Excuse me but, god DAMN this rocks!!! I mean, if you still love your old Judas Priest, Motorhead, Ted Nugent, Jimi Hendrix, Foghat, Stooges and MC5 albums, (or if you just bought 'em used for 50 cents a piece and think they rule,) then you're gonna be blown straight away by The Atomic Bitchwax. This music is so packed full of funk and jive and T.Rex mondo rock and roll that it's nearly orgasmically unbearable. This is definitely one of my "Best Albums Of The Year" picks. If I rave any further about how fookin' hard this rocks, I'll be frothing at the mouth. More and more I keep hearing "metal" or "rock and roll" albums that just sound like some kind of rapmetal rehash bullshit same-old same-old Biohazard ripoff, and I've been getting really frustrated with what's passing for "metal"; I feel all better now. Atomic Bitchwax are the shit, kids. This is what I've been waiting for all this time. This is the real deal, the bees knees, the cat's pajamas. This is Break Out The Bong and Rock On music. I will make it a point to drive my neighbors absolutely insane with this; it seems like fair payback for me having to hear the local country station at all hours of the day and night whilst they work on their tractor. What, you think I'm joking?

The Atomic Bitchwax are: Ed Mundell: Guitar, Chris Kosnick: Vocals/bass, Keith Ackerman: Drums
TEE PEE/MIA Records 315 Church St.- 2nd Floor New York, NY 10013

Angelique  Present   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
Frankly, though there is much talent obvious in this band’s delivery, the overall project is a little too commercial and radio friendly for me to truly get into. However, the cool thing about Angelique is that they take dark underground electronic elements and fuse them with pop sensibility and alternative grooves to come up with a unique sound that is in a way rooted in dark electro music. In other words, they are like a darker Garbage. The verses are dark and cool and then they break into the chorus and then it is like a VH1 hit or something. In all honesty, this is good music and if the right people hear it (and not some jaded misanthropic goth like myself) Angelique may find success.

Arise From Thorns   Before An Audience Of Stars   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
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 come to mind, 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.

From the upbeat playful folk-punk of the opening track, “Dreaming,” there is an instantaneous awareness that Arise From Thorns 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 romantic and hopeful atmosphere, and to allow yourself to embark on the journey this CD will take you, you will be inspired to revisit lost memories of summer loves gone sour but 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.
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 USA
Arise From Thorns are currently an unsigned act and are in search of a record deal. You can obtain their CD either through them, or through Dark Symphonies Distribution:

Assemblage 23   Contempt   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
I really did try to resist the lure of synth-pop. I fought for nearly a year bitching like a whiny uber Goth should when Apoptygma Berzerk would thud through club “X’s” speakers for the umpteenth time. I then over time let my guard down to the infernal parasitic brilliance of Kevorkian Death Cycle, Covenant, Wolfsheim, VNV Nation, Neuroactive, Soil & Eclipse, Haujobb, and whole host of other bands that just knock me on my ass. Though I still hate Apoptygma Berserk, I consider myself a fan of this damnably bouncy yet thoroughly anguished thing called synth-pop.

Well now I have been introduced to Assemblage 23 and yet again, I cannot fight. I am indeed exceedingly picky when it comes to this stuff and I can’t say I found a single flaw or lack of inspiration in the work of this band. The music varies enough to be told apart track from track and band from band, which is certainly a plus because this is a highly saturated genre of music. What I think it was about synth-pop that won me over was that there are indeed bands that don’t just have the same beat thudding at 160bpm for 5 minutes with no variations or lyrics with any intelligence.

Assemblage 23, with their subtle orchestral strings and choirs hidden in the mix help them gain a good atmosphere as a back drop, with enough hypnotic blips, beeps, and electronics all over the place to keep the rivetheads and club kids happy. The beats are hard and thoroughly driving, yet vary enough to truly be danceable and interesting. The vocals range from the despondent clean voice signature to this genre to the occasional whisper or treated voice.

The album opens with “Anthem,” which has already lived up to its name since it is already in regular rotation at the finer clubs across the East Coast. One of the more intense tracks follows entitled “Surface,” a breathless waltz through chaos, with swinging drums, heavily treated vocals, and some female vocal samples used sparsely. “Coward” creeps in next with reversed military snaps leading into a mid paced jam with more processed vocals for a Puppy-like effect. The chorus picks up a bit when the clear vocals return and the synths swell and the drums double their intensity.

The chorus of “Bi-Polar” says it all: “I hate my life I want to die/I was just pretending all this time/A mask I wear so I don’t bare my soul to the cold harsh world out there/Try to prevail but only fail/ Each time on a grander and grander scale/My life is worthless and so am I/I hate my life I want to die.” Nothing much to say for tasteful subtlety, but it works here nonetheless. The song opens with a somber intro and then crushing fast paced drums and monotonic lifeless vocals carry the melody to reach the explosive aforementioned chorus.

The CD continues to spiral upward on a scale of grand superiority. Whether mastermind Tom Shear wants to die or not, he is still a brilliant musician. “Pages” is another midpaced track that focus more on groove than speed with an awesome and emotional chorus with deeper, gothic tinged vocals. “Purgatory” arrives at the heart of the album and would be the logical choice for another single. The formula is here again, and damn does it work. Dark and somber verses that segue into a lush and beautiful chorus, all the while a traumatic thumping pulses behind the song to echo in our hearts long after the first listen.

Another mood shift comes with “Sun” as things slow down a bit again with an awkward and hesitating drum beat behind a solid wall of dark electronics, only to pick up with a harder, faster beat toward the end. One of the most interesting and original songs on the disc for sure. “Skyquake” opens with a distant throbbing beat, swirling keys and a raspy whisper for a genuine dose of spookiness, and then of course you guessed it, the song intensifies to become one of the darkest passages of the album with a severely foreboding goth voice and a couple cool treated guitar parts. “Never Forgive” is the album’s upbeat finale, being the last chance to thrash around before the remixes by other artists that close the album. “7 Days” is another example of the sinister atmosphere A23 are capable of and it is a perfect closure to the album.

This, my friends, is a great synth-pop band. Indeed, Assemblage 23 follows a predictable formula in their song structure, however their music doesn’t fall short for a moment and your attention is sealed from the moment the CD begins. There is variety, there is emotion, and there are innumerable melodies that will remain in your head for days. This just another example of the fine club music available. They are now on tour, and were billed with Haujobb, but unfortunately, Haujobb have dropped off due to problems with customs. However, try to check them out if they come near your city because I doubt you will be disappointed.
Assemblage 23 is Tom Shear
Gashed! Records P.O. Box 1176 Station M, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 2K9

Brent Campbell  Brent Campbell ~Reviewed by: Mike Ventarola
Brent Campbell is not just a musician. He is an instrumental love technician, capable of squeezing every sigh, whisper, and moan from anything he creates music from.

On his self titled CD, available from, Campbell offers 14 songs with just over an hours playing time, that ranges from wailing guitar blues to good old hard rock.

Every sound on this recording was made by this one man. When you realize the scope of this tapestry, you cannot help but open your mouth in awe at the professional quality of the mix down and layering that he has accomplished. He vocally harmonizes and jam’s with his layered tracks to sound like a full bodied band with backup singers behind him. Beyond the technical aspect of his skill, he infuses life into the instruments to make it feel as if sound coming from him is actually a living entity. A lot of music crosses this desk and not many have this ability to turn a guitar, piano or keyboard into a breathing life form the way Campbell does.

"Hey Baby" introduces us to the rough, rugged masculine strut of Campbell as he seduces with leather clad biker intensity. The guitars emphasize this modern dance of bewitching self assurance as they pluck and weave around high and low end note driven intensity.

"Take Me Down" wails like an introspective sunset. This is also a vocal work, dealing with the reflective loss of love which doubles the intensity and passion infused in the recording. It is as if all the instruments have come to life to keep the artist company in his flight of loneliness. His vocal harmonies are flawless that at first you would swear there are a multitude of singers backing him, demonstrating the excellent range he can achieve. This is the same type of intensity from Janis Joplin and Bob Seger. Tough imaged musicians with a fragile heart. Either artist could have made this a signature song as well.

"Nevermore" has a more dark resolve of one who refuses to be caught up in any type of situation that would nail their heart to the wall ever again. This is bitter-sweet as much as it is painfully induced reflection of mistakes that one will not permit again coupled with an underlying layer of anger. The light at the end of the tunnel is woven into the sound to indicate that this too shall pass.

"Hands In My Pockets" is a nice country rock vocal work that reminds one of a carefree stroll down an empty two lane highway at high noon. It is a gentle and catchy tune that has top 40 written all over it. It is a song for the journeyman who will not allow the societal baggage to pull him down and will just roll with the punches.

"Mountain Dance" emits a brooding opening that seems to shoot colors of dark hues from all angles. It is like an auditory depiction of a mountain coming into existence through a time-lapse camera. After the implosion from the intro, the song segues into a mellow kick back wail which is like silent witness to watching the growth on that mountain. Trees are struggling up through the earth, grass, verdant and full covers the landscape, and water trickles by the stream alongside. Periodic guitar yawns reflect the cloud covers as they pass, hiding the sun for a brief moment before passing and radiating that warmth back onto us again.

"Good Morning June" also has a sentimental ring to it. This could be interpreted as a well wishing song for the month of June with all its splendor, or a woman named June who is the apple of the artist’s eye. It is a mid tempo feel good song that once again has the instruments calling out to us to sit a while and join the fun. Very slight moments of tension resolve seems to emanate from the sound, as if there was some friction, but now things are smoothing out while things are ready to move forward.

"Brent’s Prayer" poses a concentrated intensity upon its opening, which segues into a gentle guitar strumming. Campbell once again harmonizes with himself to echo his song heavenward. Touches of Native American influences seems to permeate the vocal tonality giving it a prayer from the world as opposed to just one person. There is no dogma or religiosity attached to this song, rather it is of one who is in tune with his beliefs and the Higher Power. The song is gentle, but the energy encircles the listener with an electrical circle of fire.

"Doin’ Fine" initiates a laid back guitar and piano work of one who is aware of troubles but still grateful for any blessings that have come his way. It does not reflect on what isn’t happening in his life as much as a steady acceptance for all that is and all that will be. This song touches the core of the psyche to such an extent that if one is in tune with themselves and the music, this can actually cause a purging of grief and anxiety coupled with tears of relief.

"Working Man Stomp" gets gritty again and drives the guitar riffs right up your back bone. This is our biker clad warrior who goes off to make a living daily and finally cuts lose at quitting time on a Friday night.

"The Hunt" canvasses the terrain for its prey. Dark notes weave between harmonic sympathy for that which will be hunted. A hybrid of dark wave, Native American and Mexican/Old west sounds weave between this tune to give it a film soundtrack quality. One can almost envision the slow stalking, surveying and quiet pacing as the drums metronomically beat like a heart with each footstep.

"The End" sounds like ocean waves that crest to shore that is coupled with single piano notes at the intro. The tones again seem somewhat despondent but never full of self pity. It is an excursion once again towards our own introspection which segues into gentle guitar chords that seem to gently whisper, "it’s all right." Piano and guitar work in unison like a reflective movement of one walking on the shoreline. It depicts one who is replaying memories of previously transpired events. Another sound of resolve, poetry and a backward masking effect of the artist speaking is introduced which comes across as if one is rewinding the same thoughts for further contemplation at the end of ones journey or at the end of ones life.

"Long Walk" is another piano piece of warm dulcet tones indicating one who is wandering off to find some solitude to ponder answers to questions most folks never even seem to think about. It is almost possible to feel the rustle of leaves under foot as a quiet summer rain mists against the skin.

"My Love" again marries the piano and guitar to provide sentimental heartfelt emotion that does not wallow in mawkishness. It is gentle caresses and whispered " I love you" that comes from the artist’s heart and into his hands to create the gentle flowing passion that the listener is privy to. It is almost possible to envision a couple laying on a rug in front of a fireplace which crackles with the scent of spitting wood, entwined in a peaceful moment, locked away from the cares of an insane world.

"The Spy" revels in a sordid midnight moment in any major city. It is dark jazz blues rock at it’s most visually stunning. This song would also make a great soundtrack score to depict the hanging street lamps reflecting in a dark alley where every kind of vice can be had for the right price. It is a boulevard of broken dreams, shattered men and tough talking call girls. The song doesn’t just convey the gritty, it also underlies that somewhere in that street, someone is crying out for mercy and release from this den of inequity. Someone else is strengthening their resolve to find a better way out. The guitar wails and guides us on a ghost like journey to survey the cast of characters all of whom share the same thing in common, they all took the wrong fork in the road somewhere along their travel.

Brent Campbell shares his marvelous ability to create sound that causes reflection to a backdrop of a whirlwind of emotionally laden panoramic scenes. This is by no means a man who picked up an instrument and plucked on guitar chords to demonstrate technique alone. He nurtures and savors each sound to the point that it guides and veers over many mental images. He is the director of this mental movie and we can not help but watch in awe as he coaxes the emotions from us the way he does this body of work.

Campbell is an extremely talented musician and vocalist who deserves to be heard. With so few making music that truly comes alive, this artist is a blessing in a sea of pointless hype of other artists who can not match the intensity, passion and brilliance that this talented musician has been able to achieve.
Sound Samples:

Beth Hart Screamin' For My Supper  ~reviewed by Kirin
The first time I ever heard Beth Hart, it was totally by accident. I was flipping through the channels on the telly at about 3am, not really paying a bit of attention. Suddenly, a singularly captivating figure reached out through the screen, grabbed my by the neck, and screamed "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, WASTING YOUR LIFE, WHEN YOU COULD BE OUT LIVING-- WHEN YOU COULD BE TRULY ALIVE?!?!?" I literally sat up in bed. I turned up the volume and remained awe-struck and unable to move until the concert was over. During that time, I laughed, I cried, I got goosebumps, and I called my best friend. Fuck what time it is, turn on your t.v., RIGHT NOW. We sat there, both crying, both with chills, whispering what is inevitable: God damn. Janis Joplin-- alive and well. Beth Hart is touring. Go see her.

No, go, sit down, and prepare to leave her presence a changed person. I dare you to make it through a live version of "Skin" without seriously rethinking the way you're living your life, or not living it, as the case may be. Please, I'm begging you. If you buy one CD this year, make it Beth Hart's. And Beth Hart, wherever you are in this world; thank you.

One more thing. Please stay alive. A really long time. Please, I beg of you girl; die of old age. I know you know what I'm talking about. With love, a fan.
Atlantic Recording Company, 1290 Avenue Of The Americas, New York, NY 10104 Management: David Wolff

Changes  Legends   ~reviewed by Kirin
It has been said that when the stories of a people die, the people die. Legends is a collection of treasured stories that sadly, seem to be dying, at least in the minds of those that create "popular culture" in America. Blame it on the "PC Nazis", or upon our sad fascination with heroes more akin to Speed Racer than King Arthur; regardless of the reason, it is sadly beautiful to hear an album like this, which expresses the very atmosphere and soul of the stories that are being forgotten. I've not experienced a work of music and art quite as wholly satisfying as this one in a very long time; the lyrics, the music, the passion, the artwork-- the entire CD is a labour of love whose careful craftsmanship is undeniable and almost overwhelmingly delightful. Robert Taylor, Nicholas Tesluk, and Robert Ferbrache (who recorded and mixed the album,) have created a humble and poignantly powerful masterpiece. These men, quite simply, have no peers in the world of music today-- underground or otherwise. Yes, there may be bards out singing the songs of the "Renaissance", but none of them (at least that I've ever heard,) sing with the personal conviction, intelligence, and soulful understanding of the material that these men have. It is as if they have been transported from times long past, and come to us as a gift; a reminder of what we are capable of, if we would but apply ourselves.
Changes are:
-Robert Taylor: Author of the "Legends" poem, (upon which the lyrics are based,) "under disc" art, vignettes, vocals.
-Nicholas G. Tesluk: Cover art, music, calligraphy, logo design, vocals, 12 string guitar.
(Karen Taylor: Photos and disc art.)
Produced and distributed by: Taproot Productions PO Box 279 Washington Island, WI 54246
Sheet music available from: Twilight Lands music PO Box 2950 Edgewood, NM 87015
CD also available through: STORM
P.O. Box 3527 Portland, OR 97208-3527 USA

COREThe Hustle Is On   ~reviewed by Kirin
TeePee/MIA Records are saving rock and roll. No kidding. Every single freakin' band on their roster is all bowel-moving bass, tub-thumping drums, and hoo doo guitars. I spent most of my adolescence with my head between a big-assed pair of Koss headphones, tripping out to the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Foghat, and Boston. TeePee/MIA are reviving the mad corpse of acid and doom metal that has been desperately in need of revival for quite some time. May the gods bless them for this. Core are a perfect example of the brilliance that these labels are bringing forth into the world. This music is straight from the land of blacklights, big bongs, and bellbottom trousers. Dig it. The cool thing is that all this stuff from TeePee/MIA is available on vinyl too, so you can sit back, tune out, and hear the click and the hiss just before the groovin' begins. Seriously, the fact that this sort of music is being made again, and made exquisitely well, gives me hope for metal. If you ever get the chance to see ANY of the bands on these labels live, get your arse down there and see 'em. You don't need no fancy pills like E or X or GHB or any of that shite to dig this music. This music IS the drug, baby. Core are:
Tim Ryan: Percussion. Fin Ryan: Guitar/Vocals, Carmine Pernini: Bass
TEE PEE/MIA Records 315 Church St.- 2nd Floor New York, NY 10013 http://www.mia-records.com

CovenantTour de Force ~reviewed by Wolf
Well, they're back. That fact alone was for me reason enough to go out and buy this single, blind faith and all. Do these gentlemen from Scandinavia still need an introduction? Leading this highly productive genre of industrial dance (together with VNV Nation perhaps), it's virtually impossible not to come across their music in either the clubs, on underground radio shows or in the music stores. Their last album Europa is already an icon for industrial enthusiasts everywhere with its highly danceable and sometimes almost disco-influenced tracks, as they moved away a little from the cold and harsh (but just as excellent) sound of their earlier releases such as Sequencer, Dreams of a Cryotank and the Theremin e.p.

Tour de Force provides a taste of what's to come on the next album, United States of Mind, out due this month as well on Dependant and Metropolis. The title track appears in three different versions and "It's Alright" completes the tracklisting for this single.

The club version starts off explosively after 5 seconds of distortion, echoing sounds and a rolling bassline convincing one and all to get up and dance. The music is truly irresistable and even those not too fond of such catchy material will have a hard time sitting still. The vocals almost sound like Dave Gahan's, or even those of Andrew Eldritch, before the chorus kicks in wit the more traditional singing of Covenant's frontman. Uplifting melodies synchronize with the bassline throughout the song's many changes, bursting out in a climatic last 30 seconds and over in what seems a lot shorter than 6 minutes.

Mix number two is handled by Daniel Myer, very straightforward and nothing like haujobb's recent "ninetynine" outings. Great manipulation of the vocals, weird effects and the usual dose of Myer complexity. My favorite on this single.

"It's Alright" is a bit unnecessary if you ask me. It sounds a bit like the Europa track "Final Man" and features not much else aside from a pounding bassdrum, lots of noise and pointless lyrics. Maybe I'm just not getting it, but the title describes it perfectly for me. It's alright, but not the greatest song ever written.

The third mix of Tour de Force (extended dance mix by J. Cosmo) clocks in at 11 minutes and 40 seconds. It supplies a more mellow version of the track, with a groovy bassline (can't help but call it groovy when it sounds as disco as this) and slowly adding more melodies, vocals and effects. I would've liked to see it reach a bit more of a climax, but otherwise it's a good track.

Now, Covenant have recently received their share of criticism. According to some they're selling out, going more commercial with their infectious and danceable compositions. But come on, this is top quality production work, killer dancefloor material and a pleasant remind that music can simply be fun now and then. Not to mention that it's definitely a notch or two above anyone else in this genre, including VNV (although they're a close 2nd) and Apoptygma Berzerk. I enjoy the evolved Covenant as much as the old one and if United States of Mind has a good balance of danceable floorfillers and darker experimental material to offer then it'll be another excellent release by this professional formation. In the meantime Tour de Force is a nice appetizer, as well as a necessity for the Covenant and haujobb completists. And don't forget to request it in your local club, I bet even that gloomy goth in the dark corner will find her or himself moving involuntarily to Tour de Force.
[Check out some mp3 excerpts of the upcoming album at the Infrarot mailorder site: ]
Band members: Eskil Simonsson, Joakim Montelius, Clas Nachmanson
Additional info:
Official band site: [not available yet]
German fan site:
Label site [us]:
Label site [scandinavia]:
Label site [germany]: [not available yet]

Cauda Pavonis   Cd EP Initiation ~reviewed by Admortem
Cauda Pavonis is definitely the most old school sounding goth I have heard since Rozz Williams hung himself. This four track ep features deep, strong female lead vocals by Su Farr, accompanied by her bass and Dave Wainright's drums and backing vocals. The band's UK origin is betrayed instantly by their musical style. Lush vocals laden with British accent, spoken at times but always clear, create a dark fantasy world for the listener to revel in. With a few dramatic changes, and a few whispered words, Cauda Pavonis demonstrate clearly that they are masters of creating musical visions.

My only dissappointment with this ep is that it seems they are capable of much more. There are flashes of brilliance that are over far to quickly. I get the feeling that their full length cd release, which they began work on in July of 1999, entitled Pistols at Dawn, will more fully embody their range of talents.
Su Farr - Vocals, words/music, programming, bass
Dave Wainright - Backing vocals, words/music, programming, drums
Email: Site: S-mail: 15 Southernhay, Staple Hill, Bristol, BS16 4LS Label: FAW Records

COLECLOUGH, JONATHAN   Windlass"/"Korm Plastics Introductory Paperback KIP 016  ~reviewed by Kirin
Those of you who either dabble, or delve fanatically into experimental noise and electronica, will surely sit up in your chairs when you see the words "Korm Plastics." Yes, one of the foremost labels that has helped break the ice (which is about 2 miles deep,) about this misunderstood and misrepresented world of experimental sound, has hit upon a most excellent idea: release a series of works by unknown and uncommonly splendid artists, at about "the price you'd pay for a paperback". (Thus, the "Korm Plastics Introductory Paperback" moniker.) I think this is a fabulous idea, and I'm certainly glad when people make great efforts to make art more accessible to people who have to do without food in order to hear new music.

For Jonathan Coleclough's part, his first "paperback" is a delirious delicasy of dark sound and wistful dalliance. Rather like walking through the park on the rainiest day all year, those inclined to enjoy inclement weather will adore this recording. I've never heard dark ambience sound so positively wet and bright and alive. Truly, a wonder to be heard.
Track Listing: -Windlass (One 40-odd minute piece.)
Staalplaat/Soleilmoon PO Box 83296 Portland, OR 97283

CYCLOBE  Luminous Darkness   ~reviewed by Kirin
Here's a little statement, culled from the Cyclobe section of (

"[CYCLOBE] music is to do with the condition of awareness at the time of listening, or maybe trying to achieve higher awareness... with sounds as pathfinders. Using intuition, emotion and the power of the senses... We're working very close to the abstract but each piece is structured dramatically. Drama requires that something be at stake; not a feeling you often get from abstract music. Emotion entails danger and emotion is the factor we use to devise structures. We want to make music that plays with a sense of jeopardy and surprise, whilst remaining slippery and daemonic in the details. Hovering threats and imminent ecstasies..."

In other words, this is "turn off the lights and put on the headphones" music. It is my feeling that Cyclobe have succeeded in their quest to make music that "plays with a sense of jeopardy and surprise, whilst remaining slippery and daemonic in the details." Oftentimes this music becomes seductively sweet, lulling one into a sort of sleep state, and then, POUNCE! a-ha! they've got you!!! I began to feel a bit like Inspector Clouseau whilst listening to this; get too comfortable, and you'll definitely get whacked, or at least pleasantly scrambled. I do not mean to mislead, however; this music attacks subtly.

Delicately. It becomes aggressive in the most ghastly way ever; by tenderness; by gently misleading the mind into believing that all is safe and well. One falls to sleep happily in a field of poppies, and awakens in an underground cave, full of wet stench darkness, and unearthly delights. Truly, overwhelmingly delicious!
Cyclobe are:
Simon Norris and Stephen Thrower (If the names sound familiar, it's because you know them from work with Coil and Death in June.)
A Phantom Recording Distributed by World Serpent Distribution, Unit 7-I-7 Seager Buildings, Brookmill Road, London, SE8 4HL, ENGLAND

DEATHWATCH BEETLE REPAIRMAN  "Hollow Fishes" CD ~review by Kirin
Wickedly quirky, threatening, endearing, morose and profound. Think Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and a dash of Nine Inch Nails; hellish nightmare and blessed sunrise, I've never heard a disc like this in all my life. It would not be possible to recommend it or praise it enough. You would not believe me if I did. I don't know what else to do but encourage you to take a chance on the long shot. It's worth every cent you have to pay for it; much more than worth it. 'Last I checked on the DeathwatchBeetleRepairman website, the CD was $7 in the US. There are NO excuses for not sending this guy (these guys?) a few dollars to get one of the best CDs you'll hear all year. No, I'm not kidding you. Tender, brooding, and elegant-- the aural equivalent to the thinking goth's orgasm.
Deathwatch Beetle Music 102 Concord Ave. Toronto ON M6H 2P3

Decadence A Beheaded Winner and Fragrances of Happiness   ~reviewed by Vassago (John Gedeon)*
I never would have thought that I would hear a new band that would haunt me more than I can describe. Decadence is a group that, in short period, many have given only positive feedback. It is only a matter of time for them to achieve what other groups did after many years of work. This is an introduction to the dark side of every sense or feeling that a human can possibly experience during his or her lifetime.

Even though this is their debut album, I can say that A Beheaded Winner and Fragrances of Happiness is one of the most mature and complete albums I've ever heard. With the same attitude as World Serpent groups have, I am really wondering why World Serpent did not try to add to its roster one, if not the best, forthcoming band in the underground scene. It is more like an art than just music when a group of people can achieve what Decadence have in this release. It's impossible to describe all the feelings and images to which you will subconsciously give birth in your mind after sharing with yourself this unexpected but delightful tragedy.

In this CD you will face cold, cruel but complaining in its performance vocals inspired from Nietzcke's and Dostoievski's poetry, a deadly atmosphere continuously presented from mud sounds, melodic mournful echoes from classical instruments like pianos and acoustic guitars, with epic but ironic trumpets, confirming the macabre romandism. Tenses of self-destruction, differences between life and hell or Poe's last obituary? I will leave you to decide about it.

Some of the groups that Decadence remind me of are Current 93, Sol Invictus and Death in June in different periods separately. It would be a loss for you not to give your attention to the beginning of a group that tends to meet the big composers of World Serpent. Best moments of the cd include: "Suicidal", "Life is a cavity", "but love? I'm disciple of god", and (I wonder about the role of the last track) "The story of the story of death part 2".

For this project Decadence was: Fleur de Mort, Pierre, Morpheus, Alexandra N.S., St. Silence.
Contemporary Awesome Purple Projects (CAPP) S.V KOUKOULOMATIS Lisiou 8 / GR-11146 Athens / Greece Tel/Fax: ++30(0)1 2924036

DAVID E. WILLIAMSA House For The Dead And A Porch For The Dying   ~reviewed by Kirin
I've said it before and I'll say it again. David E. Williams has no peers. Not a one. He has many imitators, but none fall even close. He *is* the voice I think of when I think of the perfect gothic male vocals. Well, okay, one of them. Can't be dissing Peter Murphy, Rozz Williams or Carl McCoy now, can we? Anyway, back to David E. Williams. Musically, lyrically, and vocally, David E. Williams is who I turn to when I've become entirely too self-important, and find myself dwelling in the morbid hole of my own god damned belly-button. If you cannot laugh at yourself, if you cannot laugh at the world and the sickness and beauty and putrid decay of it, then you just won't "get" David E. Williams.

That's the key, you must bring yourself to his music with your sense of humour intact. You must come with your sense of history in place. You must come with your delight in music untainted by the likes of VH1, MTV, and top40-alterna-crap radio. The funny thing about the music of David E. Williams, is that I loved it the very first time I heard it, and years later, it still grows on me every time I listen to it. Also, I must draw attention to the cover art of this CD, which features the unbearably beautiful stained-glass artwork of Judith Schaechter. You simply cannot buy music and lyrics and artwork this painstakingly tenderly repulsive and glorious anywhere else. Nowhere.
Contact: Ospedale Records PO Box 2422 Philadelphia, PA 19147 website:

Various Artists  Holy Dio: A Tribute To Ronnie James Dio   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
Throw those devil horns up in the air my friends (so Dio can see them else he’ll have to stand on a chair) because this is pure metal from head to toe. Sorry about the pun, I respect Ronnie James Dio. He was that short dwarf guy from the 80’s who succeeded Ozzy in Black Sabbath. He was really short as I said and sang a lot of songs about rainbows, knights, and crazy medieval magician stuff to serve as a backdrop for your nocturnal Dungeons & Dragon sessions. Ok now you remember right??

In all seriousness, this is a great concept and a well-deserved homage to one of metal’s legendary forefathers. Some of today’s power metal greats as well as some notable newcomers pay their respect to some of Dio’s best work ranging from his solo career, Black Sabbath, and Rainbow.

Steel Prophet does justice to the Sabbath classic “Neon Knights” to open the album, and Hammerfall do a great version of the classic “Man On The Silver Mountain” that certainly exhibit where they derived their sound from.

I was pleased to see that the Sabbath classics “Sign Of The Southern Cross” and “Children Of The Sea” were included by Fates Warning and Jag Panzer, being that they were some some of my favourite Dio-era Sabbath tracks. My only complaint is where the hell is “TV Crimes” from the “Dehumanizer” album?That was one of the coolest and heaviest Sabbath tunes that Dio ever did and I was very surprised that no one did it. But alas, there are some other intersting contributions, such as Solitude Aeternus’ “Shame On The Night” and “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” by Doro. The latter of the two referring to Doro Pesch, a female musician who’s style is like that of a Goth metal Lita Ford, which was considerably amusing but cool. Blind Guardian do an awesome version of “Don’t Talk To Strangers” which begins as a ballad and has the classic line “Don’t dream of women ‘cause they’ll only bring you down,” and on the word ‘down’ the song gets all thrashy and cool. I had to laugh at the sentiment and brilliance of such a thing.

Overall, a few great songs and great renditions of them, but I sort of grew out of my Dio phase quite sometime ago. Granted, it was fun to hear some of these songs again, and if you are a metalhead clinging to your roots and are a fan of power metal, this might be something you should check out.
Official Ronnie James Dio page:

DJ WALLYThe Stoned Ranger Rydes Again   ~reviewed by Kirin
In the world of DJs, there seems to be a plague of folks who take themselves entirely too seriously. I mean, yes, pop culture speaks to us of our world, and yes, music is one of the arts which allows a vanguard of brave souls to deconstruct all that has gone before them; however, what is the point of all this serious striving if there is not eventually some laughter to be had from it? I can always count on DJWally for two things: excellent music, and a healthy dose of laughter. Who else but DJWally brings you square 10" records, cover photos of hairless rats, samples of Simon Garfunkel, (on the "Genetic Flaw" album,) and more looney tunes than a head can hold. Stoned Ranger is a loping, loose, and lively collection of music that invites one to kick back, relax, and throw your shoes away. Don't miss that little underlying paranoid twinge of too much dope, when the tie-dye turns, right before your eyes, into nightmare alien polyester leisure suit madness, (as on "Zeta Reticulli Trip 1"). "Until Its Gone" is one of my favourite songs this year, if not ever. It's so damned sexy, slinky and confident that it virtually STRUTS out of the speakers. DJWally seems bent on creating masterpiece after masterpiece, and he makes it look easy. More power too ya buddy, and may your buds always be kind.
Liquid Sky Music 245 W. 29th Street, 9th Floor New York, NY 10001

DESACCORD MAJEUR  "Samana" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
French "ethnotrance" sounds, reminiscent of Muslimgauze, and other experimental noise pioneers such as Rapoon. Passionate, delicate, and full of soft joys, this CD reminds me of the smell just after the first spring rain, or the feel of warm black soil between aching fingers. A highly tactile and engaging collection of recordings, it's impossible to listen to this for long without feeling absolutely connected to some deep green landscape far, far away: in this new land, I don't speak the language, I don't have any money, and I don't know where I'll sleep tonight, but I don't even care, because it's so beautiful here, and the air feels so good on my skin, that with the headphones on and the volume up loud, I never want to leave.
Desaccord Majeur 56, rue Louis Ruffel 80080 Ameins FRANCE
Staalplaat/Soleilmoon PO Box 83296 Portland, OR 97283

Dreadful ShadowsThe Cycle   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
Instantly, I was hooked. First of all, the CD opens with some subtle dark electronics with none other than Gitane DeMone offering vocal ambience. And might I add that her offerings are akin to her vintage eerie improvised vocal tangents similar to the days of “Ashes” and “Wind Kissed Pictures.” So off the bat, the CD has already reserved a place in my heart.

But what more, Dreadful Shadows perform an upbeat and highly traditional form of Gothic Rock that sounds refreshing despite its lack of innovation. In the vein of Corpus Delicti, Ikon, Two Witches, and heroes such as Christian Death, these guys proof that the common formulas of Goth Rock is far from tapped dry. The opening track “Futility” is a mid paced gloomy groove with tight crunchy guitars and sweeping keyboards that crescendo into a lovely vocal duet between Sven Friedrich and Gitane. “A Better God” is a plea to the heavens above for a better life and is an instant dancefloor classic with its swingy driving drums and overall sense of sarcasm and jaded bitterness. “Intransigence” is the first of several successive ballads with a far more reserved slower pace, yet memorable still nonetheless, especially “Torn Being,” where Gitane’s voice absolutely soars alongside Sven.

“Calling The Sun” and “Awakening” boast well-placed string arrangements and piano paired with a dark metallic edge, similar to Moonspell’s lighter moments. The album picks back up toward the last few tracks, however, being just over an hour in length, Dreadful Shadows cover several bases of dark enjoyment. An equal balance of Gothic rock, metal, and ambience makes this a sure fire hit. This is certainly the band’s most mature effort and their most promising. They should be congratulated for their ability to breathe life into the ways of old and make it shimmer with blinding beauty.
Dreadful Shadows are:
Sven Friedrich: vocals, synths, prorgammings
Andre: guitars, additional synths
Norman Selbig: guitars, additional synths
Jens Riediger: basses
Ron Theiele: drums, additional synths
With special guest vocals by Gitane DeMone
Big Mama Promotion Auguststr. 8, D-53229 Bonn, Germany
Fan Club:
Dreadful Shadows Fan Club C/O Viola Steffans PO Box 1235 29402 Salzwedel
Official Web Page: (not in English yet, but is to be updated soon!)

