got enlightened to the goodness that is Ghoultown at the Skully Records
gothabilly show on 28 October. As I'd written for that article, Ghoultown
impressed me so much that I just had to review them. The band describes
themselves as "cow punk", which is appropriate, but not very descriptive.
Just brings to mind the image of a cow with a leather jacket and mowhawk
on a goofy greeting card. It's Gothabilly with a definite Country-Western
influence. Not what I normally listen to, but that only goes to
prove how talented Ghoultown is.
The band's "Tales from the Dead West" (off of Angry Planet Records) definitely does not disappoint. Their distinctive Dallas sound is a refreshing change from the usual Goffic fare I hear. I can almost forgive them from being from Dubya's home state. "La Noche Diablo" starts with wind rushing through the plains at night, with a storm brewing and birds are cawing. It's a really enchanting sample. The opening strum of guitar comes straight out of every high noon western. The instrumental piece completely fits the title. Hollow and echoing, I can hear the whole story in my head, down to the good guy in white (or, in this case, black) carrying the hooker with a heart of gold into the clear night sky after the shootout.
"Killer in Texas" is really fucking good. I mean that. It has a classic Western theme (as do all the songs on the album) with a Spanish influence mixed in. The lyrics are appropriately cheesy and fun ("I killed a man for starin'/ Yeah I cut out his eyes). I just want to kick up my heels at my kitchen table as I as listening to the CD. All I could keep thinking was that I never heard anything like this and I love it.
I'm almost about to take back all the things I've said about Country-Western. Almost.
It feels like gritty, riding out into the open plains cowboy music. Makes me want to wear platform boots with spurs like Queeno had on during their show in New York. The band's cover of "Ghost Riders in the Sky", (written by Stan Jones, performed by many, including the original Man in Black, Johnny Cash) is as damn fine as a cup of coffee in Twin Peaks. Count Lyle truly makes the songs the band's own.
"The Burning" is perhaps the best song on the album. Slow, mournful trumpets play in the background. The song amazingly combines blues, country and punk. The whole song is so finely written, the images of Lyle staring out of a window for a woman who will never show up again plays strongly in my head. I'm definitely going to have to burn this song onto a mix. "Death of Jonah Hex" is a close second. It's almost hardcore but still has the fun guitar riffs thrown in. The lyrics are fuckin' awesome- "They took you up to midnight mass and left you with a lurch/ Dropped a quarter on the plate your blood it filled the church". How cool is that? I totally have to see the band again. Bah. I wish I'd known about them when I'd seen them the first time. I'm still kicking myself for not knowing to interview them.
Count Lyle- Vocals, Guitar
Queeno deVamps- Bass, Vocals
Lizard Lazario- Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Jake Middlefinger- Lead and Slide Guitars
J. Luis- Trumpets, Trombone, Harmonica, Skulls
X-Ray Charles: Drums, Percussion
1. La Noche Diablo
3. Killer in Texas
4. Ghost Riders in the Sky
5. The Burning
6. The Worm
7. Midnight Train
9. Death of Jonah Hex
10. Running from the Sun
Ghoultown's site is: www.ghoultown.com
~reviewed by Dj Mistress Catherinna
Hungry Lucy is War-N Harrison from Fish Tank #9 (http://www.fishtank1.com/f9/) and Christa Belle (http://www.christabelle.com/). The formation of Hungry Lucy developed by fate, so to speak, as War-N was asked to write a Depeche Mode Cover for a Tribute album and he in turn asked Christa if she would be interested in singing the vocals. She agreed and so their journey began. After completing thier cover of 'Blue Dress' by Depeche Mode and waiting to hear if it was going to actually be used for the Tribute album, they realized just how well they worked toghether. Krista started writing many different sets lyrics for songs and eventually asked War-N if he would be interested in writing the music. After two years of working with each other, they completed and produced their first album together Apparations.
Hungry Lucy, derives it's musical substance from many hypnotic sounds, including a combination of trip hop melodies, vocals and beats, a tid bit of electro and many varying gothic undertones. It is perfectly delightful, danceable and holds true to a brilliant new style of music that needs to be heard in a scene that is just dying for fresh, yet familiar, musical elements and change, which you will find in their ever so haunting 'Trip Goth' style. Think, Hooverphonic, Switchblade Symphony, Collide, Battery, Massive Attack, with a hint of Kate Bush, all rolled up into one sytle. Are you with me?
"Be ready to fly above everythingLove, pain, anger, guilt, truth, happiness, passion, self worth and acknowledgement of life through actions and intentions are just a few elements of the life blood and true foundations that inspired Apparations.
Don't have to know why
Don't have to carry on
We all have wings
We're just afraid to use them
Spirits are your guide
Your heart tells you where to go"
~ exerpt from "Journey"
Krista Belle and War-N have collaborated with one another to bring to their audience probably by far one of the most elightening and depressing, yet hauntingly touching albums I have heard in quite awhile. You may ask yourself? Enlightened and Depressed? Yes, but in a good way~ Krista's lyrics and voice take you on a journey of transcendance to all avenues of life both past and present, as well as crossing over to the spirit world. She really reaches in and awakens the soul sharing her various experiences with the listener, while taking them on a journey to their soul in adjoinment with her spirit world.
"My love you can go"Alfred," Track One on Apparations~ was inspired by a couple who were in love and lived druing the revelutionary war. Alfred was called off to war and Lucy had become so terribly depressed while he was gone, that she failed to realize that she had caught Scarlet Fever and died. Alfred was terribly lonely and depressed as well, and eventually died during the war. Later in life a new owner moved into the house where Alfred and Lucy lived and began to hear Lucy crying. The new owner, June asked a clairvoyant to come to the house and figure out what was troubling the crying spirit. They found that Lucy was crying because she couldn't find anyone to feed her (See a pattern with the name here?) They then decided that Lucy needed to cross over into the spirit world in order to move on and no longer be sadened for her loss as well as cry in hunger. They were able to do this successfully, but what they didn't know is that Alfred's spirit was living in the house as well, and they didn't send him to the other side with Lucy.
