Adrian Alexis Grave New World ~Reviewed by: Michael Ventarola
Adrian Alexis, is a combination of Gary Numan, Edward Scissorhands, Powder and a dash of Michael Jackson. He is a poet, songwriter, singer, musician, genius and quite mad. He has spent some hellish time behind the walls of a mental institution, however, this seems to have enhanced his creative gift far beyond most. His songs are so good that you forget that much of this work came from one who has suffered the total violation of mental clarity and freedom at the expense of the modern world. Quite frankly, this artist does have his eccentricities, yet he is charming, polite, sweet, thoughtful and talented as hell! If this is insanity, then I would prefer the rest of the world to be just as mad since his heart seems to be in the right place in my book.

"Magic Garden" begins our adventure with a sing-song child like anthem about taking us into the magic garden of enchantment that only an artist of such vision could create. Make no mistake, this is not going to be a Disney World adventure by any means. Only the brave truly survive. The song leaves behind the childlike imagery to kick into a barkers call to the malevolent side show which is about to begin.

"Come Away, Come Away" does not utilize the familiar gothic minor chords one becomes accustomed to with this genre of music, yet Alexis manages to make it sound very dark indeed. We are pulled along to that place where "shadows dance and the full moon calls" into a dismal world of splendor. Maniacal laughter is superimposed under the vocals and instruments, letting us know that the ride to madness is about to unfold.

"Grave New World" was inspired by a fan sending the artist some rather risqué photos of herself in a graveyard at night. On another level, it can be a Gothic anthem as this is what the scene is about after all isnt it? This is the excitement of "dancing where the dead decay in the garden of grave delight." This is a highly danceable cut meant for goth clubs everywhere.

"This Thing That I Call Me" is a reminder of the introspection we all have undergone from time to time. It is that penchant for deciding that ones existence is so painful that we hope others do not see the misery within. " I tear my soul to cease the pain, unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed, all my toys are broken and so am I inside." From such dismal lyrics one would suppose that this is a mawkish ballad. Fear not, it is a HIGHLY danceable tune with a lot of rock edges to keep all satisfied in the clubs. It is almost as if that by dancing to this tune, one can escape that world of self hatred and reach the trance level that is induced by the Sufis in their religious swirling dervishes.

"New Jack Swing" is a dark funk song that is so playfully morbid and bouncy that it is infectious.

" Hanging with the haunted is the new jack swing." This one ranks up there with songs such as the "Monster Mash", "Men In Black" and the Cruxshadows "Monsters."

"Lusts" has a Lydia Lunch type of anti-music dark downbeat. This is the artists vision of how he sees the genocide of the human race that most of us are too blind or anesthetized to pay much attention to.

"I Love The Dead" lends a twilight zone type of sampling under the main notes to yet another danceable and macabre song.

"Tickets To Nowhere" has the artist reciting a poem as an intro, which then segues into the song. The music gently cloaks itself around a mid-tempo beat with some catchy keyboard work. We are taken further along our journey in the dark amusement park of despair. Layer upon layer, our psyche is stripped of reason and we are confronted with the ticket master of sorrow.

"Listening To The Stranger" is funky with a hint of cacophony that again works as a dance tune. In some ways this is the voice that plays itself in the artists head. In another sense, this is also the inner dread that comes to darken our door that refuses to unleash us from its grasp.

"Now Youre In Heaven," orchestrated in a "spooky" funereal sound element with sound bytes that are initially just out of reach for full audible perception. This is truly a nightmarish instrumental piece that slowly allows the ears to hear these sound bytes that upon comprehension of it all, you are forced to feel completely unnerved by it. The artist musically enacted the annihilation, torture and degradation that man inflicts upon man into a collage of horror. These are the sounds that Adrian claims he hears coming from our world and I must say, he isnt wrong.

"Witchs Rune" is a live recording that incorporated the witchs sabbat as part of the show. It is an upbeat song that does in fact call and charge the circle as cast by witches. The vocals are somewhat compressed to provide yet another sound and flavor . From the audience response, this song was also a major hit with them as well.

"Is There Anybody Out There" has a Lene Lovich flavor to it. The song is experimental with certain percussive groove that maintains a foot tapping beat. This song came about after the artist was in solitary confinement for 2 months in the state mental institution. The initial clanking that is utilized as a form of percussion can be viewed as one clanging against the cell block bars in an attempt to make sound to keep them company.

"Why?" was initially written by the artist in his own blood on the concrete wall of the institution where he was confined at the time. He states he is "much better now."

"Alone" is the one song on this disc that I have a very hard time listening to. The reason is not because it isnt good. On the contrary it is an extremely well done ballad. The lyrics, though quite simple, are so gut wrenching that I often find myself becoming quite choked up every time I hear it and am often moved to tears. With this song, I hear a forlorn, lost and forgotten child and it breaks my heart every time.

"Bewlay Bros" is a folk guitar work that displays the vocals which initially are uncluttered by compression or other microphone tricks. The voice vacillates between the speakers to sound as if they are coming from the wall. Here the artist has a sound reminiscent of a cross between Don McClean, B.J. Thomas and Jim Croce.

"Bodies" is another bouncy gothic sound that incorporates so many elements that to categorize them would do it a total injustice.

"In My Room" plays with vocals in some of the most creative ways that I have ever heard. Snippets are pieced together, played at various speeds, with additional sound samples while an electronic drum plays a metronomic beat. The freaky voices coincide and harmonize rather well.

"The Calling" is a song dealing with a recurrent dream that the artist has had over the years.

"September Yellow" is an homage written when a friend of Alexis had passed away.

Due to space constraints some of the reviews of each song had to be amended somewhat. Overall, Adrian Alexis manages to actually create some new, viable dark music, utilizing his own personal hell of mental instability as his canvas. The total grasp and creativity that he displays on this disc remains truly astounding. Most of the music is quite danceable and seems tailor made for the gothic clubs all over the world. The songs hold up scenes and events like a snapshot. We can fully feel and envision the various landscapes that he musically creates. The songs are mournful, playful, macabre, eerie and excellently rendered. Thankfully, venues such as allows us to sample music from some of the most creative geniuses such as Adrian Alexis. It is my wish that you sample this music and fall in love with it as much as I have.
Website: Artist Email:

AIR   “Premiers Symptomes” ~ reviewed by ::CyBeRiNa FluX::
First introduced to the music of the French band Air by pure accident, I instantly fell in love with their futuristic yet incredibly retro style of moog and brass filled lounge electronica. Having formed in 1995 while attending the University in Paris in 1995, the members of Air completed their degrees and one now teaches math and physics while the other is an architect. Despite their real-life work and studies, they continue to release singles with 70s era tunes done in modern ways until 1998 when they released their first major album, “Moon Safari” making huge waves on the electronic music scene. They’ve made such waves that they have been invited to score Sofia Coppola’s debut film, “The Virgin Suicides,” a film noir due out early this year. Their popularity also created a call to release their earlier, and much harder to find works. Thus enter “Premiers Symptomes,” a collection of their pre-“Moon Safari” music.

The first track on “Premiers Symptomes” is “Modular Mix,” quite literally the song that set them to stardom. First appearing on a SourceLab compilation, the song features a slow-style funk baseline laying groundwork for gorgeous strings and sparkling analog arpeggios.

Next up is “Casanova 70,” a highly sensual piece featuring warm, sappy brass sounds. Also with a gentle yet funky bass line and strings, the synths are futuristic in a bygone era kind of way with bleating that seems to elevate on into the cosmos.

“J’ai Dormi Sous L’eau” starts with a beautiful analog melody to be followed with a circus of sounds and electronic voices. In different sections they’ ve entered strings, a variety of moog melodies including one that sounds incredibly like an electronic sitar, trumpets, and electric guitars.

Sounding entirely like a dream, its amazing that someone could take coils of electricity and bend them via knobs and patches to come up with sounds so swirling and stunning.

The first track to contain true vocals is “Le Soliel Est Pres De Moi,” done very appropriately on an old analog vocoder. Also introduced for the first time is a patch that sounds like an organ to fully round out their style of synths meet lounge brass.

Air’s music is all about shiny silver leisure suits, and lasers dissipated by disco balls. Mood music for the tragically hip, they’ve brought the best of two worlds together; the beginnings of popular moog synthesized music and the electronica we have today.
Source Records

Anathema Judgement ~reviewed by Matt Heilman
Not only is Anathema responsible for once creating the most oppressive and stark doom metal known to mankind, they are also regarded as one of 'big three' forefathers in the Gothic Metal genre. Since their debut in 1992 with the album "Serenades" they have released some of the most emotional music of the decade in this and perhaps other dark music genres.

They have expanded their sound significantly over the years, and each successive release sounds more powerful than the prior. In many respects, the new material sounds very much unlike the early material. Gone are the walls of bitter guitars and despondent death growls, but the emotion and agonizing desperation of their music is ever present, though expressed through a more structured and musical medium, that would appeal to Goths, metalheads, and fans of prog or classic rock as well.

"Judgement" does in no way stray from that path of musical progress. This is Anathema's most beautiful album, without a doubt the most romantic. The lyrics are more passionate and desperate, and the vocal delivery by Vincent Cavanagh is superb. His voice has come a long way since early releases (after he filled the shoes of original vocalist Darren White, who had THE most mournful voice I have EVER heard.) His voice is stronger, clearer, and more key friendly than ever before. I have always admired the original vocalist, but with this album I am finally comfortable with Vincent's vocals. They compliment the music perfectly.

The guitar work is masterful. There is an abundance of warm acoustic passages, their trademark watery chorused guitars, and well-arranged twin distorted harmonizations. There are even a few passages where they use ALL these guitar styles at once, I guess you could call it Baroque Goth metal, eh?

The album opens with "Deep," a beautiful and melancholic song, mid-paced with the watery guitars I spoke of. A perfect intro, which sets the tone for the entire album. "Pitiless" follows, and though Anathema have never been ashamed of their Pink Floyd influence, (as apparent on the fourth release "Eternity") the vocal melody of the chorus in this song reminds me of a lot of "Us & Them" for some reason. I would believe these lonesome English chaps would be very pleased to hear such a comparison and it is rightfully earned.

The first dagger to my heart came around track five, where the album takes an excessively low-spirited turn. Ah, the beauty of unrequited love. "Make It Right," is one of my favourite tracks on the entire album. It is very catchy yet sad, with a very Cure-like vibe. This theme continues in "One Last Goodbye," a primarily acoustic track which picks up with an intense and sweetly miserable chorus. A great guitar solo and sweeping keys also help strengthen this track. The lyrics crushed me. "How I needed you/How I grieve now you're gone/In my dreams I see you/I awake so alone/ I know you didn't want to leave/Your heart yearned to stay/ But the strength I always loved in you/Finally gave way/ Somehow I knew you would leave me this way/ Somehow I knew you could never stay/ and in the early morning light/ after a silent peaceful night/you took my heart away/ oh I wish you could have stayed."

The tragic trilogy concludes with "Parisienne Moonlight," a very cool song, and perhaps Anathema's most Ethereal yet. Great haunting piano and synthesized strings, with Vincent singing alongside a gorgeous female voice. After a verse or two the song fades into the title track, first with more acoustic guitars and then things pick up for the fastest passage Anathema has offered in years. Quite the unique and schizophrenic outro with loud crashing cymbals, heavy guitars, and a small dose of Vincent's old school screams.

The album continues to astound, amaze, and satisfy me on all levels for six more tracks. "Anyone, Anywhere" is another standout track, with hypnotic fingerpicked guitar and more piano passages, that builds up and gets quite heavy at the end with crunchy guitar chords and sluggish drums. The CD closes with two instrumentals, with "200 & Gone" being one of the most peaceful and tranquil songs I have heard in months, it is just such a calming track.

Though the recent music by Anathema doesn't appeal to me the same as their early work did, their newer stuff is almost incomparable. They are wonderfully dark and gloomy, and they have a sincere romantic appeal to them. Much like the Cure and Floyd, they touch our deepest emotions and what kills us more than anything is when we cling to that last thread of hope and optimism, knowing that hope is indeed the fabric of dreams and that is the only way to go. You can hear that in the music of Anathema. These guys have been mopey for years, and they still press on and their music has never been so beautiful. BUY THIS! This is an example of the finest dark emotional music available.
Anathema Web Site:
Anathema Fan Club P.O. Box 777 Heckmondwike West Yorkshire, Wf16 OXS, U.K.

ANGELS W/ KNIVES “+ Black Voodoo” ~ reviewed by ::CyBeRiNa FluX::
ANGELS W/ KNIVES is an act out of the Dallas area that is one of the many projects of a gentleman by the name of Scar IX IX. Previously working on another venture by the name of Kamer Kurushimi, and having just formed another called L.E.D. Cyanide, ANGELS W/ KNIVES is the product of his work with Nevar74. Drawing influences from bands such as Nurse with Wound, FSOL, and Coil, sometimes the music has somewhat of a freeform Industrial groove.

Other times its decidedly ambient, though the words “dark ambient” just do not do the product justice. The word “evil” comes to mind as more appropriate from the sounds that emit from your stereo when playing this CD.

“Line 6” on track three was the first of this CD to really grab my attention. With a very danceable EBM beat and highly filtered vocal this track rambles undiscernibly emphasizing the words “Line 6” very clearly.

Another noteworthy track would be “Creep.” With its demented deep surging keyboard lines, and eerily decayed vocals this track could definitely be the soundtrack to your nightmares. This combined with the lack of beat would classify this track as one of the “evil ambient” tracks of this release.

Finishing off with a filtered synth organ sound that reminds me of the few notes from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” this song leaves you with a chill.

Finally, I want to point out track eight, “TV Mirror.” Starting out by painting a picture of some evil force growling out at you, you soon begin to hear a voice that is just beyond comprehension. Finally bringing in an almost trace beat in combination with a variety of sounds such as pipe organs and moans, these aspects cut out as quickly as they came in. That distant and dark voice part with a few words and the song is over just as oddly as it began.

