REVIEW - Senex IV - 'The Undead Carousel' (Album)
Following on from their 'Dolls House' and 'Gods And Taboos' albums, Haverhill's Senex IV have recently released their third album, 'The Undead Carousel' - appropriately enough on Friday 13th - and it is another excellent, fine sounding release from the band, full of the 'gothic majesty' we have come to expect from them. All the characteristics from the previous two albums are present and correct here - Mark Tingey (bass) and Anthony Hitchcock's (drums) driving and versatile rhythms setting up a bedrock foundation for Rob Shaul's otherwordly guitar sounds and riffs, and Dave Middle's menacing lyrics and vocals - but the production is even tighter and mightier than on the previous two releases. Expertly produced and recorded once again by John Metcalfe at Crooks Studio in the depths of the Suffolk countryside, 'The Undead Carousel' was recorded over two sessions in 2021 and 2022 and continues the fine run of releases from Senex IV.
Ushered in by wind effects and a toiling bell, 'Vampire D'Amour' does what it promises from its title with menacing riffs, suitably gothic lyrics summoning up your favourite Transylvanian character, and an ambience that suggests this album has 'dark delights' ahead. Never forgetting that they're capable of a great tune, 'Kill Or Be Killed' is undeniably hooky with a fabulous 'chant-a-long' chorus and one eye on single potential while 'For You' kicks off with a glorious flanged bass intro, has some fine guitar soloing, and whispered vocal interjections which makes the song that little bit chilling, and is an album highlight with its intensity building throughout the track. 'My Black Angel', a single, is fast and furious, a tightly packed, urgent number while 'Carousel' with its descending bass line between a scraping guitar intro and a coruscating riff in the verses is another album tour-de-force number. 'Made Of Glass' is another rockier tune with the Killing Joke influence that pops up from time to time on the record, while 'Undead' is jagged and at times 'positively funky'. 'Two Faces' and 'Feel My Pain' are slower in pace (if not intensity) with some nice melodic guitar lines in the verses on the former, and 'Don't Bleed' provides a stompin' finish to the record.
If you enjoyed 'Dolls House' and 'Gods And Taboos', then 'The Undead Carousel', another superlative album of prime goth and post-punk influenced tuneage, is a must. All veterans of the music scene since the 80s, Senex IV's experienced musicians bring all those years of gigging and recording to bear on another fine album - do also try to pick the CD up (or vinyl version when released) for its excellent, intricate cover artwork by Kayleigh Clark - that if you have even the slightest interest in bands such as Bauhaus, Killing Joke, The Banshees and even The Cure should be on your shopping list. With three excellent albums in as many years, Senex IV continues to go from strength to strength; buy with confidence.
'The Undead Carousel' is available on CD or on the digital sites now. A vinyl version is due in March 2023 - CD and vinyl (and digital come to that) are available from www.senexiv.bandcamp.com