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'


Friday 22 December 2017

Xandria releases music video for 'Ship of Doom'

Photo by Danny van der Weck
German symphonic metal band Xandria released the music video for 'Ship of Doom,' a track taken from their newest album, Theater Of Dimensions, released at the beginning of this 2017. The video was directed and animated by Danny Stirn, from Manic Molecule.
After their last singer and frontwoman, Dianne van Giersbergen, left the band due to health-related issues on September, Xandria began the search for a temporary replacement, which resulted in the inclusion of Aeva Maurelle from Aeverium for the European tour dates in fall. It is still unknown who will be the permanent new singer in the band.

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It's probably not surprising that after such a torrid a year as 2017, and with political ineptitude, weaponised ignorance and institutionalised inequality rampant, that December feels gloomier and more bitingly bleak than ever. Associated as the month is with the festive blow-out of Christmas few of us are really in the mood for debt, social obligation or bad decisions.

Indeed, as the sheer amount of information, media, opinion and discord increases exponentially ever year it becomes almost impossible to ignore let alone stomach the plastic and manipulative sentimentality of the season. After all, it is very hard to believe in a season of good will where the John Lewis Christmas advert cost £1 million to make and £6 to promote, and where Virgin Health can successfully sue the NHS during its worst winter funding shortage in decades. In 2017 it feels that, collectively, we are not in the mood.

So maybe it is time to return to the source of the matter. As has been continuously asserted before the Christian festival of Christmas owes both its date and most of its traditions to those of the winter solstice and its associated festivals. The point of those festivals was to celebrate the beginning of the end of the winter, the return of the sun, and the end of the 'famine months' of darkness and want. And the form those festivals took was an excess of drink, food, merriment, dancing and warmth – often centred around the blazing symbol of the fire. These were the origins of the winter fire festival, of the kind that is making a gradual comeback today.

The fire, then, is the key. Bringer of warmth and light, shining in the depth of the winter, almost like a sun that is summoned to appear in our (literal) darkest hour. It also stimulates growth, provides the warmth needed to cook and to thaw cold bodies. It also has other connotations. For example, the Jamaican concept of 'more fire' refers to the cleansing, purging energy of fire and flame that burns away negativity. Similarly, the Romanian term for music played with gusto – 'cu foc' (literally 'more fire') – correlates the fire with passion. Fire has an essential viscerality, especially in the depths of winter, that represents renewal, rebirth, passion and cleansing anger.

It is that spirit, the spirit of a Saturnalian excess and of the beginnings of the new, which are the real roots of the festive spirit. Everything else – sharing, giving, celebrating, reaching out to the less fortunate – stem from this. In this way a basic bonfire has more genuine joy than a thousand Moz the Monsters.

So if the grinding, abrasive weight of the winter starts getting you down this Christmas then simply refocus on the real energy of the season – that of survival, celebration, and hope for the Christmas.

Have a great solstice everyone, and a happy new year.

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Monday 18 December 2017

Review: Sounds Like Winter – 'Sticks & Stones'

'Sticks & Stones'

Australian post-punk/gothic rock outfit Sounds Like Winter are a band that do exactly what they do on the label: Cold, bleak gothic with icy post-punk spikes. With overt nods to classic bands such as Bauhaus, Clan Of Xymox, Sex Gang Children, Joy Division, and The Birthday Party the band present a no-nonsense but original take on the classic gothic sound of the 80s filtered through a 2017 perspective.

Tracks such as 'Blood Red', 'Sticks and Stones', 'Impossible Dreams', 'The Life Of The Just', 'Television Dreams', 'Beasts Of England', and 'New Hebrides' are powered by grooving bass, tribal drums, scythe-like guitars and vocals that flit between Peter Murphy, Andy Sex Gang and Ian Curtis with wry and ironic lyrics on modern life. The band's influences are impossible to dodge, but it is obvious the band are taking those blueprints and reworking them with love and respect into a modern sound that works well. It's familiar enough to grab the attention of long-time post-punk/goth fans but unique enough to not sound derivative.

The production of the album is in itself a love-letter to those classic 80s albums. It's a little rough and ready with a somewhat analogue warmth to it. But it isn't aping anything in particular, just resurrecting the spirit of the age.

'Sticks & Stones' is a strong album that is on one hand an homage to the classic sound of the 80s, but on the other hand a well-constructed and yet trying to push out and beyond those archetypes and consolidate their own ideas. It's a very smart album with a lot to say and will easily find favour with fans of post-punk and classic gothic rock.  

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Review: Mesh – 'Live At Neues Gewandhaus Leipzig'


'Live At Neues Gewandhaus Leipzig'

Bristol based electronic act Mesh have enjoyed an enviable career that has seen them build both an impressive discography and live reputation. Their latest album is a sonic vindication of over a quarter of a century's worth of great electronic music with a stunning live album captured at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany in October 2015. Together with a 65 piece orchestra as part of the Gothic Meets Classic festival, the band saw their classic tracks given new arrangements by classical producer and pianist Conrad Oleak with stunning results.

The album includes five songs from the live set; 'Just Leave Us Alone', 'Only Better', 'Save Everyone', 'You Couldn't See This Coming', and 'Taken For Granted' given a symphonic makeover that is both cinematic and melancholic, capturing the essence of the originals and elevating to new levels. What is most notable other than the strength of the original compositions and how they hold up to the new arrangements is the majestic vocal performance turned in by Mark Hockings who once again shows of the full range of his talent.

The album also includes three additional songs recorded in the studio; ’There Must Be A Way’, ‘Can You Mend Hearts’, 'Before The World Ends’, which utilise a smaller ensemble with piano. While a little more intimate and stripped-back in their construction from the live recordings they nevertheless retain the cinematic quality and heightened melancholy of the live set.

The production is crisp and beautiful. The live recording is incredibly high quality with the acoustic sound of the room and the crowd noise being the reminder it is a live performance. But this isn't lost when the album transitions into the new tracks, save for the lack of crowd noise at the end of the songs you'd be forgiven for thinking it was recorded as part of the original performance.

This is a stunning example of electronic/rock music being lovingly transposed into the classical genre. The Gothic Meets Classic festival has already yielded some unexpected albums. But Mesh's 'Live At Neues Gewandhaus Leipzig' feels like one of the first to fully reach it's full potential. While this might not have the greatest appeal beyond the band's most hardcore fans, it is nevertheless a stunning album in its own right.  

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Artoffact Records announce new vinyl reissues

This March 30th Toronto-based Artoffact Records will be releasing four very highly sought-after recordings from Skinny Puppy's Cevin Key and other various collaborators, including material from Hilt and PlatEAU, as well as very rare material from Lee Chubby King and The Flu. See below for the full release list:

THE FLU / A Collection Of Absolute Insanity - Between 1986 and 1989, Cevin Key (Skinny Puppy) and the late Alan Nelson (Hilt) spent countless hours recording out of Nelson's third story apartment at 781 Queen Street in Toronto as The Flu. The music they produced in those sessions is quite remarkable, blending electronics, guitars, live drums, drum machines, live singing by cats, and recordings from tele-personals, all with Al's inimitable lyrics and vocals. Artoffact Records is proud to offer a limited edition, double LP reissue of what is the absolute rarest Cevin Key-related album of all time, re-mastered for vinyl and using audio digitally transferred directly from the original masters.

LEE CHUBBY KING / Yo’ Pusface - This Beastie Boys-inspired record, originally released on Revolving Records in 1987, is one of the rarest pieces of Cevin Key lore. Lee Chubby King was a one-off project from Cevin Key, Alan Nelson (of Hilt), Dwayne Goettel (Skinny Puppy, Download, here as “Beat Master Duck”), and Lee Salford (who drummed on Tear Garden’s Tired Eyes Slowly Burning). With such an amazing crew, one can only expect magic, but one definitely doesn’t expect this! This Artoffact Records reissue will be released on 10” vinyl.

