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

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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Review: Beauty Queen Autopsy – 'Roughest Cuts: The Demos'



'Roughest Cuts: The Demos' 

After occasional collaborations over the years, Caustic's Matt Fanale and Unwoman's Erica Mulkey have joined forces to form a dark pop group... yep, that's right. A début full-length album is scheduled for early 2014, but in the meantime a four-track demo EP is available for free to whet appetites. It's a partnership that works extremely well. Fanale's minimalistic and somewhat noisey electronics are a nice juxtaposition to Erica's sultry vocals.

The EP kicks off with the wonderfully mechanical dark synthpop of 'Good, Giving, Game' with it's simple drum beat and subtle but very memorable lead melody. 'Birthday Pony' is again a simple and minimalistic track, yet this time the juxtaposition between the noisier leaning of the musical formula and the soft vocals are more pronounced due to the harsher lead synth. Next comes the unexpected but incredibly gratifying cover of The Sex Pistols' 'Submission'. Again the noise is more pronounced, yet there is a great synthpop underbelly driving the song. The EP then closes on the dance-friendly stripped back techno of 'Lotharia', which leaves you wanting more.

These are demos so they are rough around the edges (hence the title!), however they display a well thought out approach to song-writing and strong performances by both members. The only way you could describe it is to imagine Frank Tovey and Siouxsie Sioux forming a band together and you'll get the drift. It's promising at this stage, and will no doubt catch more than a few people off guard when the full-length album is unleashed.

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Review: Caustic – 'OBΔMΔCΔRE'



'OBΔMΔCΔRE' 

The lone shining light of Jizzcore, Matt Fanale, returns with another free release to add to the burgeoning and diverse Caustic catalogue. An eleven track EP, 'OBΔMΔCΔRE', features three new tracks, a slew of remixes and two covers of classic Babyland and Godflesh.

'OBΔMΔCΔRE' is a marked return to the “classic” Caustic sound. More stripped back than his recent long player output on 'The Man Who Couldn't Stop' which featured a pronounced progressive streak. Here the tracks are harder, more rhythmically orientated and full of tongue-in-cheek wit.

The EP opens with 'Persistence of Anti-Division', an instrumental track that is driven by a simple central beat and pulsing bassline. It's minimalistic in it's approach but still quite satisfying. The second of the original tracks, 'More Requested To Not Stay Away From Uteri Than a Republican', continues the musical formula with a more up-tempo beat and airy melodic synths over a constant throb, while Fanale drenches his vocals in cavernous reverb. The final of the three 'Industrial Home Ownership' invokes the frantic madness of 'Booze Up And Riot' and 'The Bible, The Bottle, The Bomb' while Fanale does his best rant over the top of it.

The first of the covers is a lo-fi sounding cover of Babyland's 'Worse Case Scenario'. Again Fanale keeps it hard and gritty giving the song more bottom end than the original version. The same is true of 'Christbait Rising' which sees Fanale team up with Vomit Arsonist. It doesn't make any bold moves away from the original but tries to up the heaviness of the original.
The remixes courtesy of Loss, iVardensphere, Mahr, Slavo, Tinhead and Null Device all bring something new to their respected source material, ranging from club, to dub and dark ambient, which rounds off the tra
The lo-fi style and hard rhythms are a nice nod back to the earlier material in the Caustic discography. But this isn't a backwards step or a nostalgia trip. This is one of the many faces of the Caustic sound. Fanale may always be moving on in terms of his songwriting ability, but he doesn't forget where he has already been. ck list quite nicely.


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Pittersplatter's 'Frozen' remastered and re-released



Nightmarish electro band Pitterspatter are to see their album 'Frozen' get a full makeover. The album was originally released on 2012 and will be redesigned as a limited edition deluxe four-panel digipak, with the original tracks remastered by Chris Gurney of Iioioioii.

The album will be rechristened 'Frozen: Reign Of The Warlock' and will be released on 28th February 2014.



'Frozen: Reign Of The Warlock' is available to pre-order now via the Juggernaut Music Group bandcamp page. For more information on the band, please visit their official website.


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Monday, 30 December 2013

Review: Mondträume – 'Life Is Short'



'Life Is Short' 

Spanish duo Mondträume are the latest addition to the impressive back catalogue of synthpop bands fostered by the Alfa Matrix roster. With their mix of downbeat vocals and huge dance inducing melodies they are akin to not only the household name bands such as Depeche Mode and The Pet Shop Boys, but also acts like Covenant, Melotron and Pride And Fall.

The début EP is a fine manifesto of melancholic vocals, hard dance beats and memorable melodies. The title track kicks things off with a pure synthpop approach that is half 'Enjoy The Silence' and half 'It's A Sin'. The b-side, 'Parasite', continues down a dancier path courtesy of a Terrolokaust remix. It 's harder and arguably likelier to get more club play than the title track which is a solid choice to close a live set.
The EP is then rounded out by two further remixes of the title track. The first comes courtesy of Cosmic Armchair who imbibe it with the same club appeal as the previous track. While Electro Spectre go down a much more laid back path for some more introverted listening.

'Life Is Short' is a fine first offerring from what will undoubtedly become a regular name on the synthpop circuit. However it remains to be seen whether Mondträume have the goods to pull away from their label mates and inject something fresh into the scene.

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Review: Kunoichi – 'Nasty'


'Nasty' 

With one of the strongest releases in his back catalogue, and certainly one of the top albums of 2012 in the form of 'Five Year Plan', Uberbyte mastermind Richard Pyne has taken a step back from industrial and dived into the new waters hinted at on the final Uberbyte album. His new project is Kunoichi, an electro-dance project heavily steeped in glitch, dubstep, house and drum 'n' bass but devoid of any allegiance to genre convention. The result is the 'Nasty' EP; two tracks aimed squarely at reinventing and redefining Pyne's dancefloor assault for 2014.

The title track is a fairly stripped back mix of glitch leads and dubstep bass driven by a mid-tempo beat. It evokes the spirit of The Prodigy's early acid house output along with the likes of the modern bass-ier flavours of Knife Party.
The b-side is 'It Doesn't Matter (What You Think)', a rousing electro-house track crammed full of stuttering bass and some samples of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson at his best amidst a flurry of others. The tracks feels like what The KLF and The Shamen would be doing if they'd been formed post-millenium.

This is a big departure for Pyne and even with these first two tracks it shows a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into creating a new sound and chapter in his carer. Uberbyte may be over, but with Kunoichi he looks set to grow and develop into ever more exciting areas.

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Friday, 20 December 2013

The weekly compendium 20/12/13



Well we're winding down for Christmas here at IVM headquarters. Next week will be sparse for articles unfortunately. Not that many of you have seen them recently as our RSS feed to our Facebook page seems to have gone somewhat awry. We'll get that sorted, and put the finishing touches to our compilation album due out on new year's day!

We've had a few bits for you this week though including another great column from Joel Heyes. News from Caustic and Merciful Nuns. As well as reviews of the new releases from 22Hertz, M.O.D. and Komor Kommando.

Finally we announced the winners of our free prize draw. The two winners who gave their addresses in time should receive their prizes in time for Christmas, however when we do receive the third they won't be dispatched until after Christmas now.

Over on Facebook, we've been getting festive with a number of alternative seasonal songs posted daily. As well as some news from the likes of Christopher Lee, I Dream Of Wires and Tregenza.

Normal service will resume after Christmas. So until then, Merry Christmas from everyone at IVM, and here's something to get you in the mood...


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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Review: Komor Kommando – 'Hail The Rhythm'



'Hail The Rhythm' 

If there's one thing Sebastian Komor knows, it's how to write tracks that will tear up dancefloors. Whether its as part of Icon Of Coil, Zombie Girls or his solo-project Komor Kommando, he has stamped his mark on numerous club anthems that are regularly spun around the world. So with every new release there is a certain level of expectation. Thankfully his latest outing under the Komor Kommando moniker doesn't disappoint.

'Servus Pulsu' is is a hard industrial / techno crosover that features an unrelentingly addictive beat and dark pulsing synths fused with Latin chanting. The result is something rather bombastic and sinister, yet completely dance friendly. The title tracks is joined by the instrumental b-side 'Cardiovascular System Check' which immediately brings to mind the dystopian techno of a science fiction soundtrack.

The cinematic feel is then carried over onto the first remix of the lead track. This time adding symphonic elements that again begs to be included on a soundtrack. The EP is then rounded off with a dark electro inspired remix courtesy of London's Inertia. Shifting the focus away from the neo-classical and back towards 21st century dancefloors.

'Hail To The Rhythm' is a strong EP / single that once again raises the bar for Komor in terms of his song-writing. It's a curve ball admittedly, but one that works very well and should be assured of long presence on many club play lists.

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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Review: M.O.D. – 'Le Dios Mechanische'



'Le Dios Mechanische' 

M.O.D are an Italian electro duo who blend the cybergoth style of Angelspit and the ebm of Psy'Avaiah. After a demo, single and a few compilation appearances to their name, the duo of Maryhell and Angie return with their first full-length outing 'Le Dios Mechanische'. The album features a pretty consistent but ultimately a pleasing formula filled with nice melodic hooks, and club-friendly rhythms with a few experimental touches thrown in for good measure.

The album certainly caters to the dance hungry of Europe’s club scene with near anthemic tracks like 'Le Dios Mechanische', 'Tödlicher Krebs', 'Freaks', 'Psychic Trap' and 'Gothic World' dominating the albums track list. Though the band are still able to mix things up with the more experimental flavoured, 'Please, Just Save Us!' and 'A Part Of Nothing'.

Though there is a lot of potential on display here, there is a lot the band still need to work on. Firstly is the production with the vocals constantly sounding too flat and drowned out in the mix. Also the vocal effects on tracks such as 'Oxygen Destroyer', 'Tolleranz Null', 'Die Sklaverei' don't quite blend with the rest of the song and as a result detract from an otherwise good effort. There is also the opening intro, which probably sounds great live, but could have been trimmed back a bit. Finally at fifteen tracks, you do get your money's worth (especially as this is a free to download album), however it needs a little more variety in the style of 'Please, Just Save Us!' and 'A Part Of Nothing' to keep the interest up over an extended listening period.

Overall though this is a promising album from a band that certainly have all the tools to make a name for themselves. The strongest songs on the album are definitely memorable and will no doubt also work well live. M.O.D. are one to keep an eye on.

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Review: 22Hertz – 'Detonate'



'Detonate' 
SELF-RELEASED 

Canada seems to be having a bit of an industrial rock revival with the likes of Project F and now 22Hertz reviving the Nothing Records and Wax Trax gritty formulas of the 90s. 22Hertz's début album 'Detonate' is full of sleazy and scathing synths nailed to memorable riffs and sing-along choruses. Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie and Marilyn Manson's influences are easy to hear, but so are the likes of KMFDM, gODHEAD and Two.

But this isn't a nostalgic trip back to the era of dial-up internet and when MTV actually played music videos. 22Hertz have a well-rounded and developed sound all of their own that taps into what was a growing hole in the scene.

Tracks like 'Give Me A Sign', 'Into This', 'Getting Through', 'Everything' and 'Detonate' display a fine balance between hard guitar riffs, dissonant synths and frantic beats while maintaining a danceable tempo and unwavering bass groove. Overall formula of which is akin to a mixture of Nine Inch Nails' 'The Downward Spiral' and 'Fragile', with the more conventional structures of gODHEAD's '2000 Years Of Human Error', as well as nods to John 5's guitar work and some KMFDM style programming. The undoubted centrepiece of the album though is the NIN-esque instrumental 'The Signal In The Noise' with it's haunting drones and de-tuned piano bringing to mind the likes of 'A Warm Place' and the 'Still' mini-album.

