Browsing Tag

Sisters of Mercy

Pan De Muerto conjured darkwave sonic sorcery in ‘Shadow Woman’

Make no mistake, the only thing spectral about Pan de Muerto’s single “Shadow Woman” is the ephemeral female protagonist that will cast her spell on any listeners who sink into this scintillating synthesis of alt-rock, metal, and gothic post-punk.

The grungy Eddie Vedder-esque vocals over an atmosphere that could easily have been of Sisters of Mercy’s conjuring is affecting from start to finish. Darkwave singles rarely come as rhythmically heavy as this immersively beguiling rejection of material reality which pulls you into its haunted core, leaving you aching to bear witness to more installations of black magic alchemy conjured by the ultimate aural polymaths who have exactly what it takes to invoke their way out of their niche and into the alt-rock mainstream.

This Memphis-based band have become renowned for their blends of alternative rock with gothic, metal, and classical elements, infused with a hint of Latin rock influence, creating a sound that is as unique as it is ensnaring. Shadow Woman effortlessly showcases Pan de Muerto’s ability to navigate complex musical landscapes while maintaining a visceral, darkly poetic edge. Their latest release not only reinforces their place in the alt-rock scene but also promises a future rich with innovative sonic sorcery.

Shadow Woman was officially released on April 14; stream the single on YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Confusion Field spoke to the outliers with their interstellar synth and guitar-driven rock opera, Atom Child

‘Atom Child’ is the latest seismic shift in synth-rock from the prodigies of sonic futurism, who banded together to forge Confusion Field. If you ever wondered what Sisters of Mercy would sound like if they assembled lightyears in the future, hit play and wonder no more as you experience the quintessence of the Finnish progressive rock outfit, which was formed in 2017 by the seasoned musician and composer, Tomi Kankainen.

After embarking on a solo path following decades of playing bass and exploring various genres in local bands, Kankainen’s project blossomed into Confusion Field. The band’s debut, “Disconnection Complete,” emerged in 2021, which delved into the shadowy realms of depression.

Their upcoming second album, “Future Impact of Past Diversions,” which will be hot on the heels of Atom Child, promises a rich tapestry of musical escapism. I don’t know about you, but I’ll jump in any vessel I can take away from our blighted and imbittered social tapestry; their presentation of a progressively interstellar synth and guitar-driven rock opera is the perfect ticket.

Confusion Field’s dynamic fusion of progressive, pop, and metal influences, which harmonises the old with the new and the bright with the heavy, all underscored by a distinctive touch of Nordic melancholy will undoubtedly resonate with a broad spectrum of salvation-seeking alternatively inclined music fans. For your own sake, hit play.

Atom Child was officially released on October 6; stream it on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Asher Musgrave brought us into a post-punk season with, SummerBelle

Tampa’s boldest goth rock revivalist, Asher Musgrave, has continued in his endeavour to bring the obscure chill of post-punk & darkwave back into the atmosphere with his latest single, SummerBelle.

The up-and-coming songwriter, musician and producer ensued the experimentalism with a Sisters of Mercy-Esque intro, complete with post-punk crooning. Before breaking into an ensnaring dark amalgamation of burning synths, over-driven guitars and vocals which throw you back to the time when Marilyn Manson was known for Fight Song instead of his questionable antics.

Notably, he’s already on the right track to bring goth rock back into mainstream view. With a little production improvement, he has exactly what it takes.

Check out SummerBelle on Apple Music & YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Palais Ideal put the rancour back into post-punk with their existential manifesto ‘Negative Space’

It is a bitter-sweet time for post-punk with most modern outfits becoming a parody of the pioneers by fixating on assimilating sonic texture over bringing the same substance that made us fall in love with the genre in the first place. Palais Ideal, consisting of John Edwards and Richard van Kruysdijk, who have previously collaborated with members of Wire, Bauhaus, Christian Death, Coil, Legendary Pink Dots and Swans, are the refreshingly existential antithesis.

The Netherlands-hailing duo’s seminal 2021 album, Negative Space, is an existential howl into the void where the façade of common sense, decency, and dignity existed. Every high-octane hook that draws you deeper into this manifesto of an LP resonates as an act of resistance.

With its Kessler-Esque guitars cutting through the caustic overflow of the vintage synths, the harbinger of an opening single, The Overseer, makes a meal out of your rhythmic pulses as the lyrics and vocals affirm that not every sane mind has been cowed into radio silence.

Results is a riotously electric post-punk indie earworm with enough anthemic power to minuscule the production on your dust scattered records paired with an intuitive mix of light and dark aural ephemera, the kind of balance that allowed the Smiths to reign indie supreme. Metaphorically, this maturation of the Sweet and Tender Hooligan has picked up plenty of vitriol since he declared that in the midst of life, we are in death, and rightly so. There is no abyss deep enough to absolve the sins committed through our collective lack of self-awareness.

With a Richey Edwards-style lyrical opener, “self-obsessed is so indulgent, why live in oblivion?”, Reject the Anaesthetic instantly became a paradoxically enlivening highlight. In contradiction to the demands of the title, the even-kilter guitars, melodic basslines and percussion that is tighter than the government’s welfare budget start to deliver the psych-tinged soporific aural medicine to prove just how easy it is to pacify people into suggestibility.

The Voice of Reason is so beautifully just that. Just when you think you have Palais Ideal pegged, the compassion starts to pour, coming from a well of unequivocal understanding for ultimate sucker-punching consolation.

Anything for a Thrill is a frenetic continuation of Reject the Anaesthetic, which strips the glamour right off the back of the libertine. It is gorgeously bold in its unapologeticness when holding people accountable for chasing highs after their dreams have disintegrated around their own self-destruction.

Concluding with the moody industrial post-punk Posthuman cry, Age of Intransigence, Negative Space fades to a final close and leaves you wondering how you are going to contribute to society beyond passivity, ego, insecurity and pedestrianism (on a good day). If Palais Ideal started a cult, I’d be the first in line with goat blood on my hands.

Check out Negative Space on Spotify & Bandcamp.

Follow Palais Ideal via Facebook & Instagram.

The Faces Of Sarah – old-school goth rock in ‘Divided Night’

It seems March is ‘old-school Goth Power-Rock’ month, with The Faces Of Sarah providing the epic sound-track; there’s big swell keyboards, huge guitar power chords, and the sort of driving drums and pushing bass that fills the soundscape. Sisters Of Mercy and The Mission mixed with big rock production. There’s an epic guitar solo, swathed in delay and reverb, that drips Fields of the Nephilim and a touch of early Cult. You can practically see the black and white promo video and the water droplets bouncing off the snare drum.

It’s sparse, echoey, a big epic goth/rock sound to a powerful single – the first from The Faces Of Sarah’s new ‘Whispers From The Room’ EP – carried by founder/singer Nick Schultz’s potent vocal and that sparse, echoey guitar. It’s time to dig out the black duster coat and eyeliner.

Check out The Faces Of Sarah on YouTube and Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes