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'


Tuesday 28 February 2017

Review: La Breiche – 'Le Mal Des Ardents'

'Le Mal Des Ardents'

La Breiche (The Witch), AKA Arexis and Lafforgue of Stille Volk, mark their first full-length studio offering under the moniker with 'Le Mal Des Ardents' (Holy Fire). The album takes the duo's now familiar obsession with paganism and the occult and marries it with traditional and self-made instruments to a minimalist dark ambient construction. The end result is a dark and contemplative album full of ominous atmospheres.

Tracks such as 'Le Mal Des Ardents', 'La Nef Des Fous', 'Enfers', and 'L’Antre Du Pesteux' are dark winding sonic journeys that move through tribal rhythms, droning chants, and ancient instrumentation to evoke concepts of fear and reason, mythology, and light and dark. The album is a richly layered and expansive piece that evokes images of sprawling wilderness humming with ceremonial processions under cold unforgiving stars.

Production-wise the album walks a fine line between expansive open atmospheres and cold claustrophobic ones as if moving through a landscape of forest, caves and rolling hills. It is dark, but incredibly cinematic in its scope that it begs for intimate and contemplative listening.

This is a very strong album blending a lot of different elements by two already very accomplished musicians. The end result is a breathtakingly haunting picture painted with music. Fans of neofolk, dark ambient, traditional music and even the progressive end of the black metal spectrum should find enjoyment in this album. Hopefully there will be a lot more to come from this project in the future.  

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Review: Sex Death Religion – 'This House Is Haunted'

'This House Is Haunted'

Horror-obsessed edm / ebm outfit Sex Death Religion return with their latest EP on Two Gods Records. Continuing to hone their psychedelic dance music influenced by the likes of Lords Of Acid, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, and EMF, 'This House Is Haunted' sees the Canadian act take things up a notch with six new tracks of demented dance fodder.

The 'Intro' that kicks the EP off is a great blend of near witch house electronics framing a sinister vocal sample that gets things off to an ominous start. The main body of tracks though do a 180 turn instantaneously with the bouncy wubbing style of edm creating a fun counterpoint to the continued use of horror samples. Tracks such as 'Terror In The House', 'Cannibals', and 'Hell Bound' in particular really exemplify the continuing development of the SDR style balancing out sheer craziness with actual dance credibility.

The only real low point is in the somewhat lacklustre cover of 'Sweet Dreams'. While technically a different take on the oft-covered original, it doesn't have the hooks of the previous songs and the vocal delivery sounds unsure.

This is a nice development from the 'Murder Motel' single last year, and while there are some genuinely fun tracks, there is still some work to be done. However, SDR's own unique style is definitely taking on it's own shape and it would be interesting to see where a full-length album would take them musically and conceptually as well.  

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Monday 27 February 2017

Review: Zos Kia / Coil – 'Transparent'


Formed by John Gosling (Mekon), John Balance (Coil) and Min – with guest Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle) – Zos Kia may have been somewhat overshadowed by the later projects of it's chief creators but it remains an important stop on the road of industrial music's development. The sole album produced by the group, and credited with Coil, 'Transparent' has been a rarity since it's original release on the now defunct Nekrophile label. It saw a brief return as a limited edition through Threshold House, but is now finally getting a proper remastered release thanks to Cold Spring.

The music on 'Transparent' is ugly, confrontational and dark industrial. Performance orientated and primal it shows a bridging of the gap between the the example set by Throbbing Gristle and the later polished experimentation of Coil. Rhythmic mechanical noises, tape manipulation, and subdued spoken word leading into haunting shrieks.

Tracks such as 'Sicktone', 'Baptism Of Fire', 'Poisons', 'Sewn Open', 'On Balance', and the live version of 'Rape' in particular show the early processes of these artists who would become legends of electronic and avant garde music in the next couple of decades.

This is a very welcome reissue and despite the rouhg and very low-fi nature of the original recordings they have been given a loving overhaul ready for this release. They are still harsh and gritty as that is their nature, but they are certainly listenable.

This may not be many people's cup of tea, but for fans of Coil, Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle – in particular in all of their early forms – or just a general appreciation of the early years of industrial music, then this release will be a fine addition to any collection.  

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Review: Attrition – 'A Girl Called Harmony'

'A Girl Called Harmony'

Already a highly regarded song within the Attrition back catalogue, 'A Girl Called Harmony', which was originally part of 1991'a 'Tricky Business' album sees a release in it's own right on this EP. Although it saw inclusion on a lot of compilations at the time it never made it to a single release but 25 years later Martine Bowes' own Two Gods Records label finally addresses this oversight.

The resulting EP see's the original baroque-infused darkwave meets industrial track joined by the four-track demo track from the previous year. In addition are two remixes of 'I Am Eternity' (one classical and one electronica) from a promotional giveaway on Projekt records in 1997 which compliment the title track very nicely with their respective use of warm strings and trip-hop flavours. The EP is rounded out with a 1986 demo of 'I Am' which adds a nice ambient atmosphere to close with.

The tracks have been remastered with the care and precision that you would come to expect from Bowes. His stock as a producer and engineer is without question especially when taking tracks from across a ten year period and bringing them up to scratch for release in 2017 and have them still sound as strong as they do.

This is a nice addition for any long-time Attrition fan with a strong song leading the charge as well as four enjoyable rarities to boot. It might not be a good starting point for newer fans, but for anyone that has previously thought “He should have released that as a single” now would be the perfect time to grab yourself a copy.  

