Gothic rock, post punk, dark wave, neo psychedelica, alternative rock …
Critics often struggle to find the fitting genre for WHISPERS IN THE SHADOW. Where to put them?
In their 25-year long career, the band frequently changed styles and went through many different phases. The Viennese band, founded in 1996, cannot be accused of standing still. Nevertheless, they always remained true to themselves, largely thanks to the unmistakable voice of mastermind Ashley Dayour. Right from the beginning, they made their music as they saw fit, undeterred by current musical trends. Joy of experimentation and self-realization was always the main focus, even at the risk by overshooting the mark now and then.
A few line-up changes, countless concerts, ten studio albums as well as compilations and live albums later, WHISPERS IN THE SHADOW now present a special release: GILDING THE LILY – A RETROSPECTIVE 1996-2021. The 21 newly recorded and mixed songs capture the essence of the past 25 years on double vinyl.
Well-known songs like gothic rock anthems IF URIEL FALLS, THE ARRIVAL and THE RITES OF PASSAGE alternate with lost treasures like PILLOWCASE and the neo-classical HALOES AT DAWN. Of course, newer songs from the last two albums must not be missing either. The psychedelic sounding WALK ON THE MIRROR and ADRIFT, as well as politically-tinged post-punk tracks THE URGENCY OF NOW and DETRACTORS, complete the picture.
Ashley Dayour founded WHISPERS IN THE SHADOW in 1996 in the rural idyll of Austria. The early musical attempts in form of 4-track demos were quickly followed by a record deal. The first two albums LAUDANUM (1997) and NOVEMBER (1998) sounded very dark wavy. In 2000 the drum machine was exchanged for a real drummer, which led to the rock sounds of A TASTE OF DECAY (2000) and PERMANENT ILLUSIONS (2001).
Then WITS were busy touring Europe and returned with a new sound to the album format in 2008. INTO THE ARMS OF CHAOS marked the beginning of a four-album cycle, which thematically dealt with occult topics such as Kabbalah and Tarot. Musically they turned to classic gothic rock. While they pulled the songs on INTO THE ARMS OF CHAOS into epic lengths, they sharpened their sound on ETERNAL ARCANE (2010) into true goth-rock anthems. The tribal-like influences on THE RITES OF PASSAGE (2012) as well as the electronic elements on BEYOND THE CYCLES OF TIME (2014) added nuances never heard before to their classical style and completed the cycle.
In 2018, the state of the world inspired WITS to THE URGENCY OF NOW, which resulted in politically tinged, angry post-punk. In 2020 the thematically related, but musically different sounding YESTERDAY IS FOREVER followed, described by critics as the peak of their work thus far. Here was a mature band that made use of many styles, but never found their home, because stagnation and wallowing in well-known things never was, is and never will be their “Raison d’Être”.
In this respect, it’s no surprise that the newest output GILDING THE LILY – A RETROSPECTIVE 1996-2021 is not a pure depiction or homage to the past. WHISPERS IN THE SHADOW make sure their old songs shine in today’s splendour. We’ll see where the journey takes them from here.
GILDING THE LILY – A RETROSPECTIVE 1996-2021 (Post Gothic Records)
Limited double vinyl & digital