Blood Pack Vol. 6.66 released!

It's that time of the year once again! A new year and a new compilation album celebrating our 6th birthday as a webzine.

Review: Various Artists – 'We're In This Together: A Tribute To Nine Inch Nails'

VARIOUS ARTISTS 'We're In This Together: A Tribute To Nine Inch Nails' TRIBULATIONS

Review: Various Artists – 'We Reject: A Tribute To Bile'


Review: Ritual Aesthetic – 'Wound Garden'


Review: Axegrinder – 'Satori'


Thursday 28 March 2013

The weekly compendium 28/03/2013

Salutations! OK, so it isn’t technically the end of the week, but I've decided to cynically exploit the beliefs of a mainstream religion in order to have a four day weekend... and I know you're all probably doing the same.

It's not like we have gone light on the articles this week though. We've had news about the next Emilie Autumn European Tour, A couple of surprises from Alfa Matrix and reviews from Clara Engel, Interstitial, Ogenix, Resonance Room and Tyler Milchmann for you to digest.

On the social media front there have been a few interesting posts. Such as sneaky peeks at the new album art from A Pale Horse Named Death and DVD/Blu Rays from Vince Ripper And The Rodent Show. We also plugged the fabulous Rosie Garland's book launch, DJ Joe Letz's upcoming Rammstein support slot, This Mortal Coil's Louise Rutkowski Pledge campaign, the new charity MP3download from New Zero God featuring Maxi Nil [Visions Of Atlantis] and the latest Kickstarter campaign from Caustic. And finally, for those who like moving pictures, we saw a couple of videos from Formalin and The Last Cry.

So now it's time to kick back and stuff ourselves stupid with chocolate in memory of a killer bunny... Oh, that's not what Easter is about? Ah well, I like my version better...

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Wednesday 27 March 2013

Review: Tyler Milchmann - Strange Days'

Ukrainian native Tyler Milchmann's début album, 'Strange Days', on Bugs Crawling Out Of People has slipped under the radar for a few months now. Which is a shame as his strongly Germanic influenced style takes its cues from the likes of Blutengel, Das Ich, Oomph! And even a little folksy nod to In Extremo that will no doubt find a ready-made audience across European clubs. Now with a digital single in the form of 'An Eye For An Eye' just around the corner, it seems like we will be hearing a lot more from him in the near future. But for now we'll go back to the début.

The Eastern Europeans have been throwing out some interesting and very promising new acts, of which it seems Tyler Milchmann looks set to find himself at the head of. His predominantly German lyrics will appeal to the Germanophiles out there, but his penchant for a strong dance beat and slightly outside-of-the-box arrangements will pique plenty of people's interests.

It's not particularly innovative by any stretch of the imagination as Milchmann has unequivocally has his eyes set on becoming a name to be reckoned with. But, although this is a relatively familiar style of darkwave infused electro-industrial it is nonetheless very well executed, to the point that it is hard to believe this is his first offering.

Songs like 'Veitstanz', 'Where The Iron Crosses Never Grow', 'Solange Es Noch Warm', 'Alle Kinder' and 'Die Promenade' all have to potential for some serious international club exposure. While the likes of 'Devil Is An Old Man From Radio' and 'Rauch Über Der Elbe' in particular would sound very strong in a live setting.

The only things that let the album down really boil down to the mix, which sometimes sounds cluttered and swamps the vocals, as well as some awkwardly executed and slightly out of time vocals in a couple of spots. They're not particularly big issues, but they do detract from an otherwise solid release.

It will be interesting to see how Milchmann follows this up, as there are several distinct elements all vying for attention here that he balances well on 'Strange Days', but could take him in very interesting directions if he were to play on them a little more.

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Review: Resonance Room - 'Untouchable Failure'

'Untouchable Failure' 

Italian goth metal outfit Resonance Room's second full-length album 'Untouchable Failure' will appeal to those who enjoy the heavy guitars of acts like Porcupine Tree, the misery of Katatonia, the progressive elements of Anathema and the dark style of Moonspell. It's a formula that should give them a worldwide appeal. Especially when it is executed to such a high degree, as is the case here.

The band flit back and forth between memorable but scathing guitar riffs and thick melodic interludes with great ease, evoking a doomier take on Katatonia's 'Great Cold Distance' which shows a strong development since the band's début 'Unspoken'.
the songs which give the album its backbone; 'The Great Insomnia', 'So Precious', 'Naivety And Oblivion' and 'Faded' all resonate (pardon the pun) with melancholic angst as the clean vocals interact in an almost ethereal way with the heaviness of the guitars before fading into the more ambient and progressive sections where they can really shine. Though it is the album's penultimate track, acoustic-led 'Prometheus' that provides a progressive-orientated jewel in the crown for the band.
However the likes of 'Cages Of Dust' and 'Outside The Maze' are perhaps the most glaring examples of when the band don't quite get things right. Though they are both excellently performed, and feature strong bass and vocals in particular, they just never quite click in the same way as the other songs do.

In terms of production this album is pretty much spot on aside from a little too much treble on the guitars that detract from the bottom end of the mix. But this is a small niggling point on a wonderfully executed album that works well both in terms of song-writing and performance.

This is a very strong offering that should have plenty of critics and fans sit up and take notice. If they can spread their live reputation outside of their native borders, there is no reason why this album shouldn't provide a solid Platform from which the band can launch from.

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New Alfa Matrix singles from Kant Kino and Pouppée Fabrikk

Belgian electro label Alfa Matrix has announced two new download singles from Kant Kino and Pouppée Fabrikk (the first new single in 12 years from the Swedish ebm band).

Kant Kino's
single features a new edit of the song 'Just For The Comfort Of Sleep' (from the recent album 'Father Worked In Industry') with an extra remix and demo version also included.

Pouppée Fabrikk's single also features a 12” remix and reworked versions by
Spetsnaz, Autodafeh and Polyfuse.

1. Bring Back The Ways Of Old (POUPPÉE FABRIKK 12 Inch Version)
2. Bring Back The Ways Of Old (SPETSNAZ Pushed Around Remix)
3. Bring Back The Ways Of Old (AUTODAFEH Remix)
4. Bring Back The Ways Of Old (POLYFUSE Remix)

1. Just For The Comfort Of Sleep (insomnia edit)
2. Just For The Comfort Of Sleep (KANT KINO klubbmix)
3. Just For The Comfort Of Sleep (demo v2, vocoder)

Both are available to download now via the Alfa Matrix Bandcamp page.

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Tuesday 26 March 2013

Review: Ogenix - 'Ogenix'


The Quebec-based quintet Ogenix are flying the flag for cyber-metal proudly and very loudly. Their début six-track album is a scathing blend of grinding metal guitars and liberal doses of modular synthesizers executed at breakneck speed. The band are stealing the ball from the likes of such luminaries as Fear Factory and running with it.

The band waste no time, with only a brief intro they crash straight into the barrage of abrasive guitars, vocals and synthesizers that is 'Ignition/Fire', which sounds not unlike Hatebreed being remixed by Rammstein. It's a stylistic theme that is carried on throughout the whole of the album with absolutely no respite at all.
The rest of the songs on the album 'Decay', 'Rouge', 'MKT', 'Inquisition/Cult' and 'The End' all play up the industrial electronics elements effectively and keep a good balance between the hardcore vocals and thrash guitars. But across six songs the sound begins to falter and tire from its own ferocity. There are a whole manner of ways the band could counteract this though. They could have done well to add a more toned down song as a centrepiece, extend the electronic intros a bit to break up the pace or even, dare I say, add a couple of remixes to the end.

The production, like the song writing, is equally heavy-handed and the mix is saturated by the number of decibels. This is perhaps their biggest undoing. Going all out on the speed and heaviness is perfectly fine. But the songs do suffer from having everything turned up to eleven all the time and in fact makes the end result feel a little rushed as well.

On the whole though, this is an impressive début that features some interesting and genuinely catchy songs that will definitely appeal more to heavy metal orientated fans. But there is the scope, and the talent, for the band to diversify and potentially conquer new listeners.

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Review: Interstitial - 'Judge A Crook By His Cover'

'Judge A Crook By His Cover' 

The one man electronic project Interstitial has been slogging away for ten years now. And in that time his daring and experimental covers have been a particular source of fascination. Now finally he has collected some of his best into a free download album (he also has some pro bono CD copies too if you live in the USA). The collection 'Judge A Crook By His Covers' see's the Southern Californian native lend is experimental electro style to a diverse range of works by the likes of Tool, Pop Will Eat Itself, Queensryche, Killing Joke and Journey.

The album's Skinny Puppy meets Front 242 style electro-industrial, as you would expect, works very well on songs like 'Walk Away', 'Darkest Entries', 'Ich Bin Ein Auslander', 'One Hundred Years' and 'Love Like Blood' as they retain their original charm but still giving them each drastic dance-friendly makeovers. The most unexpected choices for covers yield the most interesting results though, such as the covers of Tool's 'Sober', Queensryche's 'Silent Lucidity' and Journey's 'Separate Ways' which all sound completely alien to their originals.
However, the film / computer game / professional wrestling themes that round off the collection feel a little hit and miss with the 'Halloween' and 'Stone Cold Steve Austin' themes in particular sounding a bit too thin and rudimentary compared to the hard and compelling 'Chrono Trigger' and 'Metroid' themes.

For a low budget recording set up that is aimed solely at releasing music for free the mixing and production isn't bad. The vocals occasionally sound a little indistinct from the rest of the mix. But it gives the whole album a comfortable, old school kind of sound that tugs nostalgically on the ear.

What constitutes a good cover song is a very subjective matter that will no doubt ensure plenty of debate. But what isn't up for debate is that, just like last year's 'Stolen Thunder 1' EP from Goteki, 'Judge A Crook By His Cover' is a fun and endearing release that will no doubt find a willing audience, especially considering its lack of a price tag.  

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Monday 25 March 2013

Review: Clara Engel - 'The Lovebird’s Throat'

'The Lovebird's Throat'

The listener is not so much a listening to a performance on The Lovebird’s Throat, but has snuck unseen into Clara Engel's secret garden to witness the the quiet wonder of her creations blooming. Her voice expresses vulnerability while revealing great confidence at the center. The production, though immaculate, is uncommonly organic. There is an economy of writing and arrangement that shows Clara Engel has confidence in her art that her performance and skills fully justify. The songs lead the dance with arrangements and production providing the perfect space for the songs to inhabit.

