Review: Rope Sect – Personae Ingratae / Proselytes (CD)

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Caligari Records have been a favorite of mine since some time back. Always on top with new releases, always on point with the darker themed musical styles (mainly metal) – everything is allowed if it is contained within these limits – and they don’t do a half-arsed job at it. The proprietor of the label was kind enough to send a physical edition of the release about to be reviewed, and we’re glad to finally be able to listen through and critique an item from their discography.

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Unfortunately to our own dismay, the case was slightly damaged with what seems to be small cuts on the front of it. The CD itself was not damaged but the plastic attachment which keeps the CD in place was in half, thus there was no use for it at all – thanks to our wonderful shipping company PostNord – who seems to take much joy in making sure that shipments arrive as damaged as possible, unless packed very tight and secure.

 

The aesthetic aspect of Personae Ingratae / Proselytes

Aesthetically the whole package, despite it being a standard jewelcase, is really magnificent to look at. The booklet comes with lyrics for each song, and at the end of it (pictured) there’s a very well-drawn image of a man which could resemble any statue from ancient Greece, holding a rope which yields a perfect representation of the band’s name. Just beside the man is a tightly knit rope, where the words “Venerate the rope! Fear The Rope!” is written beneath it. Makes for a very sinister impression.

The decorative‘ aspect of this release is what makes it, though the fonts are somewhat off-putting except on the front of the CD where it almost seems to be sketched out rather then digitally put there – even though, in the end, part of that dimension as well. You know very well what kind of genre it ought to be by looking at it, even though you might not be able to place the sub-genres, which is a slightly ambiguous touch that makes it even better. Shows how much can be done aesthetically without the release having to be more then a jewelcase.

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The musical aspect of Personae Ingratae / Proselytes

Rope Sect as a band is a trio, consisting of ‘Inmesher‘ (guitars, drums & vocals), ‘Harbinger‘ (bass) and ‘Gaarentwynder‘ (additional guitars). The release is a compilation, a combination of their first EP released by Caligari Records on cassette, “Personae Ingratae“, and their double-single “Proselytes” released on vinyl by Iron Bonehead Productions. We want to make it perfectly clear that we haven’t heard these releases in their physical format, therefore we can’t do any comparisons and if we had we wouldn’t any way because it would only make sense as that instead.

Fallen Nation” starts off with an ominously sounding German quotation in sound sampled from somewhere, heck knows where. Then what could be described as some crossover between metal and punk, but without the -core in it. Somehow it reminds us of a better, less outdrawn version, maybe heavier in certain aspects – later Katatonia. If they had mingled with Jawbreaker, but without the cheesy lyrics. It is hard-hitting, straight up emotional and there is where the first comparison is drawn, out of a sense of nostalgia and not so much musically – even though some of it is similar, in terms of melody.

It feels weird that a first track on a release can be so addicting. A perfect cocktail of nihilistic tendencies together with a dim, bright light of hope in the end of the tunnel. The drums are muddy, distorted and together with the guitar work and baseline create a malformed, rowdy atmosphere – which is then smacked together with clean vocals. The vocalist is really talented, he pulls off such an emotional but assertive tone in the way he articulates each word, lyrically.

The second song “Tarantist” ups the instruments a notch in terms of how the solos, the riffs and the overall rhythm is concerned. Sure, much of it is similar with the first song, but it has a more deathrock-ish vibe over the atmosphere, perfect for a December’s evening like this. We find ourselves digging more to this song, even though the first one had its perfectly laden harmonics. The psychedelic edge in some of the riffs are absolutely glorious in all their simplicity – they manage to bridge to the chorus in a down-tempo – to maniacal uptempo after a few seconds, so effortlessly.

Even though it makes no sense in text at all, the most powerful lyrical content in this song is when the singer calmly but ominously proclaims: “We’re gonna die – why?“, it hits so close to home that it almost frightens. It is so existential in a beautiful way – yet it gives you an unobjectionable push into the grim realities of life, which isn’t as romantically charged as the notion of living forever either as a memory in the past, or resurrected in the future.

Pretty Life” heads in a different, more downtempo way that has a lot in common with atmospheric black metal, instead of the punk (and sub-genres of it) overtones that dominate on this record so far. Too bad that it is so repetitive and doesn’t really cast a good light on the vocalist as it has done with the uptempo, more aggressive songs before this one. Sure, some moments are great as when the more ‘acoustically’-oriented passages that add an upswing to an otherwise not that interesting song.

Some facets of it can be intriguing to listen to but it is not what we’re expecting after we’ve listened to Rope Sect, we’re sorry to say that. If anything, the abrupt ending is in a class of itself, since this song doesn’t need to be more outdrawn and killed right away. Don’t get it wrong, it is not a bad song per se, but it is an OK song in comparison with the other two which set the standard very high.

King Of The Night” remind us, in a good way, what the commercially successful band Ghost would’ve been if they hadn’t sold out from the get go. Rope Sect is like the better version of what the ideal would’ve been with that band, even though it was dead from the get go, really. A really trashing song from the get go which includes the better parts of good death metal, with the melodically oriented stance that actually, by now, defines their music for us.

Not to mention the classic rock’n’roll vibe coming out of the second chorus, the solos from the guitars are fantastic. They also slap the darker atmosphere on it so that it doesn’t flip out and go into full deranged death’n’roll. In this song comes another memorable line, which also touches emotionally through how the singer delivers it vocally – “We found the gallows sling in the light / A lost reversal of fortune“. What a great line lyrically. It gives off a very subliminal message as it goes through your brain, an ambiguity not easily taken away.

On this compilation, “Recess” feels like the dividing line between “Personae Ingratae” and “Proselytes“, even though it originally wasn’t. A good piece of death-doom metal but with much better melodies then there generally is in that crossover genre. They are really accentuated and heightened in this short song. An uproar of the most desperate anguish, but without the cheesiness that would be attached to it otherwise with bad lyrics, so it is actually good that they went full instrumental for once. Though it wouldn’t of been any trouble for the singer to lay his unique touch on it as well, had it not been.

Ochlesis” is the longest track on the release, and feels like a combination of all the good in the first few songs and the otherworldly nature of their atmosphere. Simple but ingenious riffs lay the foundation of the choruses, as one is transported between all possible sub-genres and back again. From metal to post-punk, doom metal to gothic rock. There’s also an downtempo part that is fanatically great – they leave room to each instrument, and let the different textures blend together through silence and noise – completing the sound in a vividly imaginable perfect scenario.

Though the first part shines the brightest, as that is their stronger side, it is accompanied by an even heavier laden barrage of the finest metal you could imagine. Nothing is compromised when they get to do their own thing, whatever that could be called in a summary. Though, as written in the first paragraphs about this song, it is clear that it is a combination of all the best elements so far from this record.

Death Is Your Lover” is by far the roughest sounding track so far, having more dark riffs then ever before. The title alone suggests what you’re about to hear when turning it on. The drumming also goes into different riffs, as it almost wants to go into full blast-beat as soon as possible, but is hindered by the fact that it is as gloomy as doom metal can be when it is at its best – in combination with the psychedelic, slow and hard-hitting aspects of that certain genre.

Little bits of pieces in this song are good, but together it doesn’t stand out that much in comparison with other songs. There are different ambiance that could’ve been adjusted a bit more, and the singing gets a bit dull after parts of it, but without a doubt the lyrical content of this song is one of the best. Especially the repetitiveness of it all, which lulls one into uncertainty.

Rattenkönig” is so pleasurable to listen to. It holds up great in all aspects and is except the first two songs, “Fallen Nation” and “Tarantist“, which in itself makes it a great song. The lyrics flow so well, as if the vocalist have lived what is described himself. As if it is recited by a great orator. There’s really nothing more to be said then that it gives off a spiritual feeling when listening to it. Such a great, uncompromising and skilfully made song that it isn’t even funny. Nothing could be done better in it that would make it even more outstanding.

BothQuietus” and “Proselytes” is if you had inverted the record itself, not that they are identical to the first two songs musically, it is just that they are as great in their own respects. Here, they’ve added a bit more that gives the atmosphere that knife-sharp edge and volatility which some of the other tracks miss out on. The first song mentioned actually contain some blast-beats to our joy, and it is the better one of the two, but both are god-damn impeccable.

Such a great ending to an otherwise more than good compilation of two releases. We could not recommend it more, actually. It is just a shame that it hasn’t gotten more publicity, because this sure is a hidden gem in the Caligari Records discography – despite it being the next-newest release there. If anything, you should really get this CD because nothing beats having the physical item. You can get it digitally and on CD from Caligari Records, stream the release down below to make up your own mind.

 

Spotlight: Metro Cult – New Space/Ghost!

