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Happy to be included in this wonderful third compilation by the amazing creative artist Attasalina and DJ Mac Stewart (and friends, both)!
Released Dec 15, 2016
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
Severance, dark rock band out of Monterrey, Mexico, is about to release the first single NEW CULT off their forthcoming album, THRESHOLDS. Consisting of vocals/lyricist and guitarist Rul Delirio, lead guitarist Carlo “Bam-Bam” Vargas, drummer Marco Soma and bassist Hugo “Altered Beast” Guererro, the band has been together and putting out material since 2013. They have garnered a nice following in Mexico and via international radio show podcasts, but are very excited about this self-released debut album.
NEW CULT is a uniquely powerful song, nicely crafted with impressive sonic dynamics, that speaks of mistakes, past pain, negativity, and humanity’s endless need to worship and to seek false prophets out of fear. It opens reflectively with lilting chime-like guitar, and a bass that adds lyrical touch just before the serene flow of Delirio’s vocals ease in. His words are substantive yet poetic, with interesting cadence not reflected by the written text:
“Nothing hiding under your skin,
through scars and years each of your sins,
Walls have fallen, names forgotten,
This is the end of these times of need.”
At brief moments, Delirio’s voice takes on an other-worldly tone quality evocative of Peter Murphy, with an interesting intensity that stays contained even though the musical line rises. During the B-part that allows Vargas’ lead guitar to shine, the vocals almost seem to get even more placid, yet lovely to the ear. This is an odd and thus effective juxtaposition, as he intensely sings with still-demure affect, of the ‘immensity of the will’ in man’s seeking some god, any god….
“Young blood, this is new cult,
New Breed know your old god,
Young blood this is new word,
Show your love.”
Powerfully impressive, this transformation of sorts happens even without full band raise of volume. It certainly feels as if the song kicks in here, but it is solely voice. The drama so evident in many dark bands is not at all a forced element here, but instead feels organic… and as such, especially potent. This dynamic change of immense proportion, all in vocals, is indeed the song’s greatest quality. (And the only criticism of the single might be that the vocals could stand to come out even just a touch more.)
Soma’s drums get a chance to show variety and shine during the transitions to and from the chorus and lead guitar creates an excellent atmosphere throughout. Guererro’s bass is relentlessly strong and a good partner with the rhythm guitar, and there many well-placed shimmering chordal accents throughout the song.With this single as symbol of the full album about to be released, Severance perhaps is crossing a threshold of their own, moving into before-unreached territory in their body of work. The band members came out of a past born of hardcore punk, and though they have squarely landed now on the chosen side of dark alternative rock, theirs is dark music with evident edge. The influences of Iggy, Type O, perhaps alongside the mainstay sound emulative of Sisters, Mission and Fields of the Nephilim. With both the delicacy and the bite in Delirio’s vocal stylings here (building on some previous voice and guitar edge of older songs), their talent and history in that other camp is still effectively on display, carefully crafted. One could argue that such an element is what keeps their music uniquely distinct and more palpable than any dark band simply going full-force for ethereal effect.
Perhaps humanity’s endless seeking, which Delirio writes hypnotically of in NEW CULT, is fulfilled in a different way in his own life. Music-making seems to be liberating any past negativity surrounding him. He offers a redemptive stanza in the song that is similar to elements in a written description of Severance’s work, in telling “an ancient story”:
What you have lost will return,
the ancient temple will be reborn,
Just bring your hands to the sea,
cast your gaze to eternity….
NEW CULT is out Nov. 18th via Bandcamp; the full album to follow in December.
Wow ~ in updating my website, so many radio airplays this Fall due to great new connections made w/ fellow artists! Gratitude extended to the following new friends & a shout-out to stations who’ve been playing my solo work & band collaborations, and tons of great music: Victor Sevillano, ‘El Guru’ Eugenio Javier Caceres, Jorge Marchan, Ant Banister, Mick Mercer, Nikos Katsigialos, Lory Fayer & DJ Father Coven… at Sinfonias Nocturnas (Peru), Torment Radio (Australia), Dead Sound Show (LA) & Dusk Sounds (Italia) all on Eterna Oscuridad radio network; CRIMINAL TANGO (DJ EL GURÚ) (Buenos Aires); Mick Mercer Radio (UK); BloodlitRadio.com (Toronto) and DIE SEELE (Greece)
See external links to actual shows on Original Music page
I was happy to translate an interview from Espanol for mi nuevo amigos & soon collaborators Carlos Cat y Miguel Corvus of ANIMAL ROJO.
Check it out ~ its especially apropo due to the fact that their song “Aroma Agonica” is detailed, coming up on its All Souls Day release anniversary!
Up & running on GooglePlay now, w/ an About The Artist statement I can live with…
A pleasure to play for Alain Moreaux & Jerome on L’Ordre d’Héloïse’s latest. Perhaps some sonic beauty on 9/11 today…
“I knew the beginning of time; shade, peaks and then the wind…”
(English lyrics below French on Soundcloud).
So it was my pleasure yesterday to post a recent collaboration w/ Loredana Fayer. She is an Italian poet and lyricist to many a postpunk/coldwave band (and fellow Joy Division lover). Her words have thus been heard many times. I had a different idea, though…
Dark, erotic, misterioso…
“Annegrette” ~ Exclusive Single released May 24, 2016
by Come With Reverse, w/ Electric Violin – Lisa Miles
Stream on SoundCloud
Free Download from Come With Reverse website
Full Screen Experience;) on Youtube