ALT-012 - Dark Shadows, Eva Jade Landon, Midnight Syndicate, Armonight, The Dropper's Neck, ...soihadto... , Under Heaven, Cartel, Escape The Fate, Words
'11:11' might be the time that the release was finished at, whether it was or not it is a gracious album that crosses every T and dots every I in the Post Punk / Gothic Rock chambers. The band behind the blast is Dark Shadows, hailing from Australia this trio take the old school sounds of Bauhaus and The Cure and weave a new sound to the masses. Engineered to epic levels, '11:11' is a classic example that the old ways are usually the best and in this case Dark Shadows do well to prove this to be the truth. In fact, fans of Siousxie & The Banshees may well relate to this lot more than the Bauhaus fans, but that is anyone's guess. Salient point behind this luscious release is that has enough vibrating energy to capture a whole new audience.
Download This: "Blame"
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
EVA JADE LANDON
Electro-pop / Power Pop Music is usually a goldmine and when artists like Eva Jade Landon come storming out of the underground with such a level of creativity that eclipses the likes of Carla Rae Jepsen and Lady Gaga, you know something is coming. The latest release 'Evalution' is a non-stop torrent of electric music that would get anyone on the dance floor, raving and ripping out all of life's worries on a Friday or Saturday night. If the release was a freshers week, Eva Jade Landon would be the one tipping plenty of different sounds into the mix to end up with a cocktail that is deserving of mainstream attention. 'Evalution' carries everything one would want for a dance anthem soundtrack, even so it would seem doubtful that she will go quietly and as a result Europe better be prepared for what can be dubbed as the next greatest electro-pop export from the USA. This is more than a musical evolution, this is a musical 'Evalution'.
Download This: "Walk Away"
[9.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Halloween Music Collection'
Perhaps this maybe the ideal soundtrack or soundtracks to a horror or Gothic fiction franchise, sure not on the scale of the Saw heptology but in essence Dracula, Van Helsing and the like. In fact, Midnight Syndicate of whom are a duo from Ohio, create an atmosphere that circulates the darkened surroundings found when listening, so much so this would be ideal to listen to on a ghost hunt or when camping out near a graveyard as most goths would agree this music is exceptionally unique and utmost emotionally connected to personal feelings and the like. 'Halloween Music Collection' is a twenty-two track filled release that will keep many mesmerized for a long, long time and overall is an essential for those who like the old style of Gothic music, stretching back to Gothic church music.
Download This: "Awakening"
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Tales From The Heart'
The Italian musicians love their Gothic music, it is as if they were born to be goths or at least dress like them and play music relating to the subculture. No wonder then when sextet Armonight unleash a torrent of darkened melodies via their release 'Tales From The Heart', they do so with a sensational outburst of angelic vocals, blade-swiping riffs and solid drumming, all of which together add up to develop an atmosphere that could be likened to bands such as Evanescence and Lacuna Coil. This is what you call heavenly music and bodes the band well, as they are sure to garner greater attention over the next few years as they share with the listener, the stories and 'Tales From The Heart' that binds this band together.
Download This: "When You See Me Cry"
 RHYS STEVENSON
THE DROPPER'S NECK
Essex in recent times has had a sudden upsurge of rock bands from all strains of the music virus, so when a bunch of lads known as The Dropper's Neck set sail to release their debut album 'Second Coming', much is riding on this release. What strikes immediately is the inescapable fact of them owning their own sound and not a recycled clump of 'been-there-done-it' music. Call it Alternative Punk Rock but with a few added twists here and there, such as similarities to bands like The Horrors and bizarrely the vocals draw comparisons with the late 70's Gothic rock era, namely the Bauhaus song 'Bela Lugosi's Dead'. But as standard the album is sure to turn heads as this lot are certainly Download Festival material (let's hoping they're paying attention).
For Fans of: QOTSA, Pulled Apart By Horses, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
'Second Coming' is out Monday 29th July 2013 via major outlets.
 RHYS STEVENSON
Besides a really bizarre name, the Baltimore boys finally unleashed their self-titled album. What comes with it is a rather inexplicable event, basically it's experimental rock but without any experimentation as such, confusing eh? '...soihadto...' can be labelled as one of those albums (and bands) that somehow do not know where they want to go with their music, regardless of how clean and organized the finished production is, the band are all over the place. On the other hand it would seem that benefits this lot to the core, but sadly as a result it lacks elements of class and so whilst the band have deservedly crafted a decent enough album, it is not cutting edge and nor is it anything special, just another album.
Download This: "Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso"
[5.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'What Lies Between'
Reminiscing of the bygone chamber opera music era is easier said than done, unless of course you are indulging in Canada's Under Heaven and their latest album 'What Lies Between'. Silencing the darkness and harnessing a symphonic sound has not proven to be much of a challenge for the duo, even if the elaborate background sounds of the violin and Spanish guitar adds a unique style to the framework laid out by these two musicians. This is no Within Temptation, no Epica or no other Symphonic Gothic Metal band that sounds anything like the aforementioned two bands, no Under Heaven are in their own league and with 'What Lies Between' firmly set to get them some well earned attention, this could be Canada's finest hour.
Download This: "Behind The Shadows"
 RHYS STEVENSON
The instant feeling that this could be the sound of the summer is already on the tongues of many people, well for starters Cartel employ that specific style of rock that would go down well playing on a stereo whilst working on a sun tan or having a garden party. In fact 'Collider' the band's fourth release exploits the bouncier and more chilling side to rock as to set the tone for what could be their best release to date. Spewing out a myriad of influences, Cartel are priming themselves to take their calming rock music to greater heights and are sure to grab the attention of more people along the way, what separates this quartet from the other pop rock all-male bands out there is that they keep the listener on their toes as the unexpected drops every seconds.
'Collider' is out 20th May 2013 via LAB Records
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
ESCAPE THE FATE
ELEVEN SEVEN MUSIC
Take Escape The Fate as a ten-legged machine as they simply do not slow down, preparing to unleash their best album to date, the American Post-Hardcore suave experts return to the core that made this band what they are today. Catchy riffs embedded on a funky rhythm that would make bands like Guns 'N' Roses listen up, whilst at the same time the vocals command a whole new sound, powerful cleans and mind-blowing growls that tussle for control against the eccentric harmonics erupting from the erotically charged guitars and sublimely inserted auto-tune snippets. If this is not the soundtrack of the summer, it is without any doubt the soundtrack that Escape The Fate will live on by, 'Ungrateful' is the TNT of Post-Hardcore and explodes on every dimension in every possible direction.
Download This: "Forget About Me"
'Ungrateful' is out 13th May 2013 via Eleven Seven Music
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Division Of The Masses'
Wallowing in the minefield of Post-Hardcore wannabes, are a group Californian gold miners by the name of Words. Sure the vocals at times are not completely related to Post-Hardcore and more or less sometimes stray into Melodic Hardcore as a result. But here we have the EP 'Division Of The Masses' which the product of Words and words are exactly what will be said after music lovers clock up this EP. The saddening thing is that there are points where one would expect harsh vocals to be at but they fail to materialize and so in some parts of the songs, the momentum is lost. Overall the EP is a valiant effort, but with some tweaking and fine restructuring, Words could become a potential for breaking out into the international scene.
 RHYS STEVENSON
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