Italian spectres of darkwave/post-punk, European Ghost, dropped their album, No Sleep, No Peace, No Shelter. Released on the label, Icy Cold Records, on September the 23rd, this is the third album for Cristiano Biondo (vocals, lyrics), Giuseppe Taibi (bass, synths, drum machines) and Mario d’Anelli (guitars, synths), with Pale And Sick (2016) and Collection Of Shadows (2018), the previous albums.

So we begin with “Stars In Heaven“, a buzzing takes your ear, leading you an anxious array of noise and powerful waves of almost rhythmic noise. “Chrematimos” has that wonderful stalwart of post-punk, the plucked bass rumbling away as premonitions are causing mounting reason for concern.

White Foals” slithers under your skin with the vocals, while the guitars make that same skin shiver in eerie cold happiness. Dreams invade your sleep. Nightmares can ruin a “Good Night“. The music is stalking you like that unseen predator. There is a space like quality to “Hermetic“, sealed away while stars are consumed in loneliness.

Guitars and electronic take turns sparkling in “Cold Lips“, twisting and turning looking for fire, whilst the vocals ring out in the void. The bass holds sway in the title track, “No Peace, No Sleep, No Shelter“, a refection within a reflection, as the guitars wander between the realms of the living, dead and despair. “Living In A Tomb” does not so much feel desolate, so much as there is a longing for the light and that longing is in the vocals and wailing electronics.

Does “The Wind That Comes From Underground” come from some dark place? This track is truly full of some tremendous thumping beats with echoes and demonic clattering, as if the devil were chasing you through a labyrinth. An air of agelessness permeates the “Garden Of Delights“, sonorous and full of promise. A lovely twisting vortex of synths that pushes ever higher. The final track is “Metropolix” with its almost glitch like rhythm and the vocals that conjor images of the movie Metropolis, where everything is cold and metallic, moving with oiled precision.

European Ghost have said that the inspiration for the album comes from the idea of dreams, often meant to be a place of escape but can turn into haunting places of terror, causing apprehension from the very act of sustaining the body and mind. For me, it felt like when dreams and death are inseparable… entering a state where one is prone and open, where sleep is almost another form of impermanent death. No Peace, No Sleep, No Shelter has this wonderful, gritty texture, abrasive, polished by those magical guitars and highlighted by the electronics. They experiment with noise, creating these glorious sonic pieces that make you feel like you are standing on the edge of the void, and vocals plunge you into that void. Get haunted by European Ghost.

No Peace, No Sleep, No Shelter | European Ghost | europeanghost (bandcamp.com)

European Ghost | Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/icycoldrecords/

Knock twice, your fate sealed, A Cloud Of Ravens does reveal. Indeed, the 11th of November was the date for the release of the second single, “Nature If Artifice“, off the LOST HYMNS album, set to come out on the 24th of February, 2023.

It sucks you in from the beginning with elegant simplicity, from the beats to the build up into vocals. That guitar in the background like a warning siren, with the very deliberate heavy keyboard chords begging you to give them your attention. The vocals sombrely remind you that not all is well in the world.

The video alludes to past mistakes of humans only in the last century and yet maybe A Cloud Of Ravens is also tying to point out that we are making those mistakes again, though even if you aren’t a history buff, the music is brilliant. This is the “Nature Of Artifice“.

https://acloudofravens.bandcamp.com/track/nature-of-artifice-3

https://m.facebook.com/acloudofravens/

Sweden has a rich history of electronic bands and Stockholm’s Hatif have joined these illustrious ranks. The duo released their debut full length album “Everything Is Repetition“, on September the 30th with the label Town And Towers Records.

From the start of the first track, “A Small Scratch“, your senses are wrapped in the gorgeous folds of the electronics, heightened by the Middle Eastern influence, pervading like the delicate smoke from a beautiful incense. “Pool” is imbued with the sights and sounds of a Moroccan bazaar with silken like darkwave and those are just the first two tracks

Even in the smooth electronics, there is an undercurrent of tension such as the sexuality in “Repetition“, the dispossessed in “City Beneath The City” or the entrancing “Close to None“, which is about loneliness, yet so utterly hypnotic and mesmerising… possibly one of my favourite tracks.

