Interview: Marc Heal

“It’s funny, having worked so hard to make a living out of music I found once I’d got there that I’d broken myself in the process. I needed a break to do some, uh, emotional housekeeping.”

Interview: Bestial Mouths

“The newer material is very personal in nature as it directly relates to the experiences and emotions I had been going through and feeling. Those experiences set the direction for the album title and cover art.”

Review: Cease2xist – 'Zero Future'

CEASE2XIST 'Zero Future' ARMALYTE INDUSTRIES

Review: David Bowie – 'No Plan'

DAVID BOWIE 'No Plan' COLUMBIA / SONY es' SELF-RELEASED

IVM's Best Albums Of 2016

Check out our 30 favourite albums of 2016

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Review: Zaibatsu – 'Zero'



ZAIBATSU
'Zero'
KILLERPOOL RECORDS


Italian stoner-infused prog rock trio Zaibatsu unleash 'Zero' an aggressive and dynamic slice of 21st century rock as it should be done. Primal aggression meets lofty imagination locked in a desert rock suit that the band constantly try and break out from. It's one of those albums tha both confirms and confounds your expectations of what the band will do.

Songs such as 'Plastic Machine Head', 'Oppenheimer's Sister', 'Chemtrails', 'Mantra 3P', 'Technocracy', and 'Collateral Language' for example play with strong riffs, hypnotically monotone vocals and strong rhythms before completely throwing song construction conventions completely out of the window for the hell of it. Acts like Kyuss, Queens Of the Stone Age, Tool and Even Primus are obvious influences yet the end result is, like the afore mentioned bands completely unique in its execution.

The instrumentation, progressive with hints of jazz yet drenched in desert rock fuzz, are the primary focus with the vocals making occasional appearances to drive the point home. The production is straight-forward and clean that balances the instruments nicely and allows the vocals to slip and slide through as they need to. It maintains a consistency even if the songs diverge into jam-like tangents that throw genre expectations out of the window.

One thing is for certain and that's Zaibatsu know what they're doing. The are experts and as such can work away from structure and genre on a whim and still create an exciting and dynamic rock album. The hard riffs, and addictive rhythms give 'Zero' and instant mass appeal, yet their progressive streak ultimately takes the album down a variety of avenues that require multiple listens to take it all in. It's a strong début that will undoubtedly see the band acquire recognition swiftly. Hopefully they will be able to build on this sooner rather than later with another strong release to cement their place.

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Review: Mirror – 'Mirror'



MIRROR
'Mirror'
ARTOFFACT RECORDS


The 2009 début album from Mirror – the electronic side-project of punk/alt rock artist Thomas Anselmi (Circle C/Copyright, Slow) was a marked change in direction for the Canadian singer-songwriter. Influenced by the musical works of David Lynch and featuring orchestral and cinematic elements it was a grandiose statement that slipped under the radar upon its initial release. Fast-forward and Canadian label Artoffact Records continue with their exceptional series of re-releases with both CD and vinyl versions of Mirror's so far only album.

From the start the Lynchian influence is very prominent in the overall atmospherics and unusual sounds hiding just underneath the mix. However there is also an unalienable sense of Berlin Cabaret, synthpop and neo-classical elements to give the album a grand yet accessible sound that is complimented by guest artists such as David Gahan (Depeche Mode), Mike Garson (David Bowie), and Laure-Elaine who add poignancy and depth to the often delicate melodies.

Songs such as 'Nostalgia', 'Nowhere', 'City Lights', 'From No One With Love', 'Fat Girl', and 'The Cold Is On Its Way' show off the scope of Anselmi's skill and vision with their soaring choruses, delicate melodies, perfect pop structures but menacing and melancholic underbellies. The whole album is constructed like a cabaret show with the cast of contributors playing their parts and propelling the narrative forward.

The production is beautiful. The songs create a huge sense of space with a bright and modern feel. Each track is mixed with great care and attention to keep that cinematic vibe at the heart of everything. The result is a wonderfully atmospheric album that heightens the emotional tone of the individual performances.

'Mirror' was, and still is a great album that has held up in the years its been out of print. This re-release is a great chance for fans of high-end electronic music to finally visit this album and enjoy it. Hopefully with this long-overdue re-release now available it will open the door for new Mirror material in the future.  

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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Review: Motus Tenebrae – 'Deathrising'



MOTUS TENEBRAE
'Deathrising'
MY KINGDOM MUSIC


'Deathrising' marks the first release for Italian gothic-doom metal outfit Motus Tenebrae on My Kingdom Music and they are quickly asserting themselves as a stand-out on the label’s already impressive roster. After a fifteen year career already the band strike hard with their fifth full-length album distilling their experience and filtering it through influences such as My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Type O Negative into a melancholic and morbid offering.

The album channels the blunt heaviness of the most recent Paradise Lost albums, adds a little of the old school death doom aggression, sprinkles some hints of symphonic orchestration, and balances it with Peter Steele style melodies to give a wonderfully balanced and miserable presentation. It's a strong album right from the start with songs like 'Our Weakness', 'Black Sun', 'Light That We Are', 'Faded', 'Deathrising', and 'Desolation' providing undeniably outstanding moments of monolithic misery. To be perfectly honest though, there isn't a bad track on this album. The band maintain an enviable consistency across each of the eleven assembled tracks adding variety to their sound as they go.

