When a band’s bio on Facebook reads only “nuclear~power~violence,” you know you’ve hit the melancholic, darkwave jackpot. Seattle band Grave Babies played Cha Cha’s stage at Capitol Hill Block Party this Friday and entranced the red-light saturated audience with their hard snare, muffled synth, distorted vocal, and all around eerie presence. The self-proclaimed “destructo-death” band released their full-length Holographic Violence through Hardly Art that same Friday and attracted quite a crowd in the cramped basement of Cha Cha’s.
For a band whose lyrics are so often indiscernible by heavy distortion, they’re still well worth paying attention to. While many Goth crooners of decades past sang of the apocalypse and their lives coming to an emotional end, Grave Babies’ melancholia and negative outlook on society’s priorities all strain from scary realities. In a recent Seattle Weekly interview the band’s songwriter Danny Wahlfeldt spoke of his disgust with people’s lack of concern for the earth’s treatment and dismissal of scientific findings that we are responsible for it’s decline. “You can live like that, but not for long. We’re already talking about doomsday,” he told Seattle Weekly.
Wahlfeldt’s pessimism and sorrowful lyrics about real issues are just a fraction of Grave Babies appeal. Their heavy drums, spacey synth, and dissonant guitar rifts create an otherworldly sound that, although may make you want to break something, also provokes trance-like listening and obsessive re-listening. The synthy intro to “Eternal (On & On)”, tensely builds until punctuated by steady yet frantic drumming, and is eventually full-bodied with snare and harsh guitar. Wahlfedt’s vocals are haunting and dark, leaving you to simultaneously wonder “da faq was he even saying?” and ponder life and the way we approach living it.
Nothing about Grave Babies is traditionally “refreshing”, but their inclusion in the Block Party line-up was just that. Among a slew of Indie Pop and DJs, Grave Babies made for quite a dark and dreamy treat.
Shannon Phelps / Goth Environmentalist at Heart / KXSU Reporter