Portland’s Xibling (Sibling) are a synth lead duo on the experimental edge and on March the 1st, the label Young And Cold Records, combined two previously released EP’s, Yesbody and Maladjusted onto one vinyl. Moriah West and Julian Thieme have so far released four original EPs, plus other livestream material.

Hello Stranger” exudes the enthusiasm that this band seems to be all about with a rhythm that thrusts you forwards, glitching with the howling vocals replicating a wolfs’s call. The single, “Butterfly Curbstomp” is a brutal space oddity of having your teeth kicked in, with an strangely B52’s feel while “Fold” could have come from the early 80s with its manic robotic intent. To be a model, you might have to be made of “Plasticine” to keep your looks and figure, which is exactly about what this song is about, sung with such passion. “Schadenfreude” or the pleasure gained by someone else’s failure, the male German style vocals in staccato, all over this piece and this mixes so well into “Maladjusted“, with the rap inspired spoken word that melt into beautiful, silken tendrils of singing and who can say no to lyrics like a maladjusted little shit, dropping the bass. There is a slow burn to”Slow Fold“, as it curls around you, fingers digging into your throat.

Butterfly Curbstomp IV” is possibility what it is like to be on speed in a formula one vehicle, an insane ride for a remix. The darker allure of fetish and sexual angst is “Latex Gloves“, which is going to stalk you with those commanding beats, though this all hits the brick wall in “Vine“, with the echoing, glossy attitude. The bleeps and electronic distortion vie with the vocals for control with “Contract“, while “Puppet” has an air to it like the Siouxsie/Budgie project, Creatures, especially vocally. There is this beautiful synth line that runs through “Reflection” and though the lyrics are not a happy affair but the music itself whirls around you. The last track is one of the title tracks “Yesbody” and it had an amazing vibrancy and a pop like perfection.

Bloody marvelous and such a fun collection of tracks. I love how they manage to pull so many different sounds out of their electronic equipment and it is all about the passion behind the music. You can hear the enjoyment Xibling exude when they play and while they might play electronic music, but they really have a very punk attitude behind it all.

Yesbody / Maladjusted Split LP from Young and Cold Records | Xibling (bandcamp.com)

Xibling | Facebook

Young & Cold Records | Facebook

Autumn Tears is a name from the 90s, synonymous with gothic music inspired by classical/traditional styles and they have married a split album, Widowing/Possessing, with the newer dark folk project, Zeresh. Ted Tringo is the man who has continuously been at the helm of the US band, Autumn Tears since 1995, which has picked up steam in the creation of new music in the last few years. Zeresh is Israeli musician, Tamar Singer, who also sings for Autumn Tears, so it seems quite natural for these two projects to share a split album. Windowing is the Autumn Tears half and it has pulled together musicians who play traditional instruments and vocalists of such a high caliber, so the tracks are rich, ethereal and romantically dark. Possessing is of course Zeresh, and it weighs more in your heart, an overwhelming sadness and torment. The instruments are often far more modern in this production but just as eerie and beautiful as Widowing. You can hear the Singer’s homeland influencing the undercurrent of the songs and the sound of the music.

So, we bring to you an interview in two acts. We we very luck to interview Ted and Tamar about their respective bands, their influences and above all the split album. If you love Dead Can Dance or remember the 90s, when Arcana, Lycia and Autumn Tears were the medieval babes of the scene, you should indulge in this offering of Widowing/Possessing and read on!

ACT 1 – AUTUMN TEARS

Greetings to Onyx’s dark side of life and the winter garden, Ted Tringo of Autumn Tears.

Thank you so much! I really appreciate the opportunity 🙂

Autumn Tears has been around in different forms since 1995, with you as the permanent founding member. Did you think Autumn Tears would still be around, creating music and the and still this popular, more than quarter of a century later?

Honestly I had always planned on it as once I began Autumn Tears in 1995, I envisioned it being around for decades. What I had not anticipated was the long 11 year hiatus that I took from 2007 until 2018. Thankfully that is in the past and I don’t plan on ever stopping again.

You released the albums “Colors Hidden Within The Gray” (2019), “The Air Below The Water” (2020) and “The Glow of Desperation” (2021) in very quick succession. Each of these were very highly involved albums as far as people contributing their talents and orchestration. What prompted this surge of creativity?

I think most of it stems from the bottled up creativity I had stored from the 11 years which I was not active. I had a lot of time to reflect and to study music, that in the event of a comeback, I would be more than prepared with ideas and the musical knowledge to give Autumn Tears all that I could.

