To look at Gabriel and The Apocalypse, you could be forgiven for thinking they’d be a band who valued style over content, especially when taking into consideration the fact that their videos have been heralded as hugely stylish, visual feasts. An image means nothing if the material isn’t good enough to back it up; there are a lot of gothy and industrial bands out there guilty of spending far too long cultivating an image and then forgetting to invest the same kind of importance into their song writing. Luckily, that doesn’t apply here: Gabriel and The Apocalypse’s 2019 LP ‘Alpha Bionic’ was a fine work. Its ten songs fused goth, metal and industrial grooves with massive choruses and served up something almost guaranteed to please old fans of Orgy and early Disturbed, as well as offering lovers of Lacuna Coil an interesting alternative. A heavy-ish cover of Midnight Oil’s ‘Beds Are Burning’ peppered with vaguely industrial beats and retro synths added something instantly familiar to a selection of already great material.
JoeyDiabolic is a self-described “alternative musician”. At the beginning of 2021, he released an EP entitled ‘Through Soundwaves Vol 3’ where he offered covers of tracks by Anthrax, White Zombie and others, mixing heavy riffs with darkwave synth sounds and occasional gothic vocals. On the negative side, there wasn’t much about any of it you could actually call “alternative” at the time of release. However, for listeners that happened to be in their mid forties, the recordings still offered a welcome nostalgic bent. It also introduced listeners to JoeyDiabolic’s horror fixations. Aside from a tip of the hat to the mighty Rob Zombie, the EP’s self penned intro ‘Son of A Hundred Maniacs’ referenced Freddy Kruger, and it’s that Wes Craven creation that provides the heart of this follow up, released just a short while later.
Chilean vocalist Laura Vargas is no stranger to the symphonic and gothic metal scenes. While she might not have reached “household name” status, she spent eight years as a member of Sacramento, eventually scoring support slots with Theatre of Tragedy and Within Temptation. After relocating to Canada, she formed her own theatrical art/music project The Inferno Doll, whose debut album (‘Dollmination’, 2015) fused gothic metal with striking imagery to tell the tale of demonic possession within a mannquin-like figure. After that somewhat dark release, all seemed to go quiet, but The Inferno Doll eventually re-emerged in 2019 and dropped various hints regarding the continuation of their haunting and twisted musical tales. An EP eventually emerged at the death of 2020 – long overdue, but certainly worth the wait.
Creating a sound they’ve dubbed “Munstercore”, Dickie Devil and the Deviants create music that takes a hefty dose of rockabilly and punk, a decent amount of surf rock and just enough sass to create perfect additions to your Halloween themed playlists. Their 2020 digital release offers a couple of numbers which resurrect fond memories of the early 80s and of classic psychobilly fare, but with a dash of Necromantix toughness and some good pop culture thrown in for good measure.
After three years of brilliant pop frivolity, 1987 has a huge contrast in mood with albums and singles that seem far more thoughtful and downbeat. U2 turned in a career best with ‘The Joshua Tree’; Pink Floyd made a huge comeback with the moody ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ and from a more alternative perspective, Sisters of Mercy and The Jesus & Mary Chain made huge waves with epic goth sounds.