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
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.
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.
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.
Hallowed Hearts “Into 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.
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.
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.
I posted about who are the new bands leading the charge in new traditional goth. Goth has evolved, splintered, reformed, and become 100 new sub genres. When you talk about the original roots of goth the conversation tends to draw back to the original 80’s bands. In the last two years that is changing drastically. The hunger for dark fast paced gothic guitar rock has given rise to a new generation of that original stream. Matt Vowels and Black Angel from London are releasing a new album that captures that spirit, puts it on a ghost ship, puts that ship in a dusty bottle, and leaves it in a haunted mansion for some unsuspecting baby bat to discover.
Produced by Matt Vowles. Recorded and Mastered at The Manor Copyright Solid Recordings 2020
The new record jumps in with the title track “Kiss of Death” a haunting sly keyboard swell. As the slashing violet lasers of guitar break into the tempo you are transported back to the storied heroes of goth. The Cult, The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission rise from their graves with this driving bass beat and snapping snares. I’m loving the expertly blended vocals and chaotic harmonies that give real Vision Thing vibes.
Next up is “Animal” and where Kiss of Death was a builder, this song comes out of the gate with thunder and dancer touch guitar taps. That bass line is feral and stalking. It’s a hungry song that owns a dance floor.
Track 8 “She Said” brings the weight level down and intros with a beautiful ringing acoustic guitar ala The Cure. This song feels like a black convertible car on an open road racing away from a stormy sky.
I love how this album matches everything I love about rock and goth together. It’s sleek, it’s sexy, and it keeps the pace up while flowing through peaks and valleys. The vocals are rich and have a bit of southern soul. I think Matt is using this album to make a strong argument his name in this new wave with Sonsombre, The Kentucky Vampires, and others. Long Live Goth.
The definition of Carrion is “the decaying flesh of dead animals” and morbid as I am that immediately peaks my interest. Enter the world of Carrion and subsequently the worlds of Swansect, FTMOB, and Missfit Toys.
HH: First off, feel free to introduce yourself and give us a quick summary of your artistic work and vision.
C: While names are inherently meaningless for this instance we can use the moniker Hide Beliya`al. My work and vision is one and the same as, in my opinion at least, is of absolute necessity. In more direct terms however I could describe it as an expression of my experience on earth in every which way.
HH: So you’re an extremely prolific artist with 4 active projects currently: Carrion, Swansect, From The Mouth Ov Belial, and Missfit Toys. Do you ever experience burn out? What keeps you inspired?
C: I guess I do in short bursts but I usually don`t let it stop me if there is work to be done. As for what keeps me inspired, this is what I`ve done my entire adult and teenage existence, it`s literally the only way of life I know so it`s quite a natural state of being at this point in time. I suppose I have a wound overflowing with various substances, I can`t stop it as I`m not in control here. As far as MissFit Toys goes it`s my first time being in a full on band with other people in a long while and it`s not something I would do if it wasn`t for me finding some sense of value in both the outcome of it as well as the people I surround myself with. I also like that it enables me to take a small step back and not have to be the one leading it at all times, I originally started out as a bass player so I never purposely went for the frontman role but through the years found myself there regardless. MissFit Toys also lets me explore a side of industrial I generally have very little interest in beyond that band in particular. It`s the only band I currently perform shows with, at least that was the plan until the horsemen arrived.
HH: What first compelled you to dedicate yourself so fully to your art? Can you talk a little bit about your song writing process?
C: I never quite understood how some people could take something so fucking visceral as art and the creation of something out of nothing as merely a hobby. I suppose it`s a sign of the times we live in but I digress..There was never a moment where I made that concious decision, I always approached this with a sense of seriousness to it. Even way back when I started my first few bands I`d find myself in a situation where I took it “too seriously”. While others may not mind skipping a rehearsal in favour of some other activity I saw this as lack of dedication which eventually led me to abandoning the idea of working with others for a long time. My songwriting process is quite abstract as most creative processes tend to be. Lyrically I don`t feel like I`m writing them as much as I`m simply dictating, taking notes of the things I`m told and shown by something I couldn`t possibly pretend to understand. There`s definitely a spiritual element to the process.
HH: Does it hurt your vocal chords to scream like that?
C: Haha, not at all. Of course if it`s been a while I might need a few minutes before I`m there so to speak but it`s not a matter of pain. I have however ended up vomiting after recording but that`s more due to pushing it as much as possible for a prolonged period of time.
HH: When I think of Norway I cant help but think of corpse paint, music videos recorded in the dark forest, and indecipherable logos. Do you draw any influence from black metal in your work? Do the goth, metal, and other scenes overlap at all?