Overall the production quality of the album is pretty good. It's clean and modern sounding and avoids the perils of distorted synths and guitars swamping each other. That being said, there are a few points where the vocals sound too low in the mix. And there is a sense that even though the album has ultimately received the necessary “spit and polish” prior to release, it could have done with a little more in the way of spit.

22Hertz ultimately though have a very solid and impressive début here. At nine tracks and 40 minutes in length, 'Detonate' doesn't wear out it's welcome, and leaves the listener wanting more. With the right backing there is no reason why 22Hertz couldn't make a serious name for themselves.

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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

HUSSEY: LUST FOR GLORY

Picture courtesy of Imago Mortis Photography


Not so long ago they were but another lost giant of Goth, on hiatus, split, and gone for good (and not for the first time); and now they are back, with a new album and a string of UK dates (and not for the first time). However, this time there is a new sense of purpose, and more vim & vigour. They appear to mean business. So, hands up – who put something in The Mission's tea?

Of course, ever since their wonderfully fractious beginnings "The Mish" have ploughed the most lackadaisical of furrows. After splitting from the Sisters of Mercy and attempting to take the name with them – leading to the longest-running, most expensive and most entertaining legal battle-cum-flame war in the history of Goth – they set up their own shop with some of the basic ingredients but made it something much more homely and welcoming.

Some bands drink, but "The Mish" got pissed – staggering around pissed, falling asleep pissed, vomiting-into-a-strategically-placed-bucket-on-stage pissed. Their drug use was even more prodigious than their boozing, and by late '87 they even had one bona fide drug-fuelled burnout in LA to their name. Take that, Cud!

And then there were the gigs – big, friendly, family affairs with a sense of reckless abandon and community. The Mission may have been rock stars but nobody could have called them aloof, with the road crew and fan club all forming part of their hedonistic crusade. From clubs to universities to arenas the Mission bandwagon rolled on in a boozy and brazen blur.

Aside from all that they found time to make some music, too. Never the darlings of the critics they nonetheless had many genuine hits; blustery, swooping, strident, rocking and occasionally swooning guitar rock by a bunch of blokes who had all obviously listened to Led Zep 4 too many times. It was heady stuff for the bleak days of the late 80s, and lyrically they were florid, descriptive, full of emotion (and the odd dragon) and entirely bereft of substance. It didn't matter. We loved them for it.

In their prime we would have followed them to the ends of the earth, but due to the huge demographic and cultural shifts of the 1990s (*cough*) the dream faded. They returned many times since – many, many times since – and even when only recently three of the original Flab Four reformed Wayne could not resist an extravagant April Fool's joke at the expense of the fans by stating that they were recording an album called 'Jokerman' with Budgie on drums. It appeared that although we may have the gigs and the memories new material was still a long way away.

And then – a new album. And a video (now two videos). And a tour. And interviews, multi-media ad campaigns, and media coverage. 'The Brightest Light' is a tougher, leaner beast than previous offerings and represents actual musical development. The Mission are growing again, and Wayne is giving it more than a little gusto on the promotional front too. It almost feels like 1988. Where will it end? Who knows. How long will it last? Debatable. However, this is already far more than any right minded Eskimo (if there is such a thing) had any right to expect.

So get off your cushioned backsides and see them on tour this December – not just for the feel of thrills long gone, but for a band who are actually, finally, against all the odds, giving it a go again. And if Wayne, Craig and Slink can do it, then any one of us can!

Merry Christmas readers, and see you all in a groovy 2014.

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Monday, 16 December 2013

And the winners are...




That's it everyone! The Christmas prize draw is officially closed. Thanks to everyone who liked our Facebook page before midnight last night. The names have been put in a randomiser and I can now reveal that the winners of our random prize draw are...

Joel Brackenbury
Paul George Vawer
Hannah Rose Brooks 

We will be in contact with you for your postal addressers so we can get your prizes sent to you ASAP!

Congratulations and enjoy the free music!

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Merciful Nuns announce 'Exoplanet' EP



Artaud Seth and his Merciful Nuns have announced their latest EP and companion to the recent 'Exosphere VI' album. The 'Exoplanet' EP will be released on 21st February 2014 via Solar Lodge.

The EP will be released as a double deluxe hardcover gatefold CD with a bonus 7” vinyl as a limited edition of 1500 units and no second edition will be pressed.


Track List:

EXOPLANET EP (CD)
PLANET MOVER
ARGONAUTS
NEBULAR
VIOLET FLAME

EXOPLANET EP (7”)
GAMMA RAY
A DAY THAT FADES



The EP is available to pre-order now via the Solar Lodge webshop. For more information on the band, please visit their official website.

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New from Caustic



Matt Fanale, AKA Caustic has unleashed another free EP of his own brand of industrial madness in the form of 'OBΔMΔCΔRE'.

The EP contains new cuts of Jizzcore such as 'Persistence of Anti-Division' as well as covers of Babyland's 'Worst Case Scenario' and Godflesh's 'Christbait Rising' as well as remixes from the likes of Null Device and iVardensphere.

In regards to the title of the album, Fanale had this to say:
“Because no other strangely spelled word in the English language today describes CAUSTIC as accurately. CAUSTIC regularly creates a tsunami of reactionary criticism, speculation, and sheer, uninformed hatred through his obviously baiting tactics for his unapologetic, take-no-prisoners industrial (and is it even CONSIDERED industrial? Start a debate over it! Argue about it on your Facebook!). However, HE WILL NOT BE SWAYED. The haters simply ignite a biggerer tsunami of creative wordplay and over-the-top war comparisons for the music he makes in his basement on a computer.”

