Review: Combichrist – 'This Is Where Death Begins'

COMBICHRIST 'This Is Where Death Begins' OUT OF LINE

Review: Various Artists – 'Beat:Cancer: V3'

VARIOUS ARTISTS 'Beat:Cancer: V3' ANALOGUETRASH RECORDS

Review: Katatonia – 'The Fall Of Hearts'

KATATONIA 'The Fall Of Hearts' PEACEVILLE RECORDS

Review: Rhombus – 'Purity and Perversion'

RHOMBUS 'Purity and Perversion' MODELS OWN RECORDS

Review: Angelspit – 'Cult Of Fake'

ANGELSPIT 'Cult Of Fake' NEGATIVE GAIN PRODUCTIONS

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Review: Adoration Destroyed – 'Ritual Damage'



'Ritual Damage' 

The dark and sensual electronic pop act Adoration Destroyed return on the heels of their 'carnal Dirge' single with 'Ritual Damage', a full-length release that blends modern edm influences with hints of synthpop, darkwave, industrial, and classic ebm. Spearheaded by Erik Gustafson of 16 Volt fame, the band are quickly and quite rightly making a name for themselves. But will the album live up to the hype?

Thankfully, yes it does. The band have intelligently mixed catchy and dance friendly tracks with left-field flair to create a bass-heavy and rhythmically pleasing core to the album that will undoubtedly find favour in the club scene, but also lends itself to more intimate listening experiences.

Songs such as 'Here To Bleed', 'Torn Apart', 'Carnal Dirge', 'Last', and 'In Elegant Decay' are slow, methodical, sexy and powerful as they combine steady beats, deep bass, catchy melodies, and emotive vocals to create a dark but very approachable backbone. While the likes of 'Never Mine', 'Nothing Left', and 'Both Of Me' kick things up just a bit for a heavier dose of the band's intentions.

The biggest pleasure has to be the cover of Marilyn Manson's 'Coma White', a song that has been given a few overhauls by alternative electronic bands, but Adoration Destroyed comfortably make it their own.

The two remixes courtesy of 16 Volt, and Mr. Kitty add a little extra to the proceedings with 16 Volt's remix of 'Here To Bleed' seeing a rather cool stripped-back blend of edm and techno. While Mr. Kitty gives 'In Elegant Decay' a very nice and futuristic synthpop overhaul.

The production is excellent, with a modern but slightly retro-tinged flavour running throughout. But the songs, despite not varying greatly in pace, maintain a steady and methodical resolve that grabs your attention and doesn't let go until the very end.


This is a very promising album that hints a great things from Adoration Destroyed. There are points where the temptation would have been to add some variation in tempo would have injected something a little different. But the album doesn't actually need that, and the band have instead focussed on song-craft and honing their sound into a strong one, which definitely shines through here. Hopefully we'll see more releases from the band sooner rather than later.  

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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Book Review: Isis Sousa & Ove Neshaug – 'Valencia Noir: The Beautiful, The Fantastic, and The Grotesque Of Valencia, Spain'



ISIS SOUSA & OVE NESHAUG
'Valencia Noir: The Beautiful, The Fantastic, and The Grotesque Of Valencia, Spain'

Following on from their beautiful photographic studies of the Norwegian countryside in 'No Escapes Vol. 1 – Melancholic Beauty In Norwegian Landscapes', Isis Sousa and Ove Neshaug turn their lenses to the Spanish city of Valencia. More specifically it's rich and abundant aesthetics of bats, beasts, grotesques, and mythological beings carved into the stones of the ancient metropolis.

The book is a photographic essay that not only records the sights, but also delves into the history of some of the city's architecture, statues, and churches. But it is the photography that is the star of the show. The black and white images, high in contrast due to the Iberian sun, not only capture the climate, but switch between documentary and abstract styles depending on the subject. For instance the view form the bottom of a spiral staircase takes on an otherworldly look as it winds its way up into the distance, while the walls of The Quart Towers stand solemnly against the modern streets. And because they are captured in grainy monochrome, they have a timeless sense to them that looks like they could have been taken now or fifty years ago.