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They are few and far in between, but once you find your death-rock – you can’t help but listen to it. It feels like Metro Cult bring something new to the table, at least in form of nuances in their death-rock shaped post-punk, with an entangled web of both dark punk influences and a picky new-wave sound, together with a perfectly laden mat of synthesizer spookiness. These dastardly fellows from Copenhagen match their stark and darkened image with the sound they’re conveying. The band itself consists of Christoffer Bagge (Vocals/Guitar), Johannah Jørgensen (Synth), Klaus Nielsen (Bass) and Johan Schultz (Drums). Their music makes me want to make my way to a batcave, even though they rarely even exist anymore. A couple of days ago they released two tracks, namely “New Space” and “Ghost” – which was recorded at Subversive Studios in Copenhagen, with the help of Lasse Ballade and Peter Peter. It was also released by Adult Crash as a 7¨ vinyl, on the 21st of September. They are limited to 200 copies, so I suggest you go and get one. Either you buy it from Adult Crash, or you contact the band. The cover art was created by Sally Dige Jørgensen. Listen to their two tracks down below, and remember to put in some money for it if you like it. You can also download them for free.

Interview with James from Plunder The Tombs!

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Plunder The Tombs is a blog ran by the Australian gentleman James. It features in-depth writings about everything from goth to death rock, which means everything that could fit into that category or be related. His blog is an investigation into the heart of what goth rock was, as he proceeds to sift through every great release there ever was. With his expertise within the genre as a lodestar for his writings. He’s been involved with everything you could imagine, being a DJ since the 90’s in the Perth area of Australia, playing in clubs such as The Cell and Dominion, which were largely goth-themed clubs. He also helped found the 6RTR FM’s goth & industrial showcased called Darkwings. His blog also largely revolves around the first wave of gothic, which would be the years from 1979 to 1988. It is also a blog that I’ve followed or stumbled upon when browsing the internet, so I decided to interview him about everything from the first wave of goth rock, to the definition of goth rock and everything you’d ever want to know about that particular genre and the blog Plunder The Tombs. Hope you enjoy your stay and may The Sisters Of Mercy be with you.

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Invisible Guy live over at Death Rock Radio once again!

Yes, once again I’m live over at the wonderful Deathrock Radio. This time around, the mix is three hours long. Tune in!

Track list:

1. The Sisters Of Mercy – More
2. The Fall – Australians In Europe
3. The Chameleons – Less Than Human
4. Stimmen Der Stille – Todeslied
5. Global Infantilists – An Inch Of Nothing
6. Siglo XX – Lines Of Hope
7. Shiva Burlesque – Train Mistery
8. Sardine V – Sabotage
9. Mona Mur Und Die Mieter – Ein Bisschen Frieden
10. Marc Seberg – Sans Mémoire
11. Love Club – Holding Heaven’s Hand
12. Coïtus Int. – Tourist Ghetto
13. The Danse Society – Seen The Light
14. Blood Dead And Sexy – Fingers
15. Corpus Delicti – Dancing Ghost
16. The Sisterhood – Colours
17. The Birthday Party – Nick The Stripper
18. Death Cult – Gods Zoo
19. Bauhaus – Stigmata Martyr
20. The March Violets – Snake Dance
21. Soviet Sex – Walpurgis Night
22. The Sisters Of Mercy – Vision Thing
23. The Flowers For Luci – Chemical
24. The Dancing Did – Wolves Of Worcestershire
25. Die Unbekannten – Don’t Tell Me Stories
26. Marquee Moon – Don’t Go Out Tonight
27. They Fade In Silence – Misery
28. Thieves Cross – Slaughter Hotel
29. Luxembourg – Le Secret De L’ombre
30. The Cultural Decay – Brave New World
31. This Ascension – August Rain
32. Blade Fetish – Fortunato
33. Lycia – Sleepless (Original Version)
34. Bonemen Of Barumba – San Antokio
35. Ausgang – Sick Into You
36. Asmodi Bizarr – Remember Dorian
37. Cyan Revue – Frozen Fields
38. Geisterfahrer – Schatten
39. Fallen Apart – Hey Friend
40. Twisted Nerve – Gargoyle
41. For Against – Loud And Clear
42. Annabelle’s Garden – A Path Towards
43. The Damned – Torture Me
44. 45 Grave – Violent World

Review: Catholic Spit – I’m Your God Now / Die Alone

If you need a punk doses that will last for a while, you should encourage yourself to listen to some Catholic Spit. First track “I’m Your God Now” really opens the floodgates from the more punk-oriented sound, so it can diminish itself within the realms of death-rock. Even though the sound-scape is pretty much lo-fi, the sound is excellent and extraordinary when it comes to the combination of those two genres. A really interesting listening, and I love the little touch on the crash-cymbal which you can hear throughout the song. Enjoyable death-rock riffs guides me throughout a wicked landscape of the most nocturnal and non-sacred things known for me yet. They really bring together the traditional sound of death-rock and manage to make it feel even more punkier than it usually is. Deathrock that I listen to tend to be more on the rock-oriented scale of things, which brings me back to the fact that they have some qualities that could be compared to 45 Grave, with a hint of Gothic Girls on the edges. They’ve channeled the quirky but quintessentially weird formula that the last-mentioned band really has when it comes to the sound-scape. It’s nice to see the grasp around the roots, but at the same time feeding and buffing it up with some nice punk.

