August 2022 Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Singles Chart

Time again my friends for the latest installment of the Sounds and Shadows Darkscene singles chart. As always these are singles released in the month of August from the very loose definition of Darkscene. They are submitted by the S & S collective of Djs, Reviewers, Promotors, Bands, Artists, and Superfans around the world and presented for you. If you are an artists with a release for September 2022 please submit on the S & S Facebook page.

  1. Pilgrims of YearningLa Mar
  2. The Bellwether SyndicateDystopian Mirror
  3. Vision VideoBeautiful Day To Die
  4. Ultra SunnThe Speed
  5. The Joy Thieves Feat: I Ya ToyahLove Is A Battlefield
  6. Rohn/Ledderman It Hurts
  7. Brute Opposition – Destroy This Place
  8. Black Rose Burning (Feat: Delphine Coma) – Under Twin Suns
  9. Black Needle NoiseFair Winds
  10. Double EyelidLeaving These Stones Unturned
  1. Pilgrims of YearningLa Mar – I was so ecstatic to see the Boston shadowsynth band finish in 1st place. Delicious 90’s Siouxsie with texture snake delay guitars. Juls delivers a haunting and soulful performance. This is a must have in your collection.

La Mar | Pilgrims of Yearning (bandcamp.com)

The Bellwether Syndicate Dystopian Mirror – What a howling wolf hot rod banger from the Chicago legends. I love the reckless charging feel of a band of people that have done so much they have nothing to lose. This is peak window down night driving music. William Faith really brings the swagger and menace to this track, really showing his range. Open your next road trip with it, then put it on the playlist 4 or 5 more times on the trip.

The Bellwether Syndicate (bandcamp.com)

Vision VideoBeautiful Day To Die – This is gorgeous. Dusty and company really summoned their inner Smiths for this elegant and tragic ballad that would be the reflective song in your hero’s darkest moment in the movie. There is a very good reason Vision Video is quickly becoming one of the biggest names in modern darkscene.

Haunted Hours | Vision Video (bandcamp.com)

ULTRA SUNNThe Speed – Belgian darkwave danceperatos on Cold Transmission Music bring a thic and pounding bassline and sex dripping David Gahan vocals. This is that talking piece your next party needs.

Summer 22 | ULTRA SUNN (bandcamp.com)

The Joy Thieves (Feat: I Ya Toyah)Love Is A Battlefield – Denver label Riveting Music known for doing charity tribute albums released Girl Power to raise funds for Global Fund For Women. The Chicago super group did this version of the PaT Benatar classic with Ania from I Ya Toyah singing. It is a show stopping explosion of electronic chaos and hard rock fury. Every time The Thieves tackle a classic cover I think is untouchable, they find a way to come crashing through the wall and convince me they are the one band that deserves to cover this song.

Love is a Battlefield | The Joy Thieves | Riveting Music (bandcamp.com)

Rohn – LedermanIt Hurts – I really do fall in love all over again whenever Jean-Marc and Emileigh launch forth another single from the ether. The layered vocals with different presence and riot grrl energy gives it a frantic sting. Jean Marc makes every build feel fast without feeling intense. A futuristic railway traveling at blistering speed but never out of control. Stefan Netschio of (Beborn Beton) did my favorite remix which kept the laser flickering at maximum velocity.

It Hurts! | Rohn – Lederman (bandcamp.com)

Brute OppositionDestroy This Place – I didn’t know the Jacksonville Florida band well. Cool chanting Front 242 Industrial vibes. Definitely well produced and a proper homage to old school industrial. I also love the positive message in the lyrics. Don’t give up, take these fukers down with you.

