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 30 November 2016


One of the things which the passing of the Reagan/Thatcher era took from popular culture was the pervasive presence of alternative subcultures in dystopian fiction. Virtually every thriller, sci-fi or horror movie from the onset of punk until the early '90s was soaked in alternative fashion and featured a shifting casts of mohawked outcasts, shadow-dwelling vamps and intimidating punk rockers – from 'Bladerunner's cyberpunk operatics to the street gangs of 'Escape from New York' and the chain-wielding bikers of 'Streets of Fire'; these mutated manifestations of youth culture were either predicted to spraypaint a bleak future with neon pink and studded leather or else describe a present that already was, as every average gritty cop drama of the mid-'80s would feature the protagonist in some seedy new wave club featuring glowering skinheads and spike-collared vixens. And then...nothing. So, what happened?

The first factor in this equation was the explosive effect of punk fashion on all televisual media. Not only was it the first wave of youth culture to have a confrontational and nihilistic attitude towards the boomer generation, it was also so vague as to be universally fascinating and exploitable to Hollywood; so soon the basic elements of punk culture were appearing in films such as 'Taxi Driver' and the first wave of punksploitation movies were spawned. A situation quickly arose where essentially any director who wanted add a sense of 'edge' to their films could simply rip off the fashions at CBGBs or the Blitz.

Apocalyptic and dystopian fictions were also all the rage in the 1980s. The re-heated Cold War rhetoric, economic collapse and crime wave of Reagan's USA fed into a deeply hysterical pessimism that pervaded film and TV during the decade, and dystopia was fashionable once again; and so naturally if you believed modern society (populated by alienated youth/Generation X/street punks and the miscellaneous forms of the '80s idea of juvenile delinquents) was on a slide towards a dark future of pre-apocalyptic ultra-urban techno-misery then it makes perfect sense that such a world would also be populated by the same cultures, mutated into technofied forms (which was of course a factor in the birth of what became cyberpunk). So as this cultural tension gave way to a cultural complacency in the early '90s these tropes became less and less fashionable.

But maybe the key factor was how our collective understanding of cities has changed over the past 30 years. In the gloomy, nocturnal urban spaces of these films the characters were always aware of the different identities of the streets and the collectives and subcultures that inhabited them, a feeling of territory and the understanding of space. The Battery is owned by the Bombers; the Richmond likes rock & roll; the differing gangs of New York carve up the boroughs in 'The Warriors'; and each space has it's own identity. Even punks and goths inhabited their own corners of the city. But today's cities are sterilised, gentrified, commercial and blanded out by adverts and chain stores – no one really believes they will be crawling with street punks in 27 years as much as anyone can believe that today's subcultures are anything more than atomised and interchangeable.

So the challenge must be to reclaim our cities as the diverse homes of urban subcultures, as places for micro-communities to form and resist the creeping rise of rents and malls. Alternative spaces appear to be much more resilient in fiction than in reality, but they can still be built and defended.

And we don't even need our cities to become high-rise prisons in a post-nuclear wasteland to do it.

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Review: Marc Heal – 'The Hum'

'The Hum'

Considering Marc Heal's contributions to industrial rock include influential acts such as Cubanate, Pig and Pigface it is hard to believe that 2016 marks the release of his first solo album (discounting his work as MC Lord Of The Flies) in 'The Hum'. But if any album was worth the wait it is this one. Famed for blending rock guitars with techno electronics, Heal's reputation will undoubtedly bring some preconceived notions about how this album will sound. And while he does embrace his signature sound to an extent, Heal is more than happy to confound expectations as well.

Songs such as 'Tienanmen', 'Adult Fiction', 'Model Citizen', 'Johnny Was an Oilman', 'Monoxide', and 'Faithful Machinery' are prime examples of the classic blend of bombastic beats, infectious dance synths, searing guitar riffs, framing gritty vocals, and narrative lyrics that drive the distilled anxiety of the Zeitgeist into tense and frantic

While the likes of 'Katrina's House', 'The Abandoned Junkshop', and 'Wounded Dog' explore slower and dare is say, jazzier paths the yield darker and more sinister results. It's a track list that is unified in its direction and purpose. Rather than just a collection of songs, Heal presents a full album that takes the listener on a journey that is compelling from the beginning and until the end.

The production is just as strong as the songwriting and performances. There is the dark grittiness of good industrial rock present throughout. But there is also that big impactful element that recalls the likes of Gary Numan and Nine Inch Nails. It's a fantastic blend of aggression and melody that is crafted by what can only be described as an expert hand.

'The Hum' is a brilliant album. It's dark topical narratives, gritty snarled vocals, and sumptuous blend of guitars, synths and beats are a masterclass in how high industrial rock can aim. Heal could have easily rested on the laurels of past glories and given us more of the same. But instead he has pushed his abilities as a songwriter, performer and producer. And it has yielded one of the best albums of the year, and possibly his career so far.  