EnduraElder Signs   ~reviewed by  Kirin
The first few tracks on this CD were originally released on the infamous En Comm label, when the band was called "Abraxas" and the cassette was titled "Hexe"; these tracks later appeared, with other tracks interwoven, on the Nature and Art label, (band name now Endura,) on the album Dreams of Dark Waters. Tracks 16-24 were released in 1996 on the album called "The Dark Is Light Enough". The remaining nine tracks in the collection, are a treasure trove of gems for Endura fans, because they have heretofore only been available on various (and sometimes impossible to find) compilations and cassettes. For those unfamiliar with Endura's brilliance, Elder Signs is an excellent place to begin. Endura could easily and favourably be compared and contrasted to bands such as Puissance, Blood Axis, Death In June, Sol Invictus, Strength Through Joy, and perhaps even Coil. The moniker "dark ambience" fits Endura very well; they vary between cold sparse industrial sounds and the tender traumas of "apocalyptic folk". In fact, there are moments when Endura become downright Dead Can Dancey. Fans of H.P. Lovecraft, Carl Jacobi, and Arkham House will adore Endura for their wonderworld of dark gods and brooding atmospheres. Students of and participants in Mithraism and other "pagan" systems of learning and discovery will be delighted by Endura's dedication to esoteric thought and sound; songs such as "The Sun Behind The Sun" and "The Bull And The East Wind Blowing" are profoundly powerful and exalting. Thanks and praise must be directed to Patrick McCahan and Red Stream records, for making this collection a reality; it's been a long time coming!
Endura are:
Stephen Pennick and Christopher Walton
Red Stream PO Box 342 Camp Hill, PA 17001-0342 USA

Escapade   due to a faulty premonition   ~review by JettBlack
Spontaneous sexual arousal emanates from natural rhythms converging and intersecting in harmony upon one another. Like the cover art suggests, due to a faulty premonition begins like a slow journey upon a deep and mysterious ocean rolling with spontaneous tides and under currents of wonder and amusement. A steady rhythm carries us out into deeper, more complex movements.

As time and distance together build upon one another, darker elements of the deep become both more apparent and engaging. And all the while, the music is entirely unobtrusive, cerebral, and yet enigmatic. Mother West studios in NYC brings us Escapade. Six musicians spontaneously collaborating, creating soulful music. A refreshing electronic spirit that reaches into the most automated sub-routines of a mind connected to the great machine and slowly leads the soul back out into the openess of non-conformity and abstraction. Here within the beauty of these 6 tracks discover a world against sanity focused purely upon creative spontaneity.
Contact Mother West:
and Escapade:
visit Escapade and Mother West on-line at:
Mother West 132 W. 26th St. New York, N. Y., 10001

EVOKEN Embrace the Emptiness ~reviewed by Kirin
Devastating from cover art to last note. Nihilistic doom, through and through; pure ecstasy. Shades of death metal, shadows of abject horror, all dancing within a dark ambient backdrop of an ever-expanding and meaningless universe. I challenge you to find a more bleak and cleansing album ANYWHERE. This is right up there with the early Burzum albums in its ability to completely empty one's mind of the self, or, to fill one's mind so much with the self that the only choice is to change or die. Cathartic, mournful, and full of the only kind of hope which is true; the hope that comes after all hope is abandoned.
Evoken are: John Parasiso: Guitars, vocals.; Nick Orlando: Guitars; Steve Moran: Bass.; Vince Verkay: Drums; Dario Derna: Keyboards., (plus Charles Lamb on cello.)
Elegy Records Mail Order/Record Label 71 Ackerman Ave, Suite 163, Clifton NJ 07011, USA Phone (973) 614-0670 Fax (973) 365-2323
Email Address: ICQ# 24279077

Faith & Disease Lamentations: A Collection   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
Seattle’s Faith & Disease are one of those rare bands in the Gothic scene that still rely on dark romantic subtlety and reserved instrumental beauty to convey their message. Led by the warm expressive vocals of Dara Rosenwasser and the musical talents of Eric Cooley, Faith & Disease are a success due to the raw and hypnotic moods they create. They don’t try to write dance club hits nor do they feel it necessary to release any techno remixes of their music. Instead, you find in their music a wonderful array of styles and approaches that exhibit this outfit’s multi-dimensional talent. They mesh these styles together to produce a stark and well-blended mix of genuine gothic atmosphere, something that in my opinion is becoming a sincere rarity lately. The band formed in 1992 just at the peak of the grunge rock explosion. Essentially their music was just a four-track catharsis project to cope with living at the epicenter of faded flannel and fuzzy guitars, but it soon took off. Since their formation in the early 1990’s, Faith & Disease have been dabbing the palettes of ethereal, darkwave, Cocteau Twin-esque swirl core, and acoustic folk goth. This collection is a tour through the gallery of the art they created, both past and present, and after one visit, it is pretty safe to say that you will be back again.

This disc opens with the my favourite track entitled “Baudelaire,” and I believe that in his more morose and melancholic moods, the French misanthrope himself would have been proud at how F & D captured the essence of ennui and desperation prevalent in his poetry and channeled it through a musical medium. For the backbone, a lush acoustic guitar is finger picked as a solitary violin snakes in and out with a gorgeous though utterly desolate melody. It is here as well, where I found Dara’s voice to be at its most expressive as well, though by no means does the rest of the album fall short. Again, it is a very eclectic trip through this album. There are plenty more ethereal tracks such as “Hashivenu” and “Wallow” where warm synths and chamber orchestras are prevalent, but for the most part, songs such as “Jardeau Blue” and “Igloo” seems to set the tone for the album.

Subtle flanged guitars, pulsing bass, swelling synths, and slow bluesy drums are where F & D are there best and most interesting. Reminiscent of Cocteau Twins and Lush, the songs flow and you find yourself in a dazed groove and you can’t help but want to chill in your room all day with some wine and hope for rain outside. There is of course the folky “Voltaire’s Vallerie” and “Madrigal” to stir things up a bit, being the most upbeat songs of the entire disc, yet still the edgy beauty is there and doesn’t disturb the flow of the album.

Similar to how their music was a breath of fresh air to the dark scene in Seattle at one time, their music can still be regarded as such when you consider how many traditional Gothic releases have been put out lately. I was very pleased with this disc and though I have random tracks from Faith & Disease on compilations and various mixed tapes, hearing Lamentations made me very interested in hearing what else this band had to offer. If you are already a fan, this is a convenient collection to own and if you are interested in the band, it is an essential purchase to add to your collection.
Faith & Disease are:
Dara Rossenwasser: vocals, lyrics, guitar; Eric Cooley: guitar, bass, keyboards, lyrics
IVY RECORDS 1904 3rd Ave Suite 1011 Seattle, WA 98101 USA

Gitane DeMoneStars of Trash ~reviewed By BlackOrpheus
I recently had the privilege of interviewing Gitane Demone for StarVox. I found her candor, and insight thought provoking. She was every bit as engaging as the music I've come to know her through. Stars of Trash, her most recent release is no exception. It is rife with the seeds of wistful melancholia. They fall upon the fallow ground of one's hearing, and quickly flower into incredibly colored creations. Come walk with me, in an oft neglected garden. Revel in the sweet smells of decay, and rebirth.

"The Only One" is a superlative piece of songcraft. The writing is poignant, and haunting. I am repeatedly moved by this song. It opens with a nice guitar part that sets the cadence. There is an emotional ebb and flow like the tides, punctuated by the cresting, and breaking of the vocal parts. This is truly beautiful.

"Little Dreamer" is another song that caught me up in its rhythms. The song beats like a heart, with this confession to the source of its affections. "...We have glory, we've both been trashed, kicked to shit, and born abstract," I liked the writing here as well. I was particularly partial to the arrangement on this one.

"Valentine" was a gorgeous song. It was a tie as my favorite with "The Only One." I fell in love with it's classical, chamber music feel. The emotions evoked by the harpsichord effect were profoundly shaking, exquisite. It was wrenching in it's entreaty "I only want to be in love, the way that children play...Stay don't turn blinded eyes away...Don't walk away..."

This was an incredible listening experience, extraordinary work.

I hate to conclude, as there is so much to praise here. Gitane Demone has once again triumphed with "Stars of Trash." It is a mature work, sung with a voice that knows that of which it sings. In the beginning of Jung's Memories, Dreams, and Reflections are the following words "Other people are established inalienably in my memories only if their names were entered in the scrolls of my destiny from the beginning, so that encountering them was at the same time a kind of recollection." Well, there is a voice here that inspires just this thought. I wonder if it might not move others as it moved me. Search this album out, there are treasures awaiting you.
Gitane DeMone Website:* (official Rozz Willimams site and family links)

Hate Eternal Conquering The Throne  ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
Brutality my friends, and nothing short of it. Perhaps the best aggressive death metal album of the year thus far, Hate Eternal indeed are in no way short of living up to the title of this debut CD. Pioneered by Morbid Angel guitarist Erik Rutan, this bombast of anger and merciless energy is surely something not to be taken lightly. Personally, traditional death metal for me has been something that I chose to ignore, since 9 chances out of 10, the recent wave of death metal has absolutely nothing to offer that hasn’t been done before and better by the pioneers. But every so often, an outfit Hate Eternal appear and I am fondly reminded of the incomparable power of inspired and well-done death metal, a style that when handled correctly, can be the most aggressive and interesting styles of music.

Thus, here it is, something that Cruxshadows fans would cry if exposed to, and something that those of us with the rotting fetid skeleton of death metal hung in our closets will cause us to open and the door and say “Damn right! I love this insanity!”

The riffs on this CD are frantic, the vocals are abysmally harsh and intense, the drumming both blistering and precise. Though intense and extreme, the musical orchestration certainly shows through and Hate Eternal is as much exhibiting integrity as they are blasphemous angst. Fans of Morbid Angel are already familiar with Erik’s writing style since he was responsible for some of the songwriting in the past, so you won’t be disappointed with this in the least. Any of you who dig abrasive and straight-forward death metal will adore this. Hate Eternal are currently on tour in the US so hopefully some of you will venture out and witness as what will undoubtedly be an exhilarating and rewarding performance! All Hail!!
Hate Eternal is: Erik Rutan: guitars, vocals; Doug Cerrito(ex Suffocation): guitars; Jared Anderson: bass; Tim Yeung: drums
Erik Rutan P.O. Box 21922 Tampa, FL 33622-1922
Official Web Page:
Earache Records:

Himinbjorg  In The Raven's Shadow   ~reviewed by Kirin
France's own Himinbjorg came out with their guns blazing from the very beginning of their last release, "Where Ravens Fly"; this time, they begin with a sombre, atmospheric prelude, and then fall right into formation with their usual blitzkrieg of sound and fury.

Himinbjorg are eloquently proficient at mixing straight-up black metal chaos with a more classical and folkish flair. The vocals remain as evil and trollish as ever. It seems though, that Himinbjorg have really been tightening their belts; this music feels more clean than Where Ravens Fly. Where Ravens Fly is an excellent album, don't get me wrong, but In The Raven's Shadow is a blazing buzzsaw of sound that is a gift to any nervous system. Personal favourite tracks are: "The inverted dimension", "In the Forest of the demons from within", "Dream Walker" and "The Voice of Blood".
Himinbjorg are:
Zahaah: Vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, and percussion.; Elvan: Drums and percussion, keyboards, samples, acoustic guitars, vocals, etc.; Mathrien D.: Production (?), guitars.
(An old Himinbjorg page at Redstream:
Band Contact/Booking:
Mathrien D. c/o Ludovic Tournier "Sous La Vellaz" 01510 Artemare (France)
Red Stream: PO Box 342 Camp Hill, PA 17001-0342 USA

IN THE NURSERY  "GROUNDLOOP" CD ~reviewed By: Vassago
Music is one of the ways an artist can express his/her inner-self by using instruments to give birth to his/her feelings, experiences, thoughts, and beliefs. The day I listened this CD, I knew about this as I am a composer myself, but I couldn't have imagined how much a group could achieve as In The Nursery has with "GROUNDLOOP".

It’s so difficult to review a CD that makes you ground, forces all your senses to wake up from their sleep and brings to the surface feelings and visions that you could never imagine existenced. Each time a track was ending, I didn’t know what to expect next, but I knew that I wouldn’t be disturbed from the trip I was in. I've been listening In The Nursery for many years and I believe that this is the best work they have to present (until the next release probably! ) I wont do the review by critiquing all the songs separately because it will be useless since the album is from the first to the last song, UNIQUE. Sometimes you need more than few words to describe an album that goes straight to the center of your being.

The Humberstone brothers continue using the same elements in their music, experimenting with a more renaissance style this time. Wonderful combinations of Oboe, Cor anglais (by Jill Crowther from the courtesy of London Philharmonic orchestra) flute, and drums impressively filled the their songs with more power than ever. True electronic sounds from classical and orchestral instruments achieving the creation of their well known cinematic atmosphere ( music for movies), and the fact that five from the eight songs  include lyrics written and performed from Dolores Marguerite C (in three different languages - with a majestic way you can never imagine), certifies the success of this new release from a group that compose highly- professional music, for big awards . As far as the production of the CD  is concerned; it is suitable for this kind of music since all the instruments are very well and easily perceptible from the listener, transferring all the atmosphere ITN intended with absolute detail and success. I am wondering what they had in mind when composing GROUNDLOOP. It will definitely provide many hours of listening pleasure whatever your musical preferences are.

If you are an In The Nursery fan, this is what you were waiting for. In the Nursery took their music to the next level and which leaves me wondering what even greater things the future holds. For those who do not know them yet , this is the opportunity to erase that mistake.
In The Nursery Website:

I Will I   "The Pope’s Ring Is Made Of Stolen Gold" ~reviewed by Matt Heilman
Something quite unique and interesting here. I am unsure if it is really a new release, but I recently received it to review so here goes. This guy is from eastern Pennsylvania and it seems like they listened to a lot of different styles of unhappy music.

The album opens with a strange, trippy song that sounds like an occultist on acid narrating their own twisted version of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” A funky bass line, jazzy drums, bluesy guitars, and non-treated clear male vocals tell the tale of a spinster gone mad. Interesting, to say the least.

I blink and shake my head, leaving the trauma of track one behind (trauma I say, because I was absorbed by the catchiness of the tune and have to admit I kind of liked it). Track two, “March Of Time,” is an old-school post-punk rock song, with an early Death In June flavour too it. Reminds me of the death rock era stuff like “Holy Water” and “Heaven Street,” with cool drums, driving bass, and both watery and grungy guitars. I liked it very much, even though the vocals are sort of higher and uncharacteristic of this kind of stuff. It helps it sound original.

The title track begins with a very annoying, out of key German male vocalist singing acappella, and just when you think you can’t take it anymore, a brooding bassline appears, and the song begins finally. As if taking a cue from Boyd Rice, a very bitter spoken word passage takes the song to quite a heretical level. It sounds like a medieval Pagan expressing his distaste for the Church. This is a very cool track, spanning about 7 minutes of sheer dark age blasphemy, but I still can’t stand the German guy that was whining in the background.

The last three tracks are very short, “Ever Dawn” being an instrumental led by another memorable bassline and epic synths that crescendo into another post-punk inspired jam. Unfortunately, just as the song sounds like it is going to get somewhere, just as you expect a the vocals to begin it ends. And that is it.

The aptly titled fifth track starts, a song composed of a hateful perversion of the “itsy bitsy spider” nursery rhyme spoken softly behind spooky distortion and other forms of manipulated noise. The CD closes with another evil folk tune comprised only of a rapidly strummed guitar, adding a bizarre western tone to it and the tale of a midwife who is the prey of a dead magician who tries to be reborn. Some wild mystical stuff going on here, but I like it.

Creative, bitter, imaginative, and injected with tongue-in-cheek humour that’s as black as can be. David E.Williams appears on these last couple tracks as well, which should interest some of you. I Will I is something I would have to be in the mood for, but cool nonetheless.
I Will I is: John P. Begley
Web site:
I Will I PO Box 2083 Jenkinstown, PA 19046
See ROZZNET.COM for dates of Gitane Tour

JOHHNY [sic] PINKHOUSE PRESENTS   "Bad Acetate: 50 Fabulous Years in the Soleilmoon Lounge" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
The realist would say, "This CD is a collection of recordings of people talking shite." Ja,'tis, but, at the same time, if you keep listening to it long enough, oddly, it becomes a sort of ambient recording. The voices become sing-song and run together and fade apart, and the words no longer matter. I never before realised how truly musical the simple act of talking is. I hear it when I listen to people speaking languages I don't understand, but I'd honestly never realised how even English, the American kind specifically, with all of its brogues and variations, can be so serendipitous. A bizarre collection of recordings, to say the least, but a mind-opening one. I always appreciate Soleilmoon recordings for the fact that they bust me 'ead open and give me a different view of things within and around me.
Soleilmoon Recordings PO Box 83296 Portland, OR 97283

KARMA TO BURN Wild Wonderful Purgatory   ~reviewed by Kirin
"We're all ready for tonight. How 'bout you, shithead?" This is how the CD begins, and it's all gloriously downhill from there. No way can one (okay, two) record labels be chock full of this much great music. TeePee/MIA are the answer to ALL of my ills. I could spend the rest of my life with this music, and never want off the age-old hypothetical desert island. This is better than food, sex, shelter from storm, or anything a desert island might leave you wanting for. I'm to the point where I'm sitting here listening to these TP/MIA releases and I'm running out of words for how feckin' blown away I am. All I know is that this is the music I love best, and I never thought I'd hear contemporary musicians doing it this well, this passionately, and this over the top. I thought I'd be listening to those same old 70s vinyl LPs forever. Not that I mind that, but a lot of those old bands don't tour anymore, and when they do, they're uh, well, just not the same. I'm excited that these labels have dedicated themselves to the acid doom funkassed kind of metal that made my life seem worth hanging on to all those years ago. I'm even more excited that sooner or later, ONE of these bands has gotta pass through my part of the country, and I'll get to sit there with my eyes closed and a big cold beer in my hand and FEEL it through and through.

Karma To Burn are right up there with Foghat, Nugent, Hendrix, Zep, Saint Vitus and ALL that shite that blew my mind back then, (and now); you gotta hear this to believe it. Bless these crazy peckerheads from West Virginia. They just made my year. Hell, they're so freakin' cool that the none of the tracks have song titles. This means I can type less and listen more, which in this case is a very good thing indeed.
Karma To Burn are: Will: Guitar; Rob: Drums; Rich: Bass
MIA Records 315 Church St. 2nd Floor New York, NY 10013 info@mia-records.com

Kate Rears  Mostly Late Night Music   ~reviewed by Michael Otley
Singer/songwriter Kate Rears is a far cry from quiet desperation. Almost folk, far from pop, the music has a personal sensibility. Her debut CD, Mostly Late Night Music, is a modest self-release of her mostly acoustic guitar and voice arrangements. Generally speaking, Kate remains calm and thoughtful from beginning to end. Lyrics sung with her sweet and sometimes gruff lower voice seem to attempt to communicate with a friend or lover in most songs, discussing her current emotions and confusions, where things went wrong, or hopes for the future. Perhaps I love this CD so much because it is simple and straight-forward, beautiful and something with which to relate.

This is one of those CDs I put on and never even know what song is what. Although I know the album starts with a nice little song called "Arms of Morpheus," I'm not completely sure I could pick it out if someone mixed up the tracks. To me they're all brilliant, for the most part they all seem to have their own progression, never straying too far from the original theme presented in the first few seconds, and never getting stuck or boring. "No One Thinks" is my declared favorite of the album; it's so elating somehow. While maintaining a nostalgic longing for the past, it also seems to disregard any pain or negativity. After she muses over the possibilities of the moment, the song breaks into the extended instrumental second half of the song, just guitar and so free. The following song, "Self Hatred," provides bass as a subtle yet strong backing instrument. Incidently, "Self Hatred," seems to be more about moving beyond self-hatred and is consistant with the positive self-reflective nature of the album. As the album continues, Kate experiments slightly with electric guitar and more prominent bass on a few songs, but never straying far from the overall acoustic sound of the album.

I would recommend this album to anyone enjoying creative acoustic music, especially fans of Cat Power. You may purchase Mostly Late Night Music directly from Kate Rears (visit her website, link below).

TOR LUNDVALL AND TONY WAKEFORD  Autumn Calls   ~reviewed by Vassago*
The name Tony Wakeford is well known from his involvement in the projects Crisis, Death In June, Sol Invictus, L'Orchestre Noir, as well as from his solo works. When I saw the name Tor Lundvall with Wakeford's, I wasn't surprised since I knew that these two have collaborated, though not musically. Tor Lundvall is a visual artist, specifically a painter, responsible for the artworks of Tony Wakeford's King and Queen, In the rain, Cupid and Death, Cantos, and Wakeford's book Above the Sun (24 drawings included), as well as L'Orchestre Noir's In Europa and In a Garden Green. Also, Lundvall's works appear with Bob Berg's Riddles and for Miles Davis in The Blue Note for Capital Records.

My first thought was, "What could this man possibly have to present to this CD at his first attempt to compose music." Of course the name Tony Wakeford gave me an insurance of what I should expect, the result of Lundvall giving Wakeford some ideas. This album is a dark and experimental work dedicated to a melancholic and sinister season for Lundvall: autumn. I think of this as a soundtrack for Lundvall's pictures.

The CD contains 19 tracks: 16 of them instrumental, 2 with French spoken words - "October" and "The Rise to War" by Sowila , and only one with Wakeford's vocals - "Autumn Calls." The instrumental songs are short in length, and are Lundvall's ideas performed by Tony Wakeford. The other musicians have all previously worked with Wakeford, and their style here remains similar to their works on his previous releases. Tony Wakeford worked with Sarah Bradshaw on Trees in Winter, Let us Pray, Death of the West, In the Rain, In Europa, La Croix, Cupid and Death; with Matt Howden on In Europa, In a Garden Green, In the Rain; with Eric Roger on In the Rain (in both releases 1995-1997), In Europa, Cupid and Death, Eleven; and with Jaufre Darroux and Sowalia on Eleven. With these familiar albums in mind, everyone should share this experience with themselves, especially fans of World Serpent. Notice that this work gives more attention to the meaning of the seasons, especially autumn.
links of interest: (find some of Lundvall's works here)

MalaiseA World of Broken Images   ~reviewed by Vassago*
Although this CD was released one year late, Malaise returns powerfully with A World of Broken Images. The reason for the delay was that beyond Martin Danielsson (vocals and programming); all the other members, after composing but not recording the music, left the band for personal reasons.

After the wonderful 52 Ways to Die which made them known as one the most promising gothic bands in Europe; this album comes to certify that this is just the beginning. Between the electro and metal elements they finally focus more in the latter even if this is a completely different under taking considering the begining of this band.

Although they changed their music direction to more metal than the electro, it was not something that caused surprises. The proof is right here: by giving more attention to the guitars, the music profile is the same. Imagine the 52 Ways to Die in a complete metal version with limited samplers.

Massive harps with melodic guitars, perfect drums in power and technique, pianos filling in successfully when needed, melodic solos and keyboards married with Dannielson's voice give a unique atmosphere to all the tracks and especially in the songs: "Maybe I Am Dead," "Bitter Waters," "Another Image," and "Another Day." These are definitely are the best moments of the CD. The production and the mix deserves a lot of compliments also. One of the best releases in from a gothic-metal band, especially recommended to all the Dreadful Shadows fans.

My Dying BrideThe Light At The End Of The World   ~reviewed by Matt Heilman
My Dying Bride is the essence of Gothic emotion in music. The music they create projects the dread of haunted decaying castles, frost claimed gardens, and hesitant descents into cobwebbed crypts. They inspire romantic arousal from romantic bereavement. Their lyrical imagery is that of the anguished poet clutching his motionless, silent, and dead muse…and his gaze upward sears the very throne of the cruel on looking god. No one will ever convince me otherwise that there is a band more Gothic in lyrical approach, style, sound, and effect upon the psyche as My Dying Bride.

Forgive me yet again for my verbosity, but I would be dead if I never found catharsis in this band, and I would like to pay them the respect they deserve.

Though Anathema and Paradise Lost are accredited to arriving first of the 'big' three, it was My Dying Bride who defined, solidified, and shaped the Gothic metal genre that was to cast its bleak shadow over the European metal scene in the early nineties. To my delight, that shadow is denser than ever. My Dying Bride, circa 1993: dark foreboding growls alternating between a brooding British tenor pleaded and spewed forth profound Shakespearen styled tragedy atop walls of detuned melancholic guitars, skull shattering drums, and the ghostly slithering of violin. They blew the minds and broke the hearts of countless souls. Not only that, but they opened the doors of creativity within the metal genre, proving it was not mandatory to write songs about satanic ritual sacrifice, serial murder, or senseless gore-shock. They also proved that speed and jamming a thousand notes into a single bar was not the only way to be brutal. They added depth to a scene that was way too predictable, and succeeded in creating a darker, infinitely more disturbing effect that traditional death metal in its stagnance could never have produced. Soon more bands followed suit, and My Dying Bride continued on, submerging themselves deeper within the warm waters of romantic darkness and anguished poetic beauty, expanding their sound and crafting it to reach a pinnacle of passionate art.

Over the years, with many outstanding talents emerging, most notably the eloquent Theatre Of Tragedy, new brilliance threatened to oust the reigning morose monarchs. Also, with last year's "34.788% Complete," My Dying Bride sought to experiment even further sensing how crowded the Gothic metal genre had become, and threw every one off guard by abandoning the extremely deep old-world lyrical approach for a more modern verse style. Not too mention, the CD (their 5th full length) was the first without long-time violinist Martin Powel, thus one of the key elements in the band's success and originality was missing. Many fans were disappointed, though the CD in no way was that great of a departure from the common themes and concepts familiar to the band. But it was very obvious to fans that each album seemed to stray from the core of funereal agony that inspired the band's seminal recording "Turn Loose The Swans," where MDB were perhaps their most powerful, pairing their death metal past with their Goth/doom metal future.

My Dying Bride has returned and I am awe-stricken. With "The Light At The End Of The World," they have outdone themselves and every band that has ever come after them. They have taken every element that has ever made them successful and fine-tuned these elements to create the finest dark music album of the past decade. They have returned to the stygian source of their inspiration and dove deep into those black waters. Aaron's lyrics are grandiose and superbly imaginative, his lamenting tenor unstable with grief yet fiery with passion. To the delight of many he has revived his angst ridden death growl that has remained silent for three albums now, as well as his raspy shrieks that most likely served as a basis for the legions of modern black metal vocalists. Yet he balances these voices perfectly to convey the particular shade of emotion he wishes to express. The guitars are still the signature fortresses of abysmal distortion and hypnotically bleak harmony. They have 'their' sound again, the sound that made them gods, and have taken it to an even higher plain of divinity.

Though many journalists have scoffed saying that the band is regurgitating what they have already done, which is absolutely ridiculous because this album is fresh, and it rivals anything that could be released in this genre.

My Dying Bride is doing what they enjoy and they are displaying loyalty to their fans by strengthening what so many have loved and modifying it to a level of maturity never before seen.

I really do not know how My Dying Bride will follow this album with an even greater masterpiece, but I do not doubt they will do so.

The album opens with eerie volume swells in "She Is The Dark" and as Aaron volleys between harsh rasping and Gothic wailing, the band gallops along with black metal-esque riffing and pauses for foreboding atmospherics.

"Edenbeast" lurches along with sludgy riffs and flirts with speedy claustrophobic moshing rhythms only then to lead into a wonderful interlude that proves that despite the lack of a live violinist, MDB can still inject classical instrumentation with some well-done keyboards and a lush oboe arrangement. "The Night He Died" stands out for its lyrics, which to me were a subtle and tasteful nod to a pair of vampire lovers. I interpreted the story of a male vampire who sought to avenge the death of his nocturnal bride; a sinfully bitter track that would make vampire enthusiasts proud.

The title track is beautiful. There are just no words to capture the splendour of this track. The lyrics read like epic Greek tragedy, as a man forsakes his life and humanity itself for the love of a woman he lost to death. The vocal melody is gorgeous and moving, and the guitar arrangements godly.

"The Fever Sea" is a straightforward attack, similar to early "As The Flower Withers" era tracks, though definitely more polished and modernized. "Into The Lake Of Ghosts" is fueled by somber riffing and clean Gothic vocals, mid paced yet utterly laden with depressive beauty to be one of the saddest and ethereal tracks of this CD. "Isis Script" is more of Aaron's volleying between gruff and Gothic vocals, and the band too shows both its heavy and sensitive sides. "Christ Liar" takes awhile to grab you, at first seemingly one of the weakest tracks on the record. By no means bad, but not as gripping as other tracks. By the half way point, the song takes a more atmospheric turn and with the use of acoustic guitar and more sweeping orchestral keys, makes it again, a powerful moment as well.

The album closes with "Sear Me III," a reprise of a track that has seen various formats on early releases. This version combines the sweet guitar harmonies and thudding drums of the original "…Flower Withers" version and the neo-classical tone of the "…Swans" version with piano and keyboard. Aaron continues the saga of doomed lovers with revised lyrics, and the CD closes with an intense outpouring of romantic emotion that soothes and satisfies the heavy hearted listener.

The album exhibits the power that My Dying Bride and the genre they herald is capable of possessing. This music is timeless, and years from now, music fans will look back and look at this branch of Gothic and metal as a revolution in itself. This is dark epic art, that compromises for nothing.

Besides the majesty created by the pairing of the music and lyrics, I would recommend at least one in depth study of the album's lyrics. ( One can easily see that had Aaron Stainthorpe been alive a few centuries ago, we may be reading his words along with the greats that have done so well in inspiring him. Amazing and profound, I think it would be safe to say I * really * liked this album!
My Dying Bride Is: Aaron - vocals; Andrew - guitars; Ade - bass; Shaun - drums; With Jonny Maudling (of Bal-Saggoth) on keyboards
Official Website:
Peaceville Records

Metroscene   "The Weekenders E.P." ~reviewed by Blu
I don't know about the rest of the country, but Brit-pop is making a strong come back at the club scene here in Atlanta. That puts a band like Metroscene in exactly the right place at the right time. A fairly new formation by one-time solo artist John Phillips, Metroscene is making big waves in the pop pool. Having been picked up and played by a variety of radio stations, all reports point to this band as being one of "THE ONES" to watch. (You can thank me later and I can boast "you heard about them here first"). Their sound has been compared to Blur, Jellyfish and Pulp and while this 4-song EP is light-hearted and delightfully boyish in tone, I hear their live show* is a bit more intense and nothing short of spectacular which has left all their listeners in great anticipation of a full-length release.

The Weekenders E.P. opens up with the sweet "My Darkest Star" which reminds me of "Wonderwall" in its gloomier appeal and slightly manipulated vocals. Track 2 is "Tartan Skirt" with its boyish infatuation theme that has become something of a call signature for them. The carefree vibes of "Sunday Afternoons" on track three lead way to the title track "Weekenders." With its "Beatle"-esque sound, "Weekenders" embodies the theme of the band - the carefree attitudes of those people in metro areas that finally, at the end of work week, head out to have a good time and relax with friends "I could stay at home, but the weekend's come and this is what we're meant to do...weekenders." Ah- to be young and single and have the right band performing the soundtrack. If you've been in a routine rut, if its all been too gloomy and depressing, take the weekend off, spin a little Metroscene and for the moment, forget that Monday is just around the corner. Carpe Diem.
Metroscene is: J High - bass Allen King - guitars John Phillps- vocals and guitars Kevin Redd- drums
Email: The Weekenders EP can be ordered online through Mp3 site:

A Murder Of Angels   While You Sleep  Lineup: Bryin Dall, Derek Rush ~reviewed by: Mike Ventarola
Middle Pillar breaks new ground yet again with the release of A Murder of Angels CD entitled While You Sleep.

The company creatively coined the term dambient for this work which is a dark ambiance hybrid. This instrumental work meshes spoken words, shouts, whispers and minor dialogue between some of the darkest sounds of eerie delight. The music is an amalgamation of mournfulness, anxiety and fear set in full bodied texture to enlist the wakening of all of one’s senses. This disc accomplishes in not only making you see some of the horror, but smelling, touching and tasting it as well.

On this, Middle Pillar’s third label release, we are treated to the dark ghosts that lurk within the shadows of our own psyche. This disc is at once haunting and haunted. Every listen will provide multiple fragmented images to splay itself across the mind. We are a mute witness to mental cinemascope as the metallic residue of fear hewed bile plays across our tongue.

Necrosis Reversal has us enter into a dark nebula with backward dark drones which instinctively cause the listener to have mental images of spinning headlong through a tunnel.

We drift into the catacombs of sounds that echo from a displaced time and are clearly asked "who are you?" As our brain entrains towards the alpha level of slumber, the sound takes us on what feels like a Medieval horse ride while still staying connected to the dark drones as our guide.

The ride progresses to unclear shouts from this twisting cloud. Are we crossing the barrier to the other side? We are frozen as silent spectators to the echoes and bellows that emanate between the music. A steady electronic pulse keeps time with our beads of sweat, as we thrash from this somnambulant nightmare. Haunted and haunting, we cannot stop listening even as the final refrain asks in a singsong voice, "did you ever see a dream?"

Manuscript’s opening reminded me of the outdoor section of a futuristic prison. The sky is dismal and gray with flecks of cold drizzle hitting against our skin.

I can’t help but be reminded of Dickens as the audio transmits a feeling of flying with a enigmatic and dreaded companion to view things we may not care to see. Voices sound as though they are from a metallic speaker set atop a high wooden poll. Scenery changes allow for the many fragments to come forward. We can see a book of indescribable power calling forth the guardians of the dark to escort us further along our quest.

A full bodied orchestration pleads to come forward yet the invisible barriers keep them at bay. The energy of intonation continues to rise and fall until we are left with a crescendo of dark cacophony, orchestra and musical wailing that pull our spirit right from our bodies. We once again hear the voices from the speakers as we rouse from our terror filled travel. We do not linger here as we have many more areas to explore.

Wandering Soul leaves us in a cavern of the deepest recesses. Gloom is pervasive all around us now as we see there is no escape. Musical footsteps walk us through the many yawning mouths in this cave as we seek for a way out. Each step leads us back to where we started. It is grim and hopeless.

