There is a lot of deathrock out there and not all of it is good, but LA band, Black Heroin Gallery does great gothic/deathrock and they wish to weave a tale out of the darkness for you. This year saw the unleashing of their album, Feast Of Bats, which is also a feast for the ears, Eyajo December Joseph is the founding member, main songwriter, keyboard player and lead singer, so we were very lucky to be able to talk to Eyajo about the band, the album and all good spidery things. Also a confession on my part…I too have a great love of the New Romantic music of Duran Duran and if you want to know why, then you better read on!

Welcome to the enveloping darkness that is Onyx, dear Eyajo December Joseph of Black Heroin Gallery. Join us as we have a tea party, in the moonlight of a graveyard, dusted in motes of mist.

You’ve been playing in Los Angeles glam/punk, deathrock, blackmetal and underground bands since the late 1980s. You and drummer Tony F. Corpse were both members of the brilliant Astrovamps, as well as gothic blackmetal band Willow Wisp. What was it like playing with those bands, and what was the Los Angeles scene like back then?

EYAJO: The scene was thriving and crazy for better or worse back then. Astrovamps were fun and we definitely left a mark on the deathrock scene. We played with a lot of notable bands, including opening up for Rozz’s original Christian Death for their last live album before he died. We were there for direct support. An awesome band called Praise of Folly also played and they went on before us. This was in 1993 at the Patriotic Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Tony started recording with us in 1993. And played drums for us on and off in the beginning, but soon became a more frequent/basically permanent member. Willow Wisp was his main band, so he played with us when he could. Yes, I joined Willow Wisp as keyboardist, many years later, for a short while and it was fun and crazy, but I found it hard to concentrate on both bands and besides, I think Willow Wisp needed a more classically train keyboardists and my minimalist technique with synth/keyboards probably wasn’t the best fit for them.

Does the LA scene still have the same vibe in some ways, and in what ways do you find it has changed?

EYAJO: Some of the vibe has remained, but there have been changes. Not as many goth clubs playing live bands as there use to be, but there is hope, 2022 has brought a lot of the underground out and there seems to be promoters popping up all over LA and Mexico, booking Goth, Deathrock, Metal and Post Punk bands. It’s very exciting, so we’re looking forward to playing more venues this year to support Feast of Bats.

What do you think being in Astrovamps taught you about the music industry that you have taken with you into your other musical projects?

EYAJO: Astrovamps taught me how to be a good live musician and live band, it also inspired me to write music and not just lyrics. That’s why I founded Black Heroin Gallery.

Black Heroin Gallery was originally created by you in 2007 with Tony following you soon after. What drove you to start up this project?

EYAJO: Well, Astrovamps wasn’t going as dark as I wanted it to, so I knew I had to start some kind of side project for that dark deathrock music I wanted to write and release. That manifested as Black Heroin Gallery. Even though I loved what the Astrovamps were doing and I loved co-writing some of the songs as a lyricist. I knew I had to have my own thing where I was Chief songwriter, musically and lyrically. Then Astrovamps broke up and were no more. So I had complete focus for the new project. Not as easy as I thought, many false starts, a number of member changes and a singer that didn’t work out. I knew I had to learn guitar to write the songs that I wanted to write and take over vocal duties or we might end up spending wasted years looking for a singer. Tony and my old bassist Kevin kept telling me to take over vocal duties, I’m glad I finally took their advice.

How would you describe your musical partnership with Tony?

EYAJO: Good and enduring. Tony is a very creative drum composer and I’ve been lucky to have him stay the test of time and stick it out with me. Tony is the metal influence in the band, so sometimes we butt heads, because I’m a minimalist with music and songwriting and Tony likes more detailed Drum compositions. So over the years, we’ve come to a creative compromise on the drums. I let him go off the rails sometimes and for me, he pulls back sometimes. Perfect. My favorite drum styles are the classic deathrock tribal sound. And this style will always be part of our sound in one variation or another. Not every song, but still a favorite color of mine on the palette.

You have three other band members, so can you introduce them to us please?

EYAJO: Krystal Fantom is our guitarist and he also co-wrote two songs on the album with me. Dracul Grotesque is our Bass player and he joined a few months ago, just in time to record on Feast of Bats with us. Lastly, we have Sky Lee Vague, our new live keyboardist.

In Astrovamps, Eyajo, you were the keyboard player and now with Black Heroin Gallery you are not only the keyboardist but also the lead singer. How much of a change was this for you, and do you find vocals easier or harder?

EYAJO: The change was needed, I’m glad I never looked back. I played a little keyboard live on stage, but mostly focused on the vocal performance, but we are grateful now to have Sky take over and play keyboards live, now for the first time in years, we’re gonna be able to perform with our full sound. I will still always write and record the synth parts, but Sky brings it to life for the band on stage and from time to time he adds a little of his own fills. I’m ok with a little improv from the guys on the songs live, as long as the main sound and chords that make the song are there.

Your new album has the unusual title, ‘Feast of Bats’, can you tell us the story behind that name?

EYAJO: It’s actually the name of a short dark fairytale that I wrote and was illustrating. I loved the title, so I thought it would work well for the album. And the cover art I drew is from the illustrated story as well.

Many of the song titles, while obviously inspired by gothic horror themes, also have a quirky playfulness about them, reminiscent of Tim Burton in some ways. Is Burton a source of inspiration, and is there an element of tongue-in-cheek dark humor, having fun with tropes of the goth genre?

EYAJO: Yes, I would say that there were some of those influences in my writing. My main influences are fairytales and poetry. I like dark and tragic romantic themes. Dark things in general, Dark humor or satire does also play a part in some of my writing and lastly myths, witchcraft and philosophy I find very inspiring too.

There are a lot of references to death and her darkness in the lyrics. Do you find comfort in the beauty of the macabre and grotesque?

EYAJO: Yes, I most certainly do, it’s a recurring theme in all my arts. Poetry, Music, filmmaking and illustration. Death is my loudest muse.

There are also multiple mentions about God and demons. Is this for lyrical effect or something deeper?

EYAJO: Oh, it’s definitely not for any effect. I would say, deeper is probably a better description. Most of those references are from parts of the bible that the church removed or banned from the public. These stories inspire some of my work and the others are just my own mythos that I create.

As the lyricist and composer for the band, is that an added pressure and do you find writing music easy or a heartache?

EYAJO: Yes it can be both, but it’s very rewarding as well. Especially when you’ve reached that moment where the song is done. Krystal co-wrote two songs with me on this album and Tony added his drums and Dracul the bass. Then I added keyboards and Synth after the song had the basic instrumentation recorded. I usually write with guitar, then show it to the band and they learn it and then we work out all the little arrangement issues that may or may not come about. I’m lucky to have such talented and creative musicians working with me. Of course, I have to mention that this album would not have come out as great as it did, if it were not for the producing/mixing/recording and engineer artistry of Roman Marisak.

The band has been around since 2007 but this is your third album. I also noticed that some tracks have been around for a few years, often found in live videos. Do you like to try and test songs before you commit them to an album?

EYAJO: Yes, there were some formative years to say the least. Actually, Feast of Bats is our second album. My Rotting Flower was an EP. I have learned that it does help us out if we play the song live for a few shows. But that’s not always the case. I can say with almost certainty that our future albums are gonna be closer together in release times, probably every 2 years. For as long as it makes sense to me. I’m already working on the art and music for those future releases.

Do you find the acts of writing music and live performance a catharsis of sorts?

EYAJO: Yes, most definitely.

I do adore your version of “Hush, Hush, Hush, Here Comes The Bogeyman”. Do you have a favorite track off the album at all?

