The Odyssey is a grandiose tale by the Greek writer Homer but it is also an album devised by far more modern Greeks, whom are no lest dedicated to the art of story telling in the form of Dark Awake, while Regard Extreme is the French connection in this collaboration.

So we are onwards “Towards A Long Journey” and it is slow and steady with each classical instrument getting it’s fair turn. This flows like deep water and oozes ancient charm of the mediterranean as our hero Odysseus leaves the Trojan Wars to head home to his kingdom.

“Polyphemus (A Trick Against The Cyclops)” has a gorgeous string ensemble which breaks in and out with horned instruments. You even get to hear the cyclops as the music goes from light and laid back to more intimidating, building. His enraged yells as he has been blinded in his one eye, calling on his father, Poseidon.

And so we enter the “The Land Of Laistrygones”, the seriousness is expressed which the deep menacing tones of this dirge as Odysseus and his fleet land on an island, only to find man-eating giants who hurl boulders at the unsuspecting fleet, sinking all ships bar one.

Odysseus must make the trip to see the dead and blind Theban, “Teiresias (Prophet In The Underworld)”, seeking advice. The music reflects the other worldliness and the unnatural, as the living invade the realm of the dead. This is far more electronic but suits well.

Whilst on the way back Odysseus and his men, land on an island belonging to “Circe (Metamorphosis)” who is a goddess of magic and a nymph as well as a daughter of Helios the Sun God. She turns all the crew into swine and Odysseus promises to live there for a years if she reverts the spell, which she does. The strings are hesitant and the heaviness is palpable and a single female soprano can be heard. Circe has gotten what she desired.

ody 2

The most famous part of The Odyssey is of course “The Sirens (Fascinating Song)”. Their song lures the unwary sailor onto the rocks so that all hands may drown, consumed by the sea. A lilting female vocal rises and falls like the sea swells, enchanting and mesmerizing with such clarity backed by a piano played discordantly, a foreshadowing that not is all as it seems.

A single violin and chatter herald in what sounds like giant horns announcing battle. Travelling within a confine with enemies on both sides, waiting for something to happen. “Scylla and Charybdis” literally means to have to choose between two evils. A strait of water they must travel has Scylla on one side and Charybdis on the other. Two monstrous females that consume all that come past them. Scylla with her giant toothy jaws in 6 heads or Charybdis whom acts like a whirlpool sucking all within.

Soon our adventurers make their way to “The Island Of The Sun God (Helios)” where everything is fairly nice, the beautiful Helios has a chariot to draw the sun across the sky and he has a herd of immortal cows. The music is light with female singers giving pleasant intonations. This seems a sweet reprieve from the ominous pieces previously. One dead, blind Theban seer had warned them not to eat the cattle of Helios but no, the daft crew just had to eat them, enraging Helios into asking Zeus to take vengeance.

The sounds of water dripping within a cave. “Ogygia (Calypso’s Island)” is Odysseus’ next landing alone. Here he is met by the nymph, Calypso who has fallen in love with Odysseus and wishes to marry him. He refuses and holds him there for 7 years until Zeus intervenes, then she gives him a boat supplied with food and wine. The music wends its way, wary and building and reprising like an argument but constantly writhing seeking resolve. Then it becomes stark and grey with the voice of a goddess. Is this Calypso asking to be loved? Synths make this slightly deranged feeling that lingers.

Telemachus was Odysseus’ son and his education had been left to the wise old Mentor. “Mentor (A Message From A Goddess)” is about Athena taking the guise of Mentor to instruct Telemachus to go find his father before his mother remarried. It is etherial, light and unearthly as the visitation of Athena should be. Whispers and vocal exclamations heighten this sensation of light.

Ody 1

“Ithaca (Return Of The King)” is fair self-explanatory. An unrecognizable Odysseus participates in a show of strength and then kills all the suitors. After convincing his wife it really is the King, all is set to right. Dark and brooding with almost industrial banging, maybe the impending death knell. Though it doesn’t sound like the happiest of returns but then slaughtering all your enemies is like that.

This is indeed a music interpretation of the Odyssey. Musical visualizations of important pieces of this two and a half thousand-year old poem. It is evocative and poignant. If you love neo-classical music or have a great love of the Homeric poem, then I highly suggest you check this out. They say beware of Greeks bearing gifts but in this case it’s a good one!