Destroy This Place | Brute Opposition (bandcamp.com)

 Black Rose BurningUnder Twin Suns featuring Delphine Coma – New York science fiction songsmith George Grant has teamed up with some other goth superstars to remix his Dune inspired banger Under Twin Suns. This version is done by Ashe of Delphine Coma who blasted the sandworm bassline and left George’s captivating vocals calling from within the desert canyon. I love when you can hear the appreciation for an amazing song in the remix. This remix is a loving tribute.

https://blackroseburning.bandcamp.com/album/under-twin-suns-reborn

Black Needle Noise with Ruby Friedman and Colin McGuinnessFair Winds – So this band is almost unfair in it’s level of talent and pedigree from COP International. Starting of course with living legend John Fryer who is unparalleled as both a producer and song writer. The song was originally slated for a TV show about the Isle of Man. It features vocal stylings from Ruby Friedman who strikes forth with epic expansive chilled wind power. It’s more landscape experience than ear worn, but it leaves the hair on the back of your arms standing up with it’s power.

Fair Winds | Black Needle Noise with Ruby Friedman and Colin McGuinness | Black Needle Noise (bandcamp.com)

Double EyelidLeaving These Stones Unturned – My amazing friend Ian from Toronto with another underwater horror hit. I love the stalking menace of this track. It’s a secret, a whisper, a song you are inside of full of supernatural build which culminates in emotional release. People need to stop sleeping on Double Eyelid.

Leaving These Stones Unturned | Double Eyelid (bandcamp.com)

If you have a single release in September or know of one in the broad Darkscene genre please submit in the Sounds and Shadows Facebook group.

September Bandcamp Day Is Nearly Upon Us. What Does Your Collection Need?

I haven’t been churning out reviews at my normal pace, but that does mean I have a glorious golden stack of darkscene music to prime your soul for the Halloween season. I have some long awaited releases to discuss. Some fresh new bands I have discovered. Some spooky new corners of music I have stumbled into. So let’s dive into some of the sexy dark sounds which are haunting the beginning of Autumn

Double EyelidLeaving These Stones Unturned – Do you know what I love to hear in the modern scene? An artist no afraid to unapologetically embrace the theatrical melancholy of goth. This is something Toronto based band Double Eyelid grasps well. Ian has a voice dripping with lost lament on a turbulent storm of bass. The song swells and collapses. The lyrics are a confession of buried truth too frightening to face. Powerful revelation in a time of surface reflection.

released August 16, 2022
written by Ian Revell
……………………………………………………….
Ian Revell – Vocals, synth, programming
Sky Shaver – Guitar
Sean Beesley – Additional synth

Produced and mixed by Live Evil Productions
Mastered by Noah Mintz for The Lacquer Channel

Leaving These Stones Unturned | Double Eyelid (bandcamp.com)

SINEMantis 2 – Follow up EP to Mantis 1 by the Texas chaos electronica artist Rona Rogueheart. Powerful resonating attacks open the experience. As though you peeled away the smooth edges of Portishead trip hop and revealed something crueler and jagged while maintaining the wet sensual humidity of a packed stone wall club.

Photo by Victoria Renard

Rona Rougeheart / lead vocals, drums, programming
Words by Rona Rougeheart
Music by Rona Rougeheart / Charles Godfrey
Guitar on “Jetset” by Daniel Beaty

*Except:
Written by: Robert James Smith, Steven Severin
Music by Mark Pistel / Rona Rougeheart

Produced by Charles Godfrey / Rona Rougeheart
Recorded at Omenview and Scary American, Austin, TX
Mastered by Mark Pistel at Room 5, San Francisco, CA

Favorite Track:

Virtual Realitease – This track stalks with contrasts and extremes. The thundering club bass, the heavy shimmer of throaty vocals, the razor edge of alure and menace. I love the range of the EP which is always changing the journey. The pastel rain-streaked sorrow of “Je Suid“. This track just hits different though. I’m just not hearing this blend of sounds enough in the modern scene and it has me hooked.

Mantis 2 | SINE (bandcamp.com)

ULTRA SUNNSummer 22 – Belgian cold wave artist Ultra Sunn on Cold Transmission Music with a double single release that bops with Violator keyboard transitions and sizzling Gahan vocals. A purposeful driving beat of motion while keeping the tempo just below chaos. Expertly mastered by Pete Burns the tone flickers like a bright flame on a distant candle. These tracks both have a place on your summer darkscene party mix.

Summer 22 | ULTRA SUNN (bandcamp.com)

thePicassosExhumed – 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.

https://www.skulldetroit.com/?fbclid=IwAR2ofT3j53lHO9IsR3rh7By4L-iUBllSsT5v0SZ20YYq3sR4zFMGURd8PBo

Charles Urban

So many glorious and eclectic dark elements at play here. Twangy Latin spice notes in the guitar. Haunted murder ballad Nick Cave tones. The vocals are a roller coaster blend of Gordan Gano and Frank Black. Great use of guitars for percussion, not overdone and adding powerful accent. I looked online to learn more about the band and found little. Luckily I am set to interview them tomorrow for the podcast. Fills me with excitment for a bright future and I am so glad I found them in Michigan.

Favorite Track: Smoke and Mirrors – Part of my love here is the vast range from track to track. This one had huge PixiesDoolittle” energy. Slashing guitars with a booming clean bass tone. A haunting effortless truth to the delivery. I enjoyed all the songs for different reasons, this one seemed to compile the best flavors of everything going right.

Exhumed | thePicassos (bandcamp.com)

The Bellwether SyndicateDystopian Mirror – Chicago show stopper’s have a brilliant new single that roars like a muscle car charging down Woodward Ave. Flames spewing out the engine to chase back the darkness. William croons with an extra edge of piercing determination. The mix is clear but always feels like a toe on the line which makes it feel dangerous, on the verge of shattering the glass bubble. They just took this song on the road with Then Comes Silence from Sweeden. Of everyone I currently follow in the modern darkscene, no one has more “rockstar” energy than William with a mic in his hand.

Released August 5, 2022
William Faith: Vox • Guitars
Sarah Rose Faith: Vox • Guitars

Corey Gorey: Guitars (live)
Philly Peroxide: Keyboards • Percussion (live)
Stevyn Grey: Drums (live)

The Bellwether Syndicate (bandcamp.com)

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.

Favorite Track: Storms – One because I love the duet, two because I love a banger and this bassline is a live wire flapping on the street in a storm. It gets in your blood and never lets up. Like a jaguar running it is equal parts danger and beauty.

Hadal | Pilgrims of Yearning (bandcamp.com)

It’s As Cold As my Dead Goth Heart, Time for New Music

So I have been buried in everything I have wanted to do so far this year. Between work, the amazing Oscura Festival, End of the Year top albums. I finally have a moment to stop and catch my breath. Just in time to hear Bandcamp Friday is back on for next week. So how about I review some new music which is warming my bones as the world freezes over.

binzatinaAnestesia – This first album is from 2018, but I am just finding it and it NEEDS attention. This was a recommendation of our dear friend Juls (Pilgrims of Yearning). The band hails from Chile and combines a 90’s triphop Portishead slither slide drum beat, with and smoky lounge sensual vocal performance by Lya Godoy. This sound is a warm bath in the dark surrounded by candlelight. It’s flickering pictures on the wall with a healthy dash of explosive dynamic in just the right moment to wake you from your trance. Lulling you just as quick back into dreams. Beauty, passion, depth, this is the sound of your next romantic escapade.

https://binzatina.bandcamp.com/album/anestesia

DogtabletTJY4 – Brand new January 2022 release from Industrial scene legends Martin King (Test Dept), Roberto Soave (Associates), and Jared Louche (Chemlab). This new remix EP hits the mark just as you would expect from masters of the craft with the unbridled freedom to create expressionist sonic art. Giving over the reins of vision to great up and comers like (The Burying Kind), Sapphira Vee, and Melodywhore to expand the vision into fresh ground. Dogtablet continues to amaze me with their understanding of how to turn raw sound into transmitted human emotion.