It was the 2020 album, “The Air Below The Water”, that first saw you collaborating with Tamar Singer. How did you first come into contact Singer?

I first discovered Tamar and Zeresh when I was asked to take part in the ‘At Sea Compilations’ – “Snowflakes”. We both shared songs on the comp and as soon as I heard Zeresh, I knew Tamar had a very unique and special sound which I felt would be a wonderful addition to the Autumn Tears ever evolving sound.

Singer also performs under the name of Zeresh and this year, Autumn Tears and Zeresh released a split album together. What was the thinking behind this and who first suggested this joint operation?

I actually suggested this to Tamar a few years back. I was completely taken with Zeresh upon my first listen and have become a fan ever since. I felt a split release would be a great way to share our collective works with our respective fans and let them experience music from both of our projects. I’v always enjoyed split releases so this was a great experience to be able to be a part of one together with another music project that I love.

Autumn Tears is on the first half and it is called “Widowing” which is also the seventh track on the split, that features Singer. Why did you choose this as the title track and does it have any particular significance for you?

The significance of the title ‘Widowing” is about loss and acceptance, and I felt that having Tamar sing on the title track was important as It not only bridges the gap between the two releases, being the last song on the Autumn Tears EP, but also it flows right into the first Zeresh track having Tamar be the lead singer on both songs back to back.

You have access to all these gorgeous female and male vocals. How do you ever choose who sings what and how lucky do you feel having access to such talent?

Some of them I sought out and some I was already familiar with. Caroline and Darren Clarke from the acoustic opera duo Trovatori I discovered on Fiverr and they have been permanent members ever since, of which I am very grateful for. I also discovered Ffion Elisa on Fiverr as well. Dawn I have known for over 20 years having been the lead singer for Rain Fell Within who were signed to my label back then so my appreciation for her is a given. Of course Agnete from Madder Mortem and Ann-Mari from ex The Third and the Mortal were both long time favorites of mine so I am very thankful for their appearances.

Again, there has been many musicians you have collaborated with to create “Widowing”. I was wondering about how you ended up recording this album, as I can imagine Covid would have played havoc with your plans?

Well like many musicians nowadays, thankfully Autumn Tears has also benefited from the power of the internet and of remote recording. It of course makes everything possible with all of the different members living all over the world.

There are very heavy accents of middle eastern influence, like in “Of Sun, Sky and Rain”. Is this a style of music you particularly enjoy or find enhances the exotic flavour of your music?

It’’s actually both. I have always enjoyed Middle Eastern music, and having Soroush Abedi as a member of Autumn Tears, he is very skilled in many musical styles and able to authentically incorporate the Middle Eastern and instruments into the Autumn Tears style to create a very unique fusion which I think only helps to enhance our overall sound and diversity.

For me, “Bringer Of Balance” is just spine tingling with the entwined male and female vocals in an almost baroque style. Do you have a favourite track off this album?

Thank you so much! I am sure lead singer Darren will be very happy to read this. It is hard for me to pick a favorite as I enjoy them all very much, but I think I may still have a soft spot for the title track ‘Widowing’ as it encompasses the feel of the album as a whole. Of course if you ask me tomorrow, I may have a different favorite ;).

Even though bands like Dead Can Dance had started in the 80s, it was really in the 90s that medieval/classical gothic styled music really took off. You are still producing that style today, however to my ears, it is much more refined and cohesive. Do you feel this way about your music now as compared to the original albums?

That was always my goal with Autumn Tears. I will always appreciate the early sound we developed back in the 90s, however it was always my goal to mature Autumn Tears with real classical instruments and musical style to hopefully one day try and carve out our own sound. Hopefully we are aa little closer to doing so now 27 years later. 🙂

I am curious as to who were your inspirations in music when you first started and if there are any newer loves you have now?

Back in the 90s when I began, my influences ranged from DCD, to Stoa, Anchorage and Arcana, (Arcana’s – ‘The Song of Mourning’ actually helped to kick start my desire to write Autumn Tears music) and now I think I am more influenced by modern and traditional classical music as well as cinematic score and soundtracks. I think I will keep evolving the styles while still retaining our core sound.

If you could choose any musician to record with (alive or expired) for the next album, whom would you desire and why?

There are so many I admire that I would love to work with but if I had to choose one, I would have loved to collaborate with Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. I actually dedicated the 2019 album ‘Colors Hidden Within the Gray’ to him.

What is next for yourself and Autumn Tears?

We are currently working on our next full length album which hopefully will be ready by the end of the year.

Thank you for the enchanting and haunting music, as well as your time Ted.