Opening track Not Knowing starts with a vocal and guitar that unfolds its restrained though heartfelt expression of uncertainty and melancholy coupled with a note of hope. The singer and her song laid bare both unadorned and unaffected. Song To The Sea Witch (Disembody My Voice) has a feel of old world narrative balladry and a more layered instrumentation than the opening track. The intensity builds so subtly one is swept away into it undertow before one knows it.

Married To The Bone announces itself with an a capella vocal strong in it's declarative bluesy inflection.  Instruments come in with a drone and heartbeat of percussion that weaves a spell that seduces along with repeated phrases. Lovebirds completes this cycle with a psychedelic undertone and lyrics rich in vivid imagery. As with every track on this release, each part of the performance adds its essential part and nothing more.

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Emilie Autumn European tour announced

Victorindustrialist Emilie Autumn with be bringing her unique brand of theatrics to Europe in support of her latest album 'Fight Like A Girl', the follow-up to 2006's 'Opheliac'.

August 23 - Edinburgh, Scotland - Edinburgh Fringe / Picture House
August 24 - Nottingham, England - Rock City
August 25 - Manchester, England - The Ritz
August 27 - Eindhoven, Holland - Dynamo
August 28 - Utrecht, Holland - The Tivoli
August 30 - Berlin, Germany - Heimathafen
August 31 - Vienna, Austria - Szene
September 1 - Krakow, Poland - Kwadrat
September 2 - Leipzig, Germany - Werk II
September 4 - Hamburg, Germany - Gruenspan
September 5 - Duisburg, Germany - Pulp
September 6 - Aarau, Switzerland - Kiff
September 7 - Pinarella Di Cervia, Italy - Rock Planet
Setpember 8 - Munchen, Germany - Freiheiz
September 10 - Wiesbaden, Germany - Schlachthof
September 11 - Paris, France - La Scene Bastille
September 12 - Antwerp, Belgium - Trix
September 13 - London, England - Shepherd's Bush Empire

TICKETS GO ON SALE MARCH 25TH. (Links for tickets will be put up on the 25th.)

VIP and Early Entry Upgrade packages go on sale to fan club members on the 25th and to everyone else on the 26th. The VIP and Early Entry packages do not include a ticket to the show. TICKETS TO THE SHOW MUST BE BOUGHT SEPARATELY FROM THE UPGRADE PACKAGES

VIP TICKETS INCLUDE: (limit 25 per show)
Fight Like A Girl flag
Signed Setlist
VIP Blend Tea
You can bring one additional item to be signed
Photo with Emilie Autumn taken with the Asylum Camera (this will be emailed to the email addressed used when purchasing the upgrade package)
COST FOR VIP UPGRADE: $75 USD / approx 59 euro / approx 50 pounds

EARLY ENTRY PACKAGE Includes: (limit 75 per show)
Fight Like a Girl Flag
Signed Set list
entry into the venue following the conclusion of the meet and greet
(approximately 10-15 minutes prior to doors)
COST FOR EARLY ENTRY UPGRADE: $45 USD / approx 35 euro / approx 30 pounds

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Friday 22 March 2013

The weekly compendium 22/03/2013

We kicked things off this week with an interview from dark indie up-and-comers BrokenLinks and our Kev went down to London to catch Mexican duo Hocico atthe Electrowerks. Plus reviews of the new releases from Ross Tregenza (Ex-Goteki), Cold Divide, Projekt F and Quasimodo. Plus another round of announcements from Wave Gotik Treffan.

In other news ex-Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy has been making headlines with a DUI charge ahead of his forthcoming world tour. But to the relief of his loyal fans he revealed in a statement on Facebook that the charges will not interfere with the scheduled tour.

There have been new music videos from Meinhard and KMFDM, tour dates from AestheticPerfection, a remix contest from Aeon Sable, and finally Paradise Lost vocalist Nick Holmes has announced he will be cycling fromLondon to Donnington for charity.

That's all for this week. We'll have an evening to chill out and then you can guarantee we'll be hard at it over the weekend getting next week's articles ready for you. But in the meantime here is Nine Inch Nails' Self-Destruct Tour documentary that they've kindly posted on tumblr.

Nine Inch Nails: "Closure" part one: Self Destruct (1997) from Nine Inch Nails on Vimeo.

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Thursday 21 March 2013

Review: Quasimodo - 'Liberty, Equality, Atrocity'

'Liberty, Equality, Atrocity'

This new Leeds-based trio made up of refugees from the recently, and regretfully, disbanded acts Action Directe and Rome Burns have finally emerged with their first EP, 'Liberty, Equality, Atrocity'. A proto-gothic post punk mix of hard guitars, jaunty keyboards, sharp-tongued lyrics and hard repetitive beats. It's evident form this initial recording that the band are opting for a “less is more” policy that isn't so much trying to reinvent the wheel, as hack it to pieces.

The six track EP is nostalgic, even a little archaic with it's raw sound and repetitive construction. But there is something quite charming about the whole thing as Joel Hayes snarls his  darkly witty lyrics over some very catchy guitars and grooving bass.
The stronger songs in the band's arsenal 'Soldier Of Love', 'Urban Guerilla' and 'Precious Thing' get the EP off to a nice start with their energetic but dignified execution. While the sinister and creeping 'Be Cruel!' provides a nice counterpoint in the middle, letting the piano take the strain off the guitars for a bit more variety.
Finally, 'Tough Love' and 'Atrocity Girl' round things off, picking the pace up again and making good use of the electronic elements but suffering somewhat from the overly fuzzy guitars that just make the mix sound rather flat.