Track List:

1.Persistence of Anti-Division
2. More Requested To Not Stay Away From Uteri Than a Republican
3. Industrial Home Ownership
4. Worst Case Scenario
5. Christbait Rising (VOMIT ARSONIST vs CAUSTIC)
6. Eyes Pried Wide (LOSS mix)
7. Industrial Home Ownership (SALVO mix)
8. Bring Out Your Dub (NULL DEVICE mix)
9. Must Have Pills (TINHEAD mix)
10.More Requested To Not Stay Away From Uteri Than a Republican (IVARDENSPHERE MIX)
11.Eyes Pried Wide (MAHR mix)


'OBΔMΔCΔRE' is available to download for free or to pay what you want via the Caustic bandcamp page. For more on Caustic, please visit the official website.


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Friday, 13 December 2013

The weekly compendium 13/12/2013



The end of the year is almost here! I hope you've all been good and liked our facebook page to be in with a chance of winning some free CDs in time for Christmas? Or at the very least, cast your vote in our reader's choice poll?

If not, there is still time!

Our first free digital compilation is due new years day, but it is that time of year when lots of people are feeling generous, including Belgian electro label Alfa Matrix who have released their second 'Matrix Downloaded' compilation for free (or pay-what-you-want), via the label's Bandcamp page. Note that you can also get the first volume right here on Bandcamp, again for free (or pay-what-you-want).

That's all the plugging done for this week, here's what else we had...

We kicked things off with the monthly column from End: The DJ and his pick of the pops. We featured reviews of the latest albums from The Causticles, Beastmilk, Darkhaus, Starbass, Remete, and Petrol Hoers. As well as news from Combichrist and Tapewyrm.

On Facebook it has been a little sparse, so we've been keeping things festive by posting some great alternative Christmas tunes from the likes of Erasure, Unheilig, Human Drama, Billy Idol and Attrition.

That's it for this week. Keep your eyes peeled on Monday as we announce the winners of the CD prize draw. But in the mean time here's an uplifting story from William Burroughs.


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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Review: Petrol Hoers – 'Really Good & Sexy'



PETROL HOERS 
'Really Good & Sexy' 
SELF-RELEASED 

In the beginning there was a sleazy Northern band called Petrol Bastard. Their abusive and insulting sound resonated across the UK with shock and awe. Meanwhile in the countryside of York, a lonesome horse accidentally sniffed-up a load of coke mistaking it for sugar. These actions resulted in the horse going to dance halls and it was there that he discovered the band Petrol Bastard. He was so enthralled by the sound of this hapless crew that he decided to make a tribute act to show his love for the band...

This is, of course, a load of nonsense... Apart from the last bit!

The best way of course to show your appreciation for the act is to take the piss out of them. 'Really Good & Sexy', follow up to their screaming début 'Albom', is a mixture of Speedcore, Industrial and Metal and is not for the faint of heart. This six track offering is a shining example of how far the alternative scene can go, and if you think the EP is enough for your brain to handle, you should attempt to see them live.

The EP begins on a dark and sombre note, only to be cut short by a Northern bastard swearing at 'The Horse' complaining it was supposed to be a speedcore album. A perfect intro for what's' in store. Next up is '#YOLO', a swathing attack on people who don't understand what is being played in front of them, moving quickly into 'Horsecore Motherfucker', which keeps the pace and sounds like a gallop on steroids.
The best track by far on the EP is 'You'll Never Take My Swag'. With industrial overtones, a level of very good humour and a fantastic build up leading to a metal drop that could make Skrillex shit himself.

The only downside to this release is that it's perfect music to torture to, but it's over far too soon! Here's hoping there's still a few more races in this old horse yet.

Both 'Really Good & Sexy' and 'Albom' are available on bandcamp to download.

NO REGRETS, NO REMORSE. SHAKE IT LIKE A PARTY HORSE!

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Tapewyrm announces 'House Of Cards'



Misanthropic noize artist Tapewyrm has announced the release of a new single in the form of 'House Of Cards' on UK label, Juggernaut Music Group. The single will feature four tracks and be released on 31st December 2013. The title track features vocal contributions from Tiffanie Wells from noise act Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand.

Track List:

1. House Of Cards
2. Chasing Ghosts
3. Careless
4. Save Yourself (Ruinizer Remix)


The single is available to pre-order now via the Juggernaut Music webshop. For more information on the band, please visit the official website.


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Combichrist announce 'We Love You'



Aggrotech outfit Combichrist have announced a brand new album for 2013. 'We Love You', follows on from their last release, the guitar orientated 'No Redemption' commissioned for the Devil May Cry computer game, with main man Andy LaPlegua saying; “One of my best friends said it the best - ‘listening to this album sums up everything I know about you and music”, he laughs, “only bigger, more bombastic and even louder!”

‘We Love You’ will be released in the UK on 24th March 2014 as a jewel case CD, a limited deluxe double disc containing an exclusive Dark Ambient bonus album and as a limited double 12” vinyl.


Track List:

01. We Were Made To Love You
02. Every Day Is War
03. Can't Control
04. Satan's Propaganda
05. Maggots at the Party
06. Denial
07. The Evil In Me
08. Fuck Unicorns
09. Love Is A Razorblade
10. From My Cold Dead Hands
11. We Rule The World Motherfuckers
12. Retreat Hell Part 1
13. Retreat Hell Part 2


The band will also embark on a US tour in order to support the album starting on the 3rd April 2014 and finishing 11th May. The band will also be hitting the UK before Christmas this year on the dates below.


Tour Dates:
Old School Electronic Show
18.12.2013 Hamburg (D), Kaiserkeller
19.12.2013 Duisburg (D), Pulp
20.12.2013 Amstelveen (NL), P 60
21.12.2013 London (UK), Electrowerkz
22.12.2013 Glasgow (UK), Classic Grand



'We Love You' is available to pre-order via Out Of Line. For more information on the band, please visit their official website.

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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Review: Remete – 'Egy'



'Egy' 

Remete (Hermit) is a one-person dark-ambient project from Hungarian Madura Janos (ex-Our God Weeps, ex-Zebaoth). Mixing ambient soundscapes with neo-classical and martial industrial elements, Janos paints a cinematic visions of arcane Cyclopean monoliths beneath crushing waves and cosmic terrors residing in deep within the dark chasms of ancient rock.

Over the course of the 45-minute long début EP, the dark atmospherics that roll forth from the speakers are coupled with monstrous drones and weird synth embellishments to evoke Lovecraftian terrors in the mind. This is the kind of music to set to strange rituals designed for summoning even stranger beasts.

The tracks are long, with only one, 'Mende' below the six minute mark. But it is compelling listening. There are no formal beat structures to provide any solid framework. So the songs are free to evolve, devolve, and reform in anyway they need to. This being said there is an underlying repetitiveness that newcomers to dark ambient may find off-putting. But it is typical of the trance-like feeling that these artist often seek to create.

This is a dark, and somewhat terrifying release that shows a lot of promise. There is nice sense of development to each song as though they contain an unspoken narrative, which makes them all the more compelling to listen to. There could be a minute or two shaved from a few of the songs. But at 45 minutes over five songs, Remete is certainly giving you your money's worth.

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Review: Starbass – 'Starbass 1'



'Starbass 1' 
SELF-RELEASED 

Industrial and dubstep are fast becoming comfortable bedfellows. Whether it's Australia's Cryogenic Echelon or Canada's Comaduster, the “wub-wub” of dubstep is becoming increasingly popular within industrial circles either as a remix device or as a cornerstone to a bands sound. Even veteran acts like Front Line Assembly are beginning to incorporate elements into their sound. It's no wonder then that solo project Starbass (AKA Steven Le Diable) is finding a willing audience on his native live circuit supporting acts such as Ego Likeness.

Blending danceable electro-industrial with that distinctive dubstep bass and throwing in catchy vocals. It's not the most ground-breaking genre blend right now, yet there is an enjoyable simplicity to Starbass' formula that is infectiously groovy and just made for dancing. With songs like 'Fire From The Sky', 'Darkstar', 'Hackers On Steroids', and 'Sunset' in tow he shows that he definitely isn't a one-trick pony.

The album's most interesting and rewarding listens though have to come in the form of the covers of Nine Inch Nails' 'Something I Can Never Have' and The Velvet Underground's 'Venus In Furs'. Two songs which have been covered in more ways by more bands you can probably think to name, yet still sound original in the hands of Le Diable.

In spite of nods to other genres and the occasional use of flute in some tracks, there is an issue with the sheer repetitiveness of some of the material here. It's unfortunate as after three-minute mark, some of the songs begin to lose their edge, and could do with being a bit more punchy.

However, 'Starbass 1' is a solid dance-orientated album with strong pop hooks and a few nice tricks thrown in for good measure. Starbass is certainly one to watch and it's going to be interesting to see how Le Diable develops this formula on the next release.

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Review: Darkhaus – 'My Only Shelter'


 
'My Only Shelter' 


Darkhaus are a truly international band. Featuring members from Scotland, the USA, Germany and Austria whose CVs include the likes of Eisbrecher and Pro-Pain, they have an eye on world-wide exposure and being signed to the respected SPV records, this is an ambition well within their grasps. Their synth rock formula is half based in the darker textures of Depeche Mode, while their rock aspirations are rooted in the romantic-rock blueprint of HIM.

There are flirtations with dance-metal on tracks such as 'Grace Divine', 'Our Time', 'Hour Of Need', and Angelina. While the likes of 'Life Worth Living', 'Ghost', 'Don't Close Your Eyes' and 'Son Of A Gun' focus on a more pop-rock manifesto. Though the overblown ballad 'Apostle' and diet Disturbed groove of 'Hurts Like Hell' break things up a bit, they don't really change the fact this is an album that is either black or white. In fact the most interesting and original tracks to be found are the excellent remixes from Eisbrecher and Kinky J, which play up the somewhat muted electronic elements.

The production is nicely executed, but as demonstrated by the remixes, the electronic side of the bands sound is woefully subdued for the bulk of the main track list. Their rock/metal pedigree is beyond questioning, and the execution of the performances are faultless. However there is very little to set them apart from a myriad of other bands around today.
'My Only Shelter' is a solid album. It's consistent, the song writing is strong, and vocalist Kenny Hanlon displays an impressive range throughout. But even taking all of this into account there is something about Darkhaus that doesn't quite hit the mark. There are a lot of bands with a similar sound around at the moment, and Darkhaus are a good example. Yet with 'My Only Shelter' they don't quite offer anything different to set them apart.


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Review: Beastmilk – 'Climax'



'Climax' 

Apocalyptic death rockers have a sound based in the alienation of early UK post-punk, mixed with the cobweb covered rawness of the L.A. death rock scene, and iced with the cold atmosphere of black metal. The result is something akin to throwing Joy Division, Killing Joke, Christian Death and Sonic Youth in a blender with a couple of tabs of acid and a lot of dry ice.

Musically the band focus heavily on jangling guitars, strong bass groves, heavy drums while frontman Kvohst (DHG, <Code>, Hexvessel) drives the songs foreword with his unmistakeably mournful reverb drenched vocals.

Songs like 'Death Reflects Us', 'The Wind Blows Through Their Skulls', 'Nuclear Winter' and 'Surf The Apocalypse' are wonderfully visceral with their unrelenting pace, infectious groove and apocalyptic themes. Their the kind of songs you cant help but throw yourself around, sing-a-long and just groove to.
While the likes of 'Ghost Out Of Focus' and 'Strange Attractors', with their slower tempo and big choruses – and in the case of 'Strange Attractors', the use of feminine vocals – gives the album a heavy gothic leaning.

Even though the production on this album has a definite rough, early 80's vibe to it with all the reverb and hissing feedback, it isn't limited by it. In fact this is one of those occasions where the old school style enhances the apocalyptic atmosphere the band are going for. The echoing vocals sound as if they were recorded in a cavernous nuclear bunker, while the hiss sounds like fallout saturation on an analogue tape. It's subtle but works well and doesn't detract from the quality of the music with each instrument still sounding fresh and distinct in the mix.

This full-length début is a strong step for the band that they will no doubt capitalise on. 'Climax' has a distinct flavour that stands out from a lot of the modern post-punk crowd and it's going to be interesting to see how the band develop their style and approach on future albums.

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Monday, 9 December 2013

Review: The Causticles – 'Marco Visconti EP'



THE CAUSTICLES  
'Marco Visconti EP' 
UNDUSTRIAL RECORDS

Accompanying Matt & Brians' début album 'Eric Gottsman' comes the remix E,P 'Marco Visconti' (Once again not featuring the namesake on the release, but showing their love for the scene and the people that are involved). This miniature slice of madness features remixes from some of the albums' best tracks and have been re-formed by artists such as The .Invalid, CTRLSHFT and Mangadrive.

The intro, 'Resultant Forces', has been remixed by Rodney Anonymous and has been extended to the point where it's more or less a new song. It's not really a dance track, but more of a piece of fun with Joe Jack Talcum laying vocals on top with the typical humour you would expect from the people who brought you Caustic and The Gothsicles.

If you were looking for a great (yet obvious) club remix, then The .Invalid's remix of 'Spacebugs' is the perfect solution. The original on it's own is a great track to dance to, but this remix takes it up to eleven, adding a twisted edge to an already dark number. Next is a rather broken vibe to the albums' closer 'The Causticles Ain't Nothin' To Fuck Wit'. This remix (mastered by CTRLSHFT) takes the theme of a rap battle and gives it a gamer vibe.

The best track on this EP however is the alternative version of 'We're [Literally] Here For Your [Figurative] Pussy'. A fun frenzy of a track to begin with, this version makes it a sexy and smutty ride that will make you feel bad for loving it. An 8-bit journey in the guise of the Mangadrive mix of 'Headbutt To The Guts' is next on the scene. With more of a hard style sound this version is good but lack imagination and doesn't give you anything special. The final track is another remix of 'Spacebugs', but put up against the first version it's a rather pointless affair. Adding an effect to the vocals that makes it hard to listen to means that this is a track to miss even on it's own.

In total this is a great companion to the bands' début, giving the listener a good indication on who the bands influences and fans are on the scene. It also shows that this act are not a flash in the pan, leaving us wondering who they will name their next releases after.

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END: the DJ New Music Picks- November 2013



Back with another new music top pick that really caught peoples’ attention in November and into the last part of this year. So much fantastic works as of late. Check out ALL the beats:


Cold In May- The Reason (Motion City Lights Remix)- Skyqode
For the first time in ages, this has been one of those tracks that never leaves my personal playlist. In fact, when I hear this track I instantly hit repeat to hear again. The vocals have such moving delivery, the lyrics are powerful and the remix adds to what is already a truly amazing piece of work. Whatever you do, catch Cold In May’s latest releases on Skyqode. You’ll be rewarded many times over.


Systemshock- Cheater (Video Edit)- Synthematik
Fantastic new artists from the self-titled EP. Driving floor track that I love listening to when getting ready for a night full-tilt!


The Invalid- Breaksequence- Deathwatch Asia
Having The Invalid’s album sent to me was a pleasant surprise- such aggressive beats with a heavy rock or even nu-Metal influence vocally is quite a balancing act, done superbly throughout the entire release. Breaksequence is one of the handful tracks I really enjoy. 


Stereomotion- Leave It All Behind- Danse Macabre Records
This track off of the recent “Days of Faith” album is one of many noteworthy club tracks. Great vocal style and complimentary music production. Check this one out!


iVardensphere- Snakecharmer- Metropolis Records
If you have yet to check out iVardensphere’s recent album “The Methuselah Tree”, you need to stop reading this, go order a copy of this right now and the rest of your day is set to be musically educated. iVs is in true form with this release- Snakecharmer is one of the album’s highlights, showcasing the diversity of styles mastered. Fantastic!


Armystrial- Absence- Login Records
Leave it to Login Recs to come out with one of the most mechanic sounding tech tracks of the year with this outstanding track. This has quite a buzz, both literally and metaphorically. The beat will haunt you! In fact, if you love the high quality minimal tech sound to this one, you should pick up Armystrial’s entire “Aircraft” album. Every track on it is fantastic.


Die Krupps- Nocebo- SPV
The hard beats and signature Die Krupps voice- always copied and underrated- return. Very stomp worthy! You can catch this one off of the new album “The Machinists of Joy” along with a handful of other strong tracks.




Sparx- Spiked- Hard As Nails Digital
HAN Digital unleashes another monster track and it’s total energy, something to set off everyone; ‘Spiked’ almost challenges you NOT to move. 


Love?- I Walk Alone- Emmo.biz
The new Love? album Electronically Yours = get this ASAP. Such a solid album with much depth and so many outstanding tracks, it was difficult to choose just one. Fantastic work.


Dave Schiemann- Throne- Dedu Music
Fresh off the new Dedu Music label is this powerhouse club track; building from start to finish, Throne is a track to kick off the peak of the dance floor with along with Dedu Music’s other releases of fresh club music.

Make sure not to miss out on these other works:

Mesh- Adjust Your Set (Club Version)- Metropolis Records
Mesh’s recent output has been arguably their best ever- most especially since selected tracks have been ‘adjusted’ to make bodies move. Check out this version from the self-titled single release.

System Syn- The Privileged- Metropolis Records
I’ve always loved Clint Carney’s solo work when he has the time away from his collaborative time with Imperative Reaction and God Module. His System Syn always strikes me as very artistic and the new album “No Sky to Fall” is a great example of this. This track from the album signifies the work.

Tweaker- Grounded (3KStatic Mix)- Metropolis Records
Tweaker (aka Chris Vrenna) has a new remix album with many awesome tracks to check out including this one, featuring guest vocals from kaRIN of Collide. 

D Grove- Visions- Bionic Digital Recordings
One of Bionic Digital’s latest showcases of some kick ass Hardstyle. The driving beat production on this one is intense.

