Flint, Michigan, might be known for the crime, cars, and crisis. Yet this down-and-out town has more to offer than that. Music fans know it best for being home to The Machine Shop. This nationally acclaimed music venue has been hosting, supporting, and celebrating bands for twenty years. This special concert lounge has gained its reputation because of their genuine love of live music and doting on its patrons. They bring to mid-Michigan audiences an enthusiasm and care most venues don’t bother with anymore. It was a bright, spring evening last weekend when a group of goth kids formed a line outside this beloved hall’s doors. They were exposed to more sunlight than what they were probably used to, but it was worth it because the Symphonic Black Metal Titans, Cradle of filth, were in town. Continue reading
Indigo Raven – Looking For Transcendence
Indigo Raven plays a style of Doom/Post Metal rooted in Chelsea Wolfe’s heaviest excursions, contrasting atmospherically monolithic guitar chugs and slow burn rhythms with ethereal vocals and occasional electronics. Those vocals in particular help the French trio stand out, putting on a passionately bluesy performance that differs from the more vulnerable approach of peers like Frayle and Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard.
Of all the bands on the Gothic Rock/Heavy Metal fusion bandwagon, Poltergeist may be the most committed to those Post-Punk aesthetics. The style on their third EP remains closer to Joy Division than Judas Priest with a heavy emphasis on chilling synths, stiff bass-heavy rhythms, and disinterested vampiric baritones. This is especially true on the first two tracks as the opening ‘Electricity’ goes full Synthwave and ‘Through Clouded Eyes’ follows it up in ominously subdued fashion.
Every album that Moonspell releases explores a different facet of their Gothic Metal style, sometimes responding to the one before it in a constant tug-o-war between darkness and light. Their thirteenth album, Hermitage (Napalm Records), is no exception. In contrast to the grandiose symphonics of 2018’s 1755, the band opts for a scaled-back, atmospheric approach with more Prog influence thrown in than usual. It seems to invoke the band’s early vibe without going full throwback and also reminds me of Tiamat or Opeth in spots.
Ask any Metal music lover that has attended any of the big music festivals in the past nine or so years, and they will most likely tell you they have seen a set or two of Motionless in White. It is safe to say that even most fans of modern Metal at least know the name Motionless in White. Since the band’s initial inception in 2005, the music world has witnessed the metamorphosis of MIW from a raw, unbridled, raging embryo to the cataclysmic musical force evident on the band’s latest album, Disguise (Roadrunner Records). Continue reading
Banality on stilts is perhaps a harsh way to sum up an album, but this is, after all, a harsh review. And there is no surer way to describe Adore (Season Of Mist), the latest album by Canadian avowed mourn-mongers Numenorean.Continue reading
Having fronted symphonic Viking metal act Leaves’ Eyes and goth metal legends Theatre of Tragedy, as well as appearing as a guest vocalist on countless different projects over the years, Liv Kristine Espenæs has finally united officially with her sister – who has herself appeared as a guest vocalist on several Leaves’ Eyes releases – and joined Nordic folk metal act Midnattsol.Continue reading
How to best celebrate that Friday feeling? With a night of slow and Gothic Doom of course. The Electric Ballroom in Camden, London, is full to the brim, and it seems the crowd is somehow wearing even more black than usual to celebrate the morbid tones of the UK’s very own Paradise Lost.Continue reading
There used to be a time when side projects and “super-groups” were a big no-no in Metal. You had your band, you knew your place, and that’s where you stayed or else. Nowadays of course, you can’t walk down to the shops without another twenty bands trading members and forming new acts in the time it takes to buy a pint of milk and a cucumber sandwich.Continue reading
Is it possible for a band to take its work a little too seriously? Can the love of eyeliner and theatrical stage attire be pushed past the point of no return? And most importantly, does this make for good music? These are some of the questions I’m left to ponder over a cup of coffee (black, of course) after listening to Beseech’s My Darkness, Darkness (Despotz Records).
And I know the metal genre as a whole is a bit ridiculous. After all I’m a 29-year-old man with a college degree whose wardrobe is made up mostly of black shirts. I willingly own a denim vest with more patches on it than the average Nascar driver.
However, Beseech seem to operate on a level where ridiculous and deadly serious function as one. Just look at the album title, My Darkness, Darkness. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds like something scribbled in the back of a Mead notebook by a 14-year-old goth kid.
And their biggest problem is its inability to move past the ho-hum goth numbers. ‘Mr. Uninvited,’ its title-track and ‘Atmosphere’ are virtually interchangeable and I don’t mean that in a good way. For most of its running time Beseech is confined to muddy tempos, subdued guitar parts, all the while vocalist Klas Bohlin dominates the mix with his weird Christian Bale as Batman whisper-mumble. The most criminal aspect of this record is the underuse of second singer Angelina Sahlgren. We only get brief glimpses of Sahlgren’s range on ‘Beating Pulse’ and ‘The Ingredients.’ Sahlgren’s turns add some color to the drab musical canvas.
‘One Last Call’ has the band finally finds release from its songwriting restrictions as does the unexpected (but totally rad) Highwaymen cover ‘Highwayman.’
Metal is a business that’s always existed on the border of parody, especially when you decide to throw in some of that goth seasoning. Not every band has to go the Type O Negative route and play it tongue in cheek (although it paid dividends for them). Katatonia and Moonspell have had long careers accented by classic albums, but they always relied on the songs. Beseech doesn’t quite have them here.
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