To be painfully honest, most of this CD is a bit too obscurely chaotic for my taste. The beats that are often mismatched, the chords that are just a little too dissonant, and the abrupt changes of thought midsong have a tendency to wrack my nerves. However, considering the composition of the CD as an entirety, I am left with the impression that it was this kind of obscurity that was intended by the members of ANGELS W/ KNIVES. All in all, the above-mentioned songs would make a purchase of this CD money well spent for the fans of bands such as Nurse with Wounds or Throbbing Gristle.
ANGELS W/ KNIVES 308 Normal St #6 Denton, TX 76201

THE AZOIC "Where Broken Angels Lie" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
Industrial-goth samplings and meanderings through harsh truth and despair. At times the Azoic hail back to the early roots of goth and industrial music, circa the first Skinny Puppy albums, and mid-career Ministry (pre Psalm69.) Add in female vocals, strings, and a flair for a more fragile sound; think Single Gun Theory. While this music surely is not groundbreaking, it is nevertheless engaging and manages to sound new. Argue all you will, that we've heard a thousand and one albums just like this one, but I dare you to find me one that sounds JUST like it. There is not one. The Azoic have found the niche that was not yet filled. Fans of the aforementioned bands take heart; not everyone has gone the way of ethereal vocals so sweet they're nauseating, or goth jock-industrial metal so crude it's an insult to anyone with a brain.
Contact The Azoic: Nilaihah Records attn: The Azoic P.O. Box 82614 Columbus, OH 43202 Website:
Label: Nilaihah Records P.O. Box 82614 Columbus, OH 43202

Creeping Myrtle Ode To The Urchin ~Reviewed By: Mike Ventarola
Creeping Myrtle manages to convey many moods through this outing " Ode To The Urchin" without having to encumber the music with hi -tech fabrications. The majority of cuts on this disc are not the type that will rouse you from slumber, but in fact will pull you into a reverie of some contemplation. The sounds inherent on this work make a nice accompaniment for an overcast day where one can just settle indoors on a fluffy down pillow as many tensions ebb away.

The band has since reformed with a quietly handsome Randal Prater at the helm, whose dedication to sincerity, introspection and quality may often go unnoticed by those more interested in the latest dance tune.

"Acidophilus" is a shoe gazer type of rock groove that intermittently juxtaposes itself with tempered measures of beat. Randal delivers the verse "I love the way your eyes tell lies/A tragic comedy delight/Spread your sunshine - spare me your rhetoric/Just tell me where the fun is" in a very laid back vocal style reminiscent of the beat days in the coffee houses of Greenwich Village during the sixties. Despite the laid back quality of the vocals throughout the recording, we sense the rumination of the vocalist.

"Mab" bends and twists in a psychedelic fashion, again reminiscent of the sixties where songs were twisted to enhance an altered mind experience.

"Sunnyside" with gently strumming guitars in a folk rock fashion, which leads us down a path of ambiguity. It is a private place Randal only knows and will only give us a glimpse at.

"Ketura" is a wanderlust song of unrequited love that causes one to compose tomes of deification for the object of our desire. Ironically, despite the lyrical content that is passionate and hopeful, the sound has a darker rhythm to it than the previous tracks. This in some ways can be indicative of one who knows this would be a good love to obtain, yet deep down understands it can never be, as indicated in the lines, " I'll sing a lonely chorus /And dream alone and sigh /I'll cross the world for your love."

"Step In The Sun" is another song of longing and searching for the simple type of love that will usher the sigh from our lips in sheer delight. It is a love that remains forever elusive as we search the skies for some sign that the indications of its arrival is within our grasp. Randal delivers this in a softly sung rendition, effectively coloring the song to indicate that the search has been long and unrelenting. The ending instrumentation picks up the pace, showing miles of travel must be endured before this becomes a reality, if ever it does.

"A Good Mope" reconstructs those periods when we want to be anonymous for a brief bit of time. However there are times when things cleave to the psyche causing over wrought cogitation and we have to agree with the lyrics, "All I wanted was a good place to hide/ To have a good mope and then I'd be alrightIt's too late this time / Doldrums are here."

"Valentine" is quite open to many interpretations dependent upon which angle one wishes to view it. On one level, we have a tune related to yet again unrequited love, "I waited a long, long time for her valentine/ But it never came." We then hear in the background subtle blood curdling screams followed by "But, then there's Clementine and trouble on my mind" and a sinister spoken part, "Bet you're on the phone soon /Clementine, we're fools" which follows with "Took you around the neck and then I'd please you, you little fool/ Bet your life you can't fall," which leads one to assume that their is a murder taking place either physically or mentally.

"Of What May Be" initially has an early Beatles feel to it that depicts shy love. An almost orgasmic female cry can be heard distantly in the background while Randal serenades, "Come kiss me sweetly and love me evermore/Our love is too shy/ Rely on all that is backwards and fall with assurance."

"Flimsy" depicts concern of another who is too blind to realize the consequence of foolish actions, "The lonely face I see / Turns to face the cold / You'll catch your death / You'll see / You say no way / Embrace the flames alone."

"The Shy Reserve" initially plays in an indolent fashion reminding us of the slow progression of time which, when looked at from a total perspective, is quite fleeting. It is often observed how quickly light removes the essence of time, yet upon its burgeoning we must seek the removal of ourselves from our contentment in order to preserve that essence which holds us together.

"I follow shadows through nights of my splendor/Things that I saw when I was in the light/They draw lines on my shadow in the peace of the night/ In the shy reserve." This movement is further enhanced with the pacing that picks up as the song progresses.

"The Nether Reaches Of Florid Dandyism" regards the malleability of fads that can make one an overnight sensation and make everything nefarious totally accessible. This game of fleeting sensations is clearly identified and sung in a way that is indicative of one who is cynically apathetic to this reality.

"Departure Never Leaves" is an odd love ballad that once again challenges us to view it on many levels. In one way it reminds this reviewer of a child having a final communion with someone dear to them.

"The fever burns you up inside like friendly fire/It's been a while since paranormal love was dry and free/ From fate and endless time / The sunshine blinds your dry lipped smile."

On another level, it is a memory of longing and bitterness "This lonely apparition aches and mourns the death of love undone / The stars are cold and uninviting and they suck the sound away."

Creeping Myrtle establishes themselves as paragons to the understated conveyance of numerous interpretations in this body of work. Lyrically, a built in ambiguity has been created to allow the listener to develop their own images and meanings. This is gentle music for the most part where much of the meanderings of our artists can get lost if focused attention is not provided.

The laid back style of singing delves into the reaches of one who is alone and lost in their own thoughts and we, the listeners, are voyeurs along for the excursion. Ode To The Urchin is a textual discourse to that little imp that resides in all of us. It is only during our twilight moments, when we are alone with our thoughts, that we are able to fully realize this shadow image.
Released By: Doldrum Records P.O. Box 21689 Seattle, WA 98111-3689
Web Page: E-mail:

CTRL Secure the Shadow ~Reviewed by: BlackOrpheus
My first taste of former Harrisburg, Pennsylvania band CTRL now of Austin, Texas, was on Cleopatra's outstanding compilation "The Unquiet Grave." That two disc compilation was full of gems, not the least of which was CTRL's "Loic." I had the good fortune to have their feature length "Secure the Shadow" come into my hands recently. I was not disappointed. "Secure the Shadow" makes a better display of the bands obvious gifts than any one song could. It is a work of textures, emotional, and musical. The quality is hear...With unabashed enthusiasm I offer CTRL's "Secure the Shadow." This should find a place in the collection of of anyone secure in the shadows.

There is so much to like on this album, that it makes it hard to distinguish a favorite. I would have to say, that "Faqt" was a song that I found myself returning to again and again. Musically, it was a delight to listen to.

There was so much, to listen for. The intro sounded like a game sample, the keys follow, and then a great distorted sample that fades in, and out prior to the entry of the vocals. The sequencing is very nicely done throughout. I found it most agreeable.

I was partial to "Scot2" as well. The intro is deceiving. It sounds like it could be a tender hearted romp through the cemetery. It breaks into an intensity, that was almost caught me unawares. I like the movement in this song, it's very fluid. The vocal distortion worked for me. It can wear thin in some instances, but not here. I'd really like to see the band put the lyrics down on their site. I liked what I heard. I'm really impressed with the musicianship. When I stop to think, that these guys will only get better...Well, That's something to contemplate.

"Xor Process" was worthy of mention. It was another track that was a veritable bouillabaisse of tantalizing musical ingredients that just kept me salivating. It was all instrumental. If it's not the new make out track for the millennium, I'm very much mistaken. I hope saying so, in no way takes away from the integrity of the music. I particularly liked the bass on this one.

In conclusion I'd just like to say there must be something in the water over in Pennsylvania. I am struck dumb, by the music I'm hearing out of that state. Considering the state I'm in, humour me...Give CTRL a listen, I think you'll agree. This is delicious fare...
Web Site: CTRL

CURVEDSPACE "Crypto Outlaw (Remixes)" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
You may remember my review last month of Curvedspace's full length masterpiece, titled "Locked Down In The Compound." This CD is a collection of four remixes of one song, "Crypto Outlaw" which appeared on "Locked Down". Generally, I'm not a big fan of remix albums. They seem pointless and perhaps overly masturbatory to me. The thing I do like about these remixes is that each of them are both different enough from the original, and from each other, to merit their existence. Each incarnation of the song changes it in interesting ways. I was surprised to discover that yes, I actually did enjoy this remix album, inspite of my feelings for such things. Part of the reason this CD is exceptional is because Curvedspace is not your typical aggro-industrial philoso-band. The humour and the rage and the intelligence and the attention to detail set Curvedspace apart from the herds of Ministry clones that have plagued us for lo, decades now. Yes, yes, I know, Ministry are really Whitehouse clones, and so on, but that's for another day, no? Just trust me when I tell you that if you enjoy electronic and industrial aggression and experimentation, Curvedspace will curl your toes in all the right ways..
Related sites:
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DIABOLICUM "The Grandeur of Hell (Soli Satanae glorium)" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
The following is a short bio. of the band, culled from the Napalm Records website, (author unknown):

"In December of 1994, Sasrof and Thorne joined forces to form Imperial. The first demo appeared under the title "Mori Voluntaria". The tape was recorded in two days at a mental hospital and included the session vocals of Blackblood.

Following Thorne's departure, drummer Amath and bass player Gorgorium joined the line-up. In 1996 the second demo "The Imperial Darkness" was released. Vocals and lead guitar on this recording were handled by Thyrfing. Amath left the band and Mysteriis of Setherial joined as a session drummer. Thyrfing was then released of his duties and Blackblood returned to the member. The third demo "De FÆrdÆmdas Legion" was released by Arte De Occulta shortly thereafter.

In 1997, the members of Imperial formed the black metal band Helvete together with Mysteriis and Kraath of Setherial. The project was put on hold when Sasrof took over the bass responsibilities for Setherial. In 1999 Imperial changed their name to Diabolicum. Nathzion joined the ranks as lead guitarist and Diabolicum's debut was recorded at Greencastle studios Records in October of the same year. "

Considering the bio., I must say, that for all the lineup changes and challenges, these recordings are incredibly tight and ferociously beautiful. They range in sound and atmosphere from the likes of early Burzum albums, to more symphonic and harmonic epics akin to recent Emperor, Borknagar, or Dimmu Borgir albums. Resplendently horrifying from start to finish, Diabolicum never let up. Bleak and cold and terrible, this album slashes its way easily and elegantly into the upper echelons of the best of the best of black metal.
Napalm Records America 830 Pacific Ave. Ste. #200 Bremerton, WA 98337 napalm@silverlink.net

One of the most well-known, gothic metal bands in Europe, Dreadful Shadows, are re-releasing their most popular CD Beyond the Maze in a double edition with a live CD included. The reason for this was the success that Beyond the Maze had with the goth and metal fans. It was a pleasant surprise for all of us because we hadn't had the opportunity to listen this band live - except two songs from the "homeless" e.p.

To tell the truth it would be hard for a band to achieve what DS has in such short time. After the fantastic Buried Again, this album was the proof that the group is leading the Goth-metal scene today, and that these guys have a real talent; not just a shine in the dark music industry.

The CD starts with an intro "Crusade" and after that, you'll fall into a different dimension. The group proves to us that their talent guarantees even more good work in the future. From the first seconds it is obvious that the band enriched their music, beyond guitars, bass, drums and vocals, with more keyboards & samples, flutes, violins, violoncellos and female vocals.

Track 3, "The Figures of Disguise" begins with distortion in Sven's vocals, sudden changes in the sound, hard guitars- riffs and violins, make your dark emotions wake up from a nightmare that is called ordinary music. One of the best songs not only in this CD but between all the DS's songs.

"Ties of Time" starts with a wonderful violin melody that continues to the end of the song, successfully combined with acoustic and electric guitars and Sven's vocals. You know its a successful song when you can influence the listener's emotions by knowing how to use your vocals and by writing LYRICS and not just words to fill in a song:  "How often I collapsed when I desperately waited for a sign / All you ought to do was to free myself from my suffering and pain / The scenes repeat time after time / I am standing alone on the negatives of the photograph of my life."

A more aggressive song is "The Drowning Sun" that encompasses even more passion and personality in the words: "The days will be mine when rivers rise but now I am standing on the edge of our life last time to the drowning sun/ the light was bright enough to believe that we could loose ourselves in feelings, but we failed / The last time to the drowning sun."  A wonderful combination of violins and cellos replace the guitars solos making this song even more interesting and special.

"Burning the Shroud" in my opinion belongs to their first CD,  Buried Again since it is more closely related to it. Imagine the song "Chains" in a more mature version with a male chorus and female vocals added and angrier background vocals creating the same successful impressions and you'd have "Buring the Shroud."

The epilogue "Beyond The Maze," leaves me limited in words. Honestly I don't know what to say about this song. Some times it is really hard to describe your emotions about a song that hits so closely to your personal feelings. All of you have some songs that you believe was written for you. That's how I feel about "Beyond the Maze". A few lyrics are: "It's a sea of thought where I will drown / The diary of my life is Burn / Dance with my shade, like the leaves in the stormy night you pass away."  It's essential to listen how these words are performed by this talented vocalist SVEN FRIEDRICH.

