Interview: Marc Heal

“It’s funny, having worked so hard to make a living out of music I found once I’d got there that I’d broken myself in the process. I needed a break to do some, uh, emotional housekeeping.”

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

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

Wave Gotik Treffen - The Preview June 2017

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

Review: Mortiis – 'The Great Corrupter'

MORTIIS 'The Great Corrupter' OMNIPRESENCE PRODUCTIONS

Review: Freakangel – 'How The Ghost Became'

FREAKANGEL 'How The Ghost Became' DIGITAL WORLD AUDIO

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Review: Byronic Sex & Exile – 'Under The Gaze Of And Indifferent God'



BYRONIC SEX& EXILE
'Under The Gaze Of And Indifferent God'
GOTH CITY RECORDS

Once again the opium smoke parts as the crypt creaks open to reveal the dark and shadowy shape of a new Byronic Sex & Exile EP. As old school as Bela Lugosi's cape 'Under The Gaze Of And Indifferent God' is a homage to the decadent trad goth of years gone by played with a knowing glint of irony in its eye.

Picking up where last years 'Crimes Of Passion' EP left off with another four cuts of steady mechanical beats, old school guitars, synths and melancholic vocals with elements of acts such as Dead Can Dance, Gene Loves Jezebel, Flesh For Lulu, Rose Of Avalanche, Rosetta Stone, Children On Stun and Love Like Blood distilled through an atmosphere befitting a German expressionist film.

The likes of 'Under Heaven', and 'True Slave' bookend the EP with opulent and mournful gothic hymns made to echo eldritch halls. While 'Heresy In Flesh' and 'Purity' dial up the dance elements that in the 90s would have set the club scene on fire. Even though there are only four songs, the track list seems to cover all the bases in terms of what a damn good trad goth record was and still can be.

All of the old school sounds are present; drum machine beats, cheesy but atmospheric synths, and jagged post-punk guitar lines and the deep crooning baritone. But it doesn't try to recreate a specific sound. It takes those sounds and records them to a modern standard. As such the production pulls the best out of the tracks instead of trying to copy what was the standard of the era.

This is an unashamed love letter to gothic rock that takes the familiar elements and continues the tradition rather than simply imitating it into parody. As such the songs sound like classic singles rather than a clumsy rip-off, and is a joy to listen to as a result.

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Book Review: Jim Balent - 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #106'


JIM BALENT

'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #106'
BROADSWORD COMICS

Dark fantasy acquires a new definition in the latest issue of 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose', created by Jim Balent, a Halloween themed chapter in the adventures of the Swordmaiden of the Goddess in which she faces the spirit of the festivity itself.


Tarot, her sister Raven Hex, her husband Jon Webb, and her former lover, Boo Cat, have a not so pleasant meeting with the Spirit of Halloween as it takes a ride across Salem, turning people’s costumes into their real selves as long as the day lasts.

The witchy sisters find themselves caught on a delicate situation when the city is completely turned upside down, now inhabited by monsters, demons and every creature they could have thought about to dress like during the festivity, even worse when they have to come face-to-face with an enraged group of werewolves on their own.


Such a simple story is enough for Balent to create an interesting episode on the ongoing comic series, showing that it’s not always mandatory to overthink ideas, and that sometimes it takes only an interesting plot twist near to the end to produce an entertaining piece such as this issue.

'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose' has been known for combining erotic art with dark fantasy and some touches of gore now and then, elements very present in this issue #106 and that fight between themselves to have the perfect balance. I’d say that there was more of the first, but you never know what can happen in the next chapter, which is one of the best aspects of this comic!

As always, the level of detail in each of the issues is surprising, making it worth the two months of wait between each of them, with all of the pieces in their rightful places and an incredible colouring that can only captivate the eye of the reader. Followers of the series will be even more bewitched!

The shadows play a major role in this chapter, not only as an element of art but also as part of the narrative, making it all look gloomier than usual, and even giving its body to the Spirit of Halloween, a character I’m sure many of us will want to see again in the future!

I will only complain about the simple backgrounds on some of the panels, something that has changed gradually issue after issue. Doesn’t mean you don’t get Gods-like detailed environments anymore, but that the single coloured panels behind dark shadows are becoming more usual than I’d like to see.

As for the rest, this stand-alone issue was enough for me to remember why I fell in love with Tarot, her whole squad and entire universe, filled with seductive characters and ferocious beasts, as well as being a very well-inspired reflection on the Wicca religion and what it stands for. It’s great to see another kind of witches around beside those that sold their souls to the Devil.

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First look at Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #109

Cover A
Broadsword Comics revealed a first look at the issue #109 of dark fantasy, ongoing comic, 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose', which will be titled 'A Dark Union' and is scheduled to ship on late March 2018.

Besides Cover A of the issue, Broadsword Comics also revealed the Photocover Edition, the Deluxe Art Print and the SkyClad Edition. Currently, this edition and a special bundle for the issue are on sale on the company's official store.

The synopsis and covers could indicate that this issue will be focused on Tarot's sister Raven Hex and Azure, an immortal elf on a quest to conquer the human world, something he tried to do manipulating the Gothic witch. However, his plans have been foiled on multiple occasions by the Black Rose Coven.
Tarot is shot while accompanying the Skeleton Man on one of his missions! Jon must steal a police car to save her life! Time is ticking away as Tarot bleeds out! Meanwhile, Raven Hex is attacked by two of Azure's minions as they attempt to retrieve his severed arm.
18th Anniversary PhotoCover
Deluxe Art Print
Tarot#109 Skyclad edition

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Monday, 20 November 2017

Artoffact Records announces exclusive 7" vinyl by Street Sects


Toronto-based Artoffact Records announces this week that they will release an exclusive 7" vinyl by Austin, Texas duo and The Flenser recording artist Street Sects.
Supported by Pitchfork, Vice, Rolling Stone, Bandcamp Daily, and The Needle Drop, and recently having completed a North American tour with Dalek, Street Sects has recorded two new tracks, one of which is built on disassembled parts of a Controlled Bleeding song.

'Things Will Be Better in Hell' is a two song 7" single about love and relationships. Side A, Things Will Be Better in Hell, is a view from within the confines of a codependent relationship, one where addiction and love have become inseparable. Where getting clean means getting out, and is therefore unthinkable. The core mainframe of this song was built from digital reworkings of live drum samples recorded by Alton Jenkins of Future Death.

Side B, Bite Down Hard, takes a look at a 'successful' relationship. In love, the word 'forever' means until the end of life. But what happens if you make it? If you manage to stay loyal to one person, one idea, one position until your final days, how does that feel? Do you look back upon your life with a sense of pride and accomplishment, or do you lament the missed opportunities, and wonder how things might have been? Built entirely from samples that were pulled from Controlled Bleeding's 'Return of the Quiet', 'Bite Down Hard' was originally intended to be included on Controlled Bleeding's 'Carving Song's, a collection of remixes of songs from 'Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps', but as the song came together it became clear that the track was less of a "remix", and more of a Street Sects original composition, therefore warranting a separate release.

The 7” is pressed in two versions, one on clear vinyl and one on red.

STREET SECTS: Bandcamp / Facebook
ARTOFFACTBandcamp / Facebook

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PRIMITIVE RACE BAND ISSUE STATEMENT ABOUT CHUCK MOSLEY




BAND ISSUE STATEMENT ABOUT CHUCK MOSLEY. SINGER’S DEATH CAME A WEEK AFTER RELEASE OF NEW ALBUM

We are deeply heartbroken by the loss of our friend and bandmate, Chuck Mosley. Chuck had a 
vibrant free spirit. He was also a sensitive, kind and loving soul. He wanted to be everything to 
everyone; a good partner to Pip, a good father to his children and grandson, a loyal friend, an 
accomplished chef, an entertaining performer and so much more. Chuck was funny, witty, 
charismatic and charming in a way that was only Chuck. His art and legacy will be with us all 
forever; he was truly one of a kind. 

On November 3rd, Chuck, Mark, Erie and I were celebrating the release of an album Chuck held 
very dear. Less than a week later, he was no longer with us. Over the past few days, we have spent 
a great deal of time contemplating the best way to honour our friend. At Pip and Doug Esper’s 
urging, Mark, Erie and I will continue to support the album that Chuck was so proud of. The three 
of us will donate any proceeds earned from album sales throughout our release cycle in 2018 to 
MusiCares, a not-for-profit charity, in Chuck’s name. MusiCares' services and resources cover a 
wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies and each case is treated with integrity 
and confidentiality.

Mark, Erie and I wish to express our deepest condolences to his soulmate Pip Logan, their children 
Erica and Sophie, Grandson Wolfgang and dearest friend, Doug Esper. Unfortunately, Chuck’s 
premature demise left his family without the means to send him off properly and move into their 
next phase of life. Your gesture of a donation to help with his final expenses would be greatly 

Addiction is a horrible burden to bear for the afflicted and their loved ones. If you are, or know 
someone who needs help, don’t be afraid to ask. Help is only a call away. For more information on 
available resources, please visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:

Rest In Peace, Chuck.

Love always,
Chris Kniker, Mark Gemini Thwaite and Erie Loch

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INERTIA 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW IN LONDON 10.12.17



The UK based industrial/electro-pop group Inertia celebrate their 25th Anniversary with a special
show on 10th December at The Dublin Castle in Camden, London, a venue they played back in
1993! Former members of the band such as Alexys B, Ed Luxmoore, Bob Malkowski, Kneill X and 
Andrew Trail will return for this exclusive show, performing together with the current line-up.
 Very special supporting guests for the night are Black Light Ascension and The Frixion.

Inertia have just released their new studio album, ‘Dream Machine’, which includes the single
‘Only Law’. A video for the song can be seen here:    


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Sharon den Adel launches new solo project: My Indigo


Sharon den Adel, founder, frontwoman and vocalist of Within Temptation, recently revealed a new solo project in which she's been working in secret. Both the project and its first single share the name of 'My Indigo.'



Honring her own words, explaining that this project has nothing similar with her Within Temptation music, the single shows a summer vibe more inclined to electro pop, a radical change from her usual metal style that has already gained 3.000 likes on Youtube.

Although simple in lyrics and structure, My Indigo has a well produced and composed sound that takes the best of its genre, while perfectly matching den Adel's vocal style. It may surprise at first, but the song becomes more enjoyable during the first chorus.

On the other side, the band said that "we have a few important bits and pieces coming up in the near future."


Hi there!
I know you all have been waiting for the announcement we were going to make, and here it is.
For many years we’ve been touring and everytime we came home I used to start writing songs almost immediately and was happy to do so. After the last tour I tried to do the same but it wasn’t the same. Eventually I found myself in a crisis which was bigger than just not being able to write songs. The years of touring and working under a certain pressure took its toll and besides that there were things in my personal life I had to deal with.
I really took time off, but when I started writing again it was something totally different than WT, but this was what I needed and I embraced it. One song led to another and it turned into a whole album. I gave it a name and it’s called ‘My Indigo’. My Indigo is about my journey these last few years and I would like to share it with you. Besides all of this I’m happy to tell you that my journey has led me back to Within Temptation. There will be a new album and a tour but more about that in the near future.
Today my first single will be released and this song is the core of my album and has the same name: My Indigo. My Indigo is not at all like Within Temptation and it wasn’t meant to be that at all. I wrote it first of all for myself, but nevertheless I hope you’ll enjoy it as well!
Thanks & take care!

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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Review: Ivardensphere – 'Hesitation'



IVARDENSPHERE
'Hesitation'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Ivardensphere have enjoyed a great run of albums in recent years, in particular 2013's 'The Methuselah Tree' and 2015's 'Fable' which saw the band experiment with their tribal-industrial sound in interesting ways. 2017 sees the release of the band's latest full-length studio outing, 'Hesitation', and album that given its predecessors has a lot to live up to.

Ivardensphere have long since proved they can be experimental, cinematic and club friendly all in the same breath. But the challenge has shifted somewhat – as an established act who have found and perfected their sound (as well as kept up quite a heavy release schedule) they need to keep pushing their sound further and bringing in new ideas and elements to keep things interesting – and this is a challenge they are rising to.

'Hesitation' picks up where 'Exile' (released earlier this year) leaves off and feels very much like “Volume 2” in terms of the production and the ideas at work. But it isn't simply “more of the same”. Those identifiably Ivardensphere elements are present and correct noisy dissonance, apocalyptic samples, deep bass, hard but danceable beats and sheer ferocity mixing freely with elegant trance and exotic instruments. But with this familiar fingerprint is a relentless march forward. The production style of Fox only gets better and Blacker's contributions and vocals get stronger with every passing album.

