~reviewed by Michael Johnson

I had heard about this band a while back and the label I most heard attached to them was “weird but really good”.  Finally, curiosity got the better of me and I picked up A.M.G.O.D. (which stands for Allotropic/Metamorphic - Genesis Of Dimorphism), their latest release.  Although it was a tough pill to swallow on the first take, this album quickly grew on me and has become a very satisfying purchase.

When I first hear this album, my brain screamed to compare them to The Kovenant because of the way the keyboards are used.  …and Oceans are anything but and once the blast beats kick in, I scoffed at my folly and was able to enjoy this album for what it really is.  The electronic effects, although very techno-ish, are used quite sparingly but their presence completely changes the appearance of the music and is used as a façade for the brutality beneath.

“Intelligence Is Sexy” kicks off hard but jumps into a twinkling techno beat that paves the way for the guitars while remaining subtly in the background.  “Tears Have No Name” is easily the best track on this CD because the keyboards are so addictive and when everything kicked in, my adrenals exploded and the volume went way up, much to the chagrin of my neighbors.  “Of Devilish Tongues” is equally impressive as is “Postfuturistica” and for the deejays who were looking for a spot on
their playlist for these guys, “New Model World” is a straight dance track featuring Valopinja.

In the metal scene, we’re getting to a point where symphonic black metal bands are being signed faster than boy-bands and I have had to become pickier about what I buy.  I love the symphonic stuff but stagnation may be the death of a scene that is one of the most talented to come along in many years.  …and Oceans has realized this and created their own way to stir the pot and keep this new metal genre from boiling over and being wiped away.

Track Listing
1.Intelligence Is Sexy
2.White Synthetic Noise
3.Tears Have No Name
4.Esprit De Corps
5.Odious & Devious
6.Of Devilish Tongues
8.TBA In A Silver Box
9.New Model World (featuring Valopinja)

…and Oceans is:
Killstar – Vocals
Tripster – Guitar
7even II – Guitar
Atomica – Bass
Plasmaar – Keyboards
Martex – Drums

Website: http://www.blackmetal.com/%7Emega/AO/
Label: www.centurymedia.com

Artemiy Artemiev & Peter Frohmader
Space Icon: Electroacoustic
~reviewed by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz

Electroacoustic indeed,  this CD even has a brilliant cover that echo's these simple words that they placed innocently on the bottom of the front cover.

Completed in February of 2000 , so a year old now, this is timeless music, that moves in many directions.  Although being of the ambient/electronica movement, this may be pleasing to space rock fans of the likes as Spacemen 3 and Stereolab.  I find it very intriguing that these space explorers are wanting to reach a Gothic/Industrial audience as well, yet I do not find it a very far stretch to see how it could fill some space for Ethereal Gothic fans too.  This music works well in the headphones yet it does not need to be so forefront to bring you the idea of what is being communicated.  Ideal for study , or long drives as well, this release has some very good composition work.

Standout moments ,  Track one,  in its entirety,  the fret-less bass on Channeling,  the beauty of Zen Garden, and the complexity of Cosmic Jungle.   Worth a play if you think you know all that ambient has to offer.   This is more like the Edward Artemiev piece than the DVAR piece (nothing is quite like it actually)   So they may work well in unison.  As it turns out they are actually related.  The links to the electroshock label provide a lot of info about these artist.  I really did enjoy these peices, but would not recommend them to all of our listeners.  Mostly to the ambient/ethereal fans.  You could find many moments of meditation, and inspiration on this CD, or the one by Edward Artimiev.

I might suggest this one , if you only need to hear one Russian/ambient/classical  cross-over CD.  Yet 'Book of Impressions'  was made over a longer period of time, and therefore is more divers in feel.  I feel very lucky to have had all three of these to listen and write about, and even meditate on my leanings towards Gothic/Industrial.  I hope another genre of music will come around and present itself to us soon.  It is good to step out, and look back in ever now and then!

With all this Russian music being discovered now, maybe I should flag down the next international flight and go see what else we are waiting to hear.  The Russian Gothic main page indicated that many acts are not even recording yet, and so there is probably much much more to find.

Here is some more links to the artist...
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PFrohmader_NEKROPOLIS/Artemiy Artemiev & Peter Frohmader

Space Icon       "Electroacoustic"
01 Space Icon  19:08
02 MIR           07:00
03 Channeling  04:50
04 Zen Garden 04:05
05 Cosmic Jungle 23:17

Download the God
~reviewed by Michael Johnson

I’ve never been sure how to take ambient music.  It’s best handed to me when I am at a state where I can relate the music to my own personal experiences.  I need to find time to listen to it and, most of the time, it is as I drift off to sleep. Download the God is no different in that respect but the ideas housed behind this recording demand attention be paid.

According to the Bible, there were two men who talked to God and they were Isaiah and Ezekiel.  Anatoly has put this spiritual experience to music and taken me for a ride I could never have expected.  God never appeared as anything soft and weak.  He always appeared as something malevolent and powerful such as a burning bush in order to strike fear and demand respect.  With this in mind, Download the God becomes somewhat hostile and turbulent throughout the recording.  Stereotypically speaking, one would expect this to be tranquil and soothing but much of it, though maintaining its spiritual qualities via soft bells and chimes, has a rough exterior.  All of the songs are named after Isaiah and Ezekiel and even though at a glance these songs all appear the same, careful analysis will reveal that the songs are quite different.

Of course, the listener must make the final evaluation.  Each song will teleport listeners to different places and although you may wish to perceive this as a lovely listening experience, the slightly harsh layers underneath the derma will cause you anxiety and, when heard within the sanctuary of sleep, dreams that will not be forgotten too soon.

All music composed, arranged, and performed by Anatoly Pereselegin.
Website: www.electroshock.ru

...the Last Embrace
~reviewed by Wolf

For years now Arcana has been at the front ranks of Cold Meat Industry's ever-impressive line-up. Their debut, Dark Age of Reason, was immediately embraced by many and received comparisons to none other than Dead Can Dance, be it in a more bombastic and sorrowful form. Peter Pettersson, together with female vocalist Ida Bengtsson, has created a sound that is very much Arcana's own; a dark and dramatic offering of neo-medieval beauty.

Last year we were finally treated to a third full-length, The Last Embrace. The main complaint this album has received so far is it's lack of innovation and a repitition of Arcana's earlier work. To a degree I can sympathize with this, since The Last Embrace doesn't really offer anything new. Rather than improving upon their music Arcana remains static and provides another cd of high-quality compositions. I believe that in Arcana's genre (dark ambient, neo-classical, apocalyptic folk or whatever one might call it) there's a stronger focus on producing images of days long gone (or perhaps to come), opposed to attempting to be at the cutting edge of innovation and music production.

And that's one thing Arcana still does: it transports your mind to medieval visions of haunted cathedrals and deep, untouched forests, pagan magic and long forgotten history. With sweeping grandeur the music carries you away by means of tolling bells, dramatic strings and bombastic percussion. Peter's own vocals are deep and haunting, at times gracefully countered by Ida's angelic vocalisations, and the overall musicianship is outstanding. Among the best tracks are the amazing title track, the elemental force of "Winds of the Lost Soul" and the serene "Sono La Salva".

If you've enjoyed Arcana's music before and are looking for more of the same excellence then you won't be disappointed. Nothing new, but beautiful nonetheless. I'll put up with that for a few more albums.

1.  ...the Last Embrace
2.  Hymn of Absolute Deceit
3.  Diadema
4.  Winds of the Lost Soul
5.  Love Eternal
6.  Repentance
7.  March of Loss
8.  The Ascending of a New Dawn
9.  Sono La Salva
10. Lorica Vite

Band members:
Peter Pettersson (vocals, percussion, guitar, keyboard, programming)
Ida Bengtsson (vocals)
Marcus Ohlsson (cello)
Johan Hallgren (backing vocals)

Additional info:

Official site: http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Rue/5130/menu.htm
Contact: arcana@algonet.se
Label site: http://www.coldmeat.se
Contact: info@coldmeat.se

Arise From Thorns
Before An Audience Of Stars
~reviewed by Matthew

Rarely is there an emergence within the music scene of an outfit with the ability to be diverse yet have an established focal point. With Virginia’s Arise From Thorns, I am truly overwhelmed at the intricacy and the talent this band displays. With lush acoustic guitars and strong female vocals serving as the primary elements, this band utilizes complex instrumentation with pop simplicity. They blend a vast range of styles together for a seemingly perfect and highly unique sound that affectionately salutes folk, goth, jazz, pop, alternative and even slivers of metal. In many ways, if any known comparisons spring to mind, Norway’s 3rd & The Mortal appear, however Arise From Thorns are far less surreal and a lot more accessible to mainstream audiences. There are tinges of October Project as well as The Gathering, but overall, they are simply just Arise From Thorns, an act that once they are rewarded with the recognition they surely deserve, they will be setting future standards of emotionally driven rock and dark music.

And now, having been signed and distributed by Dark Symphonies records, they will be reaching an even greater and wider audience.  Though definitely not a dark metal band (somewhat of a surprise for the label to have picked up these guys), the music will appeal to fans of emotive and romantic music, and by that account, they fit in perfectly amidst Autumn Tears, Rain Fell Within, and November’s Doom.

This updated release features three excellent bonus tracks, as well as superb artwork by Michael of the Soil Bleeds Black.  This release also marks the band’s final release as Arise From Thorns, as they have recently donned the new moniker Brave.  Though this may have a been a slightly poor move on their part, since the formal appellation was beginning to stir some buzz, they must have seen fit to change their name for personal reasons and in the long run, it is indeed their call.

Though regardless of with whom they are signed or what their name is, with the upbeat playful folk-punk of the opening track, “Dreaming,” there is an instantaneous awareness that this band exist on a plane of their own.  “Time Alone” is an example of the band’s subtle forays into Gathering influenced metal while “Surrender” is seasoned with medieval flavourings. Each song itself is almost a different style, yet amazingly enough, the songs are all unified and there is a very obvious link between them. The epic “The Red & The Black” is another lovely surprise, with a superbly crafted middle-eastern feel with ritual percussion and brooding keyboards, yet still uplifting and blended with a contemporary sound. The song flows through various movements to reach quite a heavy climax with crunchy guitars and intense drumming, here especially inspiring my 3rd & the Mortal comparison. Another of my favourites, “I Can’t Believe,” begins as a very mischievous, polished post punk type song that would probably delight many Siouxsie and Cure fans and closes with an outpouring of sweet desperation.

However, I can’t stress enough the brilliance and musicianship that this quintet are responsible for. The vocals are smooth and quite heartwarming, the progressive guitar playing is certainly born of classically trained hands, and the drumming that of a talented jazz and rock professional. I adore this band. It is rare that something so uplifting strikes me this deep, because it is always the overtly bleak and despondent music that I so passionately identify with. But with Arise From Thorns, there is such a sad romanticism and hopeful atmosphere. To allow yourself to embark on the journey this CD will take you upon, will inspire you to revisit lost memories of summer loves (typically having gone sour) but in such a way that you recall only the sweeter moments. What more, there is such a soothing and relaxing quality to their music, the desire to create more beautiful memories will overtake you. I recommend this CD without hesitation to anyone, and hope that this band will receive the recognition they are long overdue.

