Proud goth, ex DJ and music reviewer

So maybe it’s time to get your goth on and revel in the debut single, “Glamour Girls” from Brisbane/Meanjin band, Sacred Hearts. The band explained in a radio interview, that they are femme fronted, LGBTQIA+ band, something that is close to their hearts, as well as their great love of retro post punk bands such as Echo And The Bunnymen, Nick Cave and The Cure.

SACRED HEARTS

Not going to lie, I don’t know much about these ladies other than that they are young and pulling on a lot of influences. There is the jingle jangle of guitar and those dark brooding bass lines, topped with delicate vocals, that swirl and lure you into the musical darkness. In true goth fashion, a la Dr Avalanche, a drum machine gives you the rhythm.

Lyrically this is a number about the dubious world of actresses and models, being beautiful doesn’t always translate to being treated well. It is melancholic and graceful. If this is a taste of what Sacred Hearts have for us, we might be in for a treat as they continue to create music. For now though, I hope you will enjoy “Glamour Girls“.

https://sacredhearts.bandcamp.com/

https://www.instagram.com/sacredheartsmusic/?hl=en

in 1996, I met a couple, Georgina Emery and Ken Evans, as they were looking to get their band into live gigs. Tycho Brahe were signed to the now iconic, Brisbane based and independent electronic label, Trans:Com. I have a feeling their first show may have been at the club I ran back then. They played a very catchy number called “Dreams Of Dying” that became a crowd favourite. That was 25 years ago and to mark this anniversary, Tycho Brahe have re-cut a new version that was released in May this year.

KEN EVANS & GEORGINA EMERY
TYCHO BRAHE

You could always hear the New Order and Human League influence in the music. There are the bright synth lines, the danceable rhythm and the catchy hook chorus that will get stuck in your head. For me it doesn’t sound very much different, except maybe cleaner sound wise and maybe that’s the point. It was pretty good to start off with and instantly drew in the gothic crowd.

Yes this is highly nostalgic for me. It was a time when we were younger and life revolved around going to the next nightclub, the next gig and who was dating who. In saying that, it was always a stand out song that got people dancing with its strong synth pop and electronic roots.

Ken had gone on to work with his idol, Peter Hook of New Order fame but it’s nice to see Tycho Brahe keeping the flame burning. You can check them out on Bandcamp and the single is for free download. I have never forgotten and I still have the original demo tape they gave me.

https://tychobrahe1.bandcamp.com/album/dreams-of-dying

https://m.facebook.com/tychobraheband

http://www.tycho.com.au/?fbclid=IwAR0tKHSwUxd2BzZ1GJXkb4xqQuukL3kuS7FLp0jAqykosZ721vj6iAT9K5A

From the wild open spaces of Oregon comes Warm Gadget, ready to help you get your metal industrial on, with their new EP, Rituals, released in April. Tim Vester is the lead vocals and effects, Austin Williams on bass and backing vocals and then it seems Colten Williams maybe the insidious, evil mastermind who plays everything else, did backing vocals, wrote the music and produced it. This makes him a busy fellow.

WARM GADGET

First cab off the rank is the first single we previously reviewed here, “New Industrial“. There is the head to head clash of guitar versus electronic, that smacks of derision and angst at the system.

Full Of It” is just angry, so very angry. A fuck you to the world who uses, then casts you aside when there is nothing left after giving promises of false dreams. Full on raging guitar and Vester screaming his discontent.

Not many relationships end on good terms and it seems “If I Only Could” is very much in that vein. I’D REMOVE ME FROM YOUR MEMORY; (YOU’RE DEAD TO ME) IF I ONLY COULD is a very telling line, conceding most songs talk about forgetting the other person. It’s a bit like if Tool met Queens Of The Stone Age in a fist fight.

Symptoms” could be a commentary on the modern lifestyle where everything can be fixed taking medications. The music is steady and the vocals raw with emotion of wanting to live with the ‘disease’, so that they can just live.

The guitar riffs are great in “Dead To Me“. It’s a more electronically crunchy number that really rocks. The concept that love is binding and that the other person can suddenly turn on you, leaving you wanting to get the hell out of Dodge.

