Gothminister – “The Other Side” (AFM Records)
It’s my first time hearing Gothminister and initially I thought they were German, what with some of the song titles and lyrics – as well as their releases charting in Germany. Indeed, the band are well known on the German festival circuit, having played Wave-Gotik-Treffen (WGT), the Dark Storm Festival, and the M’era Luna Festival. However, Gothminister are in fact Norwegian – even at one point reaching the national finals of the Norwegian Eurovision contest! Fronted by Bjørn Alexander Brem, they have been going since 2003 and released 5 albums since then, playing a catchy mix of goth, electro and industrial rock metal. “The Other Side” is the band’s 6th release and continues that style finely, effectively handling the trademark genre sounds of catchy dance beats, baritone vocals and melancholic passion with plenty of lustful energy and decadent finesse such as on ‘Der Fliegende Mann’. Equally, Brem impresses with wider offerings like on the ambient orchestral ‘Aegir’ with its touching melody and class, while on the slick electronica of ‘Red Christ’ with its new wave beat and heavy, punchy synths melded with hard rock, he shows he’s got balls a plenty too! Taking it further into the extreme on the grinding industrial of ‘We Are The Ones Who Rule The’ double bass drums roll magnificently with powerful cellos contrasting with tantalizing femme touches laid teasingly over the top. Closing with the pitch black magic of ‘Somewhere In Time’ that rolls everything in together including massive gothic choirs and precision double bass beats (oh, and even more dark orchestrals) you are left in no doubt as to the dark potency of this dungeon master whose irresistible charms through his music captivate all before him.