Blood Pack Vol. 6.66 released!

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

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

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

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


Review: Ritual Aesthetic – 'Wound Garden'


Review: Axegrinder – 'Satori'


Wednesday 29 June 2016

Introducing... Damsel In The Dollhouse

Name of band: Damsel in the Dollhouse
Members: Nina Tucciarelli
Year formed: 2009
Location: Bozeman, MT, USA

“Sometimes I have a clear idea of what I want to convey, but other times I just enjoy getting lost in the play of creation to see what sounds I can make. When I create a song I want to transport the listener to a very specific time and place. I want the effect to be cinematic and tell a story that inspires the listener to dance, to daydream, to give themselves over to the sounds and let go of reality.”

Damsel in the Dollhouse is Nina Tucciarelli, a goth industrial stylist who has forged a diverse career in electronic music, photography, choreography, costume design, burlesque performance, and visual media. Her Damsel music persona was created in 2009 and brought to life from her deep rooted love of dark and alternative music. Since 2010 she has released four albums. Her first album 'Fairytales' was her official debut as a singer and songwriter in the synthesized realm of dance beats and haunting melodies. It included twelve original tracks of electronic, dark wave, and synth pop sounds with lyrics weaving tales of bondage, serial killers, sexual obsession, and science fiction. In 2011 she released 'Dream Eternal', a sixteen track album that paired otherworldly electronic landscapes with emotionally charged lyrics exploring heartbreak, kitschy horror, and altered states. Her third album, 'Alone at the Table', released in 2013, was a visceral response to the diagnosis then eventual loss of her father to cancer. All thirteen tracks on the album delve into the pain, anger, and overall feeling of hopelessness when losing a loved one. In May 2016, she released 'Feast of Villains', a collection of thirteen songs celebrating some of the most villainous characters from literature, television, and film. Combining aggressive synth sounds, rapid variations, and the Damsel's signature vocals, each track evokes a special madness for those who like to dance while committing mayhem. All four albums can be downloaded for free from Bandcamp

Intravenous Magazine: Who are you and how did the band/project come to be formed?
My name is Nina and my first musical tinkerings began with a laptop and Logic Pro. I have always loved dark and unusual music so finally having access to the technology allowed me to begin experimenting and finding my voice. 

IVM: How would you describe your sound/style, and how did you arrive at it?
My sound is a mix of dark wave, gothic, industrial, and synth pop dance styles. As a long time fan of bands of similar styles, I wanted try my hand at creating music and see what would happen. Sometimes I have a clear idea of what I want to convey, but other times I just enjoy getting lost in the play of creation to see what sounds I can make. When I create a song I want to transport the listener to a very specific time and place. I want the effect to be cinematic and tell a story that inspires the listener to dance, to daydream, to give themselves over to the sounds and let go of reality. 

IVM: Who and what are your primary influences both musical and non-musical?
I have always loved and admired artists such as Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Talk Talk, Skinny Puppy, Bryan Ferry, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, but I continuously find inspiration in everything I find online, in movies, and on television. Whether it's photography, a painting, nature, the media…there is always something to be discovered. I'm a fan of Tim Walker photography, the classical masters Chopin and Amadeus, the choreographer Jiri Kylian, and director Stanley Kubrick, just to name a few. 

IVM: Do you perform live and if so where can we see you perform in the near future?
I have performed live as the Damsel within Montana, most recently in October 2015 for Bozeman's Annual Goth Ball. I have also performed in the past for several Dark Dreams alternative parties in Missoula and with other local artists such as Sergeant Sawtooth and This is Boring with Hats. I am hoping to perform live again in the near future, but no dates are set at this time. 

IVM: What is your current release and where is it available from?
'Feast of Villains' was released in May 2016 and is a collection of songs celebrating some of the most memorable and maniacal characters from literature, television, and film. It combines aggressive synth sounds and rapid variations, but also features a bit of my signature otherworldly atmospheres to help evoke a special madness for those who like to dance while committing mayhem. It contains thirteen tracks and is available for free from Bandcamp

IVM: What have been the highlights of your career so far?
My happiest moments are playing live and watching the audience dance to my music. It's a genuine sense of pride when I'm able to motivate people to move and find enjoyment in my music. My music can be very dark, but I love seeing happy faces in the audience who are having a good time. I was also ecstatic to complete 'Feast of Villains' and then spend two months photographing all of the looks to accompany each song and also the album cover. And of course, filming and releasing my music video for 'Room 237' which took a month to officially complete. 

IVM: What are your plans for the future?
I plan to continue creating music. In the most immediate future I will be creating music videos for two of my newest songs 'Lucifer' and 'Bloodlust' from 'Feast of Villains'. 

IVM: Finally, is there anything that you would like to add?
I recently released my music video for my song 'Room 237' which was produced and directed by me. It was inspired by The Shining, so I decided to pay homage to the film by taking on as many characters as possible for the video.


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Saturday 25 June 2016

Wave Gotik Treffen – The Review // 25th Anniversary

Wave Gotik Treffen – The Review // 25th Anniversary

Going to Leipzig can be a metaphysical question for some. Placed in the Former DDR heartland, the place breaths German avant-garde meets Chernobyl, as the city has space; scorched earth policy type space. However this is the charm about this town. If it is not the beautiful Baroque architecture that has your skin smelting in awe to your trad-Goth fabrics. It shall be the sheer scale of the soviet era buildings that dwarf many sectors of the city. These are a portion of the venues that will play host to the largest festival for the Goth sub-culture.

Becoming the 25th occurrence in this festival is a monument to it withstanding the test of time, and there really is nothing like it anywhere else. Yes you may hop on a flight to Köln or Berlin for a quick gothic weekender at a venue. However WGT acquires the entire city from Thursday night till Tuesday morning. This is conveyed with two festival schedules, which are each three double-sides of A4.

The Belantis amusement park was centre stage for the opening of WGT. VNV Nation performing to DJ sets from the UK’s Slimelight Steve and other members of the European scene cranked up the volume to shift the festival into GO!

Enjoying the full luxury of the WGT forum’s accommodation page, myself and my better-half were able to multitask breakfast & bathing, as the kitchen was also the bathroom. “Nothing better than reviewing the financial times over a pot of coffee; whilst gandering at a bit skirt before noon”. Love it. If you are proactive there are plenty of well-priced hotels, who are happy to bleed you of your fine coin on this peak demand period. However I would recommend going house sharing. It is a lot of fun, and I believe the best way to experience the festival. The locals are very welcoming of the event, as it has become an acceptance from an economic to a fun point of view.

Usually on Friday the very well-known Victorian picnic is a sight to be seen, though if you would rather sit on a chair, have a glass of sekt and a nice pinch of antipasti to go with the glass. Then the ‘Viktorianisches Viliage’ at the Arena am Panometer shall hit the spot! An open area location; it shields you from the outside world, yet with beautiful sky views, with a roman feel. The prices for a drink are rather acceptable, and if you would like to avoid the large scale crowds of the Victorian picnic, with some upper class decency (Less Mud) where the alcohol comes to you, then glance over here.

Moving a century or two forward. The French duo of Dernière Volonté bestowed me with my first visit this year to the Volkspalast Kuppelhalle. A grandeur building of the DDR that has a circular stage. The French artist had their live performance dominated by the bass of large drums (yes they are very big), as the vocals of Geoffrey D combined militaristic rhythm with a pagan/folk enchantment that engorged the hall.

On Saturday evening the venue plays host to ‘The Obsession Bizarre’; which embroils leather & latex. A trusty combination that will see you additionally queuing and sweltering. Indeed very nice performances, yet the greatest advantage to my eye is being able to dress as an elegant slut on a warm June evening, whilst hearing tears of electronic bass vibrate through your neck. However… the toys to play with are not worth the waiting time. Opinion; kinky posing…  LX-E’s recommendations prior to attending is to have a clear cut glass of cold Valt Vodka.  Also to be noted, WGT is a Goth event and dressing like an elegant slut is generally accepted the whole time. Obsession Bizarre is a moment for bass hunting vibrations up your skin in well tight fabric.

Moving onto the main stage Die Krupps brought their new live act from their new album V - Metal Machine Music. Already industrial enough with Jurgen Engler's scaffolding xylophone; they decided to see all of the stage disappear. Guitars went flying and a clang of steel pipes fell from the stage and the Agra Halle resembled a music demolition site. Die Krupps really showed a new jolt of youth!

Sunday was a clear calm recovery mode; or so one thought… You know that beautiful sensation, when from the prior evening of dancing. You know; where battery acid is filling the muscles, and that additional benefit when you have washed your face, to know the tanz sweat exfoliated your skin… Priceless. However this was not a morning for sitting around. Toss the Financial Times in the bin and lets go with that skirt for a another dose of Met and keep the body moving.
I named EBM/ electronica day to Sunday, as with the rain and wind the only thing that was going to keep me moving, excluding Ardbeg whisky was going to be man-made.

Taking a winding tram route to the western rim of Leipzig, where the patrons thin out; we eventually made it to the Patenbrigade:Wolff themed Stage. The NONTOX LE.E.V is construction site meets stage. So to expand external stage & little shelter, however braving the horizontal rain to Lights of Euphoria, it has of course Patenbrigade:wolff necessities… Beer Tent with builder size cups of tea, can’t compete with that!

The trio of Torben Schmidt (Suicide Commando), Singer Jimmy Machon and drums Thomas Gaarn brought on killer performance that did its upmost to get the crowd warm, however the only thing that was going to be blown away in this dismal weather was the beer tent.

Getting a move on, back down 3 Strassenbahn route, we hit the next venue and brought the EBM to the Täubchenthal.  ‘Somatic Responses’ got the earth warm as their early ‘Architect’ noise distorted the crowd. A first glimpse at their work, the track ‘Wherever’ brought in that attractive feel of desolation. The great thing about the venue, was it smelt and felt like a Goth club. Utter darkness once inside, heat, confusion and condemning melody.

Dirk Ivens broke the desolate mood left by Somatic Responses. Cracking open the muscles with a Best of show. It began by bleeding the rough cut muscle of the audience with Dream Hunter, and then cooked the room with the speed of ‘Sidewalk Sinner’. The EBM newtons of energy took their addictive toll, as I found myself in the EBM mosh pit for the remainder of the act. Chelsea boots and EBM Germanic work out turned out to be a winning combination. My toes would beg to differ on that.

The Sunday’s current EBM frontline, was brought to a standstill. As the Danish melancholy ‘Of the Wand & the Moon’ submerged Altes Landratsamt in their Scandinavian tribe. The band’s performance was good, however there was something in the air that really made it not great, I think it was the acoustics.

The discovery of the year was Göttertanz. A tribal and folk club event, that went on until the very early morning in Haus Leipzig. For one DJ to play such a well-balanced wave of compositions, with pace was very outstanding. Kudos was really give to ‘ToM Manegold’ for this endurance ballet that was well received until 6am.

Monday – Classical Aftermath

A neofolk recovery began at 12pm; closing the window shutters to shield from all natural light, and those baths where they were all for nothing, the only God today was coffee. However one last big leap into the black unknown we do.

To stay safe; the Heidnisches Dorf and Agra, were in good walking distance of each other. The medieval village, acted as perfect recovery. Serving flesh and Met, the combination hugged the stomach like an animal finding water in the desert.

The Heidnisches Dorf stage, takes on myth, folk and Viking type musical taste. For me it is the slightly rougher part of the festival on the corners. However also the most easy-going down to earth part, as a more metal feel is here and the delicateness of Gothic upper nose is a million miles from here.

Back to the Agra and Neuroticfish opened the artist set for Monday, making the crowd ride a huge future pop wave to the sound of Sascha Klein’s voice. The band brought a set of new work from ‘A Sign of Life’ and entertaining all by switching to some of their old school EBM tributes such as ‘Is it Dead’.

The sound of Velvet Acid Christ live unfortunately did not do the studio sound justice. The first time I saw the band live; yet I think it would be the last. I think Velvet Acid Christ in daytime will never work.

The Monday, for me is always the hardest as the shop owners at the agra begin disassembling the stages and already the wind down is happening, as Leipzig slowly returns.

What the 25th anniversary marked clearly to me in point, was that the festival management was strong and sound. Able to deal with the additional organisation and cost associated with an anniversary and meet expectations. The collapse of 2000 which saw the failure of the festival is left to rot in the cupboard, as here is a well-tuned machine only getting better.

Stay tuned for updates on 2017 WGT!

Dominic Lynch aka DJ LX-E

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Friday 24 June 2016

Review: William S. Burroughs – 'Let Me Hang You'

'Let Me Hang You'

The infamous author of such degenerate literature as 'Naked Lunch', the late William S. Burroughs has had a major impact on alternative music; from the cut-up technique used by the likes of David Bowie, his friendships with Ministry maestro Al Jourgensen and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, to his own spoken word albums that saw him introduced to the MTV generation. Burroughs enjoyed a fevered career befitting his fictional works.

