Five Star Hotel is a Pittsburgh “body-horror” artist whose music sounds like Ian Curtis making violent techno remixes of Castlevania soundtracks.
In February, Five Star Hotel released Hexagoness Burning Soul, an older, unfinished album that eventually became 2018’s Open Wound. Its opening track, “Blood Aurora,” establishes an immediate sense of brooding synth grandeur; it begins with submerged melodic tones that lead into menacing digital plucks before all hell breaks loose around 90 seconds in, 8-bit drums spraying and churning like machine gun bullets flying past your ears at warp speed. After the cybergrind madness comes even more widescreen, gothic synth splendor, this time accompanied by mournful vocals that are as wonderfully pitchy as anything you’d hear on a classic post-punk track. There’s extensive talk of sleepless nights, cold winters, and “tomorrow’s house.” A cinematic coda ties things up with suitable melodrama. “Blood Aurora” is the perfect soundtrack to a rainy, semi-apocalyptic Wednesday.