Blood Pack Vol. 6.66 released!

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

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

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

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


Review: Ritual Aesthetic – 'Wound Garden'


Review: Axegrinder – 'Satori'


Friday 29 August 2014

The weekly compendium 29/08/2014

And just like that, the Summer is gone and Autumn is now upon us. We hope you enjoyed your bank holiday, especially those who managed to get down to Infest for the weekend. It sounded like an absolute blast. I took advantage of the three day weekend to get some very serious relaxation done so we kicked things off a little late this week. I'm sure you'll forgive us though when you see what we did give you.

It was a little sparse on the website with reviews from the likes of Antigen Shift, Three Winters, Asmodeus X and Machine Rox taking centre stage. However, over on Facebook we had plenty of treats for you including: music videos from Blush Response and Die So Fluid. New music from End Of Green and Kunoichi. Highlights from Resistanz Festival. News from Cold Spring Records, Laibach, Fields Of The Nephilim, and Faderhead. And a cool teaser from Aeon Sable.

Right, so that's your lot for this week. Keep your eyes peeled this Monday for more. In the meantime here's something cool...

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Thursday 28 August 2014

Review: Machine Rox – 'Next Level'

'Next Level'

Following on from last year's dull-length début 'Shout', London's Machine Rox have waisted no time in unleashing another collection of industrial metal head-bangers. They took their time before releasing their first album, but 'Shout' saw the quartet become the band that they had strived to be, hard, fast and surprisingly club-friendly. 'Next Level' as the title suggests sees the band aiming to raise their game further with a sharper focus and some even better riffs.

The guitars are loud and savagely distorted, the synths are slick and catchy, and the vocals sound better than on any previous album. Songs such as 'Love Explosion', 'Electric Sun', 'Cycle Complete', 'My Own Religion', and 'You Belong To Me' really show how far the band have come in terms of songwriting and execution. They are heavier, tighter, more polished and not afraid to mix things up, such as in the lush instrumental 'Last Kamikaze' or the fist-in-the-air southern rock riffing of 'Losers In Your Game'.

The production has continued to improve as well on this release with far fewer instances of the vocals getting swamped by the guitars. It still has a roughness to it's sound, but when the synths are high in the mix it creates quite a nice balance between their dirty rock and slick dance sides.

If the band's aim was to raise their game to the next level with this album, they have certainly achieved that. The album takes a big step on from the solid foundation of 'Shout' and consolidates their position as a force to be reckoned with. The band's confidence has soared over the past couple of years and the effect it has had on their output has been impressive. If they can continue this kind of pace at this level they will only continue to see their stock rise further.

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Review: Asmodeus X – 'The Bright Ones'

'The Bright Ones'

It may have been around for a few years now but this release from veteran US trance influenced ebm outfit Asmodeus X is still worth a review. Recorded between 2008 and 2010 and filled with compelling dance leads, entrancing synth melodies and a heavy dose of esoterica, 'The Bright Ones' is a strong club-friendly record that sees some of the bands strongest material to date.

It's a high energy assault that channels the likes of ebm pioneers such as Front 242 through a very modern trance framework to create a high energy dance floor assault. Songs such as 'Destination Calling', 'Grosser Haus', 'Seasons Without End' , 'The Bright Ones' and 'Theos' bring the fast pace, big beats and memorable leads that can't help but get bodies moving. The use of samples gives the album a nice old school flavour as well that is further emphasised by the distinctive vocal style.

Though the vocals are well performed the way they're mixed does occasionally hit the ear wrong. Amongst the big synths and beats it's not as noticeable, but on some of the quieter portions of the songs they sound a bit tinny and raw compared to the more polished musical backing. It isn't a huge sticking point though as the songs have a lot of energy behind them to carry them through. Other than that the album is very well produced and maintains a nice balance between the band's classic and modern leanings.

'The Bright Ones' is a solid album full of tracks that would be a welcome addition to any deejay's setlist. It's by no means a perfect album but in terms of songwriting it is a very strong offering with all ten songs a potential single, but in particular the final two tracks 'Theo' and 'Power Factory'. It's been a while since we've had some brand new music from the trio, so it will be interesting to see what they have been brewing since they released this.

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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Review: Three Winters – 'Chroma'


The trio of Kim Sølve [Blitzkrieg Baby, K100], Anders B [Babyflesh, Mind & Flesh] and Lars Fredrik Frøislie [Wobbler, White Willow] last made an appearance with the brief but brilliantly executed taster 'The Atrocities EP' which featured three tracks which now make up part of their full-length début, 'Chroma'.

The trio blend catchy synthpop and dark coldwave into a dystopian sci-fi soundtrack style that draws as much influence from John Carpenter and Giorgio Moroder as it does from modern acts such as The Soft Moon and Zombi. It's bleak, Minimal, downbeat and cold in it's atmospheres, but ultimately it gets under your skin with it's simple but infectious melodies and hooks.

Songs such as 'Atrocities', 'At the Centre Of Dystopia', 'Animism', 'Aeon Surveillance [mkII]' and 'Lieke' feel like grainy retro sci-fi relics from the early 80s with their analogue sounding synths and minimal Kraftwerk-esque construction. But ultimately they are augmented with a strong sense of pop melodies and dance beats. While the likes of 'Daybreak Monuments', 'Hazard' and 'Channel 0' engage in more atmospheric ambience with their slower pace and more evocative cinematic slant.

As you'd expect the production emphasises that old school, 80s sound. But it isn't hiding behind the retro tag to cover-up poor quality. This is a very well mixed and produced album with each track sounding crisp and modern despite the heavy use of classic synth sounds.

