For a while now, I’ve been reviewing my Release Radar on Spotify over in the weekly music thread. If you don’t know, Release Radar is an auto generated playlist based on your listening habits. I use it to find new artists, I have an ongoing playlist with the best from each week, and I go back and explore them further, then I buy support the artist by buying their stuff on Bandcamp. One trend that has been emerging, which I love, is the tendency for black/death metal musicians to wake up one morning and shout into the heavens, “That’s it! Now I’m goth!”
There are a bunch of these “side projects” where these people go darkwave, goth, post-punk. The only one that comes to mind at the moment is Philadelphia’s Executioner’s Mask, and of course I can’t think of any more right now, but I digress. Members of death/black metal band Lightning Swords of Death and doom metal band Buried at Sea formed to play something like the goth of yesteryear. The singer and drummer used to live together, and decided to try to make something, which the singer has dubbed “ghoul-wave”, and I’m here for it. The band creates a sound like Christian Death meets Sisters of Mercy and brunch catered by Bauhaus and the waitstaff is Fields of the Nephilim.
There is next to nothing about this band out there, it all stems from the same press release (there is a podcast with the singer, but they spend their time talking about Lovecraft and Altered States). So, here it goes.
Pears of Anguish (2015)
This Los Angeles band had worked up some demos, which were released to some local acclaim. Those demos became the four song EP titled Pears of Anguish. “Hypnotized” starts as a four on the floor punk song, but then downshifts to half speed. “Insanguination” is my favorite of this group, with its cavernous vocals moaning, “You want to live in feeeeaaarrr?” I think it’s obvious, the answer is yes. “Swallowed” probably gets closest to that classic goth sound, with its shrill early Bauhaus- style guitars and ethereal keyboard droning in the background.
Mutant Flesh (2018)
After the success of the demo, the band set out to work on the “highly anticipated” full-length follow up (highly anticipated in L.A., I guess). On December 7, 2018, Mutant Flesh was released, and it has cover art… that isn’t great. Snark aside, this album is more of the same from the demo, but the band has a few more toys within their reach to dabble with. Synths are a little more prominent, and there is also the occasional addition of a saxophone. Even though the album is an extension of Pears of Anguish, there are more layers going on than are immediately noticeable. The bass is more up front, but they also have multiple guitar lines, synths, and other vocals in the layers behind the standard voice-drum-guitar-bass pushed in your face.
Deth Crux really leans into the creepy atmosphere on this. “Spectral Other” just builds and builds, and seems like a satisfying release when it finally stops inching up the background moaning, “Black Abominable Lust” starts with a synth riff that sounds right out of a mid-80s horror movie, and builds to screams about demon sex, before giving a reprise of the synth hook and bass-line, then diving into the guitar solo. “Chrome Lips” and “Yellow Sky” both feature the saxophone, but it’s not the 80’s sleazy sexual predator saxophone, it’s more like a wailing ghost seeking solace. “Yellow Sky” is the perfect end to the album, the kind of song where you’re hanging out in a dank basement with a few friends, and suddenly, you realize just how dark and how late it is, and suddenly the thought of moving will attract… something… from the shadows to get you.
There isn’t really much more I can add, as of March 2020, the band is working on new music, but they don’t have a website, they only have Facebook and Instagram pages that are rarely updated. However, you can get both releases from their Bandcamp page, and they are highly recommended if this is your type of thing.
Thanks for reading!