Grada- Trippin Like a Boss (Supertons Remix)- Supemarket Records
This track has such a flow, it keeps you on the floor. Love the rhythmic tones and transitions. Find this one on digital outlets such as Beatport, iTunes and more!

I’ll have December’s top picks plus the top selections of 2013 (Best tracks, albums, labels and more) next. Keep listening!

END: the DJ is a U.S. based DJ and artist on Nilaihah Records and CircuitHeads Digital. END supports many dark electronic artists & labels by touring internationally plus mix sets on U.S. and UK radio with Industrial Club Sessions. More details are on his official website.

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Friday, 6 December 2013

The weekly compendium 06/12/2013



We're now on a collision course with Christmas and here at IVM we're busy putting the finishing touches to our first compilation album due out on new years day. But we've still had time to bring you some articles this week.

We kicked off with news from Projekt Records and Aesthetic Perfection. Reviews of the new novel from writer Vincent Viñas, 'The Funeral Portrait', as well as a look at the new albums from Erasure, Lydia Lunch and Phillipe Petit, Shatoo, and Petrol Bastard. We also had this month's Editorial column where I lament the news that Static Distortion will cease as a record label.

Over on Facebook though we've had new music videos from Characula and Jordan Reyne, a new remix from Psyclon Nine, a funny f******* advert and news of an official release for the Coil remixes of Nine Inch Nails.


That's it for this week. Remember to vote in our reader's choice awards and like the facebook page to be in with a chance of winning some free CDs in time for Christmas. Until Monday, I'll leave you once again with Trent...


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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Review: Petrol Bastard – 'Terrible Problem'



PETROL BASTARD 
'Terrible Problem' 
ARMALYTE INDUSTRIES 

Have you ever woken up after a massive bender with permanent marker on your face, a goat in the living room eating your sofa cushions and a feeling that either you may have eaten something wrong or that someone has violated you? Well hang onto your hangover cause here lies your soundtrack for the next few hazy hours!

Over the last year Northern Buggers Petrol Bastard have been putting their loud and ludicrous Friday nights to good use by making some of the most brain shattering electronic music their bile could muster. With the success of their second album 'Dripping Gash' they have managed to get all over the UK playing with some other scuzzy industrial acts and have also managed to get themselves involved with Alt.-Fest next year. This new eight track album, released before their official release with Armalyte Records next year, is a torrent of drunken antics that is sure to either have you bouncing or throwing up into the bathroom sink.

Starting with the aptly named 'I spent my rent money on Tentacle porn', the album begins with sirens, digital discourse and screaming that makes you believes you are in the presence of the Overfiend! If you manage to make your way through the sludge of the first track, the next song, 'If you die in Batley do you die in real life?' makes a running start like a juggernaut. Pausing briefly in the middle with Doghouse of Sicknote breathing haggardly in your ear it then returns with overpowering gusto.

'Fred Foster' is a perfect representation of what it's like to crave a drink on a Saturday night, with sing-a-long capabilities and frustration you wouldn't want to mess with. It's follow up 'Fiat Multipla' serves as a part two to 'Fred Foster'. It's the closest thing the band will ever come to writing a ballad and sounds like the band is crawling ever closer to the bathroom to pass out in their own filth. Like a motor revving up though the album starts back up with 'White Star Adventuraaaaaaaaar', which seems to reek of mid-90s glitch charm. An unfortunate co-incidence then that the last track is titled 'The 90's were shit (I shat in a gameboy)'. It's a perfect example of what the band is about: sampling fart sounds and bumping beats that sound like football supporters kicking at a wall.

If Faderhead's 'Black Friday' was about clubbing in Europe, then 'Terrible Problem' is the English tourist making trouble trying to chat up the native birds and throwing up on his shoes at the end of the night. A must have for anyone who loves sleezy electro industrial with no disregard for public safety.

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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Review: Shatoo – 'Floodlights'



'Floodlights' 

Norwegian synthpop outfit Shatoo are name that can be added to the ever growing list of bands that are taking another stab at it. Originally having formed in the 80's by the turn of the decade they had disappeared, leaving only the legacy of their domestic chart hits 'Overload' – which spent eleven weeks at Number one – as well as, 'Dangertown' and 'Santorini'.

Their new EP 'Floodlights' follows on from the recent single 'Nothing That I Wouldn't Do' released earlier this year, and features not only the afore mentioned track but also remixes courtesy of Angst Pop featuring Technomancer.

The title track is a big slice of Euro-synth with a strong lead melody, a danceable pace, and a great sing-a-long chorus that proudly declares the bands intentions. While 'Nothing That I Wouldn't Do' is an old school dance number with a nice airy intro and a bouncy chorus that is a bit cheesy but enjoyable in a guilt pleasure kind of way.

Despite the band's 80's origins. There is a definite modern flavour to their sound, which isn't really surprising considering the line-up is rounded out by ex-Apoptygma Berzerk members Geir Bratland and Per Aksel Lundgreen who add a little sprinkle of futurepop to the proceedings.

Shatoo might not be particularly breaking new ground with 'Floodlights' but it is a nice statement nonetheless. It's well written and nicely mixed with a strong Euro vibe to it that is quite fun. The remix collaborations will definitely give the EP some longevity yet, but they'd do well to follow this up with a full-length album sooner rather than later.


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Review: Lydia Lunch & Philip Petit – 'Taste Our Voodoo'



'Taste Our Voodoo' 

Lydia Lunch is no stranger to collaborations. The vocalist/poet/actress/writer has performed as part of a number of bands as well as with the likes of Clint Ruin, Einsturzende Neubauten, Henry Rollins, Sonic Youth, Oxbow and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez to name a few. But no matter what she does or who she works with you can guarantee the results are going to be, unique and interesting... perhaps even a little frightening.

Lunch's latest collaboration 'Taste Our Voodoo' sees her partner up with avant garde instrumentalist Philippe Petit, who has himself had a pretty long list of collaborations in his discography. The combination of the two melds Petit's strange and sinister soundscapes with Lunch's punky spoken word delivery. Despite the four 20-minute tracks being recorded live over a period of two-and-a-half years, the overall effect is almost like listening to the result of an exquisite corpse, as though each artist wrote performed and recorded their part separately and yet they strangely come together as a whole.

Each of the tracks is comprised of several parts. With Lunch's sharp and distinctive tone ranging from brash and acerbic to distant and psychedelic. At the same time Petit's soundscapes move between dark industrial noise and trippy drone. It doesn't always hit the mark with many points feeling too disjointed and unconnected from each other. However when it does come together it sounds wonderfully nightmarish.

This is quite a rough and ready recording with crackles, hiss and microphone noise frequently distinct. The sound isn't fantastic and the mix feels very much as though it was done on the fly. But it is more of performance orientated document rather than a polished studio release.

There is no rhythm to latch on to and very little in the way of melody. This is an expressive work, and few are more expressive than Lunch. It won't be of interest to anyone outside of those into experimental electronics, noise and the general avant garde. Yet it is no less a notable pairing of artists.




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Review: Erasure – 'Snow Globe'



'Snow Globe' 

The legendary synthpop duo of Vince Clarke and Andy Bell have an enviable back catalogue of musical gems housed within their fourteen studio albums and multiple EP and single releases. However for album number fifteen the duo have turned their attention to the festive season and recorded a multitude of Christmas songs. It's not the first Christmas release in the band's history (see the 'Crackers International' EP which narrowly missed out on the coveted number one spot in 1988), but it is the first full-length festive offering which sees the band take on a range of traditional and recent covers.

A lot of people will typically be thinking this is going to be synthpop renditions of 'Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer' and whatnot in the style of 'Abba-esque', with no original tracks of the band's own compositions. However Clarke and Bell have plenty of new songs on offer. 'Bells Of Love (Isabelle's Of Love)', 'Make It Wonderful', 'Loving Man', 'Blood on the Snow', and 'There'll Be No Tomorrow' all display the distinctive and high-quality song writing that we'd come to expect; strong lead melodies coupled with body-moving grooves and the big sing-a-long choruses see them stand-up alongside the band's previous hits. They may not all be Christmas songs as such, yet there is no denying that they fit the tradition of the music we'd expect this time of year.

The covers aren't quite what you'd expect either. The lead single 'Gaudete' is a traditional Latin carol usually song to minimal accompaniment or madrigal style (a la The Mediaeval Baebes). However Bell breaks out his best choirboy voice, as Clarke provides a danceable backing track. It's short but very strong and should be a contender for the Christmas number one spot if there is any justice. The band also throw a couple of curve balls with the chip-tune take on 'The Christmas Song' (Mel Tormé, Robert Wells), the huge sounding version of Gustav Holst's 'In The Bleak Midwinter', and the lullaby style of 'White Christmas'.

This won't be everyone's cup of tea by any stretch. Those in particular who loathe the themed output of this time of year will probably want to avoid it. However, for anyone willing to take the plunge, there is no doubt that the band have worked their magic once again. The original compositions are varied and strong, while the covers are fresh and interesting without losing their familiarity. It goes to show that even if you think you have a band pinned down, they can still pull something out of the bag to surprise you.



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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Editorial: December 2013



Well I just want to say THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone that has made this year such a good one for us. There are a lot of magazines and websites that cover what we do, and frankly dragging readers away from other sites did seem like a daunting task this time last year. However we've slowly but surely built a good reputation four ourselves over the past year and we continue to see thousands of hits per month.

It's not about the money or gaining any sort of individual reputation, but the continued support of the readers, bands, labels and PR people is what makes this all worthwhile.

To thank you all we are opening up our end of year decision making to all of you in our Readers Choice poll. So if you want to see your favourite artists / labels / festivals etc. honoured by us, make sure you go and cast your votes!

We will also be releasing our first compilation album on 1st of January 2013 to mark our 1st birthday. As I've said before, it will be free and available in lossless or mp3 formats with an accompanying pdf booklet with details of all the band's included. The response we had to the idea was better than we could have hoped, and I think the end result will please a lot of people.

But even though we're in a good place right now, I'd like to address the recent announcement from UK industrial/rock label Static Distortion Records that they will no longer operate as a label. Static Distortion had rapidly gained a reputation for releasing high-quality albums from home-grown and international talent including MiXE1, Cease2xist, Cryogenic Echelon and Digital Deformation. Now only a mere couple of months on from the excellent night they curated at Slimelight, they have ceased to operate as a label.

It's a sad reflection of the current musical climate that even when someone pours their heart and sole into a business idea, and the bands and fans support it, that it is still not enough. As Steve Fearon (SDR founder) mentions in the statement below released by Facebook, SDR will continue as a collective of artists, but will no longer release music.
“SDR ANNOUNCEMENT
I have made the decision that at the end of the year, Static Distortion Records will cease to exist as a traditional label.

Its something I have thought about for a while, as my budget is not big enough to be able to support the artists to the extent that they deserve.

Also, the time involved to provide the level of service I demand from myself is proving increasingly difficult to find on top of my day job, my musical projects and my personal life.

After discussing this with the artists, we have decided to turn the label into a collective of sorts, still working together to support our respective projects, but with the responsibility of releasing and managing our music now being in the remit of the artist. I will continue on as a coordinator, but effectively the label will not be selling music anymore, and will exist purely as a collective of like-minded artists.

My thanks go out to all of the artists, promoters, journalists, supporters and fans who have been part of the journey, our work is not done, but the way in which we work has to change.
Thanks for your time. 
Steve Fearon”

The label isn't the first to go this way with the likes of Crunch Pod, Dancing Ferret Discs having ceased to be in recent year, and unfortunately it won't be the last due to the uncertainty in the industry. However, I hope all of our readers will continue to support Static Distortion in its new form along with the bands they have worked so hard to promote, and of course any brave soul who has started, or dares to start a record label in the future.




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