C: Where I currently live is what I imagine people see in their minds when they think of this place. I live in kind of a middle of nowhere place surrounded by trees. I do take alot from black metal yeah, I`m more inclined to listen to rock and metal than any industrial honestly. As far as scenes overlapping that would require a scene to exist in the first place which it doesn`t really in that sense although just in terms of the people I personally know who are, let`s say darkly inclined, yes that seems to be the case.
HH: Your work very often references Christian themes, e.g. heaven, crosses, salvation, sanctity, and fire. Were you raised religious? How do these themes play into your work?
C: I wasn`t raised as anything in particular but I`ve always had a natural pull towards the more spiritual aspects of existence. I grew up in a house I`ve later been told is built upon a viking graveyard in a tiny place just 20 minutes from where it`s said Christianity first came when arriving to Norway so perhaps that`s to blame? Religion, or spirituality rather does play a big part. Carrion is in its simplest form to be seen as a diary where each entry is a retelling of a direct experience or thoughts and feelings related to the topic at hand. I tend to prefer using a highly symbolic language, if one was to dive deep one might discover a thing or two, the veil is thin once you take a proper look. On a more mundane level however I`d like the listener to not be forced into thinking what the song is about, preferably you can find your own meaning, maybe something you could even relate to on some level. I am human after all and with that it`s no surprise things sneak in there, things we all experience such as heartbreak, joy etc
HH: You split time in between an isolated village in Norway and Southern Florida. Do the contradicting landscapes inform your work at all?
C:Not necesarilly in the way you might think. I`m not one of those people who needs a certain setting to write a certain kind of music. I`m perfectly able to write a Carrion song under the scorching Florida sun as I am in the foggy Norwegian woodlands.
HH: What does the future hold as far as your music goes and what can we expect from you in the near future?
C: The most recent event would be the release of the Carrion single “The Blood Ov Saints”. I do plan to follow it up with a second single called “Until The Reaper Comes”, which is one of the heaviest songs I`ve written and it feels like a good snapshot of how I feel regarding the current apocalypse. There is also an all modular album created under the moniker of From The Mouth Öv Belial, it`s mostly improvised instrumental pieces except for two tracks which has vocals done by the entity known as AGGRESS. I may or may not gather the results of the current writing sessions and release as an EP [or an album if there is enough material] though I`m rather hesitant about making any definite statements about it as I`d rather not say something now only to have it not happen. Fans of MissFit Toys may know this already but we do have a new album in works as well as a single”Blithe Din” which will hopefully be released soon along with remixes by variety of great artists.
Stream Carrion’s “The Blood Ov Saints” here:
facebook.com/officalcarrion instagram: @carrionkvlt personal IG: @Mordsengel officialcarrion.bandcamp.com fromthemouthovbelial.bandcamp.com
The Cult Sounds is a band I dscovered somewhat recently and immediatly fell in love with. They make the most wonderfully dark yet dreamy rock music which leaves no question abou their influences and yet manage to carve out their own sound in the process.
Having one self-titled EP along with a string of singles and covers of some classic songs they`ve been off to a great start and is currently working on a full-lenght album taking their sound a few steps further.
I got in touch with Jordan Hagerman, the bands rythm guitarist and inquired as to wether or no they`d be up for a quick chat. Needless to say they most definetly were so read on and learn about this gem of a band.
Who is The Cult Sounds and where did it all start?
The Cult Sounds is a Dark Rock band based out St. Louis, Missouri consisting of Bennett Huntley on Lead Vocals, Ryan McBride on Lead Guitar, Jordan Hageman on Rhythm Guitar/Synths & Programming, Wyatt Eagen on Bass, and Justin Riley on Drums & Percussion
Jordan, Bennett, and Ryan met in 2012 during their freshman year of college at Webster University. We had wanted to do music together before since we all actively listen to vinyl together and go to shows or discover new bands together. The right circumstances and the write demos created the opportunity for The Cult Sounds to exist past just our original inclination of a studio project.
You`ve released a few covers by Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie and Bauhaus, why did you choose those artists in particular?
Our cover choices usually come from us being interested in seeing what we could do with that song either adding elements, stripping it down, or adopting our style entirely to it. With these 3 – Bela Lugosi’s Dead is usually considered the first Goth song so it seemed like a good place to start for our first release, Rhiannon cams from our love of Fleetwood Mac and the arrangement is a fun take on that classic, and I’m Afraid of Americans came originally as a tongue-in-cheek jab at Americans for the coronavirus handling but ultimately morphed into something else with the murder of George Floyd.