PLATEAU / Spacecake - For the first time, the brilliant second album from PlatEAU, i.e. Cevin Key (Skinny Puppy) and Phil Western (Download), with guest appearances from Tim Hill and kaRIN (Collide), finally sees the light of day on vinyl! This Artoffact Records edition is fully re-mastered, beautifully treated to an epic gatefold sleeve, and comes with a collectable, branded MP3 download card.

HILT / Minoot Bowl Dropped The Ball - Hilt is one of the strangest bands ever created. Rock? Punk? Electronic psychedelic experimental new wave? Formed by Vancouver rocker Alan Nelson, as well as Skinny Puppy members Cevin Key and Dwayne Goettel, the band signed with Nettwerk in the late 80s for two albums, and Key's Subconscious Communications released the third Hilt album, Minoot Bowl Dropped the Ball, in 2007. All three Hilt albums are now out of print. For the first time, Artoffact Records presents Hilt's third album on beautiful double vinyl, housed in a gatefold sleeve. Includes a collectable, branded download card.

ARTOFFACT: Bandcamp / Facebook

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Book Review: Terry Burrows with Daniel Miller – 'Mute: A Visual Document (From 1978 – Tomorrow)'

'Mute: A Visual Document (From 1978 – Tomorrow)'

Mute records is quite simply one of the most important labels in music ever. Having been at the forefront of the electronic music innovation of the late 70s, they were instrumental at propelling it into the mainstream in the 1980s, continuing to diversify it in the 90s and in the new millennium have also found themselves as curators of some the most important catalogues in the genre.

We've had phenomenal live festivals such as 2011's Short Circuit. There has also been impressive collections including 'Mute Audio Documents', and numerous references in books and documentaries. But for the first time we have the story in an official capacity in the form of 'Mute: A Visual Document (From 1978 – Tomorrow)'.

This book written by label founder Daniel Miller (also of The Normal and Silicon Teens) along with respected author (and experimental electronic musician in his own right) Terry Burrows charts the rise of the label as a small vanity project, to a world wide phenomenon. Accompanied by a designer's wet dream of visuals including concepts and test pieces from some of the most iconic artwork in the label's vaults.

The book isn't ridiculously text heavy – it could very well become that with gleeful nerdy abandon – but it is instead anecdotal for the most part, almost like a documentary. Reading it you can hear the tracks playing and if you were around at the gigs and tours it mentions you'll probably be hit with happy memories. Where the information does get quite heavy, visuals of timelines, logos, artwork and photos break it up well so as not to bombard you. But otherwise it is an easy read that doesn't get overtly nerdy, but instead opens the doors on the rise, near fall, and continued success of one of music's most unique labels.

The book itself is a thing of beauty. Not only is the subject matter visually beautifully represented on the pages in full colour and great detail. But the embossed hard cover, stitched spine with 'Mute' proudly emblazoned on it, and the thick paper all make this feel like a work of art. Just as the Mute Synth and 'Audio Document' collections before it, this feels like a great quality and collectable item before you even get round to reading the text and looking at the art inside.

Any fan of electronic music will be familiar with Mute Records and the artists that have graced it over the years. In 'Mute: A Visual Document (From 1978 – Tomorrow)' you get not only a visual retrospective but a biography of the label itself, it's successes, its troubles and ultimately the passion of everyone involved in it. It has been a fascinating journey from one man's attempt to put a record out, to a globally recognised leader in electronic music, and long may it continue. Fans of the label, fans of the bands, fans of great design, and even anyone out there toying with the idea of getting into the music industry will find this a great read and a treasure trove of ideas.  

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Live: Marilyn Manson – Manchester Apollo 04/12/2017

MARILYN MANSON (+ Amazonica)
Apollo, Manchester

It has been a turbulent year for Marilyn Manson. The tragic loss of his father delayed the release of the album that became 'Heaven Upside Down', the firing of long-time friend and collaborator Twiggy Ramirez after historic rape allegations, and the freak accident involving an unsecured stage prop that left Manson with a broken leg and led to a series of American tour dates being cancelled. But the self-proclaimed god of fuck is a tough one to keep down. The new album has enjoyed rave reviews since its release and the tour has made a feature of Manson's injury that will no doubt be a talking point for many audiences for some time to come.

This latest tour sees an interesting support act in the form of DJ Amazonica. Yes, you read that correctly. Admittedly tour support slots are contentious things with most bands these days taking whoever is willing to pay for the slot, but this seems like a misstep. It's a common complaint that bands who often don't really need the exposure are often found supporting bigger ones to draw some of their own fans to the gigs, but in Amazonica this seems to have been completely forgone in what seems like the easiest and most convenient set-up possible.

The DJ has a pretty standard table set up and performs a pretty standard set comprised of rock and metal classics with the bass turned up and hard kicks inserted over the top. The mixing was pretty on-point and there was a good reaction from the crowd, but it was really underwhelming for a night like this. At a club night with a couple of guest bands and the time to let the songs play for more than 30 seconds each this would have been far more enjoyable, but in this context it would have been much nicer to see a new hungry young band give it their all tonight.

Despite the light setup of a few DJ decks and a table, Manson's stage time is still delayed by 30 minutes so the night will at least end at a proper time (honestly why are 10.30pm finishes for gigs even a thing?). When Manson does take to the stage it is to riotous applause as he nips around on an electric wheelchair cum throne to the strains of 'Revelation #12'. Manson then continues the majority of the set on a peg-leg and assisted with costume changes by a couple of helpers in scrubs.

The set list itself is a nice mix of old and new featuring the likes of 'This Is The New Shit', 'mOBSCENE', 'Disposable Teens', 'The Dope Show', 'Sweet Dreams', and 'Tourniquet' providing highlights. While the newer cuts are taken from the last two albums with 'Kil4Me', 'Deep Six', 'Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge', 'We Know Where You Fucking Live', and 'Say10'.

There were some contentious issues though with Manson occasionally stopping the songs in order to pump up the crowd, and even outright aborting 'I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)', and the encore performance of 'Coma White'. Post 'Coma White' the encore went into a stalling and messy version of 'Saturnalia' that killed the momentum quite a bit with an extended guitar solo, before bringing it back with 'The Beautiful People' to close the show. Obviously with a broken leg, climbing the podium for 'Antichrist Svperstar' was out of the question so that was an understandable cut.

Despite the broken leg and the odd stalls to the set it was otherwise a pretty solid showing from Manson. The band was tight and Manson and Tyler Bates' onstage chemistry is continuing to grow. And even though his movement was limited by the broken leg Manson still put on a show. It may not have been the huge spectacle of his mid-90s to mid-00s heyday, but he still give you plenty of bang for your buck.  

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Monday 11 December 2017

Interview: Ludovico Technique

Back in therapy... 

"The visual embodiment of the band has always been the idea of negative, toxic emotions that are deep within the being permeating up through the pores of the skin to warp the body. Essentially, we look like beings driven to the brink by those things inside that have overtaken us." 

Ludovico recently returned with a new single in the form of 'Absence' a darker and more sensual affair that builds on their debut album 'Some Things Are Beyond Therapy' and it's companion EP 'We Came To Wreck Everything'. With their unique take on aggressive electronic music and a visceral live show as well, they have quickly built a strong reputation as an up and coming act.

With this first single heralding a new album, the band look to consolidate their gains and establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with. We caught up with vocalist Ben V to talk about the new single and what we can expect from album number two.

Intravenous Magazine: You've just released a new single in the form of 'Absence', how has the reaction to it been so far?

Ludovico Technique: The reaction has been beyond words. For the first week of its release it was the #1 Goth release on Amazon and I couldn't be happier. People have really embraced the direction I went on this one.

IVM: What is the concept behind 'Absence' in particular?

LT: To put into words what depression can feel like. Also, I wanted to give life to some of the most personal lyrics I've written.

IVM: How far is the sound of the single indicative of the style of the forthcoming album?

LT: I'm taking my cue more from the idea that each and every song is a release unto itself. One song may sound like this, another song may sound like that. But that's the enjoyment of the journey, allowing different emotions to speak freely without expectation.

IVM: The single sees the track joined by some great remixes, how important is maintaining that relationship with other bands and which reworking of the track hit you the most?

LT: That's a tough question. They're all so great.

IVM: What themes and inspirations have gone into the writing of the new single and album?

LT: Freedom of expression in the face of a judgemental world.

IVM: How has the writing and recording process changed for you since the last album?

LT: Well, we had released an album a few years ago and then decided to tour nonstop until now. It definitely means that things have changed a little since our last album. I'd actually say things have gotten more intense and more refined. I'm able to write things more from the soul more easily these days.

IVM: There have been teasers for a music video to accompany the 'Absence' single, what can we expect from that and is there a release date yet?

LT: This past year I discovered a passion for cinematography. It has become a major part of my artistic expression, and I look forward to showing that to the world. The "Absence" music video will be my debut in that area. Hang tight, it's almost ready to go! Ha

IVM: The visual presentation of the band has always been very striking. How important is that element to you and how do you feel it has evolved with this new release?

LT: The visual embodiment of the band has always been the idea of negative, toxic emotions that are deep within the being permeating up through the pores of the skin to warp the body. Essentially, we look like beings driven to the brink by those things inside that have overtaken us. As far as the evolution, I'd say you'll have to catch the Absence music video for that!

IVM: Can you reveal any details regarding the title and release date of the next album yet?

LT: I'm currently looking at an early spring release date.

IVM: You've had quite a prolific touring schedule over the past few years, and have recently played Terminus Festival. Have there been any highlights so far?

LT: Touring is always great, the connection made with the fans when live and direct elevates the experience to one of a kind levels.

IVM: What is the most memorable thing that has happened out on the road for you?

LT: Sharing such passionate experiences with the other bands that we have toured with.

IVM: What are your current touring plans?

LT: At the moment all focus is on writing and releasing new material; however, I'm sure at some point soon another tour will come.

IVM: Are we likely to see Ludovico Technique in the UK any time in the near future?

LT: We definitely hope so. I've heard that the UK loves music, so let's do it!

IVM: Finally is there anything you'd like to add?

LT: I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who supports us: long time fans as well as new fans. In this experience of life and loss, the experiences shared through music are some of the deepest known to humans. We are honoured to be a part of that connection.

Thanks for having us Intravenous, see you soon.

Watch video!

'Absence' is available to buy now through Metropolis Records. For more information on the band including release and tour dates, please visit their official website.  

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RICHARD YOUNGS announces the release of a brand new album, Belief, out on CD, vinyl and download on 2 March 2018, via O Genesis Recordings.

Belief follows Youngs’ Beyond the Valley of the Ultrahits (2010, Jagjaguwar) and is his first release since his recent collaboration with the Turner nominated artist Luke Fowler, Paul Thomson (Franz Ferdinand) and Michael Francis Duch (LEMUR), the avant-disco supergroup, AMOR.

