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Fotocrime | South of Heaven

If this is hell, at least it's got a helluva deent soundtrack.

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THE PRESS RELEASE: “A shadow simultaneously is and is not, a presence and an absence staking claim on the world. Fotocrime not only survives, but thrives in the shadows — beneath a heaviness that cannot be escaped, within melodies that defy light and dark. With South Of Heaven, the second full-length chapter in the project’s narrative, Fotocrime has found comfort on the fringe. “It’s been a journey of persistence and obsession, more character actor than leading man,” R., the singer, songwriter, musician, and producer behind Fotocrime, says. “South of Heaven is deeply personal, an honest fiction, an exposed nerve pulsing in a blanket of fog.” South of Heaven is the backlit highway slithering from 2018’s Principle of Pain, which bowed at the altar of post-street punks Blitz while nodding at the megawatt gleam of Depeche Mode and churn of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. The stories comprising South of Heaven are winding and boundless, unfolding with unexpected paths and hairpin turns. Touching the myths of Saturn and Phaethon and mining the lives of Bruno Ganz and Francis Bacon, the album carves a landscape that spans both earthly and astral planes. “This is a record for late night drives, a soundtrack for headlights illuminating the horizon,” R. says. “I’ll make music until the end of my days, with or without a listener, but I’m happy to have a passenger for the ride into the dark.” Equal parts heathen and heaven, Fotocrime’s 10 new dispatches are summoned from a darkness that lives all around us, deep within us. Follow your intrepid guide Fotocrime into the dark night ahead.

MY TWO CENTS: Don’t let the title fool you. This is not a full-length tribute to the classic Slayer album. But it is a disc that’s almost just as dark and heavy — in its own special way. Essentially the solo project of Louisville singer, songwriter and musician Ryan Patterson, Fotocrime efficiently and effectively connect the brooding, pitch-black menace of post-punk to the mesmerizing machine-drive noir of electro to create a magnificently grim hybrid that adds up to far more than the sum of its evil parts. If this is hell, at least it’s got a decent soundtrack.