Category: goth

New Audio: ZADAR Teams up with Isa Niels on Shimmering and Brooding “Halos On The Moon”

Antonio G is a Philadelphia-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the goth/darkwave outfit ZADAR. He’s currently working on the project’s first album — and is searching for like-minded musicians to join him in playing the material live.

ZADAR’s latest single “Halos On The Moon” sees the Philadelphia-based Antonio G collaborating with Isa Nielsen, a singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has opened for Rage Against the Machine‘s Tom Morello and John 5, who has played with Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie — and is the newest member of Mötley Crùe. Nielsen has also played on MTV Specials, MTV’s VMB Awards. Built around shimmering guitars, a relentless motorik-like groove, Neilsen’s plaintive vocals and enormous hooks, “Halos On The Moon” may recall The Sisters of Mercy and Cocteau Twins, while being rooted in swooning Romanticism.

“‘Halos’ is a song about regret and loss. It’s a song about somehow coming to terms with your failure and past mistakes and still moving on with your life,” Antonio G explains.

New Video: Detroit’s VAZUM Releases a Brooding Visual for Atmospheric “Gallows”

Zach Pliska is a Detroit music scene vet, who has played drums in a number of local bands, which has given him valuable hands-on experience writing, recording and touring. Pliska founded VAZUM back in 2017, and over the course of six self-released albums that have found the band’s sound bouncing around and spanning across several different genres and styles including post-punk and doom. 

During most of the band’s history, the band has gone through a series of lineup changes but Pliska found a deep connection with Emily Sturm (vocals, bass), who joined in 2019. With a background in the visual arts, Sturm has been instrumental in giving the project, a new, uncompromising aesthetic edge, which has resulted in what Pliska and Strum have dubbed as “deathgaze,” as they combine the raw energy of death rock with the sonic depth of shoegaze.

Last year, the Detroit-based duo was rather busy: They released two albums, V+, which featured the Sioxuise and the Banshees meets Sisters of Mercy meets The Verve-like “Haunted House,” a song based on a haunting, real-life experience, and Unrated V. VAZUM closed out last year with the “Gallows” double single, which featured two different versions of the song — with the first being, a slow-burning shoegazer version of “Gallows” centered around an arrangement of dreamy guitars, forceful drums and Shrum’s achingly plaintive vocals. Sonically speaking “Gallows” is slick mixture of A Storm in Heaven-like textures and brooding Siouxsie and the Banshees-like atmospherics.

Along with the double single, the band released an Emily Strum-directed video for “Gallows” that features the duo — Strum in a wedding dress and occasionally and Plinska in black peering into binoculars in a wintry forest. The brooding and gorgeous visual seems heavily indebted to Edgar Allan Poe.

New Video: Golem Dance Cult Releases a Horror Movie -inspired Visual for Goth-like “Nosferatu Waltz”

Split between France and England, the emerging, self-described “industrial heavy rock dance” duo Golem Dance Cult features two experienced musicians and longtime friends: producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Charles Why, who has played in Lotsa Noise, Nexus and L-Dopa and vocalist Laur, who has played in Sparkling Bombs, Kevin K Band, Vague Scare and Other-ed. Golem Dance Cult can trace its origins back to when its members were teenagers, playing in their first band together, a band in which Laur played drums.

Although the duo have written material remotely, both as a result of the distance currently between the two and the pandemic, their work is centered around a couple of simple parameters: the intention behind everything needed to be spontaneous, with each member following their instinct. Additionally mistakes should be expanded upon. The end result is a rock-inspired approach paired with electronic production — without the formal structure of either genre.

The duo’s recently released debut EP Grotesque Radio, features “(In My Time Of) Living On Mars” and “Marry Me, Frankenstein” and its latest single “Nosferatu Waltz.” Centered around an angular bass riff, a forceful motorik-like groove, wiry blasts of buzzing guitar, Laur’s croon, “Nosferatu Waltz” will bring comparisons to Bauhaus‘ famous “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” with a playful nod to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

Directed by the band, the recently released video for “Nosferatu Waltz” is split between footage of the band appearing as spectral and creepy figures shot in a grainy, old-fashioned black and white and extracts from Friedrich Wilhelm Murneau’s Nosferatu, Victor Halperin’s White Zombie, which starred Bela Lugosi and Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast.

“I had this idea for a bass riff variation on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker for a while so it flowed naturally from there,” Golem Dance Cult’s Charles Why says. He continues, “Inga Liljestrom lent us her amazing voice on this track and has a cameo at the end of the video.” Laur adds “Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu The Vampyre was the first horror movie I ever watched when I was like 10. Once you go black you can never go back they say…Vampire music is in my blood… “

New VIdeo: JOVM Mainstays Kælan Mikla Teams up with Alcest on Brooding and Atmospheric “Hvítir Sandar”

2018 was a breakthrough year for Reykjavik-based post-punk/industrial act and JOVM mainstays Kælan Mikla— Sólveig Matthildur Kristjánsdóttir (synths, vocals),  Margrét Rósa Dóru-Harrysdóttir (bass), and Laufey Soffía Þórsdóttir (vocals): The Cure’s Robert Smith championed the Icelandic trio, and handpicked them to open for the legendary British act’s festival stops through the UK and US. The Icelandic post punk outfit played that year’s Roadburn Festival, and they toured with King Dude. Interestingly enough, all of that happened before the release of their critically applauded third album Nótt eftir nott. 

Undir Köldum Norðumljósum, the Reykjavik-based trio’s soon-to-be released, Barði Jóhannsson-produced fourth album is slated for release next week through their longtime label home Artoffact RecordsUndir Köldum Norðumljósum reportedly sees the trio crafting lush and cinematic material centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, ethereal vocals sung in their native Icelandic, spine-chilling background screams, relentless motorik grooves and programmed drums while pulling the listener into their unique world full of folklore, fairytales, magic, spells and mysticism. The album will also feature a guest spot from Alcest, who toured with the trio across the European Union before the pandemic. 

In the lead-up to the album’s release I’ve managed to write about three of the album’s released singles:

  • Sólstöður,” a brooding and cinematic track centered around droning and shimmering synths, nightmarish screams and an ethereal and gorgeous vocal melody. Sonically, “Sólstöður,” evokes horror soundtracks — especially those featuring witches and demons slinking out into the night to perform ancient rituals involving human or animal sacrifices. “’Sólstöður’ is an ode to the darkest night of the year, when witches summon winter spirits in the frozen vastness of Icelandic landscapes,” the members of the Icelandic trio explain in press notes. “The song represents the strength of unity, Kælan Mikla in its truest form, fueled by the power of harsh and raw nature.”
  • Ósýnileg,” a dance floor friendly track centered around shimmering and atmospheric synth arpeggios, relentless motorik grooves, rapid fire, four-on-the-floor beats and blood curdling screams in the background. Interestingly, the track manages to evoke strobe lit discos and howling wintry winds and unexplained phenomena simultaneously. 
  • Stormurinn,” a decidedly widescreen take on the sound that has won them attention internationally: While you’ll still hear shimming synth arpeggios, rapid fire four-on-the-floor, motorik grooves and razor sharp hooks paired with the trio’s ethereal vocals, you’ll also hear some a gorgeous flute arrangement and howling winds, which evoke Icelandic’s stormy and unpredictable weather.

Undir Köldum Norðumljósum‘s fourth and latest single is the slow-burning and brooding “Hvítir Sandar,” a collaboration with French act Alcest. Sólveig Matthildur Kristjánsdóttir’s hauntingly ethereal vocals float over a stormy mix of glistening and icy synths and industrial clang and clatter.

“‘Hvítir Sandar’ is about feeling like you’re being defeated by your inner faults and demons. It’s about self-acceptance,” the Icelandic JOVM mainstays explain in press notes. ” Even if you carry a darkness within, it’s what makes you who you are, and you shouldn’t have to change for other people.”

“We felt really honored when Kælan Mikla offered us to be guests on their song ‘Hvítir Sandar,'” the members of Alcest say in press notes. “Alcest and Kælan Mikla toured together in 2020 and from the start we definitely saw connection between the two bands, despite the stylistic difference. ‘Hvítir Sandar’ is one of our favorites on the album and before even starting to work on it we had a vision of what the aesthetics of Alcest could bring to the song. We are so proud of how it turned out and we hope that the fans of Kælan Mikla will enjoy this collaboration just as much as we did!”

Directed by Máni Sigfússon, the recently released video for “Hvítir Sandar” continues a run of gorgeous and cinematically shot and incredibly eerie visuals paired with computer generated graphics.

Album pre-order is available here: https://kaelanmikla.bandcamp.com

Reykjavik-based post-punk/industrial act and JOVM mainstays Kælan Mikla— Sólveig Matthildur Kristjánsdóttir (synths, vocals),  Margrét Rósa Dóru-Harrysdóttir (bass), and Laufey Soffía Þórsdóttir (vocals) — had a breakthrough year back in 2018: The Cure’s Robert Smith championed the Icelandic trio, and handpicked them to open for the legendary British act’s festival stops through the UK and US. Adding to a big year, Kælan Mikla played at that year’s Roadburn Festival. And they toured with King Dude. Interestingly enough, all of that happened before the release of their critically applauded third album Nótt eftir nott. 

Undir Köldum Norðumljósum, the Reykjavik-based trio’s upcoming, Barði Jóhannsson-produced fourth album is slated for an October 15, 2021 release through their longtime label home Artoffact RecordsUndir Köldum Norðumljósum reportedly sees the trio crafting lush and cinematic material centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, ethereal vocals sung in their native Icelandic, spine-chilling background screams, relentless motorik grooves and programmed drums while pulling the listener into their unique world full of folklore, fairytales, magic, spells and mysticism. The album will also feature a guest spot from Alcest, who toured with the trio across the European Union before the pandemic. 

In the lead-up to the album’s release I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s released singles:

  • Sólstöður,” a brooding and cinematic track centered around droning and shimmering synths, nightmarish screams and an ethereal and gorgeous vocal melody. Sonically, “Sólstöður,” evokes horror soundtracks — especially those featuring witches and demons slinking out into the night to perform ancient rituals involving human or animal sacrifices. “’Sólstöður’ is an ode to the darkest night of the year, when witches summon winter spirits in the frozen vastness of Icelandic landscapes,” the members of the Icelandic trio explain in press notes. “The song represents the strength of unity, Kælan Mikla in its truest form, fueled by the power of harsh and raw nature.”
  • Ósýnileg,” a dance floor friendly track centered around shimmering and atmospheric synth arpeggios, relentless motorik grooves, rapid fire, four-on-the-floor beats and blood curdling screams in the background. Interestingly, the track manages to evoke strobe lit discos and howling wintry winds and unexplained phenomena simultaneously.

Undir Köldum Norðumljósum‘s third and latest single “Stormurinn” finds the trio crafting a decidedly cinematic take on their goth-inspired sound. While you’ll still hear the shimmering synth arpeggios, rapid fire four-on-the-floor, propulsive bass lines, motorik grooves and razor sharp hooks of its predecessors paired with the trio’s ethereal vocals. But unlike its predecessors, you’ll hear some gorgeous and fluttering flute floating over the brooding arrangement and howling winds — to help emphasize the song’s brooding atmospherics.

“Stormurinn’ means ‘The Storm’ in Icelandic. This song is about dancing around a bonfire on the beach on a stormy weather night charged with the power of wind and thunder,” the members of Kælan Mikla explain in press notes.

Album pre-order is available here: https://kaelanmikla.bandcamp.com

New Video: Rising Post Punk Act Menthüll Release a Haunting Visual for Brooding and Cinematic “Profonde Tristesse”

Formed last year, the rising Gatineau, Québec-based indie electronic/goth duo Menthüll –Gabriel and Yseult — have quickly established a retro-futuristic sound that draws equally from New Wave and electro pop paired with lyrics written and sung exclusively in French.

The Hull-based duo’s releases have received praise and accolades globally. Building upon a growing profile in the Francophone music scene and in the global post-punk and goth scenes, Menthüll’s latest single “Profonde tristesse” continues a run of brooding and cinematic material that sounds — to my ears, at least — indebted to John Carpenter soundtracks and the early 4AD Records catalog paired with vocals delivered in a wispy and ethereal French.

Interestingly, the accompanying visual aesthetically reminds a bit of Jorge Elbrecht: the viewer sees a classically-inspired marble bust superimposed in the foreground of a misty forest that gradually burst into a explosive conflagration.

Reykjavik-based post-punk/industrial act and JOVM mainstays Kælan Mikla — Sólveig Matthildur,  Margrét Rósa, and Laufey Soffía — had a breakthrough year back in 2018: The Cure’s Robert Smith championed the Icelandic trio, and handpicked them to open for the legendary British act’s festival stops through the UK and US. Adding to a big year, Kælan Mikla played at that year’s Roadburn Festival. And they toured with King Dude. Interestingly enough, all of that happened before the release of their critically applauded  third album Nótt eftir nott. 

Undir Köldum Norðumljósum, the Reykjavik-based trio’s upcoming, Barði Jóhannsson-produced fourth album is slated for an October 15, 2021 release through their longtime label home Artoffact Records. Undir Köldum Norðumljósum reportedly sees the trio crafting lush and cinematic material centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, ethereal vocals sung in their native Icelandic, spine-chilling background screams, relentless motorik grooves and programmed drums while pulling the listener into their unique world full of folklore, fairytales, magic, spells and mysticism. The album will also feature a guest spot from Alcest, who toured with the trio across the European Union before the pandemic.

So far I’ve written about “Sólstöður,” a brooding and cinematic track centered around droning and shimmering synths, nightmarish screams and an ethereal and gorgeous vocal melody. Sonically, “Sólstöður,” evokes horror soundtracks — especially those featuring witches and demons slinking out into the night to perform ancient rituals involving human or animal sacrifices. “’Sólstöður’ is an ode to the darkest night of the year, when witches summon winter spirits in the frozen vastness of Icelandic landscapes,” the members of the Icelandic trio explain in press notes. “The song represents the strength of unity, Kælan Mikla in its truest form, fueled by the power of harsh and raw nature.”

Undir Köldum Norðumljósum‘s second and latest single “Ósýnileg” originally premiered as part of Adult Swim’s Singles series. Continuing a run of remarkably cinematic singles, Ósýnileg” centered around shimmering and atmospheric synth arpeggios, relentless motorik grooves and rapid-fire four-on-the-floor beats, blood-curdling screams and the trio’s equally ethereal vocals Undir Köldum Norðumljósum‘s latest single may be the most dance floor friendly of the singles released off the album so far — while evoking howling wintry winds and unexplained phenomena.

New Video: Detroit’s VAZUM Releases a Horror Movie-Inspired Visual for “Haunted House”

Detroit scene vet Zach Pliska, has played drums in a number of local bands, which has given him valuable experience writing, recording and touring. Pliska founded his latest project VAZUM back in 2017, and over the course of six self-released albums that have found the band’s sound bouncing around and spanning across several different genres including post-punk and doom.

During most of the band’s history, the band has gone through a series of lineup changes but Pliska found a deep connection with Emily Sturm (vocals, bass), who joined the band in 2019. With a background in the visual arts, Sturm has helped give the band a new, uncompromising aesthetic edge, which has resulted in what Pliska and Strum have described as deathgaze, which combines the raw energy of deathrock with the sonic depth of shoegaze.

The duo’s seventh album V+ is slated for release this summer. The album’s latest single “Haunted House” is centered around cavernous drumming, wailing guitars played through reverb, delay and effect pedals, Sturm’s plaintive vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook; the end result is a song that — to my ears — sounds like a synthesis of Sioxuise and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy and The Verve. Interestingly, the song is based on a real, life-changing experience that the band’s Emily Sturm had one winter night: She was awakened by a shrill, inhuman sound emanating from the distance. Startled, she went outside to investigate the sound, but it was silent. The following afternoon, Sturm’s neighbor’s porch was taped off as a crime scene: the woman and infant, who had lived next door were brutally murdered. Understandably, Sturm has been haunted by the event ever since, wondering if she could have done something to prevent the murderers. As the band notes, in Irish folklore, a banshee warns of dangers by wailing or shrieking. So naturally, Strum has wondered if those sounds were that of a banshee. But overall, the song is about domestic violence and the awful aftermath left in the wake.

The recently released video for “Haunted House” employs Edgar Allan Poe horror tropes: the beautiful yet very dead bride, who dances seductively and haunts an old-fashioned candlelit mansion.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Kælan Mikla Release a Breathtaking Visual for Brooding “Sólstöður”

2018 was a breakthrough year for the Reykjavik-based post-punk/industrial trio Kælan Mikla: The trio —  Sólveig Matthildur,  Margrét Rósa, and Laufey Soffía — were championed by the The Cure’s Robert Smith, who handpicked the band to open for them on several festival stops in the UK and the US. They also played a set at the Roadburn Festival and they toured with King Dude — before the release of their third album Nótt eftir nott. 

The album featured three singles that I had written about at the time:

“Nornalagið,” a chilly, dance floor friendly track, centered around a motorik groove that managed to evoke a brewing storm rolling across enormous skies.
“Næturblóm,” which to my ears found the trio channeling Siouxsie and the Banshees and the classic 4AD Records sound simultaneously.
“Hvernig kemst ég upp,” a brooding and industrial-leaning track that to my years would draw comparisons to early Depeche Mode and New Order.

The trio supported the album with a lengthy Stateside tour that included an a Reykjavik Calling showcase at Brooklyn Brewery with Icelandic metal act Sólstafir. Since then, the trio have been busy writing and recording material for their Barði Jóhannsson-produced fourth album, which is slated for release through Artoffact Records this fall.

“Sólstöður,” is the first bit of new material from the Icelandic trio in three years — and offers fans a taste of what to expect of the fourth album. “Sólstöður,” is a brooding and cinematic track, featuring droning and shimmering synths, nightmarish screams in the background and an ethereal and gorgeous vocal melody. Sonically speaking, the track evokes the soundtrack of horror films — those centered around witches and demons slinking out in the night for rituals involving some sort of brutal human sacrifice. “’Sólstöður’ is an ode to the darkest night of the year, when witches summon winter spirits in the frozen vastness of Icelandic landscapes,” the members of the Icelandic trio explain in press notes. “The song represents the strength of unity, Kælan Mikla in its truest form, fueled by the power of harsh and raw nature.”

Directed by Pola Maria, the breathtakingly beautiful visual for “Sólstöður” features the trio as black-clad witch-types brandishing swords, challis and other objects while seemingly performing obscure rituals among the majestic landscapes and brooding skies of their homeland. Naturally, many of these rituals seem to tie into the longest night of the year.