Blood Pack Vol. 6.66 released!

It's that time of the year once again! A new year and a new compilation album celebrating our 6th birthday as a webzine.

Review: Various Artists – 'We're In This Together: A Tribute To Nine Inch Nails'

VARIOUS ARTISTS 'We're In This Together: A Tribute To Nine Inch Nails' TRIBULATIONS

Review: Various Artists – 'We Reject: A Tribute To Bile'


Review: Ritual Aesthetic – 'Wound Garden'


Review: Axegrinder – 'Satori'


Tuesday 31 October 2017

Review: Various Artists – 'Baptized In Witchblood'

'Baptized In Witchblood'

the Nigh† †errors label has been producing some great free compilations for a few years now. Always dropping in time for Halloween 'Suicide Serenade', 'Babylon Rising', 'A Dying Breed', and 'Scary Music To Play In The Dark' have been great soundtracks for the spooky season. And this year is now different with the release of 'Baptized In Witchblood' which features seventeen underground electronic artists, plus a bonus 30-minute mix.

Featuring the likes of Sidewalks & Skeletons, D3ath H3x, M∞nflower, ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş, and Badass Wolf Shirt, the compilation straddles multiple genres including witch house, industrial, metal, and dark electronic music for a truly dark and demonic sounds for the darkening nights.

Tracks such as 'I Save My Hope' by Violet7rip, 'Burn' by Sidewalks & Skeletons, 'Demon' by Drogma, and 'Eclipse ' by BENEA†h MY SH▲DE have more dance appeal with their prominent beats and infectious leads, while tracks such as 'La Dama Marchita ' by Inmacoitada Concepción, 'SUICIDEWITCH' by M∞nflower, and 'Şōũł Ęxŧęřmĭŋăŧĭőŋ ' by ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş, are more atmospheric, ambient and occasionally noisy in nature to provide a spooky counterpoint to the more grooving tracks. Though it is the heavily metal influenced likes of Sadwrists' 'Whorefecation', D3ath H3x's 'Peine forte et dure', and Here †hey Come's 'Corpse Defiler' that give this compilation a bit more depth by bringing in the guitars and metal drums to great effect.

The compilation definitely has a heavier atmosphere all together this time round with the metal influences dominating the middle of the tracks while being bookended by more recognisably witch-flavoured electronics. The production is fairly uniform for a compilation with very little noticeable differences in the recording qualities of the songs which helps the flow of the album as much as the smart arrangement of the songs despite the extreme variations in genres.

It's nice to hear the witch influences that have made electronic music a bit more dark and interesting start to permeate into metal – which has always had an interesting relationship with electronic music. The Nigh† †errors compilations have been a nice indicator over the past years of how the witch house genre and its siblings have been evolving and 'Baptized In Witchblood' is no different. It has enough great witchy electronics to keep purists happy but is also a useful starting point for metal heads to explore these strange dark hallways.  

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Review: Grave Pleasures – 'Motherblood'


The rise of Grave Pleasures has been... well, a pleasure. As a long-time fan of gothic/post-punk sounds, as well as a follower of some of the members of this band's previous projects it has been great to see them take a raw and quite frankly old school sound and drag it screaming into the 21st century. From their formation as Beastmilk and their early apocalyptic raw works through to their dark refinement into Grave Pleasures the band have created some great albums, the third of which 'Motherblood' sees them firmly establish themselves as a major force.

The album is a nice progression from their second outing (first as Grave Pleasures), Dreamcrash, which had smoothed-off some of their rougher edges and seen their cold war punk manifesto augmented by dark and dreamlike 80s indie embellishments. 'Motherblood' builds on these refinements but still maintains that link to the early work that made them immediately stand out.

Songs such as 'Infatuation Overkill', 'Be My Hiroshima', 'Joy Through Death', 'Laughing Abyss', 'Falling For An Atom Bomb', 'Deadenders', and 'Haunted Afterlife' provide the album with a backbone of haunting post-punk anthems that keeps those original influences prominent but maintains and expands that vision and refinement that was evident on 'Dreamcrash'.

The result is a cold, paranoid, dream-like mix of post-punk, proto-goth, cold wave and indie that is underpinned by the band's now signature use of jangling guitars, tribal drums, palpitating bass lines, and the distinctive emotional evocations of vocalist Mat “Kvohst” McNerney.

In terms of production the band have never sounded better. There is still a gritty post-punk core to the songs but they're so refined and high-quality now that they sound timeless rather than old school. The sound is sleek and modern, and it balances the dichotomy of sound within the band of raw visceral energy with expert precision.

'Motherblood' is another brilliant album from a band who seem to be on an unstoppable rise. They have effectively evolved and consolidated their sound without losing sight of what it was that initially made them stand out. So far every one of their albums has been worthy of being called a classic, and 'Motherblood' is no exception.  

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Monday 30 October 2017

Evanescences releases Synthesis version of 'Lacrymosa'

With the release day of their upcoming fourth album, Synthesis, coming faster than expected, American rock band Evanescence shared with their followers one of the songs from the record, a reworked version of 'Lacrymosa'.
The song is part of their second studio album, The Open Door, from 2006, and was praised for its highly dark, gothic sound. Now, the famous track that was supposedly written for the The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film, acquires a new and more dramatic style, turning what was already considered a great piece by critics into a completely work of art in terms of both music and voice.
Evanescence has already released the Synthesis version of their most known single, 'Bring Me to Life', and the album's first music video for the original song 'Imperfection', which speaks about depression and suicide.
Synthesis is currently in pre-order in iTunes, scheduled to be released on November 11th of this year by BMG Rights Management, despite the Synthesis Tour to promote the album started on October 14th.

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Blutengel releases video for 'Black'

German Darkwave band BlutEngel, fronted by Chris Pohl, released the music video for 'Black', the first and lead single of the mini album of the same name. The track was previously included in the band's latest studio album, 'Leitbild' (Model, in English).
The video, directed by Silvan Büge, despite being pretty simple, includes the usual elements in the band's well known videos, characterised by playing with eroticism and Gothic aesthetics in unusual ways, in addition to this time include supernatural aspects of dark suburban fantasy.
Black, the mini album, consists on the title track, two remixes of it and five original songs, one of which, Blood Rain, is available to be reproduced in different portals. The disc is being sold on diverse digital stores.

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Book Review: Stacy King - 'The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe'

'Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe'

I’ve been a fan of Poe’s work since I discovered both the author and his creations. Even the life of this man has been of my interest. Also, manga and anime have taught me than even the simplest of the stories can have amazing artwork. 'The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe', which contains five of the most iconic tales of the author adapted by Stacy King, blends them both together with a great result.
The selection is to be praised, as the four stories and the most memorable poem are presented in a singular manner, dressed with an aesthetic sometimes medieval, sometimes Victorian, an intriguing choice for such mysterious plots and that also matches the emotion in each of them.
I do miss stories such as 'William Wilson and The Oval Portrait', as I strongly believe they would have looked stunning more than once. However, the characters from 'The Tale-Tell Hear't, 'The Cask of Amontillado', 'The Raven', 'The Masque of the Red Death' and, my personal, all time favourite among Poe’s stories, 'The Fall of the House of Usher'.

Along with them, there were some extra pages with commentary from the artists and some sketches to show how the development process of certain panels and characters was done. Admitting that they are a nice addition will do, and have to add that it would have been even better to have them in all of the stories, since it is not the case.
Each of the stories was drawn by a different artist, yet trying keep all of their styles similar, giving the book and homogeneous look. The fact that all of them are in black and white give them a singular enchant, although certain scenes are the exception to the norm; nothing can be perfect, not even something with Poe’s name on it.
I found especially hunting the art for 'The Masque of the Red Death' and 'The Fall of the House of Usher', with a darker twist and interesting proposals in almost each of their panels, with the most intriguing perspectives and a good layout. There were even scenes that I would have found too challenging to be illustrated, but to see them perfectly represented … now that was a great surprise!
Edgar Allan Poe was one the most underrated creators of the past, but this is one of those moments when you see that even with a Japanese look, he can send chills down your spine despite looking gorgeous and creepy at the same time. Yes, a weird, strange, mix, but a successful one.
I would recommend this to anyone that like darkly twisted stories that give you something to think about, but especially for fans of Poe. This manga was a delight to read and see! Looking forward for something like this in the future.

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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Exit Eden releases sixth single and backstage video

Exit Eden, the metal-rock band formed by four vocalists from different styles, released 'Question of Time,' the sixth and presumably last single from their debut album, 'Rhapsodies in Black,' which consists on rock-metal covers of popular, well-known songs from other bands and singers.

The band also released a behind the scenes video, showing a little bit of their day filming all of the singles, which seem to have been filmed in the very same day.

The DeluxeRegular or Digital edition of 'Rhapsodies in Black' is available to purchase now.

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Bad Pollyanna announces their Autumn Tour

UK based metal band, Bad Pollyanna, announced their upcoming tour for this Fall season, an Autumn Tour, scheduled to start this Friday, October 20th, on Sanctuary, Burnley, and end on November 11th on Bradford, Trash. Tickets for their shows are on sale in their official bandcamp page, mostly for the last dates in November.

Bad Pollyanna has been known for their gothic music and their support to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation in conjunction with their sponsor, cult makeup brand Illamasqua, for which they released the single 'Invencible Girl' and a wristband with the names of both the song and foundation.

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Amberian Dawn releases video for 'I'm the One'

Finish band Amberian Dawn released their video for 'I’m The One', the first single from their upcoming album 'Darkness Of Eternity', and it has already been described as "Overwhelming and adventurous", "more than music". About the song, founder and leader, Tuomas Seppälä, explained:
"'I'M THE ONE' was one of the latest compositions for new album. After writing a couple of softer songs in fall 2016 I got a new “heavy wave” and probably 3 latest songs I wrote were quite heavy. The song is very hectic and pushes forward like a train. There's no solo part on this song (a solo would have been quite obvious call) Instead of that I wrote an instrumental part and an extra vocal part. Last vocal part's melody and chord pattern supporting it consists of just one really long phrase... this kind of long phrasing was typical in many classical compositions. I still haven't got rid of my roots in classical music."

