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'


Friday 22 December 2017

Xandria releases music video for 'Ship of Doom'

Photo by Danny van der Weck
German symphonic metal band Xandria released the music video for 'Ship of Doom,' a track taken from their newest album, Theater Of Dimensions, released at the beginning of this 2017. The video was directed and animated by Danny Stirn, from Manic Molecule.
After their last singer and frontwoman, Dianne van Giersbergen, left the band due to health-related issues on September, Xandria began the search for a temporary replacement, which resulted in the inclusion of Aeva Maurelle from Aeverium for the European tour dates in fall. It is still unknown who will be the permanent new singer in the band.

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It's probably not surprising that after such a torrid a year as 2017, and with political ineptitude, weaponised ignorance and institutionalised inequality rampant, that December feels gloomier and more bitingly bleak than ever. Associated as the month is with the festive blow-out of Christmas few of us are really in the mood for debt, social obligation or bad decisions.

Indeed, as the sheer amount of information, media, opinion and discord increases exponentially ever year it becomes almost impossible to ignore let alone stomach the plastic and manipulative sentimentality of the season. After all, it is very hard to believe in a season of good will where the John Lewis Christmas advert cost £1 million to make and £6 to promote, and where Virgin Health can successfully sue the NHS during its worst winter funding shortage in decades. In 2017 it feels that, collectively, we are not in the mood.

So maybe it is time to return to the source of the matter. As has been continuously asserted before the Christian festival of Christmas owes both its date and most of its traditions to those of the winter solstice and its associated festivals. The point of those festivals was to celebrate the beginning of the end of the winter, the return of the sun, and the end of the 'famine months' of darkness and want. And the form those festivals took was an excess of drink, food, merriment, dancing and warmth – often centred around the blazing symbol of the fire. These were the origins of the winter fire festival, of the kind that is making a gradual comeback today.

The fire, then, is the key. Bringer of warmth and light, shining in the depth of the winter, almost like a sun that is summoned to appear in our (literal) darkest hour. It also stimulates growth, provides the warmth needed to cook and to thaw cold bodies. It also has other connotations. For example, the Jamaican concept of 'more fire' refers to the cleansing, purging energy of fire and flame that burns away negativity. Similarly, the Romanian term for music played with gusto – 'cu foc' (literally 'more fire') – correlates the fire with passion. Fire has an essential viscerality, especially in the depths of winter, that represents renewal, rebirth, passion and cleansing anger.

It is that spirit, the spirit of a Saturnalian excess and of the beginnings of the new, which are the real roots of the festive spirit. Everything else – sharing, giving, celebrating, reaching out to the less fortunate – stem from this. In this way a basic bonfire has more genuine joy than a thousand Moz the Monsters.

So if the grinding, abrasive weight of the winter starts getting you down this Christmas then simply refocus on the real energy of the season – that of survival, celebration, and hope for the Christmas.

Have a great solstice everyone, and a happy new year.

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Monday 18 December 2017

Review: Sounds Like Winter – 'Sticks & Stones'

'Sticks & Stones'

Australian post-punk/gothic rock outfit Sounds Like Winter are a band that do exactly what they do on the label: Cold, bleak gothic with icy post-punk spikes. With overt nods to classic bands such as Bauhaus, Clan Of Xymox, Sex Gang Children, Joy Division, and The Birthday Party the band present a no-nonsense but original take on the classic gothic sound of the 80s filtered through a 2017 perspective.

Tracks such as 'Blood Red', 'Sticks and Stones', 'Impossible Dreams', 'The Life Of The Just', 'Television Dreams', 'Beasts Of England', and 'New Hebrides' are powered by grooving bass, tribal drums, scythe-like guitars and vocals that flit between Peter Murphy, Andy Sex Gang and Ian Curtis with wry and ironic lyrics on modern life. The band's influences are impossible to dodge, but it is obvious the band are taking those blueprints and reworking them with love and respect into a modern sound that works well. It's familiar enough to grab the attention of long-time post-punk/goth fans but unique enough to not sound derivative.

The production of the album is in itself a love-letter to those classic 80s albums. It's a little rough and ready with a somewhat analogue warmth to it. But it isn't aping anything in particular, just resurrecting the spirit of the age.

'Sticks & Stones' is a strong album that is on one hand an homage to the classic sound of the 80s, but on the other hand a well-constructed and yet trying to push out and beyond those archetypes and consolidate their own ideas. It's a very smart album with a lot to say and will easily find favour with fans of post-punk and classic gothic rock.  

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Review: Mesh – 'Live At Neues Gewandhaus Leipzig'


'Live At Neues Gewandhaus Leipzig'

Bristol based electronic act Mesh have enjoyed an enviable career that has seen them build both an impressive discography and live reputation. Their latest album is a sonic vindication of over a quarter of a century's worth of great electronic music with a stunning live album captured at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany in October 2015. Together with a 65 piece orchestra as part of the Gothic Meets Classic festival, the band saw their classic tracks given new arrangements by classical producer and pianist Conrad Oleak with stunning results.

The album includes five songs from the live set; 'Just Leave Us Alone', 'Only Better', 'Save Everyone', 'You Couldn't See This Coming', and 'Taken For Granted' given a symphonic makeover that is both cinematic and melancholic, capturing the essence of the originals and elevating to new levels. What is most notable other than the strength of the original compositions and how they hold up to the new arrangements is the majestic vocal performance turned in by Mark Hockings who once again shows of the full range of his talent.

The album also includes three additional songs recorded in the studio; ’There Must Be A Way’, ‘Can You Mend Hearts’, 'Before The World Ends’, which utilise a smaller ensemble with piano. While a little more intimate and stripped-back in their construction from the live recordings they nevertheless retain the cinematic quality and heightened melancholy of the live set.

