Adfinem have dubbed themselves "the UK's latest synth pop sensation" and compare themselves to Depeche Mode, Wolfsheim, Mesh, and Apoptygma Berzerk. Their disc "Live and Learn" is indeed competent, and the boys from Adfinem have a fighting chance in running with the big names in UK synth pop.
After reading such comparisons, I was rather excited to hear what all the fuss was about. I gave "Live and Learn" several listens and the first track "H:LL" is the best on the disk. More than ideal for club play, it has soft, muffled vocals and bright pianos behind a driving beat. Sad lyrics offer a great contrast to the light, poppy melody.
"Charade" has samples that simulate Wolfsheim, but without the vocal effects from the previous track I get to hear his true voice and wish it were more full. As the CD goes on, I regret to say I grow more and more disappointed. They put their best track in the very beginning of the disc, and don't leave much else for the remainder of the 9 songs (one being a remix). The remaining songs on "Live and Learn" are moderate in tempo and seem to be lacking in texture, and don't have much of a grip. Nothing is really memorable, except for that fantastic first track, nothing seems to stick in your head. I cant sing any song but the first after several listens. Adfinem could benefit from what works for them...those driving beats and watery vocals from "H:LL"
I think in comparing themselves to such big synth pop bands, they build themselves up more than they should. And because of these comparisons, and the promising "If you like DM, Wolfsheim, etc, you'll LOVE Adfinem" line, I expected more.
What Can I Do (To Make You Mine)
I Beg Forgiveness (remix)
Nothing To Lose
Crying In Silence
I Beg Forgiveness (Original)
Adfinem is: PD, Lee Adams, and Paul Fisher
Cobalt Blue Communications
BCM Carfax London WCIN 3xx
In Dark Solace
~reviewed by Matthew
There isn’t much of an alternative in the ‘Goth’ scene anymore. You pretty much have every band following an electro path, moving further and further away from a ‘rock’ based structure. That is certainly not the case here with Seattle’s The Arid Sea, who describe their sound as “memories of being trapped underwater.” This is about as genuine a Goth Rock band as they come. There aren’t any dance floor fillers. Instead, there are ten well though out, well arranged, and thought provoking songs. Moody and dreary in their atmospheres, sometimes a slow Cure-esque feel animates the songs, such as “From The Hiding” while a dark almost apocalyptic folk style carries “Through Lion’s Eyes.” The combination of acoustics and flute had me thinking of Sol Invictus.
“Dawn & Sorrow” and “At The Foot Of A Grave” stand as my two favourite tracks. The guitar reminds me slightly of And Also The Trees, who stand out in my mind as the ultimate and most important underrated Gothic rock band…ever. “Fade Away” is another really cool track, which pairs the buoyant acoustics with a subtle guitar crunch, atop a slight waltzy rhythm. Every track features smooth and deep male vocals, with just enough reverb and delay to produce a ghostly effect. His voice reminds me somewhat of Christopher Grey of Gossamer, if that can give you any idea what to expect. He is a great and confident singer, with an exceptional amount of feeling in his voice.
The closing track is a thoroughly disturbing ambient track. Indeed, a very eerie and strange song, with distant moans, backward tape loops, tribal drumming, Lovecraftian flutes and all sorts of odd effects. I was never one for ambient music because it makes me restless and bored. But this seemed to have one of the more important elements missing from nearly every ambient band I have ever heard…emotion. I got chills from this one and actually just sat and stared blankly, letting the song sink in for its eight-minute duration. I couldn’t have done otherwise if I wanted to I don’t think.
But besides the grand and severely enthralling exit, The Arid Sea have nine works of traditional gloomy Gothic ambience that reminded me of the early to mid nineties, back when it seemed that every major city had at least two or three good local Goth rock bands, and these bands all had timeless demo tapes. This has that same special and intimate quality. A warm production and overall depressive beauty that just doesn’t seem to be a priority any more in most bands that claim to belong in this genre. This is a gorgeous collection of reflective and brooding songs. Check them out at Mp3.co, as the entire album of “In Dark Solace” is available for streaming and download. Then take it from there…
1.) From The Hiding
2.) Through Lion’s Eyes
3.) Dawn And Sorrow
4.) The Onset Of Night
5.) Fade Away
6.) The Weight Of Fear
7.) At The Foot Of A Grave
10.) Gabo Rune
Arid Sea is:
Isaac Aubrey – vocals, acoustic guitars, flute, drum programming
Demian Johnston – electric guitar
Chris Johansen – keys
Scott Storm – bass, keys
Tion – bass, tambourine
The Inheritance Of Sin And Shame
~reviewed by Matthew
It’s not everyday that you hear of a dark music band from Croatia! But indeed, that is where this Gothic Doom metal sextet calls home. After releasing their critically acclaimed first release “The Passage Back To Life” and the hard to find EP “Desperate Existence,” not long after ward, Ashes You Leave returned late last year with a mature and more sophisticated sophomore offering. Though “The Inheritance Of Sin And Shame” is not nearly as heavy, dark, or unnerving as their debut album (one of my all time favourite releases, by the way), this new release is more focused, definitely a lot faster and upbeat, with a crisper production and sound which is both more accessible as well as more of their own. At times on their previous release, they sounded a bit too similar to early My Dying Bride (which is by no means a bad thing!) While this album bears a greater resemblance to 3rd & The Mortal, this is definitely a more developed album in terms of its musicianship and technique.
The ‘sound’ of Ashes You Leave is perhaps one of the best in the scene. I deeply admire them for their production quality on this album. The guitars are warm and atmospheric, but crunchy as all hell when they need to be. The drums are punchy and precise, often coming across with a rhythmic tribal flair. The band utilizes both violins and flute to flesh out the atmosphere. However, both instruments appear sporadically, and not nearly as often as they did on the previous releases. The instruments all weave together to create a thick web of stark and sensuous gloom. Vocal duties belong still to Dunja Radetic, whose incredible alto soars atop the music with a fluid grace. Her voice is twice as effective and strong as before, and her range seems to have broadened as well. She goes from passionate exultations, to near operatic peaks, and to ethnic Lisa Gerard inspired ambience, and her eastern accent adds an exotic effect for our Western ears best exemplified in the track “And Thus You Poured While Heaven Wept.”
Her doleful delicacy is interrupted only occasionally by daemonic guttural death metal vocals, which are used brilliantly and only to accentuate the harsher and more aggressive moments in the band. A lot of bands do this, but for some reason, it still sounds special and unique when Ashes You Leave does it. Perhaps it is because their music is so intense and powerful all the time that their heavy moments are heavier and their ambient parts more atmospheric. Whatever the case, when the death growls appear, it is climactic and they elicit the most exquisite chills down my spine. Those of you who are not partial to death metal vocals, fear not because it really doesn’t distract too much from the beauty of the music.
In many ways, I have to say these guys are a perfect ten on nearly every level.
The opening track, “Tin Horns,” is a great song to kick off the CD. It remains my favourite track on the album, with some sincerely divine arrangements between the guitars, drums, and violin. It’s utter genius, actually. “Shepherd’s Song” is a brief instrumental interlude, with a dual flute attack while “Miles Of Worn Out Days” contains some of the best vocal melodies on the album and superb hypnotic watery guitar. It is on this track where the band sounds the most like 3rd & The Mortal, but a 3rd & The Mortal not distracted with the need to experiment. This is pure Gothic doom from start to finish.
I am very excited to see where Ashes You Leave goes next. Their next album promises to be even better than this one, as they grow more comfortable with their abilities and develop their sound. They are without a doubt one of the best in the genre and I cannot recommend too many other bands with the same sincerity and talent as this.
1.) Tin Horns
2.) Your Divinity
3.) Shepherd’s Song
4.) Miles Of Worn Out Days
5.) When Withered Flowers Begin To Bloom
6.) And Thus You Poured Like Heaven Wept
7.) The Inheritance Of Sin And Shame
8.) Amber Star
You Leave is:
Dunja Radetic - vocals, flute
Berislav Poje - solo, rhythm, acoustic guitars, vocals
Neven Mendrila – rhythm and acoustic guitars
Kristijan Milic – bass guitar
Marta Batinic – violins
Gordan Cencic – drums
You Leave - Official Page:
You Leave – Mp3 Site:
The Secret Kingdom
~reviewed by Matthew
Hearken now unto thee symphonic metal soundscapes of Avrigus!! Hailing from Australia, this withmmajestic and polished release is the band’s second full-length recording and first for Hammerheart Records. A veritable and deeply melancholic medieval kingdom is brought to life, with its aspects of battle and chivalry expressed through masculine metallic charges, softened by an atmosphere of lush romantic beauty. Pianos and grandiose synths seduce and slither between epic guitar melodies, while the lulling voice of a dejected goddess soothes the rage of a lost and desolate knight.
