Interview: Yves Schelpe (Psy'Aviah)

“It ['The Xenogamous Endeavour'] describes in words what I want to band to stand for, a marriage of styles, genres and people one wouldn’t expect at first, but does work out well.”

Interview: Joey Blush (Blush Response)

“What I search for in music is unique expression… I am not a fan of genre music. I don't like having rules or ideals about what fits into what scene or genre.”

Review: Alternative 4 – 'The Obsucrants'


Review: Youth Code – 'An Overture'


Review: Godflesh – 'A World Lit Only By Fire'


Monday, 20 October 2014

Screams in the silence: Horror films of the silent era (Part 1)

Lon Chaney as Erik from 'The Phantom Of the Opera'

Horror, more than any other cinematic genre, taps into the deepest and most primal parts of the human psyche. From things that go bump in the night to the plausible terror that the quiet man that owns the motel is a psychotic serial killer, the genre has continued to evolve for every generation of cinema goers.

Yet there was a time before horror existed as a genre. The monster movie boom of the 1930s that started with Bela Lugosi's infamous lines “I am – Dracula.” [...] “I bid you welcome.” first gave Hollywood studios its biggest taste for horror. But what a bout the pioneering films and their icons of the early years of cinema that brought horror to the silver screen? For that we need to step back to a time before sound and into the world of the silent film.

Many early films have been lost or destroyed as the decades have progressed. But those that survive offer a tantalising glimpse into the move from theatrical special effects into basic camera tricks to add supernatural visuals to the stories on the screen. The interplay of light and shadow of German expressionism and the pioneering makeup techniques of the 'Man with a thousand faces' Lon Chaney.

The Early Shorts
With the invention of the cinematograph in the 1890s by French brothers
Auguste and Louis Lumière it became inevitable that the traditions of horror fiction and theatrical plays would find a natural home in the new medium. The medium's inventors saw no future in motion pictures outside of their brief fairground attraction showing very short pieces of footage and turned their attention back to photography. But a fellow Frenchman by the name of George Méliès saw its potential and began to produce a huge variety of short films that ranged from a few minutes in length to nearly quarter of an hour and drawing on everything from fantasy, science fiction and horror. 

George Méliès

Méliès' occupation as an illusionist allowed him to experiment with new ideas to bring his stage magic to his films. Stage effects and automata and basic editing techniques such as double exposure, superimposing images and stop tricks all became industry standards and advanced the technical wizardry of cinema. Although his most well known films are the science fiction cum fantasy adaptations of 'A Trip to the Moon' (1902) and 'The Impossible Voyage' (1904), one of his early creations was the comedic horror 'Le Manoir du diable' (1896) AKA 'The Haunted Castle'. Credited as “the first horror film” 'The Haunted Castle' follows an encounter with the Devil in a haunted house and emphasises creating wonder and astonishment in its audience with its focus on special effects rather than fear. This was something that would characterise all of Méliès' subsequent horror films such as 'Le Château Hanté' (1897), 'La Damnation De Faust' (1898), 'Le Diable Au Couvent ' (1899), 'Faust Et Marguerite' (1904), 'Le Diable Noir' (1905), and 'Les Quat' Cents Farces Du Diable' (1906). Méliès' fortunes waned, and by the time the first world war broke out he was bankrupt. Many films were melted down by the French government for the war effort and Méliès himself burned a number of his negatives. Around 200 of his films survived but his pioneering use of special effects set the tone for cinema until the advent of CGI. 

Outside of Méliès' work there were other willing to dip their toes into darker waters. The Japanese market produced '
Bake Jizo' AKA 'Jizo The Ghost' and 'Shinin no Sosei' AKA 'Resurrection Of A Corpse', both made in 1898, and which are now sadly lost. While a French contemporary of George Méliès named Alice Guy Blache created 'Esmeralda' (1905), which featured the first on-screen depiction of Quasimodo from the Victor Hugo novel 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame'. While over in the USA D.W. Grifith, who would later find success with epics such as 'The Birth Of A Nation' (1915) and 'Intolerance' (1916), looked to Honoré de Balzac and Edgar Allen Poe for his dark short 'The Sealed Room' (1909). 

