One of the major changes in dark music I have seen and loved lately is that the genres keep getting more diverse and expansive to include non-traditional ones that now fall under the umbrella of “Goth/Industrial”. Here comes Ashes Fallen from Sacramento CA, putting the rock back in gothic rock. The lyrics are dark and intense but James Perry is a freaking guitar wizard and really lets that shine in a classic guitar heavy style. His voice is punchy with a bit of gutter growl and has more Judas Priest than it does Fields of the Nephilim. Yet you still hearing lines like “Crown of Ashes” while being lashed by the whip of blistering finger burning guitar solos.
Speaking of rock sounds, no electronic drums here. Nice clean driving snare snaps and toms booming like thunder. It’s something you just don’t hear as much of these days and it really gives a fresh feel that adds a lot of motion. I think this album creates such a big potential for crossover between standard rock fans and goth fans to find that place in the middle. It’s not an easy feat to ride that line but James and company have stayed on the crest of the wave and the effect is powerful.
So the album has 11 tracks and a bonus, lets talk about some standouts.
Blood Moon – The single track is so fierce in its frantic tempo and crunchy guitar riffs. The vocals have a really nice blend of rock cadence and chorus-rich goth sound. I love how it jumps around with those tiny touch finger tap riff that keep a heavy buzz.
Never Again – This track has this southern twang acoustic with a ferocious emotion in the vocals. It drips with regret until this sky splitter chorus change and pop hook. It puts me in mind of great rock ballads like Faster Pussycat with a lot of Nick Cave spit and vinegar. “I’ve gotta move on now no more tears”
Little Vampire – Subtle tiny notes on this lovely guitar riff. I love the swelling symphony strings. Look their is so much hard rock on this album but these ballads are what really hooked me in. James opens up his voice here into the high range and shows the beauty of his singing to match the guitar wizardry. Goth girls need love songs written about them too, and I am here for this.
Overall I feel like this record was something lost and made relevant. Because all gothic rock music was an offshoot of rock first. I love how much Ashes Fallen just leans into this and owns it. It has a lot of the raw feelings exposed in the lyrics, but a throwback feeling to big sounds and Marshall stack mentality that I think sometimes bands in this genre secretly like but shy away from embracing. Go listen and embrace it with them.
Code – voices, guitar, synthesizers and programming. Vitor
J. Moreira – Synthesizers. Herr
G – Bass, guitar.
All lyrics by Pedro Code, except “Remembrance” and “Flowers come winter” (Poems by Friedrich Holderlin). All songs by IAMTHESHADOW; Guitars on “The skin” by Karl Morten Dahl Spoken voice on “Remembrance” by Chris Göllnitz. Mixed and mastered by Pedro Code. Artwork and photos by Butow Romey.
Wow, this album absolutely blew me away. I don’t say this lightly. I keep listening to it over and over and I truly don’t know when I will hear enough. As we all know by this point I am an absolute sucker for a truly exceptional vocalist especially one that writes engaging lyrics that capture the darkness of the human spirit. Pedro Code’s voice is like a perfectly cut silk suit hanging on his form. Dripping with sensuality and beauty. It’s one of those sounds where you can truly hear the aesthetic of the artist just in the music before you even draw a picture in your head. It is deep and rich. It folds on you with it’s warmth and strength. I am reminded so much of Peter Murphy’s solo work by the effortless androgynous beauty of the melodies and high brow dancibility of these songs. Honestly if the music had been mediocre I still would be drawn in by this band. THE MUSIC IS NOT MEDIOCRE! Victors keyboards are creative and lovely. Wrapping the music in textures of Tones on Tail, Bauhaus, and more modern aspects like Bella Morte. The drum beats are tight and fierce. Herr G’s bass lines are driving and structured. I am honestly hard pressed to think of any of these aspects that are not firing on all cylinders. You can tell these are peak musicians who know and love each other because of the seamless communication happening in the song writing process. This is dynamic music that swells and falls through emotion but with an effortless simplicity of leaning against a pillar smoking a cigarette and just looking cool.
This album takes me back with it’s nostalgia but it also propels you forward. It has delicious pop hooks over the top of that thick bass lines. As a singer it is so difficult to have music with this deep romantic style and not sound cheesy, this album manages to transcend that cheese and have a truth that teeters just on that edge of too much. To attack the dark beauty observed in life with such reverence and passion. IAMTHESHADOW manages to stay just this side of a very serious concept without losing sight of itself. Understand how much respect I have for what was done in these songs. I’m truly at a loss right now. You always want to be moved and feel something . Add on top of this already amazing sound the the distinctive guitar sound of Karl Morton Dahl on “The Skin” and you have a memorizing creation which steps outside of itself and pushing the feelings within you.
