Interview: TONTTU

"Anti-Gnomemartialindustrialneofolkmetal is the means to an end, I would not describe it as much of a musical genre than the lifestyle that is optimal for our species! We offer it for everyone and they’d do good accepting it!"

Interview: Bornless Fire

“Every move is a lesson in the music business, good and bad. However, all I can say is keep thick skin and always watch your back. There are too many leeches trying to drain your blood.”

Live: Paradise Lost – Electric Ballroom, London 03/11/2017

PARADISE LOST (+ Pallbearer, Sinistro) Electric Ballroom, London 03/11/2017

Review: Caustic – 'Stimulation'

CAUSTIC 'Stimulation' UNDUSTRIAL RECORDS

Review: Noir – 'Reburning'

NOIR 'Reburning' METROPOLIS RECORDS

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Review: 3Teeth – 'Shutdown.exe'



3TEETH
'Shutdown.exe'
OMF RECORDS


LA's 3Teeth make their return with their eagerly anticipated sophomore album 'Shutdown.exe'. The band gained international notoriety with the release of their uncompromising self-titled début, and subsequent touring relationship with veterans Tool they brought some much needed light back to the industrial scene in the process. But with such a strong initial outing, can the band capitalise effectively with their follow up?

The band's esoteric-meets-cyberpunk imagery has kept their social media presence something to behold, especially with their budget stretching to music videos that further translate their anarchic ideals into likes and shares. But in this case the album art's 90s Playstation cyberpunk game design (which has been divisive for some) doesn't quite do the music within justice.

Touring with Tool seems to have rubbed off on the band in terms of musical ambition. One criticism of the previous album is that it stuck rigidly to its formula. And while 'Shutdown.exe' delivers plenty of the stomping, distorted industrial metal that endeared them, they have expanded things a little more with more time changes, experimental sections and, most importantly, put more in to the production.

Songs such as 'Divine Weapon', 'Pit Of Fire', 'Atrophy', 'Shutdown', 'Tower Of Disease', 'Slavegod', 'Insubstantia', and 'Away From Me' are utterly addictive with the metallic core of the songs crowned with industrial mayhem and Alexis Mincolla's more adventurous, if still somewhat self-conscious, vocal performances cutting through like a knife. The riffs are strong, the synths are savage and the songs are performed with convictions and vitriol. But its really great to hear new elements such as the esoteric chanting, tabla, and even piano coming through to add a little more scope to the band's sonic pallet.

But as said previously the production is another factor. On the band's début it did come off as though they were hiding their shortcomings with distortion which had a tendency to reduce some parts of songs to a wall of white noise and robbing them of deeper impact. Thankfully here there isn't that over-reliance. There still is distortion but it's much more managed and moulded this time, which gives Micolla more room to experiment with his vocal delivery and stop the synths and guitars swamping each other. It sounds less shoestring and more top shelf as a result.

'Shutdown.exe' is a great album, and 3Teeth have grown as songwriters and performers to fulfil the expectations that their début hinted at. It is authentic, and full of conviction. There is still plenty of room for growth to consolidate their musical identity and it would be interesting to hear how they can incorporate more experimental ideas in the future and try to beyond their mid-tempo comfort zone. But in the here and now this has to be a contender for album of the year.  

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Review: Oceanwake – 'Earthen'



OCEANWAKE
'Earthen'
VICISOLUM PRODUCTIONS


Finland's Oceanwake are a wonderfully ambitious band. With one foot in doom metal and the other in progressive rock the band over the course of their album trilogy, of which new release 'Earthen' is the final installment, have crafted their own unique sound. Marked by adventurous compositions, straddling multiple genres and generally playing by their own rules they have quickly become a band to watch.

'Earthen' sees only two tracks, but they are of an epic scale, weighing in at over 20 minutes each. Rumbling and crashing like a storm hitting the shore, 'Storm Sermon' is epic in it's scale. A calm and melodic intro gives way to thunderous vocals and bludgeoning guitars before being swallowed up by sinister meandering progressive tinged doom and back again.

'In Amidst The Silent Thrones' sees the storm surge recede back into the crushing depths of the ocean with intense jarring guitars, sinister whispered vocals, and claustrophobic atmosphere giving way to bouts of crushing death doom. It's a stunning counterpart to the previous track and holds both your attention and imagination throughout.

The production is as stunning as the composition. With songs that have epic ambitions the production must keep up and it does. The result is something composed from rock and metal but shaped with the attention of a symphonic piece where the movements within each track blend to create the ambitiously epic scale they crave.

Oceanwake are a band that are constantly pushing themselves and achieving their ambitions. The music they create is hypnotic, heavy, and utterly masterful. With just two tracks they have created a strong visual narrative that pulls the listener in and unveils a great vision before them. With this musical trilogy over, it will be interesting to see where the band next set their sights. But if their development over the past three albums is anything to go by, the sky will be the limit for them.  

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Now I Mostly Wear Black - A Goth Evolution

(Emily Strange, by Kiara The Random - Deviant Art)
Mostly, I wear black.

It started as a reaction to Life.
To the world, to its people.
To the bullshit you go through as you experience life.

