Hailing from afar
Borne aloft, born anew
Guided home by beacon light
All-star deathrock ensemble The Bellwether Syndicate has revealed their highly anticipated new album, Vestige & Vigil, released through Sett Records in North America and reaching global audiences via Nexilis Records/Schubert Music Europe. An astounding nine years have passed since their captivating debut, The Night Watch, first enchanted the music world.
A result of six grueling years of creative exploration, Vestige & Vigil is an elixir of modern existence, captured through profound lyricism and melody. This exceptional array of sonic masterpieces resonates with those who answer its beckoning call.
The double-edged perspective of Vestige & Vigil offers a unique vantage point from which to survey the world: Vestige, an exultation of the enduring remnants of life, and Vigil, a solemn acknowledgement of that which has vanished into the ether.
In an extravagant manifestation of maritime dreams, the opening single “Beacons” unfurls a symphonic oceanic allure, entwining the soul with serenades of gratitude. The narrative, which finds itself gently cast upon the open waves, is lovingly cradled by the group’s grandiose, horizon-spanning guitar tapestries and the urgent, Morse-code-like murmurings of bass and synthesizer. As the piece swells to its tempestuous crescendo, a chorus erupts like a valiant steamship, its chiming, celestial six-strings steering the pulsating rhythm in tandem with William Faith’s sonorous, thunderous baritone – a maritime maestro guiding the auditory vessel safely to the embrace of terra firma.
“Beacons’ is simply a love song to our family: our people — our fans,” says William Faith. “We’d be truly lost at sea without them, and every time we get ready to play a live gig, they really are the beacons that guide us home, to that moment where we’re together in a safe harbor and everything is possible. That moment is everything to us, and it’s what we live for.”
In the otherworldly realm of “Golden Age,” a celestial ambience envelops the listener. At the same time, spectral lamentations whisper cautionary tales of the perils of becoming ensnared in the seductive tendrils of yesteryear. This timely reminder to not squander the precious moments that still lie ahead is woven into an indelible, shimmering tapestry of a chorus. This gossamer melody lingers in the air, echoing through the chambers of memory, refusing to be forgotten.
“Golden Age‘ is a rare gift in that I received nearly the entire song in a dream,” Faith muses. “The beat, the guitar and bass melody, and the chorus lyric were all just there in my head when I woke up and, without saying a word to Sarah, I ran down to the studio to capture it before I lost it. It has a haunting quality which felt very nostalgic to me, so the lyric is really about the danger of getting lost in nostalgia and losing the present as a result. This is a conversation we have a lot, as so many people seem to stop looking ahead, content to rummage through the past. I’ve always said that tomorrow is way more interesting to me than yesterday, so this song warns about getting stuck there. As for the chorus, it’s anyone’s guess what it means, as it’s all a dream!”
Preceding this sublime auditory journey, the ensemble unveiled their vanguard composition, ‘Dystopian Mirror‘ – a glam-noir phantasmagoria that brandishes an unyielding fusillade of razor-sharp guitar lacerations, whirring synthesizer machinations, and the primal rhythms of tribal percussion. This cacophony of soundcraft sets the scene for a macabre sojourn through the twisted landscapes of the maladjusted psyche, narrated with sardonic fervor by the very voices that echo within the labyrinthine recesses of one’s own troubled mind.
“We All Rise” extends its melancholic composition, interweaving somber marching drums with guitars that encapsulate an unwavering determination amidst the anguish of leaden skies. William Faith’s poignant vocal delivery establishes the sonic landscape, as the track morphs into an invigorating collision of hardcore punk and deathrock aesthetics, forging a collective of dauntless souls who challenge society’s fabrications.
The song’s introspective lyrics confront themes of internal sanctuary, resilience, and defiance against convention, offering a thought-provoking reflection on the human condition. This auditory experience not only resonates with listeners but also serves as an unyielding battle cry for those who seek to transcend the limitations imposed by societal norms and strive toward a more inclusive and equitable future.
Vestige & Vigil is available from all fine digital outlets, including Apple Music and Spotify, and also directly from the artist via Bandcamp.
Produced by William Faith, whose credits include Jarboe, Clan of Xymox, Bootblacks and Autumn, and Chad Blinman (Face To Face, Faith and The Muse, Jarboe), the album was recorded at 13 Studio in Chicago, which Blinman then mixed at The Eye Socket.
Based in Chicago, The Bellwether Syndicate is William Faith (vox, guitars), Sarah Rose Faith(vox, guitars), Philly Peroxide (keyboards, percussion), Stevyn Grey (drums), and Corey Gorey (guitars). Formerly of seminal goth acts Christian Death, Mephisto Walz, and Shadow Project, and co-founder of Faith & The Muse, William Faith moved from his native LA to Chicago in 2010, forming The Bellwether Syndicate with Sarah Rose Faith (a.k.a. Scary Lady Sarah), one of the scene’s most eminent DJs and club promoters and host of Nocturna, the longest-running goth event in North America. Apart from forming the nucleus of The Bellwether Syndicate, the two often DJ together as The Pirate Twins.
In the masterful creation that is Vestige & Vigil, The Bellwether Syndicate shatters the confines of overplayed gothic tropes, delivering an album that brims with innovation and fervor. As a prominent force within the contemporary darkwave and post-punk realms, the band demonstrates exceptional artistry and skill. Each track unfolds like a powerful sonic odyssey, blending atmospheric ambiance, emotional depth, and invigorating energy, ultimately immersing the listener in a captivating deathrock and alternative rock experience reminiscent of a melange of the best 60s dark rock, 70s punk, and 80s alternative, woven together with groundbreaking earnestness and intensity.
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