Listen to the first track to be released from the album. Youngs explains: “Nebulosity is about finding my way. Although the lyric declares "no time for faith", it is a song of self-belief.” –

Youngs recorded the album in his hometown, Glasgow, as a cycle of chamber songs, a 21st century update of the solo album – one musician playing all the instruments in a small one-room set up. The album itself began with Youngs collecting his own percussion samples: from handclaps, a battered old cymbal, an extractor fan vent, FM radio interference, cassette hiss and a kick from “a disastrously ‘80s sounding drum machine”. These were then used to programme beats, played back at randomly determined tempos in durations mapped to randomly chosen major label songs.

The original plan was to send Belief out to the ‘major’ labels and collect the rejection letters as an art project. But, as soon as the album had been mixed, Daniel O’Sullivan (Grumbling Fur, This Is Not This Heat) played the songs to Tim Burgess and before the mail art project could take off, Belief became Richard’s debut for Tim Burgess’ O Genesis Recordings label.

Tim Burgess: “Richard’s album came to me via his friend Daniel O’Sullivan. He gave me some of Richard’s songs and they completely bowled me over. I immediately asked if O Genesis could release it and he put me in touch with Richard. Belief is sublime gnostic pop and is the soundtrack to why I wanted to be able to release albums on our label.
O Genesis had recently released Daniel’s record (VELD) and it’s always difficult to know what an artist thinks of our label - they might just be being polite when they say good things. If someone recommends a friend or a band that is dear to them, then that is a perfect sign for me.”

Richard Youngs has released around 140 albums and his collaborations include Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple), Jandek, Oren Ambarchi, Alasdair Roberts, Alastair Galbraith and Heatsick. Prolific, multi-genre and impossible to categorise, Stewart Lee has said of him: “Imagine Richard Youngs as the junior member of a cabal of prolific and puritanical English musician-mystics, including The Fall’s Mark E Smith, Van der Graaf Generator’s Peter Hammill, Martin Carthy and The Clangers’ composer Vernon Elliot, and still his nature will elude you.”

Richard Youngs, who regularly performs in Europe and recently toured America and New Zealand, played at Le Guess Who? Festival, invited by Grouper, and will perform at a two-day Yuletide event organised by labelmate Daniel O’Sullivan at Servants Jazz Quarters in London. The line up will also feature Daniel O’Sullivan & Dream Lion Ensemble, Grumbling Fur, Alexander Tucker, Nik Void and Tim Burgess.

18 Dec - UK, London, Servants Jazz Quarters, with Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker performing live and a DJ set by Tim Burgess and Nik Void

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Friday 1 December 2017

Review: Porn – 'The Ogre Inside'

'The Ogre Inside'

France's Porn return with their third album 'The Ogre Inside'. Though the band formed in 1999 it's taken them nearly 20 years to build up to album number three, so you're forgiven if the name doesn't ring any bells. But upon listening to this, you'll wish you were better acquainted with their work.

The band may wear their influences on their sleeve, but what they churn out is the kind of good industrial rock that was popular at the turn of the millennium. Tracks like 'Sunset Of Cruelty', 'She Holds My Will', 'May Be the Last Time', 'Close The Window', 'Heavy Is The Crown', 'You Will Be The Death Of Me', and 'The Ogre Inside' recall the likes of Marilyn Manson, Orgy, KMFDM, Skold, Godhead and Two. Strong riffs, emotive vocals, great synth embellishments, sing-a-long choruses and strong rhythms combine to make this an instantly addictive listen.

There is that characteristic filthy gritty industrial rock edge to their sound that is balanced quite nicely with a more dark and atmospheric presentation throughout the album. This isn't as prominent on the shorter faster numbers, but when they let things sprawl as on the title track you really do begin to get those deeper flavours.

The production is also pretty good. Considering it is six years since their last full-length album they've had the time to put into it, and it shows. The album sounds just as strong as any of the previously mentioned bands at the height of their popularity.

This is a strong album that will easily find favour with industrial rock bands. It pays homage to its influences but is unique in its own right and doesn't try to imitate what has gone before. Hopefully the band will follow this up with another full-length release sooner rather than later and try to build up some momentum.  

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