End of November, 2019 saw the release of goth rockers, Her Despair’s latest EP, Exorcisms of Eroticism. This 6 piece band are based in London and currently not signed to any label, though I wonder how long that will last.

Pandaemonium” is a banger of a number to start off with. Those crystal clear vocals that draw you into the heart and heat of song. Author, John Milton, wrote the novel, Paradise Lost and created a capital of Hell called Pandaemonium, city of fallen angels and daemons. This builds in its terrible beauty of a soul left bereft and shunning heaven’s God .

A single off the EP is “The Exorcism“. Again you hear the wonderfully crafted lyrics with the musical sensibilities of Ville Valo (HIM). A few goth girls are going to melt with this and I can see why. The guitar riff in this is a killer.

Third track, “In That Moment”, has the orchestration wooing you whilst giving you a sense of wonder at how they manage to make this sound so grand and polished. The electronic aspect is spectacular.

For such a darkly named song “Like A Crucifixion“, it feels so light and up beat with a great, catchy chorus. If this is the next single, I would hardly be surprised.

I think English icons, Paradise Lost might have misplaced a track in “Beyond The Veil” as it really reminds me of their goth phase. This is a slightly slower number and I’m not sure if the reference is a veil of mourning or the distance between death and life, though no matter as it all works.

Of course all this commentary of passing to the land of the dead leads well into the final track, “Final Rest”. The sentiment is beautiful as the music swells with the acknowledgment of going to a place of peace… their heaven.

HER DESPAIR

For Her Despair, this is the second EP since the band first released Mournography in 2018. There is great wealth of literary expression and the use of poetic English language is lovely to see.

The band cites influences like The Sisters of Mercy, My Dying Bride and Karl McCoy’s wonderful, Fields of the Nephilim and honestly you can hear touchs of these 80’s iconic goth bands but also more recent acts like The 69 Eyes, Lacrimosa Profundere and more than a passing nod to tragic love hero’s, HIM.

Goth rock needs shots in the arm like this every once in a while because what the world doesn’t need is another Sisters of Mercy clone, yet this is a classic example of love lost, longing and dwelling in darkness, set to a backdrop of heaven and hell. Beauty is in the darkness and in the music of Her Despair.

https://herdespair.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/herdespair

https://m.soundcloud.com/herdespair

This year English duo, Unquiet Dead had the release of their second album, Anima Ignis. Located in Bedfordshire, Lora Maze is vocals and synths while Jason Kahl plays guitar and bass. Both are responsible for programming.

So the intro is “Flames”, which welcomes you into the style that is Unquiet Dead. Soaring harmony with a tribal sound, punctuated with the guitar, giving it a whole lotta oomph!!!

“Ash” was a single and has an almost White Zombie, Southern American feel to it until the vocals from Maze kick in, seductively slipping into your ears. A psychedelic trip in a limosine, in leather with a devil may attitude.

Yet another single off the album is “Legend”. Do I detect the use of didgeridoo? Kahl’s driving guitar work throttles this forward. And the remix by London based electro/industrial group, Machine Rox for the single is absolutely killer. Vocally this reminds me of Faith And The Muse.

Keeping up the unrelenting pace is “Puppet Strings“. You have to love the harmonization Unquiet Dead utilize. No one is pulling their strings with this danceable number.

Now for a change of pace. Of course “Cat People (Putting Out Fire With Gasolene)” was written and performed by David Bowie with Georgio Moroder back in 1981 and has been covered a multitude of times. The whole thing with covers is to make it your own. A purposely slow beginning which changes up with the power vocals.

And back to the head bobbing ferocious beats. Burn My “Head Down” is about getting out from underneath someone’s control… which might be a theme of this album. Hints of electric T-Rex litter this.

Track seven is “Bitter Pill“, where they have to be ‘careful what I say or they might put me away’ and any song mentioning pitchforks is worthy of monster movie staking.

Build A World Worth Dying For” is pure swirling vocals entwined with guitar and backed up with synths. A plea to make this world a better place that we know it can be. A beautifully crafted song with and equally beautiful sentiment.

The synth sound mimicking a theremin in “Is This War?”, Is almost hypnotic. Not the fastest track but this will definitely keep the audience entertainered, especially waiting to hear Maze’s vocals to take them away.

I Can Hardly Wait” is slower, more dirge style piece which drags the corpse along behind it still kicking. Languid guitar riffs bubble in the cauldron.

Last track is “If You Don’t Want Me” and true to form, if you aren’t wanted, there are no constraints on what you can do and be who you want to be. This fades to a mantra of almost southern Baptist proportions.

On Bandcamp, the band have quoted Toyah Wilcox as saying ‘Really rather remarkable’. I can tell you now that in the music scene, Toyah is a very hard woman to impress as she is a bit of a perfectionist.

Whatever style you want to try to place these two, it is undeniable that Unquiet Dead are really very talented. They take the psychedelic sounds of a bygone era and marry it to a modern electronic/ industrial genre with those amazing vocals to create something just a little special.

The bastard child of Bolan/Bowie/Eno and Inkubus Sukkubus with no apologies. Check Unquiet Dead out.

https://www.facebook.com/unquietdead/

https://open.spotify.com/album/0KO0hqCUtvxZaA0BrNIuZ7

https://unquietdead.bandcamp.com/releases

http://itunes.apple.com/album/id1321653244?ls=1&app=itunes

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077YC5SPC/ref=sr_1_1…

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. Hateful Chains 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’s All Right“.

HATEFUL CHAINS

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, Flora Kok, who has a nice powerful range from alto to soprano, without going all operatic. Dare I say, a bit Grace Slick 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’s All Right“.

https://hatefulchains.bandcamp.com/

http://hatefulchains.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HatefulChains/

Neon Tzigane are a London based duo, comprised of vocalists Howling Mina, who also handles percussion and Samson Deluxe on guitars and programming. They have released a third EP, Paramisha.

“The Lost Cities” has tried to incorporate a middle eastern sound which weaves through the song as this duo sing us a tale of civilizations gone forever beneath the shifting sands of mysterious desert climes.

You can hear the old 80’s goth wave jangly guitars on “lost without you”. Deluxe takes the reigns on this track vocally, with Mina doing a fine job backing him. This is a really good pop tune, though short, rather upbeat and quite unlike any other track on the EP.

“Nothing Is Forever” begins with a guitar riff that Pete Steele from Type O Negative would be proud of. Howling Mina and Deluxe harken back to parts of 60’s psychedelia mixed with Black Sabbath.

The last track on this EP is the title, “Paramisha” with its slow build up before the guitars chime in, laced with synths as the sound winds up. This is a purely instrumental piece, that we are confronted with, which leaves you wondering if there is more to come.

All four tracks are fairly different from each other, which isn’t always a bad thing if you like variety and hearing how a band can challenge themselves. Should be interesting to watch Neon Tzigane develop and anticipate what they will release next.

https://neontzigane.bandcamp.com/

http://open.spotify.com/album/15j4tBUh 

http://www.deezer.com/artist/55951002

Those busy lads from the north of England are back. I previously, for another publication, reviewed Auger‘s first album. Since last year, they have been making a name for themselves by touring the UK and Europe, whilst writing a new album named, From Now On I.

The newest single is a song called “Find My Own Way Out”, released on the label, darkTunes Music Group, ahead of the awaited album release.

This song is a great progressive piece of electronica/industrial with good vocals from Kyle Wilson and guitar work by Kieran Thornton. It is all nicely blended and a good strong number with a memorable chorus.

Lyrically you find a song about being pushed and let down even after putting your faith in others. In the end it’s about getting yourself out of dark places you end up dwelling in. Finding that light inside you to push forward and be the cataylst of change you need.

In a year, I can hear the difference in these guys. Their sound had matured and become much tighter which is a credit to them.

Auger have really started in earnest to cultivate a sound that is uniquely their own and it pleases me no end to say, check out these young fellas and cannot wait to hear the new album.

http://http://www.auger.band

https://www.facebook.com/AugerUK

https://www.instagram.com/auger.band

http://www.darktunes.com

https://www.darkmerch.com

http://tinyurl.com/darkTunesFB

https://twitter.com/darktunesgroup

https://www.instagram.com/darktunesmu…

https://open.spotify.com/user/darktun…


 

This band called October Burns Black or OBB is an interesting creature. Created in 2015, the members are diverse as they are spread out around mostly Europe. This year we saw the release of their EP,  fault lines…..yes it is all in lower case if you were wondering.

This 4 track EP starts with “With You”. This is a sound of guitars that I associate with my misspent youth. Nice smooth vocals that bring up images of Wayne Hussey and guitars that hauntingly echo The Mission or The Wake’s jangly signature sound. Quite delightful.

“Shimmer” drives along nicely. A hauntingly pretty, swirling guitar piece. The words “Black shimmer” make me think Siouxsie and the Banshees would have liked this.

Next is the excellent “Arrowhead”. I don’t know if I would want to walk with an arrowhead and certainly not wanted to be hit with a real one but this song will happily puncture you with its wonderfully interesting lyrics and changing time signatures. Definitely a number I could see myself out on the dance floor doing the old gothic/new romantic two-step.

The last track is the visually, fairground inspired “Light On Light”. The swirling giddy carousel with it’s blinding and confusing light show and childish pleasures and pains. The guitar in this is perfect and resonates with the number.

This is a great EP as it is a new spin on the gothic rock genre. Great production, the guitars are superb in my opinion and each song is interesting. You can hear the influences of the past yet they are creating fine new music, keeping this style very much alive.  So please have a listen to October Burns Black as they are well worth your support.

https://octoberburnsblack.bandcamp.com/album/fault-line

 

 

Midnight Creatures is a two man gothic/metal rock band from Australia with Jordan Von Grae on vocals and Lachlan Blackwood bringing the guitars and programming. Together they have brought their first born offering to the table on the form of an E.P. called I.

This is a 3 track E.P. and the first track is “Hope and Faith” with a strong piano and guitar sound. Waiting for love to be returned when given. Though as we all know that this never always the case.  Heavy on the symphonic gothic guitar sound on this number.

“Daylight” starts and continues with a solo piano and in some ways this reminds me of Muse and could be the whimsical way it is sung. A song of love lost and a female remembered by the way she moved in the daylight.

This could be a tribute to Valo and HIM from the Love Metal period, “Salt of My Earth”. This is in no way a bad thing as this ode to woman being his part of his existence, is very sweet and romantic in that dark and not gooey way goths do.

So a three part ode to love. Waiting for requited love, memories of love lost and bound to a great love. What more could you want? You can most definitely hear the influence of HIM and Von Grae‘s vocals do remind me a bit of Muse‘s lead singer, though Jordan‘s voice rings clearer I feel and not so nasal. Lachlan Blackwood also does a great job on guitar.  

These two lads seem to be stuck in the gothic romantic era and if Lord Byron had been a gothic rocker, he would have joined them. Do check them out on Bandcamp.

https://midnightcreaturesband.bandcamp.com/releases