A bit of retro Goth Doom never hurt anyone did it?  Seeing as it’s coming into spring and summer I need some tunes for sitting outside in the blistering Welsh sunshine and as the first drum beats break cover and the soaring and searing overdriven guitars sharpen their riffs I apply the corpse paint and turn up the volume on this Human Trophy.

 

It’s like the Sisterhood grew up bitter and twisted and melted all their Numan albums. The cover art is the work of the weird kid from school who nobody went to junior school with and has heard him speak but his art is well weird and the soundtrack to the art is the music it houses ‘Binding Me’ is a deadpan slice of rapid drum machine beats with vocals dripping in echo as the song charges to its sudden conclusion.   To be fair it’s pretty much the pattern for the whole record Goth not for the faint hearted.  It makes Joy Division sound like Jive Bunny or Newlydeads singing Stock Aitkin and Waterman.

 

Saying all that ‘Empty Places’ is a belter of a tune with its searing guitar being wrestled from feeding back I got sidetracked realising the vinyl is indeed Goth purple in colour which is a nice touch and the fact that there is a track entitled ‘Forming Horror’ which to be fair is another great track that sails fairly close to being an upbeat pop song – if you close your eyes that is.  The title track is almost upbeat as well in a Goth sort of way.

 

The album finishes on ‘Blood Apex’ and the grinding bassline and hammer-like drum beat are giving me vertigo it’s like falling into a vortex and being touched by demons as you fall.  You either love or hate it I guess there is no in between with pure Goth.  When its loud and I’m in the mood its spell binding when I’m not in the mood however I just turn it up a little bit louder 😉

 

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THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE
DIAMONDS
UK TOUR 2021

28.07.21  YORK Fulford Arms
29.07.21  NEWCASTLE Cluny
30.07.21  EDINBURGH Opium
31.07.21  GLASGOW Ivory Blacks
03.08.21  MANCHESTER Night People
04.08.21  NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
05.08.21  WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms
06.08.21  BRISTOL Exchange
07.08.21  LONDON Garage
tickets and information
flagpromotions.co.uk / ticketweb.co.uk / fatsoma.com

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, Canadian post-punk goth act The Birthday Massacre have been forced to postpone a November 2020 UK tour to promote their new album, ‘Diamonds’, which was released in late March. All nine shows have now been rearranged for the summer of 2021, as per the itinerary above.

The tour will be the first opportunity for UK fans to see two recently installed group members, drummer Phil Elliott and bassist Brett Carruthers, perform with the band. Carruthers is also the frontman of fellow Toronto-based act A Primitive Evolution, who released an excellent album of industrial tinged rock entitled ‘Becoming’ on Metropolis Records in 2018 and have remained an ongoing concern.

Born on this very day in 1957 Daniel Ash of the parish of Bauhaus.  Ash played guitar in the Goth legends before forming Love & Rockets and going on to enjoy artistic credibility as a solo artist and most recently he reunited with bandmate Kevin Haskins to form Poptone a friend he has known since infant school. 

Ash had become friends with Peter Murphy during his teenage years. Ash went to art school and Murphy went to work in a printing factory. They met up again five years later and Ash suggested forming a band. Rigging up a makeshift rehearsal space, Ash played an Echo 12 – bar blues, while Murphy sang a series of newspaper articles. Four weeks later, they formed Bauhaus and recorded “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”.

After nearly five years Bauhaus fell apart and Ash put together Tones on Tail again with drummer Kevin Haskins. As Ash described them: “We were a motley crew of individuals who essentially wanted to sound like a band from Venus or Mars!” it was to be a band that lasted until the mid ’80s.

Ash founded Love and Rockets in 1985 with Haskins and David J, also of Bauhaus. The band lasted until 2009 when Ash called it a day and stated that was it and a band he would never return to.  During the last ten years, he has been experimenting more with electronic music, both with Love and Rockets and as a solo artist. Since the last reformation of Bauhaus, however, he has been returning to a more guitar-based rock sound. In 2008, Bauhaus released ‘Go Away White’, (their first studio album in 25 years) which was followed by a world tour.  Funnily enough the very same year Love & Rockets played Coachella Music and Arts Festival, funny that.

It was March 2017, Daniel Ash, Haskins (obviously) and Haskin’s daughter Diva Dompé formed POPTONE and a US tour, featuring songs by all the three bands the pair had performed in together.

Ash has so far managed five solo albums, Five with Bauhaus, One with Tone & Tails and one with poptone as well as a plethora of EPs live albums compilations and anthologies. Ash has and continues to be a pioneer and influence plenty of guitar players and songwriters.

 

If you were to cross members of Nekromantix, The Brains, Stellar Corpses, and Rezurex! You’d get a batty mix of Psychobilly punk rock and roll so it’s a bit of luck that just that has waled into the ether and dropped onto RPM HQ. With special guest slots form the likes of Jyrki 69 of The 69 Eyes and Danny B. Harvey! It’s fair to say I was sitting up waiting for the air to be filled with the sound of some pretty heady rock and roll. It’s fair to say I wasn’t disappointed.

As I scan the cover I notice a few surprises in the choice of covers ranging from The Damned and some pretty famouse pop tunes given a good seeing to. With fifteen original tracks and five psychobilly-infused covers including their renditions of Danzig (“Mother”), the king of surf Dick Dale (“Misirlou”), The Damned (“Love Song”), Gloria Jones (“Tainted Love”), Portugal. The Man (“Feel It Still”), and Panic! At The Disco “Say Amen” (Saturday Night). To be fair ‘Tainted Love’ has previously been given the Psychobilly treatment from Living End and this is a very similar version. also doing Danzig isn’t too much of a stretch either seeing as both vocals are very similar.  The one that really intrigued me was them taking on the mighty Damned and ‘Love Song’ and to be fair it’s such a monumental tune its never going to touch the original but as far as interpretations go this is decent.  Great crunchy guitar with the drums rolling through like a steam train and whilst they remain fairly faithful its a great attempt and Damned fan needn’t look away. As far as ‘Mother’ goes this is cool as I’m not a huge Danzig fan and I guess it would have been too easy to pick a Misfits tune so this is good and once it breaks open I love it.

 

As for the original tunes I love the groove they get into on ‘Graveyard Girl’ and the guest vocalist work of Jyrki is suitably Gothic and dark How cool would it be if he took a bit of this direction back to 69 Eyes? to be fair twenty tracks is a lot of music to work your way through and whilst the heart is always Rockabilly there is enough variety here and with the inclusion of the covers breaks up the record.  Saying that it could have been two albums six months apart but hey what do I know?

If you want a bunch of songs to pick through to try before you buy then look no further than ’50s inspired ‘She Wolf’ or the melodic ‘We Own The Night’ which is like one of the best songs the Misfits never got hold of. ‘Getaway Car’ is poptastic from the acoustic guitars it’s like a modern ‘Leader Of The Pack’ and could easily sell huge in the American alternative market and crossover. ‘The Man’ follows suit I love the dripping reverb on that guitar lick an interesting cover, to say the least.

Fans of the other bands these guys are in will be interested in checking this out as will rockabilly rebels and fans of quality Rock and Roll out looking for a whole lot of music for your money and excellent tunes they are too.  Pick it up!

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Author: Dom Daley