The most delightful part of the book though has to be toward the end with the photographs of the General Cemetery of Valencia, with it's large and ornate monuments in a range of artistic styles depicting everything from bats and angels, to scenes of the day of judgement marking the graves of the dead. It is a sight that easily rivals the celebrated cemeteries of the rest of old Europe. For this alone a flight to Valencia looks with the price of the ticket.

It is a lovely book full of beautiful examples of Spanish gothic art that will undoubtedly stir the imagination of anyone who opens it. The heavily photographic nature means that this is a very quick and easy read. The text are essentially footnotes to add context to the pictures, and with 160+ images, they are brief and to the point. The book on the whole is nicely designed with subtle ornate flourishes added tot he pages to drive home the gothic subject mater within.

Some of the image quality does vary in places but with Sousa and Neshaug listing a phone camera in their equipment list at the beginning of the book, this is to be expected. However a few blurred edges does not detract from the beauty of the subject, and in fact it only adds to that sense of timelessness referred to earlier with a more analogue than digital look to them.


For those interested in gothic art and architecture, this is a very nice and easy book to pick up. The emphasis is all on the photography and the city easily speaks for itself. Spain and it's hot weather may not be the first choice for the gothically inclined who enjoy city breaks, however this book may make you think twice about your next holiday destination.  

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Review: Pain – 'Coming Home'



'Coming Home'

The eights full-length studio album from Hypocrisy maestro Peter Tägtgren under the Pain moniker drops a year on from his controversial collaborative effort with Rammstein's Till Lindemann and a full five years since the last Pain effort 'You Only Live Twice'. The new album, 'Coming Home' may be the result of a long path, but the Lindemann project must have been a good release for Tägtgren and he has returned perhaps bigger and better than ever.

Rather than sticking to the usual tried and tested Pain formula, Tägtgren flips things around a little throughout the album. Alternative metal, electronics and more overt orchestral elements converge in typically bombastic way. The opener 'Designed To Piss You Off' has a distinctive country rock flavour to its riff around which is a great incendiary chorus, but a more subtle display of power. This serves to heighten the effect of the next track 'Call Me' which is a brilliantly over the top blending of electronic and symphonic permeating a strong and identifiable Pain style core of thrashing industrial metal guitars. 'A Wannabe' then flips things around again with it's acoustic guitar lead set to electronic beats that gives way to a symphonic metal backbone.

The album has plenty of heavy metal meat to get your teeth stuck into with tracks such as 'Pain In The Ass', 'Black Night Satellite', 'Final Crusade', and 'Natural Born Idiot' that will appeal to fans of pains headbanging side. While the likes of 'Coming Home', 'Absinthe-Rising Phoenix', and 'Starseed' continue that more experimental flavour with more alternative rock elements coming to the fore.

The production is as strong as always, with Clemens “Ardekˮ Wijers of Carach Angren adding some finishing touches to add an extra dimension to Tägtgren's already strong work. The end result is an album that feels diverse, bombastic, and brimming with a manic creativity that is barely contained.


Peter Tägtgren's CV speaks for itself, and it is great to see that nearly 20 years on since Pain's eponymous début he can still pull something new and different out of the bag. 'Coming Home' is a huge sounding album, subtle in places, but with an uncompromisingly heavy backbone that will not only appeal to long-time fans but also certainly hook some newbs as well. People may be waiting with baited breath to see what moves Lindemann pulls next, but in the hear and now, Pain is flexing its own might.  

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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Review: Master Boot Record – 'FIXMBR' / 'C​:​\​>EDIT AUTOEXEC​.​BAT' / 'C​:​\​>EDIT CONFIG​.​SYS'



'FIXMBR' / 'C​:​\​>EDIT AUTOEXEC​.​BAT' / 'C​:​\​>EDIT CONFIG​.​SYS'

From the mind of Dope Stars Inc. main man and all-round cyberpunk producer extraordinaire Victor Love, comes a new project in the form of Master Boot Record, a project that delves headlong into synthwave/chiptune instrumentals and blends them with synthesised metal and symphonic orchestration. In typical fashion Love has imbued the project with a conceptual life of it's own with the associated web pages describing it thus:

“I am a 486DX-33Mhz-64mb processing avant-garde chiptune, synthesized heavy metal & classical symphonic music”

Love digs deeper into the cyber in cyberpunk, taking the idea of the sentient machine and blending occult symbols and MS Dos and creating a fitting sound track. It is about as perfecta  marriage of sound and aesthetic as you could hope for. 

