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Friday, 31 July 2015

Review: Primitive Race – 'Primitive Race'



PRIMITIVE RACE
'Primitive Race'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


There are super groups and then there is Primitive Race. Boasting members of acts such as Pop Will Eat Itself, Peter Murphy, <PIG>, KMFDM, Ministry, Tricky, Nitzer Ebb, Combichrist and others in its ranks the group headed by Chris Kniker evoke everything that is great about industrial rocks past, present and future. The sound is hard to pin down though. It is a hard mix of industrial rock and ebm, but here are so many different flavours that bubble to the surface courtesy of the revolving line up of musicians and vocalists on every track. It's a veritable smorgasbord of world class talent coming together to do what they do best.

Songs such as 'Follow The Leader', 'Cage Rattler', 'Acceptance Of Reality', and 'Below Zero' favour a rockier blend that melds chugging guitars, and filthy bass with a steady dance pace, and fist-in-the-air sing-a-long moments. While the likes of 'So Strange', 'Addict Now', 'Taking Things Back', 'Platinum Balls', and 'DJFH' bring the electronics higher in the mix to create some hard, nasty, but dance friendly cuts for the clubs. But no matter which direction the song goes it is hard to find a bad example of their collective song writing or performances on this album. The line between rocking and dance-friendly is a fine balance that is executed with the ease that you'd expect from an experienced roster such as this.

There is a nice gritty side to the production that compliments both the guitar driven tracks as well as the electronic ones. It is identifiably classic industrial but it doesn't try to replicate the familiar Nothing and Wax Trax! albums of yesteryear. Instead it feels appropriate for 2015 with a nice mix and mastering job that preserves the grittiness without any loss of fidelity.

Primitive race may be a new moniker, but it's members are some of the most respected names associated with industrial, ebm, and gothic music of the last 30 years. As such, this first full-length outing feels fully formed and actualised without any straining to find a niche. Fans of classic acts such as <PIG>, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb, Ministry, and Nine Inch Nails will feel right at home with this. While those just taking their first steps into the scene will find this album sits comfortably on the shelf next to modern acts like 3Teeth, Youth Code, Caustic, and Project F. As for album number two, the collective will need to work hard to top this.  

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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Soundtrack to... 1985: In 20 Albums



Ah 1985, the mid eighties is now officially three decades ago, it was an eventful 52 weeks... It was the year the Internet’s DNS was created. The year Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union. The year of the first Wrestlemania at Madison Square Garden. And the year of the first Live Aid concerts in London and Los Angeles which raised more than £50 million for famine relief.

It was also a good year for music that saw a slew of classic albums released in every genre in alternative music be it post-punk, goth, rock, metal, or electro and took their artists to international fame. There were so many in fact that this list could have been a lot longer. But we decided to keep it to just twenty LP/EP releases that stood out and set the standard for that year.

As with most of these kind of articles this is by no means the definitive releases of the year. Rather a cross-section of classics and other gems celebrating their 30th year. So sit back and relax as we take a trip back to 1985...



 Cocteau Twins – 'Tiny Dynamine' EP

1985 saw the Scottish ethereal rock outfit Cocteau Twins release three separate EPs in between full-length albums. All three had never really originally been intended for release and as such provided an opportunity for the band to indulge their more experimental sides in ways that would ultimately culminate in the stunning 'Victorialand' the following year. However all three EPs offer plenty of great tracks to get stuck into, in particular the second of the year's releases 'Tiny Dynamine'. The EP boasts four stunning cuts of pure richly layered ethereal joy with the rare instrumental 'Ribbed And Veined' being a highlight, as well as the opening number 'Pink Orange Red' which is a perfect summation of everything the band had been doing up until that point.




The Sisters Of Mercy – 'First And Last And Always'

After a run of independent singles and EPs caught the attention of the public and music journalists alike in the preceding years, The Sisters of Mercy unveiled their full-length début album in 1985 and secured their spot as the kings of goth. Moody atmospheres, icy guitars, throbbing bass, the mechanical beats of their drum machine Doktor Avalanche, and of course Andrew Eldritch's baritone croon combined to create one hell of an album. It's a formula that endeared them to a generation and provided a template that is still going strong 30 years later. The album is crammed full of essential hits such as 'No Time To Cry', 'Marian', 'Black Planet', 'Walk Away', and 'Nine While Nine'. Although the band would split into three entities with Eldritch carrying on the Sisters moniker, and guitarists Gary Marx and Wayne Hussey going on to form Ghost Dance and The Mission respectively, 'First And Last And Always' remains a key album in the history of gothic rock.




Slayer – 'Hell Awaits'

We lurch now toward the USA and the distinctive satanic thrash metal of Slayer. Now considered legends for their horror influenced heavy metal and paving the way for more extreme forms of metal to emerge from the underground. However in 1985 they were a young band who needed to follow up their début. The result of their efforts was the far more powerful and assertive 'Hell Awaits'. Continuing to develop from the previous year's début, 'Show No Mercy' the band upped their game with a much more professional sounding recording, as well as much tighter song writing and vocal performances. Tracks from the album including 'Hell Awaits', 'Kill Again', 'Praise Of Death', 'At Dawn They Sleep', and 'Necrophilliac' have become essential to cover for many up-and-coming (as well as a fair few established) metal bands in the years since. Although the band's subsequent output may eclipse their sophomore outing, it is here that Slayer truly came into their own.




Killing Joke – 'Night Time'

Five albums in five years may seem like a killer schedule for any modern band, but for the most prolific post-punk group of the 1980's it seemed effortless. Killing Joke by 1985 were already and established force with their hard, post-punk attitude and aggressive execution finding favour with the public. 'Night Time' saw the band balance this earlier antagonism with a more refined pop sensibility, and as a result saw the album become one of their biggest hits. Complete with the stunning singles 'Eighties', 'Love Like Blood', and 'Kings And Queens' the band left an indelible mark on the musical landscape of the mid-80s. 'Night Time' is the high water mark of the band's 80s output, and although it could be retrospectively looked at as the first step in the gradual softening of the band before they ultimately swerved back into heavier territory in the 90s, it is nonetheless and perfect blend of accessible dissidence.




Skinny Puppy – 'Bites'

The début album by Canadian electro-industrialists was a game changer when it was released in 1985. Prior to its release industrial had been distinctly more abrasive in the hands of acts like Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, and Einsturzende Neubauten. Born originally as an experimental side project for composer cEvin Key while working with new wave band Images In Vogue, the band would quickly evolve to incorporate dark electro-pop elements into their sound and as a result developed a strong dance potential. The band's début album 'Bites' immediately spawned club classics such as 'Assimilate', 'The Choke', 'Deadlines', and 'Last Call' as well as providing an influence on acts such as Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and many more. Although the band would find success with the breakthrough albums 'VIVIsectVI' and 'Rabies', 'Bites' remains a cult classic for all of the right reasons.




Laibach – 'Laibach'

With the release of Laibach's 2014 album 'Spectre' it seemed as though the musical intelligentsia had finally caught up with the pioneering Slovenian group's manifesto that had been laid out on their challenging 1985 eponymous début. Provocative, ambiguous, clever and always memorable, the band blended martial industrial with folk elements on this artistic and cutting edge release. The album may seem primordial compared to subsequent releases 'Nova Akropola' and 'Opus Dei', which refined the band's early industrial menace before exploring more electronic and rock orientated territory in the 90s. However its rawness amplifies its ferocity and menace, and despite its age the band still regularly return to tracks such as 'Država', 'Brat Moj', and 'Panorama' for live performances. To this day it continues to exude a gravitas that few early industrial albums are able to, and for that reason it remains essential listening.







Bathory – 'The Return......'

Bookended by the iconic albums 'Bathory' and 'Under The Sign Of The Black Mark', Bathory's second album 'The Return.....' is somewhat overshadowed. Yet it remains a highly influential album that would help to shape the growing black and death metal scenes in Scandinavia. The album is constructed almost like an epic poem with the track list leading you on a journey that ultimately reveals the full title of the album on it's penultimate track. Raw thrash metal and first wave black metal influences combine to create a visceral assault on the ears as the guitars and vocals screech around thunderous rhythms. It's production may be pretty lacklustre by today's standards but with tracks such as 'Total Destruction', 'Bestial Lust (Bitch)', 'Possessed', and 'Sadist (Tormentor)' still finding favour among fans of extreme metal, time certainly hasn't dulled its edge.




Talking Heads – 'Little Creatures'

The New York based quartet Talking Heads had been pioneering new wave music for nearly ten years by the time they released their sixth album 'Little Creatures'. Already a firm favourite of the iconic David Bowie, the band had by this point enjoyed a fair amount of commercial success. But it was this album that proved to be the highest selling in their back catalogue. And with singles such as 'And She Was', 'The Lady Don't Mind', and 'Road To Nowhere' (as well as their MTV-friendly promotional videos) it isn't hard to see why. David Byrne had perfected his blend of art rock meets new wave meets pop formula and had well and truly hit his stride as a producer by this point. The end result of which is a sublime journey into the idea of Americana at the end of the 20th century. 'Little Creatures' remains a classic album and a testament to the enduring legacy of the band.







Megadeth – 'Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!'

Fuelled by a desire for revenge on his former bandmates, ex-Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine set about trying to outdo them in every way possible, but especially in terms of speed and heaviness, the result of which was the 1985 début 'Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!'. Despite the aggressive thrash metal content of the album, it received positive review even from non-metal/rock publications and established Mustaine as a song writer in his own right. The album may not be as well rounded as the band's follow up offering 'Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?', but the anger and passion with which the tracks are performed has contributed greatly to it's longevity and ensured that fan favourites such as 'Killing Is My Business...', 'Rattlehead', and 'Skull Beneath My Skin' still get a regular airing on tour, and why this album still features among the greats of the genre.




Clan Of Xymox – 'Clan Of Xymox'

Dutch gothic/darkwave act Clan Of Xymox had their finger on the pulse of the emerging gothic rock scene when they released their self-titled début on the influential 4AD label. The album is full of icy guitars, throbbing synthesizers, and ethereal atmospherics that blends the melancholic aura of Joy Division's 'Unknown Pleasures' with the accessibility of The Cure's 'The Top'. It sweeps between eloquent guitar driven tracks that beg for live performances to electronic dance anthems to hook the club scene. The production may sound dated by today's standards, but the likes of 'Cry In The Wind', 'Stumble And Fall', '7th Time', 'Stranger', and 'A Day' are still strong gothic rock tracks that can be heard in clubs around the world and whose influences can still be felt in bands such as The Last Dance and London After Midnight.







The Damned – 'Phantasmagoria'

The Damned had already been a firm favourite of the punk, and post-punk scenes in the UK from 1976. But 1985's 'Phantasmagoria' took a much gloomier turn building on the themes of their previous two albums while focussing heavily on vocalist David Vanian's deep voice. The end result is a heavily gothic infused pop-rock sound that provided the band with their highest charting release. Songs such as 'Shadow Of Love', 'Sanctum Sanctorum', 'Grimly Fiendish', and 'Is It A Dream?' are stand-outs in an already influential discography and remain firm fan favourites to this day. Sadly the follow-up album 'Anything' was the beginning of the end of their run at the top, but 30 years later the band still tour and air tracks from 'Phantasmagoria' in their set lists. The album shows the band at their peak and their most well-rounded writing effort.




The Cure – 'The Head On The Door'

In the early 80s The Cure had steadily grown from morbid post-punks to having some hit singles with the likes of 'Let's Go To Bed', 'The Walk', and 'The Love Cats' all doing pretty well in the charts. But it wasn't until the band released their 1985 album 'The Head On The Door' that international success became attainable. Walking a fine line between the band's most gothic inclined album 'Pornography', and their optimistic psychedelic pop of 'The Top', the album balances everything the band had been up until that point. The album produced two hit singles in the forms of 'In Between Days' and 'Close To Me', but also contained such gems as 'Kyoto Song', 'Six Different Ways', 'A Night Likes This', which are fine examples of the band's writing during this transitional period and paved the way for their superstar status that followed.




Christian Death – 'Ashes'

Christian Death were a band that have always courted controversy, no less amongst their own fan base. The debate still rages on as to whether it is Rozz William's Christian Death or Valor Kand's that is the true band. But no matter which side of the fence you fall on it is clear that together they created two classic albums in the form of 'Catastrophe Ballet' and 1985's 'Ashes'. This album was the last to feature founding vocalist Rozz Williams (before he resurrected his own incarnation of the band in the 90s). The album builds on the romantic and dada influenced themes of it's predecessor, honing them into a flurry of sensual and dramatic gothic anthems such as 'Ashes', 'When I Was Bed', 'Lament – Over Shadows', and 'The Luxury Of Tears'. All of the latter fallout aside both 'Catastrophe Ballet' and 'Ashes' are stunning albums that hint at a partnership that could have yielded so much more.




Kate Bush – 'Hounds Of Love'

Prior to the release of 'Hounds Of Love' in 1985 Kate Bush's previous offering 'The Dreaming' had received a lukewarm response and it was evident her fifth album would need to be something special. The result was an album of two halves – the first featuring five stunning pop songs, four of which found instant chart success – while the second half of the album sees Bush in all of her conceptual glory weaving seven beautiful romantic prog-pop songs into a continuous whole called 'The Ninth Wave'. Some of the synthesized elements, may have dated over the years but the relentless moods and atmospheres they evoke are just as powerful as ever after three decades. 'Hounds Of Love' is a masterful exercise of both commercial and conceptual song writing by an artist at the top of her game and saw her secure her place as one of the most influential women in pop music.




Gary Numan – 'The Fury'

 Having long since moved away from his synthpop roots, Gary Numan had become artistically more eclectic and gradually more maligned by the media. 'The Fury' sees Numan combine elements of synthpop, funk rock, new wave,industrial rock, and darkwave into a morbid pop record that utilises heavy amounts of sampling. It continues the harder edge from the previous 'Berzerker' album and as a whole album it did quite well in the charts (and remained his last top 30 charting album until 2013's 'Splinter'). However it's supporting singles didn't fair so well due to lack of radio airplay. Yet it is a fundamentally great pop album with a much more industrial edge. Songs such as 'Call Out The Dogs', 'Miracles', 'Creatures' and 'I Still Remember' are worth the price of admission alone, and thirty years later it is long overdue a re-evaluation from the media.





The Chameleons – 'What Does Anything Mean? Basically'

Mancunian post-punks The Chameleons were one of the great "what if?" stories of the 1980s. With four albums under their belts they were just on the brink of international success, when it all unfolded after the death of their manager. But that doesn't mean that their music didn't find a loyal audience (one that counts the Gallagher brothers and The Verve among its members). Introspective, anthemic, aggressive and haunting, the band ticked all of the right boxes, and their sophomore album sees them come together in stunning style. It may have only launched one single in the form of 'Singing Rule Britannia (While The Walls Close In)', but 'What Does Anything Mean? Basically' is an archetype of 80s indie perfection. It may have lost the raw impact of their début, but with tracks such as 'Perfumed Garden', 'Return Of The Roughnecks', 'Looking Inwardly', 'One Flesh', and 'P.S Goodbye' it provides a treasure trove of delay drenched gems and a real career highlight.




Love And Rockets – 'Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven'

The 1985 début album of Love And Rockets saw three-quarters of the legendary gothic pioneers Bauhaus reunite for a decidedly more upbeat direction that saw them fuse psychedelic pop and alternative rock with great effect. 'Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven' is a tentative first step in a newer, brighter future. It is on the one hand hopeful, but on the other still somewhat unsure of itself. But with songs such as 'If There's A Heaven Above', 'The Dog-End Of A Day Gone By', 'The Game', and 'Haunted When Minutes Drag' are genuinely profound moments of song writing that are different to what came before, but no less powerful. Along with the single 'Ball Of Confusion' the band's first release provides a solid base that kicked off a decade run of great releases.





The Cult – 'Love'

In their time, the once darlings of the post-punk underground known as Southern Death Cult, then as Death Cult, and finally The Cult, quickly evolved into internationally successful hard rockers thanks to their Sophomore release 'Love'. Complete with the singles 'She Sells Sanctuary', 'Rain', and 'Revolution', the band became an international name thanks to their combination of post-punk grit, psychedelia, and guitar hero riffs. Their sound found favour with fans of hard rock, indie, goth and post-punk. The band would build on the success of this album until their brief split in the mid-90s derailed their momentum. But 'Love' remains a firm favourite among fans with its singles still getting regular club play and ultimately providing the purest snapshot of the band's song writing talents.





Celtic Frost – 'To Mega Therion'

Celtic Frost is a name that is both infamous and influential in the black metal and doom metal scenes. Injecting a heavy dose of gothic atmosphere into their extreme metal anthems, the band have never been afraid to experiment with their sound, which has over the years made them very difficult to classify. 1985's 'To Mega Therion' however is a mighty mix of primordial thrash, death and black metal heavy on atmosphere and menace. The album is focussed in its direction and executed with Wargnerian power and determination on tracks such as 'Innocence And Wrath', 'Circle Of Tyrants', 'The Usurper', and 'Eternal Summer' showing how far the band had come on not only in terms of song writing, but also in performance and production since their début 'Morbid Tales'. It's easy to hear why 30 years down the line 'To Mega Therion' is a classic extreme metal album.




The Jesus And Mary Chain – 'Psychocandy'

Riding the success of their first single 'Upside Down' Scottish alternative rockers unleashed their début full-length outing 'Psychocandy' and immediately struck a nerve. Raw walls of noise, post-punk attitude, and pop melody culminate in a uniquely visceral but accessible sound that serves as a precursor to shoegaze. The album received rave reviews upon release in the music press and placed highly on end of year top picks. In the decades since it has continually been lauded as one of the best albums of all time by many publications. Spawning the three singles 'Never Understand', 'You Trip Me Up', and 'Just Like Honey' that each made a decent impact on the charts, the band quickly developed a strong following that would last throughout their career. 'Psychocandy' is a raw and intuitive album, but it has aged surprisingly well and is still influencing bands to this day.






Right, that's our countdown of 1985 in 20 albums. We hope you enjoyed it and we're sure you have your own picks to add to the list. If you want to make your voice heard leave a comment on this post on out Facebook page. We'll be back with another countdown soon, next time fast-forwarding to 1995 when alternative rock had the MTV generation by the balls.

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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Review: Victor Love – 'Neo Tokyo Underground'



VICTOR LOVE
'Neo Tokyo Underground'
SELF-RELEASED


It's pretty safe to say at this juncture that Victor Love doesn't give a fuck about what he's expected to do or how he should do business. The man behind cyberpunks Dope Stars Inc. has been happily pirating his own band's music for years and giving the music business the middle finger while he is doing it. Now his new solo musical project sees him throw away the conventions of his band in favour of a more minimalistic approach. And with one EP already released in the form of 'The Network' it looks like it will pay off for him.

To capitalise on the release of his début solo EP, the Italian multi-instrumentalist and producer has unleashed another solo release in the form of the club single 'Neo Tokyo Underground'. The instrumental anthem blends techno, ebm, electro-industrial and distorted dance beats to create a compellingly grooving track that is pure dance-floor gold. In it's scathing synths, groovy bassline and simple beat it evokes the atmosphere of the kind of apocalyptic rave you'd expect the clubs in the world of Akira, Ghost In the Shell, and The Sprawl Trilogy to be spinning.

As with the EP before it, the track is more straightforward in it's approach than long-time fans of Love will be used to with his more guitar driven main project. However it is just a strong as anything else in his back catalogue and produced and mixed to the same high degree you'd expect from him.

This is another great offering from Victor Love and one that once again cries out for him to explore this direction on a full-length album sooner rather than later. Hopefully with another Dope Stars Inc. release scheduled for this year he will be able to balance the two projects and continue to deliver on both.  

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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Review: XSRY – 'Dream Vehicles'



XSRY
'Dream Vehicles'
CRL STUDIOS


Hailing from Canada, this electronic project has been releasing EPs since 2006 before finding a home on the CRL studios roster. The project headed by Aldo Ferrusi and blends electronic, industrial, ambient and metal elements together to create rich atmospheric music that walks the line between sci-fi soundscapes and dance-floor assaults. The band's full-length début on CRL Studios, 'Dream Vehicles' is a rough but promising collection that draws on influences such as MDFMK, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, and even Pink Floyd.