Also, vocalist Päivi "Capri" Virkkunen, who has been with Amberian Dawn since 2012, explained the story presented:
"This is a story about very charismatic and socially intelligent people who speak with the finest words to make other people do what they want in their quest for their own pleasure. They do not care about the consequences or how to violate the feelings of others. They only think of themselves. Unfortunately the pressure in the group is generally enormous and all its members are behind the strongest individual hoping to be "the chosen one"."
The band also released an album preview and published a full song on Youtube for their fans, a track that has already 1K likes. “Darkness Of Eternity” is actually in preorder, scheduled to be out in the market this November 10th.

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Monday 23 October 2017

Artoffact sign Actors

Artoffact Records is pleased to announce the signing of their newest band to the roster, Vancouver-based post-punk group ACTORS. The term "post-punk", like many terms with a similar prefix, is firmly planted in a time in history, and signifies an added precision and experimentation to a thrilling genre that has echoed forward in both style and attitude.

Singer/Guitarist Jason Corbett comments “ACTORS have been careful about what we work on and release to the world. Music is art, and art can be very intimate and personal. We’re excited that Artoffact Records understands this. Working together was an obvious step for us to take.”

The debut full-length album, ‘It Will Come To You’, will be released early 2018 with pre orders starting in a couple of weeks. More information to follow, but for now you can familiarize yourself with the band by watching the video (directed by Michi Hayashi) for “How Deep Is The Hole – Reanimated” HERE. The song was originally recorded in 2014 as a b-side to the single 'Like U Want 2' then later it was remastered and re-released on the 'Reanimated' EP earlier this year. 

Jacek Kozlowski, co-owner of Artoffact Records comments "I have huge respect for Jason Corbett as a producer -- he's worked his magic on some of Vancouver's best bands. And with ACTORS, he's put together a group of serious musicians with deep roots and talent, so it was a natural fit for the Artoffact roster."

The Jason Corbett-led outfit ACTORS are standing on the shoulders of titans with their brand of the style, and could almost be referred to as "post-post-punk". In a period where we narrowcast rather than broadcast so fans and new music-seekers can firmly plant themselves in a niche, Corbett takes swings at creating sounds and production techniques that one would not usually find in a starter package of cliché plugins and samples.

Backed by a stoic yet playful backing band, the frontman shows an enthusiasm while performing and recording that often isn't seen or heard in his preferred genre. Often seen at festivals as one of the only acts with live instrumentation, the velocity created by having a live group of musicians brings back the listener to a time where players actually performed alongside one another in the studio, rather than being comped or programmed. Those who choose not to embrace and study history are often lazy repeaters, but an act like this knows where to cherry pluck from the past and where to build upon it.  

Jason Corbett - Vocals/Guitar 
Shannon Hemmett - Synth/Vocals 
Jahmeel Russell - Bass/Vocals 
Adam Fink - Drums  

ACTORS: Bandcamp / Facebook

ARTOFFACT RECORDS: Bandcamp / Facebook

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New acts announced for Amphi Festival 2018

The second wave of bands for the Amphi Festival 2018 is crashing in and impresses with its strong focus on variety. Cult formations go along with newcomers, as modern dark-rock meets neo-classical perfomance and cutting edge postpunk passes on the handle to an injection of fresh electropop:

In-between massive beats and exciting industrialpop hymns AESTHETIC PERFECTION have found their musical home. After the Californians' highly acclaimed show at Amphi 2016, which went totally through the roof, Daniel Graves & Co. are to return next year, ready to instigate an extra load of mainstage mayhem!

Though having become comparably seldom, every concert of Hamburg-based scene-pioneers GIRLS UNDER GLASS turns even more into a special occasion with distinct cult status. Active since 1986, not by chance the darkwave legend around Thomas Lücke, Hauke Harms, Volker Zacharias and Axel Ermes counts to the most influential scene-formations of the 80s, who inspired many acts successful today, that maybe never existed without them!

Ever since their latest album "Neuntöter" the darkrockers UNZUCHT joined life on the fast lane. Amidst an undertow of honest statements and shattering riffs the Lower-Saxonians hit the nerve of the modern generation goth, carrying their audience with unrelenting grip.
LEBANON HANOVER are a phenomenon! Subversively elegant and surrounded by their own distinct magic, Larissa Iceglass und William Maybelline create a powerful spark from a chilling postpunk attitude, honed with minimalistic darkwave and hypnotic rhythms of undeniable immersion.

Almost completely opposite SOVIET SOVIET keep no holds barred when it comes to firing off a temperamental postpunk barrage. Like Jake LaMotta in his best days the Italians literally push forward like a raging bull - relentless - tireless - full speed ahead! While their albums "Fate" and "Endless" being instant classics, the trio rightfully received strong international acclaim and recognition. 2018 they are to guest at Amphi Festival 2018 for the first time!

It has been a long time coming with the German-Austrian neo-classical ensemble PERSEPHONE. Now Sonja Kraushofer (L' Âme Immortelle), Martin Höfert and their fellow musicians finally return to present "Perle", the highly anticipated follow up to their 2007 released album "Letters to a Stranger". Exceptional vocals meet instrumental finesse. Join in, listen and let yourself be taken to another world!

The creative work of Swedish rockers A PROJECTION again is set in the realm of smart postpunk, spiced with a notable indiepop injected. Emerging from the influences of bands like The Cure, Editors and Joy Division, the five-piece around singer Isak Eriksson cultivated their unique style. With the release of their early 2017 second album "Framework" the Scandinavians ranked themselves among the most promising genre newcomers.

Andreas Engleitner and Bastian Polak, also known as INTENT:OUTTAKE, fully dedicated themselves to the world of dark-electro. Ever since the release of their debut album "Wake-Up Call" the boys from Leipzig conquered the clubfloors by storm. Even in your festival-wishlists the duo received tremendous consideration and so we are happy to welcome Intent:Outtake for next year as one of the most requested newcomers at Amphi Festival.

"Is this witchpop?", you might ask yourself in search for a fitting drawer,  when LA SCALTRA sound the haunting melody of their current smasher "Cantate". Catchy, bittersweet and mysterious in themselves, Aeleth Kaven, Dae Widow and Jay Sharp radiate a fascinatingly abysmal magic by which the newcomers will take our Orbit Stage instantly.

Original Amphi Festival weekend tickets are exclusively available at Amphi Shop,
! Furthermore festival tickets are available at all nationwide CTS/EVENTIM box-offices, online at and as PRINT@HOME edition.

28. – 29. July 2018 GER – Cologne | Tanzbrunnen

+ many other bands & supporting programme coming soon

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With first-class artists like VNV NATION, PROJECT PITCHFORK, NACHTMAHR, ROTERSAND, AESTHETIC PERFECTION and many more the E-tropolis Festival geared up for its task as one of the pinnacle events of 2018. Again the 8th edition, taking place on 17th March 2018 at Turbinenhalle Oberhausen, waits on with a massive load of machine sounds under the roof! Thus it's high time to wrap the current billing up nicely with the final remaining acts being announced today, as they are:
Barely any other formation went their way as consequently in recent years as CHROM. What started as a sleeper for connoisseurs and first-hour fans long since evolved to a full-grown phenomenon. The way Chris Marquis and Tom Winters fire off their hymnic electro pop always reveals itself in company of a compelling touch of understatement. Humble, down-to-earth and directly out of their lives!

Bring forth your dictionaries! This is not a drill! This time we play the big drum across language barriers. With SPARK! we present you a long overdue highly requested EBM-cannon from Scandinavia! The interesting part: their lyrics are performed completely in Swedish! Follow the command "alla på en gång!" (all at the same time!) and you are sincerely invited to dance your buffed boots ablaze. Let your body learn, for where the rhythm speaks its tongue of motion, the essence of EBM feels comfortably at home!

The latter is being cultivated by JÄGER 90 with continued devotion. Following the classic "old-school" trail, the duo from the baltic shore won't shy away from chiseling their relentless beats into the crowd any given day, using live rounds of words, sequences and drums while (beneath the helmet) the order is clear: "put on your boots and dance". We kindly recommend to obey! Forward March!

As we speak of heavy artillery: the final entry to the current programme has been marked by one-man army LUCIFER'S AID. Bleak, unforgiving electronica clashes with hypnotically pounding innovative beats. While calling the spirit of the early Belgian industrial scene, the project effectively originates from Sweden, where mastermind Calle Nilsson punishes his fully analogue machines for the gritty sinister bullwark breaking its unstoppable way since 2016!

So this is the full line-up as it has been revealed today:


Watch out for more info regarding the official pre-party at Turbinenhalle 2 on Friday 16. March coming soon.


Original E-tropolis tickets are exclusively available at (or, including 5+1 group tickets.

Further E-tropolis tickets are available at all nationwide CTS/EVENTIM box offices, online at www.eventim.dewww.oeticket.atwww.ticketcorner.chand as PRINT@HOME edition.
Further info at: | 

17. March 2017 GER – Oberhausen | Turbinenhalle
+ after-show party
+ merchant gallery + chill-out areas
+ official pre-party @ 16. March | Turbinenhalle 2
(admission free with festival ticket, standalone tickets available at the doors)

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Armalyte Industries to release 's 'Wrecked' Deluxe Vinyl & Der Prosector's 'Egregious' EP

<PIG> - 'Wrecked' (Remastered) Deluxe Vinyl.

Previously only available on PIG's recent 'Prey & Obey' US tour, we have finally gotten stock in of this deliciously deluxe vinyl edition of 'Wrecked'. Fully remastered from the original DATs, this definitive collection features ALL the tracks from both the original Japanese and American releases, along with the bonus 'Fuck Me I'm Sick (As Fuck)' remix and the never-before-heard 'Strength Thru Submission', all rendered on two discs of 180g heavyweight vinyl. The artwork has been beautifully reassembled by original artist Stephen Lovell-Davis to take full advantage of the greater scope afforded by the gatefold sleeve, and each copy comes with a double-sided lyric sheet signed by Raymond Watts and also a download card.

Der Prosector - 'Egregious' EP Deluxe Vinyl.

Continuing our theme of glorious vinyl, our newest signings, Der Prosector, have their killer debut issued as a strictly limited edition (only 100 copies) of disturbing, blood splattered vinyl. Featuring Ged Denton (C-Tec and Crisis NTI), Jules Seifert & Neil Hester (The Sepia), and Digby Denton (Frogs of War), Der Prosector specialise in kicking out industrial strength punk jams.
To order your copy, click here.

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Ritualz sign to Artoffact

Artoffact Records is pleased to announce the signing of Mexican elecronic musician, RITUALZ!
Ritualz is a music project started by JC Lobo from Mexico City in 2010 that has garnered accolades from Noisey, Thumb, MTV, Loud & Quiet, and many others. With a handful of self-released EPs, Ritualz is best known for its dark and experimental approach to electronic music, creating heavy and dense sounds that have gained him a following in the depths of the underground around the world.
“I'm excited to sign with Artoffact Records and join their ranks alongside so many great artists. It's a great label and this new album couldn't have found a better home,” says Lobo about the recent signing.

Ritualz's debut full-length album Doom comes almost four years after his last release, packed with 11 tracks of brooding industrial and synth-pop infected darkwave, and will be released in early 2018 by Toronto-based Artoffact Records.

Ritualz has played live at concert venues and festivals across North America and Europe, including SXSW, Baroeg Open Air, and Soundrive Festival. Further tour dates and festival appearances are in the works for 2018. For now if you're lucky enough to live in Texas, you can see Ritualz and any of the following shows:

11.08 San Antonio, TX @ Korova Basement
11.09 Austin, TX @ Nite School at Cheer Up Charlie’s
11.10 McAllen, TX @ Yerberia Cultura
11.11 Houston, TX @ Marquee Moon

RITUALZ: Bandcamp / Facebook
ARTOFFACT RECORDS: Bandcamp / Facebook

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Tuesday 17 October 2017

Review: Coburg – 'The Enchantress'

'The Enchantress'

Symphonic rock/metal is a tag that fills me with dread usually, but Coburg's debut offering 'The Enchantress' is a pleasant surprise. Owing more to Lacuna Coil than the pseudo-operatic styles that unfortunately accompany the symphonic tag these days, Coburg sees soaring melodic feminine vocals underpinned by powerful rock full of classical flirtations.

Featuring members of Naked Lunch and Jet Noir, the band already has a solid pedigree but with the overt classical meets gothic influences injected with the occasional nasty industrial synth the band shatters any pre-conceived notions and quickly establishes itself as a new force.

Songs such as 'A Cold Day In Hell', 'The Hall Of Ghosts', 'Thy Dagger', 'Till The Bitter End' and 'Rise' take the classical elements and run with them blending great gothic rock and emotive vocals for a commercially viable but still high-brow core. Whereas tracks such as 'Echoes In The Night', 'Into The Darkness', and 'The Enchantress' give the album a harder more energetic slant with the guitars on overdrive and the electronics getting a little more industrial. It might sound like there's two styles vying for supremacy, but they compliment each other rather nicely and create a nice sense of variety on the album.

In terms of production the album is as strong as any big label rock release. The vocals are nice and high to drive the songs forward, the electronics are balanced with the guitars throughout and the classical sounds don't sound cheap or dated. Instead it's powerful, bombastic and modern.

This is a very strong first album from a band that has an awful lot going for it. It's heavy, melodic, delicate, hard and always interesting. The band have a good grasp on their sound which remains unique in what has become a somewhat derivative genre in recent years. It will be interesting to see how they progress their sound on future releases. 

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Review: Noir – 'Reburning'


Noir – the sensual darkwave/electronic project from Athan Maroulis (Spahn Ranch, Black Tape For A Blue Girl) – returns with 'Reburning' the remix companion to last years 'The Burning Bridge'. The blending of dark cabaret and darkwave electronics under the veteran guidance of Maroulis has quickly seen Noir become an act to watch with their stunning debut and EP releases so far.

This remix EP sees the title track from the previous EP get the remix treatment from The Rain Within, Decoded Feedback and Panic Lift. While the cover of Ministry's 'Same Old Madness' is remixed by Bestial Mouths.

Each remix offers up a very different take on the original with The Rain Within offering up a bouncy dance-infused mix. Decoded Feedback go into more atmospheric waters with their darker and more atmospheric mix. While Panic Lift go for an old school ebm meets synthpop construction interspersed with modern dubstep bass embellishments. Finally, Bestial Mouths give 'Same Old Madness' a suitably avant garde deconstruction that is both original and captivating.

The title track then sees two further versions in the form of a dark and sumptuous acoustic rendition that is utterly beguiling in it's dark atmospheric construction drawing on the likes of Peter Murphy. The final track descends into full-on neoclassical in the form of a cello-led instrumental rendition that is hypnotic and delicate.

There is a lot going on here from club-orientated dance numbers to avant garde, acoustic and classical. It is about as satisfying as a remix album can possibly get. It would be great to hear more acoustic/classical renditions of the Noir repertoire on future remix albums, perhaps even a dedicated album. But for now this is a tantalising glimpse into the depth and versatility of Noir while whetting the appetite for album number two, which will hopefully be round the corner. 

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Monday 16 October 2017

Review: Angelspit – 'Black Dog Bite'

'Black Dog Bite'

After last year's ambitious outing on 'The Cult Of Fake', Angelspit return with 'Black Dog Bite', which sees the band crank it up to 11 with their classic blend of ultra-brutal beats, machine-gun sampled guitars, massive dirty synths and scathing vocals bludgeoning the speaks.

