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

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Darkwave band Strvngers prepare new music video


Canadian darkwave duo Strvngers recently announced a new upcoming music video for their track Dressed to Kill, a fan favorite, and that was also included on their first album, Sonic Erotica, their independent release in January 2016.


When I briefly talked with Kyle Craig, one of the band's integrants, about this video, he said excited that "It's coming out soon! Get ready ❤" but decided not to reveal more details, so all we know so far as that it will come out in April.

Dressed to Kill is part of the band's second album, Strvngers, released on November 18 with Negative Gain Productios, which you can buy on Apple iTunesGoogle PlayAmazon Music and Spotify.

The band is scheduled to present on Caligary this March 31 with GOST and Die Scum Inc, in June 16 at Edmonton with Severed Heads, Cygnets and iVardensphere, and again in Caligary on July 28 for the Terminus Impact Music Festival with artists like 3Theeth, Pig and The Birthday Massacre, among others.

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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Review: Ulver – 'The Assassination Of Julius Caesar'



ULVER
'The Assassination Of Julius Caesar'
HOUSE OF MYTHOLOGY


Ulver are a beast unto themselves. With their roots in folk, black metal and post metal, they have evolved into a band that transcends genre classifications. They are now simply Ulver. A band that never looks back and never retreads old ground. With albums such as the stunning 'Blood Inside', 'Shadows Of The Sun', and 'Wars Of The Roses' under their collective belt, their discography with every release becomes an increasingly long shadow to escape. But with every release they do and are one of the few acts today worthy of being place on the avant garde mantel as a result.

Album number thirteen, 'The Assassination Of Julius Caesar', is another clear step forward unfettered by expectations. Though familiar elements remain – such as ambient electronics, post-rock atmospheres, haunting vocals and nods to drone, trip-hop, and industrial – there is nothing derrivative about this. The album weaves a conceptual narrative and the long winding songs in particular sweep you along in their wake.

Tracks such as '1969', 'Coming Home', 'Rolling Stone', 'Southern Gothic', and 'Transverberation', are fantastic additions to the band's huge body of work. They shift seamlessly between styles and genres with a prog rock like disregard, but all the time maintaining a pop sheen that would make the likes of Vice Clarke and Depeche Mode jealous. The quality of the songwriting and musicianship on display here just goes to show why Ulver are pretty much untouchable wherever their instincts take them.

The production, courtesy of Killing Joke's Martin 'Youth' Glover, is absolutely spot on for what this album needed to be, balancing the experimental flourishes with the solid pop bass-line, and allowing that haunting ambiance to creep through and dissipate like mist.

Thirteen may be unlucky for some but for Ulver it is a magic number. 'The Assassination Of Julius Caesar' is a highlight within a strong discography that already includes its fair share of highlights. Fans of Ulver's earlier works definitely won't be getting the return to their roots they may still crave, and yes it would be cool to see what modern Ulver could do within the extreme/folk metal framework of their past, but that's not the point. This album is a solid and complete statement made by a group of musicians at the tiop of their game.  

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Review: Bestial Mouths – '(Still) Heartless'



BESTIAL MOUTHS
'(Still) Heartless'
CLEOPATRA RECORDS


Bestial Mouths' 2016 album 'Heartless' was undoubtedly one of the highlight releases of the year. Their sonic formula of avant garde electronica combined with sinister industrial dance machinations balances appealing elements from genres such as cold wave, darkwave and industrial, with a sense of freedom of form and fluidity that is incredibly satisfying. It is no surprise that a remix companion for the album has been released and sees some top names lend their skills to reinterpret the originals.

Names such as Ludovico Technique, Danny Saber, CX Kidtronix, and Die Krupps drag the original tracks across numerous styles and genres transforming them into solid dance offerings, as well as deeper and more complex amplifications. Alongside the ten remixes are two brand new tracks. 'Witchdance' evokes the spirit of Diamanda Galas and Nick Cave as Lynette Cerezo vocally exorcises a demon over a sinister minimal ambient track. While 'High Walls' sounds like Siouxsie Sioux narrating her own nightmares along to storm noises and a steady tribal beat. The songs may not be in keeping with the previous material on 'Heartless', but they are a wonderful example of the band's unrestrained experimentalism and juxtaposed against the dancier remixes provide a nice counterpoint in the form of an extreme 180° flip.

As with any remix album, the quality of the inclusions are somewhat objective, however it is undeniable that with talents such as Ludovico Technique, Danny Saber, CX Kidtronix, The Horrorist, Zanias, Shredder, and Die Krupps there will be something for everyone. But Ludovico Technique's reworking of 'Worn Skin', the band's own new version of 'Down To The Bone (No Longer See mix)', Zanias' take on 'Heartless', Die Krupps' mix of 'Worn Skin', and Danny Saber's version of 'Greyed' are all fantastic reasons to grab this release.

