UK-based artist Kill Shelter has recently unveiled a beautifully melancholic yet powerful new album, “Asylum.” With influences ranging from alternative, post-punk, darkwave, and contemporary electronica, alluding to the classic sonorities of Depeche Mode, Sisters of Mercy, or New Order, Kill Shelter spuns into an even more fantastic creative direction.
While Pete Burns, Kill Shelter‘s mastermind, continues the path of his touching topics on “Asylum,” we discover so many collaborations that seem to float in the ether, replete with unforgettable moments. In fact, it seems churlish to talk about the technicalities of something so pure and direct.
“Asylum” deals with global humanitarian issues such as domestic violence, exploitation, and the plight of asylum seekers, as well as exploring themes of personal disillusionment and mental health.
The album opens with ‘Time Will Come,’ and the use of electronics and synths catches you entirely off guard. They instantly transport you into a gothic environment balanced with some EDM vibes.
For the second track, ‘In this Place,’ Pete Burns joined forces with German synthpop outfit Beborn Beton to highlight the tragedy of human trafficking and the misuse and abuse of power.
The song is accompanied by a video shot on location in Bochum, Germany, by Julia Beyer, and in Edinburgh, Scotland, with post-production by Pete Burns. Most noticeable in this song is the vocal treatment, as it seems recorded dry, with little in the way of effects.
As the music builds, ‘Queen of Hearts’ ft Valentina Veil (VV & the Void) takes a softer approach. Pete and Valentina introduce an encroaching sensation of melancholy to the song, making it difficult to get over it as old memories seem to resurface. Valentina’s sweet and half-whispered vocals provide listeners with something that is both relevant and honest to the timeless nature of the human experience.
Dark innuendos seem to spread once ‘Buried Deep’ ft Antipole comes in the playlist. The song demonstrates once again the excellent symbiosis of this dynamic duo. After “A Haunted Place,” we only looked forward to hearing a new song from these two. The melodic milestone of this track is incredible; what’s more, it can do a lot of healing when in crisis.
Without sacrificing the melancholy that underpinned the post-punk and dark-wave genres, ‘The Room’ appears to be the purest musical manifestation you could have ever heard.
‘The Necklace’ ft Agent Side Grinder was the first single put on for the album; you can easily see why. As quite a contrast, there’s something different about the use of electronics on ‘Feed the Fire’ ft Ash Code.
‘Cover Me’ ft William Faith (The Bellwether Syndicate), ‘All of This’ ft Ronny Moorings (Clan of Xymox), and ‘A Shadow of Doubt’ are rich alternative pieces with goth synths and complex time signatures that hint at a very different but equally interesting compositional approach.
As the album ends, you’ll notice that Kill Shelter is as close to the true essence of art as anything you’ll witness. When I stepped off this ride, I felt physically lighter. I found myself uttering these words out loud to nobody: “I need more.” More of this feeling.
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