Is there any symbolism behind the artwork for your self-titled release? it goes really well with the music and adds to the atmosphere.
Not particularly, the cover is more of an art piece Bennett created using a skull Ryan found and gave to him. It inspired all of us when we saw it and it seemed to just make sense with the tone and atmosphere of the music.
My favourite of yours thus far as to be “Anatomy Of A Car Crash” How did this song come about?
Originally the song came from a car accident Jordan was in coming home from an Alkaline Trio show. There was a desire to capture that anxiety and fear in a song. The main riff fell into place with the structure and the ghostly vocal inflections with the guitar solo section was just too perfect of a way to end it. What really makes that song feel so powerful is Ryan’s solo just cutting through and hanging over like the grim reaper. Ironically enough, not long after the song was finished, our old keyboardist and Bennett were also in a pretty awful crash on their way to rehearsal just before our second show. Lyrically it’s of course a bit of a double-entendre; a literal car crash and a wreck of a human being. The “white lines the dashboard” lyric was inspired by a time Bennett watched a friend snort coke off the dashboard of his car- THAT is the anatomy of a car crash.
What`s your take on current events? Do you think we will learn something from all this and perhaps be witness to the beginning of the end of the corrupted systems of the world or do you think we will simply forget and move on ending up treating this like just another trend?
That’s a pretty tough question. You hope things will change, and I think every time something like this comes around we all think “this is it, this is the moment.” And maybe it is. Hopefully it is. I think we’re heading in the right direction, and I think if we continue to fight we can bring change. But I think that all depends on how much we all commit ourselves to the cause and how long our country’s often incredibly short attention span can hold all this in view.
You`ve been working on a new album recently as well as music videos to accompany it, how far are we from getting to hear some new stuff and does it have a title yet?
The album is called “Death of a Star” and hopefully we can release it in the fall and actually play shows here and on the road to promote it. It’s very near and dear to us. As far as singles go, there should be one coming within the next month or two, hopefully. COVID has somewhat marred a lot of our plans. But we do have a music video in pre-production for one of the singles being handled by the creative/conceptual team behind the short film “Follow Me.”
How does the new album differ from your current discography?
The album contains 11 songs that each explore our sound. It’s our most dynamic material thus far – containing our heaviest music, our softest music, our fastest, and our slowest. We really let our Dark Rock sound permeate our outside influences of everything from Punk to old Country to Metal to Industrial to Space Rock to everything in between. We felt more comfortable as a band this time around and really explored ideas and ended up with around 35-40 different songs and ideas we optioned for the record. The songs you hear on the record are the ones that inspired us the most as well as fit the concept we were going with for “Death of a Star” and reflected the themes or ideas therewith-in.
“Death of a Star” represents a lot of different ideas on the record – some being celebrity worship, fame-chasing, literal death and how unprepared we are for it no matter what we do, death of relationships and connections, and the idea of the death of a dream that was never attainable to begin with. So, clearly it’s a happy record.
I caught a few of those classic Davey Havok “Oh`”`s in some of your songs so I take it AFI is an influence but who else would you say influences your sound and style?
AFI is absolutely a massive influence on us as a band, particularly Bennett and Jordan but as far as our biggest influences and inspirations musically (that are mutual across the board) we’d have to say David Bowie is in the fabric of everything we do, The Cure, Type O Negative, Bauhaus, Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Joy Division, Tribulation, My Chemical Romance, King Diamond, Sisters of Mercy, Ghost, Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains, Danzig/Samhain, Nine Inch Nails, The Beatles, The Doors, and Depeche Mode. We listen to so much different music all the time, that we really pull from every decade of music from the 50’s to now.
Style comes a lot of from the idea of the “rock show” of the 70’s which doesn’t really exist as much anymore. People love music with substance and people love a spectacle and a show – why not give them both? It’s fun for us to dress up, wear makeup, have fog onstage, candles, lights, incense, etc. It gives the audience something to remember and tell others about. This idea is nothing new, obviously, we’re pulling from the masters – Alice Cooper, Ghost, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, David Bowie, and KISS. Regionally, no one in St. Louis does that live show aspect with outfits and makeup so naturally we wanted to do that in a way that would compliment our Gothic aesthetic.
Why did you name yourself The Cult Sounds?
We’re actually named after a record released by a very small previously-defunct-now-active Australian label called Aberrant. It’s a compilation of recordings from some, let’s say “spiritualists,” such as Anton La Vey, David Koresh, and Heaven’s Gate. You can’t really find the album anywhere and it’s banned from sale on some sites, so if you find an actual copy please let us know.
You`re based in St.Louis right? How`ve you been handling the protests there and how are things right now?