The last two tracks are remixes of “Symptoms“. The first by Witch Eyes which illicits a more old school industrial sound. The second is by Snowbeasts and this propels the track into a whole new stratosphere, going far more electronic and cutting out all the vocals.

This looks back to the metal bands of industrial such as KMFDM, Ministry and My Life With The Kill Thrill Kult, while giving it a more grungy effect, making it dirtier and slightly more unhinged. Keeping the blood pumping with their musical force, Warm Gadget gracing your lobes with Rituals.

https://warmgadget.bandcamp.com/album/rituals

https://www.facebook.com/warmgadget/

Ever since the Shiv-r first album, Hold My Hand, came out on Infacted Records/Metropolis in 2010, they have gone from strength to greater heights. Members, Pete Crane and Ben Bulig are Australian lads who have taken their sound to the rest of the world, playing some of the biggest EBM festivals. They have lived abroad but now call Sydney home once more. In that time Pete started up the music label, Blind Mice Productions and through this label, have self released their fifth album, Kill God Ascend.

PETE CRANE OF SHIV-R

From the first chords of the title track, “Kill God Ascend“, you know Shiv-r is taking no prisoners. It races over you like a wave, to then retreat and hit you again with karmatic insight. You cannot attain enlightenment until you no longer hold onto anything and kill the god like ego.

Borne From Hate” is a banger of a track that powers away and makes you wish you were on a dance floor at the time. Beautifully harsh and electronically cold which suits the title completely.

With an infectious chorus, “Spark” is a jewel of industrial pop. All it takes is that spark to ignite a revolution. It rolls along at a danceable beat and surely is going to be a single at some point.

There is the slow burn of “Promises Of Armageddon“, which won’t disappoint with its ideology that nothing will kill you faster than boredom.

Blue Turns To Black” feels thoughtful and peppered in yearning. The vocals low and hushed with the near reverent music, an ode to the fact that we can eventually find the light in even the darkest situations.

Emotions are simmering and the tension high in “Empire“. Don’t ask me to fight your meaningless endeavours rings so true of these times. This is one of two numbers on the album written solely by Crane, the other being “Borne From Hate“. It’s a cracking number as well, with harsh vocals and sparkling synths.

Yet another stonkling brilliant tune is “Stone And Skin“. This is possibly the Bulig/Crane version of a love song wrapped in a dance rhythm. Holy crap, the chorus with that fabulous synth line, combined with Crane’s softened timbre, just makes this fly.

2020 for all intents and purposes, was really a stressful year, dealing with a pandemic, race riots and far right leaning governments around the globe. This is reflected in “World Ends Tonight” with its course, crunchy textures and bleak, confronting lyrics.

Doom, doom, doom, in the “Valley Of Death“. It is like moving through sludge, slow and trudging until the chorus which lifts up its broken wings to escape the mire.

BLIND MICE PRODUCTIONS

Turpentine” is the last track, about the lies and things we accept in relationships in order to stay together. Crane voices his melancholic misgivings and the music Interlude is almost like impromptu jazz.

So much exploration going on in this album. Life, death, morals and spirituality. A blurring of good versus evil…. the beautiful imagery of angels and demons being one in the same, a reflection of humans. If you are looking for a EBM dance album, this isn’t it. Yes, there are great danceable tracks, and there are slower numbers, but all are thought provoking and will touch your soul. The production is flawless and a reflection of the music created by Shiv-r. Crane and Bulig are glorious, blackened angels and Kill God Ascend their opus.

https://blindmiceproductions.bandcamp.com/album/kill-god-ascend

https://www.facebook.com/shiverindustrial

https://www.facebook.com/blindmiceproductions/

https://www.instagram.com/PeteCraneMusic/

Brisbane based, three piece band, Killtoys today released their latest single, “Come Alive“. They come from an alt-rock based background and their music has a flare for the grimly dramatic.

KILLTOYS

The lads are bringing on a darker game here with ommious synths, lovely deep bass and 80s influenced guitar jangle that rings clear and true. Are they singing about vampires or the children of night who wear black? Oh oh, you have to listen for the oh oh. Mick Bristow’s vocals just are the icing on this ghoulishly fabulous track.

