Intravenous Magazine's Best Of 2014

"It's time for the obligatory retrospective look at what got us all hot under the collar last year. We're coming in a little later than most magazines, but we've taken our time and had a good long think about what we consider to be the best releases of 2014. "

IVM Introducing...

This section is open to any band who has formed in the past few years and are currently unaffiliated with a record label, but have at least one demo of some variety available to purchase/download.

Review: Marilyn Manson – 'The Pale Emperor'

MARILYN MANSON 'The Pale Emperor' COOKING VINYL

Interview: XP8

“[...] no one wants to be the old guy in a room full of kids looking at you like a dinosaur: I remember vividly making fun of those old goths that simply didn’t want to get the fuck out of MY clubs a decade ago, and the last thing I wanted to become was one of them.”

Interview: Tregenza

“To be honest, the final Goteki album ‘Santa Muerte’ was a transition into Tregenza – I’ll perform some of those Santa Muerte tracks when we take the Tregenza show out live.”

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Introducing... IX


“We tend to favour a feel or atmosphere rather than an obvious hummable tune on many tracks and overall, our sound is born of a love of sci-fi, films and cult TV with lots of synths and samples.”

Name of band: IX (pronounced Icks)
Members: Darren Esp, Iain Laskey
Year formed: 2013
Location: Chelsmford & Great Wakering, Essex, UK


Formed in the summer of 2013 IX has its roots in a friendship that dates all the way back to the 1980s, a decade that has a clear influence on their music today.
Their long term plans to put aside commercial ambition in favour of building a body of recorded works, and growing a reputation as champions of electronic music production without falling into the dance music category, seems to fly in the face of convention.
With a core membership of just two, IX intend to draft in additional musicians, vocalists, and song writing collaborators of interest as they expand their catalogue of releases.
Taking inspiration from eclectic sources such as vintage TV / movies, science fiction writing and pretty much all genres of music, IX aim to produce polished musical works that interest and intrigue while defying normal genre comparisons.


IVM: How would you describe your sound/style, and how did you arrive at it? 

We tend to go with 'progressive electronic rock' but style wise, we gravitate towards filmic soundscapes and mood pieces as well as more rhythm driven tracks. We tend to favour a feel or atmosphere rather than an obvious hummable tune on many tracks and overall, our sound is born of a love of sci-fi, films and cult TV with lots of synths and samples.


IVM: Who and what are your primary influences both musical and non-musical? 

Vangelis, Pink Floyd, Front Line Assembly, Tangerine Dream, Massive Attack, Recoil, Nine Inch Nails to name but a few. Outside of music, we like anything that involves imagination, introspection, emotions and technology. Lots of technology.


IVM: Do you perform live and if so where can we see you perform in the near future? 

Not yet but we are working on finding the best way to achieve what we do live without sacrificing the quality.


IVM: What is your current release and where is it available from? 

'System VII'. Available from pretty much everywhere - Digitally, you have iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify etc. You can stream it and order CD and even Minidisc copies at http://ixband.bandcamp.com/releases


IVM: What have been the highlights of your career so far? 

Probably being featured in the Observer as one of the hidden gems of 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2014/dec/23/observer-readers-hidden-gems-of-2014. Getting the first album out the door and seeing it recognised in Shazam was pretty cool too!


IVM: What are your plans for the future? 

Our next album, '7302' is due out soon and we are working on the next three in tandem. We are exploring how we might be able to play live and are looking to work with some third parties who have shown an interest in remixing some of our tracks.


IVM: Finally, is there anything that you would like to add? 

We can provide BandCamp codes if you wanted to download a digital copy of 'System VII'.


Links:

www.ixband.co.uk
www.reverbnation.com/ixband
soundcloud.com/ix_band
ixband.bandcamp.com/releases 

More acts announced for WGT 2015



Wave Gotik Treffen festival has announced the a slew of new acts that will be playing the event in Leipzig, Germany this year. Artists announced so far:

Accessory (D) - Agent Side Grinder (S) - Antimatter (GB) acoustic and electric performance - Ash code (I) - Ashes You Leave (HR) - Ashram (I) - Astari Nite (USA ) - Automelodi (CDN) - Blood And Sun (USA) - Cromdale (D) - Dupont (S) - Eisregen (D) - Empathy test (GB) - Esa (GB) - Escape With Romeo (D) - Evi Vine (GB) - Fields Of The Nephilim (GB) Concert 30th Anniversary - Fixmer / McCarthy (F / GB) -Ghosts Of Dawn (D) - Grendel (NL) - Harmjoy (D / USA) - Jo Quail (GB) - Keluar (D / GB) - King Dude (USA) - Klutae (DK) - L'ame Immortelle (A) - Lisa Cuthbert (IRL) - Mortho- (S) - Mushroom's Patience (I) - Nosferatu (GB) - NZ (A) - ORPHX (CDN) - Otto Dix (RUS) -Polaroid Kiss (GB) - Rezurex (USA ) - Roma Amor (I) - Samsas dream (D) - Sólstafir (IS) - Snog (AUS) - Sol Invictus (GB) play the album "In The Rain" - Soror Dolorosa (F) - Sweet Ermengarde (D) - Terror frequency (D) - They Other (D) - The Present Moment (USA) - They Saint Paul (D) - Twhere Witches (FIN) - Unterschicht (D) - Unto Ashes (USA) -

The festival will take place this year from 22nd May until 25th May. For more information please visit the official Wave Gotik Treffen website.  


Amphi festival line-up complete!



The final band for this year's Amphi Festival has been announced as Lebanon Hanover. The post-punk duo joins an already strong roster that includes And One, VNV Nation, Front 242, Diary Of Dreams and The Mission, plus many more.

The festival will take place on the 25th and 26th July in Cologne, Germany. Tickets and running orders are available now on the official Amphi Festival website.

Full Line-up:

AND ONE
VNV NATION
FRONT 242 – THE MISSION – DIARY OF DREAMS – OOMPH! – DAF –
COMBICHRIST – GOETHES ERBEN – AGONOIZE – THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE –
SAMSAS TRAUM – WELLE:ERDBALL – THE CRÜXSHADOWS – [:SITD:] –
DAS ICH – WESSELSKY – ZERAPHINE – NEUROTICFISH – DIORAMA – S.P.O.C.K –
STAHLMANN – [X]-RX – QNTAL – ROME – RABIA SORDA – THE CREEPSHOW –
INKUBUS SUKKUBUS – LEBANON HANOVER – CENTHRON – PATENBRIGADE: WOLFF – DARKHAUS – SCHÖNGEIST – HENRIC DE LA COUR – DER TOD (DEATH COMEDY) –
CHROM – DER FLUCH – FOLK NOIR – EUZEN – SONJA KRAUSHOFER – ÆON SABLE –
THE DEVIL & THE UNIVERSE – POKÆMON REAKTOR – ALEXANDER KASCHTE –
CHRISTIAN VON ASTER
+ supporting programme soon


Thursday, 19 February 2015

Review: G.L.O.W. – 'Emotions' / 'Myths And Legends'



G.L.O.W.
'Emotions' / 'Myths And Legends'
SELF-RELEASED


G.L.O.W. AKA General Language of Oscillating Wisdom is the solo musical vehicle of South African artist Richard Wheeler. With its feet firmly in the ebm genre, G.L.O.W. is crammed full of melodic synth leads and big dance friendly beats but maintains a darker electro-industrial edge throughout. With two albums under his belt so far in the forms of 'Emotions' and 'Myths And Legends', Wheeler is steadily building his presence not only in his native scene, but also further afield.

'Emotions' is Wheeler's first full length outing under the G.L.O.W. moniker. Recalling acts such as Icon Of Coil, Grendel and VNV Nation songs such as 'Anger', 'Find A Way Out', 'Levitate', 'Perpetuation' and 'Plastic' provide the album with a solid backbone of strong rhythmically pleasing ebm. There is always an experimental edge to the tracks as well with Wheeler throwing in industrial, trip-hop, synthpop and even dubstep elements into the tracks to keep things fresh.

It's a fairly solid album with some interesting musical directions followed. But it is let down by the production, which is flat and very rough. And that is a major shame as 'Emotions', as a first outing displays a lot of promise.

Fast-forward to 'Myths And Legends' and we see wheeler pushing a far more polished product in order to solidify his presence. Again the influences of Icon Of Coil, Grendel and VNV Nation are plain to here across songs like 'Aigamuchab', 'Flying Dutchman (Final Quest)', 'Impundulu', 'Mafeking Terrace' and 'Yisipoki'. There are even a few world music influences thrown in that really elevate the quality of the song writing.

Again the quality of the production is an issue. Although there is a noticeable improvement over 'Emotions', it is still not as strong as it could be. In particular the way the vocals are mixed doesn't sit right and sometimes the top end of the tracks just swamps the rest of the mix. However as a natural progression from the first album 'Myths And Legends' is a step in the right direction with its stronger song-writing and slicker execution.

G.L.O.W. may still be making its first steps as an act, but across both 'Emotions' and 'Myths And Legends' there is a strong sense of the individuality of Wheeler's sound and a noticeable progression in the quality of the songs. Held back only by the limited production, there is a lot of potential on display here that will hopefully be realised on a third outing.  

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Review: Kyle Michael Porter – 'NeoNoir'



KYLE MICHAEL PORTER
'NeoNoir'
UNSOUND AMERICA


Electronic artist and producer Kyle Michael Porter (The Walking Wounded) returns with a distinctly more experimental experience than fans of his main project will be used to. Taking his cues from the hey day of experimental electronica 'NeoNoir' is a burst of cyberpunk influenced atmospherics that recall the likes of The Geinoh Yamashiro Gumi, Dogon, Tsuyoshi Kon, Keishi Urata, and The Future Sounds of London.

With titles such as 'Dark Operator', 'Net Jack', 'Street Level', and 'Paradigm Shift' its easy to form a conceptual narrative throughout the tracks into a story arc that could have been penned by William Gibson or Bruce Sterling. The hissing noisy glitches, ambient strings and simple dramatic use of percussion build tension and add an overwhelmingly cinematic feel across the seven tracks. 'Street Level' in particular conjures up images of a dark decaying high tech cityscape straight out of Bladerunner'. While the likes of 'Net Jack', and 'Countless Wonders' evoke the physical and virtual components of cyberspace.

The album having been recorded in one day and played by hand, creates a unified statement that really needs to be experienced in one go. It's not the kind of album you pick a favourite track from or dip in and out of. Rather it is a complete work in seven movements.

The production is quite passable for something that was the product of a single day's worth of recording. But therein also lies its charm. It is the punk element of cyberpunk that is being emphasised and it works really well.

If you are a fan of ambient / experimental electronics then it's a pretty good bet you'll like this album. Even if you can only claim to having Trent Reznor and Atticuss Ross' film soundtracks, you'll appreciate the cinematic quality of 'NeoNoir'. It's another great release from the Unsound America label, and hopefully one Porter will follow up.  

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Review: Eisbrecher – 'Schock'



EISBRECHER
'Schock'
SONY MUSIC 

Eisbrecher – the post Megaherz vehicle of Alexx Wesselsky and Noel Pix – over the course of a decade developed a strong discography of their own, putting them firmly up there with Oomph!, Rammstein and their former bandmates at the head of the Neue Deutsche Härte movement. And while Rammstein maybe the international breakout stars, Eisbrecher have a strong world-wide fanbase thanks to albums such as 'Eisbrecher', 'Antikörper', 'Eiszeit' and 'Die Hölle Muss Warten'. 2015 sees the band's return with their sixth studio effort 'Schock' and an ever growing legacy to live up to.

