“Gothimism” the new track & first single from the upcoming album of the same name sees the Kalamazoo quartet invite a host of musicians to join them in collaboration & celebration. To understand this new track & where it’s soul is you may need a bit of background so I’ll digress from the usual review type here & start by talking about something else entirely…
it’s a wonder that (The) Amaranth lead singer Ken Magerman found the time to record at all. His other job (and we’re not even talking his day job here) as creator & curator of Sounds & Shadows has kept him somewhat busy. Over the last few years Ken has pretty much become the DM of all DM’s to the Global Darkscene & if you’ve never played D&D trust me, when you find a good one you hang on to them.
Sounds & Shadow’s, if you’ve been hiding under a different Rock than Goth, is a Reviews & Interviews site set up by Ken in the 1st instance but now with the help of numerous others it sets out to highlight all the fantastic new & exciting music our dark little scene has to offer. At least that’s what is it was, as with the introduction of The Sounds & Shadows Facebook Group, Spotify Podcasts, Charity releases, a monthly Darkscene chart & more, it’s grown numerous arms & legs: like a Gremlin being fed after midnight except this one feeds on music & multiplies with the blood sweat & tears of musicians.
It’s now grown into a place of sharing, of collaboration by likeminded musicians, DJ’s, writers, artists, fans & more. Who knew a Facebook group could actually work? Part of this success is that Ken is one of the good guys- a genuinely talented & decent human being (Not something that always goes hand, in hand especially in this industry) who within a few interactions simply commands your respect. That respect for Ken for his team & for each other is what makes Sounds & Shadows not only one of, if not the pre-eminent source for news, reviews & interviews with our musical peers & heroes – it’s what makes it one of the rarest of places on the net: a true safe space to talk about, discuss, plan, share & gush love about the scene we do so love.
Sure, it’s the net, so of course assholes lurk in every corner & every scene has some & this is the music industry we’re talking about so there’s plenty of creative egos too, however Ken with the help of the rest of the S&S team keep a tight ship & the focus is always about the love & respect of the music & love & respect of each other. What Ken & his team have created & curated with S&S in my mind is a modern dark music movement all of it’s own.
Goths love to ramble on about the “Batcave” days & the 80’s in general & from what I can remember of those days myself, much of it is overrated and often seen through rose tinted shades, especially by those that weren’t even there. Yes, most of it was fun & it was new at the time but it’s also now 40 years ago & the Batcave’s existence was oh so brief & far from the be all & end all of the UK Goth scene (Just ask anyone from Leeds).
Dark fruit “Memberberries” & loving the music of the past does & will keep it alive to an extent but without the new blood & new music to give it that life, it was in danger of becoming “Museum Goth” where we repeat the words & wear the robes but have lost all the meaning. Instead, we should be celebrating the new movement, the new music, the new bands & artists & that is just the ethos behind the S&S site & group. Perhaps if we’re lucky in another 40 years we’ll be looking back at the “Sounds & Shadows” days of the scene with as much love.
This new Amaranth single “Gothimism” then is the very embodiment of all the above, of the method, mission & madness of everyone involved with S&S. It’s a lyrical love letter to us from us. About being an individual yet part of a collective. Obviously subjective but I find It’s a song about overcoming the encroaching darkness & doom of our daily lives, of looking forward to a better tomorrow together: “1000 wounds I’m bleeding from. Hold me for just one moment. Give me something to believe. A Broken world of broken people. Form a dark ring around me”. Words many of us would recognise to describe our own lives. “Gothimism” is a juxtaposition of dark & light, of fears & hope, with the verses mirroring the gloom & the chorus shining through & bringing the light of hope “I lace my black boots tight, cause I’m going out to the club tonight. My friends are there to hold me up, and that makes me dream of tomorrow.”
This sense of community, collaboration & friendship within the scene isn’t just reflected in the lyrics but in the sound & profile of the band for this 1st single too. “Gothimism” features many S&S regulars. Dan Milligan of The Joy Thieves & The Burying Kind is providing the oh so danceable beat. Jason Corbett of Actors laying down the solo & Jean-Marc Lederman of numerous groups from The The to Fad Gadget giving us the keys. Kimberly Kornmeier (Bow Ever Down), Katy May (Katy Needs A Life), Saphira Vee, Brian Graupner (gothsicles; Gasoline Invertebrate) , Ryan Flint (WitchHands), Matt McIntosh (A Cloud of Ravens) all feature on backing vocals too. This then is the living aural ethos of S&S, of the collaboration of the coming together of likeminded souls, talents & views: A true Nexus of Sound & Shadow.
Gothimism is released on the 10/08/2022 with the album of the same name to follow at some point in the near future.
You can support the band & buy the single or their entire back catalogue here…. https://theamaranth.bandcamp.com/music
You can check out Sound & Shadow’s here: https://soundsandshadows.com