Songs such as 'Where?', 'Pray For The Day', 'Align – Get In Line – Stay Alive', 'Surface Tension', 'Hesitation', 'Red Sun Black', 'Rapture' and 'Shroud' are assimilate a wide-range of influences but always maintain that rhythmic groove appeal that is at the core of Ivardensphere but with eyes fixed firmly on the horizon.

'Hesitation' is another strong outing from a band that have reconciled their past with their ambitions and provides so much potential for future albums to explore. There is so much going on here but the band distil it all in a way that just works so well, and once again proves that they are a band that despite their successes still feel like they have everything still to play for.  

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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Review: Inertia – 'Dream Machine'

 


INERTIA
'Dream Machine'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Inertia have been around now for 25 years flying the flag for techno and pop infused industrial music and have left a great body of work in their wake. 2017 sees the release of album number thirteen in the form of 'Dream Machine' and what we get is a slower, more methodical Inertia that is in keeping with Gary Numan and Depeche Mode's recent albums. The band have always played with their sound and style from the get go and 'Dream Machine' sees the dark rock elements and the slower paces get more chance to shine this time round.

Inertia have always been a dance-orientated act and their back catalogue is awash with pounding club anthems. And there is till plenty to appeal to that side of their sound with tracks such as 'Only Law', 'Beyond Concrete', 'Afloat Above Abide', and the utterly brilliant 'Pray' providing some undeniable club bangers. But with the inclusion of the darker and rockier likes of 'Dream', the symphonic 'Starlight', Peter Gabriel classic 'Games Without Frontiers', and the minimal 'Solitudal' the emphasis shifts from dance beats and melodies into more complex instrumentation and heavier subject matters.

The slow pacing may throw some people off but the band maintain a balance with the production giving their more dance-friendly numbers the kick they deserve and at the same time piling on the atmosphere for the introspective tracks. The production as always is clean, modern, and befitting a band of Inertia's veteran status.

This album may prove a little more divisive this time around with its darker and slower feel. But even as they go in this direction there is still plenty of the catchy dance friendly core sound present to keep their long-time fans happy. It's a hard balance to strike but Inertia have managed to pull it off.  

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Review: Exit Eden – 'Rhapsodies In Black'



EXIT EDEN
'Rhapsodies In Black'
NAPALM RECORDS


You know you have something great in your hands when it becomes an addiction to your ears, when you find yourself delaying the review part of the job just to fully listen to the songs, focusing only on their sound, their feelings and how you yourself feel because of them. That’s the best I can describe the experience of listening to 'Rhapsodies in Black', Exit Eden’s debut album: orgasmic.

The tracks these ladies have selected for their first work of art show that their proposal is as valid as any: that any popular song can become a sound great as in rock-metal. Their four voices, so different and diverse, add just another layer of enchant to the music they’ve done, combining their styles to create something unique.

People will find it interesting that there are several pop songs from different origins in this album, making it even a more exciting experience to rediscover tracks we all know so well and that, in some cases, we grew up with. It has the beauty of the past, the feeling of nostalgia, but also the surprise element when the changes become more than obvious.

Despite the negative comments some have written because of their nature as a cover group, which means we will only see new versions of other songs coming from Clémentine, Amanda, Marina and Anna, I don’t see how that could be an issue after listening to Rhapsodies in Black. Many of these versions are even better than the originals!

I can only complain about their chosen singles and release order. If it would have been up to me, 'Frozen' and 'Heaven' instead of 'Question of Time' and 'Unfaithful' as the girls’ voices and music are in perfect balance in their Madonna Cover and Amanda makes a better job in “Heaven” than in their first single.

It can sound a little strange since we’re talking about four girls, but one of my personal favourites was the closing song, 'Fade to Grey' a duet between Clémentine, who sings beautifully in her mother tongue, and Anna, who takes charge of the parts in English in a brilliant way. It could be interesting to see these two singers together again in the near future, but only time will say.

Despite being a loyal Little Monster, 'Paparazzi' amazes me all the time because of Clémentine. The same applies for 'Incomplete' a track to which Marina gave so much grief it made me cry once, and the killing vocals of Amanda in the oh-so-loved 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' no matter how much I like the sound of the four voices together.

As for now, I will try to focus once again in my daily life and other responsibilities, since I’ve been doing almost nothing else in my free time besides listening to Exit Eden’s music and wondering what their name could be about or come from. I will only ask you not to see who of these is my favourite singer and take yours as well.

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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Review: Primitive Race – 'Soul Pretender'



PRIMITIVE RACE
'Soul Pretender'
METROPOLIS RECORDS


Shifting their focus from the eponymous debut and it's hard mix of industrial rock and ebm to a more alternative rock style. Also Chris Kniker opts for less of a revolving door lineup this time with a solid band featuring vocalist Chuck Mosley (Faith No More), drummer Dale Crover (Melvins), Mark Gemini Thwaite (Peter Murphy, Tricky, MGT), and Erie Loch (Blownload, Wiccid). With a cast list like that Primitive Race are still worthy of the title “supergroup” and now the consistency across the tracks gives a more unified sound and delivery that is more organic than their previous outing.

Sadly at the time of writing this it needs to be noted that vocalist Chuck Mosley has sadly passed away just a couple of days previously which does colour this album with a poignancy. But this doesn't detract from the brilliant performance he has laid down on each track here. From the first track to the last he feels passionate and unfettered by expectation and the result is utterly enjoyable.

Musically there is a more fluid punk vibe that has seen pretty much all of the industrial and ebm influences of the last album dropped. 90s alt rock guitars, Mosley's funky and melodic vocal style and a touch of grunge-influenced psychedelia come together on tracks such as 'Row House', 'Cry Out', 'Cranial Matter', 'Take It All', and 'Bed Six' giving the first half of the album a deliriously bombastic edge.

The second half though is coloured by a more sombre and introspective tone with tracks like 'Stepping Stone', 'Turn It Up', and 'Dancing On The Sun' providing a darker come down from the giddy flow of the first half. It kind of loses momentum somewhat as it does but in a strange way it works.

Production-wise even though there has been a significant shift in style the album maintains a nice grittiness that is identifiably classic 90s alt rock but it doesn't try to replicate what has gone before and instead tries to drag it into 2017.

