In 2003, Andre 3000 asked society a very important question: ‘What’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold!’ He got that right – goth music is some of the coolest shit to listen to, and the best stuff is submerged in twenty-thousand feet of ice-cold emotional horror. Bauhaus, Alien Sex Fiend and The Sisters of Mercy are my go to sad-as-fuck bands, when it’s raining and it’s a Sunday, and there’s an assignment due, and I missed that Scott & Charlene’s Wedding show and…fuck man, my problems are the worst kinds of problems.
This is where Gazar Strips come in handy. They make noisy, gritty goth music in the same vein as the aforementioned artists, only darker. Maybe if Joy Division were drowned in a bathtub of evil? Or if the Reid brothers most devilish, junk-induced nightmares came to light? ‘Sparkling’ is anything but, a lurching, emotionally-wrought ride through cacophony and gutter-gothicism.
The EP starts with ‘Oversight’, a track that reaches out cold hands of bass and screaming, muddy guitar screeches. You can totally hear the ‘Unknown Pleasures’ influence here, but with stacks and stacks of feedback and regurgitating blackness surrounding it. There’s this awesome part where the song breaks down into agonised howls, cackling and a towering solo. The song basically spits out a seething, focused haze of gothic filth (one of the highest of compliments I can give).
The title track continues the trend of ripping open minds with crunching guitars, as experimental sounds that would have a hard time being replicated ricochet on percussion probably performed on a skeleton. ‘Last Days’ continues the killer bass trend, opening with a line that’ll tear you from balls to temple, low-slung and snarling as ever. Give it a few years, you’ll find most house bands that play in death cults chucking up covers of ‘Last Days’, which seems kind of inappropriate given the reputation death cults have got for themselves. Jesus Christ Jim Jones Jr., couldn’t you be a little more sensitive!
Serious props if you understood that really obscure cult leader reference that’s probably one of the darkest things I’ve written, but it’s still not as gloriously tormenting as the final track on the EP, ‘Bee Mantis’. Like its spindly namesake, the track thrives on being the most hair-raising, spine-chilling, mouth-drying creature created, a HTRK track burning on bleeding guitar fumes. This is the shit Stephen King used to write about in his books! It’s terror-fuelled genius, lapping bass and careening guitars carrying hope-shattering lyrics to a final destination of fucking amazing.
Did you read that last sentence? Gazar Strips are probably the best gothic/darkwave group in Australia right now, maybe even the globe. This EP is the kind of thing acid freaks who listen to The Cure wish they could create, but always forget about. This EP shatters all the expectations of what a band must do to cause on to shudder in entranced anticipation. FUCK! I can’t get over it, this EP is simply the shit. Bow down Robert Smith/Rowland S. Howard/Siouxsie Sioux disciples, you have a new master.
Pick up this fucking EP right away for a name your price download (GASP! HOLY FUCK!) at the Sonic Masala Bandcamp.