Certain combinations are timeless. One such combination (and one that I’m a particular fan of) is rock’n’roll and the macabre. Corpse paint, the arcane, and all other manner of grimy and grotesque have gone hand in hand with rock and metal music for decades; even the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt walked in plain sight as a rockstar!
Today, we’re premiering a delightfully unnerving example of this pairing that’s as groovy as it is spooky: “No Sleep Until Heaven” the fourth single taken from Berlin-based industrial-goth outfit The Somnambulist’s latest album Hypermnesiac. It’s been given a visual accompaniment befitting the song’s vampiric jaggedness, which you can check out below:
As becomes evident from the video’s opening moments, The Somnambulist’s approach is built around sensations of discomfort. The focal point of the visuals is dancer Zoe Goldstein, whose face is never seen throughout the video. The direction given to her by the band to guide her performance reveals the unorthodox approach to the creative process behind the video’s concept:
‘…it naturally came to us the idea of pairing one video loop to each sound piece so as to obtain, once edited, a visual representation of the sonic puzzle the song has been built on. Going on keeping faith in this ‘pseudoscientific’ approach, instead of a complete audio track we gave Zoe Goldstein a bunch of isolated sound cells to be played in loop, a list of single words, an app to be installed on a smartphone and three instructions with no further reference to the song: choreograph one different movement for each sound and word, write the words on your body, keep the camera in the same position while shooting.‘
The result is a grungy throwback to the late 90s – early 00s found footage horror aesthetic, albeit with a more impactful artistic flare. With each jagged cut of Goldstein writhing in the dark, her movements somehow remain synced with the track’s erratic percussion, her bare body twisting into different poses as the lyrics to the song appear scrawled across her skin in blood-like ink. A layer of ‘degraded video tape’ distortion cloaks the chopped imagery, creating the sensation that you’ve found something discarded that you were never meant to see.
The song itself is built around the interplay between marching drums and a guttural 60s spy riff. This sordid dance recurs throughout the track’s runtime as the sliced’n’diced production creeps to the surface, eventually splattering the tune into atonal contortions by the end. The percussive, semi-spoken word delivery of vocalist Marco Bianciardi evokes the gravelly theatrics of Tom Waits as much as any of the 80s dark wave artists the song takes its inspiration from, infusing it with an attitude to match the darkness. You could easily imagine “No Sleep Until Heaven” being the opening or closing theme for a goth-tinged horror flick – maybe one day it will be?
Fortunately, good news from The Somnambulist camp doesn’t end there. The band will be live streaming a concert on Friday, June 12 for your enjoyment! If the music video for “No Sleep Until Heaven” is any indication, this performance promises to be an extension of their theatrical and entertaining style that I’m personally looking forward to tuning into. You can find the link to the upcoming stream below:
If you like what you’ve seen and heard, then be sure to check out The Somnambulist’s website, Facebook page, and label – Slowing Records – to stay up to date with new releases, live performances, and other news. Moreover, you can stream their latest album Hypermnesiac in full on Soundcloud.