Interview: Marc Heal

“It’s funny, having worked so hard to make a living out of music I found once I’d got there that I’d broken myself in the process. I needed a break to do some, uh, emotional housekeeping.”

Interview: Bestial Mouths

“The newer material is very personal in nature as it directly relates to the experiences and emotions I had been going through and feeling. Those experiences set the direction for the album title and cover art.”

Review: Cease2xist – 'Zero Future'

CEASE2XIST 'Zero Future' ARMALYTE INDUSTRIES

Review: David Bowie – 'No Plan'

DAVID BOWIE 'No Plan' COLUMBIA / SONY es' SELF-RELEASED

IVM's Best Albums Of 2016

Check out our 30 favourite albums of 2016

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Review: Kommand + Kontrol - 'It Hz'




Kommand + Kontrol 
'It Hz' 
SELF-RELEASED 

Kommand + Kontrol's blend of sleek modern sounds and old school song structures has been turning heads since the duo released their début EP, 'Dead Ground Ahead', in 2009. Now they return with their most overtly dance orientated offering yet in the form of 'It Hz'.

After a slow and sinister intro the title track kicks things off with a generous blend of samples, steady dance beats and a chopped-up feel that evokes the likes of deadmau5 and is utterly compelling. 'Exceed-Excel' follows on in a similar fashion, again focussing on that choppy style with a strong synth bass running all the way through, while 'Gods+Monsters' sees the filthy electronics joined by some guitars, which until now have taken a back seat. The final track 'Sky God' doesn't altogether dispense with the underlying formula of the EP, but is a little more minimal in it's execution compared to it's predecessors. As with most EPs these days, things are rounded off with some remixes. And as you'd expect, they are suitably club-friendly as well, in particular XP8's take on the excellent 'Watched By Machines'. All this adds up for pretty much an ideal selection for any Disc Jockey's arsenal.

It's nice to hear K+K really dive headlong into making a dance EP and up shake their formula a little. As DJs themselves, they've always created music that appeals to both club and live audiences. But mixing things up in this way and giving the guitars and vocals a back seat shows another side to what is already a very strong sound. It's going to be very exciting to see where these guys go on their long-awaited full-length début after a curve ball such as this.

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Pankow return with 'And Shun The Cure They Most Desire'




Italian electronic outfit Pankow have announced the details of their forthcoming album which will be released on Germany's Out Of Line Records on 1st March 2013.

'And Shun The Cure They Most Desire', the group’s first long player in more than five years, sees them reunited with original vocalist and non-conformist Alex Spalck who lends his voice to three songs (next to new singer Bram Declercq) as well as writing all the lyrics.

The album contains the bonus disc '+', a collection of completely new and exclusive remixes from bands like Rabia Sorda, Tying Tiffany, Ambassador 21 and many more, as well as re-/deconstructions of classic songs by the band.


Track list

CD 1:
1. Great Minds Against Themselves Conspire  
2. Dirty Old Men
3. Logophobia  
4. Crash and Burn  
5. Mortality
6. Escape from Beige Land  < MMXII >
7. Regenerated Degenerated  
8. Radikal  
9. Kein Entkommen
10. Don't Follow
11. No More Sleep  
12. Suffocate    
13. Mortality  (Paolo f remix)

CD 2: '+'
1. Das Wodkachaos  
2. Deny Everything
3. Sickness Taking Over (Rabia Sorda Remix)
4. Crash and Burn    
5. Me And My Ding Dong  (Tying Tiffany Remix)  
6. Suffocate (Ambassador 21 Remix)
7. Das Wodkachaos (Schwefelgelb Remix)
8. Sickness Taking Over  (Paolo f remix)
9. No More Sleep  (Ritualz Remix)
10. Extreme
11. Gimme More  < Much More >
12. A Wine Called Anarchy
13. Sickness Taking Over
14. Don't
15. Me And My Ding Dong
16. Das Wodkachaos

The band's current EP is available to buy now through the Out Of Line webshop. For more information on the band please visit their facebook page.

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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Review: Pittersplatter - 'Frozen'




PITTERSPLATTER
'Frozen'
MUTANT-E

The overwhelming urge is to compare Oklahoma based one-man-band Pittersplatter to 'The Smell Of Rain' era Mortiis. Indeed 'Frozen' is an ambient yet club-friendly electronic album and yes, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Worm Splatter also looks like an extra from The Lord Of the Rings. But Pittersplatter is a very different beast. Whereas Mortiis' sound eventually found its way into industrial rock, Pitterplatter is very much grounded in the late 80s/early 90s electro-goth sound with nods to the likes of Skinny Puppy and Spahn Ranch.

'Frozen' is the second of a four-album story arc that began with 'The Dawn Of Carnage', and sticks fast to the band's elementary style established on the first album. Songs like 'The Dark', 'The Devil Made Me Do It', 'Glory' and 'The Waking' are mid-tempo, beat driven and uncomplicated songs that are catchy, performed very well and would be very easy to reproduce in a live setting. Occasionally there is a flourish of experimentalism, such as in the choral-driven centrepiece 'Desolate', but for the most part the songs stay well within their comfort zone.
In terms of production, the album has a very clean but very minimalistic mix. It sounds rough and old school which is inherently charming, but does make them sound a little dated in place. Which is a shame, as there are some strong songs here.

The project's monstrous imagery aside, the album is a charming display of the old school electro-goth sound and has a fair few club-friendly tracks in its modest running time. At just nine-tracks long the album doesn't outstay its welcome, and the similar pace of the songs doesn't get a chance to wear thin. However it is just missing that certain something that would see Pittersplatter evolve from an interesting oddity of the scene into one with serious clout.

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Review: The Eden House - 'Bad Men (OnTheirWayToDoBadThings)'




THE EDEN HOUSE
‘Bad Men (OnTheirWayToDoBadThings)’
JUNGLE RECORDS

The Eden House is one of those dream projects that just seems to work on every level. More of a collective than an actual band, it sees some of the most talented musicians and vocalists in the goth scene (and beyond) come together, without ego clashes, to create great art.