Shortly before his death in 1997 Burroughs recorded some of the darker and more outrageous passages from his incendiary 1959 novel 'Naked Lunch'. The producer Hal Willner and Burroughs’ manager James Grauerholz also recruited a team of musicians to add an avant garde soundtrack to accompany them. The recordings were ultimately abandoned and forgotten until Willner re-discovered them in 2015 and with the help of King Khan of King Khan & The BBQ show as well as a number of other artists including M Lamar and The Frowning Clouds to complete the material.

The result is a trippy and disturbing detour into the interzone. Latin guitars, simple rhythms, howling electric guitars, ethnic strings, drones, and dissonant keys and strings frame the unmistakeable croaking voice of Burroughs as he relates thirteen dark and depraved tales of drug use, murder and sex from the novel.

The album is a slow and entrancing in its use of Burrough's voice as it creaks and almost drones in places while the music provides an ectoplasmic dose of psychedelia and jazz. The album is not dissimilar from the classic 'Dead City Radio' with its blend of rock and jazz. But with the vocal lines all coming from 'Naked Lunch', 'Let Me Hang You' enjoys a more complete sense of continuity.

For something firmly rooted in the avant garde and featuring a lot of abrasive elements, it is actually a rather easy listen (discounting of course some of the more lurid details of Burroughs' text). The music is not overpowering and the mix keeps the vocals high and at the forefront of the presentation.

For fans of Burroughs' spoken word, his literature, and indeed avant garde music in general, this album is a must have. The expert musicianship combined with the gnarled poise of Burroughs' voice are a winning combination. Burroughs may have long since gone to meet his maker, but this proves that his work still has a place today. 

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Thursday 23 June 2016

Review: Nash The Slash – 'Hammersmith Holocaust'

'Hammersmith Holocaust'

Another re-release courtesy of Artoffact Records, Nash The Slash's legendary live album 'Hammersmith Holocaust', which captures Nash's (AKA Jeff Plewman) performance supporting Gary Numan in 1980. makes its way into the 21
st century. A rare release to find in its original form (a mint condition copy will set you back $500!), remastered and repackaged in an expanded gatefold and including liner notes from Gary Numan to boot.

A direct from the soundboard recording the album is pretty good quality throughout. There isn't a large amount of crowd noise and the on-stage mix is pretty good. It still has a wonderfully crackly and low-fi edge to it that captures the atmosphere of the gig and emphasises the age of the recording, but it conveys a genuine warmth that is hard to resist.

Featuring his signature garage rock-tinged blend of synthesised sounds and electronic violin leads, Nash hurtles through a collection of classic tracks including 'Wolf, 'Children Of The Night', 'Danger Zone', and a glorious cover of Deep Purple's 'Smoke On The Water'.

This is another classic that was in great need of reissuing not only as a tribute to the late Jeff Plewman, but also as an important artefact from the formative years of popular electronic music. Fans of classic electronic music who are unfamiliar with the recording due to its elusive nature, will undoubtedly enjoy this, in part due to the brilliant music, but also due to the fact that this feels like the unearthing of something genuinely special.  

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Wednesday 22 June 2016

Review: Wolves In The Throne Room – 'Diadem Of 12 Stars' (Reissue)

'Diadem Of 12 Stars'

Wolves In The Throne Room have always played by their own rules. Black metal may sit at the heart of their sound, but they approach it very differently to other bands. Atmosphere is king and in the ten years since their first recording, they have developed this formula into one of metal's most unique offerings.

Ten years on and the band revisit their début album 'Diadem Of 12 Stars' and album that blended elements of folk, goth and black metal saturating them with vintage warmth and diabolically cinematic atmosphere.

The album has been fully remastered and even the artwork has undergone an in-depth restoration for this re-release, and the results are great. The album still has that low-fi edge of the original recording (even though it was fairly clean by black metal standards) but it sounds brighter and deeper than before to give you a fuller range and experience than on it's original release.

The songs range from blisteringly fast to slow dirges and while many of the typical black metal elements are there (blasting drums, jangling guitars, and anguished vocals) the epic scale of the songs, which range from thirteen to twenty minutes long, gives the album a more progressive slant that you can't help but be drawn in by.

Songs such as 'Queen Of The Borrowed Light', 'Face In A Night Time Mirror (Part 1)', and '(A Shimmering Radiance) A Diadem of 12 Stars' in particular personify just why this was, and still is a great album. Dark and haunting throughout – even at its most intrinsically black metal moments – 'Diadem Of 12 Stars' is a nonetheless beautiful album that captures the imagination with it's progressive songwriting and mix of folk and gothic elements. If you are a fan of black metal beyond the Norwegian wave of the 1990s and haven't heard this album yet then this reissue is a great place to start.  

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Tuesday 21 June 2016

Preview: Infest Festival, 2016

26 - 28th August 2016
Bradford, UK

The UK's Infest festival has been a high point of the alternative music calendar for eighteen years. Held at Bradford University's Student Union every year, it has been host to an international array of artists across a diverse range of alternative electronic genres. The festival has previously played host to the likes of Alien Sex Fiend, Apoptygma Berzerk, Spahn Ranch, VNV Nation, Suicide Commando, Covenant, Assemblage 23, Front 242, and many more in it's time. And the 2016 line-up is set to continue this great run.

Featuring home-grown acts such as Tapewyrm, Massive Ego, Johnny Normal and the legendary Pop Will Eat Itself being joined by foreign invaders such as Atari Teenage Riot, 3Teeth, Leaether Strip, Velvet Acid Christ, and Dead When I Found Her, the festival is once again overflowing with must see-bands.
“Infest – the UK’s premier alternative electronic music and lifestyle event returns over the August bank holiday (26 - 28 august 2016).  
In its 18th edition, Infest has once again managed to push the boundaries a little of this broad church and surprised some with the addition of left field legends Pop Will Eat Itself and Atari Teenage Riot.  
Always pushing the boundaries a little, there is a wide mix of genres from synth pop, noise, electro pop, old school electro industrial, to hardcore and not so hardcore techno, as well as and full on cross-over. If you like alternative electronic music there will almost certainly be something here that will appeal, even if you haven’t heard of the artists before!  
The 2016 edition includes solid scene favourites such as Leaether Strip from Denmark and Velvet Acid Christ from the States, with up and coming UK talent like Massive Ego and Tapewyrm and Johnny Normal. There will also be exciting new prospects from across Europe and the States such as Dead When I Found, Hysteresis, Me The Tiger, Grausame Toechter, Monica Jeffries, and established underground gems like Canadian act Displacer, Vigilante from Chile and Rroyce from Germany… and if that's not enough, the new darlings of the industrial scene, 3teeth return after their triumphant UK début last year.  
But this isn’t just a straight forward music event, this is a celebration of a subculture. For one long weekend every August, Bradford University Students' Union becomes a little self contained world of alternative joy and fun. Live music, DJs, fashion and music stalls, and even some karaoke for those wanting to perform classic tunes! All in a friendly relaxed environment, in a central location easily accessible from anywhere in the world!  
An appreciative open minded audience gather to discover new music, meet new people, renew old friendships and party the weekend away.  
join us”

The Music

As usual the festival will play host to a range of home-grown and international acts taking in everything from synthpop to noise. Always pushing the envelope and trying to stay ahead of the game, the festival not only sees some welcome returns, but also some exclusive UK début performances. Check out the line-up below and the full schedule here.

