Obituary: Sir Christopher Lee 1922 – 2015

“I've always acknowledged my debt to Hammer. I've always said I'm very grateful to them. They gave me this great opportunity, made me a well known face all over the world for which I am profoundly grateful.” - Sir Christopher Lee

Review: Lindemann – 'Skills In Pills'

LINDEMANN 'Skills In Pills' WARNER MUSIC GROUP

Live Review: Coal Chamber – The Ritz, Manchester 30/05/2015

Coal Chamber (+ Soil, The Defiled, Dope) The Ritz, Manchester 30/05/2015

Introducing... nTTx

"There is a lot of talk about 'the scene is dying' or 'musicians are losing out' with regards to file sharing, streaming services etc. I am much more excited about these times than 20 years ago. Back then I would never have had the opportunity as an independent artist to reach fans all over the world as I can now."

Review: Various Artists – 'Occult Box'

VARIOUS ARTISTS 'Occult Box' CLEOPATRA RECORDS

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Review: Velvet Acid Christ – 'Dire Land (The Remix Album)'



VELVET ACID CHRIST
'Dire Land (The Remix Album)'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Velvet Acid Christ the musical vehicle of Bryan Erickson should need no introduction. Having spent over 20 years blending industrial, ebm, trip-hop, and trance into pioneering albums such as 'Church Of Acid', 'Fun With Knives', and 'Twisted Thought Generator' spawning a host of club orientated classics in the process.

2015 sees Erickson return with the remix album 'Dire Lands' which sees guests such as God Module, Decoded Feed Back, Dead When I Found Her, Assemblage 23, Dead Hand Project, and Controlled Collapse add their spin to cuts from the previous two VAC albums 'Maldire' and 'Subconscious Landscapes'. But that's not all as the album goes beyond the usual remix fare to include a couple of extra treats in the form of remakes of 'Sex Disease' and 'Even Now' along with a new mix of 'Lust' and a cover of Dead Milkmen’s 'Big Time Operator' featuring Rodney Anonymous.

The album as a whole preserves and enhances the club appeal of the original tracks with the contributions from Decoded Feedback, Assemblage 23, and Controlled Collapse. While the likes of 'Lust', 'Sex Disease', 'Big Time Operator', 'Even Now', and 'Dystvonya' add to the variety at work on the album. It is a diverse and satisfying track list that is dance heavy but also perfect for intimate listening.

The production is pretty consistent throughout the album. With the original tracks and the remixes emphasising different elements of the Velvet Acid Christ palette the album doesn't have a particularly uniform direction. But the final mix down and mastering keeps everything on the same page nicely.

As far as remix albums go this is a pretty solid one with a diverse range of approaches plus some not to be missed additions to keep things interesting. You could argue that it is one geared more towards the long-time fans of the band, but it is still a pretty decent primer and companion to those who have only recently become familiar with VAC.  

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Review: Adimiron – 'Timelapse'



ADIMIRON
'Timelapse'
SCARLET RECORDS


Since 2004 Italian quintet Adimiron have forged their own brand of progressive orientated form of metal for several years on the continent. With three well received albums albums to their name, and a slew of high-profile international tour supports with the likes of Annihilator, Death Angel, Suffocation, Meshuggah, Sepultura, and Vader so far the band look set to break out from beyond their European stomping ground with the release of 'Timelapse', a collection of songs that combine technical wizardry and a strong avant garde streak running throughout.

From the onset of 'Timelapse' the band invoke influences from the likes of Tesserect, Gojira, and textures in particular with their blend of unhinged rhythmic structures and layers of irregular textures filtered through technically adept thrash-tinged metal.

Songs such as 'Collateral', 'The Giant And The Cow', 'Timelapse', 'The Burning Of Methuselah', and 'Ayahuasca' exemplify the best of the band's song writing skills as they combine brutal riffs and thunderous drums with strong melodies to create a rich, intelligent but most importantly accessible formula.

The album is mixed well and has a sleek modern production that recalls the likes of Dark Age, Fear Factory and Meshuggah to give it a visceral yet polished sound that maintains the balance of heavy and melodic elements nicely.

'Timelapse' is simply a bludgeoning beast of an album. It's fast, technically proficient and throws you plenty of curve balls to keep you guessing. It is a prime example of what can only be described as “thinking man's metal”. Sure it preserves the angst-ridden heavy riffs that thrash metal has fostered for the past thirty years. But their avant garde approach and progressive textures add so much more to the listening experience. Hopefully 'Timelapse' will prove to be the album that makes Adimiron a headlining band in their own right.  

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Review: Neurotech – 'Stigma'



NEUROTECH
'Stigma'
SELF-RELEASED


Neurotech are unfortunately one of those bands that seem to slip under a lot of peoples radar. The Ljubljana based multi-instrumentalist Wulf, has been crafting strong albums that utilise elements of future pop, new age music, symphonic electronics and metal. The latest release, 'Stigma', marks the first full-length studio album since 2011's raucous 'The Antagonist' and it aims to make people sit up and take notice. Recalling in particular the work of Peter Tagtgren with his projects Pain, and to a certain extent Lindemann, Wulf presents a highly polished individualistic project.

The album opens bravely with the sumptuous futuristic instrumental title track before diving straight into more metal waters with 'Fear The Fear' that kicks the adrenalin up with hard guitars and blast beats over the lush electronic compositions. Tracks such as 'Of Adversity', 'Built To Last', 'Brighten', and 'Through Hardships' follow on giving the album a strong core of dance-friendly metal that will appeal to ndh fans in particular. The album's best offering though is the eleven-minute long future pop instrumental 'To Theta State' which closes the album. Once again it is a brave move but one that shows Wulf is someone who will do things his way.

The production is pretty good with a nice fresh and modern sound to the whole of the album. With each track getting a solid mix down, if save for one or two points where the vocals feel like they need to come through with a little more power behind them. But this isn't anything that greatly effects the listening experience.

Neurotech have created another strong album that is dance friendly enough for club play, but has the right amount of heaviness to give it a broader appeal amongst metal fans. It would be great to see this band with some promotional power behind it on their next release, but hopefully 'Stigma' will attract some much deserved attention.  

Review: Flash Bastard – 'Wild'



FLASH BASTARD
'Wild'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Take some glammed-up pop punk, throw in a little rocky horror and sprinkle with post disco pop and you have the dizzyingly glittery sound of Flash Bastard. The Canadian, now based in Hollywood (of course) duo of Donal Finn and Pete Mills present their second album 'Wild' on Metropolis Records, the follow up to their 2011 début 'Rock 'N' Roll Must Be Destroyed'.

Where their début stuck pretty much to a straight forward blend of Meatloaf meets the New York Dolls with a hint of Motley Crue, 'Wild' expands on their sound with disco and synthpop electronics becoming more prominent in the mix to add an extra dance appeal.

The album is a playful pastiche of the musical excess of the 70s and 80s rolled up in the kind of annoyingly catchy sing-a-long presentation of acts such as Panic At The Disco, Sum 41, and Blink 182. Despite the band having a little more scope than the aforementioned bands, the album does suffer from the same kind of repetitiveness and forays into derivative song-writing that holds back an otherwise interesting idea.

There are a few moments of genuinely inspired song-writing such as the rocky horror flavours of 'Stutter On', 'Fractured', and 'Glitter Forever', as well as the hard rocking 'Frankenstein' proving to be the real stand-outs. Unfortunately though, the majority of the songs just doesn't quite realise their aspirations.

In terms of production it has all the spit and polish you'd come to expect from an act with mainstream success in its eye-line. But with it's overall pop façade and posturing, it just comes off as a bit plastic and disposable.

While there are some interesting flourishes on 'Wild', and some off the wall influences at work, the album as a whole doesn't really work. It undoubtedly will have mass appeal to a large cross-section of the pop punk audience. But it imitates a lot and innovates very little. There is definitely potential for some brilliant song-writing to shine through, but in the case of 'Wild' Flash bastard and all flash and no bang.  

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Review: Beauty Queen Autopsy – 'Lotharia'



BEAUTY QUEEN AUTOPSY
'Lotharia'
UNDUSTRIAL RECORDS


The uniting of Unwoman's Erica Mulkey and Caustic's Matt Fanale promised to be something special from the very beginning. Having originally joined forces for a track on Fanale's 'The Golden Vagina Of Fame And Profit' back in 2011. 'Roughest Cuts' was the first material to surface under their official moniker of Beauty Queen Autopsy in late 2013 hinting at a stunning blend of electronic-heavy post punk and doomy pop.

Last year they followed it up with the EP 'Good, Giving, Game' which showcased a more polished presentation along with the brilliant cover of Placebo's 'Pure Morning'. Finally though 2015 sees the official unveiling of the anticipated full-length début from the pair in the form of 'Lotharia'.

Combining simple mechanical post-punk beats, minimalistic synthpop electronics, and prominently placing Mulkey's seductive post-grunge vocals high in the mix Beauty Queen Autopsy present a deceptively straight-forward but undeniably infectious formula that is both intimate and dance-friendly.