Pop (and not so pop) culture brought the goth subculture to my awareness when I was a kid, and there you had it.
I was about 12, and I became goth.

And I was goth for a very long time.

Now I just mostly wear black.

People say:
Black's not a colour.
Black's all the colours.

Whatever.
I say:
Black's an easy colour to pair up with any other black.
Black is easy go-to straight-up fashion.
It's my colour, and that's not gonna change.
Whenever I wear white, I always end up staining it anyway.
It's never really a problem if you stain your blacks. You're likely not to even notice it yourself.

*

So what does it even mean anymore to be goth?
As mentioned in one of my previous editorials, it comes down to embracing your darkness within, letting it out, and making it shine.

When you're a kid, and faced with darkness, you either choose to run away from it, or face it.
And if you choose to face it, then you open yourself to everything the goth subculture has to offer.

Sure, you can look at the South Park goth kids and have a good laugh. It's caricature of course, but there is an underlying truth in that, somewhat.

A kid's goth phase starts off because yes, the kid is angry, sad, jaded and overall done-with-it, but eventually, you find your people. Like-minded people, who are also looking for a way to find themselves amidst everything that's not them.
You find ways to fight. You find ways to smile again.
Some people grow out of their goth phase quickly. Others take years or decades. Others revel in the subculture, and as delighted to be alive as they can be, never EVER grow out of it. It's not even a phase anymore, it's their lifestyle.

As far as I'm concerned, I believe in the freedom to build yourself as you damn well please.
As figures of alternative lifestyles, we get to explore, and inspire ourselves from all the marvelous subcultures that exist, so as to create a style for ourselves that's resolutely forever our own. Such is the beauty of the human creative potential.
And this is where evolution comes into play, and this is where one can experience the beauty of it.

Evolving means there's things you're happy to let go of.
On my end, I was very happy when my Victorian phase got over and done with.
I was even happier to realize the Steampunk wave, itself, was over and done with.
(As I realized this, I also realized my clothes would be costing me a lot less.
Meaning I can spend more money on upgrading my wardrobe to latex.
Which is, in itself, one of the wonderful aspects of my personal evolution.)

And then, there's things you'll cherish forever.
There's music I got into then, that I'm still into now. That's not gonna change.
Antichrist Superstar is still an incredible album.
The Downward Spiral remains one of the greatest albums of all time, as far as I'm concerned anyway.
There's a reason why Beetlejuice and The Craft are cult movies. Everybody loves Lydia, everybody loves Nancy.
And Emily Strange is my home girl.

It's all about balance, in the end, and finding out more about yourself everyday, thus discovering more and more treasures in every culture, and in the universe itself. I love to sunbathe as much as I revel in a clear night sky full of stars.

And Life's a lot more fun when you can laugh and dance along with it.

It's evolution, baby.














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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Review: Thus Defiled – 'A Return To the Shadows'



THUS DEFILED
'A Return To The Shadows'
SELF-RELEASED


25 years is an important milestone for any band, no matter how frequently they release albums or if there has been a hiatus in that time. If a band can still come together after a quarter of a century and create great music together, then that is worth celebrating. This is obviously what UK black metal veterans had in mind for their latest EP 'A Return To The Shadows'. Last year saw them condense an impressive legacy into a greatest hits collection, and this year's release see's them revisit some of their favourite cuts from their formative years.

The single original track, 'Armagedda In Rapture', opens the EP in typically bombastic Thus Defiled Fashion. A slow sinister introduction reminiscent of 'Of Shadow And Storm' erupts into a cacophony of searing guitars, blasting drums and demonic vocals which hints at great things to come. Cover song number one sees the band take on 'Evil Dead' by Death which capture the ferocity of the original but filters it through Thus Defiled's own unmistakable style.

Next up is Metallica's 'Creeping Death' with backing vocals provided by Donn Donni of Versprian Sorrow which gives a nice twist to the usual vocal attack employed by the band. A hellacious cover of Morbid Angel's 'Demon Seed' is up next with lead vocals taken up by Mike Browning of Morbid Angel/Nocturnus, which again adds a nice twist to the band's sound. Finally the EP closes with W.A.S.P.'s 'Hellion' which see's the band's attack return tot he thrashier end of their sound but altogether remains on point with the rest of the EP.

In terms of production it's great to see the band re-uniting with 'Daemonspawn' producer Tim Bartlett, who keeps true to the classic Thus Defiled sound. There are one or two points where the guitars seem to swamp the vocals or themselves sound a little muffled. But other than that it's a solid extreme metal sound throughout.

Covers albums/EPs are not to everyone's taste, but this one comes from a good place. To celebrate the music they love with the fans that support them. Dedicated to Chuck Schuldiner (Death), Cliff Burton (Metallica), and of course Grant Saunders (Thus Defiled) it is a heartfelt and passionate release that sees the band on brilliant form  

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Review: Luxury Stranger – 'Darkness Falls Upon The Light'



LUXURY STRANGER
'Darkness Falls Upon The Light'
EARTH-TWO RECORDS / COLDINSANITY MUSIC


Luxury Stranger are one of those bands that are always a delight to listen to or catch live. They're one of the few bands that keep the original indie and post-punk spirit of the 1980s alive, devoid of pretence and posturing they ooze an authenticity that is sadly lacking from a lot of bands that aspire to the same ideals. The band's third full-length studio outing, 'Darkness Falls Upon The Light' is a vindication of a decade's worth of artistic integrity, channelling the melancholic vibe of indie acts such as Echo And The Bunnymen, Jesus And Mary Chain, and The Chameleons with the contemporary appeal of bands like Interpol without resorting to imitation.

