Creature (Skindog Productions)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

They’re mainly written about from the visual side, with transgender vocalist Venus and their dancers evidently contributing to give people unforgettable sights, on unforgettable nights, but with a CD it’s the music only. Venus, a man who takes hormones but has no interest in medical transformation, sounds wholly male on record, and although I know sod all about Rawk, I try. I do try.

I like the vocals. People have mentioned Bowie and Bauhaus, just as the band label themselves Dark Glam, but I also hear vague Rock influences here from the pre-mid 90’s era, when Rock had become fully modern, so it’s old fashioned, spruced up a little and given dignifying twists. The best side to their work is their lack of musical excess, and their greatest strength is Venus singing slow. These are intelligent and capricious lyrics, and some very deliberate delivery that enhances the subtle shading of the songs. ‘If God Were Caught ‘ is beautiful, ‘Another Story’ delicate and poignant

‘Lust’ is a grunting thing. That’s not a philosophy, but an observation. They often have a slow side, but this has a growlier edge to it, which is good. Sadly, the production of this CD has given little weight to the notion of musical power, so it doesn’t rock like a bastard at al. It either sounds catchy or not. ‘Live With A Ghost’ is the main casualty where even the vocal are muddy and some glorious riffing gets buried. Got that? ‘Kissed Adonis’ goes bam-bam-bam in a pleasing manner, and ‘Boys’ manages a form of wildness but also crammed with good ideas

The rocky or supposedly glammy side of things doesn’t sway me either way. There’s no hoary old rock dross, or much in the way of guitar-fuelled commercial raunch, so it’s more like Iggy during his Raw Power era, dressed as Britney, and somewhat the worse for wear through drink, ending up like Placebo trying to recreate the sound of Aerosmith’s ‘Rocks’.

I bet Mike Patton would wee delightedly all over them. The rest of us should take notice. Unlike a lot of the bands who rely on the show to disguise serious holes in their arsenal (see Genitorturers) this band have songs of quality. They just need more oomph.


Book One
~reviewed by Joel Steudler

Most of Antique's bizarre album Book One sounds like a disgruntled corpse complaining about how much it sucks to be dead.  Oddly, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  The album is, to put it mildly, a really strange listen.  The music is built on synthesized orchestral arrangements and buzzy non-orchestral synth arrangements, piano, and then some more synth arrangements thrown in as well.  It's uniformly slow paced, ploddingly so at times... and yet in all the dismal lumbering gloom is a melancholic beauty that seems incongruous with the various parts of the album's sum total.

Thank goodness for press releases, or I'd have to think up things to compare Antique to on my own.  The PR people helpfully point out that Antique's music is kind of like Ulver's more recent output, and a little like Mortiis (everyone's favorite troll)... and it is, in a superficial fashion.  Some of the vocals resemble Mr. Mortiis' midrange rasp, and a few of the more electronica-tinged moments in the music bear his mark as well, though not to any large degree.  The Ulver comparison is a bit more apt, but Ulver's sound is more refined, layered, and complex.   The synth arrangements on Book One are simple and, well, cheap sounding in the way that only older synth hardware can be.  Though it contradicts common sense, the crude, faked orchestral parts and old synthesizer sounds actually fit the mood better than modern equipment or live musicians.  More impressive instrumentation would just detract from the omnipresent sullen gloom.

Setting Antique further apart from all the other... er... everything is the nature of the vocals.  There's not really much singing, as such.  Most of the vocal performance is made up of spoken word passages delivered by the characters on the album.  Now, you're probably thinking "Characters?  Who are these characters of which you speak?"  Well, I'm not brave enough to find out what the meaning is behind the story they're trying to convey, but there are a few distinct personalities that show up to spread their woe as the album goes on.  There's 'Midrange Rasper', 'Corpse Guy', 'Guy That Sounds Like Agitated Goblin', and 'Pretentious Normal Sounding Guy From Theater Class'.   I made those names up, but they fit.  This rogues' gallery trades off from time to time, with 'Midrange Rasper' getting the best of it.  It's a unique and mostly interesting way to tell the story of... whatever it is they're going on about.

Listening to Book One as I review it is seriously draining me of sanity.  It's one weird album.  If you like things that are dark and depressing but with a small ray of hope piercing through the shadows... and have a high tolerance for unconventional forms of storytelling, you'll probably like Antique.  There are moments on this album that convey wistful lamentation in the strangest way, extracting beauty from buzzy synths and a gruff deadman's voice.  Book One' leaves me shaking my head in a confounded haze, but begs for another listen each time it finishes... and I can't help but oblige and revisit Antique's grim world again and again.

Track List:
01.) Take This Sullen Timber
02.) A Meadow To Die In
03.) Essaying Paradise
04.) No Tears For The Devil Inside
05.) Elysium Cascades
06.) Frost Upon Broken Dreams
07.) What Temptation
08.) One Last Thought

Antique is:
(... and this is straight from their press page...)

We are the expression of the pain and suffering that humanity endures. We are faceless and none, merely an expression of what you already feel.

Our voice goes only by the name Antique.

Antique Official Site:

Trostlos Records:

ARCANE ELITISM (Fossil Dungeon)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

He looks weird, and there’s a reason, because Pandelis came from Finnish Pagan Metal outfit Nymph and Greek neo-folk artists Daemonia Nymphe. So, a bit of a nymph thing going on. And, typically, this Fossil Dungeon release looks fantastic, with the CD in a sleek DVD case, with glossy inner card inlay and front cover showing a timeless blurry female in historic headgear, while the masked Pandelis looking knowing among ruins on the rear.

You can see how the Ritual and Maudlin elements mix together with a nouveau classique attitude, which is what most non-Industrial Ambient music in when it overlaps with Goth and Metal sub-genres. It is imposing at times, without ever being crass. It has strict limits, because of the equipment, and doesn’t exactly shriek with human optimism, but as atmospheric music, rather than background, it has clear quality lifting it above the majority. I don’t get a fascinating artistic/aesthetic hit off of this, it sounds more the sort of thing people will listen to while painting their Lord Of The Rings figures (oh, don’t deny it!) and that’s okay.

You get a false start which is regrettable, as it’s a hard stammering intro, where the drums and synth go for stark and urgent, and it isn’t downhill after this title track, but downward, simple as that. It stays dark, without being dank, and fairly average in vocal use, where often a background attempt at choral glory is accompanied by meaningful whispers in the foreground. These are standard methods, and quite romantic, in a mildewed way.

The medieval touches swim in hesitantly in, and by halfway it gets slightly dull, with ‘Aracnum’ having a quite horrible synth note prodding in towards its end, and overall it may not be mysterious enough, for all the talk of mystery. Luckily, the latter tracks are kept slick, with ‘Ambience’ being nicely autumnal, ‘Summoning’ boasting nice classical guitar with incomprehensible forlorn vocals, and the lush twilight closer, ‘Arcarnanian’ sends you away thinking you’ll be happy to keep tabs on further releases.

OMBRA E LUCE (Decadance Records)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

Re-released after seven years, you might quibble as to how strong and relevant an already modern record might sound, but you need not worry. It’s also been re-mastered, mainly in the sense of some added polish to the musical muscles, and heaving bass power, which has done it real favours. It sounds even more poised than before, and purposeful.

‘Saian’ is a perfectly moody opener, with vivid guitar and heavily melodic vocals, then ‘Honiria’ punches in with pacier drums and thinner, faster guitar and that’s your two basic Artica styles. The guitar, when lively, has a hint of Metal about it, and the keyboards, on either type of songs can fit waywardly around whatever direction the vocals are taken. It’s almost like Dance Society being rudely shaken awake.

They can be quite bubbly, as ‘Dahlia’ features an almost exultant ending, or quite mental, where the vocals in ‘Leniha’ border on apoplexy. They can also be rather still, and undemanding. The two least compelling tracks, ‘Leila’ and ‘In Me’ are vin ordinaire, but sandwich the volcanic vodka called ‘Sarajevo’ with storms into life, with adventurous drumming, bells and scalding guitar, and particularly strident vocals whip up some stunning torment and anguish. A song where I can honestly say you’d be happy buying the album just for that.

Occasionally some female vocals appear, which definitely gives ‘Preqhiera’ some added, fervent power, as the male vocals sound lost, and musically, as on certain other tracks, you might best describe their approach comparable to a solidly, dense Nephilim, minus the other-worldly agenda. Artica drip attitude, musically, in terms of evoking the strongest overall flavour. They don’t do anything in a showy, or trashy way.

‘Ombre’ and ‘Luce’ are fairly gentle ways to see the album out, but they aren’t the most intense band anyway, playing more on the mind than the heart, despite the passion in Alberto Casti’s voice, and the extra track, ‘7 Anni’ is fairly slender in its charms, but the effect of the album is one of real satisfaction, for this is Goth as Art and bugger the consequences. Artica have never chased attention, or changed their approach to fit whatever is happening at the time. As far as I can see they’ve even retained the same line-up forever, and only have two albums, but gig whenever possible. It is classic Goth really, dark ,intelligent, moody and with demanding vocals. No excesses, just songs with feelings, kept sparse or soaked in adrenaline.

7 ANNI (you need to run cursor over areas of the big barcode on the frontpage – they have a brilliant Links section)

Asmodeus X
Asmodeus X EP
~ review by chris parasyte

Out of Houston, Texas comes Asmodeus X. Following a string of singles and EPs, the band has finally released a full-length album and, as bit of a sampler, this promotional release, which I’m dubbing the ‘Asmodeus X EP’ (highly original, I know). The EP features three songs from the album Wolf Age (available now on Black Pepper Records). ‘Songs of Gory’ and ‘Wolf in the Sky’ are well chosen, being easily two of the strongest tracks on the band’s full-length release.

Asmodeus X crafts thoughtful electro industrial music at its best, and it’s little wonder that the group was named Best Industrial/Noise Act in the 2000 Houston Music Press Awards. ‘Wolf in the Sky’ is an odd blend of psychedelic sound and heavy industrial weight, which works surprisingly well. Imagine The Wall-era Pink Floyd mating with Velvet Acid Christ and you’re halfway there. This is a song with anthemic power and emotion that deserves to be on numerous film soundtracks… well, you know, if anyone ever made a movie that deserved a song like this. Actually, while Hollywood may never notice it, ‘Wolf in the Sky’ is featured in the independent film Shut Eye, alongside tracks from In Strict Confidence, Arcanta and Stromkern, and the video for the song is included on the film’s DVD release.

Just as ‘Wolf in the Sky’ creates powerful images with its music, ‘Songs of Glory’ also strikes a powerful chord with its lyrics. The song is perhaps best labeled psychedelic cybergoth with a rock twist. With elements of the baroque and new age in the composition, and crafty use of the theremin, ‘Songs of Glory’ is one of the best pieces of music to come along in a long while. There’s more complexity and thought put into the composition of this four-minute track than many bands put into entire albums.

The inclusion of ‘Night Stalking’ on the promotional EP left me shaking my head. It’s one of the two album tracks from Wolf Age I really didn’t like (the other being ‘Melting’). It would appeal more to the listener of heavy metal dirges than the rivet or goth set. Still, I suppose I can’t fault the band for having a broad musical range - ‘Night Stalking’ just isn’t my cup of tea.

A small sampling of what Wolf Age has to offer, listening to the Asmodeus X EP left me wanting more. Thankfully, I have a copy of Wolf Age on my shelf at home. The full-length album was one of the highlights of 2002, with great songs like ‘Black Forest’, ‘MuZ’ and the band’s absolutely delightful (and surprising) cover of the Partridge Family’s ‘Point me in the Direction of Albuquerque’. Asmodeus X is a band with some talent and diversity in their music, and one I look forward to hearing more from in the future.

Asmodeus X is:
Paul Fredric
Frank Faust

Track List:
1. Night Stalking
2. Songs of Glory
3. Wolf in the Sky

Official Website:

Asmodeus X
Wolf Age
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Asmodeus X are kinda like And Oceans without the crack, or Funker Vogt with well-developed guitar sections - either way you look at it, you're in for a fairly hard-hitting industrial/EBM/electronica sound merged with crunchy guitars and raspy vocals. For a debut album, I'm very impressed with Asmodeus X's sound. They've got the kind of songwriting depth that many bands don't acquire until they've been around a few years, and we're talking about a minority in the first place - a lot of groups never develop a taste for diversity.

Wolf Age has an eclectic collection of songs that successfully span dark atmospheres with whispering vocals, upbeat techno, angry electronica-fueled metal, and even calm acoustic sections. And Oceans and Funker Vogt are only similar to some of the songs on Wolf Age, but you'd be hard pressed to find any comparison that fully worked. There are bouncy rhythms, synth arrangements, and clean vocals in "Songs of Glory"; acoustic guitars and a neo-folk feel on "Wolf in the Sky"; heavy riffing on "Black Forest", and nice acoustic guitars on "White Mountains." The songs stand out individually, and work together quite well when listening through the whole CD.

However, for reasons beyond my comprehension, Wolf Age does not inspire any especially strong reactions from me. I enjoy their music in every  other way, as it's quite pleasant to listen to, but the work falls just short of grabbing me by the hair and punching me in the face. Not that I like that sort of thing... but I do like CDs to be powerful, whether it's through calm reflection, strong emotions, or hard-hitting  aggressiveness. Asmodeus X display all of those emotions, but come off as being more "enjoyable" than "powerful."

For an entertaining and diverse electronica/metal CD, I do recommend Wolf Age. I think that the rather flat production keeps Asmodeus X from making the impact that they're clearly capable of musically. I would really like to see these guys get signed, perhaps to a label like Metropolis, where they can get a proper budget and make their mark on the world of music. As it stands, the production is clear, but a little plain, and the music is neat and pleasant, but a little less powerful than I think it can be. In any case, it'd do no harm to give Asmodeus X a listen on . Their brand of electronica/metal/etc. is worthy of a listen.

Track List:
1) Melting
2) What is Strong
3) Songs of Glory
4) Mandatory Sacrifice
5) MuZ
6) Nightstalking
7) Wolf in the Sky
8) Black Forest
9) White Mountains
10) Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque

Asmodeus X are:
Paul Fredric - vocals, programs, acoustic guitar theremin
Marshal - keyboards, midi, backing vocals
Frank Faust - electric and acoustic guitars

Asmodeux X - Official Site:

Red Shift
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Asgaroth are loosely described as cinematic metal - an apt label, because their music is epic, sweeping, and features many of the qualities you'd find in an excellent fantasy movie. The music is very metal-oriented, full of thrash riffs, fast rhythms, and expressive leads that are all hallmarks of good metal. The keyboards and vocals are what propel Asgaroth into a more cinematic realm. I could even see Asgaroth's songs being used in a movie sometime - their melodic compositions are that good. This is the kind of music that would fit a freaky monster flick, if such movies were actually scary or meaningful. You can just picture an epic battle being waged between terrifying creatures and militant special forces units. In all likelihood, Asgaroth's lyrics have nothing to do with this, but it's fun to imagine. And when you aren't given a lyric sheet, what else is a reviewer to do?

Christopher Baque-Wildman has his own way of rasping, which is pretty unusual since 90% of metal bands adhere to a standardized sort of raspy sound. Instead of a monotonous growl that blocks out melodies and gets in the way, he very carefully chooses when to speak, when to rasp, and when to sing with his powerful clean voice. I wouldn't say that he's as strong of a lead vocalist as, say, Simen Hestnaes, but his smart choice of placement makes his compositions more effective. Red Shift is
actually similar to Dimmu Borgir's Spiritual Black Dimensions (featuring Simen), but without the formulaic and wall-of-sound feel. Perhaps if Dimmu Borgir had something they really needed to communicate, they'd be on par with Asgaroth.

The keyboards writhe and twist their way into the music, alternating between subtle and up-front sounds. The all-encompassing orchestral sections give the music a larger sense of being, in that you feel like you're being taken outside of a boring "four guys playing instruments" context. There are also darker piano/synth melodies that make the soundscape just a little uneasy, so you're never quite sure what's waiting around the corner (probably some kind of horrendous Monster of Untimely Death waiting to flay and fillet you for kicks). The digipak version of Red Shift comes with a weird video that has a tortured red-spotted creature I'd never want to run into, so maybe the monster image isn't too far off.

Asgaroth's greatest strength is their approach to songwriting. They never use all their tricks in a single song, and they have a very effective approach to communicating feeling and atmosphere. Although they have been releasing CDs in Spain since 1995, this is their first release being distributed worldwide. I've been under the impression that symphonic metal is dying, since many of its once great bands have fallen apart or headed in directions I have no interest in. Asgaroth manage to play this style with a unique touch, and are just as worthwhile as older Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, and so on. CoF and Dimmu Borgir have continued to get less enthralling with time, so if you miss the good days of symphonic-laden metal, listen to Asgaroth.

Track List:
1) Naked Eye
2) Lured Decoy
3) Cyphred
4) Bluntness
5) Buried
6) Mindscape
7) Descent to Dion
8) I, befouled
9) 6 Bloodmarks
10) Sharpedge Solitude
11) Red Shift...

Asgaroth is:
Christopher Baque-Wildman: vocals, lead guitars, keyboards
Daniel Rubi Piero: bass, backing vocals
Oscar (Mr Ax) David Raventos: rhythm guitars, samples
Oisin Martinez: drums

Asgaroth - Official Site:

Peaceville Records:

The Blood Divine
Rise Pantheon Dreams
~reviewed by Joel Steudler

It's not often that a defunct band who only released a couple albums gets a compilation... yet Rise Pantheon Dreams is evidence that it can happen.  The album contains a selection of The Blood Divine's greatest hits and unreleased gems, or at least that's what a marketing department would say.  I, an ignoramus who was unaware of their previous discography, found it to be an interesting, fun, and worthwhile yet uneven release.  The band sounds like they had a good time recording all this music, but how much you'll enjoy it depends on whether you like the influences that shaped The Blood Divine's sound.

I always seem to pick on bands that are strongly derivative of other sources, and by all rights I should blast The Blood Divine for it, too... but they're so good at what they're doing that it comes off as harmless fun instead of slavish mimicry.  For much of the album, Darren White sounds like he's enthusiastically channeling the modern day version of James Hetfield, complete with his trademark shouts of 'yeah-AAAh!'  Many of the tracks on the album seem almost lifted off of Paradise Lost's Icon or Draconian Times, and a few other songs are reminiscent of their latter-day electronica influenced style on One Second.  Out of the blue, there are a couple tracks that are vintage Pantera (if there is such a thing), circa Vulgar Display of Power.  Several oddities round out the collection, but on the whole, The Blood Divine do not tread on fresh ground... they just follow in others' footsteps quite well.

Everyone in the band knows how to handle their chosen instrument quite adroitly, and listeners are treated to a blazing guitar solo or two in amidst the thundering riffs.  The prodction quality on each song varies, as they're taken from disparate sources.  Some are clear and crisp, others muddy and blanketed in fuzz.  We're not talking Ildjarn levels of mud-fuzz, so don't fret too much, but do expect a general dullness swallowing some of the unreleased material.

Fans of atmospheric doomy heavy thrash metal will likely get a kick out of this compilation.  It doesn't drive me to want to find the band's studio albums, but it did convince me that they're good musicians who know what they're doing.  Rise Pantheon Dreams is packed with cool riffs and crushing metal in multiple flavors.  The music may be nothing new, but the variety of tempos and styles the band deploys is enough to hold most listeners' interest.  If you're looking for a familiar yet fun take on a genre you like, check out The Blood Divine's postmortem retrospective.

Track List:
01.) Aureole
02.) Visions in Blue
03.) As Rapture Fades
04.) Revolt (unreleased)
05.) Wilderness
06.) Sensual Ecstasy
07.) Enhanced by Your Touch
08.) I Will Bleed (limited)
09.) The Passion Reigns
10.) Leaving Me Helpless
11.) Forever Belongs (unreleased)
12.) So Serene
13.) Crazy Horses (live & unenhanced)
14.) Aureole (live, no intro)

The Blood Divine is:
Darren White - Vocals
Paul Ryan - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Paul Allender - Guitar
Steve Maloney - Bass
Ben Ryan - Keyboards
Was Sarginson - Drums

The Blood Divine Website:


Bobby BeauSoleil
~reviewed by Saint Petrol

It's one O'clock in the morning, and as per usual, I can't sleep. This CD has been waiting patiently to be reviewed for quite a while. Since it arrived, life got terribly hectic, took some downturns, made dark circles under my eyes if you know what I mean.  I put this music on, and it was like sinking into a warm bath.

The songs here are intentionally diverse, and yet there is a similar weight, contentment, and serenity at the center of them all.  The first two songs take me back to my days when I used to live near the ocean; used to swim in it every morning, sail it on weekends, and spend as much time surfing as I possibly could.  These songs feel like home.

"The Rub" presents itself coquettishly as a dalliance.  Listen to the bass line.  Sultry sax.  Layers of meaning, sound, experience. Street smart, elegant, cocky.  A beautiful song.

"Big House Blues" is a shock to the system.  Hello real world. Hello slamming doors, cavernous spaces, human voices mumble, echo, perhaps forever.  And still he sings.  Pardon the heresy, but this is everything Eric Clapton tried to understand in the 80s but somehow couldn't.  The guitar work here leaves my chin squarely on the floor; mixed with the sounds of prison life, it becomes almost unendurably graceful.

"Nine Ball" reminds me of the work of one of my other  favorite electronic artists, Jean-Michel Jarre, specifically the brilliant work "Equinoxe".  Nine Ball is fascinatingly  textured, patient, wheeling, orbiting, falling down gyres.  I only wish it were longer.  I wish for an entire album of this!

The sixth song, "Third World Industry" is wistful, haunting, and yet, moves somehow daintily over the folds of my mind like a swift running stream.  Weighty and yet completely unburdened, this is a prime example of the breathless chiaroscuro I've come to associate with Bobby BeauSoleil.

The seventh and final song on the CD is "Tar Pit". Sticky, deep, and dark.  Mucky wet, and not sure what's at the bottom of it.  You sure you wanna punch that thang, Bre'r Rabbit?  Don't mess with tar, baby.  You never know what's in there.  History. Ancient.  Knowing.  You never know what's in  there.  This song is all of that.  Funky.  'Bubbles up black rainbows.  My one and only complaint is that for me, it ends too quickly;  I feel like I just got my eyes good and closed when it up and ends!

I definitely recommend this CD to anyone who's curious about the work of Bobby BeauSoleil. If you've not heard any of his work previously, this would be an excellent place to start.  If you have  some of his work already, you definitely need to add this one to your collection!

Track Listing:
1.)  Island Girl
2.)  Storm Song
3.)  The Rub
4.)  Big House Blues
5.)  Nine Ball
6.)  Third World Industry
7.)  Tar Pit

Bobby BeauSoleil website:
Jean-Michel Jarre site:
Bre'r Rabbit and the Tar Baby:
The Page Museum/La Brea Tar Pits:

Bottomfeeder (EP)
~reviewed by Joel Steudler

This four song EP from the self-proclaimed Experi-metal band Bottomfeeder presents me with a bit of a quandry.  You see, for two-thirds of the album they sound almost exactly like rock-groovemasters Clutch. If Clutch's lead shouter Neil Fallon ever busts a vocal cord, he has an understudy in the wings: namely, Scott Massie, aka the voice of Bottomfeeder.  I don't want to sound unfair, or imply that the band is aping Clutch, its just that there's an uncanny resemblance.  They say everyone has a doppleganger... I guess that holds true for rock singers' voiceboxes as well.

The Clutch resemblance doesn't stop with the vocals- both bands must have eaten a big bowl of grooves before they went into the studio, because they both rock in that offbeat way that fans of Fallon & crew have grown accustomed to.  Bottomfeeder - boasting a massive lineup of eight musicians - does add a bit of spice to the mix, in the form of a middle-eastern interlude on 'The Explanation's long edit.  Otherwise, the guitars are full of thundering crunch, the drums rumble purposefully in the background, and the rock is 'a rollin' on 'The Explanation' and 'Evilution'.

Inexplicably, the band takes a sharp left turn and winds up in '90's Alternarock-ville' on their third track 'Drunken Butterfly'.  The song brings back memories of the Screaming Trees and Jesus Jones and the heyday of alternative non-grunge music from a decade ago.  More distressingly, Mr. Massie seems to have morphed into an effete, smooth-singing crooner... or more likely, someone else stepped up to the microphone while he rested his larynx.  Personally, I prefer the pounding Clutchy groove-rock to old fashioned alternative music, but Bottomfeeder appears to like exploring a multitude of styles, so more power to them.

It's obvious from listening even in a cursory way to this EP that the musicians in Bottomfeeder are quite skilled at playing their chosen instruments.  For a non-major label release, the production values are also quite high, with crystal clear quality that forces none of the ingredients to fight for space in the dense stew of sound.  To top it all off, they also display strong songwriting skills.  There's really nothing holding Bottomfeeder back from turning ears and earning dollars.  In short, they rock.

Track List:
01.) The Explanation
02.) Evilution
03.) Drunken Butterfly
04.) The Explanation (short edit)

Bottomfeeder is:
Scott Massie: vocals
Darin Presutti: guitar & vocals
Will Seifried: bass, upright & sitar
Mike Lembke: low & electric drums
Keith Ruffing: drums & percussion
Kimee Massie: art, vocals & muse
Becky Holsinger: keyboards
Tommy Kinnet: additional guitar

Bottomfeeder Official Site:

Innervenus Records:

The Cadavers
Suicide Family
~reviewed by Blu

Gothic / Horror Camp is one thing that has to be done with finesse and with intelligence. Otherwise, it's just bad. Bad bad bad. The Damned -- they can do camp. The Cramps -- they can do camp. Even The Misfits can still do it. The Cadavers, I fear, cannot. Something is missing -- the something that says, "yes we're being silly, we admit it, now laugh with us." Instead, this is presented in a serious manner with their grim, over-dramatic painted faces grimacing out at us from the CD sleeve -- band members "Scarecrow," "Corpse," and "Dementia" seem to out -vamp mundanely named "Dru" and "Craig."  [Are they serious? And why don't Dru and Craig get a horror name too?] Further inside we are told in bold letters: "On the first of April in the Year of our Lord 2002, The Cadavers did descend upon Azmyth Studios to Infect and Destroy. You hold in your hands the product of that fateful day. Cursed be those who read these words."

Lyrically they seem to be about spouting biblical terms and adolescent apocalyptic phrases along with a does of suicide. Deeper investigation turns up lyrics like this from "Suicide March":

To Clear The Earth Upon His Cross the Nazaren Deams [sic] of Crowns and Glory in Sins Conceived to Clear the Earth and Sew a Better seed as as once before the Earth shall Bleed...
And from "Jerusalem Burns":
...You Can Hear the Howl of a Terrible Fury on the Prowl The Sun Beats Down on a Land Now Foul The Whole of Whoredom Held in Swoon In the Light of Cadaverous Moon...
Musically they are more akin to bad death metal. Lots of slow power chords that eventually bleed into a fast furry of noise. There's little skill beyond rudimentary guitar chords and the vocals are just screamed into the mic. The bass is out of tune in some places.

They inform me that "You May Worship Us here:" And after reading, I'm afraid they indeed might be serious.

From Dru's bio:

Eye color : Blue filtered (so he can see only the shit and slime of all creation)

Sex : I like sex with death

Hobbies : Favorite hobbies include blasphemy, and  anything else that damns the name of Christ. I also like to take several different kinds of prescription medicines at the same time and wash them down with a bottle of scotch and see what happens.

 Goals : To see the lord humbled and  weeping before me as I turn his pathetic world into a smoldering field of ash.

 Favorite method of murder : I prefer to drive my victims into suicidal frenzy using nothing but my horrid banshee shrieks. And if that fails I make them eat pages out of the bible until they die a slow horrid death by ink poisoning.

This is the kind of thing that PTA Mom's love to use as an example of how Goth and Metal is warping the minds of their children. This is the kind of thing that gives my preferred genre a bad name.

No, it's not funny at all.

     1.Suicide March
     2.To Clear The Earth
     3.As Jerusalem Burns
     4.7 Hearts For Valentines
     5.Of Contempt And Rage
     6.Demon Of Shame
     7.Crucifix Stains
     8.Blood Filled Sky
     9.A Plague Upon This Land
     10.Faceless Pride
     11.Afraid To Die
     12.Come To Ruin

Fair Play To ‘Em (Waveform)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

The two bands I have seen the most are The Dancing Did, and The Carpettes, at 35 gigs a piece, and it’s so long ago the only reminders I have of this band are their two albums, Frustration Paradise and Fight Among Yourselves, plus six singles. That was until last year when they were re-released as a single CD, and when George Maddison, bassist, sent me a collection of early demos and single tracks which came out as a compilation. He had unusual news. The band had been shocked to find themselves popular when occasionally playing Punk festivals, and a new album was planned.

The band were primarily purveyors of Punk energy-fuelled pop, with the emphasis on Punk (think Ruts, more than Stiff Little Fingers) with a fine pedigree, having released two of the first ever single on Small Wonder, in 1977 and 1978. Their songs were stuffed full of the sort of fluid energy only trios can successfully manage, but after two albums and never having got the media fully on their side, they split up when their drummer Tim Wilder had to go off and help with his family business.

Now they had slipped back into occasional action when guitarist/vocalist Neil Thompson (also in The Only Alternative) and George found there was a demand for them, and truly their records are enough to guarantee that their status only grows, in terms of having written quality song. As a band The Carpettes were hamstrung by not having an image, or a scene into which they might fit. Neither Anarcho nor Oi, they were really firing on all cylinders when they were expected to fit into the birth of indie scenes everywhere, and it wasn’t easy for them. The songs can’t be faulted, so when people get the records they rarely sell them on, meaning there was natural demand for reissues but what surprised the band most was the offer of a few gigs in Japan, all expenses paid.

They completed this, and were somewhat mystified, having always been told by Beggars Banquet that they simply didn’t sell records anywhere, to find that at three gigs, where the audiences were comprised of different people, that virtually everyone there was primarily late teens/early 20’s, and while there were only 2-300 people at each of the sold out gigs, most had records they wanted signed. Do the math. Most of their original fans were obviously too old to attend, yet this whole new generation had all managed to get records. Just how may had they sold first time round?!!!!!!! And as a result of those gigs they got the deal which allowed them to release this record.

They’re on form, with 12 songs in 33 minutes, but they don’t sacrifice quality for speed. ‘Is Everybody Happy’ makes for a slightly worrying opener in that George’s voice seems higher, and more melodic, as though he might have lost his power, but it’s also mainly the sound which makes this track lightly punky, and in ‘Look No Further’ they are almost there, but I realise there’s less angst, and therefore less tension, which is hardly surprising, because they’re now in their 40’s and it’s not like you spend your whole life feeling truculent. (Mind you, the lyrics of this song are just plain soppy.)

‘Brains!’ signals a total sense of recognition, the full guitar impact is back, the snarl may be gone, but the sarcasm slaps in with attitude, and then with ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ is like pure nostalgia as the sound is just right, the song streamlined and fizzing.

You’ll cheer like mad things when you realise my Miss Marples instincts are still fully intact. Perplexed by the composition of ‘That Was Then, This Is Now’ I checked out the credits and realised it isn’t one of theirs, but a fairly obscure Monkees track. God knows why it’s on there.

‘Cold Thoughts is a genuine oldie which has waited two decades for a release, and comes over in a rich, awesome vein. ‘It makes Me Want To Cry’ finds them being produced just a little too slickly, but with a killer chorus, and ‘Love Is Blind’ is a thick stream of powerful moves which shows their almost musical shorthand. They stamp their songs out in a breathlessly melodic form sometimes.

‘We Want Your Money’ is a chomping, messy thing, but as Herman Asteroid had a hand in writing it that’s no surprise, and we have some classy commotion with clears vocals and Neil’s trademark constantly chugging riffs throughout a somewhat hackneyed ‘I Still Remember The First Time’. Then they charge to the finish with ‘No Respect’ that surges like beast, and another oldie ends it as ‘No Chance’ is heaven with its yelping chorus.

They split up way before their time which is what always allows certain bands to come back without making arseholes of themselves, and in The Carpettes you also have a band who may have seemed to idiots to have nothing distinctive, but they have their own approach. They’re into their songs so quick, and so naturally, unlike anyone else, and they get the drums and guitar riffs synchronised at times, making a different rhythm to coalesce with the bass. It makes it all sound so incisive.

Weirder still, while George admits they get knackered because Neil’s nephew (I think) Paul now plays drums for them and sets such a pace they’re always shattered at the end of a gig, but the fact is that The Carpettes, while still being ultra-melodic, make music which no Goth bands could replicate as their arms would fall off.

It’s brilliant to see them back as nonchalant and rowdy as ever. (Herman now lives in the Sudan?) (Herman’s Wailing Witness mp3s) (old Carpettes info) (seems to be down!) (Carpettes CD to buy) (Interview 2002)

Honey Wagon
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

When people ask me what kind of music I listen to, I'm always at a loss as to how I should answer. How could I ever include everything I listen to? I usually just suffice for something like "extreme black metal", which generally gets people to back away slowly and quit asking questions. The kind of thing I probably wouldn't mention is that I used to listen to Alanis Morrisette, and that I've got a soft spot for some pop-sounds... usually when they're oddly phrased or just a little this side of normal. If Alanis Morrisette was a bit left of normal, I'd say that Cathy-Ann is operating in a distant nebula that can't be seen by NASA-grade telescopes.

Cathy-Ann's music has a distinctly pop sound, but it's clearly not pop. If you've ever tried listening to your average girl-singer pop CD (Avril Lavigne, Alanis, et al), you'll note that the songs within a CD tend to sound alike. This is because a high-paid team of scientific engineers put their efforts into designing a couple of hits and a slew of inoffensive and unremarkable filler songs. With Honey Wagon, you get a collection of songs that is purely Cathy-Ann.

Cathy-Ann is an excellent acoustic guitar player and vocalist. This CD was recorded while she played and sang at the same time, so it has an energetic live feel. Her vocal delivery ranges from sweet pop-oriented styles to angry rock and odd vocal experimentations. It took me a few listens to adjust to her singing style because she has an unorthodox approach to vocalizing. She has unusual confidence for a debut album, and she's not afraid to try all kinds of phrasings and combinations of sounds and words to make very memorable and individualized music.

Her ability to let-go vocally is equally present in her lyrics. Cathy-Ann, apparently, likes to shake things up. "Musical Prostitute" and "Hollywood" lambaste the entertainment industries with clever lyrics that are fairly explicit (though not in terms of cussing). "Duraselove" is a completely shameless ode to her vibrator. I can safely say that I'd be a little wary of meeting Cathy-Ann, but she sure gets points for honesty and fearlessness. "The Flame" is one of my favorite songs, featuring a flamenco-styled rhythm and solo, with catchy vocal melodies and a high-energy rock sound. "Nothing" is a slightly bluesy piece, with a walking bass rhythm and an atypical blues-meets-pop feeling.

To put it simply, Cathy-Ann knows what she wants to say, how she wants to say it, and she's willing to do what it takes to get her message out. It's a testament to her sincerity that she passed up a record contract, and the sacrifices that came with it, in favor of putting this CD out by herself. Honey Wagon is produced by the inimitable Bumblefoot, so the production is eminently full and captivating. The music has a very lively tone, but with the kind of clarity you wouldn't get from a live recording. If you've got any taste for intelligent pop, or heck, even if you don't, give Cathy-Ann a listen. Her music is creative, sincere, clever, and fun, so head on over to

Track List:
1) I Have Arrived
2) Crazy Bitch
3) Forgive You
4) Musical Prostitute
5) The Flame
6) Duraselove
7) Never Break Your Heart
8) Hollywood
9) Nothing
10) Identity Crisis
11) We don't f*ck

Cathy-Ann: all acoustic guitars and vocals

Cathy-Ann - Official Site:

9th Empyrean
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

ChthoniC are one of the more interesting bands in black metal, and for very good reasons. If you want to make your hardcore black metal unique, it helps to have a solid foundation to build the music on - i.e., something other than rote Christian bashing. ChthoniC's lyrics deal with the group's Taiwanese heritage. Each ChthoniC album has featured a different lyrical theme; 9th Empyrean depicts the struggle for power between the Hans and aborigines.

Some exotic bands stand out solely by way of being exotic, and I'm happy to say that ChthoniC isn't one of them. They have a very distinct tone and a crafty songwriting prowess. I don't know how to describe it, exactly, except that I have now associated their sound with the color of the album cover, a sort of yellow-ish sand look. In fact, my brain was at such a profound lack to associate ChthoniC's sound with anything typical that I practically see that sand color when listening. It's a bizarre sort of synaesthetic experience. In that regard, 9th Empyrean has definitely left its mark on me, but let's dig further into its inner workings to see why.

ChthoniC's guitars mix really sharp speed-picked riffs with thick (but not brutal) rhythms. You can tell the band has a ton of energy, and they have a knack for writing catchy riffs and beats. What's most odd about their sound is their willingness to mix old-school metal and symphonic black metal. Sometimes the keyboard arrangements and guitar riffs will be highly pompous and self-important in true in-your-face metal fashion. There's even an occasional wild solo, and incredibly manic and layered growly vocals that sound psychotic in the fun kind of way (only in metal do we see "fun" associated with psychosis, sadism, and ear-splitting music).

On the other hand, there are strong atmospheric compositions that maintain a melancholic mood. There are evocative piano lines, beautifully clean-sung melodies, and even bombastic symphonic sounds to fit the heavier riffs. ChthoniC's greatest strength is in capturing a powerful mood, but knowing when to lighten up and rock out. This is a very good black metal CD, and I'd say that fans of the first albums by Scholomance and Arcturus could really get into it. I've been listening to it regularly since it came, and it has only improved with each listen. If you like your black metal to be hard, exotic, and moody, go listen to ChthoniC.

Track List:
1) Breath of Ocean
Mother Isle Disintegrated.
Aboriginal Gods Enthroned
Chapter 2
2) Intro
3) Floated UNconsciously in the Acheron
4) Summon of China
5) Gods Souls Gathered
6) Invasion
7) Upon the Empyrean
8) Guard the Isle Eternally

ChthoniC are:
Freddy - Mind destructor
A-Jay - Earthshaker
Doris - Thunderbeat
Jesse - Qi Slamer
Ambrosia - Siren

ChthoniC - Official Site:

Nightfall Records USA:

TRA Music:

~reviewed by Mick Mercer

Let’s talk weird. Curse influences admitted to include Ramones, Velvets, Siouxsie, Joplin and Tom Waits which, given their curly Goth-folk image, makes you kinda curious, right? You haven’t really heard a band who looks late 80’s going back some time? I certainly don’t.

So it begins, and the rawness hits you. They’ve recorded it in an old fashioned way if you ask me. No cheap connecting to some home studio nonsense. It sound more like a group of people all crammed into one tiny studio the size of your spare room. And that makes it convey THAT sound.

‘Tattooed Rain’ introduces you to a strain of sleazy post-blues simplicity which I haven’t heard in such an authentic form since the original American Punk stuff from ‘77/’78, although maybe this is close to how Mothburner would sound if they were a full-blown band - who knows? - except for the knowing hard-bitten vocals rotating neatly, and a big roustabout guitar sound. Then, curiously, ‘Her Confessor’ is far slower, with more luminescent, tremulous vocals. This is real classic stuff with catchy, nagging highly vowel-opened vocals and then a real clue, and a good comparison for people to follow. ‘Starfall’, with its splatter drumming and high Goth-folk vocals keeping the melody high, has passages where the vocal dominance sounds so Patti Smith it’s uncanny, which is exactly what Tattooed Rain reminded me off, ‘Horses’ era.

‘Luna’ is very live sounding, the drums almost vibrating at the proximity of the bass, but the song just drifts aimlessly towards the end, ‘Graveyard Shuffle’ sashaying along with jaunty vocals, like bloodshot bar music is okay but isn’t on a par with those openers, and here’s a funny thing. Lodas of songs on this album aren’t that hot but they have a sense of pure class about them and grow with repeated plays.

‘Like A Glass OF Wine’ won’t, I pray, because think All About Eve at their most worthy-of-face-slapping and you know where I’m heading. It’s a personal prejudice I realise, as many people like the folk-goth tradition I call voluminous vomit, and that’s what’s here. Enjoy.

‘High Enough To Reach’ is another sign. It’s almost post-Morrissette, offering a personal lyrical message to someone with a drug problem, and it just has Major Label Deal all over it. ‘Maenads’ is a lush but lopsided thing which meanders prettily, sounding slightly rough and unfocussed, ‘Gris-Gris’ seems faintly alt-rock with a historical bent, but kept very bare, with little angular breaks, and the guitarist dying to cut loose and go into one. ‘Svengali’ is another odd, jumpy little number with a bouncy guitar direction, cut up by the stark vocal stammering segues and then…a truly execrable guitar solo!!!!! It all finishes with a Radio Edit of ‘Starfall’ which is acceptable and shows you what could happen.

It’s a wonderful introduction to their talents, but a good fifty percent simply hasn’t been done justice. Maybe they had to rush the album, maybe the songs are new and haven’t been brought to their logical conclusion? Maybe, but what’s here should interest anyone, and the next album could be very special. They’re simply not like the other bands. The fact they may seem so much more obvious means they are actually quite the reverse.


Daemonia Nymphe
Daemonia Nymphe (Prikosnovenie)
~reviewed by Uncle Nemesis

Daemonia Nymphe are a folk group. From Greece. And they play reproductions of Greek instruments from bygone centuries, such as the Askaulos and the Syrinx, the Krotala and the Aulos plagios.

You know what? All of a sudden, we're a mighty long way from rock 'n' roll.

Now, I have to confess that this isn't my usual musical area. In fact, in the normal run of things, if you tried to engage my interest in stuff like this, I'd probably experience an immediate desire to play the Ramones very loudly, just to make a point. And yet, there's something here which grabs me by the Krotala. Perhaps it was because I came to this album after reviewing a load of EBM and synthpop stuff, and I was ready for something - anything - that wasn't bangin' dance beats. Anything, in fact, that didn't have to be plugged in.

And indeed, this is about as unplugged as you can get. This is a very 'live' album: the recording quality is pin-sharp, to the point where you can almost feel the vibrations of the strings and the gusts of air pushed out by the drums. The music isn't complex: although the instruments weave around each other, creating almost physical patterns of sound in the air, it's possible to follow each sound on its travels through the music, even though you're not entirely sure what instrument you're listening to. It's precision stuff, and given that (I assume) it's all played live in the recording studio, the sense that you're listening to musicians doing their stuff just as it happened creates a connection between listener and music that simply isn't there with anything more technology-oriented.

The English translations of the lyrics, printed in the inlay booklet, veer from slightly odd to just plain baffling. I'm not sure if this is down to a mismatch between the languages, or whether they're supposed to be like that - but try these examples for size. These words come from 'Ida's Dactyls':

Oh dancing and bouncing curetes, you armed walkers in rhythm,
Hitting the ground with your feet spinning around, lovers of mountains, of
Bacchic cries...
This from 'Hymn To Bacchus':
Immortal god, hear my invocation you pleased one,
And help us, perfect sweet, sweethearted together with beautiful belted
That's not a folk song, that's a theme night at the Torture Garden!

Fortunately, the words are all rendered in Greek on the recordings themselves, in which language I sincerely hope they make a bit more sense. To an extent, you've got to suspend your preconceptions with this stuff: just let it all flow over you. It's not rock 'n' roll, or anything remotely like it - and it probably doesn't even touch base with any notions of the ethereal end of the goth scene. But on those occasions when you feel like you want to take a break from your usual music, Daemonia Nymphe can take you on a rewarding journey to places you've never been before.

The tunestack:
Message Horn's Enchanting Echo
Ida's Dactyls
Summoning Divine Selene
Dance Of The Satyrs
Korai Rejoicing In Antron
Nymphs Of The Seagod Nereus
Hymn To Baccus
Invoking Pan

Daemonia Nymphe are:
Spyros Giasafakis
Evi Stergiou

With additional musicians:
Alkinoos Ioannidis
Giorgia Tsaprazi
Maria Sekeroglou
Tilemahos Roussis
Maria Stergiou
Stauros Theodoropoulos
Simos Rizopoulos
Paulos Bakalos
Dafini Mauridou
Maria Stolaki
Eleni Baitsi
Gogo Baitsi
Petros Moraitis
Dimitris Makrantonakis
Mina Morti
Sofia Kapetanakou
Giasafakis Pandelis

There is no Daemonia Nymphe website, but the band have embraced technology sufficiently to set up an email address:

Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis:

DC Molina
A Room Of Hearts (Advance promo)
~reviewed by Uncle Nemesis

Is this a sampler for DC Molina's forthcoming album? Or an EP? Dunno. What I *do* know is that it's a six-track CD-R which arrived in a rather groovy black fake-snakeskin pouch. That's DC Molina for you. Even their promo CDs arrive in glamourously decadent packaging.

Some information. DC Molina, for those who've just joined us, are a low-slung hot-rod of a band who you might have heard without realising it on the latest Sex Gang Children album, 'Bastard Art' - for DC Molina comprise some of the musicians who back Andi Sex Gang these days. The band's own music isn't necessarily *like* that of the Sex Gang Children, although it has that same gritty glam swagger, but the chances are that if you're a Sex Gang fan you'll find a lot to like in the DC Molina sound. If you need a starting point, that's it. Now let's jump straight in.

The title of the first song here, 'Do You Romance?', sounds like a particularly nerdish opening line, but the song itself is a rollicking glam-punk burn-out, colliding guitars over an implacable stomp-and-thwack beat. The vocals are dropped back in the mix, a fractured wail. I'm reminded of The Jesus And Mary Chain doing Syd Barrett's 'Vegetable Man' - that wall of guitar, everything coming together like a car crash, and yet somewhere underneath it all there's a rather neat little pop song. That's a good trick if you can pull it off - and DC Molina certainly can.

'I Love My Name And This Shrink', second track in, stakes its claim for song title of the year - and turns out to be a catchy little ditty with a surreal lyric: 'March on your back/It's a murderous game that we play/Stay on the track/Because the monster is back'. It could almost be one of The Cure's poppier moments, until the guitar comes in with a rush and for one ghastly moment I think it's going to turn into the Manics' 'Motorcycle Emptiness'. Fortunately, it doesn't. OK, I realise it probably seems like I'm throwing random comparisons around like confetti here,  but in truth that's only because DC Molina's sound is hard to pin down. This is a band that doesn't fit into any neat slot; they have no natural genre. They seem to pull in influences from everywhere and weld them all into their own unique monster sound.

'Garcia' has a naggingly assertive two-and-fro lilt, but just when you think this is DC Molina playing at being a nice pop group it all erupts into a squall of distortion and barrels ahead like a drunk picking a fight. 'Gold Suits' - now there's a glam reference! - is built on staccato, chopped-out lines of guitar, and the lyrics sound like the outpourings of a doomed poet: 'Will no-one light a candle for me?'

'Stiff Calypso' is the ballad. A phased bass chunks away behind uneasy lyrics: 'I curl your hair with hooks of illness'. It's an unholy alliance between noir-ish imagery and pleasant, almost jaunty, music. As a complete contrast, 'Un Cadavre' is a big, bad, noise-assemblage - signals fed through effects, distorted and mutated and fed through it all again. DC Molina having a 'Metal Machine Music' moment, if you will.

And that's yer lot. Six tracks which convincingly establish DC Molina as a bunch of uniquely warped rock poets...and yet always with a certain pop sensibility. No matter how dark and bizarre their music or lyrical imagery becomes, they never fall into the trap of being 'difficult' for the sake of it. So, what next? I don't know. I have no idea when the tracks on this promo CD will be officially available - but this is one to keep an eye on. When it's out, buy it and revel.

The tunestack:
Do You Romance?
I Love My Name And This Shrink
Gold Suits
Stiff Calypso
Un Cadavre

The players:
MJ Saw: Voices, guitars, programming, effects
Carl Magnusson: Bass, programming, effects, production
Kevin Matthews: Drums, percussion, effects, guitars

The website:

Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis:

Dead Hollywood Stars
~reviewed by Saint Petrol

There is probably something wrong with me.  I adore this CD, but I especially liked it when I put "slim westerns" by A Small Good Thing, on in the background and then listened to Dead Hollywood Stars in headphones.  I'm sick, I know. Layering.  Further assemblage.  It never stops.  To my credit, though, they fit together nicely.  "slim westerns" adds an even more ethereal layer to  the Dead Hollywood Stars sound.  All I need now is "Calamity Jane" starring Doris Day on the tv, and I'm set.  Likely, there's a term somewhere in a  psychology book for this.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.  Dead Hollywood Stars have created a meandering, pleasurable work with Junctions.  If you've ever  travelled across the "desert states" of the U.S., you'll understand this music cellularly.  The American desert is itself already twisted.  Already David Lynch.  There is no fiction here.  It's all true.  Drive through it.

Dead Hollywood Stars adds one element to their desert-Americana soundtrack that O Yuki Conjugate and Purr (A Small Good Thing) did not. DHS added the truck stops.  DHS added the small collections of silver spoons with each of the states cloisonned on the handles.  DHS added the little stones all glued together with bubble eyes on them, and "rock concert" painted across the bottom.  What A Small Good Thing left out, Dead Hollywood Stars put in; right there in all the majesty and mystery of the American desert, there is the wide-eyed, ugly, evil, innocent, Ayn-Rand heart of Capitalism at its best worst.

Dead Hollywood Stars capture it all with affection and detail. It's like James Dean in "Giant".  It's like the monstrous billboards careening the landscape, petrified forest of signs, "Hungry?  Tired?   Lonely? Out of gas?  Left home?  Don't know where you're going?  It doesn't matter.  Whatever you need, we've got it here.  Credit cards accepted."  It's like ravens as big as cats, hopping around the endless battlefield of roadkill.  "Junctions"  is achey.  It's as big as a goddam Texas sky or a goddam Texas waitress' hairdo, and just as sincere.  The gum-clicking resplendency of the desert southwest.  It's all here.

Track Listing:
1.)  Last Train To Aldebaran
2.)  The Pure Voice
3.)  Back From Exile
4.)  Through The Cane Fields
5.)  Suburban Mystery
6.)  In The Abbey Of The Psalms
7.)  Akiko's Diary
8.)  A Cold Spot
9.)  Triangulating The Daemon
10.)  Stardust
11.)  Gunslinger
12.)  Down To Zero
13.)  Singapore SlingSS
14.)  The Crying Indian
15.)  Noctuary
16.)  Western Glamor
+ 17.)  Last Train To Aldebaran video.
[Note:  I was unable to see the video, and therefore cannot review it.  Lo siento mucho!]

This album was produced by:
John N. Sellakaers, Herve Thomas, and C-drik Fermont.

Michel d:  Guitars and outer space wonderbox.
Gabriel Severin:  Voice, farfisa, organ, greenhouse effects.
J-r rob(u)rang:  Lyrics, vocals, melodica and tambourine.
video by Benjamin K. Hodges.  (Austin, Tx video experi-mentalists, "Fake".)

On Hymen/ant-zen, via Soleilmoon Recordings in the U.S.

