Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Golem Dance Cult Are Aggressive And Sensitive On Debut Album ‘Legend Of The Bleeding Heart’

Golem Dance Cult is a band made up of childhood friends Charles Why and Laur. 

After performing in bands as teenagers, the pair have recently reconnected whilst living miles apart (Laur now lives in France whilst his bandmate resides in The UK) to create their latest project.

 With a 2021 EP already behind them, the band are back with their debut full-length LP, the intriguing ‘Legend of the Bleeding Heart’. 

Opening with a one-minute instrumental made up of Royal Blood style riffs, if Royal Blood processed their music through a Rhineland factory, ‘Prologue - Kill the Radio Brat’ sets the stall out perfectly for the rest of the album. It’s with the follow-up ‘Dalek Rhetoric’, however, that the real band finally bursts into life. The bombastic riffs are joined by anthemic drums and a monotone yet heavily effected vocal delivery by Charles whilst a breakdown features wailing guitar solos. It’s a raucous opening salvo from the band. 

Golem Dance Cult, on the surface, are a riffs band. Yet, as they prove on ‘Schadenfreude Addict’, they can also provide some witty and meaningful lyrics. Schadenfreude is the act of taking pleasure from other people’s misfortune, and as Charles claims “We know it’s a sin / So why does it make me feel good?”. It’s a wonderful bit of introspection on an album that, on its surface, threatens to be swamped by its relentless musicianship.  

Carpe Noctem’ maintains the fast pace of the early album before ‘Ghost of Las Vegas’ brings the tempo down with some plodding drums and a moody vocal performance. 

The album continues along this path throughout the middle phase. With some grungy jaunts like The White Stripes inspired ‘Going Warpath’ with its ‘Blue Orchid’ inspired riff, or the psychedelic-infused ‘She/He’s my Kryptonite’ with its heavily distorted vocals, the album touches on a multitude of genres whilst also sticking closely to its industrial, dance-rock base. 

The penultimate track ‘Feels Like Tuesday (Déjà vu)’ is the best example of the slight genre-bending the band does whilst also highlighting their surprising knack for emotionally adept lyrics. The song highlights the repetitive banality of life as Charles dreads a life “When you’re just waiting for the next day” whilst bemoaning the fact that “Everyone thinks it’s alright / Do you know what I mean, do you know how it feels tonight?”. The emotional weight of the lyrics are added to by the first inclusion of strings on the album and the relatively sparse production style, pointing to a band that knows how to use both lyrics and music to tap into the feelings of the listener.  

Album closer ‘Demi-Monde’ is another soiree into the psychedelic world as a slow and repetitive riff is joined by some prog-rock elements. The phrase Demi-Monde is French and used to describe a particular woman of doubtful morality and social standing. It’s in many ways a fitting idea for the band to end on, as throughout the release you are unable to fully place the band, yet you leave with a full sense of their debauched music and a longing to come back for more. 

James Ogden 

Image: ‘Legend of the Bleeding Heart’ Official Album Cover 

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