D.W. Grifith's countryman, the inventor and industrialist Thomas Edison, who had been the creator of the Kinetoscope peepshow machine – a favourite pre-cinema device around the world
  got into the film business. Although he played no direct role in the creation of the 1,200 films produced by his company, his name was nevertheless ingrained into the annals of horror cinema as it was an Eddison film that first brought the gothic horror classic 'Fankenstein' to the silver screen in 1910.
As with the films of Méliès, the sixteen-minute long production of 'Frankenstein' downplays the horror aspect of the novel and focusses instead on the fantastic and psychological nature of the source material.

The novel by Mary Shelly never explicitly describes the creation of the monster, and while a scientific scene is universally portrayed in subsequent adaptations, the creation of the monster in the 1910 version owes a lot more to alchemy. Also rather than cast any doubt on the scientific endeavour of people such as Thomas Edison, the monster is less of a grim warning but a more allegorical suggestion of the horrors inside the human mind. As such the film lacks the true sense of shock and horror that the later films starring Boris Karloff would bring to the screen. 

The Edison Kinetogram Catalogue featuring a still from 'Frankenstein'

To those familiar with Mrs. Shelly's story it will be evident that we have carefully omitted anything which might be any possibility shock any portion of the audience. In making the film the Edison Co. has carefully tried to eliminate all actual repulsive situations and to concentrate its endeavours upon the mystic and psychological problems that are to be found in this weird tale.” - Edison Kinetogram 2. Mar 15, 1910. pp. 3–4

However the films, according to sources, wasn't well received, perhaps due to the tide of tastes moving towords more dynamic productions with a longer running time. Or perhaps due to the somewhat “blasphemous” overtones to the story. Either way, the film was withdrawn not long after circulation and its survival is owed to a private collector from Wisconsin. 

In 1908 Edison had also founded the Motion Picture Patents Company AKA “The Edison Trust” as it was sometimes know, as a means of controlling copyright and standardising distribution in the industry. The company saw that the domination of foreign films in America end, but also discouraged its members from producing feature length films while collecting fees on all aspects of production and exhibition. The control of the MPPC eventually led filmakers to locate their productions in Hollywood, California away from the companies patent enforcement. One new company that set up in Hollywood was Universal. Started by
Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles O. Baumann, and others in 1909 the company created Universal City Studios, on a 230-acre site to become the largest studio in Hollywood and would become one of the most dominant producers in films for much of the 20th century. They would also give rise to some of the biggest names in horror.

Lon Chaney as the "Man in the Beaver Hat" from 'London After Midnight'

Famous Monsters
Early cinema generally didn't credit the actors who portrayed the characters on the screen. But by the ti
me Leonidas Frank Chaney AKA Lon Chaney donned the makeup for his portrayal of Quasimodo in Universal Pictures' 1923 version of 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame' the practice of crediting actors was well established and his depictions of grotesque yet sympathetic characters would cement his legacy as the first icon of horror cinema. Chaney, already a skilled character actor due to his time in Vaudeville and a veteran of dozens of other films, was elevated in the eyes of the public.

'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame' like many of the films before it was not strictly a horror film in terms of plot, Chaney's Quasimodo – the half deaf and half blind hunchback bell-ringer of Notre Dame cathedral – is shocking thanks to his masterful use of stage makeup. He's the first identifiable monster of Hollywood, which set a precedent carried throughout Chaney's other forays into horror and beyond into Universal's cannon of famous monsters. 

The portrayal of Lon Chaney's “monsters” Quasimodo and Erik from his 1925 film 'The Phantom Of The Opera' are undoubtedly horrifying in appearance, but Chaney's ability as an actor endeared them to the audience by filling them with pathos and humanity making sure they lived in the public's imagination beyond the initial shock reveals. Chaney also went beyond the grotesque but sympathetic when playing the mad doctor Ziska in 'The Monster' (1925) with the altogether more conventional looking Ziska harbouring a more monstrous nature. While the lost 'London After Midnight' (1927), directed by Todd Browning ('Dracula', 'Freaks'), sees Chaney's makeup skills get put to good use as the vampiric looking “Man in the Beaver Hat” which is less of a supernatural character and more of a gruesome disguise. 

As Chaney's prototype horror films progressed we see more of the Hollywood conventions come into play that would separate them further from the dramas and comedies that preceded them. The shock reveal of the monster, murder, mystery, the supernatural, nefarious scientists all become tools to instil terror in the audience. 