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Introducing... HR_Lexy

Name of band: HR_Lexy
Members: Arlene Sparacia, John Ferrante, Justin Verted
Year formed: 2015
Location: Nashville, USA

HR_Lexy is a female fronted, electronic trio based in Nashville, TN. The group's sound has been described as haunting electronic pop, with synth soundscapes, driving drum beats, and ethereal, dream-like vocals.
HR_Lexy lyrically explores the pull between dark and light, humanity's relationship with nature, and spiritual awareness. Their live show includes symbolism and theatrical elements that further emphasize these themes.
HR_Lexy recently released their second EP entitled Slaves to the Light in Oct 2016. The band's debut EP Nature Vs Neon was released in 2015.

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

Arlene and John met through Craigslist ad. We played shows as a duo and released our first EP, Nature Vs. Neon. Justin and Arlene met at a mutual job at Whole Foods. Justin came to our shows and expressed interest in being a part of the group. We are happy to have him onboard.

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

Our sound has and continues to develop over time. We actually began with guitars as our main instruments. That quickly morphed into simple synth based music, which then led us to our more complex soundscape sound now. And we are still evolving, with the additional of Justin. The constant is Arlene’s ethereal vocal style and a strong musical platform to support that.

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

Arlene: Kate Bush, Kim Gordon(sonic youth), Frida Kahlo, Patti Smith, Austra, Angel Olsen, Future Islands, The Jag

John: Being outside in nature, a good synth sound, Sinead O’Conner, Depeche Mode, The Cure, stocism, minimalism.

Justin: Pattern recognition, fractal geometry, Sigur Ros, food forestry, the expansive state of being.

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

Yes we perform often. Our show dates can be seen at our website.

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

Our current EP is titled Slaves to the Light. That and our first release are available as digital downloads from, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon MP3 and other digital music stores. We are also on Spotify and Youtube.

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

It really all has been a highlight. We have had such great experiences, releasing two EPs, several videos, performing at all the great clubs in Nashville, radio interviews, interviews such as this. All highlights. We really enjoy performing live, seeing our stage show develop has been much fun.

IVM: What are your plans for the future?

We are currently writing and rehearsing new material, which we plan to release soon. Expect new videos to as well. More live shows and touring.

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

Thank you everyone for listening!

Official Site:

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Thursday 23 February 2017

Review: Contaminated Intelligence – 'Mental Fractures'

'Mental Fractures'

Utah's Contaminated Intelligence revisit their 2014 EP 'Mental Fractures' and augment the original record with five new bonus tracks, stretching it into a full-length album in it's own right. The original was self-released by the band in 2014 after main man Jourdan Turner suffered a snowboarding accident. The release in it's current form now follows his recovery from that time until now, and in the process pushes their experiments with Drum n Bass, Down-tempo Break Beats, and Ambient atmospheres to the fore.

The result is a very experimental but danceable album which while not wholly at odds with the industrial-punk flavour of their last release, 'Status Control', is certainly less vitriolic and more introspective in it's instrumental wanderings. Yet songs such as 'CRUNCH!', 'Recovery', and 'Recovery Pt 2.' from the original tracklist maintain a decisive dancefloor appeal. While the newer contributions such as 'Unscrewed (Removed)', 'Coming Back', and 'Anesthetic Dreams' reflect the band's newer style while maintaining the elements of the original that made it an interesting listening experience.

Production-wise it definitely sounds like a record of two halves. The more crisp modern flavour of the original five versus the grimier sounds of the newest contributions. But it strangely works well when you think of it as side a and side b.

This was an interesting move to revisit an earlier work in this kind of way. But the original EP was worth re-highlighting and the new songs are just as valid as anything included on last year's full-length album release, so why not? The result is a very interesting album that cover's the entirety of the band's sonic experimentation over the past few years. A risky idea but incredibly well-executed and will certainly be on that pays off for them.  

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Review: Fearpassage – 'Love, Hate & Devotion'

'Love, Hate & Devotion'

Florida-based industrial musician returns with his third full-length album under the Fearpassage moniker in the form of 'Love, Hate & Devotion' five years after the last LP 'Our Children'. The time has been used wisely though with the new album seeing a significant step forward in terms of the quality of the songwriting and performances.

The album doesn't deviate too much from the classic electro industrial formula of steady dance beats meets melodic synths and harsh vocals. But it is a formula that serves them well and arguably has finally coalesced into what can be described as their own sound. Where their first album was somewhat half-realised, and their sophomore effort was more about finding their feet, album number three definitley feels like the project has come into it's own.

Songs such as 'Love, Hate & Devotion', 'Vicious Sin', 'Between Us', and 'Feelings You Hide' have great classic ebm elements that give them strong dancefloor potential, while the likes of 'Drowning', 'Left Behind', and 'Venom' get nice and dark to really draw the listener in.

Production-wise there are still some parts that feel a little more low-fi than they need to be, especially on the vocals that do seem to become a little swamped now and then. But on the whole it balances the aggressive, dark electronics with more melodic and progressive elements really well.

'Love, Hate & Devotion' is a big step forward for Fearpassage. The album has plenty of depth while keeping it's sonic pallet relatively straightforward. The result is the strongest album Fear has released thus far and one that continues to show off the potential of the project moving forward. Hopefully we won't have to wait as long next time for a follow-up.  

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Wednesday 22 February 2017

Meeting the Acid Death Cult of Vampires

"In our first project we definitely want to shed blood, as an emblematic oath. The other reason, the project requires it. If we create the device, it has to work, and we have to prove it. Our credibility can't be questionable." 

