IVM's Top 40 Releases of 2017

With 2017 a now a fading memory of political turmoil, social upheaval and high-profile perverts, we can at least look back at the year's musical output and say that it was a great one. As is the custom, we've put together a list of 40 notable releases from the previous twelve months that we think are worthy of praise.

Blood Pack Vol. 5 Released!

To download it all you have to do is go to our bandcamp page here: https://intravenousmagazine.bandcamp.com/album/blood-pack-vol-5

Interview: Angelspit

“I get the feeling we are moving through a period of despair. Perhaps this is due to the state of the environment, politics, or dealing with being "social" in the electronic age. We are so frustrated, so exhausted...we don't have the energy or money to plan for the future.I wanted to write lyrics that people can related to, and music that would energize that to forge ahead.”

Review: Psy'Aviah – 'Lightflare'


Review: Caustic – 'American Carrion';


Friday, 16 March 2018

Review: Unwoman – 'War Stories'

'War Stories'

Under the moniker of Unwoman, Erica Mulkey has crafted a fine selection of albums. With her cello as her primary instrument accompanied by her stunning voice her compositions often draw from chamber pop, dream pop and steampunk where modern synthesis and classical warmth create a heady mixture. Mulkey's seventh full-length album, 'War Stories' combines Mulkey's unique style and frames perhaps her most politically biting album yet.

Thematically, the album draws on the likes of Jane Eyre, The Princess Bride, and Jane Austen's Persuasion, and tackles issues such as toxic masculinity and the social gender constructions that it perpetuates. Fiercely feminine and powerfully feminist the lyrics cut through the hauntingly beautiful music.

Songs such as 'War Stories', 'Saviours', 'Bad Man', 'The Same Stream', 'Flies', 'Waxing Gibbous', and 'Breath Out' provide the album with a strong backbone of cello-led arrangements, augmented with subtle electronics and mechanical rhythms that are both, dreamy, whimsical, and yet when combined with the beautiful yet direct projection of the lyrics by Mulkey's voice, become powerful statements. The album has it's sentimental moments as well, with the likes of 'The Surrender' and 'We Love Longest' counterbalancing the rage of many of the other songs.

In terms of the album's production there is a minimalistic air of construction which adds a prevailing intimacy to each track. The cello with it's deep drones roots every track, while Mulkey's voice breaths life into them. The subtle electronics and rhythms add depth, and additional power when needed but are not overly relied on, instead the atmosphere generated by her primary tools.

'War Stories' is one of the strongest albums in the Unwoman catalogue so far. Musically beautiful and lyrically powerful it is a dynamic statement that provides a refreshing counterpoint to the male voice in alternative music. This isn't an exclusively feminist album, it is also a reflection of where society is in the 21st century, and issues that affect everyone.

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Monday, 12 March 2018

Review: The Rain Within – 'Atomic Eyes'

'Atomic Eyes'

Andy Deane's synthpop-meets-synthwave side-project to Bella Morte had a pretty strong start with their first full-length outing 'Dark Drive' which followed on from two well-received EPs. The direction of the band has definitely been moving in the right direction since the release of the first EP back in 2014, and it is evident that Deane has carefully developed the sound at every stage.

The band's second full-length outing sees a continuation of the mission to meld synthpop and synthwave into a cohesive whole. The end result is a more focused display of the concept that still enjoys the variety displayed on the first album. The sound swings between dark and light, with nods to the likes of John Carpenter and Vangelis as well as Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. There's an undeniable nostalgic quality to it but it is at heart a modern reinterpretation of what made all kinds of 80s synth music so compelling.

Tracks such as 'Like The Devil', 'Realign', 'Fears, Lies, and Love', 'Home', 'While I Am Here', 'Midnight', and 'Violet Glow' provide a strong backbone of melodic yet melancholy tracks that have a definite dance appeal but also a quiet introspective quality. Retro synth leads, combine with steady dance pacing and Deane's emotive and strong vocals for an utterly compelling combination that should please both fans of synthpop as well as those familiar with the earlier Bella Morte works.

In terms of production the album has an impeccable modern quality that brings out the best in the tracks. It's always tempting to try and replicate the 80s analogue sound to emulate the great albums of the era, but 'Atomic Eyes' is under no illusions that it is a modern album and is as crisp and dynamic as it should be.