Calamity Jane movie:
Slim Westerns:
James Dean as "Jett Rink" in Giant:

Decoded Feedback
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Let me say at the outset that I am not a big fan of industrial music. There is only a very small handful of industrial bands that make me want to part with my money, so the chances of me “liking” a lot within that genre are slim.

My main contention with the majority of industrial music is the vocals or lack thereof. At this stage, hearing a vocalist who sounds as though they have gargled with Drano has become rather passé. Screaming and then processing the sound through filters no longer belies any creative inflection, but highlights the possibility that the vocalist simply cannot sing. This opinion is in the minority as far as this style of music is concerned, but to these ears, it is monotonously irritating. Usually I do not waste time reviewing industrial artists because most of it leaves me cold. However, when a label sends a promo and press kit, it becomes the reviewers job to try to objectively report the  interpretations as we see them.

So with that being said, I am happy to report that Decoded Feedback fall within the category of bands that I think are worthy or our hard earned dollars. The aggro-industrial world must also be in agreement too, because the band has enjoyed much world-wide success since 1993.  Musically, they  put together a fine blend of up to the minute electronic industrial hybrid tracks that are simply begging for massive world-wide club rotation. Whether you like aggro-industrial or not, chances are these tracks will make you want to tap your feet at the very least if you are from the “elder-anything” background. Fans of the genre will be quite pleased with a bevy of tracks with simple but rather potent lyrics, sculpted with cunning and flawless musical construction. The potency of the lyrics may become lost among the aggressive tones, but they are evident nonetheless.

Although there is a bit of that “Drano voice” apparent on this release, it isn’t the only style of vocals that we are treated to.   On the tracks “Heaven,” “Do You See,” and The Swans cover of “Love Will Save You,” we were given real vocals that are quite good indeed, clearly earmarking that Decoded Feedback have a long history ahead of them due to the variety of sound that they can achieve. “Bondage” utilized a vocal recitation that seductively made the song work so much better than the main harsher vocals, but again, that is a personal preference and does not detract from the astuteness of the artists and their high caliber work.  “Nothingness” and “Shockwave” had the harsh vocals but they were toned down a bit to be more comprehensible while “Organic” and “Burn Europe Burn” are pumping instrumental pieces that DJ’s of all genres will want to seek out for their club playlist.

Even though this reviewer finds much of the rough textured vocals a distraction rather than an enhancement, Decoded Feedback demonstrate that they can sing as well as offer great pumping music that will speed up the heart rate in a flash. The band is offering the genre fans what is “in” at the moment, but also expanding beyond the parameters of “just industrial” by incorporating a variety of sounds and hooks into their work to make it deliciously intoxicating.

For elder goths who are attempting to keep up with the musical transitions, this release is a decent primer to acquaint oneself  with quality industrial music.   However, it is not recommended that elder goths sample this on the headset because the tones are a bit of an assault the first time around. Play it on the stereo and ease into the sound before you assail the auditory canal. After all, it isn’t called “Shockwaves” for nothing.

This recording is presently one of the better ones out on the market and the music itself is very conducive to keeping a club night pumped up at full throttle. Thankfully, the band showcased that they CAN sing as the need arises, which is saying a lot more about their overall talent than the glut of hacks that cross this desk on a monthly basis. Their real vocals are far more impressive than any white wash noise that they can come up with, so one can only hope that they utilize them a bit more in follow up releases.

Band Members:
Marco Biagiotti: vox, lyrics, samples, sequences, basses and drums
Yone Dudas: keyboards, sequences, arrangement, basses and drums

1. Phoenix
2. Bondage
3. Democracy
4. The Fruit of Wisdom
5. Heaven
6. Do You See
7. Nothingness
8. Organic
9. Shockwave
10. Burn Europe Burn
11. Love Will Save You (cover version)

Bonus: Phoenix Video

Available through Metropolis Records:

Live Legacy
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Ah, what can one say about the legendary Dissection that has yet to be said? That they're legendary? Nay, I just said that. That's what I mean - most things that can be said about the band, have. Dissection's music is classic in the metal scene, and you probably aren't much of a Scandinavian metal fan if you haven't heard them yet. If you do consider yourself a serious metal fan but aren't familiar with Dissection, you better start listening now and praying to the dark lord.

Dissection's music is made up of very dark, very melodic, and very memorable themes and riffs. Nödtveidt's vocals are the usual raspy kind, but they have a certain cadence that gives the music a poetic quality. I can't see much reason to further enumerate the music's fine points, because there's no excuse for not going to listen to Dissection, and this live album features no new tracks.

So what can listeners expect? Essentially, this is a collection of Dissection songs with grittier live production, occasional introductions to the tracks, and some cheering from the crowd. Now, if you own The Somberlain and Storm of the Light's Bane already, it's arguable as to whether or not Live Legacy is worth buying. Jon Nödtveidt is still in jail, so this is an old performance of material that you can get on the other two Dissection CDs - and with better production at that.

If you're a hardcore Dissection fan, then definitely buy this CD. There is a good trackselection, including some of my favorite Storm of the Light's Bane songs, along with the brilliant title track off of The Somberlain. This is a handy CD to listen to when you want to sample  Dissection's best material without spending two hours listening through  both studio albums. Also, for newcomers to the band, this is a very  suitable introduction to Dissection. In short: don't expect anything  new, much less a live album the quality of Emperor's Emperial Live  Ceremony, but do check this out if you're a hardcore Dissection addict  or metal neophyte.

Track List:
1) Intro - At the Fathomless Depths
2) Retribution - Storm of the Light's Bane
3) Unhallowed
4) Where Dead Angels Lie
5) Frozen
6) Thorns of Crimson Death
7) The Somberlain

Dissection are:
Jon Nödtveidt: vocals, guitar
Johan Norman: guitar
Peter Palmdahl: bass
Tobias Kjellgren: drums

Nuclear Blast Records:

Dream Radiation
Dream Radiation
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Ventricle Records prides itself on releasing music that features lush female vocals within such realms as ambient, gothic, avant progressive, which doesn’t cater to the ever changing market trends. The strength of this label is that of showcasing artists whose passion comes before profit and artistic beauty and originality comes before the incessant need for club rotation.

As such, the latest release from the label is Dream Radiation, a compendium of ethereal work by Melissa Webb and Kelly Thistle. The CD comes with a steel colored cover in an attempt to symbolize the permanence of the ethereal female voice that has been with us since the dawn of time, harkening us back to our Earthen spiritual roots. Sadly, the label site or a web search didn’t provide much more information on the background of these artists, so one had to glean any pertinent information from the sparse press kit.

At the outset, one must state that if you are not into ethereal music, particularly with female vocals that seem to emanate from the mists of time, this may not be something for your collection.

However, for those stalwart aficionados of dark ethereal music, a welcome respite was created by Dream Radiation as it marries the Pagan centered spirit with the otherworldly dark qualities that many have come to love with introspective sound and voice.

This release is heavy on atmosphere that is dark but not macabre. Electronically, the mastering of reverb and sonic creation of another world is like taking an auditory vacation between the veil of space and time.  Wiccans will find this rather comforting because it emanates with the same type of energy and resonance that one would find during circle work that is done correctly.

Webb’s vocals are often in the upper registers that border on operatic. The intonation is kept from being monotonous by the brilliant use of reverb that shifts and changes like shimmering illusions in a star filled night sky.

None of the instruments that were used are listed,  but the amazing depth of sound that Thistle was able to mix into the work was nothing short of a stellar achievement.

Gothic Pagans/Wiccans seeking out music that is at once conducive to a spiritual cleansing will find this a welcome addition to the collection. Lyrically, there are songs of longing and emptiness but somehow the otherworldly intonations transcend human sentiment.

Artist Info:
Melissa Webb: Vocals, chimes
Kelly Thistle: instruments, mouse

1. Obsidian
2. Dream In Amber
3. Awaken
4. Crystalline
5. Through His Eyes
6. Quick
7. Velvet Ashes
8. Simulacra
9. Suling Song
10. Yesterworld
11. Somewhere Tonight

HOLLOW (Morphenic)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

I’m going to pick some holes in this, because I think it’s in their best interests, and because what they’re doing with their songs is so good, but could be important, I’d feel guilty if I didn’t. You see here we have a band so unashamedly Goth they say ‘file under pointy boots and dark sunglasses’ and happily cite S*s*e*s, Mission, Neffs and Violets as prime influences. So you’re expecting some warm Goth sounds with a plonky beat and some impassioned vocals which sounds far too gnarled for their tender age. And you would be right.

That is usually the sign for experienced ears to start to close up like an irate clam. We’ve heard so many bands like this, seen so many bands who are sub-Rosetta, sub-Stun. It’s been done, and it’s time to move on. Looking at some of the song titles I wasn’t exactly expecting to be impressed, especially as the inner photo of the Monastery Graveyard In The Snow would have made a preferable front cover. Then they surprise me with a great set of songs which are never saddled with pomposity or excruciating Myths And Legends lyrics, and where there are mistakes, I can see why it happens, because it’s their starting point. They’re so close, they lack confidence in one important matter, that of self-perception.

Matt Slowikowski handles lead vocals, and so it’s your task to lead, Matt. You are the dancing verbal blade that will cut the audience open, but you have been a naughty, naughty boy. ‘Hollow’ makes for a simple Goth mood created by a touch of pace and constant decorative guitar, with a very decent melody lurking thereabouts, and some light but clearly attractive, able vocals. The drably named ‘Violet Sky’ has a swathe of vivid keyboards accentuating a starker mood, with some great guitar touches and vocals you can barely decipher, they’re so throaty. That’s where the Neffs influences groans, with its appendix flaring. On ‘Perfect (Dream)’ Matt again shows he has an adventurous style and clearly isn’t afraid to try anything, and successfully takes attention away from slightly ponderous guitar, and then with ‘Six Feet Under’ we could have done with riffs from the word go, but it is a very fluid song, which has a spry feel. ‘Ashes’ has a guitar approach heard earlier, and the vocals seem to hide amid the drama, then the Return Of The Neffs Style stalls the engine of ‘Godspeed’ which is Pure Goth Cliché in one sense, and yet a great tune on the other. So you see the dilemma? If you wish to see them as A Goth Band they definitely push all the right buttons, but I’d prefer to see them manufacturing their own buttons.

‘White Sand Red Sand’ almost touches metal in the vocals, as the song clomps prettily with chirpy guitar, ‘Gun’ is seriously cool with a huge whomping intro, but grizzled vocals again, and ‘Common Things’ is so poor you can barely believe it’s the same band responsible. Then the clouds clear, the light pours in, and it’s the jangley closer ‘Grace’ where Matt comes into his own, directing the emotional pull of the song with a nicely graduated sense of angst that oozes out right until the luscious end.

Here’s the thing. Their trusty drum machine needs to be either replaced or turbo-charged to give them faster velocity, because they can handle pace, which would make them more exciting and leave Matt with less chance to go for the groan, and they need to remember that much as they pay tribute by adopting certain set styles, this does them a disservice, because they have great ideas which can really come alive and sparkle with the power a trio brings. They needn’t fill every space in every song, and they can rely on their own capabilities, because they write excellent songs, and Matt, when he isn’t McCoy-lite, clearly has the capacity to be a superb singer.

None of these criticisms are Harsh. They are all lower case. Anybody who hears this album will enjoy it, but with their second album I think the inspiration will really begin. It’s a fantastic debut, but next time, forget about your heroes lads. It’s your band, not theirs.


The Duskfall
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Sigh... I really, really, -really- need a template for writing reviews of Swedish melodic death metal. In my many reviews of that genre, I've seen enough commonalities to build a super nifty list of Important Features. Instead of giving you the same mind-bogglingly dull paragraph descriptions that I do every month, here's the list:

Band: The Duskfall
Genre: Swedish Melodic Death Metal
Guitars: Fast, bouncy riffs and dual-lead guitar harmonies
Drums: Standard metal drumming
Bass: What? Where? Straining can reveal a distant bass rumble, which may or may not be Odin growling his disapproval for the 436th melodic death metal album.
Vocals: Raspy, throat-tearing yells
Rank within SMDM: Slightly above average, good mix of riffs
Sole Distinguishing feature: All solos courtesy of Swedish guitar virtuoso, Magnus Olsson

And there you have it. Frailty would be an amazing album if I didn't have 20 like it already. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the music. It's technical, well-crafted, and sounds great when I'm able to forget about how many other CDs I own that are just like this one.

I think that fans of Swedish melodic death metal probably have a quota of albums they must buy yearly. They could pick this one, or another one, or whatever it is they happen to come across when they're in need of more melodic death metal. If you're reading this review, and you're in need of more melodic death metal, go ahead and get The Duskfall. Hell, maybe if consumers spread their money out across enough SMDM bands, all the bands will start running out of cash and will be forced to try something different. The Duskfall is a very talented band, and Magnus Olsson plays some nice (if brief) semi-neo-classical solos for them. But it's not enough to make this worth getting if you've got a well-established collection of melodic death metal CDs.

Track List:
1) The Light
2) Age of Errors
3) Agoraphobic
4) Poison the Waters
5) None
6) Farwell Song
7) Frailty
8) Tune of Slaughtered Hearts
9) Just Follow
10) Deliverance

The Duskfall are:
Kai Jaakkola - vocals
Mikael Sandorf - guitars
Glenn Svensson - guitars
Kaj Molin - bass
Oskar Karlsson - drums
Guest guitarist: Magnus Olsson - all solos

The Duskfall - Official Site:

Black Lotus Records:

The End Records (US):

Scattered Ashes: A Decade of Emperial Wrath
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

The mourning period for Emperor's demise has finally ended, and now it's time to pay homage to their great spirit with a superb compilation. The band members had a hand in picking the songs, and the works are conveniently split into two discs. The first disc contains an assortment of great songs from Emperor's 10 year black metal legacy, and the second disc is a handy collection of rare covers, remixes, and other hard to get songs.

Emperor's sound is encompassing, majestic, and fully capable of knocking the wind right out of you. They were indisputable masters in the black metal genre, and I can scarcely imagine a black metal fan that isn't at least partially familiar with them. I'll spare you the tired old "kings of metal!" description or "at the dawn of time, in a cold, cold forest..." introduction to the band. You don't need to hear it anymore than I need to write it. Emperor made a clear mark on the Scandinavian scene, and it's still being felt in today's black metal releases.

The first disc has a nice mix of classic Emperor material, stretching all the way back to 1991. The production on the earliest work is horrid, so I've never wanted to actually buy Wrath of the Tyrants. The compilation gives a taste of these early songs, but without any long-term exposure to dangerous levels static and fuzzy white-noise. The mix of songs is very well thought out, and makes for an enjoyable listen even if you own some or all Emperor CDs. The second disc, however, is the main draw for Emperor fans. The rare songs and covers are difficult to get ahold of individually, because a lot of them are from various compilations, eps, and other oddities.

Scattered Ashes is a surprisingly worthwhile compilation, and all but the most hardcore Emperor fanatics would do well to get a hold of it. Unless you've obsessively collected all of these songs already, this compilation is worth getting if only for the second disc. Personally, I only own three other Emperor albums, so Scattered Ashes has a nice sampling from the CDs I haven't yet deigned to buy. Also, this compilation should hold a lot of interest to newcomers to Emperor. Every black metal fan needs some Emperor in their collection. If you haven't got any yet - start here.

Track List:
Disc One
1. Curse You All Men!
2. The Tongue of Fire
3. The Majesty of the Nightsky
4. Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times
5. Wrath of the Tyrant
6. The Loss and Curse of Reverence
7. An Elegy of Icaros
8. I am the Black Wizards
9. Thus Spake the Nightspirit (live)
10. Ye Entrancemperium
11. In the Wordless Chamber
12. With Strength I Burn
13. Inno A Satana

Disc Two
1. A Fine Day to Die (Bathory cover)
2. Ærie Descent (Thorns cover)
3. Cromlech (Darkthrone cover)
4. Gypsy (Mercyful Fate cover)
5. Funeral Fog (Mayhem cover)
6. I Am
7. Sworn (Ulver remix)
8. Lord of the Storms
9. My Empire's Doom
10. Moon Over Kara-Shehr (rehearsal)
11. Ancient Queen
12. Witches Sabbath
13. In Longing Spirit
14. Opus A Satana

Emperor - Official Site:

Candlelight Records:

Garden of Dreams
Sparkle Shimmer Fade
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Garden of Dreams recently came out with their latest foray into the music world with Sparkle Shimmer Fade. The press release was full of industry buzz words stating “pop,” “major market stations,” “radio friendly” and “major music stores nationwide”, that a chill went down my spine.

Admittedly, liking this band is one of my hidden vices, but  I was fearful that the latest offering may have gone way over the edge towards the mainstream crap that I personally ran away from many years ago.

From the first track to the last, there is a decided new wave hybrid sensibility coupled with catchy riffs, melodies and slight edgy aggression from today’s music scene. It is driven, infectious and a bit more mainstream than some may like, but hell, it is done well!  It may not be a part of the beloved goth rock that underground fans hold so dear, but who cares when a band creates music that is this much fun? It isn’t too often than anyone can combine all that was great from a variety of genres, whip them up and serve them as something new, fresh and enjoyable to this degree.

Besides, if one’s purchasing dollar is going to support a band, it should go towards one that is highly talented, relentless self-promoters and caring of their fan base along every step of their climb up. The fact that some of their inspiration comes from the leaders within the goth underground also sweetens this decadent diversion from the dark music world.

In spite of all the releases the band has made and regardless of the number of tours, fans and emails they may get, they endear themselves to EVERY fan by responding to them in a personable way that belies the sincerest gratitude for their support. Should Garden of Dreams burst upon the consciousness of the mainstream market, one can only hope that their humility and ability to stay close to the fan base will always be a part of their makeup, because essentially that is what endears them in greater numbers to the legion of fans who have been relentless supporters for them all these years while similar bands have come and gone in a flash.

Lyrically, we are taken through the paces of the typical human emotions ranging from  love, heartbreak and potential possibilities, wrapped up with musical beats that will hopefully reduce some of the mindless push-button music out of the clubs for a while to make room for artists who can PLAY instruments in addition to just a keyboard midi sequencer.

The only downside is that there are 6 tracks, making the CD end far sooner than the listener may like. This release also boasts an enhanced multimedia portion and “live” video of “Ashes.” However, the ten dollar price tag is nice on the wallet and could easily bring the band more fans who live on a tighter budget in these ultra financially problematic times.

Good luck trying to pick out a favorite track because each one delivers a bit of a slant on the retro-fun while still being up to date and new. If one finds themselves salivating over this release, the only recourse is to obtain their back catalog and put them on shuffle play in your CD player. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you, the band IS addictive!)

You can pick this CD up online at their website store, in your local music shop, as well as ,  and  In the meantime, you can check out the video of Ashes on their website as well as sample some of their songs at .

1. Ashes
2. Just Like This
3. She Loves You
4. Forget About The Stars
5. Never Said
6. Scanning For Pink

Band Line-Up
Gene Blalock: Vocals, guitars, keyboards
Jim Koepke: Guitars
Jameson King: Bass
Bill Beam: Drums and percussion


Genocide Kommando
Black Metal Supremacy
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

If you clicked the link to read this review, I applaud you. Normally, people tend to avoid bands like "Genocide Kommando." Rightfully so. In fact, unless you're some kind of Ildjarn groupie, there's really no reason to listen to Genocide Kommando. They're the kind of band that goes around yelling: "Look at us! We're extreme, man! Fear! Yeah!"

Maybe they're not quite so pronounced about it, but let's take a look at the evidence. First of all, they call themselves Genocide Kommando and  seek the "TOTAL EXTINCTION OF ALL FORMS OF LIFE ON THIS JUDEO-CHRISTIAN  PLANET." Well then, whoopdeedoo. I'm tempted to scroll down to the song titles to add caps and several exclamations to each one. Be honest, which is more extreme:

Era of Terror



This collection of eight black metal songs is built on speed-picked riffs, blast beats, raspy vocals, and awful, muffled production. The tracks are entirely indistinguishable from one another. As far as I can tell, this CD may well feature one song with 7 remixed variations on it.

Genocide Kommando have no musical value, so they're parading a grim black metal image and going on about how they're oh-so-scary and want to destroy humanity. At least if they did, I wouldn't have to hear them anymore. They also go on about how corrupted the metal press and metal scene is. Yep, I sure am corrupted, compared to the days when... what? I enjoyed total pointless crap? To top it all off, there is a picture of a huge grave with a mass of corpses in it. I can't tell whether or not it's a holocaust photo or a drawing of some kind, but it's in eminently poor taste.

To Genocide Kommando: If you hate humanity so fully, and you obviously do for subjecting us to utter garbage, then why should humanity give a fuck about you?

Track List:
1) War Dogs Attack
2) Era of Terror
3) Storm Obliteration
4) Clouds of Human Dust
5) Nuclear Devestation
6) Black Metal Supremacy
7) Satanic Terror
8) Apocalyptic Prophecy

Genocide Kommando are:
Kommander Noktu
Kommander Horrendus

Moribund Records:

~reviewed by Mick Mercer

Apparently this would have been an album but the band downsized to EP status because they’d become ‘consumed by business rhetoric’, which is a pretty flimsy excuse if you ask me, albeit audacious.

The band whose reviews tag them with everything from psychotropic forms of Industrial to original Batcave deserve to dazzle, and to draw admirers to them, so you can forgive them many lapses. These are disturbed characters who spend time down the pub dreaming up caustic visions, but actually remember these plans when they hit the studio, and after the wonderful ‘Disconnect’ CD here they are with more colourful abstract washes, and the heady stench of sewage.

‘Moonburn’ confirms all my worst fears. They can still create music which is a cross between film noir soundtracks and an ad man’s cream, which traipses along in regal style, then for no apparent reason gets increasingly uglier, like an archbishop forgetting his vows of respectability and suddenly taking a shit on a zebra crossing in front of a crocodile of school children and teachers walking back from the local swimming pool.

‘Compassion Fatigue’ is a mockney mazurka where two songs seems overlapped, and it works well but I wonder why they do this, because there’s a vital point to appreciate about these bastards. They have a stream, of ideas most bands would die for, but once they establish something beautiful they stamp it into the ground soon after. ‘Mimozine’ is a sensational accomplishment and manages to escape too much barbarism, and the wiggliest, ‘Skin Can’t Breathe’ munches the air quizzically, but also stays fairly constant in its pustular approach.

The title track is a little too Joy Division at the beginning, with seismic bass added, but then the guitar pulls it away into lighter surrounds, and the singer seem to have a bad cold. I could have sworn he sang, "all we need is cabbage", only to discover the word is ‘damage’.

It’s all here, from Tindersticks, to Inca Babies, Portishead and Suede, but more subtle and cheeky, equally individual but more up to date and ambitious. Add to that the unexpected moments of musical mangling and you really do have just about the most imaginative UK band attached to Goth - and they do actually label themselves as Post-Industrial Goth. None of this ‘we’re an alternative something or other, we don’t like being put in a box’ crap, when bands who say that deserve an air-tight box and nothing else.

In the old days this band would have been snapped up by 4AD or Beggars by now, but in the New Old Days labels can offer nothing because there’s bugger all money left and they have no futures, so indie labels are THE future, on a small level. That means true fans will be that. True. They will follow up reviews, they will search for their new favourites, and they will make an effort as you won’t find things in shops. This is a case in point, and as History Of Guns make records you’ll never want to get rid of, they are worth your time and effort.

This EP will cost you £3.50,which includes P&P, if you live within UK/Europe, or £4.50 (includes P&P) if you live elsewhere in the world. Send cheque or money order payable to History Of Guns to: History Of Guns, Foodle Towers, 72 Burleigh Road, Hertford SG13 7EZ (England).

The website is a pleasant mess and is working bookmarking as a few interesting items seem to crop up from time to time. Their Guns For Sale section doesn’t seem to work., and where the Hell is the biog? I hunted high and low.

P.S. While reading through the History Of Guns site found a link for a very decent,. Interesting metal site. Go see

I Am Not Job
~reviewed by Saint Petrol

I still remember very clearly when I put my very first Thanatos CD in my player. When the song "Hebron" came on, I started to shake and feel a little sick.  It was too beautiful.  It was too much.  I listened to it obsessively for weeks, on repeat. Then, my car got stolen, with all of my CDs in it.  I looked for that CD for ages, and never found it, until tonight, on the Projekt site, and on sale, to boot.   I am happy to say it will soon be in my possession again.  Or I, in its.

Patrick Ogle's voice makes me feel funny inside.  Funny like I want to cry, really hard, and fall in love, and die again, and fly, and sit by the ocean screaming someone's name.  It also sometimes has the uncanny ability to make me laugh.  It might be hysterical laughter, but it's  still laughter and I need it.  A song like "Oklahoma City Ballroom" is priceless to me.  So are songs like "Drop the Dime" and "Between the Wars".  There's not a bad song on this CD.  I love all of it.  My car better be where I left it, in the morning.

The entire CD is full of dark, beautiful humor and tenderness and honesty and some strange, barely contained fury.  Sometimes it reminds me of David E. Williams, sometimes Tom Waits, sometimes Death In June.  But mostly, it reminds me of Patrick Ogle  and that wonderful CD all those years ago, and how much I've missed  this voice, this musical sensibility.  I'm gonna wear this one out. I'm gonna listen to it in headphones while I cry myself to sleep tonight. I'm still not Job, either.

