Proud goth, ex DJ and music reviewer

Feeling in the mood for some electronic beats in an 80s style? Then we have “Out Alive” by Like What. This New York act released the track on January 11th, 2022 and I was reliably informed it was created on an ipad with a guitar. I honestly don’t know much more about this project yet…..

There is something so reminicent of the wonderful Tobias Bernstrup. It could be the singing style and annunciation of the vocalist. The rhythm with the synths are stalking you and will find you wherever you try to hide. The guitar chiming in is extra foreboding as you won’t get out alive.

Electronic music will always lend itself to an apocalyptic vision, concealing and on the run from an unnamed, yet terrible foe. This is definitely one of those tracks that you think, at the end that it finished far too quickly. Damn it, we need a longer remix!! So you can guess by that statement I may have liked it quiet a bit. Get your darkwave on with Like What and “Out Alive“.

https://likewhat.bandcamp.com/track/out-alive

https://www.facebook.com/likewhat.music

Vlimmer, German post-punk/electronic project for Alexander Leonard Donat, has released a split single comprised of “Erdgerurch” and “Space Dementia” in January, on Blackjack Illuminist Records, which is also run by Donat.

Erdgerurch” is a wonderful post-punk piece that has a retro feel with the sublime synths and deep vocals, matched with the drum machine that is spine tingling. Every so often you hear a fuzz of electronic noise creeping at the edges and this feels so warm and familiar that it is instantly likeable. The beginning to “Space Dementia” is surreal and continues in that vein with the vocals. It is a bit like being on the deck of the Star Trek Enterprise, if they were a bit dark and flying to their doom. An impression of infinite space to be lost in forever as it wavers between soft orbits and growling flight. Originally written by Matt Bellamy and performed by Muse, Donat sings in his native German and it loses none of it’s impact, sung with such passion.

I really enjoy it when Donat sings and especially without electronics distorting his vocals and this is no exception. From the beginning, you are immersed straight into “Erdgerurch” and there is no escape from this beautifully crafted song as it captures your soul in sway while there is a crystalline quality to the cover, “Space Dementia“, a reflection in the obsidian black of the expansive universe.

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/erdgeruch-space-dementia

Vlimmer | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/Blackjack.Illuminist/

VAZUM came onto the American music scene in 2018. The heart of the band is made up of Zach Pliska, who planted the dark seed of VAZUM, and later in 2019 joined by Emily Sturm, together creating their own style of gothic rock called deathgaze. In those three years they have put out albums and singles, even dropping a Christmas EP, Vazumnacht. We spoke to these two creatures of the night to find out what lies in the crypt of VAZUM.

Welcome to Onyx.


VAZUM have been releasing music in the current line up, since 2019. How did this project and the band come together?

Zach: Emily and I met in the Summer of 2019 at a local goth club and we bonded over bands like Bauhaus and Smashing Pumpkins. I had a few VAZUM shows planned for the Fall and Emily stepped in on bass. One of the shows we opened for The Genitorturers. When the pandemic hit we got more serious about recording and releasing music. With Emily’s help I finished the album I had been working on, Vampyre Villa. We then set to work on our Halloween inspired album Rated V which was a collaboration where we wrote and produced together. We released both albums in 2020. We realized how well we worked together and became inspired to create music videos, upgrade our recording equipment and continue writing more songs. 

A lot of your music seems to be based around mythical creatures as well as dark forgotten places. Would you agree and if so, what draws you to these subjects?

Emily :I’ve pretty much been obsessed with fairy tales since I was a kid. There was a pretty big chunk of my childhood that we did not own TV in my family. So I was given lots of books to read instead. One of my favorites was a collection of Hans Christian Anderson stories. When I was a little older I got this big thick book called 1000 page book of stories for Christmas. It had Mary Shelley, Poe, Wilde, etc. and that was the beginning of the end. Totally hooked. As a result, those are the themes that still inspire me the most today.

I think in some cases you have empathy for these characters but i also hear that you paint them in the light they were originally painted in… such as vampires being cold blooded hunters of men. Do you think is the case?

Emily: Of course there are many nuanced interpretations throughout literature and legend about the exact nature of a vampire. In our lyrics for the song – vampire – we approach it as a creature that is completely self aware. At once feeling supremely powerful on one hand and yet weakened and brought low by immortality on the other. I was inspired mostly by Anne Rice’s interpretation of vampires (may she rest in peace). The fact that only the very strong willed can even deal with the actual reality of immortality and that most humans that are transformed into vampires are slowly driven insane. Once everyone they knew when they were mortal dies, society changes, that feeling of being out of touch and alone in the world, they then end their vampiric life by throwing themselves in a fire. Most of them never make it past 200 to 300 years old. We wanted to convey that feeling in the song. Being so ancient, tired, yet still lusting for blood.


So Emily, I gather you are the architect of a lot of the visuals in the lyrics?


Emily: We run our ideas off each other. A lot of the times we’ll work on a song together and build on what the other has already started. I gravitate more towards horror and fairy tales and try to tell a story.  I love the visual aspect of the band, whether that’s through videos, photos, artwork or jewelry. 

You have progressed to a more electronic sound while also producing more traditional goth/darkwave. Was this a natural progression and does the material also lend itself to the change in tone?

Zach: We’ve always liked re-working songs. Sometimes we’ll re-work a song and it will turn into a completely different song. With the electronic versions it’s more of a remix where we’re using elements from the original version. It’s fun because we are both fans of electronic music although Emily listens to more electronic than I do. It challenges us to think about things differently and changes our approach. I’ve been more involved with the technical side of producing and engineering and doing the remixes has definitely sharpened my skills. There’s a lot of freedom involved with the remixes, it’s our time to experiment and try new things. And people seem to appreciate the different aspects of the electronic vs rock. 

Some purists say that electronics and the industrial aesthetic don’t belong in the gothic/darkwave genre. How do you feel about that kind of attitude especially seeing as most older ‘post-punk’ bands have used tape loops, synths and drum machines etc?

Emily: I think people that nitpick and try to over analyze styles just don’t have anything better to do.

Zach: I see a lot of arguments online about what’s goth, what’s post-punk, etc. I guess some people enjoy arguing and trying to prove their point. That’s one of the reasons we started calling ourselves a Deathgaze band. We want to differentiate ourselves from all of that.   

As you said, you describe your style as Deathgaze. What for you creates Deathgaze?


Zach: Deathgaze is a combination of deathrock and shoegaze. It’s a way of combining our influences into our own sound. And it’s a production style which we are honing. I like to keep deathgaze in mind as we’re working on new songs and recordings. It helps  us stay inspired and challenged.  The best part about deathgaze is it has yet to be defined. Deathgaze is a new genre which we are shaping as we evolve.  Goth, post-punk, industrial – those have already been defined and established by other bands years ago. Deathgaze is something we can call our own. 

I always like to ask what music influenced you when you were younger? What do you listen to now and find inspirational/pleasing?

Zach: Smashing Pumpkins were my biggest influence as a teenager. I was a product of the 90’s so a lot of the grunge bands and some nu-metal is what got me going as I began playing in bands. Lately I’ve been listening to classical and jazz which I’m gaining more appreciation for. Emily’s early influences were new wave artists like Gary Numan, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Love and Rockets. Lately she’s been listening to Death Grips. 

Covid has changed the music scene in the last two years, with acts unable to perform live, putting out music on Bandcamp, the rise of the EP becoming far more acceptable and online concerts.  How has it affected VAZUM?


Zach: The pandemic set the course for the trajectory we are on now. Beforehand I was distracted with playing drums for other bands. Covid has given us the time needed to focus on VAZUM and what we want to accomplish. We’ve been able to meet our goals of releasing music and videos. We just need to start playing live again and touring. 

You have released quite a few albums in a short amount of time such as Vampyre Villa, Rated V, VAZUM and so on.  Why so many albums in quick succession?


