Tales From The Dark Side vol.2

Our esteemed UK reviewer Goth Mark sets sail into the murky waters of the post-punk, darkwave, and goth scenes to fish for five highly prized tasty sonic morsels that are hitherto unknown – which are worthy of further study under the aural microscopes of BAZ’s headquarters. Which resulted in the staff donning velvet jackets, winkle pickers, and throwing Alan Partridge bass shapes in the garage with that smoke machine you drunkenly purchased from eBay. You know, the one you bought after binge watching Sisters of Mercy and The Cure bootleg concert footage, uploaded to YouTube from hastily converted VHS tapes? Yeah…

Band: SHE PAST AWAY
Origin: Turkey
Status: Active

Formed in 2006 in the town of Bursa, Turkey with a name that will have the English Grammar Nazi’s frothing in fits of rage – SHE PAST AWAY are a darkwave band comprised of Volkan Caner and Doruk Öztürkcan who released the ‘Kasvetli Kutlama’ EP in 2010 that sent shock waves through the goth scene. Since that point, they’ve become extremely successful and embarked on numerous tours to promote the three albums that followed on from this EP in the form of “Belirdi Gece” in 2012, “Narin Yalnızlık” in 2015 and have (at the time of writing) embarked on a tour to promote their latest album ‘Disko Anksiyete’ which will include an appearance at Whitby Goth Weekend. Their earlier material leans more towards post-punk with keyboards and synths overshadowing the guitars, with their latest album shifting more or less to a synth-based sound. Think of CLAN OF XYMOX jamming with CARPENTER BRUT, and you’ll get the general idea.

Band: THE SECRET FRENCH POSTCARDS
Origin: Sweden
Status: Active

Enigmatically describing themselves as “Just another post punkish band”, THE SECRET FRENCH POSTCARDS released their first EP in 2017 in the form of “The Toy” and released their first full album in the form of “Les Éditions Ostra” in 2018. A trio comprised of Olli Ohlander on Guitar/Bass/Vocals, Frederik Ringwall on drums, and Peter Bjorkman on guitar – they draw upon a sound that features a grab bag of influences including THE CHAMELEONS, DEPECHE MODE,  FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM and THE MISSION. Brooding, dark, and distinctive – their latest album ‘Contradictions’ has knocked the velvet clad ball out of the park with highly polished gem of an album that will probably make most people’s post-punk/goth lists for 2019. Simply extraordinary stuff.

Band: PLEASURE SYMBOLS
Origin: Australia
Status: Active

Formed in 2016 by singer, songwriter and bassist Jasmine Dunne initially as a duo with Phoebe Paradise – they released their self-titled EP the same year which gained much interest in the goth scene. The PLEASURE SYMBOLS took a 3-year old break and returned suitably invigorated to release their full-length album ‘Closer and Closer Apart’ in May 2019, recruiting Steven Schnorrer in the process along with Lisa Murr and Joey Taouk for live appearances. Basing their sound on a 1980s stark post-punk template reminiscent of a female-fronted JOY DIVISION, their latest album adds a darkened pop flavour that engages the listener more, shedding the robotic awkward atmosphere prevalent on their debut EP (not that it was of poor quality, of course). Moody and ethereal, PLEASURE SYMBOLS evoke strong and haunting sonic atmospheres in the best possible way.

Band: OCTOBER BURNS BLACK
Origin: Multinational
Status: Active

Created in 2015, OCTOBER BURNS BLACK is an all star project band formed by James Tramel on bass hailing from Columbus in the USA (from THE WAKE), Rod Hanna from Belfast on vocals (formerly from RETURN TO KHAF’JI), Lars Kappeler from Germany on guitars (from SWEET ERMENGARDE, ATOMIC NEON, HOUSE OF USHER to name a few), Tommy Olsson from Norway on guitars (from LONG NIGHT, ELUSIVE and MORENDOES), and lastly drums currently provided by Simon Rippin on live and recorded tracks. They’re a formidable ‘gothic rock’ band with an extremely strong EP in the form of ‘Fault Lines which was released in July 2018. Their sound is deeply rooted in the goth sound prevalent in the late 1980s with almost metal overtones in places, blending a sound involving SISTERS of MERCY, THE WAKE (circa their classic “Masked” album – clearly a no brainer), FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM and THE MISSION as influences. Brilliantly, they are prolific tourers that’ll blow the minds of people attending Whitby Goth Weekend this autumn. Superb, highly refined top drawer gothic rock you simply cannot miss.

Band: HOLYGRAM
Origin: Germany
Status: Active

Some of the more observant among you may have heard me mention HOLYGRAM in BAZ’s “In Rotation” series (and especially on Twitter), where the writers talk about bands they’ve been listening to a lot during the last month – therefore this is the perfect opportunity to elaborate further. They’re a four-piece band that proclaims to blend krautrock influences with post-punk and new wave that formed in 2015 with Patrick Blümel on vocals, Marius Lansing on guitars, Pilo Lenger on keyboards/synthesisers, and Bennett Reimann on bass guitars. They teased the world with the singles “A Faction” and “Signals” initially, and released their self titled EP to critical acclaim. However, the band blew the world apart upon the release of the highly recommended ‘Modern Cults’ album that scored them tours with VNV NATION and incredibly, 1980s electro pioneers OMD rising to meteoric success and worldwide recognition. HOLYGRAM revel in a highly polished sound with prominent bass lines, shimmering guitars, and layers of keyboards that have a monolithic and startling presence.

Until next time, keep it weirdcore.

Goth Mark

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