In A Dark Place And Searching For Distraction, What Sounds Took My Imagination To The Adventure Place?

With a new kitten, a sick elder cat, and Rachel’s bday I haven’t devoted much time to writing reviews. So it is time to start catching up on the giant stack of releases I let get away from me. I’ve got a few albums here I have been waiting on a long time. Please enjoy and comment below what albums you are listening to you think I should hear.

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.

Funeral Flowers | Hexheart (bandcamp.com)

Top Tracks: (bottom of) Below – This track is so dynamic without changing tempo or volume. The bursting fountains happen with a slow rolling subtilty. The vocals hold a fascinating mystery. I wish I could make out the lyrics more clearly, but the electronic whisper draws me in closer.

Erase Yesterday – This track really optimizes everything great about this album. A brilliant single can do that, bring all the tiny differences and brushstrokes of a cohesive record and shine the brightest aspects into one track. This song is bright/dark, fresh/nostalgic, organic and synthetic. Always running the duality in darting motions. This opening track paints the world and makes me excited to drive into it.

October Burns BlackTwo Worlds Collide – I’m a little behind the mark reviewing this June 24, 2022 release from traditional goth stars October Burns Black. Goth is in it’s Rennaissance but things have fractured into sub genres so much it has become hard to even keep track of what goth means. OBB have turned the ebony run away train back to the core of guitar based gothic rock. James Tramel who plays bass for midwest goth legends The Wake brings that smooth void rumble that drives these tracks with an authentic old school precision. Rod Hanna ( Khaf’ji) gives a rich and rough baritone that harkens to Eldrich with a bit of broken glass danger. One of the things about early gothic rock was the way it had a western percussion gallop to the minor tones, it was an energy that was always running away without control. This is the magic that Lars, Tommy, and Gord have captured in the masterclass guitar of this album. We can have open hearts for a new infinite prism gothic rainbow, while remembering the roots of what made us fall in love with goth rock. Two Worlds Collide is an album that remembers. That whispers of forgotten truth.

Condemned | October Burns Black (bandcamp.com)

Top Tracks: Regress – I love the blistering Cult drum napalm that Ollson uncorks for this song. It has a furious punk snarl cadence and some really subtle guitar overlays. It’s tight, nasty, and full of remorse. These riffs go straight to the vein.

Condemned – This song feels like a Highlander epic swordfight that ends with beheading. The guitars have an air support bagpipe rise and Hanna’s vocals find a perfect groove of chanting percussion. Snarling savagery and desperation with crackling energy that feels faster than it moves.

Rod Hanna – Vocals
Lars Kappeler – Guitar
Tommy Olsson – Guitar
James Tramel – Bass
Simon Rippin – Drums

Additional guitars on tracks 1, 4, 6 and 8 – Gordon Young

Produced and mixed by Simon Rippin
Mastered by Gordon Young

BataviaBatavia and their Friends Forever – Jacksonville Florida based electro chaos band continue to amaze me with every new release. This new release packs a tinted window red striped van with guest talent and pushed the pedal to the floor. Opening with a filthy crooning version of The Jesus Lizard was an inspired tone setter for this caper. Ed and Terri Cripps are a couple that expertly blend relationship and art until it feels like communication with it’s seamless delivery. Some remixes, some covers, just an explosive energy of fundustrial fury! Daddybear, Dread Risks, Gothsicles, Decent News, Syrinx, all see the writing that Batavia are poised to explode and wanted to jump on the rocket. I love the concept; I love the fact they took bold chances with the covers. I mean covering NIN Wish is a big brass balls move and they pull it off. Batavia has moved to my by every release sight unseen until they let me down list.

I honestly have no favorite track: You will not be let down if you turn it to 11 and just let it play

Batavia and their Friends Forever | Batavia (bandcamp.com)

hororhausLa Pisadeira – New York State terror texture electronica blending processed religious imagery and layered ethereal sampling. I found this artists through the Sounds and Shadows Facebook group and they impressed me with a unique vision and intense focus. Scott Harris has an elevated ear for sonic texture that inflicts feelings of unease and tension. Much like The Goblin’s of Italian horror mastery these songs are a lurking dread in the mind of the listener. Sounds that conjure emotion and spin a yarn of doom. It gets me hopeful for where this project develops.

