There has been no debut into the goth world like that of SKYND. Pioneering, as they call it, True Crime Music, the group takes on the grossest, most heinous acts of human nature and turns them into industrial-nu-metal-goth-esque works of art. This December saw their first headline show, a one-off at Electrowerkz. I went to witness the spectacle of monstrosity, hoping only that the Smiley Killer wouldn’t be in attendance.
Walking up the dim stairs of Electrowerkz provided the first SKYND-ism of the night. Upon arrival, attendees were immediately greeted with ladies holding small cups of red liquid, who commanded them with one simple word: “Drink.” For those not in the SKYND-know, one of the group’s most well known songs is called “Jim Jones” i.e. that cult dude who ordered a mass suicide of more than 900 people with Valium/cyanide/etc. flavoured Kool Aid. While I was pretty sure the band wouldn’t try to kill off all their fans at their first headlining show, I was also like, hey, who knows? They seem like they’re into shock rock. Would be a good way to gain publicity.
Nonetheless, it was an auspicious greeting, and one that got my blood pumping.
Let’s move on: Electrowerkz is a winding, dingy, dark, dungeon-like venue, and its shabbiness proved the perfect venue for SKYND’s continued over-the-top shenanigans. Inside the main concert room, a projector flashed videos of serial killers and other such “spooky” material on the walls, which proved a lovely way to alleviate that pre-concert boredom. You know, those 30 minutes where all one does is stand there, sipping a beer, while trying to look like they’ve got real important things to do on their phones? No, at this show, you didn’t just have to peruse Instagram, you could watch dead bodies.
After an admittedly long wait, a massive gust of fog announced the band’s imminent arrival. Skynd, the singer, suddenly appeared in all her clown-victorian-futuristic finery along with one masked drummer and guitarist, each in white hooded sweatshirts. With no introduction, save some news samples of each crime preceding each song, they sprung along from track to track, greeted only by an audience who literally knew every word to every single song.
SKYND’s music relies rather heavily on vocal effects, so I was curious to see how they’d translate that into a live show. Amazingly, they did it quite seamlessly. The verses of ‘Richard Ramirez’ alternated from helium-high to demonic-low in but words, while the spiritual “Come To God” chants of ‘Jim Jones’ contrasted sharply with the subsequent diabolical cries of “Hey Dad! Thanks Dad!” It was truly a feat of modern engineering,
‘Gary Heidrik’ was also a delectable surprise. Despite not having Jonathan Davis in attendance to do his part—and why tf was he not there?—Skynd held her own, turning the guttural rap of “The dog food looked good enough, good enough to eat,” in a childish circus jingle. Creepy stuff.
Delightfully, the group premiered two new songs at the show, one about the Columbine school shooting, the other about child murderer Mary Bell.
The Columbine song is going to be a fucking hit. It’s very much in the dub-nu-metal style of ‘Tyler Hadley’ with an equally sing-a-long chorus—this one being, “Everybody get ready to kill!” Trust and believe, this track’ll be on rotation at every goth night worldwide for the next year. One can only imagine what they’ll do for the video. Will SKYND go full trench coat mafia? Bless ‘em.
‘Mary Bell’, meanwhile, is perhaps as groovy as SKYND will go, with a creepy sing song-y sample of “Girls and boys come out to play!” over a dance beat. It’s catchy, in a somewhat horrific way.
The concert passed too quickly—I could have stayed all night. But after the group left the stage and the hollering for encore songs began, the projector, which had previously been playing the serial killer clips, chirped back to life to premiere the highly anticipated music video to ‘Katherine Knight’. It’s a beautifully directed video, albeit for what is probably their weakest song. I don’t see the video getting the attention ‘Tyler Hadley’ or ‘Jim Jones’ got, but it was a fine addition to their second EP, and one of those tracks that gets better and better with each listen.
Overall, it was a fucking ambitious show for a group that’s played live only a handful of times. I suppose I can only cuddle up in my trench coat and await with bated breath as to what they’ll do next. Maybe next time, they’ll actually spike the Kool Aid. Wouldn’t be the worst way to die.