Whereas 'The Cult Of Fake' presented a deceptively complex construction dressed in their classic electro-punk style. 'Black Dog Bite' is a vicious and straight-forward assault that doesn't take any prisoners. Dance-friendly as ever, but cynical and overflowing with punk rock attitude this album is a blistering ride from start to finish.

Songs such as 'Satanic Aesthetic', 'Sexy Tragic Muse', 'Hidden Knife', 'Dead Man talking', 'Post Truth Wonderland', 'V Is For Voltage', and 'I, Weapon' provide he album with a back bone of electro-punk madness comprised of crunch glitches, hard dance beats, super-processed vocals, throbbing bass and jagged leads. While the stunning 'Scorpio Machine' veers off in different directions making for some truly standout closing track.

It's dense, pulsing and low-fi 90s sounds are just what initially endeared Angelspit to the cyber audience and this album will definitely appeal to fans of their early work, while not taking any steps backwards. It's music to smash smartphones to.

Production-wise, with it's old school and low-fi inclinations it would be easy for this to sound dated. But Zoog's expert hand keeps the grit, the nastiness, and the bile flowing without compromising on quality. It's not the cookie-cutter modern dance production. But it is high-quality. Hard but dance-friendly. And says exactly what Zoog wants it to.

This is a strong album. Perhaps Angelspit's strongest so far. It feels so well rounded. It's angry and punk at it's core but while the music is old school and low-fi, even downright experimental in places, it is still fresh, approachable and easy to dance to. 'Black Dog Bite' shows that Angelspit are serious hitter in the electronic music world and are still innovating with the best of them.  

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Review: Ludovico Technique – 'Absence'


It's been a while since the impressive debut from Ludovico Technique, 'Some Things Are Beyond Therapy', and it's companion EP, 'We Came To Wreck Things' were released. But that time away doesn't seem to have been misspent as the latest single 'Absence' can attest.

Whereas the band's debut showed a harder more aggrotech infused sound, the latest track is a darker and more sensual affair. Deep, clean vocals drive the song forward while the dance-orientated ebm meets electo-industrial backing with it's subtly spooky leads, big beats and gritty guitar riff come together for an undeniably catchy slice of goth infused industrial.

The single features four remixes from Grendel, Shiv-r, Massive Ego, and Leaether Strip, each of whom add a different spin to the original with a lot of success. Grendel keep things dance-friendly and play up the ebm elements a little more. Shiv-r set the bass and the beats to max for an absolute banger. Massive Ego strip things back a little for a more atmospheric turn that erupts into big choruses. While Leaether Strip again play up the ebm elements with an old school flavoured interpretation.

In terms of production the single is a solid dance track with the different instruments coming together in a nice fresh and modern production style that does show development from the first album. The only real sticking point is with the deeper and more sensual vocal delivery comes the danger of the quieter portions becoming harder to hear. It isn't a massive issue but it is noticeable in a few spots.

This is a strong single that hints a some very cool potential directions for the next Ludovico Technique album. It's catchy, memorable and has sing-a-long potential. Basically everything you'd want in a lead single. It will undoubtedly see inclusion in plenty of club nights going forward. Hopefully a full-length release isn't too far behind.  

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Wednesday 11 October 2017

Review: Marilyn Manson – 'Heaven Upside Down'

'Heaven Upside Down'

Marilyn Manson was an international icon in the 90s with a string of incendiary and confrontational albums including 'Antichrist Svperstar', 'Mechanical Animals', 'Holy Wood', and 'The Golden Age Of Grotesque' seeing his stock rise to dizzying heights. Then the momentum faltered as Manson's gaze turned to art and briefly film projects, and was confounded by the break-up of his marriage to Dita Von Teese.

Subsequent albums 'Eat Me, Drink Me' and 'The High End Of Low' were lacklustre offerings as a result with perhaps an EP's worth of strong material on each of them. But then 2012's 'Born Villain' turned a corner and along with his next outing, 'The Pale Emperor', it looked as though Manson was back on track with his artistic rehabilitation.

Fast-forward to 2016 and Manson, along with long-time partner in crime Twiggy Ramirez and producer Tyler Bates also back in the driving seat as well as in the band, sees the release of album number ten, 'Heaven Upside Down'. An album that distils the strongest elements of his previous two releases and successfully channels the attitude of 'Antichrist Svperstar' into the mix. The result is a riotous journey full of cuts that easily hold their own with the best of his discography.

Songs such as 'Revelation #12', 'Tattooed In Reverse', 'We Know Where You Fucking Live', 'Say10', 'Kill4Me', 'Jesus Crisis', and 'Threats Of Romance' see the gritty and nasty attitude of '...Svperstar' blended with the bluesy elements of '...Emperor' and the punky vibe of 'Villain' with plenty of electronics featured high in the mix.

There is a palpable sense of a "Side-A" and Side-B" feel to the album with the atmosphere shifting with sprawling eight-minute 'Saturnalia', which is utterly infectious with it's pulsating beat and dirty guitar line, but dialling back the malevolence of the previous tracks. While 'Blood Honey' shifts into a dark, almost synthpop ballad direction that twists the tone of the album. The title track then falls back into an approximation of a classic rock track that doesn't really pick the momentum back up from its slower predecessor.

