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top10 2021 electronicgothicThe second year of the pandemic turned out not to be as rich in albums as 2020, however, good material and interesting work did not decrease in general. All the old projects that released b-sides and unreleased material in 2020 have already released everything that is possible from the old stuff and started recording new material which was released in 2021. The Industrial scene again pleased with an abundance of interesting albums mostlyin the Dark Ambient genre, Gothic Electronic music continues to diversify its sound, Noise beats are moving more and more into the field of Techno-Industrial, the Synth scene is closely intertwined with Synthwave, in Post-Industrial the Oldschool Electro-Industrial continues the revival and the old ones already forgotten projects keep coming back with new albums. It‘s a pity that major festivals are still on pause, but hopefully soon it will be back.

In 2021 the Gothic Electronic scene again pleased with its diversity and good sound. Younger projects are increasingly moving away from the classic sound of Electronic Goth genres, however, there are projects that use the oldschool sound of different genres as a basis for material and add modern elements to the music. Not everyone does it good, but there are very good combinations. In the top there are also a couple of albums of bands that changed their guitar sound to more electronic and did it very well breaking into high positions.

Covered genres: Gothic Electro, Synth-Goth, Electro-Goth, Dreampop, Dark-Trip-Wave, Gothic Industrial, Electro-Folk, Coldwave

10. Nkos - ‘From Dust to Life’ (Electro-Goth, Synth-Rock | UK, Beatbuzz Records)

The first recordings of the British project NKOS were out in mid-2019. After several singles the quartet released their debut album ‘From Dust to Life’. The Brits combine various musical genres, the main ones are Electro-Goth and Synth-Rock. Synth Pop, Trip-Hop and Synthwave elements are mixed into their music. All this is done in female vocals with rhythmic music with few lyrical compositions. The album could well have entered the top ten of the Synth scene although in the Synth scene in 2021 there were more interesting. But such a sound for gothic electronics brings freshness and variety. Good debut work.

09. Perturbator - ‘Lustful Sacraments’ (Post Punk, Coldwave, Dark Synth | France, Blood Music)

The famous French project PERTURBATOR is popular in the music industry primarily for its Synwave opuses and music for computer games. James Kent, who started his musical activity in the Metal scene, is responsible for the music in the project. The first band that Kent himself put together was a progressive Death Metal project. However, in 2012 James decided to try to compose electronic music. This is how PERTURBATOR was born. After four albums the musician said in the interview that he planned to change his genre, but hardly anyone expected such a change. The new PERTURBATOR album is made in Post-Punk with elements of Coldwave and Dark Synth. James is the vocalist on the album. Not everyone and not always is good at changing the genre. The French did it very well. The album came out very diverse in sound and unique in atmosphere. Not many musicians use Cyberpunk as the main idea in Post-Punk and PERTURBATOR managed to combine the coldness of Post-Punk and the mechanical sounds of Cyberpunk. I suppose that fans of the “good old” Synthwave will not like this album, but for the Post-Punk scene it can be a revolutionary breakthrough, which will be picked up by many projects not only of the Post-Punk, but also of the Synthwave scene. And James Kent should not stop experimenting with other genres. It turns out to be very good.

08. Douglas - ‘Ashes’ (Dreampop, Downtempo, Electronic | USA, J’Aime Trop)

American singer and musician Amy Douglas is involved in several projects from the Indie scene and Pop Rock. The solo project DOUGLAS appeared in 2020 as a co-author of one of the songs on RÓISÍN MURPHY’s album. In 2021 Amy released several singles followed by her debut album ‘Ashes’. The album cimbines Dreampop, Downtempo, Ambient, Synthwave and Ethereal influences as well as other electronic genres. Amy’s airy vocals add charm and tenderness to atmospheric music. This work of the singer stands exactly at the junction of the scenes of Gothic music, Indie and Electronics. A very diverse work that can be interested not only to fans of the dark scene.

07. Deine Lakaien - ‘Dual’ (Darkwave, Electronic | Germany, Prophecy Productions)

The old German project DEINE LAKAIEN formed in 1985 and has been one of the leading bands in the electronic Darkwave scene for many years. Alexander Veljanov’s vocals can be considered as one of the best on the Gothic scene and Ernst Horn’s side projects HELIUM VOLA and QNTAL have become the standard for a mix of Electronics and Medieval music. The Germans don’t make loud headlines in the format press, they don’t create noise and some kind of manipulation around their project, they just make music. And this music is good. For many years DEINE LAKAIEN has been making high-quality electronic Darkwave periodically releasing acoustic albums with piano versions. The new work of the German project came out in several versions. The main material itself is made in the classic sound of DEINE LAKAIEN, where Veljanov’s vocals are brought to the fore, however, the electronic component is no less noticeable. A mega-hit album I recommend not to expect, but high-quality work will not leave the fans indifferent and, perhaps, open the eyes and ears of new fans. The album was also released in a double version, where the second part features cover versions of well-known songs by THE CURE, KATE BUSH, LINKIN PARK, SOUNDGARDEN and others. Another good strong work of the German giants.

06. Opera Multi Steel - ‘D’un Pierre deux tombes’ (Electrofolk, Coldwave | France, Wave Records)

France is considered the birth place for the Coldwave genre along with Belgium. In the first wave of Coldwave bands in the 80s were the French OPERA MULTI STEEL, who still exist and release music and are considered one of the pioneers of the genre. The previous album of the French was already made in a slightly different sound. The project began to use elements of Medieval Folk with an electronic component. The new work of OPERA MULTI STEEL continues the trend of the previous album. Electronic Medieval Folk is the main component in the first half of the album, moving into the usual Coldwave in the middle and returning to Medieval Electronics by the end of the release. The French language and the interweaving of female and male vocals have long been the hallmark of the project, so they are unlikely to change this component. Good album as usually.

05. Kælan Mikla - ‘Undir Köldum Norðurljósum’ (Coldwave, Post Punk, Minimal Synth | Iceland, Artoffact Records)

The Icelandic project KÆLAN MIKLA was formed in 2013 and currently has three full-length albums, singles, EPs and even one compilation. Three girls have showed themselves on the Goth scene as a powerful extraordinary project that combines Post-Punk with various kinds of electronic elements from the Coldwave and Minimal Synth area. One of the peculiar features of the project is the lyrics in Icelandic. The new work structurally differs from the previous ones in a larger number and accent on the electronic component. The album also contains harsh compositions, but the main part still is Dark Gothic with a touch of Post-Punk and atmospheric female vocals. The new work can hardly be called the best in the trio’s discography, but it can be called one of the best in the year 2021 in electronic Gothic music.

04. Blutengel - ‘Erlösung - The Victory of Light’ (Gothic Electro, Synth-Goth, Electro-Goth | Germany, Out of Line)

The albums of the German popular project BLUTENGEL always arouse interest, although they do not always live up to expectations. In this case everything worked out. Chris Pohl has been creating hit after hit for many years, which appear on various alternative charts in Germany. The new album ‘Erlösung - The Victory of Light’ is made in the best traditions of the last albums, where there are club hits and slow lyrical compositions. On the new album the German decided to recall the work of his other famous project TERMINAL CHOIC. Some of the songs are more suitable for the early work of TERMINAL CHOICE using a harder sound with a slight guitar touch and German-language lyrics. Catchy melodies, lyrics that you want to sing along without even knowing the words and energy with drive that make the body move to the beat of the music. Chris continues to do what he is great at. The album itself was released in several versions. The first part of the first CD is made in the style of the early TERMINAL CHOICE, in the second part you can already hear what BLUTENGEL did in the last albums. The second CD turned out to be lesser rhythmic, but is listene easiely and in fact can be a separate album that would be no worse than the first CD. And Chris decided to release quite good instrumental compositions on the third CD. BLUTENGEL keeps a good quality level. It is not for nothing that the project is considered one of the most popular and successful on the dark scene at the moment.

03. Your Ocean - ‘Last Days of Alnoxthenya’ (Synth-Goth, Darkwave | Germany, Self-Released)

The German project YOUR OCEAN has already appeared in my tops of the guitar scene, but the musician has been experimenting with sounds and genres for a long time, so it was only a matter of time before he appeared in other tops. On previous albums the German played a mixture of Gothic-Rock and Dreampop sometimes adding Post-Punk and Ethereal. In 2021 the project released two albums, one of which continues the guitar trend. But the second album went into the electronic field. The new work ‘Last Days of Alnoxthenya’ is made in Dynth-Goth genre with Darkwave elements. Sometimes it reminds of DIORAMA’s work, simetimes the sound is similar to slow BLUTENGEL songs of the early 2000s, sometimes it goes into a more detached Dreampop sound. The album is harmonious and holistic even with all the variety of sounds. Excellent interesting work.

02. IX Reflections - ‘Fragile Border’ (Synth-Goth, Coldwave, Post Punk | Russia, Self-Released)

The project IX REFLECTIONS was formed in 2017 in Moscow and is positioned as a female-fronted project. The trio, consisting of vocalist Joe, guitarist / keyboardist Alex and bassist Lana, wanted to “to revive the best traditions of early synth-bands, simultaneously combining them with thick gothic atmosphere and melody, natural freshness and authenticity” according to their media pages and music platforms. The Russians did it and even more. Combining Synth-Goth with Coldwave and Post-Punk the music of IX REFLECTIONS sometimes even turns into soft Synth-Rock with gothic atmosphere. Joe’s bright at the same time detached and emotional vocals create the atmosphere that the musicians themselves wrote about in their press-release. Great catchy compositions after listening are still playing in the head. Very strong debut work of the Russians.

01. The Awakening - ‘This Alchemy’ (Synth-Goth | Republic of South Africa, Intervention Arts)

The Republic of South Africa has repeatedly delivered quality projects to the dark scene in different genres. One of these is the gothic rock band THE AWAKENING, which was formed in 1995. In 2008 frontman Ashton Knight moved to the United States, but did not stop making music. The latest works of the band got into the tops of well-known mass media and my personal ones. It could be said, the the new album called ‘This Alchemy’ is the anniversary album tenth in discography. I don’t know if the change in sound is related to this, but the press-release for the album say “10 new songs influenced by Alphaville”. Influenced or not, but it turned out to be a cool work made in a slightly forgotten genre synth-goth with few gothic electro moments. The album is not similar ot the pop-melodies conveyer as BLUTENGEL and intimacy and self-repetitions as CLAN OF XYMOX. THE AWAKENING showed how exaclty modern synth-goth should sound.


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