Being "goth" couldn't be more metal, at least right now. Taking bands like Tribulation and Unto Others into consideration, this idea of metal-friendly goth music (which, let's be fair, most goth music is metal-friendly) is becoming more tangible to a greater audience. Big riffs and gloomy, baritone hooks are the name of the game here, and with an undeniable big-ticket metal influence.

The recently reformed Blacklist, featuring Vaura's Joshua Strachan handling vocal and guitar duties, takes this idea of metallic goth rock and pushes it even more towards what can only be described as a "hair" influence (Strachan once referred to the song we're debuting below as "the Dokken song" in private correspondence). With guitar-centric songwriting (approaching "riffwork," in fact), this, as Strachan puts it below, "Jake E. Lee riffs [sounding] like Simple Minds" goth-hooks-meets-metal-hooks songwriting approach results in a fun (in the classical sense. You remember what fun is.), but still an atmospheric song. Listen to "Nightbound" below.



From the artist:

We wrote the first four new songs that informed the direction of 'Afterworld' in June of 2021. I was coming off of a spring Queensrÿche binge and into the summer listening constantly to the most recent Vain record. I'd bought an old ESP guitar online, and I was learning lots of classic Dokken and Iron Maiden tunes in my basement in Virginia. You can really hear all this on "Nightbound." I had this vague idea, inspired by Maiden's "Somewhere In Time," of doing a guitar synth record. Something that had always been missing from the early Blacklist stuff was synth–we were, after all, on Wierd Records at the time! I tried an old Korg, but this was one case where analog and vintage wasn't better. I landed on the Meris Enzo pedal, which proved really inspirational. Suddenly playing these Jake E. Lee-type riffs sounded like Simple Minds–which couldn't be more Blacklist.

Lyrically, it pulls together a couple of things–firstly, it's a 'band of outsiders' anthem which has always been something we've taken from metal as much as from bands like Suede, and cast in a heavily political light. Secondly, in the same way "Language of the Living Dead" embraced Slavoj Zizek's use of this horror trope to talk about communication, this one embraces cyberfeminist Donna Haraway's description of the vampire as "…the one who pollutes lineages on the wedding night; the one that effects category transformations by illegitimate passages of substance; the one who drinks and infuses blood in a paradigmatic act of infecting whatever poses as pure." I love this because the rising forces of fascism adore pure lineages and hate category transformations. So here the gangs we imagine from films like The Lost Boys or Near Dark can be thought of as a nightbound brood of blood corrupters.

I also think that over the last several years, some of the most sophisticated, intellectual horror films have been vampire films. For a long time I think bands have been worried to play in that bloodbath for fear of being immediately categorized as adolescent and unserious. It's pretty clear to me that the mall goth implication is pretty outdated and there's definitely room for a re-imagining of how these images and ideas can function in a musical context.


Afterworld releases October 28th via Profound Lore Records.

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