Zach: We enjoy the process from start to end and are honing it in more so we can be productive. We do all the recording and production ourselves so we don’t have to wait around for engineers or other people. I’ve always been obsessive with music whether it’s practicing an instrument or listening to a favorite band. My current focus is on releasing music and keeping a steady stream of content going. I like working on songs in the moment and having a deadline to release them. That’s exciting and adds a level of pressure which we feed off of.

What is in-store for VAZUM and their fans in the future?

Zach: We feel like we’re just getting started and have a lot more to offer in terms of singles, albums, videos and content in general. And when people are ready for live shows and want to see us play, we’ll be right there waiting. I’ve spent a lot of time in previous bands playing live as a drummer and I do miss playing live. I hope for VAZUM to spend a significant amount of time touring. 

https://vazum.bandcamp.com/music

VAZUM | Facebook

From Darlington, in the north of England, Ian Hanratty and Lee Teasdale are Analogue Blood and their latest EP dropped on January 14th. Equinox is the fourth EP to be released since 2019, as they continue crafting their industrial dance floor music.

So kicking off with “Celestial Equator“, you are going to smashed with the high energy from the start, between the pumping guitar and enslaught of beats. Ooh a female vocal can be heard within the frenetic mix, sometimes sweet, on occasion robotic and often other worldly for the title track “Equinox“.

The male vocals by Teasdale are a nice balance for “Invisable” as it builds in strength with the guitar fuzzing behind and the synths wandering with tendrils of feathery lightness.

Let’s Keep On Dancing” is probably my pick of all the tracks. With its eastern inspired vocals married with a techno style and industrial sensibility. The female vocals somewhat remind me of the late 80s/early 90s Eurodance style.

Final track, “Hypnotise” allows the guitarist more free reign but it melds perfectly with the electronic side. The female vocalist is the siren catching your attention amidst the tempest.

Analogue Blood seem to be getting better with each new release as they hone their style. It can be fast and furious, with a vocal eye of the storm that anchors you to a point from being blown away.

https://analogueblood.bandcamp.com/album/equinox

https://www.facebook.com/analogueblood

December 17th, 2021 was when the EP Pieces was released by New Jersey band, Panic Lift on Metropolis Records. Panic Lift are currently releasing a series of EPs, five in total and Pieces is the second in this series. James Francis is the frontman of Panic Lift whom have been around since 2006 and his live band is made up of Dan Platt (keyboards), Ben Tourkantonis (drums), Cristian Carver (drums) and Kenzi Burke (bass).

There is something definitely grandiose about the first track, “Disease Of Kings“. An amalgamation of synths, guitar and soaring vocals that feels a little raw, when the world is breaking around them and life has lost its colour and taste.

Failure Principle”is a track that just instantly catches your attention. The synths just fly at you, exploding into shards of glass, that while pretty, are sharp and reinforces the message that stress without hope becomes a cycle of pain.

The last three tracks are mixes. GenCAB are back with a new album of their own, Thoughts Beyond Words and have remixed “Disease Of Kings” giving it a far more electronic flavour that swirls through your head. It is a given that any song mixed by Assemblage 23 is going to be fairly stellar. Tom Shearer gives “Failure Principle” the treatment and I can see this doing so well on dance floors. Last mix is done by KALCYFR which is a thunderous dubstep and bass beast.

So it is a tight little EP with a great choice in guest mixers. Both songs are little gems and so now we wait to hear the next EP from Panic Lift.

https://paniclift.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/paniclift

https://metropolisrecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MetropolisRecords

https://www.facebook.com/kalcyfr/

https://www.facebook.com/GENCABofficial

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100044546464584

Purveyors of gloom and dead things that go bump in the night, VAZUM, are a very productive duo. It seems not that long ago we reviewed the album Rated V and now they have a new double single, that is not on the last album. “Gallows” is the name of the single dropped at the beginning of January and it is a double single in pixie point boots.

An eerie guitar swell that rolls into Sturm’s vocals, so is issued forth the warning to not to go to the Gallows, for a terrible fate will await you. Her voice is light and airy, bringing notice to the heavy done of the music, causing a sense of unease. The second song is the Lost Forest Mix of “Gallows” with a wondrous far more synth spin which is equally spooky and a little electronically colder.