My absolute pleasure, thank you!

ACT 2 – ZERESH

Zeresh is your project and I believe it came into being around 2017/18? Also what prompted you to create Zeresh?

The name “Zeresh” came to be around 2017 but the idea and many of the songs existed long before that and were waiting for me to be able to give them some kind of an output.

In June 2017 I did my first solo concert and that’s when the need for a name became obvious.

My debut EP ‘Sigh For Sigh’ was already recorded at the time yet I struggled hard with mixing it since I had zero knowledge or experience of how to do it.. but once it was completed I embraced the name Zeresh for this project.

The name Zeresh seems highly symbolic. In Persian it means gold, in the old Testament Zeresh is a wife, as well as being linked to meaning strange or misery. Why did you choose this name?

First of all I liked how it sounds – yet it seemed a bit too “black metal” for my project.. It didn’t feel right for this purpose but I loved the name so much that I’ve decided to name my beautiful black cat ‘Zeresh’. After doing this, I got “jealous” and stole the name for my project too.

I also liked the fact that in the biblical story, even though she was a side character (Hamann’s wife) she was the smartest and most evil figure.

If you don’t mind me asking, what is the dark/gothic/metal scene like in Israel?

I’m glad you asked because I love the Israeli scene – we have a lot of wonderful bands and musicians over here. Some of them are very very special.

The local Gothic scene is tiny, almost nonexistent but the general dark scene here has some wonderful projects. 

Also, our metal scene is pretty rich and ever changing. Israel has some bigger mainstream-ish metal bands and some very ‘strange fruits’ (which are usually my favorites);.

I’m probably forgetting many other great projects but here are some of the ones (which are still active) that I love the most from the local scene:

Kadaver, Choshech, Kchörtoo, Ketoret, Zimmer Witch Night, Winterhorde, Rain Dirty Valleys, Kluvim, Prey For Nothing, Sleep’s Sister, Agnivolok, Kip, Kashaiof, Subterranean Masquerade, Seven Morgues, Obsidian Tide, Svpremacist, Bormavet, Dukatalon and more.

There is also the doom project Cruel Wonders. What drew you into the realms of neo-classical/neo-dark folk?

I’m into dark music of all different genres and kinds, both as a listener as well as a musician.

You have not only collaborated with Autumn Tears but also you did the split album with them. What was this like for you as an artist?

Amazing! Working on the split album has been an honor and also very special to me because I tried to take my songs to be’ more romantic’ while Ted took his songs to a darker place this time, so they would fit well together.

Also, Ted is really wonderful to work with, both artistically and personally.

Your half of the album is called Possessing. Could I please ask about the concept behind Possessing and how you feel it couples up with Widowing?

My half of the album is about obsession; holding on to a relationship that’s not there, not being able to get another person out of your head or to let go.

The way I see it ‘Widowing’ (the part by Autumn Tears) is about loss; but from a “healthier” perspective – sort of the other side of the same coin.

Which do you feel is your favourite track off this album and why?

I can’t really say too much about Possessing but even though it’s hard to choose – my favorite song from Widowing is “Unmaker of worlds”, simply because it’s absolutely perfect!

It’s dark, heavy and intense musically and lyrically. Plus, I just love Caroline Joy Clarke’s vocals there. 

I actually admire all the other Autumn Tears singers and musicians and I still can’t believe I’m sharing music with those extremely talented professional musicians.

If given the opportunity to do another split album, would you do it again and are there any other artists you would like to collaborate with?

I’m actually working on a short split collaboration for a local label as we speak and I would love to do more in the future.

I would gladly collaborate again with everyone I’ve worked with before so far.

The list of musicians I’d be thrilled to work with for the first time is endless but I’ll try to sum it up somehow: 

Rïcïnn, Kim Larsen (Of The Wand And The Moon), King Dude, Darkher, Darkwood, None, Les Days, Liturgy, Leya, Natural snow buildings, Ungfel, The Drows, The Devil’s Trade, A. A. Wiliams…

It really is a Never-ending list so I’ll randomly stop here.

What musicians/bands or type of music first dragged you into the scene and what ignites your soul now?

I’m not sure which scene I should refer to, but if we’re talking about ‘non-standard’ folk, the first ones I listened to as a teenager were: Current 93, Death In June and some other similar and related projects.

Nowadays I still listen to a lot of different types of neofolk, dark folk, industrial and also just plain beautiful folk.

I love it when folk music manages to somehow fit in nicely with industrial.

