It seems The Bellwether Syndicate, lead by William Faith and Sarah Rose Faith, is teasing us again with another single off the soon to be released debut album, Vestige & Vigil. “Beacons” was released on the 2nd of December, on the Sett Records / Nexilis Records labels.

PHOTO BY DAVID STAUDACHER

Stabbing, deathrock styled guitars, combined with the low tidal tow tone of William Faith‘s singing and surging swells of vocals in the chorus, make for a rollicking track of nautical proportions.

In times long past, one’s kith and kin would create bonfires to lead you safely home in the worst weather. It is that premise that loved ones, family and friends are the “Beacons” guiding us to our safe havens…. even in the darkest of times when nothing else makes sense. It is truly a lovely sentiment, wrapped up in a majestic gothic guitar laden track of mercurial proportions, from The Bellwether Syndicate.

Beacons | The Bellwether Syndicate (bandcamp.com)

http://thebellwethersyndicate.com/

Night Device” is not the name of the single from Mexico’s Edge Of Decipher, but rather the encompassing ideal for the two tracks. Released on the 4th of December, on the Machina Ad Noctem label, both “Against The Night” and “Loaded Trembling Device” are not new, though now having a remix overhaul, each are ready to breathe anew.

Against The Night” has the Hollow Mix and I wonder if this name comes from the rhythms that sounds like plucked rubber bands and struck empty bottles. The darkness of the night could never dim, nor contain this joyful myriad of exuberant noise, only enhancing the brightness against the inky blackness.

MACHINA AD NOCTEM

In contrast, The Late Version of “Loaded Trembling Device” is not about beauty, instead, very much has a purpose. A seriousness crept in. Do machines fear and would the thinking be the whirring processors computating every variable? The music running up and down over and over again, with sudden breaks of clarity before the race to freedom is recalculated.

Edge Of Decipher has this wonderful knack of combining electronic instrumental music and imagination, in such a way, that it tells you stories without the need for words. He creates worlds of men, machines and starlight, which is a gift. “Night Device” is for name your price on Bandcamp.

https://edgeofdecipher.bandcamp.com/album/night-device

https://twitter.com/edgeofdecipher?t=SIzJ_95pl7ETt2Pl7on58w&s=09

This year, Onyx spoke to Ted Tringo, original member and mastermind behind gothic/neo-classical group, Autumn Tears and he had spoken of new music. March the 24th, 2023 will see the album Guardian Of The Pale released via The Circle Music label, however in the meantime, a new single, “The Pulse In The Sky” has been dropped into our laps from the aforementioned new album. Guest vocalist is the haunting Francesca Nicoli of Ataraxia fame.

Nicoli goes from sensuous whispers, to light soprano singing and then dropping to an amazing, yet serious alto performance. All the while behind her are the many and varied stringed, wind instruments, as well as piano. A glorious choir of vocals eventually chime in and it is truly wonderous in a track about nature.

Autumn Tears have this wonderful knack of balancing darkness with moonbeams, the music seems beautiful and delicate like a spider’s web, but as we know, web is strong and has the ability to entwine, just as “The Pulse In The Sky” will coil around your senses, intoxicatingly. Nicoli is perfect for this piece and after listening a few times, I could not imagine anyone else pulling off this stunning performance.

Guardian of the Pale | Autumn Tears (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/TheTrueAutumnTears

From the wilds of British Colombia, comes forth Hem Netjer, with the single “Elemental Cry“. It has been foretold that this will be the last single off the soon to be released album, The Song Of Trees. The band consists of members Raven Rissy, David Deckard and Jesse Ellytt, while they have roped in Vardensphere’s Scott Fox for production and recorded at Jacknife Sound with Jason Corbett of Actors fame.

You can almost imagine tribal horns in a pall of fog, the rhythmic throat singing of Ellytt, under the feminine vocals of Rissy. Do not mistake feminine for weak however, as there is a steel in her singing. It is about a native connection to the land, where the people and nature are one. When the land suffers, so do the people through that spiritual umbilical cord.

One of the tags used for this is folk….. which to me is more like acoustic guitar and perhaps paying a nod towards a country’s more traditional music. Hem Netjer is, for me at least, something more savage, reaching back into spiritual history, creating a chant of empowerment. It was nice to hear a kind of reverence for the vocals and rhythm, while the electronics where not intrusive at all. Behold the raw “Elemental Cry” of Hem Netjer.