Formed around the central trio of Stephen Carey, Tony Pettitt and Andy Jackson The Eden House has seen a host of guests across their album 'Smoke & Mirrors' and two EPs 'The Looking Glass' and 'Timeflows' including Monica Richards (Faith & The Muse), Amandine Ferrari (Banished), Lee Douglas (Anathema) Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music) and Simon Hinkler (The Mission). The result each time has been magic. Therefore The Eden Project's latest single, ‘Bad Men (OnTheirWayToDoBadThings)’,  has a lot to live up to already.

The band immediately puts any worries to bed though, as it becomes evident from the initial bars of the trip hop tinged, guitar driven A-side that they are only going from strength-to-strength. A mellow blend of hypnotic female vocals, trippy electronic embellishments, grooving bass line and some sublime guitar work give this song a strong, driving pace that is at the same time subtle in it's execution.
The B-side 'Survival Instinct' is again subtle and hypnotic, but instead of the driving driving rock underbelly of the A-side, it opts instead for a more haunting ambient-electronic style for the main bulk of the song before breaking out the guitars and drums for a big outro.

If this single is anything to go by The Eden House's next album, 'Half Life' (due for release in April), will be another classic slice of progressive gothic rock.

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Monday, 28 January 2013

Review: Cryogenic Echelon - 'Pandora & Persephone'




CRYOGENIC ECHELON
'Pandora & Persephone'
VERA RECORDS

Cryogenic Echelon's last full-length release 'Antipode' put Gerry Hawkins on the international map as an innovative and original electronic artist. The follow-on EP unsurprisingly picks up where 'Antipode' left off for another round of dance floor anthems that blend dark electro, trip hop, ebm and dubstep into a unique and effective formula.

The album kicks off with 'The Myth', which is a subtle introduction that revolves around heavily vocoded spoken lyrics. The intro track provides a nice counterbalance to the big beat orientated title track which features soaring melodies and a great vocal performance from Eugene Nesci. 'Feels Like A Dream' featuring Ascension EX has a classic and somewhat disjointed dark electro feel underpinned by some strong grooving synth bass and jaunty beats which are deployed to great effect. 'Persephone' featuring Vprojekt breaks out the bass in a big way with a slower and sexier feel with it's bump and grind pace. 'You Will Love Him (More Than You Love Me)' on the other hand is a great dance instrumental that ups the bpm and really lets Hawkins play around and have fun. Finally the four remixes of 'Pandora' see Modulate, XP8, Uberbyte and Vicious Alliance each giving the song a dramatic reworking that only adds to the dance floor appeal of this EP.

Once again Gerry Hawkins proves that Cryogenic Echelon is a name synonymous with technical excellence. Each song is a potential dance floor hit and wonderfully crafted from conception to completion. As with 'Antipode', this EP will quite rightly appeal to electronic fans right across the spectrum.

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Review: NUDE - 'Plastic Planet'



NUDE

'Plastic Planet'
MY KINGDOM MUSIC

When a press release claims their new band covers every genre and is guaranteed to please everyone, it is wise to be poised for disappointment. Apparently able to channel everyone from Joy Division and New Order to The Cult and even HIM, this Italian five piece already have a lot to live up to before the opening bars even begin. A lone synth starts the first track, then chugging guitars join the sound. At this point opener 'Shining Stardust' could go either way - cliché or awesome. The guitars drop into the background and charismatic, goth-rock vocals take over. The catchy, hook-laden chorus kicks in with electro bleeps and a driving drum beat. From this point it is clear these guys know what they're doing and are doing it very well. Awesome.

Although NUDE have technically been together for over ten years 'Plastic Planet' is only their second release, having been on hiatus since their début 'Cities And Faces' in 2001 through Scarlet Records. This is their first via My Kingdom Music and is a very welcome return. 'Down In The Garden' is more guitar heavy, utilising the bass and keys for an old school goth-rock sound perfectly. 'My World Today' is more relaxed but no less catchy, the kind of low-key dark rock that Paradise Lost made their own. 'Neon Smile', as the name suggests, features more synths with distorted guitars taking a back seat, letting the electronic beat and keys take over. The result is a subtle 80s synthpop flavour without digressing from the band's already established style.

'Shanghai Basement' continues the high energy, running rhythm but just as the song begins to sound familiar they manage to seamlessly drop in a break and guitar solo. The track snaps shut and the next kicks in. The album continues in this vein, each offering has atmosphere, depth and guts thanks to the balanced synths and reverbing guitars. The title track is equal parts self-reflective and celebratory, both lyrically and musically, and one of the best on the album.

Final song 'Much Better' surprises again. The guitars take a classic rock tack, the synths stay high and the chant along chorus end the album on a clean, crisp high. Probably exactly the way they wanted it.

NUDE are clearly experienced musicians, confident and passionate about what they do, and have managed to produce something that lives up to the hype. Ten full tracks of awesome.

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Sunday, 27 January 2013

Interview: The Ludovico Technique


Beyond Therapy...

“Some things are beyond therapy: I personally view it as sometimes things in life may be broken and beyond repair or sometimes things in life may work and are beyond needing repair regardless of others opinion of what's broken.”

Rising stars of the US industrial scene, The Ludovico Technique have been enjoying a wave of momentum off the back of their début full-length album, released on Metropolis Records last Autumn as well as a nationwide tour supporting Imperative Reaction.
We invited vocalist and mastermind Ben V by for a quick chat about the past few months and to get to the bottom of his obsession with “Therapy”.


Intravenous Magazine: Your début album 'Some Things Are Beyond Therapy' has been out for a
while now. How has it been received so far?

Ben V: Yes, the album came out in the fall of 2012 and has been well received. It offers something a bit different from what our genre has grown accustomed to. Pouring our heart and soul into this work to make it something that would be an accurate representation of the emotions contained therein was well worth the long days and sleepless nights while recording.


IVM: How would you compare the style and sound of the new album to your self-titled EP?

BV: On the new album I really pushed myself to delve a little deeper with the overall writing and arrangements. The scale of some of the songs on the full length are very large and encompassing. Three-part vocal harmonies, seven-part synth harmonies, key changes, tempo changes. Compared with the EP which was very straight forward. I love them both.


IVM: “Therapy” is a reoccurring word in the band's lexicon. How does this tie in with the themes and ideas at work on the album?

BV: Some things are beyond therapy: I personally view it as sometimes things in life may be broken and beyond repair or sometimes things in life may work and are beyond needing repair regardless of others opinion of what's broken. It comes down to the Individual.




IVM: The band's name is derived from A Clockwork Orange and your first EP used a lot of samples from the film. What is it about the novel/film that inspires you the most?

BV: The overall concept that what is ethical is subjective and that those in power can attempt to instil their idea of morals and ethics by social behaviour conditioning.


IVM: Your first release was your self-titled EP in 2010 on Crunch Pod Records, but you quickly gained the attention of Metropolis Records. How did this relationship come about and how do you feel the band has benefited?

BV: I'd say working with Metropolis has allowed our Music to reach a broader spectrum than before, we're appreciative that when the time came we were ready to back up this opportunity with everything we have artistically.


IVM: How do you typically approach song writing and do you have any particular rituals?

BV: There's no strict approach, sometimes I start with lyrics and build the music around them. Other times I start with music and write lyrics to go with those sounds. I feel as long as you write from the heart there's no wrong way.


IVM: The band is also comprised of two live members. Are they purely involved with enabling live performance or do they contribute to the recording process as well?

BV: I write the lyrics and music, my keyboardist Evan helps with production and mixes. I
think it's a good team since I hardly have the patience for long nights of mixing these days. I appreciate everything he brings to the table. Our drummers help fill out the live performance aspect, we've had a chance to work with some great ones.




IVM: One thing that is very striking about the band's sound is the range of vocal styles and effects used on the songs. Has this been something fundamental to you from day one or did you arrive at it more organically?

BV: The vocal style variations are something that I've always done but weren't as prevalent until the recent album in the recorded works of the band. Industrial music has always been about experimentation to me. I vocalize different emotions in different ways, whatever feels "right" and serves the song I guess.


IVM: In November you released a video for 'Potential', how was that experience for you?

BV: It was great a experience, I really enjoyed helping to put that one
together artistically.


IVM: Are there plans for any more videos in support of the album?

BV: Yes, We're going to be releasing a video for 'Wired for Destruction' as well as 'Shutting Down'.


IVM: You can also boast having Athan Maroulis (Spahn Ranch & Black Tape For A Blue Girl) as a manager. How did that come about and what would you say have you learned from him?

BV: We've learned a great deal and continue to draw from his wealth of knowledge. Having an artist as a manager gives a different dynamic to how we can work together because of his experiences. A good friend of ours that runs an industrial night called Das Maschine introduced us to Athan.


IVM: You've recently completed a tour with Imperative Reaction. How did that go for you guys and do you have got any good stories you can share?

BV: Ted from Imperative Reaction produced the new album with us so being on the road with them was great. At times being on a tour of that length is a little rough, it definitely makes you grow as an artist. I'm appreciative to have had that experience.


IVM: You'll also be touring the US and Canada with God Module in March. How did this come about?

BV: Once we returned from the Imperative reaction tour we wanted to get right back out on the road. We knew God Module had a tour planned and the time frame was perfect. they're great people and we always enjoy performing with them.




IVM: Finally, will we be likely to see Ludovico Technique in Europe or the UK any time soon?

BV: We wanted to play the Resistanz festival 2013 in the UK but it didn't work out this time around. Were definitely looking into some options to get to Europe sooner than later so, keep on the lookout.


The Ludovico Techniques full-length début is available now through Metropolis Records. To keep up with the latest information from the band, visit their official website.

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Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Weekly Compendium 25/01/2013




It's been one of those weeks where there just isn't enough hours in the day, nevertheless we at Intravenous Magazine have still managed to bring you plenty of articles to get your sharp teeth into.

We kicked things off with the first of a two-part look at the biggest film franchises produced by that most British of horror institutions, Hammer films. We kicked things off with an in-depth analysis of the Frankenstein series and the on-screen terrors provided by the eponymous Baron played by the legendary Peter Cushing. Part two will arrive soon to look at the exploits of Christopher Lee's Count Dracula.

We've had plenty of news as well this week from the likes of A Pale Horse Named Death, Blutengel,  Dark Dimensions and Depeche Mode. As well as reviews of the latest albums from Trakktor, Garten Der Asche, RetConStruct, New Zero God and Unitary.




Over on the social networks we've seen the new music videos from Mesh for 'Born To Lie' and Blush Response for 'Voices'. UK electro stalwarts Inertia have launched a crowd-funding campaign to help get them to the USA. Death-glam act Deathstars have been announced ad co-headliners for Blackfield festival. And The Independent discovered Steampunk.

Don't forget there is ONE WEEK left to enter our launch competition. It's dead easy to enter and you have no excuse not to!



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Review: Unitary - 'Misanthropy'



UNITARY 
'Misanthropy' 
INFACTED RECORDINGS 

Unitary, as the name suggests, is the product of one man, Swede Johan Hansson. 'Misanthropy' is his second release on German label Infacted Recordings and he describes his sound as 'Emotional Body Music'. Judging by the long-winded, ambient intro his emotions do not include happiness or positivity (the clue was in the title). Though the album has been remastered and re-released so it can't be that misanthropic.

The main body of the album is the standard ebm formula that many will be familiar with. The tracks are well mixed and produced and easily danceable with few stand-outs, which essentially gives 'Misanthropy' the feeling of being one long track. 'Mkultra' is the first to break the pattern, being the only slow track on the album. It shows Hansson can do more than program a beat, he can also make an interesting and involving song. The following track, 'My Profane', shows more promise still with a more upbeat feel and catchy lyrics, essential for club appreciation. After this peak the album reverts to type with generic synth dance beats and miserable lyrics. Final track 'Memesis' is edm - "Electronic Dirge Music" - bleak and drawn out, with no depth or beauty to it and gives the listener no reward for getting to the end.

The remastered version of the album, 'Misanthropy II' was released just a few months after the first release date. As well as the original tracks it contains more remixes, perhaps in an attempt to give the listener something to look forward to at the end of an otherwise uneventful experience.

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Depeche Mode Announce New Album Details



Synthpop stalwarts Depeche Mode have announced that their next album, 'Delta Machine', will be available from the 26th March on Columbia Records. The British three-piece have been producing music since the 1980s and are probably best known for 'Personal Jesus', a track that has spawned many covers by a variety of artists.

