Bent With Light
~reviewed by Digital Angel

Bent with Light is a one-man experimental electronic noise project out of Ohio. I was given 2 discs by Bent With Light, both hand decorated in a very interesting fashion. Very cool that a man who obviously has been doing plenty, puts the effort into decorating each disc.

I’m not a big fan of the noisy and not so structured, but Bent with Light is more listenable than most in it’s genre.  It’s broken up a bit; it’s not relentless incoherent clatter. There are songs with vocals, although few and some dancey tracks as well.

Tracks like “Wrecklimation” and “Downtime” have subtle early Nine Inch Nails qualities. “Blackness” is a notable track buried deep toward the end of the disc. It would be danceable if everything were lined up correctly. The vocals seem to be purposely off beat a considerable amount, but there’s a great shift in tempo, that I would normally wrinkle my nose at, but in this very rare instance I am impressed.

To those who are fans of the gritty, arbitrary blips and bleeps, give Bent With Light a shot.

Track Listing:
1.The Infinite Pain
2.Mixed Signals
3.Alone With Ghosts
4. Falling Down
15.Naked and Blind
16.The Final Judgement

Bent With Light is: sTeVie7


Exoteque Music
P.O.Box 340431
Columbus, OH 43234

Die My Darling
Just Defy My Love
~review by Blu

This two-song sampler was released on Valentine's day in limited quantities and on mp3 as a present from the lovely boys in Die My Darling to their fans. It is indeed a cover of Madonna's "Justify My Love" - with a gothic/cynical twist. They've turned it into it into a sassy, "Just Defy My Love". What else would you expect from the creators of the lyrically biting "Sleep" ? (see previous reviews referenced above)

Once again, Sean's sultry vocals, a mixture of sensual sexuality and cynical pissed off tones, are a complete turn on for me. From the first sentence "...I want to kiss you in Paris..."  to  "...wanting, waiting, needing, for you to just defy my love..." I'm hooked. The delivery is subtly bitter and coated in gothic, love-sicken overtones. I'd wager to bet you never thought of this song in that kind of context, and yet it makes perfect sense. Musically, the introduction is wonderful - an assortment of cyber-electronic noises followed up by the familiar bass line. While keeping the melody minimal in guitar, focus is left on Sean's breathy vocals and additional female backgrounds on the chorus round out the sound nicely.

"I recall my disparate melancholy
Do you?
I remember your impassioned soliloquy
I remember, I remember
Your purr, your delicate fingers gripping, lips parting, sucking -
The jasmine breeze
Coming -
With angelic ease
Do your remember? Do you remember your words?
I do - they were

I will never place you on the cross
I will never cause you any pain
Without you my love I will surely be lost
I will never look upon you with disdain

You put this in me
So now what, so now what?"

See what I mean? Those words. I want a Sean clone for my birthday this year. The second track on this CD is "Pain" which also appears on their Maxi Single, and is a very nice dance-oriented club-friendly song.  "Just Defy My Love" is available now off their mp3 station,

I would like to snag this opportunity to personally tell the band "thank  you" from the StarVox staff. They've donated quite a bit of merchandise to our LIVE events as of late and everyone knows that's no cheap undertaking. We truly appreciate their involvement and were proud to stamp their name on all our promotional materials for these events. They sent a very nice package of T-shirts, CDs, stickers, and postcards (worth a free CD if you mailed it back to them) for our live events last month. Their merchandise was given to DJs and lucky fans in Seattle, Pittsburgh and New Orleans at GothCon. We hope they found their way to good homes and gave birth to new DMD fans.

The T-shirts and stickers, a simple white "Die My Darling" logo on black, make quite an impression on people. I have a sticker on my purse and I sometimes where the T-shirt out. It constantly draws people's attention and they wonder if its a personal message to someone. Perhaps <sly grin> However,  I always end up telling them, "oh, its a band in LA..." which is the perfect segway for me to talk about them some more. T-shirts and stickers are available on their website too:

Go visit the boys and tell them to hurry up with a full length CD - there's an impatient and greedy music editor in Seattle wanting more...