'Chroma' is an interesting, unusual and very rewarding listening experience. The band have created something that isn't quite a dance-friendly record, yet isn't a complex ambient soundscape. Instead the trio have taken strong elements from each and crafted them into something original yet familiar. It will be very interesting to see whether they choose to continue down this line on further releases or whether they have something else up their sleeves.  

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Review: Antigen Shift – 'Brotherhood'


It has been eight long years since the last Antigen Shift album, 'Way Of The North', was released. But this time hasn't dulled the edge of Nick Thériault’s songwriting. Indeed with the addition of Jairus Khan (Ad-ver-sary), the now duo of Antigen Shift and their aptly named 2014 return 'Brotherhood' present a sharper and more complex entity than before.

There is ever present that familiar sense of urgent rhythm that continually drives the album forward. Yet there is a constant exploration of sounds and styles that elevates the sonic formulas at play here. The influences of jungle, breakbeat, edm, ebm and acts such as early Juno Reactor, Aphex Twin and of course some good ol' fashioned 90's industrial can be heard in tracks such as 'Forced', 'Angry Pillbox', 'Legion', 'Godkrusher', 'Console Nation', 'This Is An Exit', 'Reborn1130', and 'So Much Closer Now'. The sound of the album is one of variety yes, but it isn't a disparate collection of songs. The lighter ambient textures, pianos and classic techno sounds that crop up again and again subtly tie the whole album together with a recognisable and deliberate pallet.

In terms of production the album sits happily somewhere between a dance album and a complex ambient album. The big beats and melodies are high in the mix, but the prominence of the lighter elements give this more listen-ability than you'd expect.

At fourteen songs, some of which break the seven-minute mark, you'd be forgiven that the duo had just tried to squeeze eight years worth of ideas into one album. But that just isn't the case. What they have presented on 'Brotherhood' is a diverse and rich collection of songs that, while keeping one foot firmly in the industrial pool, isn't afraid to explore new ideas and sounds. And they've managed to do this on a nicely unified and succinct album that doesn't sound like someone has thrown ideas at a wall to see what sticks. It might not be what long-time fans were expecting, but it is certainly been worth the wait.

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Friday 22 August 2014

The weekly compendium 22/08/2014

It's the end of another week here at Intravenous Magazine, and it's nearly the end of August! We've been hard at work bringing you news and reviews to brighten up your dark little lives and are looking forward to a long weekend of... more writing! Here's what we had for you this week.

We kicked things off with another insightful column from Joel Heyes. We brought you news of The Gothsicles signing with Negative Gain. And there reviews of the new releases from Prude, Dicepeople, Cyferdyne, Witches Of Doom, and Flammpunkt.

While over on Facebook we saw a new Petrol Bastard remix courtesy of the legendary Ultraviolence. 3Teeth have launched a remix contest. Black Tape For A Blue Girl have released a free compilation. There is some late news from Infest. And finally tour dates from Velvet Acid Christ.

Right that's it for the weekend. I'm going to heroically plough on with this big article on silent horror cinema. So I'll leave you with this...

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Thursday 21 August 2014

Review: Flammpunkt – 'Amphetamine Psychosis'

'Amphetamine Psychosis'

Flammpunkt is the solo project of Frank Sparti, an Atlanta-based industrial musician with 20 years of experience to his name, which his first outing on Beyond Therapy Records certainly attests to. 'Amphetamine Psychosis' – his third outing under the Flammpunkt moniker and fist full-length album – is a seething blend of hard ebm, power noise and nasty industrial.

Primarily instrumental, at it's core it is a fundamentally solid dance album. The hard beats and catchy melodies on tracks like 'Civilisation Collapsing', 'Nekronamicode', 'The Creeps', 'Amphetamine Psychosis' and 'Digital Razor' do their job to draw the listener into the album and get their bodies moving. While the more crazy and experimental embellishments in the songs give the album a madcap veneer. Though Sparti isn't afraid to just go a bit nuts as he does on the short and sharp 'Cybergenic Freaks' and the spaghetti western invoking 'Gunslinger', which prove to be two of the albums most enjoyable moments.

It does feel as though he is holding back in some respects, as though the album is easing the listener in while threatening to drop a major bomb. Yet the explosion never quite comes. But what is here is still strong, and shows the depth and potential for this project.

Despite the penchant for getting crazy this is a very well mixed and produced album. The dance fundamentals are always preserved no matter what Sparti pulls out of his bag of tricks, which keeps it accessible enough to get his hooks into that club audience. But it is still complex enough to warrant catching him live.

'Amphetamine Psychosis' is fast and crazy, but it keeps one hand inside the straight jacket for good measure. It's an album that shows Sparti is not knows a good dance tune, but he can really spice things up. It would however be very interesting to see just how crazy he can get. But this is a very good starting point that should pique quite a few people's interests.

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Review: Witches Of Doom – 'Obey'


With a name like Witches Of Doom it's pretty easy to guess where this Italian quintet are coming from. The gothic presence of Type O Negative meets the crushing doom of Orange Goblin with a healthy dose of classic bluesy Danzig thrown in for good measure. The combination not dissimilar to The 69 Eyes ditching their glam metal fixation and joining the Southern Lord roster.

Big riffs, deep vocals and atmospheric keyboard accompaniments power the relentless backbone of the album with the likes of 'The Betrayal', 'To The Bone', 'Dance Of The Dead Flies' and 'Rotten To The Core' proving their heavy credentials. However its when they really let their goth sides out that the magic really happens. The solemn and mournful centrepiece 'Crown Of Thorns' and penultimate track 'It's My Heart (Where I Feel The Cold)' channel Paradise Lost and the Sisters Of Mercy in this powerful ballad. While the album's epic nine-minute finale 'Obey' breaks out the middle eastern instruments for a sumptuous ending.