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Thursday 24 November 2016

Review: KPT – 'BLK EYE'


US electronic producer KPT (pronounced) released a stunning album only last November in the form of 'Alive By Machines', a short but sharp album that blended the darker more underground sounds of darkwave, industrial, and ebm with attention-grabbing edm and modern techno reminiscent of Diamond Version, Aphex Twin, and Blush Response. Fast-forward one year and the release of 'Blk Eye', a collection of singles remixed and remastered for good measure is here to keep us going until the next full release.

If you weren't told before hand this was a collection of singles, you would be none the wiser. While the album doesn't feel as thematically unified as 'Alive By Machines' the changes KPT has kept everything in line and singular in focus. Songs such as 'Fake', 'Something Went Wrong', 'Gift', 'Innermost', and 'Abandon' in particular show a steady progression and greater balance between dark experimentalism and infectious minimalism.

Production-wise the songs sound like they were recorded in one sitting, never-mind over the course of a few years. The skilful hand behind the desk has bridged the gaps between the songs and collated them into a more satisfying whole. There is a playfulness to the experimental nature of this recording, and in places it is less self-assured than others, but it has been executed at every step of the way to the highest quality.

KPT is a challenging act. One that likes to try and confound rules regarding melody and rhythm, but nonetheless even a stop-gap collection of singles is still a compelling listen. 'Blk Eye' is a tasty and satisfying release, but one that on the surface still lacks that rounded out vision of a full-length album release, and hopefully with these tracks collected, contextualised and released KPT will be back sooner rather than later with the follow-up to 'Alive By Machines'.  

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Wednesday 23 November 2016

Review: v01d – 'Greeted As Liberators'

'Greeted As Liberators'

Toronto-based industrial producer Joe Byer, AKA v01d has been taking his time in writing the sophomore offering to his 2009 album '
This Is Not A False Alarm Anymore'. But after seven years the results of his labours are unveiled in the form of 'Greeted As Liberators' a master-class in old school techno meets industrial rock/metal. Odd time signatures, vocoders, searing guitars and infectious synth leads contort and morph around each other for a unique take on the fundamentals that made industrial rock in the late 80s and early 90s so damn exciting.

Tracks such as 'All Of The Rage', 'Abhor A Vacuum', 'Veils Will Fall', 'Walk It Back', 'Wave After Wave' and, 'The Sun Is Late' evoke the likes of 'The Fragile' era Nine Inch Nails meets revered names such as Pig, Pop Will Eat Itself, Front 242, and The Young Gods. It is a wonderful and intelligent blend of styles and genres that doesn't try to recreate the past glories of the genre. Instead it goes where it wants to, both sonically and thematically, challenging the listener and confounding the expectations that have once again built up around the revival of the industrial rock scene.

Production-wise, there may be nods to those classic bands but it is a very 21
st century sounding album. It is gritty and experimental in places yes. There may be minimalistic beats and lots of feedback and distortion when it is needed. But it fresh, clean, and can easily compete with anything in the genre today.

'Greeted As Liberators' may be a short album by today's standards, but it packs a major punch. Byer has taken his time and it shows in a good way. The songs are well written, constructed and performed with great attention to detail throughout. Yet the album isn't over produced, it has the grit and grime a good industrial rock album should have, while maintaining both the more experimental and melodic elements in equal measure. It may have been a long time coming, but this was an album worth the wait.

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Tuesday 22 November 2016

Introducing... Neon Shudder

Name of band: Neon Shudder
Members: One
Year formed: 2013
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA

“To see people actually diving in and reading the story and saying they liked this character or that twist is a big deal for me. Knowing people are excited about something I created gives me huge drive to continue doing this.”

NEON SHUDDER is the moniker for Philadelphia area producer jhm. His music styles range from industrial to synthwave to ambient with hints of other influences including jazz and funk. Currently neon shudder is focused around the "Cadence" series of concept albums/novellas including 2016's "Cadence" and the upcoming followup "Sons of Seraph."

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

I've been making music for a long time. In 2013 I wanted to finally put out some kind of release for music around a central theme. At the time I was heavily into cyberpunk and wanted to make music that gave off Blade Runner or Deus Ex vibes. I put out a small EP on bandcamp and was pleasantly surprised that people enjoyed it so I continued making music under this name.

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

I get called synthwave a lot but that's just one style that falls under the umbrella of what I do. I'm going a lot of directions including industrial and ambient, and even put out some weird, dark electronic jazzy songs. I was always a fan of that kind of sound so it was a no-brainer that it was what I wanted to do.

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

Buck-Tick, Android Lust, Michael McCann's work for Deus Ex, Yoko Kanno, Ed Harrison, and Nobuo Uematsu musically. William Gibson's writing, Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, Cowboy Bebop are some of the non-musical influence for this project.

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

There are currently no plans for neon shudder live, but I wouldn't rule it out.

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

I have two albums that came out this year at - one is the gothy industrial release 'OMENS II' and the other is my first cyberpunk concept album 'Cadence.'

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

I'd have to say it's people getting genuinely excited about my concept album series. To see people actually diving in and reading the story and saying they liked this character or that twist is a big deal for me. Knowing people are excited about something I created gives me huge drive to continue doing this.

IVM: What are your plans for the future?
I plan on releasing one more album to complete the 'Cadence' trilogy, and then I'll be moving on to experimenting more with my sound on new EPs and albums.

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

Almost all of my music (save for concept albums) is on bandcamp free/pay what you want, so give it a shot!

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What Matters is the Work - Embracing Your Self

Sacred Feminine, by Cristina McAllister

I read an article recently about the women who made themselves androgynous, or used an undefined-gender of a name, to achieve success. The article examined this, and mentioned their conscious withdrawal of their femininity in order to succeed.

And it got me thinking. It got me thinking of my own uber-use of my femininity in my work, and of other women artists who do the same, all fields of art confounded, and of the XXIst century.

I stand, here and now, as witness of the many aspects, or archetypes, of women in arts, and as we come closer to 2017, I wonder what the future holds for us, and for little girls all over the world.

I examine the models these little girls have, and I come to the conclusion that every lady essentially marches to the beat of her own drum, and that this, beyond anything else, is what we need to get in these little girls' heads.

As spiritual beings given bodies for us to live our human experience, what matters is that we cherish this temple we are given to live in.

Humans come in all shapes, colours and sizes, and our first happy place should be in our bodies.
It is of utmost importance to embrace who we are and what we look like. If you're not happy with what you see in the mirror, do whatcha gotta do to fix it, but make sure you're doing it for yourself.
And then, regardless of and beyond that, know solidly, indestructibly, that what matters even more is that you love what you are inside. Love everything that you are, love what you can do, love your potential as a human being.

If you're going for the gender-bending identity, do it because you want to. If your animus needs release, and you need its release, go for it and make it shine. Just make sure, again, that you're doing it for yourself, because if there's one thing we shouldn't be afraid of anymore, as women in the XXIst century, it's to be our Selves.

Now, the Athena in us will meticulously strategise, and has, since the dawn on time, as her nature intended. The strategist will help us develop our plans by gathering the appropriate elements and information we need to act. An appropriate example is that of J.K. Rowling, who was stated in the article. She used her initials, not her full first name, to get published, knowing the perspective on her work would be different. Long before her, there was George Sand, who lived in a more opressive time for women who sought out careers in the arts. She used a man's name for her work to be published.

Would these women's success have been otherwise, had they used their full, real names, when submitting their work? One can only muse upon alternate possibilities.

Regardless of that, it took only the release of the first Harry Potter novel for the people of the entire world to know that J.K Rowling was indeed a woman, and that they most certainly wanted more of what this woman had to create, and offer.

A strategic choice.

Now, I am not enough of a writer to form a definite statement on the reality of the writing world, so I couldn't come to a clear conclusion on this particular matter. Does a woman's full name on a manuscript truly make a difference in the perspective of editors when they read it, or does the focus stop at the content?
I cannot answer this, but what I can say is that it shouldn't.

I am a musician though, and a performer, and I study the archetypes portrayed by my predecessors and my contemporaries. I can see the clear distinction between, say, Annie Lenox and Madonna. Ultimately, both of these women have had incredible careers, all the while portraying aspects of women at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Would the outcome of their careers have been otherwise had they presented themselves differently?
One can only muse on alternate possibilities.

As performers, we show our face, our body. We cannot pretend not to be women, even if it's just for a little while. What matters is that we embrace who we are and that we take pride in the face we show to the world. And what matters beyond that is that we do not fear the response of neither men nor of other women. Sometimes I can't believe we're in 2016, in the XXIst century, and that women who've chosen to embrace and expose their femininity are still feared, disregarded, shunned or shamed by men and by other women. The fact that this is a reality in our society shows a clear, underlying problem at the core of humanity, coming down to self-confidence, and perspective.

For the focus, ultimately, in all fields, should be on the woman's work. And if part of her work is her presentation of her self as this uber-femme, then it should be seen as part of her work as well.

Would the democrats have won the recent US elections had a man ran for presidency, and not a woman? One can only muse on alternate possibilities.

The fact remains that this is the XXIst century, and it's high time for little girls everywhere to be taught that they can be and do anything they want, and present themselves however they damn well want.

And it's high time for us all to stop judging a book, or an album, by its cover.
What matters are the words. What matters is the music.
What matters is the work.

