Darkwave is not dead – 21 fresh bands give proof!

Darkwave is not dead - 21 fresh bands give proof!

The journey begins

As a kid of the 80s with a pas­sion for elec­tron­ic music, I also exper­i­enced in the 'New Romantic' and 'New Wave' move­ment. The son of my parent's friends was a 'Waver' in the 80s, but today we'd call him a 'Goth'. He was a few years older than me and looked quite like Robert Smith. He was def­in­itely a kind of a cliché, because he lived in the cel­lar (his parent's old party room), had a rat and was really into hor­ror movies.

I simply loved to be with him. Especially, I liked the rat and that he and his friends let me watch hor­ror movies with them. Once, when I was around 11–12 years old,  they even gave me some booze (Blue Curacao with Orange Juice). Sure this was not the ideal place for a kid to grow up and find its role mod­el, but to me they we're so cool and impress­ive, because they didn't treat me like a child.

Maybe they were a bit impressed by my young­er ego them­selves, because I had already fallen in love with elec­tron­ic music which was quite unusu­al at my age. Thanks to them I got in touch with bands like 'The Cure', 'Siouxsie And The Banshees', 'Sisters Of Mercy', and so on.

Nowadays, when talked about this music style, you often hear the con­sensus that there's noth­ing com­par­able to the sound of the 80s. But let me tell you, these 'ever yes­ter­day­si­ans' are totally wrong. Open your mind to this list of young, fresh bands play­ing Darkwave with Batcave atti­tude at a level like our her­oes from the past and find the future of this genre in their wake. Please keep in mind that this list is no ranking!


1. Ash Code • Italy, founded in 2013

'Ash Code' is the monik­er for the meet­ing of Alessandro's sens­iv­ity and Claudia's taste. Their music describes a col­lage of darkwave, noise and elec­tron­ic music with a sol­id drum machine. Dark bal­lads and obsess­ive beats, deep and mel­an­chol­ic synths, noise and dis­tor­tions, arpeg­gia­t­ors and delays. Lights and shades. Dances of Death. Visions and the­at­ric­al­ity. Coded ash. (Source: Ash Code Facebook page)


2. She Past Away • Turkey, founded in 2006

'She Past Away' is a band from Turkey described as the “new dark-wave” in art­icles and reviews through­out the world. Their music com­piles ele­ments from the dark, sen­sa­tion­al side of 80’s, often asso­ci­ated with bands like The Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Joy Division, Clan of Xymox, Grauzone, and DAF. SPA brings back that era with today’s approach and Turkish lyr­ics which gives the band that unique edge. (Source: She Past Away Facebook Page)


3. Light Asylum • USA, founded in 2010

'Light Asylum' is a Brooklyn-based elec­tron­ic music duo con­sist­ing of Shannon Funchess and Bruno Coviello. The band released their first EP 'In Tension' in 2010. The four track EP was re-released in 2011 through a not­able indie label 'Mexican Summer'. The self-titled début album has been released in May 2012. It has received gen­er­ally pos­it­ive reviews from Pitchfork, FACT, Mixmag, NME, XLR8R and The Quietus.

Light Asylum's music is heav­ily influ­enced by 1980s music. Their style incor­por­ates ele­ments of Darkwave, Synth Pop and Post-Punk music and 'The Guardian' com­pared Light Asylum to Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. (Source: Wikipedia)


4. Noir • USA, founded in 2013

Athan Maroulis con­cep­tu­al­ized 'Noir' as a pro­ject that would music­ally bridge togeth­er his Industrial and Gothic past into a very moody elec­tron­ic present util­iz­ing ele­ments of dance, dark ambi­ent, synth-laced hooks along with touches of glitch and EBM. The res­ult in entitled 'Darkly Near' an album influ­enced by ideal­ized black and white images of New York City, a con­trast­ing filmic back­drop for the aur­al futur­ist­ic pleas­ures of 'Noir'.

Lyrically, 'Darkly Near' is an album of end­ings, one that travels through a dreamy death trip of sen­su­al­ity littered with sinewy faded silent film stars, Rod Serling scripts, con men and the for­lorn recol­lec­tions of a sol­it­ary man wait­ing for a train pressed against the machinery of today. Released on the heels of 2012’s suc­cess­ful single 'My Dear' that fea­tured an exclus­ive 'Assemblage 23' remix, Noir’s mature yet strik­ingly refresh­ing 'Darkly Near' album will be sup­por­ted with a select series of exclus­ive live dates. (Source: Noir Facebook page)

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5. Hapax • Italy, founded in 2014

'Hapax' is a Post-Punk Synthwave pro­ject from Naples (Italy) that com­bines 80’s Darkwave sounds with mod­ern exper­i­ment­al /industri­al arrange­ments. The duo was formed in 2014 and con­sists of Michele Mozzillo (vocals, bass, synth, lyr­ics) and Diego Cardone (gui­tar, synth, pro­gram­ming, artwork). 

The debut album was released on December 2014 for the label 'Swiss Dark Nights' and is a 11 tracks concept inspired to the nar­rat­ive device employed by some writers of the early 'XXth Century', the 'Stream Of Consciousness', which seeks to depict the mul­ti­tudin­ous thoughts and feel­ings which like a flow pass through the mind before they could be logic­ally organ­ized in sen­tences. A dra­mat­ic and exhaust­ing intro­spec­tion into human soul. (Source: Hapax Facebook page)


6. Kælan Mikla • Iceland, founded in 2013

'Kælan Mikla' is a three-piece punk/no-wave band from Reykjavík slowly get­ting dark­er and deep­er with new waves and more instru­ments. The band con­sists of three girls who per­form their own poetry and have been described as an avant-garde, fresh breeze into the Icelandic music scene in the past two years.

The band was formed after win­ning first place in a poetry slam held by the city lib­rary in January 2013. They have since then played mul­tiple fest­ivals as well as just fin­ish­ing a small europe tour. 'Kælan Mikla' are known for their dark mel­an­chol­ic sound, most of the songs con­sist­ing only of heavy bass, drums and screams with some softer, melod­ic synth parts in-between.

The bands lyr­ics focus on inner con­fu­sion and their intim­id­at­ing stage per­form­ance, often includ­ing per­form­ance art of some sort, is bound to leave the crowd in a mel­an­chol­ic trance. (Source: Kælan Mikla Discogs page)


7. Selofan • Greece, founded in 2011

Strictly ana­logue nar­ra­tions about all our own per­son­al ghosts, which dis­tin­guish humans from oth­er spe­cies. (Source: Selofan Bandcamp page)


8. Dear Strange • Germany, founded in 2015

The French-German duo 'Dear Strange' revives the spir­it of New Wave with mod­ern Electronica in a most cap­tiv­at­ing way on the debut album 'Lonely Heroes'. Some music just pulls the listen­er in from the very start. Dear Strange's epic Electro-anthem 'The Unicorn' is such a rare spe­ci­men which had the entire Out-Of-Line-staff hooked instant­an­eously. Now, the duo has com­pleted work on the eagerly awaited debut and it is noth­ing short of a revelation.

The power­ful voice of Dorian E. reminds of Wave-legends like Siouxsie Sioux and envel­ops the listen­er in a mael­strom of emo­tions, while sound wiz­ard Romain Frequency re-invents the feel­ing of the dark side of the Eighties with Minimal-Electro- and club-sound-ele­ments com­ing from an armada of syn­thes­izers. (Source: Dear Strange Last.fm page)

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9. Double Echo • England/USA, founded in 2012

'Double Echo' is a Liverpool and San Diego based duo com­prised of Chris Luna and Ash Lerczak. Inspired by the dark side of 1980's New Wave, Post-Punk and soundtrack music.


10. Love In Cage • France, founded in 2008

'Love In Cage' is a trio from Rouen (France) born in 2008. Marielle (Bass, Keyboards) Isthmael (Voice,Lyrics and pho­to­graphy), Alexis (Guitars, drum programming,keyboards). Their music is mainly Cold-Wave, Post-Punk and Electro. (Source: Love In Cage Last.fm page)


11. Sato Sato • England, founded in 2014

My research about some inform­a­tion of this band wasn't suc­cess­ful. If you like their music just vis­it their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/wearesatosato/


12. Hante. • France, founded in 2014

After her pre­vi­ous note­worthy pro­jects Phosphor and Minuit Machine, Hélène de Thoury offers, through her first solo pro­ject, a cold and syn­thet­ic music mix­ing nag­ging cold wave and strik­ing elec­tron­ics. «Her Fall And Rise» has been released on the 10th of December by the french label Stellar Kinematics. It depicts these moments in life when you swing between dark mel­an­cho­lia and bright hope. (Source: Hante. Last.fm page)

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13. Nightmare Fortress • USA, founded in 2011

There is some­thing inher­ently intox­ic­at­ing and mem­or­able about the aud­it­ory bou­quet of Nightmare Fortress. Perfecting their kin­et­ic, ali­en­ated dream­s­cape sound since 2011, the Seattle group’s debut long-play­er, The Wanting, is an immacu­late col­lec­tion of high-strung syn­ergy, bound to get the mind think­ing while dirty­ing the dance floor.

