Among many other things, we are products of our environment. Natural conditions, history, beliefs, values … the ”I” consists of many cultural layers, that can have their origin decades or even hundreds of years ago and even from somewhere else in the world. So let me introduce you to a sonically compelling example: New England Gothic emerging from 1980´s ”Old World” England Post-Punk. Hidden and obvious interconnections. Old and new in unison, in a completely natural way.
It seems to be quite natural indeed, that this darkly atmospheric and at times energetic sound from 1476 is based in New England (formed 2007 in Salem, Massachusetts). Full of foreboding mountains, unbroken forests, harsh winters and the haunting landscapes of the coastal regions, the environment lends itself particularly well to gothic vibes and raw outbursts. There is something sinister lurking. Also rooted deep in the region’s cultural history: the sharp, hard edge of fundamentalist Protestantism and the hopelessness of predestination with all the resulting terror in form of mutilating and murdering religious “heretics”, innocent ”witches” and Native people. No surprise that the masters of horror Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King have all been born and raised in this very same state.
In such a ”doom and gloom”-surrounding it is easy to follow your musical path from the obvious Punk-rebellion in teenage years to Black Metal and Neo/Dark Folk thereafter, as has happened to Robb Kavjian (singer, multi-instrumentalist) and Neil DeRosa (drummer, percussionist), the duo behind 1476. But in the crosspath of these genres you will inevitably find 80´s Post-Punk as a common fixed point. Kavjian and DeRosa must have also realized that it furthermore reflects the mood and essence of the aforementioned New England aura astoundingly well. A match made in ”heaven”. Somehow linked over time and space.
So if you like New Model Army (Thunder and Consolation), The Clash (London Calling) or Killing Joke (80´s era), but also the atmosphere created by bands like Agalloch, Ulver, Samhain/Danzig and Solstafir, you might have found your new favourite band. Heavily underrated, 1476 have steadily honed their craft of mixing Post-Punk with elements of Folk, Black Metal, Rock, Neoclassical and Ambient. Their fourth full-length and second for Prophecy Productions named In Exile underlines their upward trajectory: Enthralling Post-Punk and Punk n´ Roll with black and folk -elements (“Lost In Exile”, “May Mountains Never Fall”) alternate with revelling folk enriched with Ambient and Goth-Rock elements (“Lapis Fire: Through The Mist”, “Where Kings Fall”). There is even a nod to energetic Garage-Rock on “Carnelian Fire: The Gallows”. Everything tastefully interwined with Neoclassical synth-layers that give further texture to a possible AOTY -contender.
Influenced by the deep religious and spiritual roots and tendencies of their home state, they themselves have tackled western esoterica, pre-Christian mythology, mysticism, nature and philosophical themes since the beginning of the band. Now in the eleven songs and 62 minutes of In Exile, they go for the mother of all questions: where do people go when they die?
Probably a matter of time and space, but definitely another reason to pick your interest and engage yourself with this record. As if it were not already enough that New England 1476 is the new ”Old” England 1980´s. What a treat!