Sonja, Loud Arriver (Cruz Del Sur Music 2022)

Loud Arriver is the full-length debut album from Philadelphia goth rockers Sonja.

The beginnings of Sonja stretch back to 2014, and the firm formation began a few years after that. Founder Melissa Moore (guitar, vocals) was known up to that point for her work with black metal band Absu, and before then with the thrash band Rumpelstiltskin Grinder. Sonja is musically quite different, moving more in the gothic rock lane. They released a two-song demo in 2018, and work on Loud Arriver started the next year. It is great to have the finished product available now. Moore is joined by Ben Brand (bass) and Grzesiek Czapla (drums) for the album.

There are eight tracks on the new record, getting going with “When The Candle Burns Low…” A haunting voice emerges from the mist, setting the mood. The music fully drops with a deep gothic attitude, surging guitars, and persistent percussion. Moore has an excellent voice for this kind of music and it is hard to believe this is the first time she has sung lead. “Nylon Nights” is a straight up hard rocker with a killer opening riff and a melody that sticks in your head. “Pink Fog” has a kind of club feel in the chorus while the slower movements are rather melancholy. The first triplet offers three very different looks at the band’s style.

Other songs to note are “Fuck, Then Die,” which, despite its aggressive title, is tantalizingly engrossing in the execution. “Moans From The Chapel” is a great song that is fast and sharp, and it is surely a crowd pleaser when played live. The title track anchors the set at the end. It opens acoustically with gentle vocals, then moves into a more rugged build. Ultimately, it takes off at a dead run. There is nice guitar work in the middle, and this song might be my favorite on the album, accomplishing, as it does, exceptional transitions and seamlessly melding together separate ideas into a unified composition. Fine work. All the tracks hold up well and I hope that this is the start of a long string of big albums. Recommended.

Loud Arriver is out on Friday, September 23rd through Cruz Del Sur Music in digital, CD, and vinyl. You can pick it up through the links below.

Band photo by Don Vincent Ortega.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://sonjaband.bandcamp.com/album/loud-arriver

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Sonjabooking/

Cruz Del Sur Music, https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com

© Wayne Edwards

Sonja, Loud Arriver (Cruz Del Sur Music 2022)

The 69 Eyes, Drive (Atomic Fire 2022)

Goth ‘N’ Roll originators The 69 Eyes invite you to get into their car for a little trip on their new EP, Drive.

OK, look, maybe you know about the Helsinki Vampires and maybe you don’t. The 69 Eyes is a more recognized act outside the US, true, but whatever your perspective, you cannot deny their gravitational pull over thirty-three years and twelve albums, several of of which have gone platinum. From Helsinki, Finland, the band is Jyrki 69 (vocals), Bazie (guitar), Timo Timo (guitar), Archzie (bass), and Jussi 69 (drums).

Drive is a quick take, with three radio-length songs and a bonus live track on the physical formats. The title track is first, and it is pop rock gold with a light-hearted sinisterness in the vocal and an extra dose of catchiness so you won’t forget it. It is a little bit like a combination of Golden Earring and Type O Negative, if Peter Steele had toned it down and perked it up a lot. A delight.

“Call Me Snake” opens on muted mechanical noises, quickly introducing a nice fuzzy riff and then a guitar melody. Jyrki 69 steps in and rubs a healthy does of soft goth on it all. The reference is fairly obvious, and it makes me smile, as does the lead guitar break at the midpoint. “California” is the driving-est of the songs on Drive. You can feel the wind on your face as you drive your convertible out of the hills around Malibu and head toward the city. Spot on – vampires in LA.

“Two Horns Up” is a live track you only get when you buy one of the physical versions of the EP. It is a great song, and it is nice to hear what a live experience can be like. I think this brief collection of tunes from The 69 Eyes is the perfect introduction to the band for those who are new to their music. Long-time fans, of course, are always happy to have something more from this storied party band. Recommended.

Drive is out on Friday, September 16th through Atomic Fire Records.

Band photo by Marek Sabogal.

Links.

The 69 Eyes website, http://69eyes.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/the69eyes

Atomic Fire Records, https://www.atomicfire-records.com/products

© Wayne Edwards

The 69 Eyes, Drive (Atomic Fire 2022)