Occult Whispers

Altar De Fey The Insatiable Desire… For More LP

Flawless deathrock that so closely mirrors the premier bands of the early ’80s, you’d think that this was a DISCLOSE-like tribune to CHRISTIAN DEATH. While that would be awesome, the truth is even better: they’re actually original gangsters! While their first recordings didn’t emerge until the 21st century, the original lineup of the band gigged around San Francisco between ’83 and ’85, and even this, their second album contains songs written during that period. While there are touches of gothic influence present in the aesthetic, the instrumentation, eschews the synth ’n’ sax overkill of full-blown goth in favor of a leaner, more punk-oriented style. Founding guitarist Kent Cates is the centerpiece of the band, with the songs being built around his elaborate, often oddly-tuned compositions, supplemented by vocalist Jake Hout whose singing echos Rozz Williams’ sleazy charm. A couple tracks linger for a hair or two too long, but to be fair that kind of comes with the style. In pretty much every other aspect, this is as good as it gets when it comes to deathrock, past or present. Hell, even the cover art is so vintage that just looking at it makes you smell like cloves and patchouli for days.

[di: unru:] Misophonia LP

This is definitely something I’d flip past in a record shop and never consider picking up. I’m not even completely sure how to say the band’s name due to the punctuation surrounding it, as well as my limited knowledge of German and Finnish words. But holy smokes, I’m glad I have it now because this band rules. It’s synthy darkwave with strong and aggressive vocals, fantastic synth lines, and some real ace drumming. I sometimes am really turned off by ’80s-style bands because they overuse synth, and/or make the drums sound electronic. I’m not into EDM no matter what decade, so I definitely don’t want that mixing into punk subgenres. This band from Helsinki bridges the divide between JOY DIVISION and KILLING JOKE to stuff like WHITE LUNG and PLEASURE LEFTISTS. What surprised me as I looked over the lyric sheet was that while I loved the lyrics to “Flaws,” a song about body acceptance, I ended up thinking it was the only clunker on the record. It’s way slower than the rest of the tracks, is missing their awesome driving drums, and I wasn’t into the reverb on the vocals. But the song right after that, “Kick the Habit,” which I thought the lyrics were just all right, ended up being the most catchy on the whole record for me. I’m really into this record and stoked to have it in my collection.