Posts Tagged ‘Gothic’

Two albums in and London’s Grave Lines, purveyors of ‘heavy gloom’ have already carved a unique niche in the myriad spheres of heavy music. Their first album Welcome To Nothing set the tone for their distinct take on doom metal, which was broadened even further with album two Fed Into The Nihilist Engine. An epic feast of hard ‘n’ heavy riffs coupled with brooding sadness interspersed with thoughtful transcendent moments of introspection.

Never a band to rely solely on trotting out those ‘doom metal’ tropes, the band began to weave in gothic and experimental elements into their music, to delve deeper into the dark shadows of the psyche.

Now with their third album Communion Grave Lines continue their exploration into the ugliness of the human condition, at the same time becoming a band that truly defies any pigeonhole.

Continuing to hone and evolve their collective vision and aided by the masterful production of Andy Hawkins at The Nave Studios, Communion sees Grave Lines creep further into the various corners of their sound.

In a nutshell Communion is a violent descent of bile-soaked intensity spiralling between filth laden swagger, and fragile mournful lament. The album delves into the internal aloneness of existence and the failings of the human connection.

Owing as much to Bauhaus and Killing Joke as it does to Black Sabbath or Neurosis, there are moments of gut wrenching doomed up heaviness and bellowing noise rock, contrasting with ambient gothic passages and a thoughtful melancholy, to a create a powerful new chapter in their ceaseless journey through the gloom. Listen to first single ‘Carcini’ now:

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Cathedral In Flames were slowly preparing for live shows and writing their next record during the Covid pandemic when Vladamir Putin and Russian armed forces invaded Ukraine.

The band immediately decided to take action. They will donate all royalties and proceeds from their Hang Me High And Bury Me Deep record to support Ukraine, specifically to run Nexta, an independent news channel that brings the breaking news from across the battlefield.

In order to draw attention to the cause and raise additional funds for Ukraine from their fans, the band decided to record a cover version of Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld’s duet ‘The Weeping Song’.

Phil Lee Fall says of the whole thing, "The war in Ukraine is horrible, the terror on children, innocents, the helpless. This song is maybe about crying, but at the end it sings "… we won’t be weeping long" because I’m convinced that Russia will be defeated in the end."

"Support Ukraine, Putin udi na chuj," ads Gatsby.

Listen and purchase here:

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11th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

When it comes to goth, you might say that the apple never falls far from the tree: there’s a long history of references and recycling, with bands often taking their names from songs or otherwise referencing other bands, and there is, or at least should be, a goth band name generator somewhere on the Internet, with ‘Children’, ‘Sisters’, ‘Grooving’, ‘Dead / Death’ and ‘Ghost’ featuring prominently in the not-so random permutatable word selections. Funerals and marionettes are pretty popular, too, from as far back as 1986, when The Marionettes began life as The Screaming Marionettes.

Taking their name from the Charles Gounod composition of the same name, best known as the theme music for the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The Funeral March of the Marionettes go back to that mid/late eighties heyday (broadly 84 or 85 to 87 or 88) that saw ‘goth’ solidify from being a nebulous array of post-punk bands (The Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Alien Sex Fiend) being lumped under an umbrella by a lethargic press into an actual genre with more defined stylistic boundaries, typically drawing on the aforementioned acts, but with more indie-leanings typical of The Mission and the style of guitar Wayne Hussey introduced to The Sisters on his arrival in 1984

The Funeral March of the Marionettes, from Rockford, Illinois, cite The Cure, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and others among their influences, and while they describe their latest offering as something of a departure, it’s still dense with latter-day gothic tropes, albeit leaning more towards the atmospheric post-punk/industrial crossover space, whereby you’ve got Depeche Mode covering Joy Division, a brooding atmosphere as cool synths drift in an ocean of reverb while angst oozes from every corner of the dense, gloomy production.

Yet for all its adherence of those tropes, for all its stylistic familiarity (just look at that cover art, that’s The Sisters of Mercy / Merciful Release meets Joy Division via Rosetta Stone), ‘Slow’ hits a spot, because it’s dark, dark, dark, and the execution is spot on, sending a shiver of torment down the spine that entices you to bask in the gloom.

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Prophecy Productions – 15th April 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

As Darkher, Jayn Maiven lives up to her moniker. Since beginning her career in 2012, progress has been slow but steady, with an eponymous debut EP in 2013 being followed by a second EP, The Kingdom Field in 2014 paving the way for her full-length debit, Realms in 2016. The Buried Storm, then, has been five years in the wait, but it was most definitely worth it.