The most infamous 'Shock Reveal' of silent horror...

Chaney may have been Hollywood's biggest horror icon, but there were still more films beyond his now legendary appearances contributing to the foundations of the horror genre. In 1920, three years before Chaney's portrayal of Quasimodo, John Barrymore took on the role of horror's most famous case of split personality 'Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde'. Already a cinema favourite seeing adaptations in 1908, 1912, 1913, and another 1920 production. The 1920 Paramount Pictures adaptation featured a great initial transformation scene in which Barrymore contorts his face into a foul grimace setting a high bar for the subsequent 1931 and 1941 remakes to live up to. While 1925's 'The Lost World' implants the Dinosaur as the focus of horror sewing the seeds for films such as 'King Kong' (1933), 'Godzilla' (1954) and 'One Million Years BC' (1966).

Hollywood may have been making stars and slowly fuelling the public's taste for horror but it was the work of Europe's own masters of horror that showed Hollywood that scaring your audience is just as valid a form of entertainment as making them laugh or cry. Directors such as Paul Wegener, Robert Wiene, Friedrich Murnau, Fritz Lang, and Paul Leni with actors such as Conrad Veidt and Max Schreck.

That's it for part one. Check back next week for part two as we delve into the shadows of German expressionism and uncover the roots of Hammer and Amicus in Britain's own catalogue of silent films...

Friday, 17 October 2014

The weekly compendium 17/10/2014

Over halfway through the month now, so I imagine there are a fair few of you out there gearing up for the Bram Stoker Film Festival and Whitby Goth Weekends which are fast approaching... Though that double whammy is the signal for the end of the year, there are still plenty of things going on in November and December before Christmas hits, so hopefully you won't spend all your hard earned cash all in one place!

The big news this week was the tragic passing of electronic artist and producer Mark Bell of LFO fame. The announcement came via Warp Records on Monday evening that Bell had died following complications from surgery. His work with LFO as well as a producer, remixer and collaborator with acts such as Depeche Mode, Erasure and Bjork has had a profound impact on electronic music in the UK and internationally. Intravenous Magazine would like to express our condolences to Mark Bell's family at this difficult time.

On the website this week we had plenty of news stories from the likes of Garden Of Delight, Ludovico Technique, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, and Cygnets. As well as reviews of the latest releases from Hanzel Und Gretyl, This Sect, Us Amongst The Rest, and Digitalis Purpurea.

Over on Facebook there was new music courtesy of Inertia. And a lot of videos from Hanzel Und Gretyl, Depeche Mode, L'Ame Immortelle, Naked Highway, and Laibach.

Right that's your lot for this week. To get you going for the weekend here is LFO at their best to remind you what you're missing...

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Review: Digitalis Purpurea – 'Palindrome Shapes Of Mold'

'Palindrome Shapes Of Mold'

Non-conformist electronic artists Cristian Marovino, AKA Digitalis Purpurea returns with a darker and harsher sound on the fourth full-length studio album to bear the moniker. The previous Digitalis Purpurea outing on '30-Hole And Fred Perry' displayed a polished and pop-orientated side to the projects sound. But here noise is the name of the game. Low-fi, abrasive, and lacking all airs and graces it synthesizes primordial black metal atmosphere through primitive industrial noise with the influence of acts such as Black Leather Jesus, Vlad Tepes, and Mutiilation present throughout.

Based on Giallo – Italian psychological and gruesome murder mysteries – The album revels in atonality and juxtaposing melodies with noise. Opening with the blast that is 'Psychic Tape #404' the album immediately signifies its intentions. 'AibophobiA' follows on, slowly emerging from the din of static and feedback that connects it to the previous album. The tracks then become more catchy as the album progresses with songs such as 'Chipsiomega', 'Scarlet Cameo', 'Night Train Murder', 'Cardia' and 'Elena & Maria' displaying the infectious qualities of the previous Digitalis Purpurea albums, albeit with that ever present low-fi quality to them.

The remixes of 'Hate Is A Golden Spiral' and 'Hentai Dope Trip' by Satanismo Callibro 9 and Danny Saber respectively, the harsh and minimal styles compliment the rest of the album as a whole and feel more part of the album's construction rather than something merely stuck on the end.