Anyhow, here are some examples of things I love in particular:

Of The Wand And The Moon, Sangre De Muerdago, Laura Marling, Rome, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Darkher, Aggaloch, Hasta LA Victoria, Nebelung, Darkwood and many more.

I also listen to other genres – from black metal to classical music, experimental, drone and lots of other things.

Taking possession completely off the tracks here but if you could be possessed by one deceased musician for a day, to let them record one more track, who would you let use your body?

The obvious answer would be Kurt Cobain or Elliott Smith, so I’ll go with that.

What is in the future for Zeresh?

The next Zeresh album is almost 100% written but I have to produce it. It is going to be darker than anything I’ve done so far.

Nowadays I’m actually working as Zeresh on a short split collaboration for a local label. It’s a project I’m doing with one of my favorite Israeli bands – ‘Ketoret’.

Besides that, I’ve already recorded a song for the next ‘Autumn Tears’ album and we shall start writing the third ‘Cruel Wonders’ album pretty soon.

I’m also involved in a new project with my husband who is the other half of ‘Necromishka’ (and mostly known as ‘Kadaver’) plus another of my favorite local musicians – Shay Mizrahi, of ‘Choshech’. I’m not sure if it’ll be a 3-way collaboration or whether it’ll have its own name.

And lastly – we’ve been producing a split album between ‘Necromishka & Agnivolok’.

I’m planning to remain busy..

Autumn Tears (bandcamp.com)

Widowing / Possessing | Autumn Tears / Zeresh | Zeresh (bandcamp.com)

Autumn Tears | Facebook

Zeresh | Facebook

Am Tierpark is a project with the combined superpowers of Claus Larsen (vocals, lyrics) and John R Mirland (music, production). They dropped their latest album, Forevermore, May the 10th, on the Læbel record label. This is the duo’s synthpop project, amongst their other acts such as Larsen & Mirland plus a.o., Claus Larsen’s Leæther Strip, Klutæ, and John R Mirland’s Mirland, M73….that is only naming a few.

Oh yes the synthpop is strong in this album, as it starts with the “Shower Me With Freedom” and Larsen’s dulcet tones and those brilliant synths. It is followed by the lyrically mournful and poignant “I Let You Go“. There is a wonderful trance element to “Love Collide“, as the delightful synths dance around Larsen’s vocals, which changes pace with the more somber “Just Watch Me“, that has these beautiful whirls of electronics that make your senses fly.

Ooh yeah, the sassy and sexy boy toys in “Room 24“, has those heavy overtones of Bronski Beat with an Italo disco feel, which is continued in “Not Welcome“, though this is a tale of love, rejected by a ignorant portion of the population. Title track, “Forevermore” has a heavenly start with those synths, in a slow burn of hurt and those sighing synths meld into the smooth sounding “Mighty World“, while “Sacrifice Your Purity” has an amazing amount of movement, and threw me into 1983, with the dance rhythm.

This blips of a ghost submarine dive into “You’re not My Enemy” with its cool chic, and some keyboard lines that could have come from the sublime John Foxx. Larsen is cooing into your ear over a freight train of delicate electronics in “Bloom Together“, unlike the track “Leave In Peace” with it’s purposeful slower beats. There is a light feel to “Hold Our Heads High“, conveyed in the lyrics and bright music. “Cleanse Our Hearts” is pure joy in music form, while the last track, “Moving In“, is almost hypnotic in tone.

Okay, confession time. I have had this album for a while and unforeseen circumstances have slowed me down, but this is an album that I wanted to desperately tell people about. The late 70s and early 80s is where my musical influences lay, so listening to Forevermore, definitely stirs memories of Depeche Mode, Erasure, John Foxx and artists of that ilk, who were on the cutting edge of electronic music at that point in time. Though, that is not to say the Am Tierpark is some sort of copy, as they are most certainly not, taking the love of this style of music and adding their modern spin and incorporating the Euro/Italo style such as “Sacrifice Your Purity“, which is pure disco orientated joy. Larsen’s vocals are yet another facet to the distinct sound that is Am Tierpark, making their music so enjoyable. You don’t have to be a child of the 80s to enjoy this album though but don’t take my word for it…please go check them out for yourselves.

Forevermore | Am Tierpark

Am Tierpark (facebook.com)

The label Blue FX Records, released on the 13th of May, the album Dying World by Boston project, Wrong Path. The previous releases for Wrong Path, have all been instrumental, however, this album comes with the bonus of vocals!

