The newest offering from Stoneburner now on COP International is now available and Steven Archer keeps finding ways to ferociously raise the bar in modern industrial music. Teaming with COP International and adding in a legendary producer like John Fryer [NIN, DM, Cocteau Twins, etc] pushed the precision and clarity of message. To create an album full of ruckus noise and chaos which focused on lyrical message about a giant wolf god reigning apocalypse on a world that had lost it’s way. The metaphor tackles hard truth in everything from feminism to mental health. Crushing percussion and uncharacteristic pop hooks combined with wry wit to sling shade at the industry from within.
In true Steven fashion there is also a mystery to solve within the album:
We offer the physical as well as a digital version of this album and tried to figure out what could entice you the unsuspecting fan to get the actual CD. So Steven came up with an elaborate scheme. Within the artwork of the CD version is a hidden puzzle. Solve the mystery and get eternal bragging rights! You will also get a secret email address. If you are the first person to crack the riddle you will receive the original piece of cover art.
Currently on a must see tour to support. Find Stoneburner passing through your city:
10/15 Fallout, Richmond VA10/21 Darkotica, Cincinnati OH10/22 Small’s Bar, Detroit MI10/29 Mr Small’s Funhouse, Pittsburgh PA10/30 Dracula’s Ball w The Crystal Method @ Underground Arts, Philadelphia PA10/31 Ivy City, Washington DC11/3 Red Sea, Minneapolis MN11/4 Liar’s Club, Chicago IL11/5 X-Ray Arcade, Milwaukee WI11/6 Black Circle Brewing Co,Indianapolis IN11/7 The Crack Fox, St Louis MO11/12- 11/14 Unconvention (also w Ego Likeness), Iselin NJ
Currently #3 on the Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Chart !
Favorite Tracks include:
No Light No Spark – I just adore the brutal tank tread juggernaut feel of this track against the melodic chanting. A vibrant explosion of energy against a desolate darkness.
Spectrum – Sharp striking dance track addressing the neurotypical and expanding understanding of brainwaves in the current world. Donna adds vocals here to add shining blade contrast and light.
Overall: This is Steven taken off the chain and turned to 11. Unapologetic making industrial music of wild machines and wires. Spewed forth with venom to a world without a concern to how it will land. This is the true punk rock ethos driving giant steam punk construction vehicles. This is the industrial that Joe Strummer prepared us for.
We are very excited to premier the release of The Purge’s new EP single “It was Worse Than I Thought” I have been a fan of the Thomas Duerig’s music for some time now. I feel like this track was a wonderful evolution from some of his earlier power screaming into the void and instead brings an emotive pleading cast forth at the world. One of the great strengths of this project is Thomas doesn’t sound like the typical voices I associate with Dark Wave music. He flings forth lilting and exposed melodies that hold so much feeling.
Musically this release is driving with the synth pads far to the front. I was taken in by how organic it sounds. The ringing of chimes and bells. The grinding mechanical attacks were a nice tribute to Pretty Hate Machine that turned 30 years old this week. I hear a lot of that influence in The Purge but with this single in particular it stands out. That letting the world into a head swimming with emotion that you don’t really have a grip on. The guitar lines are fierce and aggressive but used sparingly to add real weight and power. It is a song that takes you somewhere leading by it’s heart.
Thomas has also used this song as a vehicle for change. I recently did a piece about artists supporting the things they believe in and Thomas is putting his money where his mouth is.
ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THESE SONGS ON BANDCAMP, UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2020, will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention through their Virginia Beach Chapter.*
These two tracks are a continuation from the album The Purge produced in the Summer of 2017. The story so far has been “Carried Away,” “Is He Alive,” “Hurt You,” and “Damaged If I Don’t Broken If I Do.”
There are nine songs on this “lost album” in total. When all of the songs have been released, there will be a remastering of the old tracks before an album release.
The Purge has recently associated with their local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and will be donating all proceeds earned from this release until the end of the year to the AFSP. Remember that sometimes there’s a lot to say, we are social animals, and, if you are feeling overwhelmed with life or feel like there is no one who will listen, there are people who want to hear from you and you are not alone. Very special thank you to Katherine Martinez for compiling the following resources:
Crisis lines (available 24/7)
National Suicide Prevention hotline: 1800-273-8255 (veterans press option 1)
Crisis textline: text TALK to 741741 – law enforcement can text BLUE to 741741
Veterans textline: 838255
The Trevor Project (Crisis line for LGTBQ+): 1866-488-7386 or text START to 678678
Translife line support for transgender people from people who are also transgender: 1877-565-8860
SAGE LGBT Elder hotline support for older adults: 1888-234-7249 (SAGE)
RAINN sexual assault/rape (available 24/7): 1800-656-4673
Confession time, I am a total sucker for 90’s down and dirty female singer dark grunge. I consider Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” one of the top 3 grunge albums of all time. I don’t care how many cool points that costs me. So when I put on this album for the first time and that sordid LA sludge came flowing into my ears lacing over a disco drive early Ministry drum beat I was hooked hard. This record is ripe with the same over the top imagery of hot clubs, leather, glitter, and broken dreams dragging themselves off the floor and forcing you to see that darkness in all it’s glory. It grabs hold of you and wins you over. The songs are wide and varied but have the oily residue in every sensually charged line that ties them together with perfect continuity. Guilty pleasure delicious.
The production levels of these songs are anything but rough and raw. The album instead achieved it with Lyrics, concept, and delivery. The mix is done with such needle sharp clarity and humming dissonance. Stokes has a voice rich with hazy dripping desire. She sings with force and malice without losing that cold detached crystal creation of LA and London. They are songs for dancing, but not club bangers. Instead, those other dance songs that happen slow and deliberate in the smoke and darkness and leave you burning like a flickering candle. This scene is longing for the sensual sting of dark music and Corlyx has delivered again.
Lets talk about favorite tracks a bit because this record is full of sinful singles
Twist like an Animal – Let’s start off with the first single and video track. Opening to a pig squealing! Vibrating drive guitar straight out of Prick. Crisp snapping snare slaps. Then Caitlin starts unleashing that smolder and I start crawling along the ceiling while the keyboards are popping. I love every aspect of this song and it belongs on your dance floor now.
Guys Like You – Powerful imagery with that repeating keyboard hook line. At 52 seconds everything jumps up and Caitlin’s cadence intensifies. This record has huge pop appeal simultaneously with a lot of depth happening. The quick but drastic transitions of this song really keep a frantic motion that makes it sear both your sides. “Guys like you, they always get what they want. Ladies don’t come to me when it happens”
One of the Used – Good gods the Courtney Love floor of a hotel in smeared make up feels are so real on this song. It’s shattered and understated and worms it’s way in your ear. That slushy 90’s shoegaze guitar is the perfect contrast to the other sounds on the album. “You’re just one of the used, broke up, battered and bruised” Sample sounds at 2:30 are a great breaker to let the vocals whisper back in. A good ballad makes you spin and that is what this song achieves.
Overall I have been rocking this album non stop the last two weeks. I love the filth, i love the hooks, I love her voice. Dj’s get this record on your dance floor immediately.
I walked into this review not knowing what I was really getting into, I heard a little bit from Ken, whom only said “try this one, I think you’ll really like this”. I dug it and I said sure why not. Was I in for a SURPRISE!
I like to dive into my reviews without knowing ANYTHING about the artist, as I listen to their music I hope that they invoke a sense of wonder from me, wonder that’ll ultimately will lead me to become obsessive with knowing everything I can about them. With ELZ, It was that but in a different way, I didn’t expect myself to hold off on knowing more about them, until after the listening. I found myself so lost in their sound and only their sound that I didn’t want any other information to possibly ruin that experience for me.
Here is my journey through ‘PSYCHODRAMA’ :
Invention of Faith – Faith is a recurring word in this album, as stated before I didn’t know much about ELZ and the Cult during this listen and as I write this I really wish I had lyric book of sorts to decipher what this space journey of delicious horror was all about. Great opening track, very Mass Effect, very Muse (if you’ve heard their new album you’ll know what I mean), very She Wants Revenge.
Faith in Me -A sort of continuation from the intro track, this cyber-punk/cyber-goth, vampires in a Ridley Scott space film sound is just a perfect kind of dark. The chorus is lovely. “I have lost faith in me”… preach!