'Atomic Eyes' is certainly a more refined and focused album despite featuring a few more tracks than its predecessor. And that is a sure sign Deane has focused on the quality of the songwriting and the final execution. It sticks to it's stylistic guns and revels in the variety of the era that has inspired it. The end result is a very strong outing.

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Editorial, March 2018

Once again I'd like to start by thanking everyone who has so far downloaded our latest compilation album, 'Blood Pack Vol. 5' – the tail end of last year saw me frantically putting this together and getting it ready for new years day. It features some amazing bands including: Angelspit, The Gothsicles, Deadfilmstar, Sounds Like Winter, Noir, Hardcore Pong, Cynical Existence, Veil of Thorns, Cold Therapy, and Chiron plus many more exclusive and unreleased tracks from international gothic, industrial and electronic bands. It also comes with an A4 PDF booklet containing bios and links for all the bands who have kindly donated a track.

To download it all you have to do is go to our bandcamp page here:

In addition to that wonderful download we've also been working on some Spotify playlists, which we will be promoting soon on the site.

Also did you check out our overdue top 40 albums of 2017? If you haven't click HERE to have a look.

The big thing I'd like to push this month is that we are on the lookout for some more writers. If you'd like to get involved with intravenous magazine, we're looking for motivated self-starters who can sniff out stories and make contact with bands and labels.

Also, if you are in a band or run a label etc. and you fancy writing a guest article/column, feel free to hit us up as well. We'd love to feature more guest content from the scene – please note that this does not mean we're going to be featured sponsored content or any of that nonsense, so don't worry about that!

Intravenous Magazine is a non-profit publication and cannot pay contributors, however you will be compensated with music, tickets and other fancy things.

If this all sounds good to you we would ask you to familiarise yourself with our style guidelines on the WRITING FOR IVM page and submit a 1000 article or a 300 word review (must be of a recent album or gig not currently featured on the website) in the vein of IVM magazine.

Hopefully the other things we have up our collective sleeve will be announced in the coming months. Until then, please enjoy the new (and previous) compilation albums, please donate, or at least share the link if you enjoy the album.

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

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New acts announce for Infest 2018

2018's Infest festival this August is already shaping up to be a must see event. The annual festival is already a highlight of the industrial calendar, always boasting a mix of new and established acts as well as UK exclusives and debuts. 2018 looks to be no exception with three more great artists announced last week.

Inhabiting their own strange genre-stretching and playful world. Traversing contemporary and vintage fashion and styling, with blitz noir imagery and dash of retro sex appeal creates an eerie macabre pop! Zeitgeist Zero continue to tour the UK and Europe and are currently working on their fifth album.

Dark, unforgiving, post-punk with an electronic seedy sound.
Maria Joaquin and KC blend gothic undertones with catchy dance music to create a sonic-erotica of synths, guitar and EBM.
Amor Noir!

Fusing rock, electro, synthpop and bass music to create a divine energetic, intense fusion of sounds.
Hailing from North Wales please welcome to the Infest stage Def Neon!

This years festival will take place from Thursday 23rd until Sunday 26th August at University of Bradford's Student Union and marks its 20th Anniversary. More lineup details and tickets will be available from the festival's official website: https://infestuk.com

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Ben Frost track preview and live dates

BEN FROST has shared an unheard track, ‘Self Portrait in Ultramarine’, from the All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated EP, which includes new tracks and previously unreleased remixes from Alva Noto and Steve Albini. Listen here: http://po.st/BFSPIUM

Out on 23 March 2018, the new EP follows a series of dates, which start on Friday 16 March at Heaven, London. The show, part of this year’s Convergence, is a unique audio-visual performance featuring Marcel Weber (MFO) with support from Visionist, the experimental composer and producer Louis Carnell.

Ben Frost’s live dates also include Sonar in Reykjavik, ISM Hexadome in Berlin, at Schauspielhaus in Zurich and Nuit Sonores in Lyon, full details below.

16 March - UK, Convergence at Heaven, London
17 March - IS, Sonar Festival, Reykjavik
18 April - DE, ISM Hexadome at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin
21 April – CH, Norient & Rewire present Sonic Fiction at Schauspielhaus, Zürich
11 May - FR, Nuits Sonores, Lyon

Described by The Quietus as “aural equivalent of a world turned to ash”, watch the video for the title track, ‘All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated’, a collaboration with conceptual documentary photographer Richard Mosse and cinematographer Trevor Tweeten: https://po.st/BFATYLWBEYT 

All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated is taken from Frost’s latest album, The Centre Cannot Hold was recorded over ten days by Steve Albini in Chicago. 

In collaborating with Albini, Frost chooses a new immediacy and raw directness. As an artist whose command of sound design lies at the heart of his practice, by placing himself primarily in the role of live performer and handing the studio recording process over to Albini, Frost continues pursuit of Theseus’ paradox; the question of whether a ship restored by replacing every single part remains the same ship.

All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated
Self Portrait in Ultramarine
Meg Ryan Eyez (Albini Suspension Mix)
Ionia (Alva Noto Remodel)
An Empty Vessel To Flood
Goonies Never Say Die

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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Review: Cesium_137 – 'Rise To Conquer'

'Rise To Conquer'

Futurepop duo Cesium_137 return with their seventh full-length studio album (and first since 2012's 'Science And Sound') in the form of 'Rise To Conquer'. The band's core formula of emotion-stirring EBM, trance, synthpop and IDM that they've grown into since 2004's 'Elemental' remains fairly unchanged with the strong dance beats, trance leads, and soaring pop vocals at the helm. It's a formula that has always served them well in the past, and should still continue to do.

Unfortunately though, 'Rise To Conquer' a mixed-bag at best. Let down by it's steadfast adherence to a formula that has begun to sound dated and a disjointed construction that leaves the album sounding unfinished. That being said there are still some genuinely infectious and catchy songs to hold the album together such as 'Shiver', 'No Contact', 'Killing Time', 'Diver', and 'Consequence' that give the album a nice backbone of dance-friendly beats and sing-a-long choruses.

However the albums suffers from dated sounds, cookie-cutter construction that comes off as early 2000s VNV Nation meets Apoptygma Berzerk. There is also quite a few points where the vocals just don't seem to match the music – as though they were recorded for the demo versions of the songs and not redone for the final compositions.

In terms of production the album ultimately sounds rough and dated. There seems to be a disconnect between the vocals and the rest of the music in a lot of places and when compared to 'Science And Sound' the drop in quality is all the more noticeable.

It's a shame as there is some real potential on this album, but it ultimately misses its mark. Long-time fans may still find solace in the stronger tracks, but it's unlikely to convert many others beyond that.

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Review: Neon Insect – 'Glitches'


Neon Insect is one of those acts that just likes to keep throwing curve-balls at you. On the whole quite an experimental project, elements of industrial, metal, IDM, cyberpunk and ambient electronic are chopped, blitzed and reformed into something confrontational and intriguing. With a background in computer game audio and music composition (as well as a previous project in Eternal Nightmare and a host of other contributor credits) Nils Sinatsch presents and grinding and aggressive sound that is still cinematic in its scope.

The opening tracks 'Thoughtcrimes', 'L.L.T.Q' lure you in with hard distorted beats, metal guitar, shout-a-long lyrics and all the trappings of classic gritty industrial. But then things get really interesting. '不協和音' and '不安心' drive home the name of the album with their chopped up and glitched-out interludes.

'Sneaky' draws on cinematic sound design and epic percussion for a sci-fi tinged instrumental. 'The Council' shows off a more mellow yet progressive blend of IDM and ambient, while tracks such as 'To The Moon And Back', 'Grey Hat', and 'I.D.C' go for a grittier blend of industrial and ebm while maintaining the progressive slant of 'Sneaky' and 'The Council'.

Production-wise the album is incredibly well crafted. The mix of ambient passages, catchy melodies and the use of female vocals contrasts the harsh glitches, distorted beats and more aggressive male vocals nicely. But the elements never clash unpleasantly, even in songs where they could potentially jarr, they never do, instead they draw your ear deeper into the mix.

This is an impressive album that shows off some brilliant skills from the composition through to the production. Hard, dance-friendly in places, cinematic and compelling, it covers a lot of ground but does it very well. Hopefully there will be a follow-up in the near future.

