From Brisbane, Australia, three piece group, Killtoys, have released their single, “Funerals“. This alt rock/post punk band consists of drummer Beven Bancroft, bass guitar player Stav Tsolakides and vocalist/guitarist Mick Bristow, who have been playing together in different band incarnations through the years.

Where oh where to begin. It’s rock but it’s dark and foreboding, giving a Black Sabbath feel. A bass heavy start with Bristow’s light, and let’s be clear, slightly creepy vocals, beckoning you to join the nightmare vortex of the dead who live on. So it’s a bit metal and yet there is a huge undercurrent of glam with its sing song, gothic ambience, that swells and lulls to drag you under its influence.

Have to love the fact that they sound bigger than the trio they are but also that Bristow does not follow the normal vocal technique of growling out the lyrics to this style of music which has to be said, is refreshing. The guys are definitely finding their groove and hopefully soon, an album will grace us but in the meantime checkout KilltoysSoundcloud where you can find the dead and dirty, “Funerals“.

https://m.soundcloud.com/killtoys

https://m.facebook.com/killtoysband

Mats Davidsen for a very long time, has been the central pillar for his band, Painted Romans. Somewhere in recording and releasing the mini album, Heart, which came out in October 2020, the band became trio with Jan Ottar Nystad (synth) and Thomas Sejnæs (bass).

PAINTED ROMANS

Fall” is a reminder of the electronic pop that flooded the airways in the late 70s/ early 80s. It feels light but with dark over tones. Nice clean guitar and bright keyboard with a fuzzy deeper undercurrent of noise.

They dance and get drunk to “Forget“. Probably something most of us have done before. Swirling electric organ is just the thing. Like the twisting feeling of a inebriated haze, it spins you around

Patrick Wray is not only featured on the song, “Drives Me On“, but also has previously released music with Mats as Davidsen and Wray. Also featuring Roxy Dunn, this a percussion lead piece that should be played while cruising down the highway in an open top car… or at least that is the feel.

A gothic turn for “Formation“. This is very pretty with Mission style guitars that jangle away. The way this spins the theme of love with fire, ice and all that lays in-between.

New Kind” is a far more bassy and laid back affair. How to find new life in the person you are with rather than finding it in another, a new kind of self.

Rather a Level 42 vibe from “Treat Yourself“. A light last track with funky undertones and a chorus of voices.

Overall, there is a very 80s tone to this album, paying passing homage to past styles, while the group are all contributing to a nice balanced style of electronics and guitar. Painted Romans are giving you their Heart, so it might be time to let them in.

https://paintedromans.bandcamp.com/album/heart

https://m.facebook.com/paintedromans/

Sally Wolfdreamer is a fairly new band, but even so they have been very busy. In December, last year, they released their maiden EP and now in April, they have brought us their second EP, titled Dissected.

James Mitchell is from the East Midlands in the UK and may or may not have stolen the name Sally Wolfdreamer from a local communicator of the dead. Originally starting out in the music industry as a drummer, who has always had an interest in electronic music.

Like a caress, “Lobo” fills your ears, growing and expanding, an introduction to the EP that feels like it only just started and ended far too quickly… even though it was just under two minutes.

The beginning of “Black Phillip” does not give you an inkling of what depth this track truly holds. The intro is so diminutive and then explodes with bass filled goodness you just didn’t expect. Black Phillip is the goat from the movie, The Witch, who turns out to be Lucifer in disguise.

The next piece, “Buried Alive“, has a science fiction feel to it. A future that has no future, with a disconnected female voice and a rhythm that starts to unravel, so to speak.

A few years back, there was a manga created called Snowpiercer, (later a movie), about the last survivors on Earth, all packed into a train, after a failed attempt to terra form the ruined planet. A dark tale of lies and decit, where the drug of choice is “Krenole“, a suspension substrate that is also highly explosive. The notion of being on that train and moving through an eerily dead world is all pervasive. A sense of urgency with the clicks and whirls.

Final track, “Kunicki“, could be a reference to the Polish revolutionary, Stanislaw Kunicki, who was hung for his convictions at the tender age of twenty-five. The take off is slow and this piece picks up speed, growing an expansive soundscape that cannot be pulled back in. The sounds of the wind of change?…

Themes of sin, revolution and the road to a maybe apocalyptic future, saturate these dark-electro ambient instrumental pieces. This is really enjoyable to listen to music that has more going on under the water than just above, yes reference to the cover art. You are invited to “Dissected” Sally Wolfdreamer.

https://sallywolfdreamer.bandcamp.com/album/dissected

https://www.facebook.com/wolfdreamersally/

April has been the anticipated release date of the third album from Australian act, Sounds Like Winter. Fight The Stairs is the ten track offering from these Sydney gothic proponents with vocalist/programmer/guitarist Ant Bannister, guitarist/vocalist Andi Lennon, bass guitarist Sian Williams and drummer Leticia Ohlaberry.

I’m going to say The Cure’s , Pornography was a huge influence for Sounds Like Winter, just by the first few guitar chords of “Gathering (For The Fall)“. Bannister sounds like the circus ringmaster for a show of misfits and freaks which is going to hell in a handbasket in a stylish manner

Who We Aren’t” picks up speed with that brilliant drum rhythm, countered with the jangling guitars. A track about being what you aren’t, fraudulently hiding behind guises which could fail, causing exposure.

The album’s title track, “Fight The Stairs” doesn’t get any more classic gothic rock. This conjours delightful warm feelings of 80s during the era of Danse Society and Bauhaus. The lyrics almost seem like a drug induced stupor for a dreamlike state.

Next is the single “The Monsters“, not a tale about real monsters but rather those that we create to punish ourselves for perceived failures, that come to find us when we are most vulnerable. Slower and serpentine, as it slowly wends its way with menacing purpose.

The guitars peel out frenetically in “Day To Day“, with the vocals a tad forceful in their contempt. A commentary on our society, where everything is a throwaway consumable and the idolising of celebrity status of the unworthy.

All perception of reality in life, is lost when there is, “The Wedding Feast”. This is a number that feels like it is on the move, as if it wants you to move. Bannister maybe channelling Andy Prieboy for a moment with his staccato spoken lyrics.

For the up tempo guitars, “Send The Boy” still seems a sad number about abuse of a child and those that perpetrated these crimes get to walk away…. but not the boy. The lightness is such contrast to the dark matter.

The tribal beats are unmissable here and maybe a harkening back to Southern Death Cult. “No Interest” is the cold reality that humanity isn’t so humane and will ignore you when you are at your lowest point.

A play on words, “Primal Smear” has heavy Christian Death overtones. This has a glorious sound to it with its intonations and a coy reproachfulness. The lyrics are thoughtfully descriptive and just flow.

Oh gosh. They saved the killer song for last… literally. A track about murdering plus consuming your friend while trapped in the throes of a deep winter and yet one must ask, who had gone crazy?! “He Was Gone” is a dark, brooding finishing track to leave you with goosebumps at the end.

In the end this is a great album. There are so many influences I can hear and many I haven’t mentioned but at the centre of Sounds Like Winter, is a tragically beautiful beating heart, that bleeds music for your entertainment on their terms. Fight The Stairs is truly an album worthy of your collection if you love the gothic/deathrock genre.

https://sounds-like-winter.bandcamp.com/album/fight-the-stairs

https://www.facebook.com/soundslikewinter

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the industrial/metal group, Deadlight Holiday, who in March, have hit us with the new single, “Blood //Body“. This single isn’t connected to an album.. yet, but with the trio having released their debut in 2019, we suspect it won’t be long before another graces us.

DEADLIGHT HOLIDAY

From the opening cords, you know this isn’t going to take any prisoners, with that heavy nu metal guitar sound, made famous by Korn and Machine Head, mixed with a political message. An observation of the climate, where governments incarcerate children and wage wars their own innocent citizens, who dare dissent against agreeing with status quo.

The remix , featuring ex pat Aussie, Zoog Von Rock, is full of the turgid, snappy electronic goodness that Angelspit is known for. Zoog has injected a cutting, cold, hard serrated edge into this track, making it wonderfully sharp and dirty. Love it.

The third track is an instrumental. It reminds me of the vinyl 12″ mixes that were huge in the 80’s that often had the pure instrumental track of the single.

It’s a ripper of a song and the passion of Zoog makes the remix just a thing of angsty beauty. You can find Deadlight Holiday on Bandcamp, so partake of their “Body//Blood“.

https://deadlightholiday.bandcamp.com/album/blood-body

https://www.facebook.com/deadlightholidayband/

Some say post punk is having a revival. In the world of goth/darkwave/coldwave, it never went away, not really. I present a young chap from Gillingham, UK, Coor Brow-Obles and his latest single, “A History Of Violence“. This is his third single and part of a storyline about a doomed romance called the Dysfunctional Lovers saga.

The guitar work from the beginning evokes memories of The Cure around the time of Pornography, as it wends its way to meet Brow-Obles low tones. The layered vocals bring in the chorus of a relationship that is no longer equal and that is tearing him up, physically and emotionally.

COOR BROW-OBLES

Coor’s vocal and musical style, he has described as being heavily influenced by The Cure and The Chameleons, but for me, I could hear the whisperings of another English band, Play Dead.

It’s dark and it’s dreary, just the way we like it. For a one man band, Brow-Obles pulls this off really well and it’s a real throwback to the early 80s days of British goth. Unfortunately there is no video, so check him out on Bandcamp which is name your price or Spotify. A name to watch out for is Coor Brow-Obles and you should happen to have a penchant for goth fare, please go listen to “A History Of Violence“.

https://coorblimey.bandcamp.com/track/a-history-of-violence

https://www.facebook.com/CoorBlimey/

https://coorbrowobles.wixsite.com/tmprince

Last year, Normoria released the EP, Voyages and at the end of January, this single, “The Judases” was let loose. Based in both the USA and Sweden, they describe their sound as, ‘a fusion of many elements: primarily dark electro and rock/industrial‘. 

An interesting take on the concept of karma and what happens to those who are friendly to your face but would happily trip you into a bottomless pit. ‘What goes around, comes around‘ is the shouted chorus of affirmation. It graduates in fury with the non stop beat.

I would have to say this song probably does well live due to the fact its a stompy number that they can also yell back to the band in the throws of jumping around. From what I’ve listened to, Normoria are passionate about the environment and their fellow humans. Will you follow them to the land of Normoria, to where “The Judases” are not allowed?

https://normoria.bandcamp.com/album/voyage

https://www.facebook.com/normoria/

March the 19th is the release date for the album And The Light Goes White by LA based act, The Dramedy, aka Dave Dramedy. The Dramedy have been around since 2014, with EPs and the album StrAngr(S)tiL in 2018 under their belt, so with this new LP, has come the joys of recording in a time of pestilence.

DAVE DRAMEDY

Kicking this off is “Vow“, and acoustic guitars starts the steam locomotive style rhythm. It’s a bit like a western and then you hear the bangs like gun shots and glass tinkling that might happen in a bar brawl accompanied by electric guitar and raw vocals.

The second single released off the album is “Parasite“, with wonderfully jangly guitars. Something eats away at the back of my mind… the way Dramedy sings and then it hits me. He reminds me of Stan Ridgeway (ex Wall Of Voodoo) in the animated drawl and the post punk ambience. This is a great little number with a lot of heart, even if it’s about the fact that all is lost. I think Buffalo Tom would have been proud to call this their song.

The Clock Strikes Heaven” does sound very spontaneous, as if written in one sitting and they just said, this is it. For a tune about when you’re time is up, it seems pretty cheery and has a slightly live feel to it.

Heavier guitars herald “Popsicle” and can we say sexual connotations. Sucking on popsicles can make people very, very happy but the downside is addiction and a nasty case of diabetes. Gosh, I’m not sure if this a promise or a threat but it does make me giggle and even with the driving guitar, Dramedy doesn’t sound like he’s taking it all that seriously.

A more acoustic flamenco influenced turn with “Days“. Lyrically, it could be the verbalising of an abusive relationship, purposely going off key to set you on edge.

The first single, “Waiting On You” changes track again. Like a 50s doo whoop of teenage longing with a dose of blinkered crazy on the side, you hence get the slightly erratic guitar work upping the ante. This number also appeared on an EP in 2019 but less dressed up, let us say.

There is a very skiffle Brit-pop sensibility to “What’s Left To Say?”. It still it definitely overall American but the timing and rhythm have that undeniable joyous bouncing flavour that you got from bands such as Swervedriver and Suede.

Oh I hear a bit of the deathrock in “Life Bites Me” and quite frankly life can be like that in these times of covid… watching the time tick by. This could also be a reference to a dead romance that one can’t get over. A cacophony of guitar, drums and enthusiastic vocals.

On a more reflective note is “Circle The Road” which questions why someone else gets to walk away from a relationship and leave the other with no answers. I hear the influence of Jesus and Mary Chain in the guitar here.

As it began, so it finishes with an acoustic piece, “All Our Yesterdays“, which is a ballad with harmonisation from Caroline Blind. Again there is the sound of Jesus And Mary Chain in the structure and also the sentiment, with a bit of Screamadelica, Primal Scream thrown in for good measure.

Dave Dramedy comes with some lofty cred in the post punk/goth community, as the main live guitar player for Caroline Blind (ex Sunshine Blind) and appearing on her debut solo album with a host of other heavyweights such as Rich Witherspoon (The Wake), Dave Wolfenden (Red Lorrry Yellow Lorry, The Mission), Gordon Young (Children On Stun, Pretentious Moi?), William Faith (Faith And The Muse, Christian Death) and we could go on. Plus he was in the deathrock band Readership Hostile, which has its own claims to fame.

This is not some over polished jewel but then there is no fun if everything is over produced. You won’t find any voice modulation or slick production. You will get the bull, horns and everything though, with all the emotion and genuine candour. It’s a little western (pew pew), a bit more angst soul searching and a lot of jangly guitar. Get The Dramedy on and indulge in And The Light Goes White.

https://thedramedy2014.bandcamp.com/album/and-the-light-goes-white

https://www.facebook.com/thedramedy2014/

https://www.thedramedy.com/

Warm Gadget was last heard from in 2015 when they released their EP, Hallomas III, after the 2014 album, Brides. These industrial/metal musicians from Bend, Oregon are back with a new single, “New Industry“. Members are Tim Vester on vocals, lyrics & effects and Colten Tyler Williams on guitar, bass, synth and pretty much everything else.

WARM GADGET

This is definitely heavily saturated with big guitar noise and a harkening back to the late 80s and early 90s when the industrial landscape was being rearranged by bands such as Ministry, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and KMFDM. The order of the day was to bring in the heaviness of metal riffs with the harsh electronic noise of the industrial scene and Warm Gadget have drunk the ambrosia from the well, so to speak. Vester almost growls his vocals like he is snearing at the world while Williams powers through with not only the guitar but the dark foreboding synth that holds this all together.

There currently is no video but none the less you can easily check out the single on Bandcamp, which is name your price. Warm Gadget kept me thinking of the song “Warm Leatherette” and Fad Gadget which aren’t bad connotations and electronic tangents. Check out Warm Gadget’s, “New Industry” and await the impending EP to hit.

New Industry | Warm Gadget (bandcamp.com)

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

January saw the debut release for deathrock group, Yuka Zolo. This is a six track EP, titled Bleed, from the four piece band consisting of bassist Anthony Moraga, vocalist Faydra Cronin, guitarist Tyler Spatz and drummer Alex Kaiser.

YUKA ZOLO

The first song is “Dissector” and it is like the old, unpolished goth tunes that came out of the post punk period of the 80s. The guitar work clear and melodious while the vocals chime together. This could be a tune about them being cut up and eaten by a serial killer.

If “Spinebender” isn’t a homage to early Christian Death I’ll be darn surprised. It races with breakneck speed like it’s on the mine ride to Hell with a cacophony of guitars.

The cajoling vocals on “Deprivation” are slightly off timed to the music giving us an unsettling feel. Not sure what sort of deprivation is going on here but she feels it and he feels it… it all seems a bit sexual.

The single, “217” is a little slower as Faydra’s singing wends between the guitars, in a short tale of the immortal. One minute, fifty eight seconds short but who says long is better.

The beginning of “Absolution” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on The Banshees‘ seminal album The Scream with those lyrics about no face and sacred waters. The pace seems to have become more introspective for the second half of the EP.

The last song is also the title track. “Bleed” with the imagery of sullying the holy by puncturing the woman’s hymen… she bleeds and is considered unclean, in the eyes of some. It punches home and as quickly as it started, it had finished.

Have to say the band Yuka Zolo are pretty hard core in their pursuit of music with members based in states of Wisconsin and Arizona in the U.S., however the EP was recorded entirely in Madison, Wisconsin.

Definitely deathrock influenced all the way with Rozz Williams styled attributes and although the bio said Siouxsie And The Banshees, I have to admit I heard more a correlation to Xmal Deutschland until “Absolution“, but both bands with powerful female leads. This is not over produced and has a little of that punk, two finger salute, screw you if you don’t like it… this is what it is. Yuka Zolo can be found on Bandcamp for name your price. So check out a bit of goth rock… watch out it bites.

https://yukazolo.bandcamp.com/album/bleed

https://www.facebook.com/YukaZolo/