Kicking off with the title track of “Dying World” with the driving guitar and deep vocals that tell you no one cares and are insincere because the world is nightmare. “Transparent Man” has echos of Soundgarden in the guitar work and the low tone is almost akin listening to throat singing. I can hear the resemblance to Motorhead in “Mankind“. Could be in the drums or guitar work but there is definitely something as the vocals roughly grind against the music. You have heard “My Way” and now there is “Fight My Way” and Wrong Path are fighting dirty.

Layered vocals echo over each other, in some psychedelic induced episode in “Break Me“. The change in drums grabs your attention in “My Misery” and the whispers wrap around you, trying to weigh you down in the mire of despair. “Breaking The Void” honestly sounds like a belching demon but then progresses into a black mass seance. The 70s is strong in the “The Truth” with those guitar riffs that Black Sabbath could deploy and there is a general fuzzing tone over the top of it all.

Like Rambo,”Meth Itch 2 (The Return)” is on a mission with rumbling rhythms, fuzzed out and clean guitars. When “Death Is Certain” then breakout the Buddhist ohms because that is going to work a treat in this dirge. Oh, the guitar work hear does remind me of Type O Negative in “Hate Within” and a news report from a British broadcaster which is about riots in Russia and it works together very well. “New Horizons” is the final track at a minute long and unlike the rest of the music, this seems to far more electronic and brighter. so maybe there is hope.

The deep rumbling vocals definitely bring something new to the table and possibly is part of the reason this album has a Type O Negative sound, though for me, it is more so in the guitar work. So bring on the doom and gloom of Wrong Path and a Dying World.

Dying World | Wrong Path (bandcamp.com)

Wrong Path | Facebook

Blue FX Records | Facebook

Merely mentioning the name X-MARKS THE PEDWALK, conjures up the visions of dark sweat soaked dance floors and now in 2022, we have a fresh new album called New / End. Released 29th of April on Meshworks Music, with founder SEVREN NI-ARB (synthesizers, computers/programming and vocals) and ESTEFANÍA (vocals), the husband and wife team based in Münster, Germany.

Sailors At Dawn” is the first track and a single to boot, with ESTEFANIA at the helm in a piece about surviving the darkest moments to meet the light. The track is filled with those synths that wind up through your soul. And if that isn’t good enough, the second track is also another single in the shape of “Firestorm” this time with SEVREN on vocal duties with again those purposefully electronics and yet there is something very delicate within. You can see why this and “Sailors At Dawn” were singles.

There is a kind of sexiness, not only vocally but also in those jaunty synth lines in “Wonder“. “Kill Me Tonight” is a smashing track with those rolling beats that you instantly find yourself bopping around to. So smooth and delicious. I find myself inextricably draw to the track “Sacred Ground“. It resonates so keenly with me, on so many levels lyrically and mood wise. A truly good track can do that. The power of the rhythm and great whirling tunes reminds us of “Yesterdays“. A little Euro disco sneaking in? Love it and it very much a fact we are made up of our yesterdays but waiting for our tomorrows.

Really like hearing both SEVREN and ESTEFANIA in “Miss Me“, a really classy piece about wanting the other to miss them because they feel down, Miss me I’m a fool. “Into The Light” is a perfect piece of future pop style that would be great on any club dance floor. The electronic flutter down falling stars on magical night waiting for the dawn. Lucky last is “I’m On Your Side” and the synths and vocals convey such pain and yet such powerful message of support no matter what happens.

Abbatoir” was a track that we danced to in the early 90s and even listening them now, it brings back warm memories of X-MARKS THE PEDWALK in the clubs. It feels strange to say that New / End is their eleventh studio but there it is and time seems to have flown. So time and growth have molded them into a tight and beautifully formed synthpop/synthwave group, that can write these superlative tracks to stir the imagination and capture your soul, which is exactly what New / End has in spades.

New / End | X Marks The Pedwalk (bandcamp.com)

X-Marks The Pedwalk | Facebook

It doesn’t seem so long ago that the lads from the north of England, Auger, were the new kids in the gothic/industrial scene, but here we are in 2022 and they have released their fourth studio album, Nighthawks on the label The Big Chair.  Kyle J Wilson (vocals, synths, writing, production and mixing) and Kieran Thornton (guitars and backing vocals) dropped the album on April 1st.

We kick off with the very deliberately slower and immersive “City Never Sleeps“. The wailing guitar on a cool breeze of electronics and it reminds me of old friends. It evokes regret for something that was lost in a time gone past. “Oxygen” just has this magnificent movement about it that presses forward. There are sparkling synths that sprinkle points of light through the darkness and an honestly sweet expression of wanting. Spine tingling could be the statement about “Forever Mine“. The guitar solo is hauntingly beautiful about a love story that might be over before it has truly started.

