Satanized (A Journey Through Cosmic Infinity)
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

There comes a time in every black metal band's life where they need to hang up their cloaks and wipe off the corpse paint in order to pursue other sounds. In today's music scene, even the truest black metal bands are starting to sound less than intense - we've heard it all before, many, many times. Yet Abigor has managed to stay at the top of their game in this scene, and it should be no surprise that "Satanized (A Journey Through Cosmic Infinity)" shows them taking some risks and developing an even more unique sound.

The first thing you'll notice in glancing through the "Satanized" booklet is that the album isn't just your typical devilish black metal release. The sub-title of "A Journey Through Cosmic Infinity" signifies something a bit more in the sci-fi vein - there's no room for corpse paint here! Looking through the booklet some more, that initial assumption is only confirmed. Abigor's heavily satanic lyrics are now hovering somewhere near the Milky-way. Song titles like "Satan's Galaxy" and "Battlestar Abigor" best show the more space-oriented take on mayhem and satan that Abigor opted for this time around. Even the pictures of the band are different than before. You can see the members standing in front of a backdrop of space instead of starting fires in a forest.

So how has this impacted the music? In a few ways, all of which I think are positive. From the album's opening sample of a man saying something like "Welcome to the leading edge in brain mind technology," to the very ominous sounding keyboards, you can tell you're in for a new interpretation of hardcore black metal. The production is also a lot clearer than past Abigor releases, allowing for a slightly less fuzzy but overall heavier sound. The mixing separates the guitar work very effectively so you can hear Peter K.'s twin leads and kickass rhythm guitar. I don't know how he manages to come up with so many interesting riffs, especially when he's handling all lead and rhythm guitars for this release.

"Repulsor" is a great example of his ability to write many memorable guitar lines and keep things exciting. The song varies between really fast and melodic guitar leads to a thrashier sort of rhythm guitar, and even incorporates some elements of technical death metal to break things up a bit. Nearly every riff in the song is suitable for headbanging, though the unexpected timing changes and variations in the playing style are bound to give even the most experienced of headbangers a challenge. In fact, amateurs are better off not exceeding any sort of general nodding to accompany the music - I really believe trying to keep up with the guitars on "Satanized" could throw someone's neck out of alignment in no time.

Another standout track is "Battlestar Abigor." It has some great thrash-oriented riffs and some really frenzied lead playing that gives it a chaotic feel. It's also noteworthy for having what is destined to be one of the greatest metal choruses of all time. Thurisaz LiD leaves behind his rasp to go all out in a shouted chorus about Battlestar Abigor.

"Galaxies and Eons Decline" shows off Abigor's ability to mix in some atmospheric tension with all the chaotic black metal intensity. The song slows down at several points and some eerie sounding keyboards and guitar accompany a rather foreboding bass line. This eventually leads into some creepy spoken words that are bound to keep listeners on edge.

Each of the following tracks is equally awesome, though some of the playing in "Luminescence of Darkness" really shows off Peter K.'s ability. In one of the stereo channels there is one of his trademark chaotic melodies, and running along side it in the other channel is a heavier power chord version. Sometimes it can take a few listens to appreciate all of the guitar lines and variations on them you'll hear throughout this album, but the mixing makes it a lot easier to hear than previous Abigor releases.

Even though the guitar work is what most stands out and defines Abigor's sound, the drumming here is able to keep up flawlessly. Mortiz N. of Korova and Korovakill is handling drum duties, and anyone familiar with his past work knows he's used to demolishing his drum kit along with even the most insane timing changes Korova could come up with. The production on the drumming gives it a rumbling, undefined sort of sound that fits the music perfectly. The vocal performance is my only real complaint about "Satanized." The rasping starts to lose its intensity throughout the CD because Thurisaz rarely varies his recitation of the lyrics. It might be extreme when you're first exposed to it, but it becomes common place by the end of the album. When he does break out of the limitations of that rasp, however, he manages to keep things entertaining. The eerie spoken parts and the epic clean choruses add a lot to the Abigor sound. With any luck, he'll expand on that for future releases, or at least vary his rasps some more.

"Satanized" definitely isn't for everyone, but it's an excellent "hardcore black metal" release. I wouldn't be surprised if true black metal elitists leave behind Abigor for expanding their sound and using production that allows one to actually hear the instruments - but I think anyone who has followed the recent work of Emperor or Immortal will be able to keep up. Anybody interested can check out a sample mp3 in Napalm Records' products section.

Track List:
1.) The Legacy
2.) Repulsor
3.) Battlestar Abigor
4.) Galaxies And Eons Decline
5.) Luminescence of Darkness
6.) Nocturnal Stardust
7.) Satan's Galaxy
8.) The Redeemers Return

Abigor is:
Virus 666 P.K. - Guitars
Thurisaz LiD - Bass & Vocals
Mortiz N. - Drums
Lucia-M.F.K. - Synth arrangements

Abigor - Official Web Site:

Napalm Records:

All About Eve
Live and Electric at the Union Chapel
~reviewed by Jezebel
(image property and courtesy of the All About Eve website, by Howard Crowe)

Brilliant. Sensual. Sexual. Hypnotizing. Mesmerizing. Emotional. Gentle. Graceful. Uplifting. Breathtaking.

A few adjectives for a night and now CD, that defied adjectives and pleaded for new ones to be created to fully describe what happened at an intimate show by All About Eve.

For those of you who don’t know, All About Eve is back. Splitting up in 1993, they have each taken on different projects (jules et jim, Mice, Julianne’s work with This Burning Effigy, etc.). Opening for Mission on their tour in 2000, All About Eve was back. Marty Wilson-Piper, Andy Cousin and the amazing songbird, Julianne Regan reunited not just for those shows, but to test the waters and see if anyone still listened, or even cared.

Since then, AAE have been for the most part, touring non-stop. Acoustic shows, electric shows and combos of the both, all through the UK have proven to them that they were indeed always listened to and never ever forgotten. In fact, people were always praying silently that they would reunite. The fans still cared.

But as I unwrapped my Union Chapel CD, I was nervous. I had been at this show. I sat in the pew and rocked and danced and dreamed. It had been a magical show. The band had taken time to put tea candles completely around the stage and as had been their trademark, fairy lights around the mike stands. With the stained glass, the gorgeous senseof history and spirituality the venue was perfect. As Julianne herself has said, “All I can say is that I was stood in the vortex of a twinkly, sparkly spangled spiraling sonic smoky delicately thrashy twilight midnight dreamworld. All I know is that, for me, and for my lovely fellow Eves, that night was special. I personally felt that it made the Royal Albert Hall look like a bingo hall.”

So could they capture it on CD? Could they somehow make me feel like I did that night? And perhaps more importantly – could it make someone who wasn’t there feel what we all did?

The answer is a resounding yes.

Starting with the beautiful and whispering "Lady Moonlight", the album immediately wraps you in a warm feeling, touching you gently and relaxing you. You are at ease. Marty slowly and seductively strums out his guitar. It touches you on the shoulder, bades you a sweet hello. And this mood, this feeling, something of a tangible sigh continues though the next tracks of "Freeze, Wishing the Hours Away", and the poignant and melancholy ballad of "Martha’s Harbour".

And then it rocks…Marty gets the chance to play loud and hard in "Wild Hearted Woman" and "In the Clouds". The album just continues taking you on an emotional and amazing trip through all of the music that makes All About Eve a band that can leave, and come back years later and pick up with you again. Their music is timeless…because clear beautiful vocals, poignant, insightful lyrics and amazing musicians is something that never can lose its place among those who appreciate what music is about.

