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.”

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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Review: Beauty Queen Autopsy – 'Lotharia'



BEAUTY QUEEN AUTOPSY
'Lotharia'
UNDUSTRIAL RECORDS


The uniting of Unwoman's Erica Mulkey and Caustic's Matt Fanale promised to be something special from the very beginning. Having originally joined forces for a track on Fanale's 'The Golden Vagina Of Fame And Profit' back in 2011. 'Roughest Cuts' was the first material to surface under their official moniker of Beauty Queen Autopsy in late 2013 hinting at a stunning blend of electronic-heavy post punk and doomy pop.

Last year they followed it up with the EP 'Good, Giving, Game' which showcased a more polished presentation along with the brilliant cover of Placebo's 'Pure Morning'. Finally though 2015 sees the official unveiling of the anticipated full-length début from the pair in the form of 'Lotharia'.

Combining simple mechanical post-punk beats, minimalistic synthpop electronics, and prominently placing Mulkey's seductive post-grunge vocals high in the mix Beauty Queen Autopsy present a deceptively straight-forward but undeniably infectious formula that is both intimate and dance-friendly.

The album includes the familiar cuts from the previous EP and demo with 'Good, Giving, Game', 'Birthday Pony', and 'Lotharia' sounding strong in their final refined versions. While new tracks such as 'Spread', 'Contaminate Me (Dirty Thoughts)', 'Methadone', 'Pumps', and 'Petit Mort' continue to show the depth of the duo's song writing partnership with grunge, psychedelic, and trip-hop elements coming through to create a diverse palette of sounds.

The album has a wonderfully gritty 90s sound to it in so much as it evokes, the best elements of the Nothing Records, Wax Trax! and Warp Records catalogues of the era but maintains a modern dark sound that is both dark and strangely pop-friendly.

'Lotharia' is quite simply a wonderfully strong full-length début from the duo. One that should have people sitting up and taking notice if they haven't done so already. This a subtle, but varied album that leaves you hungry for more. If this offering is anything to go by, Beauty Queen Autopsy are going to be a name to watch over the next few years as they can only grow from here.  

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Review: Ego Likeness – 'When The Wolves Return'



EGO LIKENESS
'When The Wolves Return'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Ego Likeness marked their first outing with Metropolis Records with the release of their fourth full-length studio album, the excellent 'Breedless' back in 2010. The duo of Steven Archer and Donna Lynch have released a slew of impressive albums that blend sexy dancefloor beats with a darkwave rock core. But aside from some classic re-releases the band have been a bit quiet. Not that they have been away as they have continued to delight live audiences in their native USA. However a new studio release has felt long overdue. This year the band have answered with their fifth album, the aptly titled 'When The Wolves Return'.

The bands blend of dark danceable electronics and solid rock riffs framing Lynches seductive vocals remains intact. But as with all good bands they have continued to refine and polish their sound, culminating with a strong and wonderfully executed collection of songs.

The band's song writing talents are on full display on tracks such as 'Darkness', 'New Legion', 'Crossed', 'Persona Non Grata' and 'Treacherous Thing' which give the album a sexy dance-friendly backbone. While the likes of 'Leave The Light On, Thomas' and 'When The Wolves Return' bookend the track list with some of the most accomplished songs the band have committed to their discography so far.

The album is well produced with a down-beat trip hop vibe running throughout that reflects the bands earlier releases, but all the while favouring the big choruses, addictive leads, and strong beats that made albums such as the afore mentioned 'Breedless' so memorable.

'When The Wolves Return' is a very welcome return from the Ego Likeness gang. Their sonic formula remains intact but continues to be refined with vigour and passion which is evident in each song. Hopefully we won't have to wait five years for the next instalment.

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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Review: Jenn Vix And Andy Anderson – 'Eyes Roll Back' / 'I Don't Trust You'



JENN VIX AND ANDY ANDERSON
'Eyes Roll Back' / 'I Don't Trust You'
SELF-RELEASED

The last releases from Jenn Vix to come our way was back in 2013 and featured the Rhode Island based singer-songwriter on good form with the singles 'Speed Of Light' which featured former David Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels, as well as 'Fuck.Rinse.Repeat' and 'Burn' both of which featured underground electro legend Dirk Ivens of Absolute Body Control, The Klinik and Dive fame. With a gradual wave of momentum building from these releases, and EP or full-album looked like the next logical step. But nothing appeared. Yet, 2015 sees Vix return with two more singles, this time featuring drummer Andy Anderson (The Cure. Iggy Pop) and Mark Montalto.

First up is 'Eyes Roll Back', which blends post-punk guitars and drums with light and sensual synthesizers, while Vix delivers a subtle but emotional vocal performance. It's memorable, minimal, and quite effective. But it doesn't quite leave you wholly satisfied.

The next single, 'I Don't Trust You' opts for a dark synthpop meets trip-hop approach which frames Vix's Annie Lennox style vocals very nicely. It is a much more complex, intriguing and engaging track that more appropriately shows of the depth of Vix's song writing skills.

In therms of production the mix on the first single, 'Eyes Roll Back' sounds a little off in regards to the drums which just seem to hit the ear wrong. However the second single sounds nicely layered and more rounded.

While these are both solid, memorable singles, without a doubt 'I Don't Trust You' is the stronger of the pair. It sounds much more complete than it's predecessor, and more importantly leaves you wondering what else Vix has up her sleeves. Hopefully, a full-length release will be able to answer that sooner rather than later.  

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Review: Blush Response – 'Future Tyrants'



BLUSH RESPONSE
'Future Tyrants'
AUFNAHME + WIEDERGABE


Blush Response's last release, 2014's 'Desire Machines' was a stunning blend of avant garde electronics and intelligent dance music that consolidated Joey Blush's position as arguably one of the most exciting electronic musicians around today. Utilising modular synthesizers, Blush blends a mixture of influences gleaned from glitch, ambient, industrial, ebm and electronica to create something truly fresh and modern. Fast forward two years and the now Berlin based artist releases his latest EP 'Future Tyrants' on Aufnahme + Wadergabe.

Where as his previous album recalled the recent works of artists such as Alec Empire, How To Destroy Angels, Aphex Twin and Squarepusher to name a few, 'Future Tyrants' has a much more old school ebm feel that is on the one hand dance friendly, but on the other nice and experimental. Distorted glitch elements combine with subtle dance beats and throbbing synth bass for a dark and satisfying sound that evokes the early works of acts such as Front 242, Skinny Puppy, Die Krupps, Cabaret Voltaire, and Front Line Assembly.

Opening with 'Civilian Slaughter' the album gets off to a near apocalyptic start sounding like early Skinny Puppy writing the opening score for an ultraviolent sci-fi film. The title track follows on with a more dance-friendly and less abrasive execution, but it nonetheless keeps its experimental core that is reminiscent of 'Twitch' era Ministry. 'Seven Rays' then opts for a relentlessly pounding rhythmic and bass-heavy approach making this easily the most club friendly and accessible cut on the album. The EP then finishes off with the seven-minute long 'Fenix', which builds up into more complicated rhythmic structures before fading out into droning synths.

The EP has a rough, old school kind of vibe, but it is most definitely a modern album. It has a definite early feel in atmosphere but the instrumentation, mixing and overall production sound perfect. Even at its most distorted and experimental points it doesn't sacrifice any of its quality.

'Future Tyrants' is another feather in Joey Blush's cap showing him to be a true master of his art. The album is comprised of instrumentals, and that may turn off those who like a nice lyric or two to get stuck into, but it doesn't hold it back. These are four bold and forceful tracks that demand to be heard and leave you feeling satisfied. Fans of the old school sound will immediately dig it, while those newer to the classic ebm / electro-indutrial scene will still find this an accessible point of reference.  

