Celebrated Costa Rican gothic rock band Ariel Maniki and the Black Halos have unveiled their video for “Strangers”, the lead single from the band’s forthcoming fifth full-length studio album, Black Light.
Along with the video release, the new single, also released today on Bandcamp, is flanked by remixes from UK musician, DJ, and World Goth Day cofounder BatBoy Slim, and Colombian darkwave/coldwave duo Antiflvx.
Head Halo Ariel Maniki describes the new ‘Strangers’ promo clip as “the happiest video we’ve ever done”, with the band shown cavorting on the sunny Central American coastline for which Costa Rica is famous. In truth, however, the video reflects the many contrasts that define the forthcoming ‘Black Light’ album: the seaside playfulness brought into sharp relief by the juxtaposition of actress/model Alicia Riba in desolate, grey, urban scenes. The immediacy of the up-tempo, melodic ‘classic goth rock’ single is likewise contrasted elsewhere on the new album by towering, morose, labyrinthine epics, and many other shades in between. Ariel continues:
“This was the song that kickstarted this album. I wrote the lyrics back in November during a relaxing vacation to one of our beaches. I literally wrote the lyrics laying on the sand and immersed in the sound of the sea waves. It is also one of the few songs I can easily explain and translate as the lyrics are very transparent. It’s pretty much a fantasy we all have had about leaving behind the vicious modern world we live in and escaping into some sort of spiritual and heavenly utopia. I returned from this trip with the lyrics on my phone and the melody in my head, as soon as I got to a solid and well-defined idea for the whole of the song, I started writing the rest of the album.”
Watch the video for “Strangers” below:
Hailing from the nation’s capital of San José, prominent local goth musician Ariel Maniki (previously of Draconian Incubus, Maniki, and others) formed the Black Halos in 2014, heavily inspired by classic UK, European, and US goth rock and post-punk of the ‘80s and ‘90s (The Mission, The Chameleons, Clan of Xymox, Bella Morte), alongside Latin American artists such as Caifanes from Mexico.
Ariel Maniki and the Black Halos released their debut album ‘The Descending’ in 2015, while line-up changes in 2016 saw the addition of long-time keyboardist Janice Black, followed by the release of the sophomore album ‘Labyrinth’; the band’s first tour of Latin America (Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, and Brazil); the ‘Teargarden’ EP; and finally, signing to Brazilian label Deepland Records. The third album ‘Ritual’ was recorded and released on Deepland during 2017, with the band embarking on the Ritual Tour the following year, taking them not only throughout Latin America again but this time on to the UK, Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic. Another round of line-up changes mid-tour led to bassist Eva Red joining the group, resulting in the present-day trio of Ariel, Janice, and Eva. Meanwhile, both the retrospective ‘A Brief Catharsis’ compilation album and new EP ‘Affliction Paragraphs’ were also released in 2018.
The fourth album, ‘Jade’, appeared in 2019, and sent the band back on the road to Mexico and Brazil. Initially planning to take a break from the rigours of recording and touring in 2020, Ariel Maniki and the Black Halos instead responded to the global shutdown with the ‘Live Under Will’ acoustic sessions EP and video; and also contributed a cover of Sweet William’s ‘My Ignorance’ to the compilation ‘Out of Sight – A tribute to Oliver Heuer’, honouring the German band’s late vocalist.
November 2020-April 2021 was spent writing and recording the epic new fifteen-song album, Black Light, which is tentatively scheduled for release on Deepland Records in August 2021.
In the meantime, listen to the single “Strangers”, along with the remixes, on Bandcamp below: