No Solace in Sleep
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist

I quite like this. Granted, most of what I write lately is reviews of etherial, trancey, and relaxing noise music, but maybe there's a reason for that.

The level of quality of the music on this disc makes it difficult to believe that Aarktica began as a hobby. The project was started in 1998 as a way for John De Rosa to occupy his time after suffering a tragic loss of hearing in one ear. The fact that the music quickly became of great importance is evident within this album -- there is great importance placed upon the feeling and emotion within. The music is floating and beautiful, solemn yet uplifting, everything great etherial should be.

The music seems to lend itself to the name of the band, as it has a very arctic feel to it. Cold, muted sounds, droning harmonics, and quiet subtlties all conjure images of snow-covered landscapes.

The soundscapes on this disc make great relaxation material. They're deeply contemplative and spiritual -- a journey through a cold realm of sound.

1. Glacia
2. Indie
3. Elena
4. You Have Cured a Million Ghosts from Roaming in my Head
5. Inebria
6. The Ice (feels three feet thick between us)
7. Welcome Home
8. I Remember Life Above the Surface

Aarktica is -- Jon De Rosa

Label Contact Info:
Siber Records
Website: http://www.silbermedia.com/
smail: PO Box 18062, Raleigh NC, 27619, USA

Band Contact Info:
email: aarktica@aol.com
website: www.bruised.net/aarktica
smail: c/o Brighter Records, PO Box 145, Manasquan NJ, 08736, USA

And Also The Trees
~a classic review by Matthew

For the fan of traditional Gothic rock music, there are very few bands emerging in the scene that deliver music with the same formulae and edge that characterized the genre’s roots.  Today, electronics play a more prominent rule in creating atmospheres, which more often than naught result in a watered down and boring product.  When it comes time for fans to find ‘new’ Gothic Rock music, the best way to satisfy those curiosities is not to look at what is currently dominating their local club’s playlists, but rather, a more adventurous excursion into the archives of dark music’s past to unearth audible treasures that can be just as if not more refreshing and ‘new’ to the listener as anything released today.  As a DJ and music enthusiast, with the help of AudioGalaxy, Napster, Ebay, and Amazon.com, this is how I have satisfied my hunger for ‘new’ Gothic music and I have been bursting at the seams to blow the dust off this stuff and share it with potential fans.

Without a doubt the most rewarding find I have stumbled upon thus far is the British quartet And Also The Trees.  Last summer, I found the live release “The Evening Of The 24th” in a used CD bin for $3.99 and bought it without hesitation after hearing twenty-five seconds of the album’s opening track “A Room Lives In Lucy.”  Since then, I have been hooked, and have been rabidly hunting down the bands material, which unfortunately, is mostly long out of print.

To describe And Also The Trees is quite difficult and would most likely do the band an injustice trying to limit them within the confines of any genre.  Since their inception in 1980, the band has developed significantly and has produced a wealth of stunning material.  The band’s earlier work definitely fit the mold of Gothic Rock.  The rapturously poetic baritone of Simon Huw-Jones narrated dismal scenarios involving characters that seemed to have sprung from the pages of 19th century authors Thomas Hardy or Oscar Wilde, with the willowy imagery and colours of a Pre-Raphaelite canvas as the backdrop.   One could compare Simon’s vocal delivery and tone to Nick Cave as well as Jim Morrison, ranging from partially spoken lyrics to angst-ridden freak outs and breakdowns (best exemplified on the live versions of songs such as “…Lucy,” “So This Is Silence,” and “The Renegade”).

Simon’s intensely theatrical performances and lyrics were perfectly complimented by guitarist and brother Justin Jones.  Justin’s technique and sound was as unique then as it is now, with tremolo picked guitar lines awash with heavy flange, chorus, and delay effects.  His playing was fluid, and pulsated in waves of ghostly gloom, highly distinctive and innovative.  Think of a type of ‘surf guitar’ sound, filtered with a slight psychedelia, to bring the sound close yet light years ahead of the then contemporary guitar sound of the Cocteaus, Nephilim, Bauhaus and The Cure.  In a word, Justin’s playing was brilliant.    Behind all this, pulsated the tight rhythm section of Steven Burrows and Nick Havas. Steven’s bass lines came across as both lulling and rhythmic but also provided a solid melody similar to Peter Hook’s influential playing in Joy Division.  Nick’s dense and thick drumming snapped and punched behind the band, with the energy of post punk but a proficiency and flavour found only in jazz.

Together, And Also The Trees were responsible for, in my humble opinion, the best and most focused Gothic and dark indie wave music EVER.

There is an incredible body of work to investigate, and finding a lot of it may not be easy.  Some releases are still available through Amazon.com, while your local used bins and Ebay are the best way to find the band’s deleted material.  There is also a ‘live’ forum on at the band’s website (linked below) where fans can trade material with each other.  I have managed to obtain all but three of the band’s CD releases, so with persistence, it is indeed possible.

For the curious, the best place to start would be either the band’s live album “The Evening Of The 24th” or the collection “From Horizon To Horizon” which compiles all of the band’s singles from 1983 to 1992 (their more Goth period).  Only seven of the eighteen songs on the album are available on any of the band’s full-length releases, and even then, these versions are somewhat different.  This of course, is very characteristic of a more exciting time when bands would release singles between their albums with new material, giving fans the bittersweet beauty of collecting and hunting all their favourite band’s releases.
Though “From Horizon To Horizon” is the perfect introductory release, it is also among the deleted releases, but still pops up periodically in the oddest of places.

In terms of the band’s full-length releases, there are eight.  The self-titled debut appeared in 1983 and was produced by Laurence Tolhurst from The Cure, leading to years of unwanted association and comparisons to The Cure.  Though AATT toured with The Cure in their early days, and had a working relationship with the band, the two bands had a few similarities, but while The Cure began to obtain a large mainstream pop appeal, AATT’s flair for drama and uncompromising emotional intensity kept them at a cult status and arguably a more honest and organic band.  Regardless, the first release is a worthwhile classic of minimalist angst that foreshadowed that the band would blossom into greatness.  One of AATT’s strengths, as heard on their live album, is the band’s unmistakable energy on stage, which brought these early tracks such as “Twilight’s Pool” and “So This Is Silence” to a whole new life.  The debut album is still available through various mail order sites.

The 1986 album, “Virus Meadow” was where AATT began to really distinguish themselves as their own band with their own unique sound.  Justin’s guitar playing burst into full bloom and it was this album with the fan favourites “Slow Pulse Boy” and “Gone…Like The Swallows” that the ‘AATT sound’ was firmly established.  The overall mood of the album is more angst ridden and darker than the debut, best heard in the album’s contemplative and deeply passionate track “Maps In Her Wrists And Arms.”  This release, however, will be relatively difficult to find I think, but I got lucky with another used bin.

“The Millpond Years” was the band’s next release in 1988.  My personal favourite of the band, as it sees the darker angst subdued with a decayed sense of Romanticism (in its most literal sense).  “The Suffering Of The Stream” seems to take a cue from the familiar tale of Shakespeare’s Ophelia in its lyrical imagery:

“There is a place where she will always be;
Where the blossom snows between the cankered trees.
Holding his sour breath, he knows she’s there
Watching the torrent as it flows.
Watching her soft white dress, it flows.
In the innocent breezes, smoothed by the stones
Watching her cold white dress, it floats...
He could see his love like a long forgotten dream.
He could see his love veiled beneath the stream.
He could see his love grow pallid, and suffer as he weeps;
His tears fall around her in oil-rainbow streaks.
He could see his own reflection cloud the stones.”

The sound of the band was even fuller and twice as engrossing on this release, and was delightfully varied with favourites like the sweeping beauty of the title track to the desperate (and perhaps tongue-in-cheek) oppression of “Count Jeffrey.”

1989 marked the release of “Farewell To The Shade,” which is the band’s most favoured and popular album.  At the very peak and height of their Romantic sentiment, the album featured a tender interpretation of Cat Stevens’ folk classic “Lady D’Arbanville.” AATT pretty much made the song their own, and it has long since become one of the band’s best known and most loved songs.  It perfectly captures the spirit of AATT at this point in their career.  The overall mood of the album is much more laidback, relaxed, and more ethereal with a frequent appearance of synths and acoustic instruments.  This is the album that is probably the most treasured by fans, and should already be in your collection!

It was at this point that the band slowly began contemplating a new direction.  1992’s “Green Is The Sea” carries on the more laidback and ethereal atmosphere of “Farewell To The Shade” but injects more prominent elements of jazz and almost a slight ‘lounge’ feel.  “The Fruit Room” projects a mysterious sensuality that is not unlike the Doors in its slinky yet weighty delivery.  “Blind Opera” is a desolate and creepy ballad, cauling imagery from the chivalric codes of the Renaissance it seems.  Overall a great album, and it shows a more sensitive and stripped down side of the band.

The stronger album “The Klaxon” appeared in 1993, and it is here that the current sound of AATT was borne.  This release blended the gothic rock elements of their past with a decidedly refreshing counterpart of dark blues and ‘surf rock’ flavours.  From the mischievous feel of “Sickness Divine” to the beautiful melancholy of “Dialogue” the album still keeps firm ties to the bands roots but paves the way for the more ‘drastic’ changes on their last two albums, 1995’s  “Silver Soul” and 1998’s “Angelfish.”  Bringing elements of 50’s rock n roll, rockabilly, and Americana to the fold, the band matured into an even more unique blend of dark music, sort of like the musical themes of “Pulp Fiction” through a gloomy filter.  The music is great and I think it is what bands like The Brickbats and the Deep Eynde wish they could be, but are lacking the sincerity and authenticity to pull it off.

Though if people have even heard of And Also The Trees, they are mistakenly dismissed and overlooked as a mouldy gothic rock band.  In fact, at least here in the States, most people are unaware that the band has had any releases over the past few years due to their significantly low profile.

The most assuring and delightful thing for me to have discovered is that the band is indeed still active and have a new album slated for release sometime next year!

And Also The Trees are a band that deserves more attention, and with so vast and diverse a catalogue, there is definitely something to be enjoyed by fans of Gothic rock, 80s wave, and ‘smoky lounge surf rock coolness’ as a friend described the newer releases to me.  This is a band not to be ignored and I encourage readers to embark upon the task of unearthing the band’s material.  Just don’t steal the last few I need out from under me or outbid me! :P

And Also The Trees are:
Simon Huw Jones: vocals
Justin Jones: guitars
Simon Burrows: bass
Nick Havas: drums, percussion (1980 – 1998)
Paul Hill: drums, percussion (1998 - )

(All photos courtesy of Davyd Pittman's Official AATT Fansite: http://free.freespeech.org/aatt/)

And Also The Trees - Select Discography:
And Also The Trees (1983)
Virus Meadow (1986)
The Millpond Years (1988)
Farewell To The Shade (1989)
The Evening Of The 24th (1991)
Green Is The Sea (1992)
From Horizon To Horizon (1993)
The Klaxon (1993)
Silver Soul (1995)
Nailed EP (1998)
Angelfish (1998)

Shantell (1983)
Secret Sea (1984)
A Room Lives In Lucy (1984)
The Critical Distance (1986)
Shaletown (1987)
The House Of The Heart (1989)
Lady D’Arbanville (1989)
Misfortunes (1989)
The Pear Tree (1989)

Justin from And Also the Trees informed us that AATT material is available direct from the band on:

And Also The Trees – Unofficial Fan Page:

Isolation Tank: (Carries AATT releases!)

Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor
~reviewed by Michael Johnson

Times of happiness and sadness always stay with us but it seems the times of sadness are the ones that stay with us longer.  Euphoric feelings ebb away in the tides of other emotions, but human nature requires us to dwell on the melancholia and ponder our choices.  Such is the music of Agalloch, and with their debut album, Pale Folklore, they proved this and immersed us in bleakest winter.  Now, their follow up mini CD, Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor shows us a diversified return to the hopelessness lurking behind the façade of our smiles.

Although this release only consists of five songs, we get to see some different sides of a band that is quickly becoming legendary.  The first three tracks are from their unreleased 7” and it’s hard to believe these tracks are already four years old.  With the title track, it’s easy to see where the ideas and styling of Pale Folklore came from.  “Foliorum Viridium” is an instrumental track that, while complex, somehow echoes back to me a feeling of emptiness.  “Haunting Birds” is a very dark, folk instrumental and even though there are two instrumentals in a row, don’t (well, please do) despair.  They’re both excellent and I have not found myself once skipping over them.  “Kneel To The Cross” is a cover of the same song by Sol Invictus.  Not to slam on Sol Invictus (and I’ll admit, I’ve heard very little of this band) but this version absolutely smokes the original.  This version absolutely bleeds with emotion and the clean vocals couldn’t be more fitting.  “A Poem By Yeats” is a classical piece composed by Breyer with the words of William Butler Yeats being sung, almost Dead Can Dance style, in the background.  At the beginning of this track, there is a small piano part that reminds me something from George Winston’s December album.  Although everything points at the bleak, winter theme, it is here in this short introduction that I actually found a small, warm oasis tucked neatly within this albums broken heart.  This track is worth the album alone and as an aside; I spent HOURS online looking through poems by Yeats and have yet to find the one this song came from.  Rather than risk blindness due to monitor-emitted radiation, I abandoned my research.

Agalloch has released to us a highly diversified album that still remains true to their theme.  I recommended this band in my last review and I’m going to do it again.  If you need some great, depressing music that promises to keep you locked in thought, this is the band for you.  I anxiously await their next full-length, because with this band, I am assured excellence.

Agalloch is:
J. Haughm – Vocals / guitars
S. Breyer – Drums
L. Anderson – Guitars
J. William W. – Bass

Email: oakenthrone@hotmail.com

The End Records:
Website: www.theendrecords.com

Battle’s Clarion
~reviewed by Michael Johnson

Any black metal fan that would dismiss this album with a wave of the hand and a grunt would be making a huge mistake.  American-based Averse Sefira has taken it into their hands to unleash plague and war upon the world with their second full-length album, Battle’s Clarion.

Averse Sefira is a hellish wall of spikes lurching ominously at you, as you stand helpless and chained to your speakers.  A great war machine driven by the howls and shrieks of Sanguine Asmodel Nocturne and paced by the furious, rolling beats of The Carcass.  Watch, mortal, as the heads of the metal Legends turn to pay them homage, and wait, for your time with them
is certainly at hand.  This is airborne acid reminiscent of old Immortal and God Dethroned and it demands you take notice.

From start to finish, this is pure brutality that is done with insane precision and haunting grace.  Anyone who thinks there is nothing heavy left in the black metal scene should pick this up and renounce their blasphemy because this is about as heavy as it gets while still being melodic and memorable.  If you want intensity that verges on holocaust, pick this up immediately.  You will not regret it.

Track Listing:
1.Battle’s Clarion
2.Condemned To Glory
3.Withering The Storm
5.The Nascent Ones (The Age of Geburah)
6.Argument Obscura
7.The Thousand Aeon Stare
8.Fallen Beneath The Earth

Website: www.aversesefira.com
Label: www.lostdisciple.com

ATP and Nicotine
Guilstein  (Original Soundtrack)
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

ATP, abbreviated from the chemical adenosine tri-phosphate, which is pervasive in all life for converting energy, is also the name for a dynamic Japanese band.  ATP has met with much success with their previous work as featured on MP3 and on radio stations throughout the world. The band’s latest release is just another benchmark in their growing popularity and ability to capture intense emotions and translate it via the music medium.

Their latest endeavor is from Guilstein, the original soundtrack to a dark anime film slated for release, first in the European markets and then worldwide.

The premise of the film takes place in the year 2088, a time when the major corporations are in control of the people. The Yashiro Corporation is the most dominant and fearful in the Oriental District and are responsible for creating gross experiments against humanity.  On the surface, it was a project to make a human body adaptable to the moving to Mars (called Kadkeus Project), but the true purpose of the project was to develop a horrendous living weapon; Guilstein, an ugly-looking monster, deprived of a human soul, who can fight under any circumstance without emotion.

The lead character, Chaos, who is a member of this project at the Yashiro Corporation, uncovered the secret behind this fearful experiment. This information proved deleterious for him as he was caught, punished and transformed into the first Guilstein prototype. He managed to escape the diabolical lab and retained the assistance from the underground resistance who were fighting against the Yashiro Empire. Chaos, as the first prototype, was incomplete as a Guilstein, because he retained some semblance of a human soul not extinguished in the transformation process.

The story is mostly about Chaos' inner conflicts, lonely fights, and additional subplots of discovering conspirators and collaborators who betrayed him. Learning from the failure of Chaos, Yashiro started to make perfect Guilsteins one after another.  Soon, Chaos realized that he needed to become a Guilstein to beat those monsters, destroy the Yashiro Empire, and give freedom back to the people. There was only one chance this time, however; once he became a full Guilstein, he could never be human again.

”Dreams Within (Main Theme)” is the opening and closing track of the film. It begins with an ethereally haunted somber atmosphere that emphasizes how life is a process of dying. In true ATP fashion, the song then kicks into a dark rock hi energy track that is sure to cross over into many genres before long.

"And He Laughs" is and instrumental track used for the peak battle scenes in the film. It is nightmarish and industrial all rolled into one.  Imagine the soundtrack to Mortal Combat at its darkest moment. One can capture the element of smoke rising from the battle scenes. ATP effectively utilizes East and West elements to create a hybrid of energy, intensity and adrenaline.

“If You Ever” is stylistic song questioning the ability to love. There is a gentle, almost flowing delivery of the song, which veers into a dark punk style hybrid. This track is also featured on their last CD, “Deranged Angel” which met with much chart success on MP3.

“Zen In Motion” is another hi energy industrial hybrid that conveys rapid motion. Beneath the drumbeats are some rather catchy guitar licks interspersed with sound effects.

“Killing Time” delivers an emotional cogitation about being a part of a world where one is out of place in the scheme of reality. It takes us to that moment in time where all that we are and hope to be are no longer valid expectations. It darkly strengthens one’s resolve to accept reality and move forward to do that which we know we must do.

"Deranged Angel" is used for the most brilliant Guilstein battle scenes in the film. It is a rather modern day feminist song, which centers on wanting love but not willing to become a part of the societal expectations and entrapment.   It is very industrial driven and in some ways can be right out of your nightmares. Make no mistake; the song could be the battle hymn for World War III.

“The Shining Hour” endeavors the need to understand our true nature and question our life between reality and mere dreaming.  It is a reflective song that questions our individual future and fate, wrapped up in a rhythm that can be best described as dark pop.

”Falling” is somber as it encapsulates the emotional state. It ponders the reality about losing one’s self to circumstances beyond their control.

“Far End Of Altered World” creates a feeling of flying over the terrain. Within the scope of the instruments are elements of memory, longing, sadness and controlled anger.

“Sorrow” takes into account the days of youth that are rapidly passing. It questions if anything we do really has any impact on our lives or the lives around us. It is a harsh reality about standing on the edge of life and not sure which direction to proceed towards. The song is darkly constructed with layers of moodiness and atmosphere. Midway through the track, the piano segues into a mean guitar riff that propels the song towards a goth/industrial hybrid.

"Freaks, They Dance" is utilized for many of the film’s battle scenes. This is a hi-energy track designed to ignite movement. Many musical elements are woven into the fabric, that this track also can crossover into multiple genres.

"Life is a Process of Dying" is featured in the last scene of the film.  Other versions of it, such as the voice-only version and instruments-only version are used separately in the main scenes.  This version is the most heartbreaking, as lead singer Taata seems to have gone to the depths of her own despair in order to make us feel the fear and agony that our next move may in fact be our last living moment.

“Bio-Blood Society” is the track contributed by major Japanese recording star Nicotine. It is a heavy track bordering on heavy metal punk and industrial. The lyrics sum up the story line of the film.

ATP scored a major coup with the soundtrack to what promises to be an amazing and highly popular anime film. Their musical contributions are poetic, thought provoking and timeless. The CD includes graphics from the forthcoming film, which are nothing short of stunning.

Dreams Within
And He Laughs
If You Ever
Zen In Motion
Killing Time
Deranged Angel
This Shining Hour
Far End Of Altered World
Freeks, They Dance
Life Is A Process Of Dying
Bio Blood Society

For more music by ATP: www.mp3.com/atproom

Related URLs about Anime "Guilstein" (official site not yet done)
(Monkey Punch is a very famous Japanese writer who is also script supervisor for Guilstein.)

Bitter Fall
Sweet Rise
~reviewed by Matthew
This Canadian outfit is the first non Vampire Nation release through Hexagon Records, and it is definitely not a bad start if the label is thinking of expanding and scouting for new talent.

I would describe Bitter Fall as an ambitious Industrial rock act, hesitantly suggesting that they have similarities with such bands as Stabbing Westward, Orgy, and Gravity Kills.  Hesitantly I say, since there is definitely a more genuine ‘underground’ feel to this release.  Some moody pianos and eerie synths weave their way into the mix, as do some incredible watery guitar parts.  The confident male vocals are very smooth and smoky, riddled with a kind of angst that is much easier to swallow than the aforementioned ‘mall Goth’ bands above.
The CD kicks off strongly with “One More Time,” despite some slightly awkward drum programming when the song reaches its climactic choruses.  A very explosive and earnest song, but at times the drums sounded a bit chaotic and the music seemed to be struggling to keep the time.  It is still an unmistakably good song regardless.
“Drown” firmly sets the band on solid ground with it’s drastically gloomy chord changes, and murky oppression.  There really is a lot of good dark music out here, and I hope that these guys some how rise to the surface, as they deserve to be heard.  “Butterflies & Black Skies” continues with a suffocating and dancier vibe, with ghostly whispered vocals and a suspenseful build up of musical tension.  Very dark and very tight.
“Angels Don’t Lie” takes on a different, perhaps more tender direction with strummed acoustics at the center, with vocals soaked in reverb, and a gradual build up of foreboding sound effects and spooky ambience in the backdrop.  This could have been a typical unplugged ballad, but the band stirred it up instead with a unique and anxious backdrop that culminates in a crunchy guitar driven dirge for the finale.  Indeed, this CD gets more interesting and enveloping with each track.
“My Sweet Valentine” dabbles with some metal elements in its intro.  It is this song that makes me really intrigued to hear what the band would sound like with a live drummer instead of a drum machine.  Again, an interesting song that keeps you on your toes with it’s numerous changes and unexpected peaks and valleys.
“Sweet Rise,” the album’s title track, opens with flanged guitar chords, hinting of another Cure-esque ballad, and there are really no surprises here, as the low-key pace remains consistent throughout.  Bitter Fall then re-visit some familiar territory with their cover of The Doors’ “People Are Strange.”  Over the past few months, I have become sort of a Bunnymen obsessive, so I can’t say that the song surpasses their interpretation of the Doors’ classic.  But Bitter Fall do inject a very chilling musical interlude, with some pounding drums and a whirlwind of apocalyptic noise, to follow the famous “streets are uneven when you’re down” line, as vocalist Bernard Kadosh pleads atop the chaos “Don’t Let Me Down!”  This little burst of creativity works very well in context with the song, and adds a more unnerving desperation to a song lamenting the woes of being an outcast in society.  Very cool.
The album closes with “How Is This Going To End,” a question most intent listeners by now are probably asking themselves.  A nice effect is created with more layers of whispered vocals and more murky guitars that burst into an aggressive tantrum.  It is on this track where the band sounds the most like Stabbing Westward and the like.  It’s not a bad song, but it is probably one of the least impressive tracks on the album in my humble opinion.
Overall this is an exceptionally astonishing debut.  Very accessible yet sprinkled with enough genuine gloom and unique arrangements that make Bitter Fall carve out a niche of their own.  This is a highly listenable CD, something that I think could cause quite a stir in the dark alternative music world.  Keep an eye out for these guys, and visit their mp3 page and check out the song “Drown” to hear something of remarkable and deliciously dismal quality.

Track List:
1.) One More Time
2.) Drown
3.) Butterflies & Black Stars
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 is:
Bernard Kadosh: vocals/guitars/keyboards/programming
Greg Kowalczyk: keyboards/programming
Scott Middleton: guitars
Alex Marr: live drums

Bitter Fall – Official Site:

Bitter Fall – Mp3 Site:

Hexagon Records:

Bitter Fall
sweet rise
~reviewed by Michael Otley

When Fredrik of Hexagon Records handed this CD to me while I was in Pittsburgh last weekend, I knew to expect nothing ordinary.  The only thing I'd heard from Hexagon Records so far had been the eccentric and eclectic Vampire Nation.  I took a look at the sleeve, which promised something quite different from VN's beat based obscurities.  I liked the cover image of a girl's face, almost under water, and quite blue.  Already though I found something annoying, the lettering for the band name looks like "b it tt t e r r r r f  A LLL LLllll l bbb iii  T t t E r r r r f a a a L lll LLL" which is completely annoying and awful looking.  But the album inside proved to be something quite special.

The atmosphere at the opening here is amazing and immediately brings to mind the moods of The Machines of Loving Grace.  Throughout the album, the atmospheric elements of The Machines of Loving Grace are combined with the pop-aggressive nature of Stabbing Westward.  The production here is slick and smooth, maybe even a bit too much for the purists.  Quick drum tracks are combined with deep synths and distorted guitars that are often set back in the mix for even more atmosphere.

Another thing I like about this album is that it changes up quite a bit.  Track 4, "Angels Don't Lie", almost sounds like a Thanatos track with the moody guitar strumming until the aggressive bit kicks in.  Another song I swore was older Ministry for a few seconds.  They even throw in an eerie Doors cover "People Are Strange".

The only major complaint I have of the album are the forced rhymes waiting to trigger twitching and other uncontrollable nervous reactions.  They reach their worst during "Angels Don't Lie" with "they call me insane/ when I pray for the rain," repeated over and over.  But if you don't mind that sort of thing and you dig The Machines of Loving Grace or other slick goth/industrial (90's style) go check out Bitter Fall.  Thanks Fredrik.


The Brides
Dress Code Blue (promo)
~reviewed by Blu

I've always had a thing for Corey Gorey's voice ever since hearing him belt out monstrous tunes on a Brickbats cassette (yes, they had cassettes back them believe it or not!). Now, in a more refined form with some straight forward rock beats (provided by the always lovely D.W. Friend), the voice is still there and more beautiful than even before. Sounding like a mix between the under-appreciated Urge Overkill and some kind of Bikini Beach Party; the Brides are hard to pin down as far as genre goes and that's probably the way they want it. Its rock n roll with punk-inspired bass line hooks, in their own slightly-quirky style, and its damn good.

Dress Code Blue is their four-song sampler. The title track being the one with the most "hook," you'll undoubtedly be humming this one repeatedly after hearing it. "Pin Up Doll" is most outstanding with Corey's subdued vocals - I always picture him dress up like Frank Sinatra crooning away under a head full of bright red hair of course. "My My My!" speeds things up a bit and has an addictive chorus backed by solid drumming.  And finally, "Wives Turned Widows" sounds most like The Brickbats on the opening, but as soon as the chorus trips in with a wavering, sing-songy change in tempo, the more refined sounds of The Brides are made obvious.

Definitely something to check out as we wait future releases from a project with unlimited potential.

1 - Dress Code Blue
2 - Pin Up Doll
3 - My My My !
4 - Wives Turned Widows

The Brides are:
D.W. Friend
Corey Gorey

The Brides official website:

The Brides on mp3:

Dismal Abysmal Records

Integral Components
~reviewed by Psionic

Well now here's a rarity... A disc of drum n' bass/IDM stuff that I actually like. Usually this sort of stuff makes me want to pull my hair out by the root, but the Component records camp has assembled a glittering little cauldron of talent... With less attention paid to phat beats and more attention paid to interesting arrangements and hooks, this cd manages to find itself in a curious spot. Ambient enough to be a warm background disc, but with enough punch to bop along to whilst doing, say, housework or somesuch. 14 tracks with styles that run the gamut of vaguely Orb-ish ambient (The sublime Lusine icl), through to glitchy IDM (Syndrone). Interspersed throughout this surprisingly solid lineup of artists are a few standout tracks that really stand out. ML, the ever-prolific compilation contributor, serves up a fantastically alien track, 'Tiny Ninjas'. Octopus Inc go somewhat slap-happy with their track, 'Interrobang', Andrew Duke delivers a very catchy and mechanical tune called 'Mversion', Xyn finish the cd off on a tripped out note with 'Soliloquy '01'. My favorite track on the entire compilation comes from Codec, who have never truly moved me before. But their track, 'Essence', bounces along with insidiously pure... jauntiness. You just can't help but fall prey to it's boing. Component is still a pretty wee label, but with releases of this strength coming forward there is absolutely no question that it will become a -major- force in this quietly growing sub-genre of electronic music. Integral Components is a perfect beginners introduction into what is called 'Intelligent Dance Music', but is strong enough to satiate long-time fans of quirky electronic music. I highly recommend this cd, not many compilations have so much to offer.

1: Dryft - "Caloc Pt.1"
2: Proem - "Blue Northern"
3: ML - "Tiny Ninjas"
4: Codec - "Essence"
5: Syndrone - "Airport 2"
6: Neutronic - "Metasocial"
7: Neutral - "Line"
8: Somatic Responses - "Cry For The Strangers"
9: Octopus Inc. - "Interrobang (Raab mix)"
10: Phluidbox - "Vacations"
11: Andrew Duke - "Mversion"
12: Lusine Icl - "Spacecake"
13: Panadorabox - "Mother Said"
14: Xyn - "Soliloquy '01"

Component Records: http://www.componentrecords.com

Funeral Songs
~reviewed by Psionic

I fancy myself a bit of a connoisseur of dark ambient music and the dark ambient scene in general. Upon receiving this cd, (and upon discovering both the Tumorlist and the unnaturally tasty R|A|A|N this weekend, thank you Voltair you drunken hoor) I have discovered that I am an ignorant n00b who happens to be conversant with Lustmord. Goody for me. So who the hell are Crowd Control Activities? They've apparently been around for some time. Woefully little information about the label itself, however. Connected to Release/Relapse records for the distribution of this compilation, one can only hope that it gets the support it deserves. In the immortal words of the Mobile Infantry, "I'm doing my part!"

So, we have "Funeral Songs", a collection of dark-ambient and death-'dustrial from a wide array of projects, none of which are destined to be used as the theme music for 'Fraggle Rock: The Movie'. Standout tracks include Raison D'Etre's "Procession" and "Forgotten Mound" (RDE, the "Judas Priest" of the dark-ambient scene, spandex-n-chaps included.), Tertium Non Data's "The End Of Hunger" (Is all TND this good??), Agnivolok's "Panoczka", C17H19NO3's "Burning" (reminds me greatly of "As Precious As Blood" from the Goldwater album, 'Dustbowl'), Alio Die's "Little Pain" (Howls of a Dusty Werebat=good, EverQuest players will know what I mean), Gruntsplatter's "A Day In August", and the majestic Nasopharyngeal's "A Funeral Dirge For B.R." (Again, is all their material this strong?? drool). These are the standouts only, the rest of the material is all good as well. Although I feel I must note that Dreams In Exile are sort of out of place with their contribution, "My Queen". I like the track, but the song is -not- in the same league. Dark ambient drones to Acoustic...??  The same can be said of 27 with the track "Matera". Although in this case, I'm not all that keen on the track. That is the -only- track I'm not keen on, however. And even in that case it's a matter of taste versus lack of quality. Not a single track on "Funeral Songs" would I say is bad. A VERY rare feat for a compilation indeed. "Funeral Songs" is the best compilation of Dark-ambient material since 1997's "Narcosis" compilation on Nova-Tekk. A must-have for fans of dark-ambient music, and an excellent starting point for those interested in the genre.

1- RAISON D`ETRE - "Procession"
2- TERTIUM NON DATA - "The End Of Hunger"
3- AMBER ASYLUM - "I Saw You Fall"
4- AGNIVOLOK - "Panoczka"
5- C17H19NO3 - "Burning"
6- SHINJUKU THIEF - "The Procession Of Souls"
7- RAISON D`ETRE - "Forgotten Mound"
8- ALIO DIE - "Little Pain"
9- GRUNTSPLATTER - "A Day In August"
10- DREAMS IN EXILE - "My Queen"
11- NASOPHARYNGEAL - "A Funeral Dirge For B.R."
12- CHAOS AS SHELTER - "Night Cortage"
14- 27 - "Matera"


~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist

Cryptomnesia has first promised this disc to the world a couple of years ago. I remember many hours of eager anticipation, listening to prerelease and demo tracks, waiting on the edge of my seat. Plagued by difficulties of every sort imaginable, the disc was delayed and spent its fair share of time in pre-production hell.

Cryptomnesia has finally delivered. It was well worth the wait.

The enigmatic group of Mikael, Amanuesis, and Terrence don't make the sort of music you're used to. With influences that include the likes of Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, and King Crimson, they're all about talent, thought, and trying to change the state of music. Their brand of music has many elements of industrial, but they branch off in a different direction than most of the current acts are following -- they bring a sense of art and awareness back to industrial while producing music that's still very club friendly.

One of my favourite Cryptomnesia tracks for a long time now has been "Hunting the Wounded Dove". Featuring great instrumentation and vocals within many layers of music, the song is definitely one of the danciest tracks on the disc.

"Attrocities" is also a neat track, featuring Steve Tingle at the beginning with an angry diatribe about normalcy and life in general.

"Weight Ov the World" is another upbeat track, and a great dancefloor packer as well. Mikael's vocals definitely shine out in harmonies in this one.

The only negative thing that I can say about the disc is due to the overwhelming technical difficulties the band ran into from the recording to the release of Hypnerotomachia, the mixdown is poor. The vocals are very quiet on the disc, and the percussion is pretty much centre stage. Its really unfortunate, as in my opinion, this is a brilliant band pushing industrial in an intelligent direction that hasn't been delved into deeply enough in the past. Another small irk would be that the font on the album cover is kind of difficult to read and confusing in places, but that's pretty insignificant. One can only hope that the small setbacks encountered in this album's birth will not hamper Cryptomnesia's efforts.

1. Instamatic Eradication Intro
2. Poisoned Within v.2.3
3. Attrocities (metal master mix)
4. Systematic Eradication
5. Hunting the Wounded Dove v.3.2
6. Time Immemorial
-Trilogy Ov Thee Damned-
7. Killing!
8. One Page Ov Thee Damned
9. Mirrors
10. Metagnomy
11. Weight Ov the World v.3.1
12. Xenophobia
13. Elemental

Band Line Up:
Mikael S. Charlton - Keyboards, Drum Programming, Vocals, Lyrics
Amanuesis - Guitars, Soundscapes, Lyrics, Production
Terence Baldwin - Fretted and fretless bass, additional guitar on "Killing"
productionwith Steve Tingle as vocals on 'Attrocities"

Label Contact Info:
Interdimensional Industries
Website: http://www.interdimensional.com/
Email: regan@interdimensional.com

Band Contact Info:
Website: http://www.interdimensional.com/Cryptomnesia/Cryptgateway.html
email: crypt@interdimensional.com

Cinema Strange
7” Singles
~reviewed by Matthew

Death rock.  Goddamn, where the hell has it been?  Some may argue that it never went away.  For those of a ghastly pallour with a record player on hand, all one had to do is delve into the archives and without a doubt one could dig up ancient vinyl by Virgin Prunes, 45 Grave, Christian Death, March Violets, Sex Gang Children, etc.  To the less obsessive, the plethora of CD re-releases and single collections that labels such as Cleopatra produced throughout the early nineties would suffice.  But death rock in its purest form was overshadowed by the refined imagery spearheaded by the 4AD movement in the mid nineteen eighties. This lead to a considerable shift toward more romanticized pastures in Gothic music, along with the stygian disco rock of the Sisters Of Mercy that had a more widespread effect upon young clove smoking musicians.

One could regard the influence of death rock on current acts such as The Deep Eynde and Sex With Lurch, with their cascading drums, psychotic surf guitar flanges, and riff heavy bass lines.  Recently acquiring the oxymoronic tag of ‘Gothabilly,’ these bands picked up and ran with the tongue in cheek mischief of early bands such as The Birthday Party and The Damned.  However those swinging clowns in white face inadvertently mock the stark violence of vintage death rock; the bands who rose from the smoldering ashes of punk rock and attacked with a malicious vengeance and macabre  decadence.

Cinema Strange are an impressive addition to the world of gloom.  While they indeed sport a considerably black sense of humour, their music possesses a stark sincerity and admirably decayed grandeur.  With the banshee cries of vocalist Lucas Lanthier and the murky bass tones of Daniel Ribiat, I was impressed with how well a contemporary band was able to evoke the sound of old that has not been accurately reflected in years.

What more, is that the sons of bitches were either portraying an act of elitism or they were simply too poor to produce anything besides vinyl 7” singles.  It matters not which of the two, as either way is quite cool and a testament to their vintage roots.  Though there are a handful that collect vinyl these days, us younger Goth rock fans lamentably never had the chance to experience not only the anticipation of our favourite bands new album, but the excitement of coinciding singles as well, which more often than naught contained unreleased B side gems.  Cinema Strange at last have a full-length CD, as well as a healthy Mp3.com site, yet these singles are superb collectors items regardless.

The first of the pair is the 1998 release on limited edition clear vinyl which contains the haunting A-side, “Mediterranean Widow,” an eerie track centered around minor key strains of bass and spooky vocals that are reminiscent of both Anna-Varney of Sopor Aeternus and Andi Sex Gang.  The B-side however, “Hebenon Vial,” is the better of the two, sweeping along via a raw waltz rhythm and sharp jangling guitars.  Though both tracks are available on their debut CD release, this single is a nice collectors item and worth locating.   I’ve got 267/275, so perhaps eight of you have a chance ;)

The second of the two also contains a cavernous ballad for the A-side and a more up-tempo track for the B-side.  “Lindsay’s Trachea” is the bands classic hit; being one of their more infamous songs, it is indeed a strong track with strummed bass lines, a cacophony of dirty guitars, and the mocking tones of a vocalist in the clutches of utter madness.  While I adore “Lindsay’s Trachea,” the B-side again struck my heart.  “Greensward Grey” bounces along in nightmarish desolation, with skankable rhythms and an overall musty stench of claustrophobia.   Luckily both of these tracks appear on the band’s debut full length CD as well, but again, you can’t beat the elitist points of having the vinyl.

Cinema Strange are death rock.  Period.  They possess an evil and enticing sound, which I cannot get enough of.  This may be one of the rare bands that everyone on the staff of this zine can stand behind and recommend without hesitation.  If you have put off checking out this band, if you are a DJ and you do not own anything by them yet, you simply do not know what you are missing and you must do whatever you can to get your hands on this band’s material.

Track List:
1998 Mediterranean Widow 7”
A) Mediterranean Widow
B) Hebenon Vial

1999 Lindsay’s Trachea 7”
A) Lindsay’s Trachea
B) Greensward Grey

Cinema Strange is:
Lucas Lanthier - vocals, programming
Daniel Ribiat - bass, programming
Michael Ribiat - guitar

Cinema Strange
P.O. Box 772
Somis, CA 93066

Cinema Strange – Official Site:
Cinema Strange – Mp3 Site:

Cinema Strange
Cinema Strange
~reviewed by Blu

Cinema Strange is a bit of an anachronism as a band. They are alive and well but at first listen, some may mistake them for the long since departed. They are what the UK reveled in during the “BatCave” era of the 80’s. They are what Sex Gang Children and the Virgin Prunes were; but better. They are deathrock at its finest – and like a rare animal once thought extinct, are being sought after, coveted and praised.

This is their long-awaited first full length CD, self tiled and released by Sad Eyes  - a division of Germany's Trisol which makes sense considering their wildly popular status in that country. (They just got back from a trip to Germany this fall and had a blast). They've put out other works before – two 7” vinyls, an EP, Acrobat Amaranth Automaton, in 1996, and another - Falling, Caterwauling… in early 2000 that's since been discontinued. They've even appeared on some compilations - Goth Oddity, A tribute to David Bowie put out by Cleopatra; Heaven and Hell by Trisol; Ghosts From The Darkside, Vol. 3, disc 2 by Purple Flower in Germany; and Goth's Paradise IV by Orkus also in Germany. Those within the fold of the Strange cant seem to get enough of this band and their releases are highly sought after prizes. Be forewarned – you may get addicted to this stuff if you listen to it.

Breaking it down – the music itself is batcave style complete with  post-punk bass lines, throbbing hook lines and angsty vocals that would stir the dead. But unlike their 80’s counterparts, Cinema Strange adds in splendid keyboard programming, usually in minor chords, that gives it a spooky twist. In the lyrics there is this playful moroseness – something the likes of Edward Gorey put to music. The writing is eloquent and morbid …and yet, fun and free-spirited. It's as if, the darkest realm on earth let loose its fairies and elves to scamper and play about the industrial wastelands of the city (clad in mohawks and torn fishnets of course).

Lyrics from "Greensward Grey":

“There is blood on the hooves of the fauns on the Greensward Grey…
For they tread through the gristle of the lawn today…
Don’t they see the roseate faces of my wives,
As they lay disemboweled on the Greensward Grey
This park is rank and slippery,
Skip and watch the kite tails,
Don’t trip on the entrails,
White and ligamental blossoms jutting from the earth,
When have toadstools ever grown toenails?"

The opening track "Aboriginal Anemia" is a gemm starting out right off the bat with what I assume is an old movie promo/advert - scratchy old vinyl sound skipping and  repeating "Cine-ma! Cine-ma!"  Cue plodding bass line and the stage is set. Lucas's unique vocals set in - drifting somewhere between man, boy, muse and nite spirit, he sings of images that rival the strangest parts of Alice In Wonderland --
"your bitter family...
Holding court without your cousins,
reprimand your vital sanction...
anxious ears solicit thee,
my snarling spies sit down to tea,
and ignore the bubbling sores that swell and spit along your backbone"

And our boys are not only spooky, and musically creative, but they're well versed in the gothiest of literature as track 2, "Moundshroud", (which I haven't found the lyrics to yet), is supposedly a tribute to Ray Bradbury's short novel "The Halloween Tree" which has been a favorite of mine since I can remember reading - (my own copy of it worn thin, pages old and yellow.) The droning keyboard here is my favorite element in this song - straight out of the black and white horror films - whining, creeping and mossing about. . Another literary example would be the lyrics of "Hebenon Vial" which are "Shakespearean imagery, mostly based around Hamlet." [Murder most foul!] "Nightfalls" is faster, reminiscent punk, much like  Bella Morte's "Where Shadows Lie."  Here again, the keyboard melody is completely addictive and I find myself unconsciously humming along and twisting to it.

From the morbid sing-songy playfulness of "En Hiver" ("Freezing men don't laugh at murder. Bleeding naked in the bathtub. Open windows tempt the savory, women's heads float just as easily") to the strange experimental/theatrical  writing of  "Lindsay's Trachea" (which has become a cult icon itself); Cinema Strange is the band I've always hoped there would be  lurking out there in the smoky blackened corner of some underground club. They are sharp-witted intelligence wrapped in the mischievous grins of nite imps,  innocent boyish eyes peering out at you from razor sharp bits of hair. Their very existence, in smeared makeup and torn fishnets with a sound more Batcave than the Batcave era ever was, is more sincere and true because its on their own terms, not because its a fad. A fiendish uprising is boiling - from the enlivened club scene in Germany to the clubs like Release the Bats in Long Beach, California, those who have seen and heard Cinema Strange are enchanted, bewitched and beyond a cure. This is morbid romance.

Lindsey’s Trachea
Setting: Manhattan high-rise...the plush, expensively furnished inner office of Dr. John Lindsay, esteemed psychiatrist and mysterious New York socialite. He is about to die.

Dr. Lindsay - described above
Arkham Deadfly - the good Doctors murderous alter-ego and
Assorted flies, larva, beetles, rats, and shadows

Part One
Dr. Lindsay: Oh, isn't it nice, falling and hating me? Here, breathing the air, through Lindsay's trachea! Oh, rendered and torn, spilling my glass to the floor, Hands in my hair, pulling and patiently dying.

Part Two
Dr. Lindsay: "Why are you here?" were my words and I screamed them. "Could you destroy a man in mid day?"

Arkham Deadfly: Dreaming and evening, so are we twins. Listen, I whisper: your lips how they twitch! The doorway is swarming with larva today, seething and screaming as friendly men play. I am the empty, thou art the thin. We are the bending blade stuck in your ribs! Thou art a tempest, I am the wind. We are the fallen man tortured and skinned!

Part Three
Arkham Deadfly: I've run this way twice before and always therats wading through dust. Doctor, silent and still, were you calling to me? The skies overhead have been crowded with wings, but hear the flies how they sing! I've reached my way through mist before, and always the bugs leading my lungs! Doctor, silent and still, were you calling to me? The skies overhead have been CROWDED with wings, but hear the flies how they sing!

01. Aboriginal Anemia
02. Moundshroud
03. Nightfalls
04. Sadist Sagittarius
05. En Hiver
06. Laughing Bloody Murder
07. Mediterranean Widow
08. Hebenon Vial
09. Lindsay's Trachea
10. Greensward Grey

Lucas Lanthier - vocals, programming
Daniel Ribiat - bass, programming
Michael Ribiat - guitar

E-mail: cinemastrange@yahoo.com
Snail Mail:
Cinema Strange
P.O. Box 772
Somis, CA 93066

Transposed lyrics and links by ~Neph
webmeister of eine Symphonie des Gravens

Cinema Strange - Official Homepage

~reviewed by Psionic

Hmmnn.. Thump thump, growl growl. There is nothing staggeringly original about this self-titled debut from New York City-based Cydonia, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything here of note. Composed by one Anthony Leone, Cydonia falls solidly within the club-friendly thumpitythump-thump of Dark EBM. Solid bass synth lines, growly vocals run through a zillion spooky effects, 4-on-the-floor kick beats. Even a few samples of Drills. Somehow there is an underlying feeling of menace to this cd, but it doesn't feel affected. This is good. 'Cause I get really annoyed with projects that sound strained in their spooky angst. I really don't think that Cydonia will be remembered for shattering paradigms, but if you're a completist fan of industrial-dance music, Cydonia is a good addition to your collection.  A consistent release, that puts Cydonia far ahead of the majority out on the market.

1: Abyss
2: Yeil
3: Heretic
4: Creed
5: Sacred
6: Indoctrinate
7: Sentient
8: Confessor
9: Threads
10: Remnant

Cydonia Website: http://pages.prodigy.net/cydoniamusic/cydonia.html
Tinman Website: http://www.tinmanrex.com/

Dream Disciples
~reviewed by Blu

Don't you know the Dream Disciples? No? Not yet. You must be from the USA. Seems as though we Americans are missing out. Something big has been brewing over there, for ten long years. I'll pass the secret onto you, promise. Just read.

Hmm... perhaps a history lesson first, cause I did my homework:

"Utopia came in black tonight..."   - "Room 57"
In Mick Mercer's Hex Files: the goth bible published way back in 1996, he says the UK's Dream Disciples are "one of the hardest working bands around." Indeed, by their track record, it appears so having played all over Europe including the UK, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic. They've released 5 CDs (plus 3 promo versions), and have just completed their sixth  - Asphyxia. Ten years and counting they're still in the game --  I could tell you that they played this past April at the Whitby festival and that they are booked to play this coming August 4th at the Eurorock festival in Belgium. I could also mention, that whilst scanning club and radio playlists from Europe, like I often do, there's hardly one that doesn't include a track by The Dream Disciples.

The Uninitiated
So I admit, I was in the dark too you see. (Damn ocean keeping all that good music away from us and all.) Then one day I get a letter, out of the blue,  from Mel - Scary Lady Sarah's other half, and he says, to me... say Blu, the Dream Disciples have a new CD out and you really must check it out. Which is very odd, cause Mel has never had cause to write me before. I say ok, file the link somewhere and tackle the next crisis at StarVox central. Then I get an email from some one named Col <winkwink> who says, I'm with the Dream Disciples, check us out. Again, book mark the link. I then get a third email from Mike (Hidden Sanctuary) who says, Blu, you MUST check out Dream Disciples!  I'm beginning to think its a conspiracy. So finally, I stop what I'm doing, and I go download the mp3s. My chin drops. Really. This is so good. This is soooooooooo good, I keep thinking. For months I've been bitching and complaining, " I want a REAL band who plays REAL instruments and REALLY sings... " blah blah boo hoo... and here they were, for ten years, just across the pond.

"Welcome to the Show"
So sit back, and get aquatinted if you haven't. I daresay if you're a U.S. DJ, if you hop on this now, you'll be leading the invasion if the play lists in Europe are any indication of the crowd response this band gets (see below for the obscene and growing list of clubs playing their new tracks).

Their newest CD Asphyxia is full of so many wonderful songs that I hardly know where to start - all different , all with their own unique appeal. Their first single, and the song I see appearing on most European playlists is "Room 57."  (You can download it here off mp3 right now!) Its hard to explain my feelings for this song - it produces quite an assortment. Its starts off aggressively - almost industrial, with a driving drumbeat that makes you want to dance immediately  ( I tested this song last weekend on a EBM/Synth pop crowd and they danced their asses off to it. Perhaps I can trick them into liking a real guitar band!). You get sucked in, you start moving with the beats, head bopping as it builds, and then the guitars come in and Col sings, "We drove for miles and miles just to get here..." his voice breaking up near the end, teeth clinched, emphasizing the stress of their long journey, and then softer, sings, "the four of us, against the world again..." and in that one simple phrase, so much emotion welled up inside that it almost makes you cry. That line will always get to me. And maybe I connect too much to those feelings, of struggling so hard for so many years for something you believe in that you're on the verge of giving up, yet you have this group of supportive friends who've seen you through it all... and I know where he's coming from.  There's dissonance in the chords up til that point, then another change takes place, the song changes key as they launch into the chorus and there's resolution. There's this huge bridge into a feeling of "triumph" -- "Yesterday, seems far away,  Just staring out with vacant eyes,  We all fall down." Col's voice is incredible on this track, sometimes near a whisper, other times belting out the chorus with all he's got.  Come to think of it, fans of the U.S.  band Psychotica might be interested as I find Col's raspy vocal qualities MUCH like Pat Briggs.

(:::sigh::: Pardon me while I go dance to it ...yet again...)

"Velvethead" is yummy treat - hard hitting and dramatic, its currently my "getting ready to go out" song. There's a mischievous element of reckless abandon in his voice when Col sings, "Heartstopping, pill popping, she'll be dead by 21 and I don't mind." Extremely sexy and seductive in tone that rides on a purring bass line;  this is sure to be another favorite at fast paced underground clubs.

Changing tone and style yet again, the song "Cobalt (blue)" is more Britt-pop in flavor and a very delightful sing-along song. On most mornings, you can catch me driving to work singing, "when you realize that we are slaves to this utopia, its drowning me, its alright, its alright, we all die. Sometimes when I'm feeling down I see you, and your eyes are still shinning cobalt blue."

"Antidote" is another danceable track with a middle eastern edge thrown in for a lovely, mysterious effect in contrast to the harder guitar lines. Then, switching gears *completely*, "The Enemy" is fast song with a chorus of blurring percussion and guitar assaults similar to thrash metal in aggression and bpms.  "o.p.s." takes on a pop/rock edge, "this could be the lovesong that I never wrote for you..."  (think Placebo or Oasis); while "Librium" is a haunting instrumental that fades into a contemplative mood of "Babylon." Not ones to disappoint, Dream Disciples finish up the CD with "The Misery Whip" and my oh my, if the subconscious heavy breathing and moans don't get to you underneath that pulsating bass line, I don't know what will...  (or is that just wishful thinking on my part?)

Truly a band who's paid their dues, Dream Disciples have produced a CD that is charming and professional all the way around from their musical talent and emotional content to lyrical maturity.  I'm wagering a bet right here and now, this CD will top some of our "Top 10" lists at the end of the year on StarVox. The boys are planning a U.S. tour at some point and I'll be there in line just to sing along...

Track Listing
cobalt (blue)
room 57
the enemy
black widow
the misery whip

See them LIVE:
Saturday August 4th
Neerpelt, Belgium
Eurorock festival

Dream Disciples is:
Sid Bratley (Guitar)
Col Lowing (Vocals)
Karl North (Bass)
Gordon Young (Guitar)


David E. Williams
I Have Forgotten How To Love You
~reviewed by Michael Otley

I can't explain if it is 80's cheesiness that I love so much about the music found on I Have Forgotten How To Love You, or if it is that I love this album musically despite it's 80's cheesiness.  There's something very deep and perplexing at work here.  I Have Forgotten How To Love You follows after William's debut A House for the Dead and a Porch for the Dying only a year later showing an incredible amount of musical growth from the satiric lyrical genius.  He's slowed down a bit since with only an EP titled Hello Columbus, but I suspect he's up to other things.

I want to describe what it is about this particular album that make it work so well.  The CD is filled with small songs you might have been able to wrestle out of They Might be Giants if they went goth, or maybe you could meddle with some tunes from happy children's programs and dub over the morose vocals.  But that's not the extent of it either.  It would be cruel to say "Police Widow" could almost be upbeat hold-music, but you appreciate it here.

Most of the tracks have vocals, however, and it is David's gruff voice in combination with his black sarcastic humor that make the album a jewel.  Williams, in all his serious, can get quite silly, "I had a sick yellow eyeball slobberin' off the end of my house key" from "Vaginal Interior Decorator".  At moments he's even quite obscurely shocking in a way sock rockers might never get; in answer to PJ Harvey he sings "I'm gonna rape that girl right out of my hair" from track 16 "That Skirt's Too Short for a Funeral Honey".

It's not really an 80's sound per se, but then again it is.  It's certainly not new-wave though.  There are a lot of keyboards and some guitar here and there.  It's crystal clear and wants to be in your ears, on your headphones.  I recommend David E. Williams not to a specific genre but to a specific aesthetic, a nostalgic satire, if you will.  Not to mention I love "Fish Heads and Olives".  The song I mean.


Feedback Loop
~reviewed by Psionic

Ahh, Powernoise. Rhythmic noise. Noise. Experimentalism. Flavour-of-the-moment. Is it the swansong of the industrial elite? Or just a passing fad? Either way, it's here now. With that in mind, we have Doppler Effect records tip-of-the-hat to it all, Feedback Loop. And before I get into any individual props to the artists, credit must be given to Doppler Effect records itself for banging together a solid collection of noisy tracks. This is a good compilation, with a higher-than-usual ratio of good-to-filler material. -d.b.s- sets the bar. Scott Sturgis (-Converter-, -Pain Station-, over-caffeinated drinks) never fails to please, and "Spread Your Wings" is a perfect example of his talents. -consume- sees -d.b.s- and raises Mr. Sturgis one crunchy in-joke about Rec.Music.Industrial. It will be interesting to see what J. Wood's chosen profession of tank-bombardier does to the sound of consume. -Form/Alkaline- (previously known as -Scar Tissue-)deliver a fusion of drifting ambience hidden behind a barroom brawl of beats. -Rec|use- pound the bejeezus out of the hapless listener with the superb "Demolir", a furious track reminicient of most anime gunfights. -C/A/T- bursts along with "Dying Morality", a track that sounds like 5 packs of pop-rocks would feel. Exploding kids, anyone? The pinnacle of the compilation, an almost anthemic car-wreck of sounds, comes in the form of "It's Gone" by Portland's -Burn-. A fine example of rhythmic stompiness, it is my personal favorite on Feedback Loop, look to see it on my playlists frequently in the future.

The rest of Feedback Loop consists of "Pretty good" (ML, Xszi, ) to "Not bad" (Monotone Corrosive, lxl, Om Fx Skole) to "Ok" (TYROPHEX14, Centyl, Monitor). You will note that none of it falls within the category of "Horrid" or even "Bad"... Feedback Loop would be a great starting point for thos curious to see what all the racket is about, but don't want to pay the overbloated prices for Ant-Zen's gimmick packaging. It also would make a decent addition to any noise fans collection. Either way, it's worth picking up.

1: d.b.s. - "Spread Your Wings"
2: consume - "You Took The Candy, Now Get In The Goddamned Car"
3: Burn - "It's Gone"
4: TYROPHEX14 - "Dominator"
5: Centyl - "Chinook"
6: Form/Alkaline - "Spade"
7: Monotone Corrosive - "Concrete"
8: lxl - "Bloodbox (Slit)
9: Om Fx Skole "TIPFN"
10: C/A/T - "Dying Morality"
11: Rec|use - "Demolir"
12: ML - "Captain Woofykins"
13: Xszi - "ConfinedToBlinders"
14: Monitor - "Closed Loop"


~reviewed by Psionic

Oh how not to be cruel... I first heard Dubok through the online radio show 'Syncromesh' ( http://syncromesh.net/radio.asp ) and fell in love. Vocals that came from the heart, not the Yamaha distortion preset #23.(!!!!!) The track ('Faded') was eventually included on the 'Syncromesh .001' compilation, and it remains my favorite Dubok song. When I finally got my grubby mitts on "Immersed" I was gleefully looking forward to more of the same energy and passion.
I was disappointed.

Not crushed mind you, or monumentally let down, but disappointed. "Immersed" is solidly written. It's gleams from polished production, everything is in order. Yet it is lacking a certain something, a certain zing. After giving the cd many, many listens (To be certain it wasn't merely in need of growing on my occasionally slow synapses), I decided that Dubok suffer from Formula-sickness. That is to say, they are an EBM band with all the pre-requisite bells and presets. But, as with most other EBM/industrial-dance bands, few truly original ideas filter through. What makes all this so much more painful than say, generic-EBM-band-from-Germany-#242, is the promise of that first song I heard from Dubok, 'Faded'. How did all the energy and enthusiasm of that one song cease after it was written? One-hit-wonders aren't unknown, I just hope that in Dubok's case it's not a permanent affliction. My final verdict? Well written, well produced, thumpity-thump, works well on the dance-floor, is completely forgettable except for one track... If you aren't an elitist, and go in for virtually anything with that synth-dustrial sound, then you'll love Dubok. But if you're a bitter, jaded old queen like myself, then pass on Dubok until they release a more consistently brilliant album.

1: The Soft Parade
2: Faded
3: Sinsanity
4: New Mind
5: Cervical Biopsy
6: It's Both now
7: Slips
8: Fine Time
9: Immersed
10: Goodbye

Dubok Website: http://www.nezzwerk.com/dubok/
Tinman Records Website: http://www.tinmanrex.com/

The Empire Hideous
Victim Destroys Assailant
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

In the aftermath of the WTC tragedy, it is almost chillingly prophetic that this CD was released just a mere 3 short years ago. In many ways, it provides the impetus for the underground to maintain their outrage at what has recently marred NYC and the world at large.

Despite some queries to the contrary, the band does not have a psychic link to world events. The Empire Hideous has always been a band that pushed the boundaries, particularly in reference to some of the more taboo political, corporate and relational topics of our society. Many of their ideas came from just studying the world around them. Lead singer and composer Myke Hideous does not dance around the perimeters of fluff. Instead, this work is the beacon for the underground movement that grew from outsiders always looking in. The scene has been renowned for its questioning of the preconceived popular notions that only now the rest of the world is catching up with and now modifying.

Musically, this CD is traditional goth rock in every sense of the word. One could easily contend that the band is the American equivalent to The Fields of the Nephilim only with stronger and more seductive vocals.  Instead of a gravel voice, you will find Hideous piercing the veil of the night sky with impassioned intonations that would shake the Olympian Gods themselves, made more evident on the track "God & I".

"Talk is Cheap" remains a great goth rock anthem for anyone in a company position where they are promised the world with no delivery behind it. "Mr. Barnum" is the track that was on many dj rotation lists a while back and still remains a staple in many clubs around the globe.

Make no mistake; this is a strong CD from a tightly sounding band. Anyone in the underground scene who has not been exposed to this work has no idea what they are missing!

It is highly recommended that those longing for traditional goth rock take a step back in their time machine and pick up a copy of this CD before they are out of print. It is worth every penny!

Merchandising and Distribution by Middle Pillar

Band Website: www.empirehideous.com

Track Listing:
1. Talk is Cheap
2. Stealing From The Crow
3. God & I
4. You Follow
5. Logic
6. Amazing Murder Machine
7. This Dead Season
8. Otherside
9. Power The Empire ‘98
10. Mr. Barnum ‘98
11. Thou Shalt Be Done
12. Open Windows
13. Hereafter

~reviewed by Matthew
To be filed somewhere in the dark music kingdom between Type O Negative, Rammstein, Das Ich, and Moonspell, we have a new German export by the name of Eisheilig, the latest and perhaps one of the greatest outfits signed to Napalm Records.
Eisheilig possess a moody romanticism, drifting upon the bleak currents of a sensuous thick-accented male vocal.  No growls, no black metal screeches, but rather a heartfelt baritone more likely to be found at the mic of a Gothic Rock band as opposed to a metal band.  In essence, think Peter Steele if he sang in German.  Yes, that’s right, ladies.  You will dig this.
It just wouldn’t be German if there weren’t some aspect of Industrial dance somewhere in there, and while the purpose of Eisheilig is certainly not to produce the next floor filler at the local discotheque, they do possess the same jagged sense of rhythm in some of their more aggressive parts that definitely recall some of their misanthropic Deutsch contemporaries.  Utilizing live drumming and electronic percussion, the end result is a balanced blend of the organic with the synthetic, dramatically sluggish for the doomier occasions, upbeat for the more mischievous Goth Rock passages, though always hard hitting and powerful.
The guitar work is nothing drastic or that progressive, however, the most spoiled instrument in rock n’ roll is used very well and compliments atmosphere, rather than overpowers the thunderous backbone of the band.  The majority of the guitar work is crunchy power chords, again similar to Type O Negative though without the layers of flange and reverb effects.  Eisheilig’s guitar sound is tight and precise, working well with the sharp rhythms yet some cool riffs give a bleak and dreary voice to the darker and more ambient passages.  Synths weave throughout the maze of gloom, however, they too work in unison with the other instrumental elements to produce a holistic and solid atmosphere.  In essence, this is some really good stuff.
It is my personal belief that the track “Vater Unser” has some genuine Gothic club appeal, but it is only wishful thinking that DJs will pay attention to this since it’s release through a predominantly metal label. (Prove me wrong, please!)  With an awesome, eerie vocal melody, the angst-ridden accent adds a delightful and menacing flavour, while the bombastic stop/start crunch of guitars to punctuate the undulating rhythms enliven the song to provide the perfect stomp-n’-swirl anthem.  I love this song and hope to play it to death.
This album is something to be enjoyed as a whole.  There are indeed some great tracks that can stand alone more so than others, the mid paced and devilish “Das Tier” and the melancholic sludge of “Sunder” and “Tanz Mit Mir” to be specific.  However, the magick of the album and the way to fully grasp the essence of Eisheilig is to hear the album as a whole.  It has that effect where each song pulls you further into the overall mood, and by the end of the CD, you are thirsting for more.
They leave us then with a creative and unique cover of The Doors, which strengthens the validity behind my hypothesis that The Doors were not only godly, but they were also the tripped out grandfathers of Goth.  Eisheilig reinterpret the wistful romance of “Love Street,” creating a massive and dense doom track, chalk full of melodic guitar riffs rooted in the original piano and vocal melodies of the song.  Haunting, thick, and superb in it’s delivery.  Some may think that the vocals may be a bit too overdramatic and exaggerated in some parts, but hey, so did many critic’s of Morrison, so what the hell?  I dig it.  It makes a Valentine ode into a sexy Halloween jam.

This was an incredibly impressive debut from a band that I cannot wait to hear more from.  I hope they remain immune to any drastic musical temptations to change their sound.  They don’t need to bring in any overdone black metal elements to appeal to more aggressive tastes, and they certainly don’t need to be any more electronic.  They found a tasteful way to blend Gothic aesthetics with the energy of guitar driven metal and the rhythmic sensuality of darkwave and old school Industrial.  Eisheilig have found a comfortable formula that hopefully has not sprung from a shallow well of inspiration.  I can’t wait to see what they bestow upon us in the future.

Track List:
1.) Die Brucken
2.) Am Letzen Tag
3.) Wolfzeit
4.) Vater Unser
5.) Sunder
6.) Bei Dir
7.) Mein Blut
8.) Das Tier
9.) Tanz Mit Mir
10.) Das Licht
11.) Feuerstaub
12.) Love Street

Eisheilig – Official Site:

Napalm Records:

A Sides
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist

"What really went on there, we only have this excerpt...."
My first experience with the Fall was a little over a year ago. I was working at HMV, and passed by a rack of CD's that had this black and white  halftone image of a guy in a long coat on a white background with only the  words "THE FALL" in blue-red-yellow Warhol.

So you see, I had to have it.

And I figured at my staff discount, the 10 bucks was worth it -- even if the album stank, the cover alone was eye-catchingly different enough to file away in my brain for future reference somewhere. I bought it, and  examined what I had in my hands. A 'best of' compilation CD from 1990, which meant I was going to get a heavy sampling of 80's material. From Beggar's Banquet, so it had to have that post-punk sound that I craved.

Bollocks. What I expected and what I got were two different things entirely. In fact, what I found myself listening to was utterly indefinable, except perhaps as "genius". The Fall jumps all over the place, refusing to be lessened by categorization.  They're jacks-of-all-trades and masters of them all. After one listening, I knew I had to have more.

The Fall has gone through many incarnations, and so it is basically one man: Mark E. Smith. In fact, the band line-up has been so dynamic that, as Smith put it, "If it's just me and your granny on bongo drums, it's a Fall gig."

Smith's dedication to pushing art forward is nothing short of meta-human, never once falling prey to the lethargy bred from gaining notoriety or becoming disillusioned. His personal ideal has always been to continue working and living in a world resembling cascading dominoes -- when one album is done, it's time to begin the next. The proof of this is obvious. As near as I can tell, the Fall has released over 30 full-length, original content albums since 1979. And we're not talking about Wesley Willis stuff here. No breaks, no regrouping. Not while there's still work to be done and something left to say. 'Keep moving or die' is his mantra.

The Fall's never really had an easy time of it due to their nebulous sound. Back in the late 70's, their first EP, "Bingo Masters Breakout," fell mostly on dead ears. See, the true magic of the Fall is the distinct vocals that Smith has perfected over the years. I don't mean distinct like Murphy or Eldritch or Pavarotti... this sort of distinct makes you think "What the hell is he doing?" the first time you hear it. It's just downright weird. But the frustrating thing to your sense of normalcy is that deep down, you know that not only does it work, but it's bloody brilliant. That's what music's supposed to be about, isn't it? Making something utterly new? The Fall combines simple yet beautiful music with dementedly complex vocals that could never possibly be copied.

Smith explains his vocal departure from the norm in a few concise phrases: "Come one, man, you've got to have some fuckin' fun in your life. You don't want everything on a plate. That's the trouble with rock music, it's all made for the palate. The only thing that keeps me going is I want to put things in rock music that aren't there. I don't think a guitar's even been explored yet. Or a bass, or a drumkit. Or vocals. Everybody seems to play it safe. I fuckin' went into it blind, man, I'm telling you."

Smith saw the band buckling in 1981, and assumed everything would fall apart around him. Gathering all his resources in one final effort, the "Hex Enduction Hour" LP. Nothing short of legendary for its time, the vinyl spins for 60 whole minutes: another landmark in Smith's career. Ironically, Motown offered the band a record deal soon after that, but withdrew it again very quickly upon listening to the album. In true Machiavellian stance of observing the world in an unpopular light, the first track of the album, "The Classical," contains the lyrics "Where are the obligatory niggers?/Hey there fuck face! Hey there fuck face!" That was it for that deal.

"The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall," released in 1984, has a title that's somewhat telling of not only the Fall in general, but of the album as a separate entity in itself -- it contains some of the most beautiful and strange arrangements the band has produced. Most notable is "Disney's Dream Debased," that Smith himself calls one of the most beautiful songs he's ever done.

So it's 1986, and the Fall have a hit with "Mr Pharmacist," a cover a 60's garage track by a band called The Other Half. While I've never heard the original, I can only imagine that it's not a true cover. Their 1989 cover of the Kinks "Victoria" is so astoundingly different and refreshing that 'retooling' might be a better descriptor than 'cover.' But that's what you get from the Fall -- plodding along in file is an utterly foreign concept to Smith. Why do something that someone else has already done?

One can't talk about the Fall without mentioning Smith's now ex-wife, Brix. Meeting up with her in a cafe in California in 1983, she was married to Smith straight off and soon joined on as the band's bass player (to Smith's chagrin). The relationship was the stuff that dreams are made of, and not the good dreams either. After a few years with the Fall, 1989 saw the end for poor Brix in both capacities. Bit of a shame, too, as she's a lot easier on the eyes than Mark. I don't even know the whole story behind the split, but from what I understand, it's huge. Certainly, she used to get on Mark's nerves for taking altogether too much credit for stuff the band did.

Listen, if you've managed to read this far, then I really applaud you. I suppose either means that I've done a good job of capturing your attention, or else you're the sort of person that can't put something down until the author quits rambling and gets to the point. No worries. It'll arrive soon enough.

So what's the deal with this CD? Well, I'm guessing it was originally released on vinyl, but you'd be pretty fortunate to find it like that today. It contains nothing more than glimpses into some of the more commercially viable material of the Fall. Trust me, there's a lot of diamonds beneath the rock. I'm not usually big on "best of" albums, but this bears as little resemblance to a typical "best of" album as you could possibly imagine -- the lyrics are convoluted to the extreme at most lucid of points, Mark E. Smith's constant banshee wails and incomprehensible north-english accent wrack your senses at every turn, and the combination of everything sends you brain reeling in the most creative directions you've ever travelled.

But I should let you know right now, this is the sort of thing you'll either love or else you'll hate. Once you've journeyed into the wonderful and frightening world of the Fall, I really doubt you can hold any modicum of indifference again. Draw your own conclusions. Don't let my review influence you one way or the other.

And hey, if you get hooked on the Fall, please send me some email and tell me about your experiences. You can reach me at edwin@starvox.net.

1. Oh! Brother
2. C.R.E.E.P.
3. No Bulbs 3
4. Rollin' Dany
5. Couldn't Get Ahead
6. Cruisers Creek
7. L.A.
8. Living Too Late
9. Hit The North part 1
10. Mr. Pharmacist
11. Hey! Luciani
12. There's a Ghost in my House
13. Victoria
14. Big New Prinz
15. Wrong Place, Right Time no.2
16. Jerusalem
17. Dead Beat Descendant

The Fall is Mark E. Smith and various

official site: http://www.visi.com/fall/
lyrics: http://www.freedonia.com/~jeff/fall/
albums on CdNow:

~reviewed by Psionic

Frontline Assembly. The name, to those of us in the know, is synonymous with industrial dance. Who amongst us in the 'scene' doesn't own at least -one- Frontline release? Few of us indeed. 'Tactical Neural Implant' practically wrote the EBM recipe-for-success that I've railed against so vigilantly in recent reviews. Mr. Bill Leeb has come under allot of critical fire with the last couple of albums, starting with the departure of Rhys Fulber and the radical departure of sound taken from 'FLAvour of the Weak' onwards. (I myself was less than impressed with 'Implode'...) Well those critics can go throw feces at one another for all I care. They all keep buying the albums anyways, so what does that say about them? (Wait... What does that say about me??) And so we have 'Epitaph', the 11th full-length release from Bill Leeb and his partner in crime, the sublimly talented Chris Peterson.

It's better than "Implode". 'Nuff said. But since when have I ever passed up a chance to explain more than is needed?
Bill Leeb and Chris Peterson are grand masters of sound design and manipulation. 'Epitaph' is slicker than you can shake a stick at. Oh how it's smooth. Every trick in the book has been employed, this cd prowls along like an anti-grav hovertank in stealth mode. Phat kicks and pumpin' basslines abound. Bill Leeb's vocals are subdued and spooky, dripping with a cyborg's angst. Oh yeah, everything we know and love from FLA is here, up front and assembled for your listening enjoyment. 3d accelerated technoanime music for the hard-wired.

'Epitaph', like 'Implode' before it, seems to be the "Kinder, gentler" Frontline Assembly. Take that as you will. But even when crooning a FrontLine ballad, the boys still drench it in robotics-aplenty. So, if not welcome, it's at least tolerable. I for one am happy that the missing darkness of 'Implode' has resurfaced for 'Epitaph', and that I don't have to search out a decent FLA clone to get my fix. Welcome back boys, I'll see you on tour. As for the rest of you lot, I recommend 'Epitaph'. As good as FLA gets. I, for one, will find this cd in steadier and steadier rotation in my cd player.~

1: Haloed
2: Dead Planet
3: Backlash
4: Epitaph
5: Everything Must Perish
6: Conscience
7: Decoy
8: Insolence
9: Krank It Up
10: Existance

FLA website: http://www.mindphaser.com/
Metropolis Records website: http://www.metropolis-records.com/

Frank the Baptist
Self-titled EP / Lighthouse Libretto CD
~reviewed by Blu

Wavering somewhere between deathrock and goth, Frank the Baptist is a band from San Diego with a unique sound Originally I was put in contact with Frank in regards to doing a deathrock show there – and he was quite helpful. Little did I know this would sideline into me hearing two lovely CDs from his band – lucky for me. They’re self-described as having an “affinity towards the dark and melancholy songs” while harboring a love for more aggressive stuff at the same time. They also have quite a sense of humor. On their bio page, at the very end, it says,  “PS – they’re not baptists”

Frank has a gift for writing catchy melodic choruses that sink in and hook your subconscious immediately. After listening to his CDs just once I was singing along and bobbing my head in time to the beat.  “Bleeding in My Arms” is a perfect example of just that God what an addicting song. The beat is slow but driving, the guitar licks are catchy and the melody is so sing-songy that it’s like a mesmerizing children’s rhyme. And while I like all the songs I’ve heard, “Swing the Pendulum” stands out on the EP as the strongest song. It’s got that Baptist hook I’ve been talking about, and the key change during the chorus just strengthens it further.  It’s a dramatic piece in which Frank’s unique vocals are strong yet melodic and simply soars.

On the CD Lighthouse Libretta, “Propellered Hearts” is one of my favorite songs with a punk-inspired bass lines that bounces along while ‘Cryptkicker 5” highlights Frank’s smooth vocals with more subdued backing tracks. The guitar playing is heavy and slow and the piano-based keyboard lines adds to the melancholy tone.

You’ll have to hear these guys for yourself. They simply do not sound like anyone I can think of, and that’s cool as shit. Other than that, its fair to say they write and perform damn good solid music. Definitely worth anyone’s time checking them out and quite a few of these tracks are uptempo enough to go over well at clubs.

Frank the Baptist is:
Frank the Baptist – vocals and rhythm guitar
Scot the Hoople – lead and rhythm guitar
E-train – bass guitar
Anthony De La Cruz – keyboards
Dave Hammersma – Drums

*Friday August 24th at RELEASE THE BATS at Que Sera 1923 E. 7th Street Long Beach - California With Dj's Dave Grave, Dave Skott, Jeremy, Shane and Mark Splatter
*Saturday September 1st AT Xanth for the Music Fest 2001 10:30 PM 4225 30th St. San Diego, CA
*Saturday September 22nd at BAR SINISTER down the candle-lit alley @ 1652 n. cherokee avenue (next door 2 the famous steve boardner's) in hollywood, california just south of hollywood blvd
*Saturday June 9th at THE TROUBADOR with Cinema Strange, Element, Horror Show, and Antiworld 9081 Santa Monica Blvd in L.A. 9pm

If you would like some info on how to get a hold of their demo, new CD,  or a Frank the Baptist t-shirt (only $8) E-mail them at Baptistf@aol.com

Mp3 samples are available on the website:

Fluorescent Tunnelvision 2 CD
~review by Aaron Garland

I got curious about this CD just from the unusual roster of "bands" (17 to be exact, only two of which I've heard previously) - a loose term since a few are sure to be one-man outfits.  Much of this kind of music has been dubbed "space rock", "psych rock" et al, yet most of it, for better or worse, seems to exist outside the confines of "rock" altogether or stretch its boundaries as far as possible - at least to my ears anyway.  Some of the artists here walk a fine line between the genres of rock and noise with results that will catch almost any listener's attention.  It would be an arduous task to give a description of every track so I'll stick to those which really grabbed my attention.

While each artist on this compilation sounds different and maintains a high standard of production, it's easy to see why Circle's "Veitsi" was the opener.  This is a nine minute plus onslaught of streamlined guitar/electronic noise backed by a danceable beat that never lets up in tempo - making one feel exhausted and amped at the same time. Interestingly, the individual behind Circle also contributed a track under the nom-de-guerre Ektroverde.  Quarkspace, on the other hand, come close to a conventional rock song format with "Brainhaze" but there's just enough distortion added to keep it off-center.  Melodic Energy Commission's "Ramalite from Vega" begins with beautiful harp sounds and then takes you straight to a distant star.  It's utterly indescribable.

Disc 2 commences with the legendary Faust who, judging from their contribution, aren't trying to make a commercial comeback of any sort. Volcano the Bear has a track that would fit right in place on a Nurse With Wound record with its paranoid, edgy and atonal meandering.  Might I also add that horns come out of nowhere, which reminded of some early Death in June songs and Herb Alpert's late 70's hit "Rise".  Escapade, like Circle, contributes a high-octane piece that doesn't let up for a second, except they do it with unrelenting jazz-like excursions and real drumming. Mushroom's "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (named after the movie?) manages to sound the most out-of-place, yet it fits right in with its quirky, funky, and mid-tempo mix of guitar and tuba.  Can and Gong fans should take note.  As if that weren't enough, Subarachnoid Space leave the listener with a foray into experimental sounds quickly over-ridden by a no-holds barred jam session containing guitars, drums and what have you for over 14 minutes.  This is an appropriate grand finale for a CD with so many twists and turns all served up without a hint of pretense.

Certainly this stuff is not for everyone, but these bands do have a method to their madness - a method that exercises complexity, depth, and discipline with a fair amount of noise.  And, like all good noise, life's mundane distractions are no match for the overwhelming presence it creates.  Let the submission begin!

Track listing:

Disc 1:
Circle - Veitsi
F/I - Quantum Foam
Pseudo Buddha - Calling Quexzalcoatl
Zelany Rashoho - (no words in this song title - just symbols)
Oranj Climax - Offering
Djam Karet - New Light on the Dark Age
Quarkspace - Brainhaze (D.O.B.H. #3)
Melodic Energy Commission - Ramalite from Vega
Ektroverde - Suru

 Faust - From the Upper Underworld (Little Ravvivando)
 Volcano the Bear - Strausshand
 Escapade - Warningless
 Tombstone Valentine - Fleeing from the Perfect Master
 Mushroom - Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
 Tree Sine - Jump to the Moon
 2012 - Look
 Subarachnoid Space - So Near and Yeti So Far

 132 W26th Street
 New York, NY 10001
 Tel 212-807-0405 fax 212-741-7688
 Email:  info@motherwest.com

~reviewed by: Digital Angel

After a two-year hiatus, Haujobb has emerged with "Polarity". 19 tracks and 52 minutes in length, it offers primarily a healthy dose of EBM, but drum and bass, synthpop, straight up electro and trance elements are also present.

The tracks on "Polarity" are not as hard hitting as "Ninetynine", their previous album, but signature Haujobb styles are still prevalent, such as the sci-fi inspired lyrical content. It followed more of the rhythmic, complex, highly orchestrated approach and is very, very clubby. Every song is danceable, if that's even a word.

The nine main tracks is separated with short electronic blips and bleeps, providing a smooth transition between songs, ultimately making the album almost epic in the way it moves.

"Subsonic" is brimming with electro breakbeats, smooth and watery. It has an orchestral feel due to the heavily structured score

"Sinus Problem" is even more impressive. For lack of a better word, this song is HUGE. Larger than life. It's nearly five minutes of booming beats coupled with smooth, soft breaks with bright, ambient piano, making this the most likely club hit.

"Boom Operator" was the first to grab me. It's driving force renders a concrete atmosphere, but almost ghost-like elements reside consecutively.

"Violator" is the most tragic track off "Polarity". It opens with a string arrangement, and is slow and trip-hoppy. Myer's vocals are desperate and longing, delivering the emotional lyrics.

Overall, "Polarity" is a moody masterpiece, crammed with club tracks, and a fine progression on electronic music today.

Track Listing:
  1.. sect1s-e
  02. subsonic
  03. sect2n-e
  04. sinus problem
  05. sect1s-w
  06. centuries in me
  07. sect3n-n-e
  08. demon
  09. sect2s-w
  10. boom operator
  11. sect5e
  12. last hero
  13. sect4s-s-w
  14. unseeing
  15. sect4w
  16. violator
  17. sect7n-e
  18. your pilot
  19. sect7s-s-w
Haujobb is: Dejan and Daniel.

Contact: www.accession-records.com/haujobb.html

With Vilest Of Worms To Dwell
~reviewed by Michael Johnson

Okay, okay, just when I think the music scene is starting to become stagnant, another incredible album hits the shelves.  For this I am grateful, because without releases like this, I would spend countless hours watching MTV like some mindless, drooling lemming trying to figure out how to be cool.  In this case, I am talking about the second release of Hollenthon, and mark my words; you’ve not heard the last of this.

While I still remain impartial to their first album, Dormus Mundi, With Vilest Of Worms To Dwell completely sold me within minutes.  The music still has the same folk-ish feeling as found on Dormus Mundi but WVOWTD sends me a different vibe.  The music is definitely more mature and polished.  The orchestral and folk parts fit nicely, and instead of being forced into the music just for the sake of doing it, they mesh like finely crafted gears in a precision instrument.  Adding these elements in such a fashion could easily overpower the heart of the music, but here it enhances an already finely spun melody.  Take the underlying violins in “Woe To The Defeated”, for example.  You don’t see them coming, but you definitely appreciate it when they get there.  Keep in mind, gentle reader, that, despite all my references to the softer elements, this is still a very wicked and heavy album that is saturated with memorable guitar leads and vocal arrangements.  “Fire Upon The Blade” and “Conspirator” are also impressive pieces due to the grandiose male/female vocal arrangements done by Martin and his wife, Elena.
Martin Schirenc received much of his fame from Pungent Stench but his latest visions will cause a stir in the metal scene.  Although only eight tracks, this album is complete from start to finish and should not be missed.  Highly, highly, highly recommended!

Track Listing:
1.Y Draig Goch
2.Woe To The Defeated
3.To Kingdom Come
4.The Calm Before The Storm
5.Fire Upon The Blade
6.Conquest Demise

Hollenthon Is:
Martin Schirenc – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, and Keyboards
Mike Groeger – Drums and Percussion
Elena Schirenc – Vocals

Website: www.hollenthon.com
Email: 666@hollenthon.com
Napalm Records: www.napalmrecords.com

Turin" "Horseslayer
~reviewed by Psionic

Critics dismiss I, Parasite as a Skinny Puppy clone. I don't disagree that they are patterned in almost the exact image of Skinny Puppy, but I don't dismiss them for it. why not, you may ask? Because, SKINNY PUPPY ARE GONE AND I STILL LIKE THE IDEA OF HAVING A PLACE TO GO FOR FRESH SKINNY PUPPY BEEF!!! Same reason I loved Placebo Effect. I have heard plenty of BAD Skinny Puppy clones, but only 2 -good- ones. I, Parasite is the second of those two. So, roll a 20 sided die and add your charisma modifier. Your result is how many fucks I could give for those who dismiss I, Parasite for using the 'Puppy template. More power to them if they can pull it off with grace, and still slip in a few cool ideas of their own. And there is exactly that, if you listen closely... Plenty of ideas that are not inspired by "Rabies", but come from I, Parasite and I, Parasite alone. The 10 tracks that form the basis of "Turin" are all as spooky-growly-whisper-vocals-and-squeals as you could hope for. Sometimes that's all you want. I found the cd to be pleasingly free from dust for about 2 weeks in my cd player due to it's steady use. "Horseslayer" picks up from where "Turin" left off, and includes a few revisits to "Turin" in the form of some superb remixes. Far from being merely a remix cd however, "Horseslayer" tends to be somewhat more violent in it's execution. Listen to the opening track "Brutality" for evidence of this. I had no previous experience with I, Parasite before receiving both these cd's for review, and I have been immediately converted, and will remain an avid fan until they start doing full Yanni tribute cd's. If you like the old-school mangled sounds of industrial, then go for I, Parasite. They are that good, and that worth it.

1: Piety
2: Criminail
3: Flesh To Take
4: Skeleton Key
5: Gun
6: Miasma
7: No Question
8: Slow Pain Of Water
9: Vertebrae
10: Haunt

1: Brutality
2: Skinlike
3: Stringladder
4: Flesh To Taste (Spread Open)
    Knucklebones (preludes)
5: Knucklebones
6: Skeleton Key (Osmosis mix by Android Lust)
7: Criminal (Eyes Sown Shut mix by Cydonia)
8: No Question (Belial mix by Alien Faktor)
9: Horseslayer (premix)
10: Vertebrae (Goodbye)

I, Parasite Website: http://www.darkvisionmedia.org/iparasite/

Tinman Records Website: http://www.tinmanrex.com/

Gothic Disco
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

When this 4 track EP arrived at my door, I wasn’t too hopeful for its contents. As far as press kits and demo’s go, it is clearly a homemade creation. This assignment was accepted based upon the title of the CD simply because I thought I had heard it all. Calling something Gothic Disco meant that this would be either something new and innovative or something that was totally laughable. It is not really new and the laughs are placed intentionally within. This does demonstrate a remarkable homage to old school Goth music with a satirical flair to whet the appetite. One may be thinking though, if nothing is new why should one care? This Cd is an excursion that is at once elements of all that old schooler’s love about Goth. At the same time, it also incorporated a bit of modern madness that most major labels shunned.

The frustrating thing though was not being able to access their website or video. Either the sites are down at the time of this writing or my PC is PMS’ing again.  Their MP3 site is functional however, but be warned by the copycat names. The direct link to their MP3 site is listed below.

Rusnell and Sampler make no bones about expanding on the sounds made famous by Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy or Chic and then add vocals that sound like the Talking Heads, early Rozz Williams, Bowie and Peter Murphy all rolled into ONE!  This hybrid takes the listener back to the early days of goth/punk during its transitional phase, ensuring that one longs for the days and the sounds that were innovative, refreshing and not afraid to poke fun at itself.

There is actually nothing typically disco about this CD despite its title and the fact that Sampler was a major fan of the genre at one time. Some of the background bass and drum may be reminiscent of that era, but the guitar work and other elements do plunge the work headlong into the Goth realm. If anything, this duo created a hybrid that took the spine of one type of music and layered it over all that which was good from another genre. They boldly claim that they created the style “gothic disco.” The disco tag may be a bit misleading, and in some cases damning, but it is all done in good, dark hearted fun.

Train In The Window opens with drum and bass lines similar to something by Specimen, and then veers into guitar swirls that are Bauhaus derivatives. The vocals will make you swear that you are listening to a lost Talking Heads track

Strip Show percolates with electronic drumming and prominent Chic-like bass notes. The guitars intersperse with sound effects made famous by Bauhaus. Background samples of moans and groans gently create a backdrop for vocals out of the school of the above-mentioned musicians. Sound bytes of lustful insanity playfully poke fun at the adolescent pre-occupation with nudity and sex.

All I Have is an electronic track with great guitar work reminiscent of the New Wave era. The Chic-like bass lines are more prominent, but Sampler and Rusnell add a bit of noise effects and  background sound bytes that push this song up to the minute for EBM revelers.

Back toys with a Talking Heads sensibility once again, taking their musical element and wrapping it around a somewhat Bowie-like bit of delirious musings. The track borders on shoegazer/goth/punk/new wave and demonstrates their skill to combine various elements flawlessly without seeming to break a sweat in the process.

The 5th track is about 6 minutes of just silence.

Track 6, which has no name, but is clearly a piece of the song Strip Show. The track begins at the latter half of that song.

It would be easy to dismiss a band that blatantly emulates styles of music from other famous bands. In the case of Interzone, you can’t help but like their work. They are up front about the fact there is nothing new in the world, so they recreated a style that should be diametrically opposed to each other and made it work well. The work is delivered somewhat seriously and somewhat tongue in cheek. One half expects a sidelong glance from this duo to see if anyone is catching the joke.

If these 4 tracks are merely a showcase to their brilliance, one can’t wait for a full release.  They may have angst in the pants and goth gods swirling between their chord changes, but be assured their skillful hands will recreate that which is familiar to make it palatable and entertaining.

Band Line-Up:
Quinn Rusnell:  vocals, guitars, keys, programming
Patrik Sampler: vocals, drums, basses, and keys

Website: www.interzone.ro
e-mail:  vancouverunderground@hotmail.com
Video: www.rottenpumpkin.com
Music Samples: www.mp3.com/intrzon

1. Train In The Window
2. Strip Show
3. All I have
4. Back
5. Empty Track (silence)
6. Unnamed song (Strip Show)

Self-Titled (CD-R)
~reviewed by Kevin

Every now and then a reviewer is faced with the unpleasant task of doling out blows from Ye August Critic's Paddle of Correction.  Some take perverse glee in swinging said instrument; most of us reserve the Critical Spankings for those who can benefit from the experience.  I believe that Atlanta's Liquid Image, a two-piece synthpop band with roots in the legendary Athens, Georgia scene, stand to gain from a stern talking-to.  And so, before we begin discussing the merits of this production, let us pause to reflect upon the faults.

The biggest mistake this duo makes is sending material which was recorded in January 1996 and January 1997.  This CD-R consists of material which is around five years old, recorded while Brandon Greene and Mike Sidner were students at the University of Georgia.

Greene and Sidner have been performing out for a good while now, and have played some decent-sized venues, like the Masquerade and the Point.   I'm guessing that in five years they have grown considerably as musicians.  Sending a reviewer a CD-R of material that's half a decade old is like showing up to a job interview in a wrinkled suit with five o'clock shadow. In their press kit, Liquid Image says they are "working on a new release."  My serious advice would be: hold off on sending things out to reviewers until you have that new release in hand.

That unpleasantness out of the way, let's get down to the business of examining the music.

Track 1, "Intro" is an instrumental by Mike Sidner which segues into "Fade Within."  Both are tuneful and atmospheric, showing a nice ear for melody and a feel for hooks.  Sidner and Greene wear their influences on their sleeves - The Cure, Joy Division, Depeche Mode - but they seem to be having fun, and ultimately their enthusiasm is catching.

On this track, and throughout this CD, Greene's vocals are good but not outstanding.  If this CD had been recorded recently, I'd recommend a course of voice lessons: Greene can carry a tune, but on these songs he needs to work on projection and on gaining a bit more confidence as a singer.  Five years have passed, though.  At this stage Greene has probably improved
dramatically live and in the studio.  He may still want to consider voice lessons ... as should ANYBODY who wants to be a professional singer.  Singing lessons can do more than improve your voice: they can help you avoid doing irreparable damage to your vocal chords.

The third track, "Excuse for Today," is one of my favorites on this CD.  It's got some nice guitar-bass interplay between Greene and Sidner and a relaxed, breezy pop feel which reminds me of great Athens indie bands like Pylon and the Squalls.  I would be interested in seeing Liquid Image do more work in this direction: I find their guitar-driven pop more quirky and palatable than their more keyboard-heavy songs.

"A Deeper Control" begins with a fat dance-floor friendly bass beat from Sidner, soon joined with Greene's vocals, mixed in the background ala Ian Curtis of Joy Division.  Alas, they don't quite pull this one off.  Curtis sounded anguished; Greene just
sounds bored.  A nice rhythm guitar line from Sidner almost saves "Drown," but again it's a case of aiming for grandeur and falling short.

On "Slipped Away," Greene and Sidner exchange instruments; Sidner plays bass while Greene takes up the guitar.  The result is a catchy garage rock tune with a synthpop/industrial dance beat.  This is another promising track, and one which I suspect would come off well live.  Synthpop is terribly hard to pull off in concert: how interesting can watching two men standing before keyboards and sampler banks be?  Give a man a guitar, however, and before you know it you've got rock and roll on your hands.

"Ashes," the closing ballad, has Greene's strongest vocal performance on the track.  Over the ghostly echoes of a tinkling electronic piano, Greene sings of lost love.  It's a nice ending to the CD, and one which promises better things to come.

pxl, a side project started by one of the members of Liquid Image, has veered into experimental electronica and even trance.  In 1998 Ryan McWorther contributed an interesting and critically acclaimed track, "Abdulmajid," to "Loving the Alien: Athens, Georgia Salutes David Bowie."  I would be interested in hearing more of this, and I would like very much to
hear some of Liquid Image's more recent work.  This rough demo shows a promising duo which, with a lot of practice and experiencing, could someday rival that other "tacky little dance band" that came out of Athens, Georgia.

1) Intro
2) Fade Within
3) Excuse for Today
4) A Deeper Control
5) Drown
6) Slipped Away
7) Ashes
c.  & p. 1996, 2000 Liquid Image Music

Brandon Greene: vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, drum programming
Mike Sidner: guitars, keyboards, bass, drum programming

Brandon Greene: Vocals 2-7; bass 2,3,5; guitar 6; keyboards and drum programming
Mike Sidner: Guitar 2-5, bass 6, all instruments 1, drum programming and keyboards
Ryan McWorther: keyboards & drum programming, acoustic guitar 5, vocals (on 2nd half) 7

Recorded @ Resistance Project Studios, Athens, Georgia
1/13 - 1/14/96 and 1/27/97
Produced by Ryan McWorther and Liquid Image
Engineered by Ryan McWorther


El Es Tee Tee El
~reviewed by Psionic

LS:TTL. "Look Son, Those Things Lactate!" That's what Don Muerte told me LS:TTL stood for, right -before- he told me what it really meant. Sadly, I have completely forgotten what LS:TTL actually means, and instead can only remember the boobies. Thanks DonMUerte, you loose and easy wench. LS:TTL has come a long ways since those carefree IRC days... It has matured into a sprawling work of dark-ambient drones and soundscapes, like the meaner kid brother of classic Delerium. Comparisons could be drawn to 'Heresy'-era Lustmord... That is to say, it could easily be the sort of material running as the background theme to an afternoon stroll through the Iron City of Dis. Dis. You know. That city. In Hell. The Iron one? Where the evil guys live? You get the picture. 'El Es Tee Tee El' is damn spooky. And I'm not talking "Andrew-Eldritch" spooky, I'm talking "Rolled-up-fetally-in-the-corner-sweating-ice-and-gibbering" spooky. That's the kind of spooky Don Muerte has achieved. Man. I'm loving this. It's as black as my Arabican Mocca Sanani, only not doused with creme and sugar. Oily and black, black, black. Fans of the Cold Meat Industries-style of dark ambient will love this release, as it easily matches any of that label's catalogue of work. Sprawling. Rumbling. With threats of malice, it oozes power and majesty. Meditational music for the criminally violent. Planning a murder? Need some moral support? 'El Es Tee Tee El'. Just killed someone with a rusty, chipped knife? Need to come down a bit?  'El Es Tee Tee El'.  Looking to scare the bejeezuss out of your inner child, maybe do some emotional scarring?  LS:TTL.

1 - Drktual
2 - Apoc
3 - Telek
4 - Eraf
5 - Tro
6 - Orc
7 - Calmix
8 - Ameshc

LS:TTL Website: http://www.ls-ttl.com/

Dragonflight Records Website: http://www.dragonflightrec.org

~reviewed by Psionic

"...As the books burn
and a peculiar kind of darkness falls
Clutching men's hearts, consuming bones"

Long have I chanted the praises of Lustmord. Long will I continue to do so. There is a certain primalcy of intent within the structure of Lustmord, a bonesong of immortality if you will... No matter how you analyze it, something within me resonates with the sounds Lustmord sculpts, resonates as a tuning fork will when struck.

"...beyond the cold waste, where silent vistas lie,
Twilight descends & the Monstrous Soul may die."

One of the last remaining monoliths from the true industrial movement, Lustmord has remained unsullied and pure of intent, each release a further probe into the sounds of vast, unfathomable majesty. If eternity has an applicable sound, Lustmord has captured it repeatedly and smithed it into his own designs.

"...There is a place, where the black stars hang
and strangest eons call
That amorphous mass, unknown, immense
ambivalent to all."

There has been a gap of seven years time since the last Lustmord release, not counting Purifying Fire or the various Lustmord side forays (Vs. Metal Beast, Aricebo, etc.) What has this time done to the sound of Lustmord? Tempered it for the worse? Tempered it for the better? Genetically reworked it's DNA structure to produce an evolutionary aberration? The latter is probably the closest of the three pro-offered possibilities.

"...Outside the narrow confines of our intellect, Larger forces are at play,
and some things may best remain unknown."

Of all Lustmord releases, Metavoid is perhaps the most 'musical' in design. What must be kept in mind is that the very nature of Lustmord defies typical 'songs', and thus the 8 tracks to be found on Metavoid are far from your standard 'verse-chorus-verse' pop music trappings. This is still every bit as dark and powerful as Lustmord has ever been. But instead of 76 minute drones warped into soundscapes, or subacoustic ultrasonic experimentation, Metavoid showcases Lustmord's seamless skill at manipulating emotional content within the sounds he chooses. There is a vocal track. There are rhythms. Neither of these things have appeared on a Lustmord release before, not in this form. Lustmord has been working a great deal with longtime writing associate Graeme Revell, and it shows on Metavoid. It is almost as if he wanted to prove he is more than merely a master of the field recording-situationist composer, and has infused ambient mood music with everything that has made his previous work stand so much taller than all the rest of his 'contemporaries'. (if such a word can even be applied to Lustmord.) Metavoid is sympathy for the fallen, manifested as a soundtrack of sorrow and despair. Devil's progressions abound, as do the slightly off-key sounds of industrial decay. But as well there is eloquent beauty among the ruins, hints of a previous glory within the ancient decay.

I am incapable of believing there is such thing as a flawed Lustmord release. So perhaps I am not the most reliable opinion. I don't care if that is the case or not, this is a flawless, stunning release, a must have for anyone who believes themselves to be educated about dark-ambient or soundscape work. Or even for anyone who thinks that they have a solid grasp of what dark music is.~

1: The Ambivalent Abyss
2: Blood Deep In Dread
3: The Eliminating Angel
4: Oblivion
5: The Outer Shadow
6: Infinite Domain
7: A Light That Is Darkness
8: Insignificance

Lustmord: http://www.lustmord.com

Nextera: http://www.nextera.cz

US Legions (Live)
~reviewed by Matthew
For the most part, I suppose you either love them or you hate them.   You either know the whole infamous story about the band’s sordid history, or you simply do not care. Guess where I fall in? Whatever the case, Mayhem are the rightful founders of the modern Black Metal scene and they are unquestionably masters at what they do, and that is deliver uncompromisingly intense, fast, yet distinguishable black metal music.
This half live, half demo release is a testament to their energy on stage, as recorded through their ‘Grand Declaration Of War’ tour in the summer of 2000.  What can I say?  I can easily recognize what the band is known for, they are an extremely talented group of precise and pissed off musicians.  They don’t just make noise, they actually produce some catchy riffs, and vary the pace of their music enough to remain interesting.
The vocals of Maniac range from grating rasps and screams, to pompous clean vocals that sound like the metal head brother of the Dead Kennedy’s Jello Biafra, as one can plainly hear in “View From Nihil.”  The ‘punk’ similarities do not end there.  There are some subtle and simple riffs like the opening chords of “Carnage” that seem to be rooted in sloppy old school punk rock (of course three times as intense), the same sound that Burzum, and early forerunners like Venom and Bathory were steeped in.  But that of course gives way to technical riffing, smooth blast beats courtesy of the legendary skinsman Hellhammer, and frenzied rhythmic guitar assaults that actually become more effective and interesting with each listen.
I am a very casual and picky fan of Black Metal.  I do not keep up with the buzz of the scene, but from what I heard, fans were disappointed in this latest studio album by this reformed incarnation of Mayhem, entitled, “Grand Declaration Of War.”  If this live release is any indication of what it was like, I don’t really see why people don’t like it.  Whatever the case, this is a descent black metal album.  A RAW and straightforward album that predates and condemns the trend setting use of keyboards and gothic atmosphere, so be forewarned.  This is the real deal, and due to its genuine honesty and the solid proficiency this band exhibits, I give them credit where credit is due.  Not something I will listen to often, but I sure as hell won’t pawn it off either.

Track List:
1.) Fall Of Seraphs
2.) Carnage
3.) View From Nihil
4.) Io Daimonion
5.) Chainsaw Gutsfuck
6.) Pure Fucking Armageddon
7.) Necrolust

8.) Io Daimonion
9.) View From Nihil
10.) In The Lies Where Upon You Lay
11.) Crystiallized Pain In Deconstruction
12.) Completion

Mayhem is:
Maniac – vocals
Blasphemer – guitars
Necrobutcher – bass
Hellhammer – drums

Mayhem – Official Site:

Renegade Records: