The latest single from Italian duo, Kill Your Boyfriend came out the end of 2019, called “Elizabeth” on Depths Records and the label is based in London. This is the appetizer before they release their new album this year.
An anguished, noise filled introduction reminiscent vocally of Kirk Brandon (Theatre Of Tragedy and Spear Of Destiny) with the intensity of Andy McElligott (Sex Gang Children), asking ‘why are you here?‘. This is experimental noise with a shoegaze twist. Heavy beats and grating industrial screeching as “Elizabeth” undulates and graduates until the last prolonged note heralds the end.
Almost three and a half minutes of song and yet it pulls you in and spits you out, like hardly any time had passed at all. Plus there is a remix of “Elizabeth” for your listening pleasure. If you enjoy your industrial noise then there is no doubt you will get into Kill Your Boyfriend and if you haven’t heard of these guys before, then this could be the gateway drug that sucks you in.
Third Realm are back with a brand spanking new album and I have been lucky enough to have been listening to it before the release date, thanks to the main driving force and frontman, Nathan Reiner.
Since 2000, Reiner has been creating music with this project and the latest album is out on the darkTunes Music label with bandmate, Luis Felipe Blanco, from their hometown of Buffalo, New York.
Let the insanity ensue with “Bipolar Pop” featuring CHIASM. Emileigh Rohn is the solo artist behind CHIASM, an electro/darkwave project but here backing up Reiner. Slower more deliberate beat with the atmosphere that you could be stalked by some sex crazed (well there is a little sensual moaning) porn pop princess or prince. This is still raw in its electonic style which is a nice way to start.
‘I tried to be myself and suffer…’ is the start of the chorus, “Be Myself” which I am guessing is the fear of putting your true self out there…. and then finding rejection or indifference. I hear hints of Chris Pohl‘s Blutengel influence, especially vocally which is no small feat as many wish to be Pohl but often fail.
The first single from the album is the amazing, “When The Sun Goes Down”. Third Realm couldn’t have picked a better single to introduce their latest work with. Totally danceable and more to the point, you will find yourself singing away in no time to the vampiric chorus. The beat is driving and the vocals just weave themselves into pleasure centre of your brain.
Fourth song off the rank is “Banshee” which gives a slight nod, it feels, to Sisters Of Mercy’s “Vision Thing” crossed with Blutengel‘s flare for the dramatic supernatural.
“Gazing At The Stars” is a ballad with a beat. It’s a sweet ode to dreams of love and wishing. It is poignant tribute and the synths sing out true over this catchy number.
A more techno start for “Garden of Lust” gets the body moving. There is a strange electronic moog like synth in the chorus which is a tad distracting while Reiner is singing but in all its an agreeable song, with spooky intonation.
“Background of My Mind” has a punky retro feel. It’s bouncy and very two fingers waved in the air in sentiment…. ie you cannot rule my life by playing me.
Love the synth beginning with a disco beat for “Who’s Really Listening?” and this lends to the claustrophobic nature of the album, fraught with paranoia.
With the release of the album is the second single, “Tides of the Sea” featuring again CHIASM. This is just a beautiful electronic number and vocally, Reiner and CHIASM interweave so well and compliment each other. Expressing love as being as constant as the tides, that pull and rush, the heartbeat and pulse of the seas.
I can hear the infuence of Marilyn Manson in “Deviant”, in the way the song is structured. The chorus is a persistant and tenacious stream of conciousness which pushes to be heard. One man’s deviance is another’s normalcy because we are who we are.
First impression of “Medusa” was it is going to be a power noise piece until the melody kicks in. Even though Medusa was a gorgon, this is another homage to vampiric beings and reminds me very much of the 90’s goth/electronic sound.
“Passion” has air light keyboards and that great constant danceable beat, with the slight VNV Nation smoothness that makes their older songs just soar. This is EBM at it’s best.
Some believe that soul mates are awaiting us, also known as “Twin Flames”. The ultimate partner that completes you and that joy can be heard in the jauntiness and pop sensibility given to this piece.
Slowly, the title track, “The Art of Despair” crawls darkly across the floor, a vision of murky oblivion. It is insistent and pokes at your reality.
The last three songs are remixes of “Bipolar Pop”, “Be Myself” and “When The Sun Goes Down”. Aesthetic Perfection‘s Daniel Graves, really injects himself into “Bipolar Pop” which brings extra raw power. “Be Myself” mixed by Subliminal Code, just leaps out as an electronic dance number and last “When The Sun Goes Down” is given the super slick treatment by Panic Lift.
Third Realm‘s sound is developing over time. Originally, a harsher industrial music style which has become a bit more electro and synth savvy but hasn’t lost any of its intensity.
