Scene: a grungy cellar in Columbus, OH. This is the world of goth/post-punk project Von Schmaltzy, a world of primal percussion, aggressive bass, dissonant synths, and booming vocal melodies.
The project is written, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Celtic Schmaltz, with real acoustic drums. Taking cues from The Cure, Joy Division/New Order, The Sound, Sad Lovers & Giants, Sisters of Mercy, A Place To Bury Strangers, and Bauhaus, the project announces a new EP of four songs discussing different aspects of life unto death, called Vying Light.
It’s hard to believe the album is a DIY project, but the live drums bring a poetic richness to the overall sound. Using bells, string sections, and thunderous sounds, the album flows between a tense turmoil of hatred, to acceptance, to empathy.
“The project is meant to create a stark contrast in the surreal nature of experiencing and trying to understand death,” Schmaltz explains, likening his songwriting to creating a sonic painting. “Each experience is accompanied by a different song structure…A lot of the concepts start with a black and white palette, and I like to add layers of depth and low saturated color. I strive to find a balance between something minimal and bold with concise hints of saturated color spice things up.”
The album opens with the passionate “Vivacious, channeling the intensity of Birthday Party-era Nick Cave, echoing through the darkness. “Rat-Race” follows, with an ominous, crooning hook immersing us in howling dissonance. “Eternal Depths” is explosive, channeling Scary Monsters-era Bowie…or even Tilt-era Scott Walker, by way of a poltergeist appearance in a dark cavernous space. The closing track, “Vying Light”, opens with a ghostly, wailing synth, plunging into a pleading lilt, not unlike Dave Vanian of The Damned.
The collection is dark, sinister, and expertly crafted.
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