Elemental Cry | Hem Netjer (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/hemnetjer

https://www.instagram.com/hemnetjerband/

Moonsleep, is a solo female darkwave project from Shefield, UK and the 25th of November saw the release of a track called, “She Imagined Things“. This track is a part of a huge compilation put out by the label Coffin Dance, which all proceeds will go to the charity Mermaids, to help transgender youths.

The clicking beat heralds in the solemn synths and chirping electronics. Mellow and unhurried in the dream like state, wafting through your senses.

There is something hypnotic and very likeable about “She Imagined Things“. Probably the worst thing is that at 2 minutes and 45 seconds, it is over all too quickly, so you might have to put it on repeat. Moonsleep is entrancing, especially when “She Imagined Things“.

She Imagined Things | Moonsleep (bandcamp.com)

https://m.soundcloud.com/moonsleep/she-imagined-things

No Devotion Records is based in the Mexico, Phobos Reactor are German and TFG (TONTTU) likes to normally yell at gnomes in Finland. Keeping up so far? So of course, the natural progress is to put out two tracks on imbibing alcohol rather heavily. “Kangastuksia” and “Tomaatteja” are the songs in question, which most of us would have issues saying sober. Together they are Delirium Tremens, also known medically as the DTs where the subject is having the worst form of ethanol withdrawal.

Finnish for mirages, “Kangastuksia” feels pretty real from the the wubbing beats to TFG’s howled vocals. Everything is spinning around in the possible club setting, free flowing drinks and the strobing lights in your eyes as the main character completely loses his shit.

Tomaatteja” means tomatoes and tomatoes can be squeezed of juice, so maybe Bloody Mary’s! Maybe science fiction Bloody Mary’s as the music goes for a change of pace. The electronics are lighter and free flowing whilst the vocals has become utterly anguished. It seems the hair of the dog (hangover cure) for someone has become his undoing.

Sooooo, it seems we have part one, the raucous night out getting wontingly smashed, yet again, until you are ready to up chuck (vomit) and part two, the screaming pain and nausea the next day and looking for a cure which for some is having another drink. Phobos Reactor has created a dance whirlwind in “Kangastuksia” with TFG’s fun vocalisation, while “Tomaatteja” is serene compared to the pained, gurgling rhetoric bursting forth. Remember kids, drink responsibly because the only Delirium Tremens you want to suffer is by Phobos Reactor and TFG (TONTTU).

Delirium Tremens | Phobos Reactor feat. TFG (TONTTU) | No Devotion Records (bandcamp.com)

https://phobosreactor.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Phobosreactor

https://digital.panicmachine.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TONTTUofficial

Imagine a world where people didn’t judge each other by the colour of their skin, nationality, creed/religion, sex and sexual orientation…. we sadly don’t live in that world and it feels like it slipping further from our sight. This year saw the overturning of an important American law, Roe Vs Wade. A law that gives autonomy of a woman over her own body and her reproductive cycles. The Joy Thieves, on Armalyte Industries, have released the maxi single “6 To 3“, on the 25th of November, which happens to be International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to remind people that this is a boot on the neck of the female half of the world. There are three new tracks and seven remixes.

6 To 3” is the raising of female voices, the anger is palpable and is joined by the grating guitars and throbbing electronics. This is women forcing you to hear their grief that they are entitled to an opinion, entitled to be sexual beings, to choose for themselves and no government should be able to take that away. There is a heavy Ministry taste to the track “Property” and yes, the premise is that women are becoming simply chattels or possessions, to use and abuse, because in the end, what does it it matter if girls and women die, as long as bible bashing half wits can sleep at night. Through the use of voice clips, we have the heavy, subordinate noise of “Power Through Discipline“, the calm spoken words in complete contrast to the musical onslaught. Remixes by Stoneburner, Eva X, StabWalt and The Joy Thieves, give you more honey for your money.

Now people might say that this only applies to North America….but does it? The US is a first world country and many look to it, copying the laws and legislation. Others will see it as a chance to have power over females, pushing back hard earned rights, reducing women to simply vessels to please men and push out babies without thought for the wellbeing of the female, mental health aspects and keeping many in abject poverty. We stand in solidarity with our sisters because if it can happen there…..it can happen anywhere. All monies made are going to the National Network of Abortion Funds but more importantly, this is keeping the subject in plain view and calling it for what it really is. Slavery and child abuse. Support The Joy Thieves and amplify the message.

