Another Wed in mid November and I have the Oscura Festival fast approaching. This may be my last chance until December to write some reviews of the glorious new music that is being released. As always these are darkscene bands that have caught my attention and need to be shared. If you have a release we need to hear hit us up on Sounds and Shadows.
Modal Citizan – Idolatry – The lads from Virginia beach have released a new 4 song EP. Have you ever wondered what if NIN “The Downward Spiral” and Clutch engaged in unholy union to spew forth a jagged baseball bat rolled in broken glass and started taking wild swings at an unsuspecting populous sounded like? Now you need not wonder. Horror film builds and chaotic drum beats, thunderous funk metal bass from Sean Waff, and screeching heart string vocals from Ryan Jones. I love the tight turn into electronic dance beats from their November 2020 album “Control Alter Deplete“. They really comprehend the power of dynamic contrast to tell a story. Adam Fueston unleashes slashing electro whip guitars that pick just the right moment to sear their impact. It’s mean, it’s jaded, it’s rowdy.
Favorite Track: Expanse – A true emotional firehose that encapsulates the anger and aggression while baring the quiet emotional turmoil of keyboards and poetry. Jones goes deep into character thrashing and jerking like a person processed by a demon riding a bull.
Sapphira Vee – Breath of You – I always love a new single from Sapphira, I especially love it when it goes to such an important cause. Cat Hall, a cervical cancer survivor, agreed to collaborate on this single, as well as our good friend Jim Marcus of Go Fight contributing a remix, having lost his mother to cervical cancer. This single is being released in the month of October, in observance of Women’s Cancer Awareness Month. The track also has remixes from frequent contributor Melodywhore, Ratio Strain, and Federico Balducci. Sapphira shows a Cheshire cat grin to her voice. The deep buzzing pad synths move like columns of stone while the chanting words preach a resilience and vulnerability. Each version creates a vastly different tone to the core concept. Another spot on powerful offering blending dancefloor accessibility and personal trauma.
Favorite Track: Breath of You ft. Cat Hall/Dissonance – The blending of two powerful woman producers/vocalists will leave me floored every time. Add onto that the warrior princess delivery and subject matter and you have a cocktail which is smoky, burning, and filled with introspection.
Rohn – Lederman – Venus Chariot – My love for Belgian composer extraordinaire Jean-Marc Lederman is deeply known on this page. His previous work includes ( Fad Gadget, The The, Gene Loves Jezebel, The Weathermen) as well as some of the most thought provoking higher tier concepts in electronica music of the past 5 years. Teaming here with COP International and exceptional producer/Vocalist Emiliegh Rohn of Michigan they blend into a poetic electrified katana of grace and fury. I have spoken of this record in the Sounds and Shadows group but was shocked I had yet to write a formal review. When I hear someone of Jean-Marc’s pedigree say “This might be one of the most important albums I have ever released” it tends to make your ears perk up. This album is full of endless fusion energy both in the intricate hair splitting craft of the music, and Emileigh’s power whisper beauty. it’s the record I reach for whenever I need to force my body into action. A well of strength at your fingertips for these draining times. Greg Rolfes provides cover art to set the tone of this runaway stampede of electronic elegance.
All The Little Things Left For Dead Go Unsaid (a.k.a. “The River”) – The slow tempo balled rich with waterfall emotion and connecting poetry. This beautiful piano composition with tugs the heart strings. The haunting whisper of vocals that shut out the world. This song has a captivating beauty in the vein of Life On Mars.
Destruction and More – This is a faster paced defiant and layered builder. The music keeps stepping forward a heavy foot at a time through gale winds. Ending in a fist raised chant of war. A true tribute to Athena in it’s brazen energy and feminine power.
The Ending Nights – A Landscape To Die – Pre-Order available for the newest offering of Pedro Code (IAMTHESHADOW) of Portugal on Cold Transmission Music. A definingly dark apocalyptic disco drive produced and mastered by Pedro for a soul wrenching personal explosion. Jagged glass drenched in rainbow oil and water. How do you take one of the most distinctive voices in modern goth/darkwave when you find a way to make the steaming disco beats the star of the show you have really broken ground. This is a record that creates a world. Grime and desolation, the remaining survivors of a broken world follow the electric pulse of a melody from within. A perfect anthem for these fractured times.
Favorite Track: No Light – Hearing something so melodic and pure as Pedro’s voice swimming through a channel of filth and grit that is beautiful and terrifying. This macbre nightmare of insomnia and slow grinding destruction. Another layer of depth and complexity for a proven talent.
Curse Mackey – Lacerations – Brand new single and remixes from legendary Texas Industrial artist Curse Mackey (Pigface, My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult, Evil Mothers). Featuring remixes by Twin Tribes, Steven Olaf, and Chase Dobson. I love the concept shift from gothic electro ritual on “Instant Exorcism” into nihilism Tokyo drift shadow synthwave. A effortless cool grinding prayer as the world crashes down and leaves you nothing to lose.
El Clan – Somos Nuestro Peor Miedo – New album from legendary Mexico City dark rockers El Clan. There is something distinctive and powerful with true shadow swirl ritual rock delivered in Spanish. The fluttering trill of the guitar. The heavy strikes on backbeat snares. Gustavo Perez Ramirez has such a unique and dynamic range to his vocals. Rumbling growls, silver shining melodies, and sand swirling blasts of power. El Clan continues to encapsulate a burning flavor and haunting sound that puts them on a pinnacle of Mexican darkscene .
Favorite Track: Dios Universo – The opening light touch driving guitar riff set a tone of danger and action. Gustavo growls out a opening salvo of edge and anger. Then quickly changes lanes to a sorrowful melody. It’s a perfect homage to historical hard rock feel and modern dark progressive.
Black Rose Burning – The Wheel – George Grant of New York has taken an already amazing sound to a completely different level. This new album is progressive, complex, expertly executed emotional darkscene that permeates the skin and resonates in the chest. These vocals harken to a previous time of dripping Peter Gabriel emotion that spiral in crystal facets on top of shifting translucent hooks. It ebbs and flows through a stylistic spectrum and delivers with every memorizing tale. I continue to be blown away by one of the most criminally overlooked master songsmiths of our scene. This is a record that needs mainstream attention.
Favorite Track: An Anthem For The Strange – When the title says anthem, they are not exaggerating. These drums are rolling and trance building. George’s vocals ring through with a clarity and power that convey emotion. A warm and glowing starlight that wraps all of us freaks and outliers together in a sparkling blanket of togetherness.