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Whitby Goth Weekend 2018 Preview

Now in its 24th year, The Weekend is still one the largest and most successful independent, home grown festivals in the UK - and is continuing to attract world-renowned talents. Whitby Goth Weekend is estimated to produce a whopping £1.1million for the town's local economy per annum, and  has generated thousands for charities such as the Bat Conservation trust and the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

 The event is celebrated as an icon of the alternative movement, having been studied, visited and explored by television, newspapers and radio over the years, and has, despite all this, remained utterly independent throughout its run. Growing voraciously from its origins as a forty-person pen-pal meet up in 1994, it now attracts thousands from all over the globe, not only to wander among like minded folk, but as a colossal meet up between friends - all from word of mouth, with no sponsorship and no outside funding.

 After two decades, the team is still built of friends and family, all in house, and the town now handles between 8,000 and 10,000 people a year, drawn entirely by the spectacle of top hats and tailcoats roaming the town's Victorian streets. Diversifying every annum, the event attracts all manner of subcultures, with a melting pot of the alternative population now making regular appearances and meetings to the sounds of a hugely varied series of groups, all of which, in some way, have influenced, or been generated from, one of the world's most recognisable movements - Goths, punks, steampunks, Rockers, Bikers and more - everybody is welcomed!


A mind-melting fusion of rock and roll, cabaret and comedy, Rayguns Look Real Enough tout themselves as being a rock band on the edge. But nobody knows what they're on the edge of. With a superb sense of showmanship - including a now legendary tiger onesie - and deft guitar playing, this mashup outfit are sure to entertain even the most cynical audience member. Once dubbed /the British answer to Tenacious D - But way funnier/, Rayguns Look Real Enough are something completely new for the UK's longest running independent Goth festival - and we can't wait to see what they have in store!

Internationally renowned - and a rather incredible multi-talent - Desmond O'Connor has a twenty year career in everything from musical theatre to production. A favourite of the world famous Edinburgh Fringe festival, Desmond's cheeky, satirical lyrics have brought hilarity and a slightly alternative twinge to the world of stage presentation with a superb, George Formby twist - a ukulele and a fine suit can easily bring you into a false sense of security - but those rude, loud and witty words are sure to pull you back into reality.

The ultimate in Gothic cabaret - the ultimate in Gothic magic - the ultimate in Gothic entertainment. Since 1995, Circus of Horrors have amazed, shocked and thrilled audiences around the world. Filling stadiums - including the first ever British circus slot to perform in Moscow, and amazing the revellers of Glastonbury are just a few of this alternative circus troupe's incredible achievements. What could possibly be better to kick off one of the greatest independent festivals in the United Kingdom? This is their first time at WGW, and we're almost certain it won't be their last! They've promised us an exclusive show completely separate to their current multi-date international voodoo tour - who knows what lays in store...


They've been through many incarnations and have cemented themselves as one of the founders of the Gothic movement; but 1919's biggest achievement is staying true to the ethos they were built on in 1980 - to create a heavy melodic intense dance band with no frills and no intentions. After the barnstorming release of their second studio album, Bloodline, and an utterly touching memorial show to founding guitarist Mark Tighe in 2017, the band have continued to draw in as many new audiences as they have played to fans and friends for nearly four decades. It's been a rollercoaster - but there's just no stopping this iconic contributor to the Goth we all know and love. HTTP://WWW.1919OFFICIAL.COM 

The latest incarnation of the 5th Generation of Rock and Roll, with Martin Degville and a whole host of digital wizardry, is returning to Goth Weekend - stepping sequins and heels onto the Pavilion's stage to enormous demand. Martin has been a regular, staunch supporter of Whitby Goth Weekend for years, and continues to give us the best of the best - glitzy, ever glamorous and every bit as surprising as Degville's first demos, this is pure rock and roll electro royalty. With bare rear ends and feathers.

