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.”

Live: Katatonia – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 07/05/2017

KATATONIA (+ TheGreat Discord, Ghost Bath) Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 07/05/2017

Wave Gotik Treffen - The Preview June 2017

The gathering of 2017s Wave Gotik Treffen, is but a month away. Time to get the fascinators out and the boots polished!

Review: Mortiis – 'The Great Corrupter'

MORTIIS 'The Great Corrupter' OMNIPRESENCE PRODUCTIONS

Review: Freakangel – 'How The Ghost Became'

FREAKANGEL 'How The Ghost Became' DIGITAL WORLD AUDIO

Friday, 21 July 2017

Review: Nine Inch Nails – 'Add Violence'



NINE INCH NAILS
'Add Violence'
THENULL CORPORATION


A big criticism of Nine Inch Nails post 'Year Zero' is the settled and somewhat comfortable sound Trent Reznor has continued to craft. Deviations and experimentation are still present, but with his fascination with analogue synthesizers there has been to a degree a stock palette that has also reoccurred in his side project How To Destroy Angels, and his soundtrack work with long-time NIN producer, and now official member, Atticus Ross.

The first release in the trilogy of EPs being released on his own Null Corporation record label, 'Not The Actual Events' did kind of confound expectations. With it's noise rock meets drone and low-fi feel it was arguably one of the most challenging NIN releases since 1994's 'The Downward Spiral', though lacking the misanthropic anger of his youth. Fast-forward to the summer of 2017 and the second EP in the trilogy, 'Add Violence', is unveiled.

Sonically the new EP is a self-contained entity with an expanded presence than we previously had. We return to the analogue synth wizardry familiar from recent Reznor releases. There is an almost chip-tune element to some of the tracks while darker ambient textures play beneath them and the vocals begin to tie the narrative arc of the EPs together with their disassociated lyrics.

'Less Than' is a fairly typical NIN track to kick off the EP, a little retro synth lead, that classic guitar sound and vocal delivery that categorises recent output, balancing the subtle harsher elements with an upbeat and pleasing rhythm. 'The Lovers' has a more minimal vibe reminiscent of How To Destroy Angels, with a simple and rhythmic melody, a little piano and Reznor's distant spoken vocal it has an air of 'The Fragile' about it's atmosphere.

'This Isn't The Place' carries on that feeling, though with a more sinister atmosphere present throughout, that fades nicely into the low-fi rock of 'Not Anymore' with its “quiet-loud” construction that is the most obvious musical link to the previous EP. Finally, 'The Background World' ties the EP together with a sinister grooving track that nicely blends the melodic synths with the dirty guitars that gradually build into a wall of distortion.

Production-wise the EP walks a fine line between the top-shelf polish of the likes of 'Hesitation Marks' and the low-fi grit of 'Not The Actual Events'. It does tend to go one way or the other and never quite settles on an optimum balance, but that doesn't affect the overall feel of the EP.

'Add Violence' perhaps defaults back to some safer territory for Reznor and Ross after the dissonant noise of 'Not The Actual Events'. It still feels experimental, as though they are continuing to exorcise their sonic demons. But this time around, more so than the last, it feels like these were originally destined for other things, but have been reworked and re-imagined to fit this narrative. It's certainly a good EP, recognisably NIN and utilising some tried and tested set pieces, but still an infectious listen. It just raises more questions about the final instalment of the trilogy and how that will tie everything together.  

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Thursday, 20 July 2017

Editorial: July, 2017



It's that time again, where we announce that we are opening expressions of interest for our next 'Blood Pack' compilation album!

That's right, on the 1st January 2018 we'll be unleashing another free download compilation in the form of 'Blood Pack Vol.5'. So far the donation method for the latest album has raised nearly £100 which as been donated to DKMS, a UK charity that fights blood cancer. It's a good start but I know you're all very generous and wouldn't disagree if we were to say that the next compilation should also go to raising money for this great charity.

If you don't want to donate, that's fine too, but with 200 free downloads gone in just the first couple of days after 'Vol. 4' was released it seems like a great opportunity to raise some cash for a good cause.

Next month, as usual, I will unveil the cover art for the next compilation and send invitations out to bands/labels who may be interested in contributing a track. We'll also have open applications from September onwards so we can make this another nice big release.

If you're a band and considering donating a track and are wondering what's in it for you? First of all it is free – there is no cover charge to be on the compilation as it is a download and we're giving it away for free! We make sure every release comes with an A4 PDF brochure containing band biographies as well as relevant hyperlinks that will take people straight to your web pages. We're happy to feature new blood as well as established acts and all submissions will be considered based on their individual merit rather than whether they are well known or not.

So far we have featured a range of acts covering a wide variety of genres including Attrition, Be My Enemy, Aeon Sable, Ultraviolence, Noir, Bestial Mouths, Near Earth Orbit, Cease2xist, Ego Likeness, I††, Adoration Destroyed, Three Winters, Grypt, Petrol Bastard, ѦPѺLLYѺN'S ▼ISѦGE, Ca†hedra, Human Traffic, plus many more bands.

Sound good? So what will we need?

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

General submissions will be open from September with a cut-off date to get the tracks and info to us by the end of November. Advanced copies of the compilation will go out to all contributors around Christmas, and we will also make copies available to radio shows/podcasters interested in plugging the release, with the general release being made available through our bandcamp for 1st January 2018.

Be sure to keep an eye out for editorials over the next couple of months with more details. But in the meantime, if you are interested, please email us and we'll add you to our contact list!

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

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



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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Discourses on Westeros



With the much-anticipated 7th season of Game of Thrones about to begin it may be an opportune time to review what the events in Westeros have come to represent, and what they mean. What can we learn from the struggle for the Iron Throne and the conflict between the characters and realms it causes?


The first thing to note about the world of the Westerosi is that life is complicated. Politics, not in terms of grand ideologies or narratives of state but in terms of the endless micro-politics of feud, bargain and vendetta, is the real subject of Game of Thrones. With few real differences in worldview or philosophy between the Kingdoms life takes on the nature of an endless battle for supremacy or survival, as the interlocking rivalries constantly revolve and interchange.

