Interview: Marc Heal

“It’s funny, having worked so hard to make a living out of music I found once I’d got there that I’d broken myself in the process. I needed a break to do some, uh, emotional housekeeping.”

Interview: Bestial Mouths

“The newer material is very personal in nature as it directly relates to the experiences and emotions I had been going through and feeling. Those experiences set the direction for the album title and cover art.”

Review: Cease2xist – 'Zero Future'

CEASE2XIST 'Zero Future' ARMALYTE INDUSTRIES

Review: David Bowie – 'No Plan'

DAVID BOWIE 'No Plan' COLUMBIA / SONY es' SELF-RELEASED

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Friday, 28 April 2017

Modern Myths - To Make an Album in 2017



A few days ago, I got the first mixes of my album.
Obviously, I've been listening non-stop. For anyone reading this who's ever had a child, it's a bit like obsessively staring at your last ultrasound before actually giving birth. It's as close as you've ever come to seeing how your baby's gonna look like, yet it's still not quite actually what it should be, so you can only muse upon the final outcome.
I'm not there yet, but I'm as close as ever, and I couldn't be more proud. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting the album to be this good. I'm quite impressed with what I've created.

During one of my listens last week, I found myself diving into the momentum of the album utterly and completely. It was like time didn't matter, nor what happened during my day, nor what I had planned for the next one. Space didn't really matter either, nor did the outcome of the future. In that moment, there was me, pure me, and the songs, gliding into one another, and their stories, weaving together the bigger story of Original Game itself.
I found myself reconnecting to each of these stories and ultimately reconnecting to the bigger story -the reason behind my Original Game in the first place.

And then, I understood what it means to write and release an album, in 2017 -versus writing and releasing a song, which is what most artists do these days.

At that point, I told myself This is why I wrote an album anyway. Because it mattered to me to tell this story.
Each song is a chapter. You can listen to just one song, if you'd like, but then you're not getting the whole tale, nor the reason behind the song.
Listen to the album, or any album, really, in its integrity, and find yourself surrendered to a modern legend, myth, or folklore.

We owe it to each other to keep telling stories. This is written in one of Neil Gaiman's books somewhere.
It's true. We owe it to ourselves to keep folklore alive, renewed, and up-to-date. 70 years from now, people will listen to the albums we've created, and they'll be able to get a glimpse of the reality of our times. They'll be able to know what our stories were; they'll know what we dreamed of, what we fought for, what we delighted in, and what the shape of our desires was.

Let us keep making albums -capture complete sonic tales. Otherwise, we only leave boundless chapters behind, without any beginning or end. I mean, chapters do have beginnings and ends of themselves, but they have no frames to hold them in. Which is fine, if that's what you're aiming at, all things considered.

Point is, the Art of the Album is not lost, or gone, or done with. It's a way into modern myths, and a way into another universe.

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Review: Mortiis – 'The Great Corrupter'



MORTIIS
'The Great Corrupter'
OMNIPRESENCE PRODUCTIONS


Mortiis' latest album cycle has perhaps seen the band on their best and most aggressive form too date. 'The Great Deceiver' along with it's singles in the forms of 'Doppelganger' and 'The Shining Lamp Of God' as well as the 'Demons Are Back' video showed the band giving it their all, and the results naturally were excellent.

Fast-forward and the remix companion, 'The Great Corrupter', sees release in several formats (including a streamlined vinyl offering) and boasts an impressive 28 tracks. A lot of remix albums tend to be short and hardly worth releasing in a physical incarnation, but Håvard Ellefsen seems intent on giving everyone as much bang for the buck as possible.

The names included who have lent their skills to the album is pretty impressive as well. The likes of Godflesh, Merzbow, Chris Vrenna, Pig, Apoptygma Berzerk, Je$us Loves Amerika, Martin Katscan, Wumpscut, Rhys Fulber, John Fryer, and Die Krupps – whose contributions on their own would make the album worth your cash – are just the tip of the iceberg. Acts such as Purient, Axegrinder, Le Prince Harry, Technomancer, In Slaughter Natives, Cease2xist, and Deutsch Nepal also contributing some fantastic work.