Diode Fetish
4 Song EP-CD
~reviewed by Xian

Getting CDs in the mail is nothing new to me.

Today I opened such a package to find that it carried yet an even smaller package within.  Unwrapping that I found a glass bulb with all sorts of ornate wires running through it and the tip ending in a dramatic and darkened point.  The base was a prickly gathering of wire tips, and on the side of the glass was an intricate sigil that read, "Diode Fetish."

"Cool," I exclaimed, twisting this neat little object around in my hands and adding it to my collection of odd bits of metal objcts and light bulbs and door knobs.  (I'm such a packrat it's not even funny.)  This group was already off to a fabulous start by cattering to my peculiar fascination (fetish) for strange doodads and otherwise weird looking crap.

I popped in the demo CD of four tracks.  The first, "Secret Life", began with a simple cascading background and a delicate percussion line.  The addition of a baroque melody soon followed with a grand amalgamation of carefully added tweaks and clips, a smooth synth line, increased complexity in the percussion and a booming, robotic voice.  Soon a female voice, caressed by an undertone that vaguely sounded like violens ran through filtures, took over for the chorus lines.  I found myself tapping along to this weird musical construct and a rush of pleasure ran through me that someone has provided me something not only unique in sound and style, but danceable and well done.  This was an incredibly appropriate introduction to the project known as Diode Fetish and it surpassed my every expectation, providing a giddy grin at the delightful quirkiness of it all.

"Mask" continued with the robotic element, adding a kinkier, childlike and submissive quality.  The female voice carried the entirety of the song on her own, save for the male voice's contributions to the chorus.  She sang with a steadfast mechnical affectation to an equally cold tune, warmed only by the suggestive content and just tentatively so.  Fun for the sheer dichotomy of it all.  The third track, "Ipex" begins with a faster, danceable beat of 126 BPM.  There are no weaving vocals this time.  Instead we are subject to the careening of emphemeral samples over a subtle euphonic flux of beats and swaying melody that come together as an aesthetic whole.  The fourth track, "Keevar," continues in much the same line as "Ipex," at a slightly slower rate.  The overall feel of this demo is somewhat reminiscient of Die Form's style and Skinny Puppy's sense of composition.  Strangely enough, I am even reminded of Pail and Xorcist.

My ears were instantaneously appeased by the delightful skill at which the tracks were produced and reading the artist bio, my eyes were equally excited to read that they are to be joining us southern california denizens when they move this summer.   Their bio boasts a darkwave fetish performance of dominating beats and a MIDI light show and mentions that they are seeking venues and clubs to perform for in California.  Adding these two tidbits together, I now have every intention of getting them to perform for one of the clubs I spin at, knowing that this would be an increadible act to witness.

Oh, the terrible anonymity!  Introduced as Diode and Fetish, male and female respectively, there is no mention who they are.  Only a few well angled pictures showing just enough that you might have an idea, but yet cannot quite make out enough details in the face to be sure.  Yet, I have my own sneaking suspicions; from the quality of the material, the sound of the voices, the hairline, the move, and a certain mailing address.  *g*  My youth haunts me still.  But I will keep my lips sealed for the time being.  Your anonymity cannot be indefinately maintained!!  I KNOW YOU!!  :P

Track Listing:

01.  Secret Life
02.  Mask
03.  Ipex
04.  Keevar

Diode Fetish is Diode and Fetish.
Website -,
Email -

Diode Fetish is seeking proper label representation.

~reviewed by Kevin

Despite what you may think, Arkansas is not an entirely inauspicious place to start a band.  On one side you have New Orleans, arguably the most Goth city in the universe; on the other you've got Mississippi, the home of William Faulkner.  (Four words: "A Rose For Emily."  'Nuff said).  And while there might not be a large "scene" to support Gothic artists, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Lack of a scene can also mean a lack of pretension and drama: quite a few artists produce their best work away from any "scene."

