Searching For My Center, The Music That Is Making Me Write Again

So this has been a tough two weeks. It lead to a lot of introspection and will hopefully turn into growth. Just like all the toughest times for me, music has been that companion that is always there when I need it. This last few weeks saw many amazing releases and I will talk about some of them now. Please check out the bands, leave comments of what you liked. Send me things you are listening to you think I might not know.

Helevete IncThe Inevitability Ov Nothing – This is a new rerelease from Helevete Inc. We recently had the opportunity to interview them, so keep an eye out. I feel in love with the hard old school style of this band. This album was such a drastic departure and really shows the range they have. A rich and meaning drenched darkwave goth sound. TION shows a gripping and introspective melodic aspect of their voice. These songs have such a powerful authenticity of someone stepping outside of their wheelhouse, uncertain where the music would take them. Confronting the fear and darkness of that reality. I feel so deeply in entranced by this record. It showed me something, it had glorious imperfections which revealed the artists and left you gripped by the connection. The album also has fierce and snarling beauty in the form of guest vocals from Jenny Rae Mettee. This is one of the most underrated finds of the year.

Favorite Tracks: Fades to White and On The Other Side

Overall Appeal: Enormous, I really enjoy Helevete but it hasn’t set out to be accessible. Most of the albums are very aggressive and challenging. This album really laid out connectable songs with the same level of emotion. The music was smooth, dark, and expertly crafted. This is an important modern artist making music for the sake of art. I really can’t recommend the impact of this album enough.

https://hymnsovgolgotha.bandcamp.com/album/the-inevitability-ov-nothing

Cliff and Ivy: Alaska’s goth duoBring us the Night – Brand new single from my favorite goth couple in Alaska. They often straddle the line between Goth and Punk and this time they are leaning very punk. This is a furious tempo cursing the daylight and celebrating the night. Bang you head and paint up your eyes. Ivy’s machinegun fire poetry assaults you in waves and has an anthem cadence. I think the extra layer of cheese and fun really puts me over the top for this scorched earth hot single.

https://cliffandivy.bandcamp.com/track/bring-us-the-night

Gloom WizardThe Beast Of Victor – Unnerving and ferocious single from Anibal our Sounds and Shadows moderator. This throwback sizzler has the tension and emotional recklessness of NIN Broken. Yet maintains a lo fi analog dissonance. It’s brings you to the brink of aggressive explosion then drops the floor out with horror movie effects and video game synth feel. The chaos and tempest are tempered by Anibal’s powerful vocal performance which carries you through this terrifying journey of reflection. This song fills me with anticipation for future releases.

https://gloomwizard.bandcamp.com/track/the-beast-of-victor

DIAFWeida – So this review comes with a great story. The recommendation was from Elitist Joe. If you doth travel in thine goth circles you know we have now always seen eye to eye. One of the best parts of the last two weeks has been finding our common ground. So DIAF was a spot on recommendation. It is unique and intense. The vocals have that I have not heard this a million times entrancing flavor. It definitely holds a distinctly 90’s goth flavor, but with dance beat electronic boot stomping power. The melodies are captivating even where the language escaped me. In a world of remakes this album truly took me somewhere new.

Favorite Tracks: Erbsundt and Splitter – Two tracks that could not be more stylistically different bit both resonated with a truth and impact.

Overall Appeal : Strong, this is extremely varied, but the unique flavor of each track only increased the appeal. Everything is expertly played and mixed. An outstanding recommendation which also holds the meaning of a new friendship.

https://diaf.bandcamp.com/album/weida

Blood DanceChild of Fear – So this was a band I found on the compilation Escena Oscura Mexicana Vol. 1. I have been really digging into Mexican Goth/Industrial lately and this band grabbed me hard. Ultra deep Peter Steele vocals that creep like an onyx tank rolling over stone. Sultry post punk guitar lines and expressive synths. The vocals bounce up and down in range but never waiver in effect. This was another find that I fell hard for and will be looking for all future releases.

