Overall Score: 8/10 Innovation: 9/10 Atmospherics: 8/10 Lyrical content: 7/10 Pros: One giant leap for goth Cons: One small step for the repetitive
Enticing industrial-infused goth for the present day, Death Valley High are determined to prove they are ‘CVLT [AS FVK]’.
Certainly not for the faint-hearted, Death Valley High are the fresh equivalent of old school Marilyn Manson with a few rusty nails hammered into the coffin for good measure. Industrial goth rarely breaks the surface in a metal-heavy scene, so treasure these moments where goth shows itself in its truly foreboding form.
With immersive atmospherics up the yin yang, ‘Sunshine Cleaners’ sets the scene with a neatly intense energy. Apart from that, however, there’s very few predictable moments throughout. Take the self-assured seduction of ‘Warm Bodies’ or the intimidating passive aggression and quirky wordplay of ‘Psalm Bitch’ for example, there’s nicely unexpected twists around every corner.
The somewhat haunting condemnation of ‘The Bad Book’ stands its ground while ‘Merci [FVKT]’ produces a sensory overload to a devastatingly contagious groove – all the tried and tested aspects of modern day goth are impressively executed and projected. Meanwhile, the playful swirling of ‘Play Dead’ and the blood-curdling screams of ‘Groei Donker’ bide their time with a special brand of fury bubbling under the surface. This is a band keen on holding back their absolute breaking point, and that’s probably for a very good reason.
It’s not long before the menacing ‘Tiptoe Thru the 2 Crypts’ pours with tech-heavy exuberance, while ‘Flowers for Amy Deville’ demonstrates a dark grandeur despite being slightly repetitive.Ever wondered how Marilyn Manson gets kids to sleep at night? Closer ‘There Was An Old Lady’ answers that burning question with a gritty industrial ode to a fairytale that you really didn’t see coming.
Bands like Death Valley High that reference their industrial roots with such sincerity and dedication don’t make it out alive these days – this is a positive turning point for the goth genre.
‘CVLT [AS FVK]’ is out now via minusHEAD Records.