There isn't really a bad track on here but with the utter barrage of savagery comprised of the first five tracks, the second half seems less focussed as a result. Which is a shame as on their own they're good songs, but they could have been dispersed throughout the track list better in order to keep the momentum spread more evenly.

Those expecting a direct sequel to '… Emperor' may be disappointed, but Manson doesn't deal in direct sequels. As long-time fans will know, each of his albums is a self-contained and very individual piece in its own right. Here he may be casting an eye back to what worked well on recent albums, and trying to channel the “fuck you” attitude that put him on the map. But it is with a mature and considered eye that shows a strength in his current partnership with Bates, and ultimately it works. More so, it shows that Manson is just as relevant in 2017 as he was 20 years ago.  

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Monday 9 October 2017

Review: Wiccid – 'By Design'

'By Design'

Erie Loch has worked with some major names including Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Rob Zombie, Prong, Pig, PWEI, NIN, Marilyn Manson, and Lords Of Acid to name just a few. As well as being a member of acts such as Dream In Red, Blownload, and Exageist. His latest endeavour Wiccid sees him along with collaborator Crash blend electro-industrial, synthpop, and futurepop elements for a darkly melodic, yet refreshingly upbeat album that should find favour with both DJs and live audiences alike.

Songs such as 'Ash', 'Torn', 'Inhuman Nature', 'Tomorrow Without Fear', 'Lights', 'The reconstructing Gods', and 'Prey Predator' see the album gain a solid grounding with their blend of dance-friendly beats, grooving bass lines and infectious melodies. There is an undeniable pop-twist to the songs but they still retain a darkness and aggression that channels itself into an uncompromising but methodical aggression.

In terms of production the album is incredibly polished for a first outing from a new project. Typically even veteran musicians when embarking on a new project tend to lose focus in places while trying to consolidate the direction of a band on the first release. But there's no issue like that here. It is sharp, focused and thoroughly modern. It balances heavier and lighter elements with ease, never sacrificing it's pop sensibilities, but without shying away from harder sounds.

This is a great first release from a band that should well be one to watch. They're already on a big tour with the likes of Lords Of Acid, Combichrist, En Esch, and Christian Death, and with songs like these they can easily hold their own against that lineup. Hopefully we'll see a follow-up release soon that capitalises on the great work ere.  

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Review: Fredrik Croona – 'This Is Goodbye'

'This Is Goodbye'

Fredrik Croona, the man behind acts Menschdefekt, ex-Project Rotten and Cynical Existence returns with his third solo outing in the form of 'This Is Goodbye'. Croona may be more well known for his more aggrotech orientated projects, but his solo work has seen him explore styles such as futurepop, trance and ebm as well to create far more diverse offerings and sowing off a wider range of songwriting skills.

'This Is Goodbye' sees the return of those familiar elements but at the same time twists them into darker territory than on the previous two releases. The effect of which as a more mature and actualised feel than the last two outings.

Songs such as 'As I Opened My Eyes (Feat. Ruined Conflict)', 'Leave Me Behind', 'Lies (Feat. Adoration Destroyed)', 'This Life', 'Lida (2017 edit), 'You're Never Alone', and 'Diabolical Intent (2017 Edit)' provide the album with a backbone of polished melodies, strong dance beats and a mix of clean and distorted vocals that nicely switches up the feeling of the album.

However, the instrumental tracks that bookend the album – 'Into The Unknown (Feat. Worms Of The Earth) and 'This Is Goodbye (Feat. Cold Therapy)' – as well as the central track 'My Bleeding Heart', are just as interesting as the more club-friendly core tracks. They set the pace for the album with their more ambient elements mixed with purer electro-industrial to create a more ominous atmosphere that reverberates through the rest of the tracks.

In terms of the production this again sees a nice development from Croona's previous solo releases. Although his heavier work with Cynical Existence is arguably more polished, this album takes more risks and the production responds well to keep things going in the right direction.

This is perhaps the most solid solo album from Croona to date. One that continues to see his scope and ambition grow beyond the realms of the genre constrictions of Cynical Existence and alows him more room to experiment. It's an experiment that is going really well and hopefully the title isn't an indication that he is saying goodbye to his solo work when it begins to hint at yet more interesting directions to explore. 

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Review: Bell Witch – 'Mirror Reaper'

'Mirror Reaper'

Sometimes epic is the only word that can truly do an album justice. And this is one of those cases. Bell Witch return with their third full-length album 'Mirror Reaper', comprised of one single track spanning 83 minutes of sludgy yet ambient funeral doom with added emotional weight from the untimely loss of Adrian Guerra, who died during the writing process. The album is a monolithic beast that requires time and dedication to give it the attention it requires, so perhaps not one for those whose dedication to songs wanes at the ten minute mark.

'Mirror Reaper' is a heavy, numb and exhausting album. It's like a journey into the underworld – cavernous yet claustrophobic. The song evolves and twists throughout it's journey eventually with the second half reflecting back on the previous bulk of the composition. It is a rewarding experience without a doubt, but one that definitely requires stamina from the listener. Atmospherically there is a warmth to this album, especially when the organ and the vocals come through above the guitar and drums that makes this very poignant yet comforting to listen to.