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Duende Games and Grypt release 'Tonight You Die'



'Tonight You Die' is an audio-rich first-person horror experience for Windows and OSX created by Jack Squires of Duende Games in collaboration with sound designers / interactive storytellers GRYPT. The game abandons players in a desolate brutalist cityscape with only a menacing note as a clue: “TONIGHT YOU DIE”.

A collaborative release between Duende Games, Deathbomb Arc Records, and the games music trio Grypt. 'Tonight You Die' is a paranoid fantasy existing in the space between a music single and a jam game, TONIGHT YOU DIE culminates with the player's inevitable demise and Grypt's eponymous song.


Grypt's ominous sound is paired with the furious drumming of Brian "Charlemagne Lazarus" Kinsman (True Neutral Crew, ex-Foot Village). The single also includes an authorized remix by Grypt of clipping's 'Body & Blood' from their Sub-Pop début, and three eclectic remixes of 'Tonight You Die'.

Bass music producer Dmnslyr (Stylss), cello songstress Unwoman, and Open Mike Eagle collaborator Signor Benedick the Moor (Deathbomb Arc) each provide a unique variation on GRYPT's horrific theme.

The game an album are available to download for free from the following link: http://tonightyoudie.com




For more information please visit the links below:

http://duendegames.com
http://deathbombarc.com
http://grypt.me/

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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Review: Immortal Bird – 'Empress/Abscess'



IMMORTAL BIRD
'Empress/Abscess'
BROKEN LIMBS


Chicago's Immortal Bird peddle a ferocious blend of black metal, Thrash Metal, death metal and crusty grindcore that can only really be summed up with the word... extreme. Scathing guitars, blistering blast beats and demonic vocals power through their full-length début 'Empress/Abscess', leaving scorched ears and speakers in their wake.

With only five tracks to the album's name, the band work hard and fast to establish their mission statement. With nods to the likes of elements of early Satyricon, Nile, Suffocation, and Venom within their technically proficient execution, songs such as the opener 'Neoplastic', as well as 'Saprophyte', and 'Sycophant' exude a relentless brutality that still keeps things nice and tight with some great memorable riffs thrown into the mix.

The album's crowning glories though have to be the final two tracks 'To A Watery Grave', which gives way from the heaviness in favour of some beautiful piano work towards the end, and the ten minute prog-tinged closer 'And Send Fire' that moves from doomy riffs to blistering assaults with ease before fading out into ambient drones.

The album is brilliantly mixed and the production reflects the technical prowess at work on the recordings. It is a strong, self-assured, tight, but most of all wonderfully fresh and modern sounding album.

This album will have a lot of people sit up and take notice. Although to call it a full-length album at a total of 31 minutes long does seem to be pushing it, it is nonetheless a complete and vehement statement of intent. What they lack in running time they more than make up fore in song-writing brilliance.  

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Review: The Dreamside – 'Another Spark Of Light'



THE DREAMSIDE
'Another Spark Of Light'
SPIN MOON


Netherlands-based ethereal gothic rock act The Dreamside only released their last album, 'Sorrow Bearing Tree', this time last year, but they have already returned with another outing that sees them collaborate with a host of guest musicians to add a different spin to their sound. The band asked their fans and gleaned a veritable “best of” songs their 20 year discography, and reworked them into acoustic and remixed versions.

The heavy leaning towards acoustic ballads see them return to their folk-tinged roots, and songs such as 'Joyfire', 'Forsaken', 'Spin Moon Magic', 'Everlasting', 'Slay Your Dragons', and 'Above And Below' sound quite simply stunning. While the remixed versions of 'Rain And Rivers', 'La Tempesta', 'Nuda Veritas', and 'Open Your Eyes' inject a heavy dose of epic dance-orientated energy into the album.

It is a strong collection that any fan of the band will certainly have to add to their collection. It would have been nice to see this as a double album with the acoustic tracks on one disc and the remixes fully populating the other in order to get a more balanced presentation. But what has been presented here is certainly strong enough to hold its own with the band's already impressive discography.

The acoustic tracks are very nicely produced with an intimate, almost live atmosphere throughout that sounds as though you are watching them in the studio. But it doesn't sound like a rushed live mix, instead there is plenty of room to move and the minimalist compositions have the space they need to create maximum atmosphere.

This may be one that's more geared towards the band's already established fanbase. And with only a few remixes tagged on the end, there isn't much for casual dance fans to take away from it. But as a minimalist deconstruction of their sound to it's purest form it is a joy to listen to. Hopefully the band will capitalise on the strengths of the intimate nature of this album and play some acoustic shows in support.  

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Review: Lindemann – 'Skills In Pills'



LINDEMANN
'Skills In Pills'
WARNER MUSIC GROUP


The coming together of the musical maestro behind Hypocrisy and Pain, and the vocalist and lyricist of Rammstein was always going to yield interesting results. Peter Tägtgren's blend of addictive industrial metal that he perfected over the years under the Pain moniker melds perfectly with the twisted humour of Till Lindemann who now treats, or subjects, his audience (depending on your position) to every filthy lyric in English. With Rammstein Till has used English sparingly, usually for comedic effect in songs such as 'America' and 'Pussy', but with his Lindemann project he drops the veil for the non-German speaking world to finally hear.

With track titles like 'Ladyboy', 'Fat', 'Golden Shower', and 'Praise Abort' there are plenty of clues as to what the pair have in store. But the album has much more depth than the novel titles and Till's full on Anglicised vocal performance.

Musically the album calls heavily on Pain albums such as 'Psalms Of Extinction' and 'Cynic Paradise' with its hard, memorable riffs and industrial meets symphonic synthpop electronics. All the while Till Lindemann's distinctive vocals power through the tracks to whip up huge sing-a-long choruses. It's a combination that simply works.

Tracks such as 'Skills In Pills', 'Ladyboy', 'Fat', 'Children Of The Sun', 'Praise Abort' provide the album with its best heavy rocking and most dance-friendly moments. While the likes of 'Home Sweet Home', 'Yukon', and 'That's My Heart' present themselves as twisted, heavy power ballads that add a softer edge to the album and display the true depths of the collaboration.

It's well produced and well mixed and continues the kind of high quality we've come to expect from the duos other projects. Again, drawing very strongly from the execution of his Pain albums, there is a nice balance between the heavy guitars, lusciously layered electronics and the deep, powerful vocals.

Hardened Rammstein and Pain fans should find plenty here to get their teeth into, though casual listeners may be turned off by Till's explicit use of English, or perhaps the strong musical resemblance to Pain rather than something drastically different. However, that's not really the point of the album. It's dirty, it's fun and it's most certainly memorable. And with news that another album is already in the works it looks like the duo are going to be more than a one time deal, though it would be nice if they would capitalise on this with some live dates as well.  

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The Gazette unveils new album artwork for 'Dogma'


For the last thirteen years Japanese five-piece The Gazette have been storming forward with their own brand of harsh dark metal and silken electronic overtones, and now 2015 sees 'their most ominous year' with the release of their eighth full-length studio album, 'Dogma'.

Set for release in Japan for August, this new outing promises to be a change in creative direction, which sees them heading towards darker and more conceptual whole that includes art, photography, text and even the very appearance of the band.

With three different versions of the album set to drop, including a special limited edition featuring two DVDs of footage, 'Dogma' looks set to keep fans of the J-Rock act happy.

The band's label JPU Records have also announced this month that in addition to the new album, they are set to re-release two of the band's earlier works in 'Dim' and 'Stacked Rubbish' as western versions, complete with translation sheets.

