Alex Sindrome “Fantome”

New album by French artist ALEX SINDROME (aka SINDROME) and this one is released on CD and on cassette tape (with great artwork!) “Solidaire Dans L’Isolement” brings the best of 80s French new wave to mind and sounds very appropriate in those lock down times! “Class 1987” (probably my favourite track) will probably make you remember your carefree teenage years if you can understand French and “Nos Ames En Noir” is a dark and catchy dancefloor tune. The minimal influences that could be heard in SINDROME‘s previous releases can be found in “Mélancolie”, “Vampire”, the nihilistic “Sans Issue” or in “Norma Jean” (although you’ll hear a quite powerful and haunting chorus in this one) while you’ll hear some slight disco touches in “Halloween à Neverland.” I was glad hear a bit of SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK in “Antonin Artaud” since I know that our man is a big fan too but you’ll also hear some Peter Hook influenced melodies in the last part of the song. You’ll also get some German industrial influences in “Dès Ce Soir” and some darkwave in “Misanthrope” before ending on an electro dance note with “Aux Fantômes.” “Fantome” is a good album to discover ALEX SINDROME‘s music if you haven’t yet and quarantine should be a good time to find out about new bands and artists, so… /Laurent C.

https://www.alexsindrome.com/
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ACTORS – They Will Come To You!

We thought it would be interesting to send a few questions to Canadian 80s post-punk/dark rock influenced band ACTORS after seeing them at Berlin’s Lido. Bass player Jahmeel Russell tells us more…

How was your European summer tour?

It’s been fantastic. As of this writing we have three more shows to go in Spain before we finish. This tour’s been six weeks all together so we’ve had the chance to play more cities and country’s than the first time we came over.

When I saw you in Berlin, you said that it was your first time there. How many times have you toured in Europe before?

This is ACTORS second time over here. I’ve been over here previously with some other bands.

There was an encore on that night and you weren’t expected it, so you had to play songs that you have already played in the set. Did this happen anywhere else on this tour?

Berlin was the only city we played a song again in for an encore and that’s because we were physically forced back on stage by members of the crowd (Ha Ha). We’ve had encores at pretty much every show on this tour, we just haven’t played them because we play all of our songs in the set. The audiences excitement and energy at all the shows has been killer.

80s influences can be heard in your music, I’m thinking of KILLING JOKE , The CULT, The MISSION, The SISTERS OF MERCY, among others. Some would call it goth rock or dark rock. While dark genres are still quite popular nowadays, full drum/bass/guitar bands are getting rare. Did you have the idea of a dark rock band from the start?

Jason started this by himself but I don’t think there was ever a moment where he thought about doing it live without a band. For me there’s a certain power in live drums and bass that cannot be matched.

Considering the name of the band and the number of videos you have on YouTube, is cinema somthing you’re particularly interested in?

Yes. Cinema’s really important. It’s a source of inspiration and creativity.

Jahmeel, you often wear metal/black metal shirts on stage. For some reason it made me think about when bands I liked as a teenager were wearing band shirts that were different from their own music. For instance, I remember I got into SKINNY PUPPY because Slash was wearing their shirts. Do you get a lot of metal people at ACTORS shows, or people who come to you and talk about it?

We actually do. Speaking from my own experience with music growing up I was always drawn to dark music. I could jump between a Darkthrone and Depeche Mode record quite easily. The genre of music I listen to the most is black metal and I’ve found at most shows I meet fans of the band who are into what we do but are also into black/death metal. I love to talk about this music so it’s always a pleasure to meet fans who are into it.

Did you see Lords of Chaos? What did you think about it?

I did. It was ok but just entertainment, nothing more. For anyone really interested in what happened back then this is not the place to look.

5 of your favourite albums and a few words about them:

GODFLESH – Streetcleaner. 

I got this on tape in the early 90’s. At that point I had heard a lot of the other Earache bands from that time, most of which I am still a fan of but this record really spoke to me the most. That bass tone and Justin Broadrick’s guitar playing were very influential to me. Still one of the heaviest albums ever. 

Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion. 

While I would probably say Violator is my favourite album this is the one I find myself listening to the most these days. Condemnation has got to be one of the most beautiful songs ever and my favourite vocal performance from Dave Gahan. 

