Sounds and Shadows Top Darkscene Albums of 2022

In the past four years the “Darkscene” goth adjacent movement has continued to expand at a glorious rate. Here at Sounds and Shadows I have seen a similar growth of our Music Review/ Webcast/ Facebook Group/ grow at an equally surprising rate. Trying to choose top albums of the year when the rate of interesting worthwhile music is firing out of a fire hose of content at an unprecedented rate is an increasing challenge. As always, I will do my best to draw attention to glorious new music that has moved me in some way. Thank you to all our supporters and please keep this scene alive. You are the lifeblood that makes it happen.

This is always so hard, I love so much new music. I started with about 136 bands I reviewed. With hard choices got down to about 60. I really want to make the bands I picked feel really special. Have you all know, I felt pain with every cut. So I am going to break this into genre categories a little.

Gothic Rock/Post Punk/Shoegaze

  1. Kill ShelterAsylumKill Shelter releases their third album Asylum, and the world has started to catch on to the soft-spoken genius setting the standard for this new wave. Featuring a slew of the biggest names of the scene: Stephan Netschio ( Beborn Beton) , Valentina Veil (VV & the Void), Karl Morten Dahl (Antipole) , Emanuel Åström (Agent Side Grinder) Alessandro Belluccio (Ash Code), William Faith (The Bellwether Syndicate), Ronny Moorings (Clan of Xymox). An impressive list of talent and experience which speaks to the respect Pete has catered as a producer and song writer. This album tackles an even darker theme of trauma and the most shocking pain of the human experience. Casting a light through a wide range of vocal prisms. The completion of a journey started just after Damage in 2019 and meticulously refined over four years.

Kill Shelter has done it again. Creating a personal emotional journey through post-traumatic stress with expert production and collaborative vocal performances that shine a light on some of the top singers in the scene. I can’t wait to release and rare upcoming interview on the Sounds and Shadows youtube page. We dig deeply into the process and feelings of one of the most important artists the modern era. When we speak to future musicians who are in the know about what influenced them in our time. Kill Shelter will be the Joy Division like name that trend setters were appreciating in the present.

Asylum [US Version] | Kill Shelter (bandcamp.com)

2) Aurelio VoltaireThe Black Labyrinth

Has it really been 13 studio albums for Aurelio Voltaire? This review is special to me. As someone who writes “Goth music with a heavy dose of humor” it is hard not to give credit to the OG that inspired me all those years ago. Here he taps into his own inspiration from an artist and film that burned a codpiece shaped scar into every 90’s goths soul. It appears we also share a passion for collecting every talented guest star he could cram into this shadow glass menagerie. Let’s have a look at this list.

15 members of David Bowie’s band spanning nearly every era of the Starman’s career from the pianist on 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars to the saxophone player on Black Star, Bowie’s last album.
The Black Labyrinth was co-produced by Mark Plati who produced the 1997 Bowie album, Earthling as well as the post humus release, Toy.

Other guest musicians included members of My Chemical Romance, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Vision Video, The Cog is Dead, Frenchy and the Punk, violinist extraordinaire Mia Asano, Ally the Piper, D and D songstress Ginny D and an international cadre of musicians making up the orchestra and choir.

The 20 song release is clean like twilight in a fantasy world briming with the mystery of a firefly forest and the pageantry of a catholic funeral. Voltaire’s iconic is the ringleader that ties together the spectacle. If you don’t know Voltaire, you have missed one of the most gloriously self-aware experiences in the dark scene. If you do you are in for a journey with one of the great bards of our time. Let goth music be fun. Let it be the giant melting black candle musical theater it was always meant to be. I both teared up and laughed out loud listening to it. You need this album.

The Black Labyrinth ~ A Requiem for the Goblin King | Aurelio Voltaire (bandcamp.com)

3) Secret ShameAutonomy – I am constantly amazed by the slippery edges and bursting intensity of the NC band. I’m just blown away by how many sonic emotions are crammed into this firefly jar. The haunting lilt of the vocals, the gnashing wolf jaw guitars, the shifty darting baselines. The production here is razor sharp. Anyone who says modern music lacks complexity is not listening to this. This is songwriting that is emotive, that transports you out of your own mind. Blending the best aspects of four genres to create something fresh and provoking. 10/10

Autonomy | Secret Shame (bandcamp.com)

4) IAMTHESHADOWThe Wide Starlight – Things you can always count on from a new IAMTHESHADOW release: 1) Pedro delivering the richest baritone in modern darkwave. 2) Soul baring poetry 3) Perfect precision of mix and master. Everything else about the sound is completely in the air. “The Wide Starlight” is an expansive new sounds full of twinkling stars over violet plains. The album came out on 10/14 and marks a turn towards hope which my soul has hungered for. Cold Transmission Music has been a fertile creative ground for Portugal’s premier darkscene act. This is a band that has continued to set the standard in European darkscene music that is constantly pushing their own boundaries and core sound. The truly greats make powerful songs while always redefining who they are

The Wide Starlight | IAMTHESHADOW (bandcamp.com)

5) The Cassandra ComplexThe PlagueRodney Orpheus and The Cassandra Complex have been entrenched in the concept of what we would later call “goth” music since before we had a word to describe it. They have toured with and played festivals with the biggest names in the scene. Starting in 1985 releasing 7 full albums and 3 live albums the last of which “Wetware” on Metropolis Records in 2000. 22 years we waited for a return with “The Plague” to burst forth with a ferocious new energy. Early releases like “Grenade” were thick with an aggressive political message. I fell instantly for this return of piss and vinegar spirit blended with fine blade refinement. A razor edge between emotional concept and ability. Although these are new songs tackling modern concepts of a post capitalism world, the album serves as a greatest hit record. Drawing on individual styles that run the range of their history. It doesn’t forget the tongue firmly in cheek humor, using wit to mock the face of power.

The Plague | The Cassandra Complex (bandcamp.com)

6) Golden Apes From The Sky – Berlin Germany based band which remains one of the most underrated post punk bands in the world. With Peer Lebrecht unmistakable and encompassing voice crooning poetic romantism that seeps under your skin. I loved the brighter expansive hope Christian, Gerrit, and Frank infused the guitar lines with. The change in concept from “Kasbek” displays another prism of range and proves Golden Apes story is far from over. I’m excited we will get an interview with them in 2023.

From The Sky | Golden Apes (bandcamp.com)

7) Christian Death Evil Becomes Rule – The most recognized name of the American Proto goth scene from Los Angeles “Evil Becomes Rule” marks the 20th studio album in a legendary career. In our recent interview Valor told me about EBR being a continuation of 2015 The Root of All Evilution. It would be easy to appeal to longtime fans, putting out similar albums in a fan friendly style. Some artists have wonderful careers doing just that. This has never been the Christian Death way. Always slicing the edge in every incarnation. Evil Becomes Rule took me to a new place I never expected. A shadow psychedelic blasphemy of triumph blending world beat Dead Can Dance and roaring power of Judas Priest. Maitri’s vocals are highlighted like never before and cast a sinister ritual of power.

Evil Becomes Rule | Christian Death (bandcamp.com)

8) Pilgrims Of YearningHadal – Long awaited release from Boston transplants POY which hits the mark perfectly. I love hearing a band grow from album to album by keeping the mystical wanderlust that made their sound stand out, yet graduating their production and layering to make the energy sharper. Juls voice captures a haunting Siouxsie Superstition” 90s vibe while the guitar rhythms fold and dart like a weaver on a loom. This is a band that really exposes their story with brazen courage and beautiful delivery. A contagious spooky tendril of psychedelic darkness winding around your vision. This is a band I have watched grow and refine. It fills my heart to watch the maturity and ascension of their sound and wisdom. I can’t wait to see the next path of their journey.

Hadal | Pilgrims of Yearning (bandcamp.com)

9) The Burying KindTragic Airwaves – I may be too close to this record. Enraptured by the story surrounding it. I can’t help but be struck by the staggering beauty and truth of it. It was this thing I got to watch grow and refine from infancy into something that mattered. Something that transcended genre and the music business. An abstract feeling that wells within you in solitary moments, a place of memory and blurry edges. This 12-track full length is a solitary lighthouse on a grey shore with Scott-David‘s romantic tragic poetry delivered with piercing emotional impact. The music is layered and complex for decerning listeners to unravel. I love nothing more in this high-speed age than hearing the time and intent that went into an artistic concept. It’s a presence and weight that gives every listen a reverence.

This is an album for connoisseurs. For fans of My Bloody Valentine and The Cure a like. It is a place for diving into mystery and unraveling the depths of something that doesn’t come simple in a world where everything is designed not to make you think harder. We used to rejoice in music that made us swim beneath the surface. It’s time to rejoice in it once again.

Tragic Airwaves | The Burying Kind (bandcamp.com)

10) Mark E MoonLux Vindictae – New lineup, new sound, and explosive delivery from Isle of Man shadow croon gothic rock Mark E Moon on Cold Transmission Music. A blazing light of vindication as the title states. The first single Blacklight bursts through a wall with shaking intensity. The drums pound relentlessly as Mark delivers confident sadness tinged with raw fury. Phil is spinning barb wire distortion in precision loops. The black mirror reflection of Shelly Rourke on vocals as contrast Mark’s cavern shaking Eldrichesque power. As the engine roars down an unlit highway this album swerves in tone and style without warning leaving you always on your heels. Mark really throws his soul into the vocal delivery. The tracks are all pure heat and poignant, each under 5 minutes.

I think two main changes stand out in contrast to 2021 release “Old Blood ” 1) the extreme nature of the peaks and valleys in tempo and style. This album runs the spectrum where Old Blood worked to perfect a singular idea. 2) Rourke’s vocals have really found a sharp and resilient force to break the power of Mark’s tide. In particular track 4 Drowning is a gorgeous ballad of imagery that highlights the new sound with strongly defined lines. It shows a passion and maturity of song writing that portrays subtle differences in depth as you sink below ever darker waters. I love the panning synth lines. The background to those glimmering delayed guitars flickering through the pressurizing water.

Lux Vindictae | Mark E Moon (bandcamp.com)

11) Black Angel The Black Rose – I know, I did an 11th album. I just couldn’t bring myself to leave this record off the list. It is so haunting and rock heavy in a time goth music wants to be anything but. Matt has this amazing ability to capture the sleazy opaque waterfall of endless motion regardless of tempo. The vocals by Corey Landis and Maneesha Jones are the perfect seasoning on the dish. I have a confession that will probably have me cancelled by the true metal folks, my favorite Ozzy is “No More Tears” and that includes Sabbath. This album hit with that same timeless power. As long as Matt Vowels is cranking out records, this guy is buying them. Someone really needs to sign him.

The Black Rose | Black Angel (bandcamp.com)

(Special Mention) Cleopatra RecordsThe Unquiet Grave – Growing up in the Velveeta Valley suburbs of Detroit in a time before the Google search, Spotify playlists, Youtube suggestions, and Sounds and Shadows I had a sacred ritual. Once a month I would coat myself in black from head to toe and pedal my bike to a mini mall which contained a record store. Here in the new CD releases I would take my caddie/busboy money and purchase the latest Cleopatra Records sampler. Now these compilations took many themes, tribute cover albums, up and coming goth bands. This was how you found the next band that connected you to the wider world. I would race back home, tear apart the packaging and dream of one day seeing my own name in the liner notes. This ritual mattered, it made me feel connected to other kids like me that I didn’t know. Somehow, I knew they were out there. When I saw Procession Magazine bring back this series of goth compilations, my faith was confirmed. To see one of our songs, appear here, that dream has finally come true. So, I welcome you all to join me in my room, as I light a candle, press play, and journey into the macabre world of “The Unquiet Grave” searching for dark diamonds in a cruel sea.

Procession Magazine Presents…The Unquiet Grave: The Final Chapter | The Unquiet Grave (bandcamp.com)

Industrial/EDM/EBM/IBM

  1. Curse MackeyImmoral Emporium Instant Exorcism moves beyond the prophesy of a post capitalism hellscape and dives into a meat and bone reality. A bizarre of debauchery and barter where every sin in imagination is on display and the price of souls are always plummeting. In a time of surface shimmer and digital commodity the Immoral Emporium casts a sharp reflection that burns to the core of the decay of empathy in the modern age. Instant Exorcism was raw and biting, a mad profit’s fervor. Immoral Emporium is a cleaner enticing beacon. Drawing the listener to their own corruption with shining golden salesmanship.

There is something about the level of narrative imagery and production expertise that stuck me about this album. It haunted me like a re-occurring nightmare, a prophesy of danger that hangs above our future. Curse has been such an impressive part of shaping Industrial music while a part of someone else’s project. It is incredible to see the darkness he is able to articulate when left at the helm of his own vision.

Immoral Emporium | Curse Mackey (bandcamp.com)

2) ESA Designer Carnage – if you are talking about the modern evolution of EBM (Electronic Body Music) British act ESA and Jamie Blacker have to be part of the opening discussion. This is an artist who has truly defined a genre by meticulous craftsmanship of the musical and visual idea of bass beats so shattering, you feel them in your bones. This album had multiple singles in our Darkscene Singles Chart. Jamie continues to be an innovator in the field of expanding the definition of Electronic music for another generation.

Designer Carnage | ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) | ESA (bandcamp.com)

3) <PIG>The Merciless LightRaymond Watts has continued to evolve at an exponential rate. Rather you are speaking of music, personal growth, or human interaction. The industrial progenitor has bounced around the boundaries of what this genre entails for decades, to keep the punk rock ethos of the original concept alive. I love the crushing jagged grind of this record, while hushing the edges, letting the menace whisper and hang in the air. Bringing in an all-star line up of contributors Abbie Aisleen, Jim Davies, En Esch, Mark Heal, Jimmy Livingstone, Mona Mur, Mike Watts. This album brings so many emotive hooks that really highlight how good Raymod has always been at conveying emotions in a compressed infectious package.