The production is crisp and beautiful. The live recording is incredibly high quality with the acoustic sound of the room and the crowd noise being the reminder it is a live performance. But this isn't lost when the album transitions into the new tracks, save for the lack of crowd noise at the end of the songs you'd be forgiven for thinking it was recorded as part of the original performance.

This is a stunning example of electronic/rock music being lovingly transposed into the classical genre. The Gothic Meets Classic festival has already yielded some unexpected albums. But Mesh's 'Live At Neues Gewandhaus Leipzig' feels like one of the first to fully reach it's full potential. While this might not have the greatest appeal beyond the band's most hardcore fans, it is nevertheless a stunning album in its own right.  

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Artoffact Records announce new vinyl reissues

This March 30th Toronto-based Artoffact Records will be releasing four very highly sought-after recordings from Skinny Puppy's Cevin Key and other various collaborators, including material from Hilt and PlatEAU, as well as very rare material from Lee Chubby King and The Flu. See below for the full release list:

THE FLU / A Collection Of Absolute Insanity - Between 1986 and 1989, Cevin Key (Skinny Puppy) and the late Alan Nelson (Hilt) spent countless hours recording out of Nelson's third story apartment at 781 Queen Street in Toronto as The Flu. The music they produced in those sessions is quite remarkable, blending electronics, guitars, live drums, drum machines, live singing by cats, and recordings from tele-personals, all with Al's inimitable lyrics and vocals. Artoffact Records is proud to offer a limited edition, double LP reissue of what is the absolute rarest Cevin Key-related album of all time, re-mastered for vinyl and using audio digitally transferred directly from the original masters.

LEE CHUBBY KING / Yo’ Pusface - This Beastie Boys-inspired record, originally released on Revolving Records in 1987, is one of the rarest pieces of Cevin Key lore. Lee Chubby King was a one-off project from Cevin Key, Alan Nelson (of Hilt), Dwayne Goettel (Skinny Puppy, Download, here as “Beat Master Duck”), and Lee Salford (who drummed on Tear Garden’s Tired Eyes Slowly Burning). With such an amazing crew, one can only expect magic, but one definitely doesn’t expect this! This Artoffact Records reissue will be released on 10” vinyl.

PLATEAU / Spacecake - For the first time, the brilliant second album from PlatEAU, i.e. Cevin Key (Skinny Puppy) and Phil Western (Download), with guest appearances from Tim Hill and kaRIN (Collide), finally sees the light of day on vinyl! This Artoffact Records edition is fully re-mastered, beautifully treated to an epic gatefold sleeve, and comes with a collectable, branded MP3 download card.

HILT / Minoot Bowl Dropped The Ball - Hilt is one of the strangest bands ever created. Rock? Punk? Electronic psychedelic experimental new wave? Formed by Vancouver rocker Alan Nelson, as well as Skinny Puppy members Cevin Key and Dwayne Goettel, the band signed with Nettwerk in the late 80s for two albums, and Key's Subconscious Communications released the third Hilt album, Minoot Bowl Dropped the Ball, in 2007. All three Hilt albums are now out of print. For the first time, Artoffact Records presents Hilt's third album on beautiful double vinyl, housed in a gatefold sleeve. Includes a collectable, branded download card.

ARTOFFACT: Bandcamp / Facebook

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Book Review: Terry Burrows with Daniel Miller – 'Mute: A Visual Document (From 1978 – Tomorrow)'

'Mute: A Visual Document (From 1978 – Tomorrow)'

Mute records is quite simply one of the most important labels in music ever. Having been at the forefront of the electronic music innovation of the late 70s, they were instrumental at propelling it into the mainstream in the 1980s, continuing to diversify it in the 90s and in the new millennium have also found themselves as curators of some the most important catalogues in the genre.

We've had phenomenal live festivals such as 2011's Short Circuit. There has also been impressive collections including 'Mute Audio Documents', and numerous references in books and documentaries. But for the first time we have the story in an official capacity in the form of 'Mute: A Visual Document (From 1978 – Tomorrow)'.

This book written by label founder Daniel Miller (also of The Normal and Silicon Teens) along with respected author (and experimental electronic musician in his own right) Terry Burrows charts the rise of the label as a small vanity project, to a world wide phenomenon. Accompanied by a designer's wet dream of visuals including concepts and test pieces from some of the most iconic artwork in the label's vaults.

The book isn't ridiculously text heavy – it could very well become that with gleeful nerdy abandon – but it is instead anecdotal for the most part, almost like a documentary. Reading it you can hear the tracks playing and if you were around at the gigs and tours it mentions you'll probably be hit with happy memories. Where the information does get quite heavy, visuals of timelines, logos, artwork and photos break it up well so as not to bombard you. But otherwise it is an easy read that doesn't get overtly nerdy, but instead opens the doors on the rise, near fall, and continued success of one of music's most unique labels.

The book itself is a thing of beauty. Not only is the subject matter visually beautifully represented on the pages in full colour and great detail. But the embossed hard cover, stitched spine with 'Mute' proudly emblazoned on it, and the thick paper all make this feel like a work of art. Just as the Mute Synth and 'Audio Document' collections before it, this feels like a great quality and collectable item before you even get round to reading the text and looking at the art inside.

Any fan of electronic music will be familiar with Mute Records and the artists that have graced it over the years. In 'Mute: A Visual Document (From 1978 – Tomorrow)' you get not only a visual retrospective but a biography of the label itself, it's successes, its troubles and ultimately the passion of everyone involved in it. It has been a fascinating journey from one man's attempt to put a record out, to a globally recognised leader in electronic music, and long may it continue. Fans of the label, fans of the bands, fans of great design, and even anyone out there toying with the idea of getting into the music industry will find this a great read and a treasure trove of ideas.  

