Despite the setbacks due to the COVID pandemic, musically 2021 was a pretty damn good year & I’m sure it will eventually be dusted down taken out of the celler & recognised as a very fine vintage indeed. 2022 is also shaping upto be a hell of a year to look forward to. So in the words of Julie Andrews – “These are a few of my favourite things” and whilst there’s no whiskers on kittens or warm woollen mittens, we do have Goths in wide hats & a shit load of bats. So, to whet your appetites for the year ahead I thought I’d share a few of the new releases we’re getting in 2022 that I’m most looking forward to & some I currently have no idea if we will but hope that we do.
October Burns Black.
The Global Goth supergroup that formed in 2015 has a rota of Goth Rock royalty: James Tramel (The Wake – US) Rod Hanna (Return to Khafji), Lars Kappeler (Sweet Ermengarde) and Tommy Olsson (The Morendoes) & Simon Rippin (Fields of the Nephilim to name just 1 in a hundred) This line up is, knowing their backgrounds unsurprisingly talented – the sound they put together and make as band however most certainly is; in all the best ways. This album will be received & touched with both joy and sadness for me as I understand it, it’s going to dedicated to Robert Fairbairn, a good friend of both the band & myself along with numerous others in the scene. A massive supporter of OBB & of all the others in this list in fact. His infectious love of music, support & mischievous banter is sadly missed but will be remembered by all that listen to this record. In so doing, he’ll be there with us on that virgin album listen and he’ll be standing tall on our shoulders as the first notes ring out to the crowd from the stage at the album launch gig.
All My Thorns
Another band that mean a lot not just for the quality and substance of their musicality but for the same emotional reasons. It was Rob that introduced me to Sometime the Wolf too: All My Thorns singer Drew Freeman and Bassist Korv Such’s previous incarnation. STW’s 1st and sadly only album ‘From Here & Earth’ was a soulful, insightful and melancholy masterpiece. Not only was it a favourite of 2019 but easily one of the best of the decade and possibly it may even get the kudos it deserves one day and be recognised as one of the finest of the century. (Honestly, it’s that good) The upcoming All My Thorns record then, has a lot to live up to in my musical mind. Knowing the lads musical calibre however I’ve no douobt that it will. Drew is a phenomenal songwriter & AMT have played numerous successful gigs in 2021 and fan responses have been just as you’d expect and I’ve loved all the live new songs I’ve heard. We’ve had no officially released AMT material yet just some of the fan live footage of the shows on YouTube but the debut record from All My Thorns is one that is highly anticipated & will be warmly received by myself and the rest of their loyal fanbase.
Grooving in Green
I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again…” I fucking love this band!” The previous article I wrote about GiG for the BVA page was less interview and review & more fan boy love letter. I am not now nor will I ever be ashamed! It’s been a goodly while since we’ve had anything new from Grooving in Green; the last releases being the “Warning Signs” Ep and their 3rd full studio album ‘A Second Chance’ both in 2019. Again, due to COVID we’ve not been able to see GiG live in some time either. What makes Grooving in Green standout from the crowd for me isn’t just the obvious musical talent of guitarist and melodic noise merchant Pete Finemore (Children on Stun) The literal groove behind the name from “Switchblade” Switch, Simon Rippin’s (Insert other band here) almost legendary percussive power or General Megatron ‘Tron’ Bison’s (Solemn Novena) vocal range. It’s the content and culmination of all the former coupled with a real, politically astute, socially aware and articulate message that make Grooving in Green one of the most loved and best UK Goth/Alt Rock bands. The awesome Christmas present we were given by the band at the end of 2021 though was the news that the new album is indeed finally on its way for 2022 with the tracks complete and just waiting on Si (Yes that’s Mr Rippin again) working his magic in the studio. I for one can’t wait to get my Groove Goth back on.