Track List:
1.) Dreaming
2.) Time Alone
3.) Among The Leaves
4.) I Can’t Believe
5.) Lure
6.) Surrender
7.) Remember The Stars
8.) Lovelorn
9.) Persia
10.) The Red & The Black
11.) Bluer Skies
12.) To Dance by Moonlight (Live)
13.) The Calling
14.) Return of the Old Forest

Arise From Thorns are:
Michelle Loose: vocals, piano, keyboards
Scott Loose: acoustic & electric guitars
Trevor Schrotz: drums & percussion
Chris Welborn: bass guitar
Tom Philips: electric guitar (live)

Arise From Thorns
P.O. Box 1077
Dale City, Virginia 22193

Official Website:

Dark Symphonies:

Where The Sleeping Shadows Lie
~reviewed by Matthew

Chicago’s Avernus is a band that has had its fair share of ups and downs.   The ups are some of the most important moments in Doom metal history, the downs being somewhat unwarranted and can be attributed mainly to a natural  experimentation that is often yielded by creativity.

In 1994, the metal underground was graced with the presence of Avernus’ demo  “Sadness.”  To this day it is one of the most sought after, adored, and in many ways, inspiring demos of the last decade.  It contained four extremely  emotional tracks, with the anguished guttural vocals in the vein of early My Dying Bride and the dense guitar chords and melancholic harmonies that are part and parcel to both Gothic metal and Doom metal.  The most unique aspect of the CD is the use of what sounds like a synthesized cello or violin to produce beautiful lead melodies.  But in actuality the sound is created by a guitar-synth, and it is responsible for a gorgeous effect that is without a doubt the very essence of ‘sadness’ at times.  The EP also featured the female vocal talents of a young Kimberly Goss, before she moved off to Europe where she is now fronting the band Synergy…a band I will decline to express any opinions on. She should have stuck with Avernus, but that’s a different story all together.

Shortly after the release of “Sadness,” Avernus followed it up with their debut “Of The Fallen,” which was not as readily embraced by critics or fans.

The reason?  The album had a much more experimental tone without as dense a guitar sound, more clean vocals, and synth sounds that were not quite up to par in terms of any resemblance of an organic sound.  In the time between the release of their demo and debut full-length, the members of Avernus began to explore different styles of music, most notably the works of Dead Can Dance and Lorenna McKennit, which lead to a subtle middle eastern influence on several of the keyboard tracks on the CD.  Basically, the band grew up.  They grew tired of the cliché vocal grunts and bands seemed to be able to manufacture a feeling of sadness almost as easily as picking up a guitar.  The Goth Metal scene was extremely crowded at this time, with Theatre Of Tragedy, Moonspell, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, and Anathema all releasing critically acclaimed trend-setting albums and an uncountable number of bands attempting to follow in their footsteps.  Thus, the core of Avernus basically began pulling itself apart, with members arguing over the direction of the band.  Perhaps “Of The Fallen” could have been a better album had the members all reached some kind of artistic medium, but alas, the final product was sadly mediocre.

What fans can respect about Avernus is that founding member Rick McCoy has stuck to his guns.  He is well aware the general opinion of Avernus’ later material and he openly accepts responsibility for it.   Rick and the band have taken a severe beating by the press and fans of both Gothic and Doom metal, but he hasn’t given up thankfully.  Knowing full well the importance of the “Sadness” demo, it has been re-released on CD as a gift to doom fans in the form of the new 78-minute retrospective “Where The Sleeping Shadows Lie.”  Making up the remainder of the CD are outtakes and unreleased material from the past five or more years.  Granted, the material is not as powerful or accessible as the “Sadness” tracks, but after a few listens, you begin to see where the band is coming from and the music really does begin to grow on you.  In the tracks “Downpour” and “For Every Waking Moment,” the guitars return to the forefront, yet Avernus are not simply regurgitating their old style.  The new material shows the band developing a new sound, a cornucopia of their bleak doom metal roots and their more avant-garde alternative experimentations.   I feel the band is getting warmer and closer to finding the right mix, and within the next year we will see Avernus’ return to form without having to sacrifice their artistic creativity.

In the meantime, at last, “Sadness” is available on compact disc and if you are a fan of doom metal or dark gothic metal, this is an absolute must.

Track List:
1.) An Endless Sea Of Evening
2.) The Faustian Heart
3.) Anastasia
4.) Ashes Of Adoration
5.) Godlessness
6.) Dreamburn
7.) Disappear
8.) Silver And Black
9.) For Every Waking Moment
10.) Downpour

Avernus is, was, and does…
Rick McCoy – lead vocals / synthesizer (all tracks)
James Genenz – guitar (7-10) / bass (9-10)
Brian Whited – bass guitar
Jeff Joseph – keyboards, synths, and effects
Bill Hanning – drums and percussion (9-10)
Erik Kikke – guitar (all tracks)
Tony Volpe – bass guitar (1-8)
Roberto Franco – guitar (1-6)
Chris Predkiewicz – keyboards (5-10)
Rick Yifrach – drums (1-8)
Kimberly Goss – female vocals (1-5)
Nikki Spinden – female vocals (10)

Official Website:

Avernus Mp3 site:


P.O. Box 508257
Cicero, IL 60804 USA

Falling Forward
~reviewed by Kevin

Although I live in New York, I hadn't yet heard of Brooklyn-based ethereal duo Basque when Blu sent me Falling Forward.  After listening to their CD a couple of times, I'm sorry I missed them.  They are a band with a mature, quirky and deceptively simple vision, and Falling Forward is definitely a worthy effort.

The CD opens on a breathtaking note with "Somefire."  Brandt is one of the most creative bassists I've ever heard: I'm reminded of mid-period Robert Fripp taken down an octave.  Maryasque's vocalise fills the spaces between his occasional notes like Gordon Haskell's trumpet playing on Eno's Ambient albums.  From that auspicious beginning, things only get better with Falling Forward.  A reviewer from 'sup magazine referred to Maryesque's voice as "Sinead O'Connor meets Enya."  It's not a bad comparison, particularly in this title track.  In "Kamehameha" and "Inheritance" Brandt makes his bass sound like a Digideroo, providing a World Music flavor to the proceedings.  "In the Hollow of your Hand" continues on in this vein, while "Orange Colored Sky" closes things on a whimsical a capella note that once again shows off Maryesque's considerable vocal talents.

This is definitely a CD which rewards repeated listens: hell, I'd go so far as to call it a CD which requires repeated listens.  My first impression was that they were making pretty but not particularly adventurous or interesting music: only after I gave it a second, serious listen did I realize just how *good* these guys really are.  Like Henryk Gorecki or Anton Bruckner, this is subtle stuff.  Some critics have called it "ambient," but that is misleading.  Ambient music is intended to function as a backdrop and not as a *ding an sich*; Basque's music, on the other hand, demands ... and rewards ... close attention.  This one is highly recommended.

Official Page:(Includes band bio, contact info, and order form for CDs)

Basque on MP3.com (includes free sample tracks)

Falling Forward
~reviewed by BlackOrpheus

Maryasque and Brandt are god's mouthpiece,  instruments of divine revelation.  What they can convey in the echo, swell, and fade of Basque is nothing short of the mysteries of ones own soul.  It's hard to imagine the otherworldly sound of Basque having its inception in the babel that is New York City.  That is the wonder of omnipresence.

The band has been together for about four years now. They have three releases out; their self titled debut, Radiate, and their current release Falling Forward.  I culled most of my information from their website.  I'd like to tell you a little more about the band, but regretfully their bio page was not so much a bio, as a  mission statement.  While this isn't bad in and of itself, it does complicate my job.  I'd like to see this remedied, and I think a page with song lyrics printed would be helpful as well.  What I can tell you is this, Falling Forward  is a work of uncompromising beauty and intelligence.  It wraps its wings about you, sheltering you within this place of safety and fortifying the spirit for its inevitable re-emergence.  In the tradition of Dead Can Dance, and Loreena McKennit, has emerged another voice that is fluent in  the language of our inner selves.  I can and do recommend Basque's Falling Forward.

There's a great deal of choice out there in the marketplace.  There is music to entertain, and then there is music that exists for no other purpose than to edify.  This is Basque, don't be content until you've shared in this experience.

Track Listing:
1) SomeFire
2) Falling Forward
3) Kamehameha
4) Grey and Green
5) Inheritance
6) In the Hollow of Your Hand
7) Orange Colored Sky

The Band are:  Maryasque (vocals, guitar)
                              Brandt (Bass, guitar)

Web Presence:
Official Page:(Includes band bio, contact info, and order form for CDs)

Basque on MP3.com (includes free sample tracks)
Cry for Me
~reviewed by Wolf

It's no secret that I fell hard and fast for Breather, the talented Chicago trio whose music inspires endlessly and hits home hard, yet always with elegance, when it comes to matters of the heart. The wait for a follow-up to their 1998 debut ep A Slow Red Whisper of Rain has been agonizing, but certainly worthwhile now that Cry for Me is finally available and on repeat in my cd player.

This ep presents 3 new tracks and 4 remixes, the latter showcasing the talents of other artists. On the titletrack, a powerful example of Breather's melancholy shoegazer sound, Scott and Alicia demonstrate a new level of maturity in the handling of their instruments. Breather is more than ever a gentle monster of huge potential, washing over the listener with a myriad of guitar parts and a refreshingly diverse song structure. And of course it wouldn't be the same without Jessica's emotionally charged vocals; so fragile and honest, it almost hurts. As already displayed on the first ep, the band also knows damn well how important breakdowns and crescendos are to good music. "Cry for Me" is filled with all of this and alone makes the cd a worthy sophomore effort.

"Paramour" takes a more uplifting turn, sweet like cool summer evenings and richly layered. It's a compliment to Breather's versatility, something they have definitely improved upon since the first cd. The band's sound is more focused now and they're clearly aware of what they want, channeling the raw, untamed beauty of A Slow Red Whisper of Rain into a logical evolution of their music.

On "Catharsis" Breather reminds me slightly of Sky Cries Mary; ethereal soundscapes interrupted by untamed outbursts. The vocals are simply outstanding on this track and the perfect addition to the, once again, complex and varied songstructure. Their music still retains that floating minimal feel, yet there's so much more to it this time around.

The first remix is of "Catharsis", provided by a duo named Ictus and Goink of the nineteen point five collective. Imagine Battery giving Breather a trip-hop industrial make-over and you're pretty close to what this sounds like. Excellent remix and 19.5 is definitely on my list of bands to check out. Andre of A New January remixes "All the Beauty", also quite succesfully. Frantic beats and a fresh approach to the dreamy feel of the original make this another name that sparks interest.

"Cry for Me" receives a more electro/aggro treatment, courtesy of Billy Seagrave, Henry Rexford and Paul Gladden. This certainly adds even more diversity to the disc, which is reinforced by the pulsar ambient mix of "Gone". This remix, executed by someone simply listed as Nurbs brings the cd to a beautifully calm ending, echoing with just as much promise as every other contributor on this cd.

This is my favorite cd of the year so far, beating new releases by some of my longtime favorite acts hands down. As with their first ep words escape me to describe Breather's beauty. The way their music draws me in and lingers so pleasantly throughout my days...if only all music could be like this. My compliments to Jessica, Alicia and Scott for an achievement that is once again "lovely & bloody".

1. cry for me
2. paramour
3. catharsis
4. catharsis (then.i'll.take.you)
5. all the beauty (purple dogs on pluto mix)
6. cry for me (bleeding heart mix)
7. gone (pulsar ambient mix)

Band members:
Alicia Skala
Jessica Cook
Scott Gockerman

Additional info:
Official site: http://www.breather.com
Contact: info@breather.com
Label site: http://www.seraphrecords.com
Contact: info@seraphrecords.com

nineteen point five collective: http://npfc.org
A New January: http://www.anewjanuary.com

American Gothic
~reviewed by Michael Johnson

Carfax Abbey, named after that legendary plot of land purchased by Count Dracula, are as dark and sinister as the legend surrounding this ancient fortress. American Gothic is the second album from this Pennsylvania quintet and although not familiar with their earlier stuff, this is a band that shows quite a bit of promise.

In all fairness, I actually know very little about gothic rock so when this came across my desk, I became a little wary about reviewing it and giving it a fair shot.  The music is primarily layered synthesizer that sometimes reminds me of the latter KMFDM material.  This is blended with guitars, bass, and digital drums.

The vocals are layered as well and range from a frenzied scream to a more solemn tone.  Although it sounds like this may be your standard fare of club-style rock music, this stuff is pretty damn potent.  The guitars and nice and thick and the drumming adds to the punch as well.  “Strange Protection” is a perfect example of this as is the slow, crunchy “Embrace”, which is my favorite song on the album.  “Treason” is nice and agonizing and would be well suited for a nice club track without all the
heavy techno.  Make sure lots of smoke is let out for this one.  The remainder of the CD is strong as well and even though I rarely listen to this type of music, I found myself quickly liking this and surprisingly found the slower stuff more to my tastes.  I love the samples scattered throughout the album, especially the ones at the end of “Cenotaph” and “Stolen”. They are all well placed and ferry you like Charon from one song to the next.  The only weird part is all the samples from the Simpson’s (albeit one of my favorite episodes) that lead out of “Stolen” but just when you think it’s all over, there are two hidden tracks andboth are just as strong as the rest of the album.

This is the type of stuff that could easily get played by a club and add to the dark atmosphere.  As a whole, Carfax Abbey is a strong outfit and they have great mixing and songwriting skills whether they’re doing the heavier tracks or the tormented, bass-laden ballads.  Although I saw no likeness to vampires, they stand up to the dark atmosphere associated with them and do a good job of painting that world with modern chaotic passages and slow, foreboding dirges.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone into gothic/techno/rock and you will hear a band that has found the right formula and are well on their way to being a staple for your collection.

Carfax Abbey is:
Gary – Vox
Paul – Bass
David – Synths, programming, and vox
John – Guitars and guitar synth
Byron – drums, programming, and vox

Website: www.carfaxabbey.com

~reviewed by Matthew

I purposely began to avoid black metal last autumn.  I couldn’t stand it anymore.  The hollow hype, the bands ripping each other off, the press slagging the bands that didn’t deserve it, and the close-minded idiocy of fans telling each other what they were allowed to listen to or perceive as black metal.  So I saved myself a lot of grief and washed my hands of it and directed my attentions elsewhere.

But one band in particular found my Mp3 Station, contacted me and then I was forced to make an important exception.  Celebratum are bar none, the best black metal band I have heard in months.  I like them better than any given big name black metal band you can throw at me.

This is the band’s second CD-R EP, a self-released and self-financed effort that appeared late last year.  The production is crisp, clean, and intelligible.  They are highly complex musicians with an astounding grasp upon majestic and blistering intensity.  Their music whips along not as an unintelligible blur, but as an icy whirlwind of melody and rhythmic precision.  They rely upon their guitars and their guitars alone to bring breathtaking life to their epic melodies.   Drummer Vargon (ex-Hellstorm) is fantastic, and cruises along flawlessly with blast beats, yet the band frequently slow down to incorporate a necessary heaviness.  This not only spares the listener of a useless barrage of manufactured intensity, but it exhibits a masterful ability to vary song structure, thus yielding to more memorable moments within the music.

Bassist/vocalist Romul avoids the trappings of worn out shrieked or even rasped vocals, but opts to throat a deeper voice that is more akin to death metal than black.  Where so many newer bands are caught up within a useless cycle of imitation, and the larger scale bands are shamefully overrated, Celebratum sneak in and succeed in proving the power black metal can have.  Without variation, speed is pointless.  If the production is too muddy to differentiate between notes, it possesses absolutely no musical impact.  Celebratum sport a professional production and stand tall as musicians that are intelligent enough to comprehend the dynamics behind aggressive music.

If the fact that they put time and effort in ensuring their product is listenable makes them less respectable in your eyes as black metal musicians, then the hell with you:  they aren’t merely black metal musicians then, they are above that term.  This is an exceptional outfit that deserves recognition for what they are doing.   For those of you with a mental trend checklist that you run through before you buy records, the band is from Norway, they wear corpse paint, the album was recorded in Abyss studios, and your friends like it.  Hopefully after hearing this record, things will make more sense to you.

A celebration indeed, and as the band’s opening track from their debut demo “Carpe Noctem” states, this is can be proudly hailed as “art beyond darkness.”

Track List:
1.) Spirits
2.) Lurid Breed
3.) Nightfall
4.) The Saga Of Shagradon

Celebratum is:
Romul – vocals/bass
Scython – guitar
Wahrrl – guitar
Vargon – drums

Celebratum – Official Page:

Celebratum – Mp3 Site:


~reviewed by Psionic

Why are there so few women involved in the creation of electronic industrial dance music? It's not like they aren't any less capable of making it. Just look at the likes of Collide, Coptic Rain, The Razor Skyline... The list goes on. But it doesn't go on log enough, not by far. COP Int'l is one label that takes pride in working against this, and their latest offering is a stunning example of how deep the wellspring of female creativity goes. Emileigh Rohn, the intelligence behind Chiasm, has gifted us with an album that prowls around your skull, hunting down those special nodes of neural-receptor that keep us all addicted to this mistress we call industrial music. "Disorder" feels like a darkwave/Goth cd, but it's a deceptive feeling. Make no mistake, this is EBM, but constructed in such a way as to drape you in emotions not entirely common in industrial. Drenched in a mixture of sensuality and spite, Chiasm leave the rest of the pack behind in it's complexity of feelings. Not content with crude howls of angst, there is much depth for those of us who prefer polygamous layers of mood in our music. At the same time, "Disorder" thumps along in a club-floor-filling way, catering to the dance-floor sheep just enough to guarantee a wide array of listeners. I eagerly await further material from Miss Rohn, as Disorder has left me with a craving for more...

1.   Formula
2.   Chiasm
3.   Transparent
4.   Disorder
5.   Fight
6.   Liquefy
7.   Isolated
8.   Cold
9.   Enemy
10. Someone

Chiasm is:
Emileigh Rohn

Chiasm webpresense: http://www.electro-girl.com/
COP Int'l webpresense: http://www.copint.com/

~reviewed by Michael Otley

Canton, Ohio's own low-key Crescendo, formed by Chris Bentley (former Plastik Acid front man) and Leslie Porter, headed to Detroit last year to record their debut CD.  The result is the ghostheartbeats, a descriptive title for this steady, quiet, and haunting release.

The album is dominated by reverberated guitar quietly walking through slow chord changes that float  through each song.  The male voice here is familiar, Chris Bentley sounds like a cross between Jim Morrison and Brendan Perry with a hint of Michael Gira here and there.  Leslie sings gently along, creating an interesting depth for the single narrating 'voice' in the lyrics.  Leslie's occasional percussion (as occasional as Low's) and Chuck Wingeter's bass fill out the sound with surprisingly effective simplicity.

The lengthy opening track, "the most beautiful girl in the world" sets the  mood for the rest of the album, that is slow, reflective, and somehow  celebratory.  The creative "angel voices" samples on track three work  flawlessly to expand the perimeters reached by the album.  The following song, "girl who hides", almost feels like an old U2 song that starts out  slow, but this one stays slow after a brief burst of energy. "Enchanted" could almost be written for Jim Morrison, it's slow, thoughtful, and  seductive sound chants.  "Blemish" is my favorite, chanting "these scars  are so beautiful", the guitar line reminding me momentarily of Faith &  Disease.

For fans of the likes of Low, Faith & Disease, and other slow and  thoughtful groups, Crescendo should be a band to seek out.

1.the most beautiful girl in the world
2.valentines day
3.angel voices (the voice of jeanne mayle)
4.girl who hides
7.drinking song
9.when you were leaving
10.ocean of you
11.guided by the moon
12.blue kiss

chris bentley- vocals, guitar
leslie porter- vocals, all precussion
chuck wingeter- bass

contact: Creepers74@aol.com

Cinema Strange
7” Singles
~reviewed by Matthew

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cinema Strange
Cinema Strange
~reviewed by Blu

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

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

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

Lyrics from "Greensward Grey":

“There is blood on the hooves of the fauns on the Greensward Grey…
For they tread through the gristle of the lawn today…
Don’t they see the roseate faces of my wives,
As they lay disemboweled on the Greensward Grey

This park is rank and slippery,
Skip and watch the kite tails,
Don’t trip on the entrails,
White and ligamental blossoms jutting from the earth,
When have toadstools ever grown toenails?"

The opening track "Aboriginal Anemia" is a gemm starting out right off the bat with what I assume is an old movie promo/advert - scratchy old vinyl sound skipping and  repeating "Cine-ma! Cine-ma!"  Cue plodding bass line and the stage is set. Lucas's unique vocals set in - drifting somewhere between man, boy, muse and nite spirit, he sings of images that rival the strangest parts of Alice In Wonderland --

"your bitter family...
Holding court without your cousins,
reprimand your vital sanction...
anxious ears solicit thee,
my snarling spies sit down to tea,
and ignore the bubbling sores that swell and spit along your backbone"
And our boys are not only spooky, and musically creative, but they're well versed in the gothiest of literature as track 2, "Moundshroud", (which I haven't found the lyrics to yet), is supposedly a tribute to Ray Bradbury's short novel "The Halloween Tree" which has been a favorite of mine since I can remember reading - (my own copy of it worn thin, pages old and yellow.) The droning keyboard here is my favorite element in this song - straight out of the black and white horror films - whining, creeping and mossing about. . Another literary example would be the lyrics of "Hebenon Vial" which are "Shakespearean imagery, mostly based around Hamlet." [Murder most foul!] "Nightfalls" is faster, reminiscent punk, much like  Bella Morte's "Where Shadows Lie."  Here again, the keyboard melody is completely addictive and I find myself unconsciously humming along and twisting to it.

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

Lindsey’s Trachea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cinema Strange ~ official site. biography, discography, tour dates, images, lyrics, merchandise.
Cinema Strange ~ an updated and edited mirror of the above site.
Cinema Strange on mp3.com.
Official Cinema Strange Message Board
Cinema Strange Club at Yahoo!.
Cinema Strange Mailing List at eGroups.
Cinema Strange Webring at webring.org.

buy albums: Cinema Strange Metropolis Records Infrarot Middle Pillar Isotank mp3.com

Cinema Strange Attacks Europe
Citizens of western europe beware, CINEMA STRANGE is about to unleash rock & violence across your land.  Well, not that much violence, but lots of DEATH ROCK.  FOr those of you state side, CINEMA STRANGE will be back in southern california later this spring to rock your world.  Check the official CINEMA STRANGE homepage for details, but here is a quick run down of the fury:

Cinema Strange - Official Homepage

Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
~reviewed by Michael Johnson

Little now remains of the infrastructure that was Dimmu Borgir only one year ago.  With half of the band leaving due to other projects and musical differences, vocalist Shagrath was left with little option but to rebuild.  Nick Barker was reeled in after his departure from Cradle of Filth, Simen (aka ICS Vortex) left Borknager to become a permanent member, and seemingly at the last minute, Galder from Old Man’s Child joined this mighty lineup to complete the dual guitar attack.  With an lineup as impressive as this, the expectations fell heavy upon this band to release an album that would be remembered for years to come and without a doubt, Dimmu Borgir have come screaming out of the black castle after which the band was named and delivered the best album of the year to date.

Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia wastes little time in showing the listener that things have changed in the Dimmu camp.  A twelve-piece orchestra was used and with Mustis behind the composition, “Fear and Wonder” gently swoons you with lavish textures before the jaws of this album snap open and devour you.  “Blessings Upon The Throne of Tyranny” fully reveals the new and improved Dimmu Borgir and a few new surprises have been added to their arsenal such as the vocal distortion used by Shagrath in choice moments of the album.  Although he has stated that Dimmu will never become The Kovenant, some of these distortions sound very much like them and it works.  Galder’s work, although done with the album almost complete, shines
through in the few scattered solos and many of the riffs.  Also, without a doubt, this is some of the best work Nick Barker has contributed to the music scene as well.

The production is absolutely flawless.  Dimmu decided to abandon Peter Tagtgren and Abyss Studios for Fredrik Nordstrom and Fredman Studios because they thought production on the last album was a little fuzzy.  This has proved to be yet another step in the right direction as it now sounds more mature.

This album blazes through nine other tracks other than the one’s I have mentioned so far.  Each track is a masterpiece in itself and it is easy to see the attention to detail that went into this album.  “Kings of the Carnival Creation” is one of my favorites as is
“IndoctriNation” and “The Maelstrom Mephisto”.  In “Puritanica”, we see Dimmu doing a bit of experimenting.  All the vocals are distorted and it actually does sound like a heavier version of a Kovenant song sans all the electronica.  Although it doesn’t have as much of a kick as the other tracks, it’s a welcome breather and is another one of my favorites.  The album tapers to an end with a bit of irony composed by Shagrath called “Perfection or Vanity”.  Again the orchestra comes into play and this rich track is a fitting end.

I personally did not like their last release Spiritual Black Dimensions.  The keyboards were highly overused, as were Simen’s vocals, which took away most of the potential for this album.  Thankfully, both of these have been used in moderation and they enhance, rather than tear away from the song structure.  Originally, Carl Macoy (Fields of the Nephilim) was supposed to sing the parts Simen ended up doing but couldn’t due to other obligations.  Hopefully Dimmu will keep him in mind for the future, as it would be interesting to see him paired with the band.

Dimmu Borgir was dangerously close to commercially breaking through on their last album and then the band seemed to fall apart.  Shagrath, Silenoz and Mustis remained loyal to the band and pieced it together again with a lineup that caused fans jaws to drop every time another member was added.  Even with this kind of pressure, Dimmu has come through stronger than
ever and released their best album to date.  The trick will be to top this one but for now, let us relish this moment in musical history when this absolutely essential album was released.

Dimmu Borgir is:
Shagrath - Vocals & Synth
Silenoz – Guitars
Galder – Lead Guitars
Mustis – Synthetics & Samples
Vortex – Bass Guitars & Clean Vocals
Nicholas – Drums

Website: www.dimmu-borgir.com

Label Info
Smail: Nuclear Blast US
P.O. Box 1074 Canal St. Station
New York, NY 10013

Email: paula@nuclearblast-usa.com
Website: http://www.nuclearblast-usa.com

Day of Reckoning
~Reviewed by Michael Johnson

Day of Reckoning stands as the debut album of this band even though they have an EP and a self-released full-length album.  The EP got them noticed in Boston and they have been on the upswing ever since signing with Now Or Never Records.

Diecast have marvelously combined hardcore with full on metal.  Day of Reckoning is jam packed with great guitar hooks and fantastic drumming.  The vocals are primarily a guttural growl but tend to soar upward towards the style of The Offspring.  Some songs do lean toward commercial play such as “Singled Out” but Diecast remain true to their intent and even these songs are a kick in the ass.

From start to finish Day of Reckoning delivers and I was hooked within the first few songs.  A label of metalcore has been attached to this band and it fits perfectly, as it is more metal than hardcore.  For a debut album, this is extremely potent and songs like “Exacting My Revenge”, “Disrepair”, and “Solace” will find themselves being spun over and over again in your player.  Even though the album is only 46 minutes long, it is well rounded and complete and after only one listen, you will agree that this was a very satisfying purchase.

Track Listing
3.In the Shadows
4.Singled Out
6.Exacting My Revenge
7.Remember the Fallen
9.Invent The Truth
11.Day of Reckoning

Website: www.bhcdiecast.com
Label: www.noworneverrecords.com
Email: info@noworneverrecords.com

Doomsday Kult
The End is Near
~reviewed by Jett Black

Now, you might want to stand back as I feel the need to gush praise and adulation for this particular home-studio realease. More than a month of careful review of this entire cd has resulted in a staggering lack of constructive criticism.

I should mention however that this music targets fans of darker dance music filled with movie-samples, and other recorded sound samples, electro and techno hybrids of dance, gothic, and industrial flavours in a Ben and Jerry's approach to delicious dance music production.

If you're not into that sort of music, then don't buy it.

However, if you want to add a well-produced sensation to the dance floor, a dance radio format, or just for excellent bouncin' and driving-all-over-the-road type music, then The End Is Near belongs in your collection.

DISCLAIMER:  Beware of other drivers and pedestrians as we are not responsible for your driving skills while you daydream of dancing to the music.

Now that you've been explicitly warned about the negligible damages that listening and driving may have upon your motor vehicle report...

Let's talk about the music.

 If one track were to stand out the most, I'd say it was in fact two tracks.

 "Father Mercy" appearing twice on The End is Near, features the vocals of Micheal Donnelly of "Translucent"an indie band from Atlanta, Georgia.  Michael has contributed 2 vocal versions of "Father Mercy" to The End is Near and Robert reports that subsequent to the release of The End is Near, he and Michael are working on another track.  I'll be looking forward to any upcoming releases by DDK.

Check out these two "Father Mercy" versons and 14 other tracks avalable via mp3 at:  http://www.mp3.com/DDK Samplings support a great deal of electro-dance music these days...

How the samples on The End is Near are introduced and woven into the music reminds me of The Azoic (Nilaihah records) 1998 release "Where Broken Angels Lie". Certainly, if you and your's continue to enjoy that, which I believe was one of the very best cds to come out of 1998, then The End is Near is right up your darkest alley.

Track three - P. Z. Brite (1:54)  - Another personal favourite on The End is Near. Obviously, not long enough to be a dance track, I like this one for the creepy little girl voice speaking creepy little words, which I assume are taken from a P. Z. Brite novel. The style again reminds me of The Azoic and also a bit of Oneiroid Psychosis, music for creep-a-holics like myself. Having occasion to peruse Sonya Brown's interview with DoomsDayKult, I read that the voice of that little girl is in fact P. Z. Brite, age 3. Some of us are born creepy!  And some folks are just born creeps. This review, however, is not meant to become an auto-biography.

Following closely is "This Kind of Evil", a basic stab against organised religion.  Done very well via the words of an outspoken woman commenting on how religious oppression produces the cream of upstanding citizenry.  She provides as a detailed example, Jeffrey Dahmer.

DDK recordings reflect some of the electronic gear that feeds my growing fascinations with musical gear in general. A Korg Triton, Cakewalk Gold flowing through an hp 733mhz (UNgoth-green with envy), and Roland 301 Groove Keys. Coupled with dedication and skill, integrated effects of musical gear help musicians unleash today music that we otherwise might not hear at all.

Jumping ahead to track 11 - Rivethead - "The DaRk RaVe Mix" .. as implied, this track provides for the style of dance music one might expect at an industrial rave.

Track 12 - "Dance of the DeAd" keeps the dance floor moving with a sense of persistent urgency.

And finally, the last track (dreaded #13) "Thee MACHINE" pulls together the themes of the fear of the unknown and how religion, politics, and computer and information technology somehow seem to become feeders upon one another as the whole planet goes to Hell.

CD Cover Insert gratitude goes out to (among others) In Perpetual Motion internet radio, Legends Magazine, and Nepenthacea. A bit of brief research turns up news of another DDK release.. a 2-cd set entitled The Complete DDK upon which Legends Magazine writes:

"Bob's track listing seems to sink deeper into a moodier darkness as the CD spins. All tracks stand on their own, but as you reach the second CD area of the disk it gets blacker in melodies, occasional vocals and more subtle rhythms. It's almost like an accidental journey."
Marcus Pan, http://www.legendsmagazine.net/108/doomsday.htm

Thoroughly inundated with The End is Near, now I know what to seek out next!

Doomsday Kult - "The End is Near"
RIvItHeAdReCoRdS release 2000

1.  Salvation (3:14)
2.  I'm Nobody (5:06)
3.  P. Z. Brite (1:54)
4.  This Kind of Evil (2:30)
5.  Dark Days Ahead - "The Groovy mix" (4:06)
6.  Going to Hell (2:07)
7.  Fun with Drugs (4:50)
8.  Computer Nitemare (2:49)
9.  Father Mercy - "The DDK Mix" (3:16)
10. Father Mercy - "The Father Donnelly Mix" (3:25)
11. Rivethead - "The DaRk RaVe Mix" (4:09)
12. Dance of the DeAd (5:25)
13. Thee MACHINE (3:44)

More RhR info: http://doomzdaykult.tripod.com/rivitheadrecords/

DoomsDayKult music available online at the following locations:

Nepenthacea music distributions - http://www.angelfire.com/music/nepenthacea/

And off-line, in Florida, DDK music available at:
Natural Art Tattoo's, US 19, New Port Richey, Florida.

Feedback with Robert Melendez / DDK
DDK@usahotmail.com  rivitheadrecords@usahotmail.com

A Beheaded Winner and Fragrances of Happiness
~reviewed by Aaron Garland

This is a strange Cd from Athens, Greece which features female vocals (mostly spoken recitals) amidst an aural tapestry of modern and traditional sounds including piano, horn, acoustic guitars, synths, trickling water, and last but not least - authentic chinchilla screams recorded live in a slaughterhouse (?!?)

As a result, the tracks vary with acoustic, classical and martial meandering, serving as a backdrop for excerpts from the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche and Fyodor Dostoevski. Sometimes this combination seems to flow naturally while at other times it sounds forced and awkward.

"I'm a Disciple of God" waxes on the philosophy of the "great and mighty one" as the ultimate embodiment of the union of opposites, the ONE and only parent of the universe (check out the recordings of Boyd Rice/Non for further elaboration) while "Suicidal" sounds like a female Death In June with its horn arrangements.

Overall, some of this is hard to warm up to, even for someone like myself who generally likes this kind of stuff. Maybe it's because there's so much talking on it (not unlike a great many Cd's I already own). Enough already.

Contact: Contemporary Awesome Purple Projects
S.V. Koukoulomatis
Lisiou 8 GR-11146
Athens, Greece
Tel/Fax: ++30(0)1 2924036

Track listing: - Rimus Remedium
  a.. Just for Tonight
  b.. Suicidal
  c.. Mercury Land
  d.. Life is a Cavity, but Love?
  e.. Notes from Underground and Beyond
  f.. I'm a Disciple of God
  g.. The Story of Death part 2

Silber Records Sampler
~reviewed by Michael Otley

From the label that gave us the Alleviation compilation a few years ago also came this less noticed label sampler. Silber-mastermind Brian John Michell compiles the labels artists for a relatively consistent and evolving sound on the compilation.  The sleeve art appears a bit more organized and professional than Alleviation's.  Jon DeRosa of Brighter
Records (also Dead Leaves Rising, Flare, and appearing here Still, Aarktika, and Fade) provides the inspiring and encouraging liner notes.

Remember those "experimental instrumentals" from Alleviation?  Well that's kind of the idea here on Demain for the most part, except I think it'd be fair to say that there is something happening here a bit more organized overall.  The pieces seem more inspired with more direction.  There's an overall feeling present.  Sounds come from guitars with varying degrees of effects, probably some keyboards and God knows what else.

Some of the tracks here could almost be something from Labradford if you added a little more deep end and more intent purposefulness, however you reach that feeling in obscure sound scapes.  Remora (Brian John Mitchell himself) takes on more song structure mid compilation with something ("Angel Stalk") reminding me of a sedated Jesus & Mary Chain.  Later, Vlor could almost be called disjointed indierock on solo guitar.  Fade (Jon DeRosa) contributes a very nice acoustic piece which is essentially Dead Leaves Rising.  The final track by Still is more electronic and beat oriented than anything else on the release including some interesting drum patterns, keyboards, and voice samples wrapping up the whole thing on a different note altogether.

This is a good release for fans of lo-fi sound scape material and Remora fans.  Also if you're itching to look into Jon DeRosa's past, it may be worth the trouble.

1. Origami Arktika -- Skilpadde (4:08)
2. Peter Aldrich -- less visionary than expected (2:12)
3. Peter Aldrich -- cherry romero (2:10)
4. small life form -- decay (1:26)
5. small life form -- mouthed (1:25)
6. My Glass Beside Yours -- self-deliverance (5:29)
7. My Glass Beside Yours -- sixteen (2:05)
8. Remora/Aarktica -- ends (4:11)
9. Remora -- Rivin (1:59)
10. Remora -- Angel Stalk (Anaaron) (2:56)
11. Remora -- Slipsky (2:08)
12. Remora -- Diagnosis (2:47)
13. Remora/Clang Quartet -- distressed (2:11)
14. Clang Quartet -- Idiot (4:13)
15. burMonter -- Thirteen Layers of Heaven (2:52)
16. Vlor -- Guilt Jersey (5:07)
17. Vlor -- valge (2:04)
18. Vlor -- automatic (2:52)
19. fade -- sadness (4:24)
20. still -- each day is like winter (excerpt) (5:18)


This is Tension Avenue
~reviewed by Steph

You must forgive me for starting off with such an atrocious pun, but this album is almost impossible to departmentalize. Then
again, perhaps this was a not so sly joke on the band's part, naming themselves thusly. There are no conventional songs on this album. The songs aren't really songs, but mini compositions, each quite distinct.

A light touch that feels like rainfall dances through one track, and in the a background a soft piano occasionally chimes. Indecipherable sounds shudder and thud from one speaker to another, and the same piano proceeds mournfully through another piece.

Distorted samples of human voices rise and fall, and the few vocals there are on this album are harsh and discordant. There is no telling where the musical pendulum will swing next, and so you sit back and wait, letting the music take control.

A swell of violins introduces another track, rising and falling like waves, and in the next, a harsh grinding sound vibrates faster
and faster at varying pitches until you feel hypnotized.

Known only as Spacious and Gatz, the two musicians who make up Department are masterminds of the incongruous. They are
sonic experimenters, and we, the willing subjects. This is Tension Avenue is an album like no other I have heard this year.

Department is:

Track listing:
Theme for Department
Cure for the world
The Chronological Display
Ethereal Beauty
Gap Access
Breast feeding
We live on Tension Avenue
Everything's a Blur

This album is available through:
Laboratory Records
PO Box 1131
Lalor, VIC,

or through www.chaosmusic.com

Since Long Before (sampler)
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist

This disc is a sampler from the recently released full length album of the  same name on the Crowd Control Activities label. Dreams in Exile is a  Portland, Oregon based duo whose work has gained the attention and support  of the highly acclaimed musician Vidna Obmana.

The history of Corey and Kirk is accually a long standing one, as they first  met nearly 15 years ago at a party in New York. While they soon found  themselves playing at similar parties, they eventually grew apart to follow  seperate dreams. Coming together again years later, they made two demos in  the summer of 1998 under the name Dreams in Exile which were well recieved.  This rich history prepared them for their first full length release in the  summer of 2000, Since Long Before, with the help of Vidna Obmana.

With the experitse of the well-experienced Obmana on production and mixing, this sampler lacks nothing for production values. The three songs are all  top notch, and could just as easily be from seasoned recording artists as a debut release. This is a professional recording with a capital "P" and is  worth checking out for that fact if nothing else.

The songs on the sampler are all gorgeous as well. For example, "Jennie  Haniver" is a sad, melodic tune about a sweet siren, filled with longing and  loss. The slight vocal echo effects in this track give it the qualities of  an erie dream. In general, many of the songs deal with nature on some level, be it imagery of the powerful sea or the majestic forest. The strong natural metaphors give much strength to the beauty of the lyrics in Dreams in Exile's songs, giving us a small glimpse into the band's imagination.

With a production of this quality, I'm sure it's only a matter of time until the world comes knocking on Corey and Kirk's door. This disc is quite an achievement for a band's first release and is of a quality unlike much of what comes across my desk. If you like dreamy music, I seriously suggest you get your hands on this right away.

1. Jennie Haniver
2. Conifer & Fern
3. Oarthanalea

Band Line Up:
Corey Pressman
Kirk Kristlibas
with Vidna Obmana - production

Band Website: http://www.dreamsinexile.com/
Band Email: dreams@aracnet.com

Label Website: http://www.ezlink.com/%7Ecrowded/
Label E-mail: crowded@ezlink.com
Label Smail: Crowd Control Activities, PO Box 2340, Upper Darby, PA 19082,

On Skin
~reviewed by Psionic

Ahh, Tommy T. Call him what you will, as long as it isn't lazy or unmotivated. Aside from his tireless work with DSBP records, he has long been known as the man behind Diverje, the little electro band who could. "On Skin" sees Diverje start to really come into itself as a project. This is the fullest sounding Diverje has ever been, and the most focused. (Which is saying alot, considering how much value Tommy T. places on divergence of styles.) Now, I have to be honest for a second here... As a general rule, I don't care for Tommy T.'s vocal style. But "On Skin" sees Tommy getting kind of angry, and it shines Diverje up like a new penny. Every track on this cd that showcases Tommy's raw vocal aggression stands out, and it is for that reason alone that this is my favorite of all Diverje releases. I likes me angry stuff. As is to be expected from Diverje, quantity is pushed to the forefront, and "On Skin" boasts 16 tracks in total, with 5 remixes for flavour. Everything from melodic EBM to mindlessly brutal powernoise is delivered up, making this disc all the more worth picking up. No longer can Diverje be dismissed as 'That Tommy T. thing'. With "On Skin", Diverje can finally emerge from the under the shadows of the personality behind it's creation, a sleek display of cybernetic industrial-dance music.  High-calibre, hollow-point...

1.   Regret
2.   Suspicion
3.   On Skin
4.   Stimulate
5.   Damaged
6.   In My Shell
7.   Structure
8.   Reject
9.   Cover Up (Vocal Strip Extendo)
10. No Solution
11. Pressure Lock
12. Disconnect (Converter Remix)
13. Scream For Me (Ionic Mayhem At Maximum)
14. Hiding (Cydonia remix)
15. Disconnect (Pain Station remix)
16. Mesmer (Thine Eyes/ML remix)

Diverje is:
Tommy T. Rapisardi
Mikey Turner
Andrea Belluci

Diverje webpresense: http://www.dsbp.cx
DSBP webpresense: http://www.dsbp.cx

Deathline International
~reviewed by DJ Xian

With the euro-swam of flaming synth grooves and resampled, regurgitated beats that has every mainstreamer cheering for the excuse to listen to circuit music AND deck themselves out in dark fetish galore, the industrial musical focus seems to have been blinded by this flash of foreign glow sticks only to become oblivious of good ol' "American" talent.

I'm here to serve my patriotic duty and remind you.

Deathline International; an industrial flux of musical application that has plagued the scene's mindset since the chance birth in the San Francisco, of 1991, at the introduction of German vocalist and cyberpunk enthusiast Count Zero and music programmer Spawn.  A side project joy ride that has turned into a collective bent on assimilation of industrial artists across the globe.  Industrial Music Rules #1 & 2:  side projects never go wrong and assimilation is the only way to fly.  The jumble of over 15 artists, throughout the years including such names as Alfred 23 Hart (jazz god), John Carson (Grotus), Don Gordon (Numb), Keith Arem (Biohazard PCB/Contagion) and many others has given Deathline Int'l the gall to brave the recording studios and stage and succeed where many electronic acts have failed miserably.  Industrial Rule #3: most industrial groups should never attempt any live performances...ever.  Deathline International's stylistic roots in punk and metal has fortunately given the group the endearing qualities of energy and instruments that doubles as an immunity towards dull shows.

The road to success is also the road to ruin as they say, and for a time an untimely death half reared its ugly head.  In 1997, hitting high in German and American charts with their third release, "Arashi Syndrome," creative differences led to Spawn parting ways shortly after the German and US west coast support tours for the album.  Fortunately Deathline Int'l carries the same characteristics as the legendary hydra monster.  With many heads, you would half to take them all to ensure a certain death.  Count Zero later teamed up with the classically trained musician/veteran engineer MO (Nerve Factor) after a brief sabbatical into the role of producer for Razor Skyline, Pulse Legion and Soil & Eclipse.  Together they have redefined the sound of Deathline International and brought us the fourth release, "Cybrid."

"Cybrid" is the delightful rebirth of the concept of strong vocals and the (re)affirmations that EBM industrial programming and guitars can coexist.  MO's influence can clearly be heard in the operatic musical and vocal styles applied throughout "Cybrid."  Most notably in the near symphonic track, "Falling From Grace."  Launching with operatic vocals and filling out with a dramatic darkwave melody, elektro sequences, brooding guitars, and a wagnerian chorus, this would have to be the most interesting track on the album.  Next to the cover of "Paradise City," of course.  There are some who believed hell would freeze over before anyone attempted this and they apparently forgot about the weather conditions of the 9th level, by Dante's records.

The only shortcomings of the album was that there was almost too much of a rigidity in percussiveness and in sound composition.  A handful of the tracks seemed to mirror each other in style, which at this time is my biggest gripe with most European EBM; stale beats and overused samples.  Deathline International still blazes through these demerits and offers an excellent album that continues the challenge against electronic purists and treads ground where few have gone before.  "Industrial music for industrial people."

Cybrid Track Listing
01.  Destroy
02.  Can You Feel It
03.  You Kill Me
04.  He's in My Head
05.  Paradise City
06.  Outcast
07.  Falling From Grace
08.  Iron Rain
09.  Feuer
10.  Liquid Dreams
11.  You Pull the Trigger

Deathline International is:
Vocals - Count Zero
Keys & Vox - M.O.
Guitar & Keys - SLam
Guitar & Drums - Gottesman
Soprano - Marissa Lenhardt.

Deathline International
Website - http://www.copint.com/deathline/

COP International
Website - http://www.copint.com
Email - cop@dnai.com

"Defiance is a term levied by those with no free will." - Sean D.

Die My Darling
Die My Darling Maxi Single
~reviewed by Blu
(photography by L. Jack Zeman courtesy of the DMD website)

This is an all out assault on your senses - sight, sound and emotions. Die My Darling is at first glance - beautiful. From their scantily clad cover art that gets the immediate attention of most straight men I know,  to the band members themselves (who btw, formed the band after a fashion modeling shoot -- go figure... beauty *and* talent). So yes, the picture is pretty, but more importantly, the sound is incredibly different, innovative and refreshing.

Perhaps its Sean's stylish glitter'n'glam background (he was in the popular Hollywood band The Babydolls) or his talent at writing insightful poetry (his collection of poetry and prose called ‘Milk, Blood & Sky,’ is due out soon); Frank's perfectionism when it comes to a mix of musical genres; Lance's eclectic DJ'ing influences; or Entropy's delightfully sinful penchant for punk music and the fetish scene -- that makes Die My Darling sound so different from anything else out there. Most recently they've been nominated by Rock City News Magazine as 'Best L.A. Goth Band' for the Rock City News Music Awards (held 12/7/2000). They're in heavy rotation in Californian goth dance-clubs and are featured on radio shows like GothicRadio.com and DeadAir out of Atlanta.

They've hit on something -- and its quite hard to explain. This 5 song Maxi-Single is quite a teaser- there's only two actual songs and three re-mixes which makes me that much more eager to hear more from this band.The CD contains the songs "Sleep," and "Pain"as well as three remixes of "Sleep" (the Sleepless Remix, the Insomnia Remix and the Night Terrors Remix) and "Pain #13."

"Sleep" is a hard-hitting, bitter, sultry and sometimes sexy song that is a combination of goth, spoken word, industrial/techno and even guitar grinding rock. Its basically a rant over a bad relationship wherein Sean ends up asking "Why just don't you let me ... sleep?" The melody line is simple but catchy, you'll be anticipating the guitar's crunchy entrances and Sean's vocals/spoken performance is amazingly emotional and expressive. Words take on an entire life of their own. The self-loathing and blame for being stupid in the face of love is whole-heartedly felt and yet, when he sighs as he says "Sleep" you get this "ooooo...that way sexy" twinge running through your body. I've always had a penchant for spoken word so this is right up my alley.... the words, well, they're genius.

I am tired of the situation
This predilection
Me, you and this
Co-dependant infection
Your manufactured morality-plastic
My tolerance for pain-elastic
As beneath your
Pharmaceutical synapses I squirm
Sean knows big words -- nothing more attractive than intelligence -- trust me.

"Pain" is more melodic than "Sleep" as far as the vocals go but the music is more harsh - treading somewhere between the rock/industrial mode. On their MP3 site they introduce this song  details "...a first introduction of the single most influential element in history, Pain."

Both songs as well as their electronica and house-jungle remixes can be heard on mp3. Stop by and give them a listen.
Official website: http://www.diemydarling.com
mp3 site: http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/171/die_my_darling.html
photos from the Communion MP3 artist party in LA that DMD attended:
Stay tuned for StarVox for a write up and pictures on this event.

Die My Darling
Sleep  EP
~reviewed by the Rev. Alexavier Strangerz 23.3

The members of die My Darling were in force at the communion show.  I did not get to speak to them much, but they had great style.  A combination of gentlemen, and outlaws.  A perfect combination for a band aspiring in the Gothic Rock genre.  The girls seem to be very happy with these guys being in house as well.  So lets peel away the skin of this single, and see what it is all about.

 1) Sleep.   "Why don't you just let me....   SLEEP."
Straight from the hip with no room for BS  This original version is a great Rock ballad.  Who has not felt this way.  As a traveler or a musician, sometimes we don't even want to et out of bed.  Let alone be awake for the experience!!!

 2) Pain.   " I am the sun that tears your skin...."
O.K. I can already start to see what these guys are all about.  Bass, guitar, and droning rhythms all complimented by those wondrous high synth lines.  The voice is very similar to Sleep.  The ID of another tortured soul.  " My name is pain!"

 3) Sleep- Sleepless Rx
How many times has something been compared to NIN?  Trent was not the first to utilize the effects also present on this track!  Yet he somehow cornered it.  I think this more vocally manipulated, sonic escapist version of Sleep is my pick for dance floor play.  It sure beats the pants off of any NEW NAILS tracks.

4) Sleep- Insomnia Rx
Oops.  Did I speak to soon.  The Chinese bells intro, with screaming echo of the original lyrics is more reminiscent of Skinny Puppy.  That is a high compliment from me.  So now I have two very club friendly versions of this ode to insomnia and disgust.  Who wants to play the same track every week anyway.  This takes a bit more time to build up, and is another track that if you did not find, you may not have been away of how much good stuff was being done in the year 2000.

 5) Sleep- Night Terrors Rx
Another slow builder, this time the guitar work is the main foci.  Shrieking girls , accompanied by a loan groaning chant.  "sleep, sleep, sleep."  Yet the music is not any kind of lullaby, and your not feeling tired.  Maybe hypnosis in reverse.  WAKE UP.  There are good bands out there.  I'll have to ask them!

6) Pain #13
They decided to make this Track 13.  I would like to see the next version, maybe Pain #23...  Another outlook on the problems with pain.  Not a song that likes to turn the other cheek, but turn a bright light on the situation.  The vocal structure is almost completely reversed on this version.  Showing that throughout this release, the vocals of Sean D. are more versatile than the first two tracks led me to believe.  Hey this is just a single after all.  Still , if this was the only Die My Darling I had ever heard.  I'd be very interested.  Remind me to go see them live.  When is my next trip to LA

 " and you, need me too ....   Submit!"

All Rx's by Reiche.  He also produced this release with the rest of Die My Darling at 'The Crypt' in Hollywood, California.
Die My Darling is : Sean D. VOX/ Reiche.  Guitars, Noises, and Programming, and Lance Duber.  Guitars, Entropy Guitars.


Travelogue II
~reviewed by Psionic

And once again I find in my hands a jewel of audio work with virtually no background information. Soleilmoon, that fine bastion of experimentalism, has drenched me in music that defies conventions, and that has no detailing. Dark Star is amongst the most impressive of the slew of material Soleilmoon has recently blessed me with, but for the life of me I cannot find much for details on the project. According to their (woefully sparse) website, the Dark Star project has been around since 1988, and has a back-catalogue of material that counts at 6 full length releases plus various compilation appearances. Between the years of 1994 and 2000 Dark Star was mysteriously silent, Travelogue II being the first offering in 6 years. So what was the holdup guys? I think the world deserves material as good as this on a semi-regular basis, without 6 year delays.. But that's just me, I guess. This particular release was co-written with the Legendary Pink Dots, and as such comes across like a lost Pink Dots album. Edward Ka-Spel's vocal work being the instantly recognizable creature that it is, this disc unfortunately suffers from an identity crises of sorts... Is it Dark Star, or is it LPD? The music itself is beautifully psychedelic, in a twisted sort of way.. But so is the Pink Dots' music. Now don't get me wrong, I love the Pink Dots, so it's all good to me, especially 'cause in terms of content Travelogue II is stronger than the last three pink Dots albums combined. I just find it hard to differentiate this project from the Pink Dots. Quirkier, more spaced out, and trippier than the pink Dots have been for some time, Travelogue II is just the thing those of us who crave the warped old-school LPD have been waiting for. I imagine I'll be sailing around the stratosphere to this for some time to come. Highly recommended, a must-have for electronic-psychedelia fans!

1.   Eject!
2.   Opal
3.   Frantic Upstream
4.   The Slice Of Life
5.   Don't Look 'Til It's Gone
6.   Go Beyond, But...
7.   Come To
8.   Masterplace
9.   Solaris
10. Belvedere
11. Solaris II

Dark Star is (Collectively):
Gotz Adler
Reece Kyo!
Yorgos DK
Rodrigo Gonzalez
Wolfgang Baer
Kurt Maninouk
Volkmar Meidtke
The Legendary Pink Dots

Dark Star webpresense: http://www.surfling.de/darkstar/
Solielmoon webpresense: http://www.soleilmoon.com

Drop Shadow
~reviewed by DJ Xian

The passionate lovechild of God Lives Underwater and the Deftones, or so you would think, Drop Shadow is true proof that Ohio is the birthing grounds for great talent.  They can be proud of the fact that every band competition they have entered they have made it to the finals and walked away with prizes.  From the melancholic "Fade Away" to the quirky beats of "Blue Track 2" to the driving intensity of "Hide and Seek", there is no lack of stylistic expression.  No lacking in taste or musical sensabilities, their sound production is exquisite, their lyrics fresh.  I am shocked that they are not signed.  It almost feels too professional to truely believe they are a band that has not been grabbed up by any label.  There is too much praise to be heard for their studio work and their performances.