Atari Teenage Riot
Leaether Strip
Pop Will Eat Itself
Velvet Acid Christ
Dead When I Found Her (UK début!)
Grausame T
öchter (UK début!)
Displacer (UK début!)
Monica Jeffries (UK début!)
Rroyce (UK début!)
Vigilante (UK début!)
Me The Tiger (UK début!)
Hysteresis (UK début!)
Massive Ego (Infest début!)
Tapewyrm (Infest début!)
Johnny Normal (Infest début!)

DJ Rich-Hybrid & DJ Eskimoblue
DJ Terminates-Here
DJ Ban
DJ Soylentblack
DJ C1 & DJ Paul Domaster
DJ Electric Dream & DJ Nathan Nothing
DJ Duracell Bunny
Das Ook
DJ Oliotronix
DJ Asylum Brian
+ More to be announced!

What Else Is On?

In addition to the great line-up of bands and DJs, there will also be alternative market stalls, Karaoke, and more besides that such as The Flesh Eating Foundation's 'Circuit Bent Side Show'. And if that wasn't enough, the festival will be raising money in aid of Lymphoma Association and Guide Dogs.

Where To Buy Tickets

Tickets are available for just £70 for the full three days of the festival from the Infest website. Alternatively you can also by tickets for individual days.


Festival goers can either stay in one of the many local hotels near the venue, or in fact book a room on the university campus in order to stay as close as possible to the action. Details of hotels and how to book the student accommodation are available to view here.

How To Get There

The venue is located on
Longside Lane, and is part of the main University of Bradford campus (MAP), and can be found by sat nav by using the postcode BD7 1SA or BD7 1SR. There is car parking available on site but you may be required to purchase a pass depending on when you arrive. Please check the logistics page for more details.

If you're travelling by train the nearest railway stations are Bradford Interchange and Bradford Forster Square.

If you're coming from abroad the nearest airports are Leeds Bradford International Airport and Manchester International Airport – there are connecting rail services to Bradford from both.


Intravenous Magazine will be there, we hope you will be too, and don't forget to check back after the festival to read our review. To keep up with the latest additions to the Infest schedule be sure to follow their social media pages (above). 

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The Future of Music

So I'm producing my second album, and having already released a first, I'm perhaps a lot more conscious of the amount of time, money, energy, and sacrifices that this project entitles me to, and so lately I've been finding myself questioning more and more why I'm doing it.

The answer is that mostly, my sole interests in life lie in creating music, developing a creative universe where as many people as possible will feel welcomed in, and evolving as an artist, above all.
So if I know this to be my purpose, why am I questionning myself?

Because the reality of the music industry, between when I was a kid in the early 90s and now, has changed SO MUCH, and the term industry has been implanted at the core of the business (read the editorial I wrote on the matter a few months ago), to the point where we are so saturated with [highly questionable] music that if I didn't have the following I have now, or the vital need to express myself and evolve through music, I probably wouldn't do it anymore.

Over the past 15 years, music has experienced a tremendous evolution in its business and its technology. From Napster to LimeWire, to Songza, to YouTube to Spotify, music has become so easily accessible -and yet, who's making the money? Certainly not the thousand thousands artists you're likely to find on these websites. Moreover, the concept of the "album", originally a sonic tale averaging on 14 chapters, that an artist would create, has seemingly been replaced by the 99¢ song you can buy (that is IF you buy it). All the aforementioned websites offer ways that you can get a song for free. And then there's the artist's dire need for exposure, which makes it so that we're always likely to give away at least one song for free off a release, in the hope that someone will download the free song, share it with as many people as possible, and eventually, an album sale will ensue, or a packed venue.

As independant artists, we ask ourselves, inevitably, what's the point of developing a creative universe, of releasing a full-length album. You do it because you have to, because there's this urge, this force in and out of you that propels you to make art first, and a product, second. In other words, you're going to create your art, and then find the tools and outlets that will appropriately help you to put your art out for the world to experience. And your dream/heart's desire/goal thus becomes to be able to share your art with as many people as you can.

And then there's the other people, who aren't quite exactly artists, but people with a little bit of talent and usually a lot greater budget, who want to "be famous" and will get help from  people to get an EP out there, and won't be afraid to spend/lose money to pursue their dream of being on the cover of a magazine.

The dream. Many people have it, coming from a different angle.
And if there's one thing that has horrifyingly developed over the past 10 years, it's platforms designated to suck out as many people's money by exploiting said-dream of succeeding at a music career.

Name one festival, for example, that doesn't ask you to pay a fee to apply for it.
And if there's no fee for playing said-festival, then its organization is inevitably highly questionable.

When your dream of a successful music career becomes your life goal, aka you become willing to do anything to make it, you're plunging intro a dark, dark ocean filled with sharks and leaches which's sole purpose is to suck every dollar they can out of you. Platforms like Sonicbids abound, and portray one of the many hideous money-making gimmicks the music business has come to. Festivals will now choose to advertise their application periods through these websites, and so you've got this one website you apply to (Sonicbids), and have access to all the festival applications of the world, pretty much. Or you settle for following all the festivals' Twitter accounts, or mailing lists, if the fest has one. But the fact remains that every festival has an application fee, and you're most likely to never see that money again. And then if you do play the festival, there's a very high chance you're not getting paid, and that you're even losing money in the end. Calculate how much you spent to get a spot on that festival bill, how much money you're spending on gear, paying your bandmates, and on gas getting there (or a plane ticket), vs how much you're getting back. If you've sold merch, you're lucky. If you get any form of revenue, you're even luckier. If not, well, you're likely to be more in debt than anything else, and that's the case of most gigs out there.

