Weathered Statues – Borderlands Review

Band: Weathered Statues
Album: Borderlands
Label: Svart Records
Genre: Goth, New Wave
Country: USA
Release Date: 27 April, 2018

So if you’re looking for a Metal album, you might as well go on and look elsewhere, because today’s treat isn’t even really remotely Metal. There’s some punk spit in it, plenty of guitar, loads of bass and drums, and some sweet female vocals. But there’s nary a metallic riff to hang your hat on. And that’s okay, because if you’re in the mood for something a little different, something that’s actually kind of amazingly good, you should stick around and learn about a new band that is throwing some serious darkness around.

What we have here is a group formed out of others, primarily post-Doom outfit Cloak of Organs, along with members from Wovenhand and Planes Mistaken for Stars. So yeah, there is some Metal cred in here, and what could feel like a side-band project actually bristles with energy and verve, filling in every crack and crevice of the songs on display with muscle and grit, but never forgetting the melody. Hell, most of this is highly danceable music.

New Wave is a big umbrella that a lot of bands get thrown under, from Siouxie and the Banshees to Flock of Seagulls, and there’s not really one uniting “sound” that makes for a cohesive labelling. But New Wave is what I would call this, with plenty of Goth thrown in, because I don’t really have another name for it. Post-punk? Maybe a little. There’s lots of The Cure in here, some Sisters of Mercy, lots of just damned good 80’s music like New Order thrown into the stew and swirled around to create something that, while not overly new, still sounds fresh in these days.

The guitars cut and chop, creating dreamy swirls one minute and chiming rock the next. The bass is a driving force here, up in the mix, strong and powerful, the heart of the music, thumping and rumbling. The drums work around a lot, throwing down patterns while waiting for the opportunity to come in and strike with a salvo of crashing cymbals. And the vocals…Jennie Mather (who also plays keyboards) is simply sensational. She can go from dreamy to snarling in a second, and the passion in her lyrics and delivery come through loud and clear. And to be direct, there is a lot of darkness here, stories of pain and suicide and suffering. Despite what impression I might have given earlier, this is some dark, dark stuff. But yeah, you can still dance to it.

Some highlights:

Opener “Corpse Candle” just rages. Man, this thing comes in all bass-heavy, ready to dance and fight at the same time. And the chorus is so damned catchy that you’ll find yourself humming it for days. This is their statement; this is what you’re going to get for the rest of the record. It’s more than a fine introduction; it really does set the table for the feast that is to come.

“Betrayal” is haunting. “You surrendered to darkness, it hid behind your eyes…” are just some of the lyrics in this chilling story. The keyboards sound kind of jaunty at first but as the song plays on, you get the sense that nothing is fun about this at all, except for the perverse dancibility of it. And then Mather’s ghostly repeated phrasing of “Betrayal” at the end will send chills up and down your spine.

I really dig “Sabbat,” with its driving beat and rattling bass and the guitar reverb. It conjures up a wild, hallucinogenic drive through a big city, with the neon streaking by and the people on the streets melting together. It’s a fine example of the band sticking within their sound and yet expanding on it.

Closer “Holy Masquerade” actually does start with a pretty metallic riff, to be honest, but the bassline keeps it firmly in the New Wave category. Nice riff, mean in a Cult kind of way. This is again another example of the band playing with their sound, entrenched in what they want to do, and yet able to add to it, giving things more of a nuance. It’s also a nice curveball, considering what came before. You’d expect the album to end with some kind of depressive, mood piece. Instead, you get a depressive rocker.

This band has delivered a very fine record. If you’re a fan of 80’s bands like The Cure, or The Cult, or New Order, this is tailor-made for you. And while you’ll find a lot of similarities to such bands, Weathered Statues manage to weave all of those disparate styles together into a sound all their own. This is music that will break your heart and make you dance to it.

Rating: 8/10

1. Corpse Candle
2. Betrayal
3. Dark Tides
4. Heather
5. Hypnagogia
6. The Silver Cliff
7. Sabbat
8. The Widow Sunday
9. Ossuary
10. Holy Masquerade

Total Playing Time: 39:39

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