Ten years ago, I was writing for a gothic culture magazine called Nocturnal. This was in ye olde days when people were still interested in paying for monthly PDFs. Nocturnal was my first proper gig. It set me on the road I’m lucky to still be traveling, and I do miss it sometimes.
Naturally, it was trickier to get hold of review copies back then. CDs had to be sent by mail. This was magical in many ways, because you got your hands on rare artifacts, from specialist (sometimes deliciously obscure) labels.
One of the best I ever received came from Germany’s My Friend Skeleton. That album, Vanitas, was essentially a gothic post-apocalyptic opera, characterised by sublime arrangements and dream-like shoegaze.
Theatricality drapes itself gloriously over everything MFS did. There were nods towards demons, angels, and other stories of the fallen and forgotten. Plenty of fairytale allusions too, best represented by their finest song “Alice.”
One thing which made MFS so captivating was the otherworldly aura around them. Every track, image or video seems to grant you a vision of something mysterious. And there’s another mystery which hangs over MFS – where have they been?
2015’s Sketches Vol. 1 was the last notable release from the group. Before this month, there hadn’t been any activity on their Facebook page since 2018, when they made an ominous post about artificial intelligence. Similarly, their YouTube channel had been quiet for 3 years, so you can understand my excitement when “20200312” was uploaded 6 days ago.
It’s 8 seconds long. The audio consists of what sounds like skittering insects. A darkened forest was set before you and, curiously, the description carried this:
Running this sequence through a hexadecimal code translator gave us this: “Irrlicht – My Friend Skeleton Release 12.03.2020”
Sure enough, a new song called “Irrlicht” dropped on that date. “Irrlicht” is carried by a gorgeous piano melody, entwined with sublime strings and marching orchestral elements. The back and forth between vocalists Amaya Sakinah Skeleton and Kay Ozz Skeleton add a genuinely dramatic edge to proceedings.
This is all very exciting. One of the most unique and captivating acts I’ve ever encountered has returned. They have a vision and a plan. A new album is working its way towards us. Naturally, I’ll keep everyone posted. In the meantime, check out “Irrlicht,” and then everything else My Friend Skeleton have ever recorded.
You can find My Friend Skeleton here:
Label: Danse Macabre Records.