~reviewed by Matthew

I think Nuclear Blast records is trying to brainwash me to throw away my black silk and regret selling my old Maiden T-shirts on Ebay. (See White Skull review for further evidence).

Anyway, the leaders of eighties influenced metal in the 21st Century is without a doubt Sweden’s very  own Hammerfall.   I admit I have avoided this band cause I just didn’t think it was going to be my thing, as I was always more partial to Death and Black metal, as opposed to clear vocalled traditional metal  (besides Maiden of course).  But I have to say I was very impressed.

I am biased ‘cause I have the roots in this stuff, but this is just incredible that these guys can make this music sound so fresh and I honestly think that fans of any kind of metal could recognize the talent displayed here.  Its so utterly and without a doubt dated and that is the chief criticism these guys will run into from the press and fans alike.  But there is a majesty and power to their music that is a breath of optimistic fresh air and offers an escape to fantastic mediaeval worlds, just as bands such as Dio, Maiden, King Diamond, Manowar, etc had done so well before them.

So you got it all here with Hammerfall. Twin guitar harmonies with fast melodic riffing, anthematic power chords, fast snare snaps, double bass, gang back up shouts, and the soaring vocals of Joacim Cans who brings to mind the classic voice of Bruce Dickinson of course, as well as elements of Geoff Tate from  Queensryche.  There is even a sensitive acoustic ballad entitled “Always Will Be” that is quite beautiful and emotional.  This is the kind of thing any rocker could play for his denim-clad queen.  This is truly a ‘nice’ song, with a warm, fireside serenade vibe to it.

I don’t know much about Hammerfall to compare it to their early material, but this band impressed me and I was completely expecting to hate this band’s music.  Trust me, I may recommend tons of stuff, being that I have reviewed at least twenty exceptional CD’s this month, I very much recommend Hammerfall to fans of metal.  This is great, powerful, emotional metal music wearing its roots as a proud badge of honour.  This brand of metal music is like what the style of Bauhaus and old death rock is to modern day Gothic music.  This is what it was, and where it all came from, and it is so commendable that these guys can revisit those often mocked shores and come back with such a wealth of treasured melodies.  Worthy of a thousand hails!

Track List:
1.) Templars Of Steel
2.) Keep The Flame Burning
3.) Renegade
4.) Living In Victory
5.) Always Will Be
6.) The Way Of The Warrior
7.) Destined For Glory
8.) The Champion
9.) Raise The Hammer (instrumental)
10.) A Legend Reborn

Hammerfall is:
Joacim Cans – vocals
Oscar Dronjak – guitar
Stefan Elmgren – guitar
Magnus Rosen – bass
Anders Johannson – drums

Hammerfall Offical Site:

Nuclear Blast Records:

Various Artists
Sounds of Hell: An elegant collection (Silent Noise)
~review by Steph Quinlan

Elegant indeed, this CD presents just a few of the bands that have graced the stage at Hell, a bi-monthly club night at Man Ray in Boston. While it might seem as though a compilation such as this would be of little interest to anyone not involved in the Boston scene, it's advent is a welcome opportunity to take the fluctuating pulse of the scene at large.

Standouts include the Dirge Carollers, with their Nick Cave-esque story of "Chastity and Charity", evil sisters who spread warfare, disease and pestilence thoughout the ages,as well the subtle yet danceable electro-beat of Chromavoid. DESAR is timelessly elegant as always.

This is a well balanced compilation, giving the listener a genuine sense of the talent that graces the stage at Man Ray. Numerous playings of The Sounds of Hell have made me think that it's about time I claimed crash space on the couch of a dear Bostonian friend.

1) moremachinethanman - F.A.N
2) Sabat - Witches
3) Rockets Burst from the Streetlamps - Black
4) Scissorkiss - Last Day
5) Dirge Carollers - Chastity and Charity
6) Chromavoid - Cancer
7) Dreamchild - Sea Horses
8) Mekanizm - Find Me
9) DESAR - Free Will
10) Platform 1 - A Time Without Decay
11) SpindleShanks - Clever
12) Twelfth of Never - To Lure the Swans and Flies
13) Aumlaut - 4.3

Produced by Silent Noise Productions

Website: www.silentnoise.com
email: SoundsofHell@silentnoise.com

Related link:
Boston After Midnight - a NetGoth guide to Boston including club events at Manray

Ultra Hard Shadow
~reviewed by Wolf

Call me weird, but I practically had an aural orgasm when I heard the new Index. That good? No, better even.

It took me far too long to obtain a copy of Ultra Hard Shadow, which was frustrating to no end since Index holds the crown for me when it comes to the vast territory of electronic music. Eric Chamberlain might have to share this title with Gridlock, but both projects operate in slightly different areas of the industrial genre and can therefore safely co-exist upon my pedestal of adoration. But no more talk of Gridlock, the spotlight is on Index this time around.

Even though Index's first full-length, Sky Laced Silver, was produced together with Cody Cast, it has become quite clear by now that Eric Chamberlain has always been the heart and soul of the project. Based in New Mexico and signed to Cop Int., Index has had a productive 5-year-history resulting in one single and four full-lengths to date. This year also saw the release of Eric's new project Skylash, which, judging by the sound of Ultra Hard Shadow has marked somewhat of a new stage in electronic moods.

As with every Index cd, Ultra Hard Shadow is unpredictable from beginning to end. The only guarantees here are absolute originality and flawless production work. What has always drawn me to Index is Eric's ability to create these infinitely fascinating collages of sound, rich in detail and the ideal symbiosis of synthetic and organic moods. It's as if he grabs snippets of melodies, bits and pieces of percussion and almost alien sound effects, bringing it all together in compositions that are always perfectly executed.

As I mentioned earlier, the sound of Skylash seems to have marked a slightly altered direction for Index. The industrial vocals of the previous releases has disappeared, with only the occassional vocoder effects complementing the music now. While the music itself can still be classified as electro-industrial, the overall sound of Ultra Hard Shadow is lighter and melody-wise more along the lines of the synthesizer bliss of Skylash. These changes appear as a logical progression in the sound of Index and even though I wouldn't necessarily call it an improvement upon the older material, it does seem quite fitting that Eric chooses to pursue these changes in sound and mood.

With "Vadus Arcology" the cd starts off in good old-fashioned "intro" style. Strings receive the trademark Index pitch-slides and are halfway through briefly joined by a slow, custom-made breakbeat (no cheap, sampled rip-off here, as far as I can tell) and quirky electro melody. The track turns seamlessly into the almost 9 minute long "Night's Plutonium Shore", an energetic and epic piece filled with vocoded vocals and a general feel that is quite similar to the Skylash album. A myriad of changes keep the song exciting throughout its entire length and prevent the track from dragging on repetitively. "Zone Marrow" also has the lighter "Skylash feel", with gentle piano melodies raining down upon well-crafted beats and a soundscape that reflects either distant life in outer space or the sonar echoing of a secretive deep-ocean floor. More than ever does the sound of Index have a unique soundtrack quality to it. On "Vaesha Tinge", for instance, the pace is kept slow while the sound layers are rich and fill of ideas and concepts. Towards the end Eric skillfully fits a sampled ethereal vocalisation into the song, surfacing  unexpectedly, yet absolutely fitting.

"Aethrabyss" is the first track to offer a faster pace, closer to hardtrance this time and followed in stark but effective contrast by the album's more ambient piece, "S'eleve Cosmopolis". (Note that the unique song titles are still part of the Index formula.)

On "Neography/Aquatecture" it's back to waterfall piano parts and slower percussion, again proof of the new direction marked by Eric's Skylash release. Ultra Hard Shadow does still set itself apart as an Index album, but both projects do seem to have grown closer towards each other in sound with this release. Seeing as how much I loved Empyreal Daydreams, I only consider this a good thing. "U-land" presents the ultimate example of how Eric seems to have united the more industrial sound of Index with the lighter synth-feel of Skylash. This song is absolutely gorgeous, with dazzling pianos, swirling strings, perfect dancefloor beats and a more "Faith in Motion style" middle part.

My other favorite track is up next, "Avant-guardian Angel" which is perhaps the most lively remnant of Index's older sound. It also features perfectly selected samples, which continues to be another of Eric's talents. Whereas so many industrial artists place their cheap samples at predictable points throughout a song, Index has voices and words that seem to have been made for the sole purpose of complementing Eric's music.

As the cd ends on a quiet, almost solemn and melancholy note with "Holistic Fibrosis" I can only say that this is an album to deeply fall in love with. Everything is perfect and Ultra Hard Shadow has so much to offer to anyone interested in electronic music that I cannot recommend this cd enough. I would've liked to hear something more akin to the older sound, for instance Faith in Motion's title-track, here and there, but since the music on Ultra Hard Shadow is of such excellence I can hardly complain. This is pure sonic wizardry, without pretense or extraneous hype surrounding its release, and it is quite clear that Eric has an intense passion for creating electronic music. Cop has one of the singlemost talented artists in electronic music hiding modestly within its ranks and perhaps this modest approach and obvious love for just the music are things many artists could learn from. Thanks Eric, for keeping music exciting and original.

1.   Vadus Arcology
2.   Night's Plutonium Shore
3.   Zone Marrow
4.   Vaesha Tinge
5.   Aethrabyss
6.   S'eleve cosmopolis
7.   Neography / Aquatecture
8.   Cerebral Paisley (not on promo...still waiting for my real copy)
9.   U-land
10. Avant-guardian Angel
11. Holistic Fibrosis

Band members:
Eric Chamberlain

Additional info:
Official label site [Cop International]: http://www.copint.com
Contact: Lotuserik@aol.com

Kreuzweg Ost
Iron Avantgarde
~reviewed by Matthew

Another genre departure from Napalm Records, Kreuzweg Ost stray far from the realms of the orchestral black metal and avant-garde gothic metal that the label is known for.  A very difficult release to absorb, at least for myself, as the CD in its entirety is basically a lengthy experimental soundtrack.  Apocalyptic German dialogue is interspersed with bizarre electronics, noise, feedback, and unnatural bombasts of sound collages. The nature of the samples seem to hearken to Boyd Rice and such, with misanthropic and Nietzchean philosophies and espousals reflecting the Nazi regime and World War II.  I do not speak German, so I am uncertain exactly WHAT is going on with this CD or what its stance is, but all I do know is that the CD is quite strange and abrasive.  Fans of soundtrack and experimental music should definitely take a listen to this.  I just am regretful to say I am not as up on this stuff as I would like to be.  I recognize the traditional Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle-esque moments but again, I am loosely acquainted with that genre so I may be off my mark here.  (Kirin? Edward?---HELP?) Regardless, this is cold, calculated, and hypnotic art. One listen to this CD could be likened to stumbling through a dark foreign funhouse, a suffocating dread thickens the humid air you take in and an impending doom knots your stomach.  The effects of the CD are mind-altering.  Even as background music, it distracts and threatens.   I was briefly introduced to a band by the name of God Speed You Black Emperor by a friend, some of you may have heard of this project, others may not have.  They perform a similar style of smothering epic experimental, and all I can say truthfully is that I do not know enough about the virtues or shortcomings of this music to say how successful this CD is. It unnerved me, which is good.  It was slightly monotonous and incomprehensible, which was bad.  Kreuzweg Ost may delight many, but only if you are used to it.  Not for everyone, but surely a masterpiece of provocative psychology that has its fan base and belongs somewhere, but certainly not on the dance floor, the mosh pit, or to serve as a score for moments of Romantic reflection.

Track List: (For Our German Speaking Readers)
1.) Re-Kapitulation
2.) Ein Bild fredusiger Lebensbejaung
3.) Eduard Ruttlemeier
4.) Oh no lo so, Magnifico
5.) Stahlerne Schiwngen
6.) Caki Voli
7.) Kohlenklau
8.) Der Feuersturm Von Dresden
9.) Du, Gefangene
10.) Donautaufe
11.) Na Wostoke Necheweo Nowogo


The Krewmen
The Final Adventures of The Krewmen
~reviewed by Blu

Formed originally in 1982 The Krewmen started out as a pure Rockabilly band. They played around the UK through '84 and got enough exposure to be offered a role  in "Elvis the Musical" which toured the US, Canada and the UK as Elvis's band.  Upon returning from that tour, despite nice offers from different labels, a few members decided to go off and do their own thing and the band was left high and dry. They recruited some new members and changed their sound a bit to a more bluesy version of Rockabilly and signed with Lost Moment Records. All was well in Kremen land for a while. Then in late 1985, something dark and ghoulish that had been brewing in founding member Tony McMillan rose to the surface and he reformed The Kremen yet again to write and perform his own music. They went through two or three more line up changes (their biography reads like a soap opera) and finally in 1992 they got it right (we hope). The result is what you have today -- a mixture of punk, rock, metal, pyschobilly and rockn'roll. They've released 10 albums and have toured Europe, the US, Canada and Japan. Their roots in rockabilly guarantee a driving sound - professional and experienced they belt out songs about werewolves, zombies, space aliens and forbidden planets.

I'll mention a few of my favorite songs off this CD: "Beware the Moon" is their tribute to werewolves and can be found on Skully Records comp "Rockin' Necropolis" (see http://www.starvox.net/cdr/necropolis.htm). Opening with vintage movie samples that continue strategically placed throughout, it sets the mood for this CD. The song "Arachnophobia" always cracks me up because there's this insidious little bicycle chime in the midst of it that is so dainty and goofy that it makes me laugh every time I hear it.  "The Presense," "Cyborg," and  "Tortured Life" all contain impressive up right bass lines -- slap those strings zombie boy! "Space Crazy" is catchy because the guitar riff is ALMOST the same as the one you're used to hearing in "The Munsters" but not quite. It'll fool ya for a second. Intended or not, that rift makes it stick in your brain. "The Wrath of Planet Zee" begins and ends with an incredibly funny sound -- I cant figure out if its a manipulated sample or a wacked out keyboard line but it reminds me of those silly "ethereal voices" you'd hear in b-movies. Its great!