The production is pretty solid with the band sounding like they've been turned up to eleven for most tracks. This can sometimes come across as a wall of noise, but it does mean that the quieter elements to the tracks are always easy to hear and define. There is a persistent roughness to the recording, which is a little distracting in places, but overall doesn't detract from the songs.

This may be the band's début album, but it shows a lot of accomplished song writing. It is a little rough around the edges and it perhaps over relies on their default heavy sound, but they do show a lot of promise. Exploring some of the more gothic end of their sound would be nicer to hear, but if you like your riffs Witches Of Doom are definitely for you.

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Wednesday 20 August 2014

Review: Cyferdyne – 'Keep Your Silence'

'Keep Your Silence'

With a reshuffle of personnel last year, there may have been some question marks surrounding the sophomore from Lancaster's own ebm upstarts Cyferdyne. But moments after pressing play, those misgivings are immediately laid to rest. The band's second album 'Keep Your Silence' is leaner, meaner and cleaner with a more powerful production giving the bands infectious dance grooves a more confident presence. The band's sound continues to evolve but remains distinctively English with nods to Mesh, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, and Prodigy throughout.

The band's penchant for hard, beat-driven ebm, dance-friendly melodies and industrial grit has come on a lot since the band's first full-length outing 'Genesys', Yet everything that endeared them to the public first time around is still present and correct. Even the most hardened club goer will be stretched to find a track on this album that wouldn't have them heading straight for the dance floor.

Tracks such as 'Cables And Codes', 'Disease', 'Glass', 'Escape' and 'Visions' epitomise the appeal of the album. Every song is different but at the heart of it is designed to make you dance and belt out the lyrics at the top of your voice. The album's crowning glory has to be the sumptuous 'Clockwork' with its steady pace, sing-a-long lyrics and industrial rock flirtations really show off the depth to the bands songwriting ability.

The production on the album is exceptional with a real top-shelf quality. Every element in the mix sounds fresh and distinct which really brings out the best in every song. It's easy to see that this is the album where the band are defining and refining their sound and have justly given it the attention it deserves.

'Keep Your Silence' is a highly polished monster of an album that really shows off what the band can do as songwriters. It wouldn't be a surprise if this album proves to to be a real game changer for them.

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Review: Dicepeople – 'End Of Line'

'End Of Line'

Dicepeople are a group that are somewhat hard to define. As an audio visual collaboration their audio output inevitably is incomplete without it's visual accompaniment. But their third studio album 'End Of Line' doesn't feel incomplete in the least. In fact it is an incredibly deep and polished work that see the duo of Matt Brock and Rafael Filomeno incorporate classic electronica, idm, ebm, ambient, trip-hop and industrial elements to create a uniquely innovative album.

Darkly danceable and beard-scratchingly cerebral, 'End Of Line' blends club friendly rhythms with soundtrack quality electronics and throws in hypnotic female vocals to evoke the likes of Enigma, Art Of Noise, Can, Massive Attack and Depeche Mode. Songs such as 'Bruised', 'Dissolution', 'Hurt' and 'The end Of The Line' in particular really capture this blend of dark ambience and sublime dance potential. While the likes of 'The Doll House', 'Singularity' and 'Death Drone' really delve into more conceptual narratives within the music to draw the listener deeper.

'End Of Line' is a very well produced album that subtly builds layers and mixes elements down to emphasise the band's avant garde leanings, while simultaneously preserving that accessible dance friendly element to grab the casual listener. It has a crisp, clean modern sound that emphasises that this is an innovative and modern album.

This may only be the third studio length album from the duo, but it sounds like it could be their thirteenth with the amount of skill and craftsmanship that has gone into it. The album is confident and sure in it's mission. The only real downside is that at 39 minutes in total, it is over in the blink of an eye and doesn't seem like the band have had enough time to play their trump card. But with songs of this quality that is a small sticking point.  

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Tuesday 19 August 2014

Review: Prude – 'The Dark Age Of Consent'

'The Dark Age Of Consent'

Throw members of Chemlab, Caustic, Plastic Heroes, Infocollapse, as well as the producer of 13MG, Ministry, and Blondie into a blender with a tab of acid and Iggy Pop's leather jeans and what do you get? The answer, if you haven't guessed already is Prude. An international mashup of snotty glam-punk and groovy but noisy synths that come together to create something rather clever and catchy.

Powered by memorable riffs, Iggy-esque vocals and sleazy synth embellishments, Prude's début album, 'The Dark Age Of Consent', is a crass, intelligent and rocking slice of industrial rock that recalls the likes of 1000 Homo DJs, The New York Dolls, Suede, Iggy Pop, Two and even Beck. With songs such as 'Great Eraser (In The Sky)', 'Plague Star (Black Light Burning)', 'Airlock', 'Scatterbrain' and 'Sniper (At The Gates Of Dawn)' in their arsenal, they more than prove their rock 'n' roll credentials with big riffs and sing-a-long vocals. While the likes of 'PLUSism', 'Cigarette Burn Heart' and 'Knife' show a dark wit to their writing that elevates the album above pure superficial rock.

Prude are perhaps the first band in a long time... perhaps since Revolting Cocks, that truly deserve the industrial rock supergroup title. 'The Dark Age Of Consent' is a classic sounding album that is well written and well performed, especially considering the band members are separated by substantial distances.

The production is great and sounds bang up-to-date while preserving the sleazy punk undertones running throughout the album. It would be nice to hear the electronics mixed a bit higher in a few places, as they just add that extra kick to the songs where they are used.

'The Dark Age Of Consent' is a very strong début album that fully utilises the wealth of skill and experience of its writers. The songs are catchy and approachable with plenty of wit and intelligence behind them. Hopefully this will be the first of many albums to bear the Prude name.

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The Gothsicles join Negative Gain & announce new album

US label Negative Gain Productions have announced the signing of Chicago based, Industrial Dance outfit The Gothsicles. The band have also announced that their fourth studio album, 'Squid Icarus', which will feature thirteen new tracks as well as contributions from artists such as Faderhead, Assemblage 23, and Haujobb will be released through the label.

The album is scheduled to be released as a physical CD and Digital download this December. For more information please visit the Negative Gain Productions website of the official Gothsicles website.

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Monday 18 August 2014

Beauty With Cruelty

The gothic subculture, for all its inherent liberalism, has always had a thing for tyrants. And not just those tyrants who run gothic rock megagroups, either (it’s always a horrible moment when  a parent has to tell their child that Andrew Eldritch actually exists and isn’t just a Yorkshire folk legend invented to scare young musicians). The Daddy of Tyrants, the patron saint of goth rock megalomania, has always been Vlad Tepes (the ‘Impaler’), whether in his original undiluted form or filtered through 600 years of legend and camp. Conversely, the Queen of Tyrants is almost certainly Elizabeth Bathory. 

It is tempting to consider the Blood Countess to be part of a complimentary symmetry with Vlad, so on that basis we might as well do so. Roughly a century after Vlad fought the Ottoman Turks in what would become present-day Romania the Countess was busy murdering peasant women right next door, in Hungary. Vlads  sadism and brutality were legendary, and involved not only stories of the torture of enemy soldiers and rivals but also of a total despotism over all his lands; this was a kind of modern-day terror, the terror of the dictator and the totalitarian state, and of cruelty-as-governance. The Countess, on the other hand, was exercising sadism and cruelty on a more personal scale – luring women to the castle and then torturing and/or killing them. This was a more intimate kind of cruelty than practised by Vlad as head of a state.

Stories of her bathing in the blood of her victims to regain her youth came afterwards and did not correspond to any of the eyewitness reports from the time, but as with all of these things you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story. This invariably led to the linking of the Bathory myth to that of vampirism (as with Vlad at around the same time) and the eventual title of ‘Countess Dracula’  - as memorably depicted in the classic horror film of the same name. Again, the fact that the Hungarian nobility was in no way linked to the Order of the Dragon appears to be besides the point (plus the fact that nobody appeared to be suggesting that Bathory was herself a vampire). But I digress.

The myth of the Blood Countess is interesting in that it brings up all manner of issues. The most obvious theme is that the Countess was a vicious sadist, and one of the clearest examples  some 200 years before de Sade would begin to expound the idea fully.  From that perspective we could argue that Bathory was essentially one very mean Domme, and such an archetype runs deeply within gothic culture. There is also the issue of absolute power in the entrenched, elitist class system of the middle ages; the pecadillos of the ruling classes seemed to mirror the violence of the society in which they ruled. 

Of course, another more sympathetic point of view is that Bathory was simply caught up in the power struggle of the Hungarian nobility - she got too powerful, she was in the way, and she was set up. It would certainly seem that her imprisonment for four years in a bricked-up cell could be construed as rather suss. People may well have wanted to believe stories of an apparently ‘evil’ woman if it suited their needs to do so.

Either way there is something very modern about the story and the alleged actions and impulses of the Countess; Foucault for one would have had a lot to say about the political and physical basis of her cruelty. The template of the beautiful and cruel has a remarkable endurance within gothic culture and within popular culture more generally.  In 2008 the Bathory story was remade in the horror biopic ‘Bathory: Countess of Blood’ which after initial reports of Famke Janssen playing the Countess saw Anna Friel take the role; now, setting aside the fact that if you think Anna Friel is a good fit for the Blood Countess then you probably need help, it does nevertheless show that the Bathory legacy still casts a long shadow.

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Friday 15 August 2014

The weekly compendium 15/08/2014

Up until a couple of weeks ago I hadn't planned on being around to do a weekly compendium for today. But never mind. Shit happens etc. Anyway here's what we had for you this week.

On the main site we kicked things off with an interview with Ritual Aesthetic main man Sean von Helvete, who aside from spelling Sean correctly has a great début album out. We also had reviews of the latest albums by Obsidian FX, Devil-M, Blush Response, and KMFDM.

Facebook was a little sparser this week but we still had a few cool bits for you including DJ Azrael (AKA Marco Visconti of XP8) announced he'll be hanging up his decks after Resistanz next year. The Last Dance and iVardensphere released two great new FREE songs that I highly recommend downloading. Also Matt Fanale of Caustic released a new track to listen to on Soundcloud. Phantasma Disques are looking for contributions to their next compilation. And finally we've had a new album update video from Wednesday 13 and tour promo from Combichrist.

Right that's your lot. Oh, one more thing... can you believe it's been 20 years since this bunch of underground industrial rock nutters performed this on PPV?

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Thursday 14 August 2014

Review: KMFDM – 'We Are KMFDM'

'We Are KMFDM'

In the world of industrial rock KMFDM need no introduction. The quintet have been flying the flag of “Ultra Heavy Beat” for thirty years now. Originally founded as Kein Mehrheit Fur Die Mitleid (No Pity For The Majority), an audio-visual art collective, they quickly began to experiment with a crossover techno-metal sound that yielded hits such as 'Juke Joint Jezebel', 'A Drug Against War', 'Megalomaniac', 'Anarchy', 'Hau Ruck', 'World War III' and 'Godlike' making them the pride of Chicago's Wax Trax! Records.