Nightmare Fortress is Alicia Amiri (vocals), Colin Roper (synths), Blair Field (synths), and Cassidy Gonzales (gui­tar), who, with the assist­ance of pro­du­cer Erik Blood (Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, Crypts), have craf­ted a sound on the dark­er side of the pop spec­trum, show­cas­ing a divine chem­istry that gives their intric­ate orches­tra­tions a potent punch. Where synths drip in lay­ers of swirl­ing, lush har­mon­ies oper­at­ing in a per­fect par­al­lel with tense yet tran­quil string work, the back­bone of­ syn­thet­ic drums offers a crisp, driv­ing met­ro­nome with snare snaps that pen­et­rate through­out. As the center­piece, Amiri’s sharp voice soars through the rhythm’s open spaces, slowly unfurl­ing in a grand, cine­mat­ic arc.

With a selec­tion of cuts to rival that of an 80’s slash­er – do your ears a favor and scale up the dark, dan­ger­ous, bewitch­ingly beau­ti­ful walls of the Nightmare Fortress. (Source: Nightmare Fortress Soundcloud page)


14. Low-Fi • Italy, founded in 2010

'Low-Fi' entrenched in the crack opened between New Wave and Electro.. The trio is melod­ic­ally leaded by the twins Adriano and Alessandro Belluccio (Ash Code), which avail them­self of the new dark­wave 80’s side of Fabio.

In February 2012 the label Octopus Records released their debut LP “What we are is secret”, pro­duced and mixed by G.Fontanella (24 Grana) at Key-Lab Studio in Napoli and mastered at Shift Sudios in London (Klaxons, My Vitriol, Pete & Pirates..). A work which com­presses and con­denses new wave sug­ges­tions, punk atti­tude and elec­tro land­scapes, more of 100 good reviews around the world and 60 gigs around Europe. (Source: Low-Fi Facebook page)


15. Lebanon Hanover • Germany/England, founded in 2010

'Lebanon Hanover' is a post-punk duo based in Berlin, Germany and Newcastle, UK, foun­ded in 2010 by Larissa Iceglass (gui­tar, vocals) and William Maybelline (bass, vocals). They offer an ice cold post-punk, fas­cin­ated by the beauty of art nou­veau aes­thet­ics, explor­ing British sea­shores and forests at night as well as inspired by the urb­an­ism of Berlin. (Source: Lebanon Hanover Last.fm page)


16. Sally Dige • Germany, founded in 2012

'Sally Dige' (Sa-lee Dee-eh) is a Danish-Canadian artist,designer and song­writer based in Vancouver, Canada. Her first track ‘Immaculate Deception‘ was released at the end of September 2011 and received world­wide enthu­si­asm and recog­ni­tion. Her inspir­a­tion for this pro­ject was to couple both, the abstract with the lin­ear, to take abstract sounds and atmo­spher­ic noise and draw them into a lin­ear pop song.

Seductive shad­ow move­ments, har­lot red lip­stick, VHS van­ity, sharp eye liner and a ward­robe to die for. Her viva­cious per­form­ance and dark sexu­al­ity imme­di­ately sum­mons a spir­it sim­il­ar to 'Annie Lennox' of 'Eurythmics' fame. But in her unique way she per­son­i­fies the idea that a synth vix­en knows no era. (Source: Sally Dige Last.fm page)

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17. Linea Aspera • England, founded in 2011

'Linea Aspera' were a min­im­al synth / dark­wave band formed in London, UK that were act­ive from 2011 to 2013. A music­al duo, they were fron­ted by vocal­ist Alison Lewis (Keluar, Zanias), with Ryan Ambridge on syn­thes­izers; Lewis wrote the lyr­ics while Ambridge wrote the elec­tron­ics, as well as mix­ing and pro­du­cing the recordings.

Founded in November 2011, 'Linea Aspera' were influ­enced by elec­tron­ic bands from the 1980s. A review­er report­ing on a gig in January 2012 noted that their music soun­ded very 80s, and that they had sprung fully-formed from the music­al under­ground of East London. That month self-releas­ing an exten­ded play cas­sette, titled 'Linea Aspera EP', it was described by the 'Burning Flame' web­site as num­ber one in their Top 20 EPs of 2012. (Source: Linea Aspera Last.fm page)


18. Geometric Vision • Italy, founded in 2012

'Geometric Vision' is a band formed by Ago Giordano, Roberto Amato and Gennaro Campanile. Ago star­ted com­pos­ing songs and lyr­ics reflecting dark and nos­tal­gic atmo­spheres typ­ic­al of dark and cold wave, but with a mod­ern atti­tude which draws inspir­a­tion from con­tem­por­an­eous German and British min­im­al synth experiments.