https://blooddance.bandcamp.com/album/child-of-fear

Black Rose BurningShout – Sometimes you just get a banger. This is one of those times. George of Black Rose Burning has assembled an all star cast of Brian Vigilone (Dresden Dolls) Anka McGowen (The Long Losts) Alex and Andrew (Hallowed Hearts) James Perry (Ashes Fallen) and Adrian Auchrome (Machinery of Desire) to reimagine the Tears for Fears classic Shout. The song remains just as poignant as at it’s release. George has a encompassing voice which both soothes the soul and splits the sky. The abrupt transitions keep a constant motion and the layered guest vocals pay homage to the wonderful harmonies of the original. I really loved the organic and driven feel of the drums. The guitar solo was a inspired addition and added a current and red toothed power. An amazing rendition that hit on all cylinders.

https://blackroseburning.bandcamp.com/track/shout

Herr NoxWhere Shadows Fade – I am in love with this new trend in talented song writers pulling in a variety of guest vocalist to splash paint upon the canvas and expand the range of their own art. This album is a haunted house of textured rooms. With patterned guitars and sultry saxophones. The album pushes the darkwave concept with progressive rock inlays. An avenue I have seldom seen explored. This album featured a complexity of 80’s Killing Joke and an expansive feel of 90’s industrial. It’s a varied catalog of rooms to explore. An album that can’t be appreciated in one sitting.

Favorite Tracks: Black Butterfly – A power ballad rock anthem with electronic sensibility. Gotta Light – Rare I would pick an instrumental track but the saxophone swaying sultry feel left me captured and transported.

https://herrnox.bandcamp.com/album/where-shadows-fade

ACTORSLike Suicide – This album keeps flowing in one single at a time. Each one leaves me more impressed than the last. The gorgeous synth line and delayed guitar blending hits a razor edge I haven’t heard since U2 Boy. Jason and company are writing songs at a level that shows there is still places to explore in 2021. The heavy concept here of facing a hopeless cloud and trying to find strength. This song conjures that same lost beauty of Joy Division but with an elegant construction. I am truly at a loss for how they continue to push their own goal post and expectations with every release.

https://actors.bandcamp.com/track/like-suicide

 Kill Shelter & AntipoleA Haunted Place – Here it is, Pete Burns is operating on a level in modern postpunk/darkwave that is rewriting the script. Here instead of recruiting a variety of singers like his groundbreaking album Damage he takes the vocals upon himself. His voice is rich and rings with the power of a well aged bell. To build on that previous level of variety in the soulful lyrics, he has added possibly the top Post Punk guitarist in Antipole‘s Karl Morton Dahl. It’s an effortless compliment which locks perfectly as a puzzle falling into place. Every track is done with such expert precision and runs the spectrum of emotion. This is an early contender for album of the year. Like an expertly honed novel I could hear this record 1000 times and find a new detail to zero in on each play through.

Best Tracks: Raise the Skies – This single is a masterwork. It is the song equivalent of a perfectly crafted watch. Every gear an intricate motion happening in exactly the right time. Of Roses and Thorns – I loved how stripped down this felt. It allowed the chorus to open so much space and Pete’s voice went to a higher more delicate range.

https://killshelter.bandcamp.com/album/a-haunted-place

Once Again Into the Breach My Friends. Time To Review Some Music.

Another Friday night finds me tipsy and alone behind this keyboard. However I am never truly alone when I have great music and all of you to share it with. I have all my latest Bandcamp purchases, a few of which are absolutely smash hits. Please leave a comment below of who you would like to see me review in the future.

