Haldol - The Totalitarianism of Everyday Life
Haldol - The Totalitarianism of Everyday Life
Released April 27, 2017
European Pressing released on Symphony of Destruction
1st press 345 Black / European press
Screenprinted hardcover (400gr)
Insert with info + lyrics
Recorded, Mixed by Cassidy McGinley, at Slow Club in West Philadelphia, End of 2016
Mastered by Alex Nagle
Artwork by Aaron Muchanic, Back by Jake Lafferty
Screenprinted at Ol’Dirty Hands
"Haldol continues to evolve and explore the many facets of deathrock and post-punk on their newly released 3rd LP “The Totalitarianism of Everyday Life”. It’s difficult to pigeonhole Haldol’s sound to one particular band or style, because with every song they evolve from the last and put new twists and turns onto their style. They’ve always tending to shy away from the mundane, predictable or anticipated structures and sounds of post-punk. Instead, they tend to draw musical inspiration from a farther flung range of styles and approaches. “The Totalitarianism of Everyday Life” is a sonically haunting, decomposing and pained album with bursts of layered noise aggression, constantly pushing forward and unyielding." - Symphony of Destruction
Symphony of Destruction is based in Brittany, France. Symphony of Destruction is a non-profit D.I.Y. punk record label.
Click here to order the Haldol - Negation LP.
The Totalitarianism of Everyday Life - Full Album:
Dark Punk and its Growth
One way to understand “dark punk” is to consider the biblical Old Testament book of Leviticus. I know, odd comparison... stay with me. Leviticus is infamous for its long recitations of family trees. So-and-so begat such-and-such, who begat those two who begat those three is how much of the book goes. The same can be said for the lineage that got us punk music and eventually, dark punk.
Why is that important? Because to understand what dark punk is, one first must understand how it got to that point. The only way to understand that is to grasp the lineage that backs it up.
A Storied but Confusing Lineage
The lineage from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Metallica to Morbid Angel is fairly straightforward. Less obvious, though, is the lineage of punk music. Punk produced several offshoots, including grunge, goth punk and deathrock, most of which only vaguely resemble the genre-shattering sound of the Ramones.
What makes it confusing is that all the different type of punk bands did not follow a similar legacy of gradual migration. Much like their 70s “ancestor,” punk bands were not similarly or obviously just a transitioned sound of what came before it. Their music often broke new ground, sometimes jarringly.
Getting from Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones to Duran-Duran and even Justin Timberlake is an easy paint-by-numbers sequence. Getting from the Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop and the Ramones to The Cure, Angry Samoans and Dead Kennedys to Nirvana to present day iterations of this darker gener takes a bit of imagination.
That is because present-day punk, including goth punk, dark punk and deathwave broke the mold for evolution and for grabbing something from just about every type of music imaginable.
It’s an Amalgam
Dark punk is sometimes difficult to define because it is a true merging of multiple types of punk with rock, post-punk and deathrock. Imagine music that is a combination of Iggy Pop meets Led Zeppelin meets The Cure meets Nirvana meets the Screaming Dead and you begin to get a picture of this modern amalgamation.
It is rawer, harder core, yet abstract, which has allowed for significant experimentation in music and lyrics. Dark punk bands have dabbled in hardcore punk, horror and the occult, existentialism and realism.
Essentially, dark punk has several common characteristics:
- It is a mix of punk rock aggression with goth themes,
- The sound is heavy and not goth punk mixed with electronic nightclub,
- Most lyrics lean towards a realistic take on the present and an anticipation of a future dystopia,
- Lyrics lean heavily on the liberal politics or punk rock.
One way to think about it is to envision a smash-up of a goth punk theme, the aggression of anarchist punk and darkwave, with post-punk influences.
Photo by: Smile Politely
Like any emerging and growing music genre, dark punk has its share of iterations, migrations, evolutions and tags. It has been called goth-punk, deathrock revival, G-Beat (a tongue in cheek reference) and deathwave.
Each label has its supporters and detractors. Each also has substantial arguments backing it up.
The Most Recent Version
It is extremely fair to say that dark punk is an emerging and developing type of music.
Today’s version of the genre is as much an amalgam as early versions. Just about every band mixes anarcho-punk, post-punk and deathrock. The themes covered are still grim and reflect a realism that is equally dark.
Any consideration of this darker genre is remiss if it does not take into consideration current events. Over the last 20 years, a sequence of events has occurred that when taken in full, are mesmerizing, interesting and extremely worrisome.
In the early 2000s there was 9-11 and two wars. At this point multiple recessions have occurred. That has created an environment where even college graduates are no longer guaranteed what many prior generations had come to expect. It is common, for example for the average listener of punk to have moved in with their parents in their 20s, sometimes multiple times, have crushing student debt and job prospects that while plentiful, do not pay as much as they would need to stay afloat.
Add to that a very polarized political environment and the pandemic, which is affecting virtually everyone, and you have a formula that is very dark, not very promising and only promises to get worse. That common theme is reflected in the average dark punk music (to the extent there is an “average” across these bands.)
The Bottom Line
Dark punk grabs that bleak outlook and accentuates it. Start with lyrics that are positively grim in the story told and future envisioned, mix in darker, goth themes and the tempo of anarcho and other subversive punk subgenres. Then merge it with the aggression of early punk and you begin to get a picture of what the genre is like.
The exciting thing is that the migration is just starting. What started in the early 2010s as slightly retro but full of angst has evolved into a slightly more mature encapsulation of what made all the influences in dark punk great. Today’s darker punk bands, for instance, tend to be more musical and lyrical, but with the same amount of frustration and dreaded anticipation for a dystopian future.
Which means the best way to sum it up remains that dark punk is a maturing amalgam of lots of musical influences, from hardcore, punk, post-punk, goth, and deathrock.
Check out our other releases here.