This lack of clarity in purpose locks the characters in some kind of omnipresent moral fog. It's striking, especially on repeated viewings, how the characters begin the series nearly all suffering under some kind of misapprehension; all misunderstanding each others motives or keeping some secret so that they are all incapable of seeing each other straight. It's not until later in the series do we even begin to understand what really caused events to unfold as they did. Throughout the narrative characters are unaware of what is being said or done by others at the same time, almost as if a constellation of planets was orbiting as-yet-unseen celestial body.

The actual bread-and-butter of politics in the series deals with the realities of government. Ruling is a complicated business that entails building coalitions of support, a great deal of horsetrading, and no little bloodshed. Without this hegemony and the force to back it up, Kings are vulnerable to be deposed. The Mad King's brutality saw him lose allies until he eventually made a coalition opposing him a political necessity, as well as a reality. Robert Baratheon, despite having no claim to the throne, nonetheless wins it. The Lannisters have to continually align themselves with rival houses to peel off some of the opposing forces against them, but even they slowly alienate their supporters and become isolated. The Houses effectively operate as political parties do, garnering and consolidating their support. The layers of legitimate force are also complicated, with the King, the City and the Houses all having their own separate militia. To survive and rule in this world you have to be flexible, lithe, and probably morally corrupt.

The key exemplars of this realpolitik tend to be the most morally bereft and brutal – Tywin Lannister, Roose Bolton, Walder Frey, Cersei. Those characters who try to self-consciously demonstrate a moral rectitude – Eddard Stark, Jon Snow, Daenerys – all suffer for this to varying degrees and ultimately all have to face the fact that the mathematics of political reality still apply to them. Jon's attempts to effectively ride two horses at the same time, performing the greater good and shoring up his support in the Night's Watch, proves futile. Ned Stark discovers that people are much more complicated than he can imagine, and being a man of honour he can't imagine how complicated they really are.

The key event in the series is actually a depressingly modern event – a (literal) palace coup, at a moment of political crisis caused by King Robert's assassination. As such the Lannisters maintain power through a variety of measures which slowly hollow out the integrity of the institutions of state. Their decreasing circle of power throughout the series is in direct correlation to the amount of arbitrary violence that the Lannisters are prepared to use, most spectacularly being the bombing of the Sept of Baelor at the end of season 6. What else can Cersei do to maintain her grip on power after that? What isn't she prepared to do?

Issues of federalism and independence naturally arise. The North wishes to make it ungovernable but ultimately has to contend itself to being a vassal. Life under occupation or as a neo-colonial client state is brutal and hopeless. Those kingdoms that attempt to maintain their autonomy or neutrality, such as the Vale, simply become embroiled in a greater game. Both independence and neutrality appear to be illusory, as it is practically impossible to prevent outside influence corrupting whatever dreams of nationhood that the Kingdoms may have.

Outside the arena of conflict some attempt to maintain a constant opposition. The wildlings are an obvious example, being marked as literally 'beyond' or 'outside' the political arena and whose inability to submit limits their ability to influence events. The Iron Islands have to contend themselves with a kind of nihilistic doomed rebellion, never able to succeed in making a mark on the world and always prone to bloody and inevitable defeat.

The introduction of a supernatural element in the series presents a method where the oppressed and the outsiders are given a kind of deus ex machina to switch the odds. The dragons, previously the vanguard of Targaryen oppression, become the vanguard for the liberation of the slaves. The Lord of Light gives the Brotherhood Without Banners the power of resurrection, and brings Jon Snow back from the dead. The religion of the slaves has teeth. But when spirituality is used for political ends, either by Cersei or by Stannis, it proves to be both authoritarian and disastrous. The Faceless Men also represent a failed liberation narrative – ostensibly disciples of the religion of the oppressed, now merely a guild of assassins bought by coin and inevitably being used for the advancement of oppressive ends.

The sweep of the story is beginning to take on an emancipatory arc, as the Mother of Dragons & Breaker of Chains returns to Westeros after leaving a trail of liberation in her wake. The idea of a 'white saviour' bringing freedom to black slaves is inherently problematic, although some effort has been made to give the liberated a voice in Daenerys' actions. How will the 'rainbow coalition' of warriors, freed slaves, mercenaries and Greyjoy deserters maintain their unity in their new role as conquerors?

Whether there is any actual development towards democracy or liberation in Westeros is open to conjecture, but one thing is for sure – the world of the Westerosi is bound to stay as Machiavellian as ever.

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Interview: Blac Kolor

Black is no color...


"I do not need to make money off my music to live and that is a crucial issue for me. Automatically when that becomes the case you are under rules and pressure it pushes you towards the audience and pushes you in the direction of house music or simple techno music, so that you are present and noticed just to gain wealth." 

I came across the project back in 2014, through the feed of Soundcloud. If minimal were to get seduced with the industrial noise of despair bled into it, from a Frequency Hell this was it. Blac Kolor is a one man performance. Based in Leipzig and rooting it’s entrance into the scene from Basic Unit productions of Daniel Myer & Dejan Samardzic, it is now a fully living project that has grown to a broader audience.


This June at Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, Blac Kolor reigned over. Unleashing a blast of modern distortion, laced with violent pitches and noise to its spectators, at the Altes Landratsamt.


Blac Kolor: It was always my goal to find my own sound. I would produce some stuff. Though if I realise it is coming close to another artist or begins to turn cliché, it is torched. So over the past years I have found my own type of sound, which is for me diverse. Some say its industrial techno, however for me I cannot put a genre on it. What I realise when I produce stuff, it can go in alternate directions as no plan for a production is made. So if it deviates and goes down an alternative path, I have to live with the result.



There are some calmed down 100bpm tracks, by the same token 130bpm at the techno side of the spectrum. At the end of the day what is in my mood will make the sound. From a time perspective the noise is looked at over a long term slot; I judge the project after a couple of years and look back and say OK this is my sound. It all started with Basic Unit, with the connection with Dejan and Daniel. We developed the 'Frost' compilation and did some shows with all the Basic Unit artists.

Intravenous Magazine: Do you then see your path going in a different direction with maybe the restriction of not being independent having an effect?