Twin TribesAltars – The beautiful lads of TX have released a remix album. Now I will always buy anything Twin Tribes put out sight unseen. I have to say this collection of remixes by some of the hottest names in darkwave was a special treat. The songs were big departures from the standard Twin Tribes style, but Luis voice still kept each song familiar. It included tracks from both previous albums placed lovingly up for sacrifice on the Altar to be transmuted and given back to the world.

https://twintribes.bandcamp.com/album/altars

Remixers Include: Skeleton Hands, Geometric Vision, Luz Futoro, Ash Code, NITE, Wingtips, Matte Blvck, Dave Parley, She Passed Away, Bootblacks, and Creux Lies. Yes you read that right. I think the power house of performers here really speaks to the immense effect Joel and Luis have had on this scene in such a short time.

Favorite Tracks:

Upir (remixed by NITE) – Damn this is gorgeous. This slow drifting synths remind me of a quiet corner in a buzzing high energy club. The beat then kicks in with a lovely synth line. Just such a bold shift from an already amazing song. This is the most I can ask for in a remix. I true homage while breaking a new vision.

ShadowsMatte Blvck remix – Shadows was the song that started my deep love of Twin Tribes. It holds a very personal place in my heart. To have it transformed in this way and still hold such an intense emotional impact is something glorious. This is that secret cult but no longer around a ancient tree but now in a lush modern club. Full of velvet and burning incense. A beautiful and dangerous collision of past and future.

Overall Impact: Generally speaking I am not a huge fan of “just remix” albums. I really love remixes included with an EP or something fresh. However as is often the case Twin Tribes have become the expectation that proves the rule. They took songs I love and collected most of the top names in modern darkwave. If you don’t know some of the bands here, you need to let this album lead you back to them. It’s very accessible and has a nice variance of sound. General fans will enjoy, fans of Post Punk/Darkwave will love.

the DramedyAnd The Light Goes White – New album from Dave Dramedy, who I recently saw playing bass for Caroline Blind in Detroit. This was a strange and experimental album that never left me bored. Dave surely has a power and range to his voice that rides the line of Mark Burgess and Iggy Pop punk edge. I really like the blend of rhythmic acoustic and harder driving bass guitar sounds. This is an album that grows on you. It seemed to get better with every listen. Like a favorite film where you notice a new detail every time you watch and always feels fresh.

https://thedramedy2014.bandcamp.com/album/and-the-light-goes-white

Favorite Tracks:

Parasite: It’s hard to put my finger on it. The inflection in the vocals. The ring of the drums. The chopping downward acoustic guitar. This song although having a very dark edge, carries a vibe of 60’s Height Ashbury psychedelia. Of the Mamas and the Papas. It covers a lot of ground stylistically. The vocals are full of piss and vinegar for how beautiful and resonant they are. This song is a jam that is hard to place in the box. Other than the box of I love this fuking song.

What’s left To Say – Just stabbing sun shard energy right out of the gate. Total bop feel with flaming guitar lines, biting vocals, and late 90s Brit Pop hooks. I just couldn’t stop my leg shaking on this one.

Overall Impact: This album is so full of twists and turns. A definite nostalgia feel, as well as a region one. I really felt the California connection in every song. I think this record is very accessible despite the complexity. It is a hard sound to describe but if The Church were being yelled at by Iggy pop to stop changing time signature and just play bops. That’s what I feel.

Christian DeathSpectre (Love Is Dead) Kill Shelter Remix – This song is a classic. Probably my favorite CD track. So how do you re-imagine something iconic? Give it to Pete Burns. Pete is such a master of the sonic scalpel cutting away tiny bits until you are left with such a precise and streamlined modern wave beam. If I had it in my heart to toss a grenade over my shoulder and purposefully stroll from a collapsing building, this is the track I want playing. It’s pure energy and dangerous intent. 10/10.

https://christiandeathrozz.bandcamp.com/album/spectre-love-is-dead-kill-shelter-remix

Overall Impact: Everyone will love this track. It’s very fresh, it’s very way back. It’s just a slamming banger from start to finish.

