WINTER SEVERITY INDEX: Slanting Ray (Blood Rock Records 2014)...

I remember when I first heard this band formed in Rome. It was an accidental discovery that stunned me. And that happened in 2011. A year before, they released their first EP “Winter Severity Index”. Their special and cared sound cached me almost immediately, and became a band whose work I am following passionately to date. In 2013, they released their second EP “Survival Rate”, but we had to wait until 2014, when they introduced a «long work». Over the years, and in despite of their short professional career, the band has undergone significant changes in their forming until now, in which Simona Ferrucci’s project (guitar, vocals, bass, programming and composition) has the support of Alessandra Romeo (keyboard and sythesizer and former member of Cat Fud and Bohemien). They are the authors of this last and splendid work in which we can perceive clear Joy Division and “Pornography” by The Cure influences, blending with the cold spots of bands like Cranes and classic 4AD groups (such as Cocteau Twins). Heirs of Post Punk sounds with the frigidity of Cold Wave, in a logic and right evolution from the band’s foundation by Simona back in 2009, in songs like «Fishblood», «A Sudden Cold» or «Bianca», the powerful and marked bass line stands out and envelops the songs.  Melancholic and frozen atmospheres that are filled with passion in compositions like “The Brightest Days” (one of the best songs of all the album…). In “Ordinary Love”, the incorporation of the saxo provides a point of freshness and joy among darkness. “At Least the Snow “, brilliant piece that opens up the album, impels and rises to what awaits us in the rest of the CD. “Embracing the Void”, song that closes the album, adds a quiet but...

SORRY, HEELS – The Accuracy Of Silence (Gothic Music Records 2014)...

The Chants of Maldoror was one of the most outstanding band from the italian dark scene from the late twentieth century and the beginning of this one. From the ashes of those who were going to emerge afterwards (in 2011), Sorry, Heels now introduce their first album. Fabiano (now guitarrist, but bass in The Spiritual Bats) and David M (bassist) decide with Simona Pietrucci (vocalist) to respond to their musical concerns, close relatives of the ones mentioned above, but relatives in second or third degree. And that is that Sorry, Heels move in different parameters from the ones that distinguished CHoM in the past: the sharp guitars still there, the basses hammer on without any pity as always, but maybe because of Simona’s velvety voice or because of subsequent reasons, all of The Accuracy Of Silence is covered by an enhanced elegance, a decadent and beautiful atmosphere, and with a lot of softened strength.   Light’s End starts the album and it is a good exaple of what I have said thus far, melody, beauty, and the feminine voice above all. A lot more darkwave than deathrock, it hooks you up from the first chord. On the contrary, Carving a Smile is more in the line of the chants, roughness, sharp strings, the canonical pureness of  always. One of the best cuts of an album that is full of them.  Passing Through returns to the sinister essence, with the bass at full speed and the guitar drawing over it, a look back to the 90’s that will be more obvious in the next cut: Last Day On Earth (it was the one we choosed for the podcast «Tarteras y Calaveras«). Supported in the new quality and warmth of Pietrucci’s voice, this last day on Earth...

FIXION: PARAÍSO (SELF-RELEASED 2014)...

Fixion is a rock band from Montevideo, it was assembled in 2002 as a personal project within Daniel César’s career (guitar and voice) who had already taken part in punk and post punk bands from his country. Fixion’s style can be encompassed between gothic rock, gothic metal and alternative, and they have shared stage with bands like Lacrimosa or The Sisters of Mercy. Besides Daniel, he is accompanied by Tina Souto with the voice, Seba Etchecopar (drums) and Guille Albano (bass). “Paraíso”, is their third LP.   And the homonymous song starts the album, full of metal sounds from the 80’s but without being plain and repetitive. Paraíso is full of guitars, good voices and a rythm that is simple but not because of that is less special. Espectral, performed by Martina, is a song about the search and the flight, where it is highlited not only the voice but the guitars, which are «rammsteinian».   Hasta el Amanecer sounds a bit more tecno, but maybe just the beginning, because the rock sound of the guitar is almost essential in their songs. Infected by the passion and the strength of the previous cuts, comes Herejía, this time performed as a duo, it’s a song with a «moment of lucidity waiting to bite» as they say in the lyrics.   El Impulso is the chosen single to introduce the record and they couldn’t be a better one. Adrenalin, that is what this four minutes are. Inmaterial picks up the ashes of the passion and the strength from the last song, a quieter tone accompained by a more gothic-romantic lyrics. Reina del Hielo has one of those lyrics that make you smile as woman, queen and freezing cold sometimes; Siguiendo al Animal is a song that...

UMBRA ET IMAGO: Die Unsterblichen (Oblivion 2015)...

When someone faces a new album of Umbra, normally knows what he is going to find. In fact, with all the changes that exist in the european goth scene, it could be said that Mr Mozart’s band is the real PUNK. External from styles, changes and fake musical and aesthetic evolutions, creating an underground empire around them composed by the record label, tv channel and a vast showcase with all anyone would like from their favorite bands. From their last work, “Opus Magnum” from 2010, in which Mozart sugested that it was going to be his last “physical” CD, there have been all kind of things, new DVD’s, new singles, records and all types of memorabilia for the fans to not forget about them. Fortunately, there has been some time for, at least, one more album. After the departure of his right hand and a cornerstone in the band Lutz Demmler, (now with ASP ) and with, curiously, part of the normal formation of ASP now in Umbra et Imago, even with the participation of the great Tom O’Connell (now in the House of Usher), on the guitars, Umbra offers a summary of 14 songs in the regular edition, and reaching out the number of 19 in the special edition, including remixes of some of the album’s songs. Lately they have been leaving apart the obsessive sexual topic, even though in some great songs like “Viva Vulva” (one of my favorites and that I imagine it might be the second part of “Viva Lesbian” from “Gendaken eines Vampires”), or “Sex Vampire”, they still are those who were in their beginning. Otherwise, the songs are based in topics that move between the usual social criticism that appears in Mozart’s works, like “Get Off” (the best...

COME WITH REVERSE: Come With Reverse EP (Autoproducido 2012) (ENGLISH VERSION)...

I have never been much to so much of the Greek scene. I don’t know if it exists as such, if it is solid or if, on the other hand, there are any «free» groups but without a base behind. (Enough) years ago, I know that there were bands working (perhaps Into The Abyss is the most well-known) but nowadays I admit that the little thing that is coming to me from the “cradle of the democracy” has nothing to do with the music, unfortunately. This way, when this EP of Come With Reverse turn fell down in my hands, firstly, was struck by his «exotic form». The second thing, his magnificent cover and booklet and the third thing … the third thing was later. Later, when it was already turning in the CD, when it had already happened to me (I can be slightly stupid but I don´t give priority to the secondary thing) the first impression. Then it was when Come With Reverse created in me the most lasting shake.Then, what do we have here? We have six songs, six, of good taste, really, friends. Six songs, six, which add slightly less than thirty minutes for the absolute enjoyment of every fan of the gothic rock. You already know the keys of the genre, do not make me repeat them again. You know already about what I speak. How? What? What whom do they remind? What to whom do they look alike? So if I tell the truth, to all and to nobody. These guitars have parents, certainly, but they might be perfectly “adopted”. Some diffuse keyboard … The voice remembers, especially in the tone, the mythical ones (for the gothic rockers of medium age, the youngsters will not know them and...

LES FLEURS DU MAL: Idolatry EP (Malicious Release 2013) (ENGLISH VERSION)...

A few months ago we had the oportunity to comment on «The Knife In My Back»  the second EP from the swedes of Les Fleurs du Mal. We had the chance to firsthand sniff at the originality and freshness of these Stockholmers. Well, four months later, we have a new EP in our hands: ”Idolatry”. Four tracks that in reality is two tracks and two remixes. Four tracks that, maintains the points made in previous the two releases, and – in my undoubtably subjective point of view – take one step further. Back in November we said told you that the brothers Grim calls their music ”Rock Noir” and the meaning of that label is if possible more evident with this EP. The songs are based on guitar melody but the constant support of the keyboards and the steady drum beat carry the classic sound beyond the usual. Let’s get to the songs themselves.Idolatry: In Vain (Radio Edit) opens the album. Its characteristics are those already mentioned: omnipresent guitars backed by keyboards and strong rhythms, bordering on post-punk. The personal voice does the rest. A track that carries you away, catchy, very catchy and overflowing with good taste. Dark, conveniently affected, sometimes epic, close to a lot of groups we know, far from pastiche, as traditional as it is fresh and original. The second track, ”Idolatry: In Pain (Radio Edit)” is a twist on the same idea. It continues with the melodic guitars, the keyboards and the steady beat and goes further, and above all, the splendid voice of Axel Grim continues and highlights this song. Once more contemporary, once more clearly inspired by the eighties. Once more gothic, but once more original and personal.After these two we move on to the remixes. The first...

LES FLEURS DU MAL: Knife In My Back EP (Malicious Release 2012) (ENGLISH VERSION)...

The Swedes Les Fleurs Du Mal will shortly present their first full length CD, or so we hope. Meanwhile, we have to settle with a taste of this second EP (after the great ”I” of last year) that in its three tracks gives a good account of what the duo offers: gothic rock, classic but well done. That Gothic Rock which takes you back to The Sisters of Mercy (when the Sisters were The Sisters, of course). But it would be very inequitable to reduce what the brothers Grim do (yes, friends, I aswell think that it is not coincidence) to being a mere copy of the everlasting gothfathers of so many groups. The duo gives themselves this premission, it doesn´t seem to matter to them at all (especially in the rhythms) what remember you of, they don´t care. Actually, it is only the first taste that comes to your throat when you listen to their music, the second taste gives you a perfect account of that Les Fleurs Du Mal are something more, we are not facing Eldritch 2.0, far from it. Neither the voices, less forcibly guttural, or in the guitars, a bit more varied, and of course, when the keyboards join the battle. It is only an accent in the rhythm.What do the Stockholmers offer then? Well, as they call it themselves, Rock Noir. Hand over fist. The Knife in my Back is the theme song that opens the EP. Guitar-epic, but less extreme than usual in the genre, which has more an air of the eighties rather than the nineties. Strigoi System, certainly continue on the same line, a bit different, less rapid but not much, rhythmic without exaggerating, gothic as bats (from hell!), but (perhaps spare the but) with...