The track list moves from hard and heavy industrial metal, through to dark ambient, ebm, futurepop aggrotech, and noise inspired flavours with every band adding their own slants to the original and in turn showing off the strength and versatility of the core tracks.

Production-wise the album moves seamlessly between genres and despite some drastic sounding overhauls still keeps it's identity as a Mortiis album. That clean modern mixing with just a hint of grunge and grime around the edges keeps the continuity from the original album intact.

This is a very strong remix album. One that by virtue of it's scale will easily please a lot of people, no matter which “Era” of Mortiis originally hooked you. The dark ambient style pieces hark back to the tail end of Era I, while the more electronic orientated contributions are reminiscent of Era II, and so on. It's a lot of material to absorb but it is a rare occasion where the quality and quantity on offer actually matches up.   

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Review: Freakangel – 'How The Ghost Became'



FREAKANGEL
'How The Ghost Became'
DIGITAL WORLD AUDIO


Despite starting life as a side project, Freakangel has coalesced into a monster of a band in its own right. Over the course of seven years the band has developed from a dark ebm project into an industrial metal powerhouse. The band's fourth full-length studio effort, 'How The Ghost Became', is their heaviest offering to date, like punch through a brick wall heavy. Sounding more like NDH guitars meets Nothing Records grooves, with a sprinkle of modern aggrotech electronics, the band have have become a bludgeon of raw and frantic emotion.

Songs such as 'Witness The Fall', 'Insight', 'Make Me Disappear', 'In The Witch House', 'Death walks With Us', 'Kingdom Of Fire', and 'Devotion' exemplify this sonic formula best with their heavy guitars, throat-shredding vocals and strangely enticing electronics hinting at their club-friendly past, but pushing harder than ever before into that metal scene. The development, no matter how this may disappoint anyone who prefers their early incarnation, feels totally organic and right, much in the same way that the recent releases from Cyanotic, Combichrist, and Dawn Of Ashes have.

There are the odd songs that retain an almost dance feel such as 'Giving Up The Ghost', and 'Hell And Back', but even these are firmly punctured by heavy guitars rooting them in the metal end of the band's sound. But that's not a bad thing. There is still that strong electronic presence that while not be 100% dance-friendly isn't a total about turn from their roots.

Being a metal album the production is geared towards balancing the guitars with the aggressive vocals and making sure the electronics aren’t swamped by either. The band, know their stuff, and despite this significantly heavier approach achieve this balance with relative ease with no one element dominating another to its detriment.

This is perhaps the strongest and most well-rounded Freakangel outing to date. In fact it really sounds as though they have found themselves on this album. Everything seems to have come together to create a confident, heavy album that perfectly balances their aggression with their electronic prowess. It has been a well-paced evolution to this point, but this album feels like year zero, from which they can launch a wider assault on the metal scene. Time will tell how they attempt to evolve the sound further, but 'How The Ghost Became' will certainly be looked on as a pivotal moment.  

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Monday, 24 April 2017

Wave Gotik Treffen – The Review // 25th Anniversary

Wave Gotik Treffen – The Review // Preview 25th Anniversary to 26th




Going to Leipzig can be a metaphysical question for some. Placed in the Former DDR heartland, the place breaths German avant-garde meets Chernobyl, as the city has space; scorched earth policy type space. However this is the charm about this town. If it is not the beautiful Baroque architecture that has your skin smelting in awe to your trad-Goth fabrics. It shall be the sheer scale of the soviet era buildings that dwarf many sectors of the city. These are a portion of the venues that will play host to the largest festival for the Goth sub-culture.

Becoming the 25th occurrence in this festival is a monument to it withstanding the test of time, and there really is nothing like it anywhere else. Yes you may hop on a flight to Köln or Berlin for a quick gothic weekender at a venue. However WGT acquires the entire city from Thursday night till Tuesday morning. This is conveyed with two festival schedules, which are each three double-sides of A4.

The Belantis amusement park was centre stage for the opening of WGT. VNV Nation performing to DJ sets from the UK’s Slimelight Steve and other members of the European scene cranked up the volume to shift the festival into GO!

Enjoying the full luxury of the WGT forum’s accommodation page, myself and my better-half were able to multitask breakfast & bathing, as the kitchen was also the bathroom. “Nothing better than reviewing the financial times over a pot of coffee; whilst gandering at a bit skirt before noon”. Love it. If you are proactive there are plenty of well-priced hotels, who are happy to bleed you of your fine coin on this peak demand period. However I would recommend going house sharing. It is a lot of fun, and I believe the best way to experience the festival. The locals are very welcoming of the event, as it has become an acceptance from an economic to a fun point of view.

Friday
Usually on Friday the very well-known Victorian picnic is a sight to be seen, though if you would rather sit on a chair, have a glass of sekt and a nice pinch of antipasti to go with the glass. Then the ‘Viktorianisches Viliage’ at the Arena am Panometer shall hit the spot! An open area location; it shields you from the outside world, yet with beautiful sky views, with a roman feel. The prices for a drink are rather acceptable, and if you would like to avoid the large scale crowds of the Victorian picnic, with some upper class decency (Less Mud) where the alcohol comes to you, then glance over here.



Moving a century or two forward. The French duo of Dernière Volonté bestowed me with my first visit this year to the Volkspalast Kuppelhalle. A grandeur building of the DDR that has a circular stage. The French artist had their live performance dominated by the bass of large drums (yes they are very big), as the vocals of Geoffrey D combined militaristic rhythm with a pagan/folk enchantment that engorged the hall.




On Saturday evening the venue plays host to ‘The Obsession Bizarre’; which embroils leather & latex. A trusty combination that will see you additionally queuing and sweltering. Indeed very nice performances, yet the greatest advantage to my eye is being able to dress as an elegant slut on a warm June evening, whilst hearing tears of electronic bass vibrate through your neck. However… the toys to play with are not worth the waiting time. Opinion; kinky posing…  LX-E’s recommendations prior to attending is to have a clear cut glass of cold Valt Vodka.  Also to be noted, WGT is a Goth event and dressing like an elegant slut is generally accepted the whole time. Obsession Bizarre is a moment for bass hunting vibrations up your skin in well tight fabric.



Saturday
Moving onto the main stage Die Krupps brought their new live act from their new album V - Metal Machine Music. Already industrial enough with Jurgen Engler's scaffolding xylophone; they decided to see all of the stage disappear. Guitars went flying and a clang of steel pipes fell from the stage and the Agra Halle resembled a music demolition site. Die Krupps really showed a new jolt of youth!



Sabbath
Sunday was a clear calm recovery mode; or so one thought… You know that beautiful sensation, when from the prior evening of dancing. You know; where battery acid is filling the muscles, and that additional benefit when you have washed your face, to know the tanz sweat exfoliated your skin… Priceless. However this was not a morning for sitting around. Toss the Financial Times in the bin and lets go with that skirt for a another dose of Met and keep the body moving.
I named EBM/ electronica day to Sunday, as with the rain and wind the only thing that was going to keep me moving, excluding Ardbeg whisky was going to be man-made.

Taking a winding tram route to the western rim of Leipzig, where the patrons thin out; we eventually made it to the Patenbrigade:Wolff themed Stage. The NONTOX LE.E.V is construction site meets stage. So to expand external stage & little shelter, however braving the horizontal rain to Lights of Euphoria, it has of course Patenbrigade:wolff necessities… Beer Tent with builder size cups of tea, can’t compete with that!




The trio of Torben Schmidt (Suicide Commando), Singer Jimmy Machon and drums Thomas Gaarn brought on killer performance that did its upmost to get the crowd warm, however the only thing that was going to be blown away in this dismal weather was the beer tent.