In terms of production, its intentionally low fidelity style and penchant for harsh tones makes this quite a heavy going album. Yet there are many instances of catchy songwriting emerging through the haze. It is an excessive and forceful sounding album, but not at the expense of Marovino's songwriting standards.

This album may be too left field for the average listener. But to those who like noise, primitive industrial and primordial black metal, this will be a no-brainer. It is a brave and bold move to do such a stylistic 180, but Marovino pulls it off, and in doing so raises the question of what else he has up his sleeves?

Cygnets to release 'Sleepwalkers'

Canadian post-punk/new wave trio Cygnets have announced the release of their new album 'Sleepwalkers' on 15
th November 2014, via Negative Gain Productions.

The album, the band's first for the US-based label, will be released as both a standard CD and digital download. Pre-orders of the CD will also receive two additional bonus tracks, 
'I Am Her' and 'And Our Progeny Shall Be Tyrants'.

Track List:
1. Sleepwalkers
2. Life Is Suicide
3. The Arbour Green
4. Day Seven
5. Indoctrinate Me
6. Data Ghosts
7. Born In Vain
8. Through Hell To Where?
9. Drøm 4
10.Lilya Forever

'Sleepwalkers' is available to pre-order now via the Negative Gain Productions webshop. For more information on the band, including releases and live dates, please visit their official website.

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing add more live dates

London-based neo-Victorian anarchists, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, have announced they will be adding more shows after their live return at London’s Relentless Garage on November 14th, their first appearance as a four-piece since vocalist Andy Heintz throat cancer diagnosis in April.

According to the band, Andy is now making a good recovery, and the band are once again firing on all cylinders. Work is already underway on a third album, tentatively slated for release in Spring/Summer 2015, with some of the new material set to début at the upcoming shows.

Tour Dates: 
Fri 31st October – NOTTINGHAM, The Doghouse
Fri 14th November LONDON, Highbury Garage
Thurs 20th November – YORK, Fulford Arms
Fri 21st November – NEWCASTLE, Think Tank

For tickets please visit Ticketweb. For more information on the band, including details on forthcoming live dates and releases, please visit their official website.  

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Review: Us Amongst The Rest – 'Follow The Truth'

'Follow The Truth'

York-based alternative rock quartet Us Amongst The Rest are one of those bands that tick all of the boxes for what a good modern rock/metal band should be. Good riffs, memorable song titles, big sing-a-long choruses and an ear for a good hook. Their début album 'Follow The Truth' is sharp and professional, so much so that it's hard to believe they're unsigned. But ultimately there is something hollow about it all.

The band know how to write a potential hit. Songs such as 'Blood In Me', 'Bring The Fire', 'Falling Skies', 'Horizons', 'Love Is The Bull', and 'Unforgettable' channel acts such as Avenged Sevenfold, Asking Alexandria, and Alterbridge, which will certainly play well to teens with a subscription to Kerrang! But beyond that their appeal is pretty limited.

The album, aside from a superfluous intro and bland ballad in the form of 'Angels' sticks rigidly to its formula. Despite the bands obvious skills and technical proficiency as musicians, especially in the guitar department, they fail to push their sound beyond its most safe and commercial confines and as a result they are somewhat indistinguishable from a lot of other acts out there.

In terms of production the album is faultless. For an unsigned band it already sounds like they've had a top rock producer give it the once over. It's crisp, clean and you'd be hard pressed to tell there wasn't label cash behind them.

Us Amongst The Rest have created an album that will undoubtedly continue to get them noticed. The band's musicianship is faultless, there song writing ability is very commercial, and with a good label behind them they are sure to make their mark. But there is nothing here that really sets them apart from the crowd. They are a band of the present and, from what is on display on 'Follow The Truth', they could very well be another flash in the pan if they don't future-proof themselves.

Review: This Sect – 'Shake The Curse'

'Shake The Curse'

Norwegian post-punk sextet This Sect have a fetish for the UK's post-punk and new wave scenes of the late 70s and early 80s. So much so that you'd be forgiven for thinking that they were a veteran UK act. The spiky jangle of the guitars coupled with the relentless bass throb provides the album with a basic skeletal structure through which vocalist Gøran Karlsvik channels the young punkier style Robert Smith fostered on 'Three Imaginary Boys', while synth player Are Bøhm adds light textures akin to Killing Joke at the most pop-friendly.