Drop Shadow's line up is one Ben Patry, Tim Kindberg, Mike Gruber and Nick Wintge.  Ben Patry is the owner of one hell of a set of vocals that offer the most beautifully intense screaming as well as the sweetest serenading of the mic stand.  On top of it all he manages to strum out increadible bass lines.  Tim Kindberg not only contributes background vocals but unleashes awesome talent and precision through his guitar, filling Drop Shadow's sound and giving it life.  Mike Gruber's job is just as important as he dexterously works the keyboards and provides just the right sampling.  The absense of any of his contributions are unthinkable.  Nick Wientge is the evil mastermind behind all the percussion.  Both electronic and drum.  Unfortunately Nick has departed from Drop Shadow and they are busying themselves with the training of a new member which will limit the number of their shows for the time being.  So, boys and girls, this means that if you hear of any Drop Shadow performance in your area, run.  Don't walk.  You will be kicking yourself later on if you miss it.

Drop Shadow
P.O. Box 42311
Cincinnati, OH 45242

taai liira
~reviewed by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz

We may have the Russian answer to two very poplar acts this side of Europe.  Coming in as one part Chameleons, and one part Current 93 (in a really dark mood)  the vocals on these demo's may be hard pills to swallow for some, yet you can't say this band is trying to be another Sisters, Bauhaus or Cure!  Instead you may vind them similar to the mystereous band DEATH IN JUNE ,  as this snip from the website points out...

Dvar - is a mysterious occult bands that keeps in secret all the information, including its lineup and dislocation. Dvar is a gothic sensation of the year, their track embodies darkwave as it is. We don't have information about Dvar's releases, but we know their album "Raii" and CDR-single "Taai Liira".

The most outstanding thing is the mixture of instruments form old to new.  The percussion stands out ,and the strings are rich, and real.  I do not believe they are speaking in any intelligible language on any track, but I may be wrong.  At some points I am imagine the main vocalist as a little golum or even troll like character, and could do the voices for a Tim Burton feature.  This is very unique and will go in my collection with 'uncategorizable'.  The last two tracks do not at first seem to be representations of each other, yet they do work together very well.  Track 3 is probably my favorite, and DJ Meanor does some very interesting things to it as well. We do  Thank you Motherland and Glasnost.   Welcome to the Russian Darkwave

1. Hissen Raii
2. iina tamiira
3.  taai Jiira (edit)
4. taai Jiira (light remix*)   mix by DJ Meanor


Edward Artemiev
A Book Of Impressions
~reviewed by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz

Re-mixed and re-mastered in 2000, this "book" of music was recorded originally from 1975 throughout o 1996. An amazing scope of vision, and elements.  This is "ambient" music is borderline classical, not necessarily the classic music we might think of with Russia but more of a Philip Glass meets the Mahvishnu Orchestra effect.  Some truly moving atmospheres ,and a literature of landscapes.

1. Out There, Where  (1988) 05:02

Just like the 80's best in this genre,  Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, etc. etc.  With great anthems and composition.  Could work well as an introduction piece for a Techno/Industrial DJ.

2. I'd Like to Return (1993) 11:30

As the name and title of this track suggest,  expect a long journey into space,  and a feeling of longing for the things taken for granted.   This is well crafted piece, and not for parties , or for introducing to potential new girlfriends, but it is very unique, and constructed similar to the noise loop, energy ambiance found in certain Psychic TV , Hafler Trio, pieces...

3. RITUAL  (1991) 03:25

Shorter yet just as powerful,  the ritual can get lost in the mood of the previous track, yet this is more classic example of ambient.  Still experimental , but more straight forward.

4. Three Regards On The Revolution. (1987) 13:31

Another long escalating piece.  It is very rare to find the emotion and energy present here.  This again is a borderline piece of classical composition, but with some of the most fantastic samples, loops, and instrumentation.  More than worth the 13 minute ride which seem to end too soon once you get comfy with the track.  Superb,  I hope more Americans will here this and wish they had not waited 14 years to do so.

5. Touch to the Mystery ( 1993) 03:25

There is a way in the ambient world to replicate the sound of water, or very deep things, like wells, or vast stretches of ethereal matter.  This song is the epitome of that discovery, and in some ways, feels even longer than the previous track.  Maybe it just made me feel lonely?  Nice touch!

6. In The Nets of Time (1993)  02:31

Starting with rhythmic content, this  is reminiscent of the Pink Floyd classic Time,  yet not as rock n roll.  More electro-industrial.  The works of the song all click or moving like that if a world clock.  VERY RECOMMENDED!

 7. Noospere (1975)  09:55

Once again, the dating of this for 1975 , does not seem to matter, the new production, or added value to this make it timeless and classical.  There are no seems from the previous more upbeat track to this calmer mood.

8. Mirage (1976) 05:22

As much as many of the previous tracks have been about vastness and desolation, this track is like sparkling running water near an Earthbound oasis...  Take a sip, or just sit by and watch the shimmering reflections

9. Intangible (1996) 03:06
....and possibly inconceivable,  you'll have to figure this one out yourself!!!

10. Peregrini (1975) 17:10

Set the controls for the heart of the sun, and don't forget the hyperdrive....    This finale leaves you feeling a bit 'played' with as rhythmic content and synth lines collide in an emotional piece of art.   The ambient middle work, with samples of deep voiced commentary brings this piece together nicely. This is truly a combination of all the processes so far.   Bringing you a new respect for the artist ,and the command for the synthesized instruments that he has.   Once again the comparisons to Vangelis , and Tangerine are possible, yet the date of 1975 might suggest that those guys might have this piece in their personal libraries already.   I only wish I had sooner myself....


~reviewed by Matthew

Where as bands like My Dying Bride, Anathema, Thorns Of The Carrion, and the like are submerged beneath the currents of literal Romanticism and are prone to portray beauty through an admirable sympathetic tragedy, one band in particular take cues from the motifs of Naturalism. Within such art, the uncaring aspects of nature are stressed and celebrated in a nihilistic yet reluctant misanthropy.  There is no god, no hope, no choices as death is an inevitability, perched at the edge of life, knowing it impossible for humanity to escape from its patient grasp.  Such a psychology of fear and impending doom is brilliantly expressed through the music of Evoken, a supremely underrated cult act from New Jersey.

Baring the funereal dirges of Skepticism, I doubt there is a band on this planet as emotionally devastating and abysmally dark as Evoken.  With one 1994 EP and a single full-length entitled Embrace The Emptiness under their belts, this band has quickly established a tight following of loyal fans in the darkest corners of the doom and gothic metal genres.  Though having such an intense and awe-inspiring sound, it is truly a shame that this band hasn’t acquired a worldwide fan base.  Dark music fans need to hear this! Evoken do not compromise their sound.  They are definitely one of the most genuine doom metal acts active today, as they do not even hint of conforming to trends and are proudly barren of any token technical frippery, instead opting for a desolate simplicity that only makes the music twice as overwhelming.   What more, where most bands present a beautiful melancholy, Evoken are genuinely creepy, each track harbouring the potential to elicit delicious yet sometimes even uncomfortable chills down the spine.

Perhaps Evoken remain rooted in the darker caverns of doom because their music is so genuine that it is just too much for the casual listener.  With their second full-length release, they boast a sound that is uncanny, disturbing, and downright crushing!  Walls of impenetrable guitars ring out atop plodding, thunderous drums, while watery guitar leads slither in and out of the frightfully detuned power chords and eerie twin harmonies.  At the surface, a smooth, guttural growl churns and lurches above.  These vocals are monstrous, some of the deepest and darkest sounds I have ever heard emitted from a human body.  Mind you, it’s not abrasive or grating like other death/black/grindcore vocals, the depth and rumble of the voice blends perfectly with the hellish music, so that even the staunchest of vocal critics will not be irritated or provoked.  The guttural vocals serve as another instrument, interrupted only by the occasional clean whispers or spoken lethargic wallow.  Lyrically, Evoken opt for descriptive scenes, elusive imagery, and avoid the trappings of common poetic devices, therefore perfectly complimenting such a vast sound.

Though Evoken openly use keyboard orchestration and also occasionally employ the brooding of a session cellist, they utilize these symphonic elements with such taste, grace, and caution, never once giving into the tendency of pompous overkill as other bands have done (to the dismay of some, to my pretentious delight).  The misty keys fill out the all-ready thick sound to an encompassing degree, injecting subtle echoing piano tones but never too much to disrupt the sweeping currents of black guitar.  The cello appears very subtly to flesh out a masterful melodic bridge on the epic opening track “In Pestilence, Burning” but reappears only toward the end of the album. With such a tormenting and bottomless sound, the dark drone of a cello is a perfect compliment to the band’s sound and rather than dominating the atmosphere, it simply accents it to create a holistic mood.   The production of the CD is incredible, presenting a crisp sharpness, an impressive clarity for this style of music and finally, a lovely cavernous reverb drenches the entire album in a ghostly warmth.

Evoken are a gifted group of musicians, simply unrivaled with their crafting and mastery of such depressive music.  Whatever it is that brings them to this place, to reach into the depths of human misery and procure these melodies, I bestow my regards and consolation for returning from such a place alive.  If indeed Evoken were kissed by the touch of Romanticism, they could not produce music so stark.  It requires a strong mind and strong will to sink here, but this music is a score for escape, a compliment to the darkness and restlessness in all of us.  Rather than reveling and crying with a bleeding poet’s heart of such sadness, Evoken present a jaded detachment from the world that enables them to rise above and shape the despair to create their art, rather than allow such pain to manipulate them. Evoken are storytellers, and never was there a tale so dark and so
frightfully haunting.

Track List:
1.) In Pestilence, Burning
2.) Withering Indignation
3.) Tending The Dire Hatred
4.) Where Ghosts Fall Silent
5.) Quietus
6.) Embrace The Emptiness
7.) Atrementous Journey

Evoken is:
John Paradiso – guitars, vocals, chants
Nick Orlando – guitars
Steve Moran – bass
Vince Verkay – drums
Dario Derna – keyboards

Official Site:

Evoken Mp3 Site:

Dwell Records:

AvantGarde Records:

The Faces Of Sarah
Twenty Four Sampler
~reviewed by Matthew

This is a band to watch! Picking up where the Sisters and the Nephilim left  off, this U.K. outfit delivers traditional Gothic rock with the driving  post-punk punch that has been missing in action for years.  The Faces Of  Sarah formed in England in 1998 and are thankfully immune to the glitter and  glitz of glam ‘goth’ and the electronic overkill currently watering down  Gothic music.  Theirs will be a much welcomed appearance by fans of Goth  rock that have been in hiding or on their own personal desert island with  only their 1980’s vinyl at their side.

The three songs appearing on this sampler are linked by the power and  incomparable density of a full BAND.  There are just too many artists out  there that think that a few great ideas and a keyboard are going to make them successful in this field.  But their shortcomings quickly come to the surface and the limits of their sound eventually cause them to fold (or at least it should).   Hopefully, The Faces Of Sarah will continue on because dark music needs more bands like this and less Apoptygma Berzerk clones.

