Occultation – Dark Moon Lilith (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

20258110_861786170636371_2694518852271757995_nIf the band, album name and artwork seem to suggest something aimed at the black clad, wannabe pagans who still have visions of relocating to Sunnydale and hanging around with Buffy and the gang, I am most happy to report that Occultation rises far above such first impressions. Give the music a spin and you find yourself in a dark and emotive alt-rock soundscape. Even the term gothic, as a genre at least, is slightly amiss here, for it neither fits in with the old-school post-punk movement or the metal sub-genre it has since become. If it is gothic at all it is more in the literary sense, painting dark mystique, broken romanticism and haunted emotions across its musical canvas.

So if I have established what the record isn’t, lets look at what it is. Dark Moon Lilith at times reminds me of Concrete Blond and their ability to weave introspective lyricism through powerful and theatrical music and similarly to sound like your favourite cult band but drip with commercial possibilities. Songs such as Hiding Place with its jagged guitar riffs, pounding classic rock drive and sultry warmth seeming to sum this up more eloquently than I can put into words.

And as much as I am trying and failing to avoid the term gothic, maybe it is a gothic alternative, music for those who found the likes of The Cure too mannered, Bauhaus to fractious and The Mission too pretentious first time around or who misses the mystic and mythology which used to be an inherent part of rock music before classic rock double-denimed down and alt-rock became all about skinny jeans and complicated hair.

And then they throw World Away at you, a minimalist ballad dripping with pain, heart wrenching emotion, majestic spatial awareness and anticipation and you realise that there is much more to the band than fits into easy generic boundaries, which obviously is how it should be. Considering my own musical journey through the bands mentioned above and particularly along that tipping point where the glamour of the gothic world met the pose and power of rock, Dark Moon Lilith are a wonderful find and one whose dark dramas I shall undoubtedly be spending more and more time with as the nights draw in, the perfect soundtrack for my half-lit domain and fire side hibernations.

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