The production on 'Liberty, Equality, Atrocity' is intentionally raw, which always has its good points and bad points. Good in that it gives the songs an nice old school sound that inevitably strikes a chord of familiarity with the listener. But bad in that it really can dull the sound of an otherwise appealing song, which unfortunately does happen on occasion here.

If you're looking for a band that will challenge genre conventions and defy expectations then Quasimodo aren't for you. If, however, you're looking for some catchy, guitar-orientated goth rock that will no-doubt translate well to the live stage, then Quasimodo will be right up your street.

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Wednesday 20 March 2013

Review: Projekt F - 'Skins'


Channelling the best of the 1990s' industrial rock output, Projekt F have made a few waves in their north American stomping ground. And with good reason. The bands hard, thrashy style recalls the heyday of Nothing Records talent like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, 2wo, Prick and Pig. It's a sound that still fills dance floors around the world and the Canadian band demonstrate on their début full-length album, 'Skins', that they definitely have the tools to repackage it for the 2013 crowd.

The album mixes the bass heavy, dissonant rock of 'The Downward Spiral' and 'Antichrist Superstar' saturating electronics of 2wo's underrated 'Voyeurs' and gODHEAD's '2,000 Years Of Human Error'. The end result is somewhat nostalgic, but the band's grit and attention to detail make this an utterly compelling album.

Songs like 'Evolved', 'The Wall', 'Lymph', 'Room 13' and 'Perfect Enclosure' give the album a sheer driving force that makes good use of memorable hooks and sing-a-long choruses. The band do like to slow things down though as tracks like 'Rust', 'Disease', and 'Book Of The Flies' can attest to with their use of dominant piano melodies to counterpoint the angst of the majority of the album. However, the over-reliance of this trick does tend to bog down the second half of the album and somewhat stall the momentum of the first few songs.

Production-wise the band have managed to get the balance between the harsh rock and industrial electronics spot-on so that neither is too dominant, effectively evoking that classic “Nothing” sound. The only real fault to be found is that there are one or two songs where the vocals don't quite sit right in the mix, which can be a little distracting.

Projekt F have crafted a very strong début in 'Skins'. It will no doubt be equally praised and criticised for it's nostalgic edge. But that is missing the point. This is a solid first album, from a band with a lot of potential, that displays a level of song-writing and execution that can comfortably hold its own with some classic albums.  

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Review: Cold Divide - 'Weaponized'


Australian industrial metal quartet Cold Divide inject a frantic and glitchy style into what seems to be a very quiet area of the industrial scene. The elements may not be that original with the likes of Skinny Puppy, ohGr, Nine Inch Nails and even Orgy being easy comparisons to make. But the band just have that something about them that makes this EP an intriguing listen.

The band's rock/metal side is fairly straightforward in it's approach with a penchant for chugging rhythms and hanging chords on the choruses. But it's the band's penchant for glitchy electronics that gives them more individuality in a scene that often favours melodies over heavy guitars. The title track 'Weaponized' is perhaps the more balanced sing-a-long anthem of the three tracks which, after it's catchy intro, tends to play things a little too safe. 'Citizen Replaced' feels a bit more disjointed and fun in it's construction that benefits from some great guitar work for an end result that is catchy enough for most industrial rock/metal fans to get into. The final song though 'Cold War Skies' is a very strong offering that pushes the band's glitch elements to stutter and cough throughout its seamless blend of electronic and rock.

The vocals on the tracks tend to vary in quality, getting stronger as the EP progresses, and the mix occasionally feels a little flat on the choruses when you really just want to throw your fist in the air and sing-a-long at the top of your voice.

The songwriting here fundamentally is very good. But the band need that kick to take things to the next level. If they played on the glitchy electronics more they would have no problem making a name for themselves internationally and could possibly revive a side of industrial that seems to have all but stalled.

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Tuesday 19 March 2013

Review: Ross Tregenza - 'Snowdrift'


After sending Goteki back to bed recently, Ross Tregenza hasn't wasted any time in striking out in a new direction. His début solo EP 'Snowdrift' has it's roots in the slower and more introspective end of Goteki's “Death Electro” sound. But here Tregenza takes the opportunity to call on his vast experience as a computer game sound designer and widen his scope to include more blues and indie rock, as well as orchestral elements into the mix.

The title track is a haunting ballad that maintains a dance floor appeal and a twisted pop sensibility, but feels far more complex in it's construction recalling the likes of David Bowie's 'Hours...' with it's mournful pace. Tregenza's track record of appropriating other people's music has been a pretty solid one, and the cover of Crystal Castle's 'Vanished' is a nice one to add to the list. It may not be vastly different, but it fits the feel of the EP and the piano parts give it an icy edge.
The remix of the title track however is a sheer slice of genius. Re-imagined and re-worked into a fake live track, it has all the pomp and grit of Depeche Mode's 'Devotional' and some believable crowd noise – Only Type O Negative's 'The Origin Of The Feces' does a better job at faking it. Finally the closing instrumental 'Wolves' channels the likes of Nick Cave & Warren Ellis' soundtrack work along with a hint of latter day Sisters Of Mercy for a groovy and moody closer.