My love into the light, sweet Alfred
When I realized you weren't returning
I grew so sad that I forgot about myself
Fighting sickness to the point of dying
Never realizing what I had become
A faded thought that keeps on living"
~ exerpt form "Alfred"
This story is a small example of the journey Christa Belle's lyrics and melodic voice take you upon while riding War-N's music and programming. If you haven't had an opportunity to listen to this album, it's a must, at least once. There are also a few remixes which give a different perspective to the feel of the originals. All of the songs are worth mentioning, some better for clubs, some good for home, and some just for taking you to that place in your soul, we so often forget about.
Blue Dress (written by M.L. Gore)
Bound in Blood (Insomnia Mix)
Bound in Blood (Waltz Lullaby)
Bed of Flames
Stretch (Battery Mix)
Grave (Digger Mix)
Christa Belle (lyrics, vocals, music)
War-N Harrison (music, programming and production)
David Harrison (guitar on "Stretch")
Shara K. Martin (Flute on "Bound in Blood (Waltz Lullaby)")
Shwan Brice (additional programming on Grave and Stretch (Battery Mix).)
Make sure you check out both of their individual projects they are working on at http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/210/ladys_grim.html to hear Christa Belle and http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/207/idiot_usi.html to hear what War-N's up to! Don't worry these projects are not to be confused with a break up of Hungry Lucy, there will be more to come!
~reviewed by Wolf
Quite some time in the making, Hungry Lucy's debut Apparitions instantly received critical acclaim throughout the US upon its release. A year and a half of songwriting and production certainly paid off for Christa Belle (lyrics, vocals, music) and War-N Harrison (music, programming - also of Fishtank No.9), because their music has already enchanted many and is now slowly reaching listeners all over the world.
Aside from several guest musicians we also find Battery's Shawn Brice producing one track and remixing another. Quite appropriate, since the sound of Battery (who are sadly no longer together) was the first to come to mind while listening to Apparitions. Hungry Lucy takes the same approach of using inventive electronics to produce songs in a wide variety of styles. Trip-hop, electro, darkwave and ethereal are each skillfully represented and within this mix of funky beats, serene moments and introspective lyrics Hungry Lucy manages to stick to a sound of their own.
14 beautiful tracks grace this cd, one more mesmerizing than the other. "Alfred" is certainly a strong opener, starting out with slow beats and moving into a warm, almost Clannad-style chorus. The moving lyrics deal with the loss of a loved one, one of the main subjects surfacing throughout this disc. Family ties, wandering souls...with sensitivity and a positive underlying mood Christa touches upon all this gracefully and, most of all, honestly. Very refreshing in these times of mindless lyrical content.
(Alfred is part of the story behind the band's name, which is explained in detail on their site: http://www.hungrylucy.com/bio.phtml)
The cover of Depeche Mode's "Blue Dress" is what initially brought Christa and War-N together and is one of the better DM covers around. The exceptional "Bound in Blood" is up next, proving that Hungry Lucy definitely has club potential as well. Great vocals, catchy synths and beats, and tons of potential. A slower, more hypnotic version of this song appears later on the disc.
Jumpy beats dominate the catchy "Grave" and "Blame", while things take a more uplifting turn with the pleasant sound of "Stretch". This track returns later on, remixed by Shawn Brice who displays his trademark talent to combine alluring electronics with irresistble beats. Then there's an excellent remix of Grave, by Jesse McClear of Heavy Water Factory.
The album closes with the minimal "Ode", echoing Christa's emotional spoken words, and the equally touching "Goodbye". A fitting end to this remarkable debut. Hungry Lucy has immense potential and displays an astonishing level of maturity on Apparitions. My compliments to Christa and War-N, you've won yourselves another admirer.
(Most of their songs can be sampled on mp3.com: http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/18/hungry_lucy.html)
2. Blue Dress (Depeche Mode cover)
3. Bound in Blood (Insomnia Mix)
8. Cover Me
9. Bound in Blood (Waltz Lullaby)
10. Bed of Flames
11. Stretch (Battery mix)
12. Grave (Digger mix)
Christa Belle (lyrics, vocals, music)
War-N Harrison (music, programming & production)
Harrison - guitar on "Stretch")
Shara K. Martin - flute on "Bound in Blood (Waltz Lullaby)")
Shawn Brice - additional programming on "Grave" and "Stretch" (Battery mix)
"Grave" Digger mix by Jesse McClear of Heavy Water Factory
Heavy Water Factory: http://www.digitalangel.com/hwf
The World Turned Gingham
~reviewed by Psionic
At first glance, this cd appears to be an album of re-pressed old-school country tunes. The title, the artwork, the songtitles.. Everything points to it being an obscure cd of country & western music that predate Johnny Cash. That is, until you look closely at the back of the cd, and notice that the cavorting cowboys are actually caricatures of two whores, legs spread wide for all the world, with cowboys' heads superimposed over the crudely sexual lasses. This is not your Auntie May's country cd. Upon first listen, "The World Turned Gingham" does indeed live up to the promise of music that will take you to the wide open prairies at night.. Oh yes, and how.. But rather than easy-listenin' country strummins', instead you are sucked into a vortex of ambient washes, distant voices eerily calling out to you... "The World Turned Gingham" is very much an audio representation of a peyote trip back in the days of cattle drives under the open stars. Time slows, stops, then drifts, but the gentle picking of Hank's guitar still seeps back to your ears, reassuring you that all is well with the world, and that the yawning maw of hallucination in front of you is a-ok, yessir. Haunting, and at times quite sad, this is cd is unique. Well worth picking up for those late night trips...
1. Dark Cloud Lightning
2. Where Dust Settles
3. Strange Lights On The Prairie
4. The Ballad Of Marky Martin
5. Suitcase On The Highway
6. Campfire Catfish
7. Thumbs In Beltloops
8. Gas, Food, Trailer Park
& Slim is:
& Slim Webpresense: n/a
Soleilmoon Webpresense: http://www.soleilmoon.com/
~reviewed by Rev. A. Strangerz 23.3
I am not sure what has split this group up, but this reunion has been worth the experience.
Put out by Seattle's Starbug records, and with plenty of support on the web towards the label, and this act. (The site listed www.Innercooler.com Is simple yet eye-catching.) Lets delve straight into the music first, and learn more about the artist second.
1)LOVERISE; Nice introduction, analog lines and powerfully thick synths with some sampedelic guitar and bass. This eclectic mix is short and sweet and leads well into
OF THE STARS; Which combines the elements of a "Portishead"
track to build a James Bonde-esque vision of trip hop deluxe. I tested
it on the dance floor recently, because new material is fun to throw
down... the DJ's working with me wanted it on vinyl right
away, so you might want to think of that over at Starbug Recordings.
(maybe even mix up a little
3)SANTA CRUZ; This bouncy catchy track reminds me of the simply "hippy dippy" beach that I love so much. A space where it is O.K. to be dancing to techno on the beach, a place just north of SANTA CRUZ.
4) OVERWORKED & UNDERPAID; Sings the story of us all. With some more catchy noises, and a sample of the main title. The main factor in all these tracks have been good tempo control with a nice break in the action to let you know that they are not asleep at the wheel. The analogue touches are good too, and make the 'acid' noises this music is famous for.
5)SUMMER ORBIT; Once again comes across strong, but communicates its namesake. Summer orbit is floating around you like a bee , wanting some honey for its queen. great communication of elements through the instruments here.
6)Seoul Brother; Fattening up the synth lines even more, and adding cascading noises , and soulful vocal elements, you have Seoul Brother. So far this whole album has not gone too heavy on the beats, keeping at an Enigma level, sometimes a little stronger.
I recommend this for driving, headphones or background, yet I can't stress enough the amount of 'communication' that seems to be pouring from the fingers of the keyboardist here!!
7)CLEO; Tripped up, and flipped out, take 'Cleo' for a ride , and you r in a trip hop , symphonic groove.
8) HAJJI ; Opens with rhythm and scratch , there is some singing here, but not too much , so far this track is like most ,and allow you to fill in the mental gaps with your own impression. Like good artwork or paintings...
9)ROOF ATTACK; This track is very familiar, and just grows, and grows in strength as it trots along. I might have to put his on my next compilation when trading with other gothic industrial genre DJ's. Roof Attack, should also be named groove attack.. it may be a bit happy for some moments, but what the heck, good beats and fat lines, always fun to throw around every now and then. moments reminiscent of Front 242 or Nitzer Ebb kind of buried in here... very eclectic... O.K. so this is my fav track!
10) BY THE NUMBERS; "I want this thing to go smooth, and by the numbers" great samples all through this album, some make the song, like this one. A bit more of a hip hop feel here too, with some electric guitar , and all the other elements which have already been mentioned here.
11) TRECK; This track breaks it back down a bit, and gets into the back beat style of rhythmic direction...
12)VICTOR8; Is nice too, so really no turkeys on this album, but it was hard to get over the excitement of Roof Attack ,and By The Numbers. Of course that could be the point of these final two tracks, the cool down for your "Innercooler". This act may just think twice abut splitting again... even if the reunions are this good. This material still has some production spots that could use a but of tweeking, but It is going somewhere. I recommend trying to go there too!
On The Edge Of Forever
~reviewed by Matthew
On early Ikon releases, it was almost chilling how much Chris McCarter’s vocals resembled Ian Curtis of Joy Division. Whether it was intentional is inconsequential, I for one very much enjoyed the band’s music. It was somewhat like if Ian had never left us and he hooked up with this Neo-Goth rock band from the land down under.
Ikon’s music has always been characterized by melodic hooks, catchy pop structures, and memorable choruses, and their newest release shows the band moving forward and developing a more distinctive sound and marking a steady evolution with their brand of polished post rock. “On The Edge Of Forever” succeeds in incorporating subtle electronics to strengthen the rhythmic backdrop of the band. This move could have been detrimental but they managed to fatten their ‘rock’ sound rather than dilute it with an abundance of electronics. The result is an offering of twelve tracks that becomes more intimate with each successive spin. The music grows on you, as Ikon is one of those bands that seem to easily fix themselves within the memories of their listeners. It took me a few listens to really grow to love this, but once the appropriate mood hit, I was hooked.
“King Of Terror” and “Apparition” stand out with the most club potential, as they offer a perfect symmetry of traditional Goth rock drive with popular electronic subtleties. The vocal melody and lyric appearing at the chorus of “Wheels In Motion” moved me considerably, and probably stands as my favourite track as a whole:
“Frail heart, the noose hangs over me/Frail heart, I crawl on Odin’s tree/In searching for my own embrace/Sometimes my heart takes second place”
I hesitate to even bother pointing out this similarity, but the sound of the band reminds me somewhat of what The Cruxshadows could be if they weren’t such a parody of themselves. An obvious Egyptian motif runs throughout the packaging and lyrical themes of Ikon’s newest release, but thankfully, they do not feel the need to cry out a roll call of Egyptian deities. Though neither band have the balls to step to the maniacal majesty of Nile, I dig the hieroglyphics and applaud Ikon for avoiding potential cliché by handling timeless and effective imagery with such modesty and class.
But the highest selling point for Ikon is that they have a drummer, which is a rarity in bands of the Gothic/Industrial persuasion these days. With that said, I conclude that Ikon have released another masterpiece that hopefully will not be as underrated as their prior albums. With a sound that modifies the stark poetics of Joy Division and the melancholic pop of Xymox, I am glad to see a new release in 2001 carrying on these classic elements. Though they won’t sell as many records as the leading EBM groups at Metropolis, Ikon definitely offer something that should not be overlooked if you are a fan of sad yet driving music.