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Thursday 17 November 2016

Review: Dead When I Found Her – 'Eyes On Backwards'

'Eyes On Backwards'

Following on from last year's 'All The Way Down', Portland industrialist Dead When I Found Her (AKA Michael Arthur Holloway) returns with a fourth full-length studio album in the form of 'Eyes On Backwards'. Once again evoking the early spirits of acts such as Skinny Puppy, Frontline Assembly, Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, DWIFH's use of the classic sounding industrial formula breeds a surface glean of familiarity whilst allowing lots of room to experiment and get nasty.

Songs such as 'Tantrum', 'The Big Reverse', 'Braille', 'Unsolved History', 'Midlife Eclipse', and 'Serus Mundi'are dark and atmospheric movements through post-industrial decay and a new cold war paranoia full of snarling distorted vocals rhythmic stuttering beats and subtle but effective lead melodies. It is a dense and menacing album that sees Holloway at his most pointed and focused to date.

The production is clean and modern which is a perfect balance to the old school sound palette that Holloway favours. While the individual elements from the albums are reminiscent of the late 80s and early 90s, the execution is bang up-to-date and impactful. As a result the songs may have a light air of familiarity, but the is no denying that they are their own beasts altogether.

This is perhaps the strongest Dead When I Found Her album yet. It is both classic and relevant. A perfectly distilled expression of angst and paranoia crafted by a skilled and intelligent hand. As with previous releases it will appeal to older industrial fans as well as those finding their way to the genre through newer bands. But most importantly 'Eyes On Backwards' continues to see Holloway's stock as a musician continue to rise.  

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Wednesday 16 November 2016

Review: The Sweetest Condition – 'We Defy Oblivion'

'We Defy Oblivion'

Hot on the heels of their 2015 full-length début, Nashville's The Sweetest Condition hit back with their sophomore offering in the form of 'We Defy Oblivion'. An album that sees the bands signature sound of synthpop crashing headlong into harder industrial elements and some brash rock guitars further refined into a sharper and more focused attack.

The ever present lead vocals of Leslie Irene Benson unifies each track with a melodic counterweight to the darker and more sinister instrumentation which effectively distils the current chaotic world climate into a frustrated and defiant statement.

Songs such as 'Deconstructing', 'Don't Cross Me', 'Keep Turning Me On', 'Vices', and 'Nein Nein Nein' lead the charge with a strong blend of melodic synths, hard steady beats and searing guitars. While the likes of 'Faithless', 'Knock Us Down', and 'Unforgiven' in particular push the electronic elements harder for a more bouncy and dance-orientated sound. The result is a blend of great 90s electro rock re-appropriated for the current climate. There is that slightly grungy flavour to the rock guitars and the vocal performance, but a wholly 21st execution.

Production-wise there is a nod to those 90s influences, but no needless nostalgia. The band know who they are and what they want to say. And quite rightly the production is fresh, up-to-date and modern throughout to bring the best out of the individual tracks and bring them together into one collected statement of intent.

'We Defy Oblivion' is a strong second album that is heavy, catchy, and full of surprises. It will instantly find favour with fans of Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Kidney Thieves, and Godhead. The band have passed the difficult second album test that seems to stump so many, and they have done it with ease.  

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Review: BlutEngel – 'Complete'


German vampire pop returns in habitually bombastic form with the release of 'Complete' the lead single from BlutEngel's forthcoming tenth full-length studio album 'Leitbild. No strangers to combining soaring choruses, infectiously melodic leads, and steady dance beats, the band's darkwave meets synthpop formula is fully intact and has its eyes locked on European dancefloors.

The title track 'Complete' is an anthemic slice of Europop flirting dark synthpop that ticks all of the boxes in terms of what fans will want from a BlutEngel release. The remix courtesy of Massive Ego kicks up the harder dance elements of the song and as a result creates a truly undeniable floor-filler.

'Nowhere' harks back to the early BlutEngel sound – with a little more of the futurepop elements and an up-tempo rhythmic backbone that compliments the soaring melodies of the title track nicely. The single closes with the instrumental 'Dusk', which has a far more rhythmic ebm structure to it for a nice experimental and unexpected treat to end on.

In terms of production the now recognisably bombastic dark pop production of BlutEngel remains intact and to their usual uncompromising sheen. The songs, even thos that hark back to earlier sounds, still have that glossy sheen that would make mainstream pop acts jealous.

This is a strong lead single that hints at some very nice things on the upcoming tenth album. 'Complete' is a great, dance-friendly pop track that lives up to an already impressive body of work, while the b-sides hint at a more old school element returning to the fore. 'Leitbild' is shaping up to be an interesting album.  