The Skin – I am absolutely enamored with what is happening on every track here. However this song features Karl Morton Dahl of the incredible band AntiPole. His trademark textured guitars rich with notes of New order Movement/Reeves Gabriel – The Cure sound are plucking away like a gentle hard while Pedro is crooning a dark melody “Regressed I killed silence inside you, our flesh meets.” It’s romantic, it’s heartbreaking, it’s an intense wash of beauty.
Remembrance – The spoken word on this song is frightening in a Alester Crowley slippery drawl. The keys rise and swell. This is a deep cut that truly cuts with it’s emotional impact and sliding melody. Victor shows his ability to create subtle textures with keyboard lines and strike you with an avant garde style reminiscent of old Bauhaus tracks. Pushing you further into the place beyond your understanding. A place of imagination.
Closing – This is a dance hall burner with a falling minor key tone. It creates tension while the drum beats make an early New Order sense of loss and movement. Then Pedro’s voice is filling the space, filling your mind. During the bridge the song brightens and opens up with a dramatic flare. You are filled with a sense of hope dream like state. This song is the full gambit of emotion.
Overall this album is so strong, I know you can hear the gushing tone of my writing hear. I was moved by these songs. Shaken by the depth and the intensity. Pedro has a voice that is deep, sensual and beautiful. I needed this album, needed to hear it over and over. Buy this album and embrace what is possible when darkness touches the truth of artistic spirit. I can’t recommend this enough. In July I will get to witness this preformed live at the Cold Transmission festival in Cologne and I look forward to a transcendent experience.
Code (IAMTHESHADOW) All songs composed and recorded by. Matt Howden –
Violin on “Made to Break. Herr G – Bass on “To Give” Victor
Moria – Piano “Through empty Spaces” Goncolo Mota – Piano “To
the Moon” Mastered:
Cover Photo by Zinblume
I have been so lucky to find a waterfall of bands I love and get to write about. Sometimes I come across something truly transcendent,. Something that takes the depth and darkness of human nature in a way that wrenches your heart, but strikes such beauty that it fills you with rapture. It’s like standing in the rain staring at the place you first met them and remembering they are gone forever. That is what it is like to hear “The Certainty of Forever” 20 glorious tracks laying out a story of heart felt passion.
Sometimes when I have a particularly difficult review to describe I focus on a single word to anchor me back to the concept I am hearing and build on it. For The Dream Collision that word is resonance. It resounds with you emotionally, in depth of the lyrics, with the balance of the instruments, with Pedro’s room filling voice. The enormity of the experience inside the vastness of emptiness in the space between.
Pedro Code (IAMTHESHADOW) has laid himself raw and exposed in a Nick Cave meets Dead Can Dance masterpiece touching such classical notes of emotive power. The gentle weight of the piano lines pressing on you while you are caressed by violin and lifted from below by rich bass lines. The sound is tender and full of anguish, I felt myself moved to the point it became difficult to take in all at once.
Pedro has brought in friends and family to create a true glimpse into the core of a human contemplating his darkest musings. His voice remains one of the most intense and lovely in the genre. The connection he feels with the people creating this record with him is so apparent in every track. Each song is a story of his love and fears free of pretense. I challenge you to not be stirred by this personal offering.
I had some standout tracks I felt
really spoke to me:
Cutting Deep – This tender and flowing ballad with string movement and sensitive melodies set a stage for Pedro to shake the silence with his romantic baritone. “Maybe some colors, I can achieve. Life is so wrong, in me. That it cuts me deep in.” The exposed anguish on display here is memorizing. The question “Am I so wrong, am I so sick?”
Blackbirds – These Peter Murphy flowing synth pads weave a web behind a gentle spoke word verse. The piano lifts the tension. “But the lines won’t break, blackbirds stay here” The silky flow of the strings brushing a finger until the drums grow and open up the sky. It’s impossible to not feel the passion of delivery and become lost in the beauty of the moment. His voice goes to the higher range and finds a hopeful tone.
It Seems Like (Mother) – The back draw drums paving a place for the piano line. The haunting delivery of his lyrics, the feeling behind them is transferable. He flows in and out of the meter and calls out with gentle longing. “It seems like the snow fell, it’s true. The sky dropped that night, on you” beautiful heartbreak and exposed courage.