Songs such as 'Another Intoxicated Release', 'Wash', 'A Triumph Of The Heart', 'When the Lady Takes The Blame', 'Side Of The Road', and 'Diver' are prime examples of the songwriting prowess of Simon York. The hypnotic rhythms, jangling melodic guitars and perhaps some of his best vocal performances to date come together to create a euphoric, tender and at times sinister energies that intertwine throughout the track list. But it is the piano led title track that provides the album with its coup de grace mixing a slow Mike Garson style melody, York's deep vocal performance, and Bowie-esque saxophone embellishment at the end.

Production-wise this is about as close to perfect as the band have sounded so far. Each instrument carries significant presence in the mix while York's vocals coral them into order. The atmosphere ranges between airy and near-claustrophobic as and when the music calls for it. And the whole album flows just like a classic album should.

'Darkness Falls Upon The Light' is an incredibly strong showing from the band. It ticks all the boxes for what a classic indie album should be. If it were released 20 years ago, who knows. But in 2017 it is an absolute gem that proves that if you dig below the so-called indie mainstream, you will find the really rewarding albums.  

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Review: The State – 'Ministry Of Truth'



THE STATE
'Ministry Of Truth'
MISANTHROPIC RECORDS


Industrial rock power duo The State return with sophomore outing in the form of 'Ministry Of Truth'. The band are quickly amassing an impressive amount of material that references acts such as Killing Joke, Sulpher, Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan, and Rammstein and dragging the gritty minimalistic post-punk leanings of industrial rock into the 21st century.

The album opens with the claustrophobic call to arms 'Public Service Announcement' with its slow bludgeoning guitars and martial dance beats. They follow this up with the more up-tempo post-punk flavoured 'Ghost' before diving into the album's second single 'Fairy Tales', which see's a grander arrangement with it's piano intro giving way to gothic-edged electronic rock. 'Inevitability' then slips in with a bit of a 90s NDH feel to it that recalls the heyday of Ooomph! and Eisbrecher, albeit with English vocals.

'Living, Quietly Bleeding' brings back a darker atmosphere with its sinister synths and the return of the slow methodical combination of guitars and drums for another strong example of the band's sound. 'End Game' once again goes a bit more up-tempo with it's guitar and synth combination recalling Cubanate flirting with ebm. 'Ever Of Late' continues the 90s feel with it's upbeat melancholia before giving way to the ebm tinged rock of 'Best Laid Plans'.

In terms of production, 'Ministry Of Truth' is pretty rough and ready. The vocals in particular have a tendency to fade into the mix and there are a few times where the songs feel like they're building to a big kick of energy that never quite materialises. Which is a shame as the songwriting and performances in and of themselves are pretty solid.

On the whole, 'Ministry Of Truth' is a pretty good record with some great tracks, in particular 'Public Sercvice Announcement', 'Fairy Tales', and 'Living, Quietly Bleeding'. There is still some work to try and get the best out of the songs production-wise without losing that satisfyingly gritty post-punk vibe that is ever present. But this album definitely proves that The State have the goods.  

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Monday, 22 May 2017

Editorial: May, 2017



Oh dear, looks like I'm a bit late again with this month's editorial. Apologies if you actually do check in with little corner for my random thoughts and acknowledgements.

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


But what is my topic of conversation this month. Well anyone that knows me personally will know that I have been a photographer of sorts for ten years now, plus I previously worked at a Youth Offending Service. And with this in mind I'd like to talk about one thing that is absolute blight on the people I've been lucky to work with, and it seems women in general these days... the dick pic.

Thankfully I've never been subject to this lazy form of sexual offence... yet, and I am sure there are men that have been subjected to it as well. But it seems that every day I log in to Facebook to see both female models and non-models on my friends list naming and shaming the latest scumbag that thinks the anonymity of the internet gives him the right to flash his junk at anyone he wants.