I’ve written a lot about Black Angel over the last year or so and I’m pretty sure it’ll be the same this year. This is for good reason too as they are an act that have stood out as being unashamedly shitkicking Gothic Rock n Roll. They’ve had a meteoric & well-deserved rise since their 1st album ‘The Widow’ in 2018. Prolific in their output with much of 4th studio album ‘The Black Rose’ being penned before the vinyl press for 2021’s ‘Prince of Darkness’ was even cold. The 2 piece are unique not just in their sound, which is dark & decadent, sexy, stylish & sensual but in their format too, as all the song writing, instrumentation, music arrangement and production are carried out by Black Angels’ creator and main man Matt Vowles. Leaving coolly charismatic Hollywood actor & vocalist Corey Landis who joined the band for 2020’s ‘Kiss of Death’ focusing solely on his double tracked vocal style which not only shows off his range and gorgeous tone but gives each track a real depth of feeling too. The lead single for ‘The Black Rose’, ‘Breathe’ was released on December 22nd, 2021 with latest single ‘All or Nothing’ due for release in a couple of weeks and the album due mid-2022. Black Angel my winklepickered lovelies is Modern Goth Rock at it’s blackest best.
The Faces of Sarah
FoS are a staple in this house & I’ve been a fan for over 20 years now. Their often-upbeat Alt/Goth Rock guitar driven sound is peppered with accents of melancholia, sheer joy and sadness and never fails to take the listener on a journey of highs & lows that leave one simply wanting more. That sound is spearheaded by front man & founder member Nick Shultz: one of the most impressive goosebump inducing vocals you’re ever likely to hear. I, fellow fan & BVA photographer Andrew were lucky enough to catch FoS live last year at their 2001 song titled event the “All That Is Divine” Festival at Kolis in London. One of the best musical days out I’ve had since the Goth ‘All Dayers’ of the 80’s & 90’s. Nostalgia hung heavy in the air like dry ice for the soul. I was lucky enough to get to meet and chat to the band albeit briefly at the gig and then converse online for an interview for the page too. As I say I’ve been a fan for a long time & they say you should never meet your icons; in this case that couldn’t be more wrong – Nick, his partner & FoS guitarist Emm Newby are some of the loveliest, talented but down to earth folks I’ve ever had the pleasure to talk to in the scene. Music fans themselves 1st & foremost, there’s no ego’s just a genuine love of music & a desire to share what they do so well, with others. The very exciting news late last year was that none other than Tim Jarvis, singer & multi-talented musician of the Mighty GothZilla will be joining FoS on bass guitar duties in future. There’s not much other news on the new album front yet but as far as I’m aware – a new album and a live studio session are to be recorded & released sometime in summer 2022.
A new album from Sweet Ermengarde would be welcome news and exciting at the best of times. Add the recent news that Drew Freeman (Sometime the Wolf/All My Thorns) is going to be joining as lead vocalist and songwriter and I’ll be honest I almost let out a little pee when I heard the news. Sweet Ermengarde have been as a strong favourite of mine since their 2013 debut. Influences of the Neph are of course apparent in some of their sound (Nowt wrong with that especially as the Neph seem to have stopped doing anything) but they were always & are so much more than just an 80’s soundalike band, more a case of the dark flame being handed over to a newer more contemporary band that treat the sound with respect but have their own unique flair & oodles of talent to back it up. With Drew now onboard and knowing his style, song writing chops and vocal balls I really can’t wait to hear the new material and the release of new double single ‘Standing by the Sea’ and a new version of one of SE’s most loved tracks ‘A Promise to Fulfil’ with Drew now at the vocal helm. The single is set to be released on Jan 21st.
There are of course a whole host of other artists & bands. Far too many to mention them all and many that I’m not sure about forthcoming new material for anyway but hope we see in 2022. If any artists and band members are reading this, you can always take this as hint please?! A few I hope to see are…
The “Too Goth” legend & icon of 90’s US Trip-Goth band, Sunshine Blind shouldn’t need much introduction from me, as the words legend & icon tend to imply. The very first artist the page & a naïve & nervous me got chatting to online & interviewed. Caroline has since spurred the page & me on with her support & friendship and inspired with her music. With more vocal magic & power than us mere mortals will ever know, capable of lulling the listener to a gentle sleep or waking you from the dead in equal measure. Whatever Caroline’s recording & release plans are for 2022, the page & myself will be there as a fan & a friend to listen to it, buy it, support it, write about it and generally shout loud n proud about it.
Sounds Like Winter.
If you haven’t heard antipodean Post-Punk outfit SLW yet, then I suggest you do so post-haste. 2021’s ‘Fight the Stairs’ was not only one of the finest records of 2021 & one of my most heavily played but one I firmly believe that in the passage of time will be classed as a modern Post-Punk classic up there with the late 70’s & 80’s most beloved albums of the genre. I know lead singer and songwriter Ant Banister has also been working hard on his other global project -Sequential Zero with Bruce Wells (Orcus Nullify US) and Colin Gallagher (Burnt Souls AU) and whilst I’m currently unaware of any dates for new album releases from Sound Like Winter my inner music nerd & indeed my musical soul is praying that we get more of the same in 2022.
Californian Goth Rockers Ashes Fallen came to my attention when I first heard the 50’s Horror/Cramps-eque crepe sole foot stomper that is ‘Vampira – The Ballad of Maila’- a song about the icon & one of our adopted own where the pace & beat belie the sadness of the lyrics that tell her story. Their sophomore album ‘A Fleeting Melody out of a Fading Dream’ is Husband and wife Michelle & James Parry’s callout on social issues & injustices. Right up my street then. I love a record and a band that have something to say, something they want to get off their chest and share with others through their music. The album did & continues to do just that on every listen and I’m hoping that they have much more to say with whatever comes next from Ashes Fallen.
Guillotine Dream, in case you aren’t aware of them are one of the best relatively unknown Goth rock acts of recent years and one of my absolute favourites. 2020’s Damaged & Damned & 2021’s Demigods are on permenant heavy rotation both never failing to hit the right note. The Westcountry 3 piece record all their albums live and usually in fairly short order: this gives their musical style which is a subtle marriage of the bands deathmetal heritage & experience coupled with a lifelong love of Goth rock, a sharper honed edge than even their namesake executionary blade. Exceptional musicians & truly decent chaps who do it all for the love of music. Guillotine Dream Fucking Rock! Here’s hoping we get more records and that they get the credit and the sold out live gigs they deserve in 2022.
Support the band. Buy the music & merch here. https://guillotinedream.bandcamp.com/
A big part of my musical life last year & a band I’ve talked about a lot & more importantly listened to a lot. One of my absolute modern favourites whether recorded or live, especially after seeing them play at the All That is Divine festival last year, as head honcho at GothZilla Tim Jarvis is the consummate frontman & never fails to get the crowd going and with the addition of slick shredder, Stuart Harbut on guitar last year too this mighty beast . Here’s hopingTims not too busy on bass duties for FoS & we get another stonker like 2020’s Auras.
The Glasshouse Museum.
Another band that were a big part of my 2021 soundscape are The Glasshouse Museum. Pretty sure I saw something from bassist & programmer Lee Meadows of TGHM online late last year regarding potential upcoming new material from the West-Midlands three-piece but don’t quote me on that! With Lee’s driving, slide heavy melodic basslines, searing jangly guitars & a gorgeous velvet croon from siblings Jon & Joe Cummings respectively, I’m again hoping that we get something new to whet our appetites and deservedly share the shit out of in 2022.
The side project of TGHM bassist & programmer Lee Meadows, CODENAME: LOLA is an eclectic remix & cover based act and deliver some of the finest of both you’re ever gonna hear. Often featuring pals from other bands on vocals such as Gotzilla’s Tim Jarvis on the superb Ultravox cover ‘All Stood Still’ or the delightfully sublime & silky but heavyweight power punching pipes of Alixandrea Corvyn of Goth Big hitters Rhombus & Last July on last year’s fantastic Dream Discples cover of ‘Room 57’. No idea if there’s even a plan to do a long play collection of tracks but I’d buy it if there was & so should you.