Track Listing:
1.)  Massive, MASSIVE, Object
2.)  I Am Not Job
3.)  Akira Okubu
4.)  Oklahoma City Ballroom
5.)  Larger Than The Sky
6.)  Drop The Dime
7.)  Statues Never Have Fingernails
8.)  I'm Still Not Job (remix)
9.)  Between the Wars

Precipice Recordings

Distributed by wtii records, P.O. Box 13495, Chicago IL  60613

Thanatos Projekt site:

DJ Puzzle website:

The Story of Job; Revised Standard Version:

The Lyrics to "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini":

The Kovenant
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

It's the depressingly uneventful albums that hurt me the most. I can take really bad CDs. They're fun to mock and berate. I was expecting, rather puckishly so, to attack The
Kovenant's SETI with dripping, bitter wit that would put them in their place. I really liked the band's album Nexus Polaris, and I was shocked to hear its follow-up, Animatronic,
which sounded like it could have been a harder Marilyn Manson album - not the brilliant black metal I'd come to expect. It was a decent CD, but I thought for sure that SETI would be so laughably bad that I could, well, laugh at it.

SETI is purely unremarkable. It's not terrible, but it's lacking any kind of punch. On the one hand, some of the songs have a decent cyberpunk feel with mechanistic guitar riffs, suitable electronic programming, sci-fi oohs and aahs, and a sort of robotic Marilyn Manson-esque vocal delivery. There is an acceptable range of slower and more upbeat songs. On the other hand, there's a lot of trite garbage to be had here. For example, "Planet of the Apes" features the chorus: "Monkey see, monkey do / evolution was never true."


So anyway, The Kovenant have seriously altered their sound since Nexus Polaris. "Perfect End" has a lead synth arrangement that was practically torn from Nine Inch Nail's The Fragile. The EBM-influenced moments are similar to the most recent CD by everyone's favorite troll, Mortiis. Lex Icon's vocals are far less grating than they once were, and he alternates between a competently bouncy EBM sound and a distant Marilyn Manson styled tone.  Lex Icon's mixture of vocal deliveries completely lack innovation, but hey, he is tolerable now.

The drums and guitars are no longer prominent features of the music. They mostly plod away in the background, providing only subtle texturing to the layered sound. They're just there to fill out the sound, taking only occasional leads over the vocals and programming. It's not that the guitars are entirely background noise... but the series of forgettable riffs on SETI lack character. They're only present to keep the rhythm going.

I don't mind that The Kovenant have left behind metal. I'd just be happier if they had more inspiration. In the four years since their last release, I expected them to make something that was akin to tearing off one's nails with a rusty spoon. And if not that, then something really interesting and complex (though admittedly, most of my thoughts in that direction were of the joking sort). Instead, SETI has the same cheesy band photos and silly lyrics of Animatronic, with only a marginal change in the sound. Certainly nothing that should have taken four years to design. If you liked Animatronic, you'll probably also like SETI. Though I strongly advise listening to it first to see if you really need Animatronic Pt. 2 - Now With 25% More Marilyn Manson!

Track List:
1) Cybertrash
2) Planet of the Apes
3) Star by Star
4) Via Negativa
5) Stillborn Universe
6) Acid Theatre
7) Perfect End
8) Neon
9) Keepers of the Garden
10) Pantomime
11) Hollow Earth
12) Industrial Twilight

The Kovenant are:
Lex Icon - vocals, bass
Psy Coma - guitar
Angel - guitar
Von Blomberg - drums

The Kovenant - Official Site:

Nuclear Blast Records:

~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Classical music exists today, but its power has largely diminished. The airwaves are polluted with all manner of pop nonsense, and typically we only get to hear modern orchestral scores in movies. A handful of bands have attempted to employ real orchestras in their music, but I've missed a truly classical approach. Lacrimosa's latest album sates my desire so fully that I'm still hitting myself on the head for not listening to them sooner. Regarded as one of the most popular goth acts around, Tilo Wolff and Anne Nurmi are brilliant songwriters that cannot be overlooked. If you've yet to fall under the Lacrimosa spell, now's the time to do it, get Echos!

Now that I've got what should have been my conclusion out of the way, maybe I should explain what makes Echos so brilliant. For starters, it opens with a 13-minute classical overture. The composition takes the listener on an emotional journey that hints at what's to come throughout the album. The music has a very moody feeling, in that it simply breathes emotion. I knew I was listening to something extraordinary when I heard the opener. There are many bands that allow for a classical influence, but they often hold back from exploring it fully. Lacrimosa successfully mix beautiful gothic rock with full-on, no holds-barred classical compositions. And those symphonic elements give Echos an enormous amount of depth.

This is an extremely refreshing change of pace from bands that write a song, toss in a hurried violin section, and talk about how they like to listen to Bach in their spare time. However, while I would argue that Echos is as much a classical album as anything else, the orchestral accompaniment is present to varying degrees. Lacrimosa's goth rock styled tracks feature beautiful thematic solos, soothing bass lines, and excellent melodic vocals by both Wolff and Nurmi. Each singer contributes a unique feel to the music, and the production allows them to be heard clearly - even in songs with guitars, drums, and an orchestra.

In "Sacrifice," an emotive bass line and beat start the song off, as it builds and falls for a full 9 minutes. "Apart" has a much darker sound, courtesy of Anne Nurmi's singing, and the string section in "Malina" features a strong rhythm that could almost be a tango. There isn't a single sound that feels wasted. While I am only marginally familiar with past Lacrimosa music, I get the impression that Echos is the band's most ambitious, demanding, and compositionally complete work to date. Other songs move through lamenting atmospheres with haunting vocals, slightly harder rock sections, and deep emotional reflection. This is a CD about communication, and Lacrimosa have mastered their tools. If you have any taste for classical, goth, or rock music, you absolutely must get this album.

Track List:
1) Kyrie (12:42) - Overture
2) Durch Nacht und Flut (6:03) - Suche Part 1
3) Sacrifice (9:28) - Hingabe Part 1
4) Apart (4:16) - Bittruf Part 1
5) Ein Hauch von Menschlichkeit (5:05) - Suche Part 2
6) Eine Nacht in Ewigkeit (5:52) - Hingabe Part 2
7) Malina (4:48) - Bittruf Part 2
8) Die Schreie sind verstummt (12:42) - Requiem für drei Gamben und Klavier

Lacrimosa is:
Tilo Wolff: piano, vocals, programming
Anne Nurmi: vocals, keyboards
Jay P.: guitar, bass
Sascha Gerbig: guitar
Manne Uhlig: drums
AC: drums

Lacrimosa - Official Site:

Nuclear Blast Records:

Lacrimas Profundere
Fall, I Will Follow
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Lacrimas Profundere have picked a suitable title for their recent album. It's perfect for making all kinds of puns like "yeah, you'll fall all right! Fall from grace!" or "Follow who? Katatonia?" But I'm only mentioning the puns in quotes, because somehow it's less like I've actually said them - and who cares for reviewers that make puns all the time? I only bring them up in this case because they're all too true. Lacrimas Profundere's last album was a brilliant, melodic goth rock album, and one of my favorite releases for its style. Fall, I Will Follow is similar to their last CD, but it's headed in a direction that is very Katatonia, losing some of the band's original inspiration.

Lacrimas Profundere haven't lost their touch for writing good melodies, riffs, and excellent goth vocals. But this newest collection of songs sounds a little less compelling than their previous set on Burning: A Wish. I think I'm most disappointed with the movement towards a more commercial sound. Fall, I Will Follow features cover art just like Katatonia's Last Fair Deal Gone Down, and it's even done by the same artist. Songs like "For bad times" sound more like Katatonia than previous Lacrimas Profundere work. It's not that I don't like these songs, it's just that I've heard Katatonia play some of them already.

I'm not trying to say that Lacrimas Profundere has completely lost their voice in favor of a commercial sound, but they're kind of headed that way, so I'm having trouble maintaining interest. Right now their greatest strength is still in Christopher Schmid's sullen vocal performance, because he sounds absolutely nothing like Katatonia's Jonas Renkse. Schmid's vocals are warmer and more encompassing, perfectly suited to lulling listeners into a depressive trance. He has pretty much left behind any metal growling in favor of an all clean approach. Also, the instrumentals have a lot of depth and are even kind of comforting, so the music certainly hasn't lost its fine points.

I'd be happier if Lacrimas Profundere spent more time writing the kinds of melodies and unique songs they had on their last album, but if you like their work, you certainly won't be offended by Fall, I Will Follow. I can't blame them for exploring a somewhat mainstream rock direction. They've made a nice CD by most accounts, and it probably will reach a larger audience. Let's just hope it's not too much a sign of things to come.

Track List:
1) For bad times
2) Adorertwo
3) Last
4) I did it for you
5) Sear me pale sun
6) The nothing-ship
7) Liquid
8) Under your ...
9) ...And her enigma
10) Fornever

Lacrimas Profundere is:
Oliver Nikolas Schmid - lead guitars
Christopher Schmid - vocals
Christian Steiner - keys
Willi Wurm - drums
Christian Freitsmiedl - rhythm guitars
Rico Galvagno - bass

Lacrimas Profundere - Official Site:

Napalm Records:

Lake Of Tears
The Neonai
~reviewed by Joel Steudler

Apparently, the Swedish rockers known as Lake of Tears have been around for over a decade.  Who knew?  Not me.  I've come to the party so late that I've only arrived in time for The Neonai, which is hailed as the band's final album.  Better late than never, I suppose.  I had no idea what to expect from the album, especially after seeing the cover... which may be the single most colorful and unlikely piece of art ever to grace a pseudo-metal record.  Instead of prattling on about my ignorance, though, I'll let you know what to expect should you purchase The Neonai and give it a listen.

Imagine, if you will, a guy who clearly sounds Swedish singing cover songs from Pink Floyd, the Eagles, the Doors, Creed, and Generic Classic Rock Band.  Our Swede isn't happy, though.  He's kind of depressed, and everything he sings is sort of downcast and maudlin.  Life has him down, but he still manages to show up to the recording studio and belts out some hard rockin' tunes with the band.  Mr. Swede also invites over his keyboard playing buddy to zing in somber synthy accompaniment to the rocking, and his girlfriend tags along too and makes him let her sing on one of the tracks.  That's pretty much how Lake of Tears sounds to me.

The band is clearly accomplished.  They sound like a band who's played together for quite some time and have the act down pat.  The album's production is clear and appropriate for the styles they play.  The instrumental arrangements are nice, particularly on the folky acoustic guitar parts in 'Leave A Room'.  It's just nothing to get too excited about... perhaps since by its nature the mood the music creates is depressing and sullen.  The one shining moment on the album is when Daniel Brenare turns over the microphone to Jennie Tebler on 'Sorcerors'.  Her sweet, soft voice is quite pretty and more interesting than Brenarre's 'average rocker' vocalizing, and the song also features a very nice acoustic guitar solo.  The rest of the songs seem to blend into a far-too-similar morass of radio rock from the seventies.

How much this album will appeal to you probably depends on whether you want to hear a Swedish sounding guy sing classic rock with nice modern production standards.  If you're a fan of the band, I can't say whether this provides a fitting end to their career or not.  It's a pleasant listen if you like the aforementioned style.  I can't say I'll be too sorry if indeed Lake of Tears has rocked out for the last time, but their take on an old sound isn't hard on the ears either.  Take that however you like.

Track List:
01.) Return Of Ravens
02.) The Shadowshires
03.) Solitude
04.) Leave A Room
05.) Sorcerers
06.) Can Die No More
07.) Nathalie And The Fireflies
08.) Let Us Go As They Do
09.) Down The Nile

Lake Of Tears is:
Daniel Brennare - vocals, lead guitar
Mikael Larsson - bass
Johan Oudhuis - drums

Additional Musicians:
Magnus Sahlgren - guitars
Jennie Tebler - lead vocals on 'Sorcerors', backing vocals
Ulf Wahlberg - keyboards

Lake Of Tears Official Site:

The End Records (US):

Black Mark (Europe):

Gorgeous Tragedy (5 Song EP )
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

LoveSick initially came to my attention from Jyri Glynn who brilliantly contributed violin on the track, “Sometimes.” As a long fan of Glynn’s work with other bands, it was essential to hear what he was up to, and as usual, I was not disappointed.

In late June 1996, in the small town of Nampa, Idaho, 4 individuals came together to form LoveSick, adding their fifth member to their permanent line-up much later in 2000.

LoveSick's latest effort, a five song EP entitled Gorgeous Tragedy, features artwork by legendary Cure guitarist Porl Thompson. In addition to his role as guitarist, keyboardist, and saxophonist with The Cure ('76-78 and '84-92), Porl is responsible for most of the band's visual elements. More of Porl's art can be seen on his site (, and his most recent musical efforts can be heard on Robert Plant's latest release, Dreamland (Universal Records 2002).

At present, Gorgeous Tragedy is grabbing critical acclaim at every turn and I  will personally join the ranks of other reviewers who lauded this work as a wonderful respite from all the copycat bands trying to remain in a stagnant void where dark music is concerned. LoveSick has been reviewed in Starvox previously and one would be hard pressed to add anything that the others haven’t already said about them.

Jeran Dahlquist has hypnotic vocals that squeeze sentiment and emotion without needing to be over the top with dramatic flair. His delivery of pitch perfect lyrics suffused within the marvelous layers of sound from the band put many artists in the mainstream to shame. Some have compared the band to The Cure and Joy Division, however I will also add that the sentiment and delivery is similar to Gossamer and Tapping The Vein as well.

In spite of the great music heard on this EP, there is a great chance most club patrons won’t hear of them because the music isn’t conducive for flouncing around on a dance floor like a blender on frappe with mindless beats for the chemically deadened. This is intelligent music with introspective lyrics meant as a journey into our psyche. Thankfully, word of mouth is spreading like wildfire and some of the more savvy underground DJ’s have put “Gone Away” into rotation due to it’s goth pop feel that isn’t a Sisters of Mercy clone.

According to the band’s  web page, 2003 should also herald another release from the band. With a full release and this EP under their belt, the underground world is poised and ready for their sound to catapult them front and center into the spotlight when their new work finally hits.

At a time when many have questioned what is “good” and “new” in the underground, the retort from the goth fan should be a shouted “LoveSick” from the highest rafters. This band is all THAT and then some. They combine great vocals, tight musicianship, introspective lyrics and a modern update on the underground sound. Personally, I will be jumping on the new release the minute it becomes available. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Band Line-Up
Jeran Dahlquist: vocals, guitars
Ryan Powers: Keyboards
David Schafer: Bass
Thom Keithly: Guitars
Landon Shaffer: Drums

Violin on “Sometimes” by Jyri Glynn
Bass on “One Last Kiss” by Corey Hennis

1. Sometimes
2. Gone Away
3. Haunting
4. StarFall
5. Nameless


Madder Mortem (Norway)
~reviewed by Joel Steudler

In 'Necropol Lit', the second track on Madder Mortem's new album Deadlands, singer Agnete M. Kirkevaag boldly proclaims "Here I am and here I'm staying."  If taken out of context, that lyric could easily serve as notice of the bands arrival to all the impoverished metal fans in the US.  Until now, transatlantic headbangers haven't had access to Madder Mortem's rich blend of dark atmospheres, crunchy metal riffing, and Ms. Agnete's uniquely spectacular vocals. If she and her bandmates keep turning out albums like this one, they can stay around as long as they like.

Agnete M. Kirkevaag is a woman to be reckoned with.  Her imposing name is quite fitting for someone who's voice can alternately lull you into gentle submission or punch through your gut leaving you a quivering mess on the floor.  Despite the obvious hyperbole, my statements aren't too far off the mark.  Agnete's deep, expressive voice is exceptionally dynamic.  It stays soft and silky in its pianissimo range, but when she ramps up the intensity to forte (and beyond) her voice becomes a highly charged blast of emotion that could knock down walls with its terrible force.

Refreshingly, Agnete's singing is also quite 'real' - not smothered by studio processing into a bland, flawless, radio-ready performance.  Instead, all the cracks, trembling, and warbles are left untamed, allowing the natural glory of her vocals to shine brightly.  Her singing reminds me of what Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle) might sound like if he was a 'she'.  It is no exaggeration to say her talents left me awed and enraptured... and wondering if I was likely to hear a more impressive performance anytime soon.  My answer?  'Probably not'.

Musically, the band has a distinctive sound that varies across Deadlands ten tracks.  At times, they employ a downtuned guitar crunch reminiscent of Sepultura in their heyday (on 'Chaos A.D.' and 'Roots').  Other tracks glide by lightly on dark progressive wings until Agnete's voice cuts through the momentary calm and the subterranean guitar returns.  The comparison with Tool doesn't end with Ms. Kirkevaag's vocals either, as occasionally the band lapses into a heavy avant-garde style that feels familiar yet fresh and new.  All of the instrumentalists put their considerable skills to good use as they seamlessly shift gears and vary the mood over the length of the album.

Fans of traditional thrash metal, dark progressive goth-tinged sounds, or more esoteric heavy songwriting will all find much to enjoy on Deadlands.  It is a mystery to me how a band as talented and accomplished as Madder Mortem clearly is can languish in obscurity.  Their music has both commercial appeal and great artistic integrity.  I would be surprised if any metal fan (even those weaned on Korn and their nu-metally bretheren) found Deadlands to be unworthy of their time.  Madder Mortem's songs are fueled with emotion and energy, intensity and desire, beauty and bestial anger.  They are here, and here they're staying... preferrably for a long time to come.

Track List:
01.) Enter
02.) Necropol Lit
03.) Omnivore
04.) Rust Cleansing
05.) Faceless
06.) Distance Will Save Us
07.) Silverspine
08.) Jigsaw (The Pattern & The Puzzle)
09.) Deadlands
10.) Resonatineomes Close

Madder Mortem is:
Agnete M. Kirkevaag: vocals
BP M .Kirkevaag: guitars, voice, percussion
Eirik Ulvo Langnes: guitars, voice
Paul Mozart Bjorke: bass, vocals, keys, percussion
Mads Solas: drums, vocals, percussion

Madder Mortem Official Website:

The End Records (US):

Century Media (Europe):

~reviewed by Joel Steudler

I hate bands that are content to spew out formulaic, highly polished commercial pap.  In the US these days, the formula du jour is Korn-y numetal.  In Europe, the preferred format is swiping from any and all old powermetal acts and presenting the results in a radio friendly manner.  Hailing from Sweden, Masterplan falls into the latter category.  On this, their debut outing, they offer up YAPMA (my clever acronym for Yet Another Power Metal Album).  Studio smooth and as glossy as a newly waxed Corvette, Masterplan offers no substance but plenty of rehashed style.  It's audio junk food, if you will.  It may taste ok, but it's not at all filling and is bad for your (mental) health.

Masterplan raids the Pantheon Of Powermetal and dips into the cesspool of 80's hair rock in a contrived effort to capture the attention of all the gullible Brothers In True Metal within earshot.  Cribbing sugar-coated lyrics from Helloween's songbook and riffs that amalgamate twenty year old American hard rock with Euro bouncy-powermetal provide the foundation of the Masterplan sound.  As if that isn't bad enough, vocalist Jorn Lande sounds as if he's auditioning for lead duties in Whitesnake or the Scorpions.  I haven't seen any of their videos... but should videos exist, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they prominently featured scantily clad vixens with puffy hair and too much makeup lounging on the hoods of exotic sportscars... that and lots of pyrotechnics.

Though I find the album artistically bankrupt, I must point out that the musicians are quite skilled technically... so much so that their performance sounds robotic and lifeless.  Every note is pitch-perfect and all rhythms feature dead-on timing, lending the music an impeccably crafted studio sheen.  The production is flawless and clear, the best money can buy.  It saddens me that such sonic superiority is wielded in the service of a wholly pedestrian and derivative collection of songs.

If it were up to me, I would herd Masterplan, Hammerfall, Primal Fear, Dionysus, Tyrant Eyes and all their cohorts onto a rocketship and blast them off into space to spread the Gospel Of True Metal to distant galaxies... anywhere but here.  Unfortunately, though, this album will probably sell quite well to its intended audience and prompt labels like AFM Records and Nuclear Blast to foist even more useless copycats of old genre pioneers onto the airwaves.  My suggestion to any powermetal fans who are reading this review is to ignore Masterplan's master plan to brainwash you into thinking they're worthy of your patronage.  Instead, seek out acts like Thy Majestie or Manticora who take the old formula and add some new spice.  I'll even give you a push in the right direction:  you can find info on both at .  Please, support bands who deserve it.

While I have your ear, I'd like to send out a special 'Fuck you!' to the PR flacks at AFM records who decided it would be a keen idea to make the promo copy of this Masterplan album one continuous 50-minute long track (instead of allowing free skipping between the 11 songs therein).  On top of that, each entry crossfades into the next several seconds before the end of the song.

I suppose these tactics are some kind of draconian anti-piracy measure meant to deter the spread of individual songs across the internet prior to the album's release, but all they'll really serve to do is irritate reviewers.  News flash, AFM:  don't fight the internet, embrace it.  Crippling the promo copies of albums sent to press outlets is a sure way to generate bad feelings about your products, not good will.  Perpetrating such indignities on reviewers (many of whom are probably writing on a volunteer basis like I do) will not win you any friends.

Track List:
01.) Spirit Never Die
02.) Enlighten Me
03.) Kind Hearted Light
04.) Crystal Night
05.) Soulburn
06.) Heroes
07.) Sail On
08.) Into The Light
09.) Crawling From Hell
10.) Bleeding Eyes
11.) When Love Comes Close

Masterplan is:
Roland Grapow: guitars
Uli Kusch: drums
Jorn Lande: vocals
Jan S. Eckert: bass
Axel Mackenrott: keys

Masterplan Official Website:

AFM records:

The End Records (US):

~reviewed by Jyri Glynn

Music is aggression therapy for many listeners and if it wasn’t for this musical outlet of madness, I fear the world would be filled with a lot more physical violence than it already contains! Ministry certainly has a track record of being able to fulfill this need for melodic detestation; however, when I first received my copy of Animositisomina, I couldn’t help but worry that they too had fallen into the disco-armpit of today’s pathetic ‘industrial’ music scene.

As I open the cd I note the dead and mangled farm animals throughout the cover! "Visually, nothing has changed for this band", I think to myself. Upon pressing "play" on my stereo, I am quickly reassured, hearing the familiar fury that can be no other band but Ministry!

Though this album breaks no new ground in the guitar-driven landscapes of the industrial greats, it is by no means a disappointment. "I got pissed again" sites Alan Jourgensen, the front man behind this antagonistic band, and this is precisely what the listener is given with Animositisomina! 100% unadulterated rage! Seconds into their first track titled "Animosity", one can’t help but notice the similarity between this song and "Stigmata", the club hit from the band’s 1988 release, The Land of Rape and Honey. Jourgensen belches out his familiar, over processed vocals, which sound vaguely like that of a drowning man. "Animosity the only world I know is drowning in rage."

"Unsung" continues with a bit of a hiccup, yet driving guitar part on the intro, while "Piss" sounds musically more like the repetitious workings of a locomotive. Jourgensen imparts a bit of his hostility about taking a drug test. "…I’m not a saint or in jail but if I should fail with a piss that has drugs on the forbidden list then they’ll be coming to take you away…"

"Broken" is one of my favorite tracks on this album with its Slayer-ish guitar part blended with country-spoof lyrics about square dancing. Vocally this song sounds much like one of Alan’s earlier musical side-projects, Revolting Cocks. "Grab yourself a partner, swing her round the town, walk the dog and do-se-do before you tie her down"
Another notable track on Animositisomina is "Impossible". The intro sounds like you just took a hit of nitrous but this quickly transcends into a kick ass rhythm guitar part that one can’t help but want to bang your head up and down too! The delivery of the lyrics in the verse is not unlike "Just one fix" from their Psalms 69 release back in 1991. The only shortcoming is that the track is over seven and half minutes long and after awhile becomes a bit stagnate.

Overall, I have to say that the album can become a bit too repetitious at times. And I don’t personally believe it to be the band’s best or most original work. It is still a fail-safe way to piss off your neighbors if you turn it up loud enough and if you are a Ministry fan or just need a fix of musical adrenaline. I do recommend you pick this one up.

06.The Light Pours Out Of Me (Magazine cover version)
10. Leper


Photography In Things (Pandaimonium)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

From the outset, when the little pulses twinkle, and fly from ear to ear, as a steady bass exudes control, and intellectual lyrics stretch their legs to perambulate through airy musical rooms, you know you are in the company of a band that have ideas which work, and work well. When the song starts to add another layer in its chorus with double-tracked vocals slipping in behind you may also get tempted to think it’s electronic music rooted in the same mould that spawned those early Human League records, although the rich bravura of the vocals seems a little more Heaven 17 if anything. I wouldn’t blame you, but that isn’t the complete picture.

The music, despite being kept fairly simple and well mannered, seems plush, and if you think that is boring, you are wrong. There are subtle changes occurring so that by half way through the album you feel as though you have grown with the songs and it’s a harder, wearier mindset emerging, with cooler edges to what is essentially melodious music stretched out for that city-noir flavour. Often romantic in mood, but resigned in lyrical tone, and slightly eccentric musically, you might as well try stabbing a ghost as getting an easy grip on what they are going for. It’s commercial in its way, yet also serious, without being either boring, eclectic or experimental.

Electronic, not Electro. They don’t go for outright poppy. The nearest they come might be the fact ‘The Slope’ could almost be some early Depeche Mode, slowed down a few rpm, and the instrumental ‘Print IV’ set me thinking. It has a French twist to what Portishead do with the deadened, thumping dub loop thing, and suddenly it’s not sci-fi music but spy music. You can almost see a disconsolate figure, coat collar turned up, crossing a river by bridge, trudging along, while lovers skip past, unaware of the sacrifices this man has made. A darker lift to the music suggests a sleek car pulling up opposite, the viciously red haired woman who steps out holding a rocket launcher as green as her eyes. She calls his name.