Deadlight HolidayBlood // Body – Our dear friends from West Michigan uncorked this badass single with some slamming sounds of Nu Metal and sizzling tempo Stabbing Westward vibes. Great production in the breakdown swirl. Loving these scratchy tear your head off vocals blistering past the crunching guitar. Also a gasoline covered dead man’s dance remix by Angelspit. I sense big things on the horizon from these young folk and I look forward to sharing a stage with them again soon.

https://deadlightholiday.bandcamp.com/album/blood-body

Raichyl SinversaYou Tell Me (Re​-​Mastered) – Remastered single from Raichyl of Philly. This is a nice crooning darkpop head bopper with an empowerment edge of 90s grunge. The guitar work is napalm scorched earth to contrast the lovely lifting vocals. A little bit of southern sass in the tone puts a nice edge to this “I’m not falling for your shit again” boot stomping driver.

https://raichyl.bandcamp.com/track/you-tell-me-re-mastered

Aesthetic PerfectionAutomaton (feat. Sebastian Svalland) – Ok I have a confession that will not win me any goth points. Aesthetic Perfection sort of happened right in the moment between when I gave up on discovering new music and the time I listened to nothing but. Daniel Graves has become a leader of the modern dark scene for a reason. So getting to hear this new single without much context is a really interesting way to stumble into the band. This track is a bop. With firecracker exploding chain guitar work by Sebastian Svalland. It is also produced by Front Line Assembly legend Rhys Fulber. So I went in blind expecting cold razor precision on the production. Which is exactly what I got. What I was pleasantly surprised by was the range and voice charisma of Graves. It oozes with thick viscus grime and light footed cadence that keeps the energy constant and focused. The song also gives a tight compressed poetry of lyrics that convey a relatable idea in the modern era without an abundance of words. There is a special anticipation when you discover a band with a rich history later in their career and get to work your way back. I may have to do some of my reaction videos to some Aesthetic Perfection classics. Put your favorites below in the comments. Also buy this track immediately because it is a slam.

https://aestheticperfection.bandcamp.com/track/automaton-feat-sebastian-svalland

I Missed Posting For Bandcamp Day :( Yet here is some reviews.

It’s October my darklings, the month of spook, where goths can be goths. So I need to start thinking about my Halloween soundtrack. I’ll fire through the latest batwings and eye lashes of newt falling into my cauldron.

Swansect: Kill Pop Goth – Adrian is always thrashing like a madman in a new direction. Always producing something he hasn’t done and something I hadn’t heard a million times before. Track #1 Horse of Grass has this cool percussion driven guitar strike. Almost a folk goth tempo with vibrating underwater vocals. Track #2 Kain is my favorite and has this sinister Tones on Tail Daniel Ash sex appeal. The words are in Norwegian telling the story of Cain. I love the old school batcave rockabilly riff. Swansect always takes you to a place in your mind with the music, and usually that place is a nightmare.

https://swansect.bandcamp.com/album/kill-pop-goth

SpankTheNun: The Bunker Tapes II – This album is mixed by the legendary Claus Larson (LeatherStrip). Out of Texas Eric Hanes does a hard and nasty industrial, full of chant and eye beam precision. Track 2 Fight and Breed is a building whisper that holds aggression on a greasy chain to make a tension build you can feel on the back your neck. I think what really sets this above the bar are how clearly the vocals ring for industrial music. It has a bit of effect, but you can savor every growled line. Some amazing remixes here from Melodywhore, Sapphirra Vee, and Assemblage 23. My favorite track was Lies and Hate which unleashes a real Nitzer Ebb feel. I think what impressed me most of this album is how it never has to turn the volume up to 11 to hit you in the fucking teeth with it’s power. It’s a real skill to project that much rage without screaming.

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

Vazum: Rated V – Ok I know I recently reviewed the Detroit band Vazum, but they did this new release specifically for Halloween with a monster/ghoul theme. It’s stalking creature abomination horror full of heavy guitars and sinister keys. Zach unleashes and inner demon from behind his usually lovely lilting vocals to send a shiver up the spine. I said the same about the previous album Vampyre Villa but I love the use of 90’s alternative mixed into the horror. Emily has a soulful Concrete Blonde vocal style that is the perfect offset in every song. Each monster has it’s own tone and flavor, my favorite was Werewolf . This one really let Emily shine on vocals and truly laid out the primal transformation. Cool lyrical poetry, “Copper turns to gold, sell our gold for silver”. There is so much going on here stylistically. We had an interview with them last week (which will post soon) I am really bummed I hadn’t heard this to discuss before hand.

https://vazum.bandcamp.com/

Vanity Kills : Chapter 2 Enemy – Hard rocking cyberpunk from Cardiff UK. The real beauty captured here is the driving rock 90’s aggression of Helmet phase shifting into pixilated time dilation of club smashing electro-core. The intensity almost rides the line of metal. Yet the distinctive dance stomp is catchy and clean. For personal preference I wish I could hear more of the lyrics and feel the melody lines. The music really placed me in an empty room of drywall I found myself smashing out of, I wanted to know more about why. Favorite track was “This is Gonna Hurt”, it had such a punch it made me picture Clutch smashing synthesizers on a flaming stage. This one shows great promise for the future.

https://officialvanitykills.bandcamp.com/album/chapter-2-enemy

UnderTheSkin: End This Summer – New single complete with some outstanding remixes from Poland. This one is a Cure heavy darkwave bird of prey soaring on a night sky. Mariusz has a beautiful and captivating voice. The bassline of the song is everywhere beneath the soaring wings. A powerful track in crafting and execution. So who could successfully remix such a track? Ash Code, Shad Shadows, Kill Shelter, and Antipole with Paris. Now that is a heavy weight endorsement of some of the great production tunesmiths of our scene. A lot of individual flavor here for each remix on an absolute scorcher of a track.

https://underskin.bandcamp.com/album/end-this-summer-ep

Razor Hawt video with this one too.

Twin Tribes: Shadows(Matte Black remix) – Holy shit how did I not know this was coming out? Also why does Matte Black get to remix Twin Tribes and I don’t? Ok now that petty jealousy is out of the way, this is my favorite Twin Tribes song. The song I discovered them from. I didn’t even recognize it at first in the best possible way. This is everything I want from a remix. It has taken their glorious violet energy and fired it through a prism to create something new and beautiful. I am jaw dropped on the floor right now. Buy this immediately.

https://twintribes.bandcamp.com/

Panic Priest: When Daylight Disappears – Brand new single from Jack, and it’s another burner. Such a master of blending sizzling guitar licks and neon streaming synths. His bellowing baritone voice is an trap I can’t stop falling into. This song is a prayer to the darkness that surrounds us. I want to sit on a Chicago roof staring at the moon as the city sleeps below.

https://panicpriestngp.bandcamp.com/track/when-daylight-disappears-demo

Klack: Two Minute Warning (Depeche Mode Cover) – This is a beautiful cover with a beautiful and tragic story behind it. Claus Larsen (Leatherstrip) recently lost his husband Kurt after a long battle with sickness. It left a lot of medical bills and the community really rallied around him in this tough time. All proceeds go to assist their family. I’ve always loved this song and Klack of course didn’t disappoint to capture it’s energy and majesty.

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

After 2 Weeks of Slumber I Awake From My Coffin To Review New Music

So this last two weeks has been hard. I’ve had some personal tragedy that has made it hard to write. The work we do is important, and great music is being made. So I will try to fight through that and give some impressions of what i am currently listening to.