'FIXMBR' see's Love explore the chiptune leads and sets them against dark throbbing bass lines and augments them with hard, slow chipped guitars. The result is like the soundtrack to an early 80s dystopian sci-fi horror evoking neo-tokyo in ruins as cybernetic monstrosities controlled by a computer gone mad patrol the streets.

Each track leads from the other nicely with the slow methodical pace of the opening three songs giving way to a more up-beat style with '+1DEhex' and the most overtly metal '+1FEhex' for some variety. But on the whole the album feels almost like chapters to a bigger piece, almost in the classical sense of movements within a symphony.

'C​:​\​>EDIT AUTOEXEC​.​BAT' continues down a similar route however with a more progressive metal flavour running throughout. Songs such as '@ECHO OFF', 'PROMPT $p$g', 'SET PATH=C:\METAL', 'SET PATH=C:\METAL' and 'SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330' sound as brilliant as the are unrepentantly geeky.

The album feels somewhat more fully formed than 'FIXMBR' and more identifiable as metal in its construction and is somewhat more accessible and varied than its predecessor as well. It's almost as if this one, rather than writing chiptune in the style of metal, is more like metal tracks converted to chiptune.

The last of the three releases, 'C​:​\​>EDIT CONFIG​.​SYS', Opens almost with an air of Dope Stars Inc. about it with it's more playful and punky construction on tracks such as 'DEVICE=HIMEM.SYS', 'FILES=666 ', and 'BUFFERS=1770'. While the likes of 'DEVICE=EMM386.EXE' and 'DOS=HIGH, UMB' tap into the previous albums more progressive flavours.

In terms of production this is pretty solid for synthwave/chiptune. Perhaps it is more of the fact that this is taking metal as its basis first and foremost and adhering to that level of orchestration and quality despite the retro analogue construction. Love as usual manages to keep things, no matter how experimental, still somewhat accessible.


Victor Love is on a mission to throw as many curve-balls at the world as he can, and he is doing that exceptionally well at the moment. Between his main concerns and solo side project, he is quickly creating discographies for a raft of new and interesting projects. And this one is quite rewarding, especially if you know MS DOS code and can decode the story thread that runs between each album. There is another album available for pre-order in the form of 'C​:​\​>CHKDSK /F' with currently one track available to hear so there is still a lot more to come from this interesting project.  

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Editorial: September, 2016



Hello everyone!

The dark period of silence is officially over and Intravenous Magazine is in it's new home in the city of Lincoln. If you regularly send us promos through the post I will be in touch regarding the change of address this week.

Now that all of that stress is out of the way I can officially declare the submission period for the next compilation album officially open. As you can see above, the artwork is done, all we need now is your music. I will be emailing certain bands and labels this week, however if you feel like you have a kick0-ass track that you want to see included, drop us a line to intravenousmagazine@gmail.com and we will let you know the details of what we need and when we will need it by.

As an added incentive, the new compilation, and all the old ones from 1st January, will be converted to a pay what you will model with all of the proceeds going to a blood cancer charity. We haven't decided on which one yet but we will be contacting them this month as well.

The previous three releases have been very popular so far and are still available to download for free if you haven't already.

If you're a band and considering donating a track and are wondering what's in it for you? First of all it is free – there is no cover charge to be on the compilation as it is a download and we're giving it away for free! We make sure every release comes with an A4 PDF brochure containing band biographies as well as relevant hyperlinks that will take people straight to your web pages. We're happy to feature new blood as well as established acts and all submissions will be considered based on their individual merit rather than whether they are well known or not. So far we have featured a range of acts covering a wide variety of genres including Attrition, Be My Enemy, Aeon Sable, Ultraviolence, Noir, Three Winters, Grypt, Petrol Bastard, ѦPѺLLYѺN'S ▼ISѦGE, Ca†hedra, Human Traffic plus many more bands.