If its a fresh start from Goteki Tregenza is after then 'Snowdrift' is a good first step. The EP is built to slowly evolve beyond the more comfortable and recognisable elements of his back catalogue and into something much bigger and more interesting. There is still that electro grounding, but the orchestral and more overt use of rock elements makes this a more diverse experience. It will be interesting to see where Tregenza takes things from here.

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Live: Hocico - Electrowerkz, 9th March 2013

9th MARCH 2013 

The last time these eyes witness Hocico, they laid waste to a packed Hangar stage at their headline slot at M’era Luna last August.

That was a show in front of thousands of people, all united in a great party – today we’re only talking hundreds, sometimes smaller crowds are much harder to work.

Although, the way a few are bopping around to opening act XMH, there’s clearly a crowd in the mood for it. Taking 30 minutes of simple dancefloor fodder, they bring bouncy beats with hints of trance amongst the energetic array of tracks.

They’ve clearly a small following of their own and they certainly get people in the mood.  Though a lack of standout tracks and some done-to-death samples keep them from being much more, however, an enjoyable start to the evening.

System:FX are much more organised on this, they hit the right spots and hit them harder.  It’s a fully live set up with guitars, keyboards and drums and that adds an extra boost to the tracks.
With gnarling vocals, catchy rhythms and crunching beats, they hammer the point home and demonstrate just why they play such prime slots.  One of the UK’s stand out acts for sure.
There’s a positive atmosphere brewing even before Hocico take to stage, this is a band people are genuinely excited to see. That the first big cheer is given when the onstage techies get the video stream working just shows the head start they’ve got.

High expectations can lead to mass disappointment, packed out venue, great support acts, crowd in a positive mood…yeah, can be a set up to a fall….or… it can only get better.
The Hocico set is almost like a large party, the message on the new album was “live every day like it’s your last” and everyone is dancing like there’s no tomorrow as Erik and Oscar plough through a mix of new tracks and old favourites, tracks like ‘Vile Whispers’ and ‘T.O.S of Reality’ are standout tracks and so add those to an already impressive roster and you can see why Hocico are doing so well 20 years into their career.

Their Latino harsh electro has become a staple many have copied but few can come close to recreating the energetic power of a Hocico live show.  Whilst Oscar is mobile tied up with keys, Erik more than makes up for this by jumping and bouncing around the stage with full-on power and energy for well over an hour. It must keep him very fit!

Of course, part of their live experience is also the accompanying video projections, which on a smaller stage becomes a bigger part of the experience – it’s almost like they’re part of the horror they’re creating.
London has become another ground they’ve laid waste to, as they demonstrate again why they’re one of the “leaders” of the scene.

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Monday 18 March 2013

Interview: Broken Links

Ways To Leave A Scene...

“There’s uplifting aspects in the video’s, there’s dark moody aspects, but ultimately we follow the golden rule, that someone always dies at the end, rather than use the old cliché that all ends well.”

With their début album, 'Disasters: How To Leave A Scene', Eastleigh's own Broken Links are fast making a name for themselves in the alternative underground. With a sound that combines gritty rock with post punk and industrial elements, referencing the likes of Killing Joke and The Chameleons through to the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Manic Street Preachers and even Massive Attack.
The band's diverse sound has seen them supporting a wide range of acts in the UK as well as Germany, and seen them compared to the likes of Interpol, The Horrors and Editors in terms of commercial potential. We caught up with vocalist/guitarist Mark Lawrence to have a chat about the journey so far and the band's next step.

Intravenous Magazine: Your début album, 'Disasters: How To Leave A Scene', was released in November. What has the reaction been like to it so far?
Mark Lawrence: It’s been really good, we’ve had a large amount of good reviews, some high ratings, and some great feedback from our fans. What we really like is that although we have our influences, it’s been said that we combine them well & have actually come out with a sound that’s unique at the moment.

IVM: The songs on the album have a very broad in their range in terms of influences exploring indie, new wave, industrial and more, and will therefore appeal to fans of many different genres. Is this a style you have consciously strived for or has it grown more organically?
ML: It’s definitely grown organically and naturally. Over the years I’ve been obsessed with a number of bands, starting with Metallica, then NIN, then other bands such as Embrace, U2, Feeder etc..I guessed my mind has naturally picked out the bits I liked most from every band I’ve listened to and incorporated them into our songs.

IVM: The album collects together a wealth of material from your independently released EPs. How did you approach deciding what to include and re-working them for the new album?
ML: We just really picked all the songs we thought defined us for the album, and at the same time, ensured that we were picking our best songs. It was mainly our earlier songs that didn’t make it onto the album, as when we first started our style was very raw and a little “stoner”, but we started to develop into a more electro’y type act. ‘What Are You Addicted To?’ was a song we always played live but had never been recorded for our previous EPs, so we wanted to get that onto the album so the album would at least have one fresh song for our die-hard fans.

IVM: Were there any instances where you've felt inclined to really mix things up in terms of restructuring the songs?
ML: Not really. What we mainly wanted to do was make all of the songs straight to the point. The songs on the EPs were very long, so instead of making everything musical and epic, Chris Coulter (producer) sat down with all our songs, and just trimmed the fat. I think they’re a much more enjoyable listening experience now... and it means we can squeeze in more songs into our live sets!!!