This their 13th studio album was produced by Ben Hillier and mixed by Flood who have both worked with the group on previous releases - 'Playing The Angel' and 'Violator' respectively. As well as the usual CD format 'Delta Machine' will also be available in a deluxe edition which will include a photo book. The first single 'Heaven' will have it's video début on February 1st via Vevo.

Speaking about the writing and recording process song writer and guitarist Martin Gore said "I wanted the sound of this collection to be very modern. I want people to feel good about listening to this record, to get some kind of peace". Frontman Dave Gahan added "When we hit a wall where we realise the album is beginning to sound too normal, we'll mess it up and really give it that organic Depeche Mode sound. 'Delta Machine' is no different".

After the album release the band plan on a European tour starting in Tel Aviv in May. Details of a North American tour are expected to be revealed in the near future.


Track Lists:

Delta Machine - Standard CD:
1. Welcome To My World
2. Angel
3. Heaven
4. Secret To The End
5. My Little Universe
6. Slow
7. Broken
8. The Child Inside
9. Soft Touch / Raw Nerve
10. Should Be Higher
11. Alone
12. Soothe My Soul
13. Goodbye

Delta Machine - Deluxe Edition: (includes hardcover 28-page booklet)

Disc 1
1 - Welcome To My World
2 - Angel
3 - Heaven
4 - Secret To The End
5 - My Little Universe
6 - Slow
7 - Broken
8 - The Child Inside
9 - Soft Touch / Raw Nerve
10 - Should Be Higher
11 - Alone
12 - Soothe My Soul
13 - Goodbye

Disc 2
1 - Long Time Lie
2 - Happens All The Time
3 - Always
4 - All That’s Mine

'Heaven' CD:

“Heaven” CD Single:
1 - Heaven
2 - All That’s Mine (b side bonus track)

'Heaven' CD maxi single:
1 - Heaven
2 - Heaven (Owlle Remix)
3 - Heaven (steps to heaven rmx)
4 - Heaven (Blawan Remix)
5 - Heaven (Mathew Dear vs Audion Remix)

For the latest news on Depeche Mode, visit their official website.

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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Review: New Zero God - 'MMXIII'




NEW ZERO GOD 
'MMXIII' 
SECRET SIN RECORDS 

Greek post-punk outfit New Zero God have certainly got a solid pedigree having been formed from the combined ashes of the gothic rock band The Flowers Of Romance, industrial rockers Nexus and darkwave act The Drops; all of which have shared the stage with luminaries such as The Mission and Christian Death in their heyday. New Zero God though is a beast unto itself, distilling the best elements of these groups and giving them a major overhaul.
The band's 2010 début, 'Fun Is A Four Letter Word', was a strong initial step that has given the band a foothold in Europe and the UK. But this means that their third studio outing a lot to try and outdo.

The album is primarily guitar driven and retains the endearing punk flirtations of their début with nods to the likes of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and Play Dead. But songs like 'Damaged', 'Hypnotised', 'Pin Ups', 'Intoxication' and 'Until The End Of The Line' mix things up nicely by channeling the likes of Fields Of The Nephilim, Killing Joke and even hints of The Cure and Peter Murphy into the band's sound. It's well written and well executed work, with Mike Pougounas' rich and varied vocal performances deserving particular praise.
Where is starts to come apart for the band though is in the production. Punk attitudes aside, there are a few songs that sound as though the mix was rushed through in the studio. Vocals come in too low or sit uncomfortably on top of guitars and drums that just sound too tinny as they swamp the bottom end, which will no doubt be more discernible on the compressed digital format.

There are some great songs on this album that unfortunately come stuck at times. But the band's ear for a catchy chorus and a strong guitar riff often sees them through the rough patches with ease. 'MMXIII' may not be the revelation that takes New Zero God to the next step, but they are definitely on the right track.

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Dark Dimensions announces new signings and releases


German label group Dark Dimensions have announced the signing of ebm outfit Spetsnaz and indie rock band Martin Kleid.

Five years after the last Spetsnaz album 'Deadpan' the band have revealed that their fourth album, 'For generations to come', is to be released on the 1st of March 2013 on Scanner.



Italian indie rock quartet Martin Kleid, consisting of Sasha Polita (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, synth) Claudio Santoni (lead guitar, synth) Francesco Pellegrinelli (bass guitar, synth) Michele Bellagamba (drums), will release their début studio album '8Lights' on the 1st of March on Alice in...



Finally, dark techno/industrial project Chainreactor will return to the fray once more with a new album in the form of 'The Silence And The Noise', as well as a new addition to the line up. Mastermind Jens Minor is now joined by Kay Schäfer (Amox Mind) as part of the project's live presence.
'The Silence And The Noise' will be released on the 1st of march 2013 on ProNoize.



For the latest information on forthcoming Dark Dimensions releases, please visit the official website.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Review: RetConStruct - 'Dear Doomsday'




'Dear Doomsday'


The début offering from San Jose based duo Guy and Jill Valdes AKA RetConStruct – short for “Retroactive Continuity Construct” – shouldn't really work. Across the album's thirteen tracks the band tell “stories of scientific attempts to open gates into hell and [...] chronicle our futile attempts to survive invasion by aggressive species”. Musically it's a conceptual car crash of powernoise and industrial soundscapes tied together by a core understanding of catchy song writing. It's off-beat, rough, distorted and doesn't ever feel like it truly comes together, but the framework is there for a genuinely interesting project.

 Opening with 'Inevitable Retconstruction' the band play things safe with a slice of sample-heavy atmospheric industrial before descending into the demented clattering of 'Orbital Outpost Empyrean', with it's uncomfortable timing and menacing vocal performance. Tracks like 'Virtual Hero', 'Legion Of Dolls', 'Dark Days' and 'Invasive Species' on the other hand continue along a more recognisable if still unorthodox formula that makes good use of both beats and bass to propel the album along. But the heavily, distorted vocal performance give things an old school kind of feel reminiscent of the cacophonous early days of industrial music. But just when you think you've got this album figured out, RetConStruct pull out another trick to make you re-evaluate the album.