St. Louis is unfortunately fairly segregated and there are hard economic divides within the city, so to see people of all skin colors and walks of life coming together is beautiful. The world needs more love and unification, but, we cannot have any of that while people of color are not truly equal. It’s been 157 years since the Emancipation Proclamation and being white people, we have to be better. There’s no excuse. Racism, political corruption, and police brutality is a disease that must be dealt with.
As we all know by now live shows have become pretty much extinct for the time being so how are you guys dealing with that? I
Not well – we love seeing bands live and we love playing shows, without that group catharsis and outlet it feels like there’s a huge void in our lives. It’s a scary and sad time. We just hope we can play a show again soon.
I tend to leave space after each interview for the artists to use for whatever they would like, The Cult Sounds chose to leave the following music reccomendation:
Polterguts, Abraxas, Time and Pressure, Direct Measure, Bellhead, Gary Robert & Community, Reaver, Luxora, Summoning the Lich, and David Bowie.
Keep up with The Cult Sounds via the following links:
So the other day I posed a challenge on Facebook to send me a band you are loving that you are not in. You did not disappoint! So I will fire through a bunch of quick shot reviews sent to me by our readers! Music for the people!!! Remember tomorrow Bandcamp waves their fees and gives all revenue to artists.
Bootblacks – Traveling Light – Ok this is my personal pick, new single drops tomorrow. I have been eagerly anticipating this album for so long. Produced by Jason Corbett of ACTORS this whole album is a game changer. I will be pre-ordering on vinyl immediately. This is the sound you have always heard in your minds soundtrack. Panther’s voice is let off the chain and the effect is engulfing. This first single feels like The Happy Mondays on Adrenochrome.
L’Avenir – Requiem – Not a new release but a great one. Suggested by my friend Michelle Shaw. Lovely buzzing synth textures from Barcelona. This album had a really cool Ultravox vibe. Not a comparison I use loosely. Beautiful, murky, full of secrets.
Flesh Fiends – Bleed For Love – Scorching single from Kansas City from my friend Mason Monigold. I was an instant fan from the gate. The name is a great alliteration. Plus they are a band that seems to put the character in their sound. It is spooky chained to the wall sexy raunchy ghoul synth. Love the concept, love the execution, this will get bought.
We Are Parasols – Orphaned – This recommendation from Chase Dobson who knows electronic music as well as anyone I can name. This is a beautiful dripping slush of dark pastels. An instrumental movie sound track for that moment of introspection before a protagonist stands up and dusts themselves off. We could definitely use some of that in these times.
Korine – The Night We Raise – So this was a recommendation from Karl of Antipole. If i had to choose one band that other great bands I love recommend the most it is Korine. The album pre-order is up but one single is out now called Fate. Such gorgeous streaming ribbons that wrap around your arms and legs and make you dance with reckless abandon. Seriously if you are not in the know about this band buy the whole catalog. Will not disappoint.
Black Angel – ANIMAL – Uk goth stars dropped this single in June. It’s everything you loved about old dance club goth of The Mission/Sisters of Mercy. Pulverizing bass lines and resonant vocals. Hooks and builds to spin you around while opium incense burns.
Rotersand – How Do You Feel Today? – Recommendation from Dana Leigh Cooper. Another great Philly band that cuts the edge between traditional goth rock and darkwave. I love the barb wire beauty of the vocals. A lot of range in styles and infectious energy. Every song I hear makes me fall further in love.
Malefixio – Culto a lo Invisible – Recommendation from Fernando Altonaga of EhPh. Another band from Barcelona Spain, what is happening in the music scene there? This has a stomping cadence and freaky vibro guitars. The vocals have this delicate lifting version of Lords of Acid. It’s strange, it’s sinister, it’s going in my collection.
CAVALCADE – Sonic Euthanasia – This one comes from Ben Boggs, who is about the only human I take metal recommendations from. It’s big, loud and nasty. I really like the balance though. It’s not just a napalm wall of sound with throw up vocals. The twisted goblin screaming away can be understood and those chunky guitar riffs are axe trigonometry.
Arya Zappa – Dark Windows – From Damien Moyal (Damien Done) this German shadowpop is like a slow drink of whiskey. It’s smokey and smooth and warms my insides. Full length album just released in June. I really like the poetry of the lyrics too. This one needs a lot more reflection.
Wires & Lights – A Chasm Here And Now – More Berlin goodness recommend by Adrian Auchrome. This is a speed ball spiraling towards you with great post punk tone and crisp drum sound that makes me want to drive fast. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard this, know that I will own it tomorrow.