(NEUROT RECORDINGS; 2014)
Listening to Ides of Gemini’s second full-length is like turning out the lights and watching one of those great Universal Gothic Horror classics like DRACULA or FRANKENSTEIN. You know that nothing’s going to hurt you, but you still find yourself looking over your shoulder or jumping at any little sound. The sound of OLD WORLD NEW WAVE is, at once, like nothing you’ve ever heard before yet reminiscent of everything that you’ve loved about music from… well, forever. “Black Door” is a throwback to the final couple of Plasmatics records with bludgeoning metal riffs and tough, anthemic vocals as Sera Timms seemingly channels the spirit of Wendy O Williams. The dirge-like and Sabbath-heavy rhythm section (Timms on bass; Kelly Johnston-Gibson on drums) of “The Chalice and the Blade” turns into a black-hymn grinder with appropriately atmospheric guitar from Jason Bennett. With a liberal dose of floor tom propelling the tune along, the vocals, lyrics and guitar stop just short of turning “Seer of Circassia” into a mammoth Gothic tune. “White Hart” features mystical, medieval Sherwood Forest lyrics with just enough echo on the vocals for a nice, creepy vibe. The primal beat underscores a classic metal guitar sound which eventually morphs into a fuzzy, feedback-drenched Neil Young-like riff.
“May 22, 1453” is a pulsing, throbbing slab of Gothic perfection, with evil sounding guitar and a more prominent vocal than the rest of the album. This is by far my favorite song on the record. With more musical references to Plasmatics, “The Adversary” also tosses in a touch of Glenn Danzig for good (evil may be more apt) measure. Bennett’s guitar tone and style moves into a George Lynch/Dokken direction, giving the track a near anthem-like quality. “Fememorde” starts off with a snaky, kinda Alice Cooper groove that turns into a Siouxsie-goes-Goth riff monster. A primeval modality and an almost atonal vocal delivery seems to be direct dichotomies to the title and subject matter of “Valediction.” Those dichotomies add to the eerie charm of the song. The final tune, “Scimitar,” has very much of a rock and roll “sway” and tonality. Timms’ vocals come off as rather droney and disconnected… as they should. You don’t have to be a big fan of doom (or any other form of metal, really) or Goth or any of the artists that were evoked throughout this review to enjoy Ides of Gemini; you just have to like music… really good music! You get that in spades with this release. (OLD WORLD NEW WAVE is also available on vinyl from SIGE RECORDS.)