In terms of production the album is crystal clear and the mix lets everything ring out as it should. Where the problems lie is really in the rawness of the recordings. The drums can at times sound rather tinny and the vocals often swamp themselves to the point of incoherence.

Conceptually this is clever stuff though. The band's mission statement may read like another science fiction obsessed project, but stylistically they're really trying to push their boundaries. But rather than opt for a sharp shock to the system, the album does feel like it is trying to cover a lot of ground unnecessarily, which unfortunately does muddy the overall impact. 


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Review: Garten Der Asche - 'Nemesis'




'Nemesis'
SELF-RELEASED

Six years in music can be a very long time. Especially for a non-European / American band trying to establish itself in the industrial scene. Sometimes though, the wait is worthwhile. And this seems to be the case with 'Nemesis', the new EP from Pretorian duo Garten Der Asche.

This is the now intercontinental duo's first output since their 2006 début 'Born From The Ashes' and despite the distances involved (surely shortened by broadband connections) they sound more focussed than ever. The title track 'Nemesis' is a strong blend of hard dance beats, sinister synthesizer melodies and distorted black metal vocals that evokes the likes of Psyclon Nine, Wumpscut, and Mentallo & The Fixer. It is a formula that is continued with great effect across the remaining tracks, 'Patriot Act!' and 'Remember', giving the band three potential floor-fillers.
The EP also includes remixes of the title track by Acylum, System:FX, Dj Transporter, and Acretongue who each give the song a significant, but always dance-friendly overhaul. Though it would have been nice if one of the other tracks was given the remix treatment, if only for variety's sake.

For a band that has been in limbo for over half-a-decade, 'Nemesis' is a very strong release, despite the geographical distances. The EP is well written, well performed and well produced aside from the vocals occasionally disappearing into the mix. As such it is sure to make a lot of people sit up and take notice. Garten Der Asche would do well to capitalise on this sooner rather than later.

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Monday, 21 January 2013

Review: TraKKtor - 'Halo Of Lies'




TRAKKTOR 
'Halo Of Lies' 
KATYUSHA 

Swedish trio TraKKtor return with their sophomore album 'Halo Of Lies' aiming to pick up where their impressive 2011's full-length début 'Force Majeure' which produced the brilliant hit 'Veil of Thorns'. Fully intent on carrying through their mission to change the meaning of ebm to “Epic Blockbuster Music”, the band's black metal rooted sound certainly gives them an aggressive injection. We've already had a hint of promising things to come with the massive 'Blitzkrieg Galaxy' precursor single last Spring. But can 'Halo Of Lies' really become the bomb the band are threatening to drop?

The album kicks off with an atmospheric but shaky intro in the form of 'Welcome To Sin City', which evokes memories of The Kovenant. It's rough, choppy sound may work well live, but on CD it is a little underwhelming. However any doubts initially raised are dispelled as the album proper kicks of with the catchy apocalyptic strains of 'The End Of Days', with it's hard beats and soaring melodies underpinned by those demoniacally distorted vocals. The band continue on this form through the likes of 'Blitzkrieg Galaxy', 'TraKKtor' and 'Hollow Spirits...' which despite their breakneck speed, keep a dance-friendly beat.
The band also slow things down on songs such as 'Drag Me to Hell' and 'The Dawn Of War', which close the album, to add some variety to the barrage. They also find time to show of their instrumental skills with 'Orbital Strike..' which sounds like a cross between Starship Troopers and The Pirates Of The Caribbean soundtracks. Should anyone want to approach the band to score a film about space pirates, I'm sure they would oblige.

With a bonus disc of varied remixes as well, 'Halo Of Lies' is a very attractive package that should serve the band well with so many potential club hits and live anthems. The album is a real game changer for the band, and the only real issues with it come in the mix which often sees the vocals too low in the mix, resulting in a swamped sound that is quite distracting. But despite this, the band more than hold their own.

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A Pale Horse Named Death announce 'Lay My Soul to Waste'




Sal Abruscato's [Type O Negative, Life Of Agony] gothic-doom outfit A Pale Horse Named Death have announced the details of their forthcoming sophomore release on Steamhammer/SPV. The new album is entitled 'Lay My Soul to Waste' and it will be released on May 21st in North America.

Additionally, the track list has also been revealed and once again the artwork has been produced by dark artist Sam Shearon, who is also responsible for artwork on the band's début album 'And Hell Will Follow Me'.

Abruscato spoke about the completion of the second record and what fans can expect:
"I can't express in words how proud I am of our accomplishment. To finally complete our sophomore album, sit back and listen to what we have done is a great feeling. From our performances to Matt Brown's mixes and finally having the album blessed by engineer and mastering great Ted Jensen, this album sounds bigger than the Grand Canyon. This album will surpass all expectations; it will be a privilege and an honor to present this album to all the fans."

Track list:

1. Lay My Soul to Waste
2. Shallow Grave
3. The Needle in You
4. In the Sleeping Death
5. Killer by Night
6. Growing Old
7. Dead of Winter
8. Devil Came With a Smile
9. Day of the Storm
10. DMSLT
11. Cold Dark Mourning

For more information please visit the band's official website.

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From The Bogs Of Aughiska reveal album details




Irish dark ambient act From The Bogs Of Aughiska have confirmed the title of their sophomore album, 'Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood', is set for a March 18th release date via Human Jigsaw Records.

'Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood' follows on from the band's self-titled début album exploring experimental areas and featuring a variety of guest musicians, such as Mories (Gnaw Their Tongues), Legendary Irish Seanchaí (Story Teller) Eddie Lenihen, Chris Naughton (Winterfylleth) and Ken Sorceron (Abigail Williams).


Track list:

1. Aughiska Mor
2. An Seanchaí  (feat. Eddie Lenihen)
3. Hell Complex (feat. Maurice De Jong – Gnaw Their Tongues)
4. Rise In Bealtaine, Turn To Ash In Samhain
5. Inish Cathaigh
6. Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood (feat. Chris Naughton – Winterfylleth / Ken Sorceron – Abigail Williams)
7. Conversatio Morum

From The Bogs Of Aughiska will also be playing a supporting slot with for  Zatokrev alongside Burial and  Fever Sea on March 1st  at The Unicorn Camden, London.

For more information, please visit the band's facebook page.