IVM: The album was released on new label Devil Theory Records. How did the partnership come about?
ML: The guys from the label approached us at one of our London gigs and asked if we were interested in being associated with a label, which didn’t really matter to us, but we’ve basically been given a free reign to do what we want. It works really well, it’s a DIY indie label, and we’re very much DIY. Nothing has really changed for us, other than our album has been released with the ‘Devil Theory’ brand associated with it, which helps certain aspects. The guys at the label help us out with PR & Bookings too.

IVM: The album's title is very evocative. What are the underlying themes and ideas explored on the album?
ML: The album is really about life’s ‘disasters’, it’s all about ‘growing pains’, the breakdown of relationships, a bit of self loathing is in there for good measure.

IVM: So far you've released music videos for the tracks 'We're All Paranoid' and 'Within Isolation', which both deal with traumatic situations. How important is it for you to present this visual aspect of the album?
ML: Emotion is a big aspect of our music. We like the music to be dark and moody as possible, but at the same time, uplifting. With this much going into the songs it would seem wrong to not do this for the videos as well. There’s uplifting aspects in the video’s, there’s dark moody aspects, but ultimately we follow the golden rule, that someone always dies at the end, rather than use the old cliché that all ends well. Ultimately, the video is going to provide the image for our song, therefore its highly important that the video is relevant and has the same emotion as the music, luckily every production company we’ve worked with have been amazing and we’ve had some great videos made.

IVM: The singles that the videos accompanied were also released through your bandcamp page for free. Is this a trend that you would like to continue?
ML: Yeah, we really did that to build up a bit of anticipation for the release of the album, but it made perfect sense to release the singles for free, and for the videos we had. We’ll definitely be doing it again, with the state the music industry is in it doesn’t seem right to charge large sums for music anymore, which is why we give the album away at our gigs, as a sort of thank you for paying to watch us.

IVM: Are there plans for any more videos for the album?
ML: No, not unless an offer comes in to film one for next to nothing. At the moment all our focus and money is going on the recording of the second album. Then there should be some new videos for the new tracks around about then.

IVM: You completed a UK tour in November as well. How did you find that and were there any memorable experiences you'd like to share?
ML: Liverpool was fantastic, we’ve got some great fans up there, and the two support acts we played with were great, The Possibles, and Bombshock. We also had a really good night in London at the Rattlesnake, we played the best we’ve played in ages there. I also had my first ever KFC Twister meal at a motorway services just outside of Liverpool!

IVM: Previously you've played shows in Germany and Italy. How have your experiences of Europe been so far, and how do they compare to the UK?
ML: The European crowd perhaps appreciate us a bit more than the UK due to our industrial moody sound. The UK is mainly focused around pop, it’s all that’s ever on the TV. That’s not of course true when we play shows to our fans, but it’s true when we play gigs to a new crowd, some people ‘get us’, but most don’t. We are a god awful noise.

IVM: Are any more European gigs on the cards for the band in 2013?
ML: We’re actually playing Berlin, Chemnitz, and Liege in two weeks time. Hopefully we’ll be back over there again before the end of the year!

IVM: Finally, you're also already working on your second album. What details can you give us about that at the moment?
ML: Not much to say just yet, only that six songs have already been recorded. It’s certainly not a “difficult second album”, we’re churning out the tracks, I think it’s a lot more experimental this time round.

Broken Links' début album 'Disaster: Ways To Leave A Scene' is available now via Devil Theory Records, while the bands previous EPs are available on their bandcamp page. For more information on Broken Links please visit their official website.

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More announcements for WGT

The latest crop of bands have been announced for this years Wave Gotik Treffan festival in Leipzig.
The Birthday Massacre, Brigade Werther, Lord Of The Lost, Unitary, Incubite, Passion Play, Crematory, Phosgore, Velvet Acid Christ, A Split Second, Shiv-R, Orange Sector, Fejd, Still Patient?, The Twilight Garden, Altar Of Plagues.
The number of acts performing now stands at 88.

The festival will take place this year from 17th May until 20th May. For more information please visit the official Wave Gotik Treffen website.

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Friday 15 March 2013

The weekly compendium 15/03/2013

It's the end of another week. But it has been a good week I think. Our Kev went down to London town to check out Hocico for us, and will have a report for us soon. And I made a trip into the delightful industrial garden town (*gags*) of Scunthorpe to get a new tattoo from the good people at Holy Mountain Tattoo And Piercing.

Over on the website there is plenty to get your teeth into as we finally had the second half of our Hammer Horror Head To Head go up on Monday, along with reviews of the latest works from Joe Black, How To Destroy Angels, Death To Self and From The Bogs Of Aughiska. We've also had news stories from Peter Murphy, Wave Gotik Treffan, Nick Cave and SamRosenthal.

On the facebook page though it has been a little quiet this week with a free download fromDead Can Dance, and the announcement that Joe Black will be appearing at this year's Dark Waters festival. We'll try and have a few more bits for you next week though.

But now it's time to kick back with a fine cognac, put my slippers on, light up my pipe and enjoy the weekend with some old school horror films that I picked up cheap from a certain ailing high street chain.

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Review: From The Bogs Of Aughiska – 'Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood'

'Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood'

From The Bogs Of Aughiska first slithered into the dark ambient scene in 2010 and have since seen themselves share stages across Europe with the likes of Ulver, Boyd Rice and most recently Zatokrev. It's no wonder then that their new album, 'Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood' is some seriously bleak listening. Mixing atmospheric and ambient strains with feedback ridden noise, the band occupy a sound that is both entrancing and confrontational.

The way the album is constructed gives it the feel of an overall larger piece cut up into individual movements which flow into one another. Which serves to give the album a sense of metamorphosis as each track slowly becomes something entirely different. The first song 'Aughiska Mor' is quite a typical experimental ambient black metal track with its prevalent dissonance over more pleasant sounds which are almost drowned in the mix. This slowly fades into 'An Senchaí' which features a slightly out of sync one-sided conversation with story teller Eddie Lenihen which sits prominently over a looping ambient electronic backdrop. 'Hell Complex' feels more typically black metal with the vocal contributions of Maurice De Jong from Gnaw Their Tongues jarring against the haunting soundscape.
'I Rise In Beltaine, Turn To Ash In Samhain' is a more restrained electro-ambient track that manages to keep a nice balance between both the ethereal and the ominous with nice use of watery samples mixed in with rhythmic echoes and hanging chords. 'Inish Cathaigh' walks a similar dark path as its predecessor but has a more pronounced sense of space thanks to some prominent wind samples that evoke the picture of a bleak winter moorland (rather than a dank cave as the previous track did), coupled with the spoken lyrics it makes for a very enjoyable listen. The title track enlists both Chris Naughton of Winterfylleth and Ken Sorceron of Abigail Williams for another spooky and jarring track that, after a slow build up, slips easily into an enjoyably experimental black metal form. The final song on the album, 'Conversatio Morum' breaks out the Gregorian chant and heavy feedback for a slightly disappointing closer. The juxtaposition between the sublime ambience of the chant and the droning static feels too lazy for a band that have made some genuinely interesting work until this point.

This is a very challenging listen that will most likely alienate most listeners in the first minute or so. It is a rewarding one though if you stick with it as From The Bogs Of Aughiska are very capable of creating some original and intellectually stimulating work.

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Thursday 14 March 2013

Review: Death Of Self - 'Embracing The Things We Hate About Ourselves'

'Embracing The Things We Hate About Ourselves'

Chicago's Death Of Self is another one of those one-man industrial-noise bands making some genuinely interesting work that seems to just be hovering on the periphery of the scene. Yes, this is a slow and somewhat depressing slant on the genre, but there are some great melodies and dance-friendly beats sprinkled liberally throughout 'Embracing The Things We Hate About Ourselves' that will no doubt find a ready and willing audience.

The opening song 'No Control' is a brilliant introduction that makes good use of a slow and sinister pace underpinned by a memorable melody and simple rhythm that won't send people running for the hills. However things quickly get more interesting on songs like 'Solitude', 'The Machine', 'Meaningless' and 'More Interactions With People' with their increasingly more dissonant, tortured and layered sounds that still manage to retain a simple and approachable rhythmic structure to keep a toe in the potential club waters. The album also makes good use of the heavily distorted vocals as a further rhythmic device rather than part of the melody, which is often left to the various samples. However this does have the occasional draw back, such as on 'Broken Glass' where the vocal line is simply too repetitive in conjunction with the beat.

As with a lot of industrial-noise releases the mix can become quickly over-saturated with distortion on all the various elements of the tracks which then quickly swamps everything ultimately dulling its listening potential. But this is not a common occurrence as for the most part the album is well-balanced, if a little repetitive in places.

For a first full-length 'Embracing The Things We Hate About Ourselves' is meticulous in its construction and should be a good stepping stone for Death Of Self that has both live and club potential. Some more variations and changes in pace would expand nicely on what is already an uncomfortable but compelling listening experience.

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Review: How To Destroy Angels - 'Welcome Oblivion'

'Welcome Oblivion'

With Trent Reznor announcing that his other band will be returning to life later this year, those who have so far whole-heartedly disavowed How To Destroy Angels will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. But if his past four years away from his main project that made him has been about anything it has been about exorcising his other ambitions. So far this has seen him receive a Golden Globes and an Academy Award for his experimental style of film soundtracks, which would seem like enough for most people. But for Reznor it isn't. As the long-awaited début album from How To Destroy Angels 'Welcome Oblivion' attests.

Last year's 'Omen' EP might not have been the revelation that was hinted at in the self-titled début EP, but it did provide an intriguing glimpse of things to come that the full-length 'Welcome Oblivion' expands on. The opening track 'The Wake-Up' gives us a 'Year Zero' style attention grabber right off the bat while the cuts from the EP 'Keep It Together', 'Ice Age' 'On The Wing' and 'The Loop Closes' sit prominently within the track list with their blend of glitchy electronica, dissonant industrial and haunting and rhythmic acoustic embellishments that stylistically inform the majority of the album. Songs like 'Welcome Oblivion', 'We Fade Away' and 'Hallowed Ground' give the album a dark and delectable underbelly that invites the listener to sink into layers of melodic analogue bliss. 'How Long?', on the other hand, replicates the style of the band's cover of Bryan Ferry's 'Is Your Love Strong Enough?' with it's funky but still rather straight composition that sees Maandig's luscious vocals receive a cleaner presentation.
Though the album takes its cues from a younger selection of artist such as Salem and Burial, the album is somewhat self-referencing as there are ideas that were hinted at on Nine Inch Nails records such as 'The Fragile' and 'Year Zero' played out with a more experimental zeal that has no doubt come from Reznor and Ross' recent soundtrack work.

