Black Nail Cabaret – Gods Verging On Sanity

The Definition of Pop Noir

Black Nail Cabaret - Gods Verging On Sanity

Album facts

Release Date: May 8th, 2020
Label: Dependent Records
Genre: , ,
Discogs: Link
Partially sounds like: Ladytron, Depeche Mode

With 'Gods Verging On Sanity', Black Nail Cabaret has taken them­selves to a whole new level in terms of qual­ity, cre­ativ­ity and vari­ety. I know, I already said that on the last album 'Pseudopop', which was released 2 years ago. However, the con­tinu­ous devel­op­ment and son­ic­ally improve­ment can­not be denied.

The new album includes only 9 new songs, but each song con­tains almost all the cri­ter­ia for a single release. After the first listen through I had my mouth open and thought only: "Wow, what a fab­ulous per­form­ance! If 'Black Nail Cabaret' con­tin­ues like this, they have a high chance to be elec­ted for the album of the year".

Pitch black and super electronic

The open­er 'Black Lava' starts with an absurd sound con­struct like you know it from a 'Depeche Mode' album. That builds up some ten­sion! Especially well done is the switch of the entrance beat to the pas­sage of the first verse. Calmly, but with high tempo and trem­bling synth chirp­ing, the sing­er Emese Arvai-Illes per­forms the first lines in a clear and determ­in­ing way. The chor­us is accom­pan­ied by an alarm­ing melody and makes me dir­ectly swing my shoulders back and forth in time with the beat. A fant­ast­ic song that with enough pres­sure and tempo fits per­fectly as an intro­duc­tion to 'Gods Verging On Sanity'.

All the fear in me isn't mine. I just grew into it.
Lyrics from 'Black Lava' by Black Nail Cabaret

The second song 'Spheres' does not need to hide from the strong open­er. This one is alto­geth­er quieter, but in terms of multi-lay­er­ing and vari­ety it's a beau­ti­ful song. I'm not a fan of repet­it­ive com­par­is­on, but this can also be seen as a com­pli­ment. Because also this begin­ning reminds me of Depeche Mode. More pre­cisely, the begin­ning of 'My Secret Garden'. 'Spheres' sounds dif­fer­ent and is trav­el­ling faster in tempo, but spir­itu­ally and emo­tion­ally I had arrived at this 'A Broken Frame' clas­sic. The chor­us is very catchy and has almost an Electropop coloration.

Black Nail Cabaret (Press photo 2020, Title: Intimate)
Black Nail Cabaret (Press photo 2020, Title: Intimate)

The first single 'No Gold' was presen­ted with a phe­nom­en­al music video in which Emese Arvai-Illes gets her hair cut com­pletely. The whole thing is cap­tured in beau­ti­ful, aes­thet­ic black and white motion pic­tures. As uncom­prom­ising as the music video is the lyr­ics of this mid-tempo song.

Unusual synths, but so satisfying to listen to

'To Die In Paris' com­bines a big vari­ety of extraordin­ary synth sounds and samples to a har­mon­ic sound­ing Synthpop song. If you listen care­fully, you'll dis­cov­er tiny son­ic sur­prises and subtle effects every­where, which make the track extremely excit­ing. With every listen you explore new facets of this sound con­struct. The lyr­ics are dark and tra­gic and stim­u­late the listen­er to reflect. For me one of the high­lights on the album.

In full mel­an­choly and enorm­ous impact the song 'My Casual God' hits me. Rather a quiet tune in the low tempo range, but lyr­ic­ally it gnaws at you like a pred­at­or at a bone. This is adap­ted in a fant­ast­ic way by an almost con­tinu­ous and demand­ing pinch sound. Like a head­ache impulse this sound pen­et­rates your head and won't leave you alone.

'Make You Run' sur­prises at first with a Trip-Hop beat. Admittedly, I'm a little irrit­ated. And the song sounds so 90s that it could have actu­ally been pro­duced there. Spooky, right? But when the chor­us comes in, the sound gets a com­pletely dif­fer­ent col­or­a­tion, which I like much more. Pressure and dynam­ics build up and the chor­us itself comes out like a machine gun and every word hits its tar­get pre­cisely. Okay, you might hear it out. I'm not a fan of the Trip-Hop genre, but I'm quite excited about what 'Black Nail Cabaret' has made of it. The song brings vari­ety to the album and mix­ing the genes of music genres is always a good idea. Very well done!

Miles ahead – soundscapes from the upcoming decade

From a lyr­ic­al point of view, the song 'Maelstrom' hits exactly the right spot, which has been on my mind for years and always stirs up emo­tions. It's mainly about the inform­a­tion bubble in which we are all trapped. Sadly, a large part of man­kind doesn't real­ize this and even worse, for these people real­ity is mostly just a dis­tor­ted per­cep­tion of it. Of course this song will not cause a revolu­tion or con­vert stu­pid people. But it doesn't have to. It is a good and reas­sur­ing feel­ing that there are oth­er people who are aware of this fact. Conclusion: A very import­ant song in terms of con­tent and of course the sound is per­fect for this song.

I need to fil­ter all the inform­a­tion. I need to simple down my life. We know too much and yet so little.
Lyrics from 'Maelstrom' by Black Nail Cabaret

Like a bright sum­mer Electropop hit, with high tempo and synth sounds from a flower mead­ow, the song 'Private Religion' begins. The song also starts with a very catchy chor­us, which you can sing along after only a few minutes. The feel­ing of awaken­ing comes up in me while listen­ing to this gor­geous song. We all need these uplift­ing songs every now and then to not fall into com­plete depres­sion. Thanks BNC.

The very deep, pulsat­ing bass vibra­tions make my eardrum really shake under my head­phones. Should I take the head­phones off? The pres­sure is almost uncom­fort­able. But after the 90s piano, the elec­tron­ic bells sounds and the typ­ic­al techno hi-hats kick in, everything is fine again. Funnily enough the res­ult reminds me of 'Saturday Night' by 'Wigfield'. Yes, exactly, this 90s Eurobeat/Eurodance star­let, but here in a less poppy and more ser­i­ous version.

Let's check the facts for the verdict

  • I love clear vocals. Check!
  • I love extraordin­ary synth sounds in songs. Check!
  • I love vari­ety between the tracks of an album. Check!
  • I love mel­an­chol­ic lyr­ics and atmophere. Check!

Ding, ding, ding, ding … Black Nail Cabaret makes my black heart melt. My per­son­al res­ult is quite clear. For 'Gods Verging On Sanity' I can only give a 100% buy recom­mend­a­tion to all lov­ers of dark, elec­tron­ic music.

It was a good choice by Dependent Records to include this band in their port­fo­lio. 'Black Nail Cabaret' has been under the radar in our scene for far too long. It's about time that the big fest­ivals see this and intro­duce this band to their audience.

By the way, this album also made it into our art­icle 'The best Synth Pop and genre-related albums 2020'. Read now.

Track By Track Rating

Black Nail Cabaret - Gods Verging On Sanity
Black Nail Cabaret – Gods Verging On Sanity
Black Lava
Spheres
No Gold
To Die In Paris
My Casual God
Make A Run
Maelstrom
Private Religion
Children At Play
Recommend
Black Lava
Spheres
To Die In Paris
My Casual God
Weak
(Nothing to report here)
4.3

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Black Lava
Spheres
No Gold
To Die In Paris
My Casual God
Make A Run
Maelstrom
Private Religion
Children At Play
Final Score