The Merciless Light | PIG (bandcamp.com)

4) Silver WalksVarious Positions – I met Daniel McCullough near a dumpster behind Cold Waves in 2019 and heard “Lantern” in 2020. Immediately I knew this album was going to be something special. Dan is one of the most underrated song writers in modern electronica. The people in the know, they understand this. I hope this album is what makes that clear to the scene at large. I think one of the first points to strike me, all but one song are over 5 minutes. In a world of short singles, Various Positions is stretching your dance floor endurance. While making EVERY song a banger. Infectious dance beats that ebb and flow in texture, with razor blade twists. You can really hear the patient precision that went into each song’s construction. There is a thematic post apocalypse spiritual journey that makes me close my eyes and get lost in the story, while stomping in time to infectious hooks. This whole album rides a highspeed tightrope between progressive and ear candy.

This album also has a spicy list of A + contributors to bring Dan’s vision to light. Stella Soleil , Coral Scere, Tim Heireth,  Marc Heal,  James Francis, Eva X, and many more mixed lovingly by living legend  John Fryer. Part of the testament to this albums power are the names that agreed to be a part of it. Album art & layout // Joshua Mccallister
silver walks logo by Jim Marcus. Eric Oehler wizard shimmers the mastering. Photo of Dan // Kirsten Miccoli I just saw Dan thanked me in the liner notes, so now I am crying.

various positions | silver walks (bandcamp.com)

5) Dread RisksAutomated Disappointment – GiddyYip this DeathRock Electro Cowboy shit!” A wise man once said about Texas IndustroDoom band Dread Risks. That wise man was me. Releasing 3/25/22 on Re-Mission this album is a return to the meaner barb wire aggression of industrial music. As an evolution from the past this aggression is no longer aimed outward but directed at addressing and concurring personal trauma. I love the molten glass cutting attack and melodic beauty of the vocals. The overhand bastard sword swing of the drumbeats. Berserker rage in clean focus. This is the next great wave in electronic musical concept. I am enthralled with the idea that Industrial music still has fertile land to create new artistic ideas. I even got a thank you in the liner notes, my heart cries.

automated disappointment | Dread Risks

6) KMFDMHyena – This album brings you much of what you love if you are a fan of KMFDM. Bonfire bright drum beats overlayed with trash compactor crushing guitars. I think the biggest change from the KMFDM of my youth is the maturity of Sasha’s voice. It is a more mellow growl without losing the glistening sharp metal. This record is a culmination of injected circulation right into the dance gland. I really keep expecting for a lot of these old school Industrial bands to lose the modern pulse, I keep being surprised. I feel like this is a ban that grew up with me. Their sound evolved at the same rate I needed it to.

HYËNA | KMFDM (bandcamp.com)

7) AUTHOR & PUNISHERKR​Ü​LLER – San Diego, California artists put out this album that is a bit absurd in it’s scope. On paper doing captivating emotive singles in the 5-8 minute range should not work in 2022. Yet, anyone who hits play on this 8 song album is immediately captivated and washed over by the unnerving perfection of these hooks. This truly is something else no one is doing. It is so mysterious and fresh I don’t know how to process it. Which is a rare feeling in 2022.

▶︎ KRÜLLER | Author & Punisher (bandcamp.com)

8) Spike HellisSpike Hellis – After seeing them at the Skull Festival in Detroit this year, I haven’t been able to put this away. LA based electronic flamethrowers who answered the question if Alec Empire hadn’t pulled a 180 and became a cryptobro what would a cleaner crisper refinement of the magma fury become? Hearing Spike Hellis really helps me understand what is meant by “Electronic Body Music”. It is felt in the tissue as much as heard in the ears. The range of feeling on this chaotic labyrinth darts through every hidden crack of the human experience. It really must be heard live to fully comprehend ,but having a map of the recorded experience can go a long way towards grasping the subtilty of what is happening. I really need to line up an interview with this band in 2023.

Spike Hellis | Spike Hellis (bandcamp.com)

9) DogtabletAshes – New 5 song EP from Industrial legends Martin King and Jared Louche. I had the pleasure of attending a listening party at the Post Punk Industrial museum where Martin provided some background for these songs. I love the grinding and deliberate nature of these tracks. Track 3 “Careless” Feat: Coral Scere is a haunting and memorable collaboration that shows how Martin continues to get the best out of everyone he works with. Another amazing EP from a legend let off the chain to work with whoever he wants in a style completely their own.

If you are a fan of old school Industrial, this interview is MUST SEE

Ashes | Dogtablet (bandcamp.com)

10) Deathline InternationalPax Americana – Basically a COP International all-star collaboration which includes living legends like John Fryer, GW Childs IV, Angela Goodman, Steve Watkins, Licia Johnson, sinister guitar lords James Perry & SLam, and vocals by Th3Count. Transporting us to a smashing old school Industrial runaway train with modern clarity and aerodynamic tempo. I think the biggest challenge when bringing together this much talent and trying to give everyone a voice, is the director aspect. Giving everyone a chance to shine in the spotlight. This album really feels like a collaboration. Mutual respect placed in the atom smasher and obliterated into something fresh.

▶︎ Pax Americana | Deathline International (bandcamp.com)

Special Mention: Gasoline InvertebrateCracked Wax Battery – Brian Gaupner (The Gothscicles, Space Couch, TigerSquak Records) holds a special place in my heart. I feel a bit of twin spirit in how he approaches music. That feeling that music is an experience better shared. The visual of a Cracked Wax Battery is such a striking image. That bleeding yellow goop pouring out of an old battery carcass. Bringing in great artistic names that are also friends of a mutual vision like: Gopal Metro , Ed Cripps, Zoog Von Rock, and MORIS BLAK. A plasma whip of electronic dance beats cracking the air with aerobic intensity. Brian takes some of the jovial madness of Gothscicles off his voice and replaces it with hissing menace. The NES throwback energy of these synth lines are a nerdcore street cred of belonging. Gasoline Invertebrate always makes you feel inside the curtain.

Brian Graupner is inspiring to me in particular for proving to the goth community that our scene can be silly as hell and that is ok. I equally love that he has a project so serious and old school industrial crunch that it leaves no choice but to acknowledge his talent and craft. So, when he makes a Gothsicles album you know it was because he chose to be goofy as hell, which adds a layer of punk rock power.

▶︎ Cracked Wax Battery | Gasoline Invertebrate (bandcamp.com)

Synthwave/Darkwave/Coldwave

  1. Panic PriestPSYCHOGORIA – Speaking of world class baritone voices Jack never disappoints. New album released10/21/22 on Negative Gain featuring the crooning beauty and slashing guitar mastery of Jack Armond. The Chicago based songsmith always layers the club friendly dance beats with a healthy dose of guitar accents to make a truly distinctive blend. The tempo here is a fast-paced bop, but the bottom of a chasm on the vocals gives every track a sense of soul and foreboding. Every album gets tighter and smoother. Jack’s voice is one of those definitive sounds and elevates everything it touches, and his blend of organic guitar licks and prism explosion synths makes every album memorable. Psychogoria is the most impressive evolution yet. It’s time for everyone to recognize one of the great talents out our modern scene. I just interviewed jack and it will release soon.