It is not lost on me that you can almost taste the heavy German EBM, darkwave and gothic influences and especially, Blutengel and L’Ame Immortelle.
Nathan Reiner‘s Third Realm has unleashed for you a gothic horror album of inner demons, monsters in human guise and immortal love, all to a wonderous industrial beat.
Finland seems a very small country, with an even smaller population and yet, somehow, they have far more than their fair share of talented musicians. HatefulChains is a four piece gothic/darkwave band from Turku, who started up in 2016.
From their stunning guitar to the striking female vocals, this makes your ears prick up on their latest single, “It’sAll Right“.
The guitar work is refreshing actually, light and almost joyful, not dark and dredging, reminding me of another Finnish band, Negative. Negative was for me a glam rock band quintessentially, so there goes my goth cred points but it works so well here.
Paired with the vocal talent of the female lead, FloraKok, who has a nice powerful range from alto to soprano, without going all operatic. Dare I say, a bit GraceSlick to my ears. Yep, I said it.
The Finnish always amaze me with their virtuosity with their instruments and ability to create such memorable songs.
This is a great single which deserves to be noticed in world full of the same old same old. I think this more than a bit of ” It’sAllRight“.
American industrial/EBM is alive and well, with the prime example, Slighter, also known as Colin Cameron Allrich. This accomplished musician and producer is based in Los Angeles and can be found on the Confusion Inc. label.
In May, Slighter brought forth his latest album call Automata which can be found on Bandcamp and most recently released a deluxe version with ten extra tracks.
There is nothing more memorable than a heartbeat and “The Shadows” has this familiar rhythm. This is a quiet and retrospective feeling number about things now passed and how the past can repeat itself to start off the album
In isolation, there is a loss of identity and the ability to be forgotten. Oscillating electronic tones with the vocals droning over the top of “Isolate”. This is serpentine in the way the music flows. If you can’t guess by now, this isn’t going to be the happy joy album…
“Give Me” is a solid EBM track. This features Craig Joseph Huxtable on vocal duties, who is best know for the Vancouver bands, Öhm and Landscape Body Machine. It has those wonder low vocals and heavenly ‘oooohs’. This isn’t the first time Huxtable has a dalliance with Slighter, as seen on the Erode album with the song, “Lights Out”.
The dark, atmospheric piece, “Survive”, is made even more delicious by the whispered lyrics. Colin’s enunciation is brilliant and so very crystal clear, so you can see the darkness reflected over and over again, accented with that solo guitar.
“Imbalance” is a spoken word observation about the destruction humans have caused our planet and that the Earth will go back into equilibrium without us in the end. Kadin Contois is the featured voice, speaking at us in a monotone, matter-of-fact way. Contois is an industrial musician from Virginia, formerly known as Pseudocide..
Not much is known about Floridian vocalist, Christy Hannon but her sweet tones ring true from the start of “Walls”. A hint of a swelling musical build-up and growing beat, yet this is deceiving, as the song does not get any faster.
Moris Blak is a Bostonian industrial powerhouse on the Australian label, Blind Mice Productions and can also be found on the track, “TheHunt”. Allrich gives us a much bigger vocal presence which might be influenced by Moris Blak’s heavy, moody bass beats. This is great. It’s seedy, bold, dangerous and could be picking its nose but you wouldn’t dare tell them to stop. Well worth looking for the Moris Blak Industrial Bass Edit on SoundCloud.
“Undertow” is a great gradual building, almost symphonic sounding piece. Not symphonic because of an orchestra, rather the vastness of the sound. It is so simple and yet so huge in its concept. Maybe this is also the link to tidal waters… A drop is nothing but a sea is deep, mysterious and powerful. All this is managed with simple electronics and vocals
If “Undertow” wasn’t good enough to set the hairs on your neck on end, then “A Moment of Inexplicable Clarity” just might. This is so ambient and thick with delicate vocals and synths that wouldn’t be amiss on Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. American author, Rachel A. Desilets lends her hushed tones to her husband’s masterpiece. It has to be said, these two numbers compliment each other so very, very well.
The final track for all intent and purpose, is “Static on the Line”. This is slow and grimy, like you are stuck in a greasy, dirty hotel room, with a phone against your ear, dealing with the grainy reception.
On the deluxe version, there is a reworked version of each song, from darkwave to techno/trip hop. Soundscapes through to dark electro but it never feels disjointed or at odds with itself which is an artform.
There is a reason Colin C. aka Slighter, is featured on television programmes such as Bones and True Blood. Simply put, he is quite the evocative musician. If you like to not only hear your music but also see and feel it, then you should definitely give Slighter an opportunity to get into your ear and maybe even introduce you to some talent you may not have had the delight to be entertained by yet.
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.
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.