White Ring came up during that brief phase in the late 2000s when Witch House was very much in vogue. While there is a shared trap-gloominess between White Ring and Salem, oOoOO et al, the band’s long-awaited Gate Of Grief LP shows more influence from the likes of Alice Glass, early-90s industrial and darkwave, coldwave and other related waves. It’s also better than the aforementioned.
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Witch House: It Lives! So ought the strapline to this album have read, may I be so bold as to suggest. A genre which was born on the internet, then kind of petered out (quite dramatically, appropriately enough) some 5 years or so ago; on the internet. But coming back with the doomy-gloomy synthscapes, pummeling industrial beats and impossible-to-decipher vocals; it’s White Ring with their new, debut(!) LP ‘Gate Of Grief’. Or should that be ‘WHI†Ξ ЯING’ -- you were wondering when the oblique symbols were coming, weren’t you?
The band -- that’s duo Bryan Kurkimilis and Kendra Malia -- have been together and releasing music since 2010; 8 years is a heck of a wait for a full-length album, EPs notwithstanding. But then, they operate within a largely singles-based genre I guess, and the stuff the band did back then is well worth checking. Besides, their equally ‘Blair Witch Project’-obsessed mate, oOoOO has recently returned to the ‘Long Player’ fray; and I did wonder recently what he’d been up to.
There are glitchy ‘tronics and spooky screams on the opening track, ‘Heavy Self Alienation’; there are spooky ravey synths and disconcertingly mangled vocals on second track in, the gothy banger ‘Leprosy’ -- and there’s heads-down, arms-worryingly-aloft, full-on synth raveyness on ‘Close Yr Eyes’. Still taking their sonic cues from Alice Glass, chopped & screwed trap-like beats, Coil, a little (‘90s) Nine Inch Nails and, um, triangles; although I can’t actually see any evidence of the latter shapes here. There is a mini-homage at the end to Twin Peaks, though. Perfect.
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