https://dogtablet.bandcamp.com/album/tjy4

ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse)Designer Carnage – The greatest thing to happen to modern EMB industrial does not disappoint with the latest offering. Out on 2/14/2022 but available for pre order now. This remains the hardest, meanest, smartest, body earthquake, grit your teeth, be invaded by the spirit music. Jamie continues to skate the razor edge of unnerving terror and sonic rapture. He is officially on my “I will buy every release unheard until you fuk up two in a row list”. I see absolutely no chances of that happening any time soon.

https://esangp.bandcamp.com/album/designer-carnage

Dove TribeCollected Prayers – I have been waiting for this project to find it’s perfect stride for so long. Norway’s Hide Tepes has captured the low-fi bat cave early Sisters of Mercy tone and seamlessly blended it with their own emotive high art abstract. When I need an artist to push my boundaries and remind me of a time when music was raw, unruly, and unpredictable. All four tracks are captivating narratives that change direction and speed like a foreboding wind. There is one that stands out to me “When The Music’s Over” a lip curled prayer in the early art house sewer of early Bauhaus and “StillJoy Division. That haunting overlapping guitar riff, that cursed mantra to keep moving forward lest you disappear. This is one of the great visionaries of the modern scene.

https://dovetribe.bandcamp.com/album/collected-prayers

Blood DanceBurn Slow – Second single from Mexico City SynthGoth Blood Dance. This lovely creeper with some deep goth roots. The beats were a slowly boiling put but these carefully placed guitar leads are all sizzle. This track also features backing by Bari-Bari. This track really gets me excited to keep delving into the rich Mexico City darkscene.

https://blooddance.bandcamp.com/album/burn-slow

Bradley CoomesCommunion – Louisville KY songsmith Bradley Coomes has brought together an eclectic range of vocal talent to synch with his emotive shimmering 3D sonic images. This is one of those albums that really matches it’s cover art. An impressionist feeling exchange ranging from early 2000 minimalist opium rock like Low and Mogwai. To a sunrise shadow of dreampop. The way each guest vocalist is used to perfect effect really shows the love that went into this songcraft. If I had to choose a favorite track, I was absolutely captured by “Sabrina” featuring California shadowpop crooner James Edwards of (Male Tears). Expansive beauty and symmetry while cracking with golden strands of brimming romance teetering at the brink. I also want to shout out Jennifer Wilde of (Sword Tongue) for stepping so far out of their established style on “Little Bird” to shine with sullen Haight Ashbury mystical swirls that cast a striking contrast on the rest of the journey. Memorizing and hopeful in equal measure.

https://deusmarginalia.bandcamp.com/album/communion

The GatheringParade – New album from Vancouver Cold Transmission band The Gathering. While the previous LP was a nostalgic homage, “Parade” leans into the resurgence of Post Punk / Darkwave building up in real time. The album was recorded by Jackknife Sound by Jason Corbett (Actors) and also has additional vocals by fellow (Actors) Shannon Hemmett on “Ocean Star“. I love the unstoppable forward momentum and crisp accented drum beats. Everything vibrates with a clarity and precision that stops me in my tracks with my mouth open appreciating the ice sculpture prism of every track. Standout track is “Building A Bridge” with it’s zig zag endless pin prick attack. The blending choir of vocals create a haunting melody that was stuck in my head for days. There is something so special when someone uses the patience to have a song concept reach it’s height of development.

https://thegatheringbc.bandcamp.com/album/parade

Récipe MoradoRe•Habilitación – I discovered this gorgeous flowing up-tempo post punk from Venezuela at the Oscura Festival. Complex high energy tendrils of complex shoegaze supported whisper punk. I love the reckless abandon of the constantly shifting music and controlled reaction of the vocals. A wonderful synthesis of modern clarity and Jesus and Mary Chain effortless abandon.

https://recipemorado.bandcamp.com/album/re-habilitaci-n

Giant Waves/Karluv Tyn, Pilgrims of Yearning, Navigator Project, and Monoplan

Giant Waves/Karluv Tyn

Giant Waves is a gothic post-punk/darkwave group formed in 2004. Originally formed under the name The Imaginary Stigma, they claim to be one of the “oldest groups in Russia” in the genre. Through their decade of existence, they have worked with legendary bands such as Skeletal Family and toured with Soviet Soviet. They currently are signed by Sierpen Records, which also boasts Molchat Doma.

Their newest release in 2020 was “Мерцание,” put out under their side-project Karluv Tyn (fun fact- they took this name from that of a twelfth century gothic castle). They describe the album’s music as “cold-pop” or Russian “apocalyptic-pop.” The Intro track has the sounds of church bells and choir, definitely a reference to their name inspiration. The album manages to be dark without being too overbearing or heavy. An upbeat rhythm, clear vocals, chorus-y guitar, and smooth synths all blend together to make something mid-energy and perfect for light, casual listening.

Its members are Iliya Volchansky (voice, guitar, synths, lyrics), Andy ‘Avalanche’ Fomin (synths, drums), and Michael Kirilenko (recording, engineering).

A new Giant Waves release in the works. If all goes according to plan, expect to see this upcoming single in the next two months. Additionally, they are making a video for the song “Love is a Lie”. Finally, there will even potentially be a new album put out halfway through the year.

Producer and artist Vitaly Sanych reports that they have changed their sound slightly, citing both hardships in the local music scene and a desire to continue developing their style.

Pilgrims of Yearning

Pilgrims of Yearning’s music, specifically their 2020 release Forsake Lands, has been covered once before by S&S.

In spite of live venues being canceled, this band has been prolific in attending online streaming events including Gothicat, Arg!, Goth for Sanctuaries, and some Latin American events such as Real Under Fest and Festival Under Latinamericano. In the future, expect to see them at the upcoming Leather & Lace fest on January 31st.

Originally from Chile, they moved to Boston and will soon be again moving to the sunny city of Miami. Their current lineup is Claudio Marcio (Guitar, Sequences), Juls Garat (Voice and Lyrics), and Sean Woodbury (Bass).

Pilgrims of Yearning is working on new material, both singles and videos, to release later in 2021. Vocalist Juls Garat expressed the band’s desire to retain the “exploratory and eclectic” traits of their first album, but also follow a natural flow of evolution and exploration. 

Navigator Project

Navigator Project, according to their Bandcamp, is a synthpop/darkwave band from Naples made up of Amir Sabljaković (vocals, synth), Daniel (drums), and Caroline (lyrics, melodies).

There are four releases on their page. Spellbound, a single posted August 3rd, Follow the Light, a full album posted on October 16th, In the Spiral (Klonavenus Remix), a single posted on December 13th, and In the Spiral (Lost Messages Remix), another remix single posted on December 29th. I gave them a listen. Navigator Project makes dynamic, active-sounding music with intense, almost nostalgic synth lines that I’d love to hear at the local club. Sabljaković’s vocals are clean and relaxed yet focused with, if I’m correct, a slight accent that is quite enjoyable to listen to.

I reached out to Sabljaković inquiring about any future material. He told me that, in light of the pandemic and pause in concerts, they’ve taken advantage of the situation to work on another synthpop album.

Monoplan

Monoplan is a Russian synthwave band composed soley of Dmitry Philippov. S&S briefly covered them once already last February.

So, let’s get an update! Since then, Monoplan has put out three releases: The Game (March 2020), Promzona (October 2020), and Beneath The Sky of The Sleeping Cities (November 2020).

I reached out to Philippov for more information. He describes Monoplan’s music as “a soundtrack to the bleak dystopian cityscapes where ghostly figures dance on the rooftops of abandoned houses to the beat of an old drum computer and eerily pulsating synths,” and that’s honestly perfect. What an image! Regarding genre, Monoplan is “a lo-fi mix of post-punk and cold wave, sometimes steering off to gloomy disco or punky reggae.” If the ghosts-on-rooftops didn’t catch your attention, how’s gloomy disco for you? Definitely something unique!