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Tuesday 15 November 2016

Introducing... Mebitek

Name of band: Mebitek
Members: Mebitek
Year formed: 2003
Location: Mogoro, Sardinia

From the acid and dusty factories of the electronic underground, through the devastated and pure immaculate nature of Sardinia, an explosion of anger and melancholy darkness transforms electronics into a cinematic orchestra.
What technology can transform into audio & visual experiences we can just follow the future, transforming sorrow into confidence, pain into art to see the own horror diminuendo becomes melancholic crescendo.
Dark Ambient Cinematic Electronic Music from Sardinia
Let's the eternal journey starts...

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

My name is Claudio and I form Mebitek in the late 2003 when I was outside my Island and I was living in Bologne (Italy).

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

My initial sound was influenced of the Bologne underground scene and was mainly hard techno with tribal influences. after some years of experimentation I develop an electro dark ambient cinematic music style.

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

My influences are various. they come from a lot of music style and artists:
Tim Exile, Jeremy Ellis, Ulver, The Haxan Cloak, Atrium Carceri.

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

I performed live since 2003 but now I'm a little bit stuck cause I'm improving my style and soon I will start again to have live set. I performed in Sardinia, Italy, France.

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

My current release is 'An Eternal Wail's Journey EP' my first dark ambient EP and it's available on bandcamp:

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

I open [for] a lot of big artists gigs and [have] release eight vinyls in France, two EP's

IVM: What are your plans fro the future?

My plans is to develop my electro dark ambient cinematic style merging it with some visual arts. A full album for February is ready and has been planned.

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

In those days I'm preparing an art installation called 'The Sensegration Box' that will be performed the 12th November 2016. I develop music, videos, website and with the help of my collective I prepared to media campaign. I can find all the info in the official website:


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Wednesday 9 November 2016

Introducing... Decorum

Name of band:
DECORUM Members: Leif, Sable, and Shay
Year formed: 2015
Location: Brooklyn, NY (USA)

“Genre is one of those things that has become increasingly annoying to pinpoint yet without some understanding of what a band sounds like, people are usually turned off. I think we have a pretty minimal approach to our music though […] I think that's all we need.”

Sable and I started playing music together, writing skeletons of songs with basses about a year ago. We were both pretty into the idea of creating something moody and weird but still melodic. The idea of the two basses was always there from the beginning. We found Shay through Craigslist and it just clicked together. I feel that our band biography is extremely typical and non-romantic.

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

Leif: Bass and vocals
Sable: Bass and vocals
Shay: Drums

We formed just by being people with less than similar influences but wanting to create something strange and different.

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

We always say we are post-punk or goth or darkwave but we might not be any of those things. Genre is one of those things that has become increasingly annoying to pinpoint yet without some understanding of what a band sounds like, people are usually turned off. I think we have a pretty minimal approach to our music though - no synths, no guitars, just two basses, vocals and drums. I think that's all we need.

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

Depeche Mode, Early Cure, Cocteau Twins, Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, Sleater Kinney, John Maus, The Smashing Pumpkins, Dusty Springfield, Bloc Party, Explode Into Colors, Mika Miko, No Age, Abe Vigoda (band), Suicide, The Sound, Soft Kill, Modern Lovers, Television, Tchaikovsky.

David Cronenberg, David Shrigley, Cormic McCarthy, Pat Conroy, Ken Russell, Maya Deren, Alejandro Jodorowsky.

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

N O V E M B E R :

11/18: PHILADELPHIA, PA - DANNY'S with Bloated Subhumans, Gun Candy (NY) and Blank Spell.

11/19: BALTIMORE, MD - THE CROWN with Natural Velvet, Blacksage, Elon, Butch Dawson, Purrer, Maxine and Jenny Besetzt (NC).

D E C E M B E R :

12/10: BROOKLYN, NY - OUR WICKED LADY with The Blind Shake (MN).

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

'Near Gone'

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

Our tape releases and being able to make all of our fun / ridiculous videos.

IVM: What are your plans for the future?

We want to play a couple shows on the west coast. Probably in LA in the spring of 2017. I think we want to keep touring around Canada and the East Coast.

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

We are just hoping to get over to Europe sometime in the next few years. Or Japan.


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Review: Guillotine Dream – 'Lemuria'


The mysterious trio of Guillotine Dream create gothic rock with a hint of melancholic metal reminiscent of Fields Of The Nephilim and 13 Candles, perhaps even with a touch of Anathema in their formative years. Atmospheric and respectably heavy where it counts the band's début offering 'Lemuria' has a classic sound to it that is hard to deny.

Songs such as 'Lemuria', 'Signs', and 'Falling' provide the band with their most metallic moments with a powerful combination of light and jagged guitars, throbbing bass and growled vocals powering them forward. While the likes of 'Darkling Rooms', 'Man Ov Fyre', and 'Ghost Walk' push the gothic elements to the fore more with darker and more methodical displays of atmospheric rock.