‘Start’, which follows it, is a mess, so they’re not perfect. It’s a clever exercise, I guess, with a cut up and drag technique where the pace becomes irritating. Although little keyboard gnats flying around its indolent face were momentarily quite cute, it seems a weird thing to do, and it isn’t their last unpleasant surprise.

On a touch tougher ground with ‘Rooms For Tourists’ they have a slippery feel while sticking with their somewhat one-dimensional rhythmic approach, managing to make the song seem much shorter than it actually is. We’re back to Human League similarities with ‘Echo’, but in a less kitsch manner, as this is moody in a peculiar way. A certain sense of mystery rather than misery pervades many songs. They may be immediately attractive, but it’s like the musical accompaniment to a diary by someone cruelly remote.

Between the silly and sedate ‘Traces’ and the bewitchingly drowsy ‘Against The Current’ with its daft ending, they really drop themselves in it, as ‘a Dish Of Malicious Gossip’ is vile. This is the sort of things bands should only ever consider as EP bonuses, because it disrupts what is really beautifully flowing album, and has all the charm of a Chirac/Mugabe handshake. I guarantee most people who buy the album will simply learn to avoid it once they’ve heard it once. It ruins the modern stylish attractions of an album which is oddly comfortable without ever being comforting.

Having graciously complied with their request, ‘please do not read the lyrics while listening to the recordings’ I can safely say that what you have here is an album which makes for superb background atmospherics, or a perfect walkman companion as you patrol your cities at night. ‘Dish’ aides, this is exquisite.


Nail Within
Nail Within
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

I need my own monthly column dedicated to Swedish melodic death metal. People from all over the world could read about the best and worst of the horrifyingly overcrowded genre, and indiscriminating fanatics could make sure they didn't miss a single new band. The only good thing I have to say about receiving so many similar releases is that, while my distaste for the style grows daily, I am getting pretty damn good at separating the crap from the quality. Nail Within falls firmly into the latter category, playing hard-edged At the Gates-styled metal. It's nice to hear a melodic death metal band that isn't from the In Flames school of mundane drivel - At the Gates makes a much better mentor for metal youths. ATG's vocalist Tomas Lindberg even lends Nail Within some extra credibility by screeching his way through "Dirty Colored Knife" and "Under the Spell".

So what makes Nail Within stand out? Hailing from Israel, this rowdy bunch of metal-heads has a razor-edged guitar and vocal approach that'll saw right into your cranial cavity while the bass and drums pound your gray matter into unrecognizable mush. Sound appealing? If it doesn't, you're clearly a wimp and/or poser that needs to leave the metal hall, so go read reviews of N'Sync, pansy.

For a total of 36 minutes, Nail Within play 11 raw and grating songs that are sure to please any fan of At the Gates or fans of straight forward thrashy metal. In addition to Tomas Lindberg, vocalists from Kreator, Salem, and Assassin lend their harsh vocal talents to the music. The different vocalists keep the songs fresh, and a number of guitar harmonies and solos give the music a needed melodic edge. There's no question that this formula is overused, and if you simply can't stand it, you'd be wasting your time listening to Nail Within. I'm currently at the level of "highly jaded" when it comes to melodic death metal, and Nail Within blew through my embittered defenses and reminded me of why I liked this kind of metal years ago.

I think that a straightforward metal band needs a few key elements to be worth the time of metal fans. Conviction, energy, varied pacing, and intensity are the qualities that top the list - each of which is represented in Nail Within's self-titled debut. Granted, those are largely subjective judgments, so you'll have to trust me as a reviewer that hears way too many melodic death metal albums. And hey, if you act now (or anytime, really), you get a free video track of Dirty Colored Knife. You can even check out that video and song on , but be prepared for some wacky fetishistic metal

Eternal Gray is bringing technical death metal back to life, so if you can imagine a melodic death metal version of them, you'll have a good idea of what to expect from Nail Within. In short, another excellent metal release from Israel. Between Salem, Eternal Gray, and now Nail Within, the growing Israel metal scene is one to keep an eye on. Metal fans, take note, and go listen to those mp3s.

Track List:
1) Emblazed
2) Inhuman Conditions
3) Dirty Colored Knife
4) Bleed Forever
5) Under the Spell
6) Elastic
7) Mental Coffin
8) My Wallow
9) King Obscenity
10) Impure
11) Last Nail
Video track: Dirty Colored Knife

Nail Within is:
Haim Benyamini - Bass
Yishai Swearts - Vocals
Matan Cohen - Guitar
Alex Shuster - Guitar
and for this recording: Nir Nakav of Salem on drums

Nail Within - Official Site:

Listenable Records:

The End Records (US)

Project Pitchfork
View From A Throne
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Project Pitchfork has been a worldwide underground staple since 1991, where their work has been renown within the scene. In spite of the industrial tag that often accompanies their name, the band does have an ethereal Gothic side. Astute listeners to their catalog will find a blending of industrial beats married to classical and synthetic orchestrations.  Lyrically, the band also prides themselves on writing socially conscious lyrics to round out their  fervor and convictions.

View From A Throne is a 5 track 2002 EP release whose thematic approach is to embrace the uniqueness of the individual before it is replaced with programming from a source outside of ourselves.

The title track, “View From A Throne,” extrapolates upon the essence of the heart and  soul, encouraging us to couple it with our will. Rather than being a mere platitude, the lyrics also belie the fact that in our current societal trends, people merely shout AT one another and never bother to listen TO each other. Ultimately, the loss of our will can only cost us our higher consciousness. Musically, this track has a decided synthpop viability that would mix well with Limahl’s “Never Ending Story.”

“Die Schlange VS. (Damon Antwort)” is completely written and sung in German. The band’s web page didn’t convey the lyrics in English nor did the CD insert, so you will have to resort to having it interpreted by your German speaking friends. The track has a bit more of an uptempo synthpop with very gentle washes of harsh beats placed way down in the mix.

“Corpus Hermeticum (Body/Spirit)” encompasses the correlation between planetary and individual survival. The track is delivered with a deeper vocal tone with a gentle harmony at the chorus. There is a bit more of an edge to the synthpop but it is too gentle to actually categorize as industrial and just a tad over the edge to call rock.

“Outside” This decided EBM track with a trip hop beat pushes us to become more introspective of our own existence. It implores us to ask the questions to why we see, hear, and speak the things we do. The lyric line that I found quite to the point is “ your life is like a book- start reading it/ someone else would love to fill your pages with his own words.”

“Metamorphosis” once again encourages personal transformation by stating the need to look beyond what is merely in front of us. In a world overrun with too much information, it is quite easy to tune out a lot of stimuli. This track contends that we need to step back and absorb the panorama around us on a global scale. Essentially it is a song about being aware of the microcosm in the macrocosm.  Essentially, the underlying message is that by ignoring that stimuli, we will only find ourselves down an empty and vacant road where there is no turning back and we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Project Pitchfork is to be given a lot of credit for writing lyrics with a psychological slant that encourages listeners to think and feel for themselves while we live on this finite planet.

Musically, this 5 track EP is very much in the vein of synthpop with a dash of EBM, so devout aggro-industrial fans may not be content with the gentleness of the overall sonic quality. The work will clearly fit in many playlists that are more prone to featuring synthpop and EBM. As a frame of reference, some of the songs reminded me of early Human League, but not as electronically stale. Despite the quality of lyrics and detail to crafting harmonious tones, it felt as though something was missing from the overall mix-down process. Each song was linked with a wind-like segue, as though being delivered from another planet. As a thematic approach, it sort of works within the confines of the 5 tracks, but as far as providing a lasting memory, it would have been better to construct an entire album worth of tracks to drive home the poignancy and delivery.

Admittedly, I had high hopes for this release. The overall experience, however, doesn’t prompt me to recommend this as one of those CD’s to put at the top of your shopping list unless you are a hardcore gentle synthpop fan. It’s not a bad EP, but it is a bit too commercial sounding for much of the underground world.

1. View From A Throne
2. Die Schalnge VS. (Damon Der Antwort)
3. Corpus Hermeticum (Body/Spirit)
4. Outside
5. Metamorphosis

Project Pitchfork are:
Peter Spilles
Jürgen Jansen
Dirk Scheuber
Achim Farber
Carsten Klatte

Available at
Band Website:

Infected/Reminder (Energy)
~reviewed by Uncle Nemesis

A new single from Sweden's stompy EBM merchants, Project-X. If you're a fan of this genre you'll probably find that the lead track here amounts to a great big thumb on the button. If you're not a fan of EBM, I can't honestly say that Project-X will be the band to convert you - and yet, compared to some of the stuff that's around, this is good, and once you've made it past the opening track the band get rather more interesting than they might at first appear. They don't play as rigidly by the rule book as a lot of today's EBM outfits seem to do. In fact, the less attention Project-X pay to the rule book, the better they get.

Track one gives us the original mix of 'Infected', and it's a walloping great dance-floor stormer in the approved style. There's a very long build-up before the vocals start, which allows us to appreciate the detail in Project-X's programming. There's more going on here than certain other EBM stars typically put into their music: the percussion fills and tom-tom samples are particularly neat touches. The vocals are the kind of aggressive shout which I'm afraid I've heard too often to be impressed - there's no character or personality in this kind of shouty-shouty stuff, so it all ends up sounding much of a muchness. Not, perhaps, a big problem on the dance floor, where this kind of music is designed to be consumed, but in all honesty you wouldn't want to invite Mister Angry into your CD player at home. So, straightforward stuff, essentially, although better than some of the usual EBM-genre suspects.

Track two is a bit of a surprise, for it's a mix of 'Infected' credited to Assemblage 23 - which I take to mean Tom Shear. I confess I've never been a particular fan of A23's music, but here Tom creates something rather good, by adding layers of warm synth and rattling percussion - and, significantly, dropping the vocal way back in the mix! Very palatable.

The original mix of 'Reminder' comes up next, and it's an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink mash-up which sounds almost old-skool industrial at times (think vintage Revolting Cocks, that kind of stuff). There's even a sung chorus, which acts as a fulcrum around which the rest of the song roars and churns. We're moving away from standard EBM territory here, and things are getting more interesting.

Two mixes of 'Reminder' follow on. The first, by Jouni Ollia, strips everything *way* back to a classic electro sound: it has a kind of class-of-83 appeal and would probably go down quite well at an electroclash night (if the DJ was brave!) Then there's the E-Craft remix, which throws some Ultraviolence-style bang-bang beats around over a throbbing bass sequence and some jittery high-end keyboard. The overall effect is curiously mid-nineties, which I suppose counts as an eon away in electronic music terms. Distant enough, perhaps, to exhume the style and bring it out as a new influence.

It's been my contention for a while now that straight-down-the-line EBM isn't going anywhere on a creative, musical level: it's hit a plateau and nothing astonishingly new is happening. Progress seems to be happening on the fringes, in the area of remixes, and on the virtual B-sides of CDs. This is where the new ideas seem to be feeding in, and curiously a lot of these new ideas sound suspiciously like old-skool ideas revisited. Back to the future? Well, maybe. But if the ideas *work*, then bring 'em on, is what I say.

The tunestack:
Infected (Original)
Infected (Assemblage 23 remix)
Reminder (Original)
Reminder ( Jouni Ollia remix)
Reminder (E-Craft remix)

The players:
Torny Gottberg
Björn Larsson
Mattias Werdenskog

The website:

Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis:

Scent of Flesh
Roaring Depths of Insanity
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

You've probably heard the saying "more fun than a barrel of monkeys!" Thing is, monkeys are troublesome creatures, like house cats with opposable thumbs. The last thing I want is a barrel full. But talk about a mixed bag (or barrel) - you'd probably get monkeys of all temperaments, ranging from dejected whiners to energetic playmates. That's kind what you get with Scent of Flesh. For some reason, they feel the need to title their album "Roaring Depths of Insanity", a rather telling sign that they want to be taken as a bunch of crazy Finns. Yet they also manage to work a lot of good ideas into what can loosely be described as "brutal death metal".

My main problem with Roaring Depths of Insanity is that it's full of generic brutal death metal (you know, pounding double bass drumming, downtuned power chord riffs, growls, the works). It's just not full of it in a standard way. In practically every song the band will toss in an interesting movement with guitar harmonies (think Dark Tranquillity) or even Dissection-ish melodic sections, as in "Rotten, shattered, burned and spoiled". So every song is its own self-contained universe, or barrel of monkeys, if you will. This works to a degree, because no song is completely generic, and there are multiple moods represented in each one through the melodic breaks and clean interludes.

I can't get past the fact that roughly 40-70% of each song is the same heavy death metal we can hear anywhere - but I can't deny that there are some good ideas and sections in every song. You can tell I'm having a hard time asserting any definite claims as to whether or not I like this CD... I don't know how else to describe the mix of unoriginal brutal death metal and other quality ideas. It's kind of like expecting a play to be some sort of Shakespeare knock-off, only to have each cliché scene mingled with influences from modern day writer/directors ala Scorsese, Gilliam, Tarantino, and Lynch.

Chances are, if you're a fan of brutal death metal, you really ought to get this CD. The brutal death metal sections are similar to Vader, and are all played well technically. The addition of other unique sounds makes this one of the more interesting brutal death metal CDs I've heard, and any fan of Cannibal Corpse, Vader, and the rest should be able to properly appreciate Scent of Flesh's approach to songwriting. If you aren't a big death metal fan, this isn't any kind of must-have. Roaring Depths of Insanity is for the heavy music fans that want their brutal sound touched with just a bit of melody and creativity.

Track List:
1) Cursed to suffer
2) Eternity in torment
3) Dark years of carnage
4) Witness my madness
5) Drowned into the darkness
6) Rotten, shattered, burned and spoiled
7) Feed the greed
8) Beneath the tombstones
9) Towards eternal lost
10) Reign in violent perfection

Scent of Flesh is:
Matti Viisainen - guitar, backing vocals
Herkko Miikki - guitar
Sofian Gezuri - bass
Antti Suikkanen - drums
Niko Ahokas - vocals

Scent of Flesh - Official Site:

Black Lotus Records:

The End Records (US):

Plan B
~reviewed by Saint Petrol

I've listened to this CD several times over several days.  In headphones, over the stereo, and in the car.  Because it's Mick Harris, I suppose I wanted badly to like it.  I don't.  No matter how or where or when I hear it, it doesn't appeal to me.  It doesn't even disturb me pleasantly or to admiration.

I'm disappointed, because I've come to expect more than this from Mick Harris.  Yeah, there's some really groovy floor-shuddering low end sound. Yeah, he's a genius, his past works pushed envelopes many of us didn't even realize existed.  But Plan B feels mundane.  Like filler sounds. Like someone just using up time; no heart, no passion, no concern. Please don't misunderstand.  Electronic music can be minimalist and still feel like someone behind it was being passionately dispassionate. This doesn't even have that feel.  Had I just paid fifteen or so dollars for this CD, I'd take it back.  I gave it a fair shake.  I don't feel it's worth putting money down on.  If you're curious about Mick Harris and want to hear what he's capable of, check out projects he's done with Bill Laswell, Nigel Ayers and John Everall, and with Napalm Death.  For a real treat, check out his work as "Lull";  the album  Journey Through Underworlds is classic.  Even older Scorn (Vae Solis, Ellipsis, Gyral, and Logghi Barogghi) puts this to shame mightily.

This one, I give a sad "thumbs down."  Too unfocused.  Feels too much like he's following a recipe he doesn't even like any more. Those who like the album have mentioned that the beats are unpredictable, that the sound is very wet, and that this album is big, scary, and the perfection of Scorn.  I couldn't disagree more, but I just wanted you to know that some people out there do very much like this recording.  I hope the next Scorn project returns to the standards that Mick has set for himself previously.
In my opinion, this one just doesn't measure up.

Track Listing:
1.)  Black Belt
2.)  Table of Charges
3.)  Put Your Weight On It
4.)  Boss
5.)  Channel
6.)  Sleep When Home
7.)  Dangler
8.)  The Snow Hill
9.)  Way It Is
10.)  Nekcrik
11.)  Doors

On this recording Scorn is:
Mick Harris : Sounds, beats, programming.

Anthony Child: Beats, sounds
Karl O'Connor: Beats, sounds

Mick Harris website:

Hymen/ant-zen, via Soleilmoon Recordings in the U.S.

Seventh Harmonic and Daemonia Nymphe
Adumbrations II (First Light)
~reviewed by Uncle Nemesis

This is a bit of an oddity, but if you've enjoyed previous releases by Seventh Harmonic, you might find it interesting to delve into this compilation of out-takes and collaborations. Four of the tracks here are created jointly with the Greek period-folk group, Daemonia Nymphe, who bring a touch of other-worldly strangeness to songs which otherwise have that blend of programming and acoustic instrumentation that is Seventh Harmonic's trademark. 'Passing Of Summer' is a highlight, with a rolling Bhangra rhythm deep in the mix, and the layered vocals of Daemonia Nymphe up front. Verily a cultural collision, but the sort of thing which Seventh Harmonic always seem to pull off so well. This is a band which can collide six different cultures before breakfast, and make it all seem as natural as Weetabix.

Then there are six tracks of Seventh Harmonic's rarities, oddities, and fragments from the cutting room floor. As you might guess, it's a bit of a random grab-bag, and while there are some little gems here, it's also possible to hazard a guess as to why some of the tracks ended up on the cutting room floor in the first place. 'Icarus Encircled' is a combined mix of two tracks from the band's new album, Promise Of Sacrifice, but the mix sounds cluttered,with beats firing off all over the place and a sense that too much is going on, and not enough is being bashed into shape. 'Come Unto Me' is a synthesised mini-symphony, but suffers somewhat from being entirely an exercise in programming and beat-assembly. Likewise 'The Mirror' and 'The Alchemist', which come across as intriguing insights into work-in-progress; but these tracks, too, are synthesised instrumentals. The absence of the human element - and the acoustic element - which defines Seventh Harmonic's sound leaves a noticeable gap.

Then come two tracks featuring Fionna, who was the band's vocalist before Kate took over. 'Remembrance' has a curiously unfinished feel. There's a good song in there somewhere, but the production is distinctly shaky. If my ears don't deceive me, the overall volume on the track is up and down like a yo-yo - it's as if the song never quite got as far as the mixing stage, and what we hear is a raw early version.

But the best is saved until last. 'I Remember Who You Are' is a song originally by the Swans. Apparently Seventh Harmonic recorded their version for a Swans tribute album. That in itself is a slight surprise - I remember Caroline vehemently asserting that Seventh Harmonic would never do a cover version - but I'm glad they broke their rule for this one track. It's a bit of a showstopper: the production is clear and uncluttered, the arrangement is minimal and entirely acoustic, and the whole thing hangs together in a genuinely moving manner. In fact, this is one of the best things Seventh Harmonic have ever done, and how ironic that the song is buried among a collection of out-takes - some of which, to be blunt, don't come anywhere near this level of quality. This is worth the price of admission by itself.

For all the glory that is 'I Remember Who You Are' I'd be reluctant to recommend this release as an essential purchase if you're new to Seventh Harmonic. There's quite a lot of stuff here which, while interesting, doesn't remotely reflect what the band do now. Start with Promise Of Sacrifice and, once you've got to know it, award yourself Adumbrations II as an optional extra - and then do some bespoke editing with the programming facility on your CD player. But I'm willing to bet you'll always come back to Track 10.

The tunestack:
Marie Celeste
Es Demetran
Recent Ancient Times
Passing Of Summer
Icarus Encircled
Come Unto Me
The Mirror
The Alchemist
I Remember Who You Are

The players:
Caroline Jago: Keyboards, programming, guitar, bass, vocals
Eilish McCracken: Violin
Kate Arnold: Vocals
Fionna: Vocals

With Daemoinia Nymphe:
Spyros Giasafakis
Evi Stergiou

Seventh Harmonic website:
Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis:

The Beginning (SINister Records)
~review by Mick Mercer

When a band has weird elements to it, which come backed by clear vision, you know that a record won’t be dull. The Sins have a seriously imaginative bass player, which is always a huge advantage. Instead of just a rhythmic surge or pattern, it brings to a record real adventure. The vocalist looks a moody bastard, but has an angelic edge at times. The guitar crouches and growls like a Metal monster, but then cuts through the fog of yearning Goth drama, to offer bright little sparks of delight.

This isn’t a great record by any means, but it’s a fine start. Overall the focus isn’t tight enough, because of the variety on display, to create any initial impact. Their audacious press release states that they were “inspired by early Brit-pop bands such as the Sisters Of Mercy and The Mission”, which is another way of saying that with their lyrical themes, often taking a poisoned view of relationships, they’re pretty close spiritually to Creaming Jesus, but sound like they’ve hauled themselves out of a toxic sewer and flaunt their talents instead in a corpse-strewn woodland landscape.

They have hippyish-Eastern leanings in ‘Ecstacy In Oblivion’ that had me worried until trad Goth guitar started twittering, and a mighty bass surge flipped the whole thing over in a sonic avalanche. That’s another great thing about this CD. The recording has given the sound real life and lift. It buzzes with spirit.

There’s posey pop drama with ‘Rivers’ and slow motion murk from ‘Demons Ever After’ and almost early Cultish ‘The Fallen’, so it’s Goth moves brought into a wider realm, being musically huge, but vocally very contained, which is a strange mixture. ‘Angels’ is a slick, rasping ditty of great charm, just as ‘So Many Way’s, described in that press release as old school punk, is like colourful early Deathrock.

‘Little Girl Lost’ is something of a drab disaster which is nice, because it gives you a break from the subtle intensities, and with it’s tickety-tick rimplay ‘Painting Pictures’ smears raw, venal outbursts over some Faith No More-like lurching. ‘Burn’ is bare, and prickly, while ‘Pain’ is cool and menacing, providing yet more diversity.

It ends with a shock as ‘Again’ has scary acoustic strumming, joined by soppy ballad drumming, and sweet piano twinkling, soon joined by gentle, gentlemanly groaning and I suddenly realised what had nagged at me earlier with these vocals which seemed strangely reminiscent of someone, sometime. Arggghhhh, Tony Hadley! Spandau Ballet!!!!! Seriously. Mind you, he doesn’t know that, so this sincere mush is a coincidental terror and mustn’t spoil the clear fact that this record hints at a broad power, with some fine songs, truly dazzling individual moments, and much promise.


The Sins
The Beginning
~reviewd by Matthew Heilman

Everything you could possibly want to know about this release can be found in Basim’s in-depth analysis from last month’s issue (below).  From a technical standpoint, I entirely agree with my colleague’s meticulous observations about this band.  His review is impossible to contend with, so I will try to be short and to the point here with my take on this release.

To my ears, The Sins are one of the most promising new Goth Rock acts out there.  At times, they successfully resuscitate the classic full sound of early Goth Rock (Play Dead and Kommunity FK in particular).   The problem is that The Sins lack consistency.  After listening to this entire disc, certain songs stand out much more than others -- so much so that you begin to feel that more effort went into the songwriting process of those particular songs.  The final result is a somewhat imbalanced album with tracks that sound substandard in comparison to others.

Tracks like the breathtaking opener “Ecstasy In Oblivion” and the stomping slap-bass explosions throughout “Pain” pack a dynamic and impressive punch. Additionally, tracks like “Rivers” and “Again” concentrate more on atmosphere but manage to produce strong melodic hooks and memorable melodies.   The swampy sludge of “Demons Ever After” is very convincing and delightfully gloomy but more up-tempo tracks like “The Fallen” and “Angels” are relatively generic in comparison.   “Little Girl Lost” returns to a slower pace, but never really succeeds in enlivening the mood of the CD.  “So Many Ways” is a shoddy attempt at punk rock and it sounds very out of
place compared to the rest of the band’s offerings.  Punk just doesn’t seem to work for The Sins and I personally find “So Many Ways” to be the band’s most disappointing and shallow track.

But as the title suggests, this is only the beginning for The Sins and I suspect they are still gelling as a band, feeling around for their sound, and deciding where to go next.  What cannot be overlooked about them is their overall sound and the fact that it is achieved with the use of organic instruments.  Real drums, thunderous bass lines, and a variety of guitar styles receive a greater emphasis than synthesizers, an instrument that most contemporary Goth bands cling to and swear by. But instead of a keyboardist, Jyri Glynn (formerly of Tri-State Killing Spree) contributes his electric violin skills, which produce an eclectic assortment of sounds that to the casual listener, are easy to mistake as a regular synth but in all actuality, are produced by running the violin through an effects processor.  If you listen closely, you can tell that these sounds are smoothly bowed and possess a more natural tone that can only be achieved with a stringed instrument.  But I was admittedly fooled at first and it took a few listens to fully appreciate.  Whatever the case, the ethereal accompaniment is superb and adds a deeper dimension to the band’s music.

Throughout most of the disc, Nightmare Boy’s gravely male vocals are strong and commanding, and crown the music fittingly.  Their sound is impressive, and but when they are at their very best, the rest of their work sounds extremely beneath them.  I don’t think they need to release a CD full of songs that secretly rework the chord patterns of “Ecstasy In Oblivion” and “Pain” into new songs, but I think that the band needs to use those songs as the bar by which they gauge future material.  The Sins have shown that they have the ability to create stark and powerful songs with an unmistakable sense of urgency.   I just would like to hear the band tapping into their true potential, as I only heartheir power being executed on about half of this release.

From a highly critical standpoint, I feel the need to be picky about this for the band’s sake.  As a mere music fan, this is an excellent and enjoyable CD, well worth the investigation for guitar and drum driven Goth Rock fans.  It’s not without it’s minor flaws or emotional lulls, but The Sins are one of the most refreshing bands active today.

