"My photography goes under my birth name as it really has nothing in common with my music at all – in fact I can't think which is worse – music about a garden or photographs of existential angst!"

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: Concrete Lung – 'Tolerance and Dependency'

CONCRETE LUNG 'Tolerance and Dependency' ARMALYTE INDUSTRIES

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

NATASHA SCHARF 'The Art Of Gothic' OMNIBUS PRESS

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

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

Friday, 19 December 2014

The weekly compendium 19/12/2014



Well this is it! The last compendium of 2014! Another year under our belt and over 900 articles published on this humble blog-zine. It has been a good ride this year, and 2015 looks like it will be a bloody good one to! But that's the future... here's the recent past.

We kicked of the week in style with an interview with Athan Maroulis of Noir. We introduced a new act in N.Fushigi. We also had reviews of the new releases from The Dreaming, Vuduvox, XMH and Einsturzende Neubauten.

Over on Facebook we had a new single from Marilyn Manson. News from Concrete Lung. Videos from Blue Eyed Christ and Wednesday 13. Christian Death are launching a crowd-funding campaign. Al Jourgensen of Ministry dug a rarity out of his archives. And Laibach updated their tour dates.

That's your lot for this week. Due to Christmas there will be no weekly round-up and service will be intermittent until the new year. But don't let that get you down... here's something to keep you happy for now.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Review: Einstürzende Neubauten – 'Lament'


Germany's pioneering avant garde institution Einstürzende Neubauten return with the sixteenth album in their near thirty-year career. From their dissonant raucous proto-industrial sounds to their soft but sinister synthpop Einstürzende Neubauten have remained outsiders in the world of music, but have nevertheless inspired countless acts, and remained on the pulse of avant garde art. The band's new album 'Lament' captures the band at their conceptual best. A live recording from a performance in Dixmuide, Belgium on November 9th, 2014 the album is centred around the idea that the first world war never ended and that the conflicts of the 20th century are a continuous path.

The album is strongly narrative, even in its instrumental tracks it speaks with a clear voice. The album ranges from the grinding industrial malevolence of 'Kriegsmachinerie' and 'Lament- 2. Abwartsspirale' to dark synthy orientated pieces such as 'The Willy – Nicky Telegrams' and 'On Patrol In No Man's Land', dark ambient on 'Lament- 1. Lament' and 'Lament- 3. Pater Pecavi', and the dark bluesy strains of 'How Did I Die?' and 'All Of No Man's Land Is Ours' all in the band's own particular style.

The band raid the archives for both audio and lyrical source material to create aseries of Dada-esque collages. Tracks such as 'Hymen' with its mashup of the British and Prussian anthems, 'The Willy – Nicky Telegrams' depicting the Telegram exchanges between the Tsar and the Kaiser, 'Der 1. Weltkrieg (Percussion Version)' a thirteen-minute dance track that lists major statistics of the war, and 'Der Beginn des Weltkrieges 1914 (Dargestellt Unter Zuhilfenahme eines Tierstimmenimitators)' a cover version of a performance text by Joseph Plaut easily emerge as the strongest and most challenging tracks on the album.

The album isn't an exercise in lamentation as the title suggests. There is an emotional undercurrent to many of the songs, but it is more focussed on telling the stories from every angle to build up an overall picture of the war – that it was, and still is a world war. It is an atmospheric history lesson that subverts the egocentric views of each nation involved in order to rebuild a narrative without sentiment or jingoism.

'Lament' is a rich and clever album that sees Einstürzende Neubauten on top forms as both creators and performers. It is a strong addition to their already esoteric back catalogue and one that is particularly relevant given the amount of revisionist history about the Fist World War around. In the process the band further cement themselves as one of the most dynamic and challenging musical acts today.  

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Review: XMH – 'The Blind'



XMH
'The Blind'
ALFA MATRIX

XMH's second single from their most recent outing 'In Your Face' sees the band at their club-friendly best. With a heavy dose of dark electro present throughout the album, the band's trademark aggrotech is toned down a bit, and 'The Blind' is a particularly good example of this formula at work. It is hard and fast but at the same time is has some very lush and sensual layers at play within it.