Nostalgia is invoked by the lush distorted chords, which blend with watery clean arpeggios, metallic bass strums, and cascades of percussion and up-tempo snare snaps.  The winning musical formula is topped by an excellent male vocalist, with a range for Carl McCoy styled rasps and smooth baritone crescendos. Nick Schultz’ performance on this CD is remarkable, and there could be no better front man to compliment this style of music.

The catchy opener “All That Is Divine” is animated with a melodic energy and a powerful chorus that will ring in your mind long after the first listen.  “Love Me” is a slower and more pensive track, where the live drumming is paired with what sounds like the vintage cousin of Dr. Avalanche, and his performances on the earlier Merciful release ballads like “Lights,” “Valentine” and “Kiss The Carpet.”

With these two tracks, both ends of The Faces Of Sarah’s musical spectrum are shown, and both tracks are testaments to their success.  They close the EP with a live version of the song “24 Faces,” another up-tempo track that had me again checking the release date of these songs.  Indeed, this music is contemporary.  If this sampler is any inkling of what the band’s debut full length release “TwentyFour” will consist of, then Goths will finally have a contemporary band to turn to that is carrying the torch of our inactive icons from the decades gone by.  There is no hope of Goth overtaking the electro-pop monster, but at least we will have The Faces Of Sarah.  Check these guys out!  The debut full-length release is available NOW!

Track List:
1.) All That Is Divine
2.) Love Me 2
3.) 24 Faces (live)

The Faces Of Sarah is:
Nick Schultz – vocals
Alan Tampion – guitar
John Currie – guitar
Frank Walters – bass
David Lockwood – drums

Official Website:


Flowers for Luci
5 Song Demo
~reviewed by J

At a recent show (see review in February's Starvox), I got my hands on a copy of the Flowers for Luci's five song demo.  The packaging alone makes it an intriguing item, for the clear spine of the jewel box has little dried flowers encased within.

The songs are beautiful.  I can be content to do nothing but listen to them. The music, particularly the rhythm section, is driven, full of nervous energy but meticulous at the same time, contrasting with Gors' low voice and subtle delivery.  Each track is a carefully crafted piece, displaying the band's skills in both composition and production.

The lead-off track starts suddenly with no warning.  The rhythm is quick and chugging; the synth lines are simple and majestic.  The second track, which has gotten airplay in Atlanta on both commercial and college radio, introduces a bit more metal guitar.  The end of the disc is more gauzy and lush.

With the exception of the last track, the songs on this CD are studio recordings made with an old lineup.  The last song is a live track featuring a newer band roster and an ambient sound and allows new keyboardist David Richard to demonstrate his pretty, melodic playing style.  The band says "Laudanum" is the general direction for their future work.  However, this disc is stately goth rock, recommended if you enjoy things in the vein of Joy Divison or the darker work of the Cure.

Track listing:
1. Chemical
2. Sally the Stripper
3. Pain
4. The Birth
5. Laudanum

The CD is available in Atlanta at Criminal Records, Wax Œn Facts, the Tower Records at Lennox, and Wuxtry, or can be obtained directly from the band: gors4@earthlink.net.


See pictures of FFL LIVE here on StarVox.

Ad Caelestis Res
~reviewed by Michael Johnson

Norway seems to be the mother ship for producing excellent bands.  The Norwegians know what people like and create it.  Although Forlorn has been around since 1992, their debut album on Napalm Records, Ad Caelestis Res, should be enough to propel them into the upper echelon of black metal talent.

Although musically Forlorn differs little from the wave of bands pouring out of Norway, one thing in particular cause this album to stand out for me: the clean vocals.  Although the normal style of vocals on this is your standard blackmetal screams, the short,
clean interludes are extremely catchy and powerful.  They are somewhere along the lines of a nice tenor and are very well harmonized.  The best example is found on “Legends of Creation” and although I had this playing in the background when I first listened to it, it immediately caught my ear and became my favorite song on the album.  “Legions of the Empire” and “Shadow Cult” are a couple of the other major highlights on this CD.

My problem with this recording is the production.  The vocals are pushed back so far into the background that they can barely be heard and that makes this hard to listen to, especially when you like the vocals so much.  The drumming and guitars sound fine but the vocals seem to be a big part or the atmosphere Forlorn were trying to create and it is lost amid the hum of the instruments.  Aside from that, this is one hell of a strong album and if can even out the ingredients, they will have found the right recipe for success.

Track Listing
1. Distant Worlds & Distant Moons
2. Legions of the Empire
3. Spiritshade
4. Shadow Cult
5. Phantoms
6. Necto Spiritus
7. Midnight’s Overture
8. Legends of Creation

Website: http://forlorn-on-napalmrecords.com
Napalm Records: www.napalmrecords.com

To Dream, Perchance to Sleep
~reviewed by Michael Otley

Frolic is receiving deserved attention with To Dream, Perchance to Sleep,  their ethereal second release, on Projekt.  The  opening track, "The Tides of March", seeps in with it's electronic drone, fluttery female voice, and  distant sparse and savage drum hits.  "Wept I" follows, a short instrumental theme to return later on the CD.  "Breathing in My Soul" is  probably my favorite track on the album with it's fluid progression.  It's imaginative texture reluctantly reminds me of Enigma, but without too much production or a catchy beat.

"Forever Forlorn", with it's deep male vocals and effected electronics, sounds as if it could have found a home on black tape's a chaos of desire.  "Forged" reminds me of Ardor era Love Spirals Downwards without the guitar, and Frolic adds additional textures.  "Stay" is a bit more upbeat than the rest of the album, yet is still laid back through most of the song until a more prominent beat comes in with distant effected guitar and heavily effected vocals, though a little too effected for too long.  "The Returned" is a short instrumental segway into "Distant", another instrumental, which grabs deserved attention with it's more adventurous use of sound and sample, though the drum loop tends to wander without meaning.

It almost feels as though the album refreshes itself with the uplifting "So True" with quiet yet cheerful drums and layers of electronics and distant female voice, and "Wept II" returning the ethereal theme from the beginning of the album.  This, all before the lengthy title track with both male and female voice, with mounting tension finally released into the heavenly track "The Promise".  The closing song "Heal", is also very strong with sparse piano over electronics and ethereal female voice.

Frolic is fluid and quite gentle.  They fit nicely into the ethereal category, perhaps a bit too nicely, bringing names like Enigma, Enya, black tape for a blue girl, and Love Spirals Downwards to mind immediately.  The music here is certainly digestible, and maybe even a good step into the underground for Enigma and Enya fans.  There's good and soothing music here with which to listen, or perchance to sleep.

email Frolic:  mchinn@bellsouth.net
Frolic: http://personal.mco.bellsouth.net/mco/m/c/mchinn/
Projekt: www.projekt.com

Funker Vogt
~reviewed by Cyberina Flux

T marks Funker Vogt's 6th release, as well as Metropolis Record's 200th release. Amazing feats considering that both the band and the label are only but 6 years young. Upon gazing at the track listing of this double CD, one realizes how Funker Vogt was able to release T so quickly after Maschine Zeit, as T only features 4 new tracks.

The release is broken down into 4 seperate sections, the first being NeuZeit (translated to NewTime), MaschinenZeit (MachineTime), TraumZeit (DreamTime), and EndZeit (EndTime) with all of the CDs tracks grouped appropriately into each section.

NeuZeit: The first section of the first CD is the section that showcases the new Funker Vogt tracks. They start right off the bat with their single "Subspace," which seems to have drawn quite a bit of attention already. Often mistakenly called "Get Connected," this is a track with a broad dancefloor appeal while keeping with signature Vogt loops and GRRrrRRR vocal style.

Another notable track in the NeuZeit section is "A Dream," which begins to hint towards later sections of the CD. Personally, this track draws me much more than "Subspace," but hardcore Funker Vogt fans might be taken aback. The song about being betrayed by a friend is slower than the average Vogt track, and the beat and other programming lets the fact that Vogt shares a keyboardist with Synthpop stars Ravenous leak through a lot more than usual.

MaschinenZeit: Put an N after the E, and you have part of a new CD? These remixes have hard, straight-up 4/4 EBM beats with the slightest touch of trancy bits thrown in for decoration. Since I'm such a big vocoder fan, "Nothing to Include" is definitely my favorite track in this section. This mix of "Black Market Dealers" seems to find itself requested often from what I've seen. I could personally do without "The Last" remix as there are a few keyboard sounds in there that just raise the hairs on my back in tone and tuning.

TraumZeit: These remixes have even more trancy bits thrown, with the beat loops that aren't quite as hardhitting making these the tracks with a very broad crossover appeal into other electronic genres. I'm particularly fond of this remix of "Cold War." They use a flangy vocal effect during portions of the track that really catch my attention. The transitions are highly creative, yet predictable enough to not throw you off when dancing to the track for the first time. But there's something in the keyboard line that screams Happy Hardcore.

EndZeit: On the last section was reserved for other acts to remix tracks off of "Machine Zeit." The first of which is a Das Ich remix of The Last. A pretty darned good attempt at a remix, but they've left in those whiny keyboard lines that I mentioned in the MaschinenZeit section that annoy me so badly, so no cigar for Bruno. My hats off to Beborn Beton for taking an already great track in "Under Deck" and rounding it out even further with a much dancier feel, and tons of great samples (sitars, missles, submarine doors, sonar). Finally L'ame Immortelle (MUCH to my surprise) contributes with a remix of "Black Market Dealers." The novelty of this track is phenominal, and the remix name "Bunkerromantik mix" is amusingly perfect. L'ame Immortelle has taken the original vocals, and put in their own beautiful and realistic programming of grand piano, symphonic strings, and more accoustic-sounding drum sounds than the standard Funker Vogt choice. This track is sure to tug at the heartstrings of the angsty-types, but will probably piss off the aggro types.

All in all, I'm left with the impression that possibly the boys of Funker Vogt (or maybe Metropolis, or maybe even both) weren't very pleased with Maschine Zeit as here we have a CD with 10 remixes off that album, remixed the very next calendar season, and released less than a year later. It doesn't bother me one bit, though, as I like several of the remixes more than the originals. This album definitely keeps stride with the traditional Funker Vogt military style EBM, but they've really rounded out with some extra frills making this release just a touch dancier and trancier than before.

1. Subspace
2. Body Count
3. A Dream
4. Follow Me
5. Black Market Dealers (Maschinen-Mix)
6. Maschine Zeit (Maschinen-Mix)
7. The Last (Maschinen-Mix)
8. Nothing to Include (Maschinen-Mix)

1. Sins (Traum-Mix)
2. Cold War (Traum-Mix)
3. The Journey (Traum-Mix)
4. The Last (Das Ich-Remix)
5. Under Deck (Beborn Beton-Remix)
6. Black Market Dealers (bunkerromantik-mix by L'ame immortelle)

Band Line Up:
Gerrit Thomas (programming, backing vocals)
Jens Kastel (lead vocals)

Funker Vogt:

Management and booking by REPOMANagement
Fax: 05151-958430

Metropolis Records
Post Office Box 54307
Philadelphia, PA 19105

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