EYAJO: Thank you, that little gem was arranged and brought to us as a potential cover song by our guitarist Krystal Fantom. I loved his guitar arrangement on the song, so it made the album cut. For my favorite? Well It’s hard to choose, because I definitely put my heart and soul into all of the songs in one capacity or another. So if I have to pick, I would say, “I cover her horns.” There are many reasons why I like that song, but the main one from me is the story it’s telling and the very haunting musical arrangement.

When the young Eyajo was getting into darker music, what or who were your gateway drugs?

EYAJO: Well it was Duran Duran, who inspired me to make music and get into a band, but the dark path with me started after I heard Depeche Mode’s “Blasphemous Rumours” for the first time. I fell in love with the song and then the band. Then I continued to find more dark gems, like Skinny Puppy, Gene loves Jezebel, Bauhaus, Alien Sex Fiend, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Sisters of Mercy and Virgin Prunes to name a few.

Are there new acts you’re really getting into now?

EYAJO: Not really, but it’s not because I don’t like them, it’s more like, I just haven’t paid too much attention to new bands this year. Because I was working on Feast of Bats. Ask me that question a year from now and I’m sure I will be listening to some then.

If you could have a lovely tea party in a cemetery and the option to bury someone there and bring them back, Pet Cemetery style, would you do it and do you know who that would be? 🙂

EYAJO: The tea party sounds like fun, but I would probably pass on burying someone to bring them back. Because it more than likely wouldn’t end well.

Onyx symbolizes renewal, change and more than likely, my little black heart. What do you feel in your little dark heart, is next for Black Heroin Gallery?

EYAJO: Oh Hell, where do I start…Let me see, oh yes… We’ll be headlining a World Goth Day festival, May 14th in Mexico City, Mexico. Then we will concentrate on some music videos by June and continue to play as many live shows as we can. Also, remix and master the first album. Record 2-3 new songs for Feast of Bats vinyl release. Write and prepare songs for the third album. So needless to say, we’re going to keep busy.

Thank you Eyajo for joining us and chatting as we dance between the graves, like there is no tomorrow.

EYAJO: Thank you very much, it has been an honor to talk with you.

BLACK HEROIN GALLERY (bandcamp.com)

BLACK HEROIN GALLERY | Facebook

We here at Onyx have already given our opinion of Australian band, Sea Lungs’ single “Lighthouse Noir” – which was that it is a sterling piece of deathrock/post-punk. I am pleased to say that the band, who are with Mantravision, have created a video with the help of Bruce Nullify of Orcus Nullify and Sequential Zero. A psychedelic experience, so get your dark yo-ho-ho on with a bottle of rum.

Lighthouse Noir | Sea Lungs (bandcamp.com)

Sea Lungs | Facebook

Mantravision Productions | Facebook

The Dreadful Dead of Hoop Snake Hollow was the last album we heard from LA deathrockers, Black Heroin Gallery, in 2016, but fear not. As of February the 20th, 2022, they released their third album, Feast Of Bats, on Pestilent WindFolk Records. Founding member and lead vocalist/writer/synths, Eyajo December Joseph, created this project in 2007 and was joined by drummer, Tony F Corpse, both having previously been part of the seminal deathrock group, Astrovamps. Over time, they have cemented the positions of lead guitar in 2015 with Krystal Fantom and most recently, Dracul Grotesque in 2021 on bass and live keyboardist, Skye Lee Vague.

I Cover Her Horns” kicks off the album, with a carnival in the distance with an off kilter mayhem. There is almost a genuine pain in the vocals for what maybe the love for a demon girl with her devilish horns. A lament to an unreasonable God that won’t keep his promises. The guitar work is just gorgeous in “Gargoyle Projekt“, a pulsating medieval hell of the black death that overtakes your senses in the eagerness to away from the victims of the plague.

There is a “Taste Of Worms“, a vortex of clashing drums and guitars, that whirls like a hurricane dragging you in with a sound of a siren. The classical elements are beautifully presented, giving this track gleaming facets. The track “Dreadful Wish” reminds me a hell of a lot of early Christian Death in the tone and tempo, about spiritual death. The guitars are often purposefully and yet then seem to almost meander in a psychedelic dream.