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Live: Marilyn Manson – Manchester Apollo 04/12/2017

MARILYN MANSON (+ Amazonica)
Apollo, Manchester

It has been a turbulent year for Marilyn Manson. The tragic loss of his father delayed the release of the album that became 'Heaven Upside Down', the firing of long-time friend and collaborator Twiggy Ramirez after historic rape allegations, and the freak accident involving an unsecured stage prop that left Manson with a broken leg and led to a series of American tour dates being cancelled. But the self-proclaimed god of fuck is a tough one to keep down. The new album has enjoyed rave reviews since its release and the tour has made a feature of Manson's injury that will no doubt be a talking point for many audiences for some time to come.

This latest tour sees an interesting support act in the form of DJ Amazonica. Yes, you read that correctly. Admittedly tour support slots are contentious things with most bands these days taking whoever is willing to pay for the slot, but this seems like a misstep. It's a common complaint that bands who often don't really need the exposure are often found supporting bigger ones to draw some of their own fans to the gigs, but in Amazonica this seems to have been completely forgone in what seems like the easiest and most convenient set-up possible.

The DJ has a pretty standard table set up and performs a pretty standard set comprised of rock and metal classics with the bass turned up and hard kicks inserted over the top. The mixing was pretty on-point and there was a good reaction from the crowd, but it was really underwhelming for a night like this. At a club night with a couple of guest bands and the time to let the songs play for more than 30 seconds each this would have been far more enjoyable, but in this context it would have been much nicer to see a new hungry young band give it their all tonight.

Despite the light setup of a few DJ decks and a table, Manson's stage time is still delayed by 30 minutes so the night will at least end at a proper time (honestly why are 10.30pm finishes for gigs even a thing?). When Manson does take to the stage it is to riotous applause as he nips around on an electric wheelchair cum throne to the strains of 'Revelation #12'. Manson then continues the majority of the set on a peg-leg and assisted with costume changes by a couple of helpers in scrubs.

The set list itself is a nice mix of old and new featuring the likes of 'This Is The New Shit', 'mOBSCENE', 'Disposable Teens', 'The Dope Show', 'Sweet Dreams', and 'Tourniquet' providing highlights. While the newer cuts are taken from the last two albums with 'Kil4Me', 'Deep Six', 'Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge', 'We Know Where You Fucking Live', and 'Say10'.

There were some contentious issues though with Manson occasionally stopping the songs in order to pump up the crowd, and even outright aborting 'I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)', and the encore performance of 'Coma White'. Post 'Coma White' the encore went into a stalling and messy version of 'Saturnalia' that killed the momentum quite a bit with an extended guitar solo, before bringing it back with 'The Beautiful People' to close the show. Obviously with a broken leg, climbing the podium for 'Antichrist Svperstar' was out of the question so that was an understandable cut.

Despite the broken leg and the odd stalls to the set it was otherwise a pretty solid showing from Manson. The band was tight and Manson and Tyler Bates' onstage chemistry is continuing to grow. And even though his movement was limited by the broken leg Manson still put on a show. It may not have been the huge spectacle of his mid-90s to mid-00s heyday, but he still give you plenty of bang for your buck.  

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Monday 11 December 2017

Interview: Ludovico Technique

Back in therapy... 

"The visual embodiment of the band has always been the idea of negative, toxic emotions that are deep within the being permeating up through the pores of the skin to warp the body. Essentially, we look like beings driven to the brink by those things inside that have overtaken us." 

Ludovico recently returned with a new single in the form of 'Absence' a darker and more sensual affair that builds on their debut album 'Some Things Are Beyond Therapy' and it's companion EP 'We Came To Wreck Everything'. With their unique take on aggressive electronic music and a visceral live show as well, they have quickly built a strong reputation as an up and coming act.

With this first single heralding a new album, the band look to consolidate their gains and establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with. We caught up with vocalist Ben V to talk about the new single and what we can expect from album number two.

Intravenous Magazine: You've just released a new single in the form of 'Absence', how has the reaction to it been so far?

Ludovico Technique: The reaction has been beyond words. For the first week of its release it was the #1 Goth release on Amazon and I couldn't be happier. People have really embraced the direction I went on this one.

IVM: What is the concept behind 'Absence' in particular?

LT: To put into words what depression can feel like. Also, I wanted to give life to some of the most personal lyrics I've written.

IVM: How far is the sound of the single indicative of the style of the forthcoming album?

LT: I'm taking my cue more from the idea that each and every song is a release unto itself. One song may sound like this, another song may sound like that. But that's the enjoyment of the journey, allowing different emotions to speak freely without expectation.

IVM: The single sees the track joined by some great remixes, how important is maintaining that relationship with other bands and which reworking of the track hit you the most?

LT: That's a tough question. They're all so great.

IVM: What themes and inspirations have gone into the writing of the new single and album?

LT: Freedom of expression in the face of a judgemental world.

IVM: How has the writing and recording process changed for you since the last album?

LT: Well, we had released an album a few years ago and then decided to tour nonstop until now. It definitely means that things have changed a little since our last album. I'd actually say things have gotten more intense and more refined. I'm able to write things more from the soul more easily these days.

IVM: There have been teasers for a music video to accompany the 'Absence' single, what can we expect from that and is there a release date yet?

LT: This past year I discovered a passion for cinematography. It has become a major part of my artistic expression, and I look forward to showing that to the world. The "Absence" music video will be my debut in that area. Hang tight, it's almost ready to go! Ha

IVM: The visual presentation of the band has always been very striking. How important is that element to you and how do you feel it has evolved with this new release?

