I love when an album has a standout song that can literally make me stop what I’m doing and just listen; that can give me goose bumps as well as make my heart race and almost stop breathing. It’s rare when an album can cause this reaction more than once but William Control has bled his heart into every minute of this record, masterminding another intoxicating tale that leaves me absolutely breathless. ’The Neuromancer’ flows together so beautifully, each song intertwining with the next to create an intensely erotic, theatrical, mind jarring story that translates into one hell of an industrial dance album.
Having been a huge fan since 2010, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of his new record and what William had in store for his fans this time around. After listening to it all the way through for the first time, I lost count of how many times my jaw hit the floor as I thought, “Fuck. This is good.” After hearing two songs from it the week prior to its release (“Illuminator” and “Revelator”), I had an idea that it would indeed be good but really could not fathom how much it would surpass his previous work. I honestly love every word in this collection; every song is worth writing about. It is evident how much William has grown as an artist, his vocals even cleaner and somehow softer; the production transcending a level of near perfection. But I had to narrow it down to the songs that literally made me stop what I was doing and just listen; the ones that gave me goose bumps as well as made my heart race and yes, almost stop breathing.
I narrowed it down to four songs.
The sixth song on the album, “The Filth and the Fetish”, is without an obvious doubt the filthiest. Renewing familiar themes from his earlier work of sex + violence complete with agonizing screams and blood-curdling cries, this is one of William’s strongest and heaviest songs yet. Mixed with drums that remain powerful throughout, the ferocity of the synthesizer and a deep, almost intrusive bass that seems to invade your every pore, this song generates an atmosphere where you can almost smell the smoke from the infamous cigarette forever in William’s hand as he tells about “a pain you can love, a hurt you can swallow”.
However, it’s the unbelievably sexy “Closure in the comfort…” chorus that I can feel in the depths of my belly that makes my toes curl. The first fifty seconds of this song (or so) takes me to a place that is so terrifyingly unknown yet so seductive that it peaks my curiosity to levels I didn’t know existed. William’s voice is so persuasive and confident, blending with the weirdly sensual background vocals, daring you to come just a little bit closer and take a deeper look. There is something so enticing about how one finds pleasure in pain and torment, making it sound like a delicious apple that one should not bite, yet absolutely cannot refuse. This song is sure to be a hit amongst the fans that have been around since day one, reassuring them that William is still as unapologetic as ever about who he is and what he wants.
Moving ahead to track eight, “Passengers” is in a word: divine. A piano driven love letter that is so hauntingly beautiful, you hate for it to end at only a little after three minutes, making it the shortest song on the album (next to the “Introduction” of course). Dreamy and whimsical, with a melody so modestly sweet and lovely, this song is every tortured soul’s lullaby that will undeniably make you curse yourself for having a heart.
Encompassed with forlorn passion, William’s exquisite vocals drip in agony and despair, unmasking his shattered + torn heart, veiled with a longing for just one more tryst with love. In a constant battle between love and the darkness, this is his way of lying down his armor, all but admitting defeat against a concept he fights to fully surrender to. Every note delicately laced with both tenderness and woe, will inevitably win over every hopeless romantic listener, who will be hanging onto every word.
But before being too swept away with the notion that love has once again conquered all, William has revised this assumption a bit, deciding that love is in fact “ugly” and nothing more than fata morgana, an illusion. “Love Is A Shadow”, track ten, is quite possibly my favorite song on the album; we’ll get to my other ‘favorite’ contender shortly. Aggressive drum & bass infused with 80s New wave and a dash of electro-rock, this one is just too appealing to my inner Goth kid to not simply rave about.
Disguised as a nefarious Prince Charming, engulfed in melancholy fantasy, craving to break the skin and taste the iron in your blood, this anti-love anthem allows William to tempt and lure you, once again, to the dark side. Amidst another invasive bass line incorporated with dirty guitars and a breakdown so intense, you will want to dance until the sun comes up, I am especially eager to devour this particular song live. Admitting to his need + desire to “seduce forever”, with a song (hell, an album) like this, that is all-too achievable, Sir.
Yet, the real gem on this album and my other ‘favorite’ contender is the final song, “Where the Angels Burn”. Concluding with a serene and virtually otherworldly ballad, William’s voice is so eerily haunting and somber as he effortlessly pours his heart into each poetic line. Especially captivating knowing the backstory of his relationship with Vivian (remember, it’s a concept album), which he was kind enough to share with me when I interviewed him (check it out here), the understated melody and heartbeat-esque synthesizer causes electric chills up and down my spine while goose bumps flood my arms.
Finishing with spoken word prose, similar to the album “Introduction”, this shattered man has finally realized that love is the only aid to his wound, professing a promise that will withstand time as he tries to soothe his own anguish. The romanticized lyrics, that could easily be the completion of the love letter begun in “Passengers”, are so beautifully penned, elaborating words that anyone who has ever been in love have certainly longed to hear. I once described William’s music as ”morbidly romantic poetry” and he remains true to this depiction, crafting, in my opinion, one of his most sumptuous lines yet, “I would set myself on fire a thousand times for just five more minutes of your magnificence against my skin”. Beautiful, Sir.
Without a doubt, ‘The Neuromancer’ is a thrilling, sensual and morose album, each song the perfect continuance of the last. Sublimely complimented by background vocals provided by Kenneth Fletcher + Ashley Jade and featuring an appearance by the unmistakable voice of Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides, this is William’s most promising album to date. Its mixture will indeed satisfy his current followers as well as those who are unfamiliar but find themselves being drawn into the world of a man who’s been to hell and back, all in the name of that nonsensical, soul-crushing thing called ‘love’. Whichever one you are, I invite you to come just a little bit closer, take a deeper look and relish in the enigma that is William Control…