PAGAN LOVE SONGS: Antitainment (Alive In . . .)
~review by Mick Mercer
And of course the good news is that this year there are far more good records coming in than bad, because there are still people out there organising and helping to inspire and motivate people, proving that old and new styles can work together in exciting combinations, introducing people to a rich variety of marvels: all of which is borne out on this tantalising compilation by Thyssen brothers Thomas and Ralf.
It’s an exiting mixture, leaning heavily on today, but with a healthy regard for mavericks from yesteryear and featuring some surprise reminders, but that’s personal delights for you, totally unpredictable, and it’s too good for me to review in detail because we’d be here all night. A double CD (available for a ludicrously low price!) there are 38 songs here, including the poison on ice of Madre Del Vizio, Vendemmian, and The Vanishing. Katzenjammer have a chaotic clatter, there is ugly deportment from Kontakt 46, lo-fi bleepy fuzz with New Days Delay, and patient beauty from Swans Of Avon and Scissor Pretty, along with Bohemien’s touching, jabbing sound.
There is twinkly sludge of Caprifischer on the one hand, but The Others, Pink Turns Blue and The Epoxies have grimy poppy appeal. You have the pleasantly bristling Antiworld, rousing Cinema Strange, tottering Hans-A-Plast, and classic voice of Frank The Baptist, the criminally underrated Murder At The Registry, and the vital vibrancy of The Deep Eynde. Sub-Cure fragrance drenches The Cold, brackish tension fills Cadra Ash, and elegant energy emanates from Brotherhood Of Pagans and Bloody Dead & Sexy (their softer side). Straightforward Gothsters Mephisto Waltz waltz, acoustic-ish Faith And The Muse strum, and Secret Discovery, Bella Morte, and Devilish Presley all attack with their guitars, offset by the softer stylings of Passion Play or Die Laughing.
It’s quality throughout and hangs together for all the diversity because they know what they’re doing, picking material which has a central integrity. You’re confronted by the howling gristle of Corpus Delicti, Sex Gang’s finest single, and The Plague’s old yelping punky Goth rollercoaster, emphasising the joy of discovery, as can the mental Asmodi Bizarr, the raw whirl of Norma Loy, murderous Black Ice, a sleazy romp from Frankenstein, and the dementia of Vampire Beach Babes to send you away with a smile on your face, which is also the point.
What is unfortunate is that while others justifiably laud their efforts in the sleevenotes, the modesty of the men themselves extends as far as not giving any real details of what they have accomplished (such as more than five years of organising events), or the reason they have made this specific selection, when there would have been ample room had they not been so generous with the bands photos. Oh, and it’s Pagan Love Songs, remember. So the two boys dedicate the album to their girlfriends. Soppy, but the honourable thing they could do!
It’s the compilation of the year. You know what to do.
CORPUS DELICITI – ABSENT FRIEND / MADRE DEL VIZIO – MADRE / SEX GANG CHILDREN - MAURITIA MAYER / VENDEMMIAN – TRANSITION / ANTIWORLD – BANSHEE / ASMODI BIZARR – SPIN THE WHEEL / NORMA LOY - LESBICHE VOODOO TEENAGER / DEVILISH PRESLEY – SHE’S NOT AMERICA / KATZENJAMMER CABARET – EVE AT THE MANSION / CINEMA STRANGE - NIGHTFALLS / MEPHISTO WALTZ - I WANT / FAITH AND THE MUSE THE BURNING SEASON / BLACK ICE - BROKEN PIECES / THE OTHER – HYDE INSIDE / KONTAKT 46 – FEAT SUSE VON BOND - MOLDAU / HANS-A-PLAST – MONSTERTANZ / SECRET DISCOVERY – ZERSTORER / NEW DAYS DELAY – STEREOKATASTROPHE / THE EPOXIES - PLEASE PLEASE / FRANK THE BAPTIST - THE BRANDISHING TIME / SWANS OF AVON – A KISS OF A WINDFLOWER / SCISSOR PRETTY – SOMERSAULT / THE COLD – SUMMERNIGHT / DIE LAUGHING – QUEEN OF SWORDS / CADRA ASH – CALL TO REMEMBRANCE / PASSION PLAY – SAINTS / CAPRIFISCHER - WIR FLIEH’N FUR EINEN TAG / BROTHERHOOD OF PAGANS - RESURRECTION / BOHEMIAN – ECLISSI / MURDER AT THE REGISTRY – YOUR PAGAN HEART / THE VANISHING – TERROR, I’VE BEEN DYING TO MEET YOU / BLOODY DEAD AND SEXY – CRYSTAL CLEAR / THE PLAGUE – NARAKA / THE DEEP EYNDE – THE PASSION / PINK TURNS BLUE – WALKING ON BOTH SIDES / FRANKENSTEIN – LOVECRAFT / BELLA MORTE - THE COFFIN DON’T WANT ME AND SHE DON’T EITHER / VAMPIRE BEACH BABES - TOM MAU MAU