'Deathrising' is the kind of album that should make you sit up and take notice. The song writing, performance and production are all spot on to compete easily with the kind of bands that inspired them and have already carved out international careers. The mix is perfectly balanced with the vocals forcing their way through a barrage of thunderous drums, scathing guitar riffs and subtle orchestral embellishments to stamp their claim on the gothic-doom genre.

Fans of the likes of Paradise Lost, Type O Negative, My Dying Bride, A Pale Horse Named Death, Moonspell, and Swallow The Sun in particular will eat this album up with ease and will be left wanting more. Motus Tenebrae have thrown everything they have into 'Deathrising' and it shows. This is an album that shows a band that are more than ready for a big international push to put them where they deserve to be.

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Review: Dperd – 'V'



DPERD
'V'
MY KINGDOM MUSIC

Three years on from their last outing, Italian darkwave duo Dperd return with their latest full-length album 'V'. The band's ethereal edge receives perhaps its most intense and elegant showing to date with a gorgeous blend of dreamy atmospheres and gripping dark rock that draws on the likes of Dead Can Dance, Lycia, This Mortal Coil, And Cranes.

One criticism that could be levied at the band's last album 'Kore' is despite having all the pieces present to make a truly captivating album, it never really got going. However this time the band got for it straight away with tracks such as 'Frenetica', 'I Believe In You Song', 'The Way Down Song', 'Paura E Fede', and 'Do They Know Song' leading the charge with a fine blend of soaring vocals, memorable guitar lines and texturally satisfying song construction.

Tracks such as 'Cercando Solitudine', 'Aspettare Che Il Mondo Passi', and 'Vorrei Una Vita Semplice' don't quite hit the mark as much as the others, however the band keep the quality consistent throughout and the album never really falters.

In terms of production the album isn't a huge leap forward from 'Kore' however it is still a very solid and well mixed album that keeps the focus on the vocals but allows the rest of the instrumentation to shine through when it needs to give the track that extra kick, which was one thing that ddn' come across as much on the last album.

Dperd have constructed a great album here. It isn't perfect but it is one of the strongest in their fifteen year career and one that they should quite rightly feel proud of. The band's attention to detail shines through and the songs beg to be listened to in an intimate setting. Hopefully they will continue to build in this direction.  

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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Review: Colossloth – 'Outstretch Your Hand For The Impress Of Truth'



COLOSSLOTH
'Outstretch Your Hand For The Impress Of Truth'
COLD SPRING RECORDS


Leicester’s Colossloth has for ten years been creating some of the most interesting experimental and ambient music in the country. Mixing drone, ambient, noise and proto-industrial nuances this solo project has consistently produced unique sonic craftsmanship. The harsh and unusual noises, and abstract rhythmic modes are often juxtaposed against unfathomably cinematic textures and the result is an evolving an meditative experience that despite the often dissonant qualities is quite hypnotic. The solo project's newest offering on Cold Spring Records 'Outstretch Your Hand For The Impress Of Truth' is no exception.

Tracks such as 'The Flavour Of The Weak', 'Cave In We Are Complete', 'Outstretch Your Hand For The Impress Of Truth' , 'The World Keeps Turning (On Me)' and 'Of Talons And Teeth' utilise subtle yet cavernous drones before punctuating them with hard and discordant noises. While the likes of 'Your Flag Stands For Nothing', 'Paint Her Face to Simulate The Bloom', and 'The Nameless Saint' experiment with abstract rhythmic constructions and even simple but haunting piano melodies amidst the din to build a varied display of affecting noise.

With the artist rooted in experimental and noise music you'd be forgiven for dismissing the production side of things and thinking everything is drenched in distortion and sounded like it was recorded in a tin bathtub. But it isn't. The ambient side of the album informs the production which is in-turn cavernous and almost cinematic in its execution which gives the tracks clarity and grandeur.

For fans of experimental music Colossloth are a shining light and 'Outstretch Your Hand For The Impress Of Truth' is a great example of how to make high-quality experimental music that can play with genres and still doesn't rehash what has come before. It is a strong album and although it's audience won't be huge, it will nevertheless find favour with fans of experimental music.  

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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Review: Double Eyelid – 'Broken Mirror'



DOUBLE EYELID
'Broken Mirror'
SELF-RELEASED


Toronto's Double Eyelid released a great début in the form of 'Seven Years' their blend of art rock, gothic and cabaret created a torrent of dramatic dark tunes across their first outing. Now only a couple of years on the band release their remix companion to their début in the form of 'Broken Mirror'. A bold move that pays off for the band.

The band's dark decadent melodies undergo a big club-friendly transformation courtesy of acts such as Leaether Strip, Reactive Black, Tyler Milchmann, nTTx, Psyche, and DJ Cruel Britannia to name a few. The strongest cuts from the 'Seven Years' – 'Black Box', 'Dead Is Better', 'The Hanged Woman', and 'The Stranger' – are given a heavy dose of adrenalin and see guitars and dance beats pushed harder to create some great floor fillers. But every track has been reconstructed, some subtly, and some dramatically to create a varied and strong listening experience.

The remixes for the most part still keep those recognisable elements that made the band's first album so memorable. The punk guitars, Mike Garson style piano, the fresh dance beats and addictive synths still cut through the mixes with ease.