Night Nail – (FTL) – American transplants in Germany Night Nail have released another shadowsynth single. This time, their first foray with Cold Transmission and producer Pete Burn (Kill Shelter). It’s delicate, dark, and Brandon’s yearning vocals add depth and emotion. The video features Justin in more saxophone in darkwave music. I want all of this I can take. I feel this spells big things to come with their creative freedom on Cold Transmission.

https://nightnail.bandcamp.com/

My Velvet Cage (A tribute to Venus in Furs) – I often expound the idea that being focused on the past doesn’t help our way forward in this scene. However paying homage to the past is important. In this case a band of the past Venus in Furs who paid homage to The Velvet Underground now having homage paid to them in this tribute is a beautiful thing. This release off Wave Noir is a spellbinding bent knee compilation of talent showing love to a band important in this scene. It includes frequent friends of the page: Paris Alexander and Erine, The Stave Church, Human, Pilgrims of Yearning, Shad Shadows, UIU, and Ash Code, offering gorgeous renditions of these post punk classics. A must have for fans of old school post Punk.

https://wave-noir.bandcamp.com/album/my-velvet-cage-a-tribute-to-venus-in-furs

The Cult Sounds: – What Gets Done At Night – New single from Saint Louis traditional goth rockers The Cult Sounds. I love the bracing chopping finger pressing guitar. “The Devil he knows what gets done in the night”. Forcefully delivered lyrics with a midwest post punk seasoning. Bennett Huntley has a clear and ringing vocal style that pulls you in the laser beam. Everything I hear from this band makes me more excited.

https://thecultsounds.bandcamp.com/track/what-gets-done-in-the-night?fbclid=IwAR2ZwnW6dZ54OQUTKMdfHMnqBp8a-Mo17PF4oCRY-Ezhorqz6eO1RDuzMeA

Crying VesselPleasures For the Wicked – The newest release from darkwave masters Crying Vessel. Newly signed to Cleopatra Records. They have a deep horror movie creeping terror style. With dark pop sensibility and an emotionally narrative journey. Slade has one of those voices that adds pizzaz and theatrics in vocal inflection that keep you engaged and comfortable to let down the defenses and follow this emotional rollercoaster where it takes you. I feel so many retro Stranger Things feels with this record.

https://cryingvessel.bandcamp.com/album/pleasures-for-the-wicked

StoneburnerSoundsystem – Another new Steven Archer release, another completely new direction. Yes here you get the percussion body quivers I have come to associate with Stoneburner. It’s a cover album that really goes around the horn of his genre influence. Tracks like Frozen Sky from cEvin Key and Ohgr with a brash rising wave. KMFDM covers like Godlike are an explosive artillery assault. Then switching gears to goth rock cowboys Fields of the Nephilum with a measured ballad. The whole record is a prayer to the music that has moved him, and a vision of the future to come.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/

Hate Dept: New Ghost – Ok this isn’t technically something new. However Hate Dept and Steven Seinbold have been an important fixture of the Industrial scene for a decades. Recently he released a few of their early albums on bandcamp and holy shit. This was the intense sleazy industrial I didn’t realize my heart was yearning for. It’s broken glass and sassafras, full of dance drive and venom. If you are backfilling your collection with the past, I highly recommend. Also if you don’t have his solo project synth Stand Alone, you need to grab that as well. This was a golden ago and done at the top of the curve.

https://hatedept.bandcamp.com/

Vazum (Vampyre Villa) – The newest record from our friends in Detroit Vazum. I feel like this band is on the cusp of 90s retro. Everyone is currently on 80’s homage and they are leaning into grundge/Shoegaze. It’s a fresh and familiar addition with a very dark tone. I think this album could be a real breakout for them. In particular the goth anthem “Schema” is a true emotional show stopper.

https://vazum.bandcamp.com/

Editorial: Goth Culture is it time to bury the past?

When i write reviews one of the common traps I try hard not to get lost in is comparing every new band I review to one of the sacred dark gods of the 80’s and 90’s. It’s a pretty common tactic and lets face it an effective one. It’s easy to associate with what is familiar. Often feels like the world of goth/industrial/darkwave/new wave/ect has pretty much been discovered and artists are searching for ways to test the boundaries of what is possible and find some new ground. I figured I would take a moment to acknowledge this is a reality for a lot of people.

Continue reading “Editorial: Goth Culture is it time to bury the past?”