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.
All tracks are: Emileigh Rohn: vocals and lyrics Jean-Marc Lederman: music and production
Except “Pets” written and composed by Perry Farrell, Stephen Perkins, Martyn LeNoble and Peter DiStefano
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.
Top Tracks: (Honorable Mention) – I’ll start with the Porno For Pyros cover which was a song I always loved and had forgotten about. This interpretation found a perfect home amongst the core concept on the album. Emileigh really captured the dark levity of Perry Farrel. I really enjoyed the rising tempo as a contrast to the underwater quaalude of the original.
This Ones My Own – I love the confrontational power here. The train is leaving the station, rising off the ground, gaining speed. There is a staggering gentle tapping baseline, a light contrast I found to be haunting. Awesome 99 Degrees Susanne Vega vibes. A winding track so smooth it never touches the ground.
March Right Through The Fire – This track marches forward with an unyielding determination. Full of pride and courage it treads through heavy water. The kind you courage you need to convince yourself to believe. The music is a constant motion machine of stabbing probes. With equal and opposite reaction. Something about the tempo and hint of snarl in the vocals has this song in my rotation.
Rohn – Lederman has once again proven they have a special connection and collaboration which is on my automatic buy list until proven otherwise.
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 Eyelid – Leaving 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
SINE – Mantis 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.
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
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.
ULTRA SUNN – Summer 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.
thePicassos – Exhumed – 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.
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 Pixies “Doolittle” 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.
The Bellwether Syndicate – Dystopian 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)
Pilgrims of Yearning – Hadal – 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.
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.
Hexheart – Funeral 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.
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 Black – Two 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.
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
Batavia – Batavia 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 NINWish 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
hororhaus – La 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.
Morningstvr – The 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.
Golden Apes – From 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.
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
I continue to see the importance of putting out this monthly chart. One that is unique in our scene. I hope other people appreciate the songs chosen here for their quality. Every track here is voted on by Dj’s, Bands, Reviewers, and Superfans that represent the pulse of modern dark music.
Leathers – Runaway
Black Angel – Look Me In the Eye
The Cassandra Complex – Old Boys Network
HexHeart – Erase Yesterday
Moris Blak/Daddybear/GrabYourFace – Crimes Of Passion
Vaselyne – Shame
Iamnoone – The Need
Sever The Servants – Get In The Grave
Iamtheshadow – Remind Me
Kill Shelter (Feat: Agent Side Grinder) – The Necklace
LEATHERS – Runaway – Another gorgeous smash hit from Shannon Hemmett of Vancouver. As part of the darkscene darlings Actors this synthy dreamwave project continues to grow and impress with every release. Masterful execution with a personal delivery.
Black Angel – Look Me In The Eye – We have an upcoming interview with LA transplant Matt Vowles about the band putting the rock back into gothic rock. I love this slow grooving The Cult style flavored single with some sinister smokey backup vocals from Manheesha Jones. Absolute banger.
The Cassandra Complex – Old Boys Network -After 20 years the pre goth legends The Cassandra Complex dropped a new album and a scathing punk rock rebuke of modern post capitalism. This song has been sitting the top of the DAC chart as well all month long.
Hexheart – Erase Yesterday – Seattle WA sleek voodoo synth had this single to set the road for their 6/17/22 release “Funeral Flowers“. I love the smooth electronic soft serve retro feel. The lyrics have a wonderful Ducky in the rain poetry. This album will be a day one buy for me.
MORIS BLAK x DADDYBEAR x GRABYOURFACE – Crimes of Passion – Three heavy hitters of modern EDM/EBM who have teamed again to take our singles chart by storm. Each time they have gotten together it is an absolute banger offset by Marie’s crime croon vocals. This belongs on dancefloors everywhere.
Vaselyne – Shame (PJ Harvey Cover) – Early single release for the 6/3/22 EP “The Sea Says” is a cover of the mistress of raw alternative PJ Harvey. I love the percussive twang present throughout. The Dutch duo on COP International do a lovely vocal volley. I love the dusty humidity of the tone in this homage. Leaves me excited to review the album.
Sever The Servants – Get In The Grave – Another song on this chart from the partnership of Hide Tepes and Mike Nolan on their horror hue nightmare fuel project on Produkt 42. Normally I don’t answer orders to jump into the grave soil, but this charismatic call gets under your skin.
IAMTHESHADOW – Remind Me – Another gorgeous underground bop from the best baritone in modern goth Pedro Code. The Portuguese darkwave act continues to be the flagship of Cold Transmission. A darkwood ship rising and falling on synthetic waves.
Kill Shelter – The Necklace ft Agent Side Grinder – Finally the eagerly awaited master producer and composer Pete Burns returns to form with a single from the upcoming July album “Asylum” using guest vocals from the Swedish Synth star Johan Lange of Agent Side Grinder. This is an emotional tidal wave and leaves me ravenous for the full release. Pete is a wizard of drawing the best out of already talented people.
Consistently haunting along the dark wave scene since 1999, Canadian band The Birthday Massacre has recently released their 9th album Fascination. Having dropped on February 18, 2022, the entire album is a beautiful marriage of the ethereal vocals of it’s lead singer, Sara “Chibi” Taylor and the dark synthetic sound that the band is so well known for.
Fascination delivers a similar feel to the bands prior albums that came before, and this is not something grounded in the negative. A continuing, slow evolutionary sound that they have spent time mastering through past albums such as Hide and Seek, Imagica, and 2020’s Diamonds. The tracks of Fascination alternate between slower paced, more romantically themed songs, and a harder, darker sound that would be easily at home echoing out over a goth clubs dance floor. I don’t think I’ve ever found a musical talent whose sound so perfectly corresponds to the art of their album covers. Fascination “sounds” like being led into mysterious new surroundings by some fae child under a violet hued night sky.
It’s title track, Fascination, starts out with the twinkling of keyboard keys, popping into existence like stars at night, before the rest of the song envelopes you with Chibis vocals extolling her new obsession. It sets the thematic feeling of the album overall and is a powerful starter. Dreams of You, One More Time, and Once Again are more romantic in their subject matter, hitting on both love found and lost while Cold Lights,Like Fear, Like Love, and Precious Hearts each come on stronger, and are far more likely to be deployed from a DJ’s arsenal.
A few stand out songs – Stars and Satellites is definitely one of the stronger tracks, and while starting out with a slower beat, boasts some powerful guitar riffs and Chibis vocals help paint a celestial soundscape. My favorite ballad is it’s closing one, the aptly named The End of All Stories. It’s the slowest piece on the album, something I am oddly predisposed to in most cases, and brings together all the good elements that the band has to offer to allow a slow fade out for the albums end. The beautiful vocals, powerful guitars, and those wonderful synths which for me play off a nostalgia for bygone eras of music. I miss the 80’s and am grateful that it’s sound lives on in albums like this.
Altogether, Fascination will offer fans of The Birthday Massacre another lovely helping of everything that made them fall in love with the band in the first place. Yes, it does tend to sound a great deal like what came before in their discography, but if something isn’t broke why try and reinvent it? Putting this album on will net exactly what the world could use more of – beautifully gloomy music being performed by beautifully gloomy Canadian musicians.