BK: To be honest I don’t give a shit about that.  I do not need to make money off my music to live and that is a crucial issue for me. Automatically when that becomes the case you are under rules and pressure; it pushes you towards the audience and pushes you in the direction of house music or simple techno music, so that you are present and noticed just to gain wealth. I’m lucky enough to have my own company and so everything is cool. So I call this project black zero, and in a few years I’ll come back, maybe look at the books and see if I broke even! If the music leads in I direction it was mine and not in the hunt for profit.

For me similarity is terrible, and if I see similarities with other artists that bores me and I have to look somewhere else to redefine my patented noise.



IVM: What was it like back in the time of your first work 'Range', I remember when it came out it was pretty mad noise mix at the time.

BK: Back then I would publish random bits on sound cloud, and I would always send stuff over to Daniel. He still is my harshest critic. Then I sent over the song 'Range' and his response was, "we need to release that on Basic Unit". So we put together the EP and produced some stuff particularly for it. Then at this point I knew I had to get serious with the environment.

IVM: From your real work is there a large contrast between the two?

BK: Well we are a creative agency / think-tank, we do also animation and sound production; so there is a link . However it is really a different territory. It fills the fridge and I’m happy with being self-employed for twelve years now. Then there’s the family. So when these two are satisfied, then comes the time that I’m sitting in the studio making music. I think that is a comfortable feeling of priority for everything.

IVM: What did the 2016 release of 'Born In Ruins' bring?

BK: With 'Born In Ruins' we gained a broader audience, especially in America where I then toured in 2016. We did two shows in LA & Phoenix, and the feedback from the attendance saw how the Blac Kolor fan base had grown.

IVM: How difficult was it entering the US market?

BK: The distribution was easy, because of Daniel as he quite well connected to all the promoters in the US. So my work went directly on promotional purposes to them, and once it was Daniel who had sent it out, enough said. If you are well established with the promoters then it is very good multiplier in your reach. What was very interesting was I had obtained some die-hard fans. I realised at my gig in Phoenix when a guy brought my vinyl into the club. OK buying vinyl is one thing, but actually transporting & bringing it into the club, is a completely different thing!






IVM: Is there anything you don’t like about Blac Kolor at the moment?

BK: Being a creative person sometimes you have to deal with continuous dissatisfaction with everything you do. It’s more that you become bored very easily with yourself after the achievement has been reached. That behaviour from time to time pisses me off; as you should really enjoy the success and lie back. However that is but a dream and I have to push on.

IVM: Do you think that you need the juice?

BK: Yes it’s the petrol for my engine, but anything I really dislike right now?? I want more! (Laughs) but really I’m a lucky guy all round.


IVM: Have you got any favourite musical weapon in your arsenal?

BK: At the moment... Over the years I built up quite a few things I started off with a micro Korg. I love it still, though at the moment there are two gadgets I cannot live without. Octatrack from Elektron. The learning curve is very flat, as the workflow difficult, however the sound is amazing! Though the thing that really blows my mind is Toraiz AS-1 from Pioneer,. I come from a DJ background and since pioneer have started doing analogue synthesizers, with Dave Smith; I really dig that shit, and all my new stuff is going over it.

IVM: Is there any gear that pisses you off that you need?

BK: It’s an Elektron Analog Heat which is, I think the best distortion unit you can get, though it’s buggy, unreliable and doesn’t do what I expect it to do. But with analogue gear you have to just come to the realisation the gear will just do some shit you don’t want it to do.

IVM: Is there any artists here you are looking forward to seeing here at WGT?


BK: Hypnoskull; I really appreciate Codex Empire and today I look forward to Klangstabil. But after so many WGTs, I really just let it flow.

Interviewed by: Dominic Lynch aka DJ LX-E

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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Review: Boris – 'Dear'



BORIS
'Dear'
SARGENT HOUSE RECORDINGS


Celebrating 25 years of amplifier worship, Japan's Boris celebrate with full-length studio album number 24 (not counting the thirteen collaboration albums, multiple EPs and other releases). The prolific trio have amassed one of the most impressive discography's in experimental rock/metal. Ranging from cavernous drone-doom to spaced out psychedelia, and a whole host of brilliant collaborations, every release seems to upend any attempt at pre-conceived ideas of its content.

Brilliantly original, often confrontational, and always marching to the beat of their own drum, Boris are a prolific group in the avant garde world and the recent celebrations of their breakthrough album 'Pink' see the band in nostalgic mode. Returning to their drone-doom roots the album is a monolithic slab of feedback, noise electronics, wrenching vocals and claustrophobic atmospheres reminiscent of their first three studio albums.

Tracks such as 'D.O.W.N – Domination of Waiting', 'DEADSONG', 'Absolutego' (not to be confused with their 1996 release), 'Kagero', 'The Power', 'Distopia – Vanishing Point', and 'Dear' perfectly reflect that primordial sound, but with a more modern twist. The band have grown up and experimented with many different styles that manage to seep into the tracks at various points juxtaposing melody and dissonance, drone and rhythm, ambience and noise with a masterful hand.

Even at it's most grating and noisy, the band can inject melody and beauty and the production reflects this nicely. The album ebbs and flows like a classical piece with discord erupting and fading away surrounding more delicate textures but not overpowering them. Its a balance many struggle with and ultimately hide behind walls of distortion and reverb. But not Boris, they are veterans and it shows.

Fans of old school drone Boris will get a kick out of the brutality of this record, but it will not alienate fans of their more psychedelic side. It is a Boris that continues to innovate and evolve, even when looking backwards. When a band's form is as fluid as theirs it's hard to say this is a return to any one sound, but it is nostalgic to a degree yet thoroughly individual. But in any case, it is another fantastic offering from the band.  

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Review: The Dreaming – 'From The Ashes'



THE DREAMING
'From The Ashes'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


The second outing on Metropolis Records from the former Stabbing Westward team, 'From The Ashes' sees the band continue to evolve beyond their past with this remix companion to their 2015 album 'Rise Again'. Offering up harder industrial and club-orientated versions of the strongest cuts from the previous album it hints at numerous possible directions the band's next outing could take them.

Two years on from their last album is a bit of a gap for a companion/stop-gap release such as this, and it would have been nice to have a couple of new tracks one here to give it a little more selling points. Nevertheless this album is a totally in-house affair and the remixes in some cases actually trump the originals, so hopefully this will mean the next album will be somewhat informed by the work going on here.

Tracks such as 'Alone (ReAmped RMX)', 'Blink Of An Eye (Big Sky RMX)', 'Afraid (Vapor RMX)', 'Throw It All Away (Red Ox RMX)', and 'Rise Again (All Nite Diner RMX)', balance club-friendly industrial electronics with the band's trademark industrial rock style quite nicely, not sounding too far one way or the other. It's a nice balance that refreshes their material, but it isn't always successful. Some offerings such as 'Painkillers (2 Drink Minimum RMX)', 'Still Believe (Donut Shop RMX)', and 'Destroy (Tuf Luv RMX)' just sound ridiculously overblown and contrived.

The production is pretty solid for the most part, but at the band's most indulgent there are times where the vocals are swamped by the sheer amount of stuff going on in the mix. It's not the most well-rounded sounding albums but when it works, it works pretty well.

This is perhaps one of those albums that could have been condensed into an EP, or even been opened up to other collaborators to inject some stylistic variations to proceedings. Certainly the lack of new material is to its detriment, but overall there are some great remixes that will extend the album's dance floor reach further. Hopefully the next full-length studio album will drop sooner rather than later and the band can build on that momentum.  

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Review: The Birthday Massacre – 'Under Your Spell'


'Under Your Spell'

Canadian darkwave band The Birthday Massacre have proved themselves once again with an amazing record. June 9th was the day that 'Under Your Spell,' the newest album from the Toronto-based group, saw the light, showing a more poetic side of these guys and that there are still many songs to be written.

The record starts with 'One', a childish yet sinister track, which recovers the magic from their previous master piece 'Happy Birthday' but mixing it with the experience and solid structure that identifies the band nowadays and the calming voice of vocalist, Chibi. Works perfectly as the opening for the album.

With the same style, a combination of soft rock and dark enchant, the band explores different sides of such a complex feeling as love, creating addictive songs like 'All of Nothing' and 'Without You', before the wildness of 'Counterpane'; TBM should highly consider doing a music video for this one, just saying.

The band also gravitates into a more electronic-based proposal with, 'Unkind', 'The Lowest Low' and 'Games', using metaphors to describe the ups and downs of an unhealthy relationship where feelings are one-sided, receiving just silence as a response. You could even say that there’s a romantic touch in the loneliness described, in both lyrics and music.

This disc wouldn’t be complete without a the darkest and creepiest song the band could have written, 'No tomorrow', which draws a way right to a nightmarish horror movie. Could be also considered as a spiritual sequel to 'Destroya', from their previous album, 'Superstition.'

Finally, to the best style of the songs for a film’s credits sequence, 'Endless' presents a more pop side of the band, recurring to the aesthetics of 'Walking With Strangers,' but always keeping their new voice and sound on top to give a retro, 80s-like sound that makes the listener travel back in time.

Although some might have expected a heavy record, 'Under Your Spell' bends together the best of the past with the freshest face of The Birthday Massacre, creating  a real experience that feels like you were swimming in a black ocean. Memorable. One of the best products this band has released so far.

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Review: Pig – 'Prey & Obey'



PIG
'Prey & Obey'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Raymond Watts, the Lord of Lard, is just the gift that keeps on giving these days. After such a long time out in the wilderness it's great to see a return to frantic productivity giving long-time fans another hot meat injection and converting new ones with his porky perversions. The latest release in the current swine cycle is the heavy and rousing 'Prey & Obey' digital EP.

The heavy chant-a-long nature of the title track kicks things off in grandiose style with the characteristic guitar and pounding beat assault combined with subtle classical nods that never fails to get the blood pumping. 'The Revelation' follows up with a nostalgic trip back to his heaviest past collaborations with a KMFDM-style riff and growled vocals turning things up to eleven with Watts' indomitable panache. Finally, 'The Cult Of Chaos' continues down the same path laid out by its predecessors with another hard hitting lesson in proper industrial rock.

The EP is rounded off with three remixes courtesy of Leaether Strip and fellow Pig compatriots Z. Marr and En Esch. Each of which add some classic madness to the originals showing off the playfully demented side of the Pig sound in all of its glory.

Coming in at over 30 minutes this is a nice and hefty EP, and featuring not one, not two, but three original tracks is a nice change of pace considering most bands will pack an EP with one original track, one album track and a couple of remixes for the sake of it. This doesn't feel like a stop-gap release. It may be digital only but the three new tracks a just as strong as anything else featured on 'The Gospel', the production doesn't feel rushed through and even the remixes featured are very different to their sources so don't feel tacked on.

'Prey & Obey' is another great release from Watts & co. He plays with nostalgia and the expectations of the Pig sound, but still manages to create a strong, fresh and original tracks that can still knock your socks off.   

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Review: Black Line – 'Treason, Sedition, And Subversive Activities'



BLACK LINE
'Treason, Sedition, And Subversive Activities'
SELF-RELEASED


The coming together of two respected musical artists to create something brand new is often a joyous thing. Though these kind of projects are often loaded with pre-conceived notions rooted in their respective back catalogues, the end results can sometimes be much better than expected. Black Line is such a project. The legendary Douglas J. McCarthy (Nitzer Ebb) and musician / producer / engineer Cyrusrex, the collaboration had its roots in their previous project DJM|REX. But it became apparent quickly that their continually evolving and open studio/live line-up meant this was becoming an entirely different beast. Thus Black Line was born.

The result is a brilliant modern merging of one of electronic music's most recognisable voices, and cutting edge electronic music that melds glitchy rhythms, synthpop leads and sheer technical experimentation to create an engaging, high-spec and genuinely engaging album.

Songs such as 'Sedition', 'Keep Digging', 'No Crime', 'Shut It Down', 'Can't Breathe', 'Layers', and 'Changed' give the album a solid back bone of relentlessly catchy dance-friendly numbers that frame McCarthy's passionate vocal style with fresh sounds. But there is a deep experimental side to the album with tracks such as 'No Crime Prelude', 'Layers Interlude', 'First Moment', and 'Final Moment' showing that there is a lot more going on here than the intelligent yet dance friendly surface. The result is something that mixes the dark experimental edge of How To Destroy Angels with the sublime elegance of Noir.