The main criticism of the album is that there is always a sense that the band are holding something back. At times the vocals can be too understated and the songs sometimes feel like they're waiting for a “kick” that never quite materialises, which is a little frustrating given the band's collective history. Certainly if HTDA were a brand new band without the hindrance of any kind of pedigree, then no doubt 'Welcome Oblivion' would have critics hailing them in the same way as they did when 'Pretty Hate Machine' was released. But with an impressive list of albums to their name for comparison, it leaves 'Welcome Oblivion' feeling like it could deliver more.

With the reactivation of Nine Inch Nails on the horizon, How To Destroy Angels' future has a big question mark hanging over its head. Which is a shame, as the project is a refreshing change of pace from the 47-year-old Reznor that is not only deeply engrossing but also capable of going in a number of very interesting and perhaps challenging directions that are just hinted at here.

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Wednesday 13 March 2013

Sam Rosenthal to embark on book tour

Sam Rosenthal, musician and lyricist for underground dark cabaret band Black Tape For A Blue Girl, and the head of Projekt Records, has announced a tour this April in support of his new erotic novel Rye:
I have a whole bunch of events lined-up in April. Touring for Rye with a suitcase of books is fun, in a traveling-salesman / vagabond-kind of way. Meeting up with friends, hanging out at stores, telling you some stories, eating yummy local food. I'd love to see you at one of these...”
Rye is available on Amazon Kindle, and signed copies are available from the official website.

Tour Dates:

Friday April 5 – The Pleasure Chest, Chicago
8pm – 9pm. 3436 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657 — (773) 525-7151
 Facebook Event Page |

Saturday April 6 – Shameless Grounds, St. Louis, MO
7pm – 8pm. 2650 Sidney Street, Saint Louis, MO 63104 — (314) 773-9900
 Facebook Event Page |
Sunday April 7 – Boxcar Books, Bloomington, IN
5:30 – 6:30pm. 408 E. 6th St. Bloomington, IN 47408 — (812) 339-8710.
Facebook Event Page |
Saturday April 13 – Rainbow Book Fair, NYC
Noon – 6pm; Holiday Inn Midtown; 440 W. 57th Street, NYC 10019 (between 9th and 10th Avenues).
Tuesday April 16 – The Erotic Literary Salon, Philadelphia
7:30pm – 9:30. TIME (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge). 1315 Sansom Street, Center City, Philadelphia.
Sunday April 21 – Good Vibrations, Brookline, MA
4 – 5pm. 308A Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446 — (617) 264-4400
 Facebook Event Page |

You can also catch Rosenthal at “TheBusinessof Music in a Digital Age” discussion, Thursday April 4 – Lake Forest College, Chicago, which will include Rosenthal as a guest panellist. 

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Nick Cave launches Spotify App

Nick Cave, famous for his contributions to popular music with such bands as The Birthday Party, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds and Grinderman has launched an app for the music streaming service Spotify to help make sense of his expansive back catalogue.

Developed in tandem with web design agency Retrofuzz and Kobalt Label Services, the app covers over 20 albums that Cave and his various bands have produced over the past 30 years, as well as various collaborations, and generates play lists according to several categories as defined by Cave himself: Classic, Murder & Mayhem, Spiritual, Confessional, Blasphemy, Sex, Heartbreak, Comic, Love, and Super Dark.

In addition to this are playlists from artists Jarvis Cocker, Dave Gahan, Lou Reed and Mary Ann Hobbs with the songs that have inspired them.

Speaking on his official website:

The new album 'Push The Sky Away' from Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds is out now on CD, Vinyl and a Super Deluxe Box Set.

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Tuesday 12 March 2013

Review: Joe Black - 'Satan In A Sunday Hat'

'Satan In A Sunday Hat' 

The aptly titled "king of cabaret noir" Joe Black is due to release his fourth album in April. With help from a very successful fundraising campaign 'Satan In A Sunday Hat' is a collection of original songs and well known covers, many of which feature guest vocalists.

The album is structured like a radio show with various 'djs' - including Voltaire and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing's Andrew O'Neill - talking in between spooky cabaret-style tracks. The production is stripped back giving an old fashioned, creepy sound with use of unusual instruments (ukulele, kazoo, toy piano etc.) helping to unnerve the listener. 

Covering all his favourite topics - drinking gin, love and murder, going to hell - Black screeches and cackles his way through the eleven songs. Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' gets a melancholic makeover and the classic 'You Are My Sunshine' is somehow made into a dirge when put through Black's creative mind.

With his reputation and vaudeville goth-darling aesthetic complementing his music perfectly the album is sure to be a success, but something of his magic is lost when heard on recording rather than witnessing his spectacle live on stage, as is probably true of all cabaret acts.

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Latest from WGT

The latest acts to be announced for this year's Wave Gotik Treffan festival:
VNV Nation, Winterkälte, Nomans Land, The Mescaline Babies, Soriah , Desireless & Operation Of The Sun, C-Lekktor, Thundra, Skeletal Family, Xandria, Proyecto Mirage, Grausame Töchter, Reformed Faction, Patenbrigade Wolff, Iszoloscope, Dunkelschön.

The festival will take place this year from 17th May until 20th May. For more information please visit the official Wave Gotik Treffen website.

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