In some ways, Hatif remind me very much of the great Deine Lakaien. The vocals effortlessly creep under your skin, saturating the senses with sensual perfection. It is extraordinary electronica with the divine infusion of the exotic East, creating a glorious album where not “Everything Is Repetition” with the rather darkwave cool that is Hatif.

Everything Is Repetition | Hatif (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/hatifband

The 31st of October was a rather busy time for releases that I’m working my way through. In that vein, the Boston based label, Info Sec Records has put together a compilation of electronic artists called Music For Hacking.

INFO SEC RECORDS

The Neon Droid brings a “Cloud Of Ashes“, sailing across the net, floating in the electronic world, while “terminus” from Rap2h has its video games inspired tones.

There is the cool beats and ambience of Inter Gritty’sThe Chase” or you can go full cyber angst with Psi Drive with the tracks, “Master’s Revenge” and “Hail Overlords“…. plus there is the synthwave crossed with crunchiness of “REJUVENATE” by TWINKLE MARIA きらきら マリア.

Not all is instrumental, with Neon Tuesday covering “Rhythm Of The Night” which is a bit more calm that the original and later also providing another cover in the form of the Amiga game theme from “Lotus III” which is full on cheesy and amazing. ThyHarvest has this wonderful techno sound, with synths trickling down, making you think of the Matrix code in “Net Terminal“.

M73 is surfing the “Interlinked” data, like a stream of conciousness, with dark synth intent and, oh my, _NetNomad with “Build“, makes me think of the old games like Prince Of Persia, with its whimsical chip tune style.

This is another project where a label is showcasing independent musicians to help raise their profiles but also garner more interest in the electronic scene. There is an inclusiveness in this compilation with synthwave along side darkwave, chip tune, ambient and even industrial, all sharing a deep passion for experimental electronica. So plug in and become one with the interface with some Music For Hacking.

Music for Hacking | Info Sec Recs (bandcamp.com)

https://neondroid.bandcamp.com/

https://rap2h.bandcamp.com/

https://intergritty.bandcamp.com/

https://psidrive.bandcamp.com/

https://twinklemariamusic.bandcamp.com/track/it-s-out-of-this-flaesh-world

https://touzimsky.bandcamp.com/album/rhythm-of-the-night

https://thyharvesting.bandcamp.com/

https://m73dk.bandcamp.com/

https://netnomad.bandcamp.com/

From County Cork, in Ireland, we have the darkwave act, Arctic Lights with their new single “Belong“, released on November the 4th. Liam O’Callaghan (vocals, guitar) and Edward Butt (bass guitar)are the duo that are the nucleus of Arctic Lights, with Max Mac joining them on drums.

Low vocals greet your ears with acoustic accompaniment of a guitar, though all this is an illusion as the electronics break through. There is a sonic component, a see saw between vocals, synths and guitar that is quite mesmerising.

Darkwave with that shoegaze wall of sound and the sublime singing that creates a wonderfully textured track about the very human desire to be apart of a relationship of some description. Come and “Belong” with Arctic Lights.

https://arcticlights.bandcamp.com/track/belong

https://m.facebook.com/ArcticLightsCork

The latest single from M73, has just been released, off the album Motor Romantik., on the record label, LÆBEL. “Vampire” has been given a lush video, care of Anna Tartaglia, exploring the visual concept that not all vampires live off blood but many are regular humans who feed off the power of controlling another person. As always the synth lines are stunning and John R Mirland completes the track with his vocals.

https://m73dk.bandcamp.com/album/motor-romantik

https://www.facebook.com/m73official

https://www.facebook.com/laebelmusic

Seattle based Vance Latta is a musician of the darkwave persuasion whom previously released the EP, The Ravening. October the 27th marked the drop of his latest single, “Mysterious Places“.

No special effects or over production here and it is refreshing in a way. The synths are bright, while the drum machine keeps the score and Latta’s vocals caress the lyrics. Latta and the electronics delivering a stark and heart felt eulogy to another they love, who is caught up in religious zealotry. Definitely coldwave feels from this track, so support an upcoming talent and check out “Mysterious Places“.

https://vancelatta.bandcamp.com/track/mysterious-places-2

https://www.facebook.com/VanceLattaMusic

Need an injection of gothic rock to perk up your dark soul? Then the debut track “Darkened Eyes” from st///ll might stoke the fires. The three members are scattered between the UK and Ireland but have the common love for the post-punk genre.