It is nice to hear gothic music that embraced both the more traditional guitar based music and evolving a more industrial sound as well. “Gallows” is an atmospheric deathgaze (goth +shoegaze) piece and dark synth affair you can indulge in.

https://vazum.bandcamp.com/album/gallows

VAZUM | Facebook

John R Mirland has become one of the staple masters of driving, power noise, rhythmic noise mixed with serious techno savvy. We are grateful he took time out to talk to us about the latest Mirland album and all his creative outlets.

Welcome to the weird of Onyx, John R Mirland.

Thank you so very much for showing an interest in my music

Congratulations on Compromise Is Defeat (CID). It is truly a very attention grabbing album. How naturally does it come to you to mix such genres as techno, power noise and harsh noise?

It does come pretty natural the moment I start working on the beat I can immediately hear if this is going in the Mirland-direction or if it’s the groundwork for another project or artist.

I try to be in the studio as much as I can and just work. I’m very focused so I sit down with the keyboard or guitar and just start composing and usually I almost immediately know what the track is suited for:

The hybrid of rhythmic noise and techno/dark trance is a reflection of my own tastes and I wanted to compose evolving yet pounding music. So I’m very conscious about the variations and small details in the mix. The process is very much my own and I’m not particularly dogmatic with regards to what goes where to satisfy genre specific demands.

John, you wrote the album over a period of time and even some of the tracks have been played live. Why did it take nearly four years for CID to come into fruition?

I started working on the album just after the release of the “Antagonist” ep where I felt I’d really hit a spot with my sound. But you know plans sometimes don’t work out.

The gigs I played both around that time and later gave me an opportunity for testing very early demos of some of the new tracks. But at the same time I was composing and producing for Am Tierpark, Emergency Sequence, M73, Negant, Eisenwolf, Bitter Distrust, Mirland/Larsen and later also Gusten and Udpint while producing and remixing other artists too.

I do like to keep busy and have composed around 200 tracks the last 10-15 years of which I believe around 150 or so have been released.

But time went on and I kept working on the side with the sound design for what was to be “Compromise Is Defeat”. I guess at some point I had 30 or 40 demo tracks.

I prefer getting stuff done so I really needed to get this album done. I felt the demo recordings had something but I’d been deep in the process for far too long. So in the late summer of 2021 I finally sat down and dug into the selection and production of what would be “Compromise Is Defeat”. I recorded and mixed the final album over two months and then my dear friend Claus Larsen (Leæther Strip) did the mastering as he’s done for a lot of my releases.

For many, creating music comes from their current situation/politics/beliefs. When you compose music, especially for Mirland, what inspires you to create?

I don’t consciously search for inspiration. My mind is always racing and thinking about new ideas so I keep a lot of notes and record a lot of ideas. When I watch a movie I often make a note of certain interesting quotes or phrases. I believe some of my titles might suggest what lies behind the track but Iike to keep things open for interpretation. I think that’s one of the great things about instrumental music. It’s very much like abstract painting in that regard.

But a small key to the different projects might be: Mirland is often related to space, transhumanism and futurism. In Am Tierpark, Mirland/Larsen and Gusten Claus Larsen writes the lyrics so he defines the content and we never interfere with each other’s ideas. But very often Am Tierpark is about love/the loss of love. In Udpint I write almost entirely about war and in M73 it’s a lot about cold futures and dark erotica. My own lyrics are often written with the intent to create images.

One of your other projects is Eisenwolf… a mix of blackmetal and industrial. Do you think your love of black metal feeds into this use of harsh noise?

Eisenwolf was a side project of the now defunct Negant which also spawned the electro punk band Bitter Distrust with Michael Hillerup of Birmingham 6. I left all three bands a year ago actually.

But yes, I believe my interest in extreme metal in general blends into a lot of my darker stuff. I actually recorded a black metal mini album last year as Udpint and Claus and I released a punk rock album as Gusten.

