MICK MERCER's journal

VARIOUS ARTISTS
NEW DARK AGE Vol 3
Strobelight

A band was asking me only this week who was the best European label to contact with an interest in trying to get a deal and I didn’t even have to think before replying Strobelight, because the consistent high quality of their releases is testament to their ability to find the very best, so a double compilation is bound to be packed to the rafters with songs to make your synapses snap. And it is. I enjoyed 37 out of the 40 tracks, which may seem ridiculous, bordering on delusional optimism, but it’s no accident, because they really do unearth the gems of today, so you want to find this mid-priced comp and find it now.

The thumpily consistent Soulscape, a wonderfully enfolding Ikon and a feverish Uninvited Guest makes for a great opening and then you’re into a typical torrent. Bloody Dead & Sexy go for some lo-fi guitar cunning and cocky vocals, New Days Delay teem with demure, squashed ideas walking a bass tightrope, Scarlet’s Remains bubble insanely just as No Tears bewitch.

Surprises? The big rolling, riffing Eva O, Miguel And The Living Dead going totally mental with the humour stakes, and Faith & The Muse as guitar-wielding maniacs. Also, fertile mutant muck not a million miles from Zombina of yesterday’s review but this time called Naughty Zombies! Deathcamp Project stamp and shatter, coldly beneath deathstar vocals. Formfleisch set off an unexpected lopsided art explosion that is as filmic as it is vicious, Substance Of Dream and The Sixth Chamber are seething in a relaxed manner, The Empire Hideous are barnacle-free rock surging ahead and Deadchovsky are pretty, trad Goth with beavering guitar, but histrionic vocals which is interesting.

New Skin are nice and chunky with great guitar and watchful floppy vocals, The Escape are all sensitive and lost, The Ghost Of Lemura become lean rock, in cool cahoots with some grizzled vocal charisma, The Deep Eynde are evil and fun, Tragic Black sounds like a Disney idea of a coven, and Passion Plastique are like The Normal, which isn’t good, but there’s nice melodic shafts of light in the minimalism.


Wallenberg are twiddly and sound like a punk band with a mad singer and Under A Purple Sky’ seems a bit liughtweight which were the only tracks I couldn’t get into along with Davos, which seemed like dance mush. Purr Machine have lovely poppy vocal sensibilities deliberately poisoned by the itchy music. Swann Danger are like a dangerous version of that, and here’s Ultranoir! Their ‘Dismember Me’ is a true wayward beauty. Lament is light despair curled into a delightful heap of sparse rhythm, delicate vocal and rising guitar, The Brides do that Strangler-sounding one, which is great and both Mephisto Walz and Ausgang are massive,

13th Sky are back? ‘Vicious Breed’ is warm, vibrating Goth, Undying Legacy quiver maliciously, Radio Scarlet chomp at the bit with pounding, whirring sounds, like Sigue Sigue Sputnik wearing cool clothes, Joy Disaster is all splattering drums, big bass, stumbling guitar and vocals as active indie should be, Rome Burns are, naturally, glorious and Frank The Baptist is wonderful.

And the CD(s) are worth getting just so that you have ‘Wishing Well’ by Hearts Fail, a true modern classic, and an epic.

http://www.strobelight-records.com

Soulscape - First Blood ( Strobelight edit ) / Ikon - I Never Wanted You / Uninvited Guest - When You're Dead / Eva O. - Not Seen / Bloody Dead And Sexy - Cheeks / Miguel And The Living Dead - Graveyard Love Song / Zombies - Give Me Your Soul / New Days Delay - Vermutlich Hysterisch / The Sixth Chamber - Hollywood Princess Doe / Faith And The Muse - Plague Dance (Live) / Deathcamp Project - Dead Hours (Strobelight edit) / Formfleisch - Array (StrobeFleisch edit ) / Deadchovsky - Tears Of Crust / Ausgang - I Fear The Fear / Hearts Fail - Wishing Well / 13th Sky - Vicious Breed (strobelight version) / Undying Legacy - Not Everything Is As It Seems / New Skin - Inside Of Me / Purr Machine - Monkey Dreams / Ultranoir - Dismember Me / Radio Scarlet - Sir Rotts A Lot / Joy Disaster - Artemis / Rome Burns - Empty Samsara / Frank The Baptist - Ever (Strobelight's Request) / Mephisto Walz - Alle In Asche 2005 (strobemerged) / Lament - Winter / The Ghost Of Lemora - To The Gods That Walk Among Us / The Empire Hideous - Two Minutes Til Midnight / Wallenberg - If I Was Another Man / The Deep Eynde - Devilchild / Tragic Black - Surreal Catharsis / Substance Of Dream - Satanskult / The Brides - Black Market Rebate / Scarlet's Remains - Circular Thoughts / Swann Danger - Motion To Bliss / Passion Plastique - Coma Place / No Tears - Night Effect / Davos - These Days / Under A Purple Sky - Embrace (Strobelight remix) / The Escape - Inside (Live)