LT: The visual embodiment of the band has always been the idea of negative, toxic emotions that are deep within the being permeating up through the pores of the skin to warp the body. Essentially, we look like beings driven to the brink by those things inside that have overtaken us. As far as the evolution, I'd say you'll have to catch the Absence music video for that!

IVM: Can you reveal any details regarding the title and release date of the next album yet?

LT: I'm currently looking at an early spring release date.

IVM: You've had quite a prolific touring schedule over the past few years, and have recently played Terminus Festival. Have there been any highlights so far?

LT: Touring is always great, the connection made with the fans when live and direct elevates the experience to one of a kind levels.

IVM: What is the most memorable thing that has happened out on the road for you?

LT: Sharing such passionate experiences with the other bands that we have toured with.

IVM: What are your current touring plans?

LT: At the moment all focus is on writing and releasing new material; however, I'm sure at some point soon another tour will come.

IVM: Are we likely to see Ludovico Technique in the UK any time in the near future?

LT: We definitely hope so. I've heard that the UK loves music, so let's do it!

IVM: Finally is there anything you'd like to add?

LT: I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who supports us: long time fans as well as new fans. In this experience of life and loss, the experiences shared through music are some of the deepest known to humans. We are honoured to be a part of that connection.

Thanks for having us Intravenous, see you soon.

Watch video!

'Absence' is available to buy now through Metropolis Records. For more information on the band including release and tour dates, please visit their official website.  

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RICHARD YOUNGS announces the release of a brand new album, Belief, out on CD, vinyl and download on 2 March 2018, via O Genesis Recordings.

Belief follows Youngs’ Beyond the Valley of the Ultrahits (2010, Jagjaguwar) and is his first release since his recent collaboration with the Turner nominated artist Luke Fowler, Paul Thomson (Franz Ferdinand) and Michael Francis Duch (LEMUR), the avant-disco supergroup, AMOR.

Listen to the first track to be released from the album. Youngs explains: “Nebulosity is about finding my way. Although the lyric declares "no time for faith", it is a song of self-belief.” –

Youngs recorded the album in his hometown, Glasgow, as a cycle of chamber songs, a 21st century update of the solo album – one musician playing all the instruments in a small one-room set up. The album itself began with Youngs collecting his own percussion samples: from handclaps, a battered old cymbal, an extractor fan vent, FM radio interference, cassette hiss and a kick from “a disastrously ‘80s sounding drum machine”. These were then used to programme beats, played back at randomly determined tempos in durations mapped to randomly chosen major label songs.

The original plan was to send Belief out to the ‘major’ labels and collect the rejection letters as an art project. But, as soon as the album had been mixed, Daniel O’Sullivan (Grumbling Fur, This Is Not This Heat) played the songs to Tim Burgess and before the mail art project could take off, Belief became Richard’s debut for Tim Burgess’ O Genesis Recordings label.

Tim Burgess: “Richard’s album came to me via his friend Daniel O’Sullivan. He gave me some of Richard’s songs and they completely bowled me over. I immediately asked if O Genesis could release it and he put me in touch with Richard. Belief is sublime gnostic pop and is the soundtrack to why I wanted to be able to release albums on our label.
O Genesis had recently released Daniel’s record (VELD) and it’s always difficult to know what an artist thinks of our label - they might just be being polite when they say good things. If someone recommends a friend or a band that is dear to them, then that is a perfect sign for me.”

Richard Youngs has released around 140 albums and his collaborations include Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple), Jandek, Oren Ambarchi, Alasdair Roberts, Alastair Galbraith and Heatsick. Prolific, multi-genre and impossible to categorise, Stewart Lee has said of him: “Imagine Richard Youngs as the junior member of a cabal of prolific and puritanical English musician-mystics, including The Fall’s Mark E Smith, Van der Graaf Generator’s Peter Hammill, Martin Carthy and The Clangers’ composer Vernon Elliot, and still his nature will elude you.”

Richard Youngs, who regularly performs in Europe and recently toured America and New Zealand, played at Le Guess Who? Festival, invited by Grouper, and will perform at a two-day Yuletide event organised by labelmate Daniel O’Sullivan at Servants Jazz Quarters in London. The line up will also feature Daniel O’Sullivan & Dream Lion Ensemble, Grumbling Fur, Alexander Tucker, Nik Void and Tim Burgess.

18 Dec - UK, London, Servants Jazz Quarters, with Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker performing live and a DJ set by Tim Burgess and Nik Void

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Friday 1 December 2017

Review: Porn – 'The Ogre Inside'

'The Ogre Inside'

France's Porn return with their third album 'The Ogre Inside'. Though the band formed in 1999 it's taken them nearly 20 years to build up to album number three, so you're forgiven if the name doesn't ring any bells. But upon listening to this, you'll wish you were better acquainted with their work.

The band may wear their influences on their sleeve, but what they churn out is the kind of good industrial rock that was popular at the turn of the millennium. Tracks like 'Sunset Of Cruelty', 'She Holds My Will', 'May Be the Last Time', 'Close The Window', 'Heavy Is The Crown', 'You Will Be The Death Of Me', and 'The Ogre Inside' recall the likes of Marilyn Manson, Orgy, KMFDM, Skold, Godhead and Two. Strong riffs, emotive vocals, great synth embellishments, sing-a-long choruses and strong rhythms combine to make this an instantly addictive listen.

There is that characteristic filthy gritty industrial rock edge to their sound that is balanced quite nicely with a more dark and atmospheric presentation throughout the album. This isn't as prominent on the shorter faster numbers, but when they let things sprawl as on the title track you really do begin to get those deeper flavours.