First of all lets get back to the phrasing I used in the first line of the last paragraph – sexual offence – it is a sexual offence to expose yourself to anyone in a non-consensual form, whether in person or digitally. In the United Kingdom the digital side of this is covered by the Malicious Communications Act (1998 – updated 2003). This was originally to cover indecency / offensive articles by telephone and postal, but email and private messaging etc. now also fall under this category. See below from the CPS website:
“The Malicious Communications Act 1988 section 1, see Stones 8.20830, deals with the sending to another of any article which is indecent or grossly offensive, or which conveys a threat, or which is false, provided there is an intent to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient. The offence covers letters, writing of all descriptions, electronic communications, photographs and other images in a material form, tape recordings, films and video recordings. Poison-pen letters are usually covered. 
Particularly serious examples may justify a more serious charge, e.g. threats to kill.
The offence is one of sending, delivering or transmitting, so there is no requirement for the article to reach the intended recipient. 
The terms of section 1 were considered in Connolly v DPP [2007] 2 All ER 1012, and "indecent or grossly offensive" were said to be ordinary English words. The fact that there was a political or educational motive behind the accused sending graphic photographs of aborted foetuses did not help her, and her argument that her behaviour was protected by Articles 9 and 10 ECHR (freedom of religion and speech) did not succeed, because the restrictions on those rights were justified under Articles 9(2) and 10(2). 
Section 32 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 amended section 1 making the offence an either-way offence and increased the maximum penalty to 2 years' imprisonment for offences committed on or after 13 April 2015. This amendment allowed more time for investigation, and a more serious penalty available in appropriate cases.”


I spoke recently to a local police officer who deals with cyber crime for the Lincolnshire area at a local tech expo to get some clarification on the matter, and his advice confirmed what I have said to people for a while. It is a prosecutable offence, the police will take it seriously due to the fact that research shows “low level” offences such as this can often see the perpetrator escalate their behaviour if not challenged on it. Best of all he went on to say that online harassment and the transmission of offensive items such as this is relatively easy to prosecute due to the digital trails people leave behind, whereas in the offline world incidents can often be fleeting and not allow for positive identification of the perpetrator. 

What do you do then if you've received a dick pic and the often obligatory abusive wording that comes with it. What next? 
  • Firstly, save the message or screenshot it for evidence.
  • Secondly, ring 101 in the UK to report it to your local police or use the report online service: https://report.police.uk/
That's it! The police will be in touch if they need to speak to you further, but it is essentially not harder than reporting someone on Facebook.

Just like trolling, this kind of behaviour is not normal and should not be allowed to be normalised because it is online. The offline equivalent would be flashing yourself to someone in a public place. They don't get away with it, and neither should anyone else, even if they think having a computer screen between themselves and their target is an acceptable disconnect.

Personally I'd like to see this vile trend wiped out, but as long as people are allowed to think that their online actions have no real-world consequences then this behaviour will continue. I acknowledge that the internet has meant that one person can break the law in another country in a way like this and it may seem difficult to prosecute them, but the more this is reported the more offenders will go to court.


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

For more information on writing for IVM please visit HERE.

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

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


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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Horrorcon UK 2017 – Magna Science Adventure Centre, Rotherham 13-14/05/2017



HORRORCON UK 2017
Magna Science Adventure Centre, Rotherham
13-14/05/2017

As you'll probably be aware, we love our horror here at Intravenous Magazine, so it's no surprise that a horror convention practically on our doorstep is a no-brainer for us. Conventions of all kinds be it of the sci-fi or comic variety have been growing in recent years in the UK, and horror fans, not to be left out have got in on the act as well.

2017 sees the third instalment of South Yorkshire's own grand guignol get-together at the cavernous Magna Science Adventure Centre near Sheffield. The annual event has become a Mecca for horror fans boasting film screenings, special-fx artists, market stalls, guest signings and Q&A sessions, body painting, Zombie shooting ranges, and even a “scareplay” contest.

Just standing in line to get in it is evident the dedication of UK fans to the horror genre with cosplayers replicating their favourite characters and some even creating their own originals. A phenomenal Mister Babadook stalked the corridors coming face-to-face with Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Twisty The Clown, and Lilly Munster. While originals such as the demonic clowns Kavity and Khaos, as well as zombies and vampires, made their presence known.

The smorgasbord of the market within has everything the discerning fan could desire to spend their cash on; a
rt, tattoos, cakes, music, literature, films, masks, props, and memorabilia. While the line-up of stars ensures long-lines at the signing tables and packed Q&A sessions. This year the guests include murderous clown Captain Spaulding aka Sid Haig from House of 1000 Corpses/The Devil's Rejects, Elvira; Mistress of the Dark actor Cassandra Peterson, Hammer & Tigon Films actor Linda Hayden, Return of The Living Dead’s Thom Mathews, Nightmare on Elm Street’s Scream Queen Heather Langenkamp, and all the way from Oz Wolf Creek actor John Jarratt. Also in attendance is pop culture expert and vampire aficionado Sir Christopher Frayling, as well as genre artist Graham Humphreys, and extreme Horror Author Matt Shaw will also be here with his demon dog Chewie the Pug!

If that wasn't enough a myriad of short original horror films are screened throughout the day to give you chance to sit down and enjoy some up and coming actors and directors.

With it's atmospheric location and esoteric array of features, it's easy to loose track of your day, and with plenty of exhibits, stalls and activities spread throughout the day it will easily hold the interest of aficionados and casual fans in search of shopping.

As we all know the monster always returns for his next instalment, and with that in mind we'll be counting the days until part four arrives in 2018.  


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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

First look at Tarot #106: The Spirit of Halloween


Broadsword Comics just revelaed three covers for which seems to be an interesting a beautifuly dark issue of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose. Cover A, the PhotoCover Edition and the Art Print were shown recently by Holly Golightly, VP of the company, and colorist and letterer for the comic.

Click on the banner up here to read more about this issue and the special offer Broadsword Comics for it, as it will be available for a limited time.
"The Spirit of Halloween has always been celebrated in Salem . But this year that Spirit takes a physical form! The City of Salem has been transformed into a City of Nightmares! Tarot and Raven are now green Witches and Jon is a Real Skeleton Man! This will NOT be a Happy Halloween!!
Waiting in the Pumpkin Patch for the Spirit of Halloween! PhotoCover Collector's Edition of Issue #106 will be Signed by Artist/Creator Jim Balent and Model/Colorist Holly Golightly. Magickally enhance by Stacy Hokett. Bagged & Boarded . Limited Print Run. Ships Late Sept 2017."
Cover A

PhotoCover Collector's Edition

Deluxe Art Print (Not to be edited)

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Interview: Abigail Baker

Tattoos, Death, and Romance...



It is pretty hard to surprise a reader once he has already discovered many different ideas and proposals, with several other cases are just recycled elements taken from other works. Because of this, you might take it very seriously when I say that there’s an author with a creative potential I want to see more often: Abigail Baker.

Miss Baker is the author of the 'Deathmark' series, a story created based on an imaginary link between tattoos and reapers: Ollie Dormier is a Scrivener, which means she marks those who are meant to die soon, but her powers seem to be... on fire, let’s say, which makes the Head Reaper want to see her head on a silver plate she fully becomes a Master.

You might now understand why I’m so amazed with this series, which makes it better to say that the author took part of her time to do this interview and make me laugh with her smart responses. Keep reading and you might experience the same as well!


Intravenous Magazine: What was it that inspired you to write 'The Reaper's Kiss' and its sequels? What motivated you to start with it?

Abigail Baker: Tattoos are magical in my opinion. I love hearing why people get them—to honor a loved one or one of life’s milestones. But what if a client unknowingly asked for a tattoo that caused them harm? Some tattoos don’t heal or get infected. What if those tattoos did more damage than that? That’s what started the idea for the 'Deathmark' series. Plus, I have a close friend who is a tattoo artist and she was partly my inspiration for Ollie. I wanted to tell a story about an artist who did something remarkable with her tattoos… and that’s how Ollie’s character started.


IVM: Starting with the genre and in your own words, how would you describe the entire plot?

AB: This is a story about a supernatural woman who tattoos death into humans, who is forced to tattoo death into her best friend and the resulting rebellion. It’s about standing up for those whom you love at all costs—even if it goes against the will of the universe.


IVM: Do you think tattoos are related to death in some, or any, sense?

AB: No, I don’t (I hope so anyway!). Tattoos are about life. They only exist as long as we are alive. And I’m damned glad they aren’t related to death, particularly because I have six tattoos, one of which is a skull.




IVM: Would you say this series will cause controversy by linking death with art? Why?

AB: I hope not. But controversy can be good—it sparks conversation. I’m an advocate for artists and skin art. I don’t seek to hurt the culture with my story. If this series sparks any controversy, it should be about what one person can do in the face of fascism. It takes courage to stand up to leaders. In doing so, a person can lose everything—even people they love. But is it worth it? Is a better world worth the suffering? I’d say so. So, would Ollie.




IVM: Now that the books are done, do you think you'd get a tattoo, a skull, to be specific?

AB: Hah! I have one already. It was done by the artist who inspired Ollie. I bear a 'Deathmark'. So far, life is good.


IVM: Was this the idea for a series since the beginning or did it all start as a stand-alone book?

AB: I had a story in mind but wasn’t sure how many books I’d need to tell it. I think, perhaps, it was originally going to be two books, (SPOILER) ending with Ollie taking down the Head Reaper. But I thought it would be more interesting to see the world AFTER he is gone. What does it look like? Is it immediately peaceful? I thought that part of the story was worth telling. So, out came book three—The Reaper’s Embrace.


IVM: Is there a project you can speak about right now?

AB: I’m thinking about venturing into romantic comedy. But I am also considering writing a 'Deathmark' novel with Delia Sinclair as the heroine. If a reader knows Delia at all, they’ll expect a funnier, lighter story than Ollie’s.


IVM: What are your not-book-related plans now that the series is getting published?

AB: This year brings several trips and another cross-country move. I’m headed off to Olympic National Park and then Ouray and then—eek!—another chapter of my life with the man I love. Ollie and I are getting our Happily Ever Afters, I guess.


IVM: Which would you consider to be the best tip you could give to those aspiring writers that read your books?

AB: My best advice is to write a book, polish it, and then write another, then another, then another. I have met extremely talented writers who work on one book for years, hoping to get that one book sold or picked up by an agent. They put their stock in that story, revising and revising. I say, be proud of that project. Tout its brilliance. But write another story. Keep writing more stories. One of them, if not the first one, will find a publisher.


IVM: Thank you so much for your time! I hope we all hear again from you and those dark and amazing stories you are creating!

AB: Thank YOU! I really appreciate your questions and interest. Happy reading! 

But things don’t end in here. 'The Reaper’s Embrace', third book in the series, came out a few days ago! Check out the synopsis down below, and I dare you to say it doesn’t look juicy and participate in the giveaway, you could win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!
“I’m marked for death.If I can get this Deathmark removed, I can help save the world from total ruin. Only thing is, Brent Hume, Grim Reaper and love of my life, is hot on my trail, zeroing in on the mark that beckons him. The Reaper’s instinct cannot be denied. He would sooner stop breathing than ignore a Deathmark’s call.He’s a tireless supernatural hunter, and I’m his top prey. If I don’t find a way to stop him from doing his job, everything and everyone I love will suffer. The world will suffer. And I’m sick of letting people down, dammit.But even as I run from him, I want to run toward him.”

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

WARRIURRRRZ OF THE WASTELAND



As we all know, it is hard to find the level of fighting existence that is sustainable, enjoyable, and worthwhile. We take too much on, fight on too many fronts, stretch ourselves too thin, or else we do not engage at all, stagnate, decay, rust. It's tempting to wade in and sink, our hearts too heavy, taking everything too seriously, just as it's tempting to get into a cycle of evasion and escapism, of diets and Sunday hangovers and Monday morning regrets. Yet there is more and more things to do all the time, more battles to fight, more erosions to defy.

The standard, default, posture to take in fighting these battles is that of the Warrior. It is generally white, generally male, generally straight, it carries a large sword, it believes in 'honour' and 'word' and 'war'; it is an inherently masculine concept, it fights and conquers. But the emotional and political fragility of that concept is plain to see: it attacks head on, in straight lines, it fights with 'heart' and (it has to be said) a lot of problematic machismo. It takes itself too seriously, and excludes.

So, is there a progressive, intersectional model of resistance we can follow? To that end, let me present to you the WARRIUURRR.

The WARRIURRRR can be anyone; it can be of any gender and non, any sexuality and none, any race or nationality or of any mental or physical state. The WARRIURRRR does not think in terms of conspiracies or battles or wars; it just bounces into survival.

The WARRIURRRR does not take itself too seriously; it fights, but has other things to do. It may wield a sword, but it wears bunny ears too. It has armour not of steel or khaki but of denim and PVC and sneaker or Doc Martens; it has a backpack with Daria patches. It has a Tank Girl poster on it's wall.

The WARRIURRRR is cheerful in it's resistance; it wears it's determination lightly. It attacks and defends like it breathes and walks; it does not join crowds nor chants in unison, it seeks the corners where it can play. It is at one with the Other, it is the underdog that bites. A WARRIURRRR is a happy WARRIURRRR, it smiles as it kills, it dances on picketlines and at demonstrations. It carries a ghetto blaster and brings peppy gloom wherever it goes.

The WARRIURRRR is also FEEEURRCE. It REBELS. The warrior may be prone to authoritarianism, the bloodfeud and the oath, but the WARRIURRRR is liberal. The WARRIURRRR is not an angry patriach, but is intersectional. A WARRIURRRR is a SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIURRRR, impishly tweaking the nose of oppression. It skips towards the source of injustice and punches, then skips away. It is also glamourous, it throws shade, and summons demons. It fights with eyeliner and shines without a sword.

The idea of the WARRIURRRR is also open source; you can take it and do with it what you will. You can be a WARRIURRRR PRINCESS or a WARRIURRRR QWEEN or a WARRIURRRR KING or a WARRIURRRR VAMP. But whatever you want to be, we are the WARRIURRRRZ of the wasteland in a world that's going to hell. We are heresy in flesh and on the apocalypse road.

Now, ride out!

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Monday, 15 May 2017

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



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


The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds may be a bit out of the way but it's relaxed atmosphere and strong live pedigree makes it a nice fit for atmospheric metal veterans Katatonia who are visiting in support of their latest effort 'The Fall Of Hearts' which came out a year ago. With a sound rooted in the despair of doom metal and expanded with progressive rock experimentation the band have for 25 years crafted a rich and diverse discography that can veer from hard metallic strains to soft atmospheric melancholia with ease. It's with this in mind that tonight's support bands have been chosen it seems.

First up is Swedish prog-metal outfit The Great Discord, who deserve a bit of slack considering the technical difficulties encountered toward the end of their set and the sheer grit with which they fought on. The stage presence of vocalist Fia Kempe is undeniable as she channels Peter Gabriel circa 1974 amidst a solid metal backing. It does in places feel somewhat convoluted and the songs do tend to struggle to retain a sense of focus, but the band is engaging and the crowd appreciate the theatrical performance. Even when the PA seems to blow in the style of an impromptu MERZBOW remix and the guitars and vocals cut out, Kempe and drummer Aksel Holmgren struggle on regardless until full amplification is restored... then lost... then restored... and finally lost again.


US depressive black metal group Ghost Bath thankfully don't suffer the same technical curse. With a sound that veers from post-black metal, into atmospheric and finally back into depressive the musicianship they demonstrate is sublime. Tightly focused, wonderfully atmospheric and with vocalist Dennis Mikula's anguished shrieks hovering nicely in the mix the band's performance is utterly hypnotic from start to finish. Though notorious for valuing their privacy and wanting to let their music do the talking for them, with performances like this under their belt it's a policy that may actually work out well for them.

But the main event is Katatonia, the veteran Swedes are consummate professionals and even strip the stage back completely of the support band's amps and going straight through the desk which instantly sees their sound replicated perfectly. They've been around long enough to know that even in a venue of that size the average soundman will mike everything up and crank everything as loud as possible, hence the issues with The Great Discord's set earlier on.

The performance is just as strong as the live mix with a tight but relaxed presence that sees them fly through a set of classics and new cuts with ease. The band book-end the main set with new songs from the latest album, opening with 'Last Song Before The Fade' and closing on 'Passer', and add strong cuts 'Serein' 'Old Heart Falls', and 'Residual'. But for the most part it is a long-time fans wish list. Tracks such as 'Dead Letters', 'Teargas', 'Evidence', 'Ghost Of The Sun', 'Soil's Song', 'In The White', 'Forsaker', and 'Leaders' elicit a rapturous response from the audience.

Throughout Jonas Renske sounds strong in in his vocal performance, the band is tight and professional and show off why they are critically acclaimed veterans. Renske has a strong rapport with the crowd as he interacts with them at regular intervals. The setlist seems to fly by and soon the band are back on stage for a brilliant encore comprised of 'My Twin', 'Lethean', and 'July' that surely sent everyone there home happy.  

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Live: DESERTFEST 2017, London 30/04/2017



DESERTFEST 
London, UK
30/04/2017


Your humble correspondent set off to the capital once again for day three of Desertfest 2017, one of the premier doom and stoner festivals in the world, and travelled light for maximum impact. Desertfest has made a real niche for itself over the past few years due to it's fantastic atmosphere, unfussy professionalism and great lineups, with this year being no exception.

Camden strikes a more subdued note these days under the current regime, with several of the regular bars and shops being closed and a rather downbeat atmosphere prevailing. Yes, the Dev remains a grittily dark outpost of alternative culture where the shadows of it's goth heritage still lay dormant. Although it will likely survive the current thrust to gentrification (the barman told me that he'd have to be 'taken out in a coffin') it remains one of the few remaining authentic places in Camden, which is increasingly becoming a dystopian vision of itself.


The Roundhouse, however, is more translucent than ever and is still one of the better largest venues in London. And so it was that Wolves in the Throne Room conjured up a storm, the dimmed lights and stage fires forming the perfect backdrop to a viscerally emotive and atmospheric performance. Wolves are the almost-perfect encapsulation of black metal, the chords hitting you physically on an emotional level even before you hear them, and the dissonance creating it's own pagan poetry, and leaving the crowd as stunned as they were euphoric.




Candlemass, grandmasters of epic doom ham, were up next for what was a note-perfect parade through their greatest hits – 'Well of Souls', 'Bewitched', 'Darl Reflections', 'Crystal Ball', 'At the Gallows End' and ending with a peerless 'Solitude', the band have probably never sounded better and the doomheads at the Roundhouse lapped it up. All it was missing was Messiah's trademark 'doom dancing'...



And last up were Sleep, kicking off with a heavy-as-fuck 'Holy Mountain' and 'Sonic Titan' which set the stage for a rampantly scuzzy hour which ended in a pulverising 'Cultivator/Improved Morris' that sent the capacity crowd at the Roundhouse go home satisfied, and another Desertfest sealed as a complete victory.

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Amy Lee announces 'Synthesis' Album and Tour for Evanescence


Amy Lee, Evanescence's frontwoman, announced this May 10th that the band will be back for this Fall with an all-new project called 'Synthesis'. The singer explained that the title was decided because "(the album) it is the synthesis, the combination, the contrast, the synergy between the organic and the synthetic, also the past and present."

In a video for the band's Facebook page, Lee stated that "this album is about orchestra and electronica. We're taking our music, stripping out the big distorted guitars, stripping out the rock drums and replacing it with full orchestration and a completely synthetic world of beats and sounds."
The band selected songs that were "made to be heard in this way," as the leader told, from their past records. Lee also made it clear that the tracks are not going to be remixes, but completely new versions of the song made from scratch with past collaborator David Campbell and an entire orchestra, and "Synthesis" will also include two new songs.

Synthesis is set to be released this Fall, and a tour with a full orchestra is planned as well, but feel free to listen to Amy Lee explain this in her own words; just click in the video down below.

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

First Look at Cover B for Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #104


Broadsword Comics recently revealed the first look at cover B for their next issue of Jim Balent's 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose'. Issue number 104, titled 'Beltane Fires', is scheduled to ship in late May.

The bi-monthly comic, which began in 2000, tells the story of Tarot, a witch with the mission of keeping the balance between magical beings and humans, promoted as "a respectful incorporation of the Wiccan tradition" and intended for mature audiences.


Official issue synopsis:
The Sacred Sabbath of Beltane just became hotter as Tarot, Jon, Raven and the rest of her family and friends travel to Scotland to participate in the merriment of this Witches' holiday. Drunkenness and heavy flirting are abound between likely characters and surprising ones. Don't miss this Dark Sexy Comedy issue. 
Click of the banner at the top of this article to discover more details on this issue and its early incentive! Also, you can use the bar in the right, upper corner of the page to search "#104" and see all the available editions for Issue #104.

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Emilie Autumn to release interactive version of 'The Asylum...'


The lovest inmate, violindustrial master and Victorian queen of the rock music, Emilie Autumn, is about to release a new version of her autobiographical / psychological thriller, 'The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls', with new material, new characters and even interactive, hidden material.

The novel, which was first published in 2009 as a companion to her Asylum tour, has been object of many critics, positive and negative, and become a significant part of the artistic universe this singer has created, based on the 'Opheliac' concept of her second album, and her third release, 'Fight Like a Girl', considered to be the official soundtrack of the book.

Down bellow you will find the official message Autumn sent to her fans with more details on this event.

"Dearest Plague Rats,
I could not be more thrilled to announce the all new eBook version of The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girlsnow available on Amazon for the pre-order price of $2.99!!!


It has long been my greatest wish to be able to offer the Asylum story to Ratties all over the world for a very low price, and this does the job beautifully.


But! This is no ordinary eBook, my darlings...no indeed!

I have spent many months creating this beautifully designed electronic version that doubles as a treasure hunt, containing dozens of interactive elements including new illustrations, hidden links to additional writings and character backgrounds, atmospheric audio tracks to read along with, secret ways to get in contact with the Asylum's inmates yourself, and, if you're clever enough to find the key, exclusive access to never-before-heard songs from the upcoming The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls: The Musical.

Far from being second best to a print version, I have packed this eBook with surprises a printed book could never contain.

Oh! And the eBook contains the 4th Edition of the Asylum story which has NEVER BEFORE BEEN IN PRINT, so, if you happen to already own the hardcover original, you are in for quite a surprise...this completely re-imagined version contains new characters, new chapters, new secrets, and a new song!

I humbly thank each and every one of you for joining me on this truly magical journey...YOU have made the Asylum real, and it is only just beginning..."


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Dear Daughter, the new music video from Halestorm


The hard rock band from Red Lion, Pennsylvania, Halestorm, released the video for 'Dear Daughter', their fifth single from Int the Wild Life, the band's third studio album. The video was made available this May 4th on the YouTube channel of the band.

A soft rock ballad, the track speaks directly about the women of all races and age around the world with an empowering message, without the wild and furious sound that the band has been known for, a versatility we should praise.

Elizabeth "Lzzy" Hale, vocalist and fontwoman of Haestorm, explained the background of the song saying the following:
"I've written many songs and blog posts about women. I'm in a unique position in my life and career to spread some positivity and empowerment to my fellow femmes! And if you were me, wouldn't you do the same? I'd like to elaborate on our song "Dear Daughter," which started out as more or less a jotting down of things my mother and father told me as a kid. What it became was so much more than just me quoting my parents. The song has taken on a life of its own and is such a personal reflection of what I think a young woman should hear growing up.
I'm so excited to share much more of "Dear Daughter" with you today. Visit my blog to read more about what this song means to me, and watch our new 'Dear Daughter' video."



The signer also asked her fans to "share photos and stories of badass moms, daughters, sisters, friends" on the social media with the hashtag #deardaughter. The video is currently #25 in trending lists in Youtube.


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Friday, 5 May 2017

DOWNLOAD to reissue NETTWERK catalogue via ARTOFFACT



Toronto-based label Artoffact Records announced in April that it would be reissuing the entire Nettwerk Records-owned catalogue of electronic and experimental group Download. The releases will come this summer, for the first time ever, on vinyl.

Download recorded three albums and one full-length EP for Nettwerk between 1996 and 2000: The Eyes of Stanley Pain, III, and Effector, along with the Sidewinder EP. Those albums, particularly The Eyes of Stanley Pain, have become legendary to electronic music fans and Skinny Puppy collectors alike. Famously, all the artwork, save for that on Effector, was done by Dave McKean.





Download started as a post-Skinny Puppy project, following the break-up of the famous industrial band in the mid-90s, initially as a collaboration between Cevin Key and the late Dwayne Goettel. Dead Voices on Air mastermind Mark Spybey, as well as Phil Western (AKA Philth) also joined the band. The band has recorded several albums for Nettwerk, Metropolis Records, and Key's own Subsconscious Communications imprint, and the majority of these have been reissued on vinyl by Artoffact.

Mark Spybey on recording The Eyes of Stanley Pain:

"Much of the Eyes of Stanley Pain and Sidewinder were recorded within a month, in very different circumstances to Furnace and Microscopic (which were largely made up of edited improvisations) shortly after Dwayne passed away and Phil’s temporary exit from the band. cEvin and I [Mark Spybey] held the fort and Ken Marshall engineered the recordings. Most of the recordings were done by cEvin and me with a lot of help from Ken. There was more of an emphasis on creating coherent song structures featuring more of my vocals. Extended members of the family contributed in passing and Anthony Valcic entered late in the day to help. Anthony and Ken for example did a lot of work on Glassblower, and my vocals were recorded in Bryan Adams' studio. It all came together very quickly. cEvin and I were determined to create a harsher, more aggressive feel to this album."

Details about the four new reissues can be found online at these links:


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