But my use of noise and experimental sounds also stems from a very early band I was part of called VHS which was a pretty noisy and weird construction. And I’m a sucker for brutal energy whether it’s industrial or metal. But even Eisenwolf had melodic themes as opposed to just a wall of noise.

Mirland is very much a solo thing for you but you do collaborate with many other artists, especially other Danes in the scene for other projects? How do you approach your solo work compared to your collabrotative with say Negant or Eisenwolf?

I try to uncover the potential in any proposed collaboration and then present a few demo recordings for the others involved with the project. When I can’t see any more potential I put the collaboration on hiatus or leave. I don’t like to waste my own or others’ time.

When I work on my own it’s somewhat the same and I’m a firm believer that nothing is supposed to last forever and some projects only last an ep or album. And that’s absolutely fine. I have no problem with leaving a dysfunctional project.

You released on Claus Larsen’s label, Læbel and you have worked with him as Mirland/Larsen as well as producing and mixing each others music. Leæther Strip/Larsen is spoken in near reverance by many in the industrial scene, though those that know him say he is the biggest sweetheart. Did you find it nerve wracking to work with Claus in the beginning and have you found that friendship has grown exponentially, forging something a bit special?

Claus is a very close and dear friend and I consider him family.

When we work together it’s like we have a direct brain-to-brain connection and we’ve never argued even if we may not agree on everything. I’ve learned a ton from Claus. And we’re equally productive and creatively restless.

Which aspect of music making do you think you enjoy the most? As the performer, the producer or the mix master? Or is it a bit of everything that keeps the flame alive?

I love composing and producing and I’m not particularly interested in being a face or a character. I enjoy the stage not for the sake of being the center of attention but for presenting and interpreting my music in a different, loud setting and watching people’s response.

Who were the early musical inspirations that set your pulse running and made you think ‘I want to do that!’?

A: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’d like to say something cool and leftfield but actually I grew up with a very broad range of music from Pink Floyd to southern blues to classical, constantly playing at my parents apartment. So I’ve always been surrounded by music and I can’t remember a time not wanting to work with music but for many years my main focus was on painting and illustration.

What acts do you listen to now or find their innovation sucks you into their music?

Currently I’m working my way through a big stack of obscure metal releases on vinyl. But I’m also listening to a lot of newer electronic releases. I like the distanced coldness of Julia Bondar and Rue Oberkampf and the energetic techno of Anastacia Kristensen. I enjoy listening to my friend Kri Samadhi who’s a great psytrance producer. Italo Connection’s “Metropolis” album is an extremely well executed album and possibly one of the best synth pop albums in years. And the funky neo disco of Alexander Robotnick always put a smile on my face.

And then I keep coming back to an old release by a short lived doom/black outfit called Woods of Belial. It has this dark, gritty lo-fi sound that I’d never be able to do myself.

What is in store for John Mirland and all his many, many projects?

A: First of I’ll be playing in Copenhagen on March 5th as a double bill with Leæther Strip. It’s been so long! And then I’m currently working on the follow up to “Compromise Is Defeat” which I hope will be out this year. Working title is “Bastard”. There’s a new album from Am Tierpark out this spring which I believe to be the best we’ve done so far and an Italo disco single I wrote for a Danish singer. I’m also working on a new and so far secret space disco project. And maybe something from Gusten too.

Thank you ever so much for taking the time to talk to us!

Thank you!!

The 17th of January sees the release of the single “Decimate” from Matt Hart. This is from his Below The Terra PT.1 album, which is due this year. If you have been following Hart, you will know that he has been building up a story with his music. It is the tale of the Earth that has been visited by alien machines, who are hell bent on changing the surface of the planet to something much colder that suits them while also eradicating the humans. Though the humans have held on in small numbers burrowing down into the soil, looking for sanctuary.

MATT HART

A menacing start, that suddenly knocks the breath out of you and the voices of the mechanical overlords can be heard reporting control. The humans find the world so cold and no opportunity of reclaiming what has been destroyed. There is a wonderful layering of textures, between the driving guitar, the stellar synths and the pounding rhythm.

