With Dark Force Fest and Resistanz going down over the past few days, this year’s festival season is getting underway, with our own Verboden Fest here in Vancouver just around the corner, and the already much-discussed Terminus and Coldwaves fests awaiting down the road. We could say a lot about the challenges 99% of bands in our scenes face right now in terms of touring in North America, but the number and range of festivals which continue to emerge and entrench themselves within the continent remains a real and encouraging signal of hope. We hope everyone’s making travel plans and getting ready to check out some upcoming acts as well as ticking off a few bucket list acts. On with this week’s Tracks!

SDH feel the pain

SDH, “Denial”
It seems impossible that Semiotics Department of Heteronyms’ self-titled debut LP came out half a decade ago, but also that the Spanish duo have been incredibly active in the time between records. Between various EPs and singles their sound has evolved considerably, jumping off from their ominous electro-darkwave sounds and moving towards a style that incorporates more funk and frenetic melody. First taste of their forthcoming LP Fake is Real is “Denial”, and it’s a good indicator of where SDH are at – a simple but compulsively danceable bassline, detuned synthlines and some crispy percussion make the track a contender for left of center DJ sets and playlists.

The Bellwether Syndicate, “Golden Age”
Nostalgia, regret, reverie, the fleeting passage of time: classic themes in the Romantic poetry and gothic novels which goth bands have been drawing upon since time immemorial, and ones which Chicago’s Bellwether Syndicate handle with grace and a winsome, autumnal melody (maybe a bit akin to the more dreamy moments from William Faith’s time in Mephisto Walz?) on this preview of forthcoming LP Vestige & Vigil. Quality stuff from America’s feel good goth rock band.

Yabibo Hazurfa, “Fördömda”
Regular readers know that we’ve been regularly tracking Jimmy Svensson’s work in the electro-industrial/EBM mines as Nuclear Sludge for the past few years, but Svensson (who could make a case for having the strongest beard game in the Swedish scene) has been slowly showing off another side of his work with the more ritualistic/minimal hardware stylings of his Yabibo Hazurfa project (that Ye Gods record from last year might be the closest current comp we could make). It looks like a full length is due out on Ant-Zen shortly, promising more eerily quavering pieces like this one.

Antigen Shift, “Arcane”
Ottawa’s always been a city which has punched above its weight in terms of Canadian industrial, and we’ve been very happy to see one of its longest standing acts, Antigen Shift, begin to reemerge from hibernation over the last year. The latest single from Nick Thériault and Jairus Khan picks up where last year’s “Lest You Be Witches” left off, with a melodically bright yet satisfyingly stomping pulse.

Statiqbloom, “Separate Worlds (Statiqbloom remix)”
If like us, you enjoyed Statiqbloom’s foray into industrialized techno Threat last year, but found yourself missing the electro-industrial stylings of the project’s preceding records, new single “Separate Worlds” may hit the spot. It’s actually a fairly deep cut, going all the way back to the Fade Kainer’s 2013 LP Mask Visions Poison, now remixed by Kainer, beefing up the sound design and adding a layer of grit and dirt that communicates grimness and meanness in roughly equal measure. Paired with a bellicose remix from Qual, it’s a solid one-off that speaks to the project’s past and current state concisely.

W424, “Something Violent”
W424 is Lasse Alander of Finnish post-industrialists Cardinal Noire, an outlet to engage in the harsher and more atmospheric end of the style. While the previous release Alandlord was no Sunday walk in the park, we’re getting nigh-on death industrial energy from new single, the appropriately titled “Something Violent”. Interestingly, despite the crunchy sound design, monolithic programming and shredded vocals, there’s an unmistakable thread of melody wending its way through the madness. More of this please.