At times almost cinematic in its grandiosity, yet subdued enough not to betray the album’s haunting and calming charm. Avrigus are loyal to atmosphere, painstakingly crafting the music to flow uninterrupted from start to finish. Warm guitars, laid back drumming, and sweeping orchestral elements fuse together behind pleasant and charming female vocals reminiscent of Lorenna McKennit and Erica from Autumn Tears. The male vocals weave in and out as well, clean and mostly spoken recitations, no death growls to unsettle vocal purists. “The Secret Kingdom” is a smooth and fluid listen, extremely otherworldly and atmospheric. I hate comparing bands, but if any of you are familiar with Somnus, there are many similarities with the more somber passages from that particular Cleveland outfit.
Avrigus is the product of two individual’s passion, and not only does their music possess a refined eloquence, but the lyric booklet’s artwork and the website design by Simon is a luxurious feast for the eyes. There is definitely a romantic chemistry existing between these two musicians, and it really elevates the music to an even higher aesthetic plain unto itself. From the acoustic folk reflections of “Veritas” to the climactic “Til Death Do Us Unite” and lastly, to the brilliant and rapturous finale of “The Grail,” this is a wonderful release that will appeal to Goths, fans of melodic metal, and even medieval film and literature buffs who will without a doubt appreciate the concepts behind Avrigus, and their glorious ‘secret kingdom.’ Hopefully, it won’t be a secret too much longer and fans the world over will be privy to this exceptional and talented project.
Check out their Mp3 Site at the link below to hear two glorious tracks from their debut release, “The Final Wish.”
2.) Solitude & Salvation
3.) Dark Angels’ Ascension
8.) ‘Til Death Do Us Unite
9.) Shade Of My Heart
10.) The Grail
Judi Chiara – keyboards/piano, acoustic guitar, vocals
Simon Gruer – Keyboards, guitars/bass, drums, vocals
– Official Site:
- Mp3 Site:
Blessed By The Night: Dark Metal Compilation
~reviewed by Matthew
With one glance at the track list for this two CD compilation, it is easy to recognize that this is both an ambitious and quality collection of dark metal music. Similar in scope to the successful “Beauty In Darkness” series issued by Nuclear Blast over the years, the aim of “Blessed By The Night” is to recreate a collection of dark metal that is not at all unlike the home made cassette compilations fans and DJs have made for friends and people curious to check out this particular style of music.
Being a Goth metal aficionado, I was pretty familiar with and/or own the majority of the songs on this release. With that said, I can tell you that this is indeed a really well thought out and put together compilation that gathers the leaders within the genre, as well as tossing in a few unheard of bands yet to make their big splash. The songs that were chosen are definitely strong tracks that represent the bands well. And like any good compilation, there are a few ‘rarities’ within the track lists. Mainly, a remixed version of Moonspell’s “Erotic Alchemy.” The song originally appeared on the band’s “Wolfheart” release in 1995. This version, however, sounds like it was re-recorded during the “Sin/Pecado” sessions in ’97 and is significantly different than the original. This song, as far as I am aware is not available elsewhere. A haunting piano driven club remix of Lacrimosa’s classic hit “Copy Cat” appears as well, tweaked and manipulated by none other than Samael. This track is probably my favourite on the whole disc.
Other highlights include Therion’s intense rendition of “O Fortuna,” the middle eastern crunch of fan favourite “Greed” from Amorphis, Tiamat’s irresistibly catchy “Brighter Than The Sun” and while Love Like Blood are still trying to decide if they are a Gothic rock band or a metal band, I am digging their identity crisis immensely. A nice set of lesser known bands draw the second disc to a close, as both offerings from ThirdMoon and Cultus Sanguine are excellent eye openers and had me wanting to find out more about them. The closing track by The Bleeding Light is one of the more bizarre yet unique tracks on the entire disc, being basically a creepy darkwave ‘jam’ strung together from various samples of Danzig, Samhain, and the Misfits! It a very dark song and well arranged, it could have been ridiculous, but it was a perfect atmospheric finale.
The variety of the CD is impressive, ranging from the black metal misanthropy of Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir, and Satyricon, female fronted acts like Aesma Daeva, Lacuna Coil, and The Gathering, as well as several tracks from the best of Napalm Record’s quality roster like Tristania, Sins Of Thy Beloved, Siebenburgen, etc. Not only that, but nearly every song has its merits, where as most comps have a lot of songs that would have been better left off. This entire collection possesses a fluidity that is hard to find on your average compilation.
My only complaint about the CDs is that though it does give a solid overview of the way the Gothic Metal genre is going as of late, Goth Metal seems to be moving toward a more ‘energetic’ and upbeat direction, which is more akin to darker atmospheric power metal than Goth or Doom in the resultant moods. The overall feeling associated with this compilation is definitely not one of romance or gloom, which is what drew me originally to the genre via bands like My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Anathema, Celestial Season, and Theatre Of Tragedy, all of which are omitted from this compilation. But instead, this is the perfect CD for driving fast down the interstate at night or to slip on at a party and just let it play. And indeed, that would be one well-scored party. So the CD is not gloomy, but oh well. In that case, it will probably appeal to a more diverse crowd and be a success in various dark music genres, which by all rights it should be. If you are still unfamiliar with quality Goth metal, or you think that such a thing doesn’t exist, this CD is essential in enlightening you to the true potential of a thriving music genre.
1.) Aesma Daeva – O Death (Rock Me Asleep)
2.) Tiamat – Brighter Than The Sun
3.) Tristania – Beyond The Veil
4.) Crematory – Welcome To…
5.) Lacuna Coil – Half life
6.) Therion – O Fortuna
7.) Mayhem – View From Nihil
8.) Vintersorg – Svaltvinter
9.) Amorphis – Greed
10.) Samsas Traum – Fur Immer
11.) Hollenthon – Enrapture (Hinc Illae Lacrimae)
12.) Dimmu Borgir – Moonchild Domain
13.) The Sins Of Thy Beloved – Partial Insanity
14.) The Gathering – Shot To Pieces
1.) Moonspell – Erotik Alchemy (Pre-Version Mix)
2.) Hypocrisy – Disconnected Magnetic Corridors
3.) Otyg – Backahasten
4.) Lacrimosa – Copycat (Samael Mix)
5.) Trail Of Tears – Image Of Hope
6.) Malignant Eternal – Deathcon 6
7.) Love Like Blood – The Silver Shot
8.) Umbra Et Imago – Mea Culpa
9.) Satyricon – A Moment Of Clarity
10.) ThirdMoon – Fallen Skin Dimensions
11.) Cultus Sanguine – The Future Unveiled
12.) Siebenburgen – As Of Sin
13.) Near Dark – Samhain
14.) The Bleeding Light – Halloween III
Bedtimes Stories for Forgotten Gods
~reviewed by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz 23.3
I am long over due to give light to this fabulous band, out of Denver, CO; also part of the Phoenix, AZ. matrix of underground artist as well. Christus Christus has a sound very unique, and very well practiced, the recording is very accurate, yet not over produced, or reliant on much studio trickery. This is one of the best examples of an act that can only get a wider audience with better distribution. 'Orange Door', is very spooky opener, and hints of the bands love and appreciation of acts like Legendary Pink Dots and Nurse With Wound. 'We Can Build You', and 'Another Girl, Another Machine' both are exceptional renditions of the works first brought to us by Author Philip K. Dick, and later via Hollywood with movies like Bladerunner and Brazil. The guitars when present , don't hinder the electrical loops and keyboard wizardry. The vocals, are not your usual male angst type delivery, but more truly expressionistic. Sounding more sincere, and more depraved at times. A true pull of energy from the center of ones soul, and then thrust through the vocal cords for lack of a better place to push it!
The first 1000 of these were made in a special signed and numbered folder. It resembles the folders that staalplatt of Europe, used to use. Very special, and I have number 068/1000 for those who are curious. IT came with a cool sticker, but I have np heart to stick it to anything. The insert claimed that this was due to the bands love of record collecting. Now that is cool for self-distribution. I want to know who got 1000/1000!
We Can Build You
Said the Tickertockman
Another Girl, Another Machine
The Prayer Machine
no web presents per se, you can contact the band via the fallowing addresses.
P.O. Box 2209
Scottsdale AZ. 85252
~reviewed by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz 23.3
Out of Chicago comes an act that is in the process of refining their style. This is Industrial/EBM that could put chi' town back on the industrial map. I met Micah at the Covenant / And One show. He gave me the CD with exacting instructions for how to make it sound better (there is some over gain on the bass, either in studio or from the home CD burner.) This stuff is so good, that it will be one of my first Re-EQ projects with my new home studio set-up! WHY? Because this "Limited Run 6 Song Promo Release" is not due out till later this year, or early next year. I want to spin it now. So e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org , and tell him to get this baby released ASAP, or else let ~DjÂ»KaoSÂ«~ Re-EQ it and distribute a couple tracks via the KaoscomP project! Its CRITICAL!!!
2. Let it Die
3. Breaking Skies
4. Cold Inertia
5. Sister Electricity
6. Close Your Eyes
Sorry I am not being more descriptive with these dance orientated tracks that could push Covenant, and And/One outta the way for a bit. Yet this is hot off the press, when I get more news (especially about an Mp3 site, or commercially available release), You will be the first to know.
