After being the equivalent of a persona non grata for quite some time, goth rock seems to be having a revival at the moment. That’s fine with me, because I like goth rock. New bands from the US seem to be especially fond of the genre. And while Fotocrime merge goth rock with electronica and Idle Hands with heavy metal, Silence In The Snow, a duo from Oakland, California, combine it with post punk and a bit of psychedelia. Levitation Chamber, the band’s second full length, features a very listenable, beautiful, melancholy and dreamy sound, with interesting details.
Silence In The Snow are made up of vocalist and guitarist Cyn M. and drummer Trevor Deschryver. If you are now thinking that you heard that name before, you are right. Trevor has played drums in Deafhaven, and he still is the tour drummer for Wolves In The Throne Room.
The atmosphere on Levitation Chamber, as you might have guessed from all of the above, is dark and dismal, but never downright depressive. The lyrics, while of a rather vague nature, circle around suffering and the peculiar character of existence as we know it. You can also hear an unspecified yearning, especially in the vocals, as well as a wish for liberation from said suffering. There is, however, also audible, a prevailing pessimism regarding a long-term change of the basics, as evident in the title of the album’s opener Time Will Tell You Nothing.
Silence In The Snow’s music is primarily characterized by the excellent, musing and rather deep vocals of Cyn M., definitely calling Siouxsie Sioux to mind. Apart from the vocals, and probably revealed only after multiple listens, the drumming stands out as well. It is often unusual in its rhythm, and frequently seeks to interpret the lyrics or reinforce their meaning. On the above-mentioned first track Time Will Tell You Nothing, for example, the drums at times have a marching character, saying that although life, after a certain point, will reveal nothing new to us, and with death being our only other option, we march on, the good soldiers that we are.
If you are intrigued and want to have a listen, the pre-released second track Smoke Signals is a good starting point. It is also my favourite song on Levitation Chamber. The music is a bit more energetic than on the LP’s other tracks, with the lyrics thematizing comprehending non-verbal signs and omens, an understanding without words, and liberation through suffering (or, at least, that’s my interpretation of the lyrics). The drums, again, mirror the lyrics and at times sound like a quickening heartbeat, accelerated from expectation and possibly fear of what lies ahead, and skilfully simulated by just the right amount of double kicks. Excellent.
Levitation Chamber is a gloomy, but beautiful and intelligent listen. If you are a goth rock and post punk fan, you won’t be disappointed. Go buy it and enjoy.