Listen to Headphones: Headphone Mike Reviews the Gothic Side of Music with Cruxshadows
In my younger days I spent a lot of time in the local goth scene at Legends. The people were interesting enough and I felt like I fit in somewhere.
The music there ranged from industrial to techno but always had a certain feel to it. There were a few bands I couldn’t help but hear every time I was there.
One of those bands is the Cruxshadows, a dark wave band that features male vocals, a violin and synth work among other elements.
That band’s American tour seems to revolve around Dragon Con so when I was there last year I couldn’t resist checking out their live show. The concert was packed and lights were going off everywhere. Despite the darkness of the goth scene, some of the imagery they use is surprisingly uplifting.
The song Birthday especially struck me with it’s lyrics, “Look at your life. Who do you want to be before you die?” The encore was their big hit, Deception. The next day I found the lead singer and some of his band members at their booth on the ground floor of one of Dragon Con’s many hotels. I thought to myself, “Why not?” I bought a copy of their latest album and asked the lead singer to sign it. It felt so strange to walk up to someone I had just seen on stage. I told him I’d heard his music for years. He was happy to sign the CD and actually hugged me. Needless to say I didn’t see that coming. Other fans told me he was just that kind of a guy.
The album As the Dark Against My Halo is no exception to the uplifting images surrounded by darkwave sound. I listened to it on the way home from Dragon Con that day. I don’t want to say that it helped pass the time because that’s not a good thing to say about an album. It would better to say that I listened to it the entire way home without getting tired of it.
One song they did live at Dragon Con was called Burning. It’s important for a band’s live show to grow and evolve with their expanding discography and it was a good choice to put this song in the rotation. The lead singer puts a lot of passion into this song. The Youtube video, with its far-from-perfect sound quality, captures him on stage giving one hundred percent. The video also shows off the violinist, with her massively cute cyber-dreads.
Angelus Everlasting was the first song to really grab my attention. The rhythm is solid and easy to move to.
The violin work is subtle instead of overbearing. At about three and a half minutes in the lead singer breaks into a monologue that makes the song sound very serious.
The message behind this song are really positive. For example, “No concessions to sorrow, there’s power in your dreams, your life is a gift filled, with infinite possibilities.”
Dark Matter is the song I needed to hear right when I needed to hear it. It focuses on overcoming anger and the effects of anger left unchecked. This track sounds a little darker and the rhythm is a bit faster then their other work. There is an episode of South Park that introduces the four goth kids who show up from time to time. They explain that their style of dancing involves standing up straight and swaying back and forth letting their trench coats wave around and taking dragons off their cigarettes. Well, I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen goths dance like that before. This shouldn’t take away from the brands of music they enjoy.
The Cruxshadows have been around for over a decade and this album is a sign that they have only improved with age. I would sway back and forth while letting my trench coat flail around to this album again.