Lurking Gentlemen reminds this reviewer of sounds like the dark alley of a major city. All forms of vice are played out between the shadows. We shake out of our reverie to anxious music. We have been surrounded by dark characters. Musically and sonorously we cannot see what is happening due to the ambiguity of the notes. We once again find ourselves spiraling into another level as the hinges of a gate squeaks repeatedly. It ends with anxious, discordant notes similar to the apprehensive tones of a horror movie.

Melting Across the Night begins with a dark downbeat and a deep male voice that is indecipherable. Many other voices whisper and speak as the music plays a tense reverie. Is this the voice of our dark guide? We continue to drift through the night, looking at the dismal world of our existence below us. We then are briefly treated to an Orson Welles style narration of the story the "Little Match Girl." Upon the tales end, the earlier haunted sounds proceed to take up the atmosphere leaving us questing and questioning.

Tribunal opens with thunderous sounds and backward playing high notes that echo and gape into yet another dark area with mysterious voices floating overhead. The dark energies converge and twist all around us as we near the next point of visitation. Who or what presence are we in the company of? Is the approach of our annihilation upon us? The music holds us tensely while the sound effects plaster us against the hidden walls of our psyche that we are creeping along. Choirs chant and sing in reverse as we hear the juxtaposition of energy and fast flying notes to indicate rapid movement. We are not meant to linger long here.

Suspended in Frozen Misery sounds like the underwater grave of a sunken vessel. All is dark and the only company is the floating debris of darkened algae and echoes of metal from undersea settling. We are breathing though we are in this watery abyss. The music and effects intersperse nicely to provide yet another tense filled atmosphere. One can almost hear the corpses screaming from their aquatic tomb, begging for someone to avail their release. We swim frantically to what sounds like a breathless escape. Out of the water and free from the pursuing nautical undead, we still hear the echoes of the sunken ship clanking its door. It is calling us back to take refuge among its eternally damned.

Opaque Atmosphere conjures images of a thick dark mist ever encircling on the perimeters of hell. Voices call out from the mist and subtle percussion and horns lure us to peek within. Once inside, we are in another barren cave. Sounds evoke imagery of things flying past us. Indecipherable tones and voices yet again call from beyond the nether reaches of this void. Each step we take is accompanied by another image of horror and fear. The paralyzing screams and hollers mingle with more musical discord to raise the taut emotional groundwork that has been reached thus far.

Ninth Circle thunders open and briefly conjoins with an angelic voice. This is replaced by dark moody bass tones and the sound of crows off in the distance. The melody builds as dragging footsteps painfully trudge through this dismal journey. Circuitous music whirls around touching us as it brings us back to wakefulness from our nightmare.

A Murder OF Angels manages to provide an unusual backdrop to allow listeners to experience a waking nightmare. Many sounds blend to create a dreary world which is further enhanced in an unlit room while wearing headphones. This body of work goes beyond stark to provide a vista devoid of any light whatsoever. Playing this totally changes the environment you are in to add the right touches of gloom and doom. This reviewer must admit to being hooked to this CD and finds it rather inspiring while redecorating my own gloomy abode.

I must caution you, however, due to a recent experience while playing this CD. Should you have friends that are not into dark music, While You Sleep will unnerve them quickly and cause them to leave.
Released and Distributed by: Middle Pillar P.O. Box 555 New York, NY 10009 Tel: 212- 378-2922 Email:

MUSLIMGAUZE  "Speaking With Hamas" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
As you probably know by now, if you've been reading the previous Muslimgauze reviews on Starvox, Bryn Jones is no longer with us, corporeally speaking, but his music continues, thankfully, to wade out into the sea of ears. Perhaps this particular CD is best described by its liner notes, which read: "A collection of limited edition series of 1996, selected by Muslimgauze. This CD to be permatly [sic] available to people who don't deserve it" and "A tourist asked Ali Muhamad, a second-hand camel salesman, why camels look so dam [sic] supercilious. The Arabs know 99 names for God but only the camel knows the 100th." If these statements seem somehow simultaneously obscure and profound, then you're beginning to have an appreciation for Muslimgauze. As always, the music here is luxuriously crafted, to the point of being painstakingly layered and structured; a house of cards, a fantastically difficult and mournfully delicious dessert. Not to be missed, even for those of us who will never deserve it.
Muslimgauze: -Bryn Jones (1961-1999)
Soleilmoon PO Box 83296 Portland, OR 97283 www.soleilmoon. com

MYSSOURI  "Malamerica" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
Have you ever come over a rise in the road and seen something from a dream long ago? Something so beautiful and frightening and glorious that you can't breathe? This is what I felt from the very first notes of this CD. I felt, "I have heard this before. I have dreamt this before." This is directly from the Collective Unconscious-- straight up, no chaser. With all the grace and sad delight of And Also The Trees, Myssouri build a world so dark and so lovely that there is no way to escape it; better yet, there is no DESIRE to escape it. Imagine a hot summer night full of Spanish Moss and Kudzu, drunk on sweet cheap wine; desperate sex in the cemetery, all stumbling limbs and bleeding mouths, and it's the last time because it simply cannot ever happen again, by virtue of wars external or internal or fully hallucinatory, and it's all for nothing and there is no hope and the ravens circle overhead and the road never ends and now you're getting the idea of where this CD will leave you when its finished with you. You'll be left in a laundromat somewhere in Wyoming, with no gas, and one tshirt, and how the hell do you wash just one tshirt, even if you DO have the seventy-five cents to do so? Beautiful despair. "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose." Like Janis by way of Nick Cave by way of Jim Morrison by way of the Swans, I cannot now imagine life without this music.
Myssouri are:
*Michael Bradley: Vocals, guitars, keyboards, dunce harmonica.
Cristobal Jansen: Drums, percussion, art&web.
Hampton Ryan: Bass guitar.
Greg Thum: Lead guitar
additional players:
Joey Huffman: Keyboards, tracks 2 and 7.; Clinton Steele: Guitar and bass, tracks 11 and 12.; Tarmon Kelling: Bass guitar, tracks 3, 5, 6, and 10. ; Thomas Dodd: Harp, track 12.
Contact Myssouri: MYSSOURI1@cs.com

Newt  -273c   ~reviewed by Wolf
Newt was somewhat of a mystery when the project made its first appearance on a few compilations a few years back and delivered a remix for none other than Download. Since then we've learned that it is a collaboration between Daniel Myer (haujobb) and Andreas Meyer (Forma Tadre), a match made in synthetic heaven. -273c was their first release on Quantum Loop and collects material written between 95 and 97. It's been out for a couple of years now, but I believe that it deserves all the attention it can get.

Forma Tadre meets haujobb is of course a very promising concept. Both bands have proven their worth over the years and are highly respected artists in the electronic genre. Traces of haujobb's Solutions for a Small Planet (and its remix companion Matrix) resound throughout this album, while the more ambient tracks and segments are close to Forma Tadre's latest offering Automate. And thus Myer and Meyer walk a delicate line between styles, staying true to their mutual reputations of pioneering and experimenting.

Call it ambient drum and bass or experimental electro, either way it's refreshing and original.

-273c starts off with "Motive one", 7 minutes of sound manipulation accompanied by a jumpy bassline and interrupted halfway through the song by ambient strings. "Hull Break"'s first minute certainly bears similarity to Automate, but breaks into a low, pounding bassdrum which sets the stop-go rhythm for the rest of the song with an analogue sound reminiscent of old sci-fi movies appearing throughout this track.

Next up is "Ostad-Revisited", the first track with a driven 4-4 beat. Another long composition, but with enough changes to remain interesting. "Testone" builds up to a strange, rolling breakbeat after a set of unusual percussion, followed by "-273c vs. +37c". Frantic up-tempo beats, rolling snares and if I'm not mistaken a distorted sample of Newt herself. (Think "Aliens" if you don't have a clue what I'm talking about.) "Motive Two" features echoing "plops" and effects similar to Automate. Sparse hi-hats dictate the rhythm of the noise in this short, but interesting cut.

More atmospheric d'n'b on "Abyss", another excellent showcase of sound manipulation. I especially like the last 55 seconds. Call me weird.

"Phasenverschiebung" is very straightforward and filled with wonderfully strange sounds and sequences, while Ostad is a more frantic track with excellent breaks and never dull for a single moment, even though it clocks in at a little over 7 minutes. The ambient "White Sun" brings the album to a calm ending, once more sounding quite Forma Tadre-ish.

Perhaps it shows that the sound of Newt is hard to convey with words, but if you like haujobb or Forma Tadre and haven't heard any Newt yet then I urge you to seek out this release, as well as the excellent remix cd Phaseshifting, because this is where the best of both worlds meets.
Band members: Daniel Myer ; Tehanu (Andreas Meyer)
Additional info:
Quantum Loop website:
Official haujobb site:
Official Forma Tadre site: [currently down]
Forma Tadre at the Metropolis site:

Nightfall DIVA FUTURA ~reviewed by Matt Heilman
Nightfall are often lumped in with the more obscure, though by no means irrelevent, bands that were a part of the second wave of European Gothic/Doom metal. Their early recordings were similar to older Paradise Lost and Celestial Season, though over the years it seems that they have expanded and experimented with their sound a bit. I have been longing to hear them for years, but have never been successful in coming across any of their recordings. This is even more torturesome because the lovely Kristy Venerick of Columbus' The Azoic passed this CD-R along to me with a few sample cuts from their latest album. Unfortunately, it is merely a CD-R with the tracks scrawled on the inlay card. I am even hungrier for this band's material now, and too poor to obtain it via mail order. But anyway, let's cut to the chase.

As I mentioned, the band have evolved from traditional doom metal, and seem to have injected a moderate dose of Industrial flavour to their sound.

Still extremely heavy and dark, though with a bit of mischieviousness and hints of sado-masochistic themes in their lyrics. The first track, "Master, Faster, Sweet Disaster" combines several elements into their work, from harsh death metal vocals and deep Goth vocals and crunchy guitars to create a very fresh sound that definitely gives them a bit of breathing room in this heavily populated genre we have come to call dark metal. I have to say that despite my usual aversion to fetish cheese and sleaze, I did like this and with each listen, it grows on me more. Though I am certain to say I may have enjoyed earlier material more, I very much respect this. The track "Louvre" again has the same pairing of Goth, Metal, and Industrial and again it works well. But the last track on the sampler, appropriately titled "Nightfall" is a supremely melancholy techno trance track with blankets of soothing synths, piano, and a driving mid-paced electronic beat. The song spans about 7 minutes and it is very alluring and relaxing, with some cool operatic female vocals toward the end of the track.

Very cool and again, I very much want to hear more of these guys. I think the new CD would be a rewarding risk if is it originality that you seek, and I will update you all once I get a copy of the full length CD.

Opera Multi Steel  Eternelle Tourmente   ~reviewed by Michael Otley
The album cover of Opera Multi Steel's 1999 full-length CD (their fifth maybe), Eternelle Tourmente, shows two boys carrying a wounded angel. This image is repeated throughtout the professionally presented booklet including all lyrics (in French). Perhaps the reason this painting works so well for the album is not so much the subject matter, but rather the clarity of the painting, and the looks on the young boys' faces. There is definitely a theme presented throughout the music on this CD, with snipets of dialogue between tracks, perhaps further relating the painting to the entire release.

Opera Multi Steel's sound is created most with strong vocals from both male and female members (as well as guest Carine Grieg of Collection D'Arnell Andrea), predominant and upbeat (programmed) rhythm patterns and keyboards, bass on most songs, and occasional guitars. The recording is quite professional, digital, clear, and well mixed. O.M.S. themselves are quite precise, even tight, never appearing sloppy. The first song, "Laudamus Te," (which also appears on the Palace of Worms Records compilation Storm the Palace) is perhaps the strongest, bringing an aesthetic from somewhere between Elijah's Mantle and Dead Can Dance (Aion era). While generally conveying an atmosphere similar to Elijah's Mantle, some drum machine patterns and keyboard lines, here and there, bring American goth bands to mind, like Bella Morte or the Cruxshadows. The most pleasant track of the album by far is "Pauvre Sens Et Pauvre Memoire," marked by gentle and harmonizing vocals, soft and floaty keyboards, unobtrusive percussion, bass, acoustic guitar, and a nice recorder part (which I mistook for a flute before reading the liner notes).
Members: Franck Lopez, Patrick Robin, Catherine Marie, Eric Milhiet
CD's are available through their label:
Triton;  Kronprinzebstrasse 106 40217 Dusseldorf Germany phone ++ 49 (0)211/934 75 88 fax ++ 49(0)211/934 75 90

Peace681  CD: We Are The Headless Children ~Reviewed by: Mike Ventarola
Peace681, the name for this electronic outfit from Canada, has come upon the music scene with an amalgamation of sound. Despite the tranquillity of the band name, there remains an underlying mystique associated with its use that can be further elaborated on the web page of this artist. It does make rather interesting and profound reading.

Many songs incorporate the current electronic style popularized in today’s ever-growing market and trend for this sound. On some tracks, there is a light feel-good quality while others are a bit more pensive. The collection of songs manage to range from playful, sensuous and at times jovially mischievous. Most genres are represented here and given an industrial style hybridization such as jazz, gothic, ethereal, new age and classical to name a few.

This very reasonably priced CD DAM generously offers 14 tracks with just over an hours worth of music and is worth sampling on

"Get The Picture," like pulsating pixels and pop rock candy, the picture that unfolds is like an etch-a-sketch toy. The artist weaves high-end notes with a driven bass to provide a bit of color for our stream of consciousness type of artwork.

"5 Seconds of Flesh" is an absolute gem of a track. Classical strings open this song, providing a more sophisticated tome until a soundbyte informs us that we "have 5 seconds to terminate" the program. The future then explodes and sound is made to seem malleable in a solid sense. The song is quite sensual in nature with the deep thrust style bass grooves.

"AmbientDextrous" somberly provides a gothic backdrop while maintaining a gentle trip hop type rhythm. Interesting guitar chords weave around the ambient and trip hop portions, which bring to mind swirling spinal discs on a macabre mobile.

"TrickArm" is a club friendly cut that vacillates between the left and right channels. Rave like percussive beats and searing mid-range notes are like electrical sparks haphazardly shooting out of one’s body. Definitely head music for the future.

"AlleyJazz" brings a brassy horn and "cool cat" bass jam together and then joins them with the steady drums. The interesting thing about this cut is its ability to evoke a cartoon like alley. It is as though this was designed for the interesting graphics of a Ralph Bakshi film.

"Tragically Hip Hop" explores the anticipatory element of tuning a crowd into a transitional groove. A guitar chord is layered and looped around pulse beats that are like a creation of rubber and metal. One can almost imagine a fantastic light show to accompany this track.

"Whatever" takes us into a hyper drive interstellar dance spectacular. At the same time, it also provides a feeling of machines making decisions based on statistics rather than rational judgment.

"Kickit" has become a favorite on the Hidden Sanctuary playlist at where this artist is showcased with other stellar performers. Each layer of this song can actually work for any DJ mixing live in a club.

"SIGIL" has an anxious industrial sound with driven guitar effects and razor-maid chops. The intensity manages to ride upon the bass and bongo bottom notes which extrapolates this tune in a myriad of directions.

"Jabberwocky" has a soft spring air feel to its opening sequence. One can almost envision driving past rows of beautiful foliage during an early sunset while this song plays to mark the miles of the speeding white lines underneath the wheels.

"This Is How I Feel" reflects a very dark mood. The song is wrapped in electronic angst giving rise to a mood of abject dismay while still maintaining the BPM for a dance floor groove.

"Paralisys" feels like R & B that has gone industrial. It reflects the immobilization one has during any form of mental or physical blockage. Periodic thrusts promote a vision of rapid cogitation in an attempt to break free.

"AmbientDextrous (NiteMare Remix) once again a favorite among this artist’s fans. It is the lengthier version with a few screams thrown in to give it just an additional gothic feel.

"Peace681 ( Theme Song- For Now) opens with Gregorian style chants reflective of the origin of the artist and his name selection. A modern soundtrack for the Holy Grail, if you will.

Peace681, DJ, actor, musician and scholar has a track at # 34 on the UK charts at and the number 2 best selling album in the Techno Genre in all of his homeland, Canada (mp3 charts). His largest performance to date was in front of 10,000 fans for the Heritage Music Festival held at BC Place Stadium.

In addition to creating new music he is a Rave/Hardcore reviewer for AudioEcstasty Ezine and has an Indie artists and the E-tainment community feature currently under discussion with CBC Radio Vancouver. Peace681 demonstrates his ability to create sounds that are reflective of deeper meanings that he does not let on to the casual listener. Only through repeated playing are some of these elements somehow translated from a stream of consciousness setting. This is highly danceable music but it also hides a key of ancient mystery.
Mp3 Music Site:

Paradise Lost Host(Music For Nations)   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
“Certainly not what I expected” seems to be the quote from fans in regard to this release from one of doom metals forefathers. The seventh full-length CD from the Halifax quintet shows a sign of maturity as well as a severe departure from their roots. Their previous album, One Second hinted of what was to come, but the band went right ahead abandoning their signature guitar driven doom metal for a more technologically friendly style of Goth rock. The way I see it, the band got bored and wanted to do something new and fresh, and wanted to do music more akin to what the band has been listening to and enjoying these days.

Paradise Lost formed in 1990 and now exactly a decade later, it is no surprise that their musical interests have changed and they want to expand their horizons. What is interesting is that their new sound is pretty damned unique on its own. It really doesn’t fit into some neat little category, nonetheless their Depeche Mode and Sisters influences are now a lot more prevalent than Black Sabbath or Metallica. In fact, the CD was produced and engineered by the very same producer of Depeche Mode’s Ultra if that gives you any idea what to expect.

Overall, I don’t think it is that great of a departure. The more I listen to this CD the more I like it, in fact I have come to love it. The same gloom and doom vibes are still there, the same pensive lyrical approach, and the same melancholic guitars are present, there are just not walls of them. The melodies are played by subdued guitars but also pianos, synths, and various other electronic instruments. Now there are darkwave dance rhythms and even more of a Gothic atmosphere that fans screamed for more of back when the band started. One of the best elements of the reborn Paradise Lost is the percussion itself. I have always loved the sound of a live drummer playing along with a drum machine, and this is a technique used in many of the tracks on this new album. Nick Holmes’ vocals are stronger and clearer than ever, and personally though his death growl was awesome, I have to think that eventually you can get tired of doing that and you start to feel a bit silly after awhile. Paradise Lost are now a new and mature band. Their new music will be taken much more seriously and it can be enjoyed and appreciated by a vaster audience. In no way do I feel they cheated their original fans because all the elements that made them so popular are now fine tuned and modified. Besides, if all you have listened to is death metal for 15 years and nothing else, than you are the loser!

There are some seriously great songs on this album, such as “It’s Too Late,” which begins with a solitary violin and then an entire orchestra is employed. It is on this song as well as many others that Nick is accompanied by lovely female back up vocals that harmonize beautifully with his unwavering baritone. There are many slow, haunting tracks in this vein such as “Wreck” and the title track that are gloomier than all hell.

In the past when it came to Paradise Lost, I always had trouble finding tracks that I thought could stand alone and represent them. But this album is chalk full of memorable songs. I absolutely adore the track “Made The Same,” a very driving upbeat song with superb haunting guitars and fast paced drums. I don’t know if is just that it is something new and different but at the time of this writing, it is without a doubt one of my all time favourite Paradise Lost songs. There is a whole succession of upbeat and club friendly tracks such as the opener “So Much Is Lost,” “Harbour,” and “Behind The Grey.” The track “Year Of Summer” which recently appeared on the soundtrack of “The Rage: Carrie 2” is a perfect example of Paradise Lost’s new style at its best. This track is quite dark yet it has the upbeat pop sensibility that could catapult them to an unbelievable amount of success. On this track, they found the right balance and with another CD full of tracks as strong as this one, it will be a CD that will be reckoned with. We haven’t heard the last of these guys I don’t think.

It is really apparent that they are still discovering their new style and getting used to it, as are many of their fans, but I must say that as a fan of their old stuff as well, I am very happy with their new direction and can hardly wait to see what they do next.
Paradise Lost is: Nick Holmes – vocals; Gregor Mackintosh – guitars; Aaron Aedy – guitars; Stephen Edmundson – bass; Lee Morris - drums
Official Website:
EMI Records:

Platform One   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
Platform One are a catchy synth and keyboard driven Goth rock project native to New England. The sound is a nostalgic return to eighties pop melancholia and is akin to the better ballads of early Depeche Mode. Upon my first listen to this disc, I was reminded very much of Bella Morte, who seem to be everyone’s favourite little Gothic darlings as of late. The drum patterns are very dancey and club friendly and the synths are haunting and quite airy to produce a nice vibe that would be great for darkwave clubs. The male vocals are smooth and deep, nothing very innovative but they compliment the music perfectly, occasionally pairing with sweet female back up vocals to produce a contrast and added romantic effect.

The CD opens with “Standing,” which is probably the most driving track on the album and also one of my favourites. A great track for DJ’s for the early evening club hours before unleashing VNV Nation upon everyone.

“Encantra” follows, a short instrumental number with twinkling chimes, deep piano chords, synthesized cellos to add an overall though subdued creepiness to it. “Scared” and “Naked” are both catchy and bouncy without crossing over into what I affectionately refer to as ‘bubble gum goth’ but I think it was with the fifth track “A Time Without Decay” that Platform One really hit their mark. A memorable chorus, sweeping keys, and great vocals made this another standout track. “The Haunting Of Your Love” follows, another driving song that is again reminiscent of “Black Celebration-era” Depeche Mode with a darker gothy twist. “Can’t Go Back” is a dark mischievous number with swingy drums and more foreboding and lovelorn David Gahan inspired vocals. The sentimental and self-explanatory track “The Ending” closes the album with beautiful pianos, synthesized strings and an oboe atop slow drums. Again, the vocals are smooth and ridden with sadness though not going overboard in the realm of pretension.

This is a very catchy and enjoyable album, and has a little something for everyone. Many will really dig this, and again, I really think fans of Bella Morte should write to Platform One and give this a listen. Lush, well orchestrated, and memorable, this is an effective nod back to the synth-pop of old.
Platform One 51 Warner Street Newport, RI 02840

RAPOONWhat Do You Suppose? (The Alien Question)   ~reviewed by Kirin
First, regardless of whether or not you've ever thought much about "the alien question", this is an undeniably powerful collection of recordings. Robin Storey has always created incredibly tactile and painterly sounds, but these take the cake. He has somehow managed to create a sound that is both profoundly earthy and unbearably ethereal; (which fits, considering the subject matter.) We here on earth have long written about and pondered the possibilities of life beyond this place, and history is full of inexplicable visitors from the sky; from chariots of fire in biblical times, to cave paintings and rock drawings of "flying saucers". Storey articulates the thoughts, visions, worries, fears, and hopes, associated with these strange sightings, with every stroke of sound. It would be difficult to listen to these recordings without some sort of emotional physical response; chills, tears, laughter, terror-- Storey pulls it all from the listener deftly. We know not whether we should fear or welcome this alien unknown. This horror, and this hope, has never been articulated as elegantly as on this album.
Rapoon is: Robin Storey.
c/o: Robin Storey
22 Elsdon Road
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Staalplaat PO Box 11453 1001 GI Amsterdam The Netherlands
Soleilmoon PO Box 83296 Portland, OR 97283 info@soleilmoon.com

Creature From The Black Lagoon,
A Symphony Of Film Music By Hans J. Salter
~reviewed by Kirin
Fans of the Creature movies simply must have this gem! As any Creature fan can tell you, ultimately, the Creature From the Black Lagoon is as much a love story as it is a horror film. Hans Salter captured the nuances of the film brilliantly with this score; it is at once tender and yet full of all the spine-chilling, corn-popping soda-sipping suspense that horror fans crave. This is a truly brilliant piece of music and movie history that has obviously been lovingly remastered to disc. A hearty thank you to everyone involved in preserving this music.

Also included in this collection are some of Salter's other musical treasures from his 25 years with Universal; namely, the music from "The Black Shield of Falworth," "Hitler," and "The Incredible Shrinking Man." The Black Shield of Falworth is a moving and spirited piece, befitting the film perfectly. There is no music more emotive than music for film which is done right and well. Hans Salter was a master of his craft.

The music for "Hitler" is, of course, bombastic, powerful, exciting, sad, and increasingly dark and despairing as the musical tale unfolds. More amazing than the music itself is the fact that Hans Salter witnessed the formative years of the Nazi reich firsthand; in fact, were it not for Hitler and the Third Reich, it is entirely possible that Hans Salter would have never left Vienna in the first place, and would have never graced some of the greatest films in Hollywood history with his meticulous skill.

Lastly, the music for "The Incredible Shrinking Man" is as beautiful and sad as the movie itself; lovely and despairing, this music could be for no other film than that of one which features a man who grows smaller and more helpless with each passing moment, until he finally disappears into absolute nothingness.

May Hans Salter be remembered far into the future. May his influence on films, and especially horror films, be felt for years and years to come. Again, may the gods bless each and every person involved in preserving this music and bringing it forward into the digital age-- hisses, distortions, and all. These are glorious recordings, and they should not be overlooked by fans of horror, atmospheric gloom, and solitarily elegant confinement.
Track Listing:
-Creature From The Black Lagoon
-The Black Shield Of Falworth
-The Incredible Shrinking Man
Intrada 1488 Vallejo St. San Francisco, CA 94109

Sandman  Trance-Dance EP ~Reviewed by: Mike Ventarola
Sandman is the brainchild of musical duo Craig & Jenny Knight from Tamworth, Staffs United Kingdom. For the first time ever, the public has been offered a glimpse at the creation of these two techno fiends which previously was available in limited editions for DJ’s only. If you are a frequent visitor to dance establishments, it is very possible that you have heard some of these tracks placed in the mix during the high energy portion of the evening. These 4 tracks represent a small body of work that has received cult classic status in the dance underground.

"Dub-Dub" is their killer dance track that virtually allows a DJ to mix with any song . They deftly adjust the vocals between the channels to provide the addition of a spatial feel. It is a happy, high energy cut that allows enough BPM to aerobically make the floor erupt into a major sweat. It is next to impossible to sit still while listening to this infectious cut. Don’t feel guilty for enjoying this cut despite the fact that it is not lyrically complex. Sometimes you have to turn the brain off and just have fun .

"Touch" whispers the title at the intro, reminiscent to a Samantha Fox seduction. Again the killer pulsation’s erupt to provide a great mix-down. The amount of break beats and variety of electronic influences fluctuate between high and low end tonality to actually provide all night remixing just using this cut alone.

"Waterfall" is more orchestrated with organ sounding synth and deep pelvic thrusting style bass. The Knight’s have created an auditory electronic landscape to emulate the vacillation of an actual waterfall and its crisp cool feel as it splashes across the rocks. The high end notes stay within the parameters of mentally "good-feel" vibes to give the dancer a second wind to keep on grooving through the night.

"Release Me" bursts open like a sunrise and gets into gritty grooves and powerhouse vocal samples. The bass is harder driving for rave style parties that are ever popular. Release me is repeated at the appropriate and appointed points which gives a gospel choir like feel that is popular in techno driven music.

Sandman thus far stakes claim to fame in the arena of making feel-good dance music. The lyrics are sparse at best since their intention is to seduce a crowd with ultimate sounds and effects. The music does not attempt to be bombastic in any sense. It is heart pounding rhythm with the goal to make a crowd stay on the dance floor all night long.

It is anticipated that this duo will in fact release the longer versions of these underground hits so that the rest of the world can clue in to what the club followers have been screaming for during their weekend dance festivities.
  Mp3 Page: Webpage:

SentencedCrimson   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
Finland’s Sentenced are often lumped in with other European Gothic metal heavy weights and have been for quite sometime. They are huge in Finland and have an extensive following throughout Europe and throughout the remote corners of the States. Though I do enjoy their music for the most part, I really just can’t dig the vocalist. I once wrote a scathing review of their last CD Frozen, but there has been an obvious improvement in their sound over the past few years and I have to admit that the new material is much more solid and memorable. Though this is all the more reason to replace the vocalist. He tries to sing and he is just really not meant to as far as I am concerned. He might make a great guttural vocalist, but he never attempts that. He does sound pretty good in some of the more somber parts of the CD, but when the music picks up he just sounds very strained and out of key.

The music as I mentioned is pretty good. There are a lot more interesting guitar arrangements, such as in tracks such as “Dead Moon Rising,” “The River,” “Bitterness & Joy” and “One More Day.” These tracks have some nice clean guitar with some phasor effects and such to make it a little different. There are also some piano parts interspersed in the opening track “Bleed In My Arms” and “Killing Me, Killing You.” For the most part, the band is strictly upbeat metal very similar to Nevermore and the other more intellectual melodic metal bands in the scene. Sentenced are a good band without a doubt, but I am a little boggled by some of their lyrics. It seems that a lot of their music is pseudo-goth, meaning they want to come across as depressed and suicidal and such but it doesn’t come across as very genuine and it is not delivered with nearly the amount of sincerity that other Century Media acts such as Theatre Of Tragedy, Moonspell, or Tiamat.

In closing, I will suggest yet again a better vocalist and to dump the depression act because it isn’t working very well. I am not trying to be too harsh on the band, I am just being honest. They could definitely be improved. With lyrics such as “the creepy shadows are growing pale” they need to look over their Brit Lit texts a little more thoroughly and give their Sisters or Bauhaus albums another listen before they enter the studio for their next album.
Sentenced Are:
Ville Laihiala: vocals
Sami Lopakka: guitars
Miika Tenkula: guitars
Sami Kukkohovi: bass
Vesa Ranta: drums
Official Web Page:
Century Media Records: 1453-A 14th Street #324 Santa Monica, CA 90404

Seraphim Shock Nightmares for the Banished   ~reviewed by Admortem
"Nightmares for the Banished" is a six song EP that was released earlier this year. As the title of this CD suggests, this EP is a nightmarish exploration into the fears of today's Christian world. The first song, "Upon A Time", is the perfect beginning to this chilling nightmare. Seraphim Shock instantly gets the heart palpitating with eerie background music that is further tantalized by the sampling from various horror flicks.

The anti-Christian sentiments expressed in the lyrics on this CD are intensely overt. Combined with the sexual nature of the lyrics of Little Gothic, the words "Mary wouldn't like what Jesus knew - and he did" make the insinuation here fairly obvious. The song "Upon A Time" features a particularly noteworthy phrase: "The prophet says the joke's on you"- in addition to the sampled voice "Let me give you a little inside information - about god - god likes to watch." These two lines give only a taste of the 'nightmare' Seraphim Shock is drawing to our attention. Cradle, the final song on the EP features some of my favorite lyrics: "hide behind doctrines and guilt ridden saints - legacy horrors and ministry slaves - tell me how long will we feed this disease - as doom visioned cloth plots the end to our dream- a cradle of filth and its' puppet strings - I will have none." Shocking hopelessness, blatant truth-?

"Nightmares for the Banished" is the perfect example of combining elements of Gothic Rock, Death Metal, and Industrial Dance all into one sound. Charles has one of the most perfectly gothic sounding voices you will ever hear which is further enhanced by the evil emissions of bassist David James. Greg Kammerer adds that special Death Metal touch with his intense guitar playing . This is by far one of the best gothic/Death Metal CDs I have ever heard. My only complaint is that this was an EP, not a full length CD.
Seraphim Shock is:   Charles Edwards - Vocals, Keyboards, Programming, Lyrics; David James - Bass; Michael - Guitar
Web Site:
Label: Requiem Records, LLP 8973 W. Harvard Dr. Lakewood, CO 80227

Spiritual Bats"Spiritual Bats" CD ~reviewed By: BlackOrpheus(AF)
Italy can boast many acclaimed exports, yet none so worthy of praise as Spiritual Bats. This is another band I encountered on Cleopatra's "The Unquiet Grave." You've heard me mention it often, and with good reason. I've culled many feature length reviews from the bands I encountered in it. "Sacrament," follows on the heels of the well received "Confession" release. When I first started listening to this I was startled by it's style. I was pleasantly reminded of the fondness I still harbor for bands like Specimen, and Alien Sex Fiend.

Bat Cave represented what was pleasant about my immersion into true subcultures. It clocks in at a mere five tracks, making it EP material. What it lacks in length, it makes up for in staying power. It is a superb work, a fine homage to great traditions. Io sono Italiano! Bravissimo!

I was very much taken by "Ritual." The pulsing blend of keys, and bass was excellent. The low moans, and drum entrance was seamlessly achieved. I appreciated the prominence that the drums enjoyed on this track. I don't often hear the drums given the lead like that. This was well done.

"Sacrament" was a rousing traipse through the graveyards of yesteryear. This was a great song, culled from a most excellent offering. It's really refreshing to hear how the parts, join to create a whole. The drums, guitar, bass, keys, and vocals are very distinct one from another. This harkens back to a time when musicians could actually play their instruments, and play them well. I like the vocal delivery very much. It is very retro, and that is no fault.

In conclusion, I'd like to extend my congratulations to Spiritual Bats, for a job well done. I'm delighted to recommend this disc to anyone who appreciates music.

It is rendered with consummate attention to detail, and craftsmanship, but then that is the Italian way.
Spiritual Bats are: Matteo - Vocals; Dario - Guitar;Rosetta - Drums; Vanessa H - Keyboards; Loren - Bass
Contact: Spiritual Bats via Firenze 35, 03100 Frosinone Italia. Tel/fax (00+39 775) 251231 (CD also available through Middle Pillar)

SkylashEmpyreal Day Dreams ~Reviewed By: BlackOrpheus(AF)
Skylash is an all instrumental side project of Index's Eric Chamberlain. It is a lush potpourri of electronic sound, that heightens ones senses like the foreplay between lovers. It is aggressive movement that meets you, and the subtle nuances that occur between you. If sound travels, then "Empyreal Day Dreams" is the poetic wind that bears it.

"Starry Night/ Empyrean" was my first choice off the disc. It began with a great echoing sample, that lead into a brief sci-fi sequence and on to the block rockin' beats. This was the start of a journey, that had me visit the most fantastical places of the mind.

"Nineteen-Ninety Nether" was another song, I was partial to. It had a darker feel to it, I felt it settle on me like that driving rain that accompanies nightfall. I found myself more introspective, peering inward as the music rose and fell. It was an eloquent piece, that was a testament to Eric Chamberlain's daimon. This is highly recommended.

"Dream De Menthe" was a swelling, contracting piece. It filled the room with it's strength, and at the same time shrank into a corner, only to reemerge more compelling than before. I am usually not drawn to instrumental music. This is no ordinary instrumental exercise in self gratification. I didn't have the opportunity to listen while under the influence of mind/mood altering substances, and yet it did very nicely indeed.

As I draw to a close, I'd like to say that Skylash's "Empyreal Day Dreams" exceeded my expectations for an instrumental work. It was an inspired effort. If you are open at all to instrumental music, I recommend this.

Track Listing:
1) Airborne
2) Erate
3) Modern Eyes / Stratus Gel
4) Mr. Melancholy
5) XYZ Utopia
6) A Starry Night / Empyrean
7) Twilight Park
8) The Bridge
9) Dream De Menthe
10) Magentafall
11) Snow Mantra
12) Everest
13) Nineteen-Ninety Nether
14) Heliopolis

Skylash is:
Eric Lawrence Chamberlain

981 Aileen St.
Oakland, CA 94608
COP homepage:

Stress MonkeyStress Monkey   ~reviewed by Kimberly
Stress Monkey's self-titled album is not what I normally listen to. In fact, the two monkeys, humping on the cover, would probably make me pass right by them looking for a Soft Cell album. I'd chalk them up as another band that I've never heard of that probably sound just like any other East Village, Continental playing band that I've had to listen to. I'm really glad I was proven wrong (perhaps this is a sign from the gods not to be so quick to judge, even if the members, on the back cover, are decked out in Army regalia).

The sound, which can be most closely described as Hardcore-Techno-Industrial is as good as a cup of black coffee in Twin Peaks. And this is from somebody who thinks techno and hip-hop are the beginning signs of the murder of rock'n'roll.

Stress Monkey is a compilation of Krush-R, Opiate Receptor, and both duos' collaborative project, Krushed Opiates. It's basically Multi-Pass Record's sampler.

My favorite song on the album is "Like It's Nothing" (Opiate Receptor). The two phrases the band sampled was a girl telling a guy that he has love, and he throws it away, "like it's nothing". Intertwined is another phrase, this one from a guy, who shouts, "Nothing's good enough for you". The downbeat is nice and angry, perfect to stomp on your ex-lover's head; even though you might be trying to remember what movies the group sampled when they wrote the song.

Coming in a close second was "Shell" (Krushed Opiates). It was the phrase, I think, which got me-"I kinda feel like I'm already dead", which I thought made the song title perfect. There was an echo-y feeling to the entire song. A few times, the band synthesized effects so that the downbeat seemed like it was breaking glass. The downbeat was steady and strong.

The entire album was very danceable, very enjoyable, especially for a type of music I don't generally listen to. Plus, as I was reading the liner notes, I noticed that one of the bands has ties to Steal This Radio, which is a pirate radio station in NYC that I have an indirect affiliation with, since it's based out of the bookstore I volunteer at. I knew I liked this album for a reason.

Stress Monkey is composed of members of:
Opiate Receptor
Krushed Opiate

Tracks are:
1. "The Beginning"- Krush-R
2. "Multi-Pass"- Krushed Opiates
3. "Go!"- Krushed Opiates
4. "Boom"- Krushed Opiates
5. "A Better Way of Life"- Opiate Receptor
6. "TCB"- Krush-R
7. "Dark"- Krush-R
8. "Shell"- Krushed Opiates
9. "Master Beat"- Opiate Receptor
10. "Sonar"- Krushed Opiates
11. "Like It's Nothing"- Opiate Receptor
12. "A Better Way of Life (Mongo Mix)"-Krush-R

Soil & Eclipse  Meridian   ~reviewed by Admortem
Despite the fact that I am generally not attracted to techno or beat music in the least, I enjoyed listening to Soil and Eclipse's Meridian immensely. Combining retro style synthesizing with Corey Gunderson's (of The Razor Skyline) guitar playing makes for a dynamic combination. Adding in Jay's sensuous vocals which have the diversity to also suddenly become incredibly angry, and you've got a band that without a doubt is club worthy.

What makes Soil and Eclipse's Meridian even more appealing is it's varying sound. Not every song on the CD is the same. For example, the song, "The Piano" displays the band's ability to become rhythmically poetic, with message bearing lyrics filled with emotion, and background vocals distortion that makes this song all the more original and unpredictable. By far I find it the most beautiful song on the CD.

Rarely does one find a band that has mastered various sounds and styles as Soil and Eclipse has. From dance to ethereal, Meridian is an outstanding release that I know we will be playing at our clubs very frequently.

Track Listing:
1. The Divinity
2. The Piano
3. Meridian
4. King of Lies
5. Thief of Always
6. Valhalla
7. Poetry of Angels
8. Tempest in the Spark
9. Lycanthropy
10. The Haunting
11. Exile

Jay Tye (vocals) and G.W. Childs IV (synthesizers and backing vocals)

Label: COP International

Still Patient?   Demondive   ~reviewed by Vassago*
This is the fifth and final release of SP?. Some problems, which the group could not face, made N.D Koa decide to end SP?, though this cd was not meant to be the epilogue of this remarkable group. It is obvious that they present some new ideas, a new direction to their music with more guitars bringing a metal feel to the listener combined with electro-samples and the absolutely impressive vocals that have made SP? loved by all the goth fans in Europe. Demondive is something completely new but not unfamiliar for any Still Patient? fan since the style remains the same, especially compared with Salamand.

The CD starts with the song "One Word" with rhythm drums and samplers meeting the guitars, giving harder but more danceable sound than we are used to. N.D’s vocals change successfully from clean to distorted,giving the well-known climate of SP?. That combined with the new sound, which to be honest is natural and is not so different from theold style, and you’ll find SP? here as well.

"Birds of Fire" is one of the best songs of this CD. Rhythm guitars with wonderful keyboards remind me of the atmospheric sounds that London After Minnight brings to their CDs. N.D is performing in a unique way with absolute expression and successfully doubled vocals. Also the effects used on the guitar with a clean sound covering the chorus on this wonderful melody makes this song the single of the CD. Come and take my dreams away.

"The Goddess Kiss" could be characterised as Angely’s sequal from the Nightmare Arrival since it is in the same style but in a much more evolved version. Slow vocals, dark climate, all the instruments used in perfection in order to create the most atmospheric song on Demondive. The calmness that prevails in N.D’s vocals, and the added anger when needed, makes this song different from all the others. These are the moments that I’ll surely miss from SP?.

"Disenchanted" is starting with wind echoes accompanied with worried, in its style, samplers sounding like they've been taken from a horror movie. Two bass guitars present until until acoustic guitars and keyboards makes this more atmospheric and more militarists when the drums enters translating it to a significant rite.

"Chameleon III" is well known from the Chameleon CD but in a new version which confirms the new style that Still Patient? seems to have adopted. You’ll also find the song from JamiRoquai Deeper Underground of course  complete different from the original version as you might imagine.

Too bad they will not continue because it seems that the future was theirs. Hope to hear from these guys again in the future independently which would be best for their new music direction.

SAINT VITUS   SAINT VITUS ~reviewed by Kirin
If you're fond of graveyards, dope, doom, and metal, then this is your band. It's a little like taking Black Sabbath, circa Vol.4, and slowing it down just enough to be overwhelmingly dense and gloomy. This is pure unmitigated sludge and I adore it. Those of you who might already have the *old* 80s Saint Vitus stuff will probably be cursing the changes in the band; they're actually not as splendidly depressing as they were back then, in the "Born Too Late" days, but they're still pretty much the Saint Vitus you know and love. The guitars are just as wasted and demented as ever; the drumming is just as superb. It's that little, "Thanks to God" in the liner notes that bothers *me*. Thus, I shall keep the CD, because if I'm stuffing the CD player full of Saint Vitus, this CD most certainly deserves to be there, but my eyes remain carefully narrowed about that "Thanks to God" bit. I mean, come on, these are the same guys who sang "Thirsty And Miserable" and "Clear Windowpane"?

And, erm, yeah, the label is "Hellhound" and the "Saint Vitus dance" has all to do with imbibing fermented liquids to the point of collapse and little to do with Pies In The Sky.

Not that it really matters now because the band broke up, and I shall refrain making snide comments about any connection between the diety and the demise. Yes, I'm a narrow-minded arse. Don't let it keep you from buying the CD, because, regardless of changes in religious philosopy or stance through the years, these guys were and are THE godfathers of doom, and no dark metal collection could ever possibly be complete without some Saint Vitus in it.

[Afterword: Upon closer inspection of the older Saint Vitus albums, most of them do have, somewhere, something akin to, "Thanks to the man upstairs", "Thanks to the Lord", and so on. I remain disgusted by this, and stand by my notion that the music is absolutely intoxicating.]

Track Listing:
-Dark World
-One Mind
-Let the End Begin
-Trail of Pestilence
-Return of the Zombie
-In The Asylum
-Just Another Notch

Saint Vitus (on this album) are:
Scott Reagers: Vocals
Dave Chandler: Guitar/Vocals on "Just Another Notch"
Mark Adams: Bass
Armando Acosta: Drums   Hellhound c/o CBM Inc. 8721 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90069

Sylt  Sorrow   ~reviewed by Kimberly
Have you ever gone to (put the name of the club you frequent here), and heard a song that's danceable, but you can't quite hear the lyrics, or know who it's by? That's what Sylt sounds like. The attractive looking band, that was obviously inspired by Sisters of Mercy, formed in 1997 in San Diego; and has released a four song LP titled, Sorrow.

The band's first song on the album, "Evil in Your Eyes", has got an intro with a strong "get off y'r ass and move" beat to it, making me excited to hear it. However, when the two vocalists, Scott and Jacqueline, started to sing, there was a problem that plagued the entire album- I couldn't understand the lyrics. At all. The dual vocals make the words hazy, and without a lyric sheet, it was damn near impossible to understand the words. The effect of the two singers gave the song an appropriately spooky effect.

"Dark Sunrise" was the best song on the album. Jacqueline's voice accompanies Scott's. It transformed the song into a very enchanting melody that made it obvious the song was about lost love.

I liked the album. It was obvious the band poured their heart and soul into making it, and I'm sure the band would be excellent live. Though the album was listenable, and I'm sure I'll put it on when I'm cleaning my house, Sylt's potential wasn't realized on Sorrow. I look forward, though, to seeing the band live if they ever come to New York

1. "Evil in Your Eyes"
2. "The Last"
3. "Dark Sunrise"
4. "Sorrow"

Sylt is:
Scott-guitar, vocals, keyboards, programming'
Richard-bass, keyboards, programming

Tori AmosTo Venus & Back   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
I am not one of those people that are obsessed with Tori Amos. In fact, I like to think that if I were ever to meet her, that she would instantly fall madly in love with me and my Byronic Gothic charm and the two of us would be off to live in a dark world of spectres and faeries. Either that, or I am reincarnated in the next life as her piano stool. You know the one upon which she undulates like a serpent escaped from the Garden of Eden? Yes that one.

Now that I have established that I am a healthy, average fan of the flame haired piano deity, I can proceed with this review.Tori has returned, and this time she has two lengthy discs of treats for us all. The first being composed of ten new tracks and the second a collection of thirteen live cuts from her recent "Plugged" tour.

Overall, this is a must for fans. No real Tori collection would be complete without it. Personally, I found the first disc to be much more enjoyable, where as the second live disc is still very cool, there are parts where it drags and you probably would have had to be in attendance of the performance to truly appreciate the lengthy jams she embarks upon. That and you could with your own eye behold her whipping her fiery locks about and her nimble body undulating upon that piano bench.

But anyway, much like her last release, "From The Choir Girl Hotel," Tori is still dabbling in the realms of dark electronics and I personally applaud this integration of her neo-classical folk suites with darkwave club elements. The new tracks are especially cool, some much stronger than even her last CD, which I thought was excellent. I do admit that at the core of the CD, there are a few tracks that sort of miss the mark and you find yourself drifting a bit. But things pick up again toward the last few tracks. There is as usual a healthy mix of moods, but I feel that there is certainly a darker edge on a few tracks that would definitely appeal to Goths. Also, it is unbelievable how many black/death metal guys I know that adore Tori AND her music, so there some tracks here were she is gloomy as all hell, but still her flirty charm shines through to keep things from getting too dark. Most of the darker tracks usually have upbeat choruses, but for the most part there are some really moody club tracks here such as "Bliss" and "Juarez."

The sweet borderline sappy "Concertina" is a fun and sentimental song, like Tori in a happy mood. Despite the overt coat of girly sugar to the track, I quite liked it. "Glory Of The Eighties" is just that, a nostalgic trip written about her early days as a musician and her Y Kant Tori Reed days. A fun track, yet I just really can't deal with the pictures of her resembling Tawny Kitaine. "Lust" is another slow paced track, with cool drum loops and softer piano playing. There is a great contrast between an airy Tori voice for the verse parts and a more sultry voice appears in the chorus. "Suede" is just plain strange, vintage Tori metaphors and such. A song with an odd and unique feel though not one of my favourites. "Josephine" is a nice song, but doesn't standout too much. Indeed, a nice vocal melody in the bridge to the song, but again, a lot less inspired when compared to others tracks. "Riot Proof" is funky, playful Tori at its best. Catchy, memorable, with some cool vocal harmonizations and a driving beat.

The epic length "Datura" is where the album in my opinion starts to regain its strength. Many different textures and elements are explored in this track, and many different moods drift in and out. "Spring Haze" is another one of the more mature tracks on the album, probably the most similar in feel to her "Pele" days, but still with electronics interwoven into the mix, but at a lesser degree to let her expressive voice and piano do the talking. "1000 Oceans" closes the CD, a beautiful track that was a live favourite for years and at last appears in studio form. A sweet, melodic offering that makes you all warm and gushy inside.

In terms of the live CD, there is not much to say other than, "Hey, it's Tori live!" There is a very balanced selection of tracks, and they are without a doubt cool versions of them, especially "Girl" and "Cruel." There are some slight variations to the songs, but nothing too drastic. Besides three non-album tracks, "Cooling," "Sugar," and "Purple People," for the most part this CD to me is not all that necessary. It's sort of like an added bonus on top of the new tracks, which alone make the CD worth a purchase.

Tori makes me smile. She makes me feel warm, and in all truth, I adore her. Her voice moves me as does her beauty and the confidence she inspires in her female fans is something she should be sainted for. I think she is a wonderful role model but more importantly she is a superb musician. If you are a fan, then you probably already have this, but if not, you are certainly advised to pick it up.
Official Webpage:

1290 Avenue Of The Americas
New York, NY 10104

This Eternal Machine  Demo  ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
Another self-produced demo to come my way this month that literally blew me away. This Eternal Machine is the solo project of Gary Jackson, or as he refers to himself, “The Falcon.” Though still struggling to find a sound to call his own, there is a lot going on in this music and there is definitely a lot of promise. The vibe of the demo is very similar to the keyboard soundscapes of Mortiis, however, there are sensual darkwave meets doom metal drum patterns to break up the monotony found in most other soundtrack/experimental music. Atop the neo-classical arrangements many vocal styles are employed, though the lyrics are for the most part spoken in an eloquent recitative. There are a few multi-layered vocal parts to get the vibe of Gregorian chants which work well, though used rarely to make it something special. In a move much like that of Autumn Tears and Elend, a passage of raspy daemonic vocals are used to add a harsh contrast over the lush classical back drop on the hypnotic track “Just Walk Away.” As well there are some clean electric guitar parts that pop up here and there throughout the span of the demo. On the truly sinister sludge of “Everyday My Heart Aches,” a great drum pattern keeps the beat over treated watery guitars to create a severely claustrophobic background for the lyrics to be delivered. An excellent and brooding track. The closing cut is a more upbeat, yet exceedingly melancholic track with Cure-esque guitars and more spoken word to add a unique and personal touch.

Overall, the CD is quite exciting if you think of what this young talent may bring to the dark music scene eventually. This is perfect background music, or music to get lost in. Perhaps too laid back for many fans of club Goth but ideal for fans of ethereal and coldwave. In the future, This Eternal Machine would be wise to up the beats per minute, use the spoken word more sparingly and focus on more singing parts. With a bit of polishing, there is no telling where this project with its integrity and its emotion could go.

Track List:
1.) Just Walk Away
2.) Everyday My Heart Aches
3.) Within My Solitude

This Eternal Machine
C/o The Falcon
1610 Glen Street
McDonald, PA 15057

Triple Point   "The Soul Den" ~reviewed by Matt Heilman
Triple Point area dark aggressive electro band from Washington (the state, not the DC). Certainly not bad at all, though not original. As with most bands, some songs are better than others. I particularly enjoyed the smash over the head attack of the first song, “Screening” where the machine-gun fire drums are indeed the result of a drum machine, but they come across as though they were programmed for a death or thrash metal band. The rat-a-tat of double-bass and fast snare snaps alternate between slower dancey rhythms and back again. The vocals are distorted and spat breathless as wire synths and weird electonic effects create the melodies. No guitars, just keyboards treated with effects and distortion. Definitely pretty cool, but it wears thin after awhile.

“Dreaming Angels” is also a pretty good song, with a much more danceble though mercilessly driving rhythm with patterns. I really enjoyed the track “No Ordinary Psychosis.” A much more somber, slower song with low humming synths and sparse drums. The song goes through different cycles, from slow and menacing, with no vocals to a mid paced simple beat with whispered vocals alongside treated vocals echoing the lead vocals. There are some cool synthesized horns and a slightly upbeat piano part in the center of the song, which exhibits a nice schizophrenia as it sinks back to the darker beginning verse parts. A very cool song with a nice structure and arrangement.