About the live CD edition- only 3,000 copies were made - get it while you can. You'll hear songs from all their albums, some remixes, plus "True Faith" by NEW ORDER. This CD is not the best live CD I've ever heard. The sound is not very clear and they fail to transfer the feeling of "atmosphere" that they do in their studio CD's. I am not judging them since it is the group's first attempt to release a live album however, so I'll wait to see what the future holds. Generally for all DS fans, I suggest you try and find this edition even it is hard to come by. Beyond the Maze  is an album that you should buy if you like sounds and groups such as Type O Negative, Paradise Lost (except the album Host), and generally the gothic metal sound. I promise you that Dreadful Shadows will not let you down.
Webpage: Mail: ( management) gero ( label)

Dark Side Cowboys High ~reviewed by Matt Heilman
There are two reasons why I should immediately like this disc: one, it is a concept album and two, if you were to put a tag on it, it would probably read something like "Gothic Metal." I am prone to like Gothic Metal concept albums. However, this one is a bizarre example of both. For one thing, though the music is chalk full of aggressive guitars, growled as well as "Eldritched" vocals, and classical inspired keyboards, it lacks the oppressive and emotional majesty of reigning Goth metallers, or even the average run-of-the-mill Gothic Metal band. There are some seriously well-crafted sections here and there, such as a few great guitar rhythms and piano parts, and some moving female vocals. But then they loose the darkness or the integrity behind those parts and they spoil it with some cheesy theatrics or silly spoken word part. At times, the band has some dangerous hair band moments. Also, keyboards do not always flatter the atmosphere, especially when they sound too synthesized and unlike any known authentic instrument. I would say that they are bit too random, bouncing back and forth from style to style and it kills the atmosphere. The vocals, I admit, are not bad at all. He showcases a wide range of voices from an occasional death growl, a clear power metal type voice and a Gothic grumble that is reminiscent of Carl McCoy of Fields Of The Nephilim.

Secondly, the attempt at weaving an ongoing story is worthy of praise. I believe that several of Dark Side Cowboys releases are all part of an ongoing concept and that they have actually produced some long form videos to coincide with their music. With all of my prior criticisms in mind, I am not sure if I really want to see these videos. Nonetheless, I will applaud them for their effort because few bands really take the time to express their art through so many different mediums.

I really want to like this band, but I guess I will be too Goth and say that they just weren't dark enough for me. To sum it up in a few words, imagine Savatage, Dream Theatre, or Helloween going pseudo-Goth and throw in some Xena: Warrior Princess theme music and voila! You have Dark Side Cowboys.

However I think the band wants to experiment. There are far too many bands out there that sound alike, and take themselves a bit too seriously. I think DSC are trying to have some fun with the ideas of 'epic grandeur' and they are trying to do something a little different and a bit light of heart.

Though my heart is weighed a bit too much for this so give me my dose of Death In June or My Dying Bride and let's move on.
Dark Side Cowboys:
DSC Contact:; Moriensis Productions; Skogsstigen 6; 830 70 Hammerdal; Sweden
LABEL:; Nangijala Records
Umeagatan 4a; 252 77 Helsingborg; Sweden

Maras Torment The Barrier of the Skin ~Reviewed By: Mike Ventarola
Reviewing an instrumental work is somewhat like being a detective. It is essential to take pieces of the sound and incorporate it into a scene and build upon each mental image until an entire vision emerges.

Rik Maclean is the mastermind and artist behind this third Maras Torment release. Maclean dug into his psyche to write, produce, and perform all the woven parts of this disc. His cover graphics as designed by Katie Miranda remain stunning and provide only a slight hint to the wonderful contents within.

"Dreams of Insects" conjures nocturnal moods and vibrations as possibly experienced by the insect world. A steady droning provides what could almost be considered the breathing of these creatures. Episodic sound inflections give a sense of being out in the woods late at night

"Maybe Not" begins almost mournfully. Gentle pulse beats provide a sense of the brain cogitating the possible outcomes to a thought or decision. These pulse beats remind one of the dendrites and synapses of the cerebral cortex which electrically fire as stimulation moves through the nerve fibers.

"The Barrier Of Skin" has a heavenly ethereal quality to it. In a sense, it depicts the soul aspect of ourselves that is basically held prisoner by this barrier we call flesh. The more we focus on the soul aspect, the deeper the resonance from a higher plane.

"An Interlude" depicts a gentle upbeat sound that feels as if there is movement taking place. This song may remind one of the wheels of a car on a long highway as the white lines flash by. It is the pacing of our own existence that sometimes seems to have no beginning and no ending.

"9" rushes with a tinge of excitement and expectation. In numerology, nine symbolizes the completion of a cycle and this is evidenced by the percolation and rhythmic pulsations of this song.

"The Last Veil" is the subtle seduction of enlightenment. It is Sherazades final unleashing of that last strip of sheer fabric which is the barrier between imagined enchanted beauty and its reality. It is the discovery of the self in the most wondrous light.

"The Eyes Of Fairuza Balk" is an homage to this actress with the most intense eyes. It has been said that the eyes are in fact the window of the soul. This song aspires to transcend the outer layer of these intense eyes to see the entirety of being. It is neither mawkish nor overly sentimental. It depicts a strong character who displays searing intensity and concentration from within.

"An Unfortunate Error" has a dark feeling to it more so than the other songs. It almost reminds one of being inside a sewer where dirty water rushes past your feet. Rodents scamper by in search of something to eat. This then transfers this image into a sound equivalent to velocity, almost as if the soul had to go deep into the darkness of itself to finally release the bonds which chain it to the corporeal.

"Another Interlude" demonstrates a contemplation and mulling sequence. This song provides a feeling of one who is ruminating over something that is now regrettable. One can almost picture a young lady sitting in front of a vanity, gently combing her hair while she is lost in deep thought.

"Near Death Fetish" utilizes dark chords with a gentle beat that has an undercurrent of jubilation and vexation. One had touched the perimeter of death, and now has come back to tell the tale. The song gives off a lightness of being quality to it that conjures a wizened person who has been down a very rocky road and has seen the answers to questions few of us ever really think about.

"Andromeda" could be named after the Goddess or the constellation as either would fit rather well. A spatial atmosphere is depicted with a grounding percussion. Gentle electronic pulses emanate that could be star energy or Goddess energy. It is the most earthy with the utilization of opening percussion. This song blends world beat style of drumming with dark ethereal and new age/ambient sound. It is a fusion of multifarious elements coming together to work in a sense of harmony. There is a bit of tension underscoring this sound, like a taut muscle that has yet to relax.

"Control" gently slumbers with a reverie and memory of one who seems to have grown to a certain degree.

These are warm notes underscored by some fragmented colder rhythm.

"A Particular Fear Of Birds" is the most dance friendly on this disc. It opens with an almost calm, meandering before the chaos sequence. This then kicks into the flutter of the birds, not unlike Alfred Hitchcocks movie The Birds. If this movie were to be made today, this would be the song to include for it. It has the right element to give a start to your nerves, yet is mixed to be played for a club dance cut of great proportions.

"Venus Ascending The Stairs" is another dance style track that shows a modern Venus grooving up those stairs shooting off love energy to all her devotees . If Studio 54 were around today, a whole dance production would be centered around the sounds of this song to usher in the electronic millennium.

The Barrier of Skin remains as a disc that is best appreciated with headphones. Most of the tunes are more reflective and meandering in a quiet reverie. The last two, however, will pull you from any form of internalized solitude you may be encountering to make you want to get out to the nearest club. Macleans growth as a musician seems very evident with this release. He provides us with an overview of all styles that he is capable of assuming while still maintaining the stance to make the listener reflective of his or her inner world. Even on the dance tracks, one is compelled to move to a universal beat.