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Blutengel announce eighth album, 'Monument', details




Vampire synthpop act Blutengel, led by Chris Pohl, have announced that their latest album 'Monument' will be released through Out Of Line records on 18th February 2013. In support of the new album the band have released a music video for the track 'You Walk Away', which can be viewed below:


Track list:

1. A New Dawn To Rise (Intro)
2. You Walk Away
3. Kinder dieser Stadt
4. All These Lies
5. Tears Might Dry
6. Uns gehört die Nacht
7. Die Zeit
8. When I Feel You
9. Willst du?
10. Nie mehr
11. Save Our Souls
12. Deine Welt
13. Lebensrichter
14. Monument

For further information, please visit the band's official website.

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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Hammer Horror Head To Head: Frankenstein Vs Dracula (part 1)



In this two-part article we pit that most British of horror institutions Hammer Films' biggest series and biggest stars against each other in a battle for horror movie supremacy. Will it be Peter Cushing's Baron Victor Frankenstein or Christopher Lee's Count Dracula?

Part one: Frankenstein...

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!


The Curse Of Frankenstein (1957)

1957's The Curse Of Frankenstein marked a turning point not only for Hammer Films, but also for horror cinema in general. Prior to the release of Hammer's first Frankenstein outing, horror cinema fell in to two camps: the classic American releases of the 1930s and the post war b-movie. What separated this very British take on horror from all that came before it was its sheer graphic content. A mixture of heaving bosoms and Kensington Gore were all presented in stunning technicolour as a visual feast. But it wasn't just the visuals that were different, a high calibre cast of actors such as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee delivered their lines with flair and brought a more physical style to the gothic horror films.

Hammer's take on the Frankenstein story was not a remake of the classic Universal version (starring Boris Karloff), instead there is a shift in emphasis from the monster to its creator. Peter Cushing's Baron Victor von Frankenstein is a despicable but sympathetic character in the sense that his relentless and pathological pursuit of his work leaves the audience aghast at his coldness, but also secretly rooting for him, if only to see the shocking end result of his ingenious experiment. Cushing plays the Baron with the panache and suaveness the character's breeding would no-doubt have had from birth, but his subtle form of homicidal obsessiveness is utterly compulsive to watch unfold.

The role of the creature in the film was filled by a then little known actor named Christopher Lee in his first major role for the company. Universal had threatened to sue if Hammer's monster in any way copied the look of their own, but this didn't matter in the least. Whereas Karloff's monster evokes apathy from the audience as he stumbles through a hostile world, Lee's creature is far more sinister. After his creation his first act is to try and murder Frankenstein. Lee performs his role in an almost marionette-like way, with his drooping arms and shuffling walk and with only the most basic of motor functions driving him. Lee's creature does not aspire to humanity as Karloff's had previously, only toward self-preservation at any cost.

Still one of Hammer's finest films and a turning point in cinema history, The Curse Of Frankenstein is a stand-out amongst adaptations of the novel. From the intricate detail of the baron's laboratory to the chilling soundtrack, this film sets the bar for all those that come after it.






The Revenge Of Frankenstein (1958)

This film was to be the only direct sequel in the series. Taking place only a short period of time after the original the baron has escaped execution for his crimes, changed his identity and fled his home town to set up a general practice in the town of Carlsbruck. As a respected local doctor and charitable figure in public again we can see Cushing as a noble if ultimately ruthless character who encounters hostility at every turn.

The creature that Frankenstein creates with the help of his new and eager assistant Dr Kleve (Francis Matthews – Dracula: Prince Of Darkness) is more human than Lee's depiction. It is in fact, aside from a few scars, “Perfect” and is to be used “solely” to repay the crippled gaoler Karl. The new body/creature is played by Michael Gwynn (The Camp On Blood Island, Scars Of Dracula) and rather than being a monster from the onset, the distress of his situation and the physical trauma he suffers cause him to slowly revert back to the crippled and now mentally disturbed state of his previous body.

The film ultimately sees Frankenstein have the last laugh though and along with the previous film (much like the first two Universal films), is very enjoyable to watch as a double feature. With the combination of director Terence Fisher, star Peter Cushing and writer Jimmy Sangster the film was one of the strongest of any sequel that Hammer would go on to produce.






The Evil Of Frankenstein (1964)

The third instalment provides the series with some major continuity issues with flashbacks to the original story being re-written to suit Christopher Lee's absence from the film. The absence of director Terrence Fisher and writer Jimmy Sangster are very noticeable as the film back treads on itself in an attempt to reboot the series. However if the film is viewed as a one-off for the benefit of Hammers then new distributors, Universal films, things become much clearer especially in the case of the look of the monster and Frankenstein's laboratory.

In The Evil Of Frankenstein, set some years after the second film, we see the baron driven from his current hideout after the discovery of his latest experiment by the authorities and set out to return to his ancestral home of Kaarlstaad. The baron after confronting the townspeople who wronged him because they couldn’t understand the gravity of his work finds his original monster frozen in a glacier. He then re-re-animates it only for it to ultimately turn on him.

The monster, this time played by Kiwi Kingston (Hysteria), bears the more familiar flat-headed look that Boris Karloff originally depicted, but once again the monster lacks the redeeming qualities of Karloff's role and is instead a damaged and violent creation driven by the most basic of functions.

Due to the non-linear feel of the film and, to a degree, the abandonment of Hammer's differences from its American counterpart The Evil Of Frankenstein has not sat well with fans or critics. Though the passage of time has been kinder, this still feels like an oddity in the series. Though Cushing once again gives a faultless performance in the role that is now synonymous with him, it is folly to believe that one actor can carry a film. Where the film does make up ground though is in sheer gothic atmosphere with perhaps the series best efforts in the costume and set design departments.





Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

Terence Fisher's return to the director's chair sees 1967's Frankenstein Created Woman pick up essentially (albeit with a change of setting) where he left off in 1964 and with the baron's permanently gloved hands as the only link to the climax of the previous film. There is also a significant shift in the emphasis of the baron's work this time round as he looks beyond the purely physical aspects of his previous work and into more metaphysical dimensions of experimentation.

The creature of the film's title is Christina played by Susan Denberg (An American Dream), a deformed girl who had killed herself after witnessing the execution by Guillotine of her lover (and Frankenstein's assistant) Hans. Frankenstein, using he newly devised apparatus, stores the soul of Hans while he heals the deformities of the dead Christina before transferring Hans' soul into her. The result is an apparently healthy and stable human being who only has no memories of her previous life. Of course in the grand tradition of the series things go catastrophically wrong and the baron's work once again unravels before he has a chance to fix things. As in The Revenge Of Frankenstein, Cushing's Frankenstein again shows himself to be cold and logical, but ultimately noble in a roundabout way whose genius is the victim of forces beyond his control.

With an emphasis on more philosophical musings on the soul and it's interaction with the physical, the horror aspect of the film feels a lot more refined with no hideous monster, but in grand Hammer tradition there is plenty of Kensington Gore to make up for this. It is the philosophical aspects of the film though that make this a compelling watch and as such has become a firm favourite for fans and critics which more than makes up for the previous film.





Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)

Frankenstein's 1969 outing also sees another shift in emphasis. This time though it is within the baron himself rather than his work. Once again directed by Fisher, we now see a much darker depiction of Frankenstein since The Curse Of... over a decade before. The baron blackmails a young couple into helping him secure a colleague, Dr. Brandt (George Pravda – Thunderball), confined to an asylum with the intention of transplanting his brain into a haphazardly acquired body so that the baron may learn of his discovery hinted at in his correspondence with him.

For the first time since Hammer's début Frankenstein film do we see the selfish “at any cost” nature of the baron. He is cold, irredeemably psychotic, and arguably more monster than his latest monster. If that wasn't enough it is even implied that her rapes his young and unwilling female assistant leaving little doubt that Frankenstein must indeed be destroyed.

The creature of this film, played by Freddie Jones (The Elephant Man, Dune), harks back to the more purpose-built and incomplete creatures of The Curse Of Frankenstein and The Evil Of Frankenstein. Though capable of more complex thought and motor skills, he is still a quick “cut and shut” vessel for the brain of Brandt purely to pass on his knowledge to the baron. Once again things don't turn out according to the Baron's plans and it is the monster that this time doles out justice with the phrase "...You must choose between the flames and the police, Frankenstein..."

While impeccably directed, technically well executed and played with faultless conviction by the crew Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed feels more generic and reliant upon violence than its predecessor, Frankenstein Created Woman. However it still stands out as a fine example of Hammer's work in the late 60's/early 70's.





The Horror Of Frankenstein (1970)

Another oddity in the canon, 1970's The Horror Of Frankenstein was Hammer's second and this time more obvious attempt to reboot the Frankenstein series. This version of the original tale of the baron was in lighter vein than its predecessors, this may be in part due to the choice of a new and untested director in Jimmy Sangster, who had previously written some of the films.

Ralph Bates (Taste The Blood Of Dracula, Lust For A Vampire) plays the young Baron Victor Frankenstein, replacing the series then only mainstay Peter Cushing. Bates' version of the baron is not dissimilar to the one we see in The Curse Of Frankenstein, although with this being Hammer's latter period the baron's womanising side as well as his homicidal side are played up a little more. Bates adequately captures the wit and charm of Cushing's role, however he never really fully takes control of it and subsequently it feels like he doesn't make the part his own.

The monster in this film is, like The Evil Of Frankenstein, more reminiscent of the classic Karloff role. Played by David Prowse (Star Wars, Vampire Circus) the monster is a silent killing machine completely controlled by Frankenstein to carry out his dirty work. Aside from The Evil Of Frankenstein it is the most two-dimensionally written of all the creatures. Had it not been for some subtle comic timing in places from Prowse it may have proved a disastrous role.

While this film has been maligned for numerous years. Time has been kind to The Horror Of Frankenstein and the benefit of hindsight allows modern audiences to view this as another one-off in the series that has a bit of fun with the format. Although as a directorial début this film possesses some glaring issues such as some awkward looking sequences, as well as clunky and tongue-in-cheek script. But while not blatantly funny it does possess a sly charm that still makes it somewhat endearing.






Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974)

The seventh film in the Hammer franchise, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell, sees the returns of Peter Cushing as Frankenstein, Terence Fisher as director and an unprecedented second monster role for David Prowse. This would ultimately be the final chapter in the series and, as some may argue, an epitaph for Hammer Horror as a whole.

Cushing brings his usual high calibre execution back to the role and the film as a whole seems to reflect the first two films in terms of the baron's demeanour. Even at the age of 59 and looking somewhat frail, Cushing shows his commitment to the role, packing the character full of energy when necessary and even manages a stunt or two. Interestingly it is also the first time that the baron explicitly refers to his hands having been burned (in either The Evil Of Frankenstein or Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed).

David Prowse's creature this time is a lot more well rounded – although the make-up looks cheaper (apparently it only took thirty minutes to put on each morning) and allows for less facial expression, he instils a lot of pathos in the the role making this one of the most melancholic, bitter and perhaps sympathetic of all Frankenstein's creations.

The claustrophobic atmosphere created by the asylum setting is exploited wonderfully by director Terrence Fisher as he covers up a myriad of budget constraints. While the supporting cast of lunatics act almost as a Greek chorus to the tragedy unfolding before the viewers eyes.

This is another film that was unfairly criticized at the time of release, and even retrospective reviews are quick to jump on the film's weaknesses rather than look at the dark story and strong acting. But with Hammer fans it remains an underrated gem.






That's the end of part one. We've looked at the Frankenstein series and aside from two shaky outings Cushing's portrayal of the Baron consistently delivers a deep and compelling story. But what do you think? Have your say on the Intravenous Magazine Facebook page HERE.

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Projekt F announce 'Skins' details




Canadian industrial rockers Projekt F have revealed the cover and the track list for their new album titled 'Skins' due out April 2nd 2013.

The album cover features a painting by the French artist Olivier De Sagazan. The band came across Olivier's work two years ago when the album was at an early stage of development. They instantly felt that his art was fitting perfectly with the concept of 'Skins'.

The album features eleven new songs and will be available for sale on iTunes. Physical copies of the CD will also be available.