There are some portions that could have been potentially trimmed back for times sake that wouldn't have effected the overall atmosphere and power of the piece. But when you go over the 60 minute mark, what's the point in compromising.

Production-wise, with it's heavy ambient leanings combined with its funeral doom pacing the song could have very nearly seen elements bleed together to just become a drawn out drone track. But it avoids this and through the composition coupled with the way the mix ebbs and flows, it takes on a more prog feel to it, particularly after the 50 minute mark.

This is a stunning album that really pushes what the band have done previously. It's a fitting tribute to a fallen member and a great example of uncompromising ambition is seen through to the end. Again not an album for casual listening, but one that is genuinely rewarding if you have the time to sit quietly and see it through to the end.

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Thursday 5 October 2017

Review: Clara Engel – 'Songs For Leonora Carrington'

'Songs For Leonora Carrington' 

The chiming and reverberating guitar is like the alternate space made immanent in Carrington's visual work. Populated by part-human part-animal characters, the stories within the lyrics of these songs echo with a magical realism that gets to the heart of the listener. The lyrics evoke imagery of the artist and writer who inspired them with an eloquence that gets more cutting the deeper one lets them sink in. 

In the body of work of Leonora Carrington surrealism and weird fiction intersect in a magical heightened reality, though she explored territories deeper and well beyond what most of her contemporary surrealists and brought soul to her cosmically unsettling scenarios. Carrington's work differed from contemporary surrealists in that her vision was less drawn from dreams and derangement of the senses, like Dali's paranoiac-critical method, but thoughts and emotions made manifest and precisely rendered in a way that feels familiar.

In a similar way, on 'Songs For Leonora Carrington' arrangements are left open and airy, arranged tightly as poems with a masterful economy of elements. Anubeth’s werecubs are birthed in the head of the listener and may just jump out in a hyperstitional proliferation. Its fictions illustrate the real on many levels, but the intent is also to populate the world with its creations. 'Songs For Leonora Carrington' is a tribute of one artist for another that stands as a testament to the strength and creative vision of both. Carrington's universe is blurred into the shadowy and incandescently luminous realm created by Clara Engel. 

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Review: Nocurnal Rites – 'Phoenix'


Swedish power metal band Nocturnal Rites comes back with an album filled with hardcore power! Released on September 29th, the band’s most recent album, 'Phoenix', presents an incredible mix between old rock and ferocious metal music, taking the best of both styles to create a highly addictive drug for our ears.

After ten years since the last time we heard from these guys, Nocturnal Rites return with a interesting repertoire consisting on eleven powerful songs, each one of them with a different side of what could be seen as the same idea: the relationship between humans, alternating the genres of classical rock with power metal.

'Phoenix' starts with an attractive duality, an appealing contrast, with the explosive 'A Hearth Black As Coal' and 'The Poisonous Seed', and softer, old-school style 'Before We Waste Away', playing their cards very well. A perfect way to introduce themselves to new audiences and gain again the heart of their old followers.

Trying a symphonic vein, Nocturnal Rites explores their possibilities with 'Repent My Sins' experimenting with more neo-classical instruments and an orchestral sound that goes with a very similar structure than their second track’s, before going back to their old styles in 'What’s Killing Me', following their successful, initial duality.

Breaking this structure, comes an epic hymn, 'A Song For You', that infuses all the will our batteries could ever want in a moment of need, perfect to rise our heads and keep going on, right before the dramatic, yet honest, 'The Ghost Inside Me', destined to be a fan favourite; I know it is among mine, along with the previous track.

'Phoenix' follows this self-help vein with the next songs, about to close the disc, 'Nothing Can Break Me', a softer hymn with electronic elements I fell in love with since the first time, and 'Flames', which could be considered the weakest track of the record, but only because it is to be compared with the rest of it.

Nocturnal Rites finishes such a wild record with two equally strong songs that touch the same topics as before, bringing a fair balance to 'Phoenix'. 'Used To Be Good' and its twin sibling, the sarcastically named 'Welcome To The End', are the right end for a long-awaited album, proving that ten years have done nothing but improve the band’s quality; definitely worth the wait! 

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Noir to release 'Reburning' EP on 27th October

In 2016, Noir released 'The Burning Bridge', an EP that is now getting the remix treatment on 'Reburning' with remixes by The Rain Within, Decoded Feedback and Panic Lift along with an exclusive remix of "Same Old Madness" by Bestial Mouths. 

'Reburning', will be released by Metropolis in October 27th, and will also include a newly recorded acoustic version of the song 'The Burning Bridge', arranged by Ron Cardazone featuring cellist Tracey Moth (Man Woman Machine). 

Also on 27th October, Noir will premiere their video for the song 'The Burning Bridge', which was assembled by New Zealand-based artist Artemis Kowalski of the experimental electronic project Acclimate. 

Noir founder and vocalist Athan Maroulis, known for his work with Spahn Ranch as well as Black Tape For A Blue Girl, along with members Erik Gustafson (Adoration Destroyed), Kai Irina Hahn (The Sedona Effect) and Demetra Songs expect to release new material in 2018.

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