For more information on The Gazette, and and their forthcoming album, please visit their official website. The re-releases of 'Dim' and 'Stacked Rubbish' in the UK come out July and August (respectively).

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Friday, 19 June 2015

Review: Inertia – 'Existential'



INERTIA
'Existential'
CRYONICA / METROPOLIS RECORDS


Since 1992 London's Inertia have been keeping the flame of British electro-industrial alive. And in that time they have amassed an impressive discography and shared the stage with a range of internationally influential acts. With 2015 marking 20 years since the band's first on-label release it is fitting then that they commemorate it with perhaps their most accomplished album to date.

The band's second album on US label Metropolis Records, 'Existential' sees a band that are still continuing to build on their legacy. Continually tweaking and polishing their sonic blend of industrial, techno, synthpop and dark rock the band have created a dark yet wonderfully accessible album.

Kicking off with the sumptuously gothic tinged lead single 'Dark Valentine' the band break out symphonic strings and synthpop melodies for a luscious opener. While the likes of 'Stormfront', 'Feel Addicted', 'Hang Around', 'Metal Strike', 'Hiding' and 'Legacy' give the album a rockier, but no less opulent backbone as the likes of Killing Joke, Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb and John Foxx are distilled into some of the best darkly danceable cuts in their back catalogue so far. However it is the stunning symphonic strains of 'Slow Burn', which closes out the album, that really shows off the true depths of the band's song-writing prowess.

The album is nicely produced and mixed with the kind of polish befitting a veteran act such as Inertia. It has an ever present element of rock grit to it, but the synths sound clean and fresh throughout giving it a real top quality feel.

There are no signs of slowing down or stopping Inertia at 20 years into their run. They continue to push themselves hard with every release while at the same time making sure the core of their sound is present to keep their long-time fans happy. The band are producing some of the best music of their career and 'Existential' really captures what a formidable and clever lot they are.  

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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Review: KatzKab – 'Objet N°2 I/III'



KATZKAB
'Objet N°2 I/III'
SELF-RELEASED


Mixing cabaret, deathrock and electro-punk Berlin's KatzKab's first album 'Objet N°1' set the group apart from their previous incarnation as Katzenjammer Kabarett and asserted themselves as a whole new beast. Fast-forward two years and they return with another, albeit briefer, dose of iconoclastic genre-hopping Dadaist pop that recalls the likes of The B52s, Lene Lovich and Soft Cell.

Vik B. channels 80's post-punk heroines through her quirky vocal performance while the band blend catchy post-punk rock with kooky electronics and jazzy retro elements to weave a rich, energetic and engaging whole that is hard to resist.

'New Vision' kicks things off with a nice punky guitar riff and surf rock organ accompaniment for a B52s meets The Cramps sound. 'The Spell' follows on with a more modern electro-punk flavour that drops in a little coldwave meets batcave to keep things interesting. 'Boys' on the other hand is opens with a nice mournful cabaret piano intro before jumping straight back into a harder punk territory. The EP closes with 'Not My Home' which is pure electro cabaret with it's creepy opener interspersed with bouncy electro-punk.

The EP is nicely produced with a strong 80s leaning throughout. But in terms of the mix and overall sound it is bang up-to-date and preserves a nice pop appeal throughout, no matter how off the wall the band get.

This is a short, but nonetheless very sweet offering from the band. They've built upon the themes from the first album nicely and have continued to develop what was so enticing about their diverse approach. With this being the first of a trilogy of EPs that will make up the whole of 'Objet N°2' it hopefully shouldn't be long before we hear what else they have in store for us.

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Review: MZ. 412 - 'Hekatomb'


MZ.412 
'Hekatomb' 
COLD SPRING RECORDS 

The sounds contained within the bloodstained walls of Hekatomb were captured from a performance at the Cold Spring Records 21st Anniversary event at The Garage, London, March 2011. It is appropriate that the tracks are titled as acts 'I' through 'XIV', being a manifestation of an aural Grand Guignol. The relentless barrages of filthy white noise, grinding bass, manipulated beats and obscure vocalizations conjure in the mind macabre tortured puppets, still painfully alive.

What makes the whole of Hekatomb more effective is that it's not a monolithic barrage from start to finish, but subsides into melodic and spoken parts, as in the end of 'Act X', where a voice recites words in a looping fashion in a manner that accentuates the hypnotic effect. In 'Act II' the track is carried by an ominous riff played with a brass patch on synth with the notes doubled two octaves below. Around this structure the electronic noise creeps and oozes like an approaching storm of mechanical insects. 'Act XIV' is at points downright symphonic in a pulsing, ritualistic mode, other points pounding and throughout remains positively demonic.

There is a beauty in the way MZ. 412 create such dense sonic sculpture though a method if minimalism. Every sound is placed and directed with the sure hand of confident creators. Three malevolent beings gathered and concocted this magickal brew, managing to convey a glimpse into the Abyss that is crystal clear and precise even as what they illuminate is pure chaos. With feet planted in industrial and a spirit that goes back to the misanthropic aesthetic of the start of the second wave of black metal, these XIV Acts of cruelty should make you want to dance, damn you. The demons just beyond your sight surely will be when you play this release.

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The Long Shadow



The death of Christopher Lee is truly an end of an era. Whilst logically it was always increasingly likely given his advancing years (he was 93 at the time of his passing) many of us nonetheless firmly believed that he would be around for years to come, or even that Christopher Lee would always be with us. Few people alive in Britain today can remember life without him.

Lee's death also represents the passing of the last stars of the golden age of postwar horror, joining Peter Cushing, John Carradine and Vincent Price in macabre rest, and it is apparent that we have lost more than an incredible actor but also part of our collective cultural heritage.

In a way we can be forgiven for imagining that he would always be with us –  a man who fought in WW2 and was a member of an elite special operations unit and became an international film star, singer, raconteur, cavalier and elder statesman of hard rock. It is obvious that they don't make 'em like that anymore.

Why do we adore him so? Other than his undeniable talents, his great body of work and the dry wit and open candour of his pronouncements it is due to the fact that his career and life spans the entirety of what would became 'alternative'/'geek' subculture in the UK. Recoiling like many others from wartime experience he found refuge in gothic horror escapism, and with Hammer and others embarked upon a canon of work which runs through alternative culture like a name in a stick of rock. From 'Dracula', 'the Mummy', 'Frankenstein', to 'the Devil Rides Out' and 'The Wicker Man', to James Bond and Captain America, to 'Gremlins 2' and 'Police Academy', to Terry Pratchett, to 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Star Wars', to many films with Tim Burton, and finally to operatic power metal. That represents the bulk of what is represented by 'alternative' popular culture in Britain in the postwar era, and without Christopher Lee it is pretty much unthinkable.

How can we follow that? Well, we will always have his seminal films, that wonderful voice and the half-life of his vast powers of awesome. With his films he will always be immortal. But what other qualities can we deride from his legacy? His professionalism, wit, breadth of interest and sense of class are things we can all aspire to; we are all artisans ploughing our own retrospective furrows, and maybe we can learn to take some joy and dignity in our work.

But finally, one thing we can learn is that we are all on our own now – the grown-ups of horror have all gone, leaving us to carry on the tradition. There are no Christopher Lees, Peter Cushings or Vincent Prices now – where are their equivalents? It is time for us all to pick up the gauntlet, the mantel, and the bloodstained ring which bears appalling occult resurrectional power; the actors, writers, producers, musicians, artists – it is now our turn. Rise up like legions of the undead and build the empire of British horror for the 21st Century!

As Christopher Lee himself might put it...”It is my will.”

