Finally I get around to this. While I was writing for another publication, I promised one Daniel Graves, that I would review the next album he brought out. Enough of the excuses as Aesthetic Perfection did give us another new album in March, titled Into The Black.
“God’s And Gold” kicks this off and all you can think is, if this is the first track then what is rest going to be like?! This is a stonking number and deserves to be the single. It is beautifully bass heavy and Graves‘ throat ripping vocals are offset by his gorgeous, angelic voice that he sweetens our ears with. Do we need, crave or turn away from deities and riches? So bloody catchy. Richard Z Kruspe of Rammstein fame, beats us over the head with that guitar work.
The techno/ industrial beat is going to grab you and take you into the ‘Wickedness’. It is just dirty enough, you can feel the sexy smuttiness make you wiggle your arse. We like this type of wickedness.
“No Boys Allowed” could be considered the anthem track of the album and was the first single released. The title of this song may not be what you think and is in no way a sexist piece in the slightest. This is an ode to being allowed to be who you are and not being bullied into someone else’s ideal, ie a ‘real man’ and not a boy. A song that is also a powerful comment. The music is slightly off kilter, with electronic bleeps and estranged keyboard strains.
We are treated to a sweetly sung melody from Graves at the beginning of “Supernatural”. Questioning faith in the afterlife and God …. how much do you need to believe to get through this existence? It’s an almost pretty number.
“Echoes” is a far more pop orientated number, featuring Jinxx of Black Veil Brides. With a catchy chorus, this is very pleasant on the ears.
Track six features both Jinxx and one Krischan Wesenberg of a little industrial band called Rotersand (who are well worth checking out). Graves wants to know will “We Wake Up” from the dreams we have at night or if the monsters in them will consume us and drive him crazy. This is a slow measured piece, sung with a gusto that only losing sleep can provoke.
“If I Die”, again is featuring Jinxx, is a more lively number, with strong guitar riffs, highlighting the fact that even in this age of connection, if we pass, will people remember us or even care that we ceased to be. The guitar work reminds me a little of Within Temptation.
Yes!!!! Hit with the electronic beat once more and we are off with “Saint Peter”. The beat fits so perfectly with the synth and as ever Daniel‘s voice modulates between sweet and sassy. In fact it creeps me out a little that he croons eerily like IAMX‘s, Chris Corner (who has a seriously amazing voice as well).
The EBM is strong in “YOLO”, which I’m going to guess is you only live once…. modern acronyms are not my strong point but then I am from the era of a childhood under nuclear threat and this resonates no matter what your age.
The last song, “Mourning Doves”, has a real 80’s sound to it. Slightly bittersweet in its sentiment and it soars in its simplicity. Again Jinxx joins in and this is a gorgeous way to finish the album.
As well as the input from Kruspe, Jinxx and Wesenberg, you can also find the guitar work by Anaal Nathrakh guitarist, Mick Kenney who also co-wrote several of the songs.
For all intents and purposes, Graves is indeed the driving force of Aesthetic Perfection and it is his talent and vision that have developed the sound from originally aggrotech to smooth EBM/industrial with a pop sensibility.
This is very much an introspective album in many ways. It questions religion, spirituality, life, death and does it all really matter in the end or do you simply accept this life and live it because you only get one shot.
Aesthetic Perfection are one hundred percent independent by self releasing on Bandcamp and Patreon. I would really encourage anyone who hasn’t listen to Graves before or not indulged in bathing their ears with Into The Black, to do so. This is a ripper and will continue to grow on you.