The artistry that is most evident with this release is all the characters who come to life just from the creation of melody and harmony. Maras Torment continues to challenge the listener to view their mental landscapes to find that total essence of their soul while providing a whole new approach to the sound spectrum.
Artwork: Katie Miranda Web Page: Email:

MORTMAIN() "Legacy System Support cdr/1.1/a" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
First, a definition: "mortmain \mort"main`\, n. [F. mort, morte, dead + main hand; F. main-morte.] 1: real property held inalienably (as by an ecclesiastical corporation) [syn:dead hand] 2: the oppressive influence of past events of decisions [syn: dead hand, dead hand of the past] 3: (Law) Possession of lands or tenements in, or conveyance to, dead hands, or hands that cannot alienate."

When you enter the belly of the Mortmain website, this definition is one of the first things you see. If you're lucky enough to listen to the CD at the same time you read the website, you'll probably begin to feel little springs becoming unhinged at the back of your mind. From there, it's all freefall into bliss.

You have never heard anything like this. Ever. I don't care if you own every single little thing Soleilmoon and Staalplat have ever had the good taste to put to CD, Cassette, or vinyl, you've still never heard anything quite like Mortmain(). Experimental electronica cannot even begin to describe it. This is liquid audio lysergy. If you can put on headphones, turn out the lights, and not be transported to a strange new country, you're dead. Really dead. True dead. These are, as so deftly spoken in the film "Altered States", sounds that go back to the first thought.

This is not a rave album. This is not party fodder. This is a tool for cellular rearranging. This is a token of love. This is a bloodfist. This is the most beautiful thing that has ever choked me to death and baked me cookies in a long, long time. Warm milk and small deaths, darling. You must have this CD.
How to contact Mortmain: or Len9@mortmain.com
How to get some of this bliss for yourself:

My Dying Bride The 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!
Official Website: Peaceville Records

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.
Tel 33 1 60 22 36 22 - fax : 33 1 60 22 36 46

OraisonTape Demo "Life+Death=Love=Burden" ~reviewed by Admortem
How does one begin to describe the most beautiful, most astounding new music they have heard in months? Oraison's demo, powerfully emotional, is best explained by the band itself: "Music for the everlasting joys and sadnesses of this world." Comparable to the works of such bands as Death in June and Current 93, this dark apocalyptic folk style band combines expressive male vocals with sweetly operatic female vocals, creating an intensely moving listening experience. Gentle guitar, dramatic drums, with news reel sampling in the background, Oraison brings you to the front of the battelfields of war, then eases your fears with reminders of the beauties of life and death. As stated in their words, their music is "a sort of celebration and denial of life, keeping…on the edge of paradox."

With growth and time on their side, Oraison is accomplishing great things. They have performed with bands such as Ataraxia, and are currently booked to headline with Tony Wakeford and Ostara. A new release, entitled "Terro Santo" is due out the beginning of this year. I suggest you buy it.

The "Life+Death=Love=Burden" demo-tape is out on OPN. You can order it (35 F / 10 DM / 7 US $ postpaid) by writing to :
Email: Website:
S-mail: L'Ere des temps - Oraison, BP 4 Carre Pro, 13101 Aixen Provence Cedex 1, France
Label: OPN, Le Jean Giono Batiment C, Avenue Jean Giono, 13100 Aix en Provence, France

Order of the Dying Knights Miranda ~reviewed by Admortem
ODK is a band that has come a long way by exploring their musical capabilities and utilizing their background and talents to the fullest. With beautiful melodic instrumental tracks and deeply expressive vocals, one would never guess at the band's rock and techno influences. ODK sounds much like what I would expect from a Projekt Records band, and they have in fact made their presence known by touring with bands like Sky Cries Mary, as well as The Creatures and Vast, to mention a few.

The lyrics of each song seem to be written as to forbid the listener from sitting idly by and ignoring the statements. With the first words on the CD ("Will your waning-crescent heart ever wax again with the intensity of which it used to shine") to that final parting breath: "…the sand is sifting but not through time, the end before you, the beginning is mine" Joe Sikes's voice makes you want to listen to the words, to understand them and take notice. His voice is an instrument in itself.

There is praise due to a band that, with the convenience of synthesizers available, pursues actual musicians to play the selection of instruments that ODK includes in every song. From violin to percussion, the instruments are real, which is why their sound is so personal and intimate. Although the band does use synth to assist in creating their sound, each song on Miranda is still an instrumental production, with each band member giving their own distinctive feel to the song through their instrument. With the loss of even one, ODK would not give off the same energy. It is a combination of creative individuals who have not narrowed their talents in any way, and is a rare and exquisite find.
1. Miranda Eclipse I
2. Inquisition
3. Kamera A Photographic Memoir
4. Shape of Faith
5. Saint Mary
6. Reflections
7. Dimension One Hundred and Eleven
8. Virgo
9. Labyrinth of Prayers

Current Members:
Joe Sikes (vocals, bass),
Joseph McCannon (guitars, keyboards),
Wilson Wise (keyboard), and
Dale Nacke (drums and percussion)
Web Site: Email: Mailing Address: Pelinor Records PO box 78702 Atlanta, GA 30357-2702

PAIN STATION “Cold” ~ reviewed by ::CyBeRiNa FluX::
Scott Sturgis is the brainchild behind not one, but two industrial projects.   On Ant-Zen he has Converter, but on COP International he has another project by the name of Pain Station. “Cold” is Pain Station’s third release, and his second since he signed with COP. In this release, he tells us of the degeneration of the mind of a serial killer. With uncanny ability to portray the story in a first person perspective, he takes us on the chilling ride in his tale of terror.

In the first two tracks the hero (if you will) begins to enter a state of acute depression. “Reflect” starts with noise that has the essence of decay. Still seething with destruction, an irregular heartbeat keeps schizophrenic time to indecipherable speech. Into the track, the effects on the vocals are turned back to allow you to hear that the voices are begging you to meditate on the hurt. “Dead Inside” just furthers us into the vicious melancholy. The heartbeat has steadied to a definite and regular pulse. Along with the greater awareness of vitals signs, the hero reaches a heightened awareness of his state. “This is not living. I’m dead inside. No future. No hope,” he says. With a chorus that is ironically glorious, we partake in the spectacle of self-realization and contempt.

Our hero finally breaks in “Turning Point.” Eerily reverberated voices paint pictures of scenes that should be forgotten. The heartbeat is quicker and more concise than before. One can almost see our hero’s pupils shrink to pinpoints as he obsesses over his thoughts.

By “Braindead,” our hero has become more of a patient as he has reached a state of complete disillusionment. Discordant and spooky keyboards bang out a demented melody while our hero sings about his inability to determine real versus imaginary. A forceful and upfront beat keep this track with a sense of the nervous anxiety that such a situation would manifest.

With very Neubautenesque pistons churning and charging up steam our hero makes a confession to an infatuation in “I Need You.” Gaining more energy and aggression through each round of the chorus, our hero confides his ongoing passion with clear pointers to the beginnings of a sadistic nature.

Between each chorus, there is a short and blissful bridge as if our subject is taking a deep breath between rants. In a fit of frustration he screams, “I told you before that you would be mine. If you had listened, you could have saved me some time.”

Unable to cope with the rejection, our hero wallows in a delusional state in “Dark Day (The Breakdown).” Having completely given up on fighting, our hero snaps and gives in to his disease.

“Guinea Pig” unleashes our hero in his alter ego. You hear a woman’s voice very close but strangely distant simultaneously, giving an impression as if you are hearing through another’s ears. Suddenly, there is a shrill sound, and the woman’s moans turn to terror-filled cries. In a deranged kind of calm, our man confesses to us what we had suspected. He has done something horrible, and he speaks to his victim as if everything were as it should be.

“I’ve got a piece of you under my bed. I never dreamed I would have your head.” Tenderly, he tells her how precious she is to him, and gently explains that she will not be his only, but always his favorite.

In “So Alive” he has truly taken the form of a monster. His voice is harsher, and his heart pounds hard and steady. By the murder of his obsession, he unlocked his joy of the sadism that he had only fantasized about previously.

“Aftermath” begins and you can hear our hero reaching the peak of ecstasy, and a beat is carried through the shutter of his camera as he records this moment for posterity. He explains how he found the woman by the side of the road in a desperate state. He details some of his necrophiliac intentions before he screams the chorus in a fury. “This is the aftermath. You will feel my love” Another victim goes by with no remorse, and he shows plainly that he thinks she deserved the horror that she received in the end.

Once the fury and rage is over, our hero begins to come back to reality in “Slaughterhouse”. Looking around, he sees his home bathed in the blood of his crimes. Uncertain of what to do about it, he symbolically states that he hadn’t intended to make such a mess.

Finally at “Dark Day (Self Destruct),” the alarm and panic of full realization sets in, and the final tragedy of suicide calls an end to the story.

This CD will definitely take you on a mental ride. Psychedelic while not sounding like a trance album, it pulls you in with it. It is very rare that a CD contains a true cinematic aspect, but this one shows your minds eye a fantastic horror tale.
Pain Station
COP International –
US Division: 981 Aileen St Oakland, CA 94608
European Division: Berliner Str. 1 D-61449 Steinbach, Germany Fax +49 (0) 6171 983214

Paralyzed Age Empire Of The Vampire ~Reviewed by: Mike Ventarola
Some gothic folks cringe at the mere mention of vampires, vampire music, et al. This reviewer is a major fan of that genre and will not make any excuses or apologies for appreciating it. The metaphor of the vampire is universal to those who in some ways are outside the mainstream parameters of what is deemed as acceptable. This can range from race, sexual orientation, gender or even in the style of music that one enjoys. Anne Rice utilized the vampire as a metaphor for alcoholism which she was battling at the time of writing the now legendary "Interview" series.

There is some cheese associated with this style of music, however this CD is NOT one of them.

The cover art depicts two female models. One who appears to be in the throes of ecstasy while the vampire is just about to make that point of entry for the "life sustaining liquid" which flows through the veins.

"Bloodsucker" is the current dance floor hit in Europe according to my research. It has the same sound structure as the Sisters of Mercys song "Vision Thing," so needless to say it is high energy and immediately addictive and club ready for massive exposure.

"Morellas Sleep" is a slower gothic groove which transports us along on a dark cloud which then erupts into another dance tune that has elements of the new wave genre from the early eighties.

"Dark" swirls sound from the caverns of your speaker with a bit more edginess to it.

"Tears Are Always The End" is a slow, lumbering song that squeezes the morose and morbidity to full extent, that one cannot help but feel total sympathy for the "vampire."

"Famine" has quarter beats, and keyboard created vox choral backgrounds to accompany this very catchy minor chord flavored tune.

"Intro" provides a sound sample element to carry the disc along on a fantasy journey of darkness as viewed from the eyes of a vampire.

"Nocturne" segues from the last song into another highly danceable song that emphasizes the delight of the night, sleep and immobility. This song does have a Sisters of Mercy feel to it as well which seems to be deftly handled by this group.

"Thirst" is created with somber timbres which accompany this ballad, emphasizing the types of thirst one has been known to have.

"Still I Can Hear You Singing" opened with the typical minor gothic chords associated with this genres style of music. This is a slower ballad style song, which reflects upon the emptiness of ones world after the significant other has left them. The heart wrenching lyrics are masterfully handled to infuse bittersweet memory and passion to make this vocalist believable.

"Exile" picks up the pace while providing funereal sounds from the keyboard and guitars in a relatively unique hybrid that is not harsh against the ears. The lyrics, infused yet again with pained passion, make this such a remarkable song for reflection. Anyone who has been shunned by family, friends, etc. will have a full appreciation for this song.

"Hunger" is another short segue that has a poetic recitation accompanied to music to move the disc along with its theatrical like effect.

"Heaven" opens with a moody deep tone and a slow metronomic style drum beat. The guitars carry this song upward with really good chord changes that enhance the drum sounds.

"Xmas-X" pipes out like an industrial tune at first but switches gears to a quarter beat that again works as a dance floor hit.

"End Of The World" takes us to the nether region of dissolution. Each of us has our own version of what the "end of the world" is like. For some, the end is the loss of love, others the loss of a loved one.

"Patricia In Pain" had an opening musical style that was reminiscent of early Gitane Demone which then careened onto another pathway of original dark sound somewhat like early Nosferatu.

"The Weakest" is another great dance cut that really needs to be experienced to fully appreciate.

"Mine" is the most horrific in terms of sound structure and moodiness. This could almost be a part of a Hammer Horror soundtrack for the new millennium. After the intro puts you in that "mood" you are then jerked into a dance floor cut that defies anyone to sit still.

Dancing Ferret Discs has a major winner on their hands with what is predicted to be a multiple hit CD. The music makes you aware of your emotions yet is also a great dance album. The vocals, with just a slight hint of accent, make the whole vampire aspect believable. Words truly cannot hope to do this CD major justice, as this is a piece of work that truly must be experienced to be appreciated Paralyzed Age should be required in every DJs playlist to get a crowd really moving. The gothic influence is inherent in the body of the work, yet they also utilize modern elements to maintain a fresh edge and perspective.

Paralyzed Age borrows some elements from Sisters of Mercy, however, they take it to a new dimension that the Sisters would have gone had they remained "goth." This group manages to artfully maintain a level of passion in all the songs, including the dance tunes. Usually dance songs dont tend to emphasize passionate vocals, since the beat is the driving force behind much of it. This band spared no expense to allow the listener the full range of their talent and ability from excellent vocals to superb mixing.

Put this disc on your Christmas list if you must, but do get it. This will be a classic!
Licensed to Dancing Ferret Discs, Inc. by Glasnost Records Germany (
Website: Dancing Ferret Email:

PIG A Film by Nico B Original Story & Soundtrack by Rozz Williams ~reviewed by Blu
PIG may very well be the most disturbing thing I've seen in a long, long time. The Blair Witch Project doesn't even hold a candle to the type of mental fear this film presents. Filmed in 16MM B&W, this 23 minute non-narrative was the last project that Rozz Williams worked on before his death in January of 98. He had said that this film was "a form of exorcism and transition of his personal demons." That statement coupled with the knowledge that Rozz's life ended not long after the film was finished, made viewing this a much more personal event for me. On the onset, I watched the film for its own artistic value (which it has high merits for) but then, as I do with music, my mind wandered to questioning and trying to discover what Rozz must have been feeling and thinking when this was made. What was he trying to tell the viewer? What demons were being exorcised?

PIG is about a killer (played by Rozz) and his victim (played by James Hollan) that takes place in an eerie desert setting amidst tumble weeds, long lonely roads leading to no where and an abandoned old house. There is no "music" per se and no talking - this film is instead, scored with the sounds of haunting winds that howl on and off which produces a surprisingly scary effect. I was unnerved by the sound by the time the film was finished. Who says you need scary music to shake the audience up? Certainly not here.

The horror of this film is instilled with subtle glimpses into the mind of the killer brought on by the images he handles, the book he scans through almost desperately at times, and the way in which he handles the victim. There is no violent, quick reactions and it's this lack of rash violence that is so disturbing. The victim does not fight, does not protest and is led willingly into the house where the event will take place (much like a pig to the slaughterhouse). The killing is done in a slow, almost calculated way - without malice, without emotion at all. It almost seems like it's a necessity for the killer, par for the course - something that he is bound to do. Part of his actions translate like a scientific experiment. This cold treatment of murder and death make the event less understandable and less logical than say, a killing done out of a rash emotion like jealousy. This is what I believe makes this film so disturbing.

On a personal level, the detective in me is constantly watching for subtle hints into the mind of Rozz Williams. There are points in this film that translate like fantastic poetry. There are instances where you sense that the killer is suffering some kind of metal anguish committing this act and that what you see is his successful attempt at burying that suffering in order to perform the killing. The masks that are worn seem to help distance their emotions. Is the killer fighting to keep this act cold and calculated? What could this sacrificial pig symbolize? One thing that does eat at my mind, is the notion that this film, while unnerving and horrifying, is somehow appealing and hard NOT to watch. Maybe it is the recognition of our own demons that makes this film hit close to home and terrorize. I've attempted to analyze it over and over again, but in truth, Rozz took the meaning of this film to the grave. We can only guess at what the intent and inspiration was. One thing is certain though, we lost quite an artist and many of us still feel the absence of his creative presence.

There is a limited number of these films out there. If you're a fan of Rozz Williams or horror snatch one of these up while you can. The film is distributed in Europe by Antiphon, in the USA by Hollow Hills or elsewhere by Cult Epics. You can also find more information and order the film off of RozzNet (
Open Eye Productions PO Box 461556 LA, CA 90046

RAPTURE "Futile" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
Shimmering black/death metal; big sound, growling vocals, melodic, aggressive, and full of rage. Comparisons might realistically be drawn between say, Dimmu Borgir, Opeth, and Rapture. Both are brutal and yet full of symphony and melody and delight. For those who are interested in such things, Rapture hail from Finland; the album was mastered at Finvox Studio by Mika Jussila, who has also worked with Stratovarius and Children of Bodom.

I highly recommend this album to black and death metal-heads and most especially those who have a secret (or not so secret) appreciation for bands that push the definition of black metal in unexpected and sometimes serendipitous directions. If you hate your metal with any melody or harmony in it, stick with the early Burzum, Mayhem, Graveland, etc., but if you've found yourself liking recent Emperor, Borknagar, etc., then do give Rapture a spin!
Spikefarm Records PO Box 212 00181 Helsinki Finland
(Distributed in the US by: Century Media, Necropolis Records, Relapse Records, and Full Moon Productions.) Century Media

SQUAREPUSHER “Budakhan Mindphone” ~ reviewed by ::CyBeRiNa FluX::
Squarepusher stormed onto the electronic music scene with their first release, “Feed Me Weird Things” that was released on Aphex Twin’s label, Rephlex. It is the project of Tom Jenkinson who was raised by a jazz drummer, growing up listening to greats like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.

He brings these influences into his work and consistently bends genre boundaries with his progressive jazz style of obscure drum and bass. Concentrating on the highly experimental aspects of his work, with very little of the fusion sound prevalent on many of his past releases, his release “Budakhan Mindphone” on Nothing Records is no different in its extreme ingenuity.

The first track, “Iambic 5 Poetry” begins with a laid back bass guitar line that ends to turn your attention to a combination of a very hi-hat heavy percussion line with strings and various sounds reverberated beyond recognition. The funky bass line picks again with a very elating bell sound. The climax of the song is a duet between the bell and the bass, providing the song with much more soul than many electronic songs could dream of possessing.

“Splask” on track four is straight up experimental fusion sounds. With the chord progressions of the keyboard lines combined with the hollow almost random percussion and noise samples, this song quite well represents the words “acid jazz.”

Towards the end of the release, “Varkatope” presents us with more standard dub sounds with its signature bass lines and bleeps. All carried on top of drums of the nature of the big band acts, strong on the cymbals and emphasizing the off beats.

Squarepusher is quite a unique act that is definitely something to experienced for experimental electronic fans. Already a sensation in Drum and Bass and Intelligent Dance Music circles, they are quite likely to influence many of the bands of the future.
Nothing Records
Warp Records

Suture Seven Aversion ~reviewed by Matt Heilman
Pretty descent electro-metal from PA. Electronic drums, harsh guitars, a dab or two of atmospheric keyboards and emotional vocals all combine to create an enjoyable listen if you are into this sort of thing. Though not what I would call club Industrial, more so I imagine this band would be responsible for quite the energetic live performance. They are very similar in ways to Godhead and Diet Of Worms, pairing aggressive metal elements with semi-accessible NIN/Stabbing Westward-esque electo rock. My one complaint in regards to Suture Seven are that the lyrics come across as a bit sophomoric and this throws off the balance between the edgy and wonderfully dark music. Sorry, I am a lyrical purist, and I don't want to be harsh, but I have heard these themes too many times and what more, I have heard such themes presented more maturely from high school poets.

With that out of the way, there are several strong points to Suture Seven's art. They have a knack for writing catchy melodies, as apparent in such tracks as "Fake," that is sort of a slower paced track accented by menacing piano and swirly keys in the background. Without a doubt they know how to stir things up, as apparent on the ultra-intense and guitar driven crunch of songs such as "Selfish" and the opener, "True." They also experiment with a foreboding Gothic creepiness on "Torture" and "Deceived."

Overall, Suture Seven are a band that with a bit of fine-tuning, could definitely become forerunners of the aggressive metal side of the electronic scene. My recommendation to them is to focus on the lyrics and spend some time brainstorming ways in which they could elevate themselves to stand apart from the other bands popping up like this.
Suture Seven P.O. Box 251 Hummelstown, PA 17036-0251

SVARTAHRID "Forthcoming Storm" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
Epic folkish metal with a touch of hardcore. Musically speaking, think Borknagar or Primordial meets, say, Skrewdriver. Unapologetically crunchy and melodic guitars, growling vocals, and lots of goosebump-inspiring bombast. Black metal march music, rich in texture, attitude, passion, and earnest protest. Definitely recommended for those who enjoy music that seeks to reflect the history and retell the mythologies of Northern European. Fans of Storm, Enslaved, and other such projects should be pleasantly surprised.
Napalm Records America 830 Pacific Ave. Ste. #200 Bremerton, WA 98337 napalm@silverlink.net

TEAR CEREMONY "Resin" CD ~reviewed by Kirin
Tender noise. This music is a good example of why people so often speak of electronic sound experiments in terms of atmospheres and soundscapes. This is all strange new sky.

These are the sounds of the outer limits of the Pit, the darkside of the moon, the strange, wicked places where the human psyche goes when it doesn't know what else to do. Or, these are the sounds of new life after brutality; the sounds of a hurricane, the day after it has passed; the sounds of hope, or sunrise. Perspective: wherever you are, that's what you'll hear. Like a fine Rothko painting, T. Gautreau's Tear Ceremony keeps it simple, yet illuminates the complex.
Simulacra Records: PO Box 703463 Dallas, TX 75370