In today’s immediate gratification era of Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify. Itunes, etc. it’s rare to “take a chance” on a band. Why would you? Hell, why even buy music when it basically exists for free now? Well, I occasionally like to be surprised, and I definitely love owning music, much to my wife’s chagrin. My house is a shrine of cassettes, records and yes, even CD’s. I have this romantic notion of supporting bands I like, hence the website you are now gandering at.
Long story longer, I grabbed the tape version of “Shadow Flag” on a whim from one of my favorite cassette distros on the cover art and description alone, just figuring I’d make the postage worth my while. It’s sat gathering dust amongst 25 or so other tapes on the “I’ll get to these eventually” pile for a couple of months. I grabbed it on my way out of the door this morning as it had managed to cycle to the top. Upon my third repeat listen, I decided this was one worthy of telling everyone about.
I know little to nothing about the band, other than the information on their Facebook page:
Davey Bales – Vocals, Kaz Alvis – Guitar, Colin Ambulance – Bass, Scott Raynor – Drums
Los Angeles, CA
And the descriptor…
Pulverizing blackness, sheer dread and wall of sound guitars. Meet one of LA’s most promising new darkwave bands, THE WRAITH. For fans of classic goth sounds like Killing Joke, Christian Death and The Mission UK
And that’s pretty apt, although I’d throw in a little “Change Today?” era T.S.O.L. and definitely some “Seventeen Seconds” through “Ponography” The Cure. To say the band doesn’t wear it’s influences on it’s proverbial sleeve would be a lie, but to label them “retro” is ignorant and false. They’re definitely bringing their own dish to the picnic. And it’s most definitely the type of Post-Punk / Death Rock that I grew up with: Alvis’ ringing guitars, Ambulance’s thundering, underwater bass lines, Raynor’s flawless drumming and Bales’ manic, half-shouted, backwoods preacher vocals are stellar.
Hey kids, this went just a few hours from first listen to review. That should count for something. Available on CD and cassette via the band’s own Poison Cult label, and just recently released on France’s Symphony Of Destruction , but I believe that version is less the “Death Knell” track. Also for a measly four bucks, you can grab the digital tracks from their Bandcamp page.
Photo by Mae Koo Photography