*Note; While this is not a 'shameless plug' , any similarities between ~Dj»KaoSÂ«~ and Rev. Strangerz, is completely accurate!
~reviewed by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz 23.3
My first impression of this industrial rock piece was that this is definitely a demo. The quality of packaging, and sound indicated that to me. Yet upon reading the liner notes, and visiting the URL , it seems that the studio called the Fleshing Room was an integral part of this recordings production. I want to be very fair to this "release", yet I have to be true to our readers as well. This CD comes from 1999. The site has some updates, but still seems a bit dated. I wanted to give this act another chance, and hear some newer material, luckily It has taken me awhile to finish this review, and they are In process of a new album, with evidence of this at http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/64/collusion_inc.html .
far as the CD goes, the production falls flat. At my home office,
my subwoofers only make the piece feel muddy, so I took the CD on a trip.
Yes, even in headphones did I only notice but a few extra details.
I am a headphone freak, but the aural presentation did not move through
me, and I still could not make out all the words. This is rock n
roll to say the least. Some synth but mostly Guitar, Bass, Vocals,
and Drums. All tracks are available at Mp3.com, and I have
not had time to see If It was just MY CD that was tainted. I say
go there yourself and check them out.
Track 3 came across a bit stronger, more ethereal, yet it is hard to get into with the muddy quality. Track 4 and 5 would have shown some more progression into different styles of music, but it is so hard to get past the limitations, most listeners might not have given it this much of shot. track 6 is the most NIN like track. Maybe more like the Nails spin off group "Prick" which in my book is a compliment. I am certain that live these guys have some electricity. I want proof though, as I am sure our readers would want too. I could make out the words "I'm shedding skin" on track 7, and track 8 is more of a Trip-Hop feel. O.K. I want to like this, but there are too many barriers. 1999 was a long time ago, and I am relieved to know that there Is more In process. I know It can be rough gettingg projects done, It took me three months to do this review, It seems as It Is all worth the wait though ;-)
1>New Face *
5>Empty Spaces *
6>Friends Like You *
7>Shedding Skin *
* these tracks are available at Mp3.com , please go be your own judge of this bands potential! 'Underdog' Is the new single, and It alone Is worth the trip there, I am sure they would love you to download It.
Andrew J. Howard & Phil Taylor,
with additional drum programming from Paul Joyce.
They hail from England.
Interlacement In Syntony(EP)
~reviewed by Matthew
Utterly MISERABLE doom metal…miserable, of course, being perhaps the highest compliment a doom band could receive. This melancholic trinity of despair hails from Italy, as did the cult act Monumentum, and as you of course know, centuries ago, Italy was the birth of an artistic Renaissance that changed the world forever. There indeed must be something in the air or water over there that simply just doesn’t spring up over here in the U.S.
These three tracks are painfully Romantic and absolutely gorgeous. The thickly accented and clean vocals of Stefano Faccini are riddled with tears and anguish, to the point it would not surprise me if he was consumed in a fit of weeping when he laid down these tracks. He occasionally goes out of key, but when he does, its like an extra knife in the heart. That is what a lot of ‘Gothic’ bands don’t get. It’s one thing to be ‘pretty,’ but there is beauty in monstrosity as well, and that, at least in my distorted and elitist mind, is what the Gothic was all about. That monstrosity is supported by Stefano’s chilling and guttural death growl, which appears frequently to thicken the layers of the music, a technique similar to the early work by Darren White for Anathema. The layers of vocals are one thing, but the guitars offer another angle of gloomy desperation altogether.
Layers of dense distorted chords echo behind clean melodic leads, and reverberated riffing. The drums are slow and plodding, a veritable funeral march is recreated with every track, breaking only for a climactic upbeat finale to the closing track, “Heavy & Abstract Figure.” Pianos weave their way into a few ambient passages, with nice watery arpeggios echoing behind them. All three songs have a very similar vibe, which yields to a remarkable fluidity between the tracks. The only problem is there are only three of them, clocking in at a little less than 20 minutes. That is not fair. We need more.
This is beautiful. I fucking love it. Find it on Mp3.com while you still can and contact these guys. Let thine eyes gush forth the warm tears of loss and immeasureable heartache…
2.) Superposition Of A Superposition
3.) Heavy And Abstract Figure
Felician Di Mauro – All guitars, bass
Giorgio Di Mauro – Drums, keyboards
Stefano Faccini – vocals
– Mp3 Page:
– Official Page:
~reviewed by Dj Mistress Catherinna
Caustic Soul has one of those names that leaves the audience pondering the question: What is a Caustic Soul? Or at least, it gave me something to think about. After scanning the numerous definitions of 'Caustic', I came across one that at the time I felt might best describe this band. The definition is as follows: Caustic: that of causing a burning sensation, as from intense emotion. Soul: a derivative of course, is the spiritual nature of human beings. This definition, indeed describes the essence of what this artist is trying to accomplish in their music.
Caustic Soul is Mike aka 'Shade' instrumenting vocals and guitar, and Judas, on keyboard, percussion, and samples. They reside in Denver, Colorado and have just released their first full length album called 'Torrent'. This album features 7 songs. The track listing is as follows:
2. Unzipping the Skin
7. Sweet Oblivion
Caustic Soul's style is unique in this genre as it tends to be a borderline combination of melodic, slow droning, metal, and goth rock. Their music is that of a dark, and dreary, sample exemplified nature. Many of the songs start out slow, setting a mood, and eventually pick up about half way through the song, or near the end. At some points, I found myself getting confused while listening to this artist, trying to figure out what direction they were trying to achieve with the change. Each song has their unique set of samples that help formulate and set the mood of that particular song. They are interesting enough, that they enhance the various entros and underlying sequences of songs to boot. The male vocals are deep, and are the key element in keeping the mood in each track. Unfortunately at times, they were extremely hard to hear. More focus and enhancement of the vocals might benefit the dark and sinister atmosphere this music presents.
This particular style of goth/metal isn't typically something I listen to or play while djing as it is on the melancholy side of music mixed with melodic metal undertones. I am however inspired to see them live, as all of the information I have read regarding this band, states that their live shows are their highlight. If I'm ever in Denver when they are playing, I will make it a point to catch a show if it is condusive to my schedule. Their live shows have been described, and I quote, as "keeping the crowd moving on an emotional rollercoaster", "laughing one minute, crying the next, the power of presentation is unforgettable".
You can check out some of their tracks on MP3. com http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/79/caustic_soul.html
Her Liquid Arms
~reviewed by Digital Angel
Imagine being dragged underwater. Looking up toward the surface, rays of light beaming through the waves and swells. Silencing and intense. This is Diorama. This is "Her Liquid Arms".
"Her" being the great intimidating ocean. Full of depth, drama, and intrigue, metaphors and visions, "Her Liquid Arms" is truely echanting. With full, meaty synths and complex orchestral arrangements, frontman Torben Wendt demonstrates his strong sense of progression that carries you to the ocean floor.
Lyrics are fragmented and listy, but empowering. Revealing very little about the man behind Diorama.
Track one, "HLA" excited me to no end, but I kept my mouth shut as to not jinx the rest of the CD. I sat and listened to "Her Liquid Arms" in it's entirety 4 times since it arrived in my mailbox 3 days ago. It's really that good. By the time the chorus comes around the second time, you'll be singing. With lyrics like, "Behind her walls I shatter mine, Towards her charming lies I crawl, Her heart got sore as she found mine, Into her liquid arms I crawl." They shine a calming light on my crippling fear of the oceans power, and encourages a surrender.
"E Minor" is subdude and mournful with great percussion and another example of how Wendt uses music as a form of transportation and wraps his heartache around you.
"Advance" is more than suitable for club play. It is the dancier track on the disc and one of many tracks with an infectious chorus. You simply cant get this stuff out of your head.
Other favorites being "Times Galore" which reads "Time- Isnt everybody equal? Time- Doesnt every angel Fall?", "Hydro Drugs", "Photo"and "Wingless".
"Her Liquid Arms" reached number four on the DAC (German Alternative Charts) and was voted Album of the Month.
You must hear Diorama.
2. E Minor
5. Times Galore
6. Hydro Drugs
8. Das Meer
Kottendorfer Strasse 21
42697 Solingen, Germany
From the Sublime to the Obscene
~reviewed by Steph
I hereby declare myself exempt from anything even remotely resembling journalistic detachment or objectivity in this review. This CD is just too damn good.
D.U.S.T. are a three piece band from the mighty UK who have been together since 1998. They're on the Wasp Factory label, and if that means nothing to you, hie thee to your local sci-fi book store and look up Iain Banks. From the Sublime to the Obscene is their first full length CD, and it is indeed sublime.
D.U.S.T. are not pure goth, but who is really? Goth was always a hybrid of punk aggression and new romantic aesthetics, and D.U.S.T. ride that middle ground with grace, style and a joyous overflow of energy.
"Leah Sublime", with it's whispered, menacing refrain of "I love you, you kill me" burrows into your head where it plays on repeat for days on end. The plangent lament of "Fame" invokes an aching loneliness that almost sucks you in, before the driving energy of "Bleed" pulls you back from the edge. "Jim Bentley" is a hyperactive wall of sound, and "My Fall Disgrace" closes the album in glorious style, with soaring vocals and driving, kinetic guitar rhythms.
