There’s a stage in life, where I wish I were able to understand or sympathise with, where decades after establishing a band, making music, recording albums and seeing a little of the world before posthumously calling it quits, you can look back with a fondness on what you once did. General sensations such as hindsight and nostalgia are a similar thing, but I’m not a musician, so I can’t experience the same feelings associated with once having a short-lived band that had a mild success story. If your name is Russell Webster however, and you were the mastermind behind once one of the most influential independent recording studios in the country, and a cult status electro-goth rock band with notable club hits in central Europe, it’d be an achievement to be proud of. What Russell is now known for however is his work as a voiceover artist, having lent his voice to audio book and self-guides, on a one man crusade to make the world a better place. But what I admire from the small amount of research I’ve done, is that he is refreshingly honest about the success of his band Eyes Of The Nightmare Jungle. He claims that they bombed after their second album because they decided to be too clever, but in my opinion, they may have been a bit ahead of their time. Eyes Of The Nightmare Jungle are for the best part, your archetypical goth rock band taken very much from the 80’s, drum machine, heavily distorted guitars, grinding basslines to make the earth tremble, booming spoken word that later expands into gang chants, keyboard hooks that sit on top of the brain. But despite a sound getting on for thirty years old, it sounds like it hasn’t aged a day. In select circles, their calling card Shadow Dance is a club staple and it’s easy to understand why. From the effects-soaked chords of the beginning, leading in the endearing programmed beats and the haunted wail of the keyboard, there’s an overflow of deliciously dark melodies and smoke-filled atmosphere across the five minutes, that wrap you head-first into the spider’s lair and injects you with a euphoria, designed for the dancefloor. That keyboard, or guitar line, I’m not entirely sure which, is also worth its own mention, for in each appearance is a shimmering. delightful breeze that despite its twanginess, adds a real extra dimension to the track and the sheer infectiousness of it, elevates it beyond just being another streamlined goth floorfiller. Eyes Of The Nightmare Jungle were class songwriters, and with a producer at the top of his game at the helm of the project, it’s incredible to hear that it hasn’t aged a day since 1988. What’s more outstanding, is the appeal and allure that their excellent back catalogue awakens from not just the most hardy of all gothic fans, but from a much wider musical audience too.
Because we’re talking a band from over three decades ago that never had real mainstream recognition, you’d expect them not to have the latest and greatest in music dispensing tools. But digital and occasional physical copies of their work can be obtained at most respectable music retailers still, if this intrigues you as such.
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