The dark, gothic scene seems to have a surprise coming for all of us, in more than just one sense. There’s a group preparing a promising first performance as a debut, surrounded by mystery, art, darkness and a more than original proposal.
Acid Death Cult of Vampires is the name they have chosen, and if it doesn’t make any of us wonder what they will be about by itself, the answers they gave on this interview will do it then.

Intravenous Magazine: How did you get started, individually and as a group, in the scene?
Acid Death Cult of Vampires: First of all, I'd like to thank you for the opportunity. My individual encounter with the scene was quite ordinary. Since I was young, the darker side of the world attracted me, I was always trying to act like an outcast, you could say antisocial, which only got "worse" with rebellious teenage years. Obviously there was more to it, but I'd rather not talk about those. Basically, it wasn't the dark scene that found me, but I found it. While others were listening to radio pop hits, I searched for melodies close to my heart in Skinny Puppy, Foetus or even Bauhaus songs.
With the team, we met already being in the dark scene, however this would be a slightly longer story, which would be more about how our organisation works.

IVM: What was that element or moment when you thought about this project?
ADCoV: For the organisation, we wanted a really imposing debut, which we shared in our continously published prospectus. The goal would be to reinterpret the dark culture and the associated pictorial, musical world, mood which we will perform seasoned with extremities, sometimes along raw undeniable reality, sometimes brought forth with abstract, metaphorical surreality.

IVM:  What does the name mean for you? Are you going to work with those concepts in your debut?
ADCoV: Acid Death Cult of Vampires. On first look the name of our organisation won't seem as short, however in deeper interpretation it tells a lot. I want people to judge us from the first impulse of the name, so I won't comment it too much, as this will reveal whether we are creating for them. For this very reason I think that it contains our organisations complete definition, as well as our future works' subjects, like hemophilia, mortuary cult, sexuality and of course, all the subjects inseperably linked to the dark culture. Naturally, on all of our projects one interpretation of the name will be perceptible, after all we are Acid Death Cult of Vampires.

IVM: If you were to chose a single word to describe this performance, which would it be and why?
ADCoV: Passion. Our story is about passion induced by misery. And under misery, we don't just mean directly inflicted, but a more diverse empathic emotion. As a part of this wonderful negative affective domain, we will include expectation, dread, horror, disgust and empathic pain, all interpreted by the audience's own soul.

IVM: Why did you choose Mudford's The Iron Shroud as the base?
ADCoV: This story goes best with the mentioned emotional background in my previous answer, but regarding our performance, we chose Mudford's novel because we don't want his work to be forgotten, even though regarding the subject Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" would've been more obvious. From a visual aspect the press chamber is a better choice, which we will alloy with the standing chamber and the Iron Maiden by our own concept. The torture device will have it's see-through walls covered with glass shards.

IVM:  Will you use more gothic classics for the next performances?
ADCoV: Naturally. We don't want our cultural inheritance to be forgotten, so even if only mentioned, but we pledge ourselves to protect our cultural values. After newly revealing them from the depths of ignorance, we will put them in a new, broader perspective to be passed down.

IVM: You told me this first performance will include cuts and blood, why not to use make-up instead?
ADCoV: Blood Sacrifice! In our first project we definitely want to shed blood, as an emblematic oath. The other reason, the project requires it. If we create the device, it has to work, and we have to prove it. Our credibility can't be questionable. The chamber will have transparent walls, so during the live broadcast everyone will feel the carnage!

IVM: When and where will it take place? Do you plan to record it so others can see it?
ADCoV: Given that we play with "lives" we wouldn't want to blindly fire our weapon. The performance will be broadcasted for the biggest audience possible, it will be recorded which will be available in the future through our organisation. The place is not yet set, as it is dependant on the budget. We wouldn't border ourselves, that if we meet the need, we would take it out in front of a live audience somewhere in Europe.

IVM: Any plans one the future? Ideas you may be working on already?

ADCoV: Just today (February 11th), we had the meeting where we took out this question. As of now, we are working on four different projects other than the Iron Shroud, which are not yet public, however out of the four I'd like to reveal a few things on two. One of them would be a musical play (dark-electro/electro-industrial based), which we plan a tour to some bigger European cities. The other has only it's name public so far, and I hope it's revealing enough: Bloodshed.

IVM: Thank you so much for your time, many of us will be waiting to see what you come up with. I'm sure you won't disappoint!

ADCoV: We would like to thank you for the opportunity! We promise people will definitely hear about us!

To keep an eye on this original project, make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and visit their website.

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Tuesday 21 February 2017

Review: Circle Of Dust – 'Machines Of Our Disgrace'

'Machines Of Our Disgrace'

After a 20 year hiatus Klayton, better known as Celldweller, has resurrected his 90s industrial metal band Circle Of Dust. While these days Klayton is inexorably linked to his work as Celldweller, which has led to an impressive back catalogue of releases over the years, there was always something unfinished about Circle Of Dust that led to him acquiring the rights to the previous releases and breathing new life into the old machine.

The result is the fifth Circle Of Dust album, 'Machines Of Our Disgrace', and it was worth the wait. With a further two decades of production experience siphoned through an unexpectedly heavy approach this is a very welcome move from Klayton. Evoking the likes of Static-X, gODHEAD, Fear Factory, and Love And Death in its execution it's heavy on the guitar riffs, thick with electronics and incredibly catchy.

Songs such as 'Maqchines Of Our Disgrace', 'Contagion', 'Embracing Entropy', 'Humanarchy', and 'Neophyte' provide a solid backbone of heavy cybernetic metal that is some of the strongest music that Klayton has produced in the past two decades.