And then there's platforms of music distribution, like CDBaby, which are coming to the stage of re-evaluation in their timeline. CDBaby basically asks you for a minimum subscription fee, giving you in exchange the distribution of your music on a variety of streaming websites. These websites take your music, and add it to their catalog. You'll do this in the hope that somebody out there, or as many people as possible, will find you out there, and buy your music, and share it, and come to your shows.

The reality is that unless you're graced with as huge as possible of a marketing budget, there's not a high chance of you actually ever seeing that money back. You're pretty much renting out your music to streaming websites.

Over the past week, my Twitter feed graced me with the news of the highly possible forthcoming end of iTunes, which easily offers the worse possible kind of bargain an independent artist can put his/her music out on. Indeed, iTunes will charge you to put your music on their site, and then keep the money you're making on album/song sales until you qualify as a profitable revenue, according to their standards. Til then, every dollar someone decides to spend on you through iTunes goes directly to iTunes (as if they needed your money more than you do!).

We're coming at a time where the appeal of the new technology/means has worn off. Artists have tried the multitude of websites (or downward-spiral-k-holes) out there to distribute and showcase their music, and after at least 10 years of trials and usage, they're coming to conclusions:

1- the amount of sharks and leaches out there is infinitely exponential to that of, say, starfish
2- and yet there ARE starfish, so technology isn't always so bad
3- what matters is that you learn how to swim

The DIY approach remains an independant artist's favorite, and in a world where we now have countless ways of connecting directly with our followers (social media), well, when it comes to sharing and selling our music, we want to be able to keep the same level of proximity. A platform like Bandcamp thus comes out as the clear, obvious, starfish option. Bandcamp lets you upload your music for free, and basically will, from time to time take a minimal amount of your sales as its cut.
But the agreement remains: people who buy your music from Bandcamp pay you directly. There's no intermediate between your supporters and your self, and your bank account. Your profits go straight to your Paypal account, and if, like me, you've linked it straight to your bank account, well, there you have it. And what is more, Bandcamp provide you with an overture to the world through the well-thought-out tags you'll put to your music. Indeed, its users can basically search artists that sound like X., and find your page. This happened to me with a follower from Germany!

The sharks and leaches will suck out a-plenty, but the validity of their ways, in the long-run, never prevails -as in every ocean-sphere of life. Such is Karma. In the long-run, the life-experience run, people will try, test and come to terms with results. Us independant artists are becoming more and more educated, and having been fooled once, more often than not with swear to ourselves not to be fooled twice.

So what of the future of music? From an independent musician's perspective, I daresay that the platforms where artists can get a direct contact with their supporters definitely stand as the winning models. Throughout history, trends have come, and eventually gone. Therefore, whoever out there is just doing their own thing might as well keep on doing it.

You're doing this for yourself, first, and  you've got to remember that.

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Friday 17 June 2016

Editorial: June, 2016


Once again this month I'm giving my editorial column over to an artist we sadly lost recently. We featured Nick Kushner in our Arts Of Darkness series back in 2013, but he was someone I'd been following and had periodically communicated with since the early 2000s prior to his launching of The Nachtkabarett website, which was one of the most in depth explorations behind the career and work of Marilyn Manson. I was keen from the inception of the Arts of Darkness series to have an interview with Nick and to try and explore his creative process deeper.

Kushner may have started primarily as the driving force behind The Nachtkabarett, but it wasn't long before he began to showcase his artwork on his own website, The Third Angel Sounded, which immediately grabbed people's attention in part due to the surreal mix of photo-realism and occult themes, but also because his chosen medium was blood. He went on to take part in several exhibitions of his work and at the same time found some notable celebrities amongst his admirers as a result.

The process of using blood as a medium infused his art with something deeper and more personal than paint and ink to create a distinctive, striking and more technically challenging image that required a unique process to create. The process scarred the artist and caused the resulting image to effectively be a part of himself.

“Blood is a sometimes volatile medium which behaves differently than more conventional art mediums. It decays and changes composition over time. It varies in hue, viscosity and texture as to whether it's painted directly from a fresh wound or whether it's used from a pre-dawn supply. The painting and application itself can sometimes be likened to sculpting and moulding in the manner that it's blended. It's a slow and gradual building of layers to achieve tones, textures and gradients. Elements that often appear to be chaotic and crimes of passion are most often-times developed gradually with much forethought and building necessary to achieve the effect. The color also changes throughout work on a piece which, again, can be compared to the metaphorical death and rebirth/transformation as the cells themselves slowly fade and die throughout the building of the piece.”

Sadly his website and The Nachtkabarett are both offline. Hopefully in the coming weeks/months they will return to preserve his work. But in the meantime I'd urge you to, if you haven't already, check out our interview with him from 2013 and have a look at the artwork he graciously let us use for the article (such as the piece at the top of this page).

“I think it's important to make every day and every action something magical and ritualistic, rather than make the distinction between something that's meaningful and that the remainder of time is spent immersed in the trivial.”

We here at Intravenous Magazine would like to extend out sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Nick Kushner at this difficult time.

Finally, as always make sure you have these links in your favourites:

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Thursday 16 June 2016

Review: Neurotech – 'In Remission'

'In Remission'

Slovenian multi-instrumentalist and composer Wulf is just one of those people you can't second guess. His musical vehicle Neurotech has, over the course of ten releases encompassed a diverse range of styles of genre from heavy metal influences to cinematic electronics. There is only one thing you can count on and that is the next album will be completely different to everything that has gone before. Last year Wulf released the metal influenced 'Stigma', the cinematic 'Evasive' and the symphonic 'The Ophidian Symphony'. His eleventh release, 'In Remission' is a progressive blend of all of these and more.

Industrial metal meets cinematic compositions, progressive electronics, and evocative vocal performances that sends Wulf's work ever onward toward the stars. Songs such as 'As Will Descends', 'Divided Bliss', 'The Lost Hope' ,'Evolving Equations' , and 'Alleviate' combine the room-filling power of an epic science-fiction soundtrack with the hard and heavy grit of cutting-edge industrial metal and instill subtle dance elements to create an undeniably appealing formula. Light and dark, hard and soft are perfectly balanced withing cavernous sounding songs that invite you to listen and move at the same time.

As usual the production continues to grow in quality alongside the compositions. Wulf is a great producer with a keen ability to get the best mix possible and deliver a product that could rival any major label release.

