Finnish goth rockers Lamori, have released the single “Dark Messiah” off the soon to be released, fourth album, Neon Blood Fire on the label Wormholedeath Records. The band has been around since 2009, with members Matias Juselius (vocals), Marcus Pellas (guitar), Mikael Westerlund (bass), Jens Wickholm (keys) and Emanuel Sanchez (drums).
The keyboards are your guide in this track, the light on the path of heavy guitar and thrashing drums. The vocals range from plaintive through to growling hellfire, as the track wends its way through the theme of holding onto hope even when darkness and death surround you, as there must be some grand scheme to it all.
This is my first time listening to Lamori and they are like an amalgamation of 69 Eyes meets Deathstars, with the vastness of Amorphis thrown in for good measure. There is a grandiose epic swell that sweeps you along, in a way those from Nordic climes can evoke so well. Lamori holds the heart of the “Dark Messiah“.
Andy J. Davies and James P. Quinn are the men behind the British goth band, Sirens Of Light, a project that they had originally started in the early 2000’s, when they released the album Nullus Margis Gothica, in 2004. Sadly, the album didn’t really gain the attention it deserved at the time, sinking into obscurity. Fast forward to 2021, where the guys have resurrected not only Sirens Of Light, but also revisited their debut album, revamping it with the original recordings and renaming it Nullus Margis Gothica MMXXI. The album is a cornucopia of gothic rock, with its roots firmly planted in the 80s and 90s but with a modern edge. This is where I tell you that I was lucky enough to speak to Andy, who is not only the lead singer, but also had classical training, was a member of the popular punk glam Soho Roses and is the founder, and current owner of TheAnalogue Room and Damage Recordings, involved in recording and production. If you want to know what bands Andy would choose to headline a festival with…..then you better keep reading… though honestly, I would give him at least a three day run!
Welcome Andy J. Davies of Sirens Of Light, to the hallowed hall of Onyx, where even the shadows are inky pools where no light shall touch.
Andy, you were involved in the band Soho Roses and James, I believe was in Last Rites. Have you been involved in any other projects other than these?
I’ve been in many bands over the years and worked with loads in the studio as a producer. James and I have been in several bands together over the years, Bombchild, Gilla Bruja, and most recently Delany.
The band, Sirens Of Light came together in the early 2000s, in the UK. How did this come about and what roles do you play within the band?
I’d had the idea of doing a traditional Goth rock project for several years as I seemed to me at the time no one was really doing that kind of style . I was spending some time at my parents home and started working on a couple of tracks, Maria and Prayer. A short time later I asked James if he’d like to come do some, and that’s how it happened…
The band was situated in London, so what was the gothic scene like then as compared to now?
It was kind of dying off by then, that’s kinda why I liked the idea of doing a more traditional style….mostly, Goth seemed to have turned into metal by the late 90’s and I remembered how great it was back in the late 80’s and early 90’s and wanted to bring that style back into play.
In 2004, the album “Nullus Margis Gothica” was recorded and in 2005, it was released on Bad Head Records. In your bio, it says the album had limited release, so what happened?
We did a very short run of CDs of the original version of the album. At the time, we didn’t do any PR around it or promote it in any way as we both had other projects that we had to prioritise so, apart from that initial release, the album was left alone.
So, in 2021, the both of you are back together and release the single “Justine” which was your debut single. What happened at this point in time that made you decide to give Sirens Of Light another go and why did you pick “Justine” as your single?
Ever since we left the album years ago, we had both said we should really do something with it many times. I thought I had lost all of the original multitracks from 2004 but found them, completely by accident, in early 2021 on an old hard drive in a draw in my studio….finding the original recording gave us the opportunity to update the album to be more currently relevant and so it seemed the time was ripe to do it.
The end of 2022 sees the unveiling of “Nullus Margis Gothica MMXXI”, where a lot of the original recording was used? What changes or additions were made this time around?
The original recordings were mostly complete but there were a few parts missing here and there. These obviously had to be replaced anyway. The biggest update was with new vocals on most, but not all, tracks and making the sounds in general richer and more modern……all this was done with the intention of not loosing the original atmosphere of the album, but the original has a charm all of its own!
You have electronic musician, Kandinski Noir, as a guest vocalist on the track “Siren Of Light”. How do you know Noir and how did he end up on this track?
By chance Kandinski released a single called Justine around the same time we did. He messaged me on social media and we started chatting here and there. When reworking Siren of Light, the idea came up for a new chorus part and the idea of having it in German worked for the track. I asked him to translate for us into German and it seemed a natural and interesting idea to me to see how our voices and styles would stack up, so asked him to do a vocal on the pre chorus and chorus…worked out great!
