Bogs, ghouls and “electronic body horror”


Torontonians Adam Bernhardt and Kat McGouran make music for those who like goth rock scintillatingly intense, brimming with electronic percussion and only just on the right side of horrifying. Collectively, the duo are known as Dermabrasion, and while the name might make you think of surgical skin planing, what this pair actually offer is far more intriguing. And a bit less painful.

Why Dermabrasion?

It’s difficult to avoid comparisons with Siouxsie And The Banshees when talking about Dermabrasion, chiefly because McGouran’s tortured yet commanding vocal style is so undeniably reminiscent of Ms Sioux. But there’s a lot that is novel and appealing about their sound too. The suffocatingly murky feel of tracks like 2022’s ‘Dragula’ is inescapably addictive, while their frequently room-shaking basslines sound like they have the power to eat you up, if they so desired. Couple this with Dermabrasion’s trademark crack of machine-gun drums and thick, gritty layers of guitars, and you get killer cuts like ‘Goblin Dance’, which is deliriously mesmeric on account of its unbridled brutality.

Tell Us More…

Bernhardt and McGouran released ‘Pain Behaviour’, their debut album, at the tail end of January. Featuring ‘Goblin Dance’ plus nine other tracks, one highlight is ‘Halberdier’, which sees a cold, menacing intro dominated by enormous, hollowed-out drums that morph into a battle between industrial strength guitars and McGouran’s electrifying howls. It’s the perfect lead single for a record that its creators consider to be reminiscent of “beer-flavoured ghouls smoking outside venues that no longer exist”, and even “the backed-up toilet smell” that hangs in the air around the back of your favourite nightclub. Lovely.

‘Pain Behaviour’ is out on Hand Drawn Dracula

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