The tracks lead piano is a simple but very catchy device that when coupled with the relentless dance beats becomes an irresistible call to the dance floor. It's only downside is that some of the vocals don't seem to sit quite right in the mix which kind of dulls its edge, but it is nevertheless a damn addictive song.

The remixes courtesy of Avarice In Audio, Implant, and The Last Dance up its club appeal even more with their own take on the big dance sound for some extra appeal for the DJs out there. The scathing synths of Avarice In Audio and the darkwave guitars of The Last Dance in particular bring a lot of different elements out of the original track.

The only other original song on the EP, 'The Ticking Clock', shows XMH at their most sombre and agonising with its slow intro giving way to a steady dance beat, and more reserved vocal performance to play up the dark electro side of the band's sound even more.

This is a good EP for those who haven't dived into the album yet. The title track is a great dance orientated piece that is complimented by three very strong remixes. While the exclusive track at the end provides a peak at the band's darker and more sombre leanings. This is certainly going to earn the Dutch trio a lot of club play around the globe.  

Review: Vuduvox – 'Vaudou Électrique'



VUDUVOX
'Vaudou Électrique'
EK PRODUCT


The coming together of Buzz's J-C VTH and GrandChaos/Signal Aout 42's Oliver T as Vuduvox has yielded a interesting blend of techno body music, and industrial. Machine rhythms sinister French vocals, sawing guitars and an undeniable dance-friendly pace come together across 27(!) tracks balancing out between accessible electro and experimental ambience.

Songs such as 'Sérénade Pour Renégat', 'Berlin', 'Fascination', 'Ils Descendront Du Train', 'Au Rythme Des Incendies', and 'Avec Toi' in particular exemplify the strength this Belgo-French duo has found as a song-writing partnership to create some deep and complex music that is as at home on the dance floor as it is on stage.

The band's penchant for short instrumental segues or “Vudubreaks” seems a little superfluous to the proceedings. In some cases they make a nice introduction to the next full song, or in some cases they make a nice outro, but either way there isn't any real reason why a few of them couldn't be tagged on to the beginning or end of a main track like part one of 'Vu-Du'Vox'. As individual pieces you just don't get a real sense of what they are or what they are supposed to do other than stagger the momentum of the main track list. It would have been far more gratifying to have a nice, complex ambient track as the centrepiece of the album instead.

The production is fairly solid throughout. It does sound a little gritty and retro in the odd place. Also there is a little repetition in sounds and styles in places, but this is forgiveable. The band have crafted a manifesto on 'Vaudou Électrique', and it is one that will make those who hear it pay attention.

There is a lot to work on, but also a lot of potential. The partnership of J-C VTH and Oliver T has the skills and experience to create some very clever and intelligent electronic music. And if this is a project they put a lot of time in to, it could develop and become a very interesting one at that. Hopefully they will follow this up with another album soon.  

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Review: The Dreaming – 'Alone' (Single)



THE DREAMING
'Alone'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


From the ashes of Stabbing Westward, The Dreaming have been honing a catchy blend of new wave, metal and alt rock with a few electronic elements thrown in for good measure. Their last album, 2011's 'Puppet', was a statement of intent from the song-writing team of Christopher Hall and Walter Flakus, which their forthcoming sophomore effort 'Rise Again' will undoubtedly look to build upon and solidify their new legacy.

To that end the preliminary single 'Alone' is a forceful outing with a big sing-a-long chorus, strong bass line, solid guitars, augmented by some gritty synth work. It's a promising offering that recalls acts such as Orgy, Deadsy, The Birthday Massacre, and of course Stabbing Westward.

Also included is the 'Revamped Mix' of the title track. It's more electronically orientated, removing a lot of the guitars and rock drums for the most part in favour of an ebm led sound. Its okay, and will probably be a better prospect for club play, but it lacks the balls-to-the-wall attitude of the original.

The single is well produced and is definitely in keeping with the bigger electronic rock outfits of the past twenty years. It's polished where it needs to be and gives you just the right amount of dirt in order to preserve its credibility.

