Seraphim Shock - "Red Silk Vow" & "After Dark"
By Marcus Pan
I, 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
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).
Unlike 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
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
and not just exist within the genre
sure you're there somewhere when they do.
Contact Information for Seraphim Shock:
Mail: Requiem Records LLP,
8973 West Harvard Drive, Lakewood, CO, 80227