‘Sirens Nocturne’ sets the bar with a low, slow, brooding drone of strings providing the backdrop to Jayn’s haunting vocal. That backdrop gradually swells with layers of tremulous violins, and her voice heads skyward, a glorious choral sound that’s spiritual beyond verbalisation.

What’s striking is just how deeply steeped in folk this is, the sparse, haunting melodies evoking rugged moorlands and windswept mountainsides. This isn’t a matter of cliché: this is music that touches the naked soul. A tribal drum thumps way off in the distance on the funereal ‘Lowly Weep’; it’s majestic and it’s moving, and over the course of its eight-minute duration, the swelling sound conveys so much more than mere words. Utilising post-rock tropes, it tapers down to quiet chiming guitar around the mid-point before bursting into a monumental thunder of slow, overdriven power chords, a slow-burning crescendo that’s both heavy and mesmerising in its graceful execution.

For its brevity and simplicity, built around a picked acoustic guitar and mournful strings, ‘Unbound’ is intense, but it’s on ‘Where the Devil Waits’ that we really feel a closer connection to Jayn; the vocals are more prominent, and we feel as it we’re riding the waves of a tempest – both literal and emotional – with her.

The true power of The Buried Storm lies in just how much Maiven does with so little. That said, ‘Love’s Sudden Death’ packs a dark density, and brings with it a slow, doomy trudge that invites comparisons to Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle, and not simply because these are female artists exploring heavy terrain – although I suppose that is a factor, in that we have a crop of artists who balance weight and ethereality, all wrapped in a mist of gothic enigma.

It’s on ‘Immortals’ that everything comes together in a slow-building crescendo – the distant rolling thunder of drums and growing tension that finally breaks into a bold sweep of sound at around the mid-point of its eight-minute expanse.

The piano-led closer, ‘Fear Not, My King’ plods down into the darkest depths. It’s dolorous and dank, and sucks you down toward the depths of reflection, and places you may not want to go.

The Buried Storm is truly beautiful, elegant, with grace and poise and power – and for all its softness, its gentleness, it’s a difficult and at times harrowing album, and a magnificent artistic achievement.

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When negative childhood experiences leave the soul scarred, some angry feelings remain even in adult live and may result in strong words or evoke black-and-white images in the head akin to an old crime thriller. The second single from St. Michael Front’s sophomore full-length Schuld & Sühne (‘Crime and Punishment’) is loosely based on such memories that have been turned into this song’s bold title ‘Knochen & Blut’ (‘bones and blood’), which has been visually cast into a video-clip.

The Hamburgian ‘Chanson Noire’ duo formed by guitarist Bruder Matthias and singer Bruder Sascha will release Schuld & Sühne on Friday, 13th of May.

Watch the video for ‘Knochen und Blut’ here:

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LA-based noise duo GHXST has announced the release of their debut full-length album Admire, out on April 22.

They have now shared ‘Pls, You Must Be A Dream’, the first single taken from the upcoming record. The song adds a surf goth element to the duo’s signature metal-inflected sound and "is an ode to the obsessions that haunt you, like a half-remembered scene from an arthouse film. As Shelley X coldly intones “You’re the only one” over a menacing surf riff, it’s not clear whether it’s for a lost love or a memory of times past. As always, the allure is in the unknown".

The single is accompanied by a video directed and edited by GHXST’s very own Shelley X. Watch it here:

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Photo courtesy of the artist

Pelagic Records – 15th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Is there anyone Lustmord hasn’t collaborated with, or otherwise touched (metaphorically) in some way?

Lustmord, aka Welsh-born Brian Williams embarked on his musical career back in 1980: that’s a forty-two year span now, and the range of artists he’s collaborated with while forging a staggering output of solo releases is beyond staggering. Having emerged from the early industrial milieu and the circlers of Throbbing Gristle, Coil, and SPK, of which he was a member for a time, Lustmord is generally hailed as the progenitor of the dark ambient genre.

A tribute / covers album feels appropriate, then, and the selection of contributors to The Others – Lustmord Deconstructed includes Ulver, Enslaved, Godflesh, Zola Jesus, Katatonia’s Jonas Renske, Jo Quail, The Ocean, MONO and more.

It’s noteworthy that the tracks are credited to ‘Lustmord &…’ as if in collaboration – but then again, isn’t any cover a collaboration of kinds, albeit distant and disconnected? A meeting of minds across time and space.