In the next track “Die Alone“, they get to the point quicker than in the first song. With a baseline like that, it feels like I’m completely entrenched with the darkness it spills out. The thoughtful but outdrawn intro forces the sound-scape into a quick fury of punk goodness. Whereas the drums stumble upon themselves and release all the anger in the world. But it also feels like they’ve managed to contrast the sound-scape a little bit better, when they don’t blend the punk-oriented stuff with the more pushy deathrock. I don’t know if the quality of this release is supposed to be lo-fi, but if it is, there’s a charming side to it too. It sounds way more underground than it probably would’ve if it had been a little bit more polished. Also, the grand finale and outro is one of the best things I’ve heard for a while. This band has got a lot of potential, and it’s not really going to waste. Hopefully another release from them will come my way and I’m hoping that it will land in my hands so I get to have a peek on it too. Certainly one of the albums you should buy if you have the money for it, pretty cheap for such a great release.

You can buy it over at their bandcamp which is over here or listen to it below and make up your mind.

Invisible Guy on Deathrock Radio!

I just wanted to tell you all that I’ve been recruited to Deathrock Radio. Which means that I will be filling up Wednesdays with the best of post-punk, deathrock and gothic rock. My program is called “Back To The Batcave” and you can listen to me over here. You can also find the tracklist for the first program beneath. I’ve also got a category up for it too, which you can find if you click on Radio to the right and up above.

Tracklist:

1. Bomb Party – 31st Of September
2. Cipher – Harmonic 33
3. Dead Can Dance – In Power We Entrust The Lord Advocated
4. Flesh For Lulu – Roman Candle
5. Gene Loves Jezebel – Bruises
6. Hang The Dance – Some Sacred Ground
7. Jazzateers – Sixteen Reasons
8. Le Travo – Chiaroscuro
9. Leningrad Sandwich – Meatfactory
10. Marianne Rosenberg – Rhapsodie In Blut
11. Specimen – Hex
12. The Birthday Party – Zoo-Music Girl
13. The Cult – Dreamtime
14. The Damned – Generals
15. The Opposition – My Room Is White

It appears that my first mix is also represented, so I’ll give you the tracklist of that one too.

Tracklist:

1. Au Pairs – Tongue In Cheek
2. Alien Sex Fiend – I Think I
3. Flesh For Lulu – Black Tatoo
4. Screaming Dead – Necroaria
5. The Dancing Did – The Rhythm Section Sticks Together
6. UK Decay – Jerusalem Over
7. Ausgang – This Is Where I Was Meant To Fall
8. Evening Legions – Life On Earth
9. Kommunity FK – The Other World
10. Poppi UK – Hip-Hop Lobomoty
11. Theatre of Hate – Do You Believe In The Westworld
12. 13th Chime – Dug Up
13. The Sisterhood – Giving Ground
14. The Damned – The Eighth Day
15. 45 Grave – Evil
16. Rhythm & Faith – When The Wind Blows Love Will Die
17. Christian Death – Sleepwalk

Invisible Guy recommends: 80s Gothic Rock – 1983-1984 (Part III)

I think it’s time to give you another treat, this time I’ll be recommending my favorite Gothic rock bands from the 80s. I begin with 1980-1981 (Part I) and then gradually move my way up throughout the years: 1982 (Part II), 1983-1984 (Part III), 1985 (Part IV), 1986-1987 (Part V) and 1988-1989 (Part VI). I’ll be continuing the fad of six different episodes and I’ll bid you my welcome into the world I knew and the world I’ve discovered and continually re-discover when I’m surfing the web. I want to give people another opportunity and to find out about bands and artists that they haven’t heard of before. Sometimes I occasionally sneak in a bigger band or two, but that’ll just be if the song is good enough. But by no means is this a top 30 of the best Gothic rock from the 80s, I’ll have to give you a top-10 list in the future of the Gothic bands that I think top my own list. I’ll also have some commentary beneath each clip as I had in the earlier parts that covered post-punk, mostly because it looks more aesthetically pleasuring and say something about the song or the lyrics. Let me take you into this world now.

You’re now entering Part III of the recommendation.

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