Depeche Mode written all over “This Pain l Compress” in the style and attitude. There is this fantastic welling of emotion joined by buzzing guitars giving it overwhelming vehemence. We hear Wilson pushing deep on those vocals in “Libra” with the wondrous spiraling chorus that sucks you in. Maybe we are talking the astrological sign and I do like the mystical Middle Eastern strains throughout. “Holding On” features Chris Harms of Lord Of The Lost and let’s face it, Harms never does anything awful as far as I have heard and this is no different. This reminds me of early Lacuna Coil and the dueling vocals of Harms and Wilson is magnificent as they intertwine and shatter against each other.

The machine is that which will consume us without thought and without remorse, so the “Sound Of The Machine” with the mechanical vocal distortion, is an anthem to never giving in. This was the first single that gave us an inkling of what this album was going to be like. Beautiful synths desingerate ,”As The World Falls Apart” featuring Imogen Evans with her lovely vocals, mixed in swirls of guitar laden waves, only broken by electronic fractures. They are roaming into dangerous waters of attraction in “Smother“. The refrains are heavy and sexually charged, then the chorus is so wonderfully plaintive and sonorous.

Another single, “Angel Dressed In Snow” and Wilson is channeling HIM in oodles. It might be the deep voice or the way he rounding his vowels, but I am pretty sure Valo would be okay if this was one of his. Thornton proves what a skilled guitarist he is and this is a song to play that person that brings joy into your little dark heart. “Sharing Shadows” is the final track and they are going out on a slower number and it kind of feels like a soul song in some ways. a very sad and mournful piece.

Nighthawks is most definitely Auger’s most definitive album to date. It has soaring vocals, beautiful melodies, driving rhythms and sonic affairs about love, loss and obsession. You can hear many influences pulled together with that Auger sound of guitar/synth and riveting deep vocals that are completely mesmerising. The guest vocalists were perfectly picked for their parts and each track is a carefully crafted, dark crystal piece that reflect the many fragments of a beating heart.

Nighthawks | Auger (bandcamp.com)

Auger | Facebook

Brisbane’s Disfigured Mistress, has been releasing industrial noise for just over a decade. The man behind the project is retiring in the public eye, though in real life a gregarious hugger, who likes a laugh. With that decade under his belt and a veritable catalogue of industrial noise tracks, it seems to the perfect time to compile some of these gems into a huge 17 track behemoth called Decade Of Destruction (2011-2022), which was unleashed on April, 14th.

Just by the list of track names, you have to realise that most of this was not written to be all happy joy. There is a lot of angst, self doubt and even loathing, that is not even thinly hidden. You can bask in the pounding “Sex And Violence” as the bass beats fracture in in ever heightened frustration or go from synth perfection into being stuck with pointed electronics in “Bleeding To Feed The Fake“.

The previous single “The Black Depths Of Hatred” is so fucking heavy, you could weight down a body with it, and it just gets better every time your hear it. Yet, it the midst of all this is the slower and ethereal, “Never Fade From Me” with acoustic guitar and ghostly accompaniment, that is like a breath inhaling and exhaling over and over until it is no more.. There is also the latest single, “Drown It all Out” that is overbearing and full of abrasive metalized distortion which fills your ears, unrelenting.

In The Flesh Of Fallen Angels” has the glitching beats and the mind numbing harsh noise trying to crack your head open in “Black Mother Devourer Of All” are tracks I just need to mention because of their stellar execution and how magical they are.

The whirling “The Rage Within” is just epic and just made to murder a industrial/techno dancefloor as it screams in fury, lost in its own world. And it just goes on and the thing is that I am not trying to write about every track, because there are a lot here and yet as you listen, each one is so different in the use of synths, programming and even instrumentation. Occasionally you hear a distorted guitar that just adds to the amazing cacophony that assaults your ears, so brilliantly orchestrated.

Traditionally, it the Europeans that have this affinity with harsh powernoise but I am going to say that Disfigured Mistress could easily be just as good as any of those acts. He has a talent for weaving those electronic threads into powerful rhythms, that will touch your primal animal which lays at your core. So, there is no time like the present to immerse yourself in the Decade Of Destruction of Disfigured Mistress.

Decade Of Destruction (2011-2022) | Disfigured Mistress (bandcamp.com)

Disfigured Mistress | Facebook

Jamie Blacker is ESA, also known as Electronic Substance Abuse, and we are going to talk about the album, Designer Carnage that came out on February 14th of 2022, on Negative Gain Records. But I will digress with a little background information first. ESA is a UK project that was formed in 2002 after Blacker, who had been involved in the black/death metal scene, started to experiment in and became drawn to the sound of harsh, rhythmic industrial noise, which he has in all essence become a relative master of. The first album was released in 2006, Devotion, Discipline and Denial, then releasing albums very regularly ever since.