This may be a bit of a curve-ball and in some ways it isn't as fully actualised as the debut album. But it is nonetheless enjoyable and easy album to get into. Mosley's vocals are great throughout and the more fluid and organic songwriting style feels like a natural progression. It would have been nice to hear a little of that industrial rock edge coming through a little more. But with this swerve and now the untimely death of this album's vocalist it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Primitive Race.  

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Review: Evanescence – 'Synthesis'



EVANESCENCE
'Synthesis'
BMG - SONY MUSIC


I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I’ve been waiting, dancing at the edge of anxiety, for 'Synthesis', the fourth studio album by Evanescence, a band that has come and gone with me since I was a teenager. It would be a lie as big as if I said that I don’t have a complex mix of feelings with it now that I’ve listened to it a couple of times.

The disc presents reworked versions of well known songs of band, now adapted to include a full orchestra, two new tracks, an overture, an interlude and a piano solo, but we could divide it into two big, almost balanced parts: one that contains the dramatic music, the shouts, the cries, while the second is made of calm cries, heartbreaking ballads and pure, raw vocal power.

With the first six songs, Amy unleashes all of her rage and brightness, using music as her weapon to shoot right to the heart of her followers. Just to name a few of the effects in this half, 'Hi-Lo' can be easily danced by a couple, while 'Lacrymosa' makes the heart cry in pain and joy at the same time, and 'Bring Me to Life' makes you stare to the screen in wonder, paralysed.

The second half of Synthesis, separated by the Interlude, takes more power from Amy’s goddess-like voice and remains quiet in terms of music for most of its songs, like the new 'Lithium', perfect to listen by night, the seductive vocals in 'Your Star' or the fan-favourite 'My Immortal', completely transformed into an orchestral ballad that rediscovers its own original feelings, totally devoid of electronic music.

My only problem with this album is that you easily draw the line between the two types of songs that form it, an issue that bothers me a lot coming from an Evanescence album. After a wild ride with six incredibly sick tracks, the pace slows down all of a sudden. It confuses me still some times, but it seems it’s just a matter of time before you get used to this division.

The first and only single so far, 'Imperfection' amends all the feelings as the best song the band has ever created. The general mid-tempo and its crescendos play with the ears like a gentle storm, involving the mind and creating a whole new world that could only be shown in its music video. This is not the first time Amy Lee writes a song about social issues, but it could be her best try.

Listening to 'Synthesis' is such an experience that I find a lack of words to properly describe it. Doesn’t matter that it has its flaws, as which albums is free of guilt? This one in particular has served its purpose and met almost all of my expectations and is on its way of becoming one of the best releases I’ve seen this year so far.


We know that Evanescence is not done, Amy herself has said it, and that there is still more music to come from this band, but while we wait for their dark rock style to come back, it won’t bother me at all to replay this album.

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Monday, 13 November 2017

Interview: TONTTU

Anti-Gnome Manifesto...



"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!" 

The Anti-Gnome project known as TONTTU are one of the most intriguing acts around at the moment. Utilising a stylistic blend of genres dubbed "anti-gnomenmartialindustrialneofolkmetal" to protect us all from an otherwise unseen menace, namely Gnomes. This mastery of martial beats, industrial electronics, metal savagery, and neofolk atmospheres has so far held the hordes of the Gnomic terror at bay. This may all seem a bit crazy but TONTTU have on the back of their crusade released a range of impressive and diverse albums in quick succession.

Roderigo Esquer spent months tracking down the anti-gnome forces to find out more about them, their ideology and what we can do to curb the gnome menace at home. This is what he managed to smuggle back from their headquarters.


Roderigo Esquer: Hello, for months I’ve been tracking the enigmatic freedom fighters called TONTTU and at last I’ve found you! So, how did TONTTU come to be?

Tottufingergeneral Hanz-Baal: Congratulations are in order, I believe. Well hello there!
Perilous road to find the truth, aye? There is no freedom higher than the one reached by Gnome-Eradication!

Okay, it was a dark and stormy night in the middle of the shady 90’s and gnomes were running rampant, or at least there were many to be seen at that time…. Anyways, me and few of my friends were meeting (there may have been some beverages to keep our minds sharp) and thinking of how to make our lives more safe and gnomen-frei (that term was invented later on, but seemed appropriate to use it in here). That historically important place was Two Witches’ and Shade Factory’s boot camp in Tampere / Finland (I believe those were the undeniable facts...). Must say we had no plans to create anything this vital for the survival of our species (what can one do when making history knocks on the door) but to accept the destiny and look cool while at it!

Where was I… Oh yes, to best of my recollection there were 3 people present: Me, Großinquisitor Rudolf Von Deer and mystical character Lord Winterdanger or Winthanaz as he is also being called in the darkest of rites.

Suddenly this weird entity came to us and asked whether we would like to accept the spirit of Anti-Gnomen and thus save our very species from extinction, what were we to say? Guys started playing a tune (that later on became our neverred classic “Saunatonttu”) and I started to sing those beautiful words that later on enlightened the nation! It was all about those scheming abominations, better known as gnomes, and their monstrous habits and the will to kill us all.

Needless to say all this discombobulated us and we did not talk about it for a long time, some say that Lord Winterdanger became mad and lived as a hermit for the rest of his life as he found out that we are being constantly researched by gnomes…. That kind of knowledge drives men to madness, I tell you.

As for my dear comrade Rudolf we left this subject be for the moment just to get back to it cometh the new millennia.
Could this have been the year 1995…. Hmmm, let us say so as the details must stay blurry to distract gnomes.

Time went on and I had almost forgotten this weird event until the entity approached me once more as I was talking to my friend Petja (1996?) and he saw the insignificance of that moment in the past and suggested that we really need to do something about those darn redcappers scheming and plotting! Wise man indeed!
Uh, this is gonna take long, is it now? Let us hasten up - things to do, gnomes to eradicate…

This all lead to the moment we went to the Con-Troll studio and recorded our first cdr-ep “Kabouter Dämmerung” including 3 songs (Saunatonttu and Peikosta Tontuksi being a bit folk metallish and Tonttujen Tihutyöt being noisyish experimentalism, but all of them extremely Anti-Gnomen). Our friend Toby joined Petja and me volunteering to take part and he delivered some proper guitarismo for The Cause! This session took place 1997, I believe.

Where to go from there? Naturally it was time to do remix-album! There was no way around it: “Gnomedrome” was released 1997-1998 as cdr-ep and it included remixes from our original neverreds and one new song called “Taisteluni.” Taisteluni (My struggle / My battle) was our very first martial-influenced piece and it caused some eyebrows to be lifted in the most disapproving manner. So we could call it as The Epic Success!