'(Still) Heartless' does what great remix albums should do, and that's to deconstruct the originals, present a range of styles, and where possible experiment. The remix album these days may be the standard thing for a band to do, especially after a particularly hot album, yet they're sadly so often an afterthought. But here it has been carefully curated and constructed in a way that makes you want to dive in deeper and raise questions about the next album's direction.  

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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

LE CABARET D'ATROCITE



Someone once said that history always repeats – first as tragedy, then as farce. And now we can safely say that history is also repeating as a kind of cabaret.

We were all dimly aware of the increasing incongruity of notions of 'substance', the 'narrative of history', 'progress', and 'essential truth', in modern (and not-so-modern) society; how modernity has passed seamlessly to post-modernity and a shifting chimera of identities no longer defined by rigid positions in class, gender, and nation. But it's fair to say we never expected the kind of morphing venality that we have seen so far this year.

Already in 2017 we have seen not only the breaking of international norms and widespread political crises across the globe, but also the new terms of an almost comical doublethink – 'fake news', and 'alternative facts'. Lawyers, spy agencies, taxi drivers judges, and journalists have become heroes in alliance, with Presidents, Prime Ministers, other taxi drivers, other journalists and other spy agencies the villains; the right and the far right circling each other in ever-decreasing circles, leaders of the 'free world' denounced as racists and sexists by neutral Parliamentary speakers, press barons fighting online battles with children's authors, the Holocaust being tainted with the brush of 'all lives matter' whitewashing, and Rabbis and Imans standing shoulder to shoulder against measures that were ruled illegal by federal courts which were subsequently denounced as 'fake' by the President of the Unites States. In fact, the world has become less of a planet orbiting the sun than a constantly rotating cabaret of atrocity.

What are the features of the Cabaret d'Atrocite? Well, the masks the performers use are transient and contradictory, their dances and songs just a reflection of their position in a constantly shifting narrative; there is no plot, no storyline, no script; the actors change their roles in constant flux, and with no emotion other than an impersonation of that which they wish to emulate. Painted smiles and pointing fingers, gestures of defiance and submission and control, torch songs and ballads and shanties and anthems merging into a murderous medley. And we are all now in the cheap seats.

It would be tempting to regard the cabaret as pure entertainment, just images moving across screens and disassociated reports of entertainment and escapades. But it is not – it is a performance that plays with all our lives, and in which we all have a part. And in it's savagery there is no protection, no rules to work by, merely the buffers on which people's attempts to oppress strain. This is the |Carnival of the Abuse of Power – miniature pyres and guillotines, pogroms and massacres chaotically executed and blandly reported.

But although the performance is serious, it can still be enjoyed. Play your role with passion, and skill; be fierce in opposition and pert in resistance. Dance with passion, but carry a sword; fight with a smile intact. Make your case, be ruthless, be demanding. Have fun, but be careful.

It's time to put on your dancing shoes, warm up the pipes, put your best foot forward, wear a big smile, and give these fuckers hell.

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To Be A Witch

Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, by Paul Kidby

To be a witch
Is mostly about
Focus
The intent
The reasons behind
Doing what you
Do and
Being who you
Are
It's about
Knowing one's self
Thoroughly
And understanding that there
Is a purpose to life
Beyond living it for
One's Self

To be a witch is to
Learn, constantly, openly, and
Perfecting one's mastery of
The Craft
It is about
Perpetuating the
Studies and understandings of
Generations upon generations past

I've always been a fan of
Granny Weatherwax, the
Crone from the Discworld series by
Terry Pratchett.
She know what she's doing.
Like. She knows exactly what she's
Doing.
(There was always a part of me that thought it was mostly made-up, what she does, but now, with my own work, and learnings and understandings, I've come to realize that no -it's mostly real.
It's mostly actual things you can do
When you dedicate yourself to these learnings and understandings.)

A fashion, another fad of pop culture, perhaps these days, but to
Me, and all the others, it's a
Thing we do.
No.
It's a thing we
Are.
From palmistry to reiki, to numerology, tarot readings and scurrying, we find ourselves
Connected, entertwined to that which is
Bigger than ourselves, us all, us humans.

The trees speak, and so do the
Stars, the Moon and the Waves of the
Ocean.

Our third eyes are being forced closed.
It is rebellious to choose, and strive, to keep them
Wide open.

Act in love, selflessly, and remember to keep a
Clear mind, and an open
Heart.
Walk your path, and shine your own light
You know who to call upon when the road will
Fork.

Alone, we learn to
Heal ourselves, and
Together, we heal the
World.

All in love, for the good of all.

So mote it be.




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Monday, 27 March 2017

Fullmetal Alchemist: New photographs from the movie


Besides Death Note, another movie based on an important anime that will see the light this year is Fullmetal Alchemist, a dark fantasy story about two alchemists, the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who tried to revive their mother, causing serious consequences that left them mutilated. Years later, they will seek to recover what they lost and, in the way, must stop a conspiracy.

Few news have been released about this adaptation whose filming began in June 2016 in Italy, outside of the famous actor and singer Ryosuke Yamada will give life to the elder brother and protagonist, Edward Elric. But some photographs have been released, making it clear that Fullmetal Alchemist will have a more than interesting mix between steampunk aesthetic and a dark fantasy concept.

"I want to create a style that follows the original manga as much as possible. The cast is completely Japanese, but the location is Europe, but it's a style that does not represent a specific race or country," said its director Fumihiko Hori.





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New movie trailer: Death Note from Netflix


This Tuesday, Netflix revealed the teaser trailer for their upcoming Death Note film, the first American version of the popular manga and anime that many of us love and that remains as an important part of our youth, like Fullmetal Alchemist, which is also about to become a film.

However, this video sparked controversy, since several fans were disappointed to see that, allegedly, the film would be geared to the action genre. Also, some followers criticized the altered designs of the notebook, with a different cover, spine and inner pages.


Death Note follows the story of Yagami Light, or Light Turner, in the case of this movie, when he discovers a singular notebook that can kill a person only by writing their name on its pages. Light see this as a chance to become the God of a new world, killing criminals, but also drawing the attention of one of the most important detectives in the world: L.

This new version of Death Note is directed by Adam Wingard and will be released worldwide in August 2017.


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Amy Lee's new video: Speak To Me


Amy Lee's new single, 'Speak To Me', is already complete, now with the music video we were waiting for. The ghostly and elegant ballad is materialized with a sophisticated look, the cinematography presented in all the video and the sweetness that Jack Lion Hartzler, her son, adds. The video vas released exclusively in Entertainment Tonight's website this Tuesday.

'Speak To Me' is far away from Lee's earlier work, both visually and musically, putting aside the darkness, simply retaining the melancholy and some metaphors that her fans would identify as part of the 'My Immortal' music video, a single from 'Fallen', Evanescence's first album. Find the lyrics of the song at the end of this entry!


Be still, my love
I will return to you
However far you feel from me
You are not alone
I will always be waiting
And I'll always be watching you
Speak to me, speak to me, speak to me...

I can't let go
You're every part of me
The space between is just a dream
You will never be alone
I will always be waiting
And I'll always be watching

We are one breath apart, my love
And I'll be holding it in 'till we're together
Hear me call your name
And just speak, speak to me, speak to me, speak...

I feel you rushing all through me
In these walls I still hear your heartbeat
And nothing in this world can hold me back
From waking through to you

We are one breath apart, my love
And I'll be holding it in 'till we're together
Hear me call your name
Just believe and speak, speak to me, speak to me...

Be still, my love
I will return to you...

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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Review: In Death It Ends – 'Resonate 528'



IN DEATH IT ENDS
'Resonate 528'
SELF-RELEASED


In Death It Ends has been an interesting project to follow over the past few years. Ranging from with house, to experimental to proto-goth and industrial elements, every release is a guessing game. Alongside a range of high-quality physical release Porl King has made time to release plenty of free singles and EPs as well.

The latest free offering is the single 'Resonate 528' from the new physical album wish machine. Reminiscent of the 'Forgotten Knowledge' album from 2012 with a blend of minimal darkwave and experimental electronics, this time inspired by radionics/psionics and incorporating a radionic device. It's an infectiously groovy track that harks back to some of the best work from IDIE. Long-time fans will undoubtedly find this a familiar direction, while newcomers will get a taste for a nice cross-section of the IDIE style.

Production-wise the song is minimal and experimental. But it is also quite accessible with it's central groove and beat tempering the eclectic electronic experiments underneath. King has long ditched the low-fi sound and has continued to give his releases a crisp and modern sound, and this is no exception.

'Resonate 528' is another nice free taste of a very interesting and prolific project. It may only be a small taste of the wider 'Wish Machine' work, but it is nonetheless a good and satisfying one.  

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INFINITE RESISTANCE



In my previous articles over the past few months I have dealt with ideas of the magic of the outsiders, the witchcraft of the oppressed, and how to dance amongst the pyres of the incoming storm. These are simply suggestions of strategies, decorative ideas that we can wear, primitive masks to protect. So how would a more integrated and internalised form of resistance develop? If we cannot all join barricades that are burning down and there is no winter palace left to storm, how can we fight and live at the same time?

The idea of an oppositional spirituality is one that can be interwoven into the daily practice of one's life; something that can be integrated into how we react to the world, no matter what we do. The personal may be political, but it must also be resistant. To do this we can call upon the prototype of the opposer, and the image of the adversary. Lucifer is, of course, the original manifestation of that spirit – but there are others too, from Lilith to Faust to Sade. The source is not to important as the energy we deprive from it.