La Pisadeira | hororhaus (bandcamp.com)

MorningstvrThe New Salem – Chicago BlasphemeDustrial cult sonic artist takes the pageantry of an electronic cathedral then turns 180 degrees into an unholy void of bitter darkness. I love the slow black and white film flicker tempo the growling Peter Steel frozen metal edge to the vocal delivery. A shadow robed ritual which twists and turns from track to track as you descend a filthy staircase of Pandemonium.

Favorite Track: The New Salem – I love when the title track leads the charge of the overall theme. I love all of the tiny atmospheric touches the whispered chanting is fright evoking fascination. Poet nightmare fuel for a new generation.

▶︎ The New Salem | Morningstvr | Blvsphemy Records (bandcamp.com)

Golden ApesFrom The Sky – Criminally underrated post punk giants from Berlin. A band that needs to be added to the conversation of Actors, Bootblacks, Twin Tribes, Creux Lies as the next wave of history altering lifeblood of this scene. This is music to make your heart race with the driving guitar syncopation and boulder chasing you down a tunnel baselines. Peer Lebrecht has such a distinctive voice that resonates to hold your attention in a single moment. It’s always such a tour of geography and human experience when you listen to a Golden Apes album. “From The Sky” is no exception as it leaps with alien speed from landscape to landscape on a biodiverse unknown world.

Favorite Tracks: You can’t go wrong here. This six song EP is a journey. One worth taking.

A New Days Dawn – The overlay transition at the beginning of this is an absolute masterclass in song writing. Peer’s vocals are frantic and tinged with mania. This track has so much going on it is difficult to believe how efficient and powerful it strikes. Like one of those truly great movies I could watch 100 times and pick out a new moment with every viewing.

From The Sky | Golden Apes (bandcamp.com)

Kevorkian Death CycleInjection: 01

Injection: 01 | Kevorkian Death Cycle (bandcamp.com) California based Dancedustrial artist with a catalog going back to the early 90s have a new 4 song EP This team includes a family feel of collaboration. I’m overcome with excitement that none other than Roger Jarvis (Negative Gain Records) is one half of the original duo. I’m also left wondering if any of them spent time in Michigan for the Kevorkian reference. The music also has a Detroit techno energy clashing with Industrial and darktrance.

Favorite Track: Spring Heel Jack – I am always a sucker for folk lore and this red cap rampage industrial banger featuring the story of the British murder fairy Jack is a must hear. Filthy beats on top of boot stomp percussion and hurled metal shaving vocals.

Words: Ryan Gribbin
Music: Roger Jarvis, Rob Robinson, Sean Whitman
Mixing/Mastering: Rob Robinson
Artwork Concept/Design: Ryan Gribbin and Sally Helena

Injection: 01 | Kevorkian Death Cycle (bandcamp.com)

Nothing Tastes Better Than Buying a New Release On Bandcamp Day Feels.

As the first Friday of February descends upon us Bandcamp (The best way to support new artists) has brought back Bandcamp Friday where every cent spent goes to the artists making the music. Here in Michigan we are buried in fluffy crystal snow and have no where to go. So make a cup of hot coco, grab a warm blanket, and tuck into some of the great releases which have found their way into my collection.

Sapphira 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. Available 2/4/22 on Distortion Records.

https://sapphiravee.bandcamp.com/album/aerial-human

The Palest GreyAlways Haunted – Long have I yearned for this release of wine stained lips and flapping leather wing goodness from Malek, Ripley, and dear friend Azy of (Obscura Undead). Lofi open maw bounding horror charging down a darkened hallway by furious clomping drums and tendril rope guitars. This is wonderful music created by people who LOVE batcave goth. You can really hear that homage in the intensity and intent. The EP also includes a Virgin in Veil cover which is a powerful deep cut. I love how the vocals have this hazy shadow monster undefinable quality that fluctuates in range and ferocity. Out on 2/4/22

https://thepalestgrey.bandcamp.com/releases

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 thoughts music.

Stand Out Track: I’m Going Down – This album is such a complete journey, I love each story and song. That said this track is constantly in my playlist when I need a moment. It’s a heavy builder that taps the emotion of great hits like Black Parade by MCR. It’s a nuclear unhinged crest of beauty and pain flung forth with reckless abandon. The perfect closer to the album.

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.

https://katyneedsalife.bandcamp.com/album/with-friends-like-bees-2

Black Rose BurningThe Wheel – It’s strange, I feel like I have already reviewed this record, because I listen to it all the time. George Grant is a legendary part of the New York darkscene who has produced and written magnificent music that infuses heady concepts of fantasy and science fiction into beautiful towers of narrative beauty. With that history laid out, this album is the true opus of his career. A distinctive and complex expression of the modern post punk/darkwave scene. George has one of those voices of shooting star power which rings in the memory every time you hear it. I have said before it feels like Peter Gabriel doing goth music about Issac Asimov. This album is a must have in your collection. Also Mastered by Jason Corbett (Maybe you should ask him about mastering your band)

Stand Out Track: A Little Too Little – Grinding and filthy bass driving contrasts Georges lifting windswept beautiful vocals. I’m genuinely amazed this wasn’t a hit from the 80’s I had just forgotten about. A pleading love song tempered with regret. This song stabs me right through the heart every time.

https://blackroseburning.bandcamp.com/album/the-wheel

What are you going to buy this bandcamp day?

January 2022 Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Singles Chart

The first singles chart of 2022 is complete. As always these were the singles voted on by Sounds and Shadows group of Dj’s, Reviewers, Artists, and Super fans in the encompassing Darkscene genre. This is a chart that is chosen with no pay for play by your votes on songs that moved you. This month it featured some scene giants, as well as fresh new talent. In February if you have a release to contribute place it on the chart for voting.

  1. Stabbing WestwardGhost
  2. Vulture CultureToxic
  3. Long After MidnightPainkiller (Digital Monster Remix)
  4. BellheadNothing as It Seems (Stabbing Westward Remix)
  5. ESA Laudanum Dance
  6. Cat-Hall/DissonanceSlow Burn
  7. Death Loves Veronica – When I Was Dead Feat: Tim Skold
  8. Dogtablet You and Me (The Burying Kind Remix)
  9. Author & PunisherMaiden Star
  10. Morgue VVitchIn The Garden Of Monsters

Stabbing Westward – Ghost – LA Industrial Rock legends continue to fire out new music on COP International that tantalizes and sets the standard for the combination of electronic aggression and percussive guitar starburst. Chris Hall has an iconic voice that somehow gets stronger with every release. This single exploring that dissonant feeling of distant echo we are all plagued by in these times.

https://stabbingwestward.bandcamp.com/album/ghost

Vulture Culture – Toxic – Florida band I don’t know much about yet that got huge hometown support for this grinding 90’s “Broken” style single from a live recording. It’s filthy and intrigues me for their future.

https://vultcult.bandcamp.com/

Long After MidnightPainkiller (Digital Monster Mix) – I love seeing a band close to me in Grand Rapids Michigan crack this chart. Every single release and collaboration leaves me staggered and impressed with the range and quality of songwriting. This razor edge pop rock industrial bleeds jagged glass clarity and vocal intensity. This band has really been taking the scene by fire, and I can’t wait to hear what is next.

https://longaftermidnight.bandcamp.com/track/painkiller-digital-monster-mix

BELLHEADNothing As It Seems (Stabbing Westward Remix) – Chicago based electronic demolition experts that rock two bass thunder and no apologies are remixed here by the previous mentioned Stabbing Westward. I love the machine gun cadence poetic delivery of the vocals. A unique and explosive sound between stalking and smashing.

https://bellhead.bandcamp.com/track/nothing-as-it-seems-stabbing-westward-remix

ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse)Laudanum Dance – Jamie is a force of nature leading the charge of modern EBM. Every song burns with napalm intelligence and body blow intensity. Just when you think everything has been done before, ESA reminds you that their is new sonic ground to explore and it is filthy as it is mean.

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

Dissonance – Slow Burn – I am in love with this team of Cat and Melodywhore. James seems to know all the best ways to unleash Cat’s boundless vocal intensity and smoky beauty. This song is a burning panther slinking up an active volcano.

https://dissonanceband.bandcamp.com/album/slowburn?fbclid=IwAR2PzSNqKsEzNyhCiEgNt2fqV3fVv0sC4QvbC1EPOq37x9ikornp1eMJ1MM

Death Loves Veronica Feat: Tim Skold – When I Was Dead – The Texas siren from Cold Transmission music has teamed with legend Tim Skold on this stutter beat stomping whisper that is haunting as it is explosive. I really love the sword slash guitar riffs which are not a standard for Veronica. It has a fresh feel on something I already love.

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/track/when-i-was-dead-feat-tim-skold

DogtabletTJY4 (The Burying Kind Remix) – There is so much to love here. Legend Martin King (Test Dept) and Jared Louche (Chemlab) blending a trance driven beauty. Then remixed by Scott David and Dan Milligan of (The Burying Kind). It’s a gorgeous fantastical garden of wonder sprawling into mystery. You need this now.

https://dogtablet.bandcamp.com/track/you-me-the-burying-kind-dream-mix

Author & PunisherMaiden Star – San Diego sky splitting sonic destroyers A & P make the chart for a second month in a row with their single Maiden Star off of “Kruller“. This song is amazing and needs to be played on the largest sound system you can gain access to post haste.

https://authorandpunisher.bandcamp.com/track/maiden-star

Morgue VVitchMidnight Sun of Summer (Slighter remix) – Kansas dark trance producer Tara has teamed with California electro sculptor Colin of (Slighter) to create this dark crystal winding path of beauty and arm weaving dance magic.

https://morguevvitch.bandcamp.com/track/midnight-sun-of-summer-slighter-remix

February single chart starts on the 10th. What new releases are you excited for?

December 2021 Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Chart

So I am a bit behind the ball again. I do want to make sure I am continuing to publish these charts chosen of the top singles released in December chosen by the DJ’s, Reviewers, Bands, and Superfans in the Sounds and Shadows group. Make sure to cast your vote in January.

  1. Gravity Corps – Another Day
  2. Daddybear (Feat Grabyourface) – Boss Bitch
  3. HAEX – Cursebreaker
  4. Deathline International – Parasite
  5. Author and Punisher – Drone Carrying Dead
  6. Eva X – Whipping Girl
  7. Batavia – Epitaph
  8. SYZYGYX – Light You On Fire
  9. Angelspit – Stand In Line
  10. Rosegarden Funeral Party – In The Wake Of Fire

Gravity CorpsAnother Day – Spacey driving dance beats from Mark Sousa. This futurepop trance rhythm with the melodic bass whisper vocals and sharp mastering of Eric Oehler (Klack). This is sensational music to fire finger guns on the dancefloor to.

https://gravitycorps.bandcamp.com/track/another-day-ep-version

daddybear feat: grabyourface – Boss Bitch – Well the amazing duo of Matt Fanale and Marie Dragontown have done it again and found their way to the top pf our darkscene chart. Stalking apex hunting vocals stanking up the dancefloor with raw sensual pheromones and sinister beats. Sometimes two humans just share a mind perfectly and create a seamless blend that achieves glory. This is one of those times.

https://daddybear.bandcamp.com/album/boss-bitch

HAEXCursebreaker – A latecomer in 2021 that made our albums of the year. This filthy concrete sledgehammer blend of industrial and nu-metal is a terrifying decent into forbidden alien chaos magic. Adam Jones growls mean and it makes my knees weak.

https://haex.bandcamp.com/track/cursebreaker

Deathline InternationalParasite – Old school Front Line Assembly sample heavy lashing punk fire boot stomper from the head of COP records, mixed and mastered by living legend John Fryer. Sinister Guitar Lord James Perry of Ashes Fallen adds a powerful lick to ice this delicious cake. A lot of talent was brought together to make this sizzle, and it does.

https://deathlineinternational.bandcamp.com/track/parasite-single-mix-john-fryer

Author & PunisherDrone Carrying Dread – So when I saw a 8 minute 16 second single from the San Diego band I thought, how does this work? I was so wrong. This works. It’s an ever expanding Machines of Loving Gracesque emotive and beautiful journey of dread and introspection. It’s simply magnificent. I don’t want to be this in love with it, but it is SO GOOD!

