Can you believe it?! Gothic rock that truly rocks and doesn’t suffocate from its overbearing self-importance!? Yes, this year’s black-clad model comes in the form of Babylon Whores’ King Fear . Much closer to gothic-laced metal than rock, Babylon Whores swim to the shore faster than their contemporaries, who merely tread water and hope in vain their metal-disguised-as-rock actually rocks, which it usually doesn’t due to said self-importance.
Anyway, these Finnish death rockers’ lurch n’ crunch is a weighty one, with the most generalized reference point being that of prime Danzig (Whores vocalist Ike Vil possesses an unusually bluesy darkened croon). But where Danzig might opt for a sweaty bordello as its venue of choice, Babylon Whores seem primed for one of those chilly European outdoor festivals, their sound so stadium-blown that you can almost taste the dry ice. That isn’t to say they are short on humor, however blackly ironic it may be: On leadoff track “Errata Stigmata,” Vil bellows ” say you love Satan ” ad ridiculum , and you just know they’re laughing even harder than you are. Hawkwind leader/perpetual weirdo Nik Turner even makes a cameo appearance somewhere on the album, but I’m hard-pressed to locate his contribution (doobies, maybe?).
Necropolis, P.O. Box 14815, Fremont, CA 94539-4815; http://www.necropolisrec.com