There are the odd tracks that fall a little flatter with the likes of 'Hive-Mind' and 'K_OS' in particular coming off as the most filler-like of the cuts. Also the second half of the album does tend to run out of steam to a degree before being pulled back up by the stunning closer 'Malacandra'.

With those few issues aside it is a genuinely enjoyable album that will please both long-time fans and should also grab the attention of younger fans of industrial metal that would have missed Circle Of Dust first time round. Hopefullt COD will remain a going concern for Klayton, not at the expense of Celldweller, but it would be great to see COD do at least one more album and a touring stint on the back of this unexpected but gratefully received album. 

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Review: Vlimmer – 'IIIIII/IIIIIII (Limited Edition Box)'

'IIIIII/IIIIIII (Limited Edition Box)'

Inhabiting a netherworld between proto-ebm, early synthpop, drone and dreamy ambient electronics Vlimmer (AKA; Alexander Leonard Donat, from Berlin, Germany) is an unusual and yet strangely satisfying artist. His latest release 'IIIIII/IIIIIII' (6/7) marks the sixth and seventh EP releases in a series of eighteen combined into one. It's a hard sound to pin-down, one certainly rooted in both ambient electronics and shoegaze, and always leaning towards existential atmospheres. But the methods always vary.

Songs such as 'Flutbahrn', 'Rotflimmern', 'Freiwärts', and 'Sonneschwarz' have a more up-beat and joyful core to their sound as they flirt with traditional dance elements and beats. While the likes of 'Fensterlosigkeit', 'Möwenmeer', 'Grundbuch', and 'Veerläufer' are deeper, introspective journeys that build into cinemeatic atmospheres. But it is the interplay of dark ambiance and ethnic instrumentation on 'Veräuβerung' and it's hypnotic vocal delivery that really stands out.

In terms of it's production, it is distinctly low-fi but in a kind of old-school way rather than a low-budget way. It feels warm and analogue which amplifies the haunting melancholy of the tracks even more.

'IIIIII/IIIIIII' are really nice releases that show of an artist with a rich and diverse style that he can call on to paint an interesting picture. These EP's only represent a small snapshot of a conceptual whole, but based on these it will certainly be something for fans of ambient music to check out and get their teeth into. 

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Review: Cease2xist – 'Zero Future'

'Zero Future'

Cease2xist's last outing 'WIYGN?' showed a significant leap forward in the band's sound channeling their live energy and honing their songwriting into a sharper and more focused attack marking them as one act to watch. Three years down the line they're back with 'Zero Future', and album that moves into a darker and heavier direction than before. The band's aggrotech core is still there, but there is a considerable boost of confidence. Dayve Yates' vocal performance is the strongest so far. The synths are scathing, bordering or metal in execution, and the beats are bludgeoning yet groovy.

It's a short, sharp attack. The album instead choosing to make a complete statement and as a result loosing the remixes suffixed to the end of the track list. The end product is a fantastically compelling dark, pissed-off middle finger in the face.

Songs such as 'Make The World A Bitter Place', 'Mechanical Medicine', and 'Bosozuku Nights' lead the charge with full-on aggression powered by hard distorted synths and Yate's punk-metal growl. While the likes of 'Augury And Innocence', 'Dirty World', and 'Take Comfort In The Void' take on a more methodical and mechanical approach for some classic dystopian atmospheric industrial. But the album's shining achievement has to be the ominous closer in the form of the title track which borders on cinematic atmospheres while retaining a compelling dance beat.

Production-wise this is the strongest album yet by Cease2xist. One past criticism has been that the vocals often sat too low in the mix which robbed them of their power. But here they are right where they need to be rallying the rest of the instruments for the attack.

'Zero Future' may only weigh in at 34 minutes in length. But in that time it packs a big punch. If Cease2Xist were a band to watch, they are now surely on their way to the top of the UK industrial pile. Despite the dark connotations of this album's title, Cease2Xist definitely has a future, and its looking pretty bright from here.  

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Monday 20 February 2017

Interview: Marc Heal

Model citizen...

“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.”

Marc Heal's contributions to Industrial Rock cannot be understated. In the 90's behind the helm of Cubanate, and as a producer as well as hired gun for some of the biggestbeing an elder statesment of industrial music. names in the scene he has done more than enough to ensure his place in musical history.
After the dissolution of Cubanate, Heal took a long hiatus from making music until hooking up with Raymond Watts for the Pig Vs MC Lord Of The Flies release 'Compound Eye Sessions' EP in 2015. Since then there has been no stopping Heal. First came the release of the 'Adult Fiction' single, followed by his first solo full-length studio release 'The Hum', and then the very unexpected live reformation of Cubanate.
We caught up with Heal to talk about his latest album, breaking free of the past and being an elder statesman of industrial music.

Intravenous Magazine: The Hum was released last year – how do you feel it has been received so far?

Marc Heal: It seems to have gone down very well. There have been many kind reviews. Mind you, the age of the bad review has gone, hasn’t it? I haven’t seen one of those old-school, bilious, scathing reviews in a long time. Every writer is a “scene” writer, which is good in one way, they know what they’re talking about, but it makes them nervous about being properly critical.

Now that the album been out two or three months my excitement has faded. I’m in a kind of post partum depression. You think, “Is that it?” I’m wondering what comes next. I make difficult music, I know it’s hard to pigeonhole. I wish I could be more commercially minded.