Straight off the bat, “Laudanum Dance” is like electrodes connected straight into the brain, sparking with glorious fuzz and beats. Like a fever dream, Blacker yells his discontent. Yet, hark it that a harpsichord? Classical piano which is a gorgeous oddity, played at a decent pace to be suddenly broken by the female vocal sample of Konstantina Buhalis and break beats, that descend into the stomach wrenching, bellowing tones. Those beautiful harpsichord keys again trill away, as they and the piano are played by Frederic Scarfone. Frustration and anger are swirling in the charged track “One Missed Called” which is about repression and fear stopping one from getting further in life. It is powerful with the female sample, of again, Konstantina Buhalis, screaming how much she fucking hates the person who puts her down. The rhythms circle and pounds down, enforcing the angst.

The use of noise and techno is near perfect in “I Detach“, when out of nowhere…ragtime music. Yes, weird and yes unexpected, but it works. The ticking of a clock, alien like electronic warbles, the ragtime and Blacker’s voice just culminate into this bizarre, dreamlike world of movement. The title track, “Designer Carnage” exudes electronic smut and grime. Fantastic! The music grinds while samples repeat the title. It speeds up towards the climax like there is no getting off this ride, only to drop you and drag you along again. Bara Hari is the guest vocalist for “Disruption Only” and it just pounds away. as a good, well lubricated industrial machine should. The rhythm is a drug that you can’t get enough of while in the static, you can hear angry voices. Bara Hari joins in and it becomes something otherworldly while those hammered beats carry on regardless, stuck in a groove.

Come And Find Me” again utilises that ragtime sound throughout in a myriad of stomping beats and electronics. A hallucination induced nightmare which translates to smashing yourself on a dancefloor. Curiously addictive and no we cannot get enough as it builds apon itself in a downward spiral. Saxaphone is by Matt ‘Chops’ Thompson and female vocals by Hellsea. For the track “Hyena“, all the vocals are credited to Pee Wee Pimpin, as he goes from cajoling to viciously snarling, the synths cackling as they track you down in your last moments, but what a way to go/ “Whom Then Shall I Fear?” features Pee Wee Pimpin, as he raps which works ever so well with the heavy electronics in the background. In fact, it is almost like listening to Public Enemy’s, “Bring On The Noise” but they were all industrialised and updated. It is an amazingly strong track.

There is something wicked and it comes this way in the track, “Vast Accept“. Off kilter and deranged, on a psychopathic mission only it knows. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security as it awaits to pounce while you are off guard with those techno beats. The final track is “Saturnalia“, which is full of blast beats, raging guitar and the deep, growling Blacker vocals, that start to fritz in and out. There are also these wonderful science fiction sounding synths and classic flamenco guitar by Frederic Scarfone, that lend themselves to a western touch, while Matt ‘Chops’ Thompson gives us that sleazy saxaphone. With wailing female vocals, it all crescendos, only to die away.

I knew this new album had come out but a friend, whom is also an industrial DJ, thrust it under my nose and declared that if I was to review anything this year, it has to be this album, Designer Carnage. In all honesty, he was completely correct. If this is not in people’s top 10 industrial releases for the end of the year, then I am going have to say that your taste might be in your arse. Jamie Blacker is able to experiment with so many different styles and mould them into something cohesive, with lashings of wicked heavy rhythms, filthy grinding electronics, inject music of past eras, whilst screaming near bloody murder at you. Really can’t much better than that other than you can dance to all of it. I dare you not to find yourself bouncing to the beats. You definitely need some Designer Carnage in your life, so let ESA be your dealer.

Designer Carnage | ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) | ESA (bandcamp.com)

ESA: Electronic Substance Abuse | Facebook

Home | ESA (bigcartel.com)

Frédéric Scarfone (bandcamp.com)

Music | BARA HARI (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/OriginalChopsSax

Pee Wee (@peeweep713) • Instagram photos and videos

¡-PAHL-! have released their debut album, which followed three singles, The Lepzig project dropped I on March 31st, 2022, brandishing their style of grandiose, dark synth/electronic music. The trio consists of Olaf Parusel as the mastermind behind the composition of the music, while lyrical penmanship plus production was done by Leonardo von Leibnitz and lead vocals rendered by Peter Hardlab.