A shimmering 80's guitar sound runs through this CD, rendering it thoroughly, joyfully danceable from beginning to end. The singer, Mark, can actually sing, which is a rare thing in this era of croaky-voiced "singers" like the dorks from Korn and Limp Bizkit. Mikey's vocals are consistently strong and clear, almost as though a vocalist from an indie band had defected to the Dark Side.
There is not bad track on this album. Not a one. I kept it in my CD player for a week when I first got it. It's albums like this that keep me from getting bored after 10 years of reviewing music.
To D.U.S.T. we shall return.
From the Sublime to the Obscene
This I saw
My Fall Disgrace
~reviewed by Adrian
after waiting for a year and a half and seeing these guys and girls play
live several times, I get my paws on a cd of theirs. Talk about a rare
and wonderful gem that has been on my ‘want list’ for a while now!! What
can I say..I am a sucker for this band and their glamour. Throw together
the sensibility and mood of Joy Division with the sultry purrs and
sensual whispers of Lush with the ‘shoegazer’ sound (ala Bowery Electric)
that has been recreated and renamed in a format all their own. The first
time I had the pleasure of seeing this group was a few years ago at a benefit
concert they did for a friend of mine who passed away and I was blown away
right at the first song. Texas has always amazed me with the music and
scenes that come out of the corners and towns and Denton holds many
such treasures that so far are sadly not getting the recognition that they
Hailing out of Denton, TX, Destination Venus is made up of 4 talented members; drummer Mr. Bigelow, guitarist/vocalist Anomie, bassist Brandi, and founder/vocal/guitar Otto. Hitting the club circuit of the Dallas metro and surrounding area, DV has over the past few years grown as a group, polishing their sound and style, with cutting lyrics and dark, brooding rhythms and cord progressions that recreate they sounds of the late 70’ early 80’ underground alternative of London. The cd opens with “December” and the gentle and soft yet sexy whispers of Anomie, whose energy and focus transfers just as much on cd as she does live. Next, Otto rumbles into the set with “It’s not you”, which sounds very much like the Chameleons UK back in their peak, with maybe a little Cure thrown in for zest! After that, “Dream 29” sort of explodes into a whirl of what makes up their most energetic push on the disk, a sort of sound and style that takes you by surprise and keeps on pushing. Finishing the demo is another track fronted by Anomie again, “Blue Skies”, which is a bit more modern than the first three yet keeps the style solid and together and you can almost hear the emotions and memories pour out of her voice.
Lyrically and musically, Destination Venus has nothing to hold back as far as being a band and their demo is a very powerful, brooding, and emotionally charged dip into the wonders that hide in places you least expect. I fully hope and expect to see them make it big, all they need is just that push in the right direction and a bit of notice. If you like the somber, velvety swoon of Joy Division and the atmosphere and crystal tears of Lush, than I highly suggest getting a hold of this band and having them play at a club near you.
Venus – Destination Venus
2. It’s Not You
3. Dream 29
4. Blue Skies
~reviewed by Jett Black
Music of Exceed 6 Doses unfolds with the langour of despair and longing. Lusty sexuality exumes a non-aggressive set of vocal duets ... Rather than a sense of desperation, the lyrical development controls the mood as much as the sultry vocals.
1. None to See (9:39) Ghostly contextual lines or poetry convey a sense of loss and longing and resolute acceptance of both desire and resignation. And dancy electronic interlude and almost has me believing that perhaps a sense of anxiety may be developing between the characters illustrated via the poetic lyrics... these characters resume, however as before to spell out further an elaborate, daily felt recognition of separation, absence and perhaps remorse for remaining behind in the land of the living.
2. Egypt's Rain (7:38) Juliette's introduction here, amid the clap of thunder, falls beautifully into ancient desert valley chant immediately setting a mood befitting the track-title. Seductively paced sensuality permeates throughout the entirety of this selection.
3. Sex Magic (4:42) This track takes a more aggressive dance approach than the others. And it's over in less than half the time of some others. I wonder if that's part of the magic, part of the sex, or both?
4. Those Things You Never Do (7:40) My favourite track! Perhaps this is what i really wanted from Depeche Mode? Places even DM wouldn't go lyrically. Not so challenging really, just more sexy lyrically. And now I hear it as a duet. I could definitely fuck to this music now! The advent of Juliette into Exceed 6 Doses paints the scene more completely for me now. This track is carried forward from an ealier Exceed 6 Demo, and definitely the one which drew me deeply into a love for E6D from the on-set.
5. Forever Haunted (5:18) Oddly enough, the intro here carries a haunting alarum effect ... well-done. Revisiting the theme of None to See, Forever Haunted takes a more assertive approach. A more daunting presence speaks through the lyrical developments herein.
6. Ego Maniac (6:13) The most Psycho-Sonic-like dance track on this demo, the flippant vocals pursue the arrogance of sex-on-the-fly. A typical night in Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas. Carries enough base and hyper-dance elements to find it's way into the playlists of electro-roiented dj's everywhere, assuming the promotional side of Exceed 6 Doses takes an interest in servicing the dj's on-demand.
Whether you choose E6D for the dark DJ experience, or put it on Repeat-All for background noise during your next hot & steamy sex marathon, Exceed 6 Doses belongs in your new dark-dance electro demos collection.
Check out Exceed 6 Doses on mp3.com http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/204/exceed_6_doses.html
Currently featuring Those Things You Never Do, Egypt's Rain, and None to See, E6d on mp3 displays a charming candid photo featuring Charles in his classic "fuck-me" golden button down club-wear. Someday, I imagine someone will rip it right off of him and he'll just stand there and smile like a cheshire kitty. Juliette always looks so fantastic with that lovely hair of hers, which I seriously covet. So quiet, I never realised she has such a lovely voice. Absolutely perfect for this music.
Jayseon? What can I say. He's a sweet-heart! One of the nicest guys I ever met in Dallas, and so very humbly talented. The fullness of his remixing skills has truly yet to see the light of a dance floor. Only the basic peripheral level of Jayseon's talent comes through within the music of Exceed 6 Doses, so as not to overshadow the mood. Jayseon sets a nice damnbiant bed of electronic filtering... and cosidering the quality of the vocals, I am so pleased to never once discover the synth crunching territory owned by the beauty of the vocals. Charles steps forth with a compelling personality. The impact of these vocals alone tells the story.
Oh, but what I'd give to see these two vocalists together atop any stage!
Exceed 6 Doses has not reached a summit in it's development. Though it has certainly reached a new plateau in progressive developments overall.
The stories woven into the music are clearly evident and conveyed, though I can feel a comfort threshhold within the lyrics that has not yet been attained. Juliette moves seamlessly into and out of the lyrical storylines. Charles seems to be making adjustments and restraining himself slightly. Overall, this demo conveys a dramatic accomplishment beyond the previously fine work of Exceed 6 Doses. And yet, I find room for further comfort and confidence in Charles' pursuit of the storyline and usage of his vocal power.
Altogether, Exceed 6 Doses is beautiful, sexy and compelling... despite a sense of hesitation.
Please don't hold back any longer.
Now, Let's have it all!
EXCEED 6 DOSES
1. None to See (9:39)
2. Egypt's Rain (7:38)
3. Sex Magic (4:42)
4. Those Things You Never Do (7:40)
5. Forever Haunted (5:18)
6. Ego Maniac (6:13)
(Notice the track lengths are all over 4 minutes, and only one of these is under 5 minutes.)
6 Doses is:
JaYSeonC. (Keyboards, Programming, Enigneering, Backing Vocals, Bass Gutiar,lyrics)
Juliette Storace (Lead Vocals, lyrics, production, arrangement)
Charles MacCulloch (Lead Vocals, Production, lyrics, Arrangement,)
~reviewed by Matthew
Martyr Music presents Em Sinfonia, a rather interesting and avant-garde American ‘Gothic metal’ band. By no means can I say the sound is unique, but these musicians are definitely professionals at what they do. The debut track “Testimonial” starts off with a strong opening, with nice cascading tribal drums that build to a high-energy crescendo. The album begins on a high and promising note, almost traditional Gothic rock with an edge in its scope and throughout the duration of the release, there are flashes of greatness as well as brief interludes of mediocrity.
This is a crowded genre. And with all due respect, I have to say that with every new ‘Gothic Metal’ release that I hear, there is less and less organic emotion present in the music. It’s more, prog rock theatre, rather than Romantic Tragedy. A musical journey, an exploration of technique and craft, and ‘prettiness’ accented by pseudo-philosophical or clichéd romanticism that is more bark than bite. Rarely, is there an element of genuine, piercingly effective emotional introspection beneath an atmospheric setting that actually succeeds in transporting the listener elsewhere, inside the creator’s sinister or crestfallen vision. Though Em Sinfonia certainly do not deserve to be berated by my following comment, as they are safely above these standards: but a lot of new bands as of late seem to confuse sappy hair metal ballads with Gothic atmosphere, throwing some token violins, cellos, female vocals or what have you to decorate their music rather than accentuate it. I am not going to site any examples, but from here on out, I plan to. There needs to be a line drawn to how much these bands get away with. A lot of them are just jumping on a bandwagon and flying their black lace flag and thinking that’s going to win fans. Labels promote them as ‘emotional Gothic metal’ etc, etc and we journalists give them the benefit of the doubt and waste our adjectives and come up dry when something TRULY remarkable surfaces.