And so Christian Cook and Timothy Bayless aka Mr. Gone and Requiem, the best (and to this reviewer's knowledge, only) Darkwave duo ever to come out of Arkansas, have given us "Inner Sanctum."

Libra1's debut effort begins on a high note, with "Pianoscape" and "The World Revolves Around You."  Christian Cook definitely has a solid sense of melody and a gift for hook-filled tunes.  "Hate" features a catchy keyboard riff and baritone vocals reminiscent of good mid-80s synthpop and "Lonely Machine" has a great, driving riff which gives nods to Nine Inch Nails and Skinny Puppy.  "Deprivation" features some interesting noises and interplay between chimes and piano which create an almost "World Music" feel. Throughout the proceedings this CD remains tuneful, listenable, and unpretentious -- something few releases, by bands major or minor, accomplish.

As it stands right now, Libra1 is a solid Darkwave band featurnig tow .  If I had my druthers, they would branch out a little more.  One of the advantages of a big art and music "scene" is the chance to be exposed to different material.  They've definitely listened to the "Old Masters" of Gothic/Industrial music -- you can hear echoes of Bauhaus, Sisters, etc. throughout
this CD.  This is not to say that they're derivative, any more than Stevie Ray Vaughan was derivative because you could hear Delta Blues in his music. They've taken this form and mastered it, producing a good, solid Gothic CD.  Now I'd like to hear them incorporate elements of World Music, say, or Modern Classical.  Cook and Bayless are obviously both talented and intelligent musicians.  I look forward to hearing their work as they gain confidence and begin expanding their repertoire.   Libra1 Homepage

~reviewed by Blu

Boise, Idaho -- home of potato fields, an uncanny booming software business and a dark wave band named Lovesick. Snicker if you might at what pictures Boise Idaho brings to mind, but this band is no laughing matter. They're one of the more refreshing things I've heard of in a long long time.

So this CD itself was made in 1997 but none the less, its brilliant and deserves to be talked about.  I got it from a friend and co-worker who played a concert with them before (3SKS - plug plug). He plopped this disc down on my desk and said, "You might like this -- I think they're really good."  *Like* is an understatement.

The music is light but mellow and polished off by what else but "lovesick" lyrics that really appealing in a masochistic love kind of way. Sort of a Toad the Wet Sprocket approach mixed in with the healthy influence of The Cure. There's bouncing bass lines and undulating guitar riffs tied up neat and sparkling - the perfect soundtrack for a lazy Sunday morning. And although Cure-like in essence, Jeran makes no attempt to impersonate Robert which is a relief. Jeran is himself -- subdued vocals that glide easily and smoothly over the music behind them.

"Flowers" opens the CD with its sweet but not sickening, love song. Its light and danceable and the dreamy guitar chords almost make me wish I hadn't sworn off relationships just to feel that way again. Of course, there's a twist at the end - and you find out he's alone and crying (isn't that always the way?) - my my, its tragically goth after all.  "Pretending" is a track that I find irresistible to dance to -- why aren't I hearing this in clubs folks? I'll have to do something about that. "December" is fun and almost reminds me of that good old 80's underground stuff.

All the tracks are worthy of praise but "Never" and "Close Your Eyes" have got to be the most beautiful songs on the CD with their mesmerizing keys, throbbing drums like a funeral march and guitars that sound very much like The Cure's sound on Pornography and Disintegration... lovely and oh so tragic.

