CD Review

Seraphim Shock - "Red Silk Vow" & "After Dark" Video

By Marcus Pan

Red Silk VowI, like many other people around me, was first introduced to the work of Seraphim Shock when they appeared on the Goth Box compilation from Cleopatra Records. Their single on track 13 of the first disc, "After Dark," was their debut on CD and a very strong first appearance that any band could have hoped for. Their first release, "Red Silk Vow," provides this wonderful song on the second of ten tracks…much to my appreciation as the last copy of the Goth Box compilation I had on hand has gone back to its original owner (sigh).

Housing only three members; Charles Edward on synthesizer, programming and vocals; Greg Kammerer on guitar; David James on bass; Seraphim Shock fills their music and shows with occultism and anger. It's Edgar Allen Poe with a guitar.

One of my first notices of Seraphim Shock when listening to the CD for one of my first run throughs was that they don't employ live drums. This was much to my amazement because the programming done by Charles is an awesome example of beat programming that I swore was done by a live drummer. Not so. SS provides an excellent example of what could be done with rough guitars, slamming bass, raw vocals and an awesome backing, always moving drum score. Regardless of its loud, angry sound it is remarkably danceable. So much so that I would have finished this article last night if not for the need to go industro-skanking around my apartment (fortunately Laura was working at the time so I avoided obvious stares of consternation).

Seraphim ShockUnlike many of today's over-indulged guttural death metal bands, Seraphim Shock provides a strongly controlled score that still manages to kick your ass and hand it back. Charles' vocal styles are varied and done very well along a number of facets of today's angry industrial/death metal scope. From the Eldritchian qualities he expresses on "Rise & Resist" to the growling challenges in "God Of This World," he flows from one style to another with ease and aplomb. Greg's guitar is strong and growling, loud enough for any industro-head yet with the control you need to create a truly talent-laden musical score - rattling through you on their opening track, "Relic" or providing an energetic and even flow on "Beyond Forever." David's bass is there always, bouncing and popping along and complementing Charles' programmed drum scores at every turn.

The truth is, this is one of the best CDs I've been lucky enough to get my grubby, black-nailed hands on in months…maybe years. It is strong, angry, moving and awesomely danceable. Every track here has enough energy, movement and beat to get almost anyone to do something. It's no wonder that they have graced stages with bands like Sunshine Blind, Switchblade Symphony and Type O Negative.

After Dark - The Video
Requiem Records was also nice enough to include a VHS of Seraphim Shock's "After Dark" music video with the package they sent along to me. Directed by Robert Muratore, the video is done in all black and white and sets a Bram Stoker mood. I must say that the model they used as the main character, the one that Charles tries to enrapture throughout the film, looks strikingly like my cousin Francesca who I saw about two weeks ago for the first time in years. Way to go guys! The occult imagery and costumes is flawless (I must ask Greg how he does his eyes…awesome). There are some scenes I didn't like. During a few of the group shots, there are scenes that are either fully sped up, or Charles is singing at normal pace and the guys behind him are sped up. Don't do that…it makes Greg and David look like flailing puppets. However, "After Dark" being one of my favorite songs on the Goth Box collection and on "Red Silk Vow" as well, I can forgive them for it.

They are due to release "Nightmares For The Banished" in May of this year (reported to contain six new tracks) and will kick off a national tour thereafter. If you've ever wanted to see one of the few bands that helps goth/industrial grow…and not just exist within the genre…you make sure you're there somewhere when they do.

Contact Information for Seraphim Shock:
Mail: Requiem Records LLP, 8973 West Harvard Drive, Lakewood, CO, 80227