'In Remission' shows Wulf as a man very much on top of his game. The songs continue to show a definite progression from last year's albums and another step up in quality, if that were possible. This may be a short album at only seven tracks long. But it is nonetheless a substantial offering. There is plenty of deep and exciting music to get lost in, and when listed to last year's album's back-to-back it becomes a real feast for the ears. Wulf is an incredible talent and one that should be able to deliver great music for a long time to come.

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Review: Rational Youth – 'Future Past Tense'

'Future Past Tense'

Rational Youth are a name synonymous with Canadian electronic music. Originally founded by ex-Men Without Hats guitarist Tracy Howe in 1981 the band enjoyed a successful run with albums such as 'Cold War Night Life', 'Rational Youth', and 'Heredity' before disbanding and returning at the turn of the millennium. The band's comeback lasted for another album, and later in 2013 we were treated to a live album, but the band's new EP release, 'Future Past Tense', marks their first studio album since 1999.

With shades of early Ultravox!, Skinny Puppy, Images In Vogue and Fad Gadget 'Future Past Tense' is a classic sounding slice of synthpop that will compliment the band's back catalogue. Songs such as 'Western Man', 'In the Future', and 'Prison Of Flesh' in particular evoke smokey 80s dancefloors where consumerism danced with the threat of nuclear destruction to steady electronic beats and futuristic analogue bleeps.

The album is unashamedly retor in construction and execution. The sounds, the vocals, the mix, everything sounds like a top-shelf 1984 record that has stood the test of time. And that is essential whaty Rational Youth are... a top-shelf 80s band that despite a few absences, have stuck to their guns, withstood the test of time and can still put out great synthpop.

For fans of classic synthpop this is a no-brainer. It has the great pop hooks, those warm futuristic analogue leads and steady mechanical dance beats that can still pack a dance floor. Howe can still write great synthpop tunes and this EP is a testament to his legacy as a musician.  

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Wednesday 15 June 2016

Interview: King Dude

The Hang Man's Song...

"I guess when my metal band was winding down, because people were on too much drugs, I had to do something. So I picked up an acoustic guitar, because it’s harder to be a one man metal band because that is just overall a pain in the ass."

America, from the dessert to the valleys; it creeks, while death thrives. Religion calls us to repent, whilst others ravish in the light of the dark temples. TJ Cowgill has had acts of different shapes and sizes; though with King Dude, he is a sleek cut vocalist that breeds his death through charm of cigarettes and whisky, as he sings his melancholy creations upon his audience.

Seattle is where the devil came from; where he chose to turn to create a one-man folk band, due to a single band member metal act has greater tribulations to go through. ‘Fear’, was where I first encountered him. An album of lost America, in a filthy energy of complete rage.
‘Songs of the flesh and blood’ released this year gives a more reconciliatory feel to the TJ’s dark light. Looking at previous albums, such as ‘Love’, there is a move away from traditional Folk, to a more southern country style.

Currently on his European tour, tonight is in Vienna. Over a cigarette and a good volume of bourbon, myself and my neo-folk guru Matthias Hollerer ask the Luciferian on his act of King Dude and where he is driving to next.

Intravenous Magazine: When you came to Austria last year, did you expect such a welcoming turnout?

TJ Cowgill: No I was completely surprised, but I am always surprised when I go to a new place and there are people there to see me. Because you could end up going to a new area and seeing ten people; so no I was very surprised there with the turnout I had last year.

IVM: Do you see a big difference between the Neo-folk scenes here in Europe in comparison to the US?

TJC: It’s not the same, though the US is much bigger. So there are a lot more areas which have never heard this type of music before. You use the term neo-folk; I don’t technically play this, however I believe there a lot of people in that scene, who have found out about my work by my affiliations with some of those artists. It’s hands down better here than in the US in general. If I had the choice to choose where to tour more often, it would be in Europe and you see that in my touring schedule, as I am three times more here, than there, because the scene is better.

IVM: Many music artists in the scene find it difficult sometimes to get the right permissions to travel to the US, do you have any difficulties with that in Europe?

TJC: Oh no, it’s really no problem.

IVM: To put your music in a nutshell for me it’s a combination of an evangelical folk mixture, with a bit of Gospel creeping in and a dash of neofolk. So it sounds like the story of an angel having an affair with the devil. Are you try to be the angel or the devil, or is that part of you that ends up trying to describe it?

TJC: I’m not sure actually, that’s a good question. I don’t end up applying genres to my music. As one may be soul, another neo-folk; though I am neither. I am not a country, nor rock and roll, though I end up in those genres. My conflict between the angels and devils, is mainly there as I find it interesting to write about. Love & Hate, revenge and redemption; all these things are great to write about. Though no song is pure love, or pure hate, they will have both or more.
I love using Christian allegories, because they are super fun and a really relevant in my life and upbringing, as well as less-Christian references because they are also very relevant in my upbringing. My mother is a practicing witch, and my father is an evangelical born again Christian. While I am neither of those, I grew up in those two separate households with those two separate influences.
I really reconciled any differences I had with either faith I had, and came to my own faith which is Luciferin and in my Luciferin principle, there is a balance between good and evil, and reconciliation   between both, which I lean more to the narcissistic side of things.

IVM: Are you a vegetarian?

TJC: I was ten years ago, I was a vegetarian from the age of 16-26, and I am now 37.

IVM: Because my next question is do you grill or fry your steak?

TJC: Depends what’s there. I have a cast iron skillet for that, that’s more of an American thing, I don’t know if that’s popular over here. I live in the pike place market in Seattle, where I can get fresh food, which means I eat very well at home and it’s pretty cheap also.

IVM: Do you see yourself as American or from Seattle?

TJC: Well it’s pretty much the same thing, like there are mini factions like southerners and Texans; as you wouldn’t call a Texan a southerner, as they mean two different things. There are really only people who are from New York. You really wouldn’t define Seattle, as it is a rather boring place in comparison to maybe Copenhagen, in the way it’s clean and grey… not really much of a personality.

IVM: You have this 21st century Johnny cash resurrection going on with the imagery, is that something that accidentally occurred?

TJC: No I think Johnny cash was definitely an influence on me, because who doesn’t like Johnny Cash. Though I didn’t say in any press release that I am trying to be Johnny cash; I studied more Roy Orbison, as he is more relevant I believe than to what Johnny did. But I think the first thing people think is him, because he was a bigger personality.

IVM: How did you become entwined with this project King Dude, because you have several other projects?

TJC: I started out playing punk and metal music because I was a kid and wanted to be loud. But I always liked country music, British folk music for example bands from the like Richard Thompson. I guess when my metal band was winding down, because people were on too much drugs, I had to do something. So I picked up an acoustic guitar, because it’s harder to be a one man metal band because that is just overall a pain in the ass.

IVM: How did teen Cutulu get into all of this?

TJC: I toured a lot back then and from that I learned how to tour.

IVM: Is the record label not just religious music yours?

TJC: Yes that’s mine, I usually use it to put out my own records and also some of my friends, if they get there shit together, then I’ll be there shitty label for them.

IVM: Is there anything, other than music that has been a big part of your life?

TJC: I have been artist most of my life. I own a clothing company called ‘Actual Pain’. I wanted to be a painter, but that didn’t work out, so I started making shirts and that went really well, and that’s what I have done for ten years now.

IVM: Being the owner of your own record label, what are the big advantages?

TJC: 1. You don’t have to answer to anyone
2. You don’t have to tour with any band you don’t want tour with.
3. You don’t have to put out a record, when you don’t want to.
4. You get all the money from it.

You don’t have to rely on anyone for money to make your own record. If you are capable, like I am, I couldn’t see any reason to be on somebody else’s record label. Because I have a serious problem with being associated with other artists on the same label. I would never want to be on the label of a band I didn’t like, because that draws the same attention in people’s minds and see a parallel. Dais records was the only record label I have ever liked to be on, but I still won’t do a release with them. I am on Vaughn records for Europe, but Sven is like my brother and I trust him.

IVM: Is it lucrative to come over here?

TJC: Definitely, we make a lot of money touring. It is very important to me, because it employees me, my band, my driver, my booking agent and the people at home, who ship my records. There are a lot of people who I have to look after, not just myself. So I am very serious about this kind of stuff.

IVM: If we are looking at a pie chart, where do the sales come from music wise?

TJC: Digital and records are basically split down the middle, though digital is extra, I base myself around being a physical release, primarily vinyl and I only produce cds, because people want them. Digital music to me doesn’t really count, its just an extra thing with ones and zeros. If people steal my music online, so be it, but if people stole my records, I would be pretty upset.

IVM: Do you think that musical greed has taken over, because of file sharing? For myself when I download something, overall I believe I have less connection and concentration than I would have if I had bought the CD

TJC: I can’t blame people for downloading, because there’s so much shitty music out there and so much more, because you don’t need to go to a studio anymore to record, you can do it at home. Since the rise of synthesizers etc. so there’s so much shit out there, how are you going to know if you like it, if you don’t give it a try and the days are gone where you had to go to the record label and you would look at the album artwork to decide if it was a good release and maybe they would let you play it in the store, and then you’re stuck with it.

IVM: Is there any music you have picked up on tour that you have taken a liking to?

TJC: We did a few show with ‘Dllch’, we did some shows with gold and zene shrek whos an idol to me.

Has there been a moment on tour you will remember?

TJC: Well I drink so much whisky it’s hard to remember. My whisky preference is bourbon, I don’t like Scotch.

(Silence at the TJ’s loathe for scotch)

IVM: Is King Dude currently possessing you at the moment for the future or does it have an end date?

TJC: No it has an end date and it’s relatively soon, and it’s all planned.

IVM: Is there anything about King Dude you don’t like?

TJC: There are definitely times I don’t like anything about it, not a single a thing. But I think that is overexposure to King Dude from touring for so long. I think anyone who tours too long, starts losing inspiration in their music and what they’re doing. So yes it can be difficult at times, though I am always going back to it and trying to improve on it, from the last time.
The monotony of touring can be a drag at times, but that’s my job, that’s what I chose to do. I will be on tour another four months this year and plan on finishing another record next month. So its full steam ahead and I can get consumed, more obsessed with it; that’s the way I am. I guess I don’t like music sometimes.

Matthias Hollerer: Are there any songs you don’t want played live anymore?

TJC: There are songs I never play live, because they don’t work or they are too difficult for me to play live. But I like playing the songs that people expect me to play, because they’re fun.
There’re a lot of dicks on the wall in here, there must be a lot of girls who come to this venue and draw penises, that’s what I think.

(After a bit of debauchery and swearing we somehow came to finding out the King’s family tree)

TJC: My sister took a swab of her gums and sent it this place called 23 and they do your genetic background, to determine where you’re from, and it turns out that I am 99.6% where you’re from (Ireland), so my family tree probably doesn’t have as many branches as it should have. I would like to be from the Doggerlands, it’s a place that is between UK and Europe that doesn’t exist, as it is underwater. It sounds cool.

IVM: Have you played in the UK?

TJC: Yes, I like playing for people in London, but I find London terrible because it is hard to get around, very expensive, very grey; it’s not a fun city for me, but I have a lot of friends there. I had a private party and played for my friend Simon, who tattooed me when I was there and that was a lot of fun, but that doesn’t change my thoughts about the city.

IVM: This is going to be a shite question, but describe your perfect Morning?

TJC: Well I probably get up, I feed these crows outside my window that live in the tree. I walk my dog and I work from home and eventually get dinner with my girlfriend and go to sleep. I prefer a peaceful day, with no sound, maybe see some animals… like some crows, and my dog and just chill. No driving a car, as I don’t like driving around and not taking a plane, because that’s my fucking job. I think last year I took fifty flights in 3 months. I ended the tour in Tasmania at a festival called dark Mofo which is a cool/weird/Avant-garde festival, which was a lot of fun, with a lot of mullet haircuts.

IVM: Would you be interested in touring North Korea and what do you think of Kim in June?

TJC: Sure if they asked me to, I haven’t heard it yet, but it sounds funny. But I love Death in Rome.

IVM: Is there anything that you would like to speak about with ‘the songs of the flesh and blood?

TJC: It was a tough record to make for sure. As it was a trying time of my life, where I broke up with my girlfriend for two years. It was one of the first records I approached from a personal point of view, not that the other records are lies, just more narratives. There is more truth about me on this record. It’s not what I set out to do, but it’s what ended up happening, as I felt really fucking depressed and the only thing that made me better was writing those songs. You can hear on the record how miserable I am in some of those songs, because you can’t fake that stuff.

IVM: Do you think sometimes your music career was like making a deal with the devil?

TJC: Absolutely not; if anything it brought me away from what I consider to be the devil. Artists are a fucked up group of people, who have to tell people how they feel all the time.

IVM: Is there anything you would like to say as an endnote?

TJC: No, but thank you very much for the interview and meeting you both.

IVM: It was my pleasure.

Interviewed by: Dominic Lynch aka DJ LX-E

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Monday 13 June 2016

Review: Garbage – 'Strange Little Birds'

'Strange Little Birds'

Imagine it's the 90's. Indie is in is prime and the US is enjoying Hip-Hop, Industrial & the Riot-girl movement. Emerging from the mix is a UK based four-piece which includes the godfather of grunge, the singer of 'Angelfish', the guitarist of 'Spooner' and a producer of small alternative acts. Together they were to skulk their way onto the music scene changing it forever.

Skip forward 20 years and not much seems to have changed. After the release of their fourth album 'Bleed Like Me' Garbage seemed to go in their own direction, taking their knowledge of the music business and creating a fun environment for themselves and their fans. This last year saw Shirley and her boys take the globe by storm celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album, and with that a new album was sure to follow.
Enter 'Strange Little Birds'. An (as always) eclectic mix of all the things the band love, and with it comes the dark mysterious style Garbage are known for. This time though there seems to be a change. Gone is the swagger (apart from the incredible and catchy 'Empty', trust me you'll be singing the chorus by the end) and the ego their work has dealt with these last three decades, and in it's place is a sleeping tiger, fed after a hearty meal. The starting track is 'Sometimes'; a somewhat weak start, with Manson singing sweet nothings' into your ear (strange one to begin with), but it soon gives way to 'Empty' and 'Blackout', both with their memorable twangs and reverence. Unlike their previous releases, where there is a clear rise & fall element, SLB takes you on an odd journey which is reminiscent of the soundtracks' to survival horror games like Silent Hill, as well as the surrealist works of Cocteau.
After some more foggy-minded musings we kick back into gear with the anthem 'We Never Tell' and the wall-of-noise 'So We Can Stay Alive', packing all the punchier work near the end of the album. Then there's 'Teaching Little Fingers To Play', which if they hadn't already done a Bond theme wouldn't have look out of place on the titles of the new Daniel Craig epic.
In total this band have definitely evolved from their main label days, but they are not afraid to take influence from album's of a by-gone age. 'Empty' is very much taken from their love of 'Beautiful' and the darker sound is a hark back to the first album that gave them their fame.
If you are looking for a summer sun album you won't find it here, but if you want an album to moon bathe to this is just the ticket!

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Thursday 9 June 2016

Review: The Rain And The Sidewalk – 'Nadir'

Vancouver's The Rain And The Sidewalk are one of those curious bands that come along every so often. As Raoul Duke once said “Too weird to live, too rare to die”. But die they shall as the tenth anniversary of the trio's first outing also sees their final release in the form of 'Nadir'. Blending avant garde, post-punk and darkwave, the band don't so much present an album as a surreal sonic narrative resplendent with jarring samples, thick bass, gloomy vocals, and lyrics reminiscent of Morrissey.

Songs such as 'Sappy Love Ballad...', 'JAC', 'Patron Saint Of Drug Addiction', 'Jekyll Hearts Hyde', 'Pretending Not To Be a Contemptible Jerk & The Evil One', and 'Break' represent the band's strongest cuts with their pulsing bass grooves, great vocal performances and spiky post-punk guitars. While the likes of 'Coyote Falling Off A Cliff/Suicide Note', 'Oversleeping', 'The Last Song', and 'Waiting For A Buss' aren't afraid to get downright weird with their avant garde use of synths and samples to give a deeper and artier edge to the album.

The production is pretty rough and ready with a definite low-fi and DIY sensibility running throughout that gives this the sound of something from 1986 rather than 2016. On the one-hand it doesn't really matter because the songs are so rooted in that era of maverick experimentalism in indie music, but on the other-hand it would be great to hear these tracks as sharp as possible.

Overall 'Nadir' is a joyous little oddity with a genuine artistic sensibility that many bands don't achieve these days. It is rough, and there are a few parts that could have been cut for the sake of consistency, but on the whole it is a really satisfying album that isn't afraid to go off in any direction the band wants it to. It is a shame they are calling it a day, but 'Nadir' is a good album to exit on.  

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Wednesday 8 June 2016

Review: Combichrist – 'This Is Where Death Begins'

'This Is Where Death Begins'

Love 'em or hate 'em it is undeniable that Combichrist – the one-time solo project of Icon Of Coil vocalist And LaPlegua – has become a true force of nature. The bands evolution from harsh ebm through to raucous industrial metal has seen equal praise and ire from everyone with an opinion to give. But the truth is Combichrist is here to stay.

The band's eighth album, 'This Is Where Death Begins' sees a new line-up and builds upon the commercial appeal of the band's last outing 'We Love You' to further refine the industrial metal influences that have continued to build in the band over recent years. The end result is a far more metal-based sound that doesn't omit the electronic elements entirely but is a substantial leap from their older dance-flavours. Though they might be more comparable to Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein and Rob Zombie rather than the likes of Suicide Commando these days, open-minded long time fans will still find plenty to enjoy.

Tracks like 'Glitchteeth', 'Exit Eternity', 'Don't Care How You Feel About It', 'Blackened Heart', and 'Homeward' marry the catchiness of Combichrist's electronic prowess while remaining firmly driven by heavy and hard guitar leads. While songs like 'We Are The Plague', 'Skullcrusher', 'Destroy Everything', 'Slakt', and 'Black Tar Dove Part 2' go all out with the metal elements at the forefront of the tracks.

It's a varied track list that effortlessly shifts the emphasis from the guitars, to the drums, to the synths and back again as the album progresses. Their might not be that dance-floor hit anywhere to be found. But as seen by their live performances recently, like Ministry before them, Combichrist has evolved beyond that and it isn't a bad thing.

But if you do still crave that old-school Combichrist sound the band have included a bonus CD – 'History Of Madness' – recorded live at Complex, LA which sees the band tear through sixteen classic cuts such as 'Brain Bypass', 'Adult Content', 'The Kill', 'Industrial Strength', and 'Bullet Fuck' in all their crunchy, nasty and pulsing glory. While the three disc/DVD version includes a more recent live set from last year's performance at Summer Breeze festival. Two very different performances of two very different sides to the band, but both great.

In terms of production the main album is probably the best the band have sounded since the introduction of the guitars with a product that feels like it could compete with the top bands in industrial metal. The live discs are a bit rougher due to the nature of trying to perform, capture and mix a band live. But they're full of energy and passionate and that makes up for the lack of polish.

Fans of Combichrist's earlier sounds may find the more metal direction hard to take, but those who have stuck with their evolution thus far will not be too shocked by this move and will undoubtedly embrace the blend of hard metal and gritty electronics. Either way, Combichrist have crafted a monster here and it will undoubtedly prove to be a notable release in an already enviable discography.  

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