Essentially there is a basic oppositional force in the universe. There is a conflict in all things – in all social groups, ideas, bodies, relationships, states, minds. To exist is to be opposed. The world is a complex mesh of competing existences, forces, ideas. Lucifer is the idea of the oppositional force. It is a concept. And with it we can use it to channel our spirit of resistance.
This is the idea that I call Infinite Resistance. It is to commit yourself in mind and body to never be ruled, never be conquered, never be oppressed, and not to conquer or rule or oppress. It is an understanding, at the root, that you will never give in. It is a spiritual commitment.
In practice this means supporting all those fighting oppression, all forces of resistance. It means harnessing ideas of the outcast, the slave, the witch. It means knowing whose side you're on. It means always challenging, being alert. It means a daily practice of applied thought, action and resistance.
And what glorious peace of mind it brings. A promise you make to yourself. At one with the rocks and the sea and the stars. With such a commitment, you can be truly free. It is a kind of eternity. You can't lose if you fight forever.
So try to find ways to absorbing that spirit, that unbreakable flexibility of will, and the iron in the soul to always resist. As Milton put it so well - "All is not lost, the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, immortal hate, and the courage never to submit or yield.”

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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Birthday Massacre's new song has been leaked!


It's funny to see that when one of your favorite artists releases a song, you discover that now it is a band that has new material on the market, although not the way they wanted, and find yourself in the need to decide which is better. I decided both of them are amazing!


The Birthday Massacre, a dakwave band from Canada, have been working on their seventh studio album and used a crowdfunding campaign for it. Little has been heard about it, but now we have much information that it is useless to hide the excitement!

'Under Your Spell' will be released in June 9th and it is said to be their most intimate and emotive record to date. This album is a captivating hybrid of 80's, electronica, and aggressive guitars, fused with dark, cinematic melodic progressions. "Under Your Spell" also blends the expansive breadth of The Birthday Massacre's signature sound and creates a deeply personal, immersive collection of songs.
As far as we now, this is the official tracklist:



01. One
02. Under Your Spell

03. All of Nothing

04. Without You

05. Counterpane

06. Unkind
07. Games
08. Hex
09. No Tomorrow
10. The Lowest Low
11. Endless


Also, one of the songs from this album, 'Counterpane', leaked a few days ago, confirming what it is said above. We're also presenting the lyrics for you to sing along. Listen to it before it is erased!

Strange
Changes come with age
Some things disappEar in a day

And some things slowly fade

And you and I are like the ink staining all the other pages
We’re at the edge of the world again

A step back is a step forward

Been here before when we were innocents

I saw the signs but I couldn’t find the words

Now we’re stuck in a wasteland

Everyone in the dark adores you

So much regret for things I never said
I should’ve left
I always meant to


Shame
There’s nobody to blame

People interlace by mistake sometimes

It hurts to walk away

But we’re just cheap toys, perpetually breaking


We’re at the edge of the world again

A step back is a step forward

Been here before when we were innocents

I saw the signs but I couldn’t find the words

Now we’re stuck in a wasteland

Everyone in the dark adores you
So much regret for things I never said
I should’ve left
I always meant to


We’re at the edge of the world again

Time will never heal the distance

Been here before when we were innocents

Building this modern prison for so long

So long

We’re at the edge of the world again
A step back is a step forward
Been here before when we were innocents

I saw the signs but I couldn’t find the words

Now we’re stuck in a wasteland

Everyone in the dark adores you

So much regret for things I never said

I should’ve left
I always meant to

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Review: Davey Suicide – 'Made From Fire'



DAVEY SUICIDE
'Made From Fire'
SELF-RELEASED

The third album from US industrial rockers Davey Suicide sees the band take a darker and heavier turn than their previous releases. While their last two albums were prone to heavy outbursts, they still felt at home with the rock tag amidst the electronic and industrial embellishments. Yet this time things feel a lot more metal.

After a sinister and thickly layered intro, the band dive headlong into 'Rise Above' recalling the likes of recent Combichrist, Dope, as well as a little bit of of the usual Marilyn Manson and Tim Skold influences. It's a fist-in-the-air and middle finger-in-the-face kind of approach and it works damn well.

The song construction is a little along the nu-metal meets industrial style that was popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, but with a cleaner and razor-sharp approach. With songs such as the affore mentioned 'Rise Above, along with 'No Angel', 'Too Many Freaks', 'Anti-System Revolution', 'No Place Like Hell', and 'Made From Fire' the album is a riotous and angst ridden sonic exorcism.

It is a strong album but it does have its week points, partly through a lack of variation as it is pretty much balls-to-the-wall from start to finish. Something a little experimental, instrumental or soft to take it in a sudden change of direction would be good, without simply resorting to a semi-ballad as it does on the final track.

