NEW DARK AGE Volume 2 (Strobelight)
~review by Mick Mercer

The glut of compilations seems to have settled down a little this year, which is a relief, and this is a value-packed second volume – nearly two and half hours of good music on a double CD at a budget price - with plenty to titillate.

So what made the Mercer brain bounce with joy? I was greatly taken by the saucy melodrama from The Unholy Guests and Sleeping Children who I have recommended before and do so unreservedly again. All but idiots will love the quality flickering from a willowy Frank The Baptist, and the downsized artistic offering from Leuisr::Hive. I liked the raw whooshing old school power and crunching delivery of Cauda Pavonis, and the choral gloom of Crucifix Nocturnal Christians which gallops beautifully. The big guitar-led drama from Funhouse and wiggling scampering rawk loveliness from The Way Of All Flesh is excellent, as is the fidgety guitar-tickled rock running wild that is Bella Morte. And, surprisingly for me, the Metal gawf with a happy chorus and wobbly vocals that is Diemonsterdie struck me as having a feel of real potential about it. If they tighten up they could do real damage. 

I also thought there was genuinely light vocal beauty in Zadera whose singer also has hair like a bird in flight and Quidam are a similarly demure and light fingered, with a vinegary aftertaste. Their singer seems to have escaped from somewhere. After those immediate highlights, there’s also no denying the cantankerous pulsing pop of The Last Days Of Jesus and The Phantom Limbs and with the rest it was a case of sifting through the flotsam. Tchiki Boum have the best name and some fleet of foot dank indie with flowery vocals, as do The Prids and The Eden House. These three leave good lyrical puncture wounds. 

The grim dementia of Jacquy Bitch, who warbles weirdly with a whirling mania, is okay, and waltzing with Katzenjammer Kabarett is enjoyable. There are nicely dour performance from an alien sounding The Vanishing, bass-strangulation of Voodoo Church, and the guitar-tangled Gotterdammerung. The unexpected return from a lowkey Skeletals seems underfed, midrange efforts from House Of Usher, and Voices Of Masada are okay, the asthmatic Alan Woxx was weird, and Dr Arthur Krause take an old Sisters/Neph-type formula and make it a touch brighter.

Besides that you have all but incomprehensible low budget horror from Stigmata Martyyr and Eat Your Make Up, the funny scrabblings of Radio Scarlet, bleepy and poppy Goth from Plastikstrom, Cold and Adoration and twittering mental arty noise from Graphik Magazin.

Strobelight Records

And a bloody big list of song titles:
CAUDA PAVONIS – Dusk ‘Til Dawn / FUNHOUSE – Cry For Love / SKELTAL FAMILY - All My Best Friends / THE HOUSE OF USHER – It Doesn’t Matter / ADORATION – Follow The Thief / FRANK THE BAPTIST – Signing Off / ALAN WOXX – Bloodrain / STIGMATA MARTYR – Suffocation Leads To Exemption / RADIO SCARLET – Sat On A Wall / SLEEPING CHILDREN – Poppies Screen The Light / CRUCIFIX NOCTURNAL CHRISTIANS – Here And Hide It / PLASTIKSTROM – GroBstadtalarm / GRAPHIK MAGAZIN – Where Have The Yearts Gone? / JACQUY BITCH – Cimetiere / THE VANISHING – Princess Poison / KATENJAMMER KABARETT – Gemini Grly Song / LEISUR::HIVE – Try To Be Still / BELLA MORTE – Eyes Of A Ghost / TCHIKI BOUM – Teen Wolf / ZADERA – Fallen / VOODOO CHURCH – New Death / DIEMONSTERDIE – Gravedigger Girl / QUIDAM - Horrores / EAT YOUR MAKE UP – Holy Bats / THE PHAMTOM LIMBS – Connected Or Infected /THE PRIDS – Contact / COLD – Sorrow / THE EDEN HOUSE – Infra Red / GOTTERDAMMERUNG – Echoes Of Despair / VOICES OF MASADA – Fallen / THE UNHOLY GUEST – Synapses Cry / THE WAY OF ALL FLESH – Final Resolve / DR ARTHUR KRAUSE – Violence

A few recommended urls of those you might have missed before: (Funhouse)