Cold War – ELZ and the Cult, keeping with the persistence of that bass synth, moves more into an aggressive industrial beat with track two. The dirty vocals that become prominent throughout the ‘PSYCHODRAMA’ make their first appearance here. The track maintains a steady darkness while still being dance floor friendly, a nice mix that’ll fit any gothic DJ’s playlists. Goth Pop indeed.
Growing Pains -Wake up! The gunshot New Order-esque drum intro coming at you from a very very dark chord progression should keep you on your feet. The vocals maintain the grime, the style however moves into a Lebanonn Hannover with Russian Utro behind the mic area. I’m loving it. This song is ready for International goth floors. Dj’s, remix this, GET AT THIS.
Die Once More – With ‘Die Once More’ ELZ and the Cult give us a break. A brief of a lull in the aggression. (As if one could say that about this album). The entire release is very industrial and literally any track could be mixed/remixed into a club banger. Creating an accessible album like that is really difficult.
Last Family Supper – The intro here is something out of a 90’s cyberpunk video game and the album, when it decides to chill, is really just sci-fi/horror space ambient suspense music. Prepping us for something killer, no doubt. The vocals once again evoke a Lebanon Hannover vibe while the drums beat like a march. The lead synth keeping it all a touch away from depressing and into real of wonder and excitement. ELZ and the Cult spoke about dying once more and again and again in ‘Die Once More’ but here he speaks about not giving up, he cannot die, he will not die and he doesn’t know why. This person is conflicted and all this conflict is fighting a cold war within his heart and mind. ELZ is the fallout. This soul is burning hot and bright within the darkness that it expresses. My favorite track thus far.
We Never Met – Moving deeper into the record, ‘We Never Met’ gives us joyful, maybe hopeful, feelings and honestly everything about this album just bleeds a sense of happy sadness. I call that life. The vocals are now touching a The Horrors vibe, something I hadn’t thought about the first couple of listens. This is a really cool track that flowed and evolved beautifully. I feel that ELZ and the Cult got the bangers that they thought everyone would like out of the way and are now exposing their true self. This is what i wanted all along and I love it. If you’ve made it this far, they reward you and it’s that journey that we as the listeners must make and upon catharsis we land a very important connection with the artist. We are no longer just listening to ELZ and the Cult, we are now experiencing ELZ and the Cult.
Dreams in Their Darkest Moments – (Interlude) Interludes are amazing, they can do so much to an album in such a short amount of time. Refresh your pallets, friends. I feel a sense of movie soundtrack from this. This band not only makes banger club hits but can, and I’d put money on this, easily find themselves soundtracking the next block buster sci-fi/cyber noir.
Gremlins – Excellent transition into Gremlins, seamless. This song gets me moving, the lyrical melody is also great. I wish for more clarity in the voice, less grime, nevertheless he’s hitting all the right spots. This track is also the best example we have of EZL and the Cults melodic range.
Manipulation – Cool drum work on track ten. It seems that every song has some new sound, tone, synth sound in it. Keeps for very interesting listening the most minimal song in the album, for sure.
The Witching Hour -We are now at song eleven and I must say the beat behind this, easily the most danceable song on this record. “In the witching hour the monsters come to play” So damn good. I have to be honest here, I started listening to ‘Psychodrama’ early in the morning here in Los Angeles. I had a nice cold dark brew. ELZ and the Cult, during the process of listening, have helped me upgrade from a dark roast coffee to a Dark Seas Mission Brewery Imperial Stout, ready to keep the death dance party going. Thanks!?
Dystopian Prayer – NIN all the way, with a tad of Vazquez’s The Soft Moon in it, the most different and experimental of all the tracks in my opinion. ‘Dystopian Prayer’ is a nice “near the finish line” song showing us what this project is capable of and perhaps what is yet to come.
Funeral of Queen Mary -Everything about this says the end. Finish line. Operatic! A Clockwork Orange! It’s epic and it’s majestic. Dark, evocative, dark pop at it’s finest. ’Psychodrama’ was a hell of an experience.
Overall this album was a powerful and diverse journey., in the way a film maker creates a story with a variety of shots and perspective ELZ and the Cult have created a musical journey that takes accessible dark pop and combines it with the challenge of raw emotion and dark sensual beauty.. It’s a broken roller coaster traversing a shattered futuristic city.. It builds, it fills, and it does not disapoint.. You need a ticket for this ride.