...And then gnomes kidnapped Petja to stop this movement for once and for all… We do not negotiate with gnomes and thus Petja became the first martyr for our sacred cause, I bet he was more than willing to do so and I congratulate myself for not showing those cretins any signs of weakness! And that was that.

Cometh the end of 2012 or so… All those years in the darkest of corners avoiding gnomes and all the insanity they cause and suddenly the ray of light appeared: I came to the conclusion, that re-releasing those old masterpieces as one cd could be the best idea the mankind had ever seen! No doubt it was just that and I tried to find ways to do it and suddenly I heard Petja’s voice in my head saying in a very hauntingly shivering manner:”Better make the third ep and then release it with the oldies!” The voice inspired me in so many ways, but sad to say it faded away leaving me alone, pondering these grave issues, and without my dear comrade providing The Anti-Gnome Muzik for my deep and meaningful lyrics.

As these things so rarely go it was yet another dark and gnomish night outside when I unexpectedly stumbled on to my dearest of old comrades, Rudolf! He instantly saw what had to be done and joined the crusade and we went on to release the third ep “Der Zwergenhammer” recorded at VonDerLabs and combined it with the old ones for the cd called “Nekrognomekon.”
Release happened in the summer of 2013 and was published  by myself. Must say Marko Latva-Nikkola provided some killer art for that album!

Summa summarum: Got smashed in Finnish reviews but got some pretty good ones from abroad, the most important thing being getting acquainted with P. Emerson Williams when he reviewed it for the Intravenous Magazine. Emerson is now our historian providing chilling illustrations of what gnomes are really like and helping us in so many ways!

Babbling babbling… 2014 we released our next album Anti-Gnomen Divisionen 4 (Mastering the fine art of Gnome-Eradication). Had to do it as we do not go down when someone suggests, thanks Finnish media for all those minimum points: That made us stronger.
AGD4 introduced our newest member, High Commander Hephzibah, doing some composing. This was also the first album we proudly released through Panicmachine.

Could say we then reached our current form. After that we have been helped by many artists providing remixes and remakes but TONTTU as an entity had its modern roots planted with me, Rudolf and Hephzibah.I think this covers the history quite well: The ingredients are now there.







RE: Who are you? Can you disclose names? I hope I’m not compromising anything

H-B: My name is Tonttufindergeneral Hanz-Baal, the propagandist of Anti-Gnome Organization also known as TONTTU which is more known for its role to raise awareness by Muzik known as Anti-Gnomemartialindustrialneofolkmetal.

Some say I am eternal like The Phantom, but nothing like him… Some say I just live in shadows with this disguise to avoid gnomes’ revenge… But who am I to talk about what or whom I might be, let us just say that all you need to know is that I am behind of rescuing our species from gnome-menace.
Quite the glorious task, some might say, me included.


RE: Gnomes are said to be everywhere, I even heard that they have formed conspiracies within big corporations, especially technology oriented (or must I say, techgnomlogy?), is that true? What does this mean to mankind? 

H-B: They sure are, one of the reasons our name is TONTTU (gnome in English)… Keep your enemies close and make the threat visible and easy to remember!

And do not get me wrong, we are not talking about those horrible, ungodly statues but living and breathing monsters that haunt our species! Talking about “garden gnomes”: Most of them are alive and just waiting their moment to eat our beloved flesh and destroy our minds… Those not alive are there to distract us and used as the tool for propaganda. The best thing one can do is to destroy (we like to say eradicate) everyone and anything that even vaguely reminds of gnomes!
The Golden Rule: If there’s the slightest of suspicion - Eradicate!

This all means destruction and doom, TEOTWAWKI! Gnome-Tech soon reaches its goal and we will live as slaves to gnomes!

We have this song called “Gnostradamus” that covers this issue with humans blindly doing the gnomes’ bidding and on the other hand doing nothing to enhance us as a species while gnomes advance in so many areas and soon we are nothing but cattle for gnomes. GNWO is real and those helping gnomes (Gnome-Sympathizers and even Human-Gnome Hybrids, not to mention those turning the blind eye) are in high positions in corporations and in politics making the rules…. And believe me, odds aren’t that good for the rest of us!

Gnome-Tech is seen as the way to spend time and to make our lives easier and increase our ability to handle the information but in fact it just makes us ignorant and lazy and leaves us in the mercy of redwashed propaganda making our lives harder still.

Gnomes have really studied our species and they seem to know how to play us, let us leave it to that. Keep your panem et circenses and do something productive, you mothergnomers, or die as gnomes’ slaves willingly giving your spleens for their sodas!


RE: What are your thoughts about this urban legend, the allegedly underground cosmic horror series from the 90’s which were only released as VHS tapes, and some say there are hidden alternate endings with clues and keys in the struggle against gnomes?

H-B: I think it is time to make some martyrs for the cause again, cleansing if you will…
Loose lips and all that but the truth shall set as free...right... RIGHT?
Shit...well,more martyrs for the cause!
Who was it that once again revealed our plans, was it Bill again? Tiina?
Damn Anti-Gnome Laboratories, always spilling those rotten beans… Sigh, but now as you seem to know already…

Okay, our great plan WAS to study the future by letting some badgers urinate on certain series and movies on VHS-tapes. Some say that it will reveal alternate endings hidden to those relics but we know it does! Seen so many weird things after those sessions, and even someone mentioning this peculiar fact in the internet, so it can be nothing but true!

I just hope they only told you the method, not all the intel we got out from this experiment so far. Well, it was a good decade for Anti-Gnomen studying these magical beasts and tapes being pissed on… Sorry thing is that we just found the best combination for the cassettes and the amount of urine used, it could have shown us the location of the most secret doorway to THOTEOG (The Halls Of The Eye Of Gnomishness) situated under the pyramids, Gnome-Tech Laboratories have been said to dwell there with the secretive research of Human-Gnome Hybrids….

But nooooooooo….Silence is golden no more. We shall disregard all of the evidence now and leave those badgers without their beloved cassettes, stranded and homeless and vulnerable for gnomes’ aggression… happy now? Science does not get the appreciation it deserves nowadays as we are the beacon of wisdom for the humankind and you lot treat us like this? Damn liberal media blindsided us once again… Oh well, this proves my point once again…. And I usually like to be right but under more productive and appreciative circumstances.





RE: It seems like the war against gnomes is very though, what are your weapons of choice in this struggle? 

H-B: Did you know that according to some very scientific studies as much as 97.8% of all the human beings have been infected and/or possessed by gnomes or in a danger zone… DID YOU?  The fact that more and more people are getting redcapped is unbearable as they are our adversaries in the future! So, our fight against gnomes is more important than ever!
The gnome-struggle is damn real and we must submit ourselves to the sweet release of Anti-Gnomen! To do so we must make sure that we, the normal people, do not get tainted by gnomishness. We must make sure, that we will have enough living space so that we could flourish and have the best chances possible to see the future without any gnomes!

Anti-Gnomemartialindustrialneofolkmetal is our best weapon to fight this horrible phenomenon, controlling the information is the best way to control the power! Must say I love flamethrowers too… Well, I love anything that can be used to harm gnomes, so I am very liberal in that way. Hell, every single human being should have at least a good few guns and bombs for making their lives safer, that should be mandatory in fact! I would give every gnomefree man nuclear weapons just to stay on the safe side: We cannot underestimate the danger that gnomes represent.

But the weapon of my choice is our music that is extremely superior in so many ways. Maybe I will open this answer up a bit, so that the slowest of you might just see a glimpse of our brilliance and ingenuity and maybe, just maybe, learn from it! There is no grey in this game, no neutral zone so to speak: Either you are Anti-Gnomen or you are against our Sacred Cause!
By trying to be in the middle you just show that you are gutless piece of gnomesian excrement and thus eligible for a bit of eradication!

There is only two kinds of music in the world:
Anti-Gnome Muzik: Strong Anti-Gnome attitude included, gnomes cannot stand sheer power of this sublime art form and thus run for their petty little lives leaving us victorious! In the worst case they just leave the premises and the one playing this glorious music is safe for the moment at hand.
Pro-Gnome Muzak: Repels normal human beings with its vile and atrocious soul munching features. Those already leaning on gnomishness and those sorry little excuses for a lifeform enjoy it immensely and thus show their unworthiness to live their lives without being dealt with… You know what I mean!

Even though Anti-Gnome Muzik is the most competitive genre, TONTTU sure reigns it supreme! Well, I must admit that we are in a way forefathers of it, but who cares: We are that damn good and we never let pressure from the outside affect to the outcome of our brilliant and groundbreaking releases… I believe that it is the fact why people admire us so much and feel like they should kneel down when seeing us… If they knew who we were, that is…. But they would!

By the way: We welcome those numerous up-and-coming Anti-Gnomeists with open arms. To highlight one I must mention TerrorroT (our beloved collaborators) and their highly uneasylistening Industrimetalfolkgoredroneantignome-Muzik!

We need more of this kind of commitment, but the youth of today are so often spoiled and spineless and know nothing of the struggle we, the older and the wiser, know so well. If only people were more like me…

I must also applaud our comrades Fahl for making that splendid “All The darkness In The World”-ep found from the split (2016) with TONTTU, Fahl and P. Emerson Williams. The album is called  “The Decline And Fall Of The Gnomen Empire.” Chilling stuff and truly shows the true nature of those pesky and creepy little critters!

And why do we use Finnish as our official lingo? Well, obviously it is harder for gnomes to decrypt our message and counter our plans! We always have our propaganda translated in English, but that takes some effort to find it from our digital releases. Using PDF:s is the ultimate High-Tech and quite impossible for gnomes to hack: Our Anti-Gnome Researchers spent many years optimizing our technique so I would imagine for gnomes it should take more than that! They do have their highly advanced group (GNSA or Gnomes’ Net Service Agency) for cyber attacks and I am sure they are trying to solve this problem as we speak!

Did you know that as the part of the GNSA there is division of “trolls”, that name misleads though, as they are in fact nerdier gnomes spreading false propaganda and putrid Pro-Gnome Agenda trying to influence the public opinion! Cursed are those weak-minded mongrels that believe any of that malevolent propaganda cause ours is the ultimate truth!

But to sum this up: 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! They’d better…

Thinking further we need to separate people from their money, what on earth would they do with it anyways? Those poor souls would benefit of us controlling the money so they could concentrate on dedicating their lives to Anti-Gnomen… Of course we would help those in need (if they are worth it), but on the other hand they should be grateful for us creating them the better world and gnomen-frei environment. They could work for The Cause as many hours a day as they humanely can: Inhumanely would sound even better, but  let us get to that later on as we have our administration established!

If we just get rid of gnomes our peace loving and highly intellectual species would finally reach nirvana and utopia at the same time with TONTTU as the benevolent and undisputed leader! Sounds great to me and if someone hesitates or questions this great vision it makes me wonder…
We could establish camps where we could put those non-believers so that they could think things over and I am pretty sure they would change their wrong opinions and views. I am sure they would appreciate this chance offered to them and embrace Anti-Gnomen!
And after all if we are the ones who liberate this planet from gnomes’ reign of terror we should get some perks and some say on how things should be run overall, right? It is not easy being a hero when there is ingrates all around!

Make Anti-Gnomen and our species great again!

You lot just want us to deal with this grave situation and then take over, you son of gnomes! But we know better and we shall sort you out, oh yes we will… And all will be handled with special finesse and that solution shall be final, no complaints accepted! Viva Anti-Gnomen!
(…heavy breathing…)

...Now that I think about it I see everything clearly: You all have been deliberately undermining and sabotaging our valiant crusade! No wonder we cannot get enough of good intel and our best laid plans so often fail!

Just you wait… You have just made it to The Red Book!


RE: Do you use live propaganda to propagate the truth? What can one expect in a TONTTU anti-gnomish propaganda show?
H-B: Live shows? You try to get us killed? Taking gnomes’ side, are we now? Damn… Of course we do not do live shows, anonymity is essential in this line of business and letting gnomes find out our identity would compromise the whole operation!

Even though I find all kinds of hoods, cloaks and other disguises more than pleasant and useful, we will absolutely never do live shows and give them the slightest of chance to recognize us!
One could say we are performing live when you see gnomes at stakes and/or delightfully one or more of them burning outside your house lighting up your backyard. Remember us when you see those glorious mushroom clouds evaporating gnomes’ nests and flamethrowers sweeping through buildings!

Sniff… Getting almost emotional here…

“I’d rather stay alive than go live.” As one great thinker once said… That was me by the way, quite impressive quote even though I have to say it to you myself. But what can I say, I am helpful and gracious like that, everyone could learn from me!