Some could even argue The Krewmen were doing this music before it was "cool" to do. Check it out yourself and see how its stood the test of time.

Beware the Moon
The Presense
Lords of the Night
Space Crazy
The Birth of the Krewmen
Tortured Life
Wrath of Planet Zee
Root'n Toot'n Hullaballoo
Forbidden Planet

email: reg@rmmusic.freeserve.co.uk

Lost Cause
It’s Not A Tumor
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Lost Cause combines elements of a nightmarish realm and couples it with dark humor as evidenced with the  body of work placed on this CD.  Some folks in the underground scene tend to take things way too seriously, and this band somehow takes those elements and exposes the irony behind it all.

"Oh No" was actually recorded with a computer microphone.  Vocally, it is not one of the more challenging, so just think Bob Dylan goes goth to get an understanding of it. With tongue firmly in cheek, however, the band creates a tune with biting and sardonic wit about the tragedy in a persons life. Often we have met a drama queen or two in our day, and the song clearly places the idiocy of taking things to heart to another level.

"Decay"  works as a soundtrack to a nightmare. It has a mid tempo percussion that could make this a dance floor cut, however the spooky factor that belies this tune may make it a bit more challenging for the new goth kids who want more stylized EBM for their dance floors. It sounds like a cross between The Electric Hellfire Club and early The Azoic with their somewhat dark and scary music.

"Steel" sounds like a rising warrior of darkness from the abyss. It is a dramatic piece of work that creates vivid mental images of smoke rising from the depths of a sweltering but empty city at nighttime. It is an instrumental piece that would make a great accompaniment to fans of dark orchestral instrumental work similar to releases by Middle Pillar.

"Black Coffee" once again delves into the dark jocularity of the band.  It is meant to border on a hateful diatribe towards the world but plays with many pop icons from life and television to emphasize the vacuous nature of some folks who have no life.

"Cracks in the Fabrick of the Universe" is a one take instrumental that is clearly dark inspiration at its finest moment. One could almost classify this as new age music for the darkly inclined. It takes you on a 10 minute excursion into the nether reaches of your mind. It plays with such a fluid motion, that one cannot help but feel as if they are floating underwater.

"Destiny" has been one of my favorite songs on the album for quite some time. It shimmers like a night time flight over a barren city, and develops a mood similar in scope to scenery from the movie The Crow.  The spoken sound samples further enhance the track to give it a forlorn and isolated feeling coupled with senseless longing and desire that will never be attained.

"All My Friends" has a dark folk appeal with a little more modernization than is often found in that genre. It generates impressions of one who is standing their ground despite being the brunt of harsh criticism. The guitar has and episodic hard strum to it that is tantamount to "giving the bird" to someone.

"Kubla Khan" is based on the poem of the same name and provides an intriguing electronic foray into barren darkness akin to desert living.  Swirls of wind surround crunchy guitars that segue into electronics and guitar work.

Lost Cause is darkly facetious with there lyrical and vocal content. They do, however, excel with creating some of the more entertaining dark instrumentals to come along in some time. This in essence demonstrates their ability to take their music making to a more somber and serious movement, while never forgetting that it is only life after all and one must learn to laugh at it once in a while.

Band Line up:
Joel Fortner: (Chaos Merchant) - Keyboards, Electric Guitar, Distorted aqualung vocals, lyrics
James Bryant: (Dangerous James) - Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, vocals, lyrics

1. Oh No
2. Decay
3. Steel
4. Black Coffee
5. Cracks in the Fabrick of the Universe
6. Destiny (Samples from Christa Suppans voice message)
7. All My Friends
8. Kubla Kahn

Web page:

The Complex Bewitchment
~reviewed by Matthew

True, Napalm’s getting carried away with some of these ‘sexually explicit’ black metal album covers, for as you gaze to the left you behold the menace of a half-naked, bewigged bird-woman in dire need of a better make up artist or an eyebrow plucking.  But thankfully, the rather silly cover art is in no way representative of the supremely cool musical content within.

This is the kind of black metal that will send shivers of delight up and down my spine.  I adore this.  Though many believe that gothic and atmospheric integration is blasphemy (pardon the pun) to the black metal ‘scene,’ all that is important is that the music is well crafted and memorable.  Norway’s Mactatus deliver crisp, icy black metal with a balanced blend of symphonic orchestration and aggressive riff and rhythm.  The vocals are as expected with harsh snakelike rasping and occasional shrieks.  There are short interludes of watery guitar, classical breakdowns, and the occasional sample (as heard in “Speak The Word Of The Winds) and when its all said and done, this is another addition of breathtaking epic black metal to add to your collection.

The band signed up with Napalm records after their debut CD “Blot” in 1997, and “The Complex Bewitchment” (is ‘bewitchment’ even a word? —<shrug>) is their second effort through Napalm (third overall) and hope to rise to the forefront alongside their Norwegian contemporaries Dimmu Borgir and Emperor.

They have what it takes, as the music is varied enough yet has the familiar masterful elements to strike a chord with listeners and stand out from the numerous other bands in the genre. Nothing overwhelmingly groundbreaking, but certainly something for the Gothic/Black metal enthusiasts the world over to perk their ears up for.

Track List:
1.) Ornament Of Pettiness
2.) Another Dimension
3.) The Passage (To The Kingdom Of No Return)
4.) Speak The Word Of The Winds
5.) With Excellence…
6.) Iron Handed
7.) Complexity In Vain
8.) Dance Of Might

Mactatus is:
Hate Rodvitnesson: vocals
Ty: guitars
Gaut: guitars
Forn: synth & piano
Mefistofeles: bass
Mjolne: drums


Various Artists
Gothabilly: Rockin' Necropolis
~reviewed by Blu

Halloween is my favorite holiday (well duh) and I'm looking forward to some big Halloween parties this year. If you're anywhere in the vicinity of my house -- you'll be hit upside the head with a healthy dose of Gothabilly - guaranteed. Always morbidly fun and great for "drinkin' music" -- its particulary great this time of year when everyone's got monsters on the brain. Thanks to Skully Records, I'll have more than enough music to torture virgin ears.  With this second collection of Gothabilly songs Rockin' Necropolis, Skully Records is breaking ground by giving alot of unheard bands a chance to sling their zombie-dusted monster-slimed blood-coated sounds across the universe. And as if that were not enough in itself, on October 28th there will be a CD Release Party at CBGB's in NY featuring The Cryptkeeper Five (Trenton, NJ), Eight Ball Grifter (Lansing, MI), Psycho Charger (NYC), Ghoultown (Dallas, TX), The Hammerdowns (Seattle, WA), The Gettin' Headstones (Atlanta, GA), The Deep Eynde (Los Angeles, CA), and Cult of the Psychic Fetus(Cleveland, OH). For those unfortunate souls not able to attend this fright-fest of a show, the show will be Cybercast so people all over the world can watch it live. There will be a link set up from  www.skullyrecords.com. Check out that website for more information. Now onto the tunes:

The UK's The Krewmen contribute "Beware the Moon" from their CD The Final Adventures of The Krewmen (part 1). Starting with a sound sample from an old movie, they launch into this hard hitting song about what else -- Werewolves! The gritty vocals give it a harder edge and the sound samples are nicely placed. Ghoultown add their sound-track featured "Killer in Texas" (see the blurb in our news sectoin about their movie cameo!).  I've commented on this band before (see Interviews) but I cant  help but say yet again - how much I adore them. The Western twang and Mexican trumpet adds so much to this sound. Count Lyles vocals are sultry and sexy and have that wonderful story-telling flair to them. The musicianship (which sometimes falls permissably short in this genre) is superb and probably the best I've ever heard.  Later in the CD they add "Pale Skin Diva" which is a new track to me (it wasn't on their EP) and again, I'm in love. Fun, musically impressive and addictive with their trumpeting, guitar riffs and rumbling bass lines, it doesn't get any better than that.

Up next is Eight Ball Grifter with "Spit on my Grave" - a song more rooted in that traditional Psychobilly sound with an addicting bass line and head throbbing beat. Later they moter in with "Vampire" - a tale about a seductive blood sucking vixen. The Cryptkeeper Five give us the naughty "She's Gotta Lotta Pain" and fun "Scream She Devil, Scream" which I simply cannot get enough of. The bass lines are sexy and slink and the tormented and emotional vocals remind me a bit of The Toadies (a dark band misplaced and lost in the 90's much to my dismay) and the drumming is impressive.  While I'm taking about feme fatals, I cannot fail to mention cornerstone founders The Cult of the Psychic Fetus with their track "She Devil" (nice vocal manipulations at the end.. made me SHIVER!)

The jazzy smooth stray-cat sounds of The Deep Eynde's "The Feast" make a sweet backdrop for fiendish debauchery while the Dragstrip Demons take the tempo up a few notches with their punk-inspired "Graveyard." Mr. Badwrench add "From the Cradle to the Grave" - a somber and slower song with angsty vocals and a sliding guitar riffs.  Psycho Charger gives us their namesake song "Psycho Charger" as they declare, "With a gun in my hand I will Rockn'Roll!"  (for more see our CD review on Psycho Chargers)

For some ghoulish fun - check out track number 9 where the 3-D Invisibles do a pseudo-elvisian "Rockin' on Mockingbird Lane."  In that same vein (er...), Atlanta's The Gettin' Headstones add "Scare Your Skirt Right Off" (and ironically -- The Gettin'  Headstones can often be found wearing 3-D glasses while performing...hmm...wonder if there's a connection?)  Dante and the Infernos round out the rockabilly influenced songs with  the toe-tapping  "Shock Substance."

The Killcreeps contribute a nice monster-movie instrumental (with fun and fitting sample thrown in) called "Humanoids from the Deep" while The Ghastly Ones do a spooky "House on Haunted Hill" ala beach-party guitars.  Sex With Lurch (I love that name!) comes crashing in with their surf-tweaked "Monster Surf Party" which should NOT be left out of any Halloween Party this year.

Probably the biggest surprise for me on this CD is hearing Seattle's The Hammerdowns for the first time. You'd NEVER guess they were from Seattle if you weren't told before hand. They'd give Ghoultown a run for their money in Texas and god what I'd do to see these two bands play together in NY on the 28th at the CD release party. Its gotta be one hell of a party. The Hammerdowns have that same Western-twang that Ghoultown has perfected. Both tracks they contribute on here - "2-Wheel Sinner" and "The Vampire Road Trip" are story-telling adventure songs at their best. Hell, I've played this at the office and they all loved it.

Move over "Monster Mash" -- you're about to be replaced.

1 The Krewmen - "Beware the Moon"
2 Ghoultown - "Killer in Texas"
3 Eight Ball Grifter - "Spit on my Grave"
4 The Cryptkeeper Five - "She's Gotta Lotta Pain"
5 The Deep Enyde - "The Feast"
6 The Dragstrip Demons - "Graveyard"
7 Eight Ball Grifter - "Vampire"
8 The Cryptkeeper Five - "Scream She Devil, Scream"
9 3-D Invisibles - "Rockin' on Mockingbird Lane"
10 The Gettin' Headstone - "Scare Your Skirt Right Off"
11 The Killcreeps - "Humanoids from the Deep"
12 Sex With Lurch - "Monster Surf Party"
13 The Ghastly Ones - "House on Haunted Hill"
14 Cult of the Psychic Fetus - "She Devil"
15 Ghoultown - "Pale Skin Diva"
16 Mr. Badwrench - "From the Cradle to the Grave"
17 The Hammerdowns - "2-Wheel Sinner"
18 Psycho Charger - "Pyscho Charger"
19 Dante and the Infernos - "Shock Substance"
20 The Hammerdowns  - "The Vampire Road Trip"
*Hidden track (?)

Skully Records:
Cult of the Psychic Fetus
The Deep Eynde
Eight Ball Grifter
Sex With Lurch:
The Kewmen
Mr Badwrench
Psycho Chargers

Electro Chakra Therapy
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Jeff Crowell is the mastermind behind Neurepublik. Despite his American roots, he is unafraid to go beyond the parameters of music and dive headlong into the sophisticated imagination pool often shared by European contemporaries.  There is an unmistakable adeptness to deliver an awesome body of tunes that tenaciously grabs the psyche that won’t let go. Crowell’s brilliant, thought provoking lyrics, embedded in multiple layers of highly addictive sounds have garnered him some notoriety in underground circles already. His  utilization of electronic wizardry often found with import music from Germany and other parts of Europe will ultimately bring him fame and fortune before long.  Couple this brilliance with the fact that he lacks pretension and is a down to Earth, perfect gentleman, and you have an artist whom you can’t help but like and root for.

Electro Chakra Therapy is another EP in the list of musical recordings that the artist has created. He  musically cogitates new worlds and realities that often poke holes into long held paradigms within the human condition.

"Godfetish" takes the God-is-within ideology and merges it to up to the minute dance rhythms.
The potent sound helps to enlighten us and cause us to query things we have often been taught were taboo by the established religions of the world.  "…humanity with vain pretensions cannot leave their own inventions / cannot believe a god could be within their physiology /afraid of their mortality they fabricate theology /is it so hard to have faith in angelic advent from within…"

"Unlimited Power" utilizes the common theme of a one sided relationship. Often we choose partners who are abusive and neglectful which forces us to parlay a dance of mental S&M until we cannot take much more. This song focuses on this aspect but also delves with reclaiming the self once we are free from this romantic tragedy.  "Domination games & empty thoughts behind your eyes /to think that I believed in all your lies.../& when you left me, something changed inside/ unlimited power to rule my life.."

"Fifteen" deals with the angst of the past. It blends sound samples and Middle Eastern style percussion during the intro that is exotic and sensual. In essence, we are all forced to peer unhappily beyond the chasm of time to realize our limitations with life, dreams and the people we cared about.  " Take me back to where our dreams have died /take me back to where your feeling hide /one last time so I can hold your hand/one last time to make you understand…"

"Hidden Sanctuary" was created in honor of the station on MP3 of the same name. The ever sensitive Crowell saw some underhanded things being conducted by some former artists who were featured on the station that were quite vicious to the station manager. In a nutshell, artists who were given a lot of support financially and promotion wise, who were finally getting some media attention, fans and money tried to usurp the station away from its creator for their own selfish gains. Neurepublik reacted by creating a song about getting away from it all and putting things back into perspective. The song helped solidify the team spirit of the other artists who were also aghast at this blatant attempt at misappropriation of someone else’s tireless efforts.

It is not as dance oriented as the other cuts featured, yet it remains one of the more popular songs this artist has created. Many listeners have declared that the refrain from this tune replays in their head long after they have heard the song. In between the music, there is some sampled dialogue from the film, Logan’s Run, that is impeccably placed at just the right point to deliver a more atmospheric meaning.

When all is said and done, Neurepublik brings to light many ideation’s concomitant  to the human condition. Crowell doesn’t play it safe with lyrics that are ambiguous, rather he puts his heart on his sleeve for all the world to see. He can clearly convey a vulnerability that does not belie any weakness in character. In the past he has demonstrated his gratitude to the fans who have purchased his music by sending  them copies of his cover tunes of "Bela Lugosi’s Dead" and " Hazy Shade of Winter."

Neurepublik’s music is the exact mirror of the artist. It is pure, intelligent, somewhat complicated, stylized, tenacious, imaginative, and enduring. He has a heart of gold but is nobody’s fool. He is a living angel whose  elements are brought to light every time he sits down to compose a song. You owe it to yourself to wrap yourself into his musical world for a brief moment in time. You may never get this close to grace ever again.

Unlimited Power
Hidden Sanctuary



Ophelia's Sweet Demise
Ashes to Lashes
~reviewed by Wolf

When the name Ophelia's Sweet Demise started popping up all across the internet my curiosity was instantly fuelled. And so it came to be that I raised my hand when their 6-song ep Ashes to Lashes was offered for reviewing. OSD is a Milwaukee based band consisting of 3 main members, Daniel Kufahl (lead/backing vocals and bass guitar), Katrine DeWinter (lead/backing vocals, keyboards and programming) and Rik Gravens (lead/rhythm guitar, backing vocals, programming and engineering), assisted by Gregory Robin Orth with live percussion and Joe Angel Ramirez III as lead guitarist on "The Veil". All sounds promising so far...but sadly enough my expectations had been too high.

The music of OSD is mainly of the goth rock variety, with electronic and darkwave influences shining through now and then. Now if this had been an uninspired and commercially focused cd I would have had no qualms about giving it a less than favorable review, but it's far more difficult when, in a case like this, the band is clearly skilled and talented, yet for unknown reasons unable to elevate their music above the level of what sounds like unpolished demos.

The compositions tend to be jarring and almost off-key a lot of times, dragging on rather than being dreary for the sake of atmosphere. The vocals are also less than convincing; out of their range and most of the time devoid of melody and emotion. It's a shame, because underneath it lie some good compositional ideas and the band members apparently do know how to handle their instruments. Perhaps what is missing is someone to bring everything together and steer the music in a more coherent direction, but for now I regret to say I was disappointed in my first encounter with Ophelia's Sweet Demise.

However, I am still looking forward to hearing what they will come out with next, since ideas, skills and talent are available to Daniel, Katrine and Rik. For die-hard goth rock fans Ashes to Lashes might still have some appeal, but I would prefer to look to the future and wish Ophelia's Sweet Demise the gift of enlightenment and experience.

1. Ashes To Lashes
2. Orion
3. Cobalt Blue
4. Crown in the Ground
5. The Veil
6. Disappear

Band members:
Rik Gravens - Back-up Vocals, Guitar & Programming
Katrine DeWinter - Lead/Back-up Vocals, Keyboards & Programming
Daniel Kufahl - Lead / Back-up Vocals & Bass Guitar
Gregory Robin Orth - Live Percussion

Additional info:
Official site: http://ophelias_demise.tripod.com/index.htm
Contact: ophelias_demise@hotmail.com

Psycho Charger
~reviewed by Blu
(photos of vocalist Jimmy provided by Skully Records)

Kevin at Skully Records was nice enough to send me an advanced promo copy of the full length Psycho Charger CD that I had eagerly been waiting for. I first heard Psycho Charger on the Gothabilly: Wakin' the Dead comp -- they were called the Psychonauts then. They were one of my favorites on that CD - making smart use of b-movie samples with a driving beat that never failed to make me want to dance. Since then they've had to change their name due to a legal squirmish with some other band with the same name. Needless to say - the name may have changed but the music remains the same -- or rather -- just keeps getting better.

Their sounds is on the harder end of the psychobilly/gothabilly genre with rumbling guitars and straight forward drumming.  The vocals are in your face and sometimes nicely manipulated with effects. This is a manly man's ghoul-rock. No nice punches thrown here. For those of you who sometimes feel that this genre gets a little too silly -- check out Psycho Charger. There's enough fun-lovin' testosterone for even the butch-est of rockers <wink>.

Briefly I'll mention some of the stand out tracks on this CD. "Graverobbers" [from outer space] is vintage. Its everything you can expect from a top notch Psychobilly band -- an quirky sample intro followed by a grooving beat and deep grumbly vocals that communicate tales of the weird and other-wordly. "Devilsnake" and "Ghoulfriend" are tracks that were first debuted on the Wakin' the Dead comp. They're still my favorites on here. "Devilsnake" is slinky and sexy and fun to dance to. The twangy guitar slides are addictive and the vocals ooze liquid-hot like the horned angel himself. (Sidenote: its probably pretty easy to see why this band is babe magnet. Check out their website for some of their 'favorite' fans). Their own theme song "PsychoCharger" is filled with the anthem "With a gun in my hand I will rock'n'roll... been good way too long..." There's an interesting spoken-word segment in the middle of it where Diabolical Dr. K, like a preacher from the world down under,  seduces the listener further. "Hunting for Elvis" is another goodie which contains all the predictable Elvis is Alive type samples -- someone *had* to do an Elvis song ya' know. This one is perfect.

On October 28th PsychoCharger will be featured LIVE at a CD Release Party at CBGB's in NY for Skully Records latest comp: Rockin' Necropolis . The show will also feature  The Cryptkeeper Five (Trenton, NJ), Eight Ball Grifter (Lansing, MI),  Ghoultown (Dallas, TX), The Hammerdowns (Seattle, WA), The Gettin' Headstones (Atlanta, GA), The Deep Eynde (Los Angeles, CA), and Cult of the Psychic Fetus(Cleveland, OH). For those unfortunate souls not able to attend this fright-fest of a show, the show will be Cybercast so people all over the world can watch it live. There will be a link set up from  www.skullyrecords.com. Check out that website for more information.