Bathory – Under the Sign of the Black Mark

This was the first Bathory album I heard when I was a kid and it has stuck with me ever since. The main riff in Call From the Grave still gives me chills. It’s hard to pick just one as the first four albums are all mandatory.

Katharsis -VVorldVVithoutEnd

One of my favourite black metal bands for me this is their peak. I remember buying this CD without hearing a note just because it was on the NOEVDIA label. I was not disappointed. It’s like Under a Funeral Moon x 1000. An utterly chaotic masterpiece. 

Black Cilice – Banished From Time 

Probably my current favourite black metal band. I enjoy all of their releases. The first time I heard them it had the same impact as when I first heard Xasthur in the mid-2000’s. Very raw and produced in such a way that makes it very unique. It’s haunting, aggressive, yet I also find myself falling into a trance listening to it. I have the new album “Transfixion of Spirits” on CD and LP waiting for me when I get home from this tour and I can’t wait to dive in. My most anticipated album of the year along with the new Teitanblood.

You’re a hard working band, so I guess you already have a lot of things planned after the European tour?

We have 10 days off after this tour then we head down to the USA for another run of dates that will take us to the end of October. In November we have two more shows in Vancouver and Seattle respectively and at that point we will have done about 150 dates in support of this record. More tour dates and a new album are already in the works for 2020. 

https://www.actorstheband.com
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Sindrome “Alarmiste”

12 new songs from French darkwave solo artist SINDROME. “Pavillon Noir” sets the mood of this new album right from the start, 80s synth in different shades of black, from robotic dancefloor tunes (“Detox”, “Discocaïne”) to apocalyptic industrial ones (“Errance”, “Sens Le Pire”, “1R2DSFAC.”) SINDROME displays his love for the holy 80s without sounding purely retro-nostalgic, and still manages to surprise us with his visual and musical references (MICHAEL JACKSON, MICHEL POLNAREFF, ALBATOR, RATT…), you’ll even find a tribute to PRINCE in “Minneapolis.”
If you had to compare these new songs with his previous works, we can say that you’ll find more vocal melodies on this record (“Kaléidoscope Noir” and its strong French new wave touch,”Une Dernière Fois”, “Mode Alarme”, or “Démons”), which can only be a good thing since pop melodies can unfortunately rarely be found in the new synthwave scene. As on the previous album, you’ll find cool hard rock guitars by SINDROME‘s longtime friend and FROZEN DEAD KITTENS guitarist Greg Bergen (“Astéroïdes”), so don’t be afraid of the dark.. /Laurent C.

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Sindrome “Pop Polaroid”

French synth wave artist Alex Sindrome is an enigma. Dressed in black with full face make-up (almost kabuki here), he released a few albums on his own, but never appears on stage. A ghostly figure walking in a dead city at night, hiding from human non-sense, and reporting it through his lyrics and songs.
Synth bass, clap snares and disilusionned lyrics in French are his trademark, you can find this again on “Pop Polaroid” as soon as “Accident” starts, just before “Messe Noire” takes us into a gloomy film noir haze, and”Coeur Usiné Machine”, “On Restera des Imbéciles”, and “Marée Lasse” bring us straight back to the French 80s, reminding me of all the best obscure cold wave bands from those days. Nevertheless, Sindrome‘s world is not limited to synth and digital love, his musical and visual references also include Michel Polnareff and 80s glam metal.
Songs like “Tout est Annulé” or “Inflammable” have a bit of early DEPECHE MODE in them, and dark dancefloor hit “Réservation de Nuit” will keep you awake all night while guitar (By FROZEN DEAD KITTENS‘ Greg Bergen) driven song “Autolyse” should be Billy Idol‘s fans own personal favourite.
Sindrome‘s Frenchness can be heard in his dark, urban, postmodern poetry, and also in a song like “Le Premier Vol Pour Mars”, which sounds a bit like a synthetic version of new wave band INDOCHINE.
If you have to listen to one track before listening to the full album, then start with “Zombies”, one of the greatest songs on here with “Des Nuits Blanches en Apnée”, it will sure stick to your brains!
You’ll find 17 songs on this album, enough to make you go deep down into Alex Sindrome‘s universe. Dark, of course, but also pop, danceable, and highly addictive. /Laurent C.

https://alexsindrome.bandcamp.com/