I am a huge fan of what Pedro does with
IAMTHESHADOW. It’s music to feel and listen to. This album though
strikes such an inspirational and personal place. It feels like you
were let inside someones more dangerous feelings and memories. I’m
Awestruck, share in the experience with me.
(Ken) This album left me shaken my friend. The depth of emotion here is beautiful and terrifying. Tell me about the themes present in your creation? what moved you to make it?
If it makes you feel and shake, my job is done…:D to tell you
about my songs is to tell you about my life…my dreams, my despair,
my love, my pain… to compose The Dream Collision is to face my
demons with my angels, letting them fight knowing no one will win. i
just pick up the pieces of what is left.all
this songs are what i am, putting all simple…
Your son and friends played on a track. Tell me about that experience
and your pride in his ability?
‘ (Pedro) My son made one song… “To the Moon” in piano… he was playing at my house and as soon i listened i was overwhelmed by what i was listening and i told him” you will record this to my album!”. I did the second pianos and the atmosphere involved in the track… I know and feel he could be a great musician, but he doesn’t know that yet. I’m especially proud for whom he is, and that he has one of the best parts of me… my passion for the piano. For this album I also decided to invite some friends to play… Vitor Moreira and Rui Geada from IAMTHESHADOW, I wanted to have their emotion on this album. it was achieved I believe. I had Matt Howden too, without need of presentation. he is a great violinist. I’m extremely proud to have all these names in my Dream, sharing my emotions. I can not forget the person that made all this possible…Sandra (Zinn Blume)., my best friend and a true light in all this dark.
This album was so organic in a digital age of modern dark music. Was
the contrast on purpose and how did that lend itself to the final
Nothing is on purpose in what i do in music, I only speak my truth
from the heart. The base is always the piano and the image i had
inside while composing these songs, they led me to the final result.
I cannot tell you. If i could have, I would had a true orchestra
recording besides true analog synths..for me the music is not old or
modern… is just true or not.
How was making this record different emotionally from IAMTHESHADOW?
(Pedro) For me they have for me the same depth and emotion…but the result..the final impact is very different. and what I’m trying to say is that as a listener, i feel these two projects in a different way, but the way i write is the same. I don’t write for Iamtheshadow or The Dream Collision. i write for me, because i need to. The Dream is more raw… with no compromises. Iamtheshadow is for obvious reasons compromises my band mates.
Tell me about where you recorded the album and how did that place
influence the sound you made?
don’t really influence my writing. Only the places within myself and
the doors I open for it…i recorded the record at home as i always
do.. It’s necessary for my emotional state and nothing besides me
or what i feel affects the way i compose.
What is next for The Dream Collision ?
I sincerely don’t know… sometimes i feel that this album is a great way of ending my Dream…but on the other hand… i don’t want to end me. Is like life. I take it one day at a time. Sometimes i think of playing live…lets see .
This album has such personal lyrics and expression, how did you
overcome the weight of that and what did it mean for you in terms of
your growth as an artist?
can never seem to overcome the weight of my feelings and emotions..
its a everyday struggle…my music helps me to deal with that, to
know myself better and i just hope it helps me to grow as a human
being. If i achieve that i will be a better artist. Sometimes when i
listen one of my finished songs, I understand more of who i am, why
i feel what i feel, and what i want from life. In someway I know its
my purpose. to feel this and to compose this.
If you could add this album as the soundtrack to any film, what
would you choose and why?
That is a difficult one….i can imagine The Dream Collision in many
movies, because of the pace, motion, intensity…There are some good
films that are passionate, intense and somewhat sad, but no film in
particular. I will ask you the same question. what film would
you choose for this songs? My songs are feelings, experiences
and images inside me. Its difficult to connect it with a vision from
Its one of my dreams i didn’t achieve yet… to do a soundtrack for a movie and i expect that i can do it soon enough.
If I get to pick I would choose “Wings of Desire” the film by Wim
Wenders. The imagery of the traipse artist with the angel watching in
the background, I feel like it the perfect counterpart.
You are playing the Cold Transmission festival in July. I am beyond
excited I will get to see you preform live. What does this festival
mean to you?
(Pedro) Yes it will be a great pleasure to meet you finally! I am excited to be with many friends I haven’t seen for some time, like Andreas and Susan! I know it will be a great night of music with great bands. Iamtheshadow have been playing some festivals in Europe in the last few years and its always a great experience. Its something that is unforgettable. To share all this emotions in a festival.