The album includes the familiar cuts from the previous EP and demo with 'Good, Giving, Game', 'Birthday Pony', and 'Lotharia' sounding strong in their final refined versions. While new tracks such as 'Spread', 'Contaminate Me (Dirty Thoughts)', 'Methadone', 'Pumps', and 'Petit Mort' continue to show the depth of the duo's song writing partnership with grunge, psychedelic, and trip-hop elements coming through to create a diverse palette of sounds.

The album has a wonderfully gritty 90s sound to it in so much as it evokes, the best elements of the Nothing Records, Wax Trax! and Warp Records catalogues of the era but maintains a modern dark sound that is both dark and strangely pop-friendly.

'Lotharia' is quite simply a wonderfully strong full-length début from the duo. One that should have people sitting up and taking notice if they haven't done so already. This a subtle, but varied album that leaves you hungry for more. If this offering is anything to go by, Beauty Queen Autopsy are going to be a name to watch over the next few years as they can only grow from here.  

Review: Ego Likeness – 'When The Wolves Return'



EGO LIKENESS
'When The Wolves Return'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Ego Likeness marked their first outing with Metropolis Records with the release of their fourth full-length studio album, the excellent 'Breedless' back in 2010. The duo of Steven Archer and Donna Lynch have released a slew of impressive albums that blend sexy dancefloor beats with a darkwave rock core. But aside from some classic re-releases the band have been a bit quiet. Not that they have been away as they have continued to delight live audiences in their native USA. However a new studio release has felt long overdue. This year the band have answered with their fifth album, the aptly titled 'When The Wolves Return'.

The bands blend of dark danceable electronics and solid rock riffs framing Lynches seductive vocals remains intact. But as with all good bands they have continued to refine and polish their sound, culminating with a strong and wonderfully executed collection of songs.

The band's song writing talents are on full display on tracks such as 'Darkness', 'New Legion', 'Crossed', 'Persona Non Grata' and 'Treacherous Thing' which give the album a sexy dance-friendly backbone. While the likes of 'Leave The Light On, Thomas' and 'When The Wolves Return' bookend the track list with some of the most accomplished songs the band have committed to their discography so far.

The album is well produced with a down-beat trip hop vibe running throughout that reflects the bands earlier releases, but all the while favouring the big choruses, addictive leads, and strong beats that made albums such as the afore mentioned 'Breedless' so memorable.

'When The Wolves Return' is a very welcome return from the Ego Likeness gang. Their sonic formula remains intact but continues to be refined with vigour and passion which is evident in each song. Hopefully we won't have to wait five years for the next instalment.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Review: Jenn Vix And Andy Anderson – 'Eyes Roll Back' / 'I Don't Trust You'



JENN VIX AND ANDY ANDERSON
'Eyes Roll Back' / 'I Don't Trust You'
SELF-RELEASED

The last releases from Jenn Vix to come our way was back in 2013 and featured the Rhode Island based singer-songwriter on good form with the singles 'Speed Of Light' which featured former David Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels, as well as 'Fuck.Rinse.Repeat' and 'Burn' both of which featured underground electro legend Dirk Ivens of Absolute Body Control, The Klinik and Dive fame. With a gradual wave of momentum building from these releases, and EP or full-album looked like the next logical step. But nothing appeared. Yet, 2015 sees Vix return with two more singles, this time featuring drummer Andy Anderson (The Cure. Iggy Pop) and Mark Montalto.

First up is 'Eyes Roll Back', which blends post-punk guitars and drums with light and sensual synthesizers, while Vix delivers a subtle but emotional vocal performance. It's memorable, minimal, and quite effective. But it doesn't quite leave you wholly satisfied.

The next single, 'I Don't Trust You' opts for a dark synthpop meets trip-hop approach which frames Vix's Annie Lennox style vocals very nicely. It is a much more complex, intriguing and engaging track that more appropriately shows of the depth of Vix's song writing skills.

In therms of production the mix on the first single, 'Eyes Roll Back' sounds a little off in regards to the drums which just seem to hit the ear wrong. However the second single sounds nicely layered and more rounded.

While these are both solid, memorable singles, without a doubt 'I Don't Trust You' is the stronger of the pair. It sounds much more complete than it's predecessor, and more importantly leaves you wondering what else Vix has up her sleeves. Hopefully, a full-length release will be able to answer that sooner rather than later.  

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Review: Blush Response – 'Future Tyrants'



BLUSH RESPONSE
'Future Tyrants'
AUFNAHME + WIEDERGABE


Blush Response's last release, 2014's 'Desire Machines' was a stunning blend of avant garde electronics and intelligent dance music that consolidated Joey Blush's position as arguably one of the most exciting electronic musicians around today. Utilising modular synthesizers, Blush blends a mixture of influences gleaned from glitch, ambient, industrial, ebm and electronica to create something truly fresh and modern. Fast forward two years and the now Berlin based artist releases his latest EP 'Future Tyrants' on Aufnahme + Wadergabe.

Where as his previous album recalled the recent works of artists such as Alec Empire, How To Destroy Angels, Aphex Twin and Squarepusher to name a few, 'Future Tyrants' has a much more old school ebm feel that is on the one hand dance friendly, but on the other nice and experimental. Distorted glitch elements combine with subtle dance beats and throbbing synth bass for a dark and satisfying sound that evokes the early works of acts such as Front 242, Skinny Puppy, Die Krupps, Cabaret Voltaire, and Front Line Assembly.

Opening with 'Civilian Slaughter' the album gets off to a near apocalyptic start sounding like early Skinny Puppy writing the opening score for an ultraviolent sci-fi film. The title track follows on with a more dance-friendly and less abrasive execution, but it nonetheless keeps its experimental core that is reminiscent of 'Twitch' era Ministry. 'Seven Rays' then opts for a relentlessly pounding rhythmic and bass-heavy approach making this easily the most club friendly and accessible cut on the album. The EP then finishes off with the seven-minute long 'Fenix', which builds up into more complicated rhythmic structures before fading out into droning synths.

The EP has a rough, old school kind of vibe, but it is most definitely a modern album. It has a definite early feel in atmosphere but the instrumentation, mixing and overall production sound perfect. Even at its most distorted and experimental points it doesn't sacrifice any of its quality.

'Future Tyrants' is another feather in Joey Blush's cap showing him to be a true master of his art. The album is comprised of instrumentals, and that may turn off those who like a nice lyric or two to get stuck into, but it doesn't hold it back. These are four bold and forceful tracks that demand to be heard and leave you feeling satisfied. Fans of the old school sound will immediately dig it, while those newer to the classic ebm / electro-indutrial scene will still find this an accessible point of reference.  

Duende Games and Grypt release 'Tonight You Die'



'Tonight You Die' is an audio-rich first-person horror experience for Windows and OSX created by Jack Squires of Duende Games in collaboration with sound designers / interactive storytellers GRYPT. The game abandons players in a desolate brutalist cityscape with only a menacing note as a clue: “TONIGHT YOU DIE”.

A collaborative release between Duende Games, Deathbomb Arc Records, and the games music trio Grypt. 'Tonight You Die' is a paranoid fantasy existing in the space between a music single and a jam game, TONIGHT YOU DIE culminates with the player's inevitable demise and Grypt's eponymous song.


Grypt's ominous sound is paired with the furious drumming of Brian "Charlemagne Lazarus" Kinsman (True Neutral Crew, ex-Foot Village). The single also includes an authorized remix by Grypt of clipping's 'Body & Blood' from their Sub-Pop début, and three eclectic remixes of 'Tonight You Die'.

Bass music producer Dmnslyr (Stylss), cello songstress Unwoman, and Open Mike Eagle collaborator Signor Benedick the Moor (Deathbomb Arc) each provide a unique variation on GRYPT's horrific theme.

The game an album are available to download for free from the following link: http://tonightyoudie.com




For more information please visit the links below:

http://duendegames.com
http://deathbombarc.com
http://grypt.me/

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Review: Immortal Bird – 'Empress/Abscess'



IMMORTAL BIRD
'Empress/Abscess'
BROKEN LIMBS


Chicago's Immortal Bird peddle a ferocious blend of black metal, Thrash Metal, death metal and crusty grindcore that can only really be summed up with the word... extreme. Scathing guitars, blistering blast beats and demonic vocals power through their full-length début 'Empress/Abscess', leaving scorched ears and speakers in their wake.

With only five tracks to the album's name, the band work hard and fast to establish their mission statement. With nods to the likes of elements of early Satyricon, Nile, Suffocation, and Venom within their technically proficient execution, songs such as the opener 'Neoplastic', as well as 'Saprophyte', and 'Sycophant' exude a relentless brutality that still keeps things nice and tight with some great memorable riffs thrown into the mix.

The album's crowning glories though have to be the final two tracks 'To A Watery Grave', which gives way from the heaviness in favour of some beautiful piano work towards the end, and the ten minute prog-tinged closer 'And Send Fire' that moves from doomy riffs to blistering assaults with ease before fading out into ambient drones.

The album is brilliantly mixed and the production reflects the technical prowess at work on the recordings. It is a strong, self-assured, tight, but most of all wonderfully fresh and modern sounding album.

This album will have a lot of people sit up and take notice. Although to call it a full-length album at a total of 31 minutes long does seem to be pushing it, it is nonetheless a complete and vehement statement of intent. What they lack in running time they more than make up fore in song-writing brilliance.  

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