1.) King Of Terror
2.) The Shallow Sea
3.) Wheels In Motion
4.) Stone Reality
5.) Fine line
7.) The Wish
8.) An Act Of Fate
9.) Blue Snow Red Rain
12.) World Beneath The Sand
Chris McCarter – vocals, guitar, keyboards
David Burns – drums, incidentals
Dino Molinaro – bass guitar
Anthony Griffith - guitars
– Official Site:
Last Fair Deal Gone Down
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
The dark of night has always been legendary for breeding sorrow and stirring the emotions within people. Last Fair Deal Gone Down is born of bleakness, guilt, hopelessness, and longing, as Jonas Renske and Anders Nystrom prefer these sunless states to write the music. Now, Katatonia has once again bared their souls to the world in their newest opus, Last Fair Deal Gone Down.
It takes little time to notice the maturing process the music has been through. While still retaining the basic sounds of Discouraged Ones and Tonight’s Decision, Last Fair Deal Gone Down is easily more powerful than the last two releases. With the addition of drummer Daniel Liljekvist and bassist Mattias Norrman, responsibility that once rested on the shoulders of the original three members have evaporated and left them more time to concentrate on the songwriting. This has paid great dividends, as there is a lot more variety and experimentation here, which gives the album a more robust feel to it. The bass is deeper and there’s more variation in the drums. Katatonia has also been steering toward a more commercial structure with their songs by doing the traditional verse/chorus/verse/chorus. Although this may dismay some listeners, the songs on this album are strong enough to hold their own against almost any critic.
LFDGD opens with muffled guitars and eases us into “Disposition”. This is standard Katatonia fare, with the excellent riffing from Anders. It’s not hard to hear the progression Jonas’ vocals have made since the last release. There’s more layering in them and his range has definitely expanded. “We Must Bury You” seems more experimental and Jonas hits his highest notes found on any album to date. “Teargas” is yet another great song and it shows the pride of men when they’re really hurt and try to brush it off.
“What is it in my eyes“Sweet Nurse” and “Don’t Tell A Soul” finish out the album and they’re both very good. It’s very hard to pick out a favorite song on the record. It’s so easy to listen to from start to finish and there are no weak links to be found. Lyrically the songs all relate to experiences of Jonas and Anders but they’re written loosely enough that it’s not difficult to attach one of these pieces to your own personal life. I would urge the listeners who turned their backs on this band after the growling vocals were removed to
A piece of broken glass
Is this the time I should be on my knees for you
Is this your way of telling
Another has been found
Now I know it’s teargas in my eyes.”
Jonas Renske – Lead and backing vocals
Anders Nystrom – Rhythm/lead guitar, mellotrone
Fred Norrman – Rhythm/lead guitar
Daniel Liljekvist – Drums
Mattias Norrman – Bass
Peaceville Records: www.peaceville.com
~Reviewed by Michael Johnson
Korovakill is a three-piece band hailing from Austria. Even with the impending saturation of the black metal scene, these innovators have found yet another way to be different and unique on their new album, WaterHells.
A man awakes to find himself drifting in the middle of the sea. He has no memory of how he got there. Nothing can be seen upon the water and for a private eternity, he remains adrift. One day, voices call to him from the depths of the sea and finally, succumbing to their calls, he sinks to meet them. This album is his journey and his thoughts as he drifts along and finally madness overtakes him.
Korovakill are highly diversified. They combine blast beats and mild electronics alongside operatic male and female vocals and deep screaming. Each song is a story unto itself and each is entirely different.
There is something for all tastes on it. From the ambient intro “Birth”, through the more standard metal track “Into the Underwhirls”, WaterHells answers all requests with intricacy and talent. The hauntingly beautiful male/female duet of “The Bleeding Lap of Undines” is definitely one of the standout tracks as is “It’s A Fool’s World”, which reminds me of “The Eerie Obzidian Circuz” by Diabolical Masquerade.
Although WaterHells differs from the bands original work under the name Korova, it stands apart from almost all recordings released this year. Korovakill has done a wonderful job of creating an album that will set the standards in upcoming releases and serve as a buoy for keeping the metal scene from stagnating.
4.Into the Underwhirls
5.The Bleeding Lap of Undines
7.All Statues Leave Their Stones
9.It’s A Fool’s World
10.Lord Golden Blizzard
11.Within The Sunstorm
12.Through Neptune’s Broken Nets
Stream Records: www.redstream.org
~reviewed by Matthew
One of the few reasons I am proud to say I am from the Pittsburgh area is because of this band. Low Sunday, who shortened their name from Low Sunday Ghost Machine, has been churning out spellbinding Indy-Goth since at least 1993 or ‘94. Though the band’s creative force Shane Sahene despises to be labeled or compared to other bands, there must be a method of explanation when you review something, so that people have a semblance of an idea what to expect. So forgive me Shane for the clichéd comparisons but there is a swirling, shoegaze/indie-rock quality to the music, touched with a cross-pollinating darkness a la Slowdive, Joy Division, and early Cure.
Simply put, Low Sunday is modern indie rock brilliance. They fuse melancholic 4AD type Goth with catchy pop melodies that instantly hook you, and from there on there is no point even trying to escape the smoky wonderland created by this band. And you won’t want to because their alluring melodies and arrangements are so inviting. They have a great potential, and they have the chance to be like, THE band that could usher forth a mainstream interest in gloomy pop, and it could be 1986 again and college music could be college music again, and there would be no such thing as the Dave Matthews Band. It is most likely for that reason that Sam Rosenthal of Projekt records took interest in the band and signed them to his label.
Elesgiem is the band’s second release, now re-released through the prestigious Projekt records label. This release is the follow-up to their highly successful self-titled debut. As a whole, the new CD has a much more polished, professional quality, and is not quite as downcast as their debut.
They kick things off with the bouncy “Wallpaper Room” which leads right up to another catchy tune “She Follows Rain.” They then darken things a bit with “Zuff” a very stark number with cool bass lines and a steady Goth rock beat. Almost club friendly, but just more or less a great song to chill to. They continue to display their shimmering pop sensibility with tracks such as “Magic Memory,” “Shine,” and “Alone Without,” that no matter what anyone says, I have to mention New Order’s “Ceremony” when I mention this song. But it is no way a direct rip off it just has that same yearning, sad sweetness to it.
My absolute favourite tracks from the album appear toward the end. “Human,” with its acoustic strums paired with swirling chorused guitars and Shane’s drifting voice, definitely serves as a highlight. And I was so pleasantly thrilled and relieved to find the track “Closer Closer” appeared on the album, being that it has been a live favourite of mine for years. I used to cross my fingers and pray they would do this track every time I saw this band. And bless my black heart it is on the CD so I can press program/repeat and lose myself in the cascading drums and waterfall guitars as much as my lovesick soul can take it.
The album closes with “Disassembly,” and when the final note rings out you just FEEL so much, and there are no words for this phenomena. But when a band is able to do this, to whisper and linger in your mind well after the first listen, when a band has the ability to tug at your heart like some ghost trying to convey an important message, you know that the band is good. My shoes have never looked more fascinating, that I can tell you!
Shane Sahene: vocals, bass, guitars, synth
Shawn Leslie: guitar
A.T. Vish - Drums
Compilation Appearances Vol. 1: The Arizona Years (1990 – 1994)
~reviewed by Matthew
I really missed the sound of older Lycia. Hearing this compilation reminded me of how powerful and emotionally devastating this project was. It’s a seduction by nostalgia, as throughout the CD, at certain moments, a fleeting feeling overcomes you, a flash of what it was like when dark music fans were first exposed to the sounds of “Ionia” and the unsurpassable beauty of “A Day In The Stark Corner” almost ten years ago.
Rather than just releasing a ‘best of’ album, fans are treated with this instead: a collection of outtakes, rarities and a few alternate versions of older songs. I am thrilled about this, as it will hopefully direct new fans back to the older releases. (Which need to be heard as a whole – there are no singles on early Lycia CD’s, my friends)
The alternate versions of songs like “Everything Is Cold” “Nine Hours Later” or “The Façade Fades” are not as impressive as the original versions, however its kind of nice to hear them in a demo or more stripped down form. But the unreleased material is absolutely superb!
“Excade Decade Decada” is by far the most unnerving, depressive, stark, and eerie song Lycia has ever produced. Hell, it might even be the scariest song on Projekt records! It RULES. The track takes some cues from the grating sludge of Godflesh and early Swans, but crowned with the hypnotizing guitars and chilling whispers that only Mike Van Portfleet is capable of delivering.
The shuffling rhythms of “Down” and the groove oriented swirl of “Byzantine” share the melancholic guitar tones and riffs of “Ionia” and the “Wake” releases. The closing five tracks of the album also sport the same cavernous and bleak sound that helped Lycia rise to the top of the darkwave genre. These tracks in particular make up the entire Dust sessions, a short-lived off shoot of Lycia that never really got off the ground I suppose. Regardless, it would have been a punishable crime if these songs just remained in Projekt’s vaults! The covers of “Across A Thousand Blades” and “This Lush Garden Within” are amazing and very well done, especially the former. Some abrasive drum programming and sinister guitar flanges add a unique and cast an even darker shadow on the already intense and stark Black Tape For A Blue Girl originals.
I can’t stress enough how important of a release this CD is to older fans of Lycia as well to fans just discovering the band or the Projekt label. This is not some filler compilation; it’s as if it’s 1994 and there is a brand new Lycia album out on the shelves fans the world over will be more than pleased to hear this. Can’t wait for volume two!
1.) From Foam
3.) Excade Decade Decada
5.) The Deception
6.) Everything Is Cold
7.) Nine Hours Later
9.) The Facade Fades
10.) Wake (Live)
11.) Across A Thousand Blades
12.) This Lush Garden Within
Mike Van Portfleet: guitars, vocals, synths, drum programs
John Fair: bass, drum programs (Tracks 1, 2, 13 - 17)
Will Welch: bass, drum programs (Tracks 3, 4, 6)
David Galas: drum programs, synth (Tracks 9, 10 - 12)
- Official Website:
– Mp3 Page:
Records: Official Site:
The Silent Treatment
~reviewed by Matthew
“So just who the hell is this Mark D?” And so begins the press release from Tee Pee Records regarding the new enigmatic solo release of an individual who surprising is not some insane gangsta rapper. What else would you expect from someone with only a letter for a surname?
That’s not what you get. Instead what you get is a unique and refreshing album that crossbreeds so many musical genres that you quickly lose count. Mark D is best known as a producer, who has twisted knobs for the likes of the Neurosis, RKL, and the Melvins, with whom he has also performed with as well.
I didn’t expect to like this album, but it grew on me within the first few moments of “The Hobnail Paisley.” An eerie clanging ambience opens the album but segues very unexpectantly into a grove-oriented slice of dirty rock n’ roll. A bluesy, stoner rock feel underlies the entire release, a quality that under most circumstances would be an instant turn-off to fans of pensive dark music. However, the music is saved from a pot smoker’s purgatory by Mark’s exceptionally likeable and melodic voice, as well as healthy injections of indie-rock jam sessions and moody psychedelic interludes. A mind-boggling variety of styles are meshed together on this CD with complete and utter success.
Granted, its weird. I would otherwise not even acknowledge CDs with track titles like “Chihuahua” and “Fat Hamlet” because I am a pretentious fuck, but this slipped by me and I don’t care what he is talking about on some of these tracks, as I was utterly groovin’ like a foolish hippie in a room full of Jefferson Airplane posters, cut off from the world by strands of colourful wooden beads.
it’s not all fun and games. “Coffinmakers Complaint” and “A Catastrophe”
are both slow, drab shoegazers and “Honeydrop” sneaks in some trippy electronic
drum loops and jazzy guitars. The closing track is quite an introspective
downer (Yay!) entitled “Candlelight And Wisteria,” a lethargic lamentation
examining the dissonance between ill-fated lovers. The lyrics are
simple and straightforward, but wrought with emotion that is perfectly
captured in the vulnerable vocals and the weighty suffocation of warm ambient
Tell me I’m wrong
Tell me everything’s all right
You say you love me
I love you too
What makes us do
the things that we do?
When the tears have stopped
and the hurting too
we start all over again
Tell me I’m wrong
Tell me everything’s all right
We said forever
I felt it was true
Your hands held flowers
My hands held you
Now you’re driving me crazy
And I’m driving you
Have we reached forever?
While the early half of the CD is comprised of bluesy/grunge rock, the later half has a more apparent indie rock edge. “One Thousand Delights” is reminiscent of Beck on Quaaludes, while “Van Diemen’s Land” sounds quite a bit like Nirvana’s “Bleach” era with a smidgen of the latter years of Sonic Youth. “Gateau D’Amour” even reminds me of some of R.E.M’s glum mid eighties non-single tracks that early this winter I went utterly cuckoo over.
Mark D has accomplished something (besides winning the approval of a moody Goth and misanthropic doom rocker) very well worth praise. He has taken musical styles that on their own are limited to particular audiences but he has intricately spun them together to come up with a way in which several disparaging elements work in perfect and wholesome unity. This is something that transcends labels and hopefully, Mark’s music will be widely received by open minded music fans the world over. This is something interesting and refreshingly different.
1.) Tashiro Mifune
2.) The Hobnail Paisley
3.) El Morocco
4.) One Thousand Delights
6.) Coffinmakers Complaint
7.) Fat Hamlet
8.) The Hottentot Venus
10.) Your Necklace
12.) A Catastrophe
13.) Honey Drop
14.) Gateau D’Amour
15.) Van Diemen’s Land
16.) Candlelight And Wisteria
All tracks written and performed by Mark D.
PO Box 20307
NY, NY 10009-9991
~reviewed by Digital Angel
Masochist Halo, a self-described electronic rock band, has potential. Formed in 1995 under the name Masochist Angel, front man Hijino Reynoso Jr. bears his soul on the second full-length release, Stitches.
This CD experiments with many different genres, from a more mainstream synth pop sound, to songs like “Only For the Better” which screams 80’s Billboard top hits.Although “Courier” rubbed me the wrong way. The music is promising, but with sweetly sung lyrics like, “and your daughter, see her there, I’ll break her little bones.” Not that I’m Tipper Gore or anything, slapping the wrists of bands who are known for being shocking and offensive, (anyone who knows me, knows that I enjoy controversy, and a good disrupt now and then) but talking that way about children doesn’t impress me.
“Ya Es Hora”, the song generating the most buzz from this CD has a bouncy beat, pianos, strange samples in Spanish and an interesting chord progression. In several tracks, you notice Reynoso tries to achieve a Dave Gahan type texture, which isn’t working out for him.
By far the best track on Stitches is “Repentance” which juggles a fair combination of pianos, strings, and synth. Although this track is instrumental, it seems to have a more natural flow and progression. The music itself, on Stitches is produced well. There are some outstanding arrangements, but the vocals could use some doctoring up. Masochist Halo has a bit more growing to do, but under the right producer and label, they could gain some significant radio play, sooner that one might anticipate.
5.Only For the Better
6.That Smile Inside
7.Going to White
8.Ya Es Hora
Halo is: Hijino Reynoso, Jr.
769 N. Pine St.
Woodlake, CA 93286
~review by Aaron Garland
Five competent goth/rockabilly - sounding ditties by this quartet from the metropolitan furnace of Atlanta, Georgia. For the most part, this 28 minute Cd plods along like a 45 rpm record played at 33. "Muscle Car on a Dead End Road", however, increases the momentum quite a bit and would fit quite nicely on a David Lynch soundtrack. "Devil On My Shoulder" is another fast number with a somewhat campy and humrous backing chorus. What's more, the lyrics are well-written and included in the insert.
This will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Nick Cave, Cramps, rockabilly enthusiasts, and maybe even the more open-minded sector of vintage Country music fans a la Johnny Cash. Worth a listen.
a.. Ride You Down
c.. Muscle Car on a Dead End Road
d.. Devil on My Shoulder
e.. One Holy Thing
Textures Of Twilight
~reviewed by Matthew
After a few successive listens, there is no doubt that The Night Eternal is an interesting addition to the scope of dark ethereal music. With a style that calls to mind early Autumn Tears and Dead Can Dance’s late eighties classical releases, The Night Eternal have all the ingredients to evolve into a project of some sincere reckoning.
All three of the vocalists that make up this trio possess strong and dignified voices. They all harmonize together perfectly to create a rich and somber blend of sound, fraught with the kind of haunting beauty they without a doubt were hoping to capture and present with this release. The keyboard compositions by Sean Rose are very well orchestrated, with classical, baroque, and cinematic influences. The band have a very good grasp on artistic presentation, as they adorn their CD sleeves with subtle and tasteful black and white photography, and knew when to stop. They don’t go overboard with clichéd imagery and thankfully, they didn’t exploit anymore cemeteries (~winks~ ).
The Night Eternal did not fall into the stereotypical trappings that other so-called Goth/Ethereal outfits constantly do. I sense a genuine art that is yearning to break through, as all the elements of greatness are indeed here, but there are a few simple things that could be done to strengthen the appeal of the band.
Of Twilight is a rather minimalist and quiet record. It needs
more intensity and density, which could be achieved by more overdubbing
and could definitely be achieved with the addition of more members.
Perhaps a greater use of percussion or the occasional violinist or musician
to contribute a live instrument to expand the classical themes further.
I think even some subtle acoustic guitar would definitely help flesh out
the sound without disturbing or distracting from its macabre intimacy.
These musicians do have a flair for striking melodies which can be heard in the catchy “Upon A Saint,” which stands as my favourite track on the album. Another point is earned for the band with “Fall Of Hiroshima,” as they take the lyrical content beyond personal introspection and gloomy supernatural themes.
The Night Eternal is a trio that needs to embrace a few more desolate and talented souls into their realm and release another CD charged with a bit more emotion and orchestral complexity. There is talent here for something larger, on a more grandiose scale and hopefully, they will have something for us to unravel and devour in the future. Bands like this need to stick around, for the future of Goth is looking a bit too electronic for the more antiquated of tastes out there.
5.) Fall Of Hiroshima
6.) From Clay And Ash
7.) Upon A Saint
8.) Lament Lost
9.) The Violent Hour
10.) A Drop In The Well
12.) The Never One
Night Eternal is:
Laura Lewis: vocals
Sean Rose: compositions, keyboards, vocals
David Rose: vocals
Impatient To Get Ahead In Life
~reviewed by Matthew
First and foremost I really regret that this band doesn’t have a website. Its rather hard to promote them through an online zine, but my only hope is that maybe some of you will actually consider snail mailing them or if anything, the name will sink into your subconscious so that perhaps one day you will come across them again and you will be enlightened.
So why should you remember the name The November Loop? Quite frankly, they may be one of the best unsigned bands out right now. Despite my tragic love affair with doom metal, indie-rock has been getting my sloppy seconds. These two genres have absolutely nothing to do with one another, other than the fact that they both offer a surreal kind of gloom when done well, but both have kept me going for the past few months.
I caught these guys when they opened up for Low Sunday in Pittsburgh in early February, and I immediately bought the CD from them after they finished their set. Upon hearing the epic nine-minute track “Sleepless” I was sold. A climactic storm of jangling guitars, cascading drums, and downcast vocal sighs that will suck the breath right out of your lungs and leave you sitting in a dazed stupour until the song’s explosive finale.
The November Loop is best when they are performing their more depressive songs. The album as a whole features a few more upbeat songs that are very nice and score A+’s for indie-rock pop formula. However those songs aren’t as deeply moving as the more somber tracks. The opening two tracks have a sweet pop shimmer to them, but it’s the third track “Fuel For A Baffling Fire” that the November Loop start chiseling away at the heart. And by the murky interlude “Soup Of Venus” and the aforementioned perfection of “Sleepless,” you are lost in another world, soaring on the wings of an icy dream.
There is something about this guitar sound. It is often referred to as ‘watery’ and indeed there is a fluid quality to the strums and arpeggios that characterize the guitar sound of this genre. Images of rain and misty lakes often spring to mind.
With that said, the song “Sleepless” is a score for drowning. The perfect musical accompaniment for sinking into the depths of romantic solitude, or being smothered beneath waves of memory. The subliminally uplifting tone of “One Eye Grace” throws you a life preserver but the rope snaps and you are washed away by the lethargic strums of “Deep Down” and you float away, with no sight of land.
The CD ends on a higher note, but the heart of this CD is a consumptive, ghostly swirl of blacks and greys. I highly recommend that fans of old R.E.M, Slowdive, Garden Of Dreams, and Sonic Youth check these guys out. There is a little bit for both fans of bliss pop and stark introspective shoegaze music and I for one am wonderfully proud to have discovered them. November Loop are without a doubt bursting at the seams with potential, as their music is marketable to both underground and mainstream alternative crowds. I do not claim to be an expert on this genre of music in the least, but a whole new world and form of dark music is being opened up to me and I consider this release to be one of the best of all that I have heard.
1.) Dobbins Road
2.) Lily Pad
3.) Fuel For The Baffling Fire
4.) Soup For Venus
6.) One Eyed Grace
7.) Deep Down
8.) Homemaker Yellow
9.) Star Room
10.) Nightcap Sea
November Loop is:
Ed Villabona: guitar, vocals
Jill Harrison: bass, guitar on tracks 2, 6, 10
Chip Taylor: guitar, bass on tracks 2, 6, 10
Alan Brooks: drums
Sounds and space travel: Randy Krispinsky
Scott Hevener: guitar on tracks 1 and 5.
164 Ewing Road, 2nd Fl.
Youngstown, OH 44512
~reviewed by Matthew
Since this powerhouse quartet first emerged with their debut Orchid, Opeth have been a force to reckon with in the metal scene. Admired, respected, and constantly at the center of praise for their progressive technical abilities and knack for epic memorable music, Opeth are truly pioneers as well as legends of our own time. Able to deliver remarkable music without relying on anything more than their genius classical and metal guitar work, this band never ceases to amaze fans and critics alike. This critic is by no means exempt from Opeth’s avant garde spell.
Admittedly, I have always preferred the bands first two releases Orchid and Morning Rise when compared to their third release My Arms Your Hearse and last years Still Life. The reason being, I felt that the emotion present on the first two CDs was pushed aside to make room for more artistic experimentation and progressive elements. Though still outstanding releases, I was a minority in that I was not as impressed with them, but Opeth continued to generate a worldwide fan base and continued to arise to stardom.
But with the band’s fifth opus Blackwater Park, I was pleasantly surprised to fine that Opeth have tapped into their finest streams of creativity. The pensive moods of the early releases, the progressive riffing, complex arrangements, and superior musicianship is gracefully wed in what is without a doubt the band’s most engrossing masterpiece. The twin guitar riffing, absorbing melodies, polyrhythms, and galloping grooves are at their pinnacle, and the acoustic/folk guitar breaks are sweeping and as grandiose as ever. The clean vocal breaks are gorgeous, smooth, and simply breathtaking, while Mikael’s sandpaper rasp and jaw-clenching roars are twice as powerful as before.
It seems the band was in a pensive winter slump, as the CD kicks off with Mikael’s proclamation and establishes a wonderfully appropriate tone for the entire release:
“We enter winter once againI am of the opinion that this is Opeth’s most artistic release, with phenomenal artwork and packaging (there is actually a clear picture of the band included in the booklet!), accented by misty grays and rich black and white photography. The lyrics as well are quite poetic, with a vein of Gothic gloom and epic melancholy pervading the entire release. Yet though the pianos sneak in, the acoustics strum on, the fluid psychedelic jazz breaks continue to add their unique elements, and the moody clean vocals all
Naked, freezing from my breath
‘Neath the lid all limbs tucked away
This coffin is your abode from now and onwards”
Blackwater Park is an extremely solid and focused album, a veritable cornucopia of all the elements that have elevated Opeth high among metal’s elite. The album is perfectly polished and in tune with what fans have come to expect from the band, yet speeding even further beyond expectation to deliver a monumental classic release. Definitely an album not to miss this year, and yet another testimony to the potential, power, and capability of metal music animated with intellect, exceptional talent, and triumphant integrity.