Do you have any future albums in the making/planned?

Yes. My most recent release, the Pod Nebom Spyaschikh Gorodov EP, was initially planned to be an album. But I had not much time to finish it properly, so it came out as a 4 track mini album. There are a few songs left, plus some new tracks in the making. I think I’ll return to them in spring.

Sounds and Shadows Top 20 Goth/Darkwave Albums of 2020

What an amazing year for the Goth/Darkwave genre. A lot of fresh talent has come forth to leave their mark. In equal measure are long term veterans that have risen from the darkness to give new offerings. Our team took on the unenviable task of choosing the releases that moved us most. We are not including singles or compilations. These are not by any means every band I bought and loved in 2020 for goth. These are all bands that released an original album in the year 2020 that built a haunted house in the ruined graveyard of my head and I want to share with you now.

20) Raven SaidBeyond the Darkest Hour – My favorite of the amazing wealth of goth sounds coming out of Russia. This is a high energy shadow punk driving acid spit flavor of Misfits and Batcave. Andrey Agapitov vocals are sinister, fluid, and have a unique meter I am in love with. The guitar riffs are scorching. It keeps hitting different layers and hitting them hard. This album really shows how wide and beautiful this genre stretches.

https://ravensaid.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-darkest-hour

19) The Wake – PERFUMES AND FRIPPERIES – This is another band that has a lot of accomplishment under their belts. They really optimize what I think of as the Midwest goth sound. The guitars have this awesome fire feel, like molten splatters flying towards you. The vocals are mature and a have a rich quality. Lots of organic sounding drums that give a urgency. This is a noteworthy return for a band that has stood the test.

https://thewakeus.bandcamp.com/album/perfumes-and-fripperies

18) Rosetta Stone – Cryptology – So Rosetta Stone have been around for the long haul. They continue to put out exciting music and have been a staple in the genre. This album has a wonderful stripped down flavor. It makes it feel very intimate. “Valiant Try” is a straight up jam. I think what really captured me was that this was a familiar voice but they really peeled the mask off and gave you a look at a deeper layer.

https://rosettastoneuk.bandcamp.com/

17) WitchHands- Unto Death – Call it Death rock, Doom rock, Goth, ect. Just make sure to call it one of our top albums this year. Thick rumbling bass, slashing energy whip guitars. All called forth by Ryan’s mad carnival caller vocals. He spins tales with the conviction and charisma of a tent revival preacher. I think the biggest thing to hear is the massive step forward for their production levels so you can hear the power of every aspect. It’s glorious to behold and makes me want more WitchHands.

https://witchhandsdxr.bandcamp.com/album/unto-death

16) The Kentucky Vampire – Crimson Curse – Hailing from shockingly, Kentucky, here is another band that brings old school sinister pipe organ and fire bright guitar riffs. From Secret Sin records the tone and emotion of their 5 records is everything true fans of 80’s death rock long for. Abbas has a haunting voice full of chorus and foreboding. Brandon of Sonsombre does mastering for them and helps add a sense of continuity to this new goth sound. This record really highlighted the return of wicked guitar riffs in modern goth music.

https://thekentuckyvampires.bandcamp.com/album/crimson-curse

15) Astari Nite – Here Lies – This album has that captivating power of The Cure “Disintegration“. The music is like a tapestry woven before your eyes. The vocals are a heart cry that begs and pleads and owned me from the start. The guitar leads are a gorgeous second vocal melody that winds through the songs with an intricate voice of it’s own. This is more of the romantic aspect of goth music. Get ready to fall in a deep pool of meaning.

https://astarinitengp.bandcamp.com/album/here-lies

14) The Cult Sounds – The Cult Sounds – This was another pleasant surprise I got this year. Adrian got me into this band. The strength and range of the vocals here is astounding. I think the most amazing ability of this band was the ability to emote dynamics by changing the structure from verse to chorus. I love the retro power of a Black Sabbath power chorus back into a dreamy romantic goth style. You can really hear the ability of the musicians wielding their talent to maximum effect. I expect huge things for this band.