Sound good? So what will we need?

First of all, we'll need your track as a WAV file. We're ideally looking for something exclusive or new – it could be in the form of an unreleased song, demo, a remix, or live track etc. We'll then need a 200 word biography, your links and written permission to use the track and that's it!

General submissions will be open from September with a cut-off date to get the tracks and info to us by the end of November. Advanced copies of the compilation will go out to all contributors around Christmas, and we will also make copies available to radio shows/podcasters interested in plugging the release, with the general release being made available through out bandcamp for 1st January 2017.

That's just about where we are right now. If you have been trying to contact us regarding reviews and are waiting on a response, we can only extend our apologies, but moving is a stressful time and unfortunately it has taken a couple of weeks longer than initially anticipated. However, we will be trying to catch up with everything over the next few weeks, but please continue to be patient.

Finally, if you haven't already got them, go get our three download compilations from our bandcamp – so much free music! What the hell are you waiting for?!

And as always make sure you have these links in your favourites:




(You may have noticed if you followed us on TSU that the site is now dead - we will be removing our links to it in due course...)

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

THE DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF 'THINGS'



One of the rarer televisional treats that this writer has seen for many a year has been 'Stranger Things', the latest slice of dynamite to be released from the Netflix hit factory. In fact some people are already talking about it as one of the finest TV series of all time. So what is it about 'Stranger Things' that is so addictive and alluring? Well, if you have seen it all (and if not, go and do so now!) then join for in-depth discussion in the 'upside-down'...

The first thing to say about 'Stranger Things' is that as a pastiche of the '80s supernatural/horror gamut it is note perfect, combining elements from 'E.T', 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind', 'Silver Bullet', 'Stand By Me', 'IT' and many more (in fact Stephen King even gets a name-check). So the key parts of the genre are here reassembled into a lovingly constituted whole, reminding and reinventing the previous examples of the genre. It also has to be said that as a serialised horror story it works much better than, say, 'The Stand' did and is probably up there with the aforementioned 'IT'.

Another factor is that the '80s rarely sounded or looked better than this; lovingly recreating the feel of the time with note-perfect costumes and props and a magnificent synthwave soundtrack it has a production value that could only be achieved with genuine love. Even if the story didn't come up scratch it would still be an audio-visual feast.

But what really makes 'Stranger Things' so compelling is that whilst older viewers are drawn into their childhood the characters in it are losing theirs. Essentially the show is about the slow creeping darkness of adolescence, with unknown horrors lurking to disturb an innocent D&D game or a typical family dinner. The 'upside-down' is a non-too-subtle metaphor for the lives of the characters being turned upside-down (literally, in some cases); there's Eleven, her life scarred by abandonment, abuse and neglect; there's Will Byers, harrowed and changed by fear; Natalia and Finn both struggling to come to terms with the complications of conformity and the struggle to be yourself, as well as both Joyce and Hopper struggling with their separate guilt of failing to protect their children. In the last scene Will actually reminds the viewer of Frodo, back in the Shire from his travels – victorious, but tainted, diminished and haunted.

In this way the dark thrills of the show are a reminder of the dark thrills we experienced as children – the stories of local criminals or monsters under the bed, the awkwardness of our first relationships, or the peek from a high branch over the brooding barbed wire fence of a nearby power-station or government building, or even of watching a horror TV show, exactly like 'Stranger Things', so many years previously.

So the next time you see a distant, non-specific military site or a foreboding wood try and recall those old feelings that for most of us defined our adolescence – those of wonder, and dread. And re-watch 'Stranger Things' again, as soon as possible.

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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

To Care & Not To Care - Insight on The Creative Process



This month, I've been celebrating my first year as a contributor to Intravenous Magazine.
Writing for this online zine delights me.
It forces me to reinvent myself every month, and takes me out of my writing comfort zone.
I write lyrics, first and foremost, and then I also write stories.
Eventually I got my own website, and my own blog, and eventually I stopped caring about certain things I'd write in my journal being too personal to be shared with the world. They were things I cared about, and it mattered more to me to share what I had to say, than feel uneasy about people`s reactions.