In terms of production it is sport on. The vocals strike hard amidst the maelstrom of guitars and electronics. It is confident, crisp and modern and doesn't try to replicate the Nothing or Wax Trax! styles, rather favouring it's own method.

'Made From Fire' is undoubtedly the strongest release from Davey Suicide so far. It has a great metal edge that feels genuine, and some of Davey's best vocal performances yet. It may lack variety, but for those fans of bands such as Dope, Static-X, Powerman 5000, Rob Zombie and Tim Skold, is is a pretty solid choice.  

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Monday, 20 March 2017

Amy Lee releases 'Speak to Me'



One of my favorite bands of all the time are the so-hated-and-insulted EVANESCENCE. Their lyrics, their videos, their concepts and ideas for each of their tracks, and even the photoshoots they have had over the years make me think sometimes. Of course I have a favoritism for AMY LEE, who has proven herself as an amazing singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist… pretty much like of my visual, incarnated definitions of music on this Earth, to summarize.

When I saw months ago that she was working on a new song, I practically ran through the Internet in order to see what I could discover. SPEAK TO ME is the end title song for “Voice from The Stone,” an independent, American supernatural psychological thriller film directed by Eric D. Howell and written by Andrew Shaw, which is based on the novel of the same name by Italian author Silvio Raffo.

The song is presented in a dramatic, slow tempo with a piano and an entire orchestra dancing together at the rhythm of Lee’s ghostly voice. The darkness in each of her words has an incredible elegance and finesse, contrasting with her previous wild and violent style but matching the most recent releases like the 2016 version of Evanescence’s Even in Death and her single Love Exists.
Voice from the Stone will be released on 28 April 2017 in limited release, video on demand and digital HD. Keep an eye on your favorite movie theater so you won’t miss the premier! Here are some BTS pictures from its music video and the preview video Amy released with clips from the movie and part of the recording process.








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Live Review: Mortiis / PIG – Plug, Sheffield 14/03/2017



MORTIIS / PIG (+ Seraph Sin)
Plug, Sheffield
14/03/2017


A double-headline tour is not a common occurrence, and certainly not one that boasts two industrial rock bands with cult legacies such as PIG and Mortiis. Alternating headlines slots at shows up and down the UK, putting egos aside and adding a little surprise as to just who will be topping the bill. With several dates straddling school nights a large crowd may not be on the cards, but those who do make the trip are certainly feeling the passion.

But before all of that it's left to Glaswegian industrial rockers Seraph Sin to warm the crowd up. Their mixture of metal-tinged industrial rock is a sharp wake-up call to anyone feeling the mid-week malaise. They tear through a half hour setlist of up-tempo gritty tunes that balance menace and groove nicely. The beats fly thick, the riffs come hard and fast and front-man Gabriel even ends up playing from the front row of the crowd. Tight on time they may have been but by the end of their set they'd definitely got the blood pumping.

Next up the lord of lard, the baron of bacon, the mighty swine himself Raymond Watts hits the stage with PIG. This tour marks the first for the band in the UK since supporting Nine Inch Nails on their Downward Spiral tour. Let's just let that sink in for a minute. In that time Raymond has become a cult hero of the industrial rock scene thanks to his work as PIG and time with KMFDM. The reanimated PIG live crew sees Watts joined by ex-KMFDM bandmates En Esh and Gunter Schulz, as well as ex-Combichrist synths man Z. Marr, and 16 Volt's Galen Waling on drums. It's a strong line-up (worthy of “supergroup” in fact) that produces a blistering set.

Watts is the epitome of the rock frontman. He chews the rind of irony and spits it back amidst a set of groove-laden industrial rock that not only spans the career of PIG, but also dives into KMFDM territory. The latest album 'The Gospel' is well represented right from the start, but arguably the most enjoyable moment of the set was seeing Watts, En Esh and Schulz going hell-for-leather on 'Juke Joint Jezabelle'.

By the process of elimination it is down to Norwegian industrial rockers Mortiis to headline the evening.
HÃ¥vard Ellefsen's band may have also come in from the cold with last year's 'The Great Deceiver', but certainly they show no signs of rust. Last year's album revealed a darker and more malevolent edge to the band's sound, one that has translated into an intense live performance. The set draws heavily from the new album but there are room for well-received classics such as 'Decadent And Desperate' and 'Parasite God' (which unfortunately suffers from a brief microphone glitch at the start, and quite frankly deserves a re-release in this high-octane version).

Ellefsen stalks the stage like a rabid animal pacing and throwing his dreadlocks around with intensity, yet he still manages to smile and joke, showing his enjoyment throughout the energetic performance. It's a tight set and despite only being three-men strong the band still fills the stage with ease, but it's not surprising given Ellefsen's pedigree as a showman. Yet again, Mortiis show that they are a criminally underrated band with an intensity that can see them hold their own on any night.  

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Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Editorial: March, 2017



I'm a little bit later than usual with this month's editorial but that's just how it goes sometimes. I'm going to start by once again thanking everyone who has downloaded 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!

So what am I going to rabbit on about this month? Well this month I'd like to talk about Bill Hicks, as it is close to the anniversary of his untimely passing...

On the 26th of February 1994, aged just 32 years old, William Melvin Hicks died from Pancreatic cancer. Bill Hicks, as he was commonly known, was a stand-up comedian whose satirical, visceral and philosophical humour generated controversy and acclaim in equal measures. But Hicks was much more than a simple comedian. He was a musician, a philosopher, a satirist, and to some, a prophet. Hicks never resorted to “Blue” humour, even his infamous “Goatboy” routine was based on a very real tradition of Greek myths about the half-goat God Pan. Instead he presented the world as he saw it to his audience complete with all of its hypocrisy, hate, apathy and mediocrity, and tried to show the world for what it really was… Just a ride.

Hicks was born to a typical Southern Baptist family in Georgia USA, and lived in different states within the American “Bible Belt” in his formative years. As a young teen he discovered the comedy of Woody Allen and Richard Pryor and began to perform routines with friends, first at school and then at local clubs. As Hick’s style began to evolve he would often be compared to the likes of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin for his offbeat tangents and politically charged rants. But there was always more that could be done. Hicks would experiment with drugs and alcohol, and chain smoke on stage. This gave his work a fevered energy akin to a punk rock show. Hicks style was intimate and confrontational. He would viciously shout-down hecklers and never sugar-coated a single thought. But as Hicks’ personal philosophy sharpened, so did the messages in his act. After he gave up doing drugs, he would take an unpopular pro-drug stance because, unlike a lot of people with an anti-drug stance, he had experienced first hand the beneficial effects of drugs like LSD Marijuana and Magic Mushrooms, as well as the bad effects. One of his most famous riffs was on the lack of these positive effects in news reports which only ever focus on morons that throw themselves off buildings while on acid.
“Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration — that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death; life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves... Here's Tom with the weather!” - Bill Hicks, ‘Revelations’ (1993)
Consumerism, society, religion, politics, philosophy, popular culture and (perhaps most importantly) Bill Hicks were all subjects ruthlessly deconstructed in front of his live audiences. A relentless pursuit of “The Truth” featured throughout his material which often meant cutting through the pre-conceived notions of his audience in order to lead them, not to his point of view, but to their own. In an episode of the BBC series ‘A Question Of Taste’, in response to the line of questioning regarding his act, Hicks repeated a comment he once heard from an audience member who stated “We don't come to comedy to think!”, to which he retorted “Gee! Where do you go to think? I'll meet you there!”. He questioned the alleged guilt of Lee Harvey Oswald in the JFK assassination as well as David Koresh in the conclusion of the Waco siege and other conspiracy theories to make the point that the “truth” that the media presents is just one version and that it isn’t, by any stretch, gospel.

In the seventeen years since Bill Hicks death little has changed. Though there are many comedians around today who are inspired by, and pay tribute to Hicks, few take the bold and lonely stance he once did. In the age of surveillance, instant information, the war against terrorism and international fraud dressed up as capitalism a man like Bill Hicks is perhaps needed more than ever. Even senior Labour Party MP Stephen Pound paid tribute to Hicks on the tenth anniversary of his death in the following early day amendment.
“That this House notes with sadness the 10th anniversary of the death of Bill Hicks, on 26th February 1994, at the age of 33; recalls his assertion that his words would be a bullet in the heart of consumerism, capitalism and the American Dream; and mourns the passing of one of the few people who may be mentioned as being worth [sic] of inclusion with Lenny Bruce in any list of unflinching and painfully honest political philosophers.” - Stephen Pound, MP: ‘Anniversary of the Death of Bill Hicks’ (EDM 678 of the 2003-04 session)’
It is easy to think that we lost Bill Hicks too soon and wonder at what might have been if he’d lived to see the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, George W. Bush, 9/11, The Second Gulf War, and the elections of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. But he did leave us with words to help us look for our own truth in the world. Perhaps Hicks’ most resonating pearls of wisdom came at the end of his 1992 show ‘Revelations’, that was broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK, the words of which sums up the truth of life as he saw it.
“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever. Because this is just a ride.” And we…kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok? But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, not work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defence each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”
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 in other news, 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.

Also I'm thinking of a redesign of our logo to coincide with the artwork for the next compilation in a few months time... watch this space.

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



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Monday, 13 March 2017

Review: Saturn – 'Beyond Spectra'




SATURN
'Beyond Spectra'
RISE ABOVE RECORDS


Channelling the old school sound and aesthetic of heavy metal's formative years in the late 60's and early 70's, Sweden's Saturn take things back to basics with their sophomore outing 'Beyond Spectra'. Invoking the early works of luminary artists such as Black
Sabbath, UFO, Budgie, Deep Purple, Rainbow and, Judas Priest; Saturn’s sound is distinct, yet comfortingly familiar. 'Beyond Spectra' is a blend of memorable riffs, heavy grooves and sing-a-long vocals clad in flared denim that you just can't help but bang your head to.

Songs such as 'Orbital Command', 'Wolfsson', 'Electrosaurus Sex', 'Sensor Data', and 'Still Young' are prime examples of why not only bands of the original era refuse to die, but why younger bands are still finding inspiration and ideas within this style. Solid riffs and nice tempos make them a perfect vehicle for lyric-heavy songwriting to tell their own mythology through.

There is a point in the album after the middle and towards the end where it feels as though the track list kind of stalls a bit, but the closing two tracks drag things back in line to finish with style.

Production-wise, even though the band's core sound owes a great debt to the kings of the early 1970's, they have by no means pursued the retro-for-the-sake-of-it approach when it comes to the final touches to the album. It is crisp, confident, and modern in it's execution which really compliments their melodic freewheeling style.

This is a good second album from a band that should quite rightly garner broad appeal for their accessible style of hard rock meets proto-metal. Some of it is gloriously ridiculous, and that's why it works. They're having fun writing fundamentally good tunes and it shines through on each song. Hopefully there will be much more to come from these Swedes over the next few years.  

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Review: My Silent Wake – 'Invitation To Imperfection'



MY SILENT WAKE
'Invitation To Imperfection'
OPA LOKA


My Silent Wake have been working hard keeping doom metal relevant, not only within the boarders of Wales but over the course X years and strong albums such as 'The Anatomy Of Melancholy', and 'Damnatio Memoriae' they have gained the respect of fans around the world. Blending ambient and acoustic elements within the core of their doom metal structure. As a result their sound continues to progress and develop in leaps with every album release, and their latest studio effort 'Invitation To Imperfection' is no different.

The album's folksy/medieval and classical elements are front and centre with the album creating a more neofolk tinted darkwave and dark ambient affair that recalls the likes of Arcana, Attrition, Dead Can Dance, Lustmord and Wardruna. Songs such as 'Helgar Kindir', 'Bleak Spring', 'Lament Of The Defeatist', 'Song Of Acceptance', and 'Return Of The Lost At Sea' are haunting with their dark acoustic drones courtesy of folk instruments.

While the likes of 'Volta', 'Aventurine', and 'Nebula' bring in some baroque and classical instruments, as well as synthesizers, for a more grandiose expression of the band's sound. The album's crowning glory has to be the 21-minute-epic journey of 'Melodien Der Waldgeister' with it's long ambling twists as though someone walking through a landscape and happening upon small pockets of musical performers.

Production-wise the album is as solid as you could want from veterans such as My Silent Wake. It may not be their usual territory for such a sustained release but this flipside to the band's sound feels 100% right as though this was their natural state. The songs are intimate yet with cavernous scale, and each fine layer shines through distinctly as part of the greater volume of the work.

Those looking for doom metal might be slightly disappointed but My Silent Wake have never been ones to cater for expectations. With their progressive mindset and previous incorporation of medieval and folk instruments, this still feels like a very natural and organic direction for them. And with over a decade of songwriting experience they know how to craft atmospheres and narratives from their music, not matter what instruments they use, with ease. It is a great effort and one that will undoubtedly be another highpoint in an already impressive discography.  

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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Review: Mr. Kitty – 'A.I.'



MR. KITTY
'A.I.'
NEGATIVE GAIN PRODUCTIONS


Mr. Kitty returns with his sixth full-length studio album which follows on from 'Fragments' the first effort to be released in the wake of his acclaimed “Dark Youth” quadrillogy. His newest effort, 'A.I.', builds on the vulnerable and self-reflecting synthpop of fragments with dark atmospheres juxtaposed against upbeat and uptempo instrumentation.

The intro 'I...' opens with a dark and sinister ambient build before dropping off and the bouncy if somewhat melancholic undo opens with it's classic 80s charm and subtle vocal delivery drawing the listener in. Songs like 'Habits', 'No Heat', 'Crisis Point', 'Lamentation', 'Greater Than Us' and 'I Hope You Fall Apart' give the album a strong backbone of steady dance beats, addictive leads, melodic atmospheres subdued vocals and an ever present sense of foreboding throughout.

While songs such as 'Give-Take', 'Birds Of Prey', and 'Healing Waters' opt for a more straight-forward and dark approach to leave you in no doubt as to the atmospheric intention of the album. It's a testament to Mr. Kitty's songwriting skill to be able to turn upbeat sounds and beats into something so haunting and in places chilling.

The production is slick and clean throughout. The 80s sounds coming through don't sound outdated and the overall atmosphere feels cold, spacey and melancholic. It balances its undeniable dance appeal with the promise of a more introverted listening experience for those who want to go deeper.

'A.I.' is another strong outing from Mr. Kitty who must be considered one of the best synthpop artists in the USA by this point. His songwriting only continues to get stronger with every release and his execution always follows. This album should rightly cement Mr. Kitty as a top electronic artist.  

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Review: Peter Murphy – 'Bare-Boned And Sacred'



PETER MURPHY
'Bare-Boned And Sacred'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Last year's 'Stripped' tour saw the godfather of goth, Peter Murphy (formerly of Bauhaus) take his solo show to a minimalist extreme. Accompanied by only two other musicians (John Andrews on Guitar and Emilio 'Zef' China Bass/Electric Violin) Murphy's approach was a career-encompassing cross-section of hits from his days with Bauhaus up to his last studio effort 'Lion'. The result is a subtle and emotional album full of bewitching melodies and hypnotic rhythms that frame Murphy's distinct voice perfectly.

The album is mixed well with a nice balance between crowd-noise and the performance. There's a little bit of banter mixed into the set but not much. But it still retains the atmosphere of a low-key and intimate performance. Songs such as 'All Night Long', 'Bewlay Brothers', 'A Strange Kind Of Love', the 'Bauhaus Medley', 'Lion' and 'Your Face' in particular are stunning renditions that are met with rapture from the audience.

There is a roughness to the recording. It hasn't been cleaned-up a great amount beyond its mixing and that's great. It's an artifact of the event, a true representation of the atmosphere, sound and feeling the performance conveyed at that time and the album replicates that perfectly.

Many people have mixed feelings about live albums. But this is one of those rare occasions where the performance justified it's recording. The “warts and all” live feeling, the intimacy of the sound, the world-weary crackle to Murphy's distinctive vocal style all and the subtlety of Andrews and China's accompaniment make this an enticing listening experience.

It may not have much appeal outside the circle of Bauhaus/Peter Murphy fans, but those fans will be able to walk away satisfied with this album. It does something a little different and adds a new twist to some familiar songs and for that reason alone it is worth a listen.  

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Monday, 6 March 2017

Introducing... Cruel Wonders



Name of band: Cruel Wonders
Members: Vlad Shusterman and Tamar Singer
Year formed: 2012
Location: Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, Israel

“Our visual aesthetic is very much in vein with the Art Noveau and Victorian decadence. We're both film school graduates, so visuals are an important part of our project.”


Four years in making and having shared stage with such heavyweights as ROME and Spiritual Front, Cruel Wonders' debut sets classical poetry (ranging from Shakespeare to Russian Symbolists) to sparse, doom-laden neofolk for the post-metal age. The duo's sound is rooted in Singer's haunting vocals and hearty strumming, while Shusterman's mesmerized riffs and cavernous electronics evoke equal parts darkwave lull and doom metal menace.


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

We are Vlad Shusterman and Tamar Singer, longtime friends who just started jamming one day with a couple of guitars and some tomes of poetry for ready-made lyrics. Vlad is a quite known producer actually (his post-rock/electronica project Ghost Bike is signed to n5MD and been making waves since 2010), while Tamar is a professional filmmaker (Cannes festival nominee), a musical latebloomer who started playing and singing at the age of 30. So, we came up with a few memorable songs and decided to make a record.


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

Female-fronted neofolk with a healthy dose of doom and darkwave influence. In a tag - folk noir, probably. Our music is definitely guitar-based, but we try to spice things up with cinematic percussion, processed samples, various noises - whatever works for the atmosphere.


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

We're both huge fans of left-of-field metal and dark folk, obviously. Tamar is into lots of acoustic and proggy stuff, Vlad is big on ambient, drone and industrial. Our visual aesthetic is very much in vein with the Art Noveau and Victorian decadence. We're both film school graduates, so visuals are an important part of our project.


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

Our live performances are quite rare, since there is regrettably not much interest for dark folk here in Israel. We're still somewhat of a household name in the genre, locally, so when big name acts from abroad come to play here we're usually called upon as the opening act.


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

We are releasing our debut album Gentle Doom (named after a line from a Shakespeare sonnet) on the 10th of March through Bandcamp. There are nine songs with lyrics by classical poets, book-ended by two ambient interludes. It can be streamed and pre-ordered on a pay-what-you-want basis at cruelwonders.bandcamp.com/releases.


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

Opening for ROME and Spiritual Front, two famed acts we deeply admire.


IVM: What are your plans fro the future?

Making another record we're proud of, hopefully.


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

Just that we've been enjoying your zine. Keep up the great work!


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