Friday, 22 May 2015
Hadol - Haldol
Review by Joe McManamon-Simon
Genre/s: Deathrock, Hardcore Punk, Goth
For Fans Of: Mighty Sphincter, Mannequin Neurose, Ausgang, Coma
I have to say, I'm pretty lucky that I live near Philadelphia (although I wish I actually lived in Philly) because the current scene is putting out some total dynamite bands; and the best of them is the subject of this post. I was told Haldol would be releasing two 7"s this summer, however it seems they've opted to just drop a 12" instead which is fine by me because this thing is incredible and I feel it works much better as an LP than it would have if it was split up.
If you don't know them already, Haldol is part of the new wave of [actually good] deathrock bands* which have popped up in the last few years. Originally formed in Nashville, TN in 2011, Haldol -- or at least Geoff Smith, the mastermind behind the project -- moved to Philadelphia and recruited Aaron Muchanic, another recent Philly transplant; and together they recorded a new demo which was one of my favorite demos from last year. It took me a year before I finally got to see them but they upstaged everyone they played with, including Mystic Inane and Blank Spell (another Philly dark punk band who Aaron also happens to drum for) both of whom were actually incredible, which should tell you just how good Haldol was.
I love Haldol because they're bringing the aggression, noise, and punk edge back into goth, all of which have been absent from most so-called contemporary "deathrock" bands. Rather than jumping on the trend of trying to be a clone of Sisters Of Mercy (who were never deathrock to begin with), Haldol has chosen to opt out of that dated 80s goth sound and instead is putting a new spin on things while also drawing more from US deathrock bands like Christian Death and Mighty Sphincter (lots of nods to Sphincter on this); UK deathrock bands associated with the anarcho-punk scene like Part1, and also UK deathrock bands not associated with the anarcho scene like Ausgang; plus some hints of noise rock (definitely an early No Trend vibe poking its head in here and there). They also seem to have some hints of Japanese deathrock bands like Coma with their spacey guitar work, and Mannequin Neurose with their noisy, frantic take on goth. So basically, Haldol is an updated version of the classic, aggressive deathrock we all know and love with none of the obnoxious boo-hoo-I-wish-I-was-born-in-the-80s bullshit you're likely to find in the bandcamp "deathrock" tag. Oh, and also they're Marxists.
Okay, enough talk. Get to downloading this bad boy, my minions. And if you're in the south of north America (that sure is confusing), try to catch Haldol with Blank Spell when they hit your town.
2. Insomnia In Dream City
3. Law Of Indifference
4. Time Is Not On Our Side
5. Beyond The Pleasure Principle
*For those of you wondering why there was an asterisk by "new wave of [actually good] deathrock bands," I wasn't sure how to fit my excitement over this occurrence into the review without rambling and veering off topic. I am beyond excited about this crop of bands who are bringing the aggressive, punk edge back into goth. Bands like Anti-Zen (R.I.P.), Börn, Perspex Flesh, Muerte (their LP drops soon!), and others are breathing fresh air into the stale cave that is goth punk. I've been so sick of hearing bands try really hard to be The Cure and Sisters Of Mercy, copying everything right down to their guitar tones and even the airy 80s style production. Those bands are great, but their sounds are so dated that I find this affinity for ripping them off comparable to what you'd hear from a shitty college town bar band playing Led Zeppelin covers. There's no point in being a cheap imitation (looking at your entire career, Ceremony). These new bands are actually putting new twists on the classic deathrock I love and it's exciting. Now I'm just waiting for nerds to hop onto the trend and run it into the ground.