The album kicks off with the darkly demented ambience of 'Stained With A Colour And Marked By A Number' which brings those 80s sci-fi tones to the fore right away. The album then plunges headlong into a slew of up tempos old school techno influenced ebm that is often relatively simple in construction, but nonetheless effective. Tracks such as 'The Black Hole', 'Morpheus Rising', 'The Witching Hour', and 'Eye' show off the best of the band's club potential. While the ambience of 'The Mysterious Stranger' and 'Turn A Stone' show the true depths of the ambition for the project.

The album has a pretty rough around he edges construction that isn't that particularly detracts from the song writing, but in more than a few places it does make it sound rushed and a little incomplete. Which is a shame as there is a hell of a lot of potential in the tracks here. On the upside though, with the minimalistic style of construction of the tracks there is no danger of the mix becoming over saturated, and as such it does convey the feeling that the band would be able to replicate this easily on stage.

'Dream Vehicles' has a lot of promise, even if the execution is a little off. There are some great club tracks here that are quite memorable, as well as some luscious ambient interludes that show a real skill behind the project. However there is work needed to really up their game and live up to their potential. Hopefully full-length album number two will smooth out those rough edges and give the music the polish it deserves.  

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Review: Cocksure – 'Corporate_Sting'



COCKSURE
'Corporate_Sting'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


One year on from their full-length début album, the duo of Chris Connelly and Jason Novak return with their sophomore outing under the Cocksure moniker. The band's second album 'Corporate_Sting' sees the duo continue the big beat orientated industrial mayhem of their début across ten brand new tracks that evoke they 90s heyday of the Wax Trax! sound. Hard gritty beats, throbbing bass, heavily distorted vocals, and an anything goes attitude come together to blend old school sounds with modern execution. And once again it just works so damn well. There's certainly nothing corporate about this album, but there is plenty of sting to it.

Kicking off with the addictive stomp of 'Porno Drones' the album is a continuous assault of old school flavoured dance anthems that drip with seedy electronics, filthy bass, and infectious rhythms throughout. Tracks such as 'Severance Package', 'O.C.D. Got Game!', 'Cold Dick', 'Razor Invader', and 'Hi Talez' provide the duo with their strongest cuts, but everything on here is so well-formed and confidently executed, any song could be a potential future classic.

The album still walks that fine line between old school grit and modern polish, perhaps with a more focussed execution than its predecessor. It still sounds wonderfully heavy and belligerent, but the mix isn't over-saturated with distortion and doesn't try to out and out replicate the production of the classic albums. Just like 'TVMALSV' before it, it has the vibe, but still sounds refreshingly up to date.

'Corporate_Sting' is another great release from Cocksure, and fans of both old school acts as well as modern bands such as 3Teeth, Project F, Öhm, and Youth Code will definitely find plenty to enjoy here. Connelly and Novak's musical partnership is fast producing some of the strongest and most memorable material of their respective careers, and long may it continue.

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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Book Review: Lewis Carroll – 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland: 150th Anniversary Edition'


LEWIS CARROLL
'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland: 150th Anniversary Edition'
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS


Charles Lutwidge Dodgson better known to the world by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll has by way of his most famous creation 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' enchanted and subverted generations for 150 years with his psychedelic fantasy of anthropomorphic animals literary nonsense. It is no surprise that Princeton University Press have decided to publish a new edition that not only presents the classic text, but also forgoes the original illustrations by John Tenniel that accompany most print runs in favour of the rarer, and arguably stimulating artwork from Salvador Dali.

The new edition begins with an insightful forward by Mark Burstein president emeritus of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, who dissects the impact and influence of the book, as well as analyses its surrealist credentials which ties the Victorian fairy story with the subversive post-Dada art movement of which Dali is the most renowned member. Burstein goes on to look at Dali's own links to the classic book by way of his collaboration with Disney and the recurring motifs of his own work.

This is followed by further elaboration on the genius and eccentricity of Dali by Thomas Banchoff, professor emeritus of mathematics at Brown University. Banchoff looks deeper into the process of Dali's work and in particular his use of mathematics in his iconic works, as well as detailing his own meetings with the artist which provides an intriguing insight into the enigmatic figure.

For those who have never read the book, the story follows the character of Alice, a seven-year-old girl who follows a white rabbit (who is curiously wearing a waistcoat) down a rabbit hole and is transported to the bizarre world of Wonderland. In Wonderland she encounters the strange and half-mad inhabitants that populate it and attempts to keep hold of her own sanity as logic becomes more relative in comparison to the regimented world of Victorian values from which she has come. It encompasses themes of childhood rebellion through imagination, as well as playing with the ideas of logic, proportion, time, and the blurring of reality and dreams... as well as some of the best wordplay in the English language.

The book presents the original text in an unabridged format and preserves the original formatting for a faithful reproduction throughout. This coupled with the juxtaposition of the vivid watercolour prints by Dali combine to add a a far more abstract leap of the imagination that serves to show how a children's story has gone on to influence adult artists, musicians and film-makers such as Salvador Dali, Marilyn Manson and Tim Burton.

The real beauty of this edition is that it makes the Dali illustrations affordable as they had only been published by Random House in a rather expensive manner once in 1969, putting them out of reach of most Alice/Dali fans. Even if you own one of the recent hardback reprints of the book with the original Tenniel illustrations, this is still a must have for its sheer beauty and intelligent insight into both the life and works of Dodgson and Dali. 

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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Review: Cloud Rat – 'Qliphoth'



CLOUD RAT
'Qliphoth'
MULTIPLE LABELS


Cloud Rat are not your typical grindcore band who serve up copycat blasts of angst that refer only to Napalm Death, Brutal Truth and Carcass for inspiration. Yes the band can blast through the album's seventeen tracks in under half an hour. And yes the majority of the album still barely sees the individual tracks break the two-minute mark. But scratch below the surface and you get a lot more than you'd expect.

The band's sonic formula is heavily informed by classic grindcore, and vocalist Madison Marshall's throat-shredding screams dominate each track. But the band make interesting use of tempo shifts, bringing the songs back into doom influenced waters, as well as adding elements of black metal, classic rock, drone rock, and post-rock into the mix to create a surprisingly diverse palette. This is perhaps best exemplified by songs such as 'Raccoon', 'Udder Dust', 'The Killing Horizon', 'Hermit Interstice', 'Thin Veil', 'Bolt Gun', 'Friend Of The Court', and 'Chrysalis' which toy with the listener's expectations expertly.

The production is pretty simple and straight-forward. The sound is pretty much what you'd expect the band to sound like live, albeit with a little studio spit and polish for good measure. But on the whole it is a clean, crisp and no-nonsense production style that lets the band's performance do the work.

Cloud Rat definitley have something to them. Yes the majority of the album will be familiar territory for anyone that has heard more than half-a-dozen grindcore records in their life. But the more esoteric elements the band brings to the album definitely serves to set them apart somewhat. Though it would be nice to really hear them experiment with these further on future albums, rather than rely purely on the tried and tested to give a more satisfying backbone to the album.  

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Review: Lychgate – 'An Antidote For The Glass Pill'



LYCHGATE
'An Antidote For The Glass Pill'
BLOOD MUSIC


Having only officially come into life in 2012, Lychgate are fast making a name for themselves as one of the most cerebral bands to emerge from the avant garde arm of the extreme metal scene. The band – which features a host of well-travelled veterans from acts such as Esoteric, The One, Macabre Omen, Luna Aurora, and Omega Centauri – distil a diverse range of styles and influences into a richly layered assault of decadence and malevolence. Melodic elements reminiscent of the likes of Dissection intersperse a primarily gothic-tinged black metal framework that draws on the likes of Emperor and Abigor while the dense dark atmosphere of funeral doom acts like Esoteric create a thick shroud around it.

The album ties each track together with the grandiose use of the pipe organ. Now this is something that can set alarm bells off due to the fact that there have been many acts that have used it poorly and relegated it to the cheesy gothic end of the spectrum. However, in the hands of Lychgate it takes on its full glory and is a perfect addition to the band's rich sound.

Songs such as 'Davamesque B2', 'I Am Contempt', 'Letter XIX', 'An Acousmatic Guardian', and 'My Fate To Burn Forever' show of the band's full glory as the avant garde song structures unveil blistering black metal, demonic vocals, and sumptuous melodies all in the same breath. The song writing is complex and intelligent, and the execution of each song is carried off with ease and grace.
In terms of the production, it is true that the album is dense, multi-layered, and full of little flourishes and embellishments. And while in the hands of less experienced musicians, the album would run the risk of sounding like a thick slab, Lychgate have instead kept the sense of space and distance between all the elements in the mix that are required to give it that cathedral like presence.

'An Antidote For The Glass Pill' is quite simply a must-have album for anyone that is a fan of acts such as Emperor, Ihsahn, Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus, and Esoteric, as well as anyone with a leaning towards avant garde metal. The album is a wonderfully thick and atmospheric, while at the same time unrelentingly brutal. Lychgate are definitely a name to watch if they can keep on creating masterpieces like this.  

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Introducing... Akathartos


“Love it or hate it, thanks to everyone spending a few moments of your lives listening through my first culmination of blood, sweat and tears.”

Name of band: Akathartos
Members: Samuli Reivilä
Year formed: First tried something many years ago, now "for real" since 2013.
Location: Tuusula, Finland


Akathartos is one man music project from Finland. Akathartos' Orchestral Electro-industrial music is influenced by Hans Zimmer, Suicide Commando, Wumpscut, Hocico and many other orchestral, metal and industrial ensembles.


Intravenous Magazine: Who are you and how did the band/project come to be formed?
Akathartos was formed as a way to channel composer’s anxiety through music and as a platform for creating something unique by harnessing all these dark energies obsessing human mind.


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

Orchestral Electro-industrial is used to describe the composition style. This is the result of combining the two of my most favourite music genres: epic orchestral music and electro-industrial. Metal is currently left out of the equation but we'll see what the future holds.


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

Music is influenced by Hans Zimmer, Suicide Commando, Wumpscut, Hocico and many other orchestral, metal and industrial ensembles.


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

Currently no live performances are planned but some day I would like to see real live orchestral performance combined with electro-industrial backgrounds.


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

New independent full length album called First Nightmare is now available at Bandcamp at https://akathartos.bandcamp.com


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

Everything had to be learned from scratch including composing and playing instruments so current highlight is finally getting further by releasing the first album.

IVM: What are your plans for the future?

Currently any feedback is appreciated because I would like to know if anyone else can enjoy this darkness disguised as music or is it doomed to forever stay in oblivion. Despite the results new material will follow because these nightmare flames are destined to burn for all eternity.


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

Love it or hate it, thanks to everyone spending a few moments of your lives listening through my first culmination of blood, sweat and tears.




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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Review: Victor Love – 'The Network'



VICTOR LOVE
'The Network'
SELF-RELEASED


Victor Love is perhaps best known as the main man behind Italian cyberpunks Dope Stars Inc. who have been spreading their DIY influenced mix of industrial and punk for over a decade now. Love's newest release 'The Network' is interesting for two reasons; number one it is his first ever solo release, and number two, it sees a big change in sound.

'The Network' builds on the DIY ethic of his main project and has a very minimal sound characterised by a dominant synth melody over industrial beats, almost doom metal guitars and a hip-hop influenced vocal style that recalls the likes of ohGr and Katscan. It still has a cyberpunk atmosphere to it, albeit in a slower and more sinister way than Dope Stars Inc. fans will be used to.

The EP kicks off with the bleak atmosphere of 'Doom Trap' which does a great job setting up the project with a slow trip-hop meets cyber metal construction that is both hypnotic and heavy. This formula is continued onto the more rhythmically powered 'Machine Gun' which adds a more dance-friendly pace to the EP. The release is rounded off by 'Net Reality' which sticks to its guns and maintain the pace of the previous track but adds a bit more familiarity with it's Dope stars Inc. style chorus.

The sound is rough and ready and definitely has a DIY quality to it. But with it's minimal construction and the experience of Love behind the desk it sounds nice and modern as well. It has just the right amount of grit to it to give it that low-fi sound, but the mixing doesn't suffer for it.

'the Network' is an intriguing release from Victor Love. With one full-length Dope Stars Inc. album having been recently released, and another EP on the way, it will remain to be seen whether his solo output will get much opportunity to be explored further in 2015. But based on this snapshot, hopefully a follow-up EP, or even a full-length album is on the cards to further build on this release.

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Review: Chant – 'Brave New Apocalypse'



CHANT
'Brave New Apocalypse'
WTII RECORDS


Chant, AKA Bradley Bills, sounds like one of those projects that has been around forever... despite only being on album number three. Chant's high profile North American and European tour supports with the likes of KMFDM and Die Krupps has seen Bills spread his tribal infused industrial sound far and wide and gained an international following in the process. Drawing on influences such as Nitzer Ebb, Nine Inch Nails, Killing Joke, and KMFDM there is something classic about his sonic formula that creates and instant familiarity.

The third album from Chant, 'Brave New Apocalypse' sees Bills further refine his rhythmic industrial manifesto and brings in a fresh take on the classic industrial rock style of the early 1990s. The result is something that would have been a top seller for Nothing or Wax Trax! Back in their heyday. But even in 2015 it sounds damn good.

Songs such as 'Brave New Apocalypse', 'Repeat Repeat', 'Dead Muse', 'bring Me The Head Of The Music Critic', 'All The Same', and 'song I Never Wanted' distil the best of the 90s with noisy loops, vitriolic vocals, grinding guitars, classic synth sounds and that ever present distinctive drum style to create some instant classics in their own right.

Despite the heavy debt to genre classics, the album doesn't make the mistake of sounding intentionally dated. The influences are plain for everyone to hear, but the production is clean and very much up to date for the kind of quality required in 2015.

'Brave New Apocalypse' is a great stylistic turn by Bills and should play well to new fans looking for something to rock out to, as well as older fans who will feel a pang of nostalgia for the days in which industrial rock gained some mainstream traction. It is full of potential club-friendly hits and will ensure a healthy live repertoire for future live shows. But most importantly it should continues to see Bradley Bills song writing talents strengthen and his position solidify as a name to be reckoned with.  