The production is luscious in its execution with the variety of synth sounds and mixes giving them all great dance-floor potential. Despite the variety of styles this feels like a succinct and balanced collection that shows off the full strength of the band's song writing.

'Broken Mirror' is not only a great remix album. But it is a great album full-stop. 'Seven Years' was a strong début, but the often dramatic shifts in style on 'Broken Mirror' really show off how versatile Double Eyelid really are. There are more than enough potential club hits here for any DJ worth their salt to get their teeth into. It would be nice to hear some more original tracks in the near future, but for now this will do very nicely to hold us over.

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Review: Various Artists – 'Undead & Open-Minded Volume 1'



VARIOUS ARTISTS
'Undead & Open-Minded Volume 1'
ELECTROZOMBIES


Sometimes you just can't beat a compilation album. They're good for when you want a little variety, when you're looking for new bands, and for parties. They're even better when they're free. And 'Undead & Open-Minded Volume 1' from Electrozombies is just such a compilation. Featuring a range of killer electronic acts (an impressive 27 in total) taking in genres such as ebm, darkwave and synth-pop the album is an essential a great party play list.

Acts such as Psy'Aviah, Junksista, Machinista, Atomzero, nTTx, The Sweetest Condition, and Scarlet Soho will be familiar names to Intravenous Magazine readers, and all provide some great tunes respectively. They're joined by the likes of Parralox, Sexy Suicide, Julien-K, Astari Nite, Dust Heaven, Eurotix, and Train To Spain whose contributions alone would be more than worth the price of a regular download.

Unusually for a compilation album there is very little drop in quality. The styles may vary but the strength of the song writing on display here, as well as the performances and execution of each contribution is solid across the board.

Straight synthpop flows into darkwave, with ebm dance beats and industrial malevolence aplenty as the track list evolves. The songs are catchy and show off a wide-range of sounds and talents from around the world. The album is curated really well with a nice flow to the running order, while each track sounds fresh and high quality.

If you're an electronic music fan looking for fresh sounds, a cool playlist, or you just love free music, then 'Undead & Open-Minded Volume 1' is one for you. The size and variety on offer here is great and for free, you can't turn your nose up at it.

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Friday, 12 February 2016

Introducing... Plebs & Fuckboys



Name of band: Plebs & Fuckboys
Members: Ripdae La Wise & Nickk Dropkick
Year Formed: 2015
Location: Waterloo, Ontario Canada / US Virgin Islands
“We're transgressive anarcho-nihilists, and also have our own illustrated comic book as well with provocative images galore.”

The members are myself (Nickk Dropkick) and Ripdae La Wise, as well we were formed this last summer (2015) over the internet through a series of collaborations. In the past we've written Waterloo, Ontario as our city of origin or main base of operations, but in truth its an internet collective, or virtual band. We feel that as far as addresses go, perhaps choosing cyberspace as the location of our scene is appropriate, as we're much less dependent upon an individual city at this point, and the main engine for our music is the web itself.


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

We are Plebs and Fuckboys, an internet duo between Nickk Dropkick and Ripdae La Wise. We actually met in a political debate group, were both musicians in the industrial/noise scene, with Rip being a Spoken Word artist. We collaborated on a few projects making transgressive and nihilist artwork, and decided to put our skills to music.


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

An ecclectic mix of everything, from noise, to hip hop, to horrid mixing, trap beats, some metal guitars, synths occasionally thrown into the mixes, and a lot of transgressive lyrical content and composition.


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

Probably stuff like NAH, Death Grips, Nietzsche, Neckface, Atari Teenage Riot, Wu Tang Clan, and 90s Hip Hop.


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

I wish we did, but I (Nickk) live in Canada, and Ripdae la Wise lives in the US virgin Islands.


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

We've got several. You can find some on our bandcamp, and one on Spettro Records here: https://plebsandfuckboys.bandcamp.com/
https://archive.org/details/PlebsFuckboys-SeenZoneBlues

They’re all releases from the past few months, as we started this project last summer.


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

Getting a release on Spettro, and just making this music and having a venue for a lot of our thoughts and concepts.


IVM: What are your plans for the future?

To try and get even more transgressive and maybe find some way to bring this project to a live stage.


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

We're transgressive anarcho-nihilists, and also have our own illustrated comic book as well with provocative images galore.

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Thursday, 11 February 2016

Of Sex & Shame


It’s ironic that in 2016, sexuality is still something that is being shunned, shamed, and shut out of the mechanism of human behaviour in society.
Ironic, because we also live in a world where there is so much sex available, everywhere, all the time.
The subtlety of thinking lies in the fact that the sex is indeed available, but it is outside of our selves. We are not taught to open up inside to our sexuality, to learn how to understand ourselves through sex.

You’re horny? Here’s everything you can look at to get off. No need to figure out why. No need to understand. There’s porn, there’s the strip clubs and burlesque shows, there’s the escorts, the vibrators and the blowup dolls.
Meanwhile, they’re completely removing sex ed from the school curriculums.
Figure that one out. Like it doesn’t matter anymore to learn about sex, and the way your body works, and how to protect yourself from STIs, and unwanted pregnancies.

