“I’d venture a guess and say that my ever changing sound is a subconscious effort to avoid being compartmentalized,” says Daniel Graves, mastermind behind dark pop stalwarts AESTHETIC PERFECTION about their diverse and divergent new album ‘Til Death (Metropolis Records; release date February 11, 2014). “I grew up idolizing artists like Marilyn Manson and David Bowie… guys that were artistic chameleons. New releases from them were so exciting because you simply never knew what to expect. I think it was that admiration that instilled in me this drive to constantly change and push my limitations… for better or worse.”
It is with this constantly evolving viewpoint and wanderlust that Graves put ‘Til Death together. With ten songs that run the rock noir gamut, the album follows no obvious trends or script, yet it has a cohesiveness and fluidity of pure artistic expression. “I lack any sort of real perspective when it comes to my music, so I have no idea where it fits into the current musical climate,” he says about the album’s uniqueness. “It just kind of exists. That’s fine with me.”
The album’s opening three singles “Antibody,” “The Dark Half” and “Big Bad Wolf, ” which the band leaked on their own site earlier this year in video form, encapsulate the essence of what to expect from the band’s fourth studio album. ‘Til Death runs from the IAMX-tinged swagger of “Showtime,” to the eerie, almost Depeche Mode vocal patterns of “Lovesick,” to the hook-laden dark pop of “Oh, Gloria!” As a whole the album is beautiful, haunting and e clectic, spotlighting Graves at his very best.
First making its mark in 2000, Aesthetic Perfection released its debut album Close to Human in 2005, creating a stir in the European underground. With heavy touring and two additional releases under their belt, Aesthetic Perfection’s place in the EBM/aggrotech world was cemented, making way for the release of ‘Til Death, which was purely internalized without impact from the outside world. “I feel like art is something that belongs as much to those who consume it, as it does to those who create it,” explains Graves. “My catharsis is over, the album is done, now it’s time for people to hear it and decide what it means to them. That’s what makes all of this so powerful, connecting with something on a personal level. Doesn’t matter if your interpretation isn’t “correct”, all that matters is that it makes you feel something.”
While the themes of the record may seem quite dark and nihilistic, there’s still a message of hope and beauty in its midst, right down to the artwork which features Graves and his wife, photographed as a wedded skeleton couple a la Dia de Muertos (the Mexican celebration of death, “Day of the Dead”). “A few years ago I visited Mexico City,” he reminisces. “I went shopping at a big street market there and I found a beautiful Day of the Dead box. Inside of it was a couple getting married. I loved it, so I bought it. And when I got home I gave it to the girl who is now my wife.”
‘Til Death will be released on February 11, 2014 on Metropolis Records.