The Post Punk genre known as “Goth Rock” is frequently dismissed and minimized by contemporary music denizens. Goth is a sub genre of alternative music that is not only alive and well but has at times been at the forefront of popular music. The genre’s halcyon days were in the 80’s with groups such as Siouxie and the Banshees, The Cure and numerous others who topped many a serious music fan’s faves list. Rock music has always had a significant amount of broody Goth flowing through its veins.
Joy Division, the Cocteau Twins along with various other seminal groups utilized the dark romantic themes that are prevalent in the genre to inhabit their music. The band Astari Nite continues in Goth’s fine traditions releasing their second full release Until the End of the Moon. The album released in mid May of this year follows their full length debut Anonymous released in 2015. The band with the new release captures many of the best features of the Goth genre with engaging and deeply melancholy songs. “Until the End of the Moon” is a condensed version of Goth music’s discography; serving as an ersatz cliff notes on the history of the musical styling.
Astari Nite was founded in 2008 in Miami, Florida. The band quickly became quite popular in the local music scene and has landed some extraordinary opening spots for acts such as Peter Murphy, The Psychedelic Furs and Cold Cave. The band consists of Mychael Ghost on lead vocals, Illia Tullock on drums, M.Sallons on bass, Michael Stelton and Howard Melnick on guitars. Melnick also produced the current release. The band’s sound is inspired by the usual Goth suspects, The Cure, Joy Division, Placebo, along with Depeche Mode and Interpol and is personified by deep vocals, dramatic bass lines, and scything guitar patterns.
Until the End of the Moon kicks off with the enthralling Engagement Ceremony. It is a song that harkens to early Cure and Depeche Mode and satisfies those dark Goth urges. The atmospheric dance vibe presents a song that is hard to forget. The lyrics can be taken as a loose parallel to Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee”, where both the classic poem and the song are mourning the death of a beloved woman. It is a haunted selection. Endless Night is a more energy laden song, reminding me of the works of The Church. There is significant drama in the accompaniment and the lyrics express thoughts on paranoia, depression and angst.
The post punk inspired Useless Vow is infused with a throbbing drum and ethereal spinning guitars. Mychael Ghost is channeling Ian Curtis and Paul Banks with his vocal delivery as he expounds on betrayal, remorse and rejection. Joyful Wish changes things up again with the infusion of a more techno/digital feel. The entire song reminded me of Peter Murphy’s works as the song questions whether a relationship is heaven sent or the very worst thing that could happen. Both Non Disclosure Agreement and Time Hangs on Your Fingertips contain some noteworthy guitar work. They are very early Interpol in their stylings and are loaded with the pain and agony of relationships that are torn apart through a lack of trust.
Always Like Yesterday and Imaginary World also seem to be two halves of a set, with both songs delivering a Smiths like guitar and evincing a more post punk energy and less Goth stylings than the other songs on the release. The two real standout songs on this album for me are She Casts a Spell and Until the End of the Moon. “She Casts a Spell” is an almost perfect distillation of Goth music, with its melancholy and mesmerizing synths and droning bass. It is a showpiece on the album. The title track and final selection Until the End of the Moon is hypnotic and an excellent example of the beauty of a brilliant Goth song done correctly. The crystalline guitars and drum weave together to produce an alluring sonic atmosphere. The lyrics portray the slow gyre of a dying relationship; it is a grand finale to the album.
The Goth genre is not to everyone’s tastes but if you have a hankering for the dark, moody goodness that personifies the genre, you could not go wrong in checking out this stellar band. Sometimes the lyrics on Until the End of the Moon can be a bit masochistic in their eternal enjoyment of sorrow, pain and heartache but that is the very essence of said genre. There is nothing half hearted on this release, the band jumps fully into the deep end of Goth with zeal. They have certainly learned their lessons well from the prior elders of the forum and deliver an earnest and fresh take on this album. Until the End of the Moon, makes feeling this bad actually feel good.