Yesterday, someone made a derogatory comment towards me in regards to my active sex life. It’s never happened to my face, before.
I made a joke out of it, because yes, I have an active sex life, and I love it. I love sex, I love connecting with people through sex, and above all, I love learning more and more about myself, every time, through sex. I fully acknowledge how I do wear my sexuality on my sleeve, and I never believed in shaming sexuality. To me, it would be like shaming someone for anything they do, or like.

So I made a joke out of that comment. Because arguments on that topic have been going on for years and years, and I feel that in 2016, it’s high time they came to an end, and that we should look on the other side, for a change. For the sake of evolution.
Sex is one of the greatest ways to discover yourself. But people fail at it. Like they pretty much fail at discovering their own selves, more often than not.
Which is a shame, in itself, in 2016. It’s a shame to see how people keep constantly looking for things outside themselves to fill up their lives.
Instead of indulging in diving inside to figure themselves out, to learn how to love themselves better and accept everything that makes them who they are, and understand what they need to transform inside, so as to keep becoming a better person, if only for themselves.

Sexuality is a major part of who I am, and of my art. 'Original Game', my second album, is a study of desire, of sex as this game we play with ourselves and with others. The songs are intended for you to feel like they’re having sex with you, as you listen to them, as you let their groove take over you.
Just the way I like to write music.
Just the way I like music.
I know sex may not be as important to others as it is to me, but discovering and understanding yourself, that’s something that should be everyone’s priority. That’s how we humans should be raised. But we’re not. We are raised to judge, and fear, and evade what is inside ourselves.
And to judge, fear and evade everything we are not.
For me to have been shunned for being promiscuous means only that fear of evolution is always closer to me than I’d think it would be, that the minds and hearts of people are not where I would like them to be, sometimes.
And that, to me, is a shame.
The pleasure of life is an open mind, that’s a line in one of the songs from my Original Game.
So let me stick to that.

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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Review: Z'ev – 'Eleven Mirrors To The Light'



Z'EV
'Eleven Mirrors To The Light'
COLD SPRING RECORDS


Z'ev is an artist with an imposing discography. A long-standing and dense collection of tribal, industrial, and experimental works that seem dense and endless. But for those daring to step into them they are ultimately rewarding. Z'ev has long been considered an pioneering artist, whether through his music or his other works, he paved the way for the likes of Test Department, Einstürzende Neubauten and many other rhythmic acts over the past 30+ years.

'Eleven Mirrors To The Light' completes a trilogy of albums that began with 2009's 'Sum Things' and projects perhaps one of the most obscure sound pallet in the artists history. Long and winding metallic drones permeate the hearts of the tracks walking a fine line between ambient and noise. Metal on metal, mechanical and organic at the same time as if it is a recording of some cyclopean biomechanical city echoing in the dark corners of the cosmos.

Tracks such as 'Aina', 'Eadrom', 'Speil', 'Mirall', 'Golau', and 'Kathreftis' provide the album with its most enthralling points but the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. And when listened to in the context of the preceding albums in the trilogy it feels like a grand exclamation closing a long and arduous journey.

With its focus on textural sounds and the interplay of harsh noise and hypnotic ambiance you'd think the production would be an afterthought. But it isn't. It has a crisp, modern sound to it that pulls even the deepest sounds out from the midst of the cacophonous mix.

'Eleven Mirrors To The Light' is not easy listening in the least. Rather it challenges you to listen deep and find the beauty in the din. And it is there. There is a definite hypnotic and meditative quality to the album, but nonetheless one that encourages an active listening process. It's not one for everyone but long-time fans of experimental music and Z'ev will find this captivating.  

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Review: Clara Engel - 'Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss'


CLARA ENGEL
'Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss'

PARADIGMS RECORDS /AUDITORY FIELD THEORY

Pulling together contributions from fourteen collaborators, this record manages to become a fully formed organic entity, the third mind in action. There is no info on whether the contributors recorded their part in person or if they sent their tracks in via the inter-tubes, but from the first second the ambiance gives a vivid impression of the sounds having been captured in a bare room in an old house. The way this creates a space in which the listener hovers like a ghost is quite extraordinary.

Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss starts ravelling its threads from the first second of 'Swans', a sound poem of slow motion disaster enveloping like an inescapable dream. The beauty of the experience only serves to make the horror all the more poignant and profound. "Uneasy spirit let go of me" Clara Engel sings on 'Uneasy Spirit', but its grip is tight and cold, even as the sound is as hot as the breath of the hell-hound on our trail. The arrangement is deceptive in how it leaves so much space. Two guitarists, backing vocals, percussion and ambient sounds are layered the way a master painter will layer dozens of layers og glazes to create graceful and flowing image. On 'Swallow Me' Clara Engel's vocals hover above the martial pulse and portentous drone like an angel intoning promises that come across equally as threats as assurances. Salvation or perdition, what is held out to us, and which brings the greatest ecstasy? We don't know. The symphonic swell of violin, flute, saxophone, marimbas and vibes that build to the end impel the listener onward like fate.

Life on earth is a temporary, miraculous impossibility. Even the presence of life itself is a blip in the forward motion of space-time. 'I Love An Evil Queen' encapsulates the human condition using the  light of this thought in projected shadow puppet forms of handed down folklore. Our existing is impossible, humans plan and god laughs. In the wreckage even a malevolent monarch is loved. Herein is the promise of redemption that is eternal and wield a might even the expansion of the universe can not match nor outlast. Owls symbolize mortality in many cultures, and the sound of an owl is said to warn of imminent death or to bring messages from the realm of death. We feel this keenly from 'Once A White Owl'. The ghostly bird flies in and opens up the mind's eye to revelation. This is the last step in this world and the first step into initiation. Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss comes to an unsettling, eerie conclusion here, the following silence heavy with its echoes.