The production is also pretty good. Considering it is six years since their last full-length album they've had the time to put into it, and it shows. The album sounds just as strong as any of the previously mentioned bands at the height of their popularity.

This is a strong album that will easily find favour with industrial rock bands. It pays homage to its influences but is unique in its own right and doesn't try to imitate what has gone before. Hopefully the band will follow this up with another full-length release sooner rather than later and try to build up some momentum.  

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Wednesday 29 November 2017

Review: In The Nursery – '1961'


Since 1981 Sheffield duo Nigel & Klive Humberstone have released over two dozen albums that explore a myriad of sounds including post-punk, industrial, goth, darkwave, and neoclassical. Their latest release '1961' a sort of emotional-concept album that inspiration from the historic, literary and personal events of 1961 – the birth year of Nigel and Klive.

Over three decades of skill and refined talent is immediately evident from the opening bars of 'Until Before After'. Swelling classical instrumentation, melancholic folk, classic industrial/mechanical sounds, and gothic atmospheres are blended into a cinematic masterpiece of emotionally resonant musicianship.

1961 was a fertile year for a conceptual journey and the album takes in many stops such as the rise of the Berlin Wall, Yuri Gagarin's first manned space-flight, the novels 'Catch 22' and 'Solaris', and the founding of Amnesty International. Even a track built around a binaural and electromagnetic recordings of a 1961 Ford Consul - the engine resonating at the frequency 65 Hz in the note of C.

Tracks such as 'Until Before After', 'Grand Corridor', 'Retrofire', 'Solaris' , 'Prisoner Of Conscience', and 'The Earth Was Blue' really exemplify everything that is great about ITN. It doesn't matter if they're shifting from a soundscape to a folk song or back into a ballad, it is always done with expert musicianship and skill. There may not be any massive stylistic deviations or innovations from their recent output, but this shows just how well the band can take a concept and execute it.

Production-wise it is utterly stunning. It has the scope of a Hollywood soundtrack but still feels warm, personal and intimate throughout. Even at the album's most esoteric moments, such as 'Consul', it still feels understated and welcoming.

'1961' is another example of just what a treasure In The Nursery is. After 35 years the Humberstone brothers are still pushing boundaries, and experimenting with skill and intelligence. They are one of Sheffield's proudest musical legacies (and that is no mean feat giving the calibre of that city's musical heritage) and deserve their place in the history books.

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Friday 24 November 2017


A Certain Ratio announce details of a UK tour in 2018. A Certain Ratio (Jez Kerr, Donald Johnson, Martin Moscrop, Denise Johnson, Tony Quigley and Liam Mullan) will kick off the dates on 16 March with a show in Newcastle, the tour will include a performance in London on 21 April and at Atmosphere Festival at Seel Park in Mossley in May, full details below.

Following a series of festival dates that included Dekmantel, Amsterdam and Baleapop, France plus an incredible performance in London earlier in the year, the band will close 2017 with a special performance in their hometown, Manchester, on 16 December

16 Dec 2017 - Manchester 02 Ritz with Gramme – tickets available from

16 March - Newcastle, Hoochie Choochie
17 March - Glasgow, Stereo
24 March - Bristol, Fiddlers Club
25 March - Brighton, The Haunt
21 April - London, Garage
18 May - Hebden Bridge, Trades Club
26 May - Tameside, Atmosphere Festival

Tickets available from

A Certain Ratio are supporters of Artists Against Hunger, a campaign by Action Against Hunger and will donate £1 for each ticket sold in 2018. For further details, please go to:

Friday 24 November will see the first three albums in a reissues series released: The Graveyard And The Ballroom, which originally came out on Factory Records in December 1979, To Each (1981), and Force (1986). The reissues continue into 2018 and include the long out of print albums Good Together and acr:mcr plus a rarities box set and a new compilation which will feature two newly recorded tracks later in the year.

MARCH 2018
I’d Like To See You Again
Good Together

MAY 2018
Up In Downsville
Mind Made Up
Change The Station

JULY 2018
New compilation

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Thursday 23 November 2017

Review: Caustic – 'Stimulation'


Following on from the Coil-inducing 'The Coital Staircase' comes a surprise EP from Matt Fanale in the form of 'Stimulation'. With critically acclaimed albums such as 'The Golden Vagina Of Fame And Profit', 'The Man Who Couldn't Stop' and 'Industrial Music' under his belt it would forgivable if Fanale were to drop a few tracks that repeated previous successes. But instead we get a continuation from the more minimal and experimental sounds of the last single that takes what we thought Caustic was and once again moulds it into something new.

Featuring a more experimental and ambient textures, with a big does of old school minimal techno and ebm, but with a rhythmically pleasing core, the EP blends elements of Fanale's Jizzcore origins with analogue sounds (both melodic and dissonant) for thoughtful yet strangely infectious outing.

Tracks such as 'Mask Of A Face (Stoma v.0)', and 'Induction' feel the most experimental with their distorted dance beats surrounded my beeps and drones. While the likes of 'Buzzkill', 'Geistfick', and 'A.D.I.D.A.S' bring in the techno and ebm flavours with their bass and melodies powering the tracks forward.

The production is excellent. It's tempting to leave “experimental” influenced recordings as rough and ready as possible... because underground and low-fi etc. But Fanale gives these tracks the spit and polish they deserve, enhancing all of the elements within and letting them shine through whether melodic or dissonant.

This might be another curve-ball from Fanale, but there is no denying he is an artist of substance who seems to be able to assimilate different styles and genres with ease and still produce something that can only be described as Caustic. It remains to be seen as to whether this is a permanent stylistic direction, but in the here and now, 'Stimulation' is a great EP and worth your time.  

