Friday, December 16, 2016

the Top Ten Goth /Industrial Albums of 2016

 This is just for the beautiful music of the children of the night now that post-punk is getting it's own list this year. So just like the old days at the club, goth, industrial and death rock are being lumped into the same dark cave for the list of the top 10 goth and industrial albums of a fairly dark year that saw the goth father David Bowie going back up into the stars where he came from. Now we are left with his bastard kids and here are some of the better moments in dark music.

 10- Spit Mask- "Swallow"

Never was into power electronics, but this looked alluring so checking out it and hoping for something that's a cross between Lords of Acid and Youth Code. I'm closer when it comes to the more industrial part of that equation. The synths that hammer around the old school club beat might remind you of "Pretty Hate Machine". It's Rachel's delivery that gives this a more abrasive edge . If there was a dude crooning over this it would sound more like Depeche Mode's new wave days.he album maintains it's sense of movement and if you are dj who spins industrial there is no reason any of these songs couldn't fit neatly into your set. Fortunately there are some different effect on the vocals to "Permission". The album closes with a spoken word  outro of sorts that is layered over a fairly simplistic beat. If you missed out on the whole Cleopatra Records thing in the 90s then this will be really new for you, but even if you are like me and have already been there and done that then you might find that is sets a nice mood for longs night prowling your basement in the gimp costume.

9-Mutterlein- "Orphans of the Black Sun"

Mutterlein is a project out of France. This kind of music was tagged as a genre called "witch wave". Which makes sense though witch core might be more fitting as it's more aggressive than new wave. Though the traditional instrumentation of punk is not in play here. Synths and organs are being used, but in a manner suited for a 70's art school horror movie rather than anything to dance to. Marion's voice is gritty and carries a punch yet she can really sing when the song calls for it.

8- CYP6->"Песни Злых Цветов"

 Very dark wave in the sense that all of the beats that open us the album would get a dance floor moving. The operatic vocals are full of drama and a well departure from another band just trying to rip off Sisters of Mercy. The lyrics are all in Russian which makes the vocals sounds like they are being used as an instrument than moping about lost love. The cool thing about the Russian folk influence that dominates this album is the choice of intervals used in the melodies doesn't go with the typical vocal lines you expect from a dark wave band. There is enough spooky in their choices to resonate with most bat-kids. The guitar is very icy and the bass might be more audible on some songs than it others, how ever how many goth band have you already heard that roll down Fascination Street booming in that way so I'm good with something different.

7-Light of the Morning Star- "Cemetery Glow"

The vocals win me over right way. Is it very similar to new Tombs. Yes, but the goth thing is pushed even further to the forefront here. The guitars are playing too fast to be doom. It's droning but not black metal. The cold baritone croon of the vocals doesn't vary much, but it is so cool that I don't really give a shit.


6-Garden of Mary-"The Agony in Memory" 

 There a tons of hipsters digging through crates of vinyl and finding the jewels of the 80s, but few are implementing those influences in a way that is meaningful. This band does and more importantly gets where those bands were coming from. There is more to playing this music than just getting the right sound with the right reverb. All to often the emotional component is missing and that is the real jewel this band has walked away with. They are not death rock, but they are dark. Of all the labels you might want to slap on this I suppose post-punk works the best even though there is more of a new wave feel at time thanks to the emotive vocals sit back with the guitars and carry enough melodrama in their croon to convince me. The production is murky, but these guys know how to do it and the vocals don't seem like an after thought.

5-Bootblacks- "Veins"

 More new wave than it's dark wave as it's largely coated in a sheen of plastic. The vocals of this Brooklyn based project stay in a baritone croon that reminded me more of Billy Idol on the first song then get a little less rock and a little more melodramatic on the second. The diligence to the 80s is both a blessing and a curse on this album. It's dialed back and the kind of emotion that made the 80s great  when it came to this kind of thing occurs and it makes you feel like you are in one of those John Hughes films.

4- King Dude - "Sex"

This album so finds things continuing to change as there is often a great deal more drive due to the fact bass plays a much more prominent role in the songs. A new instrument to  Cowgill he bangs on it with the raw power of punk rock. There is a dark and decidedly more goth like feel to  "Who Taught You How to Love". The guitar tone on this song is awesome and the cadaverous croon summoned to tell this story is equally brilliant.I think when he is sticking his black boots into the gothier waters the songs are at their peak and lose some of their focus when delving to far into the weirdness with the exception being "the Girls". Fans will finds something to love quite easily.

3- Surgical Meth Machine-s/t

 Al is back, this time with a new project that is not under the Ministry banner, though the end result is something not far from the land of rape and honey. He doesn't dip into politics as much this go around and takes jabs at today's internet culture. The second half does take an odd turn so it lives up to Jourgensen's claim that this album is bi-polar. Even though it comes close in terms of aggression it's not a Ministry album and in many ways is more like a punk infused version of Revolting Cocks as the production is not as dense as a Ministry album.

2- Atriarch-"We Are the Dead" 

 This tape release heralds a new era for the band, as they now have two new members in the band handling bass and guitar. With the bass driving a deadpan punk narrative self eulogizes over the lingering guitar. The over all sound here is closer to death rock as it's stripped down. While some of the heavier moments from their catalog play off layers of heaviness, This carries a raw urgency. It does build up into the kind of  cathartic metal explosion we have come to know them for. Atriarch is one of my favorite new band's of the past decade, so I might be protective in regards to changes that might  shift them away from the sound I have come to love. I trust their new direction as it proves that darkness is just as heavy as being metallically heavy. The emotional heaviness is very honest and feels more real than many bands who put on the angst ridden act when they get on stage. I don't feel the same ritualistic approach that they once had, but perhaps the ritual here is more internalized and has become a working part of their sound.

1- Youth Code- "Commitment to Complications"

Production wise things have stepped up another level along with the song writing. After a melodic and perhaps dramatic synth intro the kick into the first proper song which kicks more like a rock song energetically than your typical industrial. Unlike your typical industrial there is not an obligatory layer of 90s thrash metal guitar over it. The synths are capable of summoning their own heft. This is in no way saying that there is not metal influence in place or this album isn't heavy. Ben from Goatwhore lends his snarl to the title track. It's interesting as he is not doing anything different from his normal delivery, but it's over a bunch of hammering synths.These kids are the real deal and not just hipsters playing dress up.

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