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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Christopher Lee: The most terrifying roles!


Last week the world of cinema lost arguably one of it's greatest actors with the passing of Sir Christopher Lee. His career is one unmatched by any actor living or dead, spanning nearly seventy years and saw him appear in over 250 films. Lee was at 6'5” one of cinema's tallest lading men and he also held an impressive record of the most on-screen sword fights.

His imposing stature, deep booming voice and chiselled exotic features made him an instant choice to play some of cinema's most memorable villains, including the best James Bond villain in the series as Scaramanga in 1974s 'The Man With The Golden Gun', as well as the sinister Comte de Rochefort in the 'Musketeer' films between 1973 and 1989. Lee's portrayal of Rochefort featured him wearing an eye-patch, which isn't mentioned in Dumas' book, but the role was so iconic it has nevertheless been embraced by film-makers ever since.

In memory of Sir Christopher Lee we return to the genre that made him... horror. And look at his most terrifying roles that scarred our collective consciousness and propelled him to international infamy as the silver screens most identifiable bad guys.



The Creature – 'The Curse OF Frankenstein' (1959)

'The Curse Of Frankenstein' was the role that put Lee on the first rung of international stardom. Playing a damaged marionette-like creature in opposition to his friend Peter Cushing's diabolical Baron Frankenstein, Lee simultaneously imbues a melancholy as well as a malevolence into his character. Lee's creature is simultaneously the dark side of his creator's psyche as well as the result of his genius. Lee sees the creature stripped of his humanity and filled with only the base compulsion to kill. Add to that the grotesque Technicolour visage and the imposing frame on the cinema screen and it makes for a performance you won't forget in a hurry.



Lord Summerisle – 'The Wicker Man' (1973)

'The Wicker Man' is perhaps the finest example of folk horror in British cinema, especially seeing as there is no real horror until the end of the film. Lee's charming a suave Lord Summerisle is calm, reasonable and unshakeable in his conviction. Just as most maniacs think they are doing good, so does Summerisle as he and his people enact their age old rites at the expense of Edward Woodward's Sargent Howie. The plot is a strange one, but unfolds like an odd murder mystery until the final frames when Lee reveals the true nature of Howie's visit to the island. Chilling.



Count Dracula – 'Dracula' Film Series (1958 – 1972)

Of course if there is one character the image of Lee will forever be tied to, it's Dracula. Lee played the count in other films outside of the Hammer franchise, but it is for these titillating and blood-splattered outings that he will always be remembered. And although the film series would see a pronounced drop in quality towards the end of its run, Lee never gave a bad performance. He remained dignified, deadly and always scary. The first instalment though is easily the strongest, and worthy of inclusion on it's own, and features the best death scene in the series. One that is truly the stuff of nightmares!



Saruman – 'The Lord Of The Rings' Film Series (2001 – 2003)
This is the most recent, and the highest grossing series in the list. One that saw Lee draw on a lifetime of villainous roles as well as a life-long love of Tolkien's works. Although this isn't strictly a horror series, the very inclusion of Lee's scenes in the films quickly alter their tone. Lee channels both Dracula and Lord Summerisle into his depiction of the treacherous Saurman The White as he joins forces with the legions of Mordor, breads the demonic Uruk-hai warriors, and duels with Ian McKellen's Gandalf. Despite playing the Wizard in his later years, Lee still brings a gravitas and energy to the role that is captivating



Dr. Fu Manchu – 'Fu Manchu' Film Series (1965 – 1969)

Dr. Fu Manchu has been depicted by many different, and usually white, actors over many different decades. But Lee's full colour films in the late 1960s brought the role to a new generation and subsequently did the round on television for years after. Again, not strictly horror, but the imposing Christopher Lee with his diabolical plans for world domination and destruction are just as unnerving as his final appearance as Dracula where the count attempts to unleash a plague upon the world. Political correctness, notwithstanding, Christopher Lee's turns as Fu Manchu are easily the most memorable in cinema.



Grigori Rasputin – 'Rasputin, The Mad Monk' (1966)

Turning the very real historical character of Russian priest and mystic Grigori Rasputin was easy for Lee. His natural stature, booming voice and fierce eyes brought Rasputin back to life and turned him into a supernatural villain with powers gifted him by the devil. Lee also had a very real connection to Rasputin having met on of his assassins as a child. In the film Lee is wild, and at times seems on the brink of a frenzy, but will suddenly return to a calm and composed demeanour that is rather creepy. This is another character that has one of the most memorable deaths in cinema courtesy of the power of Lee's performance.



Father Michael Rayner – 'To The Devil A Daughter' (1976)

By 1976 Lee was looking further afield for acting opportunities and Hammer as a cinematic powerhouse was on the way out. However, there was still time for one final collaboration. 'To The Devil A Daughter' was the second novel by Dennis Wheatley to be adapted by Hammer after the successful 'The Devil Rides Out'. The film suffered greatly by succumbing to the latter-day formulaic Hammer production and dispensing with a lot of the source material. However Lee as Father Michael Rayner is at his Satanic best with another charismatic but disturbing shadow cast over the entire length of the film.



Count Regula – 'The Blood Demon' (1967)

Whatever name you may have seen this film under, it is one of Lee's most underrated roles. This German production loosely based on Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Pit And The Pendulum' sees Lee as a bloodthirsty black magician/murderer returned from the dead to complete his plans to become immortal. Lee is chilling as he brings elements of Dracula and Rasputin to the role all the while retaining an aristocratic dignity to the proceedings. It's a shame it isn't more widely appreciated for the atmospheric mix of gothic and gore that it is with Lee's performance tying it all together.



Dr. Charles Marlowe / Edward Blake – 'I, Monster' (1971)

'I, Monster' is another fine pairing of Lee and his friend Peter Cushing, this time set against an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll An Mr. Hyde'. Lee takes on the role of the renamed lead characters and draws on his strengths in portraying the man and the monster. Again as Lee adopts the heavy make up of Edward Blake he easily suspends disbelief as he descends into a murderous rampage. Although the film performed poorly on its initial release, it remains as a testament to both Lee and Cushing as they craft fine gothic presentations throughout the film.



Kharis – 'The Mummy' (1959)

'The Mummy' was the third iconic horror role that Lee took on with Hammer films. Although it wasn't as shocking as 'The Curse Of Frankenstein' and he didn't have the dialogue of 'Dracula', Lee nevertheless captivated as Kharis, and ancient Egyptian priest brought back to life as a tool of death. Lee shows his true stock as a great actor being able to convey everything he needs to with just his eyes for the majority of the film. Although he wouldn't reprise the role in any of the subsequent 'Mummy' films by Hammer, his performance left a high bench mark that has yet to be surpassed.


That was our run-down of favourite terrifying outings from the late and very great Sir Christopher Lee. It's by no means exhaustive and certainly doesn't begin to touch on his other roles as both a villain and good guy, whether in horror or not. But these are certainly classics that any fan should watch. And we hope you do.

http://christopherleeweb.com/

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Review: Various Artists – 'Occult Box'



VARIOUS ARTISTS
'Occult Box'
CLEOPATRA RECORDS


US record label Cleopatra Records have a legacy tied to the darkside since 1992 and have worked with some of the biggest names in gothic, industrial, electronic, deathrock and a whole lot of other genres. Perhaps the label's most interesting and relevant compilation release in its history with past luminaries, contemporary heavyweights, and the sounds of the future coming together to celebrate ritual music no matter what the genre.

The box set is beautifully put together with a high-quality box, matching glossy booklet, promotional postcards, a cheesy but nonetheless nice pentagram necklace, five individual CDs in slipcases, and a nicely textured 7” vinyl featuring two recordings by the master Therion himself Aleister Crowley.

Musically there is a hell of a lot to get your teeth into. Classic tracks such as Rozz Williams' 'The Beast (Invocation), Front Line Assembly’s 'Assassination', Joy Division's 'Leaders Of Men', Laibach's 'Dieliebe', and Switchblade Symphony's 'Gutter Glitter' get a welcome airing and add a little familiarity to the track list. However the real gems are the live and remixed cuts from the depths of the Cleopatra vaults such as Die Krupps remix of 1000 Homo DJ's 'Supernaut', the Apoptygma Berzerk remix of Nico's 'All Tomorrows Parties', and a powerful live version of 'Surrendered' from Peter Murphy.

Best of all though, there are plenty of strong contributions from contemporary names like Mater Susperia Vision, Sidewalks And Skeletons, Gravediggaz, The Soft Moon, and Ritualz to name but a few that highlight the strength of the new school sounds. Throw in a nonstop DJ mix from model/DJ Tamara Sky and you have something for everyone.

The collection is well produced and mastered and great attention to detail has been paid to the running order to ensure each track flows nicely into the next one. Despite the different styles, recording budgets and the times in which they were recorded, it flows as well as any contemporary compilation.

OK, there may be a little bit of a “spooky-kooky marketing ploy” air about it, especially with the pentagram necklace included. But nonetheless this is a very strong collection of songs that bridges genres and time to create a sustained and engrossing listening experience. It may not be the most suitable collection for actual ritual use, however this is easily the highest quality and most well-thought out compilation since Rhino Entertainment's 'A Life Less Lived: The Gothic Box' collection.

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Friday, 12 June 2015

Obituary: Sir Christopher Lee 1922 – 2015

Prince Of Darkness...


“I've always acknowledged my debt to Hammer. I've always said I'm very grateful to them. They gave me this great opportunity, made me a well known face all over the world for which I am profoundly grateful.” - Sir Christopher Lee

Sadly on Sunday 7th June 2015 the world lost the most prolific and recognisable film icon in the history of Cinema. Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee amassed over 250 film appearances as well as many television and voice over roles in a career that started in 1946 and lasted until last year. With a linage dating back to Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, and a six-foot-four frame, Lee brought a quintessential sense of aristocratic dignity, and imposing physical gravitas to his work which left its mark on popular culture around the world.

Born in Belgravia, Westminster,London, on 27th May 1922, to Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Trollope Lee (1879–1941) and his wife, Contessa Estelle Marie (née Carandini di Sarzano) (1889–1981). His parents would divorce when Lee was six years old and he would move with his mother to Switzerland, before returning to London. Lee would begin his passion for acting at school, and would regularly perform in plays until his teenage years. After a brief time working as a clerk, he would join the RAF during World War II. After initially training as a pilot, but having to stay grounded due to developing headaches and blurred vision, Lee joined RAF Intelligence and moved through several theatres and campaigns, being promoted several times before finally being seconded to the Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects, which saw him tasked with tracking down and interrogating Nazi war criminals. Lee retired from the RAF in 1946 and after a brief stint ac a clerk once again, joined the Rank Organisation to begin his acting career.

Though the majority of his film appearances were in dramas, his legacy will be forever tied to the studio that launched his international career, Hammer. It was with Hammer Films that Lee, after 10 years of bit parts, received his first big break playing the creature opposite Peter Cushing in 'The Curse Of Frankenstein' (1957). It was the intimidating presence of Lee and a thoughtful, yet terrifying performance that led him to his most iconic role the following year in 'Dracula' as the titular Count, a role that he would reprise several times before finally walking away from it in the 1970s.




Lee's Hammer years saw the actor take on a number of classic roles including Grigori Rasputin in 'Rasputin, The Mad Monk' (1966), Kharis in 'The Mummy' (1959), Sir Henry Baskerville in 'The Hound Of The Baskervilles' (1959), Nicholas, Duc De Richleau in 'The Devil Rides Out' (1968), and Father Michael Rayner in 'To the Devil A Daughter' (1976).

Outside of Hammer, Lee appeared in many more horror films for companies such as Amicus and cemented his place among the great horror icons of the 20th century. Starring roles alongside luminaries Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, and Peter Cushing made Lee a household name and the go-to guy for sinister and villainous characters. 'The Oblong Box' (1969), 'The Wicker Man' (1973), 'I, Monster' (1971) the 'Fu Manchu' film series, 'Horror Express', and continental horrors such as 'The Blood Demon' (1967) as well as reprising his role as Dracula in the German/Italian/Spanish produced 'Count Dracula' (1969).

In the 1970's Lee began to take on more drama and action roles appearing Comete de Rochfort in the Musketeer film trilogy, and as arch assassin Francisco Sacramanga in the James Bond film 'The Man With The Golden Gun' (1974) – though he'd initially been asked by Ian Flemming to play the Character of 'Dr. No' in the spy's first outing, but was beaten to it by Joseph Wiseman. But Lee wasn't a stranger to comedy either as roles in '1941' (1979), 'The Return Of Captain Invincible' (1982), 'Gremlins 2: the New Batch' (1990), and 'Police Academy: Mission To Moscow' (1994) can attest.

Lee would later continue his career, long past the point where many of his fellow actors have chosen to retire, with recurring roles in major film franchises 'The Lord Of The Rings', 'Star Wars', and 'The Hobbit', as well as appearing in a variety of capacities in the Films of Tim Burton. This served to not only see him break various records as an actor, but more importantly he was introduced to a whole new generation of cinema-goers.




Alongside his acting, Lee was an avid golfer, a proficient swordsman, spoke several languages fluently, as well as a couple conversationally, and embarked on a musical career releasing several albums that showcased his distinctive operatic style. He found an unlikely kinship with Heavy Metal releasing the concept albums 'Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross' (2010) and 'Charlemagne: The Omens of Death' (2013), as well as appearing on albums by Manowar, and Rhapsody Of Fire. Between 2012 and 2014 he also released three EPs of Heavy Metal christmas music. This earned him the place of the oldest Heavy Metal performer in the world to make it onto the Billboard 100 chart at the age of 91, and saw him receive the 'Spirit Of Hammer' award at the Metal Hammer Magazine Golden Gods Awards in 2010.

Sir Christopher Lee died on Sunday 7th June 2015 after a bout of respiratory problems that saw the veteran actor hospitalised shortly after his 93rd birthday. His death was announced on 11th June. He is survived by his wife of over 50 years Birgit, and his daughter Christina. Christopher Lee left a legacy as an actor that will never be surpassed and a presence that will never be forgotten.




For more, please visit the following websites:

http://christopherleeweb.com
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000489 

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Thursday, 11 June 2015

Review: Deadspace – 'The Promise Of Oblivion'



DEADSPACE
'The Promise Of Oblivion'
SELF-RELEASED


Deadspace was founded by Australian Chris Gebauer (Earth Rot/Sensory Amusia) as a solo vehicle, but after one split release has quickly blossomed into a full band. The result of this is the bleak but rather beguiling début album 'The Promise Of Oblivion' which blends, depressive black metal with death rock, gothic, ambient and noise elements to create a tapestry of disturbing yet strangely accessible songs.

The 35-minutes of the album is divided up between eight tracks that keep their feet firmly in the depressive black metal genre, but are still full of experimental genre blending to separate them from the crowd. Tracks such as 'The Promise Of Oblivion', 'I'll Buy The Rope', 'The Clouds Won't Shade The Pain', and 'Pain's Grey' do this with ease as the ambient elements and more gothic melodies are preserved and despite the dissonance at work, they still manage to keep a level of accessibility that is quite refreshing. But it is the subtle instrumental 'Oblivion' and the near eight-minute long closing track 'In The Coldness Of Darkest Night' that the band really come into their own.

This is a raw and gritty album. But it isn't un-listenable The emphasis on emotion, ambience and gothic melodies come across in the production nicely to counterpoint the bleak black metal streak that is ever present. Add the emotional strain on the vocals and it is a hard to take but nonetheless effective formula.

This is a promising début from the Australians. It balances light and dark, heavy and melodic with ease. It threatens to spiral into utter insanity before steadying itself once again. But most of all it is a strangely addictive listen that compels you to stick with it until the end. It may be dark and dissonant, but if you're willing to go there, it may surprise you.  

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Review: Veil Of Thorns Feat. Jarboe – 'Sun Falling'



VEIL OF THORNS Feat. JARBOE
'Sun Falling'
PANICMACHINE 

The Necrofuturist P. Emerson Williams returns with his critically acclaimed Veil Of Thorns project – a multimedia assault of art and music that has been pushing boundaries for over 20 years now. His latest release under the moniker sees Williams joined by ex-Swans member and avant garde music queen Jarboe for 'Sun Falling'. After a successful world tour together in 2013 it seemed inevitable that the pair would at some point have to join forces and the result was worth waiting for.

The album may only feature three songs, but with the shortest cut weighing in at twelve minutes in length its obvious this is going to be more of an exercise in substantial musical exploration.

The title track opens the proceedings with a surge of droning guitars and rolling industrial meets tribal rhythms through which the distinctive feminine counterpoint of Jarboe's vocals cut with grace and ease. The song blends a firm rhythmically pleasing grounding with a minimalistic avant garde execution that uses the repetitive nature of the backing music to from the evolving vocal line to create a feel of a ceremonial incantation being performed.

'Atmospheric Conditions' delves into a psychedelic dream scape that makes use of more definable instrumentation, if still undefinable in it's use. There is a wonderful 60s jam feel to this track and once again there is a very tribal nature to the percussion although with the addition of a classic trip-hop beat evoking the likes of Enigma and early Juno Reactor. Meanwhile Jarobe channels the spirit of Grace Slick becoming the psychedelic priestess, guiding the listener through track and eventually back to reality.

'Dust Storm' rounds the album off with a big dose of ambient industrial. The bleak soundscape drones and swirls with dark synth noises and metallic sounds to create a huge but altogether crushing atmosphere akin to being dragged through one of H.R. Giger's biomechanical nightmares. Everything, including the vocals sound alien and foreboding as the track circles ever downwards towards its event horizon and slowly silence envelopes.

If you thought previous Veil Of Thorns releases were diverse, then prepare to re-evaluate your position. There may only be three tracks here, but each one is a colossal statement of intent by two of the most accomplished experimental musicians at work today. Long time fans of both artists, as well as those with a sense of curiosity, should be more than happy with this monolithic recording.  

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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Review: Twilight Fauna – 'Shadows Of Ancestors'



TWILIGHT FAUNA
'Shadows Of Ancestors'
SELF-RELEASED 


Blending the traditional folk local instruments with a low-fi black metal malevolence, Twilight Fauna continues to innovate and perplex with every release. The follow-up to last years 'Hymns Of A Forgotten Homeland', multi instrumentalist Ravenwood returns with 'Shadows Of Ancestors' to continue to explore his Appalachian home. Ambient, cinematic, hypnotic and still wonderfully savage. 'Shadows Of Ancestors' is an introspective and genuinely moving album that transcends it's black metal roots and builds on the foundations of its predecessor.

Songs such as 'Helical Rising', 'Boring The Augur', 'Meadows Afire' and, 'Cave of Kelpius (Women Of The Wild)' walk a fine line between ambient apocalyptic folk and depressive black metal malice with ease. The traditional folk elements give the tracks a warm underbelly while the hissed vocals and static-spewing guitars wrench them into the modern world kicking and screaming.

While the likes of 'Purging Of Spring' invert the formula somewhat bringing the folk guitar right to the fore. And the final track 'Coffin Nails And Apple Trees' crafts and epic slice of ambient metal meets black metal across it's ten minute length to perfectly distil these elements into a fitting album closer.

With it's roots in low-fi black metal this obviously hasn't got the slickest production job, but what has been done is nonetheless effective. Atmosphere is king despite whether the folk or metal instruments take the lead and even though it is rough and ready it is still a very evocative album.

Twilight Fauna will undoubtedly continue to split opinions with its experimental nature and low-fi style, which is a shame as a more succinct and polished production would still keep the core atmosphere alive but make the end result more accessible. But that's not the point. The point is that Twilight Fauna continues to improve as a project and is crafting some very interesting music that is begging to be explored.  

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Review: Deuil – 'Shock/Deny'



DEUIL
'Shock/Deny'
CONSOULING SOUNDS


Belgian quartet Deuil may only have four songs across two releases to their name, but what they choose to unleash says more than enough about their intentions. Blending the bleak atmospherics of black metal and the heaviness of sludgy doom, as a bass, the band embark on long crushing explorations of heavy but always ambient orientated metal. Bringing in elements of shoegaze, dark electronics, and drone in order to weave winding monolithic music.

Beginning with ambient samples over a slow hissing funeral doom riff weeping distortion, the band erupt into a thunderous barrage of blackened doom that bludgeons the speakers as it escapes them. The band bring things back into faster black metal territory briefly before resorting back to drowning in slow sludgy riffs before slipping back into ambient waters to round the song off.

'Deny' follows with a long Electric Wizard-like intro of feeding-back guitars and bass before unleashing a mournful opening riff. The song unfurls at a methodical pace until the halfway point where the blast beats are unleashed and it's ferocity is kicked up a notch before ebbing back into the dark.

This may technically be a double a-side single on paper but in two fifteen minute tracks Deuil have still clocked up an impressive half hour of dark and disturbing music that should more than satisfy any listener.

The production walks a fine line with it's emphasis on classic black metal elements such as the jangling guitars sound and rasping vocals while the bassier elements take their cues from analogue-rich doom acts such as Electric Wizard and Sleep. But it works. The end result covers all the basses and every frequency hits your ear with force.

This is an impressive second release from Deuil. One that shows an uncompromising and fiercely unique streak that is greatly needed these days. Hopefully they will keep their releases frequent and long to give us something to get our teeth into.  

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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Review: Vourteque – 'The Iron And Jazz Age'



VOURTEQUE
'The Iron And Jazz Age'
DEAD 2 ME RECORDS


If your only exposure to electro-swing was the UK's lacklustre entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest, then you'd be forgiven for outright. But before you do allow me to educate you a little. The genre of electro-swing is a diverse and interesting beast that incorporates classic jazz samples and swing beats and mixes with elements of hip hop, edm, house, punk, techno, and even a bit of industrial that has been setting underground dance floors on fire for a number of years.

One artist that has been making a name for himself with his particular take on the genre is Chicago USA based DJ Joseph C.R. Vourteque whose first single 'Whiskey Drinker' was a searing blend of blues, jazz and gritty industrial that saw instant acclaim. His subsequent EP 'The Swing Mechanical EP' further cemented his credentials continuing the industrial-tinged formula.

Fast-forward to 2015 and we see the first full-length release from Vourteque in the form of 'The Iron And Jazz Age', which sees the DJ and producer embark on a much more ambitious and diverse collection of retro dance anthems.

The album blends big band, jazz, gospel and blues, with techno, edm, and industrial liberally spreading samples liberally throughout and throwing in a touch of fire and brimstone to counteract the up-beat music to add an apocalyptic prohibition atmosphere to the proceedings.

Tracks such as 'Hot Sinner', 'Saturday Night Service', 'Firelighter' which features chap-hop/steampunk rapper Professor Elemental, 'Dust Rhythms', 'No Teeth' and 'Go Along Now' epitomise the best of this approach with their strong hooks, memorable leads, and easy to dance to beats that will blend in with industrial, steampunk and even more mainstream modern speakeasies clubs. But the biggest selling point of the album has to be the brilliant re-imagining of David Bowie's 'Magic Dance' as a chirpy 1940s Hollywood musical number.

The production is strong with the whole album having a great sound that is fresh and modern despite the use of vintage flavourings. It's a solid dance record that has all the pit and polish it needs to make it a contender with any modern dance album regardless of its genre.

If you're feeling adventurous and esoteric, Vourteque's 'The Iron And Jazz Ages' is a very rewarding listen. It blends darker genres into it's dance friendly mix making it an easy go to for ebm and industrial fans dabbling in electro-swing. Hopefully, Vourteque will be quick to capitalise on this album and continue to raise his profile internationally.  

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Thursday, 4 June 2015

Review: Juno Reactor – 'The Golden Sun... Remixed'



JUNO REACTOR
'The Golden Sun... Remixed'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Ben Watkins, AKA Juno Reactor has enjoyed an enviable career releasing a slew of genre bending dance albums that have gone one to fill dance floors and inspire artists all over the world to secure his legacy and an innovative electronic artist. It has been two years since the release of 'The Golden Sun Of The Great East' – the first studio album since the acclaimed 'Gods & Monsters' – and 2015 finally sees Watkins return with the remix companion to the 2013 full-length, and it is safe to say we're overdue another visit to the reactor.

OK, so it is only a remix album, but even Juno Reactor remix releases have a strong fanbase and often show of a range of approaches to the source material that is just as varied and interesting as Watkins' originals. And 'The Golden Sun... Remixed' is no exception... it's perhaps the strongest one yet.

The original album was a solid and methodical exploration of world music and body moving electronics that worked as a whole, but sadly lacked that one lead track that reached the heights of 'Navaras', 'Mona Lisa Overdrive, or 'Conga Fury'. But the remixes displayed on 'The Golden Sun... Remixed' more than just extends the club potential of the original songs. It completely revitalises them.

Tracks such as the GMS remix of 'Zombi', Bliss' version of 'Guillotine', the Zeologic reworking of 'Tempest', Modus' remix of 'Shine', and 'Tanta Pena' as re-imagined by Mickey Noise all illustrate the power and integrity of Watkin's songwriting with each track still sounding overwhelmingly like Juno Reactor rather than becoming vehicles purely of the remixing artists. The album still feels like a proper Juno Reactor album rather than a quickly put together extra to set up an excuse to tour.

'The Golden Sun... Remixed' is a strong album in its own right that returns to and preserves the psychedelic, ethnically infused trance formula that fans crave, and throws in just enough interesting additives to keep it fresh. This is an extension of the original that sees the artists complete Watkins' vision rather than totally reinterpret it. For long-term fans of Juno Reactor, this is exactly what you have been waiting for. 

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Editorial: June, 2015



It's June, we're halfway through the year and it's time to reveal the artwork for the next Compilation due to be released on 01/01/2016 to celebrate our third birthday as a webzine!

As you can see it follows the new look of the website with a similar, albeit more bloody, grungy background and a festive looking seal of baphomet within.

The response to the first two compilations has been overwhelmingly positive and I'm grateful to everyone who has downloaded them so far. If you're new to this site and haven't downloaded them yet, please click the album cover in the sidebar and download yourself a free copy of both of them from our bandcamp page. These releases presented us with a steep learning curve. But in both instances we got it together in good time and I'm proud of the final products and how they flow as an album.

Once again we'll aim for a shorter and more concise album that will probably be about sixteen tracks in length maximum rather than trying for a double album as we did with the first compilation. I'm thinking about going for a theme with this one given the devilish style of the artwork, but I sometimes find those a bit cheesy... but if one were to naturally evolve as the submissions come in then that would be fine.

With this in mind I'll be personally sending out invitations to some bands and artist later this month before I open it up to other submissions if there are slots left. That being said, feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page if you're interested in contributing anything.

As with the first two compilations we'll be looking for exclusive new songs, demos and remixes from new and exciting acts from around the globe. And again we'll be including a PDF booklet with the album that will feature biographical information and hyperlinks for every band and label featured.

Like I said last month, these compilations are a big job, and I put them together on my own. B it is done out of a belief in this website and over the past few years I've been humbled by the bands, artists, labels, promoters and most importantly the readers who believe in it and keep coming back to it.

I hope you'll all continue to download, share and recommend the 'Blood Pack' compilations and most of all support the artists, bands, and labels that submit new and exciting music to them.

Anyway, that's where we are with it this month. I'll be sending out requests to bands myself. But if you'd like to be considered, please feel free to message us.

And finally, make sure you have these links in your favourites:



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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Review: Biomechanimal – 'Biomechanimal'



BIOMECHANIMAL
'Biomechanimal'
CRL STUDIOS


London's Biomechanimal may have only had a solitary EP and remix companion to their name so far, but this hasn't stopped them from making a name for themselves on the UK industrial scene. The duo have scored support slots with a number of big name acts and have been remixing just as many. So it isn't a surprise that they have opted to dive headlong into a full-length studio release rather than continue to test the waters with another EP release.

Their self-titled début is a heady mix of industrial, edm and neoclassical embellishments that come together to form a catchy and complex dance floor assault. They mix a classic industrial flavour with modern ingredients such as dubstep bass, hard trance leads and a myriad of subtle hooks to push the club-orientated agenda of the album hard.

Songs such as 'Ov Glory', 'Wasteland', 'Desekreator' (featuring Ruinizer), 'Commonwealth' (featuring Cryogenic Echelon and Studio-X), 'Monster', and 'Catching Sparks' (featuring Lauri Black) drive the album forward with a unique style that doesn't pander to genre conventions. They are making strong dance music that is complex and ambitious in its scope.

There are one or two places where it doesn't quite work though, such as on 'Broken Wings' which as on the previous EP falls flat compared to the rest of the tracks on offer. And in the occasionally unnecessarily long intro. But the last one is a matter of personal preference.

In terms of production, there has simply been a big improvement since 'Renegade 2.0' which really changes the landscape of their sound. The final touches have given the songs that push to match the band's ambitions.

Biomechanimal's self-titled début is a strong offering full of intelligent design and mass dance appeal. It's unashamedly club fodder, but at the same time doesn't take its cues from anything else that's going on right now. This will definitely mark them out as one to watch.  

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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Live Review: Coal Chamber – The Ritz, Manchester 30/05/2015



Coal Chamber (+ Soil, The Defiled, Dope)
The Ritz, Manchester
30/05/2015


If it hadn't been for the last minute replacement of American Head Charge with London's The Defiled, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was 2001 all over again. Thankfully though it isn't, and despite the periodic desperate gasps of Fred Durst's Limp Bizkit it's the underrated stars of the “nu-metal” movement are coming back and hitting harder than in their heyday. Tonight is primarily about Coal Chamber and their mighty new album 'Rivals', but it's also special for the fact that the reformed and revitalised Dope are making their first UK tour in their history.

The 5pm doors opening is a little unusual, especially as it isn't until 6:15pm that Dope finally take to the stage. But soon the wait is a distant memory as the band launch into a fast and frantic set. The music was tight and the adrenalin was high as they reeled out classics such as 'Violence', 'Fuck Tomorrow', 'Die Motherfucker Die', and 'Addiction'. Interestingly though there was no sign of their most recent release 'Everything Sucks' and the dropping of their cover of Dead Or Alive's 'You spin Me Right Round (Like A Record)' in favour of Billy Idol's 'Rebel Yell'. But nonetheless the crowd were into it and the band could hold their head high.

Next up were The Defiled. The electronic tinged metal of the London quartet seem like a good match on paper. But despite the few hardcore fans that had pushed their way to the front, and the crazy shenanigans of keyboard player The AvD; their efforts fall flat before the majority of the crowd. Perhaps it was the aftermath of Dope's heartfelt madness still buzzing in the minds of those who had waited over a decade to see them. Or perhaps it was their lack of stage presence. But either way it wasn't really the band's night and they come of a superfluous to the rest of the line-up.

Soil were next to hit the stage to a sense of anticipation. It's a strange choice of support as the Illinois natives are no strangers to headline performances in the UK. The post-grunge meets nu-metal purveyors of the overplayed 'Halo' whipped the crowd into a frenzy despite not really doing anything at all. The return of original vocalist Ryan McCombs following a stroke late last year obviously made it a special tour for the band and their hardcore fans. But objectively it was a lacklustre outing that would have only satisfied long-time fans. They reeled out the fan favourites such as 'Pride', 'Breaking Me Down', 'Unreal', 'The Hate Song', and of course the inevitable rendition of 'Halo' that saw McCombs wander through the crowd, with the set rounded off with a cover of Ram Jam's 'Black Betty'. The fans were evidently loving it, but it was hard to see why.

Finally after a decade away it was time for Coal Chamber to return. Dez Fafara, hardened by years on the road with Devildriver slips comfortably back into his role as frontman for the nu-metal pioneering band, and brings the fury. The band open the set unexpectedly with arguably their best known cuts 'Loco' and 'Big Truck'. It's a ballsy move that leaves you wondering where they can go from there as the crowd collectively loose their shit from the off. The band answer the speculation with a heavy and aggressive set that sees classics like 'Fiend', 'Dark Days', 'I', 'Clock', and 'Not Living' with new cuts 'I.O.U. Nothing' and 'Rivals. They don't bother with leaving the stage for a rest before the encore and play straight through to get as much in as possible... it has after all been a while... before closing out the night in style with 'Oddity' and 'Sway'.

Coal chamber have matured, and are just as tight and crazy as ever. Even those in the crowd who had primarily come for other bands on the bill found it hard to resist the mayhem as pits opened for every song and crowd surfers poured over the barrier. For long time fans it ticks all the boxes and for new fans it was a perfect introduction as to why they had such a cult following in the 90s and early 00s. Let's hope they stick around long enough to come back.

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Monday, 1 June 2015

Introducing... nTTx


"There is a lot of talk about 'the scene is dying' or 'musicians are losing out' with regards to file sharing, streaming services etc. I am much more excited about these times than 20 years ago. Back then I would never have had the opportunity as an independent artist to reach fans all over the world as I can now." 


Name of Band: nTTx
Year Formed: 2015
Location: Toronto, Canada

nTTx is the new solo project of Gord Clement who was the former singer/songwriter for the band Atomzero (AnalogueTrash Records). His new sound is described as 'EBM with synthpop and disco influences'. The songs feature a strong vocal delivery of intelligent lyrics.
A single 'Falls Beautiful' with a b-side (Depeche Mode cover) was released in May 2015.
It is available as a FREE download via nttx.bandcamp.com. It is also available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and most other streaming services.

This song is from his upcoming début EP to be released in the fall of 2015.

Live shows with custom programmed lighting will begin with the EP release.


Intravenous Magazine: Who are you and how did the band/project come to be formed?

nTTx is just myself, Gord Clement (occasionally my cat helps). Up until a few months ago I was the lead singer and song writing partner in the band Atomzero. My original intention with nTTx was to be a side project and do some fun cover songs and a few originals as an outlet for my own creativity aside from my main focus which was Atomzero. However, my partner and I had some unresolvable issues so I made the difficult decision to leave. nTTx then became my full time project.


IVM: How would you describe your sound/style, and how did you arrive at it?

This project is going to be more of an EBM theme with a little bit of synthpop and even disco elements! I don't like to pigeon-hole myself into one sound, so some songs may be more synthpop whereas others may be more aggressive EBM type stuff.  My vocals will also vary, as I like to do both soft/emotional runs along with some harder stuff. I really enjoy listening to albums that vary in style. I don't like when every song sounds the same. I'm also making a return to a more basic form of writing and production as I did back in the '80 when I wrote electronic music in my bedroom (because there were limits with gear back then). Recently, technology has allowed us to compose with unlimited tracks and effects, I've made the decision to keep nTTx as simple as possible, returning to the way I did things years ago. It's a more stripped back way of writing than what I've been doing in the last several years.


IVM: Who and what are your primary influences both musical and non-musical? 

The first time I heard Kraftwerk (a glow in the dark 12" of The Model, Trans Europe Express and Neonlights) I knew that this was my calling. My friends in the auto-industry blue collar town I was raised in would make fun of me for always talking about "synthesizers" when they talked about Camaros and dirtbikes and beer. I eventually was pulled into the punk scene as a drummer, but always retained my true robotic soul underneath it all. When I heard Der Mussolini and Alle Gegen Alle by DAF, I knew the future path I needed to take. Song writing inspiration strikes in so many different ways. Sometimes it's an update to any one of the many bits of software I use, learning a new feature... sometimes it's a bit of random chaos as I happen upon by absolute user error. Generally I let all things flow through and onto a recording and then later figure out how they need to sit together. Almost like channelling an unknown force that writes through me.


IVM: Do you perform live and if so where can we see you perform in the near future?

Performing live is what I look forward to the most. It's a major reason why I do this. I come from a family of performers and it's in my DNA (I have photos as a toddler performing in front of my family). I have my line-up set: keyboards will be Lance (The Grey Disorder) and Mike (previous live drummer for Atomzero). We are starting rehearsals soon and will start playing when the EP comes out this fall. I always put everything into my live shows and strive to give a stadium worthy show even if it's in a small club. I have my own lighting rigs which I've programmed to flow with the music.


IVM: What is your current release and where is it available from?

The first single 'Falls Beautiful' from my début EP is out now and available as a free download from nttx.bandcamp.com. It also includes a b-side cover of 'New Dress' by Depeche Mode. I've modernized the lyrics to reflect the current times. It's also available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and all the usual streaming services.


IVM: What have been the highlights of your career so far?

The highlights of my career so far have been playing Edgefest in Toronto (large outdoor music festival) with my previous band 'Riddle Me This'. It was a more alternative rock outfit in the mid '90s. Also, last year after releasing our debut album 'Symbiosis', Atomzero was signed within 3 months to Analogue Trash records out of the UK. We put a lot of work into that album and spent a lot of time doing promotion for it. It was nice to get the recognition for our work.


IVM: What are your plans for the future?


I'm presently finishing up the final tweaks and mixes for the upcoming debut EP which should be out this fall. I'm also doing some remix work for other artists which should be out soon as well.

IVM: Finally, is there anything that you would like to add?

There is a lot of talk about 'the scene is dying' or 'musicians are losing out' with regards to file sharing, streaming services etc. I am much more excited about these times than 20 years ago. Back then I would never have had the opportunity as an independent artist to reach fans all over the world as I can now. It's been very rewarding to get the feedback that someone in a far off place is enjoying my music. Unless you were a big name band back then, that wouldn't have happened. This is a great era we are in now, being able to reach a global audience on our own.


Links:
Website: nttxmusic.com


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