Surprises of the evening and the CD included "Forever", one of Marty’s songs, and Julianne made this song enrapture. As well as "You Bring Your Love To Me", another of Marty’s songs, this one another love song which Julianne’s vocals give a special touch.

December is not just the beautiful song which reminds all what it is like to be alone near the holidays, but it is haunting. The echo from the venue, the sweetness of Julianne’s voice, the subtlety of the guitars, cutting out to allow acapello from Julianne…..her sigh…her leaving the notes to just hang in the air…..”taking our breath away”.

The reworkings of the songs make them find new life, new energy and new places within our hearts. I went back to my collection of AAE thinking that they would somehow not be as much anymore after this…but that was wrong. These versions gave fresh spins on old masterpieces and there is enough room for both in my world and heart.

This limited edition 2 CD album (once these are sold out a one CD version will be available) includes on the second CD, "Scarlet", "Never Promise Anyone Forever", and one of my all-time favourites, "Farewell Mr. Sorrow".

Do you remember walking out
The day it rained forever
And you were wondering
If I held dreams of wedding rings
Well, farewell Mr. Sorrow

Who doesn’t have someone that song relates to?

I can go on. And on. "Shelter From The Rain" makes softness powerful. The “lightening strikes again”.  And what I have always felt is an anthem for those always left of center in the world, "What Kind of Fool".  Those single notes being played, you can hear on the album how the crowd went wild. And the final track, as you hear thecrowd roaring (believe it was a lot louder that night), "Outshine The Sun", which I had not been familiar with, is a lovely tune which made the whole audience as well as the listener, rock contentedly to themselves.

The one thing this CD is missing is the banter between the three. Always witty, always on mark, the three just make you feel like you are sitting in their living room and you are all just joking about. Julianne plays mother or older sister role, “tut tutting” the more raucous behaviour of Andy and most certainly, Marty. (He is a fiendish little devil).

Have the Eve’s lost anything over the years? No. This CD proves it. Marty is still a breathtakingly amazing guitarist and ham (unfortunately, the 15 minute version of "Every Angel", which they did foran encore did not make the album – a complete shame as Marty really out did himself). Andy still is the base of strength and subtle power in the group and Julianne’s voice still has the haunting strength and pull that makes it one of the most touching and memorable voices in the goth and music world. Ironically, Julianne was terrified that night as she had been ill with throat problems and was fearful that she could not sing. This did not seem evident the night and certainly not on the CD.

This is the third of the live CDs they have released inthe last year and a half and are working on new material for an entirely new album. (Join in my dance of happy joy please.) All About Eve are back (did Isay that already?) They should have never left in the first place, but we are all the more happy just to have them again.

Track List:
1.Lady Moonlight
3.Wishing The Hours Away
4.Martha’s Harbour
5.Wild Hearted Woman
6.In The Clouds
7.Miss World
8.Are You Lonely
12.More That The Blues
13.You Bring Your Love To Me
14.Shelter From the Rain
15.What Kind Of Fool
16.Outshine The Sun

Bonus CD Tracks:
2.Never Promise Anyone Forever
3.Farewell Mr. Sorrow

All About Eve are:
            Julianne Regan – vocals
            Andy Cousin – Bass and acoustic guitars
            Marty Wilson-Piper – Electric and acoustic guitars

Appearing on this album:
            Rik Carter – Keyboards, acoustic guitar and bass
            Del Hood - drums

Official All About EveWebsite:

Arch Visceral Parlor
~reviewed by Matthew

Arch Visceral Parlor is a relatively new act hailing from Chicago, responsible for a spellbinding blend of darkwave romanticism and shoegaze atmosphere.  Soft strains of glorious ebow passages, lulling bass lines, and surreal synthesized swirls all make for a beautiful and highly entrancing package.  The dense and dream-like soundscapes are capped with the breathy alto of Abigail Ferraris, who opts for a decidedly more primal vocal approach, as opposed to rigid attempts at angelic operatics.  Not that there is anything wrong with soprano vocals, but mediocre soprano vocals have become all too common to my ears.  As of late, I’ve preferred my divas to possess deeper, duskier tones and Ms. Ferraris’ falls in the range of the soul-stirring lamentations of Jarboe and Susann of Love Is Colder Than Death, and therefore, does not disappoint.

The band succeeds in creating solid rhythms, courtesy of well-disciplined drum programming, which more often than naught could pass for live, organic drumming.  A big plus in my book.  A raw, lo-fi production elevates, as opposed to hinders the overall sound of AVP.  That, combined with the fluid ebb and flow of warm synths and jagged rhythms recall Lycia’s dramatic debuts “Wake” and “Ionia,” though this is definitely not quite as eerie and desolate.  This is warm, romantic music, and though I have yet again made the New Year’s Resolution to try my best not to compare bands to other bands in reviews, I can’t help but want to compare AVP to the early years of Love Spirals Downwards in lieu of the haunting guitar style and the frequent use of the ebow, and since LSD have been consistently moving away from that sound, I am relieved to hear that a new band is carrying the torch.

AVP’s sound is definitely not something groundbreaking, but it is certainly refreshing and in many ways unique considering the still predominantly electronic and synth-based direction of the dark music scene at the moment.  This is just as indie as it is Goth, a nice balance in between the two and therefore not limiting the appeal of the band.   The songs are longer, involved, and hypnotic, languishingly drifting from track to track, the CD clocks in at just under fifty minutes.  “Impermanence” is perhaps the discs most memorable track with Abigail’s most impassioned performance. “Come back, come back, return, return” Abigail convincingly pleads at the chorus.  The lyrics examine the brevity of love and the empty aftermath, and the reverb-drenched desperation of the music is indeed effective.  “The Cleaving” is a more rhythmic track, the drumming is at the forefront, the vocals acquire a more anxious urgency, and the guitar moans and wails eerily in the background.  Quite cool indeed.   Another highlight is “Little Horses,” a dream-like interpretation of the traditional lullaby that Current 93 (with the aid of Nick Cave) made famous on their 1996 masterpiece.  AVP’s version is coloured with a droning psychedelia, with murky waves of warm synths and accents of music box chimes.

The album closes with two tracks that were apparently recorded live.  “That Medieval Rogue Song” speaks for itself with its clever title, a mischievous track seasoned with bouncing harpsichords, a shuffling rhythm, and rapid tongue-twisting vocals.  Though not disrupting the dream-like fluidity of the disc, it does add a fresh and dare I say, festive dimension to the album.

Overall, AVP are a delightful and promising new act that I am thankful to have been exposed to.  Having already opened for acts such as Sorrow and recently, performing with Element at Scary Lady Sarah’s annual Saturnalia winter event, I hope that Arch Visceral Parlor will continue to make the same honest and emotional music, and receive attention beyond the Chicago area.  Fans of the Cocteaus, Slowdive, Mira, and other 4AD and Projekt styled artists should keep an eye out for a new release this winter, and visit the band’s website for more information.

1.) Wire Hazing
2.) Impermanence
3.) The Cleaving
4.) Bitter Moon
5.) Little Horses
6.) Stopped
7.) That Medieval Rogue Song
8.) Prague

Arch Visceral Parlor is:

Abigail Aileen Ferraris – vocals, keyboards
Nathaniel Fremont – guitar, drum programming
Andrew Germkow – bass, strings, programming

Arch Visceral Parlor – Official Site:

The Hounded
~reviewed by Jezabel
(photo courtesy/property of the band's website)

After a recommendation from a leading DJ here in London, I decided to give Belisha a listen…I need to listen to that guy more often.

The first track at first made me doubt the word of my intelligent friend. Wormwire seemed disjointed and out of synch as if the metronome used by the band had gone all wrong and they kept playing with it never realizing that it would speed up and slow down…and not that delicately. Perhaps an “effect” was being approached here, but it left me taking deep sighs and hoping for something better.

And I was not disappointed in the least. These men from East London are another of the bands that need to be watched because of their versatility and strength, something sorely lacking in many bands who can do one thing well and that will be it. The fiercely danceable Cannibal should work well in the club scene, as will the title track, The Hounded and especially, The Fall of the Evergreen (although most Goths might be out of breath after the first chorus). These are danceable goth rock tracks with a metal twist brought in for good measure and even enough electronic in the background to keep bleepy types somewhat satisfied (although why that would be important is beyond me).

And for those like me who like an album to ebb and flow and turn and twist, there is "Into the Capsian Sea" and "Every Sentimental Moment". Both, especially the latter showcase a poetry in the lyrics that are in sharp contrast to the rest of the album.

From "Every Sentimental Moment":

           Life has such meaning with true love that’s burnin
          Changing my yearning for your love that’s turning me

No….that is wrong. I have it wrong as I read through more. There is a poetry in ALL of the songs and that is perhaps what makes it magical. Through this lovely poetry and fine writing (and great vocabulary – calubrious????) the music creates enough strength, anger and energy to take the poetry to another level, changing its identity and giving it more levels than the original words possessed.

I have tried to find some similarities to other bands and I feel I may have to duck some tomatoes here. The versatility of the band actually remind me of early Goo Goo Dolls who were able to balance themselves between hard hitting punk sounding and more relaxed pop sounds.

The vocals are strong, powerful, filled with depth…. and hard to find a comparison to. Believe me, I tried. I found some of the guitar work a bit laborious, and a bit too layered, but again, an overall package that takes away any weaknesses.

Some small problems may arise for these guys if Carl McCoy ever takes a gander at the inside of the liner notes….those images are just “bit” too close to the FotN logo for taste. Thankfully, the logo for the band (available for download on their website) is nothing like the liner and actually is a quite cute alien line drawing. (Hope the guys don’t find that offensive, but I find the little guy cute).

These are hard working guys who have a new video which will be showcased on MTV-2 and Kerrang. I have yet to see the footage, but know there is a copy waiting for me.

This CD is good. It’s solid. And it a great foundation for a band. In that I mean, it doesn’t blow you away so much that any album in the future will be a let down, but gives you the band a way of bringing you in, sitting you down for a nice before dinner drink and then later, will wallop you with a seven course meal that would make a Cordon Bleu chef jealous.

Track List:
1.) Wormwire
2.) Hope of Pills
3.) Cannibal
4.) Filthy
5.) Into the Casparian Sea
6.) The Hounded
7.) Every Sentimental Moment
8.) Wolfs Head
9.) The Fall of the Evergreens
10.) Ball of String

Belisha are:
Dan, vocals
Byden, guitars
Elric, Bass
Pit, keys
Oliver, drums

Belisha - Official Website:

Filthy Sonnix Records

Bitter Fall
Sweet Rise
~reviewed by Kevin Filan

Bitter Fall's "Sweet Rise" induces altered states of consciousness: it gives the listener flashbacks of 1995.  The grungy guitars, mumblemumbleSCREAM!!!mumblemumble vocals and metal-edged power chords are pure post-Cobain alternarock.  I could see Bernard Kadosh, Greg Kowalczyk and company opening for an Alice in Chains/Soundgarden bill.  This isn't to say that Bitter Fall is a bunch of alternaclones.  They aren't just sounding the notes; rather, they've captured the melancholy power of stadium rock's twilight years.

This is no mean feat.  Many of these mid-90s bands were derivative of earlier sources like Black Sabbath, Neil Young, and Nirvana.  A band doing postgrunge today runs the risk of sounding like a pale copy of a pale copy.  There's also the issue of timing: postgrunge is too dated to be "cutting edge," yet too recent to win nostalgia points.  (Nothing is quite so old as last season's Big Thing).  Bitter Fall pulls it off largely by sheer talent.  Rockers like "One More Time" and "My Sweet Valentine" feature excellent guitar/synthesizer interplay and a fat synthesizer bass line to keep things moving along.  Like the best postgrunge bands, they combine the raw power of garage rock with top-notch musical skills.

Bitter Fall makes extensive use of programming and sampling, but keep things from sounding either sterile or industrial.  The sinister thrumming synthesizer/guitar riff underpins the crooned-whispered-shrieked vocals of "Butterflies and Black Skies" and serves as support, not focal point. The pacing is always brisk and never self-indulgent.  Even a grinding power-chord workout like "Drown" keeps moving along, thanks to a nice sprinkling of distorted minor guitar chords and some rock-solid use of electronic drums.  (That being said, I'd really like to see Bitter Fall onstage; Alex Marr's live percussion could very well crank these songs up several anthemic notches).  Perhaps the only misfire is their cover of "People are Strange" which is faithful to the original, but doesn't really add anything to it.

Seven years ago, Bitter Fall would have been on the fast track to an MTV video.  Seven years from now, they could well be at the forefront of bands doing the "90s sound."  Right now they've released an interesting and hard-rocking disc which deserves a listen, and which leaves me looking forward to their next release.

Bitter Fall is:
Bernard Kadosh: Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards/Programming
Greg Kowalczyk: Keyboards/Programming
Scott Middleton: Guitars
Alex Marr: Live Drums

1) One More Time
2) Drown
3) Butterflies and Black Skies
4) Angels Don't Lie
5) My Sweet Valentine
6) Sweet Rise
7) People are Strange
8) How is this Going to End?

Bitter Fall Website

Hexagon Records Website

Black Ocean Drowning
Negative Life
~reviewed by Matthew

Black Ocean Drowning is a five-piece outfit hailing from Michigan.  Their music is a synth heavy blend of mid paced Goth Rock with a decidedly more hard rock/metal tinge to their guitars.  Somewhat in the same league as Advent Sleep and Seraphim Shock, but a bit more relaxed and atmospheric. The vocals are quite raw, sometimes sounding as if the singer is teetering on the brink of a violent explosion of angst, but sadly, that sort of intensity is only hinted at, and we are left at only the potential.

While a descent band, there seems to be something missing.  They do project a full, organic band sound, with a tight rhythm section supplied by dark bass tones and drum passages that frequently lead into tribal cascades.  The guitars crunch along, sometimes employing the use of simple power chords, but more often than naught they provide a fuzzy, sonic distortion that recalls a more dense old school Goth sound.  The synths however, carry the central melodies and they seem to form the overall nucleus of the band with the edgy male vocals at the forefront.

This is one of those bands that I think might end up being more captivating live.  More often than naught, when you see a band live and then hear their CD, the memories of the live energy gives the CD further animation.  The energy is here, but it sounds as if Black Ocean Drowning are restraining themselves a bit, reluctant to give into a full out musical and vocal attack that they seem capable of.  The vocals need a bit more variation, and I would love to hear this guy freak out a bit.  He has a very strong voice, but it often slips out of key.