One of the most emotional, gripping live shows we've ever seen! The Last Cry's Andrew Birch is a master of stagemanship, and the group's incredibly dedicated fanbase have elevated an independent group from Brighton into something truly special; a legacy that they've kept adding to and improving every step of the way. Having celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2015, The Last Cry are now preparing for a slot at Wave Gotik Treffen - not to mention their fifth Whitby Goth Weekend performance - and, constantly in demand, they no doubt have many more ahead!   HTTP://WWW.THELASTCRY.BANDCAMP.COM 

Following the release of his latest album, Heart Shaped Wound, Aurelio Voltaire has simply never taken a break. Between his successful animation career, his works in writing and his ever-increasing acting credits, this multi-faceted, devilish cabaret showman is a favourite of Whitby Goth Weekend's audience and proves his natural charisma every time armed only with a guitar, his smile and a bottle of rum. With deep, smooth, chocolatey vocals and an amazing stage presence, our favourite headliner never ceases to draw in and mystify his legions of fans.

Tickets are available now, starting at £60 for two full days of premium live entertainment - with concessions for under 16s and families.

WHITBY GOTH WEEKEND TICKET SHOP https://wgwshop.whitbygothweekend.co.uk/collections/tickets 



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Monday, 5 March 2018

IVM's Top 40 Releases of 2017

[Editor's Note] It has been a turbulent couple of months at IVM. The post-Christmas season has seen episodes of illness, technology issues and inevitable time off. However normal service has been resumed (hopefully) and to that effect we present our (overdue) top 40 releases of 2017. This had been scheduled for the end of January, but after several weeks of madness we're just getting it online today. Thanks for bearing with us and enjoy - Sean

With 2017 a now a fading memory of political turmoil, social upheaval and high-profile perverts, we can at least look back at the year's musical output and say that it was a great one. Across all the genres we cover here at Intravenous Magazine we've seen some genuinely outstanding releases from a huge variety of bands and artists. As is the custom, we've put together a list of 40 notable releases from the previous twelve months that we think are worthy of praise.

As always the format of our best of is not set, and in no particular order of rank or genre bias, but this is a selection of highlights you may have enjoyed, or even missed first time round. So without further ado here is this year's countdown.

Chelsea Wolfe – 'Hiss Spun'

This is another great outing from Chelsea Wolfe. She has more than proved over the last few albums she has what it takes to be a major artist. Her experimentation with styles and genres always yields strong results and 'Hiss Spun' is no different. Dark, heavy, but hauntingly beautiful, this is the sound of an artist at the top of their game.

Godflesh – 'Post Self'

After three decades Godflesh's brand of mechanical nightmares seem more relevant than ever. As the digital age rages one, the cathartic din of 'Post Self' is the soundtrack to the inevitable descent towards the singularity. Their trademark sounds intact the album is a relentless exorcism of mechanical hostility that only they could conceive and execute.

3Teeth – 'Shutdown.exe'

'Shutdown.exe' is a great album, and 3Teeth have grown as songwriters and performers to fulfil the expectations that their début hinted at. It is authentic, and full of conviction. There is still plenty of room for growth to consolidate their musical identity and it would be interesting to hear how they can incorporate more experimental ideas in the future and try to beyond their mid-tempo comfort zone. But in the here and now this has to be a contender for album of the year.

Zola Jesus – 'Okovi'

A stunningly anxious blend of industrial infused gothic-pop, 'Okovi' delves into dark waters exploring themes of loss and mortality. Heavy going but one that throughout pulls the listener back into the light. Danilova has matured into an incredible artist capable of utterly captivating songwriting, and this album showcases some of her best so far.

Grave Pleasures – 'Motherblood'

'Motherblood' is another brilliant album from a band who seem to be on an unstoppable rise. They have effectively evolved and consolidated their sound without losing sight of what it was that initially made them stand out. So far every one of their albums has been worthy of being called a classic, and 'Motherblood' is no exception.

Nine Inch Nails – 'Add Violence'

'Add Violence' perhaps defaults back to some safer territory for Reznor and Ross after the dissonant noise of 'Not The Actual Events'. It still feels experimental, as though they are continuing to exorcise their sonic demons. But this time around, more so than the last, it feels like these were originally destined for other things, but have been reworked and re-imagined to fit this narrative. It's certainly a good EP, recognisably NIN and utilising some tried and tested set pieces, but still an infectious listen.

Laibach – 'Also Sprach Zarathustra'

Anyone that has followed the career of Laibach won't be surprised by this album, in so much as with spectre being such a commercially friendly album that wrapped their subversive nature in dance rhythms and Wagnerian pop melodies, it seems natural that they would follow it up with a more experimental and less user-friendly release. Such is the joy of a group like Laibach, you can't make assumptions or take things for granted.

Marilyn Manson – 'Heaven Upside Down'

Those expecting a direct sequel to '… Emperor' may be disappointed, but Manson doesn't deal in direct sequels. As long-time fans will know, each of his albums is a self-contained and very individual piece in its own right. Here he may be casting an eye back to what worked well on recent albums, and trying to channel the “fuck you” attitude that put him on the map. But it is with a mature and considered eye that shows a strength in his current partnership with Bates, and ultimately it works. More so, it shows that Manson is just as relevant in 2017 as he was 20 years ago.

Gary Numan – 'Savage (Songs From A Broken World)'

On 'Savage' Gary Numan channels a career's worth of songwriting expertise into a conceptually and musically heavy album. After 40 years and 20 other full-length albums it would be easy for the pioneer of synthpop to simply rest on his laurels. But he doesn't. Instead he continues to break new ground and walk down the darker and more industrial path he's been on over the past few albums. Apocalyptic narrative aside this is one of Numan's strongest outings in years.

David Bowie – 'No Plan'

The EP shows that Bowie still had more in the tank creatively before his untimely death. There are more tracks rumoured to be unreleased from the 'Blackstar' sessions, and it would have been nice if more were included here. But the 'No Plan' EP is a poignant and surprisingly energetic full stop. It would be tempting to bookend the EP with 'Lazarus' and the title track, but the emphasis on finishing on the more rock-flavoured cuts adds a reprieve from the loss. A healthier and more energetic Bowie. The Bowie that is engrained in the mind of millions that stalked the stage in outlandish outfits and make-up. The pioneered new sounds and style before others. That collaborated with underground musicians and broke down racial barriers.

Depeche Mode – 'Spirit'

Recent Depeche Mode albums have had their moments but never quite matched their output from the mid 80s to the mid 90s. But 'Spirit' bucks that trend. With a tangible fire in their bellies, the band are more stripped-back and aggressive than we've seen over the past few outings. As a result it is their most relevant and engaging album in years, and one that shows that they have a whole lot more to give.

Drab Majesty – 'The Demonstration'

Drab Majesty's ethereal and futuristic post-punk sound bends time and space with their blend of darkwave melodies, post-punk guitars and haunting atmospheres. 'The Demonstration' is a stunning second outing that sees the band solidify their status as one of the goth and post-punk scene's most promising acts.

Paradise Lost – 'Medusa'

Fans of their more commercial electronic/industrial rock and pre-2015 melodic doom releases will probably find this harder to get in to than 'The Plague Within' perhaps. But for long-time fans that have followed the band's evolution from their death doom beginnings and through their commercial height and back again will continue to find vindication and solace in the unabashed heavy doom of 'Medusa'.

Me And That Man – 'Songs Of Love And Death'

Long-time fans of Nergal's other band Behemouth may view 'Songs Of Love And Death', with its melancholic bluesy Americana, as a step too far. But it's coming from the same place as he's always drawn his inspiration, and the execution is impeccable. In the same vein as Johnny Cash, Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen but with a melodramatic satanic flair that is utterly enthralling.

Diamanda Galás – 'All the Way'

Diamanda Galás is a truly unique artist whose impressive body of work defies classification. On 'All The Way' we see the most natural presentation of Galás and her voice, set mostly to piano there is a subtlety that serves to enhance the theatricality of her vocals. The mixture of live and studio recordings shows off not only the full power of of her voice but the power of her artistic vision as she fully deconstructs and rebuilds the songs.

Ulver – 'The Assassination of Julius Caesar'

Thirteen may be unlucky for some but for Ulver it is a magic number. 'The Assassination Of Julius Caesar' is a highlight within a strong discography that already includes its fair share of highlights. Fans of Ulver's earlier works definitely won't be getting the return to their roots they may still crave, and yes it would be cool to see what modern Ulver could do within the extreme/folk metal framework of their past, but that's not the point. This album is a solid and complete statement made by a group of musicians at the top of their game.

Oxbow – 'Thin Black Duke'

This is a welcome return from a band that has been sorely missed over the past several years. Their last outing, 'The Narcotic Story', may have been a tough act to follow but the band have delivered with this album. Long-time fans of the band will easily get to grips with this and it is a nice entry point to for new listeners as well. Let's just hope it's not another ten years before their next full-length release.

Boris – 'Dear'

Fans of old school drone Boris will get a kick out of the brutality of this record, but it will not alienate fans of their more psychedelic side. It is a Boris that continues to innovate and evolve, even when looking backwards. When a band's form is as fluid as theirs it's hard to say this is a return to any one sound, but it is nostalgic to a degree yet thoroughly individual. But in any case, it is another fantastic offering from the band.

iVardensphere – 'Hesitation'

'Hesitation' is another strong outing from a band that have reconciled their past with their ambitions and provides so much potential for future albums to explore. There is so much going on here but the band distil it all in a way that just works so well, and once again proves that they are a band that despite their successes still feel like they have everything still to play for.

Akercoke – 'Renaissance In Extremis'

'Renaissance In Extremis' shows exactly why the extreme metal world has been missing Akercoke. Not only is it one of the strongest albums in their discography, it also has to be one of the strongest progressive death metal albums in year. It remains to be seen whether this is the band's return or the final chapter, but it goes to show they still have a lot left to give.

Pallbearer – 'Heartless'

'Heartless' continues to see Pallbearer push their musical ideas further. The result is a sumptuous offering that chooses ambition over comfort which has produced some of the strongest songs of their career. This may divide the opinions of some long-time fans but the band have taken risks, pushed themselves and it has definitely paid off in a big way.

With The Dead – 'Love From With The Dead'

This is in many ways a tighter and more effective album that the band's previous offering. Focusing on the elements that caught a lot of people's attention and extrapolating the more esoteric parts of their sound into epic pieces. The album builds effectively on that core sound and cements their presence as an exciting act that has forged a bold identity of its own.

In The Nursery – '1961'

'1961' is another example of just what a treasure In The Nursery is. After 35 years the Humberstone brothers are still pushing boundaries, and experimenting with skill and intelligence. They are one of Sheffield's proudest musical legacies (and that is no mean feat giving the calibre of that city's musical heritage) and deserve their place in the history books.

Caustic – 'Stimulation'

This might be another curve-ball from Fanale, but there is no denying he is an artist of substance who seems to be able to assimilate different styles and genres with ease and still produce something that can only be described as Caustic. It remains to be seen as to whether this is a permanent stylistic direction, but in the here and now, 'Stimulation' is a great EP and worth your time.

Angelspit – 'Black Dog Bite'

This is a strong album. Perhaps Angelspit's strongest so far. It feels so well rounded. It's angry and punk at it's core but while the music is old school and low-fi, even downright experimental in places, it is still fresh, approachable and easy to dance to. 'Black Dog Bite' shows that Angelspit are serious hitter in the electronic music world and are still innovating with the best of them.

Android Lust – 'Berlin//Crater Vol. 2'

Berlin' is a beautifully crafted album. D'iordna has a unique mastery of sound akin to an alchemist turning base elements into gold. This album utterly reflects that skill from the song writing to the final mixdown. It's been far too long between Android Lust albums, and while this long-awaited offering is on the shorter end of the spectrum at 41 minutes, it is a beautifully succinct and complete statement. It develops ideas from the first volume further and marries more comfortably with what could be described as the Android Lust sound. The end result is fantastic.

The Eden House – 'Songs For The Broken Ones'

The Eden House are a band that all other gothic rock bands should aspire to. The veteran skills of the core members and their collaborators are beyond repute and the scope of their work is only matched by their lack of ego. The result is always something that pushes the limits of what gothic rock can be, and this is no exception.

Sidewalks And Skeletons – 'The Void'

While the album may have lost that dark and heavy presence of its predecessor, and those really cool flirtations with metal, it is still a stunning release. Lee hasn't gone in a predictable direction and so the more ethereal and ambient nature of the album feels like a curve-ball, but a welcome one nonetheless. 'The Void' is a truly beautiful album that shows excessive skills and talent behind it, and more importantly ambition. An ambition to keep reaching higher with every release, and this certainly achieves that.