The production is second to none. It may be a self-released album at this point in time but you could easily imagine a label like Mute or Raster-Noton unveiling this with great fanfare as it is. It's cutting edge, modern electronic music and is presented and produced as such.

This is a brilliant debut that promises great things moving forward the collectivised nature of the project can only yield unexpected twists and turns as they move through future releases. But in the present 'Treason, Sedition, And Subversive Activities' is a fantastically strong starting point.  

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Introducing... Borg Queen



Name of band: Borg Queen
Members: Jenny Kirby
Year formed: 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC Canada
“I was an alcoholic stripper who needed something do do to keep busy so I wouldn't drink so I decided to write some songs about my experience in the exotic entertainment industry.”



Borg Queen is an electro goth rock project from Vancouver, BC led by multidisciplinary artist Jenny Kirby.

Borg Queen released it’s first LP 'Sex, Drugs & Shiny Brass Poles' January 29th, 2017. The album is a follow up to the release of the 2014 single 'Lapdance Romance'.

Originally, the project began as a series of surrealistic paintings that were a form of art therapy, but has now evolved into a full blown multidisciplinary art project.

Borg Queen can best be described as, a one woman content producing machine! “She plays and records all the instruments and does the engineering and production. Each song has a corresponding painting done in large format acrylic on canvas. Borg Queen has evolved into an assimilation of all the different artistic mediums Jenny has trained and worked with professionally including, painting, animation, acting, set design, dance, musical theatre, production design and of course music.” 'Sex, Drugs & Shiny Brass Poles will feature 10 original paintings and 3 new music videos.

The perfect showcase of Borg Queen’s unique integration of mediums are the music videos, where Jenny takes a very hands on approach as an art director who also designs and makes the sets, costumes and props herself.


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

I was an alcoholic stripper who needed something do do to keep busy so I wouldn't drink so I decided to write some songs about my experience in the exotic entertainment industry.


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

It sounds like Annie Lennox getting gang banged by NIN, Depeche Mode and Marilyn Manson. I've always loved Trent Reznor's style of innovation and using sound design elements and audio engineering to convey artistic intent. I look at a composition like a painting made out of layers of sound with each layer telling an integral part of the story.


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

Trent Reznor, Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, Salvador Dali and Tim Burton.


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

Not usually, but if I do it's at events in the Metro Vancouver Area.


IVM: What is your current release and where is it available from?
'Sex, Drugs & Shiny Brass Poles' and it's available on my website, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify etc. Pretty much everywhere except Bandcamp.


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

Making the music videos. I'm a visual artist as well and it's really the ultimate medium for me to work in. Also, performing at a fetish event Kink Fetish Night in Vancouver. That was awesome!


IVM: What are your plans for the future?

Put together a theatrical production of my live show to tell the story of Sex, Drugs & Shiny Brass Poles. Finish the EP I'm currently working on and do more live shows at fetish type events.


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

I have a new music video that's being released June 16th called 'We're All Whores'. The track is available as a free download on my website.


Links:




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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Review: Oxbow – 'Thin Black Duke'



OXBOW
'Thin Black Duke'
HYDRA HEAD RECORDS


Since 1989 Oxbow have been at the pinnacle of experimental rock. Blending noise, avant garde, jazz, blues and classical influences they have carved out an impressive discography of brilliant, and sometimes challenging, but always intelligent rock albums. It's been ten years since the band's last full-length studio effort, 'The Narcotic Story', and fans have been keeping their fingers crossed for a new album since. Finally though patience has been rewarded and the band have returned with 'Thin Black Duke'.

The wait has been worth it with the band a surprisingly ordered yet still characteristically chaotic collection of tracks. Much of the chaos is down to the irrepressible vocals of Eugene S. Robinson who often sings against the grain of the actual songs. Screeching, wrenching his vocals chords and delivering deep spoken passages as the mood takes him. It's almost like having a cast of different characters chipping into each track to tell the same story.

Sonically the album at first glance seems quite ordered and well-behaved, but there is a classical feel to it where elements erupt and build before falling away. Motifs are re-used and often small elements are developed and evolved throughout the album giving it the feeling of being a whole piece with individual movements within.

Tracks such as 'A Gentleman's Gentleman', 'Ecce Homo', 'Host', 'Letter Of Note', 'The Finished Line', and 'The Upper' show the band at their best. Maddening, captivating and intelligent as they play with genres, swerve into new areas and back again, and still keeping some semblance of a fundamentally catchy rock album at its core.

Despite having dissonance at their core, the production balances the crazier elements with the melodic quite nicely. But at this point this should be no surprise as the band have the experience and expertise to adjust their performance on the fly and find the cohesion in the parts of the song that may seem at odds with each other.

This is a welcome return from a band that has been sorely missed over the past several years. Their last outing, 'The Narcotic Story', may have been a tough act to follow but the band have delivered with this album. Long-time fans of the band will easily get to grips with this and it is a nice entry point to for new listeners as well. Let's just hope it's not another ten years before their next full-length release.   

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Review: Område – 'Nåde'



OMRÅDE
'Nåde'
MY KINGDOM MUSIC


Two years after their debut album, post-industrial/post-rock duo Område return with their follow-up, 'Nåde'. Blending diverse and sometimes disparate genre styles including trip hop, ambient, metal, industrial, post-rock, and classical the duo's first outing, 'Edari' was an album full of surprises that confounded any pre-conceived notions. The only real connection between this new album and their first is the track list comprises of eight songs. The rest is an entirely individualistic whole that conforms only to it's own unique vision.

Every track here is hard to pin with so many elements at work, yet it remains quite accessible in it's structuring. It may suddenly veer off into a saxophone solo, or fade into ambient textures, but the experimental tilt of the band is focussed and sharp, everything seems more assured in its use this time round. The result is some incredibly ambitious yet endearingly catchy songs with the likes of 'Malum', 'XII', 'Styrking Leið', and, 'Baldar Jainko' leading the way. But each track here is a master-class of songwriting, channelling a wide scope of styles and influences into something engaging.