I think Black Ocean Drowning have a lot more to offer.  Though we only recently received this CD to review at Starvox, the copyright is 1998.  I am wondering if the band has gone on to do more, and if their compositions since have at all explored the potential that “Negative Life” hints of. There website is not all that informative, and the label’s site just lists a simple bio and provides a link to purchase the CD from Amazon.com  Whatever the case, there is still something slightly amateurish about this release.  Nonetheless, I would rather listen to something of this nature, the product of five active flesh and blood musicians, as opposed to some basement or home computer electronic project.  Keep an eye on these guys; hopefully there is more to come.

Track List:
1.) One Foot Sky
2.) The River
3.) Babylon
4.) Transparent
5.) I Can’t Breathe
6.) House Of Cork
7.) Crush

Black Ocean Drowning is:
Jeremy – vocals, samples
Chris – guitars
Toby – bass
Derek  – keyboards
Jeff  - drums

Black Ocean Drowning – Official Site:

Medea Records:

Bleeding Like Mine
Never again will I dream
~reviewed by Jezabel

Quietly and sensually the music from the second release from this band makes its way out of the speakers and into the bowels of whatever disparity you are feeling in your life. Frightening how the simple sounds and soft tones of vocal can actually grab you – but it is in this that BLM succeeds. Curt and Holly Emmer have again made something that is in the world of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Libitina, lovespiralsdownward and takes their own place among them.

The vocals of Holly Emmer and guest vocalist Hugues Dammarie, from O Quam Tristis… (who also performs flute) gently weave a curtain of despairing words and emotions through the lyrics of Curt Emmer. It seems we are going through a devastating breakup and feeling every shift in love, hate,despair, desolation, loneliness, regret, hope and betrayal. This is the epitome of the volume of poetry written by the 16 year old feeling his or her first breakup – but yet with the ability to write like an adult.

It is almost as we are taken through the five stages of death. Denial, anger, etc. In fact, Denial is the second track and it states clearly, succinctly what goes though so many minds initially after thebreak-up…..

            No, I know you’ll be back, what with the life we are building, and the castle wallaround us…..or between us?

And the fear, as one wonders how one will go on, “without the strength of you open arms I will surely not survive.”  And then the questions and perhaps, subtlety– the anger, “When will you realize the mistake you’ve made?” And more anger comes in Shallow and beyond where the anger starts to build lyrically and continues to do so in "Waiting for the harvest never to come". And then gradual start of acceptance, “You can’t replace the past, can you? Even if you watch the movie”  You can start to hear it. The questioning of it all –"Did we ever know love at all?”.  And then the proclamation in "Untitled #27: Renewal,“  "Teach me to have, and to hold and to feel the powers of love once again.”  And that wonderful time, when you know that you will never feel like this again, you won’t listen to that album that makes you think of the other person, you won’t go to that diner again, “Never again will I relive the time of you.” But the real acceptance comes later, in track #16, “ I’m a better person for losing you. I’ve learned all I can from the memory of you, not it’s time for me to go on…. it’s time for you to go.” But does it really come at all? In the liner notes, Track #16 has lyrics, on the CD itself, it doesn’t. Leaving the listener to contemplate if the resolution of a broken heart has truly come or is it wishful thinking and hope of the writer?

I think the only shortcoming of the lyrics is the over use, abuse we may say, of the question and the question mark. Of the 16 songs this CD offers, 8 have questions, most have more than one. And although this may sound like I am being picky – I think there may have been more innovative ways of phraseology than that and, reading the lyrics, as I am want to do – it gets tedious. I do understand the doubt and questioning that obviously is done during times that are described and emoted about throughout this album, but it is the artists’ job to bring a new twistand a unique way of relating those questions. But enough said on that.

The voices of Holly and Hugues are actually perfectly suited for the music and blend well with it, creating a perfect marriage. I would have loved to hear a duet with the two, feeding off the softness, yet intensity of their voices. The strongest of the male songs, coupled with the music, not only the vocals, is "Faith Abandoned"….there is something very hypnotizing of it all, of the repetition and Hugues lovely tenor dancing over the notes. As for the female led songs, all are strong, her alto voice finding lovely nuances with a note, almost in the vein as Monica Richards can do – but softer, more angelic sounding.

There are some mysterious, if not basically quirky things about this band. One, despite checking out several websites, I could find no history of the band, more info on the members, or from where they come. I~think~ the States would be the answer for Curt and Holly, but assume Hugues is from Europe (I am guessing France or Italy) as the fact that English is not his first language seems apparent on several tracks. Two, rather uniquely, they are very forthright about where the majority of the album was recorded – in the apartment of Holly and Curt. What strikes me about that is the normal fashion of creating a “name” for home studios to look more professional as a band has been abandoned.  Now, I know quite a number of bands and their albums who have never even seen the inside of a professional studio, but you would never know from the liner notes, and perhaps more importantly from the quality. I don’t think is a bad idea for a band to do– creating a fictious name for a studio they record in. But the honesty of Curt and Holly is refreshing and somehow makes me give them perhaps more leeway in quality – which they don’t need anyway.

The music is lovely and relaxing. All I wanted to do while listening to this album was to get into a warm bubble bath in a room filled with candles and drink a lovely glass of rich burgundy. Soothing despite thesubject.

Track List:
Untitled #8: Chapter 4
In your flesh lies the key; Chapter 2
Untitled #18
Shallow and beyond (Phrases 5 & 6)
Waiting for the harvest never to come
Untitled #23
And now it’s gone
10,000 years… or tomorrow
Did we ever know love at all?
Waiting…: Chapter 2
Untitled ~27: Renewal
Faith Abandoned
In your flesh lies the key (v.2)
Never again will I dream… (the Tower:Chapter 3
The hardest to let go

Bleeding Like Mine are forthis recording:
Hugues Dammarie – Voice on tracks 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 13 &15, flute on 4 & 7
Holly Emmer – Voice on tracks 2, 5, 6, 8, 11, & 14
Curt Emmer – All other instruments; voice on 11 &12

Band’s Website:

Distribution from Palace ofWorms

The Blue Hour
~reviewed by Matthew

Seattle’s Blue Hour is primarily the solo project of one Brian Hodges.  This debut release “Evensong” is a sedate, romantic collection of dark folk ballads with a twist of Pagan mythology to colour the lyrics.  The music is very relaxing, mellow, and depressively introspective.  The listener feels as though they have snuck up behind a lonely troubadour in the forest, pouring forth his heart upon his lute (in this case his guitar).  There are shades of modernity to be found in sparse and subtle keyboard work, which is employed for the most part for a few scattered ambient interludes throughout the disc, but as to flesh out the musical backdrop of the remaining tracks.

If the song titles alone didn’t hint of Mr. Hodges’ admiration for Sol Invictus, his cover of “Lex Talionis” will solidify any suspicions you may have had.  And indeed, his version is a unique and perhaps more minimalist interpretation.  A much starker and more intimate version than the original, The Blue Hour version is simply much creepier and more foreboding.  This of course, is a good thing.  I was very pleased with his cover of a very familiar and timeless apocalyptic folk classic.

Unlike Tony Wakeford, Brian’s voice is very clear and commanding, sometimes a hint of Thanatos’ vocalist shines through while at other times he sounds like a more sincere Johnny Indovina from Human Drama.  He has a very ‘youthful’ voice, which suits the music quite well.  Sometimes his voice soars smooth and heartfelt, while at other times he relies upon a chilling, malevolent whisper, as in the masterful closing track “Red Sands" (Which also feature a few lines from metaphysical poet John Donne, and you can't go wrong with that!)

My only problem with this CD is a very minute one, and that is I feel the ambient interludes sort of disrupt the momentum of the CD, certainly it disrupts the seeming medieval simplicity of it all.  I see the reason behind their inclusion, to stir things up a bit, but I wonder if it is really all that favourable a mix?  Perhaps something more striking and complex might due.  At worst, some with more demanding attention spans may find the CD to be a bit too mellow.   While I enjoyed the moody gloom of the CD, I do think it could stand a bit more moments of tension and musical expansion. The Blue Hour mp3 site suggests influences by the composers Mahler and Shostakovich, so perhaps there is much more to come. Regardless, I definitely see a healthy future for The Blue Hour.

With those small things aside, “Evensongs” is a fantastically organic and richly arranged CD, and though mellow, it is not at all boring.  The mood is dark; the overall feel of the CD is definitely a deep, murky, and introspective journey that World Serpent and apocalyptic folk fans will instantly enjoy.  The quality of the vocals as well will immediately sit well with potential listeners.

Definitely one of the better CDs I have heard recently, and perfect for late night lamentations and for moments of melancholic relaxation.   Keep an eye out for The Blue Hour on the upcoming World Serpent tribute release to William Blake, where an interpretation of “Night” will appear.

Track List:
1.) The Navigator
2.) Eyes Of Nature
3.) A Tree Stands Alone
4.) A Garden In Winter
5.) I Am The Wind
6.) Mirror Of October
7.) My Lady Upon Silvery Pool
8.) Procession Of The Sun
9.) Silence My Dress
10.) Lex Talionis
11.) Temple Of Ice
12.) This Path
13.) Red Sands

The Blue Hour is:
Brian Hodges – vocals, classical & acoustic guitars, flutes, loops,
keyboards, percussion, and programming

Christopher Gladis: 12 string acoustic and electric guitars, programming
Tom Moller: percussion on “Eyes Of Nature” “I Am The Wind” and “This Path”




Perun Records:

~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Ok, we need to get this obligatory part of the review out of the way - yes, Simen Hestnaes has left the band. Since he is one of the best vocalists in metal, it's a great disappointment to see him go to a band seemingly not interested in his vocal talents. Simen first joined Borknagar for their third release, The Archaic Course, and I consider this to be a classic. However, I was less impressed with last year's follow-up release, Quintessence. Simen used more of his deathy/growly vocals on that one and far less clean singing. And that's why I was all prepared for Borknagar to start fresh with a whole new line-up. They've got Tyr on bass (he was the touring bassist for Satyricon and Emperor); and Asgeir Mickelson (drums) and Lars A. Nedland (keyboards) are now full time members. Perhaps the most noticeable change is that Vintersorg (of Vintersorg and Otyg) now handles the vocals.

With all of these changes, it was hard to predict where Borknagar might go. Lesser hands would have muddled up everything they had going because of all the line-up problems. But Borknagar has manged to craft a quite enjoyable release here despite any of that, and I'm all the happier for it.

Empiricism is Borknagar's fifth release, and it is their most mature album yet. It has more of a progressive edge than past releases; the drumming is more technical, and the keyboards play a more noticeable role. Whereas the bass playing on past releases was all but inaudible, you can hear it clearly, and Tyr's talent is very evident. Yet at the same time, this isn't just a more progressive Borknagar. In fact, in some ways it has an even stronger folk influence than before. Several of the songs are slower, earthy sounding tracks that aren't as aggressive as past Borknagar. They move along at a pretty mild pace and are full of some well performed clean singing. Even acoustic guitars weave their way into the sound now and then, adding to the organic feel.

Every member contributes a surprising amount to the feeling on Empiricism. The improved production lets the drums and bass shine through, and the technical yet fitting performances mix with the rest of the sound perfectly. The keyboards are more pronounced and varied than before, and I particularly like their use on the instrumental "Matter & Motion." Vintersorg's vocals are actually quite fitting to the sound. He can handle the whole growly aspect of Borknagar's vocal sound, but more often than not he's using his clean voice. For some reason, his vocals in Otyg and his solo band never really appealed to me. I'm not sure if he's just continued to grow as a vocalist or if he's altered his style somewhat for this Borknagar release - but it works. The guitars are, as always, very entertaining. Oystein G. Brun has always come up with some really creative riffs, and Empiricism is no exception. There are even a couple of memorable solos that enhance the songs they are on. The solo towards the end of 'The Genuine Pulse' is a prime example.

Quintessence wasn't a bad release, but I did feel that it was a bit rushed and messy, and failed to live up to The Archaic Course. I don't know that I'll rank Empiricism quite as high as The Archaic Course, but the albums are different enough that no competition between them should be necessary. Borknagar has improved their sound a great deal, and Empiricism has some of their most well composed and thoughtful songs to date. I'll probably never like Vintersorg's vocals as much as Simen, but even that isn't much of an issue. Vintersorg isn't trying to emulate Simen in any way, and he has a pretty unique sound of his own. After Simen's mostly deathy sounding vocal performance on Quintessence, I think Vintersorg is actually a refreshing change of pace. He is quite capable of accompanying the more folkish and progressive sides of the Borknagar sound.

If Borknagar can maintain this line-up for any length of time, I think we'll see them put out some really unbelievable material. For now, Empiricism is far above average and is a worthwhile listen for fans of Borknagar or Vintersorg and Otyg. Be sure to check out whatever MP3s Century Media posts, and last time I checked there was a full version of "The Genuine Pulse" up on Borknagar's own site. That's one of the album's more aggressive and progressive tracks. Overall, Empiricism is worth the time of anyone into this style of metal. You probably know who you are.

Track List:
1.) The Genuine Pulse
2.) Gods of My World
3.) The Black Canvas
4.) Matter & Motion
5.) Soul Sphere
6.) Inherit the Earth
7.) The Stellar Dome
8.) Four Element Synchronicity
9.) Liberated
10.) The View of Everlast

Borknagar is:
Oystein G. Brun - guitar
Vintersorg - vocals
Lars A. Nedland - synthesizers
Asgeir Mickelson - drums
Jens F. Ryland - guitar
Tyr - bass

Borknagar - Official Web Site:

Century Media Records:

The Brickbats
Monster Party
~reviewed by Blu

The long awaited, and I do mean LONG AWAITED, new Brickbats CD, Monster Party, is FINALLY here. I thought I'd be a zombie myself before it finally came out. But impatience aside, it was worth the wait, as I expected it would be. Playing Undead Rock and Roll music since May of 1995, the Brickbats have been, in my opinion, the leading band in the deathrock/gothabilly cross over genres before there were even genres of this sort. They are the grand-daddies of Monster Music and no one will ever do it quite as well as they do. Their discography reads: Sing You Dead (1995), Party Seriously EP (1997), split single w/Stiffs Inc. "Funeral Drive/Brand New Casket" (1997), Hysterical Popular Music Group With Bad Motivator Destroys Fever Swamp In Cherry Tree Monstrosity EP (1998) Creepy Crawly - The Unauthorized Autobiography of Undead Rock And Roll Music (1998) and Monster Party (2001). Some of these are harder to come by these days but I suggest you check out Middle Pillar for all your Brickbats needs.

Onward to the new tunes, shall we?

First things first though, the look of the CD is alot of fun - decked out in bright Halloween Pumpkin orange, it features some pretty nifty block prints done by D.W. himself. And you thought he was just a mere musician? Ha! The inside photo tray also features a great collage by Aemen and Erin (The Crooked Forest) which depicts a dance hall with all sorts of classic monsters -- Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein, the Swamp Thing, etc. and of course D.W. Friend, Corey Gorey and Paul Morden.

Musically this CD is full of all the spooky, rockin' goodness you've come to expect from these guys - always delightful, never bitter, and smooth bold flavor...a'hem. "Distort & Amputate" opens up the CD and takes no prisoners from the beginning with its faster tempo (is D.W. a mad man on the drums or what?), in your face shrieking guitars and plenty o' "whoa-oh-ohs" a la Corey Gorey. "Mr. Halloween" is downright gritty - the bass sulks and slinks with a bluesy twist and it has one of the most addictive choruses I've ever heard. When Corey sings "About dancin' - yeah! About dancin' on the unmarked graves..." you cannot HELP but sing along - - that cartoonish "yeah" is the Greatest Thing Ever. "Roll, Head, Roll!" is an amazingly fast 50's type of song and I'm surprised they can get all the words out without falling over themselves - riotous fun, especially when they he sings "I want to see your head a-spinning. Hack, Hack, Hack Hack Hack" (um...no sir, my cat doesn't have hairballs, really.)

And although all of the Brickbats' material is funny, I must say the the lyrics and the intonation with which they are sung on "Body Snatcher" never fails to illicit out loud laughter from me *every* time I hear it. There's hardly any musical introduction before Corey is off singing, "I came from space to eat your face, uh -huhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I destroyed Mars, you
can't  fun far, uh-huh, Baby, you're my body..." Sometimes I worry about those boys, yes I do, yes I do, yes I do now. Inside sources tell me Paul Morden makes a cool vocal appearance singing opposite of Corey in this song as well.

Track 5, "She's So Victorian" would classify as the slightly more serious, ode to girl trouble and tip-o-the-hat to those strange girls who are fascinated with the Victorian age:

Did she have to hang the pictures of the baby in his coffin
Or cover the windows in thick black curtains
She can be so repressed, and when I ask her to get undressed
She gets depressed
Unhinge the iron gown, and drop the corset down
She can be so 1883...
The introduction to "Dr. Acula" is almost as funny at the Body Snatcher song. And while I'm quoting lyrics, let me say  this is one of the wittiest and well-written songs I've heard them do because of the humorous twist on an old tale:
Had to leave the Carpathians, had to leave the Black Sea
All those rumors getting uglified
Deep-fried in peasants dreams - Took off to Carfax Abby
Cause who there would suspect
The count of practicing medicine, specializing in necks...
Track 7 would hope to inspire the newest goth club dance craze with "Do the Dead Girl" and if you listen carefully you can hear a social comment or two ("they wouldn't know death-rock if they got killed by an avalanche" snort!). Hell, give me enough drinks and I'll try it. (Am I hearing things or is that dear old Frankenstein panting and moaning in the background?) "Gravesend" pays a sort of homage to Brooklyn with its nifty ever-increasing tempo, and track 9 is about a monster that gave me horrific nightmares when I was little or possibly the guy who hit on me last weekend. And say, someone's given D.W. speed on "Brand New Casket" - fast fast fast.

The CD rounds itself out with three final songs: the bluesy, chewy and cleverly worded "Swingin' With the Bones of Batwing" (ripe for commercial takeover by popular products for the right price I'm sure as it would make *the* coolest Halloween candy commercial ever); "Homebodies" about drinking with Frankenstien in a mausoliam (or the ever increasing and sad state of my personal life); and the title track "Monster Party."  I would attempt to write out the extremely addictive tag line of this last song, but I'm afraid what ever I'd pencil in here would just not do it phonetic justice. Therefore, you must get this CD for yourself and learn the secret Brickbat call so you too can be a part of the "in" crowd in the monster world. I'm going to go practice it now while you listen for the hidden track recorded solely with children's intruments and a broken harp that creeps up at approximately 12:30 into track 13 and reeks havoc on my "continuous play" button (pssssssssssssst...here's a fun little odd fact if you're into significant numbers: track 13 ends precisely on 13:13).

Final Conclusion: a must have for Halloween if you're one of those "normal" people who only pay attention to monsters once a year but perfectly acceptable as year round music if you're not.

1. Distort & Amputate
2. Mr. Halloween
3. Roll, Head, Roll!
4. Body Snatcher
5. She's So Victorian
6. Dr. Acula
7. Do The Dead Girl
8. Gravesend
9. Na Na Na Na (The Creature)
10. Brand New Casket
11. Swingin' With the Bones of Batwing
12. Homebodies
13. Monster Party

This CD is available from Neue Asthetik

or Middle Pillar

The Brickbats on mp3:

The Brides

The Memphis Morticians

Rock and Roll Star Destroyer on mp3:

Various Artists (Somn<I>mage)
A Cage Went in Search of a Bird:
Music Inspired by Franz Kafka
~reviewed by Blu

This various artists compilation from Somnimage records was no light undertaking. At hand was the task of compiling and/or creating music that was inspired by the fiction of Franz Kafka. It required the participating bands to be at least somewhat familiar with his work and most did a superb job as I notice that several of these tracks were made specifically for this CD rather than culling old songs from previous works that might fit the theme. Any time a group of artists set out to take on a project representing one of the better (and in my opinion, sublimely bizarre) literary figures like Kafka, it stands to reason that admiration just for sheer effort of it, is called for. Comprised of 17 international bands ranging in genre from darkwave, neo-classical to experimental; it was primarily the vision of Mykel Boyd (from the band angelhood) and features outstanding artwork by Christian Faur.

Onto the tracks: I’ve always loved the darker melancholy side of Attrition (as opposed to its harsher electronic side) – especially when they use neo-classical elements like they do here with strings on “Metamorphosis.”  The violin carries the melody in this instrumental with a Russian flair – haunting, teasing and sensually perplexing. It’s an utterly beautiful piece and one of my two clear favorites on this CD. The deeply masculine vocals on La Funcion De Repulsa’s “El Escritorio De K” are evil, lamenting and suffering – I only wish were given access to the lyrics. Angelhood contributes its own piece, complete with plaintive piano melodies, echoing voices and what sounds like squeaking insect sounds (how appropriate) and Mara’s Torment, ethereal and otherworldly as always, gives us the contemplating and surreal soundscape of “Absently Gazing Out” while Loren Jan Wilson II & Ryoji Furui’s “Sample 9” irrigates the hell out of me with its loud Mario-game beeps (composed entirely digitally it notes). You can’t win them all I suppose and because I am admittedly not as thoroughly acquainted with all of Kafka’s work as I’d like to be; I can’t actually say whether or not “Sample 9” is appropriate to the theme. All I know is that sonically, it hurts my ears (sorry fellas!).  Much to my relief, Neither/Neither World comes in on the next track with a delicate darkwave piece called “Falling” -- female vocals backed by acoustic guitar paint a bleak landscape and the words to Kafka’s Metamorphosis are used as whispered spoken-word in background. Halo Skycrash offers up a harsh industrial composition with “Mortal Forcast” and probably one of the most intellectually interesting tracks on this CD is the complex and fascinating “The Dancer Eduardova” by Julian Tulip’s Licorice. This strange spoken word/soundscape composition featuring both male and female voices is more akin to performance art than a song and contains text read from the diaries of Franz Kafka. Bravo to Julian for going the extra thematic mile with this track!

Nearly half way through the tracks now, another one that’s a stand out and the second favorite of mine on this CD is Benjamin Stauffer’s “Imaginosis”. The cinematic piano playing paints a story with its lush, almost Requiem-styled melodies. It’s simply gorgeous! It runs from complicated baroque sounding harpsichord lines to deeply sinister synth lines successfully merging the modern world with a classic touch of the old and indeed, bringing Kafka’s world to our contemporary consciousness. Chagas delivers a noisy experimental piece called “Just” which is a little too abrasive for my taste and sharply contrasted on the next track, “An Awful Autum” from Shinjuku Thief that is light and bittersweet. (Here’s a nod to Mykel Boyd for making a conscious decision to alternate harsh and softer tracks keeping the mood of this CD ever changing…). Another Kafka spoken word piece is presented by Chthonic Force in the song “Solitary;” Garden of Dreams gives us a slightly darker-than-usual darkwave piece with “Into the Deep (Cage Bird Mix);” and Remora employs some strange sort of metallic sound effects that ring and echo against an instrumental melody played so far in the background its hard to hear over the noise (I’m very curious how this sound was made – I suspect its something organic and not produced by synthesizer). Oblivia delivers a crafy female fronted NIN-ish industrial bit called “Dead Zone Eve,” E.A. Zann donates a static-laced noise/experimental piece called “Early Writings” and finally, New York Room gives us the melodic “Inside the Dream.”

All in all, there weren’t too many tracks on this compilation that I wasn’t impressed with. As I mentioned before, each band is to be commended for even attempting such a hard project. Kudos to Mykel and the folks at Somnimage for having the idea in the first place and following through with it. Our scene could use some more literary references and projects like this one. With releases like this, perhaps the media will begin to look at us as a cultivated, intelligent counter-culture instead of Mansonites hiding behind false pretenses of youthful rebellion.

1. Attrition – Metamorphosis (www.attrition.co.uk)
2. La Funcion De Repulsa – El Escritorio De K (www.noiseweb.com/genitalp/)
3. Angelhood – A Hunger Artist (www.angelhood.net)
4. Mara’s Torment – Absently Gazing Out (www.corpusnet.com/torment)
5. Loren Jan Wilson II &  Ryoji Furui – Sample 9 (http://loren.uchicago.eduhttp://hello.to/ryoji/)
6. Neither/Neither World – Falling (www.zoskiasounds.com)
7. Halo Skycrash – Mortal Forcast (HaloSkycrash@netscape.net)
8. Julian Tulip’s Licorice – The Dancer Edvardova (http://www.freakathon.com/)
9. Benjamin Stauffer – Imaginosis (www.somnimage.com)
10. Chagas – Just
11. Shinjuku Thief – An Awful Autum (http://werple.net.au/~dorobo/dorobo.html)
12. Chthonic Force – Solitary (www.zoskiasounds.com)
13. Garden of Dreams – Into the Deep (Cage Bird Mix) (www.gardenofdreams.com)
14. Remora – Before the Law (http://members.xoom.com/hrthrt/silber/remora.html)
15. Oblivia – Dead Zone Eve (www.oblivia.com)
16. E.A. Zann – Early Writings (destroyed) (www.seraphonline.com)
17. The New York Room – Inside the Dream (www.iserv.net/~nyroom)


The Elemental
~review by Jezebel

As the opening of West Coast, US clubs start to prohibit techno, there may be hope for gothic rock and here in the UK, there are bands who are trying valiantly to continue to carry the torch, Corrosion is one of them.

Founded in the later part of 2000 by Matthew North and Paul Roe, their debut EP is rich is what gothic rock should be and can become. There is the base of strong guitars, an overwhelming, but welcome bass and powerful vocals. But here, they incorporate, to this reviewer, usage of “techno sounds” in the right dose. You hear the keyboards, the computer sampling, but it becomes part of the music, supporting what is more important, drums, guitar and bass.

The first track, "The Elemental", is reminiscent vocally of Wayne Hussey while the music is JUDITH with a stronger bass. And the second, "Resurrection Playground", is a danceable track, the vocals less Hussey-like. This could definitely get the dance floor filled, with trads as well as bleepy people.

We move on to "Dream Stalker". I must admit the title of the song made me shudder as it sounded like a bad death metal song. And I was disappointed in the quality of the song. The vocal was horrifically lost, as it seemed as they mixed it purposely, since the song may have been outside of Paul’s range. It does have the potential to be an excellent song – and again quite danceable – but would need to be reworked with either the vocal being brought forward more or perhaps dropping the melody down a half octave.

And finally, we have "Shattered Fragments", starting out excellently….I really love beginnings like this. They are all anxious and almost anticipatory….which may or may not be a word…but you sit on the edge of your seat, wondering, waiting for the weight of the song to be dropped onto you. As it builds, you want more, almost left panting for more. This doesn’t do that – it does, and quite well I think, continue to draw you in and keep you interested.

All in all, it’s a fine album and I must say the first two tracks are the stronger of the two – both danceable and filled with the promise of more to come. The second two, while excellent, leave me a bit wanting of more development into them.

Corrosion are off this year to Coventry and Euro Rock in Belgium….one of the bands that hopefully will lead us away from techno bleepy damnation and back to goth rock salvation.

Track Listings:
1) The Elemental
2) Resurrection Playground
3) Dream Stalker
4) Shattered Fragments

Corrosion is:
Paul Roe: Vocals and Bass guitar
Matthew North: Lead guitar, Bass guitar and Programming

Contact info:
Email: info@corrosionuk.com or info@gothic-rock.freeserve.co.uk
Web: www.corrosionuk.com
Post: Pludda House, Station Road, Bovey Tracey, Devon TQ13 9AS

Interactive Playground
~reviewed by Blu

Interactive Playground is the third CD from this formerly all girl band from Norway (they’ve recently added Ronny Sveen as a bass player and programmer). I understand their former work was a bit harder – more metal influences playing into it than on this release which is still a strong CD consisting of aggressive, dark melodic pop. Certainly this new direction has made them accessible to many more genres than before and that’s as it should be – this is a great CD. They can most easily be compared to the US’s Sunday Munich, The Prids or even Belly with a careful blend of danceable, electronic beats, a strong female vocal talent, and a lovely over lay of guitars both electric and acoustic. They manage to combine the electronic elements and the organic in a professional, seamless way without becoming too trendy or selling themselves short.

Track 1, “Unison” is an immediate hit with its drama and dynamics that goes from a whisper to a wail, electronic bleeps added in as slight flavoring – delicate at first, the guitars chime then grind and the chorus comes in full power to hook you. It’s a powerful song. You’ll sing along – I know you will. “Living Satellites” is a more straightforward song with a solid rock beat until the end when more metal sounding guitar riffs coming in making for a pleasant change. “Dreams” is a quiet, beautiful song propelled by acoustic guitar; “Lazy” speeds things back up; while “Closer” embodies a more bohemian feel. Track 6, “Nevereverland” is noted as being a soundtrack for an animation film of the same name. Doing a search on the name yielded no results and the bands webpage is very incomplete so I wasn’t able to gather additional information on the film itself. The song, however, is indeed lovely – acoustic guitars (one of my weaknesses if you haven’t noticed) and Hilde sings a fluid, somewhat sad, melody reminding much of singers like Kirsten Hirsch and Björk. “No Signature” should appeal to those electronic fans out there as the programming and percussive elements are more apparent in this song than any of the others – quite like Collide’s latest release in a way and finally, “Drowning” is a slower, exotic song that gradually gears up into a harsher metal sound with brooding, crunchy guitars. (And listen a bit longer at the end of track for a refrain – very heavy stuff which I assume is more like their earlier material).

Difficult to put into any genre, Cybele would appeal to people with tastes ranging from metal to indie to dark pop lovers in general. Its an excellent CD in production, presentation and concept and well worth a listen.

Track Listing
1. Unison
2. Living Satellites
3. Dreams
4. Lazy
5. Closer
6. Nevereverland*
7. No Signature
8. Drowning

*Soundtrack from the animation “NeverEverLand” by Ironi, ide & mediaproducksjon

Cybele is:
Hilde Wahl: vocals
Elisabeth Østeby: guitar, synthesizer
Ingvild Tafjord: guitar
Ronny Sveen: bass, programming, synthesizer, chorus on “Unison”


Voices of Wonder

Voices Music & Entertainment

The Deep Eynde
Suicide Drive EP
~reviewed by Blu

"Little one
Your brittle bones are no match for
His Tales
Painted world of fables and phantasm"
~ from "Sandman", The Deep Eynde

Another CD that will undoubtedly make my Top Ten at the end of the year is The Deep Eynde's Suicide Drive EP. I had the honor of promoting a Halloween show that featured The Deep Eynde and the Spectres. Although I had always liked the band having  heard them on various compilations, I never had one of their CDs until that night. They utterly blew me away live and ever since then, their EP has not left my CD player. I've listened to it nearly a hundred times by now. The Deep Eynde lately, has gotten lumped into the psychobilly category having been on the Skully Records Gothabilly comps, but their sound is much harder to define that than. Having been in existence for over ten years, their eclectic mix of goth, rock, psycobilly, punk and certain cabaret elements defy specific classification. Having been called "Romantically Wicked"  and "an eccentric lifeform that holds such an elegance of dementia," lead singer Fate Fatal is worth a book in his own right, his physical appearance morphing nearly from show to show and his intellect something most journalists would love to have an hour or two to pick at. Mick Mercer wrote about Fate and the Deep Eynde in his book, The Hex Files, with admiration and perhaps a little horror.  It seems you might not ever know what to expect from them live. One thing is for sure, every amount of energy humanly possible is channeled by its members into this music as well as their stage show. The production is superb, each element expertly balanced and the delivery sincere.

"His clothes hold echoes of what his conversations said
And the hues of blue heavens is smoke from his cigarette"
- "Deep Dark Secret", The Deep Eynde
The first track, "Dead Alive" is an immediate hook of a song with a chorus you can sing along to after hearing it just once. Rockabilly styled guitar phrasing opens it up and then punk influenced bouncy bass lines come in making a keen, danceable beat accentuated by skilled percussion. Perhaps most intoxicating is Fate's smooth, lush vocals. He has an amazing voice that's akin to something of a stage performer... dramatic where it needs to be, hushed where it needs to be, and full throttle in all the right places.  "Transformation" has one of the best creeping, undulating bass lines I've heard while "Superstition" is highlighted by great backing vocals and harsher guitars. "Sandman" is perhaps one of my favorites because of its rich imagery created by the lyrics:  "His disease under the seaskin / Like jewels in his velvet veins / His gifts of ornaments / Is a rainbow of funeral tricks / The Journeys ending for you / The Sandman has spoken / Little, My one and only little / You better go back home..."  Next is "Invasion" which holds a bit of intrigue for me. I seem to recall that Fate introduced it live something like, "this next song is about my life..." or "is about me" or something to that extent. Its openly aggressive music and lyrical content makes one hope never to get on Fate's bad side. Obviously the most punk sounding of all songs, the beat is fast, the guitars are splendidly ruthless, the drums relentless and Fate's vocals cutting and sharp. I fully expected a mosh pitt to break out during this song when they performed it live.  The EP ends with "Deep Dark Secret," a slower, but very grooving song that has some nice clean guitar lines in it.
"it is a post punk cabaret with overtones of blues, surf and worldbeat ska... skinless, with nerves exposed. The music, to me, opens up like red velvet curtains in a grand old theater..."
~Fate (from an interview on BZone)
Overall a perfect CD in my opinion (other than its too short! I want more!). This is worthy of club play be it a goth club or a psychobilly/punk bar -- guaranteed to up the energy level in any room. Listeners will swoon over The Fly's skilled guitar playing and Fate's voice, punks will dream of glory days past and fashion queens will covet their outfits.

Dead Alive
Deep Dark Secret

Official website:

Interview with the Deep Eynde on BZone

Interview with Fate Fatal conducted by the evil Marcos on August of '98.

~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Not every band spawned from hellfire pits (most of which are located in Norway, and in this case, Sweden) can be original. Logically, for 'original' to exist, we have to have the generic. But there's another class of bands that exists somewhere inbetween the two, and Diabolical is one of them. They manage to mix a few different styles and elements typical of Swedish melodic death metal, thrash and black metal, but they blend it into something of their own. So you won't find anything especially innovative here, but you will find a solid and satisfying hybrid of ass-kicking metal.

The guitars very aptly cover the more aggressive side of that ol' "Gothenburg" sound (ala At The Gates and The Haunted), but they also incorporate a lot more melody. And they do it without sounding like any other band from the scene. Everything is very well played, and quite a bit more technical than average for bands playing this style (and it's something of a technical genre to begin with). The drumming is a lot more hectic than you'd expect... I still don't know how drummers like that can think and function in day to day life (are they all savants?). The guitar solos add a lot of depth, and surprisingly, class. They aren't just wild solos thrown in to show off, they actually fit into the songs that they're a part of. They range from the elegant and melodic to the harsh and frenzied. The technical aspect and the occasional thrashier sounding riffs remind me more of Death and Carcass than anything, though it never makes you think "hey, I've heard this before."

The vocals are much more black metal sounding than you would generally find accompanying this music, lending Diabolical another unusual aspect to their sound. This combination of sounds and styles works nicely, and Diabolical reminds us that well played music with energy (and fury) can be just as worthwhile as bands more wholly original. My only real complaint about Synergy is that it's a relatively short CD (under 40 minutes), and I'd certainly like to hear more of their work.

Maybe on their next album they can expand the sound in some way or other, but on one level Synergy does work because it is one tight focused ball of flaming fury (that's my cheesy analogy for this month's set of reviews, because all music journalists and metal warriors need to come up with at least one now and then). If you're more into In Flames and that side of the genre, then this may be a bit too potent and aggressive for you. You'll have to build up your tolerance for seething hatred with some other groups before jumping straight into this. However, anyone into Death, Carcass, At The Gates, or Ebony Tears should make it a point get ahold of this.

Track List:
1.) Suicidal Glory
2.) Ashes II
3.) Caged Wrath
4.) Drowned in Blood
5.) Guidance of Sin
6.) Human Control
7.) The Passenger
8.) Haven

Diabolical - Official Web Site
http://come.to/diabolical (doesn't appear to be working right now)

World War III Records

Divine Silence
Promise You
~reviewed by Matthew

Several years in the making, Divine Silence’s first official CD finally saw the light of day this past Autumn.  From Staten Island, NY, this emotional metal outfit has created a favourable buzz for itself over the past few years. Due to their well-received demos and live performances, Divine Silence was a name recognized by quite a few dark and doom metal aficionados before they even had an official release under their belts.

This CD is unique in that it seems to unfold before the listener, where the material gets better and better as the tracks progress.  The opening track “Away” is definitely enjoyable, with some nice gruff death vocals and Paradise Lost tinged guitar harmonies.  However, the female vocals leave a bit to be desired and the overall adventurousness of the music is not on that grand a scale.  The album really begins to warm up around the fourth track “Reflections” and with the title track itself.   The clean male vocals ac