Getting a move on, back down 3 Strassenbahn route, we hit the next venue and brought the EBM to the Täubchenthal.  ‘Somatic Responses’ got the earth warm as their early ‘Architect’ noise distorted the crowd. A first glimpse at their work, the track ‘Wherever’ brought in that attractive feel of desolation. The great thing about the venue, was it smelt and felt like a Goth club. Utter darkness once inside, heat, confusion and condemning melody.

Dirk Ivens broke the desolate mood left by Somatic Responses. Cracking open the muscles with a Best of show. It began by bleeding the rough cut muscle of the audience with Dream Hunter, and then cooked the room with the speed of ‘Sidewalk Sinner’. The EBM newtons of energy took their addictive toll, as I found myself in the EBM mosh pit for the remainder of the act. Chelsea boots and EBM Germanic work out turned out to be a winning combination. My toes would beg to differ on that.

The Sunday’s current EBM frontline, was brought to a standstill. As the Danish melancholy ‘Of the Wand & the Moon’ submerged Altes Landratsamt in their Scandinavian tribe. The band’s performance was good, however there was something in the air that really made it not great, I think it was the acoustics.

The discovery of the year was Göttertanz. A tribal and folk club event, that went on until the very early morning in Haus Leipzig. For one DJ to play such a well-balanced wave of compositions, with pace was very outstanding. Kudos was really give to ‘ToM Manegold’ for this endurance ballet that was well received until 6am.



Monday – Classical Aftermath

A neofolk recovery began at 12pm; closing the window shutters to shield from all natural light, and those baths where they were all for nothing, the only God today was coffee. However one last big leap into the black unknown we do.

To stay safe; the Heidnisches Dorf and Agra, were in good walking distance of each other. The medieval village, acted as perfect recovery. Serving flesh and Met, the combination hugged the stomach like an animal finding water in the desert.

The Heidnisches Dorf stage, takes on myth, folk and Viking type musical taste. For me it is the slightly rougher part of the festival on the corners. However also the most easy-going down to earth part, as a more metal feel is here and the delicateness of Gothic upper nose is a million miles from here.





Back to the Agra and Neuroticfish opened the artist set for Monday, making the crowd ride a huge future pop wave to the sound of Sascha Klein’s voice. The band brought a set of new work from ‘A Sign of Life’ and entertaining all by switching to some of their old school EBM tributes such as ‘Is it Dead’.

The sound of Velvet Acid Christ live unfortunately did not do the studio sound justice. The first time I saw the band live; yet I think it would be the last. I think Velvet Acid Christ in daytime will never work.

The Monday, for me is always the hardest as the shop owners at the agra begin disassembling the stages and already the wind down is happening, as Leipzig slowly returns.



What the 25th anniversary marked clearly to me in point, was that the festival management was strong and sound. Able to deal with the additional organisation and cost associated with an anniversary and meet expectations. The collapse of 2000 which saw the failure of the festival is left to rot in the cupboard, as here is a well-tuned machine only getting better.


Stay tuned for announcements on the 26th Wave Gothic Treffen 2017!

Dominic Lynch aka DJ LX-E

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Alestorm releases self-titled single from 'No Grave But The Sea'


Pirate metal band Alestorm, from Perth, Scotland, are about to release their 5th full length album 'No Grave But The Sea', set for May 26th via Napalm Records, but as a preview of what it will sound like, this Friday, April 21st, they showed the first single, which is also self-titled. Watch it down here!
Chris Bowes, the lead vocalist and keyboards of the band, says that he: "hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed filming it. It features all the classic elements that people have come to associate with Alestorm: beating up little people, explosions, and the Serbian countryside. The song is pretty good too."

The official tracklist for 'No Grave But The Sea': 

1. No Grave But The Sea
2. Mexico
3. To the End of the World
4. Alestorm
5. Bar und Imbiss
6. Fucked with an Anchor
7. Pegleg Potion
8. Man the Pumps
9. Rage of the Pentahook
10. Treasure Island

In support of their new album, Alestorm will be on tour this year with shows in the States and Europe, including the legendary Vans Warped Tour. If you want to be present in any (or all if you're a hardcore fan,) visit Napalm Records' website and save the dates they provide!

Visit the Band at:
Website
Or write a direct email to them at: band@alestorm.net

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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Review: Caïna / Cara Neir – 'Split'



CAÏNA / CARA NEIR
'Split'
BROKEN LIMBS RECORDINGS


Split albums can make for strange bedfellows, but there is something that just works on this latest 7” from Broken Limbs Recordings. On the one hand is the UK's most impressive and original post-black metal act Caïna. With phenomenal albums such as 'Mourner', 'Temporary Antennae', 'Hands That Pluck', and 'Setter Of Unseen Snares' walking a fine line between ambient, shoegaze, black metal, post-punk, and industrial sounds each release hinges on creating a unique and independent listening experience.

The other sees Texan Blackened Crust merchants Cara Neir, who with their own impressive legacy due to releases such as 'Portals To A Better, Dead World', 'The Overwatch', and 'Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition' have crafted their own unique and creative voice within their genre.

The coming together of two such unique forces is always a joy to behold and despite differing styles, with Caina's 2014 cut of sprawling and ambient infused black metal on 'Rhosneigr', and the short, sharp and groovy cut 'stained Grey Bones' from Cara Neir, are perfect companions.

The production is no-frills and rough across both tracks, but neither are unlistenable. Long gone is that “necro chic” of the black metal scene, and even lower budget doesn't mean low quality. The songs are visceral and direct. There's no room for polish or pretence, just raw and passionate music.

The end result is a fine split release that sees two great bands come together and create something genuinely pleasurable. Caina may be being put to sleep, but with this, the vinyl re-release of 2007's 'Mourner', and a solo album from
Andy Curtis-Brignell due later this year we can take solace in the fact there is still more to come. As for Cara Neir, they are an act who's star is still very much on the rise and despite nearing their ten-year-anniversary, this is a perfect introduction for those who haven't had the pleasure yet. 

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Review: Dawn Of Ashes – 'Daemonolatry Gnosis'



DAWN OF ASHES
'Daemonolatry Gnosis'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


After last year's spectacular return 'Theophany', it's good to see the Californian black metal / industrial outfit capitalise on their newly found momentum sooner rather than later. The result of which is another incendiary and heavy offering in the form of 'Daemonolatry Gnosis'. The symphonic elements this time are pushed to the fore while the black metal backbone is once again pushed harder than ever before.

The vocals are the most demonic too date and any resemblance to their earlier hellektro style is now 100% lost to time. There are still industrial elements floating within the electronic textures, but once again under the guiding hand of Anaal Nathrakh's Mick Kenny, the band continue to metamorphose into a more brutal and extreme incarnation.

The album is an unrelenting discourse in modern black metal. Sumptuous symphonic elements frame a core of blistering drums, violent guitars and throat wrenching vocals. Songs such as 'Gods Of The Antimonian Path', 'Guardians', 'Sermon From The Horned God', 'I Am Nephilim', 'Rulership Of The Inner World', and 'Magick For The New Aeon' provide the album with a solid metal back bone that shows a great leap forward in their song construction and execution. While tracks such as 'The Initiation', and 'The Ritual' provide nice, if short, counterpoints to the metallic mayhem with their sinister symphonic industrial construction building tension nicely.

The only track that doesn't really work is the pretty straight cover of Mayhem's 'Freezing Moon' which, while heavy in its execution, lacks a lot of the individual stylistic elements that makes the previous eleven tracks really pop. It may have faired better hidden after an outro that book-ended the core tracks to be discovered.