The production as well feels more focussed this time. While the debut was pretty good regarding it's mixing and mastering to keep everything from sounding swamped, this time there's an extra power behind things that gives the overall sound a cinematic quality.

Where the last album may have required a few listens to completely get your head round it, 'Nåde' grabs you right from the start. They know when to get loose and crazy and they know when to pull it back. The result is a strong and balanced album that shows off some incredibly ambitious song writing and inspired performances, but also a solid understanding of what makes a fundamentally strong album.

Even if the words “avant garde” fill you with dread, or the thought of metal guitars intertwining with jazz sax solos makes you uneasy, you'd probably still find something on 'Nåde' to get your teeth into. It's another strong outing from a band that should rightly have big things in their future.  

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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Review: Infernal Angels – 'Ars Goetia'


Italian black/death metal outfit Infernal Angels unleash their fourth full-length studio outing in fifteen years, 'Ars Goetia'. The band are a unit that evidently takes their time to write and record their albums. And individually there are some great tracks here that reflect that attention to detail, but is this the breakthrough the band are looking for?

Mixing black and death metal with a hint of dark ambient textures the band evoke the likes of Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, and Vredehammer with their bludgeoning yet melodic structure. Songs such as 'Vine: Destroyer Of The World', 'Asmoday The Impure Archangel', 'Balam: Under Light And Torment', 'Belial: The Deceiver', and 'Beleth: Lord Of Chaos And Spirals' provide the album with a solid backbone of rhythmically satisfying headbanger friendly tracks with varying tempos but always sustained ferocity.

There isn't much in the way of variation in terms of the ambience hinted at that on the intro 'Amdusias: The Sound Of Hell', save for the great section at the beginning of 'Paimon: Secret Of The Mind' with it's tribal drums and ambient drones that erupt into a great riff. It would have been nice to hear more of that as it gave the album a little more depth.

Producion-wise it's a fairly solid to a certain point, but does suffer from a brick wall style mix with the melodies, rhythms and vocals all sounding distinct, but overall trapped and flat as a whole. It doesn't really attempt anything dangerous or overly experimental but focusses on the raw power of their core sound.

While there are some great individual tracks here, 'Ars Goetia' feels like it is lacking something as an overall album. The songs are strong but their doesn't feel like there is a narrative that ties the demonic theme together. No individuality conferred befitting the titles of the tracks, just systematic ferocity that, when compared to tracks such as 'Amdusias: The Sound Of Hell' and the start of 'Paimon: Secret Of The Mind', shows a bit of a missed opportunity to do something really interesting instead.  

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Review: Isis – 'Live VII'



ISIS
'Live VII'
IPECAC RECORDINGS


At their creative zenith post-metal outfit Isis were unceremoniously overshadowed by the media's infatuation with a fundamentalist terror organisation whose name was hard to pin down but nevertheless usurped the US quintet's moniker. This toxic association has seen the band's thirteen year legacy unfairly swept aside. But with live album 'Live VII', we are reminded about just what an incredible unit they were.

The album document's their Australian performances in what would become their final year of activity. Already in this series we've seen some impressive recordings – case in point 'Live V' featuring 'Oceanic' in it's glorious entirety – but this is perhaps the most poignant of the releases. While long-time fans may crave more from the band, this feels very much like a line being drawn in the sand, with a sense of finality hanging above it.

The set is made up of the strongest cuts from the band's final full-length studio outing, 2009's 'Wavering Radiant', which of course this tour would have been promoting. Though the band dig into the catalogue for crowd pleasers such as 'Wills Dissolve', 'Carry', 'Holy Tears', and 'Celestial'. The band sound their grandiose best with the instrumentation clear and resonating in live ambience, the keyboards sound phenomenal as they slide in and out, but it has to be Aaron Turner's vocal performance which rings through clear, haunting, and at times downright savage.

There is a rough edge to the mix, but as a live document this doesn't really do the overall sound any damage. The reverb, mixed with the quiet, but still present crowd noise, and the sometimes gritty natural dissonance replicates the live atmosphere nicely. The band's performance is on point throughout, even with the notoriously hard to reproduce 'Holy Tears' and really shows a group at it's height.

It's a bittersweet album really. On the one hand it is great to hear the band sounding great in a live capacity. But it does serve to remind us that the prospects of any new original material are low. But still, 'Live VII' is an impressive document nonetheless and a fitting full-stop on what was a promising career cut short.  

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Monday, 3 July 2017

Book Review: Olivier Peru / Sophian Cholet - 'Zombies, A Brief History of Decay'


OLIVER PERU / SOPHIAN CHOLET
'Zombies: A Brief History Of Decay'
INSIGHT COMICS 


I’ve never been a big fan of "Z fiction". Movies, books, video games… Not the type of content I’m used to enjoy, that’s it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of see something good when it is in front of my. This comic was really good for sure.
'Zombies: A Brief History of Decay' is a graphic novel full of drama and emotions. Writer Olivier Peru isn’t afraid of playing with your feelings and killing every single character you start to like. It’s carnage at it’s primal look.

The story presented is far from being the most original: the world is about to end by the hands of the zombies, and human race is trying to survive the best way they can. Groups are formed, families search for each other, Friends try to protect themselves… I think you get the idea.
However, Peru plays with your feelings with no shame, putting all of his characters in different situations that make you wonder what is wrong with him, why wouldn’t he let things be just a little happier, but the truth is that life is not that pretty in these kind of situations, humans are not that simple, and 'Zombies...' is, first of all, a very human story.

Don’t expect to find a main character, they all have their own time and space in this comic, and each of them has something to add to the general plot. Because of this, depending on what kind of reader you are, you can either get lost among so many of them or see a bigger plot taking place on its pages. I must say I’m between both possibilities, ending with a love-hate relationship with this story.

What surprised me the most (besides the fact that this guy seems to be very friendly to have created something so cruel) is that even if you don’t fully understand everything in the beginning, the story is so light and fluent at that point that you just keep going on, page by page, until you’re so deep in this wretched world that you won’t stop until you’re done with it. 

To say that the illustrations are perfect and match the plot is just not enough. Graphic, no censorship allowed and with a visceral style, artist Sophian Cholet and colourist Simon Champelovier take all the risks to create a world as interesting as this story, working (almost always) with small panels that still have enough space for the dialogues and narrative. 

I had a problem with this at first, as I strongly prefer the art to tell the story by itself, but with so many words and so detailed graphics, I felt overwhelmed more than just once. As I said before, this is not my kind of reading, and neither the style I’m used to in comics, but once you get into it, things become more enjoyable.


The last thing I have to say is a big thank you to the publisher for this ARC. I’m sure as heck will be keeping an eye on both the company and the author!

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'The Heretics' releases its first trailer


Directed by Chad Archibald ('Bite', 'The Drownsman') and written by Jayme LaForest ('Bite', 'Gods of Accident',) upcoming horror film 'The Heretics' just released its official trailer, making it clear we're in front of an interesting project, yo say the least.
“'The Heretics' follows a young girl, Gloria, who is abducted by a man after he claims that a cult is hunting her. As Gloria begins falling ill and undergoing frightening transformations, we realise that the cult isn’t the only thing that she or her captor needs to fear.”
The film, which premiered at the Canadian Film Fest, stars Nina Kiri, Ry Barrett, Jorja Cadence, Nina Richmond and Will King. While it is shown in other to-be-announced festivals, feel free to see the trailer down here and wait for 'The Heretics' to come out.


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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Review: Diamanda Galas – London Barbican, 19/06/2017



DIAMANDA GALAS
London Barbican
19/06/2017 


A real event drew your humble reporter to London once again – the return of the high priestess of darkness Diamanda Galas to the London stage after a gap of five years. Never a proposition to be taken lightly, we ballasted ourselves with nicotine and wine before heading through the thick air of the UKs hottest day of the year to the wonderfully modernist construct of the Barbican, which was full of the veteran (and long absent) goth elite of the capital. Big hair and black filled the stalls in a theatre that was acoustically perfect and visually stunning. This was going to be an experience to relish.

Walking onstage in a flowing black dress to a thunderous applause, Galas sat down at her grand piano and started off lightly with the Jacque Brel number 'Fernand', setting the tone brilliantly with a arch melodiousness before we were thrown into the pit with 'She' – red stage floods and cacophonous piano virtuosity ripping a hole in the hall filled by the siren wail of her seven-range voice. Eschewing all but the bare minimum of patter (one song being dedicated to the promoter, “A brave man....so few of them are”), Galas continued with a dazzling collection of numbers that maintained the intensity of the evening - 'A Soul That’s Been Abused', 'Die Stunde Kommt' (Galas being truly chilling singing in German), and 'O Prosfigas' amongst them.

By way of light and shade Galas performed several of her poems, listened to keen and attentive silence. “You kill me, you kill me, you kill me... I might kill you”, the words hanging in the Barbican air. Then, ending with with a viscerally cathartic 'O Death', the main bulk of the set was over.

Never one to compromise to standard rockist niceties Galas came on stage for each encore precisely one at a time, the crowd having to beg with ovation after ovation as they were treated to 'Pardon Me I’ve Got Someone to Kill', 'Anoixe Petra', and finally a sublimely defiant 'Let My People Go' which didn't need any polemical grandstanding to stand out as an anthem for the outsiders, queer and oppressed.

No support act, just 90 minutes banshee blues from the most unique performer on the planet. Next time, don't miss it – I certainly won't.

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Monday, 26 June 2017

Review: David E. Williams – 'Hospice Chorale'




DAVID E. WILLIAMS
'Hospice Chorale'
OLD EUROPA CAFE


Returning to the roots of lyrical nihilism dressed in delicate arrangements David E. Williams latest album 'Hospice Chorale' twists and turns through melancholic atmospheres and fragile pop hooks too unveil a tapestry of thirteen catchy, provocative and intelligently performed pieces. Neo-classical, meets cabaret before morphing into minimalist synthpop and power electronics. It's an utterly engrossing listening experience underpinned by Williams' deep vocals that strikes with the weight of the dark yet playful lyrics.

Songs such as 'The One Who Doesn't Die', 'War On Despair', 'Someday I Will Live My Life As A Horse', 'Vinegar Stew', 'Lillian Awoke', and 'Workplace Autumn' build the album around a chord of dark cabaret infused classical piano paired with Williams voice before being punctuated by synths and occasionally subtle rhythms.

But as things progress the more experimental things become, from the deathrock guitar of 'BDA 30', and the acoustic guitar melting into the the psychedelic headspace of 'Thailand? (Why Can't All The World Be' through to the the demonic electronic nightmares of 'Suicide Skyline (Method Two)' and 'Catholic Nihilist'. The end result is a wonderfully varied album that keeps you guessing until the end, yet doesn't alienate the listener with it's sudden experimental shifts.

In terms of production is feels rough in a live performance kind of way. It would be easy to imagine Williams and a couple of friends performing this in it's entirety the corner of a smoky café. But in terms of performance it is done expertly and the balance between the harsh and light elements is maintained so it isn't a massive shock to the system when one is suddenly interrupted by the other.

'Hospice Chorale' is a great avant garde album that feels honest in its use of experimentation. There is a nice balance of light and dark, innocence and experience running throughout the album and while the styles at play may feel quite varied, everything flows nicely and still feels quite welcoming. It is a fine addition to Williams' already impressive discography and one that should be thought of as another highlight.  

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Review: The Eden House – 'Songs For The Broken Ones'



THE EDEN HOUSE
'Songs For The Broken Ones'
JUNGLE RECORDS


Four years on from the supergroup's last full-length offering The Eden House release their third album, 'Songs For The Broken Ones'. With the band's revolving door line-up of collaborators joining the core duo of Stephen Carey and Tony Pettitt (Fields of the Nephilim) every release sees the band's trademark mixture of psychedelic, progressive and ethereal gothic rock get a shake up and yield new and exciting elements on every track. Album number three is no exception.
Featuring guest appearances from: Monica Richards (Faith & The Muse), Lee Douglas (Anathema), Kelli Ali (Sneaker Pimps), Simon Hinkler (The Mission), Bob Loveday (Penguin Cafe Orchestra) the album is once again a melting pot of genres and styles.   

Kicking off with the Spanish lyrics and Latin atmospheres of 'Verdades (I Have Chosen You)' the band subtly frame these around a steady gothic rock core that leads nicely into the more ethereal gothic of 'One Heart' that provides a nice continuation on from previous releases. Songs such as '12th Night', 'The Ghost Of You', 'Ours Again', 'Words And Deeds', 'Let Me In', 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang', and 'Second Skin' provide the album with it's strongest gothic credentials with the haunting jangle of guitars paired with the always identifiable bass style and sinister yet beautiful atmospheres. But the band still find plenty of room to manoeuvre with songs such 'Misery', 'It's Just A Death', 'The Ardent Tide' with their respective heavy incorporation of folk and trip-hop elements into the mix.

As you'd expect from the band, they've taken their time to create and put this album together and once again the production is absolutely on point throughout. Balancing the haunting feminine vocals with the earthy bass lines and progressive elements to create a stunningly rich whole.

'Songs For The Broken Ones' may not delve into desperately experimental waters as the first album and EPs did. But it doesn't really need to anymore. The band have found their sound and with the progressive mindset running throughout every track they can be more subtle and sly with their playfulness to create a wider scope than putting in say a synth-heavy track purely for the sake of it.

The Eden House are a band that all other gothic rock bands should aspire to. The veteran skills of the core members and their collaborators are beyond repute and the scope of their work is only matched by their lack of ego. The result is always something that pushes the limits of what gothic rock can be, and this is no exception.

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

WARRIURRRR MUSIC


So! Last month we asked the question about non-problematic forms of activism and summoned the idea of the WARRIURRRR. Digging a bit more closely into this – what are the culturrrrral manifestations of the WARRIURRRR? And what would WARRIURRRR culturrrrr look and sound like? How can we make WARRIURRRR music?

Let's start with some obvious culturrrrral examples of the WARRIURRRR. PJ Harvey is the superlative example; Diamanda Galas, Annie Lennox, Shirley Mansoon; Beyonce too. Grace Jones, Pauline Black. Eddie Izzard is a kind of WARRIURRRR too. These are uncompromisingly independent, creartive, assertive, and FEEUURSE.

Politically, Jack Monroe is a WARRIURRRR. Saffiyah Khan is WARRIURRRR. Kat Blaque the definitive WARRIURRRR of the moment. Angela Davis is the ultimate WARRIURRRR. Even Caroline Lucas is a kind of WARRIURRRR.

In terms of fictional WARRIURRRRZ some particular examples come to mind. Obviously, Ripley and Furiosa are WARRIURRRZ. Red Sonja is probably more warrior than WARRIURRRR, although the Bride is a striking (albeit unusual) example that qualifies as a WARRIURRR. Black Canary, Jessica Jones and Catwoman are WARRIURRRRZ. Uhura and Starbuck are SPACE WARRIURRRRZ. In fact, sometimes there appears to be more WARRIURRRRZ in space than there are on earth.

What do these WARRIURRRRZ have in common? Well, they are all fighters of a kind, all glittered in various shades of sass. There is a lot of strength, a lot of humour, a lot of FEEEURRSEE. Their instincts and senses are correct. They don't take the easy way out.

So, which of these elements could we bring into a WARRIURRRR music? Well, a lot of screaming is essential; noise, discordancy; pounding drums; sneering contempt, aggression, and political commentary – but without macho posturing and po-faced demogoguery.

We need some more WARRIURRRR venom in goth.

Over to you, gofficks.

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Editorial: June, 2017



AKA – A Goth melting in the heat...

It is about 30 degrees centigrade outside. As I sit here racking my brains trying to think about what to write for this month's editorial rambling I can't help but be overwhelmed by the heat and humidity in my flat. The computer fan is whirring away, I have a cold drink and the window open but the misery of Summer is still abounds as the neighbouring children shriek at ear-piercing levels right outside.

It's become a common meme now. Goths in the heat/sun. Take care of your goths this Summer, don't leave them in locked cars etc. The truth is I don't do well in the heat. At all. And I frankly never have. Anything above 20 degrees centigrade and I slowly begin ceasing to function. My mind and reflexes slow and all I want to do is lie in a pool of cold water until the heat goes.

The UK has moments of dry heat before you start saying “Its the humidity that’s worse, the heat is fine”... but I’m not a lizard and the heat, dry or otherwise, is still a bloody pain for me. Perhaps it's just our crazy British weather of cold snaps followed by heat-waves that means we can't even acclimatise ourselves properly from one day to the next, but nevertheless, I and many like me suffer through the Summer months.

I'm not sad enough to begrudge the sun and demand to live in permanent overcast misery either. But the suffocating heat and humidity of the UK summer has always filled me with a sense of dread due to the headaches, dehydration and endless... endless bad jokes about wearing black and vampires.

If you too out there are feeling the heat too much, you have my undying sympathy. If on the other hand you've stripped to the waist, cooking yourself beneath the UV rays to a crispy consistency and lamenting why it can't be glorious summer everyday... then you can kiss my arse while I yearn for the frosty embrace of an Autumnal morning.

Right, that's enough moaning for now. Again I'm going to being to round things off by thanking everyone who keeps downloading our latest compilation so far, and give double thanks to those who have donated some money for it. If you have already downloaded it please recommend it to your friends. If you haven't got round to downloading it yet (and if you haven't where have you been so far?) and can just spare a £1 donation, it will all go towards kicking blood cancer's ass! If you can't donate, that's fine too, but please do make sure you check out more from the awesome band's that made this possible! 

In other news, we're on the hunt for a few new regular contributors to add to our staff. If you're interested in doing some reviews or even just a monthly column, please contact us at intravenousmagazine@gmail.com and we'll take it from there. What kind of person are we looking for? Well we're after people who are motivated, committed and eager to take the time to build up a list of PR and label contacts.

For more information on writing for IVM please visit HERE.

Finally, I'd like to again extend the invitation to established scene DJs, artists, and bands to contribute guest DJ mixes that we will host on Mixcloud. What we're thinking is a series of hour-long mixes showing off new and classic acts which we will feature on Mixcloud as well as the Intravenous Magazine website. If anyone is interested, please contact us at the above email address.

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



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