The drum machine starts pistoning away, joined by the chiming out guitar, before the Ian Curtis like vocals invade your concious. Then you are plunged into a sonic sweetness, due to the bass being there, ramping up the tension and dueling the lead guitar. It’s a bit like being transported back to the early 80s.

I think there is not only a love here for Joy Division but I can also hear Pink Turns Blue, which is tangible in both the vocals and guitar. Given a chance, “Darkened Eyes” could easily become a gothic dance floor anthem. There is no excuse for not popping off to Bandcamp to secure this little beauty as it is name your price, for a seriously strong debut track from st///ll.

https://still6.bandcamp.com/track/darkened-eyes

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100083423207378

What better way to celebrate Halloween, than to release a vampiric cover song, so that is exactly what Beauty In Chaos have done with the Concrete Blonde track, “Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)“, which was from the 1990 album of the same name, Bloodletting.

Video still by Vicente Cordero

Is that buzzing sound a blood sucking mosquito in the room? Not exactly as it resolves into revealing itself to be the sax of Mars Williams (Psychedelic Furs), to accompany the flourishing guitars. There is a drawn out sassiness that only increases with the introduction of the vocals from Michael Ciravolo, the man behind the creation of Beauty In Chaos, inducing the feel of New Orleans, because as a native, he has that Southern drawl. The progression becomes almost like a drug fuelled dream, as everything wavers, intoxication settling in and we become part of the undead parade march, into the nightmare that is the lair of the vampire, with the lovey ladies, Whitney Tai, Kat Leon and Tish Ciravolo joining in on vocal duties.

For me, there are two female singers that I hold in very high esteem. The first is the iconic Siouxsie Sioux and the other is the amazing Johnette Napolitano, so Concrete Blonde is very close to my heart. Her vocals alone were a good reason to love the band. I am going to say I am glad that it is different but kept to the essence and core of the “Bloodletting“. A new spin to a classic and you can see the love not only for the song but the inspiration, New Orleans and Anne Rice’s vampire’s who often called it home, conjuring visions of warm nights, strong brews, voodoo and the smell of wisteria and death. The video is also a treat so you should also check it out as well, full of shadowy characters, sexy vamps, obligatory vampire hunter and the secrets a mask can hide.

BLOODLETTING (The Vampire Song) | BEAUTY IN CHAOS (bandcamp.com)

Beauty In Chaos | Facebook

Beauty in Chaos (beautyinchaosmusic.com)

If you are into gothic/deathrock music then you should know the name William Faith. If you don’t then I am giving you the hard stare….now. Faith’s (vocals, guitars) current project is The Bellwether Syndicate, created with his equally famous wife Sarah Rose Faith aka Scary Lady Sarah (vocals, guitars), which will see their debut album, Vestige & Vigil, released next year. Meantime, there is the newest single, “Dystopian Mirror“, giving you a taste of what is to come. The band is rounded out with musicians Philly Peroxide (keyboards, percussion), Stevyn Grey (drums) and Corey Gorey (guitars)

Kicking arse from the beginning, no small intro but rather straight into it. That amazing wall of guitar in the chorus builds the tension and swells, before the drops to rebuild again. What can I say about the chorus other than breath-takingly monumental, especially with the passion in Faith’s vocals. The bass and drums are tight, giving the track a great rhythmic platform with the synths..

Faith has said that the track was written about a friend from his younger years, that was caught up in mental health issues and spiralling out of control with the use of drugs and alcohol, which eventually brought them to an early demise. There is definitely that feeling of being out of control, of manic highs and deeps lulls within “Dystopian Mirror“. For many of us that lived this lifestyle in black for many years, we have survived many of our peers and watched them disappear down that dark hole, never to return. There is a certain pain that goes with those memories but we honour them in those recollections. And if nothing else, it is a rip snorter of a gothic rock song.

Dystopian Mirror | The Bellwether Syndicate (bandcamp.com)

The Bellwether Syndicate | Facebook

The Bellwether Syndicate