As I'll be developing further on in this text, people's reactions is not something one can control, as a creator, and should therefore be taken with a grain of sea salt. You release a creation out for the world to see/feel/read/experience, and there's a part of you that waits, anxiously, for people to express their reactions (or not). You'll actively listen to every word uttered about your creation, and watch people's body language in response to it. And then there's also this part of you that ultimately Does Not Care. This is the part of you wherein lies your pride in your accomplishment, and the reason why you started to create in the first place. This part of you will make you rise regardless of what people may or may not say about your creation, and the part of you that will make you Keep Creating, whether it's the next day, or the next month, or 10 years later.

After a few releases on my personal blog, I realised most people who follow me rather enjoy my writing. They send me private messages about their reaction, or they share my post with the people they know.
It makes me happy to write, and even happier to connect with other people through my words.

And so, last year, someone who's known me for quite some time now eventually convinced me that writing, another avenue than music, is something I should consider more seriously as an eventual career. So I figured I'd pitch out to a bunch of online magazines, and the most positive response I got back was from Intravenous Magazine. The fabulous editor told me he thoroughly enjoyed my writing, and suggested I would write editorials for his zine.

That was a year ago.
I do plan to reach out to more online magazines. Also, a dear friend of mine, together with her wonderful husband, have convinced me to write a book. I'll get to all these projects eventually, but right now, in between everything else in life, and a day job, and my monthly contributions to the site you're reading this from, I'm producing my second album.

Writing for Intravenous Magazine, as mentioned above, requires of me to get inspired every month to write a decent enough amount of words about Something (Anything) related to culture. As a lyricist and a storyteller, to write editorials requires me to draw inspiration from another part of the real world than the one I'm used to. It's mostly a growth experience, and allows me to explore my own perspective and opinion on matters I wouldn't necessarily have otherwise paid much attention to, but truth be told, there are times when I'm more inspired than others. For example, my November 2015 post entitled To Be Goth was written in response to an event that had happened a few days before. Sometimes, a writer gets gifts from Life like those -material presented on a silver platter.

And then there are times, like this month, when no matter how much I tried fishing out to any/all matters of culture, or subculture, I just couldn't hook anything up.
Original Game, my second album, has been taking my entire time and energy and focus, and maybe my head's just too deep in it, and I can't think of anything else.

So I'll share what I've been going through with this project over the past few weeks, which I know is something all creators eventually go through, at the border between the end of front line creation and the beginning of official execution.
The point in time where you're making executive decisions about the direction of your creation, and where you know that the people you're working with or for might actually get angry if you back up and change your mind again.
I'm sure this will touch all of you artists reading this -whether you're visual artists, or writers, or musicians, or film directors, or even jewellers. And for those of you who aren't, well, here's some insight into a very specific part of what is called The Creative Process.
I figured this was still about culture. If anything, it's about the culture within the culture. Or perhaps the culture of the culture within the culture.

As stated above, we creators proceed with our endeavours with the purpose to share them with the world. As we proceed, we first and foremost do so hoping that people will understand what we have created (and why) and secondly, that they will enjoy it.

We approach the release with the dichotomy of the two aforementioned perspectives: that we Deeply Care from the bottom of our hearts and yet also that in the end we do not care about other people's reactions that much, for in the end to each his own life, and one might as well do whatever one wants to do with it. I write We here, but I should really write I, for I do speak of my own personal experience of the past few weeks, but then again I know not to be the only creator with this mindset.

We dread a negative feedback. We dread not being good enough. I dread, above all else, Failure. But the facts remain that taste, in all things, from music to fashion to people to food, is extremely arbitrary. You will ask someone on  a particular day whether they like a certain thing, a their response will be levelled on a series of various circumstances: how they feel that day and why, what happened in the hour prior to your question, whether they've recently eaten or not, their degree of fatigue, and so forth.

As it is, everyone is passionate about something -at least one thing. For example, if you've experienced over the past few months or years a very bad episode of food poisoning, it's likely that no matter what the circumstances of your emotion at the moment of inquiry, you will say a firm enough "No" to the question "Do you like [insert particular food name here].

People do have somewhat defined tastes. But when it comes to releasing a product or a work of art, or a certain meal or dessert or cocktail, to a certain level, the only taste you can trust is your own. If you like and are proud of the product you are releasing, then people's opinion is somewhat irrelevant.

Somewhat.

Of course, when we create something and release it out into the world, we want as many people as possible to embrace it. But you can't please everyone, or force people to like something. Yes, publicity has its way of tricking you into believing that you're supposed to buy X product and that it'll make you happier, so of course you should get it and of course you're gonna like it. That's when an adequate sense of judgement and parsimony should come into play.

The fact remains that you can't please everyone, and the criteria on which you can gague your own level of pleasing are very fickle indeed. It is best, therefore, to settle on your own level of enjoyment, and then to trust one to maybe 4 or 5 other opinions -opinions you can trust that are given for your benefit, and from people you actually respect.
Remember, though, that the more opinions you get, the wider your perspective will spread, which, when it comes to exposing a creation to the world, is not necessarily good.
For example, if you're like me, that one negative comment will make you question everything you've just done, along with the purpose of your existence. It will also make you obsess over your project even more, and have you revisit every single detail and figure out a thousand ways of making it better, or so you'd think.

You'll deconstruct and reconstruct, and in a moment of clarity, you'll stop and say Waddam I doing.
Or you'll say OMG yes.

In all, make what you will of criticism, especially in the context of the production of a creation, but remember that in the end, if you're pleased with your work and you know it in your heart and your gut that you've created something positive that will bring about some form of evolution to humanity, in some way, as well as for yourself, of course, then that's the only opinion that truly matters.

We are what we create, after all.
And you
can't
ever
please
everyone.





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Monday, 8 August 2016

Review: In Letter Form – 'Fracture, Repair, Repeat'



IN LETTER FORM
'Fracture, Repair, Repeat'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


The term "Goth" was invented by the press, there I've admitted it.

By the time punk had made it's way into the mainstream it had died on it's arse. In it's place was Post-Punk. Groups like PIL, Joy Division & Gang of Four gave soul to an otherwise blunt genre. In three more years however, the sound had yet again evolved into a different beast. Pete Murphy's word for fans of his band Bauhaus were "Wildebeest" due to the hairstyles, but soon the title "Goth" was coined. With moody vibes and lashings of dub, psycho-billy and remorseful poetry, goth was a flash in the pan, but has now become synonymous with the decade.
Then ten years ago chart music saw a revival of 80's nostalgia, with acts like The Horrors and A Place To Bury Strangers flying the somewhat goth flag, but even they moved on into their own sound and styles.
Okay, enough of the history lesson, you came here to read a review, not an essay!
In Letter Form have been creeping around the shadows for a few years now. Their debut 'Explorations Of Unknown Destinations' was a self released triumph and they were quickly snapped up by Metropolis records for their second release 'Fracture, Repair, Repeat'.
The 7" single 'Wait Now' was a sure-fire hit, keeping in tune to the post punk style without getting too silly. The album itself is a stuff of majesty and has the one thing most goth albums fail on obtaining these days; great production. The vocals tend to take a back seat, leaving the instruments in the foreground, giving it a hollow sound while somehow still managing to keep busy and beautiful. As they echo through the halls,  you get so lost in the album's forest and you'll have gone through half of it without realising!
Stand out tracks include the mystifying 'Face in the Crowd', the skin crawling 'Terror (is a state of mind)' and the upbeat 'High Line'. Above all though is the instant classic 'Reflecting the Rain', a song so amazingly good I actually had to look it up to check it wasn't a cover (lets face it, who doesn't like a goth tune about rain?!)
The album's only struggle is it's identity. Sometimes it leans towards the post-punk side, and on others it will head towards the goth spectrum, but with both to hand it gives the band a lot to work with. It is very clear that they are well versed in both genres and have done a great service to revive it with grace and humility.
If you are (or ever were) a fan of the 80's alternative movement, this is certainly an album to add to your collection. You'll be fooled into thinking it came out in 79'!