Ca†hedra – 'Faithless'

Again, Ca†hedra may not have been around for a long time, but his body of work speaks for itself. Every release gets stronger and its easy to hear the skill and confidence growing. And with a pleasing combination of dark atmospheres, strong leads and addictive melodies, there's no reason why this project can't reach greater heights.

Luxury Stranger – 'Darkness Falls Upon Light'

'Darkness Falls Upon The Light' is an incredibly strong showing from the band. It ticks all the boxes for what a classic indie album should be. If it were released 20 years ago, who knows. But in 2017 it is an absolute gem that proves that if you dig below the so-called indie mainstream, you will find the really rewarding albums.

Freakangel – 'How The Ghost Became'

This is perhaps the strongest and most well-rounded Freakangel outing to date. In fact it really sounds as though they have found themselves on this album. Everything seems to have come together to create a confident, heavy album that perfectly balances their aggression with their electronic prowess. It has been a well-paced evolution to this point, but this album feels like year zero, from which they can launch a wider assault on the metal scene.

Aurelio Voltaire – 'Heart-Shaped Wound'

Voltaire has evidently pushed himself harder than ever on 'Heart-Shaped Wound' and it has definitely paid off. The album may confound expectations at first, but the strength of the songwriting and performance will quickly sweep you away. The result is one of his memorable and strongest albums in years.

Cease2xist – 'Zero Future'

'Zero Future' may only weigh in at 34 minutes in length. But in that time it packs a big punch. If Cease2Xist were a band to watch, they are now surely on their way to the top of the UK industrial pile. Despite the dark connotations of this album's title, Cease2Xist definitely has a future, and its looking pretty bright from here.

Bell Witch – 'Mirror Reaper'

This is a stunning album that really pushes what the band have done previously. It's a fitting tribute to a fallen member and a great example of uncompromising ambition is seen through to the end. Again not an album for casual listening, but one that is genuinely rewarding if you have the time to sit quietly and see it through to the end.

Grendel – 'The Age Of The Disposable Body'

'The Age Of The Disposable Body' is another great outing from Grendel. The production is the strongest it has ever been and the songwriting continues to grow in scope and ambition. The album will undoubtedly become a mainstay of, not only clubs, but also the band's live shows as well.

Myrkur – 'Mareridt'

Myrkur has finally produced the album she's been threatening to for the past few years. Finally unfettered from expectations of what black metal should be, 'Mareridt' expresses an undeniably strong artistic statement. Casting a shadow beyond genre conventions and building on her strengths, the album simply demands attention. Hopefully Bruun will continue to push forward in this direction on her next album.

Suicide Commando – 'Forest Of The Impaled'

On the surface it might be perplexing to some as to how van Roy's steadfast dedication to his core sound has actually kept him relevant through a myriad of musical trends coming and going. But it is his artistic integrity that fans respond to. In the case of 'Forest Of The Impaled' with the additional trimming of the fat compared to some of his previous releases, the songs sound stronger and more impactful, even when things get a bit repetitive or safe sounding, you can't help but be drawn in.

Klack – 'Do You Klack?'

With 'Do You Klack?' Fanale and Oehler give old school ebm a modern makeover, and the end result is brilliant. The beat-driven backbone, familiar synth sounds, and retro sounding sampling remind us why classic ebm was so damn infectious. But coupled with a modern production style and the knowledge of the subject matter to bring that essential fun to the fore. Hopefully there will be more from Klack in the future.

Wednesday 13 – 'Condolences'

'Condolences' firmly re-establishes Wednesday 13 at the top of the shock rock pile. The post-Murderdoll years may have seen his profile slowly cool for a while, but his commitment and the rabid following of his fans has paid off. Matching the heaviness of 'Monsters Of The Universe...' while still acknowledging his horror punk roots, this album ticks every box and then jams the pen in your eye.

Merciful Nuns – 'A-U-M IX'

Artaud Seth and his Merciful Nuns may be nine albums in but they're take on classic gothic rock filtered through their own esoteric style just keeps delivering. In only seven years they have crafted an impressive back catalogue and maintained an enviable consistency. Seth has a habit on pulling the plug on his bands so make the most of the Nuns while you can!

Those were just some of our favourites. What made your personal list in 2017? Feel free to let us know on our Facebook page HERE.

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