If this is only the beginning for the Sins, the middle ought to be stellar and the finale will be utterly grand.  But in order to make the proper waves, they need to continue to focus on what they do best.  The post punk masters of the past are their only real competition, and I would like to hear them continue to pay homage to such influences and resurrect this seemingly lost musical style.  I am glad that bands like The Sins exist and are making raw, organic music in this vein.

Track List:
1.) Ecstasy In Oblivion
2.) Rivers
3.) Demons Ever After
4.) The Fallen
5.) Angels
6.) Little Girl Lost
7.) Burn
8.) So Many Ways
9.) Painting Pictures
10.) Pain
11.) Again

The Sins are:
Nightmare Boy: Lead vocals, guitar
Dexter Fauxe: Bass, guitar, and backup vocals
Kris Killian: Drums and percussion
Lee Tillman: lead guitar
Jyri Glynn: electric violin, bass

The Sins – Official Site:

The Sins – Mp3 Site:


The Sins
The Beginning
~reviewed by Basim [Rhymes w/ Possum]

Between the virtuosity with which they handle their instruments and the range of experience each has with diverse music, the members of The Sins offer an impressive depth to their songwriting that other "goth" bands could only pose to posses. What is even more impressive is the fact that each song conveys unadulterated emotion. Often musicians that are this proficient seem all too eager to vomit their technical ability down your ear canal while remaining stingy when it comes to sprinkling heart into their song writing. From a fans perspective, I urge you all to check this CD out. It's got a heartfelt European gothic rock feel with great musicianship and American Punk Rock sensibilities. For the band however, I have some things from a songwriter/musician standpoint  that I'd like to get across.

Here's my play by play:

"The Ecstacy in Oblivion" is a Black Sabbath like dirge with the blues cliches stripped from it. In place of blues cliche's are some goth sensibilities that give this tune a nice "droning" effect: The guitar arpegiates this really dissonant pattern which doesn't really let up for the whole song while the bass adds some needed punctuation, sometimes doubling and adding little rumbles where it's necessary. The drums start off with some really punchy phrasing on the Toms. With his jazz back ground, Killian really knows how to make bold melodic statements, and during the opening of "The Ecstacy..." his phrasing is right on!

And while the opening is very full sounding, the first verse seems a bit on the stripped-down side. Killian muffles the tom sound, and he eases off the ride a lil, while the guitarist only strums during the begriming of each phrase.

Across the open sky
Beneath the stars and solace
I reach towards the calm
Forgiving winds of the ocean
And I sit back and I stare
Unknowing of conditions
Lost amongst the waves
Ecstasy in Oblivion
When Nightmare Boy sings the opening stanzas, you *want* his voice to be full, you *want* his sound to project well... All the instruments have simmered down, and instead of taking charge with a voice that's thick, he gives us a voice that sounds a bit wimpy. Mind you, the singing is expressive, as he adds wavers at the end of each line and gentle vibrato swoops in and out to liven things up. The only thing lacking is elevation. They should have either boosted him up in the mix, or had him sing out more - sacrificing some of that gentle vibrato. The second gripe I have is with the drummer's approach to the verse before the first chorus. I understand the need to anchor each measure, but there is really no point to whack away at the ride cymbals
every beat. Since the beginning is soaked in crashes and rides that are all mostly on the beat, sustaining a "clank-clank-clank" throughout the first verse gets redundant. The Chorus would be far more powerful if the drummer simply used a sharp closing high-hat to slice through the punchy midrange of guitars and bass. Also, it would help if he used brushes (like Bill Ward did on "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath) during the verse on the ride for a more varied sonic spectrum: something necessary for a dirgey song that repeats the same chord changes for over five minutes. You have to sustain our interest somehow!

With its watery sounding guitars and lovey-dovey lyrics, "Rivers" charters off into warmer Siouxsie/Cure/Cult-ish territory. I'd imagine this song is their big single, as it's easily the most accessible of all the other tunes being shorter and full of hooks. There's this nice punchy snare and the bass builds up in all the right places. What's nice is the Cure like guitar interludes/call 'n response that Robert Smith inherited from his love of blue. And also like Robert Smith, all of the figures being played by the guitars and bass are simple yet memorable. Especially the nifty Bass riff that's played at the end, which is repeated only once. By killing the song off after only one repetition of the riff, the melody of the phrase impresses itself on the listener without overstaying its visit. This is good song writing in action! The chorus is succeeds at being colorful, distinct and catchy. It's about time someone other than Sean Brennan wrote a biting gothrock chorus in America!

I would cross
all the rivers
in the world
for you little girl
I would drown
to get to you
I would die
for your love
I would kill
for the slightest touch
I would slit
my wrists for you
My little girl
It's so absurd while being so poignant. Shucks, it reminds me of how I feel for my girlfriend, and from that I'd say the song is an aesthetic success.

The same issues I had with "The Ecstacy in Oblivion" I have with "Demons Ever After" *: The "clank-clank" gets redundant, and the singing could have more presence. Singing softly doesn't always mean singing less intensely. It can mean being less histrionic, singing without raspiness and even adding other dynamics like a steady vibrato.

Singing cleanly gives singers a real opportunity to focus on establishing a strong column of air from the upper regions of their throat to the lower regions of their waist (their butt). Some Opera singers don't stray their focus until the amount of air pressure they're exerting on their butt forces them to fart during their warm ups. Ever see a death grunter fart during a scream? No: vomiting - mabe, salivating - often, but farting? That's a lot of pressure possible to hone and utilize for powerful vocals! Clean doesn't mean unemotional. And the singing only amounts to being moving at the very last chorus (which is really effective).

The other gripe I have is the lack of interaction between the bass and drums. The bass is often non existent during the verse, which would imply that it's going to rock your world during the chorus. And while it does come in during the chorus, the drums do little in the way of interacting with it statement-wise. Sure, dynamically they get louder, but they could be adding punch to the bass during it's moment of need -the bass is vamping the roots to a syncopated rhythm, and it's doing so all alone. If the drums simply added a snare or a basskick "thwack", that vamp could become steady, pounding hits. Then Nightmare Boy could sing out, and believe me, he CAN sing out (he just wont bust out his ballsy voice till later on in the disc).

Next song is a total playful romp through the psyche of "The Fallen". These lyrics are prolly what go through Danzig's head all day (the man who never grew out of 8th grade):
"We are the wolfs that give you nightmares!" "We are your misery!"

We're treated to really Misfitsy words, but instead of a doo-wop backdrop, they're sang over bold electric violins that outline the chord harmonies(with occasional over dubbed interludes!), Maidenish drumming (think the beginning of "Run to the hills), and raspy rock n roll vocals. It's amazing that even without much guitar or bass work (excluding the guitar solo), these folks can cram so much ROCK into electric strings, percussion and voice! It's a testament to their songwriting skills, and with this song we see each element falling into place to create a sound that's uniquely The Sins.

"Angels" really showed me what Nightmare Boy was capable of vocally. His voice is full, clean and projected with the ease of a truly weathered and experience baritone. The bass and drums are really driving, locked in punk rock style. In fact, behind the guitar solo and after every chorus is a beautiful walking bass line and the drummer takes the cue adding a punchy high hat and snare pattern. You can hear the intimacy of the rhythm section: this is a good thing! Then the guitar steps up and takes this rich guitar solo. Their guitarist, Till, has a wonderful sense of time. Each trill is really steady, and at times the lines come off with this ebb and flow that's reminiscent of a jazz swing. The vocals are big, and really belted out in the chorus in a sparse yet powerful fashion that gives it this anthem-ic charm. It's fast paced, well written and professionally executed.

And sounding like Myke Hideous, Nightmare Boy steals the show with his performance on "little girl lost". Why didn't he whip out this clean voice earlier? It's really great! also the bass and guitars play a nice repeating riff that seems to weave ahead and behind the beat consistently. The drums plow through the 'swing' by using the ride and crash on every beat, and for once the "clank-clank" works! It's a piece to stomp and head bang through. On top of that, there's nice twinkling synths in the background and a really wailing violin part that's so low, you'd swear it's really a bass player armed with a bow. It's all comes together as a lush midtempo number that really shines.

The next two songs, "Burn" and "So Many Ways" are both deathrock numbers. They're both energetic, resentful, and build up to their choruses really smoothly. Burn has some nice shredded electric violin parts, and I'm split on whether the lyrics are more Sisters-ish or total cock rock. I'm not sure, yet... But it's this sex-you-up type song that mentions temples and burning a lot... With it's use of repition, loud guitars and unrelenting drums "So Many Ways" is a lot more rock and roll than "Burn". Other then that, if you prefer the more rowdy moments of Kommunity FK ("fuck the kommunity") and like your punk rock fast, dark and repetitive, this'll do it for you. It's good for what it is while not breaking much ground. Worthwhile is how I put it.

"Painting Pictures" is a much more innovative song. It opens with a gentle but involved cross stick and kick drum pattern that’s played under some arpegiated "The Sky's Gone Out"-ish guitar. The vocals are wavery, and soft again, but it fits better because the ride cymbal isn't over bearing anymore. Then nearing the middle everything cuts out leaving this jagged synth pulse to scrape the skin off your ears. A really acidic distorted guitar wails in and the drums'n bass begin making hits on the roots of each chord. It sounds vaguely 70s. The vocals are ghoulish and about "burning voices inside your head." This song takes their deathrock influence and mixes it in with a plethora of other elements creating this groove machine that sounds a lot more like 'The Sins' than the two somewhat generic tracks that came before it.

"Pain" reminds me of a sonically complex version of "pictures of you". It's got the haunting guitars, which come to the forefront between each sung stanza with these pretty little lines that give the overall song this nice, dainty feel. But not too dainty, the rhythm section is pounding! The bass rattles while the drums play a steady rock beat with some great booming toms interjected within it. It locks in, and sounds just a little off a "tribal" rhythm, which is cool. They've reached this happy medium between gritty and polished, and it succeeds.

Nightmare Boy muses:

My dreams are gone
My heart is dead
I won’t need it
And my head
hung down
In shame, my life
Is in ruins
The lyrics are about "dreaming of a gun" and justifying one's suicide. Soon the guitarist stops plucking his strings cleanly, and begins to bleed this infinitely fuzzy guitar tone over everything. With a few tom additions and a lot more strength, the drummer makes the transition from 'swinging gently' to being 'tribal'. In short, the music shifts gears from being wistful to conveying real anguish and by the end, Nightmare Boy screams "I want this Pain! I need this Pain!"

This song is epic, as the lyrics seem to dictate the musical performance, and it seems like one of the simplest (and therefore more accurate) portrayals of what goes through the mind of someone intent on committing suicide. I dig it.

"Again" is simply beautiful. It's a chill out song with a sing along chorus and chirpy guitar (which gets annoying sometime). Like most album closers, it's a 'come down' song and for that very reason there isn't much to write about it. The big highlight is that it's got some nice bass and drums interaction going on. There is some cheesy synth piano that plays little up and down lines. If you took the vocals out, this would make a good porn song actually! Actually, I'd imagine this would make a cheesy sex song. It's got that campiness too it...

So all and all, The Sins are among the most interesting Goth bands in the US. They came together in 2001, so they're the newest goth band I've heard to date, and with consistent touring and maybe a more rock geared EP (something more live oriented), they could be fore runners in the scene. I'm sure I'm missing the point of many of these songs because I haven't seen them play live yet, but hey, they should play New York ;)

1. Ecstasy In Oblivion
2. Rivers
3. Demons Ever After
4. The Fallen
5. Angels
6. Little Girl Lost
7. Burn
8. So Many Ways
9. Painting Pictures
10. Pain
11. Again

Sound samples at:

Band Lineup (on this recording):
Nightmare Boy: Lead vocals, guitar
Dexter Fauxe: Bass, guitar, and backup vocals
Kris Killian: Drums and percussion
Lee Tillman: lead guitar
Jyri Glynn: electric violin, bass


~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Sobriquet is Elenor Rayner, a talented young lady who has been involved with musical projects such as Snog, Soulscraper as well as her own solo releases for a number of years.

July is Sobriquet’s first full-length solo release, due out early March 2003. The music helps bring electronic music full circle as it is redefined from a feminine perspective. Sobriquet is one of the few women in the electronic music industry carving a niche that has been held by men for quite some time.  Having women making dance music is certainly not new, but women who are able to create alternative electro-industrial music certainly is. Rayner’s delivery on the tracks veers between sweet to angst driven, taking genres to new heights by mixing them up and shoving them in our face, while captivating the listener at every turn. The closest comparison is that of a cross between Lita Ford, Madonna, Courtney Love and Debbie Harry, who in a similar vein were able to deliver angst with apathy and passion with anxiety.

“XLS” is an electronic dance track with religious undertones to compete with the likes of E Nomine. Rayner’s conveyance of this heavy-duty, club friendly track should find a large and varied audience. The vocals are winsome and harmonious while the recitation of the Ten Commandments layered underneath permeates with the same type of intensity as Madonna’s bad girl persona.

“Sarah” confronts the reality that someone we know and trust has taken a turn down the wrong road. We ride the emotional roller coaster, not knowing if we should give up on this person or not, because even if we did, we could never get rid of them for one reason or another. The delivery has much more angst, belying the anger and frustration of having to endure what is akin to emotional blackmail.

“In The Beginning” pumps out the industrial edginess, boldly giving a voice to a world living on the brink of uncertainty and annihilation. The acrimonious vocal line punches its message home about how even our greatest hero’s fall to pieces and that even love dies a merciless death.

“July” is the title track from the CD and veers into a more darkwave/ethereal/ electronic hybrid.  Here is introspection coupled with helplessness after the soul has burned out, replacing a hollow shell.

“Eve” casts an homage to the Biblical referenced first female. However, with feministic poignancy, Sobriquet reinterprets the story delineating how woman’s sacrifice of her own wants and needs lead to ignorance, which is really the first original sin.

“Some Elation” is a quirky drum & bass electronic hybrid that works marvelously on the headset. Every bleep, tweak and synthesized voice was crafted with a harmonious fluidity to make it infectious enough that you do not mind that there hasn’t been one human voice in the mix.

“Skyline” further expands on the electro drum & bass from the preceding track, but takes it to a futuristic chasm. Imagine drum & bass interpreted for the year 2033 and you might have some idea of what was done here. There is clearly a nod to all the past genres that were club essentials, yet they were tweaked, reorganized and made modern enough to become an infectious track that will become a club hit before long.

“The Prophecy” gives us a snapshot of one who lives in their own world of pretense, needing nothing and no one. Their objective is finding victims, for which many will fall prey. Sobriquet gives voice to the relational apathetic experience when a one-sided love affair with the self-indulgent has ended. Her vocals reach into her rock roots while the music takes a touch of electro-industrial rock fusion.

“One Life” started out with an up to the minute industrial EBM hybrid that somehow seemed to then travel along the rock road. Just when you are about to get comfortable with pegging a genre, Sobriquet pulls another stanza out of the back pocket to go even deeper and edgier. The song is about introspection and change, and this is carefully constructed via sound to expand on the intent of the lyrical emotion.

“Ego” combines militaristic industrial sounds that are crafted from blue grass and sung with a Lita Ford angry sentiment. Here, the track plays on the lyrics in a double entendre because it can clearly be a relational as well as political diatribe against the egotistical fools who try to enter into a senseless battle where no one wins.

“Inbetween Lies” brings back memories of early Deborah Harry from Blondie. Here the song is constructed with similar punk roots and angst with the smooth carefree crooning that made Blondie such an underground phenomenon.

“Dreams Burn Down” brings unrequited love into the essence of life in the big city. In major cities all across the world, it is quite possible to live next door to the one you really want to get to know, only to have self-doubt immobilize us into inactivity. The sound is a cross between darkwave’s haunting ambience coupled with electronic trip hop with elements of classical leanings.

“Not Everything I Believe Is True” is about doubting the reliability of one’s instincts and senses. This is a lush track full of heavenly etherealism, trip hop and EBM/Industrial razorblade punctuation. Sonically, this may become a club classic for the artist.

“Dreams Burn Down (Harmonic 33 Remix)” takes the same song and infuses a total mechanized panorama, thrusting the BPM’s to frenetic levels that is often conducive at the height of the club night.

“Broken Angels” has a short, bittersweet lyric that ties up the thematic approach of the work. “ It takes a lot of hurt to make us learn/ takes a lot of fear to make us burn/ There’s been too many broken angels/ God isn’t on our side anymore.” The music is a mellow electronic piece, crafted with ingenious bleeps that are converted into percussive elements.

Sobriquet created an album for the electronic industrial underground that is highly poignant with sentiment, depth and introspection. The anger that is depicted comes from a naïve deception that we allow ourselves to fall prey to from time to time, particularly in our younger and more idealistic years.

The title July may have been chosen as a representation for the number 7, simply because that number has many Biblical references, as do some of the songs. Instead of an album of preachy text, some of the world’s religiosity is brought to light with an abstract microscope in order to test the limits between reality and mythology on a personal as well as a spiritual level.

Sobriquet changed the parameters of the time worn path where the construction of industrial music is concerned. She crafted songs that blurred the lines between genre description, yet clearly was able to stay within the confines of electronic or industrial genres so that marketers could find a niche for her release.

The work itself is lengthy, giving the listener their money’s worth. Some tracks will find their way into some of the industrial underground clubs, while some of the more poetic pieces are meant for late night introspection.  Too often an artist is evaluated and graded upon the amount of dance work they are able to crank out. Here, the artist gives a bit of that along with lyrics that are meant to make you feel, think and apply to your own life.

1. XLS
2. Sarah
3. In The Beginning
4. July
5. Eve
6. Some Elation
7. Skyline
8. The Prophecy
9. One Life
10. Ego
11. Inbetween Lies
12. Dreams Burn Down
13. Not Everything I Believe Is True
14. Dreams Burn Down (Harmonic 33 Remix)
15. Broken Angels


~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Sobriquet is Elenor Rayner, a talented young lady who has been involved with musical projects such as Snog, Soulscraper as well as her own solo releases for a number of years.

July is Sobriquet’s first full-length solo release, due out early March 2003. The music helps bring electronic music full circle as it is redefined from a feminine perspective. Sobriquet is one of the few women in the electronic music industry carving a niche that has been held by men for quite some time.  Having women making dance music is certainly not new, but women who are able to create alternative electro-industrial music certainly is. Rayner’s delivery on the tracks veers between sweet to angst driven, taking genres to new heights by mixing them up and shoving them in our face, while captivating the listener at every turn. The closest comparison is that of a cross between Lita Ford, Madonna, Courtney Love and Debbie Harry, who in a similar vein were able to deliver angst with apathy and passion with anxiety.

“XLS” is an electronic dance track with religious undertones to compete with the likes of E Nomine. Rayner’s conveyance of this heavy-duty, club friendly track should find a large and varied audience. The vocals are winsome and harmonious while the recitation of the Ten Commandments layered underneath permeates with the same type of intensity as Madonna’s bad girl persona.

“Sarah” confronts the reality that someone we know and trust has taken a turn down the wrong road. We ride the emotional roller coaster, not knowing if we should give up on this person or not, because even if we did, we could never get rid of them for one reason or another. The delivery has much more angst, belying the anger and frustration of having to endure what is akin to emotional blackmail.

“In The Beginning” pumps out the industrial edginess, boldly giving a voice to a world living on the brink of uncertainty and annihilation. The acrimonious vocal line punches its message home about how even our greatest hero’s fall to pieces and that even love dies a merciless death.

“July” is the title track from the CD and veers into a more darkwave/ethereal/ electronic hybrid.  Here is introspection coupled with helplessness after the soul has burned out, replacing a hollow shell.

“Eve” casts an homage to the Biblical referenced first female. However, with feministic poignancy, Sobriquet reinterprets the story delineating how woman’s sacrifice of her own wants and needs lead to ignorance, which is really the first original sin.

“Some Elation” is a quirky drum & bass electronic hybrid that works marvelously on the headset. Every bleep, tweak and synthesized voice was crafted with a harmonious fluidity to make it infectious enough that you do not mind that there hasn’t been one human voice in the mix.

“Skyline” further expands on the electro drum & bass from the preceding track, but takes it to a futuristic chasm. Imagine drum & bass interpreted for the year 2033 and you might have some idea of what was done here. There is clearly a nod to all the past genres that were club essentials, yet they were tweaked, reorganized and made modern enough to become an infectious track that will become a club hit before long.

“The Prophecy” gives us a snapshot of one who lives in their own world of pretense, needing nothing and no one. Their objective is finding victims, for which many will fall prey. Sobriquet gives voice to the relational apathetic experience when a one-sided love affair with the self-indulgent has ended. Her vocals reach into her rock roots while the music takes a touch of electro-industrial rock fusion.

“One Life” started out with an up to the minute industrial EBM hybrid that somehow seemed to then travel along the rock road. Just when you are about to get comfortable with pegging a genre, Sobriquet pulls another stanza out of the back pocket to go even deeper and edgier. The song is about introspection and change, and this is carefully constructed via sound to expand on the intent of the lyrical emotion.

“Ego” combines militaristic industrial sounds that are crafted from blue grass and sung with a Lita Ford angry sentiment. Here, the track plays on the lyrics in a double entendre because it can clearly be a relational as well as political diatribe against the egotistical fools who try to enter into a senseless battle where no one wins.

“Inbetween Lies” brings back memories of early Deborah Harry from Blondie. Here the song is constructed with similar punk roots and angst with the smooth carefree crooning that made Blondie such an underground phenomenon.

“Dreams Burn Down” brings unrequited love into the essence of life in the big city. In major cities all across the world, it is quite possible to live next door to the one you really want to get to know, only to have self-doubt immobilize us into inactivity. The sound is a cross between darkwave’s haunting ambience coupled with electronic trip hop with elements of classical leanings.

“Not Everything I Believe Is True” is about doubting the reliability of one’s instincts and senses. This is a lush track full of heavenly etherealism, trip hop and EBM/Industrial razorblade punctuation. Sonically, this may become a club classic for the artist.

“Dreams Burn Down (Harmonic 33 Remix)” takes the same song and infuses a total mechanized panorama, thrusting the BPM’s to frenetic levels that is often conducive at the height of the club night.

“Broken Angels” has a short, bittersweet lyric that ties up the thematic approach of the work. “ It takes a lot of hurt to make us learn/ takes a lot of fear to make us burn/ There’s been too many broken angels/ God isn’t on our side anymore.” The music is a mellow electronic piece, crafted with ingenious bleeps that are converted into percussive elements.

Sobriquet created an album for the electronic industrial underground that is highly poignant with sentiment, depth and introspection. The anger that is depicted comes from a naïve deception that we allow ourselves to fall prey to from time to time, particularly in our younger and more idealistic years.

The title July may have been chosen as a representation for the number 7, simply because that number has many Biblical references, as do some of the songs. Instead of an album of preachy text, some of the world’s religiosity is brought to light with an abstract microscope in order to test the limits between reality and mythology on a personal as well as a spiritual level.

Sobriquet changed the parameters of the time worn path where the construction of industrial music is concerned. She crafted songs that blurred the lines between genre description, yet clearly was able to stay within the confines of electronic or industrial genres so that marketers could find a niche for her release.

The work itself is lengthy, giving the listener their money’s worth. Some tracks will find their way into some of the industrial underground clubs, while some of the more poetic pieces are meant for late night introspection.  Too often an artist is evaluated and graded upon the amount of dance work they are able to crank out. Here, the artist gives a bit of that along with lyrics that are meant to make you feel, think and apply to your own life.

1. XLS
2. Sarah
3. In The Beginning
4. July
5. Eve
6. Some Elation
7. Skyline
8. The Prophecy
9. One Life
10. Ego
11. Inbetween Lies
12. Dreams Burn Down
13. Not Everything I Believe Is True
14. Dreams Burn Down (Harmonic 33 Remix)
15. Broken Angels


State of Being
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

State of Being’s Implosion, is a concept album that utilizes metaphors which include relational situations as well as time and space themes. This release takes the band away from simply industrial music to a more industrial-rock hybrid with a BPM range between 100 to 170. Included on this CD is a new version of their track “Instinct {metal and glass)” remixed by Andy Kubiszewski (ex-Stabbing Westward, The The, Exotic Birds)

This is also noted as their fourth CD, yet their discography indicates that they have recorded and released 5 EP’s and 2 full releases. Additionally they have also been on at least 4 compilations to date and have had guest spots with such bands as Thrill Kill Kult, The Church, Sister Machine Gun, Chemlab, Gravity Kills, Dink, Hate Dept., Electric Hellfire Club and Junkie XL.  Still with me? Good!

The band has also received commercial as well as college airplay and have an impressive press kit of glowing reviews from notable magazines around the globe.

State of Being certainly demonstrate a unique talent and have created an album that defies any particular categorization as far as the underground is concerned. There is no doubt why the band would receive such praise, particularly from the magazines that are geared more towards the mainstream industrial crowd. The band worked diligently on the lyrics and thematic approach. The packaging is well done and the press kit is as professional as one could hope to expect from a band.

Industrial rock fans in their mid-20’s or younger will more than likely find this a welcome respite in the music world because the band offers a little of everything without staying too long in any one place.

However, regardless of all the kudos and praise,  Implosion didn’t resonate with this reviewer at all. My major contention with this Cd is the fact that it has such a commercial sound, predictable chord changes and vocals with a limited range. To these ears, it offers the same type of “throw away” music that is coming forth from regular FM radio these days, and simply isn’t something that would appeal to the older underground music fan.

State of Being has the makings for a commercial band that could be big. However, their leaning too far into the “alternative” strata may not net them many underground converts along the way.