A tale of a demon who wished to see more than he should is told in “His Beautiful Darkness“. Grated out vocals from December Joseph, give you the sadness in finding a new world and losing it all again.”As She Slumbers” is dramatic and epically huge, images of a girl gone mad, who dreams of murdering her family and eating them. The guitars drop with the drums giving the effect of chopping into soft bodies. Even though there is a barrage of guitars and vocals, with the drums, tearing their way into your eardrums, “The Boy Who Married The Spider-Face Girl” is actually a song for a girl that the world does not understand but is beloved by a boy.

Honestly, has there ever been a bad song written about the bogeyman? For the track “Hush, Hush, Hush, Here Comes The Bogeyman“, this is no exception. Written originally in 1932 this cover version of the track is haunting, violent and wicked funny all at the same time. There is a wonderful heaviness that pervades. Expressive spoken word about the adventures of the “Twig Skeleton“, which sadly is only an interlude as I wanted to hear more about this character. A shamanistic atmosphere to “Take This Rose“, the last track on the album and rather than being romantic, a litany of what can never be.

There are black metal elements to the music that cannot be overlooked. It is in the use of classical aspects which is far more commonly used in black metal and crafted beautifully into the tracks on this album. Those elements indeed, enhance rather than detract from the overall sound. A Feast Of Bats is undeniably deathrock though with those angular, shredding guitars and tortured vocals. Stories of love, loss, death, decay and murderous intent….could one ask for anything more from an album? For me it is perfect gothic fare. You might have to venture in for yourselves and see if you get hooked on this release from Black Heroin Gallery.

Feast of Bats | BLACK HEROIN GALLERY (bandcamp.com)

BLACK HEROIN GALLERY | Facebook

Anchorage, Alaska, is the home to gothic duo, Cliff And Ivy who released the single, “Bloody Ghost” on March 10th, 2022. Cliff Monk (guitars, drum programming, songwriting, production) and Ivy Silence (vocals, lyrics, percussion, piano) are the musicians that make up the band

The very start seems a little off kilter, only for the guitars to come booming through with Ivy’s staccato vocals about the bloody ghost. There is a psychedelic quality to this track the way the guitar swirls in the mix and it could be the spectre at the end trying to join in. The message is that there may be liars, nay-sayers and things might not be easy but you should believe in the good of others and actions speak louder than words.

This track was inspired by someone Cliff And Ivy had known and now have passed beyond the vale plus their own life experiences. “Bloody Ghost” is both verbose and quirky, and actually very fun to listen to. I am still in awe how Ivy manages to get all those lyrics out so quickly. So enjoy this life and live it to the full because we are only here for a short time.

Bloody Ghost | Cliff and Ivy: Alaska’s goth duo (bandcamp.com)

Cliff and Ivy | Facebook

Just when you thought it was safe again to go near the water, Sea Lungs have returned with a new single, “Lighthouse Noir“. I swear on a bottle of gin (it is only good for swearing on) that these guys are getting better every release. Maybe they are getting into their groove or finding their sea legs but whatever it is, they should keep doing it. The new single conjures up visions of Sexgang Children with a little pinch of The Virgin Prunes and wrapped in the ever perfectly spine tingling vocals of Lennon, eerily sounding ever so like Rozz Williams. A story of madness brought on by loneliness and extreme melancholy, a heay toll that brings on suicidal thoughts while the wonderful guitars smashing down like waves on the rocks below. “Lighthouse Noir” is out on Mantravision Productions, so we though there is no better time than now to talk to founding member Jarrad Robertson about the band and how they are navigating the waters of the music scene.

Aaarrrghh…. welcome Jarrad Robertson of the band Sea Lungs. Come sit in the wadding pool with our pet kraken, whilst we talk of tales and scrim the shaw with Onyx.

Seeing as you are no land lovers, can you please introduce the crew.

Sea Lungs is made up of Andi Lennon on vocals, Dase Beard and Micheal Johnson share bass duties depending on the tracks requirements ( Dase does the noisy guitar bits too), I play the  guitars and cover the drums (both live and programmed) and Ant Banister provides the production skills and throws some keys in when needed.

Now, not all of you live close to each other do you? How much harder does it make to construct your music?

I’d say it has taken some of the strain out making the music. I write the main composition of each song and then send it off to each of the guys to do their thing. We all just do it when we have time, and with the understanding that it gets done when it gets done. That takes any pressure out of trying to create something to fit a deadline. It would be nice to get in a room and hash them out though at some point. Micheal and I live 10 minutes from each other, yet due to recent lockdowns and family commitments we haven’t really had much of a chance to jam.

You are all in the darker alternative scene, so how did Sea Lungs come to fruition?

In early 2020 as lockdowns were beginning and live music stopped I decided to record some stuff at home, as countless others did. But it was a bit unsatisfying so I reached out to people I’d met while gigging with my previous band and asked for help to fill the songs out. Apart from Micheal, I’ve only ever met the other members once or twice so it felt like a long shot. Luckily everyone I asked said yes and now we have my perfect lineup. The bands we are all from make music very different to the SL stuff so it’s a place to experiment.

Sea Lungs is a rather curious moniker and I am wondering how did you decide upon it?

Like so many band names I borrowed it from a song title. It’s the name of my favorite Baroness track. But it felt right in what I wanted the project to represent. At the time when the idea for this project first popped into my head I was going through a rough patch with my mental health. I found that seeing the ocean, even if just from my car while driving home, would clear my head and allow me to breathe. So it just fit. When I started writing with Andi, without me telling him the name, he took the lyrics in a nautical direction so it seemed it was destined to stick

Your latest single is Lighthouse Noir, which is a rollicking and crazed sea shanty. Between the guitar work and Andi’s vocals, this is a hybrid beastie, a cross between Sexgang Children and Virgin Prunes with that sing song manner at times. How did the band go about writing this little epic?

The main guitar part for the song was a kind of guitar warm-up, or even subconscious tick kind of thing. I’ve been playing it for years just as a thing I do everytime I pick up my guitar. Anyway I got a new guitar pedal and as soon as I played the warm-up it just sounded like something from an old mystery film. After fleshing it out I got the mental image of a thriller set at a lighthouse. This is the only time I’ve actually passed an idea for a narrative on to Andi and he dived on it. He is a master at spinning tales and the lighthouse idea was definitely in his hitting zone.

The artwork for Lighthouse Noir is bloody awesome. Bilge away and tells us who created this masterpiece?

An artist called Nikko who I’ve had a few dealings with now drew this up for us. He does amazing work and I could not be happier with it. I said ‘hey, can you do a lighthouse?’ and that was the total of my input. With just that tiny bit of info He ran with the idea and nailed it. He can be found at @nikko_s_den on Instagram for more info.

Your previous single Piss Up A Rope is a far different creature, bringing attention to how very few take advantage of the many. Can you tell us a little more about this premise?

Again, Andi has to take all the credit for this. We like to look at the idea of Empires, both past and present. While these days there is less of conquering foreign lands and taking colonial possessions, there are still empires being built at the expense of the masses. It unfortunately seems that now we willingly provide the means for these billionaires to do as they please and applaud them for it. But a tech giant taking all of your information and selling it or a multinational crushing small business should not be idolized. There is no comparison to the atrocities of historical empire building, but I’m sure horribly exploited workers the world over may see some parallels.

With three singles released, are you guys looking to keep going this way or release these tracks on an EP or album?

The goal is definitely to release something in a longer format and to get something physical out into the world. That’s hopefully in the works for later in the year.

Mantravision is the label Sea Lungs is with and Ant Banister also does the producing, mixing and mastering, which may we say is excellent and with that in mind, how did you get involved with Ant and Mantravision?

-I have only met Ant once when his band Sounds Like Winter (which also features Andi) came to Melbourne and played on a lineup with my previous band. We got chatting and liked each other’s music. After I decided to begin Sea Lungs his name was top of my list to collaborate with. Luckily he liked the demos I sent him, or he has been too polite to turn me down so far.

So is music for you a more political thing or just whatever inspiration hits you with?

Andi and I both share a love of History and take a huge amount of our inspiration and ideas from it.  And the most fascinating parts are usually the most horrible. I think it’s a very common human trait to be drawn to diabolical tales, viewed from far enough away to not get blood on your shoes. There is no joy to be taken from it, it’s more just finding out what our species have been capable of and hoping we don’t repeat the horrors. And it seems that all of it has political ties so I guess it’s unavoidable.

I’ve always thought music should be a bit dangerous, a little uncomfortable. If you can listen to an album and not be left with questions or have been shifted in some way then what is the point? We aren’t necessarily making any blunt political points with our music but there are morals, like any good tale. How would a person react to the isolation of a lighthouse keeper’s work? Or in the case of “Piss up a rope”, how much wealth is enough, and at what or who’s expense?

Will we be getting a tale of swashbuckling pirates? Nay we do not want it but rather need it!

-I’m sure at some point there will be a mention of pirates, but probably not in a positive light. The romanticised idea we see of pirates from the age of sail is pretty far removed from reality. That being said my kids would love it, so maybe if this project fails and I move into children’s entertainment.

What music influences do each member bring with them?

One of my favourite things about Sea Lungs is the varied musical backgrounds we come from. Although we all kind of meet on the post-punk front we have all done very different things previously. Andi brings the Death-rock and punk vibes. Dase has played noise rock, post-hardcore, doom and sludge. Dase and Micheal both go pretty far down the experimental noise rabbit-hole too. Most of my influence is drawn from grunge, alt rock and a bit of metal so I guess when we throw it all together it makes for an interesting brew. Ant, besides being a local post-punk hero,  loves all things synth and electronic so I’m trying to lead him astray by giving him heavier music to work on. But there is a strict no synths policy in Sea Lungs.

Do you think at some point you will all get together to do some live gigs?

We are currently working out when that will be possible. It’s definitely going to happen, it’s just a matter of maybe outsourcing parts to people based in Melbourne or Sydney if we can’t all get together. But it will happen.

Speaking of live gigs, all of you are in other bands. How has covid affected your ability to play live and be creative in your other projects?

For me it stopped me in my tracks completely.  Pigs of the Roman Empire released an EP just as the lockdown began but never got to launch it live. Not long after due to expanding families and work/ life balance we decided to call it quits. The last gig I played was in November 2019, which was the gig I met Ant and Andi at. Those guys are back playing shows with their band Sounds Like Winter which is great, and Dase is playing shows occasionally too, but for 2 years in Melbourne at least the live scene was dead. It’s regaining some momentum now but everyone is kind of holding their breath a little.

If you could be any famous seafarer (real or fantasy) who would it be?

While the idea of sailing the world is captivating, from everything I’ve read it is also terrifying and was for the most part extremely dangerous for numerous reasons. I’m not sure I’d be cut out for it. I think leading an expedition in the age of exploration, like Magellin or Drake, would have been quite an experience, but these voyages usually came at the cost of hundreds if not thousands of lives.

What will the seafaring Sea Lungs be getting up to in the future?!

Writing and recording more tracks. We have a few up our sleeves that we will be working on for a physical release in the next few months. Other than that just trying to stay as active in the musical landscape as possible.

Avast ye salty dog. Thank you for swabbing the decks so to speak young Jarrad and giving us insight into Sea Lungs. The kraken enjoyed very much nibbling at your toes and don’t trust the mermaids on your way out! Crafty wenches they be.

Music | Sea Lungs (bandcamp.com)

Sea Lungs | Facebook

Mantravision Productions | Facebook

Here on Onyx, we love our Australian underground music. To that end, we figured people needed to know about the latest video from post-punk provocateurs, Sounds Like Winter. “No Interest“, off their third album, Fight The Stairs, is a combination of footage from around the time of the original Wall Street Crash and the live online video of the band’s album launch.

We previously said…The tribal beats are unmissable here and maybe a harkening back to Southern Death Cult. “No Interest” is the cold reality that humanity isn’t so humane and will ignore you when you are at your lowest point. As their promoter, UTM Music Group said…..If you’ve been ignoring this band, you’re clearly a fucking idiot. Could not have really said it better myself.

Merch | Sounds Like Winter (bandcamp.com)

Sounds Like Winter (facebook.com)

Everybody needs a “Greasy Strangler” in their life. Just ask San Diego’s, The Writhers who dropped the single on January 15th, 2022. They are bringing you their brand of psychobilly/horror-punk/deathrock to curl your toes to and make you avoid those lonely and derelict places. The band is comprised of Robert Writhe (vocals/accordion), Rikk R Treat (drums), Chewy Morsel (guitar) and Kenny Wolfsbane (bass).

You might feel the breath of the “Greasy Strangler” on the back of your neck as inch by inch, he is getting to the point of strangling you. Writhe sings his aggressively awkward love song of how he recognises himself reflected in the actions and mindset of the strangler…a meeting of the psychos so to speak. The bass is sleazy and bold, while the guitar is the crazed, aiding and abetting in the build up of the feeling of insanity.

Great thing about psychobilly is that is never takes itself too seriously and it is as much about having fun with the genre as it is about creating good music. The Writhers add an air of The Cramps like campness with the horror-punk theme and the deathrock guitar and attitude, giving us a song you can sink your teeth into..or is that get your hands around???

https://thewrithers.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thewrithers/

The Writhers

Sea Lungs are a relatively new band from Melbourne. A union of friends in the gothic/post-punk scene who aren’t necessarily in the same room to make music. The single, “Piss Up A Rope” was released in December, produced and mastered by Ant Bannister (Sounds Like Winter) of Mantravision. Andi Lennon (Sounds Like Winter) provides vox and lyrics, while Jarrad Robertson (guitar, drums) and Dase Beard (guitar, bass) created the music. A point of interest is that Jarrad is also a music blogger who writes good ‘stuff’ with his project Neptune Wakes…. I sense a nautical theme here.

Sea Lungs spin tales of Gin-soaked dockside demise. Bearing witness to the fall of a perverse empire and dancing to the sounds of the death rattle. – Bandcamp self description

Lennon’s vocals are so reminiscent of Rozz Williams, it’s a actually quite breathtaking. For a song called “Piss Up A Rope”, it is not mentioned once and is not to be confused with the Ween song of the same name. There is a torpid air to the beginning that belies the true angst below the surface. From the jangle of guitars to the near strangulation of one, it never falters in the quest to provoke you. CEO’s reap the money, bloated corpulence, while their workers earn virtually a pittance. The vocals cajole you and coerce you to open your eyes

Amazon are huge in the US and UK, with people even buying their shampoo online rather than going down to the local shops. Mega multi-billion companies that are allowed to reap the bounty that their workers never see and never seem to be taxed. So, it is thought provoking but also there is great musicianship that goes into creating such a song with passion. Really enjoyed this track and it will be interesting to see where Sea Lungs go from here.

https://sealungs.bandcamp.com/track/piss-up-a-rope

Sea Lungs | Facebook

Mantravision Productions | Facebook

Neptune Wakes- independent music blog | Facebook

We are going back into the year to bring you an EP that was released in May of 2021, called Beautiful Hell by Orcus Nullify. Orcus Nullify is the project for Bruce Nullify who lives in South Carolina. On this EP he plays bass, guitar as well as being the vocalist, while enlisting Ant Bannister (Sounds Like Winter, Def FX) to help with drum programming. Bannister is also Mantravision Productions who mixed and produced four of the six tracks.

There is a sonic appeal of the beginning of “Beautiful Hell” the title track. An ode to those who have taken power by the throat and wield it unjustly whilst telling you it is for your own good. The guitar work very much stands out in a whirling maelstrom. Even though the drums are programmed, they sound super good on “Night Dance” and this unearthly, witching hour two step takes you away to the edge of what is real and that which exists in the night. I am going to guess “Under The Eye” was written about Trump and his administration, as he divided a country and made others unwelcome in a country they called home. The music evokes a certain circus feel, though a creepy one with a full freak show attached.

Pete Burns of Kill Shelter, produced “Fall From Faith“, a title that probably needs no explanation. I hear little bits of Southern Death Cult in this, such as the guitar riffs. A nice bit of bass playing is highlighted in “Night Bird“. Again the drums harken back to something a bit more old school. The last track in “Pandemonic” is an instrumental with the voice overs that could be heard on the news in the US speaking about the shocking speed Covid-19 overran countries and that governments acted so slowly. It is the litany of missed opportunity to a sludgy drone of music.

I hear a lot of influences in this EP. From Bauhaus to Christian Death and Southern Death Cult plus a few others as well. It is gothic darkwave but I would even say this definitely crosses into deathrock as well because I think the songs would have suited Rozz Williams’ style very well. But Beautiful Hell is also an creation of it’s time, written in isolation with political tensions running high and a wish for something more eloquently dark to drag them away..

https://orcusnullify.bandcamp.com/album/beautiful-hell

ORCUS NULLIFY | Facebook

Mantravision Productions | Facebook

You may have heard of Plasmata, in the goth and industrial scene, from around 2007 to 2011, when they suddenly dropped off the radar. This was due to lead, Trent Jeffries, having a brain aneurysm that interrupted everything.

We do say interrupted, as Jeffries never gave up on regaining the ability to play music, which has resulted in the release of two singles in 2020, as well as a remix of their most famous track, “Lifeblood“. Now the Chicago Glampires give you the single, “Leviathan“, off the unleashed EP, Portraits Of Pain.

TRENT JEFFRIES – PLASMATA

There is the wailing of guitars, the distorted plus clean vocals and enough high energy to light up a small city, possibly ruled by the children of the night. Something dark and ravenous wants to spill your blood in the grimy clubs and poorly lit alleys. This is the “Leviathan“.

Even Vincent Price would be proud of “The Vanishing“, with its slightly good time, gothic boogie woogie and a modern synth overlay. He can handle the gruesome but is bereft when you just disappear.

Plasmata is the preacher of terror and also the monster in “Ten Bells“. Two of Jack The Ripper’s victims were connected to the Ten Bells Pub, in East London and indeed the song reflects a drunken, slightly spinning pace. There is the unsettling, single finger piano Interlude thrown in, with Aly Jadas giving a sterling performance on backing vocals.

The Enlightenment” has a more industrial feel and it commands your attention. A divine message of redemption by giving all your cash to the religious order. I love the sound of near heavenly hosts mixed with demonic electronics. The exquisite heavenly host vocals are by Carmen Vizin-Esquivel.

The last track of the EP is far slower, a cyber western duel waiting to happen, to see who will flinch and draw first. “Death Of Hope” is an apt name as it trudges along the dusty night road, no dawn of light at the end. Heavy, doom filled guitars heighten the whispers, sighs and angelic ah’s of Vizin-Esquivel, giving the impression that God no longer cares.

William Faith of Faith And The Muse and Christian Death fame, produced, recorded and mixed “Portraits Of Pain” at his Studio 13. Jeffries has a definite love of the vampire/horror genres, taking that visual aspect and mixing it with the musical component, giving life to the monster that is the “Leviathan” or a monsterous human in “Ten Bells“. The glam/ goth rock aspect fuel’s the terse, gritty industrial portions. This is a nice strong release from Plasmata and I guess we await in the dark what comes next…. with anticipation.

https://plasmata1.bandcamp.com/album/portraits-of-pain

https://m.facebook.com/plasmataband

https://plasmataband.com/