Decimate” is possibly the point where the last of humanity looked at their planet and thought, we can’t stay anymore, it’s time to go. You cannot mistake the anger and loss the Hart expresses on the behalf of the survivors. As always, Hart gives us a dance floor track with instant appeal and one other appealing thing worth mentioning is that it was mastered by Krischan Wesenberg of Rotersand. So we watch and wait to see what happens is this apocalyptic cyber world of man verses machine.

https://matthart.bandcamp.com/

MATT HART | Facebook

Last year saw the release of the post-punk/goth EP, Beautiful Hell by Orcus Nullify. Kindly, Bruce Nullify answered some questions for us about the EP, his views on the last few years and his connection to Australia.

Bruce Nullify, welcome to the darkside of Onyx. Congratulations on the new EP, Beautiful Hell.

Thank you, interviews are always a pleasure to do. I very much appreciate this opportunity.

Beautiful Hell was released in 2021 which included the singles Night Dance and Pandemonic, which were both released in 2020. How has American politics and a world pandemic shaped this EP?

It’s been very clear that citizen’s health and safety has taken a back seat to the Economy here in the US. Early on during 2020 there was severe negligence in doing what was necessary for safety. Initially it was a failure of the government to move all the chess pieces and do it quickly. And it was heavily political too. But even still, the pandemic has not ended and yet so many carry on as if it has. We are currently approaching one million deaths here in the US. It’s shameful and unnecessary.

There were a few months that I was at home quarantining during 2020. Most of the country was too, for even longer. The solution, or at least a mitigation to pollution became apparent. Cars were off the roads, and folks were working from home. It became clear in cities around the world this created a reduction in air pollution. The atmosphere had a break and it helped. But what happened by the hand of the Orange Beast? Reversal of environmental policies like ending the US’s participation in the Paris Climate Accord, and termination of the Clean Water Act. I didn’t realize exactly how poorly educated and ill advised so many people of this country had become. Then the Orange beast happened. Now I know.

Previously, you have independently released your work but recently have released with Australian label, Mantravision Productions, which is run by Ant Bannister of Sounds Like Winter and many other acts. How did you find yourself involved with Mantravision and release the last two EPs with them?

A few years back Ant did some radio shows on Mixcloud. I believe I reached out to him and we starting talking. We had similar tastes in music. He was also spinning some messed up stuff that caught my attention. We started exchanging music. I confess, at the time my sound wasn’t the best. I did my own production, which was beginner level. Ant, on the other hand has a lot of experience. He’s a kind person. He lets me do what I can and then takes it from there. It’s always exciting for me to get my songs back after he’s worked his magic. It typically goes to the next level or better. After, years of online friendship, I consider Ant to be my Brother from another Mother. And I do very much love Sounds Like Winter. I consider them an inspiration.

Bannister also lent his talent to programming the drums on Beautiful Hell which he also did on Death Hag plus you had help on production of one track by Pete Burns. How do you find these friendships/collaborations lend themselves to your music?

Ant is a member of the band now a days. He has contributed way too much to just be a collaborator. I feel very fortunate to have such great friends. Collaborations have been extremely beneficial to myself and I hope to both Ant and Pete. Collaborating, in my experience, should give you an extra perspective – whether it be a drum beat where you didn’t expect it, or stressing a particular frequency in the mix. It’s important in music to think about what it is you’re trying to make or say. I think adding an extra set of ears aids in refining that process. I would recommend collaboration to anyone trying to make music or art.

You have also been recording with Ant and keyboard player Colin Gallagher as Sequential Zero, another post-punk/goth band. How did this come about?

I believe Ant sent me a track, that he and Colin had been working on, and asked me what I thought about it. He added that he “saw a place for my guitar sound in it”. I was very excited to join. All three of us are putting our hearts into this. Ant said to me a while back that we have a strong synergy. I think that really sums it up well. I hope to join them on stage in Australia or here in the US some day.

Do you think living in South Carolina colours how you write your music ie folk lore etc?