▶︎ PSYCHOGORIA | Panic Priest | Midnight Mannequin Records (bandcamp.com)

2) Vision VideoHaunted Hours – Athens, Georgia pop goth stars have grown more in the last few years than anyone in my memory. The music is nostalgic, expertly crafted with the newest techniques, and delivered with a romantic stirring beauty too often lost in the modern scene. Dusty has an infectious glowing moonbeam of a personality which has made him a public figure outside of music. This band has truly achieved a fresh interpretation of everything you loved in 80’s goth spun in a centrifuge and launched back at you with electron energy.

Haunted Hours | Vision Video (bandcamp.com)

3) Rohn-LedermanRage – We love music because it has the power to change the energy inside us. To enhance, diminish, alter, the sounds and stories built by artists change our emotional chemistry. Emileigh Rohn (US/ Chiasm) and Jean-Marc Lederman (Belgium/ The Weathermen, Ghost & Writer) have found a balance in their own artistic chemistry beginning in 2021 Venus Chariot on COP International which has continued to refine in a centrifuge into a potent emotional catalyst. With this newest release “RAGE!” they have bottled a frantic and aerodynamic monorail careening over changing landscapes.

I would consider myself a coinsurer of the duo’s collaboration. How is RAGE! different from the previous releases? By being the culmination of a series of experiments to produce a sleeker, faster, more agile vehicle. To refine the fuel of Emileigh‘s lyrics into something that burns hotter with honesty and volatility. The songs all contain a defiance and anger. Not a heavyweight clumsy, smashing anger. A precise, defined glowing fury of purpose. The details and subtilty of the music are built like a virus in their elegance and destructive nature. The vocals hold a sharp edge without bubbling over. It adds a tension that forms the shading of the grand design.

4) The Birthday MassacreFascination – Chibi and company has done more to expand the cone of what is goth music than anyone in the last decade. This new album infused an intensity of emotion due to the band facing some serious real-life trauma. It is explosive like a foam cannon of feeling sprayed on a receptive crowd. There are certain records that ride the line between fantasy and precision execution so perfectly it is hard to see the lines. That is how this album feels. I keep waiting for TBM to run out of gas, and they keep lighting bon fires.

Fascination | The Birthday Massacre (bandcamp.com)

5) Null DeviceThe Emerald Age – Wisconsin based dark synth band with a new driving political statement full of spiraling hooks and razor edge tapestry. The perfect mix of this album is so economical it makes the motion and pace feel like a UFO that darts and accelerates in a way modern technology has not produced. The vocal duties bouncing between Eric and Jill feels like a conversation of perfect syncopation. This album came out in Nov 2022 and every time I hear it holds a familiarity and nostalgia that defies logic.

The Emerald Age | Null Device (bandcamp.com)

6) Minuit Machine24 – This release combining the amazing talents of Hélène de Thoury and Amandine Stioui is staggering for its quality as well as tragic because it might be the last pairing the two. Helene has suffered some health issues which have caused her to step back from the project for the time being. This EP is nothing short of breathtaking in it’s seamless pulsing sophistication. Every track harnesses an effortless magnetic vouge you can’t help but want to be close to. Amandine’s vocal’s ring through the air with every phrase like a struck chime. A haunting electronic overture that paints a perfect moment while promising what could have been.

24 | Minuit Machine (bandcamp.com)

7) HexheartFuneral Flowers – Seatle WA SynthBard Jasyn Bangert has a June release of cybernetic serotonin pumped straight into your brain. I love the “Upstairs At Erics” bopping light synth and nostalgic warms. These tracks wrap around you like a favorite sweater. The AI captivating vocal effects are a fresh note contrasting the synthpop throwback. Every track feels like a cult 80’s film you are the only one who remembers. I really want to hear a cleaner vocal for the next album, because it is the final step towards perfection.

▶︎ Funeral Flowers | Hexheart (bandcamp.com)

8) Sapphiria VeeAerial HumanSapphiria Vee has sprouted wings and taken to stormy skies with the newest release “Ariel Human“. A bracing new pace and sinister promise. Featuring a rouges gallery of impressive collaboration from Jean Marc- Lederman, Roger Ebner, then Mixed and mastered by sonic wizard Jules Seifert. Send your mind a flight. Sapphira’s ability to draw talent towards her with both her powerful voice and magnetic personality gives her access to a wide brigade of masterwork tools. As a producer she knows just when and where to implement each sound like a conductor in a symphony.

Aerial Human | Sapphira Vee (bandcamp.com)

9) Eva XI Dream Of Reality – The progression of shadow pop artist Eva X has been a magnificent sight to behold. After a series of singles and videos this full albums with impressive remixes really shows the elevation Gaby can achieve. A poetic blend of vulnerable beating heart, and higher concept science fiction that paints a wonderful journey while keeping the hooks high and tight.

I Dream of a Reality | Eva X (bandcamp.com)

10) JunksistaOA – This German based band on COP International is one I haven’t given nearly enough press to. Every time I hear them I am absolutely floored by the razor wire combination of owning a space in your head pop melodies and the way too cool to hang out with me punk rock attitude. It just drips with effortless expression and after party in the know. It is hard to hear this and not feel inside the most exclusive salon where everyone is invited. Speaking of invited the album features a who’s who of guest talent. This album deserves a special award for band I put off the longest to deep dive into that left me regretting every moment I wasted not knowing them.

0A | JUNKSISTA (bandcamp.com)

Genres Are Dumb I Just Love It

  1. Sidewalks and SkeletonsExorcism – I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sidewalks and Skeletons for the webcast and was really excited to expand my knowledge of the “WitchHaus” genre. When I first decided to dive in I reached out to a few friends: Kenzi Burke (FIRES) and Hunter Hunter (W/O) for suggestions. Sidewalks and Skeletons of England was one of the first suggested. I suppose going in I had some pre conceived notions of what “WitchHaus” meant, but I have to say I was presently surprised by the texture and diversity of sound on this album. From track one “Exorcism” a glitchy sliding bass beat slither of technomancer energy tendrils, to “Shadow” feat: Goo Monday with it’s throbbing electronic club pulse, this album rings with a clarity and precision that tells a winding story of internal energy. I kept being struck by influences I never expected to encounter like shoegaze and ethereal which gave the entire journey a slick and winding synthesis. I am always impressed when in 2022 I hear something new. A fresh blend of ideas from a chemist taking previous concepts and making new science. It doesn’t happen enough. It is happening here.

EXORCISM | Sidewalks and Skeletons (bandcamp.com)

2) Mona MurSnake Island – German Electro punk Icon released this guitar heavy banger of an album featuring Goldkind. I love the Avant guard crunchy slam poetry punk ethos feel. The individual tracks capture such a range of furious emotions but in the end always return to being a hard rock album. In a time where music is so plentiful and genres are so fractured, it feels refreshing to hear hard rock. The cover of Motorhead classic “Ace of Spades” the dripping with venom and intensity. The single Schieldwall is sun gleaming on a silver hammer smashing the quarry with reckless abandon. This record encapsulates what previous generations artists have to teach the next about how music can be the spearhead of a movement.

