Alternative music reviews

History Of Guns

Apophenia June 2006

History Of Guns are not a band who believe in compromise. They have a bleak world view and if you need a break from the monotony and compromise of everyday life you can immerse yourself in this world of pain.

This album represents a change in texture mainly because they have added a guitarist and left behind the purely synth work. It does add a little bit of humanity to their sound compared to earlier works. Death Of A Nation begins proceedings and it's almost a new mellow Guns. There's guitar twangs and the music is more melodic than usual. The next track Your Obedient Servants was on the Whitby Sampler album so it is already one of my favourites. I affectionately think of it as Dickensian Punk - the cheeky barrow boy detailing the difficulties of existence while the chorus is Bill Sykes expressing obedience with a demeanour that tells you he will slit your throat that night.

From I Am/You Are on, we descend into the deep abyss of despair and darkness. Sonic attack time. Battle Of The Bands is History Of Guns meeting The Sound Of Music (I kid you not) and I think you know who wins. The History Of Guns track is an extended jam. It throws in samples from the albums songs and mixes everything up - but it is all based on a Thrash Fest of guitar and drums. "The History Of Guns will blow your brains out", as they say.

It's your choice: either you want music to take you on a journey into dark places, or you don't. With Apophenia, for 46 minutes History Of Guns will drag you through their Gothic world. It's a hell of a trip.

Whitby October Promo November 2004

History of Guns have very kindly sent me a promo for the Whitby Goth get together. It confirms my opinion that this is a band to be reckoned with. It's mostly a retrospective/best of from The Flashes Of Light and previous EPs. It's great to hear Pattern Death again and some of the earlier work is stupendous - Fact has the most amazing, hysterical sample in the beginning and then matches it with the music that follows. Reconstructing Terror from 2001 is half guitar thrash, half electronica fest, and half doomy Goth diatribe (and yes, I do know how fractions add up normally).

You know, I was beginning to wonder whether maybe I was just getting into normal Goth - that my admiration of the dynamic rhythms and doom laden lyrical outlook was just a general liking for the musical form. Okay, the best sleeve notes in the known world would have helped e.g. 'The unavoidable decline to infirmity and death. As skins grey and organs fail, your loved ones die and society considers you nothing but a burden.' And then I left the tape in the car and my wife listened to it - she has good taste in music (less obsession with the obscure than me) - and she thought it was really good. So, I'm not alone in thinking History of Guns are special. My particular interest with this CD is the track from the next album Apophenia. I had heard HoG had been joined by a guitarist and I was worried because I loved the synth work. The track previwed on this promo, Your Obedient Servants, is a lighter feel than before but is a classic punk track - Patrik Fitzgerald backed by Crass. The next History of Guns album is something to look forward to.

Flashes Of Light LP June 2004

The press release says 'In one hundred years everyone you know will be dead' and 'no one really loves you and you will die alone'. This is not designed to put me off, since it was once commented after an interview on Slovak Radio that I was a Nihilist - I didn't have the heart to say to the interviewer that I didn't even believe in Nihilism.

Truly strange. One of the most interesting explorations of the dark side of electronic Goth I have ever heard - the only one actually! Sublime electronics, scary vocals - and some moments that sound so naff it's hard to believe. There are moments on this album that make the blood run cold. I had been struggling to describe it until I played it very loud in the car coming home from work on Friday. Over the hour of listening, the sky darkened, the rain fell and it all made sense.

Flashes Of Light - Part One Feb 2004

History of Guns are Max Rael and Del Alien. They are based in Hertford in the UK and are described by their record company as Post-Industrial Goth. This is a promo track from their soon to be released album Flashes Of Light.

I'm not sure I'm attracted by the description 'Goth' but I am addicted to this 10 minute track. I have to play it twice a day. It's dark electronica topped by vocals that sound like a deep-voiced, sick, David Bowie. The beat programming is good and topped by an episodic development of the song that starts fairly disjointedly and leads to a long section of lush melodic synth notes topped by the strange yet attractive vocals. Dark and disturbing, maybe, but it also has flashes of melody and inspiration. I can't wait to hear the album just to see whether they can come up with anything quite as brilliant as this.

The good news is that History of Guns are giving away free copies of this CD (while stocks last!) to anyone who emails them. Check out their website

Dinosaur Jr
Sonic Youth
Bill Callahan
Jeffrey Lewis
Florence & The Machine
Resonance Association
The Roe Family Singers
The Peter Parkers

2008 Reviews
2007 Reviews
2006 Reviews
2005 Reviews
2004 Reviews
2003 Reviews
2002 Reviews
Best Of The Blog

News on submissions is here. Find me on MySpace and LastFM see what I'm listening to.

Who I Read
Advanced Theory Blog