With that said, Em Sinfonia are skating on thin ice. They need more tracks like “Estranged,” with its swinging drums and slinky rhythms, punctuated by more excellent violin passages. That song was excellent and well arranged, and it sounds as if scores more effort were put into the lyrics and composition of the song when compared to tracks like “Alone,” with it’s watered down sentimentality. There are moments where Em Sinfonia come across as very dark and moody, as in the opening few minutes of “Insatiable,” with it’s eerie chimes, solo bass runs and sluggish drums. But then the mood and the sincerity expressed in a song like this is off set by a track like “Portal To An Emptiness” that sounds more like a track from Lita Ford or Extreme than say, My Dying Bride or Paradise Lost. It is obvious that Em Sinfonia is placing a very different emphasis on their female vocal passages than most bands in the genre, which I applaud them for. Vocalist Bunny comes across much more ‘metal’ than angelic or what have you. And that is great. There are enough operatic female vocals. But they need to watch how much bravado she puts into it. As I said, at times it seems that Em Sinfonia are dancing around some hidden 80’s metal landmines that are about to blow up at any moment.
Now, they have a great production quality. Awesome clarity, with an admirable and dark tone in their low-end guitars, and an air of high-class encompasses the well-placed sprinklings of violin. The male vocals are distinct, stark, and quite monstrous yet smooth and intelligible all the same, which a lot of band can learn from. The female vocals, in their more metallic expressions, are a nice change of pace and are in need of just a bit of restraint and all will be well. The band delivers a noteworthy and masterfully creative interpretation of Iron Maiden’s “Revelations.” Instead of the twin guitar harmonies, we have gorgeous duets between guitar and violin, and later guitar and piano. Bunny handles the vocals and they sound very cool, and I can tell you that she is much better suited for doing Mr. Dickinson justice than deep or growled death metal vocals. Thankfully, Em Sinfonia was intuitive enough to pick up on that potential disaster.
Perhaps I misinterpreted Em Sinfonia. Perhaps they are more of a majestic prog rock outfit, and in that case, I think they are on the right track. I think perhaps I expected something different than what they were, and that is my fault not theirs. The film samples of dialogue from “Interview With A Vampire” and Vincent Price films threw me off, as did the use of violin and piano, all of which is customary to more Gothic oriented artists. Not that there is anything at all wrong with expanding the boundaries of a genre, it was just hard to figure out what exactly was Em Sinfonia’s overall message and intent with their music. What are we, as listeners, supposed to deduce from the music? Can we enjoy this, or are they just trying too hard? The truth is, its really difficult to just let go and enjoy this. You start to and then something disrupts the continuity of the song.
I have to say, that usually, no matter what kind of style a band is, I can easily pick up where it is they are going and what they are shooting for and more often than naught, I find a reason to love or at the very least appreciate nearly every release that I review. I am not too sure about Em Sinfonia. They have some brilliant ideas and express a great deal of potential as musicians. I just would like to see them in a bit more focused light, perhaps exploring a sound more of their own, and scale down the sentiment a bit for at times, the lyrics and vocal performances can be almost overbearing.
My final advice to fans: if you are looking for something dark, foreboding, moody and sinister a la My Dying Bride, etc, this is probably not for you. However, if you are a prog rock fan, a devotee of Queensryche, White Skull, Doro Pesche and the like, you are going to absolutely love this well-packaged release. My intent is not to offend, but rather, to direct potential fans to music suited to their tastes. My misunderstanding of this band may not be forgivable, but I recommend them whole-heartedly to fans of technique and such, but will tell gloomy and miserable Doom aficionados with interests similar to my own to steer clear. But regardless, the Maiden cover, in its glorious beauty and heightened romanticism, is essential to at least experience once.
2.) For Crimson Lust
4.) Lingering Dreams
5.) Counting Shadows
6.) Intimate Portrait
9.) Portal To An Emptiness
10.) Broken Promises
11.) True Believer
Brian Griffin – lead guitar, vocals, bass
Rick Alexander – keys and backing vocals
Larry DeMumbrum – drums
Sean Baxter – guitars, bass, and violins
Bunny – lead vocals
Sinfonia – Official Website:
~reviewed by Psionic
...Filled with chewey nougat. Clowns, clowns, and that circus carny touched me in my "no" place... Why is that organ-grinder monkey strangling that man with the finely-pencilled mustache? My sweat sort of looks funny drifting around in little clouds like that. Philosophically speaking, is it socially acceptable to have such gleaming teeth in the midst of a homicide? What -is- that shrill sound?
Somewhat more subdued than it's predessesor, Schiziod, EXIST is nevertheless an unsettling entity. Created by the sonic delinquents J. Schiziod and .Miq, EXIST is the howl of laughter escaping from the throat of a butcher's cleaver at the moment of climax... boasting clearer production than the relentless 'angry-redneck-of-digital-hardcore' that is Schiziod, EXIST allows for a more clinical examination of the madness within. Superb use of low-fidelity vinyl sampling provides a touch of creepy atmosphere, sort of that 'Spiders-legs-up-your-spinal column' to offset the desire to see what a femur looks like sliding through it's fleshy sheath. Have I mentioned how not-Teddy-Ruxpin this cd is? There is an evil carnival feeling to this cd, mixed liberally with the certainty that you're about to witness a messy murder. In essence, the same premonition-of-violence that attracted me to Schiziod can be found in EXIST's work as well, albiet in a less obvious sense. My only criticism of this cd is that the strongest ideas all fall within the first 6 tracks. At around track 7 it begins to lose focus. It stays all over the board and still has alot to offer the rabid fans of digital disharmony, I just personally find myself switching off. But, based on the strength of the first 6 tracks alone, I am more than willing to place my stamp-of-happy-pie on it. Well worth the price of admission.
1- Acid Icecream
2- God Zilla
4- Mad On A
5- Disco Fek
9- Kud Kud
Of These Years...
~reviewed by Matthew
The Garden were Pittsburgh's premiere Gothic rock band. A trio consisting of Stephen Marlette on vocals, Christine Sacramento on guitar and drum programming, and Anthony LaCava on bass. The band first emerged on the scene in the Autumn of 1985. Their lush and enveloping sound was akin to And Also The Trees and 4AD bands such as the Cocteau Twins and Clan Of Xymox, yet unique in it's own right. Certainly it was something new to the Pittsburgh underground alternative scene. They released their debut cassette "The Shallow" in 1986 and a second cassette, entitled "Willows Weeping" in 1989. The band instantly gained a following and a quality reputation was built upon playing live. In 1993, the band released a third cassette, "Angels, Harlots, & Men," which featured one of the band's most beloved tracks "A Doll's Life."
In 1996, Tanya Kavalkovich joined the band and accentuated the artistic melancholy with her classically trained violin playing. With Tanya's aid, The Garden's first full-length CD was recorded, entitled "Sapphire." The CD was produced by William Faith of California's hugely popular Renaissance Goth act Faith & The Muse, and was well-received by local dark music fans. Not long after the release, The Garden took a break in order for Stephen to focus on graduate school. Christine, Tanya, and Anthony formed The Clearing in late 1999, which contained many of the dark art rock qualities of The Garden, but differed due to the resonant alto vocals of Susan Stringfellow and a slightly more mainstream sound.
Recently, however, to the delight of many long-time local fans, The Garden reunited to perform last March to open for Sorrow (Rose McDowell) and Low Sunday for a special show in Pittsburgh. Fans were surprised to discover that for the first time ever, the three long out of print cassette releases of the band's early years were now compiled on a single compact disc
entitled "Of These Years," which was sold at the show.
The CD is a thorough eighteen track collection clocking in at over seventy minutes in length. With Gothic Rock music currently undergoing an unfortunate electronic metamorphosis, The Garden's music is beautifully nostalgic and recalls the blissful guitar flanges, lulling bass strums, and post-punk drumming of Goth rock's 1980's prime. Though some of the material is over fifteen years old, the vintage and stylish sound is a fresh treat to the ears of fans in search of traditional, straight-forward Goth music. The Garden offer a mature and artistic form of emotionally driven music, with an accessibility that in no way limits them to the Goth scene alone. This is an excellent CD and almost like a time capsule of one of Pittsburgh's most unique and important bands.