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Review: Of Tanz Victims – 'Fighting False God'



OF TANZ VICTIMS
'Fighting False God'
ARTOFFACT RECORDS


Thirty years after its original release, the début EP by the mysterious Canadian industrial project Of Tanz Victims sees a long overdue vinyl reissue on Artoffact Records. 'Fighting False God' is a heady mix of first wave of industrial influences such as NON, Psychic TV, Cabaret Voltaire,Throbbing Gristle,and SPK, and the kind of dance friendly electronic basis of fellow Canadians Skinny Puppy. It's both noisy and psychedelic, abrasive and rhythmically pleasing.

The EP only features three songs that clock up a mere eleven minutes running time. But they make an impact despite their now primitive construction. Opening with 'Filth Of God' the band unleash a steady core beat augmented by low-fi punk guitars over which a myriad of samples and slow droning vocals vie to catch your ear. 'The Silent Follows' with a more dance-friendly, yet still morbid and morose number that draws heavily on early Cabaret Voltaire. 'Tape Machine K' closes the release with a jagged and demented blend of stuttering rhythms and samples.

In therms of the production it is primitive, and even with a bit of spit and polish the songs still sound like an old school demo. But that is essentially what you'd be forking out for if you felt so inclined anyway, so its a moot point.

The music is basic, and the sound is archaic and the recording is crude... but that doesn't take away from the fact that these were, for the time, pretty damn good songs that walk the line between the experimental roots of industrial and its dance-friendly future. Fans of the the band, or those of classic sounds of the genre for that matter, as well as collectors will definitely be satisfied with this release.  

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Review: KMFDM – 'Salvation'



KMFDM
'Salvation'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


For over twenty years the acronym KMFDM has been indelibly written into the annals of industrial rock through a singular and dedicated level on conceptual continuity which most bands avoid. The band have stuck to their guns keeping the core of their ultra-heavy beat sound intact through musical fads, and forged an instantly recognisable image through their album art.

The band's latest release 'Salvation' is an EP of reworked tracks from the recent the band's 2014 full-length album 'Our Time Will Come'. KMFDM remix albums and EPs are great for the simple fact that the band's dedication to certain musical motifs means that the main albums are guaranteed to deliver a certain style and calibre of output from the band. Whereas the remix albums play fast and loose with the band's sound and is a great chance to get some outside talent to drastically overhaul their originals.

The EP opens with the anthemic title track which is as good an example of KMFDM's sound as you're going to get. The dance beats and hard guitar riffs power the track forward while the modern dance synths grab your attention, and Kapt'n K and Lucia's vocals entice you to sing-a-long with them.

The first true remix of the EP sees tour mates Chant give 'Blood Vs Money' a wonderfully rhythmic reworking that draws heavily on old school industrial influences. Mindless Self Indulgence give the title track an upbeat and bouncy electro overhaul that completely eschews the hard guitars in favour of club-friendly ebm. Next up is 'Brainwashed' which sees Kapt'n K gives his work an new sheen with a more minimalistic electro-industrial presentation. Dope Stars Inc. up the heaviness once again with a remix of 'Salvation' in their own cyberpunk image of hard electronic beats, dirty punk guitars and jagged synths. The EP is rounded off with another remix of 'Blood Vs Money' this time courtesy of Tom Stanzel which introduces some glitch elements to the rhythmic assault.

It would have been nice to hear a few of the other tracks on the album see the remix treatment, rather than stick to the same couple. But on the whole this is a nice EP that delivers where it needs to. Hardened fans and DJs will find this to be a must have, though new and casual listeners will find more meat on the source album.

KMFDM could be a band that sits comfortably on their laurels based purely on their 90s output alone. But they don't, and their high-quality full-length studio albums and the left-field remix albums are more than enough to define their relevance today.  

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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

'IS THERE FOOD?': 'DAY OF THE DEAD', REAGAN AND THE 'WINNABLE' WAR



There is an entire industry based on academic readings and interpretations of George A Romero's zombie series; whether the films represent the chaotic breakdown of law and order feared from the rise of anti-war generation onwards, or whether the zombies represent the industrial proletariat rising up to claim what is theirs, or whether the zombies represent the passive 'zombified' masses in modern consumer society (who can forget the zombies returning to the shopping mall out of ritualised habit in 'Dawn of the Dead'?). Most of these theories have at least something going for them and only enhance the general dignity of what is generally considered to be one of the most impressive bodies of work in modern horror (although this writer thinks any academic analysis of 'Creepshow' would be infinitely more challenging...)

'Day of the Dead' is no exception to this, and even at face value it is rewardingly nihilistic. The most obvious message of the film is that in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse the remnants of humanity are trying to pick up the pieces and survive, only for human weaknesses to ruin it. Based in their underground fortress performing a rearguard action against the zombie hordes the characters represent a microcosm of society as a whole – a mix of age, gender, nationality, race and temperament who ultimately fail to work together.

A little deeper than that is the struggle between the various ideological factions. Most obvious is the battle between the military, scientific and civilian elements, each of them with their own drawbacks: the military do most of the work and suffer the highest casualties, but are ignorant, violent, racist, sexist and arbitrarily authoritarian; the scientists are considered and constructive,but also self-indulgent and impractical; and the civilians are resourceful and independent but also indifferent and decadent. The struggle between the three factions as the concordat between them breaks down is the main source of the drama in the film. Additionally there is the theme of an irrational (masculine,white) central authority represented by Rhodes versus the rational, peaceful and increasingly sympathetic independence of the (feminine, black, Irish) Sarah, John and McDermott.

But unsurprisingly there is yet another reading of the film. In 1985 when the film was released the level of Cold War hysteria was its highest a generation – with the policy of détente well and truly over following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the election of Ronald Reagan as US President, and the era of glasnost yet to begin, fears of an all-out nuclear war were rampant. In popular culture this was the era of 'Red Dawn', 'Threads', 'The Day After',' Invasion USA', and the US serial drama 'Amerika', as the idea of a final confrontation with communism dominated American political discourse.

One of the main reasons for that was due to one of the unique ideas of Reaganism- that of a 'winnable' nuclear war. It seems ridiculous now but the idea that a nuclear war with the Soviet Union could not only be fought (if necessary) but also won was the basis of American foreign policy in the 1980s. As Deputy Undersecretary of State T.K. Jones put it in 1981: "The United States could recover form an all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union in just two to four years...Nuclear war is not nearly as devastating as we have been led to believe. If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody's going to make it. Dig a hole in the ground, cover with with a couple of doors, and then cover the doors with three feet of dirt. It's the dirt that does it."

The planning behind this was based on the idea of underground bunkers where the US government could continue to operate and on the preservation of the country's industrial capacity, and contingency plans were put in place to that effect. The military bunker in 'Day of the Dead' is effectively one such operation, where the last remnants of the US military-industrial complex try to regroup.

The stupidity of this strategy is clearly expounded in the exchange between Rhodes and Frankenstein, where Rhodes still naively clings to the idea of a military solution to the zombie problem. In response to the idea that they could 'shoot them all in the head', the doctor replies: "We don't have enough ammunition to shoot them all in the head. The time to have done that would have been in the beginning. No, we let them overrun us. We are in the minority now, something like 400,000 to one by my calculation." - i.e. the strategy of a winnable war, whether against a zombie or nuclear holocaust, is doomed.

The only rational response to this dire situation is to do as the remaining survivors do – flee to somewhere inhabitable and try to live their lives in peace. The destructive finale is as much of an anarchistic rebellion against futile military authority as it is a human disaster. Luckily for us the chances of such a war being fought are rapidly diminished in the current era, but 'Day of the Dead' remains a potent reminder of times when losing 20% of a country of 180 million people was a price considered worth paying to fight a war that could not be won.

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Monday, 13 July 2015

Interview: Beauty Queen Autopsy

All these dirty thoughts...



“It's really different for me because Matt is doing all the writing, including lyrics. So for me it's how can I challenge myself to go as far into this character as possible, really embody her, and record amazing vocals so every song really shines, and tells part of the character's story.”

The collaboration between Erica Mulkey of Unwoman and Matt Fanale of Caustic has, in a short space of time, yielded one of the most interesting and dynamic electronic releases of recent years. Minimal in construction but vast in scope, the duo known as Beauty Queen Autopsy have been making people sit up and pay attention since the release of their 2013 demo 'Roughest Cuts'. 2015 sees the release of their full-length début album 'Lotharia' on Undustrial Records after the culmination of a successful crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter.
Intravenous Magazine caught up with Erica and Matt to discuss the Beauty Queen Autopsy story so far and their plans for the future.


Intravenous Magazine: First of all how did the idea for Beauty Queen Autopsy as a band come about?

Matt: It’s been a long gestating project in a lot of ways, but really came into focus in the last couple years. Erica and I had a few small collaborations previously (I helped her on an Attrition cover and she helped me on a track on 'The Golden Vagina of Fame And Profit') and in there somewhere I thought doing a different kind of project covering different themes and ideas that I normally couldn’t really do with Caustic, with me on lyrics, both of us on the music, and her singing would be fun. As the sound evolved I took more of the reins on everything except the vocals, but that’s what’s been working for us thus far, and we’re really happy with the results.


IVM: The band's moniker is a nice interplay of sex and violence. How did you settle on it and were there any other contenders?

Matt: When I came up with it I honestly just thought it was a provocative name, maybe a subtle nod one of my favourite bands Bikini Kill, who are one of several influences on the attitude and sound of BQA. It’s also open to several interpretations. Like the band itself it’s come to mean something different to us as the album evolved, as there’s a dissection of femininity and what women’s roles are expected to be.


IVM: At what point did you realise that you were onto something as a creative partnership?

Matt: Since we worked together a few times I think we had a good understanding how we already communicated. We’re also in a situation of mutual respect, where we both have a say in the final product as BQA represents both of us. We’ve had very few actual stumbling blocks.


IVM: As you're both primarily solo songwriters, what has the writing and recording process of your début album 'Lotharia' been like and did you take it as an opportunity to approach things differently?

Erica: It's really different for me because Matt is doing all the writing, including lyrics. So for me it's how can I challenge myself to go as far into this character as possible, really embody her, and record amazing vocals so every song really shines, and tells part of the character's story. I definitely have veto power and feel very listened to and respected on my musical and lyrical critiques, and the fact that I don't write the songs myself actually means it's easier to commit to them emotionally, because it's less personal, it's acting, but I can allow myself to feel them very personally.

Matt: It’s been a lot of fun to me to write lyrics that are actually sung. I just tend to scream a lot with Caustic, so it’s been a good challenge writing music with a melody that Erica can appreciate and work with. I just put together the best music and lyrics I can and let Erica knock the vocals out of the park. The layers of emotion and harmony she adds to the tracks does nothing but elevate the music.


IVM: What has the reception been to 'Lotharia' and Beauty Queen Autopsy been like so far?

Erica: I've been so pleased with the response. It seems both Matt and myself have acquaintances who don't like either of our solo stuff who love BQA!

Matt: It’s been surprising to a lot of people, as their expectations on what the collaboration would be is often shattered. People don’t expect me to write this way, especially lyrically, so it’s been rewarding to me to know we’ve been able to pull it off, and also that my instincts were dead on about this being a worthwhile creative idea.




IVM: The album is a diverse and varied mix of genres. What were your main inspirations when writing the album?

Matt: For BQA’s sound I was inspired a lot by EMA, Sleigh Bells, and The Kills in terms of the big distorted sound with a strong female vocal presence, but with a more sultry, femme fatale element to it. The lyrics were inspired by everyone from Jarvis Cocker and Brett Anderson to Liz Phair and PJ Harvey. All of those lyricists talk about people’s relationships in terms of little details to convey the emotion of the song. The poetry and lyrical details were big to me on this album.

IVM: The mixing was done courtesy of Tom Shear of Assemblage 23. What do you think he brought to the songs?

Erica: I was really excited to have his mixing talents as his releases are incredibly polished and impeccably mixed. Since Matt's tracks for BQA are a little noisy and though there aren't too many elements, if mixed badly they could easily turn out muddy, and we really wanted a delicious pop flavor. He definitely brought out some of Matt's more unique elements that needed spotlight, and overall made the tracks cohesive and glossy. I'm really pleased with the end result.

Matt: The joke I made early on was that we needed a Butch Vig to Nirvana type of mixer, or just someone who could clean up my sound and make it more palatable to a larger audience; to make it pop. Tom’s production chops are so honed that we knew that, even if this was different than what you’d normally hear Tom mix (I’m mostly familiar with his mixing more EBM/dance stuff), I knew his sensibilities would be dead on. I’m not a major audio nerd, but my friends that are conveyed how flawless his mixing was on this.


IVM: There's also a very strong sense of narrative thanks to the evocative lyrics and strong vocal performances. Is there a unifying thread at work and if so is this likely to be typical of future albums?

Matt: This is the story of one woman, and there’s a definite plot structure that came forward as the album developed. I’m not sure in terms of the next album continuing with the same story or we dive into another person’s life. The only thing I am sure of is that I have a pretty high standard of what I now expect from us, as does Erica, so I look forward to seeing where inspiration takes us.


IVM: You've previously covered The Sex Pistols 'Submission', and Placebo's 'Pure Morning' adding new dimensions to both tracks. Is this something that you will carry on on future releases, and if so what songs could we expect to get the BQA treatment?

Erica: We actually have two cover songs we're going to do for a couple special Kickstarter backers, and I'm pretty excited about those choices. We'll probably go ahead and release them once we've finished them, if not publicly at least to our core fans.