https://authorandpunisher.bandcamp.com/track/drone-carrying-dread

Eva XWhipping Girl – I love listening to an artist grow with every new release before my ears. Gaby continues to sharpen her sound and produce a glorious darkpop full of strength and soul. This track holds a fiery defiant energy and cutting intelligence. I can’t wait to hear what is next.

https://eva-x.bandcamp.com/album/whipping-girl

BataviaEpitaph (C​-​Tec Cover) – So I absolutely love it when a band covers an “underground” band. Although C-Tec is a Front Line Assembly side project, it isn’t terribly well known. Batavia continues to be one of the most underrated bands in the modern electronica scene. This cover is gorgeous and powerful. The team of Ed and Terri just have a magical and expressive connection that seeps through everything they do. They have joined the “Must Buy” club for all future releases because it seems they cannot miss.

https://batavia.bandcamp.com/album/epitaph-c-tec-cover

S Y Z Y G Y XLight You On Fire – Luna Blanc continues to explode with smoky sensuality and undefinable energy. This new single is stripped down and focused with captivating depths to fall into.

https://syzygy-x.bandcamp.com/track/light-you-on-fire

AngelspitStand in Line – Second single from Diesel Priest. Electronic political punk root explosion with a thinking persons razor resolve. Get inside the system, then become a bomb, then explode in a visceral bloody paste of art glitter.

https://angelspit-official.bandcamp.com/track/stand-in-line

Rosegarden Funeral PartyIN THE WAKE OF FIRE – The amazing Texas dark rock band I always find myself not diving deep enough into for no apparent reason, but every time I take a moment to listen like I am now, I am struck by how damn amazing they are. Leah Lane is a force on vocals. The music is gospel choir uplifting and soulful. Every instrument is perfect precision. It’s a gorgeous single that deserves your attention.

https://rosegardenfuneralparty.bandcamp.com/

Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Chart

Recently on the Sounds and Shadows group we had a discussion about the place of “Charts” like the DAC in the modern scene. A way to keep your finger on the pulse and help DJs see what tracks are trending by people in the know. I took a poll of our group of Dj’s, Musicians, Labels, PR companies, and superfans to pick their hottest releases in Sept-Oct of the modern Darkscene. We had a ton of stellar releases that were discussed but I have taken the top 10 chosen. I plan to do this once a month.

  1. Moris BlakCandyman
  2. The Joy ThievesNemesis – Armalyte Industries
  3. StoneburnerApex Predator – COP International
  4. ActorsLove You More – Artoffact Records
  5. WingtipsRun For Shelter – Artoffact Records
  6. BootblacksThin Skies (Twin Tribes Remix) – Artoffact Records
  7. Curse MackeyLacerations – Negative Gain
  8. Angelspit – Don’t Know Zero – BLACKPILLREDPILL
  9. Gasoline InvertebrateScarlet Slip feat Chris Connelly (iVardensphere Remix) – Tigersquawk Records
  10. Dread RisksTrauma Ties – Re:Mission Entertainment

https://morisblak.bandcamp.com/album/candyman-single?fbclid=IwAR3IkWI5xWU_wG07h02T1GLS7al59J6KTudG_eA32-EEMRBfUB8CnWl2AwI

https://thejoythieves.bandcamp.com/album/nemesis?fbclid=IwAR2qVQHV1KgC_gizRUTp2qRRaYiU6w_lMQH_MGn2AQEit5Ltyk94etsEsK0

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/album/apex-predator

https://actors.bandcamp.com/

https://wingtips.bandcamp.com/album/cutting-room-floor

https://bootblacks.bandcamp.com/album/thin-skies-remixed

Curse Mackey (bandcamp.com)

https://angelspit-official.bandcamp.com/album/don-t-know-zero-single

Gasoline Invertebrate – Scarlet Slip feat Chris Connelly (iVardensphere Remix)

https://tigersquawkrecords.bandcamp.com/album/tigersquawk-vs-cop-international

https://dreadrisks.bandcamp.com/

Keep growing the scene, keep supporting great music. If you want to vote in next months S & S Darkscene chart join up on facebook and submit your song.