Black Parade –  Musta Paraati (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

563205It is fair to say that 34 years is rather a long time to wait for a new album and although the band underwent a period of rejuvenation in 2015 when they worked with vocalist Herra Ylppö to release a two-track e.p., this recent collaboration with Jyrki Linnankivi from The 69 Eyes was only ever intended to produce a couple of songs in English for fans beyond their Finnish borders. Still, as is often the way, one thing leads to another and the next thing you know you are clutching a full blown album of new material.

Musta Paraati are sonic brethren to the likes of Killing Joke or Theatre of Hate, skirting the cliche of goth with enough distance to put them in a more credible market. They  build songs around the same sonic Strum and Drang as those dark post-punk bands, they wander between cavernous doom and chiming electronica and there is something of Carl McCoy in Linnankivi’s vocals, only with much better clarity and diction. But unlike McCoy’s Nephilim they stop short of the pretension that oozed from their pores.  Like most bands who start in fairly niche genres you only survive by quickly broadening your horizons, The Clash had out grown punk by London’s Calling and more relevantly The Mission had shed the goth moniker by the time they had put Children to bed.

Black Parade is the sound of a band who know their audience but who don’t pander to its every whim, casting their net to a wider alternative rock potential crowd. The one older song here, Leader, proves that they already knew how to walk the fine line between the dark edge of underground New Romanticism and what would soon be termed alternative rock even as the NWOBHM championed the classic sound of the seventies.

The remaining ten tracks are all new. Chopsticks chimes with a wonderful space and accessibility, Radio is dense with heavy textures even as it references Bowies most soul -pop moments, Reaper is raw and jagged and Today is the perfect blend of dance groove and industrial edge. It’s easy to see where the bands blackened heart lies but the charm of the album is that this is the sound of the band writing the music that they might if they were starting out today. Whether you are a fan of the early albums or just someone looking for music that flies in the face of modern by-the-numbers alt-rock and identikit indie, this is an album that you are going to fall for immediately.

Album pre-order – CD     Vinyl


Finding Beauty in Chaos –  Beauty in Chaos ( reviewed by Dave Franklin)

837085Beauty in Chaos is a strange and intriguing prospect and like anything deserving of such a description is hard to easily pin down. Too fleeting to be a supergroup, more organic than merely a curated project, too original and forward thinking to be merely a rose-spectacled look at the past…it skips fleetingly past all those ideas, echoing all but committing to none. Personally it feels as if someone has snuck in to my house, rummaged through my vinyl collection to see what I like and brought a large selection of those bands and artists together to make an album just for me. They even put everything back in the right place afterwards.

At the heart of this exquisite album is guitarist and keyboardist Michael Ciravolo who managed to gather together an impressive roster of guest artists to appear as co-writers, performers and often both.  The result is an album rooted in Ciravolo’s textured creations and then flavoured by the artists he brings to teach song, thus creating new music that sounds like long forgotten favourites, songs echoing signature sounds whilst wandering new paths and new potential. And whilst the list of the great and good who feature here dictate that there is an obvious, ready made market, it has to be stressed that Finding Beauty in Chaos rings with as much originality as those artists did in the first place.

But you can’t ignore the appeal of the album to existing post-punks, goths and alt-rockers, just look at the bands that this connects with, The Mission, The Cure, King’s X, Gene Loves Jezebel, even Ministry and Cheap Trick plus many more. The overall sound tends to revel in cinematic soundscaping, lush textures and brooding sonics but often these are shot through with jagged sonics and raw, razor wire guitars. There are occasional meanders into more extreme territory such as Al Jourgensen giving 20th Century Boy an industrial make-over on the album’s only cover but more representative is the Wayne Hussey and Simon Gallup performance on Man of Faith or Evi Vine’s hushed vocals on the ethereal I Will Follow.

With so many combinations and shifting personnel, it is an album that delivers much, the perfect combination of the right amount of musical cohesiveness and enough room to let the individual musical personalities take centre stage. It would be easy to make such an album feel like a flash back to the past, instead Beauty in Chaos is a glimpse of a future that never was and for those tantalising dreams, I give my thanks.

Chandelier –  autumn (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

091938Chandelier is an album which reminds us that the post-punk and gothic originators from which autumn, at least in part take their lead, were essentially pop bands, although ones not afraid to revel in a quirkiness and outsider stance. And whereas the likes of Souixsie and the Banshees, who are always going to get mentioned in autumn reviews not least for Julie Plante’s vocal similarities and The Mission’s dark Byrds-esque guitar work took things to darker places, autumn are more content to shimmer than brood, chime rather than moan.

Not that the two were ever very far apart anyway but Chandelier errs as much on the side of dream-pop as it does goth, happy to bathe in celestial light and bright ethereal haze rather than turn to the shadows. And it is this play off that creates the perfect sound. One about which the bat cavers and the creatures of the night will find a lot to like but also appealing to those mining a more 4AD and 80’s indie shaped furrow.

The Fall sums this dichotomy rather succinctly, dripping with melody and grandeur, accessibility and poetic poise but staying on the right side of the encroaching nightfall. It evokes dusk rather than the dark and that makes all the difference. Even songs with titles as in keeping with the image as Shadow Girl 2 and My Last Confession owe more to a dreamy pop canon, whilst driving on a strong sense of dance groove. This is music with mystery and majesty to spare but it is also perfect for the alternative club dance floor.

It was, and still is, easy to see the gothic scene as a monochrome set, a Poe faced bunch, the musical equivalent of a stack of Penny dreadfuls, cliched, derivative and pretentious. Chandelier and the band behind it are miles from that narrow view reality. Maybe the Banshees reference is even more apt than it first appears for autumn are also a band who have managed to out grow and evolve beyond the inner sanctum of what people would have you believe goth was really all about. Goth heading into the light of a new musical day? Oh the irony!

The Crucial 5 – Five essential nights out in London

Variety isn’t just an entertainment trade magazine, it is also the spice of life, a veritable condiment to flavor your social life and just looking at the recommendations below you can see that London’s nightlife has so much of that to offer. Whether it is young indie trailblazers or artists who have defined music itself, brooding musical creations, all night party animals or sensitive acoustic narrators, it is all there and much more besides.

TheDrumsWho: The Drums

Where: Koko Camden

When: Tuesday 21st July

Why: Seen in many ways as successors to another bunch of charismatic New Yorkers, The Strokes, this duo trade in buzz-generating singles and albums that reference 80’s post punk as much as they do the modern pop template. They have sometimes been accused of being late coming to the retro pop party but I would argue that they are not so much behind the curve but the front runners for the next one. Anthemic future festival favourites, excuse the alliteration.

Ray-DaviesWho: Greenwich Music Time Festival

Where: Old Royal Naval Yard, Greenwich

When: Wednesday 22nd – 27th July

Why: A four-day festival of iconic artists set in magnificent outdoor surroundings and backlit by the city lights of Canary Wharf. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that? Whether you are there for Kinks front man Ray Davis, Grammy Award winning George Benson, The Gypsy Kings or national treasure Sir Tom Jones, this second year promises to be another stunning experience.

photo1Who: Blood Brothers (aka The Mission)

Where: O2 Academy, Islington

When: Wednesday 22nd -23rd July

Why: They may be playing under an alias but not much gets past us and with the classic frontline of the band reunited there is no better time to catch the original Gothfathers. In the past the Blood Brothers nome de plume has indicated a “best of” set as the band play a tribute to their own career so expect 30 years of amazing songs from one of the best live bands treading the boards today.

avatars-000067380169-4a1ck2-t500x500Who: DJ Mag Session

Where: Egg London

When: Saturday 25th July

Why: You know that you can trust a show booked by the No 1 magazine for the DJing world, so it comes as no surprise that they can offer acts such as Amsterdam’s house/disco duo, Detroit Swindle. If perfect facsimiles of US house – thick beats, jazzy flourishes, vocal cut ups – in short guaranteed floor fillers is your thing, then you have come to the right place. Add to that Seven Davis Jr, Glenn Astro and the DJ Mag All-stars and there is only one place to be.

badly-drawn-boy_9Who: Badly Drawn Boy

Where: The Barbican

When: Sunday 26th July

Why: Damon Gough has not only survived changes in musical fashion but also flourished due to his dedication to passion, honesty and a desire for perfection in an era where many artists are moving in a wholly different direction. Tonight we return to those early days as the Chorlton-cum-Hardy perennial and anti-superstar plays his break-through album The Hour of The Bewilderbeast in full, along side more recent career highlights in his own inimitable, northern storytelling, crescendo building, indie-folk style.

Whether you are looking to attend these events or the hundreds of others taking place in London this week, be sure to check first for the best deals on tickets and a one-stop shop for easy access to London nightlife.

Songs of Candlelight and Razorblades – Wayne Hussey (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

71XaDXdPBKL._SL1500_Although a big fan of The Sisters of Mercy and the earlier Mission albums, I have to confess that I lost touch with Wayne Hussey’s musical path a long time ago, for no other reason that there is only so much time and money to be dedicated to music these days and there is so much music to be had. Sorry Wayne! It was, therefore, an unexpected delight to find “Songs of Candlelight and Razorblades” in my weekly “to do” pile – a real change from the usual acoustic by numbers and Arctic Monkeys wannabes that seem to make up it’s bulk these days.


Hitting play sent a shiver down my spine, that voice, passionate yet world weary, liberally mixing poetic cliché with gothic romanticism, suddenly plugging me back into times and places, gigs and parties long forgotten. That’s the power of music on memory I guess. Those also familiar with The Mission back catalogue will find a lot here that they like, a lot that is reminiscent, but only in as much as the hall marks of any band are also largely the hallmarks of it’s main creator. The 12 string flourishes, heart aching vocal and subject matter may all seem familiar but here the emphasis is largely on a late night, introspective style, quiet reflections and candlelit conversations on the right side of midnight, rather than the hedonistic, all night, rock ‘n’ roll party of those formative years.


It’s nice to hear that he still hasn’t lost that wonderful romanticism, one that only exists in Victorian novels, poems of courtly love and….well, Mission songs. Tales of innocence, unrequited love, loss and longing and a spoken word piece describing Burkowskian back street ballets all backed up musically with baroque moods, sweeping strings, plaintive pianos and dark atmospherics that linger at the end of the verse as the sentiment floats away into a lonely night sky. Blimey, he’s got me doing it now!



It is interesting coming at Hussey’s music after so long away, it’s like recognising an old friend. Even though their clothes and haircut may have changed you still notice the same mannerisms and habits, fall back into easy conversation and feel immediately comfortable around them. Thanks Wayne, it’s been great catching up with you.



New Music of The Day : V – Cold Life – Terminal Gods


Classic Rock magazine described Terminal Gods saying “Imagine a world in which Andrew Eldritch kept his hair and his leather jacket, and instead of doing crossword puzzles for the last decade, he spent his time cracking skulls in biker bars. ”

…and to be honest there isn’t much to add to that. As someone who grew up through the early days of goth, before it became a sub-genre of metal populated by people who watched too much sci-fi or thought that Buffy The Vampire Slayer was actually a reality TV show, it’s always refreshing to hear a modern band who tap into what the original movement was all about. Accessible melodies built on guitar riffs, an almost dance drive…be it a spiralling death dirge waltz or heads down no nonsense mindless boogie, all drenched in dense layers of dark music, clinical beats and the cold attack of a serial killer.  Thankfully  Terminal Gods are aware of this and by taking equal measures of March Violets groove, Sisters bleakness and The Mission’s pop sensibilities and then using modern production and their own unique musical ingredients to create a full bodied sound that was often missing back in the day, they emerge with something that really put’s the record straight for ageing goth’s such as myself. Check out their older tracks, particularly Persona and be impressed with their ability to full explore the genre without compromising it’s dark ethic and core sounds.

Cold Life is released on Heavy Leather Records on 14th July

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