That time of year is finally here: The Season of the Dead – – – Autumn – – – Samhain – – – Halloween – – – my favorite time of year. As a beautifully cool breeze blows in the sweetly bleak scent of decaying leaves and late-night leaf burnings and fireplaces, how to start October 1st off? During this month devoted to the dead, what would be a better way than by digging on some long-performing sonic undertakers of the midnight sound – – – BLAK, and their latest ep of death-rattling goodness, GRAVEYARD LOVE SONGS.
Since 2002, Gypsy Blak has been releasing music under the monikers of ELEGANT BASTARDS (‘02-07), his own name GYPSY BLAK (‘10), and eventually just honing the name down to simply BLAK with the release of the WAR OF THE FLESH Live Ep in 2011, and several ep’s since then.
2014’s GRAVEYARD LOVE SONGS finds BLAK in fine form with a stable, wickedly talented lineup that isn’t afraid to crackle out of the ever-staling sound of Horror Punk, and some of the more recent Death Rock that’s been out and about trying to recapture the classic sounds of yore, as opposed to using the foundations set down by so many of those greats to add other elements to and take these genres to another level. GRAVEYARD LOVE SONGS kicks it up that extra notch, and progresses the DARK PUNK sound to another level entirely.
First and foremost, there’s an aggression here that’s been missing from the dank dungeons of Horror Punk/Death Rock for some time now. *(I’ve noticed far too much MISFITS rehashing, Psychobilly worship, and Emo-esque vocalizations, and even sounds, creeping into the music little by little over the years.) Songs like the blues-infused “Zombie Momma” and catchy as fukk, brilliant closer “Staring At The Sky” roar out of the speaker with a sheer ferocity matched only by the live versions that comprise the second half of this disc. “Staring At The Sky” in fact is a truly Gothic Rock ripper of intense fury, both equally as danceable as it is circle-pit-able. It’s definitely my favorite song on here, and has a great keyboard hook and lead most reminiscent of T.S.O.L.’s classic BENEATH THE SHADOWS *(An album that never got it’s due when released, and was only begun to be appreciated as the one-of-a-kind classic it is until maybe ten or so years ago) – – – no simple feat, that kind of emotion and power blended so perfectly together. And with Gypsy’s vocals influenced of a reinvigorated power, they alone become THE force to be reckoned with – – – true and raw emotion trained down to it’s deepest and most heartfelt honesty.
“Frankenstein Valentine” is a true-ghoul Death Punk love song about the hot dead girl of your dreams, with a strangely catchy timing signature that, at first while slightly disorienting, ends up making the song what it is. “Private Parts” is a straight-up SoCal, dark-vibed punker that catches one instantly in its white-knuckle grip of sheer power. *(And here, in fact this entire ep, is where I find Horror Punk and Death Rock quite limiting genre labels for BLAK, as it really is it’s own thing – – – if I HAD to compare I’d say they’re far more CANCERSLUG or THE VLADIMIRS, even ALICE COOPER, and far less NIM VIND and more recent THE DEEP EYNDE – – – just the personal opinions of a jaded, long-time Horror/Shock Rock aficionado and critical prick.) “THIS IS ROCK-N-ROLL!” *(To quote THE KIDS.)
“My Darling — Why Aren’t You Dead?” is the album’s Gothic masterpiece, with a very garagey, MURDER CITY DEVILS quality to the vocals and music both, and beautiful words of deep sadness that reign through in those powerhouse vocals. “She” *(NO, not a MISFITS cover) is the one live-only special, as “My Darling — Why Aren’t You Dead” has no live version, it evens out nicely.
Overall, GRAVEYARD LOVE SONGS is BLAK’S strongest release to date. I suggest it for all the bored Rock-n-Roller’s out there tired of stale rehash, not just Death Rockers and Horror Punks. *(Open your fukking minds, dammit.) Powerful, intense, raw, true, and fun – – – this is what DARK PUNK should be all about. Avoid trends, be true to the sounds in your own heart. Below you’ll find a series of links and the like to as much info as you could want on this fantastic performer and his band of truly talented grave robbers. And be prepared for their upcoming full length, DISASTERPIECE THEATER, which they are in the process of working on now. Support BLAK, you can get the new ep, directly through the band or on itunes, amazon, google music & everywhere music is sold online.
2002: Elegant Bastards: The Making of a Bastard
2003: Elegant Bastards: Self Titled Demo
2005: Elegant Bastards: THRILL KILLER
2007: Elegant Bastards: The Bastard Tears 2002-2007
2010: Gypsy Blak: Set The Dead Free ep
2010: Gypsy Blak: The Blak Devil Anthology
2011: BLAK: WAR OF THE FLESH Live ep
2013 BLAK: Disasterpiece Theater Teaser E.P.
2014: BLAK: Teaser E.P. reissue
2014 BLAK: Graveyard love songs ep
2010: MEWWAVE Delinquent Ghosts Compilation, available through http://www.mewwave.com/
2011: Horror-Punks Volume #1 DVD video compilation
2013: Horror-Punks.com VOl. #2 DVD video compilation
Last F.M. Www.lastfm.com
Deathrock radio: http://deathrockradio.spruz.com/
Deathrock Pa. with Adian Caine & Grim Grim
Katalepsia Show: www.radiozombie.spruz.com
Troy’s Room: http://www.latalkradio.com/Troy.php
Interviews & Reviews in:
Highwire daze : highwiredaze.com
Roxxstar media: http://www.roxxstarrmedia.com/
88.9 KXLU Los angeles on the Livation show 2014
Late Night with Laura :http://xsiteradio.com/latenightwithlaura/
“The Fallen” appeared in ” Demon Messenger”: from DA Bush & IAM HORROR: http://www.iamhorror.com/
Best Garage band: Propulsion Magazine
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is email@example.com