The band have proved they have the tools to stand the test of time, and 'Schock' is an exclamation point to that effect. The band's electronically augmented heaviness is preserved and in top form as tracks such as 'Volle Kraft Voraus', '1000 Narben', 'Zwischen Uns ', 'Dreizehn ', 'Fehler Machen Leute ' and 'So Oder So' can attest to with their addictive mix of hard guitars, memorable synth melodies and always resonant vocal performances. While also mixing things up nicely with slower and more ballad influenced tracks such as 'Rot Wie Die Liebe', 'Schlachtbank ', and 'Der Flieger' breaking up the relentless pace with a bit more emotional depth.

The production is as you'd expect from a band such as Eisbrecher at this point in their career. Everything from the song-writing, to the performances and the final mix has been a labour-intensive process to make this album sound as strong as possible in order to stand shoulder to shoulder with the wealth of influential albums their countrymen, and themselves have released.

'Schock' is another strong outing from Eisbrecher. It gives fans of the band, as well as the wider NDH genre exactly what they are craving. It's hard, heavy, and undeniably infectious. This album not only shows that the band have the ability to live up to past glories, but also that there is plenty more glory to come in the future.  

Review: In Death It Ends – 'Protogrammaton'



IN DEATH IT ENDS
'Protogrammaton'
SELF-RELEASED


In Death It Ends has maintained an intensive release schedule over the past few years with multiple album, single, EP and free download releases each year. This has already built up into an impressive and enviable back catalogue that synthesizes elements of witch house, post punk, gothic rock, industrial and darkwave into something genuinely unique. 'Protogrammaton' marks the start of the 2015 release cycle in anticipation of the next full length LP 'Beneath Eden'. Even though it is a free to download mini-album, that doesn't take away from the quality of the music it contains.

The album begins in a familiar way with the opening track 'Phlegmatic' utilising a simple and prominent bass line over some distinctly witchy electronics for an up tempo spooky dance track. 'Opportunistic' on the other hand explores an take on the early electro-industrial sound of the 80s with its mechanical rhythms and ambient synth layers. 'Thematic' brings things back into witch house territory with its emphasis on modern, lo-fi dance synths taking the lead backed up by a sinister groove. 'Individuating' pulls things back to a more shoegaze tinged dark post punk vibe with its psychedelic bass and distorted synths cutting through.

'Awakening' then progresses into a proto-gothic cum darkwave creeping track that is perhaps the most atmospheric and cinematic on the album. The penultimate track 'Neophyte' brings the album back full circle once agin returning to the prominent simple bass, and witchy electronics, this time however adding a bit more the dar psychedelic atmosphere of the previous songs. The album is then wrapped up by the slow and atmospheric 'Adept' which displays the subtler side of the In Death It Ends style.

Once again the production walks that fine line between the lo-fi underground sounds it draws its inspirations from, and the polished modern standard it deserves. There is always that wonderfully underground feel to these albums but there is no denying that they are even more enjoyable due to the fact they are mixed and mastered with great attention to detail.

If this is your first introduction to IDIE then 'Protogrammaton' is a good place to start. It provides a good cross section of the band's styles and influences in one accessible package. It isn't the most defining of the back catalogue to date, but it still holds its own.

Acts announced for Wave Gotik Treffen



The world famous Wave Gotik Treffen festival has announced the first acts that will be playing the event in Leipzig, Germany this year. Artists announced so far:

FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM (GB), SAMSAS TRAUM (D), UNTO ASHES (USA), AUTOMELODI (CDN), SOROR DOLOROSA (F), SÓLSTAFIR (IS), POLAROID KISS (GB), ASH CODE (I), EMPATHY TEST (GB), DUPONT (S), ANTIMATTER (GB) – acoustic and electric performance, TROLLFEST (N), ACCESSORY (D), JO QUAIL (GB), BLOOD AND SUN (USA).

The festival will take place this year from 22nd May until 25th May. For more information please visit the official Wave Gotik Treffen website.  

Friday, 13 February 2015

The weekly compendium 13/02/2015




Oooooo it's Friday 13th of February and if you're not near any large bodies of water, you'll probably be safe and going about your business as usual... if you are, you may be due a visit from a guy in a hockey mask, holding a machete. In that case you may definitely want to check out what we've had in store for you this week... while you still can! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!

*Ahem*... Sorry about that...

We kicked the week off with an interview with former Goteki mainman and electronic music wizard Ross Tregenza as we got the lowdown on his first full-length solo album. We had a live review of Savage Messiah in Stoke courtesy of Dokka. The reviews had an Italian flavour this week as we looked at the latest releases from XP8 and Dope Stars Inc. Before gorging on a HUGE compilation from D-Trash Records. We then rounded things off with an Editorial from me and a column from Joel Heyes where we get stuck into horror movies... again.

Over on Facebook we saw a new trailer for Amphi festival which is shaping up to be a great line-up. There are also new videos from King Pest, 1919, The Last Dance, and Laibach. The Resistanz festival is also looking pretty tight as well. And finally if you fancy taking on Orgy's new logo, check out our page.

Right that's it for this week. Next week will be a little light on posts and the following week we'll be taking a break as I'm off on holiday, so there won't be another compendium until March.


Thursday, 12 February 2015

The Horror of Frankenstein and the Politics of Boredom



The story goes that Hammer stalwart Jimmy Sangster, having written the screenplays of previous episodes in their Frankenstein franchise, was offered the chance to write the next instalment. Bored with the whole idea Sangster turned them down, only to be offered the chance to produce it as well. He half-heartedly replied that he only would do so if he was also made director. Twenty minutes later Hammer rung him back and, to his incredulity, agreed.

And so was 'The Horror of Frankenstein' (1970) born, written-produced-directed by Sangster, and released at a time when the Hammer hit machine was starting to become decidedly shonky (and with a production process like the above is it any wonder?). Despite having had a key role in some of Hammer's finest moments Sangster was now bored by the Frankenstein assembly line and as a result set out to – deliberately or otherwise – shake up the formula.

This is evident right from the opening scenes; rather than drown the film in stodgy exposition, we see scene after scene of Victor Frankenstein's brusque ascent through school and to medical college and eventually his return to the family estate – murder, quips, expulsion, sex, all follow in quick succession. Neither is there a remote sense of portentous hamminess either, replaced instead by a mischievous tongue placed firmly in cheek (and in Victor's case everywhere else too).

Even the young Frankenstein himself, with his smirk & sideburns and portrayed with snide perfection by Ralph Bates, has a sense of counter-cultural rebellion about him. This Frankenstein was 'wild in the streets' (or, at least, the estate grounds), and when his first attempt to resurrect dead bodies leads to a dismembered hand giving the finger then it's clear that the whole film is, in some sense, an 'up yours' to Hammer tradition.

But this rebellious use of his boredom by Sangster to creatively destroy is mirrored in the characterisations in the film. Victor is a genius, and as such is not stretched or challenged by his surroundings – we see him better educated than his teacher, un-intimidated by the Dean, fearless with the father and undaunted by women – and, being bored as he is, he rebels against practically everything in a nihilistic and snotty way. There is something almost punk rock in the way that Victor romps through the empire leaving a trail of mayhem in his wake. The one challenge and obsession that he has – to resurrect the dead - actually gives him some focus away from being generally cruel and indifferent; although, surely if he can combine the two then that would be even more preferable (and, not so say, fun).

So although the tale of the rebellious young Frankenstein may not be a classic (and bearing in mind it's origins who can they they're surprised?) it is still a robust example of snotty rebellion against stuffy orthodoxy, and is full of appropriate disrespect. Isn't this how any revolution begins? Bored young people rebelling, creating through destruction (or in Victor's case creating through destruction through creation)? Even the hammy world of Hammer is not immune from the Nietzschean twitching of the bored, restless coming race. The lesson we can draw from the film is that a little revolution is a good thing – and for God's sake give evil genius a project to work on (and preferably one that doesn't involve cadavers).

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