Snake Island | Mona Mur (bandcamp.com)

3) Josie PaceIV0X10V5 – 2022 was such a big year for Josie and Ken, Detroit’s Industrial Pop darlings. Fresh off a tour with Aesthetic Perfection they are winning over every crowd they are in front of. Josie is drenched in “It” factor from her voice, attitude, and look. This record is brimming with infectious singles, slamming beats, and a voice that laser cuts the darkness. Now on Negative Gain they are strapped to a rocket ship speeding towards superstar. IVOX10V5 is the perfect refinement album that will finally show the world what Detroit audiences have seen for a while.

IV0X10V5 | Josie Pace (bandcamp.com)

4) Kali DreamerOctober Requiem: 1988 – Derek Christopher turned me on to this Columbus OH artist who is doing a truly unique blend of old school goth and hip hop cadence with a macabre edge. I was immediately hooked, the poetry of the lyrics with the truthful confidence of cadence. You can’t mistake the terror rap elements of Esham in the dark lyric style but the talent and beauty of Kali’s vocals add a modern and gorgeous element. I was truly floored by the quality of this. I just don’t hear enough to surprise me with it’s uniqueness anymore. This album achieved that.

October Requiem: 1988 | Kali Dreamer (bandcamp.com)

5) Katy Needs A LifeWith Friends Like Bees – This is another special release. I feel like I watched it grow up. Born here right in Kalamazoo MI, in Collin Schipper‘s (Amaranth) studio, done by Katy May (Sounds and Shadows). This record is everything I love about ultra sad dreamgaze pop, with none of the pretention I often associate with the genre. Every song is a flailing arms, heart flinging, explosion of narrative intensity. The music of Reggie, David, and Jake is a furious and frantic cohesion of chaos and pastel dreams. Katy has a voice full of purity and unapologetic raw truth that blasts through a sea of cold ultra-produced crystal. This is such wonderous walking around with your own thought’s music.

This record is the first full length with the entire band and spells a glorious future for Katy and company. On top of that it is expertly mastered by none other than Jason Corbett (Jackknife Sound Studios) (Actors). I think sometimes those of us that do musical support of others get lost when it comes to our own projects. This is an unforgettable must have record.

With Friends Like Bees | Katy Needs A Life (bandcamp.com)

6) Lorelei DreamingRetold Fables – Long have I awaited this 6 track EP complete with wonderful remixes by Chicago dystopian pop princess Laura. It’s so clear and textured from their previous release. Laura’s voice breaks through the wall and takes it’s rightful place on center stage. The album opens with an absolute banger in Of Stars. I’m loving the rippling synth sounds to add a fantasy feel. Each song is a striding step forward for an armor clad paladin facing down the demons surrounding her. This album was so worth the wait and every song is an adventure. The remixes are a brilliant contribution with the likes of Kanga, Sawtooth, Eva X, Angel Metro, and more. I love seeing so many top tier ladies involved.

Retold Fables | Lorelei Dreaming (bandcamp.com)

7) SINEMantis Complete – Texas nightmare whisper artist Rona Rogueheart dropped this culmination of the Mantis journey in November. A thrumming David Lynch fever dream impossible to place in a category box. The album cover is so appropriate as an angler fish draws you through the underwater darkness with a glittering light, only to open it’s jaws and bite down on you. It’s sinister subterfuge with the electric tension of a great thriller. This record also includes some unreal remixes by the likes of Clan Of Xymox and Leatherstrip. A couple different singles here which placed on the S & S darkscene singles chart like my favorite track “Je Suis”. Another album that charts its own course into mystery.

Mantis 1 | SINE (bandcamp.com)

8) The PicassosExhumed – I love nothing more than the chance to shout to the sky about a gifted and haunting band in my own backyard of Michigan. We even have the honor of playing with them at Skull Festival 11/20/22 at Noir Leather in Royal Oak Michigan. This album which dropped August 2022 is a darting ebony fencing match of furious clashing metal that strikes and counters with such speed you lose sight of the precision in the illusion of chaos. Charles is a master chef of sound, taking ingredients with familiar tastes and adding a pinch here and a skosh there. Some Pixies, Nick Cave, Violent Femms, flamenco guitars, stirred in a pot, raising the heat. The result is a powerful and heady stew served with pageantry and soul. This is truly one of Detroit’s great talents of the decade.

Exhumed | thePicassos (bandcamp.com)

9) The Waning MoonThe Waning Moon – Wonderous new collaboration project from Zac Campbell (The Kentucky Vampires) , and Ariel Maniki (The Black Halos). Two powerhouse talents of the modern traditional goth scene forging an alloy of blackened metal which echos with loss and remorse. Unlike their more organic percussion based projects TWM features aa blistering tempo freight train which unshackles Campbell to terrorize the fretboard and Ariel to use a haunting cadence full of ice cold foundation and strength. Only 4 tracks on this EP, but each sets the tone for a future force that fills a need in fans who hunger for traditional goth.

The Waning Moon | The Waning Moon (bandcamp.com)

10) Sever The ServantsSever The Servants – Brand new collaboration that sprung from the Sounds and Shadows group. A world grinding doom tank apparatus rolling through a nightmare hellscape of Hide Tepes and Mike Nolen imagination. Stone walls on all sides as Hide starts filling the room with dank modular synth water. Mike who doesn’t usually do vocals hisses out a poisonous danger that left me floored and impressed. I hungrily await the future offerings of this project. A perfect synthesis of styles to form a stronger bond.

Sever the Servants | Sever the Servants | Sever The Servants (bandcamp.com)

11) AssasunSunset Skull – German song architect Alexander Donat of Vlimmer has changed gears once again with such a massive swerve proving once again there is nothing he cannot do. This new project is a psychedelic electro punk disco with shades of Tuxedomoon, Legendary Pink Dots, and Coil. It never solidifies into something familiar, it never quite strays into madness. A tightrope walk underwater. This record is almost disturbing in it’s creative Germaness. I can’t wait to hear what is next.

The World I Will Leave EP | ASSASSUN | Blackjack Illuminist Records (bandcamp.com)

12) VaselyneThe Sea Says – The Dutch duo Yvette Winkler and Frank Weyzig with the eclectic blend of rolling foam over a dark sea. This world beat blend of orchestral synth and organically woven vocals which hold a history in their entrancing delivery. Contrasted by sharp and vibrant guitar lines to add modern rock to the ancient mysteries. The PJ Harvey cover hits hard on my nostalgia bone but crafts a fresh and unique lens to the alt rock classic. If I ever go into a cave overlooking the sea and light a fire to dance shadows into the morning, this is the record I’ll bring.

The Sea Says | Vaselyne (bandcamp.com)

Darkness falls across the land The midnight hour is close at hand. Creatures crawl in search of the best in new darkscene music.

It is Halloween weekend, that special time of the year where everyone celebrates leaning into the darkness which our scene embraces all year long. As I get ready for an Amaranth show on Sat I will share some reviews of what I have been listening to during the spookiest of months.

Ashes FallenNew Normal – Brand new Single from Sacramento goth rockers, this one has this awesome Batcave B52s vibe. Energetic and dangerous like a twirling skirt on a dance floor. I can hear the curl of James lip on the vocal deliver. The keyboard has a Hammond B3 organ feel that adds to the Skoth Madness effect. banger.

New Normal | Ashes Fallen (bandcamp.com)

Cyborg AmokEtiam – Another quirky goth rock hybrid blend from the Father/Son NJ project. A definite psychedelic Syd Barrett meets Depeche Mode flavor. The multiple decades of influence, sharing music within your family really gives a unique sound and every song feels like a legacy and discussion.

released October 8, 2022

All songs written by Greg Bullock, (except, Golden Years, by David Bowie).
All songs performed by Cyborg Amok:
Greg Bullock: Lead Vocal and Synthesizers.
Brydon Bullock: Drums/Percussion and Backing Vocal.

Additional musicians:
Adam Vaccarelli: Bass on all songs (except Wicked Close).
Frani Lugo: Guitar on (Some) Sleep Tonight.

Drums, Vocals and “(Some) Sleep Tonight” Guitar recorded at Retromedia Studios, Red Bank, NJ
Engineered by Adam Vaccarelli.
Synths, Loops, Sequencing and some backing vocals recorded in GABWorx, Studio B, New Egypt, NJ
Engineered by Greg Bullock

Produced by Greg Bullock
Mixed by Adam Vaccarelli at Retromedia Studios.
Mastered by Mark Trewella at Full Circle Mastering, Ashville, NC

https://gabworxllc.bandcamp.com/album/etiam

Desmond DoomSurf​-​Goth EP – My favorite Shoegaze is The Jesus and Mary Chain style surf Shoegaze. It makes sense I fell immediately in love with Australian surf goth with a haunting blend of New Order Movement and the slushy cascading bop of The Ventures. A lot to get lost in here, people need to know about this.

Surf-Goth EP | Desmond Doom (bandcamp.com)

Secret ShameAutonomy – Currently out on tour with one of my favorite modern darkscene bands Vision Video I am constantly amazed by the slippery edges and bursting intensity of the NC band. I’m just blown away by how many sonic emotions are crammed into this firefly jar. The haunting lilt of the vocals, the gnashing wolf jaw guitars, the shifty darting baselines. The production here is razor sharp. Anyone who says modern music lacks complexity is not listening to this. 10/10.

Recorded at Drop of Sun June 2021 and February 2022 by Alex Farrar
Mixed by Alex Farrar
Produced by Secret Shame and Alex Farrar
Mastered by Carl Saff

Cover art by Lena and Aster
Cover photo by Jonny Leather
Layout by Nathan

credits

released October 28, 2022

Lena – Vocals, synth
Aster – Guitar, backing vocals on Zero
Matthew – Bass, synth, backing vocals on Hide, additional guitar on Accelerate and Pink Staircase
Nathan – Drums

Additional guitar and backing vocals on Hide by Lemon Malandra

Autonomy | Secret Shame (bandcamp.com)

METAMORPH (Margot Day)Kiss of the Witch – Lovely new shadowhouse from New York with the captivating Margot Day and produced by Erik Gustafson of (Adoration Destroyed). This is wispy ghost grind, club music with a captivating cyclone of soul circling the abyss. I love hearing Erik’s fingerprints behind Margot’s storytelling and delivery. A powerful combo to fill the room behind your cauldron.

Kiss of the Witch | METAMORPH (Margot Day) | Metamorph (Margot Day) (bandcamp.com)

Tears for ʇhe DyingEyes Wide Open in the Dark – I have an upcoming interview with the raw stalking intensity from the Georgia batcave project Adria Stembridge. The purple flame fury of her truth will make the hair on your arms stand up. You can really hear the devotion to early goth sounds in every track. Blood runs down the walls of my vision when I play this EP. A wandering chaos surrounded by tendrils or The Cure Pornography and sinister siren vocals full of Switchblade Symphony. One of those bands I really look forward to seeing live to fully appreciate

Eyes Wide Open in the Dark | Tears for ʇhe Dying (bandcamp.com)

KMFDMHY​Ë​NA – So this isn’t a band that needs my support. One of the well known voices in Industrial music. I recently saw them for this tour in Pontiac while seeing Bradley Bills of CHANT. This album brings you much of what you love if you are a fan of KMFDM. Bonfire bright drum beats overlayed with trash compactor crushing guitars. I think the biggest change from the KMFDM of my youth is the maturity of Sasha’s voice. It is a more mellow growl without losing the glistening sharp metal.

HYËNA | KMFDM (bandcamp.com)

Kali DreamerOctober Requiem: 1988 – Derek Christopher turned me on to this Columbus OH artist who is doing a truly unique blend of old school goth and hip hop cadence with a macabre edge. I was immediately hooked, the poetry of the lyrics with the truthful confidence of cadence. You can’t mistake the terror rap elements of Esham in the dark lyric style but the talent and beauty of Kali’s vocals add a modern and gorgeous element. I was truly floored by the quality of this. I just don’t hear enough to suprise me with it’s uniqueness anymore. This album achieved that.

Favorite Track: Hellbender – This was relatable, bouncing, heavy concept gorgeous flow. The guitar was a perfect contrast. Everything about this fusion sound is pure chef kiss.

October Requiem: 1988 | Kali Dreamer (bandcamp.com)

KMFDM’s Reunion Record ‘Attak’ Serves As A Memory Of A Post-Mass Tragedy World, And How Public Opinion Reigns Supreme

Being a mid-Nineties baby, I don’t have many memories of a world pre-Columbine or pre-9/11. I’ve been through my fair share of security checkpoints, I’ve been through my fair share of active shooter drills, and have been in lockdown situations more times than I care to count. It is a scary world we live in these days, but what doesn’t seem to change are the arguments we hear for the supposed causes of these mass casualty events. It’s the media, it’s the suggestible youth, it’s those damn foreigners, so on and so forth. To say that the music world was rocked by the events of both Columbine and 9/11 is to put it gently. Acts such as Marilyn Manson and Slayer were crucified in the media, but perhaps none was caught in the crossfire more than a band who had just disbanded months prior: the mighty purveyors of the “Ultra Heavy Beat,” KMFDM.

The band took a beating in the media due to the coincidence of their Adios record releasing on April 20th, 1999, the same day as the Columbine tragedy. Further, several of the band’s songs, namely tracks like “Son of a Gun” and “Stray Bullet” were quoted on one of the shooter’s websites ahead of the shooting, and of course the media added that and the band’s German roots and arrived at Nazism overtaking these poor lost souls.

Deep exhale of exasperation…

By the beginning of 2001, KMFDM reformed, and while Günter Schulz and En Esch opted not to partake, Sascha Konietzko and Tim Sköld, the remaining members, added singer Lucia Cifarelli, formerly of the band Drill, as well as previous co-conspirators Bill Rieflin and Raymond Watts. While En Esch lauded his creative freedom, Konietzko was happy to see a more positive creative direction, not to mention fewer egos driving the machine forward. Add to this a change of record label, from the commercially demanding Universal to the industrial-friendly Metropolis, and on March 19, 2002, Attak was released.

Fun fact: the idea was thrown around to use Middle Eastern writing to spell out the album’s title, which would have been written as Attaq, but after the shit hit the fan with Columbine, not to mention the all-too-recent attacks on 9/11, and even Kap’n K thought that was “pretty fucking harsh.” Good call, Kap’n. Of course, the next album the following year would be called WWIII, so you can’t say Sascha doesn’t know exactly where the line in the sand lies or how to cross it.

The title track “Attak/Reload” starts off with a vengeance, as Sascha softly assures “we’re gonna make you sorry for every word that you say…” What follows is an electro-heavy track with a mid-tempo groove. From the first chorus on, Lucia’s vocals dominate, doubled in the chorus by a robotic monotone. Lyrically, they’re challenging three years’ worth of frustration, singing about the “gravitational pull of delirium,” a phrase that’s aged a bit too well for comfort twenty years later.

Skurk” is a much more guitar-centric track, with a couple of sections of fancy fretboard footwork. If nothing else, it’s a good moment for Tim Sköld’s guitar work to shine, something it almost always does. It pivots into the sleazy “Dirty” and all of its Rob Zombie-esque glory (and I promise that isn’t an insult). We also get our first self-shoutout of the record, something of a signature of the band even today. If there’s a track that I could point at and be like “this, this is the quintessential Ultra Heavy Beat sound for this record,” the finger is pointed firmly at “Urban Monkey Warfare,” with its monster riffing and Sascha’s talk-singing verses against Lucia’s vocals in the chorus. 

“Save Me” is another song with a guitar for a backbone, as well as a fair amount of nu metal influence. According to Spotify’s metrics, it is the most streamed track on Attak, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s as radio-friendly as I’ve ever heard the band, the song as accessible as one can get. Things turn to dub on “Yohoho,” which is mostly chilled-out grooves with occasional guitar flourishes over Sascha’s whispered vocals. This is one of two songs with Raymond Watts getting a writing credit, and the influence is easily recognizable. “Superhero” is painfully Nineties in its construction, and even giving a wide berth between initial listen and revisit, it’s just not doing it for me. 

“Sturm & Drang,” however, which would go on to be the name of their 2003 tour, comes in like a bat out of Hell and doesn’t let up. An ultra-heavy beatdown of sorts, this one focuses on self-determination and the strength within ourselves, but does so not in a coddling way, but in a “hey dipshit, get up, get out there, and make shit happen” manner. Again, the guitar work of Tim Sköld drives this one onward, both in sheer riffing and his pre-bridge solo. Following is Raymond Watts’ lone lead vocal performance on the record, “Preach/Pervert,” with another shining example of the band’s signature sound, particularly in the sung-through-Watts’-gritted-teeth chorus. The one-two punch of “Sturm & Drang” and “Preach/Pervert” might be enough to sell some on the full record, had one never heard either song before.

“Risen” features a ping-ponging of vocals between Sascha and Sköld, with the latter chugging away on the low B. Forget about a one-two punch, the previous two songs and this make for a potent combination attack, which is a shame considering the final track “Sleep.” It feels like it’s trying to be too much at once, and while I’m glad to see Lucia assuming full vocal duties, that it’s happening on a meddling track like this is a bit upsetting, and serves as a snap back to unfortunate reality.

Those who long for the glory days of KMFDM, the En Esch / Günter Schulz era of the band are long gone. Is Attak on the level of say, Symbols or Nihil in the extensive catalog of Kap’n K and his merry band of industrialists? Maybe not, but all told this is an album that suffered due to controversy, rather than some of its contemporaries which thrived on it. Sadly, the idea of the mass media wanting to tear down something it knows precisely nothing about is something we’re still dealing with today, arguably more so than we were around the time of Attak’s release.

An in-depth interview with Modal Citizan

Who is Modal Citizan? Well, they’re a dark, alternative rock group based in Virginia. They recently came out with a new album, titled Control Alter Deplete, which S&S covered in a Bandcamp Friday review. Their members are Adam Fueston on guitar, Shaun Waff on bass, and Ryan Jones on vocals, keyboard, programming, and production.

Time for an interview!

First up, how did this project/group form?

Ryan: Excellent question! It started as an emotional outlet (side project) about two years prior to the band forming. The raw material was shared with various folks. Initially, everything was digital – no live instruments. It was recommended (by some music enthusiasts) to get some raw instruments onto the tracks. People pressed me to do so. So, I made some posts on message boards (Ads).

Ryan: Exactly.

Shaun: saw the posting Ryan had put online and said he was going to contact him and asked if I would be interested and I was thinking hmm 🤔 sure let’s hear what he’s got.. We all got together and had mutual interest and got to work.

Adam: I actually got some tracks and played to one of them and sent it back. Since then we have worked more organically and worked on a lot on the rest of record etc.

The bandcamp page cites “several influences from the 90’s”. What influences, specifically, were these?

Ryan: Adam, Shaun, you guys wanna take that next question?

Shaun: Ryan has crazy ideas for songs and we just keep building from those ideas and voila!

Adam: For me what influences us is so vast and encompasses a ton of different music but we all are def same age and of the era when the downward spiral came out and there was a lot of cross pollination of industrial and rock happening.

Ryan: Yeah. I’d say that, though we have influences from music with which we grew up, we’re definitely our own sound. We strive to break the mold and hold true to our own style.

Oh for sure

Adam: I went to see sister machine gun, KMFDM etc. during that time…Shaun was there most of the time ha ha we went to same school and are both from same town. I agree with Ryan 100 percent on that.

Shaun: There’s allot for me…I love classic rock, old metal, industrial.. Pink Floyd, skinny puppy, in, Chemlab, Tori Amos, ministry, etc.. It’s crazy how I really like allot of genres of music.. But what we create is pretty awesome.

Ryan: I mentioned to the guys, recently, that we have the luxury of being so far removed (years) from those sounds to the point that they’ve morphed into something different inside each of use.

This next one’s a question for the gear nerds out there, but also relevant to your sound. What’s your favorite instrument or piece of hardware you use? If not hardware, digital tools also apply.

Adam: Great way of putting it. I agree as well. As far as what I use with band since I’m the guitarist I’d say my Axe fx and I have an evh guitar that I used for maybe 70 to 80 percent of the album.

Ryan: I mainly use Arturia keyboards and f*ck with sounds all day long to get it to sound as sick/fitting as possible.

Shaun: I play a Strandberg Boden5 and a Warwick Taranis.. Love both basses allot.. Mesa cabs and Dark Glass gear.

Ryan: We’re a Logic Pro X shop

Adam: Yeah we work almost exclusively with logic although we will fuck with anything LOL I have same stuff at home.

Onward! What was the process of creating Control Alter Deplete like? It’s quite an extensive album with impressive mastering/mixing on it as well. How long did it take you, from conception to completion?

Ryan: First off…Thank you for the kind words. Wow. Conception to completion…Alpha to Omega…About a year. What’s quite interesting about that is…We created the Podcast in that stretch. Recorded/Mixed/Mastered and dished it out.