The end result of the album's simple but effective sonic formula is one that visibly wears its influences of its chest, but is executed in a fresh and modern style that stands up well against acts such as Interpol and Broken Links. Songs such as 'Book Burner', 'Detox The Soul', 'Party Like It's 1939', 'Calligraphy With A Brick', 'We Got Love' and 'Heritage Crown' have the dark and dangerous edge that makes good pop-infused rock much more gratifying to listen to. The passionate performance captured on the album gives the songs a palpable energy that immediately makes you want to catch the band live.

In terms of production the album is unmistakably modern. For all of its homage to everything post-punk and new wave, this is an album that has all the spit and polish you'd expect from an album in 2014. For a band with a fairly straightforward sound the song writing is deep and complex and this really comes across in particular with the interplay of the guitars, vocals and synths as the vie for supremacy in the mix.

This may be a release that will pass a few people by, but should fans of post-punk seek This Sect out, 'Shake The Curse' wont disappoint. It's a misanthropic and mischievous little album that makes great use of catchy melodies and passionate performance. Hopefully the band will follow this up soon with something that really pushes their obvious chemistry as a song writing unit.   

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Review: Hanzel Und Gretyl – 'Black Forest Metal'

'Black Forest Metal'

Everyone's favourite pseudo-Teutonic industrial metal duo Hanzel Und Gretyl are back with a much darker and heavier outing than usual. Continuing on with the black and death metal themes that were incorporated into their 2008 outing 'Zwanzig Zwölf' and their last full-length album 'Born To Be Heiled' in 2012, 'Black Forest Metal' sees the tongue-in-cheek themes and industrial elements take a back seat to relentless riffs and a more Satanic theme running throughout.

The opening track 'Hoia Baciu' is perhaps the most over-the-top track on the album with it's infernal incantation setting up the album, but after this we see a more focussed attack. Songs such as 'Black Forest Metal', 'Blood Of My Horns', 'Hexencraft', 'Mavro Metalliko', 'Pentegram Sky', and 'Grimm Job' owe more to Satyricon than Rammstein with their leaner blackened metal sound.

There are still the odd tongue in cheek moments, such as on the more typically titled 'More Metal Than The Devil', 'Evil As Fukk', 'Burning Witches For Satan', and 'Big Bad Kyzrwolf' (which features a fun sample from 'Peter And The Wolf'). But even these are played quite straight, and are therefore just as enjoyable as the other tracks on the album.

In terms of production the album does drop some of the more familiar industrial metal veneer of previous albums in favour of a more black metal construction that recalls the likes of Satyricon's 'Rebel Extraveganza' and Mayhem's 'Chimera' in particular.

'Black Forest Metal' is an interesting but not wholly unexpected progression for the band. They have been increasingly opting for more guitars and heavier production with every new release. Each time it has worked well, and once again this is the case. It's a shame that the electronics are taking up a smaller roll these days, but if that means there is another opportunity for Kaizer von Loopy to unleash his remixing skills on the album, as he did on 'Hanzel und Gretyl Für Immer', in the near future then we are sure to get the best of both worlds.  

Ludovico Technique sign with Infacted Recordings

US industrial/ebm outfit Ludovico Technique have announced a new Eutropean deal with German label Infacted Recordings. The band, currently signed to Metropolis Records in the US, will release their follow-up to their 2012 début full-length album 'Some Things Are Beyond Therapy' in early 2015 on both labels.

The band join the likes of Grendel, Frozen Plasma, Armageddon Dildoes, Shiv-r, and Soman amongst other well known artists on the label's substantial discography.

For more information on forthcoming Infacted releases, please visit the official website. For more information on Ludovico Technique, including release and live announcements, please visit their official website.  

Garden Of Delight to release 'Sargonid Seal (Rediscovered)'

As part of the “Rediscovered” series of reissues, Solar Lodge have announced the Garden Of Delight album 'Sargonid Seal' will join the likes of 'Lutherion', 'Necromanteion IV', and 'Enki's Temple' in being remastered and reissued in a six-panel digibook. The album will be released on 21st November 2014 via Solar Lodge.

Track List:

The album is available to pre-order now, with all pre-ordered copies being shipped on the 7th November 2014. For more information on Garden Of Delight and the “Rediscovered” series, please visit their official website.

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