 

https://darkawake.bandcamp.com/album/the-odyssey?fbclid=IwAR1TCMTiY9MWU5UCD7GJ6Bkv46JDjPZDRbgktSrhz5gRiT4t4A5i7NnnuQM

https://www.facebook.com/pages/DARK-AWAKE/189786207738223

https://www.facebook.com/regardextreme/

From the online publisher, Ton Doigt Dans Mon Cul Netlabel, we have an E.P. with two artists. Building Castles Out Of Matchsticks (Anne Sulikowski) from Canada and Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt of the USA with the rather intriguing title….Why Should I Give You The Cure, When I Can Always Give You The Treatment.

building
Building Castles Out Of Matchsticks (Anne Sulikowski)

Swirling noise with reverb pulsate cosmically, like an epic space trip into the unknown. Why unknown? Because we, as the listener, are unsure of this journey and we are here for the ride and experience.

Like twinkling stars and beating quasars, this transfixed you though sound alone. It is imagination unbound and the composer might be the alien hand guiding us.

It is hard to imagine that Sulikowski can make many of these amazing sounds on a guitar but then “Differential Diagnosis” is a 13 minutes and 42 seconds piece of electronic beauty and the only number by Building Castles Out Of Matchsticks.

 

sean
Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt

 

 

Someone is leading a crowd in unity in “Dreamers” and so starts Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt‘s contribution. Laid over the top is discordant piano and feedback, then it suddenly……stops.

“We Destroyed All the Mirrors and Glass Out of Fear That You Will Forget Us and Fall In Love With Yourself” could be the longest song title I have ever had to write and this is a low cacophony of sound, which when you listen you can hear drums and chanting within, like Tibetan monks and their throat music, within a storm, within a can.

Bells chime, clear and bright over a haze of noise. This is “Instant Karma” which is the segue way, even though it suddenly stops for the last piece, “Tod von Heike Klar”. Buddhist monks chant with german spoken word, not so much vying for attention but running in harmony with the chanting. You just accept the words and sutra rather trying to understand them or garner meaning.

These pieces take you on journeys to feel and hear whatever you take from them but ultimately, let it take you away to new realms.

Yes, this was released 2 years ago but then this is the whole point about music is the search for what gives you pleasure and bringing things to the broader attention.

All music on the Ton Doigt Dans Mon Cul Netlabel is for free download, so why not indulge your senses.

soundcloud.com/buildingcastles
buildingcastlesoutofmatchsticks.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/seanderrickcooper.marquardt

www.facebook.com/tondoigtdansmoncul

http://tondoigtdansmoncul.bandcamp.com/

Sometimes gothic bands try to sound far too much like previous bands because that is considered “goth”, however originally it was born out of the counter-culture of the punks and therefore extremely experimental. In some ways we have lost this genuine expression to be different and sound different.

From Chile hails the duo Humanfobia with their highly experimental style on the album Bailo con mis Pesadillas with 15 tracks in all. Mist Spectra is the female vocal while Sábila Orbe is the programmer and male vocals.

“Fantasma en la Carretera (Dance Version)” starts this off….it’s not so much dance as a hypnotic beat with Mist Spectra cooing to you. No idea what she is saying as my Spanish is non-existent and yet language has never been a barrier with music.

As is much of this album, “Adios Mundo Cruel (Cancion para Suicidarse)” is off kilter and uneasy. Haunting could be the word as they say goodbye cruel world.

Sequenced drums and bleeps gives us the feeling we aren’t quite in a chanting raising of the dead, not yet anyways on the title track “Bailo con mis Pesadillas”.

The beginning of “Vacio Hermetico” makes you think you are about to get a dance track but no and that beat recurs and grows becoming less friendly. A nightmare revisiting and maybe a portent.

Ever have a song make you think of whales? “Arboles Deshojados” sounds like the song of humpback whales, that beautiful calling out while a tape runs backwards, or so it seems.

humanfobia2
Sábila Orbe and Mist Spectra

The unnatural creaks like Diamanda Galas are reminisent in “Calles Lobregas” while “Colapso Dimensional II” is a little more etheral but still with that air of uneasiness as the tempo is always in flux.

“Mareo Lugubre” is atmospheric with its computer enhanced vocals. Orbe lends his growling vocals to “Sombre Nigromante” until we land in the “Mausoleum of Ruins” with the eerie female vocals of Spectra and electronica that warbles in and out and a pervasive fuzzy tone.

One of the longer numbers is “Chant from the Grave (with Wertredgreen)” which makes me think of Twin Peaks, with that feel that things are going backwards rather than forwards.

“Buried By Mistake” at just over a minute long is an interlude to the next song “Catalepsy”. Does this mean catatonic death like state after an epileptic fit? In fact this really was a thing and some poor suffers were put into the ground alive. This fits in to the whole buried by mistake.

We revisit “Arboles Deshojados (Atmospheric Version)” and just when you ask how could it get much more atmospheric, it sounds like we are in a pea soup fog with extra shadows thank you.

Aaaaaand lastly for all you that absolutely love the whole death and spectral show, there is a 30 second EVP done at San Fernando cemetary. If you dare, what will you hear???

Those who remember Diamanda Galas, will see much in common with Humanfobia. Theatrical and highly avant-garde though more spooky and haunted than Galas who was far more like a full on demonic ritual gone very wrong (or very right depending on your stance). Mist Spectra is far more mellow and laid back.

This is most definitely mood music and won’t be something you hear on the dance floor. It is quirky and atmospheric and will more than likely scare your normal friends but then that’s half the fun. Ghostly haunting, buried alive, the unmentionable things that inhabit the graveyard and then there is Humanfobia with Bailo con mis Pesadillas which literally means I Dance With My Nightmares.

This album is for free download on their Bandcamp site.

bandcamp: humanfobia-official.bandcamp.com
hearthis: hearthis.at/humanfobia/
facebook: www.facebook.com/humanfobia/

It is really amazing how much the gothic/darkwave scene is thriving in the Latin American countries but not so surprising as they have always been fond of their rock music.

On this note, the band Nohycit has been around since 2010. The label Advoxya Records, in 2018, released their album, Anomico. In the last month, several music clips were put onto YouTube from Anomico and this is one of the EDM/industrial pieces.

If you are a sucker for a good dance beat, then you are going to love this, especially if you like Combichrist yet it isn’t vocals heavy. The growling versus whispering vocals, constant beat and the smooth synths would not be amiss in a European club or gothic festival.

Now if this has whetted your appetite, then your next move it to seek out some more by this band. I couldn’t find out much about Nohycit but then I found out about them through Twitter (https://twitter.com/NOHYCIT1) and some things, if you are willing, are worth searching for.

 

From the Ukraine, hails the band Mirratal. Since 2013, these guys have been honing their skills by releasing singles and E.P’s but now have unleased their debut album, “Castaway”. These natives of Kyiv describe their style as progressive symphonic metal.

“Abyss Of Lunacy” begins with an actual real cello playing which is really nice to hear instead of the normal computer generated classical instruments which can be very prevalent in this genre of music. The frentic cello is the intro of a band about to give us a really big sound and then the blast beats of the drum kick in. This is a powerful first song with nice harmonizing and a good use of creepy whispering as well as play off solo’s of guitar and synth. They even managed to fit in a choir behind. This has started well.

Then next song has a hail of guitar before the synths break through. The lead, Igor Roshenets doesn’t sound like Vile Valo but something is the way he sings makes me think of him. Maybe it is the passion he sings “Poison” and other songs. I really like the slightly middle eastern sound they incorporate into this and yet there is much wailing guitar.

With the title “Timeless Sea”, you expect a more sedate piece, an oboe wistfully plays and some fellow is talking about psychology…… and then…. it goes full bore. No taking it easy for these guys. This is pretty deep talking about multiverses and time beyond us all that is the endless journey to this timeless sea.

Duelling synths and guitar of Andrii Pavlenko and Sergii Stygar respectively, mark the beginning of “Distinguished Phrases”. Then Roshenets wastes no time launching himself right into the middle of the maelstrom. A song about depression brought on by the cruel words of others. This goes though lulls and then frenetic neck breaking speeds.

No fooling me this time with a nice sedate piano and violin. You know that isn’t going to last and true to form “Mystery” takes off but it is very pretty in some ways. The harmonies and the poetic lyrics though no less metal. The charged piano playing is quite delightful.

MIRRATAL

Number six has a lovely intro of classical proportions and joins with a nice clear guitar. “Find Your Name” is a duet with female singer, Kateryna Kapshuk (Scarlet) . It is one of those pieces that builds and builds apon itself, with layers of music, instruments and vocals.

Next is “Run” which evokes all sorts of ideals. Monastic choral singing with bells tolling with a provincial French over tone… getting a ‘In The Name Of The Rose’ vibe. This is a slower power number with doomsday is nigh connotations.

And so we come to the title track. They have blown me away already with the electronic beginning changing it all up. Clearly these guys like to be constantly giving themselves a challenge but by using different techniques even within the one song. This goes from power and questioning to ambient and peaceful. Of course this doesn’t last, so bring on the metal choir!

Ever feel like you are going insane but unable to tell anyone? Then you will understand “Sounds” perfectly. Was it the loss of something or someone? Love, love, love the sound of a harpsicord and it is used to blinding effect to help create that disquiet, uneasy tension. I somewhat wonder if this song is what it would be like inside the head of one Captain Jack Sparrow.

BONUS TIME!!! and last number on this album is called “The Wind”. Fabulous percussion with again that wonderful use of orchestration. This shows a great appreciation for the art of music and an ability to incorporate real symphonic instruments with metal and bring a purely instrumental piece to life.

For fans of good drumming which Sergii Ivanov delivers in spades (that guy must be so tired after shows because I felt exhausted just listening to the blast beats he was putting out} or those that really like great guitar solos or thoughtfully crafted music with a very classical grounding, then this is for you. The vocals are strong and soaring for those that want that revelling high.

This album has obviously had a lot of thought put into it by Mirratal as well as passion. This is one of the better symphonic releases in a while and I urge you to check out “Castaway”.

iTunes: https://apple.co/2RxD4aj

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2Be6kgQ

Google Music: http://bit.ly/2WD4ejv

Youtube Music: http://bit.ly/2DQDWDd

Deezer: http://bit.ly/2UEGYA9

CDbaby: http://bit.ly/2SkZxvt

Soundcloud: http://bit.ly/2BjnLN3

Mach Fox (Zwaremachine) is from the USA and Ania Tarnowska (I Ya Toyah) is also from the United States of American and they have come together to give you the single “Smile That Killed A Country”, ahead of their Code Blue Tour.

Ania has a smooth and unhurried voice, while she croons and caresses your ears, inviting you into this electronic wonderland. In opposition you have Mach Fox, with his much more earthy, gravelly tones, giving this song it’s far more gritty feel.

Smile That Killed A Country – Promo video

This is sexy and kind slow but with a constant beat. There is no distant screams but I Ya Toyah whispers and cajoles like a lover with angelic tones. With a voice like that, I can believe she might smile and kill a few people by turning their legs to jelly.

Mach Fox compliments her completely vocally as they weave between each other, almost taunting each other, seeing who can pull off the most naughty sounding lyrics. Honestly, they both do really well in that department and couples grinding and gyrating on the dancefloor, getting hot and heavy would really find this heating up their ardour.

“Smile That Killed A Country” honestly makes me think back to the laconic and iconic sounds of Portishead. There is something almost otherworldly about nice laid back electronics.

You can listen to this song on Bandcamp if I have hopefully whetted your appetite and as always please support artists if you like their music.

https://zwaremachine.bandcamp.com/

https://iyatoyah.bandcamp.com/

 

Xentrifuge are an aggro-tech/industrial band from the US, a duo in the form of Chris X and Lisa Hellen, who might we say are on the up and up.

Their debut album is out on Cleopatra Records called Desensitized Parallels which many of their fans have been waiting for with eager anticipation after the release last year of the single, “Circles of Dust”.

xentrifuge 2

Chris X and Lisa Hellen – XENTRIFUGE

“Irra” kicks this off with an almost slow ambient beat, for an industrial group, as it serpentines it way along with the electronic whispers. This is just to whet the appetite so to speak.

Now the pulsating “A Summoning” takes the stage and it has that dark guilty pleasure of beats and synthesisers duelling with each other. This definitely will be summoning the industrial/goths.

Industrial music is known for being cold and dominating and there is “Winter Machine”. Hellen’s keyboard winds through this piece as the sequencers keep up their eternal beat.

The hopelessness of the cyber age, of lies and deception seem to be a theme and this is most definitely felt in “Encrypted in Visions”. Chris X snarls, ‘We sift through debris born of lies, in this place of deceit’.

“Fated” just rolls like the surf, crashing in then pulling back before crashing in again with sound. That use of sound control is very appealing and builds you up before dropping you in those waves.

Have a funny feeling “Unknown Divine” is about religion. Is this belief real or something contrived and self-delusion? Not unusual to question this especially in the electronic age, an age where even people put themselves up to be worshipped on social media. It’s a good steady number.

The 8th track seems to be a play on words. “N.M.E” or enemy, they will take on those whose existence offends the dark and be the avenging cyber angel of dark doom as they vanquish their doubting foe.

The single, “Circles of Dust” is apocalyptic and nihilistic and most certainly a number fans would be moshing to with great abandon. This is raw industrial cool and yet the band has not relied on a booming back beat, as it is almost inferred which is really amazing.

Last song is the title track, with its intricate beats and strained synth sounds creating a vision of discord and ultimate futility as it wraps up the album.

Xentrifuge really seem to like playing not only with the variation the rhythms but also whilst doing so, creating spaces within. Lulls that then suddenly project you forward. You can hear the echo’s of influences such as Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb but in a modern vision of the post apocalyptic cyber age.

These guys are on Bandcamp so check them out and if this is your thing, then please support them.

https://xentrifuge.bandcamp.com/album/desensitized-parallels?fbclid=IwAR1NxShTwFUIMXuqZL4W8B0FxftO1nEN09bfDzorZ48tl3T-91NsvVZkGss

 


 

This band called October Burns Black or OBB is an interesting creature. Created in 2015, the members are diverse as they are spread out around mostly Europe. This year we saw the release of their EP,  fault lines…..yes it is all in lower case if you were wondering.

This 4 track EP starts with “With You”. This is a sound of guitars that I associate with my misspent youth. Nice smooth vocals that bring up images of Wayne Hussey and guitars that hauntingly echo The Mission or The Wake’s jangly signature sound. Quite delightful.

“Shimmer” drives along nicely. A hauntingly pretty, swirling guitar piece. The words “Black shimmer” make me think Siouxsie and the Banshees would have liked this.

Next is the excellent “Arrowhead”. I don’t know if I would want to walk with an arrowhead and certainly not wanted to be hit with a real one but this song will happily puncture you with its wonderfully interesting lyrics and changing time signatures. Definitely a number I could see myself out on the dance floor doing the old gothic/new romantic two-step.

The last track is the visually, fairground inspired “Light On Light”. The swirling giddy carousel with it’s blinding and confusing light show and childish pleasures and pains. The guitar in this is perfect and resonates with the number.

This is a great EP as it is a new spin on the gothic rock genre. Great production, the guitars are superb in my opinion and each song is interesting. You can hear the influences of the past yet they are creating fine new music, keeping this style very much alive.  So please have a listen to October Burns Black as they are well worth your support.

https://octoberburnsblack.bandcamp.com/album/fault-line

 

 

Midnight Creatures is a two man gothic/metal rock band from Australia with Jordan Von Grae on vocals and Lachlan Blackwood bringing the guitars and programming. Together they have brought their first born offering to the table on the form of an E.P. called I.

This is a 3 track E.P. and the first track is “Hope and Faith” with a strong piano and guitar sound. Waiting for love to be returned when given. Though as we all know that this never always the case.  Heavy on the symphonic gothic guitar sound on this number.

“Daylight” starts and continues with a solo piano and in some ways this reminds me of Muse and could be the whimsical way it is sung. A song of love lost and a female remembered by the way she moved in the daylight.

This could be a tribute to Valo and HIM from the Love Metal period, “Salt of My Earth”. This is in no way a bad thing as this ode to woman being his part of his existence, is very sweet and romantic in that dark and not gooey way goths do.

So a three part ode to love. Waiting for requited love, memories of love lost and bound to a great love. What more could you want? You can most definitely hear the influence of HIM and Von Grae‘s vocals do remind me a bit of Muse‘s lead singer, though Jordan‘s voice rings clearer I feel and not so nasal. Lachlan Blackwood also does a great job on guitar.  

These two lads seem to be stuck in the gothic romantic era and if Lord Byron had been a gothic rocker, he would have joined them. Do check them out on Bandcamp.

https://midnightcreaturesband.bandcamp.com/releases

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the wonderful things about music and especially gothic music has always been that it was inclusive of any nationality and language has never been a barrier.

La Procesión de lo Infinito (The Procession of the Infinite) are an Egyptian influenced Goth Rock band hailing from Columbia and singing in their native tongue of Spanish.

Let us check out the single off the their debut album release called “La Tumba de los Dioses” which translates into English as “The Tomb of the Gods”.

From the beginning you have that lovely guitar sound that is a throwback to an older era of gothic rock and it is sepentine in a writhing way. It is clear and rings out reminicent of bands such as The Wake or Nosferatu.

The female lead has quite a low timbre of voice which is quite seducitive, especially in Spanish. This duo do share the singing duties but she is the definitely the centre of attraction. She reminds me of Eva O in her prime vocally.

This is new music but you can hear all the old school gothic influences, particularly from the late 80’s and early 90’s when there was a renaissance of sorts, which warms my heart somewhat. This isn’t boring either because there is nothing like listening to a gothic band and thinking, gosh what did I just listen to as I fell asleep…..

After listening to the single, I will be checking out the album to see what other delights await my ears. Do check out La Procesión de lo Infinito in “La Tumba de los Dioses”.