And so, ahead of the release of The Others – Lustmord Deconstructed, Zola Jesus has shared her cover of ‘Prime’, from the 2020 album Stockholm, recorded live in 2011 and released in 2014. She comments, “As a longtime fan of Lustmord’s work, the opportunity to combine landscapes was like a dream. I’m so inspired by the space and stillness within his music. I wanted to experiment with his way of keeping music on a slow boil, mostly to challenge my own propensity for maximalism.”

It’s certainly a departure from ZJ’s usual style of epic, string-soaked theatrical dramatics, but at the same time, it has all of the rich atmosphere you’d expect. Her gothic, operatic vocal is very much kept in check here, echoing ethereally around a dark rumbling growl of abstraction is melded to a heartbeat. It’s tense, and channels a dark energy that’s almost spiritual. It’s the haunting, otherworldly sound of decay, of tremors from the depths of an ancient sepulchre. It’s mystical, magical, and magnificent.

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DARKHER are now premiering the bitter-sweet video single ‘Love’s Sudden Death’ taken from the beloved Northern English doom act’s sophomore album The Buried Storm, which has been chalked-up for release on April 15.

The black and white clip ‘Love’s Sudden Death’ was filmed on location at Long Dike Moor, which lies between Hebden Bridge and Haworth in West Yorkshire – and is also very close to Top Withens, the moorland that inspired the Brontë Sisters’ novels and poetry.

Watch the video here:

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Photo: Catherine Pogue

Season of Mist – 8th February 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Christian Death may have ridden a certain commercial crest in the late 80s and early 90s during a prolific spell with the run of albums from 1988’s Sex and Drugs and Jesus Christ, All The Love / All The Hate the following year, and 1991’s single’s collection Jesus Points the Bone at You?, but they’ve spent the majority of the their lengthy career running under the radar, both commercially and critically. Their most prolific spell was plagued by controversy, and would see many tour dates pulled and the band attract a slew of negative press. And that’s suited them just fine. Valor articulated it best on ‘Wretched Mankind’ on the aforementioned Sex and Drugs, ‘Fuck ‘em’. The point is, they’re still here, and while the output’s slowed, they’ve still released three albums since the turn of the millennium.

2022 has seen a sudden upturn in activity, starting with their online release of their cover of David Bowie’s ‘Quicksand’ to mark the fifth anniversary of his death and also his seventy-fifth birthday, swiftly followed by new single, ‘Blood Moon’, the lead single from forthcoming album Evil Becomes Rule.

‘Blood Moon’ is a stonker, too. Vintage Christian Death, it’s what you could reasonably call ‘quintessential goth’ for wont of a better summary. The bass and drums are stitched tight together in a solid four-square formation, and the bass is prominent, too. The guitar soars, heavy on the chorus and sustain, and Valor croons brooding and steely synths streak the sky and add depth to the epic chorus. Balancing dark with solid, rocking, and a catchy hook, it’s a remarkably accessible song that’s an obvious single. The chances are that if it was released by an up-and-coming new band, it’d be a breakthrough hit, but one suspects the band’s name and longevity will likely mean it’s unlikely here – but I’d like to be wrong. C’mon world, prove me wrong. For once.

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Gothic death rock pioneers Christian Death have announced their highly-anticipated new full-length album, Evil Becomes Rule

About  Evil Becomes Rule, Valor Kand says the following: ‘Both Evil Becomes Rule and The Root Of All Evilution are pretty much the story of evil. These songs are generally about “The Evil Within Society,” not necessarily stemming from a demon, or a devil, or a God. Instead, it’s about something concerning the evil within mankind. Evil Becomes Rule is a continuation of this theme. We’re going from the present time into the future.  When we started writing this album, we anticipated an event like the pandemic; a disastrous event occurring  on the earth. So now we’re asking the question, “maybe this is just the beginning of it?”’

Ahead of the album, set for release in May via Season of Mist, the band have announced a string of tour dates and unveiled a video for ‘Blood Moon’, which you can watch here:

Evil Becomes Rule US Tour Dates:
05/05: Akron, OH @ Empire Concert Club
05/09: Denver, CO @ HQ*
05/10: Salt Lake City, UT @ Liquid Joe’s*
05/12: Albany, CA @ Ivy Room*
05/14-15: Pasadena, CA @ Cruel World Festival [TICKETS // EVENT LINK]
05/17: San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar*
05/18: Mesa, AZ @ Nile Theater*
05/20: San Antonio, TX @ Rock Box
05/21: Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
05/22: Ft. Worth, TX @ @ Rail Club Live
05/24: St. Louis, MO @ Red Flag
05/26: Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock Cafe
05/29: Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
* w/ LUNA13

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