IVM: After such a long time away from making music was there any trepidation about releasing this as solo material rather than under a moniker?

MH: Yes, I was nervous. You’re supposed to think of a cool handle in this scene aren’t you? But I didn’t think it was appropriate. 'The Hum' is personal and it’s different from the usual fodder so it seemed a bit stupid to give it a “cool” project name. There’s something healthy about exposing yourself like that. Does you good.

Actually I have a side project that I’ve been thinking about for years, it’s an album called “Falz Kompilation”. Each “act” on the compilation is me in the guise of a different fantasy industrial band. So there’s my German hard EBM project, Fritzl. There’s the US hardcore outfit, Hurtymen (probably from the east coast, channelling angry Jared Louche-esque beat poet vocals). There’s a sort of early Throbbing Gristle project called Porridge Gun. Plus the Industrial Riot Grrrl three piece, Cameltoe Rust. Oh, and a Slovenian primal scream thing with the working title of Melania.

IVM: You're reputation with acts such as Cubanate obviously precedes you but what led to you taking your hiatus from music and what led to the decision to start making music again?

MH: By the end of the 90’s I was in a rut and I lacked confidence. No, not confidence, interest. I wasn’t interested in what I was making anymore. Also I was drinking a lot. That numbs the nerves. At that time I had a lot of money from Gran Turismo royalties. I mean really quite a lot. 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.

I also realised that things were moving against me. That was around the start of that synthy-poppy thing with VNV and all those bands. I never got that.

More than anything, I wanted to do something else. There’s something moronic about touring. I couldn’t bear the prospect of just being in a band all my life. I needed to be grounded. To work. Unlike a lot of artists I’m interested in business. So, I set up some studios. I tried my hand at a few things – managing band, licensing. I had a couple of kids. Eventually I ended up in TV production.

After I worked with Raymond on 'Compound Eye' I became more interested in music again. Then I wrote The Sussex Devils. That was the best way to break a creative logjam.

IVM: Stylistically and thematically what were your inspirations when making 'The Hum'?

MH: It was around the time of Bowies’s death. It wasn’t that I was listening to Bowie. I couldn’t actually, for quite some time. But 'Blackstar' did make me think about being energetic and brave enough to do things your way. If you can’t do that, you can’t call yourself any kind of artist, however minor.

I travel around the east a lot. The huge cities, polluted and corrupt. And of course, the rich, isolated, protected. I realised that I didn’t care anymore for conforming to industrial stereotypes. You know the drill. Fetish, goths, Hellraiser, Terminator, blah. I realised that I could write what I wanted. Electronic music used to be a hotbed of intelligence, not cliché. So I decided to write about what I saw.

The sessions felt dreamlike. I sealed myself off from the outside world. I was all alone in a massive studio. Nothing penetrated. It was like I was the last person on earth.

IVM: How did you find the process of writing a solo album differed from your past work?

MH: I had to learn a lot of things I might have delegated before. I had to play a lot of parts, in every sense of the word. I had to sing, then judge and edit my vocals on the fly. That’s tough.

I also had to learn to mix properly. Normally I’d let someone else lead that process. I got a lot better through necessity.

I like collaboration. But the interesting thing about your own work is that it’s a mirror. You get to see yourself, warts and all.

IVM: The video for 'Adult Fiction' was stunning. How did that come about and can we expect any other videos to accompany the album?

MH: The 'Adult Fiction' video director was Gabriel Edvy. She was working with Cubanate on our live visuals. She nagged me to do a video, and I was liking what she was doing for Cubanate so I let her loose on 'Adult Fiction'. We haggled around a few ideas at the start but after that I just let Gabby do her thing. I was delighted with the end result.

I do think that the songs on 'The Hum' are very visual though. Each lyric reads like a mini-film. They are mostly stories. So I do like to think I give a filmmaker something to get their choppers into.

IVM: Your last release was the 'Compound Eye Sessions' EP with Raymond Watts – how did that come about and are there any more plans for similar releases?

MH: 'Compound Eye' was recorded well before 'The Gospel'. I like chucking Raymond ideas. I’d worked on 'Pigmata', a decade previously. But that had been the last PIG album at that point. So I hadn’t seen Raymond in a dog’s age and then I ran into him in a bar. He said he wanted to try making a 'Pigmata' follow up.

We were both at a loose end creatively so I dragged him into the studio. We tooled around with making an album but it didn’t get too far before I left for Singapore. So I released the scraps as 'Compound Eye', some tracks with Raymond’s vocals, some with mine. I always like working on PIG. I’ve already tossed him a tune for the new album.

I’d like to do similar collaborations with other people but I find that you really need to be in the same room.

IVM: Many industrial bands today are still influenced by the work you were doing in the 90s. Is this a position you're comfortable?

MH: Sure thing. I don’t mind being an elder statesman. Cubanate were ahead of our time and I’m glad to have sown some seeds. Some of the new bands that have taken it on board are great.

But I like to keep moving. I’ve never felt completely comfortable in the “pure” industrial scene. I find it a bit one-dimensional.

IVM: Are there any bands around today that have particularly captured your attention recently?

MH: I don’t see too many bands live out here. The last live show I saw in Singapore was Charli XCX at the Asian TV Awards. Dave Bianchi from Cubanate in the old days is her manager now. It was a weird trip; backstage with Charli and all these glamorous Korean TV stars in in Oscar’s style gowns.

In the scene? Well, Mistress Kanga of course. There’s something deceptive and alluring about her voice, which I like. She sings in that west coast prescription med drone and you find yourself drawn in. But don’t tell her I said that. She’ll only get cocky.

I still can’t gear that grinning, gurning brand of “emotional” electronic music. That “boys behind keyboards” thing. It’s so suburban. Who is that dude who promotes his tours with a cartoon of himself winking in a pork pie hat and a wine glass? Aesthetic Something. Christ.

IVM: The reformation of Cubanate as a live act has been music to a lot of people's ears, first with the appearance at Cold Waves festival and now with UK tour dates announced – is this a limited engagement or can we expect more from Cubanate in the future?

MH: I think more. But we’re both a bit reclusive these days. And we’re on other sides of the world. It’s hard.

Still, we enjoyed it, so we’ll play live a few more times I’m sure.

IVM: There was talk of a Cubanate retrospective album. Is this still the case?

MH: Yes. There’s a compilation of remastered versions of 15 songs from the first three albums coming out in May. It’s called 'Brutalism', it’s on Armalyte Industries.

I was kind of hoping that we’d discover some “lost gems” but the fact is that we released almost everything that we recorded. The new masters sound good though.

IVM: Cubanate aside, are there any plans to take 'The Hum' on the road?

MH: Love to, if anyone wants me. Live, it’s a bit overshadowed by Cubanate right now.

IVM: You've relocated to Singapore – how has this affected you musically and culturally?

MH: I like being here. I look at the west very differently now. The idea of being somewhere strange, not speaking the language has always fascinated me. Musically I do feel isolated, but perversely I find that liberating. I’m not looking over my shoulder at other people.

Mind you, a few years away gives my view of Europe a rose tint. I do get pangs of homesickness. Less so in the winter months.

IVM: In addition to your musical work you've released a book – 'The Sussex Devils' – can you give us some background into how that came about?

MH: I never meant to write a book. I found an old clipping about a court case in the UK. It got me curious about the past and I started making notes, scribbling things down. I found that I had about 60,000 words and I sent it the raw idea off to some agents. Several liked it and one agent, Robert Dinsdale at AM Heath encouraged me to finish it.

The book is about the hysteria surrounding Satanism in the 1980’s in the UK and also about Evangelical religion. Actually it’s about more than that. It’s about the past, youth and friendship at its core. When you reach a certain age you begin to see your life in a broader historical perspective. That’s impossible when you’re young, you’re too close to it, too self-absorbed.

IVM: How do you feel the book was received and are there plans for more?

MH: It was well received, but quietly. It sells steadily but slowly. Again, I make no complaints. It’s a strange, dark book. I wouldn’t expect it to be everyone’s cup of tequila.

I love writing. But it takes a huge amount of time to do it well. And like music, I have to be motivated. I can’t just do it to order. I’m dysfunctional like that. I wish I could be one of those write-on-command, please-the-public sorts of artist. But I have too many blanks, blind spots, dead ends.

IVM: Finally, are there any plans for a follow-up to 'The Hum' planned or any more collaborations for 2017?

MH: I’d like to get a follow up released this year. I’ve just started to write again. I’m a bit low, it’s not coming easy right now. I wanted to do something more upbeat after 'The Hum', but everything I’ve written so far is very bleak and slow. And very left-wing. I try to write a punchy, club-friendly number and it comes out as an 80bpm dirge called “Communism In Theory And Practise”. I can hardly see that one setting the charts afire, can you?

I don’t know. I’m bipolar. I get into a trough of paranoia. I can never trust myself not to just throw it all in the bin. But I’ve also learned to persist.

'The Hum' is available to buy now through Armalyte Industries. For more information on Marc Heal, including new releases and live dates, please visit his official website.

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Tuesday 14 February 2017

Interview: Bestial Mouths

Still heartless...

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

Los Angeles' Bestial Mouths are easily one of the most exciting acts of recent years. Uncompromising in their blend of the avant garde and inhabiting all the corners of dark alternative music, their latest album 'Heartless' has been universally praised, and off it's back the band has made inroads into the European live scene. 2016 may have been their most successful year to date, but the band keep their eyes firmly on the horizon with a new remix EP and north American tour scheduled for this year, they show no signs of stopping any time soon.
We caught up with vocalist Lynette Cerezo reflect on the band's stellar year and talk about their plans for 2017.

Intravenous Magazine: Your latest album 'Heartless' was released last March. How has the reaction been to it so far?

Lynette Cerezo: We have been pleased with the response so far, and from the reviews I have seen it has been positive. It was quite a feeling to see people reach out and nominate it for Best Album of 2016 in Auxiliary Magazine's end of year polls. We haven't seen the results yet, but we are honored and thrilled
to have made the list no matter the outcome.

Also, people seemed excited to do remixes of the songs, so it's always a good indicator when
fellow artists are excited to collaborate with you on a project - that's an ultimate compliment.

IVM: Musically and thematically what inspired you most in the creation of 'Heartless'?

LC: Heartless is a unique album, as it contains some older songs as we perform them now, we had the chance to re-record them, which was cool. So, in a way, it is also an homage to the past and present.

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

Musically, I would say we just continued on the same path and direction as we always have, and added some more danceable tracks.

I feel Heartless musically shows many of our influences across genres and styles, from some Post-punk type songs to more electronic - maybe more Pop like - vibe.

IVM: How do you typically approach the writing and recording process?

LC: We approach writing in a number of different ways:

It can begin with lyrics or an idea or interest that guides the lyrics first, then the music.

It can begin with music, and then lyrics written to what it evokes, what I hear in it.

It can also begin by experimentation of feelings, like we want to create a certain type of song (An example being I might want a slow dirty Swans-type song, or I am feeling a fast industrial harsh song).

As for recording, I much prefer when we are recording a song we have played live a bunch, because then I can focus on the lyrics' and songs' feeling because it is has become memorized and second nature. However, sometimes we don't have that luxury.

There have even been times I've had to record vocals for a song I haven't done the lyrics to yet, so I am writing them as we record.

IVM: You've worked with producers such as David Psutka, Danny Saber and Jürgen Engler. What does a producer need to bring to the table to compliment a band with such an esoteric sound such as Bestial Mouths?

LC: This is an interesting question, as my thought would be what does Bestial have to bring to the table. I think they just over all need an understanding of our sound and aesthetic and the overall goal we are trying to achieve.

Recording with Saber the first time - he was used to guiding vocalists I believe - he finally just stopped in the middle of our work and let me be free, and as he said “do my thing”.

I think working with diverse producers is also a great match for us, each one has his own ear and specialty to lend to our sound.

IVM: 'Heartless' marked your first full-length album on Cleopatra Records – how did that deal come about and how do you feel you fit with the label?

LC: It all started with an email from Cleopatra to come into their office and chat. Of course we were all excited and nervous at the same time. I grew up listening to all the bands on Cleopatra Records. After meeting with them I felt it was a great fit. I admired a large label that was still independent, that had survived our economy's struggles. They were ready to support new artists at that time, and I sensed it was an exciting time for them and wanted love to be part of it all.

IVM: A personal highlight on the album was the cover of The Human League's 'Being Boiled', what led to the decision to cover it and how do you feel it compares to the original?

LC: Truthfully I don't remember exactly how we picked The Human League. Cleopatra wanted us to do a cover and we threw around a lot of ideas. I liked the challenge of doing a cover with male vocals, a song that doesn't normally sound like us, the challenge to see if we can keep the integrity of the original but still put our mark on it. The original will always be best, of course, but I do believe we brought a different style to it!

I also agreed with the subject matter, its about being against the process of killing of silk worms for silk, humans' abuse of innocent victims for our own exploitation.

IVM: You have a new remix EP scheduled for release in March, what can we expect from that?

LC: We are super excited for the EP, '(still) HEARTLESS': It will have a lot of great remixes, new version of a song off 'Heartless' as we performed it live on our last EU tour and a new Bestial Mouths song!

It contains an exclusive mix that Danny Saber (Black Grape) recorded and produced with us during the Heartless sessions, plus remixes from Jürgen Engler (Die Krupps), Zanias (Linea Aspera), CX Kidtronik (Stones Throw / Atari Teenage Riot / Saul Williams), The Horrorist (Out Of Line Music / Things to Come), The Ludovico Technique (Metropolis Records) and Forces (Alex Akers, co-producer of Zanias).

Also appearing are Shredder (Chris Video, who is catching lots of attention for his DJing &
Tropical Goth parties) and Todd Gys (Black Circuit / Zero G Sounds, a Boston DJ formerly from the Midwest techno scene). It represents a wide range of styles and influences that reinterpret album tracks through very capable and talented hands.

IVM: You've shred the stage with some notable acts and toured Europe last year, can we expect to see Bestial Mouths back in Europe in 2017?

LC: Yes and yes, we love playing Europe, some of the best times and audiences we've had! We are currently working on plans for August for some shows and festivals. I believe we finally get to play Portugal, for the ENTREMURALHAS festival in Leiria, organized by the promoters of FADE IN Festival.

Extra special for us and our supporters is that we may be touring with Zanias, which includes Zoe Zanias and I sharing the stage and singing in each other songs.

We still want and need to play the UK though!

IVM: One stop on the tour was the 25th Anniversary of Wave Gottik Trefan – how was that experience for you, and did you get chance to enjoy any of the festival?

LC: WGT was an incredible experience. Our sound and performance felt incredible and to see that many people there, who seemed to know who we were, was so exciting. I was happy we got to stay an extra day and catch a lot of amazing performances, too. The best was people watching and feeling completely at home.

Bummed though, because my favorite playing tights fell out my hotel window (I was airing them from smoke smell), they were quickly snatched up as it was a city filled with “goths” so a perfect find for some one (Well, I would have been pleasantly happy to have found them!). I was so hoping to see someone wearing them so I could smile ha ha!

IVM: Last year you added Brant Showers (∆Aimon / SØLVE) to the touring line-up of the band. What led to that move and what do you feel he brings to the live show?

LC: Brant adds tons to the live show, his take on our sound and energy are perfect. It happened because we were in need of a touring drummer. Brant had offered in the past and I had always remembered that. I was so happy when it all came together.

IVM: Eddie O. is also a part of the live band on electronics and video. How important is it to experiment with sound and vision during live shows and are there any new things you're looking to include in your shows this year?

LC: Our live performances have always been a huge focus for Bestial. I think it should be a full experience: Sight and sound and feeling. I have always wanted to push it further and add some visual imagery that enhanced my movement in live shows, to add to the theatrics of my performance. One of the aspects we are working on is how these performances translate in the various spaces we play, as we shift through different song moods and parts of the room.

Eddie and I are currently working on new footage to add to the live show, really coordinating the live visuals with each song to create a narrative atmosphere. We recorded all of the footage ourselves, using everything from DSLRs to iPhones to capture scenes as we experienced them on and off tour.

IVM: The band's visuals are incredibly striking – how important is this element to the ethos of the band and what inspires you visually?

The visual and the overall aesthetic has always been super important. I feel it is the whole package that can really convey who and what the band is about, to really help express the sound of the music.

Visually, life is what inspires us, it is all around. I also have a background and degree in fashion design and art history, so I know that creeps its way into everything.

IVM: There is a new video in the works for 'Worn Skin'. What can we expect to see in that?

LC: A lot of darkness…. (Literally and figuratively)

Actually it is my directorial debut. Usually the talented and professional directors we have worked with have their idea and vision for the song. This time I wanted to recreate what had been swimming around in my head, and also experiment with a different “aesthetic” and look, as I always try to create something new. I purposefully wanted a more lo-fi look, to lend to the idea of having to go through many levels from my brain to reach the outside world / public. Kind of like the Telephone game one plays as a kid: It starts as a clear picture and it gets changed and affected along the way.

'Heartless' is available to buy now through Cleopatra Records. For more information on the band, including forthcoming releases and tour dates, please visit their official website.  

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Monday 13 February 2017

The Reinvention is Us - The Evolution Generation

So I dunno about the UK, but over here, in Canada, record stores are closing down.
We're talking major record stores chains that have been around since forever. We're talking the Go-To spots for all your CD needs (and cassettes, once, and vinyls, then and again).
These places are closing, because CDs aren't selling anymore.

The music business, or industry, is changing.
Soon, the only place where you'll be able to find CDs will be at independent record stores.
Now, does the future of music thus lie in indie record stores? Not really. Its past certainly does, and independent retailers will always remain a key outlet for the physical releases of any local indie band. The answer, however, lies in the bigger picture. The reality of our times is indeed that soon, they will stop making devices to play CDs. They already stopped making portable CD players a few years ago.
Soon there will be no more stereo systems.

Furthermore, it's not that great of an idea anymore, especially for independent musicians, to release a CD. It's no longer a sustainable artefact.
The reinvention is us, right here, right Now.
Sure, Bandcamp out there's got our backs for our online platform needs, but when the time comes to think of a physical format for us to put our music on, a product to put in people's hands, a token of ourselves as our art for people to hold, cherish and remember us by, we need to rethink our mediums.
The economy right now is shit, let's face it, and so if you want people to give you their money, it better be worth it, and it better be a sustainable medium for you.
You're investing your own money into this, after all.

Everything is changing.
Everything about the music business as we know it is changing.
Eveyrthing our parents did, the one before us and the ones before them.
Everything is ending, and everything is beginning. And it's up to us -the generation of us, making music in 2017, to figure it out all over again.

Music on USB supports.
Videos on YouTube channels and the like.
And streaming soon will kill the video star.
We are now our own media -power to the people, and our power lies in the art of Sharing, and a good Wifi connection.

There has never been a generation more amidst the Change than ours.
We are the Change. We are the Evolution. We are the ones that are to determine the future of music for the generations to come.
We are the Reinvention.

The truth is we all know where we're going.
We just don't know exactly how to get there, but we sure as hell can figure it out.

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Thursday 9 February 2017

Searching for The Gold-Bug of Poe

There are some stories from Edgar Allan Poe that amazed me at some point, others that gave me chills and a little fear, and there are others that were just a pleasant surprise, but nothing else. That’s the case of one of his police tales for which his is most known nowadays: The Gold-Bug.

The story seems to be pretty simple and with not a big relevance when it comes to an actual plot, as it is about an interesting and exciting adventure done by two friends and the servant of one of them, searching for what they think may be a great treasure no one else has been able to find.

However, things end up not being as easy as this intrepid trio thought at the beginning, starting to succumb at the effect of their own nerves, stress and confusion. What seemed to something curious and interesting starts to show the worst side of each of them, before an end can be reached.
In The Gold Bug, we won’t get any phantom, ghost, specter, supernatural creature or magic of any kind. This is not a tale with these elements or anything remotely similar, but a tale more focused on mental abilities, highlighting human capabilities and how far can our brain go if they are applied correctly.

Although the main idea, which is a treasure hunt because of a singular bug and the ideas a man gets by thinking on it, the narrative is somewhat disappointing, heavy, hard to follow from beginning to end, and filled with many fancy words that only make it more challenging to understand what Edgar Allan Poe was writing.

What bothered me at first about The Gold-Bug was that it was such a simple story, with nothing that remarkable or relevant, and that relays on its characters’ abilities to decipher a mystery. This could be considered one of the first detective stories for some of us, and has the pros and cons of the time’s style, but to have such simplicity, and coming from Poe is what didn’t let me enjoy the reading as in other cases.

This is one side of Poe I explored for the first time, and despite it wasn’t the best experience and not even near to how I thought it would be, I cannot deny that it was interesting and fresh. The Gold-Bug shows how versatile this man was and gives another reason to love his work and memory, as if there were not enough of both.

Don’t get me wrong, this story doesn’t disappointing at all, as it still keeps you immersed in the plot, maybe not as much as other darker tales, and with even more reason if this is not the kind of readings you’re used to, but it wasn’t the experience I thought I will have, to be honest.

I can clearly see why many people have been amazed because of this story, as it gets really interesting in the second half of The Gold-Bug, after a long explanation on how things took their path and shape, and you can be sure that I liked to know more about this page after page, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a heavy reading.

As I see it, you should know all of this before start with this one, in case you commit the same mistake as I and forget that Poe was, besides a writer interested in the darkest side of gothic literature and horror, he was a lover of mysteries and detectives as well. Not the best of his creations, if you ask me, but you’ll be able to like and enjoy The Gold-Bug by keeping this in mind.

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