Veterans of 80s goth / post-punk bands 13th Chime, Final Scream and Vanishing Point, Haverhill, Suffolk band Senex IV return with a new album 'Gods And Taboos', a relatively quick turnaround from their debut album 'Dolls House' which was released at the beginning of 2020. 'Gods And Taboos', released on the 5th March, is a fine album and a step-on from 'Dolls House', and brims with great songs and playing within its ten tracks of dark, visceral music.
'Gods And Taboos' is still very much a goth and post-punk release with obvious touchstones such as The Banshees and Bauhaus much in evidence, but there is also much to enjoy for those of us who may only possess the odd Cure and Siouxsie album. It is a tremendous sounding record - recorded at Crooks Hall in deepest Suffolk - with many of the tracks led sonically by Mark Tingey's thick, elastic sounding bass and Anthony Hitchcock's precise (and at times 'tribal' drumming), ably supported by Rob Shaul's brittle and menacing guitar tones. To these ears, parts of the record sound not unlike Killing Joke's debut album - no bad thing! Topping this musical brew off are the vocals of Dave Middle who at one moment is trying to spook you with his dark, brooding lyrics and the next hollering at you a chorus of great intensity. It's a loud and vibrant record.
There's a number of great urgent songs - the opening track 'Soul Eater' (a great choice for a single) which leads off the album in charismatic style, the closer 'Don't Push Me Now', which throws off it's goth great-coat (almost!) to indulge in a bit of 'rawk', complete with police siren guitar solo, and the album's highlight 'Dancing Witches', with its burbling synthy undertones and fabulous choruses and is a hit single if ever I heard one. Elsewhere, there's the 'almost glam' stomp of 'Brother Grim' the chant-along 'Drop Dead' and the piano chords ushering in the thunderous choruses of 'The Great Idea'. The piano is a nice touch and it would be great to hear some of these dramatic keyboard chords in future recordings.
'Gods And Taboos' is a fantastic record with big tunes, brilliant grooves and a vibe that is enticing and thrilling. With references to gravestones, black cats, 'shadow of the dog' and dancing witches, it may still carry plenty of those 'gothic' references but 'Gods And Taboos' is deserving of a wider audience out in the mainstream. If you're looking for something a little darker than the usual rock fayre, 'Gods And Taboos' fits the bill just fine!
'Gods And Taboos' is out now on all the major digital sites and as a physical CD release from the band's Bandcamp page - www.senexiv.bandcamp.com. Vinyl versions of the album should be available in May.