Band Members:
Christopher Földi  ( vocals, programming, keys, and guitars)
Shara Földi (keyboards, vocals, percussion, design)
Scott Földi (guitars, vocals, keyboards)
Rayanne Turek (bass, vocals)
Ben Martin (drums) .

For detail oriented folks, here are some facts about the band which may help or confuse you further, depending on your headset at the time of reading this review. Shara Földi is Christopher Földi’s wife.  Scott Földi is Christopher’s brother. Rayanne Turek is Shara’s sister and Ben Martin has been dubbed as their collective son.

1. To Be Or Not To
2. Excavation
3. Instinct
4. Erosion
5. Fall
6. Red Frontier
7. Rain
8. Awake Until Dawn
9. Mindrise
10. Landslide
11. Drought
12. Instinct (metal and glass)


...And The Blood Runs Black
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Within a given genre, I think there are three tiers that bands can be loosely ranked by. The first tier bands define the sound of the genre, and are, essentially, timeless. For Scandinavian metal, bands like Emperor, Dissection, and Immortal are first tier bands. Their music took on a life of its own and became something beyond metal. Summon is a second tier band. It's not that they suck. If they did, I'd put them in the third tier abyss, a soundproofed dungeon where nu-metal bands and clones of In Flames should be. Summon belongs in the second tier because they do have their own sound, and they make good black metal. The only potential problem is that their music fails to rise above its individual parts.

I think my standards are skewed these days, but if you're a very discerning consumer, chances are you don't want to buy the second tier releases. There's no escaping the fact that Summon write songs and they have lyrics and they're built on riffs - the compositions don't reach outside of that context. You might be wondering if it's such a bad thing to have a release like this. It isn't. The black metal genre is alive and thriving because of bands like Summon. I had to do a double take on the press sheet to register the fact that Summon are an American band, and they formed in 1991. That could help explain why they really don't sound like other black metal bands. For the most part, the big names in black metal were only passing around demo tapes in Scandinavia at that time.

Summon's sound is rooted in thrash and older metal styles, but it is completely modernized and blackened. If I was privileged enough to write press releases, and I bet I'd do a stupendous job, I'd write something like: "Obsidian-edged guitar lines dominate the soundscape, laced with traces of piano and acoustic guitars, hard-assed black metal vocals, and the nearly constant pounding of extremely fast drums." I think obsidian is a good adjective because Summon's riffs have an almost equal mix of thrash and black metal, giving them a traditional Scandinavian speed mixed with the stop-and-go sharpness of thrash.

I do recommend listening to Summon if you're a dedicated black metal warrior, but ...And The Blood Runs Black isn't any kind of mandatory release. It's very solid black thrash (notably produced by James Murphy of Testament/Death/Obituary), and it's the kind of CD that can suitably fill out a black metal fan's collection. I wouldn't listen to Arcturus or Emperor on a daily basis, and you shouldn't either (if you value your sanity). So if you haven't filled this year's quota on to-the-point black metal releases, Summon is a good candidate for a spot on your CD rack.

Track List:
1) Intro
2) And the Blood Runs Black
3) The Surrounding Darkness
4) Perverse Serenity
5) Spiritual Desecration
6) Blackwinds Abyss
7) Obsessed by Death
8) Buried Alive
9) Satanic Slut
10) Midtro
11) Enter Into Eternal Oath
12) Spew Forth Blasphemy
13) Raging Towards Burning Flames
14) Necromantic Lust
15) Confusion Lock

Summon - Official Site:

Moribund Records

Lost Time
~reviewed by Joel Steudler

Coming off as a cut-rate Tristania imposter or perhaps a less ebullient / more gothic take on Nightwish, Sunterra's album Lost Time is just that... a listen that will pass some time, but little more.  The Viennese quintet is comprised of some talented musicians that display ample skill but not much innovation.  They do have one distinguishing mark that seperates them ever-so-slightly from the crowd, and it is this:  several tracks on the album prominently feature a flute as the instrument that drives the melody.  It's not much, but I guess being remembered as 'that flute band' is better than being forgotten entirely.

Sunterra opts for the classic goth-metal vocal arrangement of 'beauty and the beast'... which is to say: angelic clean female vocals mixed with growly, scary men rasping along in Cookie Monster tones.  It's a style that's been done to death by so many bands that I won't enumerate them here.  Whats more, it's also been done better, but that's not to say the vocals on Lost Time are awful.  The male growl/rasps are unremarkable enough that I feel no need to remark further about them here, but Ms. Lilly Hruska is a fine singer, and her airy mezzosoprano delivery is pleasing to listen to.  Her vocals are attractive but lack any real defining characteristic that might place her in the same strata as Tarja from Nightwish or Tristania's Vibeke Stene... or Sirenia's Fabienne Gondamin, Aesma Daeva's Melissa Ferlaak, etc. etc.  She's clearly a talented woman, and perhaps with time will find more of an identity of her own, but for now her singing, while well performed, is ultimately faceless.

The musical component of the album is a rather straightforward trip through fast paced, guitar-driven gothy metal.  Synthesizer arrangements are mixed in liberally over the course of the album, as you might expect.  Really, the only surprise here is the aforementioned flute which shows up in the opening and closing tracks on the album.  While not an instrument you'd normally expect to hear on a metal record, it actually fits in quite nicely with the slightly baroque, moderately melancholy mood the band seeks to establish.  One of the band's growlers (Carlos Krug) puts his lungs to better use as the man behind the windpipe.  Not that I'm a font of useful advice or anything, but Sunterra, if you're reading this: use the flute more.  It sets you apart from all the other same-sounding music out there.  In layman's terms, I advocate less growing, more flute-ing.

Lost Time is a decent album, made by people who will likely be capable of more interesting artistic excursions in the future.  It's not boring, but it -is- a less interesting rehash of the same sound many other bands employ.  Maybe, with luck, Ms. Hruska will cut loose and kill her inner censor so we can hear what she's truly capable of... and perhaps the guys will realize how dull and trite all the pointless growling is... and maybe, just maybe, Carlos and his magic flute will combine with Lilly's lovely voice as the centerpiece of the next album.  If that happens, I'd consider it 'time well spent' and not 'lost time'.

Track List:
01.) Fields Of Pain
02.) Lost Time
03.) To A Friend
04.) Out Of The Dark
05.) Symbiose
06.) Metamorphose
07.) Silent Observer
08.) Living Death
09.) Thank You

Sunterra is:
Karl 'Carlos' Heinz Krug (vocals)
Libuscha 'Lilly' Hruska (vocals)
Elmar 'Edga' Schoen (keyboards)
Friedrich 'Friedl' Schuetz (guitars)
Christian 'Chris' Schoen (bass)
Martin 'Mick' Mayer (drums)

Sunterra Official Website:

Wait And Bleed Records:

Napalm Records:

~reviewed by Mick Mercer

It must be nice when you have a substantial back catalogue to get your hands on it, and start to reissue it. I experience similar confusion myself now as I sift through all my old books and writing, but for a band it means they can let a whole new generation see where they fit in and how they were ahead in certain ways. It refreshes what you’re already doing, and VFT who played the Devonshire last week are doing plenty, touring Belgium Germany and Poland soon, with new material also expected this year.

Like the recent magnificence revealed to people by The Naked And The Dead, this is another record which may surprise a lot of new Goths or anyone interested in music with style, because of the energy exhibited.

What surprised me most was I reviewed this album after Arkane, who are at the very front of cloudy and grave Ambient music, and yet ‘Out Of Your Depth’ by VFT has the same funereal decay, but comes over bigger in scope, acting as a cutely disturbed entree, and we’re talking 1989. Bip-bop, and off they tear with ‘Tribute To Smash Heroes’ which cartwheels with a power most bands these days cannot imagine unleashing. They keep it short and pulsing, then go languid and preposterous for ‘Eternity Rising’ before wild Cultish arabesques show them in torment throughout ‘ Cloud 9 Lips’. As for ‘Rainy Latvian Wedding’, that’s simply what happens when you knock about with The Jazz Butcher.

Slow, watchful and impertinent for ‘Folie A Famile’ is one thing, but they also have more adventurous approaches, with a bass vulture swooping upon haunted vocals in ‘Recrimination Revival’, and Psychedelic Furs fans will love ‘Rose Coloured Spectacle’ with strung out vocals draped over a farfisa kerfuffle, but then you hit the big time.

I would recommend ‘buying this for ‘Europa’ alone, and if you’ve never heard it, you are losing out. You’re lolling after some of the previous, charming, tracks when it sidles up and delivers a resounding kick in your head. Like NIN having fun, cavorting wildly with heroic guitar . Then you sit back, impressed, as they can’t hide their oddly twee ‘Rocket USA’ any longer, and confuse things further by including a live and video version of that, along with a fine remix of ‘Europa’ and the live psychotic delay-induced ‘Shadowplay’.

It’s class, and there’s plenty more to come.

EUROPA (Remix)
ROCKET USA (video) - which doesn’t just have details of VTP it also has details of Alex’s ‘Bizarre’ zine, and, of most importance to you, look at the actual Spiral section where he sells the new and used records. It’s a great place to find things you haven’t seen anywhere else in years. And fair prices.

~reviewed by Mick Mercer

This collection, covering their 1987 - 1989 period, has the piquant edge that still remains in their music, and acts as a fine reminder of what happened when Punk grew into Indie, and some chose to embrace the intelligent darker strains and trains of thought.

It’s interesting how ‘Shadow Whispers Mecca’ still sounds finely carved, and lean, just as - perhaps tellingly - the feel behind ‘(I Get) Flowers’ is straight out of Gang Of 4’s neurotic scrapbook. ‘Morphine’ is suitably dilated and tense, and in ‘Hazy Figure’ you can’t help but wonder if they’re on a Velvets drip-feed. The funniest bits come from the basic drum machine always sounding ready to blow a fuse, particularly during ‘Desolation Railway’ and ‘Catalyst’ but you don’t laugh at what is quite a cute undercarriage because there’ll be some corpulent bass for company of a strange surge of diluted adrenaline.

‘Violins & Violence’ should sound pretty dated, with samples and repetition, but it has enough musical guile to make the torpid progress heady with enigma, and there are only little peaks of energy in ‘closing’ track ‘Up There’, but it remains non-committal rather than euphoric, and it’s that weirdness which makes these songs work, as they have a detached frisson of bandaged hedonism. You get the extra tracks straight after, with original versions of ‘Morphine’, ‘Catalyst’ and ‘Desolation Railway’, plus a short live, spluttering punky electronic racket in ‘Step Inside’.

This hasn’t got the strength in depth of later compilations. The vocals are genuinely lamenting, rather than lamentable, but while the music froths gently with plentiful ideas and subtle twists the vocals simply cannot match or enhance it.

Pandora’s Box (VFT)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

Oh, they’re teasing with this one, because the first few seconds make you think some Neff-lite guitar will be followed by murk and mood, but they instantly go for tough, intrusive percussion and an ungainly song, after which the music is brash, colourful and highly changeable, rather than highly charged.

‘World Turned Upside Down’ almost has the old Madchester drum patterns, which is disturbing, as well as strangely winsome vocals, for all the dark lyrics. More pleasant bass uplift fleshes out ‘Monument To The Sublime’, with flamboyant guitar, then Stingray-like wobbliness bloats ‘Jewel Encrusted Hands’. It’s all bracing, in a jolly way. ‘Ruby Revisited’ could be Tales Of The Unexpected, with slow chiming guitar and much arch drawling, then Beefheart meets Spandau Ballet for ‘Sidewinder’ and there are broken Eastern promises, or Mulder and Scallies in ‘Deathwatch A Beatle’; two exceedingly perky tunes.

You get the oddly jarring, bright rock caper they call ‘Achilles Heel’ and an impressively high, sighing mental meltdown in ‘Shedding Another Skin’, and this exotica continues with the live extras, where ‘Weep Hotel’ is nicely scabrous, yet playful, ‘Morphine’ is positively fruity, and the ululate late show that is ‘Cloud 9 Lips’ which is ultra-frisky. Plus the ‘Europa’ video.

My least favourite album, because it sounds so unlike the majority of their work, it still works song per song. It’s just a bit odd.

EUROPA (Video)

~reviewed by Mick Mercer

A shorter album that most of their recent reissues, but the strongest in the way weird elements exude a central, unified sense of real power. This sees them, more often than not, shaking themselves senseless, and it works. Ferocious without being uncouth, mind. They haven’t lost control.

The album sees their best use of keyboards, and the most ambitious vocals, and all it all works. ‘19th Incident’ is brilliant, layered with intent and magnificent bass, as there is throughout the album, catalectic guitar and snide vocals, while ‘Crocodile’ offers seriously mental capering, and ‘Moscow Menagerie’ places them in some American Punk graveyard. There is a delicious bass-filled lull for the brash ‘My Ships Coming In,’ and a strangely delicate ending on the sun-kissed acoustic sourpuss that is ‘Heretic’, and in between there is much fun. I didn’t think ‘Storm Clouds Are Gathering’ with all its angst on show needed some lame lyrics like ‘take the washing off the line’, which hardly fits with the mood of ominous anxiety, but then I wondered why the jacknifing ‘Jupiter Collision’ didn’t really go off on one, rather than being so punky. It’s a weird, weird mixture, but hangs together really well. Part two of ‘Urban Sprawl’ is a grubbier, grittier brother, with excellent guitar to the rather sleepy part one, and you get more slapdash Stateside racket from ‘Seeds Sown Starward’, a mental remix of ‘Moscow thrown in, alongside a video of ‘Achilles Hell’.

Being so short I would recommend this as a superb way of introducing yourself to their sound.


Dark Amour (VFT)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

I left this until last because I didn’t get on with it at all. For people who like Indie with a darkly eclectic mix than it makes sense (because that’s where its heart resides), but I prefer my songs solid, so the weirdness at work here isn’t for me. It’s one step away from arty wank at times, which I always regard as a waste of time.

It starts with echoey, bitty vocals lost in a slow musical fog, and barely gets clearer. ‘Pulp Sister’ is almost plain kooky, with limber bass, twangey guitar and electro pulses, and amazing as it may sound this is the second review to night to mention Bauhaus, which is probably the last comparison VFT ever really want given their location. Can’t be helped. Very Murphesque vocals.

I liked only one and a half tracks. ‘28th March’ is very adventurous rocky material, with a devious guitar attack and some strangely picturesque lyrics, but the biggest shock of all is what they manage with the latter stages of a mangled ‘Indian Good Luck Charm’. This starts with ludicrous, squiggly trilling, but ends up with superb bass and drums moving together in a richly melodic vein that seems like a blueprint for really exciting development. If the album has been based round that, with guitars and vocals darting and exploring rather than drawling and sprawling they would have created something totally amazing. Instead it’s almost as insult, because you fade back afterwards into the likes of ‘Decaying Orbit’ which might be an orchestra warming up with some mental case talking over the top, or ’13 o’clock’ which staggers to a welcome end.

Maybe this lazy collection is their Drugs Album? Or maybe it’s the only one which isn’t?


Kein Zurück (Strange Ways)
~reviewed by Uncle Nemesis

New single from the deadpan synthpoppers, and a melancholy little thing it is, too. Acoustic guitar, swooping strings, restrained, half-crooned vocals and lush production combine to make this a slice of  neo-MOR rather than anything from the alternative end of the electronic spectrum. But then, maybe it's not really appropriate to speak of Wolfsheim in terms of anything alternative: their label is part of the Warner Brothers empire, and in their home territory of Germany they're a chart-friendly, arena-filling, mainstream pop act. With all this in mind, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Wolfsheim have come up with a single that's musically closer to Coldplay than Kraftwerk.

There are two remixes attatched to the main version of 'Kein Zurück', and these are a little more interesting to those of us with alternative ears. The 'O. Pinelli Mix' (by Oliver Pinelli) strips out the strings and junks the guitar, and brings in a pulsing, layered synth sound which hits a good deal harder than the original mix. The 'Visit Venus Mix' by Mario von Hacht is - as you might guess - a spacey, tranced-out version of the song, carried along by a clattering rhythm which mutates into a neat little beat-break towards the end, complete with backwards loops. The pace is still pretty relaxed - we're definitely not in the frantic EBM zone here -  but this, perhaps, is more akin to the Wolfsheim we know, and there's an irony. It's taken a remixer to give the band their identity back!

If you live in Germany, you're probably already hearing this single on the radio: for all I know, it might be fighting it out with J-Lo's latest at the top end of the chart even as I type. For the rest of us, who still regard Wolfsheim as a band with at least one foot in the underground, it's quite a surprise to realise just how mainstream they've become.

The players:
Peter Heppner - Vocals
Markus Reinhardt - electronics

The tunestack:
Kein Zurück
Kein Zurück (O. Pinelli mix)
Kein Zurück (Visit Venus mix)

The website:

Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis:

Casting Shadows (Strange Ways)
~review by Uncle Nemesis

In the UK, Wolfsheim are principally known for their dancefloor hit 'Once In A Lifetime' - which, although it's an old track now, is still the one Wolfsheim song you're most likely to hear in a UK club. In Germany, they're way ahead of that. The band is genuinely successful, in a chart-hit, big-league, mixing-with-the-big-boys manner. This, their new album, looks likely to advance things still further, for it's a very slick exercise in mainstream pop moves - and isn't even particularly club-oriented.

'Everyone Who Casts A Shadow' is probably the nearest thing here to alternative music, or at least something that could gain attention in a club. It's all 80s synth-sounds, a jerky, stop-start rhythm, and hints at early-Human League influences. Memo to enterprising DJs: play this one back to back with 'Being Boiled' and I'll guarantee the two tracks will dovetail very neatly - and I'm sure that's not an accident!  Wolfsheim are tipping their hats to the old skool here, and in doing so they've created perhaps the most interesting track on the album.

Elsewhere, the album's main flavour seems to be smoothly melancholic ballads, and MOR-ish pop songs. The single, 'Kein Zurück', features acoustic guitar and rich, no-expense-spared production. It's got 'made for radio!' written all over it, and in truth I think that's the audience Wolfsheim are shooting for these days. Never mind the club kids - mainstream radio listeners are their target now.  'And I' kicks off with some vaguely dancey electronic-burbles, but soon develops into a wistful little ballad. The one unusual element here is the light, skipping, jazzy, drum-rhythm: the inclusion of acoustic instruments among all the electronics is interesting, but Wolfshem never allow these experiments to distract from their trademark sound, which always remains curiously sad, and produced to be easy on the ear.

'Underneath The Veil' fades in on some treated vocals, and for a moment sounds quite radical. But then - yes, the steady, mid-tempo beat starts up, some nice little piano trills come in, and it turns into yet another melancholy ballad. 'Wundervoll' is almost a piece of smooth jazz-funk, the kind of thing Herbie Hancock and Donald Fagen were doing in the 80s. Late-night easy listening: oh, it's all done with consummate professionalism, there's no doubt about that, and I can imagine the playlist-compilers at all the MOR radio stations sitting up and taking notice. But I'm afraid I'm left unmoved.

One odd little thing. At a suitable point in every song, a voice suddenly crash-lands on the music and, in an emotionless, deadpan tone, recites the name of the band and the song title. At first, I thought this was Wolfsheim having an ironic little joke on radio DJs who don't always credit the music they play - but then I realised that these interruptions are intended to be spoilers, to intentionally ruin the music on this advance promo edition of the album, and make you go out and buy the official release. The joke's on Wolfsheim, however, because the spoken interjections actually fit in with the music rather well, and even create a point of interest in songs which otherwise don't necessarily hold the attention.

The tunestack:
Everyone Who Casts A Shadow
Care For You
I Won't Believe
Kein Zurück
And I...
Underneath The Veil
Approaching Lightspeed
In Time

The players:
Peter Heppner - Vocals
Markus Reinhardt - electronics

Martin Ziaja: Bass
Gereon Basso: Drums

The website:

Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis:

~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

If Myrkskog and Zyklon are unique death metal bands for their heavily mechanized sound, then Yattering is unique for its oddly organic and dense sound. Candlelight has a knack for finding heavy bands that build on a typical death metal framework with a theme. Myrkskog and Zyklon sound like they recorded in a modern day weapons factory, and they're all the more interesting for it. But Yattering is strange for having a very thick and slightly weird feel. It almost sounds as if they're playing a soundtrack to a heavy populated swamp area on Dagobah, full of unexpected and unclassified life forms. You recognize enough to know you're in a swamp, but there's good reason to stay on your toes and keep an ear out for potential danger.

Yattering's riffs are very chunky, all the better for pounding their listeners. Each song has a number of different rhythms and tempo variations. The guitars are backed by skilled double bass playing, and the vocalist growls along like a throatier David Vincent (ex-Morbid Angel). At its worst, Genocide is technically proficient but standard death metal. And at its best, which is thankfully more often than not, the music creates thick-as-pea-soup atmospheres with an oppressive heaviness and a shifting mood that balances brutality, despondency, and insanity.

The band keep their music interesting by playing all kinds of unexpected riffs and solos. Many death metal bands who try to solo simply whack the guitar's fretboard really fast and then headbang to the random blippyness. Yattering, far from doing something blasphemous like melodic soloing, at least know how to add to their music with guitar leads. The guitar solos are presented with a plethora of different rhythms and odd phrasings, to create an effect that is atmospheric and occasionally disorienting. To continue the swamp analogy, the solos are like alien lifeforms that pick and prod at you, looking for weaknesses in a very unsettling way.

Yattering also surprise with occasional samples, odd stop-and-go timing, and a very strong sense of atmosphere. I'm always complaining about bands with songs that don't go anywhere. When you're listening to Yattering, you may not be particularly pleased with the foreboding locations they drag you to (kicking and screaming, no less), but it's nice that their music does make you feel like you're a part of a larger existence. Anyone into the stranger heavy bands, especially other Candlelight artists, should make a point to get ahold of Genocide.

Track List:
1) Genocide
2) Schism
3) Message to M.A.R.I.O.
4) Non Adapted Socially
5) Panic In A Sea Of Blood
6) Inflow (Thought From Outside)
7) Non Typical Homo
8) Rapist's Victim
9) Temptation of a Crime
10) Murderer (You Are)
11) Living Bomb

Candlelight Records:

Things Are Pickin’ Up
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Zorglub is an example of how not to send a press kit. This release came from France, and the CD insert contradicted the bi-fold one sheet Xerox copy that also contained minimal information about the band. The band’s website isn’t readily accessible despite repeated attempts to log onto it according to the provided URL, nor was a hunt for them on a search engine any more successful in locating them.

I don’t mean to single out this band particularly, but it is important for bands to realize that reviewers write on our limited free time and simply do not have inordinate amounts of it to hunt down information on them, particularly when there are stacks of music in a pile waiting to be addressed as expediently.

Why would this really bug me after all these years of review writing one may wonder? Because this is an incredible band that should be heard and how the heck are folks ever going to find them if there isn’t consistency?

“Just Do It” is a hard hitting track that is destined to be played at the height of the night in the industrial clubs. The vocals have a wash that is part vocal, part machine and tweaked to sound ominously other worldly.

“In A Box” knocks things down a few pegs at the introduction and builds with a heated intensity. The vocals are not machine enhanced and are very reminiscent of System of a Down or Disturbed.

“Sandman” pours on the malevolent intensity that is wrapped up in an EBM percussive bass line with layers of hard driving guitars at the forefront. Vocally, there is that mechanized aggro-fluidity but the whole thing meshes well.

“The Man Without” has an intro that treats us to backwardly masked voices layered between recorded voices that seem to be coming from an answering machine. This is a mid-tempo ballad with quite a bit of lush orchestration from the keyboard, which then segues back and forth with cadences of power guitars. Each refrain simply builds upon the last, creating a white heat intensity.

“Into The Circle” drops the pace down to a shoegazer effect at the intro and then weaves in exotic percussive instruments, spatial keyboard notes that seem to depict air travel and flamenco rock style guitar chords that simply explode in the middle of the song. As complicated as this may sound, the piece works well as the goth darkness is fully evident. To some extent, the vocals here sound a bit like Brendan Perry from Dead Can Dance

“A Big Tape On Your Face” pushes the envelope about violence and revolution with soundbytes at the intro and carries it along with a frenetic industrial rock pace.

“What’s The Matter With Me?” percolates with heavy electronic beats and potent percussion. Throw in the mix a dash of surf Goth and industrial aggro and regular vocals and you have a unique hybrid that can’t be classified.

“Human Tool” has more soundbytes interjected at the intro of this track which is then sent through a blender that is part punk, part industrial, part shoegazer, part synthpop funk and part black metal.

“Nothing (no one)” gently chimes at the intro as though one is playing a row of wind chimes to a structured rhythm. Those axe slicing guitars are not far behind as they pick up the pace to keep time with the mid-tempo militaristic percussion.

Zorglub set out to create music that isn’t easily squeezed into any one genre. Just as you think a track is headed in one direction, it makes a 360 degree about face and folds in upon itself to become something else entirely.

In the same vein that Corpus Delicti revolutionized the sound of gothic dance music, Zorglub has done the same with the industrial hybrid. The music is dark, bordering on black metal and edgy enough to fall within the confines of today’s industrial music. The band’s use of keyboards is an adjunct that rounds out the sound without replacing real instruments.

Vocally, they are all over the map, between aggro-industrial growls to delivering tenor harmony. Even with the aggro growls, it isn’t monotonous like some other bands because it has a distinct mechanized quality that doesn’t sound like noise, static and screaming.

Overall, this was a unique release that offered more than the standard fare that seems to be cranked out of a musical cookie cutter file.