The production is nice and heavy. It's always great to see the signature of someone such as Kenny so perfectly interwoven with a band's sound so as to create something big and bold in its own right. 'Daemonolatry Gnosis' picks up pretty much where 'Theophany' left off, but pushes everything harder and faster this time round.

This is a big step, perhaps even a milestone in the development of the band. Whereas 'Theophany' was an exciting and visceral push forward, 'Daemonolatry Gnosis' is a consolidation of their intent into a focused and brutal assault. Dawn Of Ashes are very much a black metal beast now. And while it would be interesting to see how they reconcile their older sounds moving forward, it is safe to conclude that if they can continue on this path and incorporate that previous progressive and experimental mindset of their early work, then there should be no limit for Dawn Of Ashes.  

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Universal's upcoming movie, 'The Mummy', has its second trailer


Upcoming film, The Mummy, directed by Alex Kurtzman, has released its second trailer not long. The film, written by Jon Spaihts and Christopher McQuarrie, is a reboot of The Mummy franchise that started in 1932.

The film stars, among others, Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis and Jake Johnson, and it’s scheduled to be released on June 9, 2017 in 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D. This is also intended to be the first instalment in the Universal Monsters shared universe.

If you're into dark fantasy, horror films, the this should be in the group of your most awaited movies of the year. The special effects are nothing to amazed about, but it is the proposal of the end of the world that intrigues me, as this idea hasn't been used that much for a while.

Official Synopsis:
"Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy.
Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.
From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters."


And, in case you missed it, here's the first trailer:

Learn more about the movie on the official website.

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Singing 101: A Crash Course in Singing with Olivia Hyde


On Saturday 20th of May 2017, Olivia Hyde, the vocalist from ban Bad Polyanna, will give a course for aspiring singers that want to improve their singing techniques from 10am until 6pm. The place where the meeting will be is at Quarry Lodge Studios, Golcar, HD3 4PS (UK).

In the publication, the singer says the event is for "Learn scientific, cutting edge techniques designed to improve your singing in record time. Understand how to interpret songs and the psychology of performance. Gain the tools to improve in your own time after the workshop. Learn in a fun, relaxed and supportive group environment."

Along with different individual and group prices, those who pay the amount of £80 will get the chance to perform as themselves the next day. The singer also published a mail and phone number for her fans to to arrange a fifteen-minute consultation for free or to book a place.


For more information about the event, visit the band's bandcamp and Olivia Hyde Coaching's facebook page.


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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Review: Defeat – 'Rise'



DEFEAT
'Rise'
SELF-RELEASED


It's been two years since Defeat's last outing 'You Know Who You Are', but the Hertfordshire-based electro duo have definitely spent their time well. The band's old school ebm meets industrial flavours have been further honed on their seventh studio release, 'Rise', and the result is definitely a shift in gear. 


The album still keeps the fundamental influences of Nitzer Ebb, Front 242 and Front Line Assembly at the head of the charge, but as with their last outing, the modern club elements see another big increase in presence. The result is bigger beats, bigger synths and bigger dance floor potential with tracks such as 'The Phoenix', 'Dirty/Sick', 'The Fatalists', and 'Nothing You' providing a strong and driven presence.

While the likes of 'Rage', 'The Hurt', and 'Rise' as well as the sumptuous closer 'Live Your Life' up the emotional quota of the album with a more minimal and focussed approach reflecting their old school roots and adding a couple of little twists for good measure.

Production-wise this is the best the band have ever sounded. There are still the odd rough spots, but in comparison to the last two albums, 'Rise', is easily their strongest showing to date, that is accessible, dance-friendly and, at times, emotional.

'Rise' is a short, but strong album. It mixes up their previously tried and tested formula and takes risks where it needs to. The end result definitely pays of for the duo, particularly with tracks like 'Dirty/Sick', 'Rise', and 'Live Your Life'. They're moving out of their comfort zone with every release and the results speak for themselves. It would be great to get a follow-up to this album sooner rather than later but with the last two-year gaps between albums it is evident that Defeat like to take their time, and to be fair, it does yield results for them.

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