The hidden gem of the past 2023 was Martyrdom: Eight Exercises by the Turkish darkwave project Rain To Rust. A few years ago, I wrote a short post about Mert Yidiz’s first two albums, Flowers of Doubt and Stillborn Flowers, the latter released in that distant 2020. Now, turned into a duo with the addition of Ertan Asilan, they present a new work, that will get better every time that you listen to it again, in which the musical evolution is evident.
Let’s move on to break down what makes such a great goth album: the concept: if you’re looking for something light, better look elsewhere. Martyrdom: Eight Exercises examines neurosis in the form of art and the process of suicide as “artistic martyrdom.” For that the duo has chosen eight artists who were makers of their end to whom they dedicate a track: Adrian Borland (The Sound), Richey James Edwards (Manic Street Preachers), Ian Curtis (Joy Division), Per Yngve Ohlin (Mayhem), Yukio Mishima, Peter Tyrrell, Osamu Dazai and Robert E. Howard. The music: we have a mix of sharp post-punk, darkwave and powerful goth rock
With the title “Tonight I will Meet My Friends Who Died Untimely” we have the song dedicated to the great genius of Adrian Borland of The Sound. It’s aggressive post-punk, albeit with that melancholic and atmospheric air of the composers of the immortal “Winning”. “Cutting Moments” is about Richey Edwards, guitarist of Manic Street Preachers, and the track seeks to describe how he felt before jumping into the river. It has oppressive drums and a lot of darkness. The solemn “The Killing Room” is dedicated to another legend in our scene, Ian Curtis. It is a more darkwave vibe if we accept that “New Dawn Fades” belonged to that genre. It is a deep requiem about the last moments of Joy Division‘s singer. To Per Yngve Ohlin, the singer of the black metal band Mayhem, they dedicate a powerful song of goth rock with an aggressive voice and a great guitar riff. The album continues with the deep and solemn “The Patriot”, dedicated to Yukiio Mishima, Japanese novelist and playwright. The song talks about hara kiri as a form of beauty, comparing the suicidal pose with a red rose lost in a garden and features a sample of an interview with the Japanese author. Another powerful and abrasive composition is “Litterfrack Penal Colony” with reference to Kafka in the title, abrasive sound and it’s dedicated to Peter Tyrrell, an Irish writer. The Litterfrack was an industrial school where Peter was interned. “The Big Dive” is dedicated to Osamu Dazai” and it’s an acoustic track that would not be out of place on the Twin Peaks soundtrack. Finally, “And The Ravens Left The Tower (Howard’s Dream)” is the most experimental composition, with a piano motif and an echoing recited text that seems to end up being devoured by the furnaces of hell.