LEONARDO VON LEBNITZ & PETER HARLAB

The single “Abraham” is a powerful start to the album, as the horns sound and then be lured into the depths of ¡-PAHL-!, as they make comment on the religious ownership of the figure. The next track is “Big Data” which goes from dirty growls, to soaring heights of vocals and synths with an orchestral backing. Another single is “Dyo” with its overwhelming adoration in this beautifully simple song, that showcases Hardlab’s vocal talents.

Götter Neuen Stadt” or Gods of the New City, is deep and cinematic in sound and could easily be a favourite off the album for me. There is so much going on in the background of this track, the synths that float, the electronics that are the restless flow beneath and a stringed instrument, with what sounds like metal strings. To this end, “Mankind” is the reduction of average humans to slavish beings, with no rights, the vocals describe our reliance on technology that might be responsible for some of this. Hardlab’s voice mingles with Viola Manigk’s quite delightfully. The sweet singing is undermined by a crackling voice in “Mass Instruction“, the programming of the masses to accept everything. There is the overwhelming power of an electronic choral of angels and down beats.

Slow burn “On Conspiracies” which asks how much credence there is in these things. The harpsichord is a beautiful touch, a refined touch with the unearthly voices that are not human. The single “Telos” asks what is a person’s potential. The bleak electronics speak of sorrow, while Hardlab sincerely questions what is “Telos“. “Timeless” is a great finishing track. Full of emotion and longing yet a resignation that all might be lost, so not all is timeless. The electronics are just mesmerising and fade with the words, unless we be saved……

How do I say this…..? For music created by three individuals, it has this huge atmosphere to it, a bit like a Cecil B DeMille movie. In fact, it was that style of biblical high drama movie, that this album made me think of…… kind of a modern fall from grace where only the few may be saved. Made in Germany but relevant to many, as technology and super billionaires acquire more information about us and subvert our reality, an observance of modern society. The music itself is this wonderful mixture of divine grace, smashed together with industrial dirtiness, the lyrics are a looking glass into the modern psyche and the vocals will both catch your heart and break it.

I | ¡-PAHL-! (bandcamp.com)

PAHL (facebook.com)

¡-PAHL-! – The Electronic Art & Music Project – Epic Industrial Music from Leipzig

Estetica Noir are darkwave/post-punk group, founded in 2013 in Turin, Italy and they released their second album this year on the Red Cat Records label, called This Dream In Monochrome. The band is comprised of founding members Silvio Oreste (vocals-guitars-programming) and Rik Guido (bass), as well as Paolo Accossato (drums) and Marco Caliandro (synth-programming-back vocals).

There is something beautifully serpentine about the track “Room Of Masks“, as we are introduced to Estetica Noir and their lead vocalist’s ringing tones. Basically if this is the quality of what is to follow, then the whole album is going to be a treat. The second single off the album is “Sweeper” which is simply a divine myriad of guitars, synths and vocals. So utterly catchy.

Striate Body” has a harsher tone to it in the beginning but that all melts in the chorus, only to return for this song, that was the first single released. The contrast of abrasive vocals and sweeter singing is quite delightful. The rain greets you in “Autumn” with unaccompanied keyboards, building a soundscape where if you listen carefully enough you hear the heartbeat. I still suffer from the pain of hearing the old internet dial up sound. “N.U.” uses this effect within the track. There is a cyber coldness as you feel the icy tendrils of the synths.

Such a wonderful build up of guitar in “Dawn Of Pluto” that drives it along on a sonic wave and echos throughout the whole piece. Do you have a strong preference for the night or darkness? You might suffer from “Nychtophilia” and the track is sexy with a soaring chorus about those that inhabit the shadows. “X” could mean a kiss in this spine tingling track. Smooth and slick with the breathy chorus. In the next number, a short instrumental, truly feels like it is on a precipice and maybe that is why it is called “The Fall“. We hit the last track, which is the retrospective “Climbing Up The Loneliness“. Such a superb balance of vocals with the haunting instruments backing up the lament of never being satisfied,

This is perfect darkwave music. Expressive, melancholy with great bass lines and lyrics that grab you by the heart strings. Throughout there are the wonderful guitar lines that ring out and the synths that create a beautiful synergy. I love Oreste’s vocals, a really strong singer who seems to very competent in his role. Each track has this beautiful dark crystal sound to it, smooth and clean on the surface but smoky beneath that shine. Estetica Noir’s This Dream In Monochrome” should be on your have a listen list, so what are you waiting for?

Estetica Noir | Facebook

https://esteticanoir.wordpress.com