Album Review – Subterfuge – Blind to Reason (2017)

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This Long Hour the opening track of the album, is assembled with the spirit of G Tom Mac’s Cry Little Sister (1987), the main theme of cult horror/gothic classic, The Lost Boys (1987), starring Jason Patric, Dianne West, Corey Feldman and Kiefer Sutherland; and the original gothic rock bands Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission, Fields of Nephilim and their modern peers Pretentious Moi? As they fused the line between the lingering reminisces of post-punk and were beginning to introduce the second wave generation of gothic alternative rock, with the combined genres New Romanticism of the 1980s, darkwave, and new wave. Subterfuge also tinkers with the later gothic genre of dark cabaret, for the twists of carnival music. Unhinged carries through with darkwave and gothic alternative rock fusion, however, introduces a more modern adaption of EDM, and that is dark synth wave, sometimes known as retro wave; which similar to futurepop and neofolk (sometimes known as apocalyptic folk) composes a dystopian vision to contrast the utopian picture the 1980s created.

You Play the Victim So Well forsakes the EDM qualities from the first two tracks for a more IDM feel, switching to dark alternative, dark rock, darkwave, dark ambient and neofolk. Here, the percussion and bass are of focus, for both are excessively heavy and somehow envelop the rest of the composition to appear smothered. The bass is emphasised so much, that it vibrates through the body, and in a way, this makes it a four-dimensional platform, because the lyrical content is then transferred onto the listener physically. The song makes the listener feel what the fictional protagonist is feeling. Blind to Reason – Tide High Mix branches into gothic alternative, doom rock and dark rock, indirectly sampling the strums of Tears for Fears’ guitarist Roland Orzabal, from the track Pale Shelter (1983), from The Hurting; only at a slower pace, and with their own inflexions.

Jealousy forms into darkwave, neoclassical, neofolk and ethereal wave; imitating the sounds of Dead Can Dance, Faith and the Muse, Rhea’s Obsession and Sopor Aeternus, creating an elegantly forlorn, atmospheric song displaying the tragic repercussions of the toxic emotion. Vow establishes a change in genre, fluctuating into darkwave, funeral-doom, dark cabaret, dark ambient, shoegazing and ethereal wave. It aurally determines the paranoia of emotional betrayal, vowing to never trust again; whether it be a romantic relationship, friendship or familial estrangements. In composition, it spiritually embodies dark-pop/dark cabaret project IAMX.

Bitter End dynamically focuses on gothic rock, gothic alternative, with post-punk and neoclassical undertones, once more taking highlighted inspiration from second and third generation participants of the goth rock genres; Rosetta Stone, Dream Disciples, Snakedance, Pretentious Moi?, Red Sun Revival , and there are qualities of Finnish alternative rock band, Poets of the Fall, though intermittent.  I compare these bands, merely for their theme in common, their usage of Middle Eastern and Ancient Egyptian inspiration in their tracks’ blueprint, which as I noted on The Mission’s Another Fall from Grace  (2016) review last year, seems to be a reoccurring reemergence, starting with proto-goth band, Siouxsie and the Banshees. Hang Your Head in Shame at first seems to abandon gothic rock to focus on a new direction; ambient/trance, dark ambient, dark alternative, and country rock (Southern gothic), eluding to the works of Lycia and The Mission, and much later into the track, takes an interesting turn into gothic metal and dark rock, touching on Type O Negative, and current Katatonia.

Guilty of Association is the spiritual counterparts of Jealousy and Hang Your Head in Shame in the arrangement, inveterating neoclassical, dark ambient, gothic country, doom, and ethereal wave.  Whimsically, and almost romantically, the direct contrasts and mishmashes somehow seem to create what you would think to be proto-gothic metal, for the completed emphasis is much slower than traditional gothic rock and death rock, these genres more fast paced and punk rock inspired, but shares similarities with death/doom, doom metal and funeral-doom, which a lot of traditional gothic metal embraces.

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