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: Merciful Nuns – 'Meteora VII'


Review: Various Artists – 'A Strange Play...'

VARIOUS ARTISTS 'A Strange Play – An Alfa Matrix Tribute To The Cure' ALFA MATRIX

Book Review: Natasha Scharf – 'The Art Of Gothic'


Book Review: Jeff Wagner – 'Soul On Fire...'

JEFF WAGNER 'Soul On Fire: The Life And Music Of Peter Steele' FYIPRESS

Friday, 21 November 2014

The weekly compendium 21/11/2014

It's the end of another week and Christmas is in sight. I've not exposed myself to the twee television adverts and tacky town centre celebrations so I'm still actually not run down by other people's festive BS just yet. However I am run down with a cold which has further delayed my ability to follow up on some interview requests. So those will be coming as soon as I've got chance to thrash some questions out to everyone.

Anyway, here's what we had for you this week.

We kicked things off with another great column from Joel lamenting the lack of good serial killers these days. We then reviews galore with the new releases fromMegaherz, Totem Obscura, Avarice In Audio, Black Nail Cabaret, and Dani'el. We also kicked off our new 'IVM Introducing...' section for fresh new bands. So check that out as well!

Over on Facebook we had video trailers for the Florida Underground Industrial Music Festival, as well as the returning Eurorock Festival. KMFDM announced a new live DVD. Front Line Assembly gave us a new video. While Haujobb dropped some new music. And the mighty Fields Of The Nephilim announced they will return to next years Bram Stoker Film Festival!

Right, that's it for now. I'm going to crawl into a corner and die. So here's something for the weekend.  

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Review: Dani'el – 'Redemption: The Book Pt. II'

'Redemption: The Book Pt. II'

A year after his début album 'The Book', Croatian electronic artist Dani'el returns with the follow-up EP 'Redemption: The Book Pt. II'. At only four tracks in length it is a short offering, but the songs make an impact. His brand of delicate and slightly ambient electro-pop recalls Moby as much as it does stalwarts of modern synthpop and futurepop and has a nice accessibility throughout despite some left field moves.

Dani'el's vocal delivery is ever present at the helm of the tracks. His style upbeat and somewhat ethereal as though he is singing in a choir of one. It works very well with the cool futuristic synth melodies and steady unobtrusive dance beats on 'Moonchild' and 'Redemption'. While 'Sensitive Boy' goes for a more retro sound that brings to mind late-90s Pet Shop Boys and sees Dani'el opt for a more clipped and slightly lower vocal style. The EP is rounded off with the club-orientated 'To Dare' with a more straight forward but nonetheless vocal performance set to an upbeat track that won't fail to draw people to the dance floor.

Despite the short length of the EP Dani'el has opted not to include the obligatory remixes to fill the excess space. And that's OK. The songs are potential club hits already, and without different versions tacked on the end, it makes a more complete and confident statement.

It is a shame that the EP is only four songs long and that they are all of average pop-song length. But 'Redemption: The Book Pt. II' is a strong release anyway. The production is crisp and modern, with a mix that is light and frames the excellent vocal performance well.

Dani'el is shaping up to be quite an exciting alternative pop musician. His vocals are great and the music is accessible yet has that nice alternative edge to it. The new EP should continue to see his stock rise in the electro-pop scene but hopefully a new album will be along sooner or later to really show how he has developed as an artist and solidify his presence.  

Review: Black Nail Cabaret – 'Satisfaction'


The Hungarian noir pop duo Black Nail Cabaret, AKA Emke and Sophie, have been pushing their own brand of dark and sultry synthpop since 2008. The ladies have already amassed some impressive live credits in support of their 2012 début album 'Emerald City', although they've yet to make any significant stirrings outside of the continent. Though that looks like it is about to change if 'Satisfaction', the preliminary single from the band's forthcoming sophomore effort 'Harry Me, Marry Me, Bury Me, Bite Me', is anything to go by.

The lead track is a club-friendly mix of dance beats and purred vocals that recalls the likes of Annie Lennox and Mona Mur set to some very sexy synth melodies. The b-side 'Elizabeth' is a deep and dark track that makes good use of trip-hop beats and minimalistic haunting synths as Emke leads through an engaging narrative.

The single also features remix contributions from People Theatre and Haujobb which up the club potential a little more. People Theatre push the bass and big synth melodies to the fore for a big dance-friendly mix. While Haujobb go for a slower and darker take on the original.

The single is well produced and feels distinctly fresh and modern while maintaining some elements of the classic synthpop sound. The mix feels light and gives the songs a near minimalist vibe, which adds the the drama of them.

'Satisfaction' is a strong lead single that hints at a dark and narratively driven album that will be both haunting and dance-friendly. Hopefully 'Harry Me, Marry Me, Bury Me, Bite Me' will be able to live up to to the expectations that 'Satisfaction' has created.  

IVM Introducing...

We love fresh talent and innovative twists on genres, and we want to give as much exposure to the new waves of bands around the world. Therefore we have decided to launch a new feature called "IVM Introducing...", which is a chance for new bands to introduce themselves to the Intravenous Magazine readership by way of a brief standardised introductory article.

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. 

If you would like to be featured in this section please download and complete the brief questionnaire below and return it to intravenousmagazine@gmail.com with the subject 'Introducing...' and the name of your band.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Review: Avarice In Audio – 'Shine & Burn'

'Shine & Burn'

Gerry Hawkins (Cryogenic Echelon) and Jade Pegg (Acidtrixx) as Avarice In Audio are a match made in electronic music heaven. Hawkins' cutting edge electronic work with Cryogenic Ecehelon and Pegg's classical training and production expertise come together to blend ebm, trance, edm, and synthpop to create some incredibly euphoric alternative electronic music geared towards the dance floor.

The band have found a natural home on Belgian label Alfa Matrix, and the band's first full-length studio album 'Shine & Burn' repays the label's faith immediately. The album is hard, fast, dance-friendly and blends distorted male vocals and soaring female vocals in a way that recalls acts such as Juno Reactor, Covenant and Aesthetic Perfection.

The album is crammed full of potential singles with the likes of 'Feed The Addiction' (Featuring Ascension EX), 'The Cassandra Complex', 'Punished', 'Frostbite', 'Heartless Disaster' (featuring XP8), 'China White', and 'Behind Your Mask' (Featuring MiXE1) in particular standing out and showing just what a strong song writing partnership Hawkins and Pegg are. Any of these tracks, or in fact any on the album, have strong potential to become worldwide club favourites

The album is fresh, energetic and accessible in its approach. The production is excellent as always and the whole package just shows a continued growth from their initial demos into a solid and high quality project.

'Shine & Burn' lives up to the expectations that the individual members' solo endeavours create. The songs are memorable and emotive. The production is lush and modern, and the guest spots add a different dimension to the proceedings. Lets hope the duo keep up the momentum and give us a sophomore offering as soon as possible.

Review: Totem Obscura – 'Nachtwache'


German duo Totem Obscura unleash a darkly dissonant EP in the form of 'Nachtwache' to chill the already cold autumnal nights. The EP walks a fine line between cold and melodic synth leads and harsh distorted beats. Clean and distorted vocals. Light and dark atmospheres. It is a subtle but very effective formula.

The lead track 'Nachtwache' is characterised by hard distorted beats, a light catchy metallic string melody, and wonderfully deep and hypnotic feminine vocals for a slow, dark, but still danceable cut. The second song 'Wounds Of Silence' varies the formula up a bit. It keeps the distorted beats and simple lead melody, but throws in the distorted vocals and a much thicker sounding backing that, although keeping the dance-friendly pace, is in fact a little more cinematic in its execution.

The Rotten Club mix of 'Hexxe' and the Aengeldust remix of 'Nachtwache' opt to highlight different aspects of the bands sound with 'Hexxe' going for a lighter and more delicate delivery that focusses on a more club orientated approach. While 'Nachtwache' gets a much noisier reworking.

This is a nice EP that shows a lot of scope to the Totem Obscura sound. Yes it is short and sweet, but the message is clear. 'Nachtwache' is a dark and clever EP that is a bit of a dark horse really. It is well written, infectious and generally well-executed. It may not be the first choice for a floor-filler but it has the dark sensuality of acts like Collide, Mona Mur, and Kirlian Camera with a dirty aggrotech underbelly. And it is a combination that works really well.  

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Review: Megaherz – 'Zombieland'


Neue Deutsche Härte stalwarts Megaherz return with their latest studio album 'Zombieland'. The quintet have had a tumultuous history of line-up changes, but they've always managed to come back stronger and more focussed after every reshuffle. Nevertheless, nearly 20 years since their 'Herzwerk' demo and the band are still delivering what the fans want.

Vocalist Lex Wohnhaas now on his third outing for the band has well and truly ingrained himself as the voice of the band and pushes out of his comfort zone throughout this release and provides the majority of the highlights.

The band sound as tight and bombastic as ever, blending the panache of dark rock with the slickness of electro-pop and the ever present bite of ndh. They may still get the inevitable comparisons to their compatriots Rammstein, but 'Zombieland' sees the boys from Munich in a much more cinematic frame of mind.

Tracks such as 'Zombieland', 'Himmelsstürmer', 'Unter Strom', 'Lieblingsfeind' and 'Frei' deliver the heavier side of the album, with big riffs, throbbing bass and catchy electronics framing Wohnhaas' expressive vocals. While the likes of 'Schwarzer Engel', 'Für Immer', and 'Gegen De Wind' deliver a much more pop-orientated slant that recalls Unheilig and even Blutengel which not only adds a very dance-friendly slant to the album, but also a very commercial one.

The production is excellent. The songs are punchy with the bass coming through hard to support the varied vocal performance. But after two decades in the business, you'd expect nothing less than a band of Megaherz's calibre.

This is a very good release. The band have varied their sound and the performances are as big and passionate as they have ever been. Indeed on paper Megaherz are at the top of their game. However there is still something missing that just keeps this from being a great album rather than a very good one. There is a lot of variety to the band's sound and the conceptual nature of the album conveys a linear narrative, but it still feels rather comfortable and familiar. The band have the talent and experience to give us something that could really renew the ndh genre. Instead they've opted for a more accessible option, which is fine... but it isn’t really as satisfying as it could be.

Whither the Psychokiller?

Whatever happened to the serial killer? The hack ‘em-and-stack ‘em school of thriller-killer flick has fallen into neglect in recent years, with a marked decline in the number of psychotic murderers being chased by downtrodden and dissolute detectives. Have we lost our appetite for mindless slaughter and mild policework?

The genre itself has had a rather convoluted history ; the main tropes for legendary fiends and psychokillers was set in the heady, crime-obsessed ‘70s when the main chopper-horror franchises were established. These are a legendary set of films - ‘Halloween’, ‘Friday the 13th’, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ – all of which went on the foster dozens of sequels over the following decades. Add to that seminal pieces such as ‘Driller Killer’ and ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and that is the bulk of the serial killer canon right there. The activities of real-life serial killers, from Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and Son of Sam in the USA to the Yorkshire Ripper over here simply increased the sense of anxiety and dread amongst moviegoers that the genre feasted on.

Of course, these franchises could not escape the hysteria prevalent throughout the ‘80s and they all got progressively sillier to the point of outright risibility. By the ‘90s moviegoers were ready for a new take on the serial killer, and that mould was well & truly set by ‘Seven’; this modern take would feature post- modern themes of doubt, pre-millennial angst, cod-spirituality and intellectual theorising and mesh them into a seemingly profound mush. Our serial killers were now eloquent, intelligent creeps driven by a combination of world-weary nihilism and unspecified sexual perversion, and their exploits were meant to show us something about the modern world. This formula was repeated incessantly throughout the decade, with ‘Along Came a Spider’, 'Kiss the Girls',The Bone Collector’ and ‘Copycat’ being  notably droll examples. Morgan Freeman became a very busy man indeed. 

Arising from this was a nastier variety of serial killer, one where ingenious violence and torture were the order of the day. The blueprint for this was, of course, the ‘Saw’ franchise which took nihilistic nastiness to new heights and spawned a whole host of similarly media-savvy splatterfests with the by-now-obligatory nu-metal soundtrack. The internet and the whole morass of modern media was now a statutory tool in the armoury of the psychokiller; no self-respecting serial murderer would fail to film their killings and put them online, or use other piece of IT to advertise his or her work. 

By this point we had entered the era of the reboot, and the cinemas were full of modern ‘twists’ on the old franchises. Jason in space? Michael Myers gatecrashing a mock-up of his own killings? All very post-modern, all very silly. The genre was now so ripe for satire that a whole new franchise – ‘Scream’ – was launched on the basis of knowing parodies or references to the entire box of bloodsplattered clichés in the slash-‘em-up canon. 

