New Album Review

Album Review: “II” By Theatre’s Kiss

This week, I’ve been playing the role of “consumptive wretch” as my COVID-wrecked immune system struggles to prevail over a particularly virulent cold. I’d probably be doing better if I could remember to keep drinking water.

Somewhere between all the langushing malaise, pneumatic wheezing and bodily agony, I managed to catch the latest drop by post-punk artist Theatre’s Kiss — one of my top artists of 2023, I might add — and I’ve dragged myself from my sickbed to talk about it.


II,” released March 1, is the long-awaited sequel to the 2022 album “Leidensmelodien” (which I reviewed last year).

The mind behind Theatre’s Kiss, a mysterious corpse-painted individual known as “Fassse Lua,” explained to back in 2023 that “II” is part of what will become the “Solitude Chapter” of Theatre’s Kiss.

Cover for “II” by Theatre’s Kiss

The artist’s prior releases, “Self-Titled” and “Leidensmelodien,” are two halves of the “Grief” chapter. Apparently, the “Solitude Chapter” will be centered around two albums and one EP.

If Fassse Lua’s plans remain the same, then “II” is the project’s EP.

Consisting of three short tracks, “II” explores themes of addiction and dependence through the artist’s characteristic black metal-esque take on post-punk.

The EP

The first track on the EP, “Marie,” seems to capture the crux of the “Solitude Chapter.”

Opening with a sample from a newscast about drug use, the song is surprisingly upbeat. By Theatre’s Kiss standards, that is.

Based on the lyrics, “Marie” is about a young girl’s struggle with drug addiction. What’s particularly interesting about the song is how it serves as an introduction for the “Solitude Chapter” as a whole, reading as an opening narration to an unraveling story.

Photo by Raluca Enea on Unsplash

Wrenching, plaintive vocals and cold arrangements of guitar, bass and drums transport the listener into an arctic landscape.

There’s subtle drama in the growling voice that drops in to state “haunted by demons she lost her way/ chasing a high to numb the pain” and in the delicate staccato of a string instrument that emerges like a floating blossom from a bleak, dense fog.

drogomanicus” presents a narrative more abstract, with lyrics like:

Fragments of joy

Shattered on the floor

Enveloped by cravings relentless scream

“drogomanicus” by Theatre’s Kiss

While it’s clear that the song’s references to “cravings relentless” signal to the addiction of “Marie,” I’m not wholly sure what “drogomanicus” is meant to signify.

From some quick Googling, I’ve found that “Drogo” is a masculine name of German origin. (Which makes sense, since Theatre’s Kiss is based in Germany). The name means “To bear” or “To carry.”

Thus, one could speculate that “drogomanicus” is about bearing the burden of emotional turmoil wrought by addiction.

Thematic speculation aside, the song’s plain beautiful. The artist’s talent for instrumentation truly shines through in this ethereal, somber arrangement. I listen to this song and consider bittersweetness. I imagine fragments of sunlight punching through stormclouds.

Photo by Intricate Explorer on Unsplash

Imprisoned,” the EP’s final track, is where things get dicey.

While “Marie” opens with clear references to a girl (presumably Marie) and “drogomanicus” is devoid of pronouns, “Imprisoned” refers directly to a male figure.

The song is harder-hitting than its two counterparts, with strong guitar and bass almost drowning out the vocalist. There’s clearly more emotional punch here, and the lyrical subtext has my queer English major brain on fire.

In “Imprisoned,” an unnamed male figure finds himself “bound by the grip of faith” and confined by “the fear of damnation,” leading him to “[suppress] his essence” and “[deny]” his gender.

Photo by Polina Kuzovkova on Unsplash

It doesn’t take a lot of hoop-jumping to piece together a queer narrative from that. But aside from the song’s lyrics and the very vague information provided by, there’s nothing yet available to contextualize that “Imprisoned” is meant to signify.

Is it a trans narrative? Are “Marie” and the unnamed man the same person? Will we ever find out?

Hopefully the continuation of the “Solitude Chapter” will shine some light upon this.

Final Thoughts

My only gripe with this release is how aggravatingly short it is.

I’m crossing my fingers that it won’t take another year for the chapter’s next two albums to come out. You can guarantee I’ll be hopping on here to wax poetic about them when they do.

By J

J is a DJ at WKNC and a staunch enjoyer of dark and moody music.