The band's line-up has revolved and they have relocated their base of operations several times in their history, but they have admirably always stuck to their guns in terms of conceptual continuity. Therefore its nice to see that to celebrate their thirtieth year in operation, the band have opted to release a live album compiling some of their greatest hits in all their in-your-face glory.

Old, well loved tracks sit comfortably alongside recent hits such as 'Kunst', 'Pussy Riot', 'Krank', and 'Rebels In Kontrol'. You can argue that the band's sound hasn't really developed much in their history. But that is missing the point. The band give their fans what they want and what they expect. And every new album still manages to sound heavy and fresh.

As far as live albums go, this is pretty solid. Sometimes they can be blatantly overdubbed or on the other end of the spectrum they can just sound sloppy. 'We Are KMFDM' sounds polished, but most importantly, it sounds live. The mixing is up to the same standard as you'd expect from their studio output, but it preserves the raw and visceral nature of the band's performance. The brief bits of banter and crowd noise add to the overall atmosphere but are perhaps a bit too subtle in their use merely book-ending each song and it would have been nice to hear some of the sing-a-long moments.

Live albums aren't to everyone's tastes. But for those who do like them, 'We Are KMFDM' is a safe purchase. Some of the band's greatest hits and their thirty-year experience as a live performance act come together for a slick and high-quality package that stands alongside some of the best live industrial rock albums from the past couple of decades like 'Last Tour On Earth' and 'And All That Could Have Been'.

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Review: Blush Response – 'Desire Machines'

'Desire Machines'

Following on from the stellar single/EP 'The Drift', the new full-length Blush Response album 'Desire Machines' arrives to consolidate Joey Blush's position as arguably one of the most exciting electronic musicians around today. Blending pure experimentalism with unashamed dance potential, Blush and his army of modular synths pull together glitch, ambient, industrial, ebm and electronica influences to create a unique, intelligent and wholly approachable sound.

Kicking off in brave fashion with a slowly building six-minute instrumental 'Idoru', the album immediately throws a curve-ball before enticing the listener in with the glitchy but dance friendly 'Breathe'. Each track balances funkiness with quirkiness. Complexity with club potential. In some cases such as the afore mentioned 'Breathe', along with 'Lovers' and 'Dreams' the experimental elements are more subtle. Whereas the likes of 'Reasons', 'Common Breed', and 'The Drift' he pushes them to the fore to counterpoint the infectious melodies and build up a more challenging but enjoyable piece.

The production can be compared to the recent output from Alec Empire and How To Destroy Angels. The interaction of the lighter more melodic elements and the sheer noise is handled with care so that neither one overpowers the other in the mix. The overall production is crisp, clean and once again brings that analogue orientated sound right up to date for modern consumption.

At only nine tracks in total, the album leaves you wanting more. Which is always a good thing. There are no tacked-on remixes for the sake of it, and the result is a complete and self-contained statement. Each track, even the instrumentals, have the innate dance quality that makes this album appeal to the casual listener... but once it has hold of you, the sheer mastery of his art on display from Blush will get you hooked.

'Desire Machines' burns bright and fast. It's a strong album that is well constructed and performed and provides some of Blush's strongest songs yet that will undoubtedly lift his profile as a musician and composer.

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Tuesday 12 August 2014

Review: Devil-M – 'Revenge Of The Antichrist'

'Revenge Of The Antichrist'

German industrial rockers Devil-M add a deep conceptual twist with their sophomore outing 'Revenge Of the Antichrist'. Resplendent with heavy guitars, heavier beats and demonic vocals, the album follows the tale of a schizophrenic man named Astharat who kills his wife, Eden, before descending into a dark and maddening world of self-hatred.

The bands penchant for theatrics and conceptual melodrama reflect their most obvious musical influences such as Marilyn Manson, Gothminister, Psyclon Nine and Suicide Commando. But they are by no means another derivative industrial metal act. The bands unrelentingly harsh and noisy sound is well formed and executed with zeal throughout the album. The songs remain punchy and accessible, resisting the urge to descend into prog rock opulence purely for the sake of it. It's hard going but the band are loyal to their musical roots and the result is some very catchy and surprisingly accessible tracks.

Songs such as 'Astharat', 'Rebirth', 'From Birth To Death', 'Good Way Of Dying' drive the album with a more discernible vocal narrative on top of the more traditional combination of heavy beats, guitars and catchy lead synths. While the likes of 'Apokrypha', 'Revenge Of The Antichrist (Part 1)', 'Love Is Not Available', and 'Harmful Scab' propel the album with visceral and intense mood pieces which push the electronics and piano to the fore. Some of which are heavy, and others clam but dark.

The album seems very much in two halves with the first eight tracks really driving home the industrial rock elements of the band, while the last five songs tone things down and become more atmospheric. It would certainly work well on vinyl, but on a CD or digital release the loss in momentum may deter casual listeners grabbed by the opening numbers.

Yet it is a solid album. The songs pull you in and the the concept doesn't get in the way of a good excuse to bang your head. The production is good with the synths and vocals being used to great effect in the mix to really convey the underlying narrative.

This is only a second full-length album from the band, but it shows how far they have come in a relatively short time. This may not be to everyone's taste but those who like it heavy and deep will definitely find something in 'Revenge Of The Antichrist' to take away.  

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Review: Obsidian FX – 'Illusions Of Darkness'

'Illusions Of Darkness'

It's evident from their double-disc début offering in the form of 'Illusions Of Darkness' that Russian dark electro duo Obsidian FX don't do things in half measures. Inhabiting a world caught between sci-fi soundscapes and club-friendly harsh ebm, R.DarkArt and D.Fox set out to grab peoples attention... before strapping them to an operating table and experimenting on them.

Influences such as Hocico, Psyclon Nine, X-Fusion are very apparent in the choice of scathing lead synth melodies and distorted vocals. But the band add inject a touch of something different with soft but dark instrumentation in places that sound like the should be cleaved from the soundtrack to a 21st century remake of Re-Animator. The intro track 'Sanctorum' as well as the build up to songs such as 'Shadowgame', 'Antithesis', 'Angel Of Blackened Skies' and 'Fill The Void' are particularly fine examples of this balance of sounds. The album does of course come equipped with plenty of balls-to-the-wall dance bait with the likes of 'Where the Bloody Rivers Flow', 'Orbitoclast', 'Sea Of Sorrow' and 'The Ghostsong' keeping things up-tempo and infectious. Although these do seem to be somewhat over-relied on at times.

The second CD is the remix companion to the main album, although it does contain three original tracks in the form of 'In Atlantis', 'Recreation' and 'Twins'. Again the originals are high quality club friendly tracks with a nice twist to them that could easily have sat comfortably alongside the thirteen tracks on the first album.

The remixes provide an added sense of experimentalism with acts such as VProjekt, The Luna Theory, and Ruinizer, eschewing the traditional route of making already strong club tracks into... stronger, clubbier tracks... and instead opting for more original re-workings.

This is a hefty and strong début from the Russian duo. There is probably still a bit of fat to be trimmed and it would be nice to hear them get even more experimental to really make them stand-out from the crowd. But this is a well written, recorded and produced album that may just surprise a few people. Hopefully they'll continue to progress and refine their sound into something unique on future releases.

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Monday 11 August 2014

Interview: Sean von Helvete (Ritual Aesthetic)

Something to know you by

“I spent a long time trying to capture that of what we see in films and music videos that depict cinematic horrific, religious and downright weird "ceremonies" that human beings partake in. That in itself is something very odd and fascinating alone.”

A musician stepping out from behind his chosen instrument to take on the position of being a one man band is often difficult. But former Dawn Of Ashes and Belhor drummer Sean von Helvete has made the jump with his solo project Ritual Aesthetic with ease. Blending the metal leanings of his former band Dawn Of Ashes with a purer dark electronic atmosphere, von Helvete has unleashed a dynamic yet unique début album with 'Decollect'.
We spoke to von Helvete to talk about making the jump from drummer to one man band, and the influences that went into his début.  

Intravenous Magazine:
'Decollect' is your début as a solo artist. What has the reception been like so far?

Sean von Helvete: The reception has been just fantastic. I have been overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled feelings over how many people from around the globe received DECOLLECT with open arms and led me to some really interesting interpersonal experiences along the way. Especially all of you at Intravenous!
I was very humbled by your gracious review and it was really neat to interact with all of you the first time from across the pond. 

IVM: You've described the Ritual Aesthetic sound as being “not designed to be easy listening”. What would you say your wider mission statement is for the band and what can people expect from the album?

SvH: That's a great one. I think I would have to say that Ritual Aesthetic's wider mission when it comes to terms of the music we all share would have to be both enticing people within the genres sub-categories to branch out and embrace new things that they normally wouldn't. Things that are still tied to their own realm and appeal to those who wouldn't normally expect themselves to get into something within our taste. I think there's probably nothing cooler than people from polar opposite spectrums to find common ground in realizing they're both drawn to something and feel the need to express themselves within it regardless of the temperature or flavour of it's character or how far it is out of their comfort realm. I think music is probably the most powerful and potent / effective drug that we have to bring people together and de-program them from debilitating things like religion, statism, classism, racism and all the other bad 'isms the doctor told you an apple can't prevent.

IVM: How did you come to choose the moniker Ritual Aesthetic, and how does it compliment the music?

SvH: I came to choose Ritual Aesthetic after I had spent six months in heavy, heavy Colorado winter downpour kicking a daily booze and negativity habit in the winter of 2012. I spent a long time trying to capture that of what we see in films and music videos that depict cinematic horrific, religious and downright weird "ceremonies" that human beings partake in. That in itself is something very odd and fascinating alone.
I loved the aesthetic of candles, dramatic shadowing, wild artefacts, isolated locations, fire, etc.
Me being a film fanatic, especially that of horror I just really wanted to capture that whole deck of cards into a few words but couldn't seem to come up with it. I probably kicked hundred of word combos around until one winter day in the middle of a raging hot bubble bath after my basement apartment units power had gone out it kinda clicked to me that I was just hunting for the ''ritual aesthetic''. Seemed like it fit so I have kept it until now. 

IVM: You're known for drumming with Dawn Of Ashes and other metal acts. What led you to strike out on your own as a solo artist?

SvH: Drums were the first instrument and hobby I picked up and what I ran the longest with besides photography before I completely turned to solo musicianship.
The entire time I followed my other musical endeavours was because those were things (especially in the mid 2000's black metal scene) that kind of landed themselves on my plate first hand and I reacted to as far as playing. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing I probably love more and have
more respect for than the drummer community but the whole time I was doing that stuff I was so mentally heavily influenced by the great rockers and innovative industrial artists I grew up on that I just couldn't resist trying to chase that idea of creating an entire forest of music based on your
every thought and emotion. As I progressed as a drummer and assisting my metal collaborators with things we would do I grew a slow understanding of contemporary DAW'S and mid 80's hardware doing things like making stage intros and silly remixes and it finally just blew up to become too much like a high school crush you can't get rid of (to make a terrible analogy) and so I just kinda flew off the deep end and spent weeks upon weeks hammering out all of these songs I was envisioning which all in some shape or another became 'DECOLLECT'.

IVM: Is Ritual Aesthetic your main musical project now or are you open to working with other bands again?

SvH: Yes Ritual Aesthetic is my main squeeze right now. I'm always looking to do wild fun stuff with new artists and cross wires and notes. That's a great question because during the production of 'DECOLLECT' long before I ever signed with JUGGERNAUT UK, in between takes and sessions I would always chill out in the little vocal room I had set up and just drift off to Iszoloscope. At least a handful of times I would crack jokes with people I would be working with "Let's just have Iszoloscope finish the album" because things would have been going on too long by that point and ironically enough he wound up doing a ridiculously awesome remix of one of the title songs off 'DECOLLECT', so yes I would say I’m open all the time.

IVM: Where did the title 'Decollect' come from?

SvH: 'DECOLLECT' is a play on RECOLLECT which means to recall, rehash or remember.
Decollect in my eyes when naming this was a faux practice of forgetting, unloading or ultimately deleting such things in our minds.

IVM: Musically and thematically, what were your inspirations when recording 'Decollect'?

SvH: Musically it was all over the grid. I was influenced by every little speck of all of my favourite albums so it made for a pollock like explosion. Thematically 'DECOLLECT' follows that of a lucid person living, recalling or spectating their various states of being.

IVM: How do you typically approach writing a song and what is your studio process like?

SvH: I always like to write songs based upon visual. I love freezing a film frame and creating
sounds and landscapes until they sound like what I’m seeing.

IVM: Looking back at your début, now it has been released, is there anything you'd like to have done differently that will likely influence the way you approach creating a follow up?

SvH: I wish it could have been 3D with Argento like boob shots.
No, honestly I feel like everything we do creatively just leads to higher extremes. No failure, only results.

IVM: You recently signed to UK label Juggernaut Music Group to release the album, how did this come about?

SvH: I was introduced by a buddy from Wax Hart in the USA to the lads in the UK who loved and believed in it and it's been a fun blur since.

IVM:In addition to your music career, you are also a photographer. How does this tie in with what you do musically?

SvH: My photography stays pretty divorced from music. I'm very interested as a long time photographer in what other artists have to display and I feel it's only right to give up what you have musically or vice versa to people of another craft to help shape it into what it can become. In other words no I do not cross the two. I shot the cover of 'DECOLLECT' but wanted to leave it at that to ensure RA would always be uniquely graced by someone else’s vision. The exterior booklet
is shot by Damien Grey of Atlanta GA and the internal and solo shots were done by the amazing and loved Vadim Monoilo of Denver, Colorado.

IVM: Are there any live plans for the band?

SvH: Oh yes big time. Just gotta make sure it's quality and good for all of you :)

IVM: Finally what are your plans for the rest of 2014?

SvH: Working on a fall basket of re-workings, live renditions and new tracks :) 

Ritual Aesthetic's début album, 'Decollect' is available to purchase through Juggernaut Music Group now. For more information on the band, please see their official website. 

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Friday 8 August 2014

The weekly compendium 08/08/2014

There's been plenty to get stuck into this week, so I'll get straight into it.

We kicked off with the news of Alt-Fest's cancellation, which is also the subject of this month's editorial column. But we tried to keep things positive with a new column from End: The DJ. Godflesh have released the details of their first full length album in thirteen years. And we had reviews of the new releases from Laibach, Nolongerhuman, Juggernaut Music Group, Cage studios and Projekt Records.

On Facebook we've seen a new charity track from Leaether Strip. New music videos from Justin Symbol and Three Winters. Previews from Zola Jesus, Paresis, Comaduster and Broken Links. VNV Nation will be replacing Project Pitchfork as Infest headliners, 16 Volt have called it a day, and Berlyn Trilogy will be releasing a remix EP.

Right, that's it for another week. Here's something to keep you going.

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Thursday 7 August 2014

Review: Various Artists – 'Summer 2014 - Electronic & Ambient Sampler'

'Summer 2014 - Electronic & Ambient Sampler'

Pioneering US darkwave label Projekt have released another in their line of free label samplers for the Summer. This time the label focusses on a selection of Electronic and Ambient artists from their already divers and critically acclaimed roster. At seven tracks long it may seem like a short offering on the surface, but nonetheless it is of the kind of high quality you'd expect from the veteran label. In fact the shortest track on the album is over seven minutes long, while its longest goes just past the half an hour mark.

The album features stunning spacey ambient soundscapes and dark folky compositions from the likes of Steve Roach, Erik Wøllo, Kelley David, Mercury's Antennae, Loren Nerell / Mark Seelig, Byron Metcalf, and Sam Rosenthal. Some of the names might not be as well known outside of Projekt Records circle, but being a free album it does give more of an incentive to the casual listener to give them a try. The rewards are great for those who do, particularly when you listen to Steve Roach's hypnotic 'The Well Spring', Erik Wøllo's Ethnically tinged 'Tundra', Mercury Antennae's cavernous sounding 'Serenade for Falling Stars (Part II)' and the primal ambience of Loren Nerell / Mark Seelig's 'Yggdrasil'.

It is admittedly a specialised genre and label samplers do sometimes feel as though they are quickly cobbled together. But this one has a nice range of high quality tracks that perpetuate a unified sense of atmosphere throughout.

It may be going out of a fair few people's comfort zones, but this free sampler is worth the time if you're adventurous enough to give it a try. While existing fans of ambient music will definitely need to download this.

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Review: Various Artists – 'Cage21'


Martin Bowes may be best known for his veteran industrial act Attrition, but he has been hard at work not only performing music but producing, mastering, mixing and remixing from his lair at Cage Studios for 21 years now. In celebration of this, Bowes has compiled a 21 track selection of just some of the music from all over the world that he has had a hand in at the Cage studios this year.

'Cage21' follows on from the previous compilation 'The Cage: the first 20 years', which charted the best of Bowes first twenty years. The new album features a diverse range of artists and genres spanning dark ambient, post punk, minimal wave, noise, folk, industrial, goth, drum n bass, neo-classical, punk and doom metal. With acts such as Naked Lunch, Scarlet Leaves, Rossetti's Compass, Tylean, Johnathan|Christian, Attrition, and My Silent Wake the compilation is an audio curriculum vitae showing off not only the artists hard work and strong song writing, but also Bowes' considerable skills as a producer and engineer.

As an album it has a nice slow pace and a relentlessly dark atmosphere with every track complementing each other to produce a compilation that actually feels like it is expressing a unifying theme. It draws you in and even though there is a tapestry of genres at work, it feels very much like it is being presented as a narrative journey rather than a collection of songs.

In terms of the production, the individual tracks are all well mixed and the album mastered nicely to maintain the same level of high quality throughout.

At 105 minutes it is a good double CD's worth of material and with such a wide cross-section of genres on display throughout it will be hard to please everyone. But what is here is great quality and will throw out something new and exciting for a lot of casual listeners. Don't be surprised if the cage compilations become an annual release as after this Bowes will definitely be getting more work.  

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Review: Various Artists – 'Two Years And Going Strong!'

'Two Years And Going Strong!'

Just as the PR company turned label did with their excellent 'Foundations' CD compilation and last year's 'Fuck You, Enjoy' free Christmas album, Juggernaut Music Group has released another strong collection featuring some of the best international underground electronic artists. Once again available as a free download 'Two Years And Going Strong!' collects some of the best cuts from the Juggernaut roster to give everyone a taste of what they have up their sleeve.

Encompassing everything from synthpop acts such as Mr Kitty and IIOIOIOII to the harsher tones of Tapewyrm and Garten Der Asche the album provides a great cross-section of tracks from a diverse range of modern artists that are consistently getting critics and fans alike excited. Best of all everything is distinctly club friendly. Strong dance beats and catchy melodies are at the fore of this compilation with acts such as Dreams Divide, Deadliner, Mr Kitty, IIOIOIOII, Electric Breathing, Venal Flesh, Immanent Violence and Tactical Module shining in particular.

The album is well mixed and arranged in a careful, thought out manner so that the tracks flow into each other nicely. Best of all at seventeen tracks long, its not to big to burn on to a CD and throw in the car to spread the noise.

Again Juggernaut have brought together a strong collection of acts and chosen to give away some great music. Fans of any alternative electronic sub-genre will be hard pressed to find something they don't like here. It's fresh, up-to-date and you will definitely be hearing these tracks on the dancefloors for a long time to come.

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Editorial: August 2014

This month's editorial column is a sad one, and I'm sure people are sick of everyone commenting on it, but I feel the need to write my thoughts down about this anyway. As you will know by now, Alt-Fest has been cancelled. A new event that promised so much, was pulled at the eleventh hour amid a storm of rumours and conspiracy aggravated by a disastrous social media response that seemed to take the organisers by surprise.

This was an event that I really held out hope for. With the mix of mainstream metal acts as well as luminaries from the goth, industrial, punk and steampunk genres it seemed to me like the perfect festival put together by the creators of Club Antichrist, a reoccurring club night with a great reputation.

From the start it set out to be different with its successful Kickstarter campaign and aggressive social media presence. When big names like Fields Of The Nephilim, Marilyn Manson, Cradle Of Filth, and Paradise Lost began to be added to the line-up it seemed as though it was all progressing as planned. Like many people I was optimistic about the drawing power the evolving line-up would have and thought that with it being billed as family friendly it would get the extra boost from those who wouldn't usually make it to an outdoor festival. As such I've actively promoted the announcements on this website and when the organisers didn't get back to me regarding a press pass, I thought 'Fuck it, I'm going anyway' and shelled out for tickets like everyone else.

As when anything goes wrong with something people have been passionate about, there has been finger-pointing and name-calling. But at the end of the day I do believe the organisers had the best intentions and didn't set out looking for this to happen, but that it just started out too big too soon. After all Download Festival, one of the biggest events in the UK for over a decade now, was initially only a two-day festival with two stages and that was already tapping into the much bigger and far more established history of festivals at Donnington.

That being said, the confidence on the part of the organisers and the belief of the patrons who supported it could have seen Alt-Fest become a domestic and international success, perhaps even becoming as integral to the annual touring schedule as Wacken is for metal bands, had fortunes have been different. But in the end it just made the disappointment much more bitter.

As it stands, this is going to remain raw for a lot of people for quite a while. But what have we actually learned from the experience? It's no use saying 'It's turned to dust. There's no point any-more!'. That's too easy and counter-productive. Hindsight is 20/20 and I'd like to think that anyone who'd attempt something like this in the future would take note from this.

What I'm thankful for is the promoters that have stepped up to put on last minute shows such as S.O.S in London and Ctrl-Alt-Fest-Delete in Kettering to give those who couldn't cancel the travel arrangements a smaller but just as enjoyable experience. Just as with the cancellation of Kinetik in Canada and the quick setting up of Aftermath, people have banded together and salvaged something from the situation to take the sting out a little. It's going to take some enormous good will to restore people's faith in any undertaking the size of Alt-Fest again, but picking up the pieces like this is a good way.

Right, in happier news I've begun contacting bands for the next compilation and am happy to say quite a few acts I've enjoyed over the past couple of years are on board already.

Finally, if you're new to this humble website and haven't downloaded our first 'Blood Pack' compilation album yet, please click the album cover in the sidebar and download yourself a free copy from our bandcamp page.
Once again, make sure you have these links in your favourites:

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