6 To 3 | The Joy Thieves (bandcamp.com)

The Joy Thieves

https://www.facebook.com/TheJoyThieves

https://www.instagram.com/thejoythieves

Brisbane based, gothic band, Sacred Hearts have been gaining a solid following, and released the newest single “Catholic Guilt“. The Meanjin (Brisbane) trio, however, doing something a little different. Two singles, same track but done in two different styles. Nice to see Jed A. Walters (Chiffon Magnifique) doing their production as well as the talented Kyle Hallam (Doggie Heaven) .

Whom does the bells toll for? That drum machine just pops and the guitars kind of roll in light noisy motes that drown your ears in beautiful chiming. The vocals are so vibrant and in a way angelic, amidst the churning, jangling guitars.

Version two is far more what is on the slab in the laboratory style of deathrock with those hazed out guitars. The angst oozes forward, staining the air, the vocals venomous in their disgust. The Lord’s Prayer that they have used, has become a cultish chant for the disenchanted.

I get where lead singer, June, is coming from, having been in the Catholic school system. They use the religion to scare you and control you. You are being judged, if not worthy then you will go to Hell and I remember at school, being told sex was for procreation only and not for enjoyment. Yeah, let’s not even get into the creepy stuff with the priests. At some point you either stay with that stuff or you walk away. Maybe that just added to the way we turned out but it makes for interesting conversation and, indeed, topic for a single, where Sacred Hearts are stretching those dark wings and pushing their sound into new and varied territory. I think they are only going to get better and “Catholic Guilt 1 & II” are pretty damn hot.

Catholic Guilt | Sacred Hearts (bandcamp.com)

Catholic Guilt II | Sacred Hearts (bandcamp.com)

Sacred Hearts | Facebook

Swedes, Hatif released their very impressive debut album Everything Is Repetition, recently via Town And Tower Records. They have now released the single “Pool” as remixed by fellow Swedes, Agent Side Grinder.

“It was fun to work with. I tried to make it more direct, highlighting the chorus and the 303” – Johan Lange of Agent Side Grinder

Agent Side Grinder have looped those beautiful Middle Eastern excerpts, twisting them marvellous into extra rhythm keepers. The vocals now have a cavernous quality, mysterious and timeless, while the electronics have become the swirling storm.

This is very much a match up, made in heaven. “Pool” was already a really great track and Agent Side Grinder have increased the dance floor appeal without removing the bits that make this track so likeable. This version is stellar and if you haven’t checked out Hatif, I cannot advise you strongly enough to get out there and do so.

Pool (Agent Side Grinder Remix) | Hatif (bandcamp.com)

https://facebook.com/hatifband

https://instagram.com/hatifband

When I received an email from someone called Emperor Of Ice Cream…. well my eyebrows did go up a fair way. I was to find out that this is not a person, but rather a collective, from Cork in Ireland and they were releasing their newest single, “Winter Pages“, on November the 18th. John ‘Haggis’ Hegarty (vocals), Graham Finn (guitar), Edward Butt (bass) and Colum Young (drums) are the Emperor Of Ice Cream, and they are on the label, FIFA Records. These guys have been a thing since the early 90s but are only put out their debut album in 2020, which came out under the title, No Sound Ever Dies.

A chiming wall of guitar embraces your senses, dragging away your thoughts and the singing is as sweet as the nicest of memories of love, entangles you in the sonic web of glorious noise. They reach into a place where longing and loss are powerful body blows, leaving you in the cold.

Wow. Just ohmygod….wow. You would never think anyone calling themselves Emperor Of Ice Cream would sound like that. They truly did blow me away with that one song. Utterly beautiful in both lyrics and musically. Shoegaze, when done correctly, is magical and in many ways, these guys remind me of early Ride, whom I consider to have been the pinnacle of creating amazing walls of tone and sighing harmonics that take you away to some other place. Play it, play it, play it and then play it again. The Emperor Of Ice Cream has gifted you “Winter Pages“.

Winter Pages | Emperor of Ice Cream (bandcamp.com)

Emperor of Ice Cream | Cork | Facebook

FIFA Records – Forever In Financial Arrears | Cork | Facebook