I officially love love this. It’s speaks to my dark little gothic heart and reminds me of 80s post punk bands with those fantastic riffs. The backing aaahs are just some of those little things that really make a song just a bit more spectacular. “Come Alive” from the Killtoys may just wake the living dead for a chance to bask in the moonlight.

https://m.soundcloud.com/killtoys/come-alive

https://www.facebook.com/Killtoysband

June saw the release of the debut single, “Rose + Crown” for AMMO as a solo artist. AMMO, located in Los Angeles, has previously been in bands such as Black Flamingo and currently with Brass Box, as well as pursuing artistic outlets such as film making and photography.

AMMO

The title track starts with a lonely guitar which is highly reminicent of start of the New Model Army piece, “Wonderful Way To Go“, though that is as far as the similarity goes. This is light and airy, with jangly guitar within an epic swirling sound scape. AMMO’s voice sits comfortably at the centre, luring you to sit and listen longer. This is shoegaze without the brashness of overt walls of noise.

The ‘b’ side is “Total Recall“, written originally by Adrian Borland of the legendary 80s British, post punk band, The Sound. It was already a wonderful track and AMMO brings a sweetness to it. A song of longing and being out of time, that is achingly beautiful, especially with the knowledge that Borland suffered mental health issues which eventually lead to his suicide.

Along with drummer, Alex Posell, a former bandmate of Black Flamingo, who helped co-produce and record, AMMO is creating lush sounds that may at first seem bleak, but warm the soul. Mourning Sun Records, which is AMMO’s label, plans to release a future album called, The Great Chaos however the meantime enjoy “Rose + Crown“.

https://musicbyammo.bandcamp.com/album/rose-crown

https://www.facebook.com/musicbyAMMO/

You may have heard of Plasmata, in the goth and industrial scene, from around 2007 to 2011, when they suddenly dropped off the radar. This was due to lead, Trent Jeffries, having a brain aneurysm that interrupted everything.

We do say interrupted, as Jeffries never gave up on regaining the ability to play music, which has resulted in the release of two singles in 2020, as well as a remix of their most famous track, “Lifeblood“. Now the Chicago Glampires give you the single, “Leviathan“, off the unleashed EP, Portraits Of Pain.

TRENT JEFFRIES – PLASMATA

There is the wailing of guitars, the distorted plus clean vocals and enough high energy to light up a small city, possibly ruled by the children of the night. Something dark and ravenous wants to spill your blood in the grimy clubs and poorly lit alleys. This is the “Leviathan“.

Even Vincent Price would be proud of “The Vanishing“, with its slightly good time, gothic boogie woogie and a modern synth overlay. He can handle the gruesome but is bereft when you just disappear.

Plasmata is the preacher of terror and also the monster in “Ten Bells“. Two of Jack The Ripper’s victims were connected to the Ten Bells Pub, in East London and indeed the song reflects a drunken, slightly spinning pace. There is the unsettling, single finger piano Interlude thrown in, with Aly Jadas giving a sterling performance on backing vocals.

The Enlightenment” has a more industrial feel and it commands your attention. A divine message of redemption by giving all your cash to the religious order. I love the sound of near heavenly hosts mixed with demonic electronics. The exquisite heavenly host vocals are by Carmen Vizin-Esquivel.

The last track of the EP is far slower, a cyber western duel waiting to happen, to see who will flinch and draw first. “Death Of Hope” is an apt name as it trudges along the dusty night road, no dawn of light at the end. Heavy, doom filled guitars heighten the whispers, sighs and angelic ah’s of Vizin-Esquivel, giving the impression that God no longer cares.

William Faith of Faith And The Muse and Christian Death fame, produced, recorded and mixed “Portraits Of Pain” at his Studio 13. Jeffries has a definite love of the vampire/horror genres, taking that visual aspect and mixing it with the musical component, giving life to the monster that is the “Leviathan” or a monsterous human in “Ten Bells“. The glam/ goth rock aspect fuel’s the terse, gritty industrial portions. This is a nice strong release from Plasmata and I guess we await in the dark what comes next…. with anticipation.

https://plasmata1.bandcamp.com/album/portraits-of-pain

https://m.facebook.com/plasmataband

https://plasmataband.com/

So do you enjoy pop influenced industrial music? Once slightly maligned by industrial purists, this hard edged and yet very melodic form has become a genuinely enjoyable style. Eric K is Unitcode:Machine from Dallas and he has been around since 2004 with several albums under his belt. There is a new album in the works, but for now you can enjoy the newly released single, “Fight“.

