Writing on Severance and Animal Rojo recently got me realizing that I should post a promotional review I did of the band Come With Reverse this past Spring (submitted to media but not shared online). Disclosure: these guys are compadres of mine, I having had the pleasure of composing and playing live with them within the last year. Nevertheless, I hope it aptly describes the excellent dark stylings of this great group, who opened for Garden of Delight last Saturday in Athens, Greece (Second Skin club, Dec. 10th)
Come With Reverse (Thessaloniki, Greece)
The three musicians of Come With Reverse forge a captivating sound that cannot be easily classified. Dark Alternative might be the best approximation of their work, which is influenced by many genres, including traditional-ethnic music of several countries nearby their bohemian home city of Thessaloniki, Greece. Intertwined within their dark aesthetic is their genuine nod to the Gothic rock tradition, with their music certainly appealing to fans of The Sisters of Mercy and Fields of the Nephilim. (They shared the bill with Salvation AMP in Finland and opened for Inkubbus Sukkubus at their first gig in Athens, 2012). Dark Post-Punk? For sure. “Driving established harmonies into the dark reverse” is how the classically-trained guys, all, characterized their sound (and named their band) back in 2010.
Come With Reverse has a visibly unique musicality, one that is fed both by desire for continual exploration and their distinct talent. The wild, interwoven synths of Alex Passalides, such as those in “Lust Pace,” shine in the songs from their second album, “Composing Serenity” (Mislealia Records, 2015). Not to mention his dark modern classical/ dark electronica in the refreshing but still-Goth “Mandolism.” Petros Leivadas’ powerfully dissonant guitar, sparse well-used bass, and of course mesmerizing electro mandolin interlock with the well-styled drums of Alex Lykesas in “Imeros.”
“Lust Pace” is one of the trio’s strongest, if for no other reason than the rock power-chord beginning and tonal modulation to its chorus. The album’s title song awes with a rare Greek-spoken intro by Leivadas. (Come With Reverse’s pieces, mutually-composed, are in English.) It then variously disintegrates and erupts into utter-whispered threats to jangly (then beautiful, then back) guitars artfully mixed. (The recording, mix and master for both albums was by sound engineer Noukas Sotiris of Underground Studios in their northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.)
The way-deep emotion-laden vocals of Petros Leivadas aren’t postured– his is a voice that really stands out in Gothic as well as other music spheres. One listen to their namesake song from their first independent-released album or their exclusive single release cover of Sinatra’s “My Way” should dispel any doubt. Alex Lykesas on drums shows the rhythmic dynamism of a schooled player whose family background and training is also in Greek dance. His parts on so many songs include interesting interworkings and subtle touches that come to the ear’s forefront. Excellent experimental dark typifies the handful of songs from the first album, from the wow-ing vocal abyss in “Vanity” to the exquisite sound of the German-sung, Nick Cave-like “Retour An Dich”. Theirs has only the occasional nod to the current-day political realities of Greece, as most of Come With Reverse’s material comes from a place of introspection, with lyrics of obscurely effective sentiments.
An evolution, as it should be, from their first album, “Composing Serenity” has some surprises toward the end that could be considered by some to be their strongest stuff– somehow organically combining Greek and Turkish musical elements, kick-ass rock and echoes of EDM (as in their song “Decay” and 2016 exclusive single “Annegrette”). “Crawling In a Wire,” first released as a single and with accompanying must-see video shot at Athen’s Ghost House club is both testament to the band’s rock core yet also exotic current turns. “Your Delight” (https://come-with-reverse.bandcamp.com/track/your-delight ) is perhaps the hidden gem– beginning with lovely-timbred Mediterranean guitar, the dynamics change from bare-whispers to simple bass to finally the hammered-out edgy-twisted melody line that is underneath “give me your pain, your delight… unleash my spirit.” The misterioso is thrown off in the album’s twelfth and final song, “Yanli Tamburism,” a spirited, crazed unleash of all elements classical and Greek and Balkan and Goth and post-punk. This is a group of true artists who can really play– and that have much more to offer on future releases, of which they are already at work.
—Lisa A. Miles