Reflection embodies an overall feeling of innocence and vulnerability when it comes to matters of the heart that I have to believe will tap into everyone's own experiences in one way or another. And if not -- if you're of the cold-hearted clan, well... I'm betting you'll like the music anyway.  In a time when aggressive music is all that's really being pushed out there, these danceable yet dreamy songs are a refreshing change of pace. I'm curious to see what they'll put out next... I want more.

close your eyes

lovesick on this recording was:
Jeran Dahlquist - guitars, vocals
Ryan Powers - keyboard
Landon Shaffer - drums
David Schafer - bass


Gotik Neuromantik
~reviewed by Digital Angel

My first impression of Neurepublik was class and professionalism. This, keeping in mind, was even before I popped Gotik Neuromantik into my CD player. I based this judgement solely on the packaging of the disc and the layout of their website. I was indeed impressed and hopeful.

Neuropublik is a goth/industrial/synthpop outfit who set up shop in Ohio, who have mixed together a splendid composite consisting of Cure-like bass lines and light, fast guitars, early Nine Inch Nails type synthesizing, and a hint of Sister Machine Gun’s signature lush, sordid progression.

The first track hooked me immediately. My expectations had been met. “Hidden Sanctuary” is delicately spun with samples giving way to the desperation and longing of wanting something better. Something more. “Eulogy” most resembles the Cure with elegant violin plucking as the tracks closer. The vocals remind me of Bauhaus a bit. “Happy” includes an amusing sample….”You’re happy. I hate that.” Fantastic!

Gotik Neuromantik will be placed in my car with the rest of the CD’s I listen to most frequently. Excellent for club play. I expect to hear more from Neurepublik in the future.

Track Listing:
Hidden Sanctuary
Way Out
The Real Me
Le Mat
I Believe In Nothing
Unlimited Power

Neurepublik is: Brad Johnson, Jannice Larkin, Jeff Crowell

131 Huffman Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45403

Gary Numan
~reviewed by BlackOrpheus

There are moments that remain etched upon the consciousness throughout the duration of a soul's life. They are whispers and shadows, things you can almost taste, things you can almost touch.  They make you want to break into barely restrained laughter, or bursts of unaccountable and uncontrolled tears.  This is my experience of Gary Numan.  It has been building steadily with 1994's  " Sacrifice," 1997's " Exile," and his most recent release 2000's " Pure."

The journey one takes through these three albums is a haj, a spiritual pilgrimage.  Songs like " Pray," and "Question of faith" were harbingers of things to come on the "Exile" and "Pure" albums.  They allude to the darkness within all our souls, to the birthright of all fallen from grace.  "Exile" addresses the subject of of the angel wars.  Instead of being a condemnation of their rebellion, it is sypathetic in it's treatment of all creations of free will.  The songs " Dominion Day," " Dead Heaven," and "Absolution" brilliantly evoke the universality of suffering.

Many people listen to music to be entertained. I listen to music to feel and share in the fires of it's creation.  "Pure" is without a doubt the finest album I've heard this year.  It is startling in it's creeping assault upon primeval sense and memory.  It is an album that dwells more assuredly within us, than all the lip service we pay to the innate goodness of man.  This latest in the triptych feels increasingly personal.

The album opens with the title track, and it is a force of nature as sure as any storm front could be.  It opens with a light, and yet unsettling key arrangement and a fractured chorale sample.  It then breaks into a crunchy guitar part, that I revelled in.  The writing is really good and you really shouldn't neglect the lyrics.  The music clothes the body that is the song writing.  "I want to feel you hesitate, I want to feel you pull away, I want to feel you realise, that I am not love come to play"...No, not love but no less intoxicating.

"My Jesus" is worthy of note as well.  No, I don't think Gary's found religion.  I do think it found him, and he is
exercising its taint through the exploration of that darker half that Christianity is in denial of.  "My Jesus is a fear that haunts me, my Jesus is like a tortured memory" these are thoughts I can identify with.  The invocation of Jesus was either benevolent or damning depending on who wielded his name to meet their own ends.  This is glorious music for release of pain, or for feeling it.