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Wednesday 22 November 2017

Kirlian Camera Release 'Sky Collapse' Single (Feat. Eskil Simonsson)

’Sky Collapse’ is an overture for a storm yet to come. A song about blackening skies and disquieting
scenarios, it is the first single from the forthcoming new album by the Italian electronic dark wave act  Kirlian Camera. It also marks a new collaboration between two of the most distinguished names in  mainland Europe’s electro-pop scene, with Swedish icon Eskil Simonsson of Covenant duetting with Kirlian Camera singer Elena Alice Fossi. ’Sky Collapse’ is written by Fossi with band mate
Angelo Bergamini and mixed by the legendary producer John Fryer. Kirlian Camera describe the song as follows: 

“‘Sky Collapse’ is memories from a recent hard period, when any possible light seemed to turn into  deep darkness as if everything was definitively lost. The words of Reverend Jim Jones at the start of the song are a clear guidance to that disquieting world. [Lest we forget, the Peoples Temple leader committed suicide along with 1000 followers in Guyana in 1978.] The sky looked as if it had collapsed, when…an unexpected ray of hope started shining on a doomy evening. So, we are here today to describe quite an ordeal with simple words and ‘dance on all those ruins’, whether from the past or a hard future we are yet to endure. We have always perceived a connection with Eskil Simonsson and  his band Covenant, so this meeting of each other on these strange roads of today is just a natural effect of such research in music and beyond." 

1 Sky Collapse (feat. Eskil Simonsson) 05:41
2 Sky Collapse (Dancetronic Mix) 05:12 
3 Venus Maze (1700 2 2000) 02:26
4 Moonlight Sonata For Holograms (Alternative Version) 06:01 

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Mesh To Release New Live/Classical Album 'LIVE AT NEUES GEWANDHAUS LEIPZIG'

When the Bristol based electronic act MESH received a standing ovation from almost 2000 attendees
at the end of their sold-out concert at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany in October 2015, it marked the conclusion of a truly remarkable event. Together with a 65 piece orchestra, they had performed under the heading ‘Gothic Meets Classic’ and convinced even the most hardened of sceptics with their performance. The quartet’s melancholic compositions were a perfect fit for the new arrangements by classical producer and pianist Conrad Oleak, while Mark Hockings proved once again that he is one of the best live vocalists in the electronic pop and rock scenes.

Five songs were recorded live in superb audio quality by sound engineer Jacky Lehmann, with Oleak
responsible for mixing and mastering, including a 5.1 surround sound mix for an audio DVD. Under his aegis, MESH also recorded three additional songs in the studio (’There Must Be A Way’, ‘Can You Mend Hearts’, Before The World Ends’) utilising a smaller ensemble with piano, thereby presenting a full album of high quality classical recordings. The Dependent label does justice to this sonic opulence by releasing the glorious end product on CD, a limited edition 180 gram vinyl LP in a gatefold sleeve  and a special ’Großer Saal’ collectors box set edition that contains the CD, the audio DVD, the LP  plus a 48 page 12” x 12” hardcover art book, a softcover book that includes the sheet music and a hand-signed and numbered certificate of authenticity.  

1 Just Leave Us Alone (live)
2 Only Better (live)
3 Save Everyone (live)
4 You Couldn’t See This Coming (live) 
5 Taken For Granted (live) 
6 Can You Mend Hearts? 
7 There Must Be A Way
8 Before This World Ends

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Daniel O'Sullivan Releases New EP & Live Dates

Daniel O’Sullivan has released a new four-track EP, The Many Are We, featuring two tracks from his latest solo album of luminous pop incantations, electroacoustic music and shimmering drones, VELD, and two brand new recordings. Listen to the EP here:

2017’s dates include O Genesis’ Yuletide celebrations - two nights at Servants Jazz Quarters in London on 18 and 19 December. The two nights will see Daniel O’Sullivan performing with both the Dream Lion Ensemble and Grumbling Fur and the bill includes Richard Youngs, Alexander Tucker and Elephant House and DJ sets from Tim Burgess, Nik Void and Luke Turner. Further information and tickets from:

Whether solo or in his varied collaborative projects, O’Sullivan’s work is remarkable in the way it infuses familiar everyday experience with traces of the uncanny, the secret and the magickal. VELD distils these tangled realities into a wonderfully rich and complex record - one of his most immediate and moving pop albums to date, yet one that's strikingly dense and allusive, alive with enticing sonic diversions, hypnotic mantras and eerie biomechanical rhythms.

O’Sullivan’s varied work is united by a love of bricolage, a fascination for drawing sounds and ideas from across disciplines and aesthetic worlds into a shared orbit. Traces of his many projects all meet and mingle in VELD: from his solo music as Mothlite to the lysergic songcraft and space-time vortices of Grumbling Fur (with Alexander Tucker) and Laniakea (with Zu’s Massimo Pupillo), the reality-distorting zones of Æthenor and Ulver, the electronic pop of Miracle (with Zombi synth maestro Steve Moore), and his recent involvement with another pioneering London group, This Is Not This Heat.

Written during a time of great personal upheaval and growth, these are songs steeped in thoughts of change and growth: the joys, fears and strangeness of parenthood and family life, loss and grief, the passing of time. Yet they’re also inspired by the transformative, self-obliterating potential of sound and music - its ability, explains O’Sullivan, “to weave together multiple voices, forms and aspects of the self into a unifying whole.” So throughout you hear O’Sullivan’s voice merging and phasing with guest vocalists including Linn Carin Dirdal, Jael Reasoner and Astrud Steehouder, as the music surges from astral pop songs (‘Scorpio Rising Blues’, ‘Sabotage Devices’, ‘Luminous Fibres’) to dubbed-out electronics and burning feedback (‘Plutonians’, ‘The Projector’), fractal sound collage and spidery guitar pieces (‘Doe A Deer’, ‘Be Honour You’).