If 'Alone' is an indicator of the direction of The Dreaming's next album, then it is going to find a willing and ready audience. It taps into the LA electro-rock/metal legacy and showcases the skills of the band as a song-writing unit. 'Rise Again' should be an album to keep an eye out for if this is anything to go by.  

Introducing... N.Fushigi


I've been told that I do darkwave, dark ambient, industrial with touches of neoclassicism... I'd simply say that I create dark music.”

Name:
N.Fushigi
Members: just one, Nazo Fushigi
Year formed: 2013
Location: Principality of Andorra


Nazo “N.” Fushigi is, simply put... a dude behind a mask.
A guy with multiple personality disorder who creates dark music and weird, melancholic universes. The “N.Fushigi” project was born in the Pyrenees by the end of 2013 and debuted online with 'Digression' EPs nºs 1, 2 and 3 before launching the full debut album 'Terrorism' on World Goth Day, May 22nd 2014, featuring the characters of The Pilot, The Mystic and The Biker.
'Digression nº1: A Fantasy of Dark Places' was the most commented EP thanks to a great review by Russian site “Synthema.ru”.
N. is currently working on his second album, 'Invisible', and has already released the first EP off it: 'Myth nº1: Ride of the Four Horsemen'.

Intravenous Magazine: Who are you and how did the band/project come to be formed?

My name is Nazo Fushigi, Japanese for "Enigma" and "Mysterious". The "N.Fushigi" was formed in August of 2013, out of the desire to create some melancholic music. Why the masks? Because I wanted to conceal my identity from the very start, and so I started having fun with the masks and the props, creating three different characters, one for every "Digression" EP: The Pilot ("Digression nº3"), The Mystic ("Digression nº1") and The Biker ("Digression nº2").

IVM: How would you describe your sound/style, and how did you arrive at it?
I hate putting labels on my music, because I always think that I'm doing a particular style of music and other people always end up giving it other names. I've been told that I do darkwave, dark ambient, industrial with touches of neoclassicism... I'd simply say that I create dark music. I'd say that I arrived at it by trying things out until I finally reached a point where I felt that I was creating a dark and atmospheric piece and set it up as a reference of where I wanted to go.

IVM: Who and what are your primary influences both musical and non-musical?
My primary influences, huh? I'd say the main influence would be Akira Yamaoka, composer for projects such as videogame series "Silent Hill". I really enjoy his work. It would be Yamaoka and Enigma as well. As for non-musical influences, I would list Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire for literature and the illustration book series "Favole" by Victoria Francés. That and movies like "Watchmen", "Hellboy", the kind that's dark and also futuristic at some point. And, of course, all of my references on the Occult.

IVM: Do you perform live and if so where can we see you perform in the near future?
I don't perform live (yet). So far I'm a studio musician. But maybe one day, if other people get into the same groove, we'll create a band of masked dudes and try to conquer the world!

IVM: What is your current release and where is it available from?
My current release is the first EP off my upcoming album 'Invisible', called 'Myth nº1: Ride of the Four Horsemen', which you can listen to at http://nfushigi.bandcamp.com/album/myth-n-1-ride-of-the-four-horsemen You'll also find my debut album 'Terrorism' and all three 'Digressions'.

IVM: What have been the highlights of your career so far?
I'm just starting out with this project, but the main highlight would be the fact that I actually got reviewed by Russian website "Synthema.ru" without even asking for it. Those things make you glad you started creating, because you see how people can get really interested by what you do.


IVM: What are your plans fro the future?
My plans for the future would be to complete my second album 'Invisible' and, little by little, to be known in the dark music community.


IVM: Finally, is there anything that you would like to add?
I'm always open to collaborations, so feel free to ask!


Links:



If you would like to see your band featured in the 'Introducing...' section, please click HERE to find out more!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Interview: Athan Maroulis (Noir)

Darkly near...


“In a strange way, all these decades later I am making music now because I actually "want" to make music with no expectations and perhaps people starting out should think the same way. Then again, what the fuck do I know?”

Intravenous Magazine: You've been a well-known name in the scene with acts such as Spahn Ranch and Black Tape for a Blue Girl. What led to the decision to start NOIR?

Athan Maroulis: I had stopped making music for many years; eventually Black Tape coaxed me back into the fold for a Blue Girl. After cutting an album and touring with Black Tape I really wanted to keep going yet Black Tape take quite a few years between releases. With that in mind NOIR was born as a vehicle for me to mold, alter and change as I wanted, while perhaps giving people that liked my music from my past a little of that flavor as well.


IVM: 

What new challenges have starting this new path presented for you?

AM: I am a lyricist and a vocalist with no actual programming abilities so I need collaborators. The idea behind NOIR was to collaborate with different people on each album to achieve one common goal. This, in and of itself, has been quite a challenge. Second to that the idea of starting from scratch has proven quite challenging. Granted, my "checkered past" affords me the ability to not have to fully start from the first rung on the ladder yet it hasn't enabled me just to write my own destiny either. Ultimately it has all led to a rather challenging learning curve.


IVM: Your first full-length album 'Darkly Near' was released last year. How has that been received?

AM: It seems that a number of writers or critics have given it their seal of approval, some club DJs as well as a handful of specialty radio shows have also been receptive along with a few of my peers. This scene has certain key provincial tastemakers (for the lack of a better word) oftentimes they themselves are promoters, that seem to "decide" what the audience should hear but I gave up rather quickly trying to communicate with them, short of self-immolation, oral favors or somehow attaching myself to the usual list of suspects (as in the top Euro festival acts), these tastemakers seem rather impenetrable. That said, the actual audience seems to like what we do although they too are also a bit tricky, I just find it so baffling that people today have access to mountains of new music at their fingertips, yet they choose to partake or sample so little of it especially in the more Darkwave oriented circles. While we've found favor amongst some Goth/Industrial enthusiasts, we have also ventured outside of these circles to perform with good results.


IVM: What was the writing and recording process like for you?

AM: Electronic music can be a bit removed from human interaction. A few different people worked on the first album, a friend of mine from a different scene who wanted to be anonymous, the producer Raphael Pepi, I brought in an excellent vocalist named Andi Harriman to do some backups and a few others. Like I mentioned earlier, I am a lyricist and a vocalist with no actual programming abilities so I need collaborators. Efforts in the future will also have multiple individuals; in fact, I was hoping to write with at least 4 or 5 different composers on the next album of original material. Lyrically, the 'Darkly Near' album was difficult to write. While I penned a few words with Black Tape for a Blue Girl, the 'Darkly Near' album was the first time I had to write as many lyrics in over a decade. Reaching back into old routines to write was the only way I knew yet I penned the album from the point of view that it might be my last, hence the title. So unless a taxi hits me today that line of thinking no longer seems accurate.


IVM: You've recently released a remix companion to the album in 'RE:MIT:TENT', featuring an impressive line-up of contributors. Are you happy with the results?

AM: I am pleased with the results. At first I thought it would be wise to split them into 2 different albums, then later decided that since it was to only be a digital release by Metropolis it seemed more logical to put them all together on one release. At 20 tracks it features a cross-section of artists who bring their own style to the source material.



IVM: Were there any artists you would like to remix Noir, or even collaborate with in the future?

AM: There are a few artists that are on 'RE:MIT:TENT' that I am already working with on material like Erik Gustafson who mixed under the moniker Souless Affection. Erik actually played some guitar on the first album as well. I've chatted with Decoded Feedback about writing together. In the past PBK and I did a song called "An Ending" that I was thinking about resurrecting down the road. Reza from Inertia and I composed "Timephase" many years ago which was utilized on the last album, perhaps he and I will work on more material at some point? As for other artists to work with or have them remix, well that's a bit of a slippery slope? Many remixers tend to be a bit pricey so I tend to not think in those ways. I wish I had an instance whereby I could work with Jim Thirlwell of Foetus fame. He's an interesting guy with innumerable skills.





IVM: The first album is a sensual mixture of retro and futuristic. What were your thematic influences when writing the album?

