something being both beautiful and horrible at the same time. It’s hard to imagine how something so shocking and intense can get stuck in your head like a pop hook but here we are.

Safe Zone: This is what I call a car chase song. That perfect mid tempo that feels like night driving through a city in decay. I really like the vibrating voice effect used here. Tight corners and slippery shadows. Lets hope we all make it home alive.

Masturbate About You: Glorious pace changer, ramps up the tension. This is a edgy concept and expressed perfectly. The chorus unleashes a raging demon of emotion which hits a new height just to be pulled away again. A real roller coaster through a dark tunnel.

I feel like this whole album is pushing the boundary that the modern dark scene needs pushed. It crackles, it frightens, and it highlights all the things beautiful about the current dark revolution. I really want to realize the dream of seeing Elz and The Cult live. This record is out for pre release now on Cold Transmission and you are going to want to snatch it up and be on the cusp of the next wave.