https://thecultsounds.bandcamp.com/album/the-cult-sounds-remixed-remastered

13) Pilgrims of Yearning – Forsaken Lands

I have reviewed a few singles from the Boston witchy harvest dark rock. It’s striking and powerful, hints of Switchblade Symphony with a brighter flowing tang. Juls Garat has an angelic choir of a voice and gets offset by thunder rich basslines from Sean Woodbury. Claudio Marcio does a double duty on bonfire wall guitars and snapping drum sounds. I like the curt furious pace. This album was a long time coming and for an opening salvo it was really worth the wait. I love the Cure Standing on the Beach singles hectic jerk worldview to dark music. They really know how to strip it down and draw you in, then when they have you in the trap they spring the jaws. Favorite tracks: The Besieged Bachanalia, and The Visitor.

The standard is set for a new force in dark rock music. This is a journey worth taking with a very mystical and stormy feel. They are on my new list of must follows for all future release.

https://pilgrimsofyearning.bandcamp.com/

12) Shadow Assembly – Arcane Fusion The sophomore offering after their debut “Ghostcrawl” a twisted and brooding rock driven concoction. This new album opens the portal of darkness even further by using a different vocalist/lyricist for every track. This album is not only a prism of the wide varieties in modern gothic rock, but also a who’s who of the vocal talent of the current scene. I will act as your ferryman on the River Styx as I lead you through each track on this modern classic.

Overall this album is a synthesis of talent that really highlights what is possible when you have a maestro that knows and loves the music other artists make and finds a way to make each tone flow together to build something greater than the some of it’s parts. It is currently available on bandcamp for digital download and a CD run. If you want a good place to place your finger on the pulse of modern goth, this album is a great place to start.

https://shadowassembly.bandcamp.com/album/arcane-fusion

11) The Birthday Party MassacreDiamonds – Look they are one of the biggest names in the modern genre and that’s for good reason. The gorgeous production pushes this towards darkpop (which is not a bad thing). It’s driving, passionate, and the drum builds and transitions are ungodly. This record feels like running through the darkest parts of Hogwarts. Yes it has a child like innocence about it, but at the same time a depth and soul. TBPM still have a lot of ground to cover in their journey.

https://thebirthdaymassacre.bandcamp.com/album/diamonds

10) Rosegarden Funeral Party – At The Stake – I have shockingly never reviewed an album from the Dallas TX traditional goth explosion. I’ve heard singles but never dove in head first and I’m not afraid to admit that was dumb. Sinister reverb guitars, blistering transitions, and laser strike vocals. Leah  is a force of raw untamed storm winds striking out at an unsuspecting world. It’s haunting and full of driving pop hooks. Consider me won, consider me a fan. Favorite tracks : Torture DeclineFear of Feeling NothingJustification.

https://rosegardenfuneralparty.bandcamp.com/album/at-the-stake

9) Caroline Blind –The Spell Between – Caroline has been a mainstay for so long in this scene. Sunshine Blind “Liquid” was one of those albums that really showed me how much more the goth sound could be. This album features years of reflection and a power and beauty of delivery that makes me well up with emotion. The surrounding musicians she brought in to add depth and shading to the tracks are an all star list of talent. A powerful voice to remind us of the past and excite us for the future.

https://carolineblind.bandcamp.com/album/the-spell-between

8) SOPOR AETERNUS & The Ensemble Of Shadows – Island of the Dead – Honestly this is one of those bands I am embarrassed I didn’t already know about. I heard this on the Pat 626 show and I fell instantly in love. It’s dark, quirky, and utterly unique. It has a mystical and theatrical quality full of poetry and intensity. Brooding and whip crack sharp with hammer dulcimers and vocal deliver as sharp as a dagger. Music like this is my dark secret passion. More Harpsichords in goth NOW!