Track list:

1. Evolved
2. Product
3. The Wall
4. Rust
5. Lymph
6. Room 13
7. Rise Of The Flies
8. Disease
9. Book Of The Flies
10. Down In The Ascension
11. Perfect Enclosure

The band will hold an album launch show on March 31st at the Foufounes Électriques in Montreal. They are also set to play at the Kinetik Festival 5.5 in May alongside Aesthetic Perfection, Suicide Commando, FGFC820, Terrorfakt and Project Pitchfork.

You can catch the band on the following dates:

07/02/2013 - Les Katacombes @ Montreal, CA
15/02/2013 - Cafe Dekcuf @ Ottawa, CA
31/03/2013 - Les Foufounes Électriques @ Montreal, CA
05/04/2013 - L\'Agitée @ Quebec city, CA
??/04/2013 -  Kinetik Festival 5.5 @ Montreal, CA (Date and venue to be confirmed)


www.projektf.net
www.facebook.com/projektf 
www.twitter.com/Projektf_Music

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Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Weekly Compendium 18/01/2013




Another week and a few more bugs that needed working out, but nothing your brave editor couldn't overcome in order to bring you a big and very in-depth interview with industrial madman Matt Fanale, as he goes into the inspirations behind the new Caustic album 'The Man Who Couldn't Stop'.

We also brought you news on the forthcoming releases from KatzKab, Dperd, Degeneración Debraye, Nohycit, New Zero God and Black Tape For A Blue Girl. While we reviewed the stunning new album from Android Lust, as well as releases from Endless Shame, Plastic Noose, and Eschaton Hive.


On the social media side of things we were happy to hear that Dark-Cide-Fest will be featuring not only the indomitable Gothminister, but also the one-night-only return of industrial rockers Squid. We also heard some new noises from NFD, tour dates from KMFDM and the brand new music video from Rome.

Don't forget our competition is STILL running until the end of the month. Also if you're interested in writing for us, drop us a line!
Now we're going to head off to the pub to plot and plan for next week before the ale freezes over, so for now here's a free download from the good people at Uberbyte...

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Black Tape For A Blue Girl announce 'Tenderotics'




27-year veteran darkwavers Black Tape For A Blue Girl have announced 'Tenderotics' a new re-imagination of their acclaimed 2009 album '10 Neurotics', featuring fourteen newly reworked tracks and remix contributions from the likes of Android Lust, Steve Roach and Attrition.

Black Tape For A Blue Girl mastermind Sam Rosenthal writes:
“For the last few years, I've thought about creating a remix/reprocessing project based on my 10 Neurotics album. Every now and then, I would bring a song up on the computer, listen to the tracks, and discover I was quite excited by reimagining these songs. When I'm in the process of recording & mixing, my brain has ONE GOAL for a song, and it has to be that way. Giving the songs time and space, I began hearing other elements - seeing other possibilities.”
The album will be available in digital form as well as a limited release of 1000 standard CD and deluxe CD in it's own furry slipcase (only 100 copies) and will go on sale on February 12th via Projekt Records.


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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review: Eschaton Hive - 'Eschaton Hive'




ESCHATON HIVE
'Eschaton Hive'
SOUTHERN DARKNESS RECORDINGS

This self-titled album from the post-apocalyptic industrial metal outfit from Australia has been out for a while now and it's a shame it hasn't got the attention it deserves. The band mix the mask and pseudonym formula of The Berzerker's early years with a much more accessible form of heavy, industrial metal.

Frantic guitar riffs, distorted death metal-esque vocals, grinding synths and a hell of a lot of samples barrage the listener on tracks like 'Duck N Cover', 'Escahtonation' and 'Want. Need. Have'. However the band are not afraid to mix things up on tracks like 'Warpz[o]ne', 'Pandemic' and '...And Then Til Now', which get experimental with structures and genres with great effect. The album's shining moment though comes in the form of 'Zombie Attack Plan' which manages to blend these twos side of the band perfectly and channels the band's chaotic energy into what will surely become a signature song for the band.
The production is a little rough and ready for the most part. With so much distortion and harsh synths bombarding the speakers, the album veers too close to sounding like white noise in a few places. Yet where the songs have room to breathe, particularly on the more drum, bass and keyboard orientated songs like 'Warpz[o]ne', the band sound perfectly balanced. A nip, tuck and tweak here and there would add an extra sheen to their sound without a doubt.

Eschaton Hive have a lot going for them. They have the look, the characters and the talent to take their concept to an international audience. And while the album is essentially a first step to solidify their domestic status, it should serve to pique the interests of more than a few people overseas as well.

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Review: Plastic Noose - 'Zu Allen'




'Zu Allen'

The début outing from Scottish one-man-band Plastic Noose, is another one of those albums that has been floating around for a while that occasionally pops up and makes you take notice. A minimalistic style centred around big drum beats and distorted bass lines with , Plastic Noose has an old school kind of feel that balances industrial experimentation with extreme metal atmospheres.

The album kicks things off with 'Road To Perdition', a groove-laden sleazy industrial track with utterly compelling dance beats that should inspire a lot of bumping and grinding in the clubs. 'Snow King' on the other hand descends into almost doom metal territory with its Celtic Frost/Triptykon-esque construction and heavy guitars work.
The title track on the other hand returns to the beat and bass orientated industrial formula, this time with a more complex sound that makes good use of some gregorian backing vocals. 'Before The Lord' revisits the atmosphere of 'Snow King', albeit via a more ambient and soft manner that at first feels a little out of place with it's short length, coming across as simply a stepping stone to the next track. 'Slutcentric' again walks the sleazy industrial style by way of an early Nine Inch Nails drum line and an effective Gary Numan style chorus.
The penultimate track 'Lie Back' makes a detour into early-Laibach martial territory with it's militaristic drums and slow pounding synths underneath a spoken manifesto, which is interesting but lacks the same bite as the Slovenians. The final song, 'This Is Not A Grave' is a nine-minute industrial opus of chugging guitars and looping beats broken up by a soft interlude that, while quite repetative, still manages to hold the listener's interest throughout.

This is a first effort and it is impressive, with some great dancefloor tracks.  But it still lacks something. Perhaps it is the slow pace of the album, as it never really has that hard and fast track to break up the steady beats and pulses. It's by no means perfect, but for fans of sinister, sleazy industrial this will be a rewarding listen.

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