1.) Silken Red
3.) The Shallow
5.) September Forever
7.) A Diary Of Roses
8.) Heart Murmuring
10.) Fallen Through
11.) Featherbed Dream
12.) Blithe Spirit
13.) In The Desperate Jaws
14.) A Doll’s Life
15.) The Lion’s Share
16.) Good Children
17.) Best Wishes
Stephen Marlette – vocals/lyrics
Christine Sacremento – guitar/drum programming
Anthony LaCava – bass
Tanya Kavalkovich – live violin
Shelley O’Keefe – bells/keyboards
Garden – Web Site
~reviewed by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz 23.3
Christian Engel from the Girl Pool was at Gothcon, and taking advantage of the eager crowd of newer and elder Darklings, was handing out what looks like the first CD from his band. The Black and White cover looked promising enough, and before I even got a chance to spin it I noticed that DJ Carrie Monster had opened up with it at HEX. I threw it into random play one day, and it blended in very well with one of my older compilations of Bauhaus, Joy Division and the sort. I would not say there is a 'sound' comparison per se, but the recording efforts (simpler 4 or 8 track equipment) mix in well with those classics. Keep up the work, and don't worry if your working on simple recorders, or under time constraints, just push them to the max. Throbbing Gristle started with mostly 8 track reel tapes. Many other artist have found that acoustic materials and a cassette based 4-track can give one the freedom to make a song on whim or on the road. This includes bands like LPD, REM, and more!
Lyrics and Music by Christian Engel / Mike Stembridge / Winston Whitlock / Steven Tucker
Grey Skies Are Sleeping
~reviewed by Matthew
If it isn’t Doom metal that is sending me off the deep end of musical euphoria as of late, it's Indie Rock. Thanks to Mp3.com (yet again…) I have discovered another absolutely blissful dark band that will forever remain one my favourite rainy day shoegaze acts. This CD is absolutely phenomenal.
Throughout the entire disc, I am reminded of The Cure’s “Faith” album, which goes down easily as my all time favourite Cure release, and definitely one of the band’s dreariest and saddest albums ever. Make no mistake however, The Grey Skies are not just another third rate Cure rip-off band by any means. They seem to be influenced by an era of the Cure that few other bands (including The Cure themselves) ever fully explored. With the minimalist feel in the lulling bass strums, low-ended drum snaps, and watery guitar chords, I can’t help but be utterly possessed by the melancholic revelry that this Chicago outfit evokes. With soft and heartfelt male vocals and well placed passages of clean metallic guitar melodies, there is enough modernity to the sound that keeps it from sounding too much like vintage 80’s post-rock (and The Cure, for that matter). Otherwise, I would never have believed this CD was released in the past decade.
There is a perfect equilibrium here between Goth and Shoegaze, with dark and sentimental themes weighing the lyrics. Though suicide and death seem to be heavily represented, it is obvious that the lyricist is not glorifying these ideas in any shape or form, but rather coping with dealing with them intimately, or as it seems in the mopey and ambient track “The Blue Hour,” observing someone else’s battle with these feelings.
The most hypnotic and memorable moment of the entire disc is the epic “Seven Minutes To Cry Goodbye.” Though the song lasts for eight minutes (ha!) this song is totally enveloping, starting off with a brooding bass line, soon joined by rhythmic cascading percussion and a climactic guitar melody that builds up in its intensity to finally explode after five minutes of sweet anticipation. Some may find the song repetitive, citing it takes too long to build, but I was utterly entranced by the whole process and surrendered completely to the craft of these talented musicians.
This is powerful and timeless music, not to mention it is presented with an impressive production when one considers that The Grey Skies are an independent and SOLO artist. All of this is the product of one soul’s imagination, determination, and drive.
I suppose Universal recently bought Mp3.com. Only time can tell what will happen with the site, but I encourage all of you to support Mp3.com and save this music. The only bands that are going to suffer are the independent artists like The Grey Skies, and several, if not the majority of the bands featured in Starvox. If it weren’t for Mp3.com, I never would have heard of these guys and I don’t think I could have gone to my grave not knowing that there was a band that could even remotely rival early Cure. Check these guys out as soon as you get the chance!
1.) New Ways Of Self Destruction
2.) Seven Minutes To Cry Goodbye
3.) If I Die Tonight
4.) The Blue Hour
5.) What It Feels Like To Be At The End…
6.) I’m Going To Die Alone She Said
7.) The Coldest Stare
Grey Skies Are Sleeping is:
Kevin A. McLemore
Grey Skies… - Mp3 Site:
Grey Skies… - Main Page:
Holy Dead Trinity
~reviewed by Matthew
Yeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! This Polish outfit is unmercifully EVIL. Brutal and uncompromising death metal that would make Morbid Angel proud, if not a bit angered at how well this band can do what they do best. Unleashed by a new and seemingly pissed off record label by the name of World War III Records, this band is here to claim the throne of metal, god, and every damned thing in their path! With a name like Hate, could they possibly be kidding? Perhaps, but whatever. I never listen to the lyrics and/or message of death metal, because it just is a bad, bad idea for an English major who takes this music pretty seriously.
Anyway, this is superb and distinguished death metal. Bottom heavy and dense guitars, eerie harmonic lead guitars, double kick drums all over the goddamn place, and crowned by guttural daemonic vocals. Sure, its been done before, but when this is done right, its incomparable. Though black metal is currently in vogue, after being bombarded with bands that constantly rely on speed, icy guitars that usually don’t rise above much more than a whirlwind of fuzz, and blurs of cymbals, I have completely rediscovered the power of death metal. With it’s warmer production, groove oriented drumming and riffing, and the musical precision that often gets overlooked, it was nice to put on a metal disc that made me wince every time the drums hit and every note that the spidery fingered guitarists conjured. Granted, a lot of death metal sucks, but when it is delivered right, it is yields a powerful and effective impact. Hate do it right. Pick this up if you need to get some rage out. I cackle like a mad fiend in ecstasy every time the opening title track kicks in and aurally rapes my stereo speakers.
Randomly, three cheers to World War Three Records for exceptionally well-packaged press kits that included full size posters of their albums’ incredible cover art. Sure, bands can express their anti religious sentiments by having some clichéd daemon or half naked chick getting sacrificed to Lucifer himself, but the artwork accompanying these releases are colourful, subtle, and eye catching, to say the least. The image of a burning cathedral alter graces the cover of “Holy Dead Trinity” and in its understatement, it seemed to me twice as unsettling as any typical death metal album cover I have ever seen.
It is obvious that World War Three are out to make a catastrophic impact upon the metal world, and with this their debut release, it goes without saying that we are going to be hearing more from them and hopefully, they will continue to fish bands like this out of the crowded and polluted waters of the metal scene.
1.) Holy Dead Trinity
2.) No Life After Death
4.) God Overslept
5.) The Kill
6.) Share Your Blood With Daemon
7.) World Has To Die
8.) Dead & Mystified
9.) Enter The Hell
10.) Lord Is Avenger
11.) Paradise As Lost
12.) Pagan Triumph
13.) Satan’s Horde
War III Records:
Conquerors Of The Armageddon
~reviewed by Matthew
Brazilian act has long ago stepped up and usurped Sepultura of whatever
power they once had in the death metal scene. Granted, “Arise” and
“Beneath The Remains” will always remain classic in the genre, but after
that it was all down hill from there. Enter Krisiun, the saviours
of brutality. These guys originally won me over when I caught them
open for Satyricon and Immortal last year. Their performance was
an unbridled display of technical aggression and exhausting intensity.
I still remember the look of pain that twisted drummer Max Kolesne’s face
into a grotesque mask as he beat the leaving hell out of his kit and never
let up for a mere moment. I recall the entire stage was bathed in
a consistent and hazy red light, not unlike the menacing glow of the fires
of hell itself; it was a surreal and awe-inspiring spectacle. They
completely stole the show.
The album is produced by Erik Rutan of Morbid Angel/Hate Eternal, and I applaud him yet again for assuring that every note is audible, enabling a crystal clear assault upon the senses. Moyses Kolesne’s guitar work is extremely impressive, with very interesting and unorthodox harmonizations. Not only that, but some seriously sick solos rear their ugly heads between bassist/vocalist Alex Camargo’s raspy growls.
The majority of the riffs have an effect not unlike whiplash, and the drums just never stop. Max just never lets up and I am surprised he doesn’t have a nervous breakdown after every gig. Blast beats galore, but enough militant groove oriented parts to accentuate the inherit heaviness of the band.
Though sadly not a very long album, neither was Slayer’s “Reign In Blood.” This is a damn good release, ushering forth a new millennium of brutality. Straightforward and uncompromised metal, in league with not only Satan, but also other leading and quality death acts such as Morbid Angel, Aeternus, and Nile.
2.) Abysmal Gates
3.) Soul Devourer
4.) Messiah’s Devourer
5.) Cursed Scrolls
6.) Conquerors Of Armageddon
7.) Hatred Inherit
8.) Iron Stakes
9.) Endless Madness Descends
Alex Camargo – vocals/bass
Moyses Kolesne – guitars
Max Kolesne – drums
– Official Page
~reviewed by Matthew
Along with The Gathering, Lacuna Coil is definitely the most commercially viable artist on Century Media records, if not in the whole Goth metal scene. There is so much potential for this band to be huge! For those of you that have never heard of them, Lacuna Coil are an Italian outfit, led by the very delightful and gorgeous female vocals of Cristina Scabbia. She possesses a voice that would appeal to fans of everyone from Lush to Natalie Merchant to Sins Of Thy Beloved. They have a knack for extremely catchy melodies and choruses that will be engrained within your head for days. While 100% guitar driven, they somehow manage to present Gothic Metal in a form that will be universally embraced, and miraculously managed to achieve this feat without betraying a single aspect of the style or selling out in the least.