Just Do It
In A Box
The Man Without
Into The Circle
A Big Tape On Your Face
What’s The Matter With Me?
Human Tool
Nothing (no more)

Band Line-up:
TOGK: Voice, bass, programming, 12 strings
Mr. Loop: Keyboards, samples, backing vocals
Ozed: guitars, backing vocals
Trutal Bruth: (that’s the name not a typo): Stage Slave


Various Artists
The Arbitrary Width of Shadows
~reviewed by  Mike Ventarola

During 2001, Projekt Records was approached by Borders to create an exclusive compilation for their chain, which resulted in the premier of Within This Infinite Ocean….  That particular compilation did so well the first time, that Borders requested a follow-up, which became the 2003 budget priced compilation, The Arbitrary Width of Shadows.   At the outset, let’s just say that the $3.98 price tag is a virtual steal, and for those into ethereal/ambient music, it would be foolish to pass this gem up

With so much emphasis on that which is “club friendly,” it was a refreshing respite to catch up on the more ethereal artists whose work falls on the opposite spectrum of the prerequisite “oontz-meter.”  One would have to be a total fool not to realize that many people go out to the clubs to dance, and these days, the faster the beat, the better many like it. There was a time, however, when underground clubs paid homage to the enchanting work of the ethereal artist in order to create the dark ambient mood which made the underground goth club such a pleasure. Until the tide changes, the only way many of us can hear some of this glorious work is through the dedication of some of the internet radio stations who have been working towards exposing all of the underground artists and not just the dance friendly ones.

Black Tape For A Blue Girl  open with “Kinski.” Whatever one’s predilection may be about ethereal music, an unspoken mystery regarding flute and female vocals demand that we stop in our tracks whatever it is we are doing. Such is the case with Kinski, which draws us in with the flute work and then gently places us upon a cloud of reverie.

Mira’s “Open Silence” takes gentle guitar strumming down a lazy river  and then picks up the pace with a fine marriage between female vocals, guitars and drumming that intersperses rock elements into a track that is simply enchanting and seductive.

Audra’s “There Are No Snakes In Heaven” grooves in with the low bass notes and dreamy goth guitar layers. Vocally, we haven’t heard something this well executed since Bauhaus buried Bela Lugosi some years back.
Voltaire’s “The Vampire Club” pokes more holes at scene pretension than one is likely to find in Swiss cheese. The humorous lyrics are delivered with a gypsy flair layered within the confines of a 50’s rockabilly twist. To expect anything less ironic from the artist would be a foolish endeavor.

Love Spirals’ “Dejame” is from the reformed members of the previous project, Love Spirals Downwards. This track, replete with Spanish lyrics and subtle flamenco guitars transforms midnight seductiveness to a new height. One can simply imagine driving down a busy city street with the windows rolled up while this plays hauntedly in the background as a counterpoint between night time activity and internal reverie. Be sure to catch the superb saxophone contribution that carries the song even further.

Unto Ashes’ “Invisible” is from the marvelous release Saturn Return. The band lives in a world far removed from “mere mortals.” They sculpt music from a timeless bygone era and this track is no exception. It is part medieval, part minstrel, and totally introspective.

Peter Ulrich’s “Taqaharu’s Leaving” carries on with the tradition he helped start with his work with Dead Can Dance. Here, finely honed percussive elements are distinctly woven between layers of moody atmosphere and wistful male vocals. Medieval horns merge with the modern drum beat, creating a separate place between the past and present.

Steve Roach’s “Toward The Mystic” is from the Roach’s recent release, Mystic Chords and Sacred Spaces. Just as the title indicates, there is a bit of magic involved here, combined with gentle natural sound elements, giving a feeling of being out in the woods during a solitary ritual gathering.

Allo Die & Amelia Cuni are included here with “Asparas,” whose opening segues rather splendidly from the preceding song. This Middle Eastern flavored track is like a religious homage to the Earth Spirits, carried by other wind and water elements. As the song progresses, one can almost sense the rising tide of magical energy shimmering from the Earth in a singular but constant vortex.

Sam Rosenthal’s “Untitled” track is also one that is previously unreleased. Like the past 2 tracks, this one also delves into natural sounds and blends harmonious elements. It gives rise to the feeling of the unseen world becoming manifest. This is also the type of track one would hear during a movie that depicted either sunrise or sunset, because the sonic energy flows with the essence of both transitions.

Mors Syphilitica’s “The Hues of Longing” opens with a crash-like sound that came about through a serendipitous moment during the song’s creation, which at the time wasn’t seen by either artist as a happy occasion. The husband and wife duo, Eric and Lisa Hammer, have been creating underground music for adoring fans for a number of years. Lisa’s vocals punctuate the sky with her enchanting vocals which veer from the lowest registers to the height of operatic splendor. Eric’s song construction enthralls and strokes the psyche in ways many have never dreamed possible.

Unto Ashes’ “You Say You’re Happy Now” has Michael Laird delivering the vocals. When I first heard this track on their Saturn Return CD, it made me think of a love-lost minstrel, locked away in a castle attic, pining away for his beloved. That image still hasn’t changed and out of context of the whole CD, it makes this track even more heartbreaking.

Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s final track, “Bastille Day, 1961” took simple piano scales and built upon them layer by layer. The track comes across as something one would expect during a quiet moment during a Broadway production. It offers the vocal sweetness, but keeps the melodrama firmly in place, ensuring that a heart wrenching sentiment will be felt by the listener.

This compilation managed to incorporate some goth rock style elements along with the more dreamy ethereal work we have come to expect from Projekt. It remains a fine lineup of artists to showcase their current work and clearly excites the listener enough to want to purchase the full releases from each of the featured bands.  It is a quality ethereal focused compilation that is offered at a nice price, so don’t pass it up!

Track Listing:
1. Black Tape For A Blue Girl:  Kinski  (from the 2002 CD, The Scavenger Bride)
2. Mira: Open In Silence (from the 2002 CD, Apart)
3. Audra: There Are No Snakes In Heaven (from the 2002 CD Going to The Theatre)
4. Voltaire: The Vampire Club (from the 2002 CD, Boo Hoo
5. Lovespirals: Dejame (from the 2002 CD, Windblown Kiss)
6. Unto Ashes: Invisible (from the 2001 CD, Saturn Return)
7. Peter Ulrich: Taqaharu’s Leaving (from the 1999 CD, Pathways and Dawns)
8. Steve Roach: Toward The Mystic (from 2003 CD Mystic Chords and Sacred Spaces)
9. Alio Die & Amelia Cuni: Apsaras (from the 2001 Cd, Asparas)
10. Sam Rosenthal: Untitled no. 4 (previously unreleased)
11. Mors Syphilitica: The Hues of Longing ( from the 2001 CD, Feather & Fate)
12. Unto Ashes: You Say You’re Happy Now (from the 2001 CD, Saturn Return)
13. Black Tape For A Blue Girl:  Bastille Day, 1961 (from the 2002 CD, The Scavenger Bride)

Label Website:

Various Artists
Projekt: Gothic
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Hot Topic approached Projekt Records requesting a budget-priced compilation that focused on the ethereal/darkwave side of the label. Here, some of the label classics are featured as well as Unto Ashes’ cover of the Blue Oyster Cult classic, “Don’t Fear The Reaper,” which was specifically recorded for this compilation.

Audra kicks off the disc with the club favorite “What Your Eyes Had Seen” which has the goth club dance beats suffused in the layers of dark moodiness that is still as fresh an original as when it was first released

Voltaire’s classic “When You’re Evil” continues to entertain years later with the sardonic twisted wit that he has become renown for.

This Ascension’s “Mysterium” from their 1999 release takes ancient Latin lyrics and blends  reverence into an updated dark rock stylization, showcasing the scope and breadth of vocalist Dru Allen.

Black Tape For A Blue Girl is also Projekt label owner Sam Rosenthal’s band. Here, we are treated to a mere taste from The Scavenger Bride whose album credits include Lisa Feuer (flute), Vicki Richards (violin), and Julia Kent (ex-Rasputina on cello), Elysabeth Grant (vocals and viola contributions) as well as  the talents of Michael Laird (Unto Ashes), Bret Helm (Audra), Athan Maroulis (Spahn Ranch), Christopher David (Judith), and Martin Bowes (Attrition). ( A cornucopia who’s who from the underground world!)

Attrition is mostly known these days for the delightful electronic hybrids which keep club kids dancing, however, "A Girl Called Harmony" from 1991 is the one that spun the goth world on its ear and the love affair continues to rage on throughout their many releases. Even with the electronic transition, Attrition still finds ways to keep the music updated but decidedly dark.

Mors Syphilitica defies genres by suffusing so many hybrid elements into their work while still keeping it decidedly dark. Amazingly, this track takes a touch of dark bluegrass, operatic vocals and harmonies and sieves it through a Middle Eastern panorama of sentiment.

Lycia has inspired more gothic bands than even the Sisters of Mercy. In spite of the fact that the band never made music for the dance floor, their wealth of dark organic sounds continue to resonate with old and new fans alike. In spite of semi-retirement, we do periodically learn of yet another Projekt release from the band which delights the dark underground the world over. Here is one of their more macabre tracks that is heavy on atmosphere and a showcase for what continues to endear the band to new fans yearly.

Mira was included with the track “Cayman” from their self-titled 2000 release. The track has a more decided shoe-gazer tone which showcases the brilliantly sweet female vocals of Regina Sosinski whose delivery is capable of breaking even the hardest of hearts. Whenever folks errantly think goth is about being “violent” it helps to play this track to dispel that myth immediately.

Thanatos’ track “Splinters” from their 1997 release Blisters brings about a more goth folk feel with an electronic twist, cultivating a unique hybrid between dark genres that few have been able to top.

Johnny Indovina and his band Human Drama have been a legendary underground staple for years and it about time some of the Hot Topic youngin’s learn of the goth history. This track was initially only available from the band’s website and was only recently released through Projekt on the Cause and Effect CD.  This track is a piano and vocal recitation full of emotion and drama.

Rajna and the self-titled track that is included is like a nighttime camel ride in the Middle Eastern desert. It is dark, pervasive, mysterious and thoroughly exotic and sensual.

Love Spirals features Ryan Lum and Anji Bee, two members from the former band Love Spirals Downwards. The track “Swollen Sea,” from their new CD Windblown Kiss, isn’t so much goth as it is quietly soothing with inflections and intonations from variegated styles that some call Dream Pop, a style that has a suitable crossover appeal to ethereal and goth fans alike.

Unto Ashes are showcased with a previously unreleased track that was recorded for this compilation. This song will also be available on their forthcoming 2003 release. For those who remember Blue Oyster Cult’s rendition, you will be markedly surprised at the way this band reworked it for a more decided medieval feel.

Hot Topic has been featuring a number of budget priced sample releases from a variety of labels as of late. This installment from Projekt at $4.99 is practically a steal  because of the wealth and timeless beauty of the classics that were added.
For those new to Projekt and their artists, it is a great showcase for some of their stellar artists while also providing a musical education that goth did not start and end with the Sisters of Mercy.

The majority of these tracks won’t be heard on many goth club playlists due to this current incessant need to have music that is full of disco sampled loops and push button bleeps and tweaks. Those who surf the internet may find them on a number of goth stations from Live365 all the way through, but one does need to search deeply at times.   Since this recording is exclusively available at Hot Topic, do seek it out upon your next trip to the mall as it is money well spent on talent that transcends the dark boundaries.

Audra: What Your Eyes Had Seen (From the 2000 CD Audra)
Voltaire: When You’re Evil ( From the 1998 CD The Devil’s Bris)
This Ascension: Mysterium (From the 1999 CD, Sever)
Black Tape For A Blue Girl: All My Lovers ( From the 2002 CD, The Scavenger Bride)
Attrition: A Girl Called Harmony (From the 1991 CD, A Tricky Business)
Mors Syphilitica: My Virgin Widows (From the 2001 CD, Feather & Fate)
Lycia: Excade Decade Decada  (From the 2001 CD, Compilation Appearances Vol.1)
Mira: Cayman (From the 2000 CD, Mira)
Thanatos: Splinters (re-stripped) (From the 1997 CD, Blisters)
Human Drama: Lonely (from the 2002 CD, Cause and Effect)
Rajna: Rajna (From the 1999 CD, Ishati)
Love Spirals: Swollen Sea (From the 2002 CD, Windblown Kiss)
Unto Ashes: Don’t Fear The Reaper  (From their forthcoming 2003 CD)


Various Artists
The Golden Age of Darkness II
~reviewed by Dibrom

To say that the music on The Golden Age of Darkness II is full of subtle nuance and is unique in its devices for evoking moods through sound would be an understatement.  Conversely, to lavish praise upon it as being an overridingly and wholly original masterpiece would be to overstate its worth.  The truth lies somewhere in between -- I simply can't decide whether, taken as a whole, I find it to be highly satisfying or not.  Thus is the nature of compilations.

The Golden Age of Darkness II presents a combined expedition into the dark ambient, minimalist, ritualistic, and noise inspired industrial soundscapes provided by its comprising artists.  Contributing 20 minutes of audio a piece, the three artists on the compilation -- Helter Incendo, Hollowing, and When Joy Becomes Sadness --  present for 7 tracks with a total playing just over an hours worth of moody, forboding, and somber aural transmissions.

The first two tracks -- "Open the Gate" and "The Throne and the Legion", courtesy of Helter Incende, start the album off on rather solid ground.  The music presented in these tracks sweep from noisy and distant, droning soundscapes to empty whispers and vocal samples accompanied by a drawn out and reserved background melody.  These elements come together to provide for a somewhat sublime, yet visceral atmosphere of uneasiness.

Following Helter Incendo's contribution comes Hollowing with their 3 tracks: "Hariti", "Mourning the Frozen", and "Pyres for the Devoured".  While similar in some elements to the former tracks, these next three offer a more active and pronounced effect.  The sound here ranges from repetitive, percussive sounds, off-key 'clanking' noises, and operatic vocals, to overbearing noise and droning ambience, and finally to rolling waves of sound, soft spoken female voice, and cinematic subtlety.

One would hope that I could continue on to say good things about the last two tracks on this album, courtesy of When Joy Becomes Saddness, but alas, it is not meant to be.  Simply put, the last two tracks are not only uninteresting, but they are don't really fit alongside the rest of the tracks on this compilation, in both theme or feel, and in quality.  Certain elements within these two tracks do not seem to fit very well together, or seem overly repetitive.  It's one thing to have repetition for the sake of creating a certain mood through some sort of hypnotic presentation, but it's another matter to have seemingly random and uninspired repetition -- the latter has the unfortunate effect of making the music seem as if it is somewhat aimless, or even pointless.  This aspect combined with the fact that some of the effects are just plain annoying (the cheesy UFO inspired sounding synths on the first of the two tracks, and the unoriginal and overdriven grunting/growling on the latter) provide for disappointing listening experience.  Perhaps some of this could be overlooked considering that these two tracks were performed live, since as somewhat of an experimental musician myself I know how difficult it would be to provide a highly polished track in the vein of the rest of these on the spot, but nonetheless, that does not change the fact that these tracks are not on par with the rest or even enjoyable.

I would say that it's a fairly safe bet that those who have checked out earlier DFR releases would find this compilation satisfying, as well as those who previously heard any of these artists.  To those who haven't, if you're into dark industrial soundscapes, you'll likely find this to be of interest.  Apparently this CD is limited to 500 copies, so it may not be particularly easy to get ahold of, but it might be something to keep an eye out for.

Track List:
Helter Incendo:
1) Open the Gate
2) The Throne and the Legion

3) Hariti
4) Mourning the Frozen
5) Pyres for the Devoured

When Joy Becomes Saddness:
6) Theory
7) God, No

DFR Promotions

Various Artists
Square Matrix 002: An Alfa-Matrix label sampler
~reviewed by Uncle Nemesis

Here we have the second in the Alfa-Matrix label's on-going series of sampler CDs, which bring together four tracks apiece by four bands on the label's roster. As it happens, some of the material here has already been featured on the Cryonica label's 'Tanz V.2' compilation, which strikes me as a little superfluous - but maybe these days you just ain't nobody until your music has been compiled at least twice over.

Still, let's see what we've got here. Nebula-H give us their four tracks first, and they seem to specialise in fast, busy, electro-dance, which nods occasionally to EBM and classic techno as it rattles past. Of the four tracks, the 'featuring Dirk Ivens' version of 'Twilight Zone' is probably the best - I guess Dirk Ivens is the human behind the deadpan, treated, vocal. None of the Nebula-H material is outstandingly *good*, it must be said: it's the kind of blandly competent stuff that keeps the dance floor full, but vanishes out of your memory five seconds after the track ends. There you go, I've forgotten it already. Nebula who?

Neikka RPM come from New York, apparently, and I recall their track 'Here's Your Revolution' was my fave on the 'Tanz V.2' compilation. Here it is again, and it's still good. Deep-sea electronics, a rhythm like a train, and an other-worldly female vocal with just the right kind of lilt to it - the overall result is attention-grabbing and *memorable* (you hear that, Nebula-H?). Their second contribution, 'Bound With Sympathy', has been remixed by Razed In Black. I'm not sure how much RIB have done to this track, and how much of what I'm hearing is the original, but it's frankly not a patch on 'Here's Your Revolution'. In fact, it's another excursion into Bland Dance Hell -  the whispered vocals are simply a waste of a good singer. 'Here's Your Revolution' then crops up again in remixed form, which in this instance seems to have involved smoothing out all the angles and quirks of the original, until again we're dangerously close to Bland Dance Hell again. Fortunately, the Terrorfakt mix of 'Bound With Sympathy' redeems things somewhat - Terrorfakt deconstruct the track and rebuild it as a fast, manic, rolling pulse. Good stuff, but two out of four isn't a particularly great result for Neikka RPM, especially as I suspect the band are more interesting than these tracks would have us believe.

Mnemonic are described in Alfa-Matrix's promo-blurb as 'German soundlab maniacs', but curiously their first contribution, 'A Day On Your Own' doesn't have much of a maniac feel to it. Quite the reverse: it's a slice of slo-mo, warm, almost ambient, trip-hop with female vocals - like Portishead on a summer holiday. The track even features the sound effect of cracking vinyl, a gimmick Portishead themselves used on their 'Dummy' album. This track is nice, but Mnemonic are clearly wearing their influences on their sleeves here. 'World Outlook' comes up next: it's a trancey instrumental, with lush, relaxing synth lines and oddly interrupted beats. Again, it's nice, but frankly Barry Adamson does this sort of atmospheric instrumental stuff much better. 'Pool' and 'Nuce' are odd assortments of beats and ambiences, very experimental in a way...although I think Brian Eno conducted this particular experiment some years ago. And all this, I suppose, illustrates the essential problem with Mnemonic: they're doing good stuff, but they're doing it several years after someone else did it. Out in the left-field you really have to nail down your originality a bit more firmly than this.

Implant wrap things up with their four tracks, which range from the percussive instrumental of 'Otherworld'  to the whumping dance workout of 'All I Want', upon which Jennifer Parkin of Epsilon Minus delivers a vocal. Unfortunately she's drowned in reverb and might just as well be a random sample: she's all effect and no singing. Maybe that's the point, but I would rather have had a more upfront, dry, vocal, and thus more of a focal point to the track. ¿Que Pasa Cabron? is all Latin flourishes and is actually rather fun - it reminds me of Yello's surreal excursions into Latin music. Yello's loony creativity is something that today's electronic music sorely needs, in my view.

Well, there it is. Not, it must be said, the most impressive collection of music - there are too many instances of blandly identikit dance, and  left-field excursions which, on closer inspection, aren't all that far out on a limb after all. Perhaps the format is flawed. If each band was simply allowed two tracks, both of which had to be originals, not remixes, and both exclusive to the release, the whole thing might tighten up a bit - both the bands and the label would be obliged to focus a little more sharply. As things stand, I think this sampler contains occasional bursts of good stuff - but also a bit too much excess baggage for comfort.

The tunestack:
h (Single h)
Twilight Zone
Inhibition (Featuring Aiboforcen)
Twilight Zone (Featuring Dirk Ivens)

Neikka RPM:
Here's Your Revolution
Bound With Sympathy (Razed In Black mix)
Here's Your Revolution (Negative Format mix)
Bound With Sympathy (Terrorfakt mix)

A Day On Your Own (Featuring Tekita)
World Outlook (Neon Electronics mix)
Pool (Featuring Redux)
Nuce (Featuring L. Iet)

All I Want
¿Que Pasa Cabron?
All I Want (Sanka mix)

Alfa-Matrix label website:

Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis:

Various Artists
Stainless: Ethereal Female Vocals
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

After a night of clubbing and oontz-factor bombardment, sometimes the only thing to pleasantly end off the evening is well constructed ethereal music. Ventricle is a label that has been expanding the dark horizon within the realm of underground music for quite some time. The label boasts a collection of female vocalists, artists and contributors within the realm of ambient, gothic, avant garde, progressive and ethnic realms. A mere browse through their website indicates many known and up and coming new artists who  have already carved a niche for themselves in the glut of the music world. The difference here is that Ventricle artists stay true to the muse that initially haunted them. Instead of seeking out sounds that are destined to become underground pseudo-commercial hits, they take a leap of faith and embark upon creating music that few dare to do these days.

Stainless is a compilation featuring ten various Ventricle artists and it  arrives packaged in a uniquely engraved die-cut steel CD cover. As far as marketing, this may have been frightfully costly for the label, but it subliminally alerts the listener to the potency and durability of the female voice which is often overshadowed by hype and machinery.

Stainless is sequenced to carry the music along as though in a disembodied enchantment. We are gently nudged into a “feminist space” that is as evolutionary as our Mother Earth and just as enduring.

Mauve Sideshow open the disc with “Crumbling Stairs,” a track that intentionally blends a haunted house element without the cheese and wraps it into swirls of liquid electronic sounds that are tranquil yet ghostly.

Torn Curtain’s “Daymare Pt 3” initially sounds like a continuation of the preceding  track for the first few bars of music. The vocals are more cavernous, however the ethereal tones take on an element as though made up of glowing orbs.

Thistle’s “Remember” gives an effect that makes it a candidate for the Sci-Fi channel. The kittenish female vocals are reverbed and refracted as though they are beams of light through a prism. After the sedate element from the first 2 tracks, Thistle embarks on utilizing deep rich tones meant to jar the psyche and bring about a few goosebumps.

Minus Infinity’s “Realm of the Spectre” delivers a delightfully morose blend of orchestration with vocals that are added as though layers of mist and silk. The thunderclaps help to add the macabre essence while the vocals punctuate a midnight sky in a barren wilderness and then finishing it off with a harmony between the sacred and the profane.

Angel Provocateur’s “Angelwaves” jumps right into the realm of malevolence, uncertainty and discarnate energy. The tones dance between light and dark, balancing strong, deep hues with subtle light shades of music and vocals. The female vox is powerful, with a range that delves into deep rich warm resonation to angelic soprano. If Mother Earth were given a voice, Angel Provocateur would certainly be it.

Mistress of Strands’ “ In The Middle of the Falling Rain” provided a bittersweet track meant to jog the heart strings and emotions. While the vocals belie an ingénue-like idealism, the tones provide a feeling as though we are hearing a memory of one who has passed on and is anxiously awaiting their lover’s return between the realms.

Steeple of Fyre’s “A Million Years Ago” blends natural sounds that are carefully woven between the strains of music. The subtle wind effect is merged and then smeared with the music to give a feeling of traveling through time. The emphasis here wasn’t on the female vox as a singing entity, but rather as a culmination and continuation of all women who have traveled the Earth since time immemorial. It delivers the impression of linking all women to a musical time-line that cannot be denied, ignored or destroyed.

Blessed Oblivion’s “ Pathology of Roses” utilizes Gregorian style female vocals and winds them through wistful sound meant to take the listener to a magic garden. The rise and fall of the crescendos provide an element where we can feel “growth” taking place before our eyes, yet somehow the transition brings about a degree of forlorn impressions.

KonKrete Kantikle’s “Konkrete Kantikle Pt. 2” blends funereal style organs while tweaking the vocals to stay just a bit behind the music. One could easily choose this piece as a snapshot and soundtrack to our modern day world on the brink of destruction.

Dream Radiation’s “Dream In Amber” takes the listener through a spiraling journey through a dark tunnel. The various sounds bounce creatively between the speakers, indicating movement. At the end of the tunnel, sounds glisten and add an essence of light refraction in the dim locale.

“Stainless” isn’t the type of compilation one would play to liven up a party. It was clearly designed for personal use in our quieter moments to help prod our own reveries and meditations. Like most ethereal music, it resonates with those who are comfortable during their “alone” phases and allows the listener to embark on further personal introspection. Simply put, if you like ethereal music, you will certainly enjoy this outing from Ventricle Records.

The downside for the CD is that some of the tracks interspersed momentary silences, which at first can be disconcerting and make one wonder which track is playing. Additionally, there isn’t much in the way of knowing any of the artists or vocalists outside of the band name, as this information was lacking in the press kit, CD as well as on the label website. Because of the many high octave soprano inflections, deciphering lyrics is also a bit cumbersome. Without a lyric sheet as a libretto, one must resign themselves to simply sitting back and absorbing the atmosphere, sentiment and impressions, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. However, sometimes one wants to absorb themselves fully into the artists work, so added lyrics can help to implement this.

1. Mauve Sideshow: Crumbling Stairs
2. Torn Curtain: Daymare Pt. 3
3. Thistle: Remember
4. Minus Infinity: Realm of the Spectre
5. Angel Provocateur: Angelwaves
6. Mistress of Strands: In The Middle of the Falling Rain
7. Steeple of Fyre: A Million Years Ago
8. Blessed Oblivion: Pathology of Roses
9. KonKrete Kantikle: Konkrete Kantikle Pt. 2
10. Dream Radiation: Dream In Amber

Releases through Ventricle Records