Production-wise that classic edge is due to a rather retro sound that is ever present. It takes its cues from Fields Of The Nephilim circa 'The Nephilim. Not a bad job but definitively rooted in that late 80s sound. However the songs are fresh, strong and excellently performed, so the retro sheen doesn't do anything to hold it back.

'Lemuria' is a pretty promising release that displays a well-rounded style that will appeal to both fans of gothic rock and metal. It's a short introduction, but the quality of the songwriting leaves an impression beyond its six tracks. It would be nice to hear more of what this trio can do in the near future.  

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Tuesday 8 November 2016

Live Review: Killing Joke – O2, Academy Brixton, 04/11/2016

KILLING JOKE (+ Death Valley High, The Membranes)
O2 Academy, Brixton

The great gathering descends upon Brixton's legendary music venue the Academy in droves for Killing Joke. A band who have remained relevant and visceral since their inception in 1978. Despite line-up and genre shifts over the course of their history they have remained a credible force in the alternative rock scene both in the UK and abroad. Even so the band have enjoyed a true renaissance since 2008 when the original line-up got back together and produced three explosive albums in the forms of 'Absolute Dissent' (2010), 'MMXII' (2012), and 'Pylon' (2015). It is no surprise that their fanbase is as passionate and as ravenous as it has ever been these days.

Tonight's performance is opened by the somewhat recently reformed (well since 2010) act The Membranes. Fronted by prolific punk musician and journalist John Robb, the band released their first album in 26 years last year, and tonight are hear to gives us “30 minutes of songs about the universe”. And boy do they. With raucous punk energy bristling through each track and yet a flair for moments of psychedelic, dare I say prog, flourishes, the band rip through a frenetic and entrancing set. It is a brilliant performance that quickly whips up an energetic response from the crowd, but is over way too soon. Another 30 minutes of songs about the universe would have been most welcome.

Instead of more of The Membranes we instead get the dubious pleasure of Death Valley High. High on style, low on substance. The band mix pseudo-industrial rock with nu-metal posturing. Resembling a 'Holy Wood' era Marilyn Manson tribute act but sounding like Dope sans the passion and commitment, the band's set struggles to approach the energy of The Membranes. With youth on their side but the will evidently not, their performance feels like it was completely called in. Their biggest shot of adrenaline is saved for their eponymous final song, which is still disappointing, especially seeing as they were the youngest band on the bill by a good twenty-odd years. Contrived and uninspired, they should have had the opening slot and The Membranes should have been on second.

Between DVH and the headliners taking to the stage we're treated to a dub reggae set befitting the venue's location. It may have gone above the heads of a few of the patrons, but it was a nice change from a pre-recorded mixtape.

But finally it is time for the main event. The band kick things off with 'The Hum' and instantly the room is electric. Jaz Coleman stalks the stage like an apocalyptic preacher invoking the end of days. The band then quickly rip through a set that sees them shockingly dispense with their most mainstream hits 'Love Like Blood' and 'Eighties' quickly, before unleashing a brilliantly heavy set made up of recent and classic cuts. Tracks such as 'New Cold War', 'Requiem', 'Turn To Red', 'European Superstate', 'I Am The Virus', 'Dawn OF The Hive', and 'Pssyche' are met with lyrics chanted back by the frenzied crowd. The addition of two female fire dancers/eaters makes for a more interesting stage show than usual, and is nicely self-referencing if not overtly acknowledging their 1983 album.

The encore is a definite pleaser for any long-time fan with 'The Death And Resurrection Show', 'Wardance', and 'Pandemonium' rounding off a heavy and powerful show of force from the nearly 40-year veterans. If you have ever questioned the relevance or the prowess of Killing Joke, tonight once again reaffirmed their status as a band of the 21st century with their finger on the pulse.  

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Monday 7 November 2016

Live Review: The Mission – O2, Academy Leeds, 03/11/2016

THE MISSION (+ The 69 Eyes, Skeletal Family)
O2 Academy, Leeds

The Mission have been one of the most consistent and and influential gothic rock acts since their acrimonious split from The Sisters Of Mercy 30 years ago. It seems fitting then that three decades down the line their anniversary tour should see them return to their home town in triumphant fashion, bringing fellow gothic rock pillars Skeletal Family, and international big-hitters The 69 Eyes along for support. The Mission are a band that have never rested on their laurels, which is attested to by their latest album effort 'Another Fall From Grace', as well as the rabid fans in attendance.

First up though is fellow Yorkshire goth institution Skeletal family who without standing on ceremony and keeping true to their post-punk roots, ripped through a set of their own classic tracks, as well as a couple of Ghost Dance numbers for good measure. Even though the room was slow to fill up, the band brought the energy up quickly with tracks such as 'Far and Near' and 'Promised Land' in particular receiving a lot of appreciation from the crowd.