The space inhabited by this album acts as a power centre of intersecting ley-lines of disembodied stories that whisper into the ear of the listener. The characters weave through the shadows of the space, desiring to be heard. Also intersecting here in this quiet space are the traditions born in the Mississippi Delta and the Ozark mountains, feeding a powerful, slow burning creation. It is within the economy with which every aspect is built that repeated listens reveal the treasures the contained in the songs. Listening feels deeply personal while also gorgeously apocalyptic.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Review: Negative_Crush – 'Invisible_Weapons'



NEGATIVE_CRUSH
'Invisible_Weapons'
SOLID.GREY.SKY.RECORDINGS


Tyler Newman is perhaps better known for his work with Battery Cage and Informatik which released albums on Metropolis Records. The producer and musician's new vehicle Negative_Crush sees him return after four years in the studio, on his own with a doom, shoegaze, and post-metal infused industrial rock sound reminiscent of acts such as Jesu, Nine inch Nails, and My Bloody Valentine. It's bleak, low-fi and gritty. It's also very catchy.

Scathing guitars, spiky drums, anguished vocals and machine noise come together in an effortless way to convey an emotional roller-coaster of angst and despair conveyed in the lyrics. However its also very catchy and accessible for fans of intelligent industrial rock.

Songs such as 'Your Punishment Begins At Home', 'Monokrom', 'Your Secret Is Safe With Me', 'Disappear Here' and 'Burning Red Sun' provide a back bone of solid riffs, entrancing synths and a steady dance/head-bang friendly pace that is utterly infectious. While the likes of 'Twilight Hospitals', 'The Ghost Of Myself', and 'Too Many Of Us Are Dying' take things in a slightly more avant garde direction playing with the song structures, and in the case of 'Too Many Of Us Are Dying', introducing acoustic elements.

In terms of production it has a noticeably low-fi and experimental edge to it. Its rough, ready and uncompromising and on the whole this works really well without the album losing much in the way of overall sound quality. There are a few instances of the vocals getting lost in the mix which can hit the ear wrong against the rest of the track, but even this imperfection still works within the whole.

'Invisible_Weapons' is a promising first step from a very interesting new project. The music in terms of its components may feel familiar to fans of genres such as post metal, noise rock, shoegaze and industrial rock in particular, but Newman has put them together in his own way, and the result is something truly inspired. Hopefully Newman will have more Negative_Crush in the pipeline to build on this release.  

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Editorial: February, 2016



The period from 28
th December 2015 until... well... now... will surely be one that lives in infamy for years to come. Never before has it seemed that so many great talents shuffled off this mortal coil in such a small space of time.

In just a few weeks the world lost great musicians in the form of Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, Dan Hicks, Maurice White, Paul Kantner, Signe Tole Anderson, Colin Vearncombe, Jimmy Bain, Glenn Frey, Dale Griffen and Pierre Boulez. We also lost actors and writers including Alan Rickman, Margaret Forster, Joe Alaskey, Frank Finlay, Abe Vigoda, … even veteran Irish broadcaster Terry Wogan is no longer with us.

The death of a well-loved public figure always sees an outpouring of grief from their fans. Someone who has created a body of work that speaks to us on an internal level and helps us to come to terms with the human condition is essentially the cultural mirror in which we view ourselves. Whether it is the cultural progression of David Bowie, the innovative acting of Alan Rickman, or the wry humour of Terry Wogan they inspire us, comfort us and most of all entertain us.

Over the past month we have primarily saluted the legacies of Lemmy Kilmister and David Bowie, primarily due to their sizeable influences on rock, punk, heavy metal, goth, and industrial. Lemmy with his uncompromising realism. And Bowie with his artistic otherworldliness. Both were very different men, but both have left massive holes in the world.

But that's not to say the others mentioned above will not leave holes. The late Terry Wogan will forever be intertwined with his dry and sarcastic commentary for the Eurovision Song Contest as well as his long stints on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast show. Paul Katner's psychedelic Jefferson Airplane became one of the defining acts of the psychedelic era whose influence can be felt in acid house, indie, and heavy metal. Even Maurice White of Earth, Wind, And Fire may not be the usual name that appears on this site but as an innovator of funk and disco and the influence those genres have exerted on popular music his talent is nonetheless to be missed.

On the flip side there is also a culture now of, like everything else in life, publicly bemoaning other people's displays of grief when a well-loved celebrity dies. Some people may not feel the same way about your idols as you do, and that's fine. But let's respect other people's feelings and not engage in the public sniping and back handedness that seems to be growing on social media.

Telling people on the internet to respect each other? I may be a dreamer...

In more positive news though, our free download compilation is just waiting for you to head over to our bandcamp pageand get your free copy. Once you've done that, why not then send the link to a friend? Play the tracks loud and proud and support the artists who kindly offered their hard work up to us.

https://intravenousmagazine.bandcamp.com/

And if you haven't already got them, there is also 'Blood Pack Vol. 1' and 'Blood Pack Vol. 2' still available to download for free! That's a total of 56 free songs + three PDF booklets with information on each artist!

