29-06-2024 Music 61

History Of Guns - Half Light

History Of Guns - Half Light

The 1990s underground music scene was a fascinating era in the UK, giving rise to many notable bands, including industrial legends History Of Guns. Fast forward many years later - they are still crafting their unique meta-modernist Industrial sound, now releasing their eighth album, 'Half Light' via the Liquid Len Recording Company, previewed by the singles 'No Longer Earthbound' and 'When You Don't Matter'.

Formed in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire in 1996, History of Guns became frontrunners of the UK's Wasp Factory / FuturePunk scene of the early 2000s and their 2004 single 'Your Obedient Servant' was ultimately championed by The Quietus and Mick Mercer as one of the “thirty best goth singles of all time”. The band went on hiatus in 2012, returning with the album 'Forever Dying In Your Eyes' in 2022.  They then set about finishing an electronic project they’d begun in 2008.

On this album, founding members Del Alien (vocals) and Max Rael (keyboards, programming) are joined by guitarist Caden Clarkson (the newest member of History Of Guns) in exploring the human condition through various musical genres.

Produced by Max Rael, 'Half Light' was mixed by Max Rael and Caden Clarkson, and mastered by Pete Maher (U2, Pixies, Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails).

Robert Anton Wilson once wrote, “The future is up for grabs. It belongs to any and all who will take the risk and accept the responsibility of consciously creating the future they want.” This was the starting point for 'Half Light - The Journey to Arcadia'. And whilst it isn’t a concept album, a rock opera or a conventional narrative story, elements of a story currently being written as a novel by Max Rael are contained in these ten songs, which explore inner and outer space.

As always, History Of Guns aims to create a strange alternative world where people can feel safe, particularly at night when the world feels bleak. And the world feels like that a lot of the time these days. This doesn’t mean the album is all joy. It has a lot of darkness in it, like life itself. History Of Guns embrace the dark as well as the light, bleakness and hope, as openly and unironically honestly as possible. Here you'll find songs about mental health, society, addiction, abandonment, different levels of reality and how hard it can feel to keep going sometimes. Yet through this darkness, there remains underneath, a core of hope.

This is an album in three acts. The first four tracks make up Act One (opening a door), then 'Flashes of Light Pt. 5' walks through that door. Act Two closes with the most joyous point in the album - 'Arcadia', followed by four tracks in the final act.

"When we came back from hiatus in 2022, we wanted a completely fresh start so we wrote the industrial rock / metal album 'Forever Dying in Your Eyes' from scratch. We had half of 'Half Light' at least sketched out as an electronic album back in 2008/2009," explains Max Rael.

"Fortunately, people seem much more comfortable with us being genre-fluid these days and it’s less cause for criticism. Back in the day, certain camps seemed to have a definite need for bands to fit neatly into particular genres and not stray too far outside of it, which meant some of our early stuff was maybe a bit misunderstood because people didn’t know where to put it. We’ve been genuinely amazed by the reaction to the first two singles and are in nervous anticipation for what people will make of the album”.

Del Alien - an original punk turned goth - is an anti-authority seeker of truth and the questions behind the questions. Max Rael is in love with the idea of using music to create a separate universe for creating stories and escaping into, was an autistic, music-obsessed child, absorbing a dozen genres before diving into trance after Britpop ruined the alternative scene.

Influenced by Killing Joke, PWEI, Bauhaus, Coil, Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy and Nine Inch Nails and Swans, History of Guns was a big part of the UK underground industrial scene of the 00s, playing Whitby Gothic Weekend, as well as Futurepunk and Back to the Futurepunk events.

The 'Half Light' album is out now, available from fine music platforms, such as Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp.

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