Andrea Ferro is responsible for the other half of the band's vocal duties, offering a strong masculine contrast. Quite similar to Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost in his intonations and with the dense backdrop of melodic guitars.
All the stars seemed to have lined up for Lacuna Coil and I see them taking off in the future. Whatever, it is, they have the ability to strike a nerve almost instantaneously, and as this album demands your attention the moment it starts playing. By the time “Purify” finishes, the first song that exhibits the band’s darker genius, you are hooked. “When A Dead Man Walks” puts the clean male vocals in the lead role, and it’s almost like “Draconian Times” era Paradise Lost revisited. Which is nice, considering that Paradise Lost themselves are off exploring a very different realm all together. “1:19” houses one of the rare appearances of death metal male vocals for the band, which actually work quite well. Perhaps I am so used to the style that it didn’t even phase me, but I just noticed now that they hardly ever appear, save for on this particular track for but a few short verses. “Cold Heritage” stands out as the band’s potential club track, due to a pairing of electronic and organic drumming, with delicate darkwave synth atmospheres. “A Current Obsession” sneaks along with shuffling watery guitars drifting atop a stuttering jazz bass line, all wedged into an odd and creative time signature, that build up into a sensuous swayable climax.
The American version of this release contains the five tracks that originally appeared on the band’s second EP “Halflife” which was released in Europe in early 2000 but never made its way overseas. The title track and closer, “Stars,” stand out the most from the EP’s material, with the latter being the strongest and catchiest song, also bearing its fair share of club potential. An ambient/trance experiment appears in the form of the short instrumental “Trance Awake,” which segues into an earlier version of “Senzafine.” That track doesn’t differ much from the album version; however, the trance intro was interesting to hear.
The title of the release, “Unleashed Memories” may confuse some. For whatever reason, even though Lacuna Coil are a young band, I assumed this was a collection of ‘unreleased’ outtakes. The title combined with the fact that an earlier EP’s tracks appearerd succeeded in kind of throwing me off. But make no mistake; this is all new material, especially to those of us over here on American soil.
This is definitely the band’s strongest release. “Unleashed Memories” is one of those CDs that though it has several tracks that can stand on their own, it is best left to be absorbed as a whole. The overall feeling this CD leaves you with is definitely a memorable and refreshing one. To say the least, Lacuna Coil will please fans of nearly any kind of female vocalled alternative music.
1.) Heir Of A Dying Day
2.) To Live Is To Hide
5.) When A Dead Man Walks
7.) Cold Heritage
8.) Distant Sun
9.) A Current Obsession
10.) Wave Of Anguish
Tracks: Halflife E.P.
12.) Trance Awake
Cristina Scabbia – vocals
Andrea Ferro – vocals
Cristiano Migliore – guitars
Marco Biazzi – guitars
Marco Coti Zelati – bass
Critiano Mozzati – drums/percussion
Coil – Official Site:
Macchia & Tracy London
Little Evil Things Volume 4
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola
Back in the days before video killed the radio star, people tuned in to their radios for weekly excursions of serialized dramas and entertainment. The adage that everything old is new again is most apparent with folks who have been purchasing audio books in order to stay abreast of some of their favorite authors while going about their busy, hectic lives. In essence, the art of storytelling from the radio years are once again back in vogue to keep today’s busy person abreast of some of this generation’s best fiction and non-fiction.
Little Evil Things takes us a step closer to the macabre of yesteryear by providing exquisitely creepy and atmospheric music by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra on this 4th sequel to the 1997 Winner of Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award of tales of terror. Within the confines of this CD are 5 stories, punctuated with a chilling soundtrack to make the stories come alive. Despite the fact that the work is not “scary” by today’s horror standards, they are nonetheless still morose enough with a tongue in cheek twist to delight even the most cynical admirer of the macabre. As an added bonus, this volume also has A Little Evil Overture, which is a music only track from the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.
It may not spook you during your daylight hours, however if you listen to a story a night just before dropping off to sleep, you will manage to have some rather wild nightmares!
Those who happen to be a fan of the Alfred Hitchcock books, which were in fashion a while back, or even horror style comic books, will most surely want to explore this. The narration is focused and maintains a sense of apropos delivery. It avoids over dramatization,which is the subliminal secret that keeps the listener fascinated while drawing them in further to the tale as it is being spun. Some stories are in the first person with a single narrator while others have more characters delivering the lines of the tale. The added bonus is the haunting music and sound effects, which moves the flow expertly.
Rather than giving a feeling that one is just listening to a story, Little Evil Things somehow makes one feel like a voyeur to a stranger’s twist of fate. It is almost as if we are overhearing someone’s hellish excursion unravel before us and we are forced to maintain mute witness as they plummet through the depths of depravity.
For those already into audio books, you may want to look into some of the volumes from this company. It is far more entertaining than some of the horrendous trash that Hollywood keeps cranking out in the horror genre and is a nice respite from television.
1. Lost: A man suffers the tortures of Hell in a nightmarish dream…oris it?
2. Hazardous To Your Health: A 1940’s mobster gets hooked on adeadly habit.
3. Infection: A man’s life gets turned upside down when hediscovers a spot on his arm.
4. In Your Head: Are those gray hairs really what they appear tobe?
5. The Violin’s Curse: Gypsies and a haunted violin bring thisancient tale to life.
1801 North Lima Street
Burbank, CA 91505
Toll Free: (877) Lil-Evil FAX: (818) 563-1694
~reviewed by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz 23.3
This self produced, recorded, and up till now self-released effort from Martijn De Kleer, may not be what many are expecting. Martijn is the strings master with the groups Legendary Pink Dots, and The Teargarden. Ripping up sonic waveforms from his finger tips with everything from guitars, and basses, fiddles, slide guitars and other obscure stringed instruments.
This CD is very important though if you want to look into some of the folk backgrounds underlining two recent releases. LPD's "A Perfect Mystery" and The Teargarden's acclaimed album "Crystal Mass".
This solo effort, made with a four track recorder, a couple microphones , and sparse instrumentation, is a good companion to the music of Tom Waites, or even Johnny Cash. Yet this is not country, nor is it completely standard folk. The opening track is recorded in such a manner as to place the sounds of a road, through the middle of the instrumental mix. Reminding you that the impressions, and feelings on this recording are all on purpose. The calm is calm for a good reason, and the more introspective and disrupted is also very on purpose. I am not saying that when you plug in a home recording outfit, and start tracking a song, that there will not be any happy accidents. What I am trying to communicate is that what is present is a very purposeful album, with some different directions for those used to the sonic barrage that has become the current norm for Legendary Pink Dots, and The Teargarden.
Did I mention that this is a self released work , that came out during the last LPD tour (2000). Currently there are only 40 or so in existence. Martijn has been contemplating having it released by one of the various LPD music distributors. Drop him an e-mail, I am sure the encouragement could only help!
Martijn De Kleer:
7201 AG Zutphen
2. Once on a Road
3. Moon in Water
5. High Street
9. Not Blind?
visit the LPD releated web page. To find out more about this, and
other current LPD related material.
How Now Spirit, Whither Wander You?
~reviewed by MikeVentarola
Moonchild ranks with the countless numbers of exceptional bands who are not receiving adequate club or press attention in my estimation. Ms. D’Iavollo and company have been cranking out tunes for the dark underground for over ten years, and to my dismay they are not a household name yet.
first excursion into this bands music came about when T*H*I*R*D
was on sale at Middle Pillar
(www.middlepillar.com) some time ago. Being as guilty as many others in the Goth world, I had not had the good fortune to being exposed to their work up until that time. My impression then, as now, was that D’Iavollo comes across as a young Lilly Munster with a set of chops to sing the gargoyles off of Notre Dame. Needless to say, T*H*I*R*D hooked me completely that I had to keep badgering the guys at Middle Pillar to obtain more of their music. Sometimes it isn’t always easy to obtain work by some of the European bands, so the fact that the band added information on obtaining their merchandise should be a boon for the die-hard American fans.
The Moonchild Collection is a great treat, allowing us into the world of the band, sampling where they have been as well as where they are going. Fans have the opportunity to examine some of their earlier work while waiting and anticipating their 2001 release. D’Iavollo wrote the majority of lyrics with the exception of track 1, which is credited to John Donne, and track 5, which is based upon a poem by John Keats.
The first 3 unreleased demo tracks, as well as the rest of the disc, exudes with the morbid atmosphere that is sorely lacking in much of today’s gothic rock fare. Call me old fashioned, but I like the spooky element in gothic music without all the banshee like screeching and compressed vocals that so many are attempting to call music today. Moonchild avoids the cliches to maintain a stable body of work that will not only make you want to dance in the club, but also blast it from the home or car stereo as well. Tracks from both those CD’s are included which only manages to whet the appetite to listen to more of their great body of work.