“First & Last” continues along in the slow vein, as Karen Kardell of The Razor Skyline offers her vocals for ambience. If I were only a bigger fan of Razor Skyline, I might have dug that. I just don’t like her voice, but the music was well-pieced. “Security” follows and is another standout track, mid-paced and very groove-oriented. “Lorrie Pours Out” is an eerie, discordant experimental track with very subtle vocals and distorted effects on the synths.

“Project Sunshine” is another track in the same style, with an environmentally conscious sample as its center and more experimental distortion surrounding it. The last three remix tracks were interesting, however I do not think that they were as strong as the original tracks from the band.

Overall, I think this is another one of those bands that would sound really good live, because though their CD is not at all poorly produced, I have a feeling that this band would be a lot more convincing on the stage rather than the studio. The CD is a bit to polished for their raw and gritty style. I would recommend this CD though to rivetheads out there, because it isn’t bad at all and chalk full of good ideas. I don’t what they were thinking with the cover of the 80’s superhit “Holding Out For A Hero” but I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out a band’s rationale for their cover choices. Check this out if you come across it.

Track List:
1.) Screening
2.) Dreaming Angels
3.) Salvific
4.) No Ordinary Psychosis
5.) First & Last
6.) Security
7.) Lorrie Pours Out
8.) You
9.) Project Sunshine
10.)Holding Out For A Hero
11.)Dreaming Angels (Dead Jump Mix)
12.)Screening (Fire 99 Mix)
13.)Lorrie Pours Out (Thine Eyes Mix)

Triple Point is:
Dan Hinds : music
Vico : vocals
CD released on Meatbelt Media
Triple Point
P.O. Box 5965
Bellevue, WA 98006

B Movie Valentino   Kiss Kill Whippoorwill   ~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
I wasn't sure what to expect from this disc due to the title, and seeing also that the mastermind behind the project was a man who calls himself Bysshe Mourningstar. That is all well and good, but if you are planning on using Percy Shelley's middle name, you best live up to it. Luckily, for him he does. I truly love this CD, and Shelley may have as well.

The CD is self-produced, therefore it has a very intimate and raw edge to it that I feel compliments the desolate sound of the music. Heavily reverberated male vocals drift and twirl above strummed acoustic chords and flanged electric guitars to create a shoegazers heaven. There are also simple yet effective drum tracks and hollow driving bass to create a pulsing rhythm section to complete BMV's sound. My only complaint is the CD's too damned short clocking in at barely 20 minutes and the average song is three minutes.

"Mystery Girl" opens the disc and has sound similar to "Faith" era Cure with a modern darkwave tinge to it. Heartfelt watery guitars and fluid vocals make the song catchy and poppy but overall, like most of the material on the disc, it comes across as utterly depressing and surreal. "Days Of Rain" has a thick bass line at its heart and some cool slide guitar effects at the chorus. "Cold" with its hesitating drum beats and flanged guitars is perhaps the most emotional track on the album, a sincerely beautiful and romantic offering that I replayed a couple hundred times one snowy afternoon. "Shimmer" reminds me of a more sympathetic Death In June during the "Nada" or "Brown Book" era, but also there's a bit of Floyd in the vocal delivery in my opinion which makes for quite. "Silver Screen" is the post-rock anthem of this album, sounding like it came right off "Boys Don't Cry." There is a yearning ever present in the track as he pleads for his lover to take him to the silver screen, take him out to dance. Ah, nothing like the self-deprecating longing we male disciples of Morrissey are ridden with to make a song tear your heart out. The album closes with "Pretty," a bittersweet song that to my dismay was much too short.

I hate dropping all these comparisons to other bands when I review CD's because often times I feel it is slagging the original creativity of the artist. Though the elder Cure sound definitely does shine through the music of B Movie Valentino, there is without a doubt an original muse at work in his music and I very much enjoyed it. This is an essential find for fans of bleak shoegazing alternative and I would encourage visiting BMV's web site to see for your self.

Track List:
Mystery Girl
Days Of Rain
Silver Screen

B Movie Valentino is:
Bysshe Mourningstar

Vidi Vitties  Vidi Vitties   ~review by Jett Black
Front and back cd-inserts illustrated with crayola artwork perhaps inspired by Wayne's World and Captain Crunch catch my eyes as socio-political lyrical decadence streams out in monotone sporadic bursts, unleashing 14 tracks of gutter quality continuity and underdeveloped themes of social angst. "No more zits! No more Farts! No more failures of the heart!" are just three phrases over-populating a very crass and flippant self-titled debut of punk, pop, and rockabilly blends which sound strangely reminescent of tunes like "Bitchin' Camero" and "Mexican Radio". Inside cover art depicts postcard views of south-central Texas from which this unremarkable collection of songs emanates.

Contact Mother West:
visit Mother West on-line at:

Mother West
132 W. 26th St.
New York, N. Y., 10001

VNV Nation   "Empires" ~reviewed by Matt Heilman
It was VNV Nation who at last conquered me and helped me gain an appreciation for this crazy bouncy club thing called 'synth-pop.' I was vehemently opposed to this genre for a long time, mainly because it eclipsed the frequency of darkwave and gothic songs on many a DJ's playlist in many a club. But I heard "Solitary" one night and I was never the same. I heard the lyrics to "Joy" and I was even more impressed by this band. Their vocalist is charismatic and emotion drips like poison from every syllable he utters and every breath he takes. The music is driving, hard, upbeat, yet somehow still beautiful, hypnotic, and excessively melancholic. The lyrics are heartwrenching, ever so easy to identify with, and ever so agonizingly thought-provoking. With VNV Nation, it comes down to this: You can bounce and dance until you pass out in a sweaty heap of black garments and you can also brood and find a relieving catharsis in their sympathetic symphonies in your most lonely hours.

Ok, past the melodrama, VNV Nation have a new CD out, just in time to help increase their rising popularity hopefully to a new and higher level. All the elements that made VNV so popular on last year's "Praise The Fallen" appear on this new disc, "Empires" as well.

With "Firstlight," the CD starts off with a splendidly emotional and symphonic intro that builds and swells in its disconsolance to thud right into the first single "Kingdom. A great mid-paced number, with rich vocals relaying a misanthropic political and religious disappointment with this world we are as a race destroying. Yet what makes this band so powerful is the optimism and hope that permeates every note they are responsible for. "

I believe that we'll conceive to make in hell for us a heaven...I'll turn the darkness into light, I'll guide the blind/ Our will be done/Until the day I see this kingdom has been won."

"Rubicon" follows, a song exploring the search for security and strength of self. The music has the same desperate beauty of "Solitary," yet still not a rehashed version of their classic hit. "Saviour" is a lengthy, instrumental track, with a steady thudding beat and fast paced synths. This track would be perfect for a cyber-punk video game, which is meant to be a compliment. "Fragments" begins with a chilling choir sample, unnerving distortion noises, and a tight claustrophobic beat. Spoken whispered vocals lurch across the vast chaotic plain, to crown one of the darkest songs of the CD, reminiscent of a more polished example of earlier material from the debut album. "Distant" serves as a symphonic interlude, a very powerful one at that. These guys are kings had creating sweet yet inexcusably miserable keyboard parts. I envy them. The vocals appear halfway through, as the song sweeps along in a whirlpool of romantic sound, no drums, just synth strings and a man's somber appeal to solitude.

"Standing" revives the mystical electronics, and yet another monumental track appears with all the right elements, balanced to perfection. A beautiful chorus, that will without a doubt haunt clubs and their lonely patrons for years to come. "Legion" follows, and is one of my two favourite tracks. Not as driving and upbeat as other tracks but it stood out a lot to me. It reminded me a bit of Wolfsheim, but still VNV Nation all the way. A great synth rhythm holds the backbone of the song, and a ghostly male choir drifts in and out of the chorus. "And what will happen? Will I dream? I am too scared to close my eyes/ For a second please hold me. None can change in me these things that I believe. But I don't know what happens now, I am too scared to close my eyes."

"Dark Angel" is my other favourite, with a catchy vocal melody in the beginning, where at first the song sounds like another atmospheric number, but soon comes the characteristic thudding backbeat and the song takes a darker tone and bounces along bleakly to come to "Arclight." The final track is a reprise of the somber opening interlude, only this time around, there are spoken lyrics to accompany the synths as they swell and fade behind the funereal drum beat. The song picks up at the end, and again descends Ronan's voice and the lulling effect he has on our hearts with his voice and words is at a peak. His final words are: "Farewell to dawns through saddened eyes/Farewell to pasts to sorrows chained/Forget your fears/You will have everything/You will be strong and want no more."

I love this band. I love everything about them, and I was not even a fan of synth-pop. "Empires" would be my pick of the month, but My Dying Bride already claimed that title, but this is by far one of the best CDs out right now. This is truly a beautiful CD and I would recommend it to all of you.

Track List:
1.) Firstlight
2.) Kingdom
3.) Rubicon
4.) Saviour
5.) Fragments
6.) Distant (Rubicon II)
7.) Standing
8.) Legion
9.) Darkangel

VNV Nation are:
Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson
Official Website:
Released through Dependent Records

VOX BARBARA The Five Senses ~reviewed by Kirin
From the liner notes:
"In his 1797 'novel,' Ravings of a Madman, Anaitre Tellsos wrote of five senses, five ways of experiencing the world which were related to yet far more complex in scope than our current terra-humanic conception of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. The insights into human orientation to the cosmos, both beatific and horrific, which these senses gave the protagonist of Tellsos' mystical narrative are crucial to the eventual resolution of the tale.

Some have argued that a deeper understanding of these five senses is also crucial to overcoming the same sort of fear of the unknown that plagued most of the inhabitants of Tellsos' world-- the fear which even today binds us and limits our perceptions to that which appears on the surface, to the mundane, keeping us ignorant of the horrible and glorious resonances which constantly swirl around us..."

That said, Vox Barbara have more than adequately created a series of recordings which serve to rearrange the brain chemistry and resonances in a way that, when one listens to the CD for long enough, one realises that the world has become decidedly WEIRD. This is the audio equivalent to Alice's little pills. Some tracks make you large, some tracks make you small, some tracks don't make you anything at all. The entire album is adequately and eloquently summed up in the last lines of the liner notes; I cannot possibly expound upon it with any success. These are indeed, "the horrible and glorious resonances which constantly swirl around us..." These recordings are a gift to every sense we possess. Even the ones we aren't yet aware of.

Track Listing:
-Spirit Musk
-The Stickiness of Colors
-Membraneous Absorption

All sounds produced (except as noted in liner notes,) manipulated, processed and arranged by Frank Smith.
Little Man Records
PO Box 45636
Seattle, WA 98145-0636

Vehemence RealizedSevere   ~reviewed by Matt Heilman
One of the most talented Darkwave bands I have ever heard. Vehemence Realized hail from Virginia, and it always seems that they are in the shadow of Bella Morte, when in all honesty as much as I love BM, I personally think VR are a better, more profound band.

Their styles are so different that it is truly unfair to compare the two but nonetheless, they are from the same area and often play together and I think they deserve a lot more recognition than they usually receive. To describe their sound, I would say think of a very dark, danceable version of Death In June, seasoned with elements of Joy Division and perhaps even The Doors. I don’t know why I hear the influence of the latter, but there are some elements here and there, and to me, being obsessed with Jim Morrison, it is a sincere compliment.

Severe is the band’s debut CD, and it was released earlier this summer and it is definitely one of my favourite albums this year. The band is characterized by deep, brooding vocals that harmonize with a softer, lighter voice as well as well-placed brass instruments, pianos, and fluid synths.

Just in time for the holidays, Severe opens with “Afternoon,” a track that lyrically focuses upon being alone on Christmas. A very touching song that sets that tone of the album. “Rooms” follows, and again, the band paints the canvas a watery gray, weaving both an atmosphere of claustrophobic desperation yet ‘neath the dense veil of black there shines an underlying voice of hope, a yearning for beauty, hope, and to embrace distant beauty and contentment. The darkness of tracks such as “Severin,” “Old,” and “Source,” the latter being a personal account of a rather bizarre and painful experience with the supernatural, balance with the hopeful romanticism of tracks such as “Hope,” “Beckon,” and the club friendly danciness of “Prayer.” “Hope” is probably one of the best tracks onthe album, a very sad song with reverberated piano chords and a breathtaking climax with gorgeous violins and trumpets.

I have to recommend this band and CD to all of you, it is absolutely amazing. It is the perfect CD for a foggy cloudy day and there are so many layers and mazes of melody that you will be reeling for days, and in my case months afterward. I love this CD, and I think many of you will as well.

Track Listing:
1.) Afternoon
2.) Rooms
3.) Severin
4.) Prayer
5.) Old
6.) Beckon
7.) Hope
8.) Revere
9.) Source

Vehemence Realized is:
Michael Otley and T. Nathan Roane
Official Website:
Vehemence Realized
PO Box 5071
Richmond, VA 23220-0071
Email: Web Address:

Wally BrillThe Covenant   ~ reviewed by ::CyBeRiNa FLuX::
Much of the music of history draws from artists' spirituality. From classical to reggae, people have composed for the purpose of prayer and respect for their respective supreme beings. In The Covenant, Wally Brill has sampled recordings of Jewish liturgical singers from the early twentieth century, and updated them for modern appreciation by setting them to music that draws i

nspiration from world, ambient, and electronic music. The end result is a lesson in history and inspiration as much as it is a collection of fantastic songs.

The first of the songs that really drew my attention was "A Typical Day" on the second track. Featuring the narrative of Helen Lazar sampled from a speech she gave to San Francisco high school students, she describes the chilling horrors of what it was like spending her teenaged years in Auschwitz. In between the various portions of her tale, amongst inspiring drum beats, the glorious voice of Cantor Samuel Malavsky can be heard singing "Ribon Ho-Olomim" (translated to Lord of the Universe), which is a prayer that asks for forgiveness after the destruction of the Holy Temple by the Romans. After hearing Helen's tale, her plea "Don't let it happen again" stings you with the realization that these crimes occurred so recently.

"A Loop in Time" starts with a unique beat with very Hebrew violin riffs. Soon translating into guitar, and a more modern danceable beat allowing the entrance of vocals. Again sung by Cantor Samuel Malavsky, who's voice is quite Godsent with amazing range, you hear "Ve-al Avodekho Ha-Nevi-im," a covenant between God and man reconfirmed. Towards the end, over a muted and distorted jazzy trumpet solo, comic relief is brought by the story from a man in a bar in Tel-Aviv speaking of a story from the book of Ezekiel commenting on how Jews of the future will wear metal suits and time travel via a loop in time.

The liner notes of the CD speak about the evidence found that suggest that it was the early Hebrews who invented punk rock. In "Rtzeh (We Pray)" Wally tries to resurge this idea by bringing across my favorite track from this release. Cantor Gershon Sirota sings in this very untraditional version of the prayer of the same name as the track title. Backed by distorted rhythmic guitars, congas, synth violins, and a very catchy dub beat his song echoes in the caverns of the consciousness.

The final track that should be pointed out is "New Wildest Dream." The final of the pieces by Cantor Samuel Malavsky, the track opens with the unique sound of a frame drum closely followed by a programmed beat loop and a growing keyboard line doubled by violin. The violin goes into a hauntingly simple solo still accompanied by the frame drum until both give way to a dub keyboard line. Soon after enters that heaven sent voice of Malavsky singing a prayer for the Jewish martyrs. The exchange between the voice of the violin and keyboards and the voice of this fantastic cantor continues throughout the track leaving a quite danceable duet rivaled in beauty by few.

For myself, listening to this CD brought very personal satisfaction. With Hebrew bloodlines that were blurred and eventually lost in the migration into America, I knew very little about the faith my ancestors followed. Knowing that it was partially the ability to carry on this faith that carried them to this country, it has always been a frustration point for me that the melting pot of America and inter-cultural marriages made the knowledge of this part of my heritage difficult at best to discover. This CD gave me a glimpse into the beauty of their religion that no textbook or religious text could ever bring me. Listening to these tracks literally gave me goose bumps.

The best part of this CD is that you don't have to be of Hebrew faith or heritage to appreciate the beauty contained within. Not to mention, when you purchase these recordings you not only learn of a religion that was so considerably buried in modern society by a war that wiped out so many thousands of this faith just barely more than 50 years ago, but you can feel good about yourself by knowing that your money is going to keeping the knowledge of the culture alive as a portion of the proceeds for this record are donated to the Holocaust Education Center.

Track Listing:
1. Kiddush Le-Shabbat
2. A Typical Day
3. A Loop in Time
4. The Universe
5. The Secret of the Sabbath
6. Rubadubatavo (Isreal Ital Mix)
7. Rtzeh (We Pray)
8. Double Ch'ai Five
9. New Wildest Dream
10. All the Worlds

Wally Brill - Keyboards and Programming
Jim Dvorak - Trumpets and Horn arrangements
Ari Langer - Violins
David Torn - Guitars and loops
Stephen Kent - Didgeridoo
John Loose - Percussion
Geoffrey Gordon - Percussion
Mark London Sims - Bass
Paul Comaskey - Drums
Tim Mooney - Drums
Joe Goldring - Guitars
Rob Laufer - Guitars, Organ, Charango, and Bouzouki
Simon Colley - Double Bass
Jeffrey Wood - Keyboards
Vocals - Gershon Sirota, Samuel Malvsky, Pierre Pinchik, Ben Zion
Kapov-Kagen, David Neiman, Dudley Sutton, Helen Lazar, Rina Neiman

The Covenant

Six Degrees Records
P.O. Box 411347
San Francisco, CA 94141-1347