Matt: I tried to pick a few covers that wouldn’t be expected of us—doing tracks that originally had male vocals added a different element when Erica tackled the lyrics made the covers a lot more interesting to us than us covering something more, for lack of a better term, common. It’s fun to noise up a song that’s not typically heard that way, too.


IVM: The album was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and released via Matt's Undustrial Records label. Is this DIY ethic something that will continue with future releases and how important do you feel it is to maintain that independence in this musical climate?

Erica: I feel there's not a ton a label can do for us that we can't do well ourselves, especially since we're both so comfortable with self-promotion and crowdfunding; given that I'd just as soon maintain complete control of our image and music and I think Matt feels the same way.

Matt: Erica and I decided early on that we can handle this ourselves. In some ways it’s easier since we both know the drill and how to do this, so unlike our normal self-released material we can divide the duties better and know the other person can do their share. Like Erica said we wanted to control our own image, and we already received a decent amount of traction with the first EP and subsequent single so we knew there was an audience for our sound.


IVM: So far you've released a music video for the song 'Spread'. Where did the concept for that come from and are you happy with the end result?

Matt: The video is a fairly literal representation of the song itself. I came up with the concept and talked it over with my pal Maggie Snyder, who shot the video with me and did the editing. We both liked the thought of using elements of the Dogme 95 manifesto, which worked well with the scenario we were portraying and also within our tight budget. I think the end result was exactly what we were looking for, too. The video is sexy and visceral. It’s hot, and it’s heartbreaking. What more could we ask for?


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

Matt: We’ll be putting up a few lyrics videos in the next coming weeks and have another one shot, but it still needs editing. That will hopefully be out in the next few months, as we’re trying to stagger them to keep some momentum going.




IVM: You've played live as Beauty Queen Autopsy once so far. Are there any more live dates planned?

Erica: I'm definitely hoping we play live again but nothing concrete is planned at the moment.

Matt: Yeah, we had a great time but with our schedules, especially mine with having another kid on the way, will have to open up for us to rock out live again. Our first show went amazingly well though, so hopefully something will happen in the future.


IVM: What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Matt: I’m finishing off my new Caustic album called ‘Industrial Music’, which will be out later this year on Negative Gain. Other than that just preparing for the next kid and trying to get all the Kickstarter rewards out the door.


IVM: Finally, going back to the subject of Kickstarter, do you think that glorious day will come when someone will finally pay you to punch Eric Gottesman in the balls?

Erica: I'll do it for free if we ever end up in a dark alley together, but so far he's managed to avoid that scenario.

Matt: I’ll take a quarter at this point. I just want to profit off that little man’s pain.




'Lotharia', the début album from Beauty Queen Autopsy is available now through Undustrial Records. For more information on the band, including upcoming liver performances and new releases, please visit their official website.  

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Thursday, 9 July 2015

Review: Black December – 'Vol. 1'



BLACK DECEMBER
'Vol. 1'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


US industrial Rock newcomers Black December may have only formed last summer and cut their first album shortly after in (ironically) December of the same year, but their sound already displays a maturity and polish that has seen them already land support slots with KMFDM. Drawing on raucous elements from bands such as Ministry, Korn, Deftones, Pantera, and The Prodigy the band favour an aggressive hard rock formula interspersed with electronic elements that walks the line balances alt rock angst and outright industrial malice.

'Vol. 1' is a monolithic slab of hard riffs, throbbing riffs, nasty electronics and gritty sing-a-long vocals. Tracks such as 'With This Ending', 'Saving', 'The Division Of Hate', 'I Don't even Know You' and 'Hell On Wheels' combine the best elements of the early nu metal bands with the stomp and grind of Wax Trax! in its heyday. They're not dance friendly but they'll get you moving in a club... if only to fuck shit up! While tracks like 'This Is Not The New', and 'All You Want' take a more mellow and considered approach which really lets their song writing skills shine through.

In terms of production the album has a bit of a 90s Wax Trax! meets Nothing style that is gritty, heavy and a bit grungy round the edges, but always top shelf. It doesn't come off as an exercise in nostalgia for the sake of it but rather a nice nod in the direction of the era that spawned the bands that inspired them.

'Vol. 1' is a short, sharp and effective introduction for the band. There's no remixes tagged on for effect, no musical interludes, and no grand concepts at work here. Instead what the band present is good ol' fashioned hard industrial rock. It's great for head-banging and moshing. It's got memorable riffs and sing-a-long choruses. It does exactly what it needs to do in order to get your attention and keep it. Based on this you can guarantee Black December will be setting out to make a name for themselves on the live circuit.

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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Editorial: July, 2015



What's in a name?

I've just read an interesting interview with Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber, whose live show I reviewed recently. One of the topics that came up was of course that now much derided label “Nu Metal”. Well as genre classifications tend to attract a lot of heated opinions it was interesting to read his thoughts on how the second wave of “Nu Metal” bands did for the genre as the second wave of “Grunge” bands did for the Seattle scene. But after all of it he doesn't mind the label anymore than is post Coal Chamber band Devildriver being tagged as "Groove Metal". It's a story that has been repeated ad nauseum throughout the history of music. It happened with pretty much every genre at one point or another.

But the truth is everyone likes something new to jump on board with. Everyone seems to want to be on the ground floor of the next fad. And that's always going to be the case. The reaction when everyone realises that suddenly the genre has been watered down by record companies wanting to cash in with dull derivative acts whose albums you may or may not have bought (I'll hold my hands up to owning a few Limp Bizkit albums at one time) is often disproportional and directly linked to the next genre gaining momentum. As a fan that creates what I call “the guilty gap” where it seems where people treat certain acts that they once invested a lot of their time and emotions in as their guilty pleasures to be played at night, in the dark, or relegated to the mp3 player. Which seems strange, because if it is something personal to you, you shouldn't have to hide your love for it. It may be “uncool” but fuck it, the reason you're into alternative music is because you're uncool.

Every new generation has it's gateway genre as well. That one that everybody over or under the ages of 13-18 just don't seem to get. After “Nu Metal” it was “Emo” and so it goes on. But if that's what opens the next generation up to the scene, fair play.

But going back to the example of “Nu Metal” look at the bands it spawned; Slipknot, Korn, System Of A Down, Deftones are all still around and selling millions of albums. Static-X may be sadly gone but not after becoming an influential act in their own right. Now Coal Chamber may have come back after a decade away but I've not been to a metal club in that all that time that hasn't at least spun 'Loco' once a night. And the label seems safe and sanitised for use once more.

The truth is good music, and talent endure. And eventually people learn to love their genres. It's a testament to those bands who, even if their mainstream success wanes, can still carry on, preserve their legacy and deliver to the fans. Originality, innovation and passion are what count and those are the bands that endure the storm.

Right, now that rambling train of thought is over finally, it's time for the usual compilation plug. First of all, don't forget we're looking for bands for the next compilation. Secondly you can still download the previous albums on out bandcamp page for free!

Once again, make sure you have these links in your favourites:



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