RE: I know there’s a book you’re going to publish, can you tell us about it?

H-B: I would have even if you tried to stop me! But thank you for the opportunity, it makes this easier in so many ways. Behind the foily curtains of Anti-Gnomen loads of wunderbar things are taking place at the very moment! Thomas Jude Barclay Morrison is giving finalizing touches to our epic modern Gnodysseia – The Book that will make every other book obsolete and worthy of burning! And when he will be done P. Emerson Williams shall perfectify it with his overtly realistic illustrations!  The Book shall be published by the beloved Panicmachine.
We shall show the world whom are to blame and why, the final truth will send shock waves throughout our entire planet!
“Gnomeus Gnomeficarum, or: How to Blame It on Gnomes” will leave you speechless as you shall finally know more than others do! Except of us, naturally… We know everything.


RE: What can we, normal people, do in the struggle against gnomes?


H-B: According to some very respectable scientists (whose names we cannot reveal, but they are the best there is) we need to do two things immediately to improve our odds against gnomes:

1) Get more plastic to our oceans and lakes, hell, even to rivers! Gnomes ransacked some amazing underwater technology when they occupied Atlantis way back then, that is why we cannot trust normal water to stop them or slow them down! PS: And you guys still wonder what happened to that continent, pretty obvious, ain’t it just? Ignorance triumphs in so many levels and I do not like single one of them!

2) Raise the temperature of our planet any means necessary, that will make gnomes’ lives harder as they are known to enjoy the cold areas… Drink oil if needed to reach our goal and let them be like foreigners at sauna in Finland!

On the other hand there is only one thing we must decide right now, what is the acceptable percentage of collaterals when trying to get rid of gnomenkind?How much are we willing to sacrifice?

Well, I see things like this: If we give all the power to gnomes we are dead anyways so everyone is replaceable, more like expendable… Maybe some nice little birdie, rat or lizard will then live Gnomen-Frei life and give even one single warm thought for our kind! I know cockroaches will!
Takes loads of effort to reach these goals, but I have the uttermost belief that our species is more than capable of completing this humongous and selfless task at hand! Gnumbaya-h, let us join hands!


RE: And last, but not least, anything you like to add? Thank you for this illuminating piece of anti-gnomen wisdom!

H-B: The wheels of destruction and mayhem are turning and we are preparing ourselves for the release of our glorious and Anti-Gnomelicious 8:th chapter for our saga! Must not reveal too much but I can tell you this, it will be TONTTU-only album so no remakes this time from our beloved comrades! You may also witness couple of additional members joining our rock solid crew, one being Marcel P. from Miel Noir, he has earlier provided us with a great remix for Gnouroboros. It is kinda obvious that he will be joining in, as like everyone knows, gnomes hate bees and want to kill them all and infect their honey, outrageous! MN is known for their bee-sympathies like we are known for hating gnomes, so our goal is common!

There will be other (no doubt pleasant) surprises too, as we are always thinking outside the accursed box that limits our lives in so many ways. Our Anti-Gnome Scientists have come to the conclusion that all the boxes are in fact possessed by gnomes and their only purpose is to make people to stick to their old habits thus slowing down the evolution and technology, no four-armed people with extra-light-ultra-flamethrowers, no sir! We must burn all the boxes and shut down all the factories manufacturing them so that our valiant species could once again reign supreme!

Be as it may, there is only one thing everyone should remember and hold dear… If everyone forgot their minor little quarrels, wars and abandoned their current adversaries and remembered this, everything would go smoothly:

“If everyone hated exclusively gnomes, this world would be better place within minutes!”

Think about it.

TFG Over & Out: Pleasure and thank you, keep it Anti-Gnomen!
PS: The highest regards of Anti-Gnome HQ to DJ Vrhovny and Lupo Von Volpe!




To find out more about TONTTU visit their Facebook page here. Their latest releases can be found on Panic Machine here

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Friday, 10 November 2017

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



Paradise Lost have been proudly slogging away on behalf of British metal for three decades now. It's a carrer that has seen them amass an unbelievably diverse back catalogue of fifteen albums that range from Death Metal, Doom Metal, Goth Metal, Industrial Rock, Electronic Rock and all the way back again. Their two most recent albums 2015's 'The Plague Within' and 2017's 'Medusa' have seen their heaviest output since the early 90s – for some it's a return to form, for others a regression of sorts. But there is no denying that their rekindling of the death doom sound has yielded some brilliant material that quite rightly deserves a public airing.

The band's latest tour in support of 'Medusa' sees them joined by Portugal's Sinistro and USA's Pallbearer. Sinistro are up first with their atmospheric and avant garde take on doom rock. There is a nice experimental and progressive element to their sound which is quite compelling and causes the heavier elements of their songs to just catch you off guard. It's a strong if unfortunately short set but one that sees a strong performance and will undoubtedly have created a few new fans.

Pallbearer are up next. A little controversial for some with the whole “are they doom or not” argument floating in the air. But that doesn't matter as they are a damn solid band. Technical issues with one of the guitar rigs may have slowed them down a little, but they didn't falter and saw the set through to the end. They're a band with many faces and influences that come together for a monumental sounding whole. Alt rock, prog rock, doom, ambient, and proto metal come together for a sonic spectacle that sweeps you along. The band perform with the skill and precision of veterans and by the time they leave the stage the crowd are more than satisfied with their set.

Finally though it is time for Paradise Lost to take to the stage. The veteran performers on their native soil may not play the size of concerts they deserve, but are always met with a hero's welcome. With two of their heaviest releases in years recently under their belts the setlist is the doomiest the band have sounded in decades. With five cuts from new album 'Medusa' and three from 'The Plague Within' there isn't much room to show off the full range of their previous work, but what the band do produce is a damn tight set with slow heavy tracks, sing-a-long moments and even a rare opportunity to open up a moshpit.

Songs such as 'From The Gallows', 'Gods Of Ancient', 'Enchantment', 'Medusa', 'Blood And Chaos', 'Beneath Broken Earth', and 'Embers Fire' give the set a dark and doomy backbone of monolithic rhythms and bludgeoning riffs. While tracks such as 'One Second', 'Erased', 'Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us' and 'As I Die' allow bodies to move and the crowd to join in.