AM: In part, I returned to a few of the themes I toyed with when Spahn Ranch did our album 'Architecture.' What I call yesteryear's perception of tomorrow, the way the old World's Fair would show the future yet it all seemed a bit surreal. Taking that surreal idea and merging it with faded tragic film stars from the 1930s, veiled intimacy, flashes and moments of my life, the remnants of the New York City I grew up in and throwing it all into a pot. I realized I could do this because there aren't any rules and storytelling doesn't have to be real but it should in the very least be interesting.


IVM: On the album you chose to cover 'A Forest' by The Cure and 'In Every Dream Home A Heartache' by Roxy Music. How did you come to choose these tracks and can we expect more covers on the next album?

AM: Oddly enough, "A Forest" was chosen by my anonymous collaborator and was really more of an afterthought as in something to add to the first single back in 2012, which was "My Dear." "In Every Dream Home A Heartache" was an accident; it was an instrumental that I thought needed a vocal when I forced the lyrics to the Roxy Music song on top of it. A wonderful accident I suppose? As for covers, I've considered making the next album all cover songs. Truth is that the early albums by the Beatles and the Stones were nearly all covers or interpretations of classic 1950s material written by others. From the 1920s through the 1960s that was the standard way of doing things (with some exceptions) then it changed by 1963 or 1964 when bands like the aforementioned started writing their own material. That said I'd like to perhaps do an entire album of material from the kind of artists that influenced me to create NOIR (like Bowie and Bryan Ferry once did) or perhaps an entire album of obscure covers of esoteric artists that are only now being heard because of the Internet. Not quite sure but it is on my mind.


IVM: You started making music in the 1980's, and have been involved in numerous projects covering a range of styles. How has making music changed for an artist like yourself in that time?

AM: Good question. Everything has changed rather drastically, some things for the better, some things for the worse. Recording has changed immensely; elaborate studios are certainly no longer necessary. Oddly enough because of the nature of electronic music I have been collaborating by mail for many years but it changed from sending tapes via snail mail to sending files via email. The drastic change in product sales has hurt me as well as many of my peers. For me it hurts as an artist but also as a reissue producer, not long ago I worked on upwards of 25 different CDs a year where I compiled and wrote liner notes on vintage albums from Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Patsy Cline to name a few. When those sales started drying up so too did the work. Shopping for music in stores is a thing of the past now and people are far less apt to pay for music via digital download or otherwise. Then one would think that at least the Internet could bring more music into peoples lives yet I find the more gadgets people have the lazier they become about finding new things. So sales and the ability to survive off of them have subsided yet the live performance environment has also suffered. Hence, these are trying times, yet I have tried to adjust the best I can. I've said it before and I will say it again, I am much happier to be some 20 releases into my career then at the start. If I was a 20-year-old singer just starting now, it makes me wonder what the goal would be?


IVM: You've released a music video for the lead single 'My Dear' so far. Are you happy with the result and are there any plans for any more videos?

AM: Oddly enough after the initial "My Dear" video, which was completed on a tiny budget, Artemis K made a video for his remix of "Timephase." It was assembled purely from public domain silent film footage and it is rather good:






Similarly, Falcotronik cut a video for his remix of "The Voyeurs" which was just posted to YouTube:





The video gives a snapshot of Noir live.


IVM: How has the band translated to the stage and what has the reception been like at shows?

AM: I am pleased with the reaction to our live shows. After completing the 'Darkly Near' album I knew I needed to assemble a live band. I befriended Kai Irina Hahn and asked her to join on vocals and keyboards while also adding Demetra Songs also on keyboards and vocals. It is one of the most harmonious bands I have ever been part of; I love performing as well as travelling to road shows with them. The reception has been very good, although we have only done about 10 shows in our first year together. I wanted it to be an elegant presentation, colorful and so forth. I liked the idea of all of us wearing masks on stage, a bit of dark camp you might say. I wanted to give people something entertaining, a spectacle of sorts, after all that is my obligation as an entertainer.


IVM: Are there any plans for European/UK shows in the future?

AM: I would love to come to Europe with NOIR although it's just not in the cards right now. Perhaps, if you the reader might know a logical way to make this happen? Please let me know.


IVM: Would you consider NOIR to been your main project now, and if so are there any plans to continue with Black Tape For A Blue Girl?

AM: There's serious talk of another Black Tape album for next year and I look forward to it but NOIR is somewhat my main project mostly because it is mine. It is almost like a solo project in that I must work on it regularly because if I don't then nobody else will.


IVM: You've also been heavily involved behind the scenes as well, running Sepiatone Records as well as managing and booking a number of other bands/artists. Has this impacted on the way you work as an artist and how?

AM: Sepiatone Records was a label that I ran and consisted of 1940s artists, it was a rather short-lived venture between myself and a Japanese distributor Yet mostly what I am doing these days is serving as an advisor in a managerial capacity (along with booking agent duties) for bands like Ego Likeness, Ludovico Technique, Dead Voices On Air, Die Sektor and others. Effectively, I help bands secure record deals and so forth from the contacts I have made through the years. During my decade of inactivity as an artist I went fully behind the scenes and served in this capacity, upon my return to performing and recording it was a bit different. I learned a long time ago that music is indeed a business yet this time around the stakes were a bit different for me in that I don't see myself as an artist 24 hours a day as I once did.


IVM: As a veteran performer and someone involved in the management side of the music business, what advice would you give to an up and coming band?

AM: I must say that I try to remain positive about the future of music but it does look a bit grim to me. I have certainly made references to it here yet I am just not certain what the goals are these days? With product sales evaporating, digital sales fading and the live environ beginning to dry up as more clubs choose DJs or different formats such as sports, where does one then go? What is the goal when there is no playing field? Granted an artist can "express" themselves on the Internet to a massive audience yet that expression is not likely to pay your electric bill and might not even buy a pack of cigarettes. Compounding all of this is the fact that while there are far less streams of income for artists, there are far more actual artists out there than when I started my career. So in a climate where there are literally five times more bands fighting for the same tiny crumb it leaves me with rather grim thoughts indeed. The only advice I can give an artist is to try and move to a city that has some kind of nightlife yet is rather inexpensive to live. When you are just starting out there is no need to live in excessively expensive cities like NYC, London, Los Angeles, SF and the like, so choose something manageable like Providence, Cleveland, Richmond or any small city that has a museum, an arts friendly movie theater, a café and so forth with a few small accessible venues. There, find some sort of part time job that enables you to survive but affords you the time to spend on your art. Try to hone your craft, make your music then post it, build your social media outlets. Create an entertaining live show, find other like minded people, network, try to understand the business of music, keep your ego in check, don't burn bridges, steer clear of the drama of relationships (both platonic and intimate) that devour time. There's plenty of time later to get married and have children, for now those things will only force you to literally "be" those things. There's no need for managers and lawyers until there is a need for that and you will know if and when that happens. In a strange way, all these decades later I am making music now because I actually "want" to make music with no expectations and perhaps people starting out should think the same way. Then again, what the fuck do I know?



Noir's 'Darkly Near', and 'RE:MIT:TENT' are both available to purchase now through Metropolis Records. For more information on the band, including forthcoming releases and live shows, please visit their official website.

Friday, 12 December 2014

The weekly compendium 12/12/2014


I've officially finished my Christmas shopping this week so I'm enjoying a well-earned sense of smug relief as I write this weeks round-up of all things IVM related.

We kicked things off with an awesome interview with Jonathan Casey AKA Johnny Violent of Ultraviolence courtesy of Dokka. There was a new column from Joel Heyes in which he defends some pretty indefensible albums! We also had a live review of the Fields Of The Nephilim's Saturday night performance at the Shepherds Bush Empire. There were also reviews of the new albums from Double Eyelid and Velvet Acid Christ to end the week.

Our facebook page has been a bit quiet but we did see a new video from The Danse Society, news that Killing Joke's next album is on the way, and that Dope Stars Inc.'s next album has unfortunately been delayed.

Right. That was a quick update. I'm off to go sort out some of the artwork for the next 'Blood Pack' compilation. We've got near enough all the tracks back now and it is a pretty cool and esoteric track list that is going to interest a fair few people. I'm looking forward to the finished product and I hope everyone enjoys it!

So for now, I'm going to leave you with this...  


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Review: Velvet Acid Christ – 'Subconscious Landscapes'



VELVET ACID CHRIST
'Subconscious Landscapes'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Two years on from his last outing on 'Maldire', Bryan Erickson returns with his 16th studio album as Velvet Acid Christ in 'Subconscious Landscapes'. This time around we are presented with a record of two halves – side a features hypnotic trip-hop grooves influenced by Enigma, Juno Reactor, Delerium and Massive Attack. While side b returns to the tried and tested VAC dark electro sound.

It is a focussed and methodical attack that brings out the strongest elements in the VAC arsenal. Factor in in some excellent vocal contributions from the likes of Sabine Theroni (Psykkle), and Malgorzata Wacht and 'Subconscious Landscapes' shapes up as a very promising album.

It is fair to say Erickson is still playing around with the core of the VAC sound even after all of this time rather than just resting on his laurels and pumping out more of the same. 'Subconscious Landscapes' sees his experimentation take a more minimal and esoteric turn in keeping with past tracks such as 'Slut', 'Dilauded', and 'Ghost In The Circuit'.

'Barbed Wire Garden', 'Taste The Sin', 'Grey' and 'The Last Goodbye' open the album with their heavily trip-hop inspired flavours drawing the listener in with their 90s tinged melodies. Before the likes of 'Dire', 'Strychnine', 'Zalflex' and 'Empusa' take things back through the darker parts of the VAC sound. But no matter in which direction the sound goes it preserves Erickson's strong melodic style and downbeat but dance-friendly pace.

It doesn't all quite work though, with 'Eye H8 U' and 'Evil Toxin' feeling more like filler tracks when compared to other songs on the album. But nonetheless it is a solid track list on the whole.

The minimalistic construction of the album gives the songs the impression they are being performed as you listen. And in a world where it seems every song is richly layered, the fact that 'Subconscious Landscapes' opts for a simpler and more uncluttered approach is actually quite refreshing.

'Subconscious Landscapes' is a good album, and is a strong feature in an already large discography. The minimalistic style is very effective and there are some very strong and catchy songs present that those who have yet to discover Velvet Acid Christ will find easy to digest, and long time fans will find easy to link back to past glories. It shows that there is still a lot of life in VAC and that Erickson can still surprise us.  

Review: Double Eyelid – 'Seven Years'



DOUBLE EYELID
'Seven Years'
SELF-RELEASED


Toronto's Double Eyelid are an interesting blend of arty glam and dirty goth. Tapping into the Rozz Williams strain of high melodrama and fusing it with sensually dark melodies they create a decadent electro infused gothic rock that is intelligent and dance friendly. Punky guitars and bass, modern dance beats, jangling Bowie-esque piano and sinister violins are what's on offer, and it is a formula that will have a lot of people coming back for more.

The overall sound evokes the likes of Christian Death's 'Ashes' in terms of its dramatic flair, but keeps its own identity with the modern synths cutting through the dark gothic underbelly. Songs such as 'Black Box', 'John', 'Dead Is Better', and 'The Hanged Woman' are perhaps the strongest examples of this formula. They are slow and sinister but wonderfully melodic and dramatic, giving their sound the true pomp that the classic goth/deathrock bands exuded. Though the album's highlight has to be the great cover of the Rozz Williams classic 'The Stranger', which gets a heavily electronic reworking into a strong club anthem.

The production on the album is fairly good. The more modern synth sounds have benefited from a fresh and modern style of production that gives the songs a lot of presence. There is the odd track that doesn't quite have the same “oomph” as the others. But as an overall effort it is a well recorded and presented album.

Double Eyelid may be an unusual blend of deathrock and electro-cabaret, but they are nonetheless effective. This is an album that you are unlikely to forget in a hurry. It is dramatic, dance-friendly and intelligent music that hints at a lot more. It will be interesting to see where they go on their next release to build on such an intriguing début. Hopefully we won't have to wait seven years to find out though.  

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