Shaun: 12-14 hour studio days, every weekend at least one day or two.. Lots of beer and chicken wings.

Ryan: Indeed, Shaun

Shaun: A lot of dedication.

Ryan: Yeah. We’re a no-nonsense, professional, respectful shop.

Adam: We def allowed some things to morph and some songs actually started from jams and weird things too so it’s interesting in that there appears to not be a def formula although a lot of songs come from Ryan first. Shaun is telling the truth abt the long hours and chicken wings…a lot of IPAS and dark beer as well 😂

Shaun: You have to love and nurture each song till you think it’s mature for the audience. And mostly we want to capture everything and not miss an idea.

Ryan: Yes! Yes! We create/jam to completion. When that emotion is fully captured (not cutting corners), we know we did it right.

Shaun: Definitely a work shop of ideas and honing

What does the album title mean? It made me think of the phrase “control alt delete”…is it a pun off this?

Ryan: Indeed. Glad you caught it!

Adam: Ryan can elaborate, yes it is.

Ryan: So, there is a correlation drawn between programs and humans / human emotions. I write software professionally (past millennia). So, to answer the question directly. The things we do in this life. Narcissism, hate, sociopathic mindsets…There is a process. Controlling something or someone…Altering it to conform to what you want…Then, the final act… Depletion. It’s quite interesting…The one that is initially in the wrong attempts those things. Then, the wronged, spin right back around and can use the same methods to win. Each element in programming as a similar facet. We create. The construct wrongs us. Then, we turn around and we create other constructs to eradicate those errors.

Shaun: It’s a vicious cycle really

Ryan: Indeed. Ultimately, no one wins. There is no escape. Which is why, on the album, there is emotional turmoil on conflicted feelings.

I like that explanation

Now, on the album art itself. There’s the aggressive insect-like figure, then your logo. Care to elaborate more on the creative direction here? What’s the story behind it.

Ryan: Oh. The Assassin Bug…Adam?

Adam: The album story actually deals with Gods law and the revenant is sent to eradicate sinners…the bug is actually an assassin bug.

Ryan: Yes!

Adam: Which exists to destroy the things that can harm the garden. Which is the purpose of the revenants…what God sends them to do anyway.

Ryan: Shoves that needle deep inside, injects poison, the insides turn to soup, the bug drinks the soup. Adam, exactly. Controls the prey, alters it, depletes it. Prior to the band forming, I saw that bug for the first time on the doorstep of someone that was literally killing me inside. I thought it was an alien or something. I snapped the picture. That exact picture was used on the album art. Everything we do has meaning. If it doesn’t make sense for the project, we toss it out.

Adam: That is true. We made a conscious effort to do songs that are part of the story. And cut a lot of things.

Ryan: We want people to be blown away when they start digging – or, pulling on the string. It keeps going.

Nice. Do you have any material planned for the future?

Shaun: There is still a lot of material in the back log to be worked.. And it’s coming.

Ryan: Future material? Exactly. As Shaun said. That’s an understatement – but true, in the least.

Adam: Seriously we are pretty deep into what will be the next release at some point.

Shaun: And allot of new ideas daily…Ryan has lots of ideas and keeps me and Adam on our toes.

Ryan: All true. I swear I get a new idea in my head a couple times a day. That goes for the music and the Podcast.

What creative direction would you like to explore in the future? Any stylistic exploration, dream collaborations, etc?

Shaun: It’s a crazy building process…

Adam: We feel like we wanna give people a chance to absorb this album so we are spending our time on the new stuff. We want to do some videos etc. for this one …the first of which will be for Crossing Over. Which has been shot and is editing and so forth at the moment.

Ryan: Yeah. We recorded Crossing Over (a full video product complete with cast and crew) last weekend. Regarding stylistic exploration…

Can’t wait to see it!

Shaun: And really special FX

Ryan: So, style…We’ve found something unique. Sean Beavan, Shannon O’Shea and others have talked to that. Our sound/style will continue on its special creative path.

Adam: We actually have experimented with lots of things we don’t really have rules. We did a track with a dub step artist and applied 8 string metal guitar to that. We try all sorts of different things to keep it interesting and enhance what we do. As long as it feels right and is Modal Citizan.

Ryan: Believe it or not, it’s quite difficult to create songs that don’t follow the standard verse/chorus formula and still make them incredible.

Shaun: I feel the sounds and style will be consistently getting more creative but hold the edge it has currently.

Ryan: Agreed

Shaun: Hell yeah!

Ryan: We groove to our own rhythm. Maybe it’s because I grew up on Motown and The Doors and Manson and Nails. Some of our riffs and grooves are so nasty. My penultimate statement may be why.

Adam: We could def play you some things that are going way outside of what is expected stylistically. We allow ourselves to try everything. We will talk abt Michael Jackson and James Brown and even try to pull inspiration from that too. It’s literally anything and everything that moves us.

Ryan: Indeed. #SocialInhibitionist.

Photography credit to Gigi Hoggard

Review of “Pain Is God”

A name that needs no introduction a synonymous part of Industrial/Electronica music for as many decades as I have on this earth Raymond Watts has a new album. Rather as <PIG>, KMFDM, Schwein, or countless remix collaborations for everyone in the scene Pig has continued to leave a mark for the effective sound smiting and adventurous forays into every nook and cranny of the EDM spectrum. No filth or madness was too deep for his snout to seek out truffles in.

https://pigindustries.bandcamp.com/

The new album is a 14 track journey “Pain Is God” through the sleaze glam neon dustbowl. Through all of it you hear a cleaner more blended offering than “Pigmartyr”. Even through the carnival of chaos the narrative of each song rings through the crunching haze of guitar and effect.

Doing this interview was a dream come true for 18 year old Ken. I feel like we had a wonderful discussion that revealed a lot about the man and what went into this album.

Favorite Tracks:

Pain Is God – We drop in on a booming bass wave rolling towards you like the ocean. Glitchy star holes of electronic sound build towards a chorus of gospel choir. Using the beauty of faith music as a sacrilegious tool of excess.

Rock and Roll Refugee – Rockabilly disco and palm muted gutter drive builds to a hook that gives ode to the power of rock. Our gospel choir returns to build the power. I love a good poetry serpent with a hard cadence delivery and this verse lays on the sickness.

Deliverance – I love this strange offbeat crooning ballad. Once the string sound drop in the tone shifts. This is the heart of the revival tent and the fever eyed preacher is working the thrum. Raymond’s voice takes a 90’s Leonard Cohen flavor. This one drips with soul and sends everyone’s voice calling to the sky.

Kicking Ass – Love the sample into old school 90’s industrial slash and burn. That guitar riff is thick as a vault door. I love the whisper of secret sins vocals. A lovely sheading blues guitar solo drops out of nowhere and takes over the tone.

I hear in this album an excited and invigorated Raymond Watts who has found his heart and centered his focus. It has a pulse, it sings a story, it reminded me what someone off the chain playing music they are in love with felt like. I want more and I want to breath it live. Long live the <PIG>