The result is a record whose songs evoke multiple universes and other possible realities, and O’Sullivan’s most unified and self-contained solo work to date.

24 Nov – Worm, Rotterdam with Grumbling Fur and Alexander Tucker (Solo)
25 Nov - Transmissions Festival, Ravenna (Solo)
26 Nov - Fall Festival, Mumble Rumble, Salerno (Solo)
27 Nov - La Fine, Rome (Solo)
3 Dec - Cave 12, Geneva (w/ This Is Not This Heat)
18 Dec - Servants Jazz Quarters, London (Daniel O'Sullivan & Dream Lion Ensemble, Richard Youngs and Alexander Tucker live with Tim Burgess & Nik Void DJ sets)
19 Dec - Servants Jazz Quarters, London (Grumbling Fur and Elephant House live with Luke Turner DJ set)

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Davey Suicide Release Music Video For 'Torture Me' & Announces Tour

Gutter Goth Rock Icons, Davey Suicide are excited to release their brand new music video for Torture Me. The song is from their third full-length album Made From Fire, which was released independently in late March and charted on Billboard.

"A lot of what fuels my life is also the downfall of it. That dynamic brings out the worst and best in me." -Davey Suicide

Hailing from "Unholywood Killafornia," the band consists of Davey Suicide on vocals, Niko Gemini on guitar, Derek Obscura on bass, Drayven Davidson on drums and Needlz as the "keyboardist/audio terrorist..

The Torture Me video was directed and edited by Vicente Cordero, with additional direction and concept by Drayven Davidson.

Davey Suicide begin their U.S. headlining Made From Fire tour next week. The tour features VIP & Tattoo Packages, where Davey himself, will tattoo one person at each stop on the tour, along with a mini acoustic set for the VIP's.

"This tour will mark our longest set and biggest stage production to date. I can't wait for our fans to experience this next chapter in Suicide history." - Davey Suicide

Made From Fire Tour Date

11/30 Santa Cruz CA - Catalyst Club
12/01 Portland OR - Hawthorne Lounge
12/02 Seattle WA - Funhouse
12/03 Spokane WA - The Pin
12/04 Jerome ID - Diamondz Event Center Get
12/05 Salt Lake City UT - Liquid Joe's
12/06 Colorado Springs - Sunshine Studios
12/07 Omaha NE - Lookout Lounge
12/08 Braidwood IL - Top Fuel Saloon
12/09 Westland MI - Token Lounge
12/10 Lakewood OH - The Foundry
12/11 Richmond VA - Canal Club
12/12 Spartanburg SC - Ground Zero
12/13 West Palm Beach FL - Respectables
12/14 Winter Park FL - The Haven
12/15 Lake Charles LA - Center Stage
12/16 Lubbock TX - Backstage
12/17 El Paso TX - Rockhouse Bar & Grill
12/18 Albuquerque NM - Burt's Tiki Lounge
12/19 Mesa AZ - Club Red
12/20 Anaheim CA - Chain Reaction

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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Review: Byronic Sex & Exile – 'Under The Gaze Of And Indifferent God'

'Under The Gaze Of And Indifferent God'

Once again the opium smoke parts as the crypt creaks open to reveal the dark and shadowy shape of a new Byronic Sex & Exile EP. As old school as Bela Lugosi's cape 'Under The Gaze Of And Indifferent God' is a homage to the decadent trad goth of years gone by played with a knowing glint of irony in its eye.

Picking up where last years 'Crimes Of Passion' EP left off with another four cuts of steady mechanical beats, old school guitars, synths and melancholic vocals with elements of acts such as Dead Can Dance, Gene Loves Jezebel, Flesh For Lulu, Rose Of Avalanche, Rosetta Stone, Children On Stun and Love Like Blood distilled through an atmosphere befitting a German expressionist film.

The likes of 'Under Heaven', and 'True Slave' bookend the EP with opulent and mournful gothic hymns made to echo eldritch halls. While 'Heresy In Flesh' and 'Purity' dial up the dance elements that in the 90s would have set the club scene on fire. Even though there are only four songs, the track list seems to cover all the bases in terms of what a damn good trad goth record was and still can be.

All of the old school sounds are present; drum machine beats, cheesy but atmospheric synths, and jagged post-punk guitar lines and the deep crooning baritone. But it doesn't try to recreate a specific sound. It takes those sounds and records them to a modern standard. As such the production pulls the best out of the tracks instead of trying to copy what was the standard of the era.

This is an unashamed love letter to gothic rock that takes the familiar elements and continues the tradition rather than simply imitating it into parody. As such the songs sound like classic singles rather than a clumsy rip-off, and is a joy to listen to as a result.

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Book Review: Jim Balent - 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #106'


'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #106'

Dark fantasy acquires a new definition in the latest issue of 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose', created by Jim Balent, a Halloween themed chapter in the adventures of the Swordmaiden of the Goddess in which she faces the spirit of the festivity itself.

Tarot, her sister Raven Hex, her husband Jon Webb, and her former lover, Boo Cat, have a not so pleasant meeting with the Spirit of Halloween as it takes a ride across Salem, turning people’s costumes into their real selves as long as the day lasts.

The witchy sisters find themselves caught on a delicate situation when the city is completely turned upside down, now inhabited by monsters, demons and every creature they could have thought about to dress like during the festivity, even worse when they have to come face-to-face with an enraged group of werewolves on their own.

Such a simple story is enough for Balent to create an interesting episode on the ongoing comic series, showing that it’s not always mandatory to overthink ideas, and that sometimes it takes only an interesting plot twist near to the end to produce an entertaining piece such as this issue.

'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose' has been known for combining erotic art with dark fantasy and some touches of gore now and then, elements very present in this issue #106 and that fight between themselves to have the perfect balance. I’d say that there was more of the first, but you never know what can happen in the next chapter, which is one of the best aspects of this comic!

As always, the level of detail in each of the issues is surprising, making it worth the two months of wait between each of them, with all of the pieces in their rightful places and an incredible colouring that can only captivate the eye of the reader. Followers of the series will be even more bewitched!

The shadows play a major role in this chapter, not only as an element of art but also as part of the narrative, making it all look gloomier than usual, and even giving its body to the Spirit of Halloween, a character I’m sure many of us will want to see again in the future!

I will only complain about the simple backgrounds on some of the panels, something that has changed gradually issue after issue. Doesn’t mean you don’t get Gods-like detailed environments anymore, but that the single coloured panels behind dark shadows are becoming more usual than I’d like to see.

As for the rest, this stand-alone issue was enough for me to remember why I fell in love with Tarot, her whole squad and entire universe, filled with seductive characters and ferocious beasts, as well as being a very well-inspired reflection on the Wicca religion and what it stands for. It’s great to see another kind of witches around beside those that sold their souls to the Devil.

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First look at Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #109

Cover A
Broadsword Comics revealed a first look at the issue #109 of dark fantasy, ongoing comic, 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose', which will be titled 'A Dark Union' and is scheduled to ship on late March 2018.

Besides Cover A of the issue, Broadsword Comics also revealed the Photocover Edition, the Deluxe Art Print and the SkyClad Edition. Currently, this edition and a special bundle for the issue are on sale on the company's official store.

The synopsis and covers could indicate that this issue will be focused on Tarot's sister Raven Hex and Azure, an immortal elf on a quest to conquer the human world, something he tried to do manipulating the Gothic witch. However, his plans have been foiled on multiple occasions by the Black Rose Coven.
Tarot is shot while accompanying the Skeleton Man on one of his missions! Jon must steal a police car to save her life! Time is ticking away as Tarot bleeds out! Meanwhile, Raven Hex is attacked by two of Azure's minions as they attempt to retrieve his severed arm.
18th Anniversary PhotoCover
Deluxe Art Print
Tarot#109 Skyclad edition

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Monday 20 November 2017

Artoffact Records announces exclusive 7" vinyl by Street Sects

Toronto-based Artoffact Records announces this week that they will release an exclusive 7" vinyl by Austin, Texas duo and The Flenser recording artist Street Sects.
Supported by Pitchfork, Vice, Rolling Stone, Bandcamp Daily, and The Needle Drop, and recently having completed a North American tour with Dalek, Street Sects has recorded two new tracks, one of which is built on disassembled parts of a Controlled Bleeding song.

'Things Will Be Better in Hell' is a two song 7" single about love and relationships. Side A, Things Will Be Better in Hell, is a view from within the confines of a codependent relationship, one where addiction and love have become inseparable. Where getting clean means getting out, and is therefore unthinkable. The core mainframe of this song was built from digital reworkings of live drum samples recorded by Alton Jenkins of Future Death.

Side B, Bite Down Hard, takes a look at a 'successful' relationship. In love, the word 'forever' means until the end of life. But what happens if you make it? If you manage to stay loyal to one person, one idea, one position until your final days, how does that feel? Do you look back upon your life with a sense of pride and accomplishment, or do you lament the missed opportunities, and wonder how things might have been? Built entirely from samples that were pulled from Controlled Bleeding's 'Return of the Quiet', 'Bite Down Hard' was originally intended to be included on Controlled Bleeding's 'Carving Song's, a collection of remixes of songs from 'Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps', but as the song came together it became clear that the track was less of a "remix", and more of a Street Sects original composition, therefore warranting a separate release.

The 7” is pressed in two versions, one on clear vinyl and one on red.

STREET SECTS: Bandcamp / Facebook
ARTOFFACTBandcamp / Facebook

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We are deeply heartbroken by the loss of our friend and bandmate, Chuck Mosley. Chuck had a 
vibrant free spirit. He was also a sensitive, kind and loving soul. He wanted to be everything to 
everyone; a good partner to Pip, a good father to his children and grandson, a loyal friend, an 
accomplished chef, an entertaining performer and so much more. Chuck was funny, witty, 
charismatic and charming in a way that was only Chuck. His art and legacy will be with us all 
forever; he was truly one of a kind. 

On November 3rd, Chuck, Mark, Erie and I were celebrating the release of an album Chuck held 
very dear. Less than a week later, he was no longer with us. Over the past few days, we have spent 
a great deal of time contemplating the best way to honour our friend. At Pip and Doug Esper’s 
urging, Mark, Erie and I will continue to support the album that Chuck was so proud of. The three 
of us will donate any proceeds earned from album sales throughout our release cycle in 2018 to 
MusiCares, a not-for-profit charity, in Chuck’s name. MusiCares' services and resources cover a 
wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies and each case is treated with integrity 
and confidentiality.

Mark, Erie and I wish to express our deepest condolences to his soulmate Pip Logan, their children 
Erica and Sophie, Grandson Wolfgang and dearest friend, Doug Esper. Unfortunately, Chuck’s 
premature demise left his family without the means to send him off properly and move into their 
next phase of life. Your gesture of a donation to help with his final expenses would be greatly 

Addiction is a horrible burden to bear for the afflicted and their loved ones. If you are, or know 
someone who needs help, don’t be afraid to ask. Help is only a call away. For more information on 
available resources, please visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:

Rest In Peace, Chuck.

Love always,
Chris Kniker, Mark Gemini Thwaite and Erie Loch

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