Yeah this is a song going to war. The start is militant in its tone and leads into the lyrics of someone pushed to their very limits, with no other option than to battle for the right to live. Such a catchy chorus and danceable beat.

ERIC K – UNITCODE:MACHINE

In some ways this reminds me of VNV Nation with their more gutsy, emotion filled numbers, if Ronan Harris was to be a bit more industrial. Yes it’s going to be thought provoking but damn, you will want to have a bit of a dance at the same time with “Fight” from Unitcode:Machine.

https://unitcode.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/unitc0de

The 90s saw the resurgence of goth rock, with bands such as Nosferatu and Rosetta Stone at the helm. Vocalist Caroline Blind, in 1991, lent her name to what would become, the New York band, Sunshine Blind. They released all up three official albums but there was also material that wasn’t made public, other than through live performances. The single, “Tribe” is one of these tracks that Blind has re-recorded and was on the 2020 album, The Spell Between.

CAROLINE BLIND

There are three remix versions, the album track and also an original recording, live in 1992. The live version is hardly perfect and there is feedback from the guitar but holy crap, doesn’t it prove what a set of vocal chords Caroline Blind has on her. She is front and centre, crystal clear.

The album version, shows the progression of this track. It’s tight and just rings out joyously. You can’t help and smile about the wonderful guitar in the beginning that hasn’t changed from the original and was typical of the 90s in a way. It really kicks arse and Blind hasn’t lost any of that amazing range either.

Of the three remixes, the first is the extended She-Devil mix by Mark Gemini Thwaite (MGT) and Ashley Bad. MGT is an exceptional guitarist, featuring in such influential bands as The Mission and Theatre Of Tradgey plus currently in Lords Of Acid, where Ashley Bad is a band mate of sorts, the latex burlesque queen on stage and MGT’s other half. There is a much more electronic edge to this version which has made it feel like a harsher mistress to the ears. Most delightful.

Andee Blacksugar of KMFDM and Black Sugar Transmission fame, is responsible for the second remix. It feels like a phantasmagorical, drug induced dream of whimsical eddies and near maniacal pursuit.

The last track goes for a far more guitar based production. Which makes complete sense with Ben Christo creating this remix who has been with the iconic, Sisters Of Mercy since 2006 as the lead guitarist. A great mixture of both acoustic and electric guitar.

The word that comes to mind is powerful. This is a link to the past and yet it exists in the here and now, sounding pretty perfect. I don’t blame Blind for resurrecting this track as it is very deserving of the revamp it has had, if not simply because we would have missed out hearing it and that would have been a great shame. “Tribe” was written in a time when they wanted to connect to others of the same ilk, to create community. That hasn’t changed and just as pertinent as ever. This is “Tribe” by Caroline Blind.

https://carolineblind.bandcamp.com/album/tribe-the-remixes

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004792457922

http://www.sunshineblind.com/

https://www.facebook.com/blacksugartransmission/

While we wait for the release of the much anticipated Attrition album, The Black Maria, Martin Bowes has given us a second single to immerse ourselves in called “The Alibi“, which was recorded, mixed and mastered at The Cage Studios in Coventry.

A child’s musical, wind-up toy, plinks away the warbly wedding march of “Here Comes The Bride“, by Wagner. The ensemble warms up before we are plunged into the warped electro world of Attrition, accompanied by violins, piano, guitar and cello. The ladies sound like angels and Bowes forever is the devil, gutterally vocalising in your left ear. A mix of soprano and spoken word with maybe some gypsy inspiration that drive home the chorus.

Cannot help but think that a woman who might not be the perfect bride but the perfect alibi, possibly is a major temptress. Bowes is always pushing his art, combining elements that clash and grate, yet also end up complimenting each other. As we await the new album from the avant-garde electro-industrial juggernaut that is Attrition, taste the forbidden fruits of “The Alibi“.

https://attritionuk.bandcamp.com/album/the-alibi

https://www.facebook.com/ATTRITIONMUSIC