After a while he decides to cre­ate a real band which takes more sub­stan­tial form after hav­ing exper­i­enced sev­er­al line up changes… With Gennaro Campanile play­ing bass gui­tar and Roberto Amato on gui­tar everything seems to work out. (Source: Geometric Vision Facebook page)


19. Velvet Condom  • France / Germany, founded in 2005

'Velvet Condom' was formed dur­ing 2005, in Strasbourg, France, by Alice Von (vocals, gui­tars, key­boards) and Oberst Panizza (pro­gram­ming, key­boards). They con­sider their music as sad pop tunes played by dead man­nequins. As if Synthpop would meet dark gui­tars and teen­age angst lyr­ics. On one side, the cold and safe syn­thet­ics of a con­dom and the glam­or­ous eleg­ance of vel­vet on the other.

On stage, the band def­in­itely shows its wilder and nois­i­er side and would mainly use neon tubes and strobe lights to cre­ate a psy­che­del­ic robot-noise-pop per­form­ance. In the begin­ning of 2008 Velvet Condom has moved to Berlin and released their second record 'Safe & Elegant', dis­trib­uted by the Dutch label 'Enfant Terrible', which got very pos­it­ive feed­back from the press and the audi­ence. The band has two faces: they play elec­tro pop in the best 80's tra­di­tion but with a very con­tem­por­ary feel­ing AND they play some of the finest indie gui­tar pop / shoegazer stuff heard since a long time. In a sur­pris­ing way these two styles fit togeth­er very well and the band ends up with one sound for them­selves. Stay tuned for the dead mannequin’s nou­velle vague. (Source: Velvet Condom Last.fm page)

'LISTENOIRE' is the new incarn­a­tion of the art-wave pro­ject 'Velvet Condom'.


20. Drab Majesty  • USA, founded in 2013

'Drab Majesty' is an inter-dimen­sion­al plat­form aimed at chan­nel­ing aur­al and visu­al mes­sages foun­ded by a human being from Los Angeles in 2013. The human com­munes dir­ectly with it's spir­itu­al muse/assumed alter-ego Deb Demure to demon­strate the power in relin­quish­ing own­er­ship to a divine design, thereby hand­ing inspir­a­tion over to the spir­it world – essen­tially serving as a con­tract­or in busi­ness with the Collective Consciousness. 

While inher­ently gui­tar-driv­en music in the vain of The Chameleons or Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Drab Majesty's sound is often nuanced by eth­er­e­al washes of icy key­boards and arpeg­gia­ted syn­thes­izers, backed by heavy mech­an­ized per­cus­sion and forked pulsing synth bass, all adorned with reverb-laden vocals remin­is­cent of a hal­lowed cathed­ral. (Source: Drab Majesty Facebook page)


21. Bestial Mouths  • USA, founded in 2009

Pooling togeth­er a group of influ­ences as diverse as its mem­bers, Bestial Mouths present a raw, synth-driv­en energy pro­pelled by sing­er Lynette Cerezo's power­ful vocals. Often likened to Diamanda Galas, Siouxsie Sioux or Lydia Lunch, Cerezo deliv­ers each note with fury and abandon.

Synthesists/keyboardists Christopher Myrick and Gustavo Aldana chan­nel early indus­tri­al, EBM, goth and min­im­al synth pop in turns, blend­ing harsh elec­tron­ics and lush melod­ies. When fused to Aldana’s splintered pro­grammed beats and the tri­bal rhythms and samples of drum­mer Jessica Reuter, the har­mon­ics com­bine to breathe new life into post punk, weav­ing their own dis­tinct cre­ation in the pro­cess. (Source: Bestial Mouths Last.fm page)


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Everything comes to an end

As you can see: "Darkwave is not dead – the proof is giv­en!". I hope you enjoyed the list and don't feel too griev­ous now. At best you have found some new bands that you might favour just as much as your old Darkwave heroes.

I'm sure there are a lot of oth­er young Darkwave bands that are not lis­ted here. If you think you know one that oth­er should def­in­itely check out, then com­ment below.

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  1. Although Perturbator is a dark-synth artist, some of his songs do have a Darkwave sound to them. (Like Sentient from The Uncanny Valley Album). However,he already released a dark­wave song called "Excess" which is from his upcom­ing fifth album. There's also a snip­pet on his social media which also sounds like a Darkwave song. So, if his whole album is going to be Darkwave based then I have high hopes he'd revive the genre espe­cially because he has a large fol­low­ing! You guys should check out the two tracks I recommended.

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