The Bad Seed
Hell to Pay
Hunting for Elvis
All Dressed Up


Skully Records

Crown Of Thorns
~reviewed by Psionic Imperator

Now here's an interesting tidbit.. Based on it's cover, I was expecting Odor Of Pears to be a disappointment. Their name is bizarre, their cd cover art is somewhat cliche, their promotional pamphlet was amateurish, and all their project comparisons screamed 'Uh-Oh'.. (NineInchNails, SiouxieAndTheBanshees, DieForm, Madonna..??)

Then I listened.

This is the sort of thing that can sweeten reactions to a band. I was fully prepared to dislike O.o.P, based on the packaging.. But what's this? They are actually quite good at what they do. They sound not at all like Nine Inch Nails, or DieForm, or Madonna. They do sound somewhat like Siouxie Sioux, due mainly to the vocal work of Diana Blackwell. They also sound like Thrive and National Velvet, also due to Miss Blackwell's vocals. (More like Thrive, less like National Velvet, but it's there all the same..) Musically, Joe K. shows his learning... This man knows his stuff. Middle Eastern influences, synth-pop sensibilities, and a good ear for mood. In places, O.o.P. comes across on a flat note, "Fuck Christianity" being a fine example. But when all is said and done, Odor Of Pears does one thing superbly, one thing that sets them apart from the crowds.. They can write a DAMN fine anthem, rich with emotion. Any band that can do that gets a special place in my heart. I love anthemic material, music that evokes images and feelings.. Odor Of Pears pulls off TWO of them on the Crown Of Thorns release.. "Babies Without Faces" and "Joan". There are many who have turned their back on Gothic music, thinking it empty of fresh ideas.. Odor Of Pears is a fine example of how wrong that belief is.

Odor Of Pears
"Crown Of Thorns"
1 - Invocation
2 - Cage
3 - Underground
4 - In Sodom Again
5 - Fuck Christianity
6 - Dildo
7 - Babies Without Faces
8 - Joan

Odor Of Pears are:
Joe K - Music
Diana Blackwell - Vocals
Russell Ragar - Visuals

Odor Of Pears webpresense:

Various Artists/Projekt Records
Projekt 100
~reviewed by Wolf

I clearly recall joking goodheartedly about the status of one with Projekt releases in their collection, a good 6 or 7 years ago. At the time it was, especially in Europe, quite impressive to own several Projekt cds and I remember verbal battles filled with elitist and envious undertones regarding the subject. Projekt has come a long and impressive way since then, and even moreso since its inception in 1983. Sam Rosenthal and co. have established a prestigious distribution system over the years, bringing  Projekt releases within reach of everyone and marketing each new release in the most graceful
and effective way. Projekt's line-up of talented bands continues to grow as well, with new releases now hitting the stores on a steady monthly basis. And throughout it all one thing has consistently remained the same: Projekt delivers the finest ethereal, ambient and darkwave music available.

To commemorate its rich and succesful history, as well as 99 Projekt releases to date, the label has released Projekt 100: The Early Years 1985-1995. Instead of your typical run-of-the-mill compilation with widely known hits and milestones this cd is dubbed by Sam as The Great Lost Projekt Compilation. Rare, unreleased and remixed songs by Projekt's most respected artists such as Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Lycia, Love Spirals Downwards and Thanatos are accompanied by Sam's interesting recollections of "how" and "why", inside the stylish booklet. This makes Projekt 100 a great disc for both new listeners as well as us longtime fans.

Both Lycia and Black Tape for a Blue Girl appear twice on the cd, which is more than appropriate considering that they were Projekt's very first signings. Lycia's "Excade Decade Decada" and "Byzantine" respectively begin and end this compilation, which is quite effective. Both compositions stem from the production of Lycia's first release, Ionia, and bear the mark of the band's slow and dramatic sound. The booklet explains that Ionia was originally titled Byzantine and dual in its nature: slow and harsh on one side, to which these 2 tracks belong, and spacey and ambient on the other, which eventually resulted in most of Ionia.

Any unreleased Black Tape material is a must-have for me and I fell instantly in love with "Griffith Park". The song is sweet and beautiful, with enchanting vocals by Sue-Kenny Smith and a lightly drifting composition. Originally recorded for Ashes in the Brittle Air, "Griffith Park" was left out because Sam wasn't happy with the mood of several songs. "The Magnet and The Metal" is equally enchanting. This song had to be left out of the tracklisting for Mesmerized by The Sirens, since the album was first released on vinyl and that meant space limitations. It can be found on the Hex Files II compilation, but this is its first US release.

Atrition presents an early mix of "Feel the Backlash", less polished than the version on Smiling, at the Hypogonder Club, but, as the booklet correctly states, it serves as an insight into the recording process. Other early mixes of album tracks come in the form of Eden's "Dreaming among Stones", Terrace of Memories' self-titled track and "Valerian" by Loveliescrushing is a different mix of its 7" single version. It's fascinating to discover these different renditions of songs you're familiar with.

The third band with 2 songs on Projekt 100 is SoulWhirlingSomewhere. The demo version of "Opening the Ten-End" is a short, dreamy piece and "I Dream We are Blind" proceeds to drift along in that same timeless fashion, the trademark of SWS. And speaking of timeless...that's certainly a justified description for Thanatos and Pat Ogl's warm, rich voice. Represented here with "The Shattered Sky Now Settled", the only complaint I could possible have is that the song isn't very long.

Of course the great Love Spirals Downwards is present as well on this compilation. If you haven't heard "Kykeon" yet, then it's by itself reason enough to seek out this cd. This song (here in a slightly different mix than on Ardor) never fails to leave me awe-struck. I fear that all too often I refer to most of Projekt's bands as dreamy, but to me this is the sound dreams are made of, even moreso when it comes to LSD. Ryan's music always has that subtle unearthly touch, and with Suzanne's sweet vocals as the ideal finishing touch their music is always nothing short of stellar.

Projekt 100 is a must for the label's fans, as well as an excellent introduction for those who aren't too familiar with Projekt yet. (What rock have you been hiding under?) The label's finest artists are represented here and it's a great opportunity to find some of their rare and unreleased songs. The elegant photographs of Black Tape's Lisa Feuer and the insightful reflections of Sam Rosenthal only add to the quality of this release.

It has been a great plesaure to watch Projekt evolve over the years, taking the shape of a giant without ever losing its intimacy. The journey to Projekt 200 will without a doubt be filled with just as much quality and beauty as the label's past. Congratulations, Projekt!

(Note: Projekt's June & July sampler featured 2 tracks off of Projekt 100, for those of you who want a taste of this compilation and can get their hands on a copy of that sampler. The songs are Black Tape's "Griffith Park" and Lycia's "Excade Decade Decada".)