The album was designed as thematic concept from the start. Can you please tell us more about this?
Well, we originally set out to make a Gothic rock album that reflected the roots of the genre and, as the record developed, that would take the listener on a sonic journey. The subject matter of the songs were all treated from the same emotive standpoint and the material and lyrical content is meant to be thought provoking and create an atmosphere. Conceptually speaking, it’s a reflection on some of the more interesting aspects of the human condition, the emotions we all feel, the experiences we have…some more unusual than others…the questions we all ask. There are various sub concepts within the record as well, but on the whole, the record is meant to resonate with listeners on their level…there’s a lot of layers in it!!’
What is it about the power of femininity that drew you in to explore it?
The power of the feminine has been ever present throughout history. I’ve always found it interesting and I think it is an important subject that deserves exploration.
Do you have a favourite track off the album?
That’s a difficult question to answer….I like them all for different reasons….If I had to pick one, Rearrange….always really liked the vibes it gives off!
There are definitely tell tale time signatures and riffs, that speak of your goth rock influences, but I also feel there are sounds within of glam rock and synthwave? What are your musical influences?
What I’m really influenced by is great songs, films, books, ideas and people from all eras. I love music that’s evocative and impactful so anything really, regardless of genre or era. If I had to pick one big influence, I guess it would have to be David Bowie, one of my favourite all time artists…timeless!
Who do you listen to now?
I listen to more or less anything that comes along that catches my attention…I’m very much a song and sound head so, if it catches my ear, I’ll listen and enjoy….I still listen to my favourite music from over the years but the catalogue seems to be constantly expanding!’
What are your thoughts about the state of the gothic music scene at present?
To me it seems that the scene has continued as it did coming into the early 2000’s…goth seems for the most part to have become metal or EDM, any bands doing a more traditional style are very few and far between or are the actual bands reforming and performing their back catalogue. There are a couple of exceptions but very few as far as I’m aware….I may be way wrong about this….
Has this new found fan base inspired you to think about a new album in the future?
Well yes, were planning a new album for later in the year and an ep sometime spring or early summer with a very limited vinyl release of MMXXI in spring as well.
Sirens Of Light are going to headline a one day festival and the best bit is that you get to choose the other acts and we can even time travel to a certain era to steal them away. Whom are you choosing and from which part of their career?
Wow…what a question…David Bowie – Aladdin Sane period, AC/DC – Powerage period, Sisters of Mercy any period, Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man era, Hanoi Rocks – Saigon Shakes period, Hüsker Dü – Flip you Wig period, Pink Floyd from the 70’s, The Stranglers IV – ’77 to ’79, Sex Pistols – ’77, Iron Maiden – Di’Anno era, Blue Oyster Cult – Agents of Fortune, Fire of Unknown Origin era, The Cult – Love/Sonic Temple eras…….I could go in like this for hours…how many days is the festival???
Is there anything else in store for Sirens Of Light?
As I said before, we have the vinyl version of the album out in spring and a new e.p. to go with it, and a new album later in the year. I’m sure other things will come up as we go, there will be videos etc for example….watch this space!
Greek gothic rockers, The Black Capes have dropped their 3rd studio album called Looks LikeDeath. Released on the 3rd of March, via the labels The Council Of Bones (USA) and Ikaros Records (Europe), and recorded at the Devasoundz Studios which also boasts working with Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh and On Thorns I Lay.
Do not be fooled by the gentle beginning with “Apokalypsis” as it soon takes off on a supernatural plane as the spirits call you to The Black Capes convergence. In “Asphxiate“, even though the music swirls, there is something cloying and suffocating within the song, along with the feeling of no hope. The drums and guitars are on the move like a train that has no stops in “Love Is Love” because there is no one who should judge what love is. Every rock band needs an anthem song and Black Capes have “The Reject Anthem” with it’s beautiful guitar work and delicate piano that peeks through, It swells and proclaims I could have been in your place, You could have been in mine, for many do not choose rejection in society.
The sad somber saxophone rings in the more serious track “Reset” with the theme of domestic violence and staying instead of running away. There is an air of Sisters Of Mercy mixed with the perfect amounts of guitar and ever pervasive saxophone. “Cruel World” reminds me a bit of Amorphis which is not a bad thing with it with the clean guitars and even vocally is reminiscent while “Forever And Ever” gives me the Vile Valo chills as they resurrect HIM from the dead. This is possibly my favourite track off the album.
Nice heavy bass propels you through “Apathy“. Little untruths never cause problems..do they? Soaring organ style keyboards are the cherry on top. Neil Gaiman’s Death was a female comic book heroine and a thousand gothic girls wanted to emulate that look. No wonder we have the brilliant “Looks Like Death“. Seems “The Beast Within” in residing in the lead singer’s mind and it is one of those devilish women in a black dress who has cast doubt and misery. Psychic vampire or a phantom of depression, we may never know but does make for a cracking tune.
There is a plethora of influences coming through such as Sisters, HIM and Amorphis but also Type O Negative and Paradise Lost to name a few more. Not that The Black Capes are imitating these other bands, not at all but rather they are using what came before them to craft new gothic rock. It is dark, occasionally foreboding and never boring.
My first experience of October Noir, is via this new album, Fate, Wine And Wisteria, that was released on September the 22nd. It is rather confronting at first to think of a band actively trying to take up where Type ONegative sadly could not due to the untimely death of lead singer Pete Steele, especially when the band themselves could not find the heart to continue without him and followed with other projects such as APale Horse CalledDeath.
Down in Pensacola, Florida, the weather is warm and the wisteria grows wild in the lost places, so to the album has thirteen tracks, though to be fair the tracks “Fate“, “Wine” and “Wisteria” are kind bridging instrumental pieces and maybe a minute long at the most. “Windows” is the first track with vocals and the single off the album. Fairly taken aback how much this actually sounds like a Type O number, There is the longing in the deep vocals and the long guitar riffs that drift away to then crash back in a revisit.
This is indeed a strange experience. It pays to read the lyrics at times as well. “Effigy” almost seems to be based on one of those teenage horror movies where they go down to the lake and the main character is lured away with the promise of carnal delights, only to find all their friends have been murdered and being Halloween, did they do it?! Equal parts defeat and howling anger in the Greek inspired “Persephone” and “Wanderlust” really reminds me of the iconic “Everything Dies” in places.
Really liked “Sistinas” with the moody harpsichord and the extremely low vocal range that was being plumbed. Anyone that ever listened to Type O Negative, would know that often Steele would firmly have his tongue placed in cheek and liked to create songs about forbidden encounters or the nitty gritty of sexual lust and October Noir have followed post haste in their footsteps with the tracks “Reverence(Make You Love)” and “Proverbs“. Whatever the theme, there is always that underlying darkness that humans are fallible and prone to causing great pain and misery as well as picking others up from the deepest pits of despair in this album.
It was the first time hearing their sound which floored me a little to hear a band that sounded so like Type ONegative, from the bass lines, to the guitar chords and unmissably the vocals so hauntingly like Pete Steele’s. Now some will say they are copy artists and that often happens a lot, ie all the bands that want to be Sisters OfMercy, though unfortunately they are flawed and normally unable to do this well. October Noir don’t hide the fact they are standing in Type O Negative’s shadow but rather embrace the fact and actually create new music I think that even Steele would have been impressed by.
February will see the release of Ontario artist, Herr Nox’s second album, Where ShadowsFade. Nox explained to us about his style, “I find myself (going) into strange musical territories. Too heavy for some, too soft to others. But I try to venture into more experimental waters so I guess that’s expected“.
Welcome to “Doomsday“, which is the first track off the album and our introduction to Norwegian, Jørgen Munkeby on saxophone. Have to admit sax has never sounded so smooth to me until now. Munkeby for the record is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist as well as a singer, songwriter and producer in both the jazz and metal scenes.
“Where Shadows Fade” is not only the title track but also the first single to be released and quite deserving so. Munkeby’s saxophone delightfully duels with the guitar in the interludes, especially helping build up the tension for Nox to hit you with his vocals.
Old school new romantic synth graces us in “Black Butterfly“. Nox partners up with Lindsay Schoolcraft of Cradle Of Filth fame for a song about falling for the type of girl who is broken and yet still beautiful. The music goes between driving guitar rock and synth wave but it works so well.
Just the very title of the song, “The Art OfNoise And Silence“, struck as something Japan could have written in the 80’s and it does not disappoint, making the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Schoolcraft’s beautiful vocals fly above all else, almost unearthly and angelic, whilst the guitars and synths are a cacophony below. This might make the near beseeching Herr Nox, the velvet tongued devil.
It had to happen, the sleazy, sexy sax intro. “Gotta Light?” has that intro and this is an instrumental piece featuring the talent of Munkeby with the sax front and centre, making you think of Casablanca style, cocktail bars, low lit with a haze of cigarette smoke.
Would you “Kiss The Butcher’s Hand” and give them your neck? Maybe some souls would. A good high paced rock’n’roll number that makes great use of lulls for Nox to seductively whisper to you before knocking you back on your arse.
“Heads Will Roll” is a much heavier number, growled out vocals by Nox with Schoolcraft in sweet accompaniment. That line alone conjures visions of Alice in Wonderland and her nemesis the Red Queen.
The last offering is “The Burning” and it starts with a sombre cello, joined by strings which brings in the drums and wonderful jangly guitar. Herr Nox most certainly had a flare for the dramatic as this quickly graduates into an episodical that soars with emotion. There are always electronic bits popping up where you might not expect it, which is delightful.
I hear so many influences within this album. Nox’s style of singing runs the gauntlet of David Bowie, Davey Havok (AFI) and Ville Valo, yet it is still very much him singing.
There are classical leanings, rock and roll, gothic rock, 80s electronica and even a bit of glam, all stirred in to make this a rather tasty affair. Where Shadows Fade is new and yet it borrows and reshapes the past influences into something exciting and not a rehash, so I hope you find some time to indulge in HerrNox as it is worth your time.
From the Ukraine, hails the band Mirratal. Since 2013, these guys have been honing their skills by releasing singles and E.P’s but now have unleased their debut album, “Castaway”. These natives of Kyiv describe their style as progressive symphonic metal.
“Abyss Of Lunacy” begins with an actual real cello playing which is really nice to hear instead of the normal computer generated classical instruments which can be very prevalent in this genre of music. The frentic cello is the intro of a band about to give us a really big sound and then the blast beats of the drum kick in. This is a powerful first song with nice harmonizing and a good use of creepy whispering as well as play off solo’s of guitar and synth. They even managed to fit in a choir behind. This has started well.
Then next song has a hail of guitar before the synths break through. The lead, Igor Roshenets doesn’t sound like Vile Valo but something is the way he sings makes me think of him. Maybe it is the passion he sings “Poison” and other songs. I really like the slightly middle eastern sound they incorporate into this and yet there is much wailing guitar.
With the title “Timeless Sea”, you expect a more sedate piece, an oboe wistfully plays and some fellow is talking about psychology…… and then…. it goes full bore. No taking it easy for these guys. This is pretty deep talking about multiverses and time beyond us all that is the endless journey to this timeless sea.
Duelling synths and guitar of Andrii Pavlenko and Sergii Stygar respectively, mark the beginning of “Distinguished Phrases”. Then Roshenets wastes no time launching himself right into the middle of the maelstrom. A song about depression brought on by the cruel words of others. This goes though lulls and then frenetic neck breaking speeds.
No fooling me this time with a nice sedate piano and violin. You know that isn’t going to last and true to form “Mystery” takes off but it is very pretty in some ways. The harmonies and the poetic lyrics though no less metal. The charged piano playing is quite delightful.
Number six has a lovely intro of classical proportions and joins with a nice clear guitar. “Find Your Name” is a duet with female singer, Kateryna Kapshuk (Scarlet) . It is one of those pieces that builds and builds apon itself, with layers of music, instruments and vocals.
Next is “Run” which evokes all sorts of ideals. Monastic choral singing with bells tolling with a provincial French over tone… getting a ‘In The Name Of The Rose’ vibe. This is a slower power number with doomsday is nigh connotations.
And so we come to the title track. They have blown me away already with the electronic beginning changing it all up. Clearly these guys like to be constantly giving themselves a challenge but by using different techniques even within the one song. This goes from power and questioning to ambient and peaceful. Of course this doesn’t last, so bring on the metal choir!
Ever feel like you are going insane but unable to tell anyone? Then you will understand “Sounds” perfectly. Was it the loss of something or someone? Love, love, love the sound of a harpsicord and it is used to blinding effect to help create that disquiet, uneasy tension. I somewhat wonder if this song is what it would be like inside the head of one Captain Jack Sparrow.
BONUS TIME!!! and last number on this album is called “The Wind”. Fabulous percussion with again that wonderful use of orchestration. This shows a great appreciation for the art of music and an ability to incorporate real symphonic instruments with metal and bring a purely instrumental piece to life.
For fans of good drumming which Sergii Ivanov delivers in spades (that guy must be so tired after shows because I felt exhausted just listening to the blast beats he was putting out} or those that really like great guitar solos or thoughtfully crafted music with a very classical grounding, then this is for you. The vocals are strong and soaring for those that want that revelling high.
This album has obviously had a lot of thought put into it by Mirratal as well as passion. This is one of the better symphonic releases in a while and I urge you to check out “Castaway”.