And it doesn’t end here, as at last, American fans will have one less chip of envy weighing their shoulders toward their European metal head counterparts, as Opeth will indeed be hitting the States this spring! With a package that includes Amorphis and Shadows Fall, this is a special treat NOT to miss and you can be assured that we at Starvox will have reviews of the tour’s stops in Detroit and Cleveland in upcoming issues! Stay tuned…
1.) The Leper Affinity
4.) The Drapery Falls
5.) Dirge For November
6.) The Funeral Portrait
7.) Patterns In The Ivy
8.) Blackwater Park
Mikael Akerfeldt – vocals, guitars
Peter Lindgren – guitars
Martin Lopez – drums
Martin Mendez – bass guitar
Steven Wilson - voice, guitar, piano
Markus Lindberg – 3 eggs (from the band Madrigal)
~Reviewed by Michael Johnson
Opeth have done something few bands have been able to do. They have set the bar so high for technical musicianship and song structure that few bands could hope to reach it. In Blackwater Park, they have held true to their style and again met the standards fans have come to meet from them.
Blackwater Park houses no surprises and, as always, is better when the whole thing is ingested in one serving. It’s always been hard for me to start playing an Opeth album and not listen to the entire album. The guitar work is immaculate and floats atop a gray cloud of acoustic texture. Mikael’s deep growls have remained the same but his singing voice has become more powerful and is as soothing as it ever was. The opening riff on “Bleak” has been locked into my brain since I first heard it and it has become my favorite song on the album. “Harvest” is a wonderful acoustic piece done in clean vocals and “Dirge For November” disguises itself in the same clothing before becoming another agonizing opus. “Patterns in the Ivy” is a short instrumental composed of a piano and acoustic guitar that exits into the title track and the only one of its kind on the album.
I personally liked Still Life better, Blackwater Park is
unmistakably an album that will yank you through an emotional tug of war
from the first note to the last chord. Opeth continues to progress
while maintaining the same standards they set
with their debut. This album is definitely recommended, as is their entire catalog, and rest assured no matter which one you buy, it will be a very satisfying purchase.
1.The Leper Affinity
4.The Drapery Falls
5.Dirge For November
6.The Funeral Portrait
7.Patterns In The Ivy
Mikael Akerfeldt – Vocals & Guitars
Peter Lindgren – Guitars
Martin Lopez – Drums
Martin Mendez – Bass
Black Market Music
~reviewed by Digital Angel
Oh, how Placebo has captured me. I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll start first by saying that some time ago, I wasn’t very fond of Placebo at all. Just shows how over time, your tastes do change. Even if you do have your feet planted firmly in the synth-pop sand. Placebo isn’t synth-pop at all. Just guitar, bass, and drums, but they evoke and ooze more emotion than I have seen in a band in a very long time. They’ve been labeled everything from punk to pop to glam to goth. Major influences being Sonic Youth and PJ Harvey.
Black Market Music is a shining star amongst all the fizzled out, mediocrity that is forced upon us today. Although, not due out in the U.S until fall of this year, it is available as an import. This is the third release for the British trio. Their last release, Without You I’m Nothing came about in November of ’98 and spawned the single “Pure Morning” which received significant radio play.
The first track off this CD to really move me was “Blue American”. With acoustic guitars and pianos, it’s like a blow to the heart. It leaves you feeling heartsick and hopeless. All the lyrics on Black Market Music are truly genius, but the one’s for “Blue American” are some of my favorites. “Special K” is catchy, has a great hook, and is one of the more upbeat tracks, but still holds firm to that downhearted undertone that you don’t really pick up on until your third or fourth listen. “Peeping Tom”, “Narcoleptic” and “Spite and Malice” deserve a nod as well.
“Passive Aggressive” is one that gets to me every time. With lyrics like, “every time I rise, I see you falling. Can you find me space inside your bleeding heart?” You can feel the intensity of emotion in singer/guitarist Brain Molkos voice. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
“Haemoglobin” is the most aggressive and raw I have ever heard Placebo. The drums are precise and clean, progressing at a faster speed than the remainder of the instruments and vocals. The song gives the illusion that it’s slow, but really leaves you debating. There are some fantastic musical parallels going on here. The lyrics are strong and unapologetic. “As they drag me to my feet, I was filled with incoherence, theories of conspiracy, the whole world wants my disappearance, I’ll go fighting nail and teeth, you’ve never seen such perseverance, gonna make you scared of me, cuz haemoglobin is the key.” That is the most eloquent and well constructed “screw you” I have ever heard.
Black Market Music has not left my hands for weeks. It’s one of those disks that you just have to listen to or everything feels out of whack. A strong recommendation to fans of Radiohead and The Cure.
1. Taste In Men
2. Days Before You Came
3. Special K
4. Spite & Malice
5. Passive Aggressive
6. Black Eyed
7. Blue American
8. Slave to the Wage
9. Commercial for Levi
12. Peeping Tom
Other way cool placebo sites:
TREE STATE MIND CONTROL
~reviewed by Psionic
"Pine Tree State Mind Control is a Maine-based organization that promotes social homogeneity as a method for improving world happiness, productivity, and comfort. Subliminal messages and hypnosis techniques are the most efficient tools in this campaign."Dirty liars. I have not felt any happier since first listening to PTSMC, nor is there any way subliminal happiness could find their way into this ungodly mass of noises. Tribal percussions, metallic drones, creepy bell sections... This is all sinister gibberings of a madman, not the focused pablum of a happy society. It is damn tasty, however. "Transmission #2" is everything David Thrussel wishes he could be, but is not. Wryly intelligent, politically aware, served up with an uneasy side-order of discordance on the side. For those of you out there that like to actually think about your music, and for those of you who love the corruption of musical standards, Pine Tree State Mind Control is so very much for you. Noisy, but ever so catchy, PTSMC is a breath of fresh air for the experimentalist side of music. I highly r