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Review: Pig – 'The Diamond Sinners EP'



PIG
'The Diamond Sinners EP'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


It has been an incredible year for the industrial genre so far, and with the Lord of LARD Raymond Watts now giving us his second rights with 'The Diamond Sinners' this certainly seems to be the year of the Pig. Where before Watts released an astonishing piece of work alongside Primitive Race, he is yet again keeping his connections strong with this somewhat solo release, featuring heavyweights Z. Marr (Combichrist), En Esch & Guenter Schulz to help along the way. That's not all though, on the remix front his disciples Chris Vrenna, Tim Skold & Lord of the Flies himself Mark Heal come on board to make an instant classic industrial EP.

It's title track plays like a passage of Faust, with Watts tempting us with an idea of a beautiful destruction. Its harmonies flow in the backdrop, creating an audible image of a welcoming inferno. It's follow up, a remix of the same track by Vrenna (as "The Tweaker") ups the beat for a club vibe, while a mist of 90's goth creeps across it's floor. This mix is certainly welcome at any alternative DJs setlist. Next up is a jaunty mix by Mark Heal. Although busy with his own work (as well as rumours of a Cubanate reunion album still on the cards) Heal has managed to tap into a style that has a fun vibe akin to acts like Apollo 440 and TKK. The rich thick synth resonates over samples of reverends talking smack about pork, and it's lyrics are (to put simply) very sexy! It will be interesting to see what the original version of 'Found in Filth' will be like when PIG's new album 'The Gospel' is released next month.
The final track is yet another mix of the EPs namesake, this time redux'd by Skold. Now becoming a solemn funeral march with the track's bell tolling across a hollow theme. The dark rock vibe is a fitting end to the damned running time, as a solitary piano serenades you to your final rest.
As a precursor for an album this is a perfect release. It's mysterious, dangerous and shows creativity in it's formula. It's only downside is the wanting of more! Perhaps an instrumental or a secret track to keep us guessing as to what 'The Gospel' will have in store for us.
The biggest question is though, in a world as fucked up as this, can Raymond Watts save our souls?

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Thursday, 4 August 2016

Review: Lord Of The Lost – 'Empyrean'



LORD OF THE LOST
'Empyrean'
OUT OF LINE


Lord Of The Lost return with their most ambitious sonic undertaking to date. The dystopian concept album 'Empyrean' sees the German quintent push their sound further than ever before as they mix gothic metal, industrial rock, prog, glam and electro into a barrage of hard riffs, catchy melodies, sing-a-long choruses and deceptively dance friendly rhythms. 'Empyrean' looks like it may very well be the album that see's Lord Of The Lost hit their stride and break out of the shadow of acts such as Deathstars and Gothminister.

The album hits hard and fast with opening numbers 'Miss Machine', 'Drag Me To Hell', and 'The Love Of God' each producing a golden mix of riffs, melodies, and big choruses. The next couple of tracks pull back from the bombastic metal elements a bit more for the more subtle and electronic led 'Raining Stars' and 'In Silence'.

The rockier elements begin to grow more throughout the likes of 'Black Oxide', and 'Interstellar Wars'. But it isn't until 'Doomsday Disco', 'Death Penalty', and 'No Gods, No War' do we fully return to that big bombastic sound. It is then left to the final three tracks 'The Interplay Of Life And Death', 'Utopya', and 'Where Is All The Love' to once again pull things back before wrapping it up.

This is one of those surprising albums where there isn't really a bad track. The band move between the heavier and more involved prog sounds with ease. They can go from hard and angry to subtle and melancholic without missing a beat. And the tracks are a testament to how far they have come over the last ten years.

The only real criticism I can level at this record is that in the way the album is laid out there is a bit of a tendency to bunch together similar songs, which is fine from a narrative point of view, however it does affect the momentum of the album in the middle and towards the end.

Overall though the song writing is the best the band have produced thus far. And the production of the album is absolutely spot-on with a dynamic mix that brings out the big sound the band need to achieve.

'Empyrean' is an ambitious album, but Lord Of The Lost have pulled it off. They have in fact produced the strongest album of their career to date, and one that is going to take some beating. It is evident though that the band are ready to step up and become one of the shining lights of the European industrial metal scene.  

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