Boston’s Stranger are sick. And hard to categorize. Their Bandcamp page lists “deathrock” and “goth punk” as the two genre tags for the band, but the overall sound of the band to me often has a straightforward, mid-tempo dark crust feel. (You can decide for yourself by streaming or downloading the band’s demo below.) Bands like Witch Hunt, Decadent Few, and Burning Kitchen come to mind.
But some of Stranger’s stuff reminds me of the band Fuckmorgue from Winnipeg, Canada – a short-lived band from a decade ago that played a way-ahead-of-its-time mix of crust, gothic rock, deathrock, and black metal and which featured members of the hardcore band Under Pressure, among others. Stranger singer Brittany B’s vocals have a great Exorcist/”witchy” quality; the vocals remind me at turns of both the sort you’d be likely to encounter in black metal, and crust from the past (think Amy M. of Nausea).
I asked guitarist Drana about the band’s musical approach: “I can’t really say confidently that we fit into one particular genre,” Drana explained. “When I first started working on these songs I didn’t really have any particular genre in mind. I knew what I liked: black metal, punk, and I knew what I thought sounded good. I just wrote what I wanted to hear, which was something dark, expressive, but also raw and aggressive. But the way everything has come together, with the inclusion of Brittany B’s raw vocals and Gabe’s drumming, it sort of took on a life of its own, and everything coalesced into a cohesive sound that I would like to think crosses over both dark crust, death rock, and punk.” Bassist Brittany W. added: “I feel like me making Drana listen to Belgrado and The Mob ad nauseum had something to do with the direction we went in.”
Whatever style you want to call it, Stranger’s demo delivers mid-tempo, gloomy punk rock with exceptionally good vocals — one of my favorite finds of recent weeks, and something I heartily recommend everyone look into. (I have to thank my buddy Arjun Ray for cluing me into the group.) If you’re a fan of everything from Fenriz’s gothy black metal project Isengard, to faster 45 Grave, to Nausea, to female crust band Iawaska, you should find something in here that rocks your box. One of my favorite new bands.
You can buy Stranger’s demo on cassette HERE!