The encore again sees a heavier slant with 'No Hope In Sight' and the stunning 'The Longest Winter' bringing the doom once more before the band's finale in the form of 'Say Just Words'. The band may be older but they are sharper – Nick Holmes does a great job varying his vocals across the set (even if they were a bit low in the live mix). The whole set is tight and expertly performed and once again shows why Paradise Lost are one of the best bands this country has produced in the last 30 years.  

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Thursday, 9 November 2017

ABSOLUTISM, TYRANNY, TRANSYLVANIA




There are several distinct modes of political system under which the gothic in fiction and popular culture operates. They act as a kind of backdrop onto which the tales that explore themes of the suppressed, transgressive and inhumane can be projected. But this do not simply act as a stage for tropes, but they also feed into the form and content of gothic culture.

The most prominent political mode in gothic literature and film is that of the 19th century, central/east-European model of absolutist monarchy. It is the Europe of the nobility, peasantry, princes, Burgermeisters and priests – effectively, that of the Habsburgs. It is a vast realm, full of ungoverned spaces punctuated by small pockets of arbitrary and brutal autocracy; for every peasant farmhouse or hamlet there was a dungeon, jail or fortress. The Emperor acts as a kind of absentee landlord, generally disinterested in the events of much of the nation and especially of the peripheral wastelands and spaces in which 'gothic' events take place. This is the political backdrop to which nearly all of the main gothic texts and their numerous celluloid offspring takes place.

Another mode, albeit less prominent, is that of the war-torn province. The actual real-life history of the Balkans and of Transylvania between and even during the wars features many eerie intrusions of the gothic into political life, from the psychodramatic theatrics of the Iron Guard fascists in Romania including their strange pseudo-vampiric blood rituals to the blood tests carried out on Transylvania peasants by the occupying Hungarian troops; and this prototype mode of mob rule, violent disorder and tyranny is another staple of the gothic. The tumults of the wars fed directly into the work of James Whale, the acting of Ingrid Pitt and Christopher Lee, and the renewed fascination with the horrors of technology and mortality that became vivid in the televisual age.

The mode that was until recently most prevalent in popular culture was that of the gothic of totalitarianism; during the era of the cold war the image of the darkened depths of a divided Europe, from beneath the Berlin Wall to the edges of the Carpathians, was a form of gothic that resonated a kind of real-time political dread. With this came the related fears of nuclear war, espionage, and political dictatorship. The shadow of the police state hung over all gothic terrain, and where it was not the decadence of a West Berlin took on nihilistic and desperate tones, and the neo-vampiric rule of Ceausescu represented a political nightmare that was all too real.

And finally there is the current political mode of the gothic – that of the playground, the nightclub, the holiday, the big city, of adventures in a crumbling old and rising new world. The postmodern escapades of the 'Underworld', 'Blade', 'Hellraiser' and 'Saw' series are all in this tradition of the contextless, modern rampage.

The interplay between political context and the gothic is always linked to the conflict between monolithic absolutism, in it's various forms, and the struggle of liberal (and modern) forces against it. In effect, that contradiction has had to become more fantastical (even ersatz) as the forces of real tyranny have subsided.

So how can a new political mode be created to fit the struggles of the modern world?

Now, that is an entirely different matter....

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Emilie Autumn releases 'Fight Like A Girl: The Tribute Remix'


Outraged by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, singer, violist and author Emilie Autumn released a remixed version of what she claims is her most well-known song, 'Fight Like A Girl', from the album of the same name.
This new version of the song incorporates the voices of Uma Thurman, Ronan Farrow, and Emma Thompson, one of the few personalities that spoke about the case, and is currently free to download and share at the artist's website.
Emilie Autumn also encourages victims of sexual assault to communicate with RAINN, a free support service for victims of any kind of sexual violence, either by their web or their phone number.
'Fight Like A Girl' is part of the singer's third studio album, released on 2012, a concept album about her semi-biographical, self-published novel, 'The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls'. All lyrics and music were written, performed, recorded, and produced by Autumn herself. 

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

DIODATI & THE BIRTH OF THE GOTHIC



So, where was I? Oh yes – it's winter, the fires are lit, the moon is new, the air is clean with the cold of the season and the darkness of the year grows thicker. The signs in the passing year are clear -
it is the time when the forces in our subconsciousness become vivid, are imagined more forcefully, and are cast onto the blank canvasses of deeper, darker nights.

One of the key elements of this interplay of creativity that becomes externalised as we retreat into our hibernation is that of sharing our stories. Whether by candlelight on Halloween, round the fire on Bonfire Night, or at a seasonal masquerade, carnival, or pantomime. The ritualised aspect of sharing our stories, or pooling our imaginations, is a key part of this process. By mutually indulging our dreams, our imagined demons, we allow our perceptions of reality to shift. We engineer situations that are eerie, are chilling, are atmospheric, so that we can experience reality through a different filter – or, perhaps, no filter at all.

In many ways, the birth of the 'modern' gothic archetypes can be traced back to such an exchange. It was in the summer of 1816 at Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva that three days of incessant rain made it's summertime inhabitants – Shelley and his wife Mary, Lord Byron, and his physician John Polidori – spend their days inside exchanging tales of the macabre and fantastical. It was this shared experience, done in the spirit of collaboration and not a little competition, that led directly to the conception of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' and indirectly (from Stoker via Byron and Polidori) of 'Dracula' and the romantic conception of the vampire myth.

It is easy to imagine the scene: the log fire, candlelight, incessant rain, thunder, lightning and wine of a night spent in collective creativity. It is equally easy – not to say tempting – to think that any such culturally significant act of genius could be achieved if we had the resources and means to spend a summer at a lakeside mansion in Switzerland.

But such an interpretation misses the point. The core activities of that lakeside meeting were the simple acts of creativity and communication; and as an activity that can be performed more or less anywhere at any time this holds in itself a liberating, democratic act of vocalising our summoned spirits. After all, the emphasis placed on the written rather than the spoken word is not universal; the art of handing down and elaborating tales has fallen out of practice due to the saturation of mass communication, rather than dialogue. Yet although the practice of shared storytelling cannot necessarily translate to any widely understood truths, they can absolutely lead to the uncovering of our innate creativity. As a process, it is a key that unlocks our subconscious – and even more so our shared shadows.

So take some time this winter to spend a night with friends, light a candle, share a glass of wine, and enjoy the process or expressing and imagining our stories. And who knows? Perhaps through that process you can unlock some of the doors in your own mind – and these stories may take on a life all of their own.

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