Next up were the Helsinki Vampires, The 69 Eyes – headliners in their own right – mark their return to the UK after five years away. With a short sharp set heavily favouring classic cuts such as 'Gothic Girl', Dance D'Amour', 'The Chair', 'Sister Of Charity', and 'The Lost Boys', they still find room to include the latest singles 'Dolce Vita' and 'Jet Fighter Plain'. The band are tight throughout and deliver on every level quickly drawing more of the younger element of the crowd to the front. By the time the band left the stage the room was sufficiently pumped for the headliners.

The Mission hit the stage accompanied by the rousing strains of 'The Dambusters Overture' and quickly dived into a formidable set. The band were on top form with the stage presence and skill befitting their veteran status but with the energy and conviction that would put most bands half their age to shame. Tracks such as 'Beyond The Pale', 'Garden Of Delight', 'Severina', 'Stay With Me', 'Tower Of Strength', 'Wasteland', 'Butterfly On A Wheel', and 'Like A Hurricane' provided particular highlights especially with backing vocals aptly provided by special guest Evi Vine to add extra depth.

The encore provided more exhilaration with '1969' getting an airing, as well as rapturous renditions of 'Blood Brother', 'Sacrilege', and 'Deliverance' closing the set. The band were unrelenting throughout and the crowd fed off their energy and amplified it back threefold. Wayne and crew even in the face of advancing years remain one of the coolest bands to fly the gothic rock flag today, and tonight's homecoming was a testament to thirty years worth of commitment to their sound and their fans.  

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Thursday 3 November 2016

Editorial: November, 2016

And like that it was time for another tutorial, and another reminder that we have a new compilation album in the works and we want your tracks for it!

We've already seen some brilliant tracks submitted, but there is always plenty of room for more. So if you are a solo artist or a band with a gothic, industrial, experimental, synthpop, etc. track you'd like to donate, hit us up at with the subject “Compilation Submission” and we'll let you know what we need and when we need it by.

As I said last month: if you're a band and considering donating a track and are wondering what's in it for you? First of all it is free – there is no cover charge to be on the compilation as it is a download and we're giving it away for free! We make sure every release comes with an A4 PDF brochure containing band biographies as well as relevant hyperlinks that will take people straight to your web pages. We're happy to feature new blood as well as established acts and all submissions will be considered based on their individual merit rather than whether they are well known or not. So far we have featured a range of acts covering a wide variety of genres including Attrition, Be My Enemy, Aeon Sable, Ultraviolence, Noir, Three Winters, Grypt, Petrol Bastard, ѦPѺLLYѺN'S ▼ISѦGE, Ca†hedra, Human Traffic plus many more bands.

Sound good? So what will we need?

First of all, we'll need your track as a WAV file. We're ideally looking for something exclusive or new – it could be in the form of an unreleased song, demo, a remix, or live track etc. We'll then need a 200 word biography, your links and written permission to use the track and that's it!

General submissions will be open from September with a cut-off date to get the tracks and info to us by the end of November. Advanced copies of the compilation will go out to all contributors around Christmas, and we will also make copies available to radio shows/podcasters interested in plugging the release, with the general release being made available through out bandcamp for 1st January 2017.

Outside of that, I feel like I must apologise for the slightly lighter posting schedule than usual over the past couple of months. The move of IVM HQ took longer than it should of and finding the time to progress through the backlog of review submissions has been a lot tougher recently. Please don't forget that aside from a small number of contributors, IVM is essentially a one man show fuelled by passion and sometimes a pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face. But rest assured we are progressing through things as best as we can.

Things to look forward too – not only are the mighty Killing Joke playing on Friday, and The 69 Eyes returning after five years away, but there is also Whitby Goth Weekend this week following on from what was on all accounts a fantastic Bram Stoker Film Festival last week. So Halloween may have been and gone already but there is plenty left to brighten up the dark nights.

Finally, if you haven't already got them, go get our three download compilations from our bandcamp – so much free music! What the hell are you waiting for?!

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

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Review: Various Artists - 'N¡gh†m∆res ∆nd 8Ø8s X Untitled Burial: Babalon Rising'

'N¡gh†m∆res ∆nd 8Ø8s X Untitled Burial: Babalon Rising'

Nigh† †errors – the label side of Youtube radio station has been spreading the message of underground occult electronic music to the masses. The previous compilations and guest mixes released have always been meticulously put together and presented, but this latest effort 'Babalon Rising' released in cooperation with Untitled Burial is the biggest and best compilation of Witch House and related acts the genre has seen so far.