For those not yet familiar with this band, think Sister’s of Mercy or The Merry Thoughts type of Goth dance energy, fronted by a female vocalist with a Diva Destruction type of vocal intensity. It is hard to pinpoint D’Iavollo’s vocals and compare it with anyone else, simply because it is that unique. However, this description can unjustly pigeonhole their representation too much because on track 10 D’Iavollo becomes the operatic Nightingale cascading on medieval tones of the band that seems to glide upon a moonlit night.
Mindrobber, from the forthcoming CD, marries the morbid with a closer industrial edge. It was rather interesting to hear how the band managed to put the two styles together without compromising on their artistry or alienating either genre faction. D’Iavollo is at her eerie best and demonstrates her growth as a performer, tenaciously commanding the song like a wizard at the microphone. Some of this delving into more industrial fare was experienced with Melomania as well.
“Joe” has that driving guitar and drum work to make this song an instant club classic the minute the CD is off of the presses and into the shops.
With all the synth-pop that has been infiltrating the Goth underground, it remains refreshing to support a band that strives to create really exceptional dance gothic rock. It is highly recommend that folks investigate this band further. They have a sound that is also approachable for non-goths, which may in turn make them full fledged Goth fans. Moonchild has that uncanny ability to seep into the psyche to make you realize that any other style of music is just too flawed to deal with.
Susan D’Iavollo: vocals
Toni De Santis: bass,programming, voice
Uwe Holler: guitars
Merchandise and Contact info:
P.O. Box 1257 D-73068
1. Hear The Silence
2. Death Be Not Proud
3. Walls Tumble Down
5. Shed No Tear
7. Holy Mass
10. Lost Days
11. A Friend
taken from the following albums:
1,2,3 unreleased four track recorded demo songs 1990 to 1993
4,5 She No Tear 1993, available by mail order
6,7 Lunatic Dreams 1994, available by mail order
8, 9,10 T*H*I*R*D 1996, available in stores
11, 12 Melomania 1998 available in stores
13, 14 Demo versions of song from the forthcoming album 2001
Machine in the Garden
Out of the Mists
~reviewed by Xian
With the refined strength of trained vocals, the moving strings of talented hands and the subtle percussions of delicate programming, The Machine in the Garden offers "Out of the Mists" to an anxious audience. Summer Bowman and Roger Fracé are a complimentary duo that not only achieve a well produced sound but more notably a well written one. Each song carries its own style and sound and I can find no fault with any track. Swaying between the genres of ethereal, gothic and darkwave, "Out of the Mists" is an album that would be a welcome addition to anyone's collection.
As though the lavish curtains open and the story begins, a poised, militant Victorian score lays out its composition when you press play. "Fates and Furies" is short and sweet, as every intro track should be and it melts into the second track,"Intrigue". Full of lamenting vocals and soft, tribalistic percussions, "Intrigue" seems to carry a deeper purpose. In combination, both have proven to be a wonderful means to set the mood and settle the mind.
of you familiar with the delicious "Butoh" composition put out by Middle
Pillar Productions might be familiar with "The Unaware", the third track
that truly begins your travels through this CD's auditorial experience.
Delicate in every way, the soft cautious percussions and the vocals that
seem repressed and the subtle melodies that seem to keep their distance,
"The Unaware" grows bolder with every note. Track five, "Oh Dear",
is entirely created by vocal harmonies and is absolutely beautiful in a
mournful fashion. "Rusty Haloes" in turn carries a very mellow feel.
"Her Face" boldly steps out as a song to appease the disenchanted population
of twirly goths with the swaying guitar and softly moaning lyrics.
The finale, "Fade", is a unique composition of chants and melodies that
make for a satisfactory conclusion
to a delightful performance.
Amid all these choices and next to "Her Face", my personal favourite has to be "Failure" for it's simplicity and lyrics of which I feel compelled to share.
"I think I am a failure.
What can I see.
The same as you.
I want to be,
everything in you.
What can you see.
Trying to copy you.
Everything to be,
I am in you."
Fates and Furies
2. The Unaware
5. Oh Dear
7. Rusty Haloes
8. Every Thing She Is
9. Wasted Time
11. Her Face
12. Never Again
Machine in the Garden are Summer Bowman and Roger Frace.
Website - http://www.tmitg.com
Email - email@example.com
Website - http://www.middlepillar.com/mpp/
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a number of new photos up on our images page (http://www.tmitg.com/images.html) and for anyone interested in purchasing a photo of the Machine in the Garden, our photographer, Donna Clancy-Goertz has placed some prints on her site for sale. Check out her offerings at http://www.charlottesometimes.com/mall/photos/index.html
~reviewed by Matthew
I despise the spring time. It is almost a greater mockery than the summer. Everyone is running around commenting on how blue the sky is, flowers are poking through to provide taunting colour to the brilliant green of the grass, and everyone is just so damned perky. My isolation and misery is doubled and I can find no peace save for the privacy of my own home. Sometimes. Regardless, I have been oblivious to whether the sun is beaming its golden death upon the world outside or if belated April showers have obscured it. Thanks to the second full-length offering from Mira, the latest of several Projekt releases this year, it’s been raining constantly in my little world.
I love this CD. I have listened to it consistently and repetitively since it arrived in my mailbox earlier last month. My musical preferences can be so manic, but this is exactly what my parched and jaded soul yearned for after a grueling semester at college. This music is mature and very calming. It does not contain the cartoonish qualities of most new Goth/Industrial music crossing my desk of late. Furthermore, the music is produced by real flesh and blood people rather than machines, which yields to an organic and more sentimental outcome still lacking in most of the current ‘buzz worthy’ dark music. The emotion is intense and permeates the entire CD, but it is not too harsh. This collection of gloom is just right, lush rather than abrasive, reflective and romantic as opposed to desolate or misanthropic. This is the kind of dark music that one can listen to and not feel like an angsting teenager but rather an adult with a creative or brooding artistic mindset. With every day that passes, I gravitate more toward this type of shoegaze/emo/indie whatever the hell alternative music that has a similar sound to this is.
Within the music of Mira, there are morsels of The Cranberries, Slowdive, Lush, Cocteaus; all those lovely rainy day bands. The drumming is rhythmic, sometimes tribal, sometimes a post-rock groove, but always fantastic and precise. The guitar work varies between murky strums, watery arpeggios, and sonic fuzz explosions and the bass provides a thick backbone with several noticeable fills as this style would call for. However, the buoyant vocals of Regina Sosinski seem to be the most appetizing ingredient for the common Projekt fan. Lilting and feathery, her vocals drift and coast above the music, similar to the ghostly voice of label mate Suzanne Perry from Love Spirals Downwards. Regina has quite a range, having a childlike innocence in her softer moments but letting her real strength soar in more dynamic crescendos where her voice boasts a powerful resonance. Like other admirable female vocalists, her voice is also riddled with the same kind of desperate ‘catch’ that accentuates the emotional impact of her performances.
The powerful female voice in the lead is going to sell many records, but Mira’s solid musicianship should not be overlooked either. Though the tempo and style does not often deviate much from a slower ‘shoegaze’ formula, this is a very convincing record. All the elements weave together perfectly and create an engrossing yet relatively easy listen once you allow the music to conquer you. I highly recommend this to fans of pensive alt rock and I also recommend the album’s fluid opening track “Space” to DJ’s who still care enough to build atmosphere in the early hours of their respective club nights.
Apparently, people dig Mira’s hypnotizing strains, as “Apart” was not only Projekt’s top seller for April, but several tracks have been igniting the Mp3.com Shoegazer charts since the album’s release. Check this out, hush the springtime sun, and enjoy the rain…
2.) Going Nowhere
3.) In Theory
5.) Open In Silence
8.) Tick Tock
five song EP
~reviewed by J
With a name like Monster
Movie, I was expecting this band to be an industrial project covered with
samples from old sci-fi and horror movies. Nope. Monster Movie is
some of that shoegazy pop stuff. Half of the duo is Christian Savill,
one of the guitarists for the now-defunct Slowdive. The five tracks
on this untitled EP, released by Clairecords (also home to the like-minded
Isobella), are the first songs put out by the new outfit. A full
length is supposedly in the works.
The songs themselves are lush, monotonous bliss. There are minimal or no drums; an acoustic guitar is the primary rhythmic device. The vocals are high and sugary, though the lyrics are fairly lacking in substance. This is backed by layers of swooshy keyboard and heavily effected guitar parts. Obviously, these people have a lot of fun twiddling knobs around in the studio. It's generally poppier and a little sparser than Slowdive was, though that is, of course, relative.
Close listening to the music is not particularly satisfying, as many of the songs are five minutes of the same basic chord progression repeated ad nauseum, just with different ambient layers slipping in and out of the picture. But it was nice to listen to in the car as I was driving around with the windows down this weekend. This EP is nothing we haven't seen before, but if you have complete discographies of Flying Saucer Attack or Slowdive, you'll need this, too.