Slowly, however, the level of general violence in these films reached a level where either through boredom or indifference moviegoers started to drift away. The debate around the ‘torture porn’ of the ‘Saw’ model of slasherflick was one symptom of this. Although the thrill-kill school of horror is still churning them out today it is undeniable that they are now failing to ignite the box office. Where is the next Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees or even Chucky coming from, to haunt the dreams of adolescents everywhere?

Maybe we have lost our appetite for cold-blooded murder in the aftermath of 9/11 and 7/7, or maybe with the critical mass of modern media it is just too hard to unsettle people nowadays. Or it could simply be that there is indeed a maniac lurking in the trees, preparing to jump at gormless teenagers around a campfire, and he’s simply waiting for the next reboot of his franchise...

Friday, 14 November 2014

The weekly compendium 14/11/2014

That's it for another week here at Intravenous Magazine. Here's what we had for you this time around...

We kicked things off with news of the new album from Marilyn Manson. We had reviews of the new albums from Merciful Nuns, XP8, Noir, and the new Cure Tribute from Alfa Matrix. There was another book review, this time of the Peter Steele Biography 'Soul On Fire' by Jeff Wagner. And finally your monthly Editorial from me.

Over on Facebook we saw album details from Marilyn Manson. Inertia have a new single out. The Mediaeval Baebes are playing a free show in New York. Gig news from Anathema, Prong, and Covenant, as well as new music from In Death It Ends, Votiiv, and Black Nail Cabaret.

That's your lot for this week but here is a new one from electro legend Jon Foxx to get you to the weekend.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Book Review: Jeff Wagner – 'Soul On Fire: The Life And Music Of Peter Steele'

'Soul On Fire: The Life And Music Of Peter Steele'

The long awaited biography of the enigmatic Type O Negative leader Peter Steele is finally upon us. Having been held back from it's original launch date due to expanding the books contents it has been the the subject of speculation in the TON fan community... but it's here (at least in ebook form if you have pre-ordered a physical copy), and it was worth the wait.

Penned by 20-year veteran of music journalism and author of ,‘Mean Deviation – Four Decades of Heavy Metal’ (Bazillion Points) Jeff Wagner, the book carefully charts the life of Peter Steele (born Peter Ratajczyk) from his earliest years in his native Brooklyn, through to the height of his fame with Type O Negative, before finally lifting the veil on the final days of the musician's life. Told in a fittingly journalistic style, the book mixes old press interviews with anecdotes from family, colleagues, ex-band mates, and friends to demystify and analyse the man behind the music. It is direct and always engaging as it attempts to get to the core of Steele as a human being as well as a musician.

The book has a feel that it has been written by a fan, for the fans and displays a lot of empathy in its attempts to explain elements of Steele's life and behaviour. But it is still a detailed and in-depth look into the private life of a man who was thrust into the public eye against his will. Leaving no stone unturned the late musician's relationships and motivations are examined alongside his development from a bassist in a local cover band to platinum selling artist. Before detailing a harrowing descent into drug addiction, depression and ultimately an untimely death.

As rock / metal biographies go this is one is one of the best of recent years. It easily holds its own alongside the likes of Mick Wall's 'When Giants Walked The Earth' and 'Black Sabbath: Symptom Of The Universe', 'The Beatles' by Hunter Davies and 'Strange Fascination' by David Buckley. It is nicely laid out and designed with pull quotes and extra graphics adding to the visual appeal of the book.

Complete with rare photographs, fan submissions, out-takes, and alternative album art it is a tantalising but brief glimpse into the Type O Negative archive. It asks the questions that fans have long wanted to know the answers to, and exposes the highs and lows of the music industry through the story of its protagonist. It is a compelling read that elicits an emotional reaction in the reader and as a result is hard to put down.

In stripping back the myth and public persona of Peter Steele and graphically charting his many personal demons and the toll they took on his life and health the book successfully brings Steele down to Earth, revealing him to be a gifted but fragile human being. His story is handled with respect both to Steele and his surviving loved ones. But it doesn't pull its punches either. The result is a well rounded portrait of the subject that shows him with all of his genius and failings exposed without judgement.

Those who are fans of Type O Negative will undoubtedly clamour for this, but beyond the immediate audience of Steele it is a strong rock biography that is a great example of the genre.  

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