Music for the lonely ear.

Byronic Sex & Exile: “Nightmare Avenue”

The latest offering from Leeds own Byronic hero of Gothic Rock Joel Heyes is the mini album “Nightmare Avenue” & the hardworking champion of Gothic romanticism, loneliness and mystery, has done it again. “Nightmare Avenue” sees Byronic Sex & Exile deliver a brooding & melancholic masterpiece of articulate & intelligent lyrics over sweeping emotive guitars, eerie synths & militant drum beats.

Obviously ridiculously well read & as the band moniker would suggest, Joel’s music is littered with a veritable library of literary references for the discerning listener to discover. “Nightmare Avenue” tells diverse angst-ridden musical tales of romance, horror, hubris & human failing. With a practiced & flourished hand it pens a love letter to “Gothic” era literature with a quill penned capital G & then seals it in blood red wax.

Byronic Sex & Exile in action at Goth City 6 2022

“Nightmare Avenue” is one of those releases where every track is not only something different but something quite special too, making a cohesive whole that is bigger than the sum of it’s parts & makes for a record that you want to listen to in it’s entirety, then put it straight on again to catch anything you missed.
From titular opening track “Nightmare Avenue pt1” which sets the dark scene perfectly with it’s ominous church organ introduction. Onto “Becket” a musically seductive tale of Stokers inspiration for Count Dracula’s character – actor Henry Irving & his last fateful performance of said play. “Vathek”; a throbbing, military timed, hypnotic mid record, change of pace, based on the 1786 novel by William Beckford. “Baskerville”, a sad, yet hopeful track that unfolds to the listener from the Conan Doyle hound’s point of view. All the way to the outro track, “Nightmare Avenue pt2” which sees the return of those ominous organ sounds, giving a sense of conclusion & coming round full circle, this record holds the listeners attention.

How the sabre wielding champion of modern Gothic musical drama finds the time to write, record, tour & still organise one the UK’s best alternative music festivals is a swashbuckling feat worthy of it’s own musical tale. In short, whilst billed as a “mini-album” Nightmare Avenue” is nothing short of an epic. A mostly low tempo, darkly poetic Gothic masterpiece. Taking obvious influences from the holy trinity of later Romantics; Lord Byron, John Keats & Percy Shelly throughout his body of work & many others such as Irving or Conan Doyle in this instance one can’t help but think that Heyes would be in perfect company with his own inspirations. Shelly was oft described as part Poet & part Prophet, this seems a fitting description for Heyes himself in this instance too.

Get your copy of Nightmare Avenue here: Nightmare Avenue | Byronic Sex & Exile | Goth City Records (

I await the Glasgow leg of the current “Good Mourning Britain” tour on the 16th February with baited breath, a book of Byron poems in one hand & a BS&E CD in the other.

Get you tickets for the Good Mourning Britain tour here: Goth City Promotions Events | Eventbrite

And get your tickets for the most authentic, grass roots Alternative & Goth Rock festival in the UK here: : GOTH CITY 7: TO LIVE AND DIE IN LS Tickets, Thu 13 Jul 2023 at 19:30 | Eventbrite

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