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



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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Review: Hijokaidan – 'Emergency Stairway To Heaven'



HIJOKAIDAN
'Emergency Stairway To Heaven'
COLD SPRING RECORDS


Since 1979 the Japanese noise rock outfit Hijokaidan have been prolifically spreading their brand of free improvised and often cacophonous brand. Rooted in performance art and punk rock the band's sound is anarchic in its flagrant disregard for conventional song structures. But it is remarkably hypnotic.

'Emergency Stairway To Heaven', released on Cold Spring records, is a four-part improvised piece that is almost jazz-like in its expressiveness but with copious amounts of screeching distorted guitars to send shivers down your spine. Each part runs to roughly five to ten minutes in length and plays about with lead instruments and styles as it goes along – part one for example is an in-in-your-face jazz infused freakout, Part two recalls the more experimental end of Bauhaus in its minimalism, Part three is an anarchic feedback saturated breakdown, and part four is an all out noise assault.

The EP also includes two live tracks recorded in 2014 which cover two full live sets of improvised madness the first of which is a far more rock centred affair, while the second focusses more on dirty electronics.

The album will not be for everyone. Even those who appreciate noise music will be able to take their pick of which tracks they can comfortable cope with. But noise music isn't about comfort. Its about uncompromising self expression and Hijokaidan have nearly thirty years of that under their belt. The album is an acquired taste, but it is nonetheless an pure expression of madcap improvisation and reaction that takes serious skill to pull off with any effect.  

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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Review: Der Noir – 'A Certain Idea Of Love'



DER NOIR
'A Certain Idea Of Love'
SUBSOUND RECORDS


The italiabn trio known as Der Noir are one of those delightfully unusual bands. their latest offering 'A Certain Idea Of Love' is a curve-ball of an EP that sees the band create an experimental infused collection of cold wave instrumentals that is just rather cool. Spiky guitars, throbbing mechanical beats, icy cold synths, and cavernous atmospheres come together to create some contemplative listening.

'An Idea Of Love' opens with a steady martial beat dominating the track while the post-punk guitars and cool synth embellishments give it wonderfully dreamy edge that pulls you in. 'Cold Kiss' sees Simona Ferrucci of Winter Severity index contribute abstract vocals and guitars to a bend of spacy synths and minimal beats to create a modern take on psychedelic krautrock.

'Antarctica' is a luscious centrepiece of minimalistic beats and swirling synths that recalls Jean Michel Jarre, Philip Glass and Vangelis in its construction. 'Albatros' follows on with a more industrial leaning sound that breaks out more distorted sounds and yet retains a psychedelic ambiance as well. The final track 'Blue' swerves into Enigma territory with its echoing choral vocals, watery synths and early 90s beats.

The EP has a nice minimal sound with all the elements sounding clean and distinct from each other, which gives the songs a greater illusion of space. There are a few sounds used that sound a little outdated by modern electronic standards, and it is fairly standard cold wave in some parts but it is still an interesting exercise.

'A Certain Idea Of Love' may not reinvent the wheel, but it is a solid enough EP from a very cool band that attempts to move out of their comfort zone. It may not quite succeed, but where they do get it right, it makes for a very enjoyable experience.  

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THE TAO OF LEMMY


Well, fuck you very much 2016. We hardly need to go into the devastating losses of creative forces we have seen so far this year, and especially of those key cultural presences that we thought would always be with us – and two in particular. So rather than choose which is more worthy of tribute first, I intend to deal with them in chronological order.

The death of Ian 'Lemmy' Kilminster is a massive loss for the entirety of rock and roll; but it also contains a strange kind of triumph. It seems almost bizarre that we are somehow surprised that this 70-year old man who had lived one of the longest and most prolonged periods of excess in modern history would eventually pass on; his declining health had been signposted for a long time and the smart money was on Motorhead's January UK tour being his last, but nobody appeared to have been prepared for the inevitable. Lemmy had been a constant presence for over 30 years and he had become a key pillar for alternative culture. Yet there is still something vividly relevant about his legacy, which if anything has become even clearer with his death. So, what can we learn from Lemmy?

The first thing I would suggest is that he represented a real link with a counter culture that is in real danger of vanishing entirely. From his roots in the hippy subculture of squats, collectives and lock-ins that Hawkwind represented to the greasy spoons and punks of Ladbroke Grove, to the bikers and rockers and goths and crusties and hitch-hikers, of every service station, free festival, alternative nightclub, and live music venue – this was the world that Motorhead came from. Whilst we may have become used to Lemmy as a kind of mainstream media darling he was still liable to do all sorts of strange left-field things, such as his role as assistant spy Spider in the anti-Thatcher cult movie 'Eat The Rich'. Traces of that world are virtually extinct now – so what are we doing to continue such a universal renegade, alternative ideal?

The second observation I would make is the musical contribution that Motorhead made; a stripped-down, primal aggression that reduced rock to it's core elements and removed all traces of ideology. The basic neutrality of their philosophical approach was on occasions ('Orgasmatron', '1916', 'Voices in the Sky') actually quite profound: anti-religion, anti-war, anti-politics, anti-government, anti-authority. Musically and conceptually they maintained a kind of integrity and purity that most bands have either lost or never had.

