~reviewed by Mick Mercer

What a bastard! It’s value for money, certainly, and scores high on both the variety front and the creativity, for while it sends various waves of passionate Goth warhorses thundering into your flanks, it also has many a bizarre set of characters who are worth exploring, as some are always bound to be new. Even if a quarter of the songs don’t appeal on a personal basis you’re bound to find a rich seam or three of different Gawf perspectives which will lead you down a perfumed alley you might otherwise have spurned in favour of more traditional territory, and that can only be a good thing.

Scary Bitches over-egg their lyrical joke, where Smiling Goth are crazed and raw but quite unpredictable. Humour is pretty much a rare event, as you might expect. Much of the material is highly involved. You have the adventurously intense Human Disease, Culture Reverse are almost lo-fi Goth, choppy and dour, Collapsing New People almost reminded me of the old Xmal styling, being a human soup and screaming mess, which is good. Penis Flytrap give off punky shrill mayhem, Noone I know are seriously murky, just as Descendents Of Cain offer overtly busy dramatics. Bats In The Belfry leave things fairly empty with good personal style, and Creta are extravagant with their electro shiftiniess and frilly guitar interface.

There’s plenty of rock hybrids. Some traditional tough affairs from Kiss The Blade and Altered States, passionate extensions form The Last Dance, lighter corroded rock from Murder At The Registry, lively ugliness from Casual, mental capering thrash from The Last Days Of Jesus, guitar-driven rhythmically insistent Goth glee of DeSade, rasping vocals on a guitar springboard with drum rancour from the lively Ordeal By Fire, the cleverly held back clenching of Frank The Baptist, and an orderly passionate display from Reptyle. There’s also some turbo-charged pontificating from The Faces of Sarah, with the lighter variety coming from Belisha, with lovely bass touches. Have those two bands gone right off the boil, or do they have spectacular things planned for early in the new year?

There isn’t maybe as much as I’d like from perverse quarters, although the bands themselves are radiant, be it the subterranean dance stains of Tragic Black, or the slow distorted richness from Frankenstein. Exit To Eden are refreshingly precocious, Hatesex are unusually delicate in a maudlin manner, the light esoteric refrains of Ikon, Black Ice have a wonderfully malicious sound with a fine, tense voice. The vagabond kitsch of The Ghost Of Lemora works well, abut the finest track for me was a brilliant display from Bloody Dead And Sexy who could be the new Christian Death if they’re not careful. Speaking of which, Chants Of Moldoror do a Rozz cover and come over suitably sour but twinkley, and Avaritia spring around with sonorous vocals and guitar grit.

SCARY BITCHES – You’ll End Up Looking Like The Scary Bitches + THE LAST DANCE – Whisper (Between Strobelights) + IKON – Ghost In My Head + CHANTS OF MALDOROR – Spectre (Love Is Dead) + BLACK ICE – Eve E + SMILING GOTH – Beetlejuice + CULTURE REVERSE – Our Eyes Squint Sadly + COLLAPSING NEW PEOPLE – Revolution Girl + PENIS FLYTRAP – Cemetery Girl + ALTERED STATES – Go The Distance + BELISHA – Eyes That Blacken + CASUAL – Tard+ AVARAITIRA – And Here They Are Again + BATS IN THE BELFRY – Sanatorium + CRETA – Silence + NOONE I KNOW – Save What’s Left (In The Strobelight) + DESCENDANTS OF CAIN – The Ceremony + THE GHOST OF LEMORA – Dread The Day (The Cities Rise) + MURDER AT THE REGISTRY – The Stolen Photograph + TRAGIC BLACK – Nachtschiecchen (Reanimated Mix) + THE LAST DAYS OF JESUS – Guns ‘n’ Drums ‘n’ March ‘n’ Fun + FRANKENSTEIN – She Cats No Shadow + NEW DAYS DELAY – Tiny Monsters & Furry Little Creatures + DeSADE – Night Terrors + ORDEAL BY FIRE – Re-creation + REPTYLE – Massacre Celebration – EXIT TO EDEN – French Kiss - HATESEX – Spiritual Palsy – TRESPASS – Comedown (Lost In Light Version) + FRANK THE BAPTIST All The Faces + BLOODY DEAD AND SEXY – Bloody Rose + THE FACES OF SARAH - -Misery Turns +_ KISS THE BLADE – Gone Agai

and a few recommendations: