“Our love is suicide…
Our love is shame”
These two lines from “The Bell” sum up in appropriately blunt style the entire sound of London dark indie rockers Cold In Berlin. Their new album is released tomorrow, and they’ll be performing the launch party tonight – so now you can read all about this latest crushing installment in the bleak trilogy of their releases.
Two lone bars of scratchy guitar solo lead into “She Walks” before cymbal-heavy percussion explodes the song. Something menacing is stalking into her bedroom, Maya intols, before unleashing her trademark undulating shriek through the chorus. Her voice is primed with echo, and the guitars wail in twisted harmony to produce an unearthly torment of sound.
Through the verses Maya is intentionally leaden and flat, and it’s a thrilling juxtaposition as the song screeches and thrashes around her, an island of black peace suddenly overwhelmed by a tidal wave of grim resurgence.
“The Bell” is yet another hypnotic track that ranks up with “White Horse” or “… And The Darkness Bangs.” Appropriately enough for a new anthem, the video is available below.
Skeletal imagery abounds, as the band create another song that is bare bones of drum and chords on which Maya drapes her voice and soul. “Watch me as I bleed… For you.” It’s intimate, painful, mesmerising and the band at their supreme best. This will be the song we howl for, the song we will thrash and stomp with when Maya inevitably joins us in the audience to howl her hurts directly into our faces.
“With this album, definition is difficult but pain resonates throughout; the powerful sound of survival”
The monotonous “Fucking Loud” is just that, a short and sharp escalation of noise almost completely off the leash. In delicious contrast, the monumental “Mysterious Spells” swirls about us like razor-edged smoke, just feedback and Maya’s spectral voice for an indulgent seven minutes. “I wasn’t the one you wanted – I was the one you got” she keens in agony, thrusting more pain and regret into our helpless ears.
She is pronouncing now, raw poetry targeted at some enemy who lurks in a “mute London beneath a red August sun”. It’s a proclamation, a promise of some horrendous and incomprehensible punishment. Never let yourself be on her shit list.
“Pray for us – on your knees” and it’s classic Cold In Berlin, mixing sex and horror, threats and promises in equal, evil amounts. Maya soars as doom laden chants echo below her and guitars sob in broken electronic cries or in maddening and hypnotic patterns.
After the simple and effective “Ghosts”, “Natural Order” sees the band in familiar territory as Maya’s sensual, scarred singing channels twisted lust into every syllable…
he writes her a letter says
he’ll break her in two
she’ll beg him to
she’ll beg him to
It’s worshipping something – someone – you know is bad for you, and I can’t think of a better metaphor for being a Cold In Berlin fan.
If I could level one criticism at this new album, it’s that it lacks a really high tempo song like “Destruction” or “God I Love You” – but everything else just falls into place; this is a perfectly polished piece of post-millennial malaise, mourning and making love with equal, dark abandon. Simply essential.