Thirdly, his doctrine of liberalism and libertarianism was essentially empowering and based on consent. Personal responsibility was key – if you didn't hurt anyone else and were ready to take responsibility for your own actions then you could (and should) do what you want. Ready to condemn racism, violence and heroin, everything else was fair game. Lemmy's legendary personal excess was a logical expression of this, and although it may have ultimately knocked years off his life who can say it wasn't worth it?

So for a life lived with clarity, passion and a creditable lack of sentimentality, as well as a musical approach which was uncompromising and seminal, Lemmy can give us a few indicators of where to go next. But even more vital for us all is to try to rediscover and rekindle that unique British counter culture and spirit of rebellion that we are in danger of losing altogether. So play 'Overkill' loud, get some drinks in, and try and find it again.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Critic's Choice 2015: Joel Top 5 of 2015



Intravenous Magazine contributing columnist Joel Heyes gives us his top five releases of the previous year.


1) Ghost – 'Meloria'

In years to come this album will be considered the moment when all the notions of Ghost being a 'novelty' act with a Satanic 'gimmick' were laid to waste. Following on from two albums which built both a remarkable catalogue of killer tracks but also a meticulously maintained image and schtick, 'Meliora' delivers an almost spiritual substance to back up Ghost's burgeoning reputation. The stand-out tracks here – 'Spirit', 'Cirice', 'Deus in Absentia' and the superlative Satanic AOR anthem 'He Is' – were the best tracks released in 2015 by far. The attention to detail and craftsmanship on display here both in terms of song writing and concept is staggering. This is the bar, and Ghost have just raised it.



2) Killing Joke – 'Pylon'

Something very strange has happened to the Joke these past several years, in that they have managed to do something relatively incredible – the reformed original line-up has been able to actually build upon enhance their considerable legacy. 'Pylon' manages to break a few records for the band, not only as it gave them their highest chart placing in decades but it is also the first time they have had a stable line-up for three albums since 1986. Strange then that one of the most notoriously unstable bands of the post-punk era has now settled into a formidable, brutal relevance. 'Pylon' shows the band remain at the cutting edge and are actually enhancing their reputation for a whole new generation of fans.



3) Zeitgeist Zero – 'Ghosts of Victory'

Always fiercely uncompromising and armed with a crystal clear vision of their sound and concept, Leeds' goth vanguard Zeitgeist Zero surpass themselves here with a perfect, modern classic. Mining a deep vein of personal turmoil and coming up with a brilliantly written and exquisitely packaged album, the guys and girls of Z0 have maintained one of the best quality control operations in UK goth with their most definitive statement yet. Some bands just know what their doing, and Zeitgeist Zero are on of those bands.





4) Lucifer – 'Lucifer I'

It's very rare that a band appears more or less fully formed, with an almost immaculately groomed sound and image, but Lucifer did just that. Formed from bands of such pedigree as Cathedral and The Oath, Lucifer spin an almost dreamlike spell of melodic doom rock here on their eponymous début, with Johanna Sedonis' vocal depth and song writing chops on prominent display. The album also promises just slightly more than it delivers, leaving the listener willing to follow the band down their psychedelic rabbit hole. Hopefully the best is yet to come!





5) With the Dead – 'With the Dead'

In terms of sheer throwaway brutality, this collision of former Cathedral singer Lee Dorrian and former Electric Wizard unit Mark Greening and Tim Bagshaw cannot be beaten. Put together under strangely furtive circumstances, With The Dead came up with a seminal slice of doom riffola on their eponymous début which will rank amongst the greats of the genre. The question inevitably was whether the band would be a one-off supergroup curio or whether it could become a going concern? Well, with the line-up already fracturing and transmogrifying into a live band it appears that all bets are off.

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Monday, 1 February 2016

Interview: Neurotech

Built to last...

Well I am schizophrenic when it comes to music and I get bored really easily when it comes to doing and repeating only one thing. When I've spent a lot of time on particular style of music it's natural for me to move on and explore new territories.“

Slovenia's Neurotech, AKA multi-instrumentalist and composer Wulf, is a music connoisseurs dream. Since the release of 2008's 'Transhuman' EP, Neurotech's brand of cybermetal has grown to a dizzyingly high standard. A standard that puts a fair few major label industrial metal bands quite frankly for shame. In addition to this, Neurotech has expanded into cinematinc intrumentals that can only be described as soundtracks to sci-fi epics that haven't been filed yet. Perhaps the best summing up of these two sides to the project can be summed up in last years releases 'Stigma' and 'Evasive – both of which Wulf has released for free (as he has done with all of his material).
Intravenous Magazine caught up with Wulf to discuss the evolution of Neurotech's sound, why he opts for the free music model, and his process as a songwriter.



Intravenous Magazine: First of all, for those unfamiliar with Neurotech can you explain the origins of the band and how you got started as a musician? 


Wulf: I started with Neurotech in 2007 with an intention to write music by myself. I was a drummer in metal bands for many years prior to Neurotech and wanted to do more electronicly driven music. So having bands and after years of experimenting of making mainly trance music in a cracked version of Fl Studio, I said to myself in 2007 to focus on only one thing and do it solely by myself.



IVM: You've recently released two very strong albums – the industrial metal 'Stigma' and the cinematic ambient 'Evasiv
e'. How has the reaction been to the albums so far? 

Wulf:
Mainly positive. Both albums are not for everyone, but for those who like this kind of mix loved it.


IVM: Why did you choose to release two very different albums in such quick succession?


Wulf:
Well I didn't consciously choose that, it all sort of happened. Stigma was written fairly quickly, I'm getting better at keeping my conscious mind away from writing and let my inner auto-pilot steer the boat. So I knew what it was supposed to be and I finished it without too much second-guessing. 'Evasive' was a whole other deal. I was writting down-tempo instrumentals pretty much from the start of Neurotech's career. By the start of 2015 I had over 30 songs which I thought I will use for my instrumental album. But after Stigma, I didn't use any of those songs. I opened up a blank canvas and was inspired and I had a vision for an album for more many years of what I wanted to hear. And because it is quite different from Stigma, it was fresh and new so the momentum kept rolling.



IVM: What were your motivations and inspirations when approaching both albums?


Wulf:
The same with all my previous albums - a desire to create, experiment, trying something new. Essentialy doing an album that I personally would want to hear in that particular moment in time.



IVM: You also released the epic 'The Ophidian Symphony' at Christmas. Again what inspired this piece and how has it been received so far?


Wulf:
As much as I love doing standard pop structure type songs, I also like doing long instrumental pieces which incorporates lots of different styles. The concept behind symphonies is that they are a mash up of orchestral, electronic & metal music and are quite long journeys which start at one place and end in another. Reception was also positive, it has become some sort of a Neurotech's Christmas tradition to end the year with something more challenging to listen to.


IVM: Considering the fact that Neurotech has so many distinctive elements to it, how would you define it as a project?


Wulf:
Well I am schizophrenic when it comes to music and I get bored really easily when it comes to doing and repeating only one thing. When I've spent a lot of time on particular style of music it's natural for me to move on and explore new territories. Neurotech is a vocation of my musical personality which is broad and I like to keep it diverse and interesting.


IVM: As a solo artist/composer how do you typically approach creating a song?


Wulf:
I do lots of demos and lots of sketches which are written fairly quickly. Mainly with synths & drums & then I add a vocal melody mumbling some gibberish into the mic to get an idea of the whole song. For an album I write around 20 - 25 songs and then narrow the selection down to around 10 songs and then spend a lifetime on them and refine & polish them until they are done. Basically what my process is like is that I write lots of material and when I've an idea of what is the main red line between some songs, I choose those who represent that era the best and I threw away the rest. It's like a sonic diary which represents the best bits of what I create at a certain time.


IVM: You've made all of your releases so far free to download through your Bandcamp. Why have you chosen this model and how has this worked for you in the the current music market?


Wulf:
Well it all started with the notion that I am only one guy, from the middle of nowhere, which is Slovenia, with no backing from any label or agency, the only way was to put my music out there for free and that made it easier for people to discover it and give it a shot at hearing it. And year by year, album after album, financing everything from my own pocket, a certain following started to emerge. The whole idea of name-your-price method is based on my personal experience - yes I also sometimes ilegally download albums if I don't know an artist or whatever, but if I like what I hear, I'll buy it. So I brought this whole mindset in my musical career as well. It has been doing okay for the last couple of years, now when everything is also on Spotify and Youtube and so on, the decline shows. I'm giving it another year to see if this is still a viable option, otherwise I'll change it to something else.


IVM: Would you consider signing to a label in the future?


Wulf:
Never say never, but in the internet era, where everything is digital - it's pointless in my opinion. Small labels can't do much more than I can do by myself at the moment, and big labels are now more or less just an extension of booking & publishing agencies and PR firms which are still much needed for the big artists who do lots of touring & press have a considerable amount of radio airplay. For small artists, we have our own distribution platforms which are rock solid and we can manage them ourselves.




IVM: As a solo artist in the studio how easy is it for you to transpose Neurotech onto the stage?


Wulf:
I've done the whole band thing with hired musicians and it does not work. Sonically it doesn't sound good to me. My albums are not played by people, they're constructed in the computer, bit by bit, where everything is layered and polished and heavily electronic, so I guess I'll have to find a way how to translate that into a electronic one-man show someday. But I'm still putting the whole live thing on hold for now.



IVM: Can we expect to see any live dates in the future?


Wulf:
No plans at the moment.


IVM: Your first album is eight years old now. Looking back at 'Transhuman' is there anything that you would have done differently?


Wulf:
I would leave it exactly as it is. The production is not good, but the songs are still okay to me. In a way its a statement that you have to start somewhere and keep evolving and improving yourself. When I listen to Transhuman now I cringe at certain moments but in a way I am still proud of it. I gave it my best shot in that particular time, with the limited knowledge of production / songwriting and general lack of experiences.


IVM: With two full length albums and a symphony under your belt last year, what does 2016 hold for Neurotech?


Wulf:
I am currently writing a new album which will be released in parts, the way I did with 'The Decipher Volumes'. Other than that, I like to keep my options open to any cool projects that may come along.


IVM: Is there anything else that you'd like to add?

Wulf:
Thanks for the interview & a big shout to all my fans!




Neurotech's latest albums 'Stigma' and 'Evasive' as well as 'The Ophidian Symphony' are available to download for free from the Neurotech Bandcamp page. For more information on the band including new release information, please visit the Neurotech Facebook page.

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