Another excellent song off this album would have to be " I Can't Breathe."  It embodies all of the fear and paranoia of someone hiding, but who does not go unseen.  " So I can't leave and no one comes, so no one noticed that I've come undone, I'd hide in the shadows, but the shadows talk to me."  This is quickened breath, cold sweat, trip hammer heart beating terror...and you'll want to experience it again and again.

I cannot recommend this album strongly enough.  Dwell with it alone in the dark for a couple of nights, it has a ferocity and power that is seldom realized in any genre.    This is the kind of forward movement, we hope to see in the art of those we resonate with.  Kudos to Gary Numan, I know he will not rest upon these laurels.

Track Listing:
1) Pure
2) Walking With Shadows
3) Rip
4) One Perfect Lie
5) My Jesus
6) Fallen
7) Listen To My Voice
8) A Prayer For The Unborn
9) Torn
10) Little Invitro
11) I Can't Breathe

Web Site:   NuWORLD

Record Label:   Spitfire Records

Self Titled
~reviewed by Michael Johnson

Somber is one of those bands that started at the right time.  When they formed in high school in 1996, they were lucky enough to have a ton of local promotion in the Lansing, Michigan area.  This gained them a very strong local following and finally, their self-titled debut has been unleashed.

Lyrically, scorn is the theme du jour.  We have all been screwed over at one time or another so it’s easy to relate to Kerry Cripe’s In Flames like screams except in this case, instead of getting the sad songs, Somber just got flat out pissed.  The songs are very riff-heavy and actually quite melodic at the same time thanks to their dual axe attack.  Clean vocals provided by Kerry and the rest of the band pepper the songs and although they are strained at times, they fit nicely in with the melodies on songs like “Love Song Gone Wrong” and “The Autumn of Life”.

Somber is a very promising fledgling band.  They have found a nice combination of old school thrash mixed in with the popular styling of the Swedish heavy-hitters.

At times, I could not help but be reminded of Iron Maiden a la the Piece of Mind era.  Their influences run deep and shine through in a very unique but still reminiscent style.  Honestly, I really do want to see where this band goes.  They’re obviously a very talented act and they’re fun to watch in concert.  Keep your eyes and ears open for this act, as they’re not going to go away quietly.

Somber Is:
Kerry Cripe – Vocals
Jeremiah Taylor – Bass
Kevin Kitchel – Guitar
Chad McMeeken – Guitar
Mike Hudson – Drums

Track Listing
1.Fading Away
2.Second Chance
3.Blinded Eyes
4.The Autumn of Life
5.Love Song Gone Wrong
7.Broken Dreams
8.Reason To Live

Snail Mail: PO Box 27263
     Lansing, MI  48909-7263

Thirteen 13
Battle Hymn
~reviewed by Digital Angel

I had a hard time with Thirteen 13. Not knowing much at all about the particular genre that the band falls into, I admit I was nervous at first listen.  I put on the three-song sampler, Battle Hymn, and right away noticed the consistency of the music itself. There was little variation, each track; each feature of the song was placed on you all at once, lacking in any sort of
build or progression.

Francis Giovanni operates his voice in a minimalist manner; he speaks, following the exact tempo of the music that buries him.  I was however, fond of the flat laser zapping noise in the second track, “Darkness and Fear”, and there were also some other very cool samples that unfortunately were misplaced, and didn’t have much to do with the song at all.

In doing my research for Thirteen 13, I read many positive reviews and saw that they were compared to the likes of Fear Cult, Element, and Diva Destruction. And in what little knowledge I have of the Deathrock scene, I can say that being compared to Fear Cult is indeed accurate. They are of the same quality. I gave Battle Hymn a wholehearted listen, and it’s just not my cup of tea. I find it too simple and flat, and think that most anyone with little knowledge in electronic music could produce the same results. Some more complex creativity is needed, but the underlying potential remains.

Track Listing: Battle Hymn, Darkness and Fear, and Fragments of a Hologram Rose

Thirteen 13 is: Francis Giovanni and Mortimir Rigdon

PO Box 89 Dallas, GA 30132