The audacious spirit that electrified the youth of the 80s is reborn in a venture that revels in the obscure and the experimental, unafraid to weave in unique aural tendrils and threads. Phoenix Arizona darkwave outfit Tassel (Trey SequeIra, May Winterhalt, and Ash Barrett) emerges from the tangled weave of fear, resentment, and the quest for authenticity. Drenched in razor-sharp synths and pulsating with the rhythm of industrial, punk, and dance beats, Tassel artfully blends caustic grit and captivating grooves to forge a ghostly sonic spectacle for the new era.
Their latest EP New Covenant is comprised of six incendiary compositions, meticulously crafted for igniting the dance floor. Leading the charge, vocals ripple into the stereo abyss, where the menace and allure of gothic rock are dissected, exorcised, and reborn in enthralling anomaly.
The album roars into existence with “Woven Barbed Wire,” a hypnotic mechanization with raw and rhythmic beats, overlayed with mired vocals echoing through a chasm of sound, and an ominously lurking bassline. The ensuing track, “Forward To” fuses the effective elegance of The Normal’s classic “Warm Leatherette” with contemporary darkwave, motorik beats, a splash of sass, and new beat-influenced clangs, haunting listeners with its chilling sprechstimme chorus, “I’m looking forward to death.”
Venturing further, we encounter Death Machine, a phantasmal disco force, pulsating with a vibrant industrial zeal that echoes eerily like a nuclear reactor teetering on the edge of combustion. Its fuzzy, arctic EBM rhythm intertwined with spoken verse delivery captivates in a sinisterly mesmeric dance. This adrenaline-fueled crescendo is supplanted by “Only A Word,” a composition rife with icy, darting synths and twitchy, gothic cadences. It evokes a spectral nostalgia, resonating with the familiar frequencies of Cabaret Voltaire and Acid Horse.
The record pirouettes, once more, into the beguiling aural panorama reminiscent of heritage bands like The Klinik, with “Deepest Pit,” a composition lavished in enticingly velvety lyrics. The culmination unfurls as “Body Shell,” a masterpiece bubbling with the iron reverberations of industry’s reverie, cloaked with ghostly synth undertones and unearthly resonances, embodying the audacious essence of the record.
Compared to their previous EP, “Steel Patch,“ Tassel explores new distinct sonic territories with New Covenant. New Covenant delves into industrial techno’s raw and rugged heart, drenched in grinding rhythms and punctuated by metallic clangs. The hard-edged beats capture the mechanistic spirit of the genre, while the edgy atmosphere provides an arresting background to the entire offering. Conversely, “Steel Patch” is a heady voyage into the darker nuances of darkwave and Batcave-esque death rock. It plays with the seductive qualities of traditionally gothic elements, expertly blending them with frosty synths, creating a magnetic pull into its spectral depths. Notably, tracks like “Ruminate” and “Pity” stand out with their riveting blend of icy synth work and bewitching gothic cadences.
While both EPs deliver their own unique audio experience, it’s astonishingly impressive how “New Covenant” exhibits its more diverse sophistication and layered composition, and ultimately is indicative of the band’s ever-evolving sound and expansion of their sonic palette.
Overall, the sense of New Covenant is thoughtful, foreboding, seductive, and highly infectious music.
Listen below, and order the EP here.
Tassel sets sail on a grand tour in September, accompanied by a carousel of select companions, notably including MVTANT. They initiate the odyssey in Phoenix, venturing through Albuquerque, Austin, San Diego, Las Vegas, Portland…and beyond! Their live shows promise to be a mixture of EBM classic darkwave, perhaps not unlike their contemporaries Aurat. The journey wraps itself serpentine around the western states, and culminates in Oakland, CA, on the eve of September 30th.
In the meantime, watch Tassel’s performance of tracks from “New Covenant,” Live at Kensington Club, below:
Take note of the tour dates that follow:
- 9/3: Phoenix AZ at The Rebel Lounge
- 9/9: Tucson AZ at The Congress
- 9/13: Albuquerque, NM at La Chancla
- 9/14: Austin, TX at Kickbutt Coffee
- 9/15: San Antonio, TX at The Mix
- 9/16 McAllen, TX at The Dungeon
- 9/20 San Diego, CA at The Whistle Stop
- 9/21 Cathedral City, CA at the Bart Lounge
- 9/22 Riverside, CA at The Hideaway
- 9/23 Las Vegas, NV at Artifice Bar
- 9/26 Denver, CO at the Hi-Dive Bar
- 9/27 Salt Lake City, UT at International
- 9/28 Olympia, WA at The Crypt
- 9/29 Portland, OR at Coffin Club
- 9/30 Oakland, CA at The Stork Club