Lol, I doubt it. At least not in that way. That’s an interesting perspective though. I need to pay closer attention to local folk lore. It’s a beautiful part of the country. I love nature. I moved here mostly, to get away from a more urban life. It can be truly energizing and lovely to live isolated in a forest. Without people in ear shot it’s been very easy to crank up the guitar or belt out some vocals late at night. People here do remind me almost daily that I’m that I’m different. Just today I had a guy ask me where I am from. I was born in New England. I do have a Yankee accent and I have no problem telling people what I think.

What music did you listen to when you were young and do you think your tastes have changed? Who do you enjoy listening to now?

My tastes have expanded some, but I still primarily listen to Alternative music. Today you’d find me listening to Sounds Like Winter, Burnt Souls, Kill Shelter, IAMTHESHADOW, October Burns Black, Kentucky Vampires, SENEX IV… There’s so much great music out there.

What is in store in the future of Bruce Nullify and Orcus Nullify….or maybe more colaborations?

I’m working on a few new Orcus Nullify tunes. I plan on keeping up with that. Might be adding another person to the mix. I consider Sequential Zero a full time gig. I’ve got ongoing work with them. So my schedule is pretty well full.

Thanks so much for talking to us today!

It’s my pleasure. Thank you for the invitation!

https://orcusnullify.bandcamp.com/album/beautiful-hell

ORCUS NULLIFY | Facebook

https://sequentialzero.bandcamp.com/

Sequential Zero | Facebook

The UK band Rhombus dropped the album The Longest Day in November. A four piece band, whom were able to draw on the talent of a plethora of others, have been together for approximately a decade. They reside in a town in West Yorkshire called Huddersfield which was famous during the industrial revolution. Now you may ask why I would be interested in such a fact. Huddersfield since that then has fallen on hard times with reportedly 40% of the children who live there, considered living in poverty. It was something I noticed in the lyrical content of the songs that made me decide to investigate. Songs born of the North. Those that love New Model Army well understand that term.

RHOMBUS

We start with the Manchester Airport runway chatter of incoming and outgoing planes, wind speeds and estimated speeds with music ambient playing behind, before it all takes off (pun intended). “You Depend On You” is a piece about how in the end only you can define and choose your fate, as you cannot rely on others. A solid mix of electronics and guitars as well as main male vocal with female backing vocals that highlight the tune. I will never say no to a song that has a middle eastern tone to it and “Sodium Sunrise” has that Dead Can Dance influence at the beginning. The call to Ma’at is for the ancient Egyptian goddess of balance, order, truth and justice, to see what has happened to the Kingdom while sodium is a highly reactive metal, that is silver white in colour, mixing it with the light of the morning sun. The guitar work is striking. “Get Over Yourself” is not a very punk song but it does have that sentiment, especially with the intro line being, We don’t drink tea and we’re all out of sympathy. Don’t drink tea? How very! But then a pot watched never boils and the sentiment is that unless one stops wanting what others have, they’ll never achieve anything.

There is somewhat of an Asian tone before the guitars chime in on “Always Hope” just as the sun always rises, which leads into “No Victim” an ode to the need for stress to cause people to grow and not stagnant. The title track “The Longest Day” is a harkening back to the 60s almost, especially with the harmonization and is about trial by fire tempering the steel of resolve. It leads into the single “Magnificent“, which is the rolling love song. A blaze of guitar rings in “Not For Me“and a nice bit of what sounds like a Hammond organ in the musical break! The bleakness of the electronics and piano in “Another Way” in warmed up by the drums and hum of guitar which seems in complete juxtapose with the final track, “Love Is The Answer” unless you are looking at it from the view point that love will give you the ability to show others compassion. Rhombus are very emphatic that this is what can create more peace than hatred…and they are more or less right.

I have to say the the guitar work reminded me a lot of Gary Moore for some odd reason. That is a big compliment because Moore was an extraordinary player. Rhombus are very passionate about not only the music they play but obviously about what is happening in society and the world in general. That is a commendable thing in a time where it is easier to gain plays for cute songs than for political/societal observations.

https://shop.rhombus.org.uk/

Rhombus | Facebook