Boasting a colossal 65 tracks from an impressive cross-section of artists, the compilation is perhaps the definitive portrait of what is known as Witch House. There are far too many acts featured to review every track, but some highlights include the contributions from (((O))), †ЯСΣS ΘF GНО5†5, AL†RS, Apexys x Ca†hedra, BL▼И† †R▲▼M▲, C∆T, Ghostling, MONOMOR✞E, OKKVLT KΛTT, S▲MH▲IN, Sidewalks and Skeletons, SUICIDEWΛVE, and VVITCH. But that is just a small selection of a huge and varied tracklist that takes in a myriad of styles and genres with elements of industrial, dark ambient, synthpop, hip hop, and dark electro cropping up in various forms.

The collection is wonderfully curated and although it is arranged in alphabetical order for ease, it still has a nice flow throughout. And as with the previous compilations from the label, despite the disparity of styles and recording techniques, everything sounds high quality and equal in its presentation to the audience.

'Babalon Rising' is a monstrous collection that will act as a perfect primer for those new to the genre, as well as anyone needing a heavy fix of bands, established and new. Weighing in at four-and-a-half hours of music – or four CD's worth – of music, this collection alone could more than provide a dark soundtrack for any party or club night during the Halloween season, and the fact it is available as a pay what you want download makes this a must have for any new or long-time fan of Witch House.  

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Wednesday 2 November 2016

Review: Dr. Arthur Krause – 'The Only Time She Moves'

'The Only Time She Moves'

The fourth full-length outing from Swedish gothic rockers Dr. Arthur Krause flies the flag high for traditional gothic rock. Continuing to channel acts such as The Sisters Of Mercy, Fields Of The Nephilim, Joy Division, and Garden Of Delight through their atmospheric formula of jangling guitars, baritone vocals, and bass so thick it emits dry ice. Musically walking a similar path to Merciful Nuns, but favouring far more atmosphere and lower tempos, 'The Only Time She Moves' is a great example of modern guitar orientated gothic rock.

While you can't exactly praise the band for being innovative, the fact that they stick to their guns means they are as a result damn good at what they do. The album for the most part has a sombre and slow pace with the likes of 'Loveland', 'Deported Soul II', 'Death Row', 'Never Whole', 'We are Doomed', and 'Gone Tomorrow' running the gamut of the gothic rock style with electronic and acoustic elements coming in to play to keep things fresh. While the odd track injects brief shots of adrenalin with more up-tempo numbers such as 'Midnight Rain', 'Evelina', and 'Go On Your Own'.

In terms of the production, as mentioned before, atmosphere is king. The sound is almost cavernous with Krause's vocals sounding utterly phenomenal framed by the powerful yet haunting music. And while there is the influence of classic gothic rock running throughout, the band's execution is bang up-to-date.

OK, so there really isn't anything new, or genre redefining at work here. But that doesn't matter. What Dr. Arthur Krause presents is gothic rock, no nonsense and as it should be. Not trying to emulate past glories or hiding behind a retro facade, but proudly flying the banner for the genre and writing fundamentally solid songs that hold their own with classic cuts while carving their own identity. 'The Only Time She Moves' sees some of the band's strongest individual song offerings to date, and as a whole it is pretty much what any fan could ask for.

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Review: Medicine Rain – 'Still Confused But On A Higher Level'

'Still Confused But On A Higher Level'

Swedish gothic rockers Medicine Rain have been around since 1989, but are one of those bands whose history has been a slow burn. Their debut album was released a full six years after their inception and despite an initially positive response the band soon after went on a long hiatus meaning album number two never saw the light of day. Fast forward to 2016 and the recordings have been exhumed and finally see release as 'Still Confused But On A Higher Level'.

Very much in the vein of acts such as The Cult, 'Vision Thing' era Sisters Of Mercy, Rubicon, and The Mission the band's guitar and drum machine led attack is a classic evocation of the gothic rock style at its zenith and crossing over into the alt rock of the 90s. But more importantly the band are not ones to shy away from more experimental meanderings which make this a rather interesting listening experience.

Tracks such as 'Spinning', 'Obsidian', 'Move On', 'Let It Ride', and 'Tango' lead the charge with strong guitar leads and big choruses. While the likes of 'No More', 'New Religion', and 'Stay' for example add elements such as saxophone and surprisingly dance-friendly electronics. But it is the raucous and bluesy strains of 'Pumping like A Gun' that really steals the show as a near perfect synthesis of all of the above elements.

In terms of production it is a product of the time it was recorded and sounds very 90s, dated obviously by the electronics and recording style, but still given a nice modern spit and polish. But the most important thing is that it has a freshness and lack of cliché that keeps it relevant and interesting throughout its run time.

Retro gothic rock it may be, but this album raises one big question... what if? With the benefit of hindsight, this would have been a standout album if it had seen release when it was supposed to. But in the present this is still a great example of gothic rock as it should be done.

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