https://soporaeternus.bandcamp.com/album/island-of-the-dead-2020

7) Mary – Die Before Death – My newest goth obsession from Toronto. It is fast paced, spicy, with an old school New York feel. Strong sweeping vocals with a lot of depth and meaning. It also has a complete album feel with the sweeping tempo and dynamic shifts. Take me through the full range of emotions in one record. Another Cold Transmission signing. I expect big things in the future from him. This album is my sleeper pick of someone I was not familiar with before but will be heavily invested in ever future release.

https://maryofficial.bandcamp.com/album/die-before-death

6) A Covenant Of Thorns – Black -I have been waiting on this release for a long time. It’s what inspired me to write this piece. Scott-David Allen is a true master of this idea. He has been making songs of heart rending sadness and beauty for decades. I can honestly say this is an opus. The best I have heard yet. The production level here is next level with it’s Depeche Mode level darkpop and his amazing voice pushed to the front where it conveys a delicate yearning and sadness which is lost in the modern era. The whole record is a pilgrimage to the top of a mountain where he offers up his heart like a saint to the object of his love. The passion and idea are so raw but the mixing and song writing is done with a craft that shows the dedication such a personal offering deserves. YOU NEED THIS RECORD! (He screams from the rooftops)

Top Tracks: All of them…

but Numb – A gorgeous synthwave love poem full of hope and expression

Signs of Life – Damn it is hard to pick but this track is so crispy. Allen’s voice is everywhere on this one. The feeling cuts to deep and love lies at your feet. The chorus just opens up like a bird flying over the sea. It’s so bright and dark at the same time in perfect balance.

Choke – This one has a little more edge and sinister to it, but it is still yearning. Because sometimes a little kink can still be romantic.

https://acot.bandcamp.com/album/black

5) Black Angel – Kiss of Death – London UK artist Black Angel is putting the bat cave rock back into death rock. I feel so much of The Mission and later Sisters dancy flow to gothic rock. Their music reminds me so much of the goth club scene, swinging arms, leather and lace. Gothic music has always been tied to expression with the body, that is something Matt Vowel’s has grasp and fused into the future. The use of banging rock guitar riffs with a southern flare really created something fresh and memorable.

https://blackangelmusic.bandcamp.com/album/kiss-of-death

4) Crying VesselPleasures For The Wicked – Slade and Basil also bringing that softer dark edge to gothic rock. Horror author Slade is integrating imagery of the macabre an sinister with a glam razamtaz feel. Gorgeous layered production and flange rich echo’s that simmer with Bowie and Love and Rockets. That special darkness you find on the edge of a rainbow after a storm. Available on Cleopatra Records.

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

3) Night Nail – March to Autumn – Two things made this album incredible for me. 1) The complexity. The layers, instrumentation, lyrics, it all has a depth to it that doesn’t seem to be the goal of a lot of darkwave. 2) How genuine it feels. I have interviewed Brandon and I know he is one of those rare souls that when I hear his music, I feel like who I am seeing is the exact person on the album. The album also has the rich treat of Valentina (VV and the Void) providing additional vocals and keys for contrast and perspective that adds shading and definition. This is an album to think to.

https://music.nightnail.com/

2) IamtheshadowPitchblack – When I think of goth, I think of passion and vocals that capture a room. Lisbon Portugal’s IAMTHESHADOW does that in spades. Pedro Code has the best baritone in modern goth. It’s sexy, crooning, dangerous music that sounds like a full bodied red first touching your lips. It’s music to give yourself over and get lost in. Like the first time you heard Peter Murphy and thought this is the sound that encapsulates the image I want to see in the mirror. This album was a perfect bridge of the old school organic and the new school electronic. Like a chemist finding that perfect balance of styles. Now on Cold Transmission Music.

https://iamtheshadow.bandcamp.com/album/pitchblack-2

  1. 🙁