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London After Midnight - Selected Scenes From The End of the World: 9119 (Darkride Records)

14 December 2019

In the past few weeks, I put together an article surrounding the recent resurgence of the Gothic Rock sound. A sound in the nineties which became overshadowed by Grunge and Brit-Pop. Based of course on recent events such as the Bauhaus reunion, The Mission heading out on the road in 2020. And the promise of new music coming shortly from The Cure. Before I get to the review of Selected Scenes From The End of the World: 9119, I’d like to share the insights from that article by Sean Brennan of London After Midnight

“It is true that some larger pop artists or fashion designers will turn to the gothic and dark rock art scenes when looking to seem edgy or “inspired” (mostly for the image alone) but as far as new artistic activity is concerned, I think that a similar level of activity has always been present. Maybe it’s not as vital as it always was but it’s better than the pop world. Again there’s a cycle to things and lately the 1980s is popular with shows like Stranger Things, so more attention is being focused by the mainstream media on aspects of the 80s. When I started London After Midnight in the 1990s even the underground press was saying that my band revived the goth scene, because the music was different and it was successful in creating a large audience years after the press deemed goth “dead”. I’ve been touring major festivals and releasing music since, and I’m about to release several new albums, so the narrative that goth is dead is long lived. Like goth itself.” 

Now for the all important release. In 2019 Selected Scenes From The End of the World: 9119 is the right album, re-released at the right time. In ’91 when originally released and bought by yours truly the world was pushing forward and looked brighter with the Cold War ending, the nineties were a new dawn for society. In recent years, through dangerous attitudes, those ideals are plummeting deteriorating. Selected Scenes From The End of the World: 9119 is the soundtrack to our existence in 2019. A song-cycle that even upon release forewarned the incomprehensible mess we have found ourselves in, both through the climate crisis and political ignorance. 

As debuts go this album was monumental in 1991, (91+19=9119) and now sounds just as impressive. Purchased by yours-truly first time round, the sound is not so much remastered but given a new coat of incendiary paint that is remixed from the original master tapes. However, from the early eight-track listed versions, it now weighs in at a staggering seventeen tracks. There is a feeling this is Sean Brennan’s original vision of the album. 

Opening with “This Paradise”, the dark-erotic bliss detonates, and continues. Audiences are given two versions of this and others, re-recorded in 2003 (note the 2003/9119 versions). The sound quality is a winner with a more atmospheric texture, helped by pounding drums, and hypnotic guitar lines. The voice of Sean Brennan is not the doom-laden projection you might think, it contains an original thread of hopefulness with sprinkles of Nick Cave and Jim Morrison

The reasons for labeling Selected Scenes From The End of the World: 9119 a modern classic abound as the album opens up. “The Black Cat” is immense, stuttering to start, with an ominous tone which is unsettling even in the transcendent lifts. Whereas “Revenge” is the call to annihilate the Nazi-rascit intrusion into modern culture. The opening Third Reich sample is a reminder of the evil in the world which is still present in sectors of society. One of the standouts of this album is “Spider And The Fly”, the industrial-ambience that heralds its presence sounds demeaning. A song perfectly pulled from the eighties, with a new wave nuance that makes it a timeless cut. In the same breath the thunderstorm that opens “Sacrifice” gives the impression of darkness, but it is an uplifting track which flows effortlessly.

The vibrations that open “Your Best Nightmare” are chilling, however, the collision of synth, guitars and drums are not. An intensely dramatic track with an urgency to Brennan’s voice which snarls against a spectacular wall of sound. This extends into “Claire’s Horrors”, London After Midnight make the nest of studio technology to enhance every inch here. The kaleidoscope of synth winds beautifully behind the instruments, blending and bending the themes magnificently. “Ignis Fatuus”, the strangest track has a lot more charm than the original, and its collage of noise effects benefit from the remix. 

The 2003 tracks slip nicely in beside the remixed 91 versions, and the two demos included towards the end are not disposable, throwaways often relegated to bonus tracks. One of the most important reasons to invest is the vinyl. The original album is an expensive wax rarity, and now comes in a slick double vinyl package. Not just a celebration of a masterpiece but Selected Scenes From The End of the World: 9119  is a celebration of the post eighties Goth movement.

1.This Paradise (9119)    
2.The Black Cat (9119)    
3.Revenge (9119)    
4.Spider and the Fly (9119)    
5.Sacrifice (9119) 
6.Your Best Nightmare (9119)   
7.Claire’s Horrors (9119)    
8.Ignis Fatuus (9119)    
9.Trick Or Treat (9119)    
10.Inamourada (2003/9119)    
11.This Paradise (2003/9119)    
12.The Black Cat (2003/9119)    
13.Trick Or Treat (2003/9119)    
14.Sacrifice (Radio Edit 9119) 
15.Revenge (Radio Edit 9119)    
16.Claire’s Horrors (Demo Version)    
17.Your Best Nightmare (Demo Version) 

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