Aesthetic Perfection

Coming in February is ‘Til Death, the fourth release from a certain Daniel Graves.

His brand of electro-dark-wave has been lovingly referred to as agro-tech. I find it hard to believe that this latest offering would make it into any of the watered down Ministry Of Sound compilations. It is a hard hitting style that takes no prisoners, and the three videos released in advance give a good sample of whats to come.

Aesthetic Perfection

Following on from “All Beauty Destroyed” which combined the agro elements dynamically with catchy melodies, and the melodic side seems more dominating than agro elements and you could argue that there is more of a club sound. However, in those moments they are still dark; and the screaming lyrics still punch you as the synths are probably smoking from pumping out the onslaught. “All Beauty Destroyed” took a slight departure if you factor in the one-off side project Necessary Response; this allowed a softer side to come to the surface, and allow for “A Violent Emotion” to really hit the mark, twist the knife, and ensure you were left reeling. “All Beauty Destroyed” had to merge these two sides and it did, yielding an album equally aggressive; as well as comparatively speaking, a little more “friendly” in places. But perfectly encapsulating his attitude and approach – he’s not doing what is expected.

So, what direction does ‘Til Death take the listener?

The album layers in synths and rhythms, while moving between aggressive and melodic vocals. The alt-club [catchy] beats keep you engaged, while the violence and aggression pummels you, and the videos try to maintain that horror show feel. Opening with “Happily Ever After” you are greeted with Graves distinctive vocals, and a decidedly laid-back, edgy intro. If anything, this is the perfect wedding march for Aesthetic Perfection as it comes across creepy, disturbing, delicately twisting those vows.

“Antibody” kicks the album into gear, just check out the video…

“Lights Out (Ready To Go)” starts with a bit of a Casiotone sound, and is probably the most accessible track on the album. Maintaining that slightly distorted sound (twisted?) keeping it to one side with just hints of what you would expect as the vocals get pushed and start moving into the darker realm. This darker side is shown in the lyrics; “I kind of like how loving you is so horrible”. While “Showtime” has a distorted fairground feel-it’s structured tempo, and the way it flows between an almost clockwork feel to both the melodies and rhythm, just adding to that fairground atmosphere.

“Oh Gloria!” is any interesting blend, when the aggressive vocals and synths are not trying to batter you, it becomes one of the more accessible tracks.

“Lovesick” strikes a cord with what feels like a throwback to “Music For The Masses” or “Black Celebration-era Depeche Mode – the vocals echoing slightly atop the bass-heavy sounding synths with minimal percussion, giving a bleak feel, but focusing the listener on the vocals. It is almost a throwback to the softer tracks closing “A Violent Emotion”.

I liked the album, I liked it a lot, and chunks of it get played daily. It is more accessible than “All Beauty Destroyed”, although I felt not necessarily peaking in strength with such tracks as “Inhuman” or the gravitas of the title track “All Beauty Destroyed”. “‘Til Death” may appear a little confused at times mixing that aggression with those catchy melodies, but this is not different than the gutteral vocals coupled with the more harmonic found in the metal genre, except this is to an electronic backdrop.

Aesthetic Perfection

I am not sure it would be appropriate to label it as agrotech as was possible with his earlier material. But it still grabs you and before you know it your feet are tapping to the rhythms, and your heart is pounding to the aggression. Yet across his discography there is a growing air of sophistication. If you didn’t like “All Beauty Destroyed”, or you long for a return to “A Violent Emotion” then this may not be for you. But one thing is for sure and that is Mr. Graves is doing what he wants, in his own way, and he is doing it well.

I fully expect that the live show will still be as active, angry, and energetic. Shame he is not coming down to the South Coast again…London it will have to be…


15.02.2014 SHEFFIELD Corporation
16.02.2014 GLASGOW Classic Grand
17.02.2014 NEWCASTLE Cluny
19.02.2014 CARDIFF The Globe
20.02.2014 LONDON Camden Underworld

Track Listing
Happily Ever After
Lights Out (Ready to Go)
Death Rattle
Big Bad Wolf
Oh, Gloria!
The Dark Half
The New Black


Words by Jon.

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