The Gloom In The Corner draw listeners into another world with their concept based music; a world that’s full to the brim with revenge, murder, and supernatural abilities. With each release acting as a chapter to an ongoing story, we are now on the cusp of leaping from previous chapter Homecoming into something entirely new. As well as newness of story, The Gloom In The Corner are officially presenting their new lineup of Mikey Duffield (vocals), Nic Haberle (drums), Matt Stevens (guitar), Martin Wood (guitar), and Paul Musolino (bass).
Shared at live shows already, “Villain” is the highly-anticipated new release from the Melbourne nu metal/metalcore band. The Gloom In The Corner are momentarily side-stepping the cliffhanger ending that “Witch Hunt” left us with, while also leading us aggressively into the new chapter, where new characters and connections are introduced.
To get you up to speed with the story, The Gloom In The Corner’s main character Jay Hardy had found the body of his girlfriend Rachel – brutally murdered. This understandably spiraled him into a deep depression, and his compromised and apathetic state led to him succumbing to The Gloom; a supernatural disease and oppressive entity that seeks to ‘inhabit’ the vulnerable. With The Gloom taking over, a series of murders intended to avenge Rachel’s death occurred at his/their hand.
Unbeknownst to Jay/The Gloom, witnessing these murders of her friends was Clara Carne, also known as The Queen Of Misanthropy. Given her residence in this dimension, we could perhaps assume she has supernatural abilities, but they aren’t (yet) described. Shocked and horrified from what she’s witnessed, Clara becomes determined to locate Jay’s as-yet-unintroduced accomplice to the murders: The Devil Of The Sect.
But then she falls for him:
“But I followed the devil home
To the show the skeleton the worst pain he’d ever known.
But my heart had other plans; you see
The look in his eyes broke the hate in me.”
Like a chaotic battle inside one’s head, “Villain” begins with conflict-heavy drum beats, razor sharp vocal admissions, and distorted guitar. We’re instantly a part of The Queen of Misanthropy’s internal debate with herself about her fixation upon this murderer of her companions. This takes us swiftly into ‘Two-Step Land’, where a dance of good and evil becomes even more conspicuous. The music video directed and edited by Cian Marangos brings this conflict to life, where one instance of Clara is cuddled up watching TV with The Devil, and another Clara seeks to torture him.
Recognising “two sets of teeth”, the understandable fear of going head-first into a bond with someone devious is palpably obvious. The Gloom In The Corner have crafted a downward pulling sound and vibe, creating a breath-holding sense of tension before hitting djenty bedrock. In dark surroundings we hear and feel the pressure of justification, defense, and reinforcement as to how a connection between the two has changed everything.
“Is it so wrong to find love in depravity?”
A multi-layered and unfolding chorus is sweet relief from the inner argument. With it we get to fall unfalteringly and openly into enjoying the love The Queen of Misanthropy feels for her ‘villain’. It’s a momentarily dreamy stop in what is otherwise an anxious internal argument, amplified by rapidfire beats and tasty angular riffs. Moreish of sound, “Villain”‘s structure as a song traverses through varying sections of rhythm and pace, keeping energy high and attention drawn throughout. This piece of music isn’t one for the passive, demanding full involvement from listeners.
Beginning with uncertainty as to whether this love is allowed, the “Villain” sees The Queen of Misanthropy ever more assertively bind herself to the object of her desires, ultimately literally giving herself and her destiny up for The Devil (“Shakespeare never wrote a love like this / Heaven can lose an angel; I’m sure I won’t be missed”). This story is wrapped up in heaviness and high energy, and it’s easy to sink into the dark recesses and breakdowns of “Villain”, which perhaps reflects The Queen’s own turn toward ‘the dark side’.
As a listener I found myself drawn into the hectic and heavy story, soothed by the interwoven choruses. I appreciated the savagery heralded from the first chorus onward, the unrelenting fierceness of sound, and the signature ongoing lyrical reference to being abandoned by God. This kamikaze love song wraps up brilliantly with a return to the first chorus and a final declaration of the two names.
At the end of the video we’re given a teaser, foreshadowing what’s to come as well as capturing something important. The Devil of the Sect swaggers toward Jay/The Gloom, and refers to him as “Jay” and mentions his “angel”. This could imply that Jay is no longer under control of The Gloom, and may also imply The Devil’s awareness of what is going on with Rachel. I guess we’ll find out soon!