1.   Lycia - Excade Decade Decada
2.   Attrition - Feel The Backlash (mix 1)
3.   Black tape for a blue girl - Griffith Park
4.   Love Spirals Downwards - Kykeon (50 Years of Sunshine mix)
5.   Thanatos - The Shattered Sky Now Settled (Gray Land 3 mix)
6.   Eden - Dreaming Among Stones (string remix)
7.   Lovesliescrushing - Valerian (mix 1)
8.   Soul Whirling Somewhere - Opening the Ten-End (demo version)
9.   Soul Whirling Somewhere - I Dream We Are Blind (early mix)
10. O Yuki Conjugate - A Gap Between Two Worlds
11. Terrace of Memories - Terrace of Memories (early mix)
12. Black Tape For A Blue Girl - The Magnet And The Metal
13. Lycia - Byzantine

Additional info:
Official label site: http://www.projekt.com

Available official band sites:
Lycia: http://www.lyciummusic.com/
Attrition: http://www.attrition.co.uk/
Black Tape for a Blue Girl: http://www.projekt.com/bands/btfabg.html
Love Spirals Downwards: http://www.lovespirals.com/
Eden: http://dangermedia.com/eden/
Soul Whirling Somewhere: http://www.soulwhirlingsomewhere.com/

Box 9140; Long Island City, NY 11103
Fax: 603-949-8021
Join the Projekt list: http://www.projekt.com/projekt/elist.asp

Pain Station
~reviewed by Wolf

It's either my new Sennheisers or I must've undergone a change over the course of this recently deceased summer, but when I received Pain Station's Cold a few months back it didn't make an impact on me whatsoever, whereas now I have to commend Mr. Sturgis on a masterpiece of an album. I know Cold was already reviewed when it came out, but it can't hurt to feature it once more and refresh the minds of the yet-to-be-converted.

Scott Sturgis has been wreaking industrial/noise havoc with Pain Station for quite some time now, but, aside from his Ant-zen signed project Converter, I hadn't had the pleasure of being submitted to his sonic escapades until this cd. Released on Cop International, Cold is a concept album and describes "one man's journey into self-destruction", which is analyzed song by song on the Pain Station site (http://www.sonicdiscourse.net/painstation/). Reading this explanation clarifies many of the song titles, but I would suggest listening to the album without it first.

I think that my problem at first was that I kept skipping through the songs, trying to find something to my liking, while this cd is at its best when the first 11 tracks are listened to in uninterrupted sequence. Then the placement of each song and sound turns into the cataclyst for each following one, dictating the "storyline" instead of presenting a mere collection of songs. The story presented here isn't of light material either, so several concentrated sessions of playing the disc might be in order to fully see the structure within its chaos and the intensity of its soundscapes.

Essentially there's no way of picking favorite tracks, due to the fact that each plays its part in describing the main character's journey. The general feel of the music is, indeed, Cold; barren and stripped of all things fancy and superfluous, reduced to the naked core of the subject matter at hand. Depending on the events in the story, the music swings back and forth like a pendulum, counting down to self-destruct (literally), from ambient soundscapes of seclusion and depression, to harsh yet calculated industrial representing anger, rage and frustration. Throughout all of this the vocals either surface like ghostly whispers, an inner voice contemplating the main character's actions, or snarl in distorted violence. Small havens of serene sound and melody only amplify the despair and the terror surrounding them, like the solemn echoing bass towards the end of "Turning Point". The music is crafted with such ear for detail that it's a continuous sonic exploration, each time you listen to it. This only adds to the intensity of the experience and helps deliver the entire concept with utter conviction.

The remixes are nice extras, but a bit out of place. Especially Assemblage 23's industrial-dance version of Slaughterhouse is in too sharp of a contrast with the rest of the album, even if it's a good song by itself. (Although it could really have done without the poor choice in samples.) The Converter remix of Aftermath is more in synch with the cd, but that can also be attributed to the fact that this is Scott's other project. Excellent power-noise, proof of Scott's diversity and a great introduction to his Converter project for those who have only heard his Pain Station work so far.

Cold is a well-crafted concept album, composed with precision and filled with a maelstrom of shifting emotions, plus an underlying storyline to keep you awake at night. This might not be for everyone, but it's certainly worth checking out if you like your industrial creative and with dark ambient touches. Also, concept albums are rather thin spread within the industrial genre, especially succesful ones.  Get this disc and prepare to be pleasantly disturbed.

01. Reflect
02. Dead Inside
03. Turning Point
04. Braindead
05. I Need You
06. Dark Day [the breakdown]
07. Guinea Pig
08. So Alive
09. Aftermath
10. Slaughterhouse
11. Dark Day [self-destruct]
12. Slaughterhouse [slut] (remix by Assemblage 23)
13. Aftermath [slobberknocker] (remix by Converter)

Band members:
Scott Sturgis

Additional info:
Official site: http://www.sonicdiscourse.net/painstation/
Official converter site: http://www.ant-zen.com/converter/
Official label site for Pain Station [Cop International]:
Official label site for Converter [Ant-zen]: http://www.ant-zen.com/

Pain Station mailing list: http://www.egroups.com/subscribe/pain-con
Contact: painstation@sonicdiscourse.net

"O Quam Tristis..."
Funerailles des Petits Enfants
~reviewed by Michael Otley

Palace of Worms Records two releases of 2000 are the 2CD tarot-themed compilation and the debut release from this French gothic band with  peculiar punctuation "O Quam Tristis...".  While some of the releases on Palace of Worms are more sentimental and reflective (i.e. Stay Frightened, Vehemence Realized, Bleeding Like Mine), "O Quam Trisits..." are more goth oriented, not too far from the label's Runes Order release.

On first listening, the early Depeche Mode-like rigid and raw drum machine tracks as well as the Latin vocals are most noticeable.  With very dark (and quite well done) art work, the album is surprisingly upbeat.  While there is an underlying feel that reminds me of Elijah's Mantel, the synthetic bass, occasional sound effects, and double bass dance beats keep bringing me back to thoughts of Runes Order's P.O.W. release Waiting Forever.  There is more going on here, track 8 "Ultima Confessio" presents an acoustic guitar based tune starting somewhere between an early Thanatos tune and a deep throat Cleopatra band, and then slips back into their upbeat style with keyboards and synthetic drums.  The flute on "E Lucis Ante" is pleasantly happy coming between the harmonized and upbeat male and female chants.  Other songs feature soft organ sounds as well as dulcimer.

The CD over all is more upbeat than it is reflective.  All vocals are in Latin, originally liturgical ones taken from the "Gregorian Manual", and are all printed in the sleeve.  These texts were usually sung during the young children's' burial ceremonies. The band says that this was the inspiration for the album title which they decided to keep in French.  If you enjoyed last years Storm the Palace compilation from Palace of Worms or other contemporary gothic with a medieval twist, this would be a good release to pick up.


Tomek Ashkenazy Isaac
Hugues Dammarie
Katrina Koslowska
Emeric Lenotz
Anna Virsky


Palace of Worms - USA office
P.O. Box 707
Edwardsville, Illinois

Palace of Worms Records
via Bronzetti 19
23900 Lecco Italy
ph/fax +39 (0) 341 284106

available at the Projekt/darkwave store (www.projekt.com)

Deep Red
Dark Waters
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

For those who are avid readers of Outburn Magazine, you may have noticed that this particular Deep Red, from Florida, won the court case for the rights to utilize this name. Since they had the name for a longer period of time, it is only fitting that the name conflict be resolved once and for all.  This verdict could not have come at a more appropriate time since this trio has been steadily carving an unforgettable worldwide niche in the dark underground dance clubs. Their driven, full-bodied work has been ranked at the top with artists such as VNV Nation, Apoptygma Berzerk, et. al.  Deep Red goes a few steps ahead of the aforementioned bands simply because the driving intensity is so infectious and the vocals so seductive, that few can come away not being in total awe of this band’s presence.

It is essential to note that Arce’s sexy, sultry vocals were also featured on the popular Resistor compilation from Nilaihah records with the song, "In My Dream" by Distorted Reality.  Arce’s vocals, helped garner many new fans for both bands.  She is the consummate professional when it comes to taking the dark-dancing pilgrims on an odyssey of absolute nighttime pleasure. Stylistically, the work is a marriage of EBM and Gothic, laden with liberal doses of tonal sensuality.

 "Don’t Look Now" opens the disc with a fulminating, bass slamming rhythm and dance groove. Each song that follows manages to lure the listener in until one is fully hooked and totally mesmerized. Goth purists may balk that this music is too dance oriented and less gloomy, however the band is able to pull the moods through many levels, particularly with the heart wrenching lyrics of many of the songs.

"Spirits of the Past" broods like an Egyptian mystery during sunset. The sensuous slow grooves, coupled with the drone like harmonics in the background subliminally hypnotize us into introspection. As Arce pleads with the spirits of the past to reconcile the answers to the questions left unanswered, one cannot help but feel a kinship for the same internal questioning so common to many of us.

"Darkwaters," a mid tempo groove which brings a harmonic bridge intro towards a deep excursion to a Netherworld of dark isolation  with a focus on dark sensuality. "Why pretend to be / brave and naive, it's useless /signs, signs of decay are everywhere /to guide me.... /These darkwaters run /drowning my faith /drowning in sorrow."

"Blind Rage" percolates into an intense EBM. "No looking back, free at last /the scars you left are healing fast /I said goodbye to your disdain, and the pain /ran out of room , for tears in my life." It culminates the heartbreaking aspect of leaving behind one whose anger and rage has caused us distress yet has allowed us to recognize the need to become more selective before we give away our heart.

"Fallen" opens like a tragedy from a horror film with the dramatic stylized violin like tones which segue to an electronic buzzing and bleeping behind a funky bass line.  "The evening falls/I'm left without a trace/
as darkness calls / surrenders once again / with trembling hands /I tear apart the veil /and realize /the depth of my mistake. / Did I fall from grace?" Arce’s searing chorus makes this such a memorable song that most folks end up singing it right after hearing it for the first time

"Symptoms" delivers a trip hop type of percussive groove wrapped around very deeply dark and delicious notes that smoothly glide into a mournful introspection. "These symptoms, are not new/ my heart bleeds, forever / These symptoms, are not new /been dying since I've met you." The harmonies on this song are pure heaven and totally intoxicating as well that listeners will no doubt hear the song playing in their heads after hearing it.

"Slowslidings" enshrines Arce as the Goddess of dark sensuous music. "A sense of tension fills the air/ there's no reason to despair tonight /a hidden voice reveals to me /unfinished rites will be resumed at last. / Slowslidings of desire,… /I kneel before you, you're my sin /can feel the passion trough my skin, tonight /a new religion we'll create /unbound desires roaming free at last." This track is an intense EBM track sung with a sexual energy that is lacking in much of today’s music.

"Thoughts of Darkness" is an ingenious dance cut that relates the forlorn and abject feeling of isolation wrapped around heavy EBM intensity. "Darkness comes and goes each time I breathe /crowded thoughts subside /Images of life just flashing by; are they over now?"

"Blood & Roses" is one of those cuts that belongs on every DJ’s master playlist. The meshing of electronics, sensuality and infectious dance beats make this an irresistible song that should ignite the floors from one end of the globe to the next. "All has changed in a single day /what we have is almost divine./ Pondering if this is just a dream /hoping I'm not delirious. /Hypnotized, weak before your sight /terrified, this could end soon. /Blood and roses remain /All my hopes they sustain"

"The Descent" creates a night mood in a barren, desolate city. This track is an instrumental piece that could easily be placed on a soundtrack to a film seeking to depict a fallen angel surrounded by darkness and confusion.

"Breath in the Mirror"  segues from the last song with a touch of middle eastern feeling stretched over electronic sounds that depict a somber mood between light and dark. "Pieces of love, scattered around /remnants of times, I thought would last. /Weary of lust, afraid to trust, /who knows what will tomorrow bring. /Where can I go, what can I do /to stop these doubts, erase the past. /Walk among ruins of discontent /the only hope, lies somewhere else."

"Vienna" happens to be the only track sung by Mario Soto. He  does such a superb job with this cover tune that one would hope he continues to add more of his vocals to the band’s music in the future.

Deep Red has amassed 11 tracks of such exquisite EBM masterpieces that I would venture if one bought this disc and didn’t like it, I would buy it back from them! It is not often that a band releases a CD where each song is destined to be a hit.  Despite the intricate brilliance of each song, the underlying lyrics of despondency capture the moody element prone to goth sensibility. This is a group who has fine tuned every aspect of the music before laying it down for mass consumption, and as such, you owe it to yourself to fall in love with all this phenomenal sound.

Band Line-up:
Martha M. Arce: Vocals
DC Astro: Keyboards, Sound Design, Drums
Mario Soto: Drums, Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars

Track listing:
1. Don’t Look Now
2. Spirits of the Past
3. Darkwaters
4. Blind Rage
5. Fallen
6. Symptoms
7. Thoughts of Darkness
8. Blood & Roses
9. The Descent
10. Breath in the Mirror
11. Vienna

Web Pages:

2000 Promotional CD-R
~reviewed by Psionic Imperator

Grr.. Arrg... Something about this project inspires me to bludgeon something. Very adroitly does J. Smith construct music that appeals to the primal urge for violence. Or at least my primal urge for violence. Schiziod is a rather messy (in a good way) example of what is known as 'Digital Hardcore', one of the rare tags applied correctly to a genre. Hailing from Ontario, Canada, Schiziod is the result of found-sound composer J. Smith's disgust at the music industry as a whole.. At least the lad isn't bitter. (If you are incapable of catching the sarcasm in that statement, quit reading now..)

Snagging tidbits of a wide range of genres, there's a little here for everyone. Punk rock sensibilities, Black Metal shrieks, lo-fi noise, 'Fun-dustrial' catchphrases, the occasional Psy-trance spicyness... Schiziod tosses it all together in a sonic-salad of extremities. The end result is a fresh, although rough, approach. Best of all, it's not derivative. Boy howdy, now THAT'S a big plus. In places it does remind me of Negativland on a SERIOUS Angeldust overdose, though... For all of you out there who consider Gabber too mindless, Powernoise a shade too elite, and synthpop too threatening to your sexuality, Schiziod is for you. Few projects can make you smile at the same time as it makes you want to kill something messily. Spleenly beats served up in a white-wine sauce.

Schiziod webpresense: