Interview: TONTTU

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

Interview: Bornless Fire

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

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

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

Review: Caustic – 'Stimulation'

CAUSTIC 'Stimulation' UNDUSTRIAL RECORDS

Review: Noir – 'Reburning'

NOIR 'Reburning' METROPOLIS RECORDS

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Introducing... Armless Alice



Band Name: Armless Alice
Members: Fredrik Thrysoe, Hampus Severinus, Mikael Hagman.
Formed: 2008
Location: Gävle, Sweden


Armless Alice is a Swedish industrial rock band, formed in Gävle in 2008 by their frontman Fredrik Thrysoe. Since their formation they have released an EP, 'Postmortem Superstars', through Sliptrick Records and
are now back with their first full-length album, 'In Shapes', in January 25th 2017.

Mixing loud industrial rock with intimate and hushed piano ballads while adding lo-fi rock to the mix.
The shows are filled with theatrical elements, be it old television sets spread around the stage to the band changing their looks and stage clothes for every event.


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

I started the this band because I was tired of all the other local artists that I used to perform with as a drummer. Nobody had any focus or discipline so I started my own. We started out as a horror punk band but later grew more industrial with time because I got tired of all the horror stuff. I'm the only member that's been in the band since the formation and I also write our music.


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

I think we're an odd mix of industrial rock with some lo-fi rock thrown in. Quite hard to define.
It all comes from me listening to heavy industrial music while I'm a big fan of artists like Lisa Germano.


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

Musical influences - Nine Inch Nails, Lisa Germano, David Bowie, Marilyn Manson.
Non-musical influences - David Lynch.


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


We're planning some shows at the moment. New shows will be announced shortly through armlessalice.net


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

'In Shapes' is available through Spotify, iTunes & Amazon.


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

Highlights include playing at Rock Bitch Boat 2013, which included traveling between Stockholm to Riga, with the infamous Swedish band, Skitarg and BatAAr. As well as performing at the Getaway Rock Challenge in Gävle and a lot of club shows in different parts of Sweden.


IVM: What are your plans fro the future?
Promoting the album by playing shows all around Sweden, hopefully we'll reach new areas with time.


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

We got more material and news coming out this year so keep yourself updated through our website armlessalice.net or through facebook.com/armlessalice



Links:
www.armlessalice.net
www.facebook.com/armlessalice
www.youtube.com/armlessalice
www.twitter.com/armlessalice
www.instagram.com/armlessalice 

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Monday, 30 January 2017

How to change human mind with 'The Fall of the House of Usher'


One of my favorite writers, and that I feel connected with, is Edgar Allan Poe, not because of name matters as some used to tell me before, but for the way we see life and reflect it on both tales and poems. I believe there’s enough material out there that could serve as an inspiration for scary, creepy texts, very visual and with a different, alternative proposal. Poe seemed to think the same.
Among the stories I’ve read from him, there’s one in particular I cannot get tired from and always re-read after a while: “The Fall of the House of Usher,” which I see as a constant inspiration in many books, TV shows and even some movies, with material intended for either teens or adults. Seems like many agree with me on this, as I find only positive commentaries on this famous tale.
It didn’t surprised me, to be honest, since this is one of those stories that perfectly represent the gothic movement, not only because of the aesthetic, which is very well done by a master on the topic, but because it makes the reader think on uncomfortable matters such as sanity, human condition and family bonds for a long while, changing many points of view we used to believe were solid.
I consider that books, and any kind stories in general that is meant to be presented to a public, should have at least some substance, content, more than just entertaining purposes, and The Fall of the House of Usher is a perfect example on how this should be done: creating a unique world, interesting characters, a simple, yet original plot, deep dialogues and finish it with a dramatic plot twist.
Despite being a very short, brief tale, easy to read in a couple of minutes, Poe managed to get the reader into the world, put ourselves in the characters’ skin and feel everything they may have inside, may it be love, loss or the deepest sense of doom and claustrophobia. The fact that it’s not a light, simple reading doesn’t represent an obstacle at all, but the whole contrary: it adds more enchant to this sinister plot.
In a deeper sense, The Fall of the House of Usher explores the influence of certain places, especially one’s own home, in human mind, how it can change us, make us a different person and the different levels of effect it can generate in our minds. This idea is divided in two parts: those who adapt to the place, changing themselves in the process, and those who cannot do it, no matter what.
Also, it combines the two sides of literature Poe is famous for: prose and poetry, which he combines for a short while to create a distraction from the narration, a fantasy brief addition, right before the original plot starts to show its real, horrific face, playing with the readers’ emotions as if they were mere toys and leaving us seeing and thinking about the world under a different point of view. Needless to say that this is a new, darker perspective some may find unpleasant.
However, since nothing is as perfect as we’d like it to be, I wouldn’t recommend you to read The Fall of the House of Usher if you’re under hard, difficult times, if you suffer from depression, anxiety, or anything similar, that’s the only punctual negative aspect of this tale: its triggering nature. I myself had some hard minutes due to some descriptions, all of them metaphoric, but closely related to what I was feeling during those days.
Besides this unfortunate face of such an amazing and emblematic story, I consider that anyone who wants to be considered as part of the Gothic subculture, or alternative movement in general, should have read this story at least once, as it is one of those stories that rewrites itself every time you come back to it, changing its meaning depending on who you are while reading. You can call me whatever you want, but nobody can deny the emotional charge and potential in The Fall of the House of Usher. 

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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Review: Cynical Existence – 'Dying Light'



CYNICAL EXISTENCE
'Dying Light'
ADVOXYA RECORDS


The evolution of Cynical Existence continues on their latest full-length studio album, 'Dying Light'. Taking their aggrotech / harsh ebm core and augmenting it with metal guitars, synthpop melodies and clean vocals the band offer-up a more diverse take on their core sound that see's them switch between steady dance-orientated electronics to all-out electro-metal assaults.

Songs such as 'Utopia Burning', 'Through My Eyes', 'Thank You', 'As The World Stops', 'Hate By Design', and 'End Of The Line' cover the more metallic side of the band's sound with a blend of scathing guitars, hard beats and vicious vocals. While the likes of 'Edge Of Sanity', 'Fuck Your Crew' , 'Wasteful Scum' , 'I', and 'We Will Burn' push the emphasis back onto the electronics and opt for more dance-orientated delivery.

The three remixes – courtesy of Freaky Mind, Iron Clad, and Cutoff Sky – take the core of the tracks to their logical extremes with Freaky Mind adding a bigger club feel to 'Fuck Your Crew', while Iron Clad dial up the metal for 'Through My Eyes, and Cutoff Sky go back to the harsh ebm roots of Cynical Existence's sound.

Production-wise the album, despite it's many metal embellishments, keeps a strong dance appeal throughout with plenty of emphasis on the dance beats and melodic leads to keep things nice and catchy. There are odd points in the mix where the guitars could have been brought more to the front of the track for a more “guns blazing” attack, but overall they compliment the band's sound really well.

For those unsure of the band taking a more metal-infused direction, there are still plenty of hints of their earlier sound within this album. But as the band's palette grows so does the scope and ambition of their song-writing. The result is a fresh and enjoyable listening experience that acknowledges past strengths while playing with new ideas. 'Dying Light' could be a stepping stone to take Cynical Existence's sound in some very interesting and heavy directions.  

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Review: Liquid Divine - 'Get Off My Planet'


'Get Off My Planet'


The tales of Liquid Divine are an electronic lack lustre of melancholy shapes of energy & electronic signature, which at moments becomes a combined force of reckoning.
I have always enjoyed Liquid Divine. Great dream tracks, where the music is setting the destination in your brain’s adventure. Problem was; it was a mash of everything, and the albums left your sense organs confused and not knowing which part they should have attacked in your nervous system.

Christian Fritzsche and Guido Stoye have seen themselves go rather unheard since the prior decade, as their feats and compositions in the electronic world, were not the highest of features in dark subculture's populism. However; they have composed a new album. With vocal appearances from Diskonnekted’s Jan Dewulf and Seabound’s Frank m.Spinath. This factor alone, either complimentary or fundamental; blew up Liquid Divine’s past, and made 'Get Off My Planet' a blunt injection of angelic falls of grace of depression and sub-verse.

‘Now And Then’ is a heavy start into the album and really commits to a 60% Seabound composition. The track list really starts at the 3rd, where a new organised Liquid Divine noise comes out with ‘Fireflies’. Straight after this synth acceleration, the following tones of 'House of Leaves' see the duo already hit the BPM into cruise control.


‘Die To Meet You’ is a pleasant hybrid. It plays with the momentum of the song and fantasy frequencies; before hitting the vagary melancholic tones of ‘Regolith’. ‘Home ground’ accelerates you with a 90 degree turn to get out of there! With clear vocals and high distortion.

‘Little Soul’ is the epitome, of why this composition has a remarkable score in 2016 charts of alternative albums. 
Highly progressive, yet with dark centrifuges, that spin the mind into a fierce spiral of all that is black & fluid. The signature key on the album's success is the highly clear vocals, which are underestimated in a lot of releases. 

The final four tracks in their own way tell us we are reaching the epilogue. ‘Here She Comes’ has a clear awakening in rhythm that lets us dance out of the mind’s entrapment, or does it? ‘Trillion’ is bringing the pillow back to sooth oneself with calm symphonies of making you accept the fact you are not going to change.

Here we are, at the end with ‘Basic Bitch’. A modern Liquid Divine outre; hitting the mind’s best and worst parts. No lyrics are necessary here until the next time, as a slash of distorted drum & bass get liquefied, with divination of a Coma girl’s wet dream.


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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Review: David Bowie – 'No Plan'



The loss of David Bowie is certainly still a raw wound for many across the world. An impressive 50 year legacy of musical innovation, and cultural reinvention that has been imitated but never bettered. Bowie's death from cancer last January just days after his birthday and the release of perhaps one of his finest albums 'Blackstar', was a cruel twist at the end of a brilliant life. As such the final album has been seen as a final testament and goodbye executed in the artistic prowess that only he could do.

Fast-forward one year to coincide with the first anniversary of his passing and what would have been his 70th birthday, the 'No Plan' EP emerged quietly onto the scene. Heralded by a low-key video release and available in digital format only the EP is a collection of songs from the 'Blackstar' sessions that had previously been included on the 'Lazarus' cast recording soundtrack.

The EP kicks off with the still raw and cutting 'Lazarus' from 'Blackstar' as if to emphasise the EP as a statement of finality on the recordings from the album. The title track follows on nicely with its noir atmosphere, melancholic melodies and haunting vocal performance from Bowie. 'Killing A Little Time' ups the rockier elements a bit more with the distorted guitar and staggered rhythms cutting through hard, while Bowie's vocals take on a more fervent tone. The last song, 'When I Met You', begins with some nice droning synths and steady muffled rhythms before opening up into a nice straight and pure classic Bowie rock performance punctuated by a jazzy breakdown before the final push.

The EP shows that Bowie still had more in the tank creatively before his untimely death. There are more tracks rumoured to be unreleased from the 'Blackstar' sessions, and it would have been nice if more were included here. But the 'No Plan' EP is a poignant and surprisingly energetic full stop. It would be tempting to bookend the EP with 'Lazarus' and the title track, but the emphasis on finishing on the more rock-flavoured cuts adds a reprieve from the loss. A healthier and more energetic Bowie. The Bowie that is engrained in the mind of millions that stalked the stage in outlandish outfits and make-up. The pioneered new sounds and style before others. That collaborated with underground musicians and broke down racial barriers.

It would be nice if this EP saw a physical release so it can sit side-by-side with 'Blackstar' where it belongs, and hopefully there are still some new songs left in the vault to look forward to. But in the here and now, 'No Plan' is a must for any fan.  

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

'The Witching Hour', by Anne Rice, and it’s Gothic enchant



Way back in 1990, Anne Rice was publishing 'The Witching Hour', the first book in her 'Lives of the Mayfair Witches' series, of the stories that showed the kind of stories this woman had in mind and wanted to write.
I had the chance to buy this emblematic book not long ago, just because of the curiosity I felt towards Rice’s work, praised as one of the best ones in the Gothic vein of literature, knowing practically nothing about it, just that it was better to start with this series and then go for her 'Vampire Chronicles'.

Some of my obsessions in books are magic and witches, which are the topics I always try to include in my To-read lists, and in the stories I write as well. Since this is one of the most worshipped authors among readers, I thought there was nothing to lose to give her a try.

Little did I suspect that Rowan Mayfair and Michael Curry, main characters of 'The Witching Hour', will become close friends of mine during my trips in my comings and goings from college. What used to be an empty time that I spent doing nothing became a very precious reading time I felt too short.

The beginning was strange, as it starts directly with the accident’s consequences in Curry, detailing everything that happened and the subsequent encounter with Rowan Mayfair, a woman who knows nothing about her family history, her roots, her past and surrounded by a halo of fame and mystery as a neurosurgeon.

From there, 'The Witching Hour' will let us discover the many secrets that Rowan has dealt over the years and the hard time Michael has been living since the accident. Their romance, a secondary plot in the overall plot, will serve as a guide and their motive to travel and discover the lives of the Mayfair family.

To describe it as tempting the idea of telling you what this family is in reality, besides witches, is not enough. I almost need it, but I’m sure it is going to spoil the whole book for you, which I strongly recommend you to read.

You will find many heavy topics and uncensored stories for each member of this peculiar family, each of them weirder than the past one, and, strangely, they are all presented in an elegant way, so you don’t realize what you’re reading until you need to stop for any reason, that’s when you realize how twisted The Witching Hour really is.

Many classical elements of Gothic literature are presented in a mean way, creating a sinister and dark atmosphere. It’s like getting immersed in a different world, a new side of this very same Earth we think we know and discovering its macabre secrets, although I can hardly think about anyone who will like to have this kind of familiars.

I cannot deny that 'The Witching Hour' has its own enchant. Every phrase is so graphic and poetic at the same time it casts a spell, making us read as much as we can, despite the heavy content and style.
Because of this, I would tell you read many more books before getting into this one in particular. It’s not the reading you could describe as fast, easy, light or kind, but it won’t either make you suffer, scream or get traumatized, or not before the end, at least.

Many bloggers have criticized just that, the end. I’ve see a lot of reviews on 'The Witching Hour' complaining about it and how they felt that Rice should have changed it in order to make it better and more “readable,” and if any asks me, that’s a complete nonsense.

People makes the mistake of comparing this with other books, mostly those that fall in Young Adult or Teenager category, which have a different style in every sense, including the ending. If it wasn’t enough to get out of their comfort zone, to expect the same for this than in other light novels is what they needed to hate such an interesting story. I’m begging you not to do this if you want to fully discover 'The Witching Hour’s' enchant.

I can only recommend it for mature reader, but, considering these times, some will agree with me saying that a seventeen years old will feel comfortable enough to enjoy and learn a little bit with 'The Witching Hour'. 

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Monday, 16 January 2017

IVM's Best Albums Of 2016



It's that time again when we look back at the best albums of the past twelve months. 2016 may have been a clusterfuck of a year when the fabric of reality started folding in on itself. But musically it was an absolutely joyous year with old masters rubbing shoulders with bright young things to give us fans a real feast for the ears. We lost some greats, that's true. But these thirty albums softened the blow a little.

As always the format of our best of is not set, and in no particular order of rank or genre bias, but this is a selection of highlights you may have enjoyed, or even missed first time round. So without further ado here is this year's countdown.



David Bowie – 'Blackstar'

It was a given that any top album list would have to include the enigmatic David Bowies swansong album 'Blackstar'. Fusing rock, jazz and electronics this short but beautiful parting gift from one of the most prolific recording artists of all time was a beautiful, poignant slice of experimental songwriting and deep heartfelt performances.


The Sweetest Condition – 'We Defy Oblivion'

The sophomore offering from The Sweetest Condition sees the bands signature sound of synthpop crashing headlong into harder industrial elements and some brash rock guitars further refined into a sharper and more focused attack.


Dead When I Found Her – 'Eyes On Backwards'

The strongest Dead When I Found Her album yet. It is both classic and relevant. A perfectly distilled expression of angst and paranoia crafted by a skilled and intelligent hand. As with previous releases it will appeal to older industrial fans as well as those finding their way to the genre through newer bands.



Dawn Of Ashes – 'Theophony'

Focused, energetic and renewed, 'Theophony' sees Dawn Of Ashes reach new heights. The album is a sure sign that the band are reaching their full potential in terms of writing and execution. A fitting and satisfying return.



Rave The Requiem – 'Gospel Of Nil'

'The Gospel Of Nil' is a breathtaking album that explores a multitude of styles and genres, in every song. It's frantic pace and big atmosphere make it an exciting and engaging listening experience from start to finish. And best of all it hints at so much more to come from this band.


Mortiis – 'The Great Deceiver'

It has been a long time coming, but 'The Great Deceiver' was worth the wait. Hopefully this album will see the love it deserves returned to it and a follow-up album sooner rather than later. But in the here and now this is a great album and one that the band should be very proud of.


Marc Heal – 'The Hum'

The album's dark topical narratives, gritty snarled vocals, and sumptuous blend of guitars, synths and beats are a masterclass in how high industrial rock can aim. Heal could have easily rested on the laurels of past glories and given us more of the same. But instead he has pushed his abilities as a songwriter, performer and producer.


Covenant – 'The Blinding Dark'

This album will probably split fans as to whether it is too experimental or an unexpected but welcome curve-ball. Time will tell on how it is received, but in the here and now this is a fresh and challenging album from one of the scene's longest serving acts that shows they still have plenty of ideas left.



Bestial Mouths – 'Heartless'

'Heartless' is a very strong album that shakes you out of your complacency and forces you to listen to it. The band have masterfully found the balance between their experimental and accessible sides, and while this is easily their most accessible effort to date. It is also their most enjoyable and well-rounded.



Pig – 'The Gospel'

'The Gospel' is a long overdue, but very welcome return from one of industrial rock's unquestioned pioneers. Watts honours the core of the Pig sound that endeared the band to the industrial rock scene, but lovingly builds on its legacy in order to secure its future.




Pain – 'Coming Home'

Peter Tägtgren's CV speaks for itself, and it is great to see that nearly 20 years on since Pain's eponymous début he can still pull something new and different out of the bag. 'Coming Home' is a huge sounding album, subtle in places, but with an uncompromisingly heavy backbone that will not only appeal to long-time fans but also certainly hook some newbs as well.



Combichrist – 'This Is Where Death Begins'

Fans of Combichrist's earlier sounds may find the more metal direction hard to take, but those who have stuck with their evolution thus far will not be too shocked by this move and will undoubtedly embrace the blend of hard metal and gritty electronics. Either way, Combichrist have crafted a monster here and it will undoubtedly prove to be a notable release in an already enviable discography.


Angelspit – 'Cult Of Fake'

'Cult Of Fake' is a great album, easily one of the best Angelspit releases so far. There is a great balance of industrial dance and vehement punk rock attitude balanced out quite nicely across all the tracks. Long-time fans will be able to pick this up with ease and it will undoubtedly still attract new fans through casual listeners purely on the strength of the songwriting and composition at work here.


Rhombus – 'Purity & Perversion'

This is another great release from a band that are solidifying their legacy as one of the country's strongest gothic rock acts for a long time. Strong, powerful and most importantly high qualirt, 'Purity & Perversion' is a must have for any fan of gothic rock.


Rob Zombie - 'The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser'

This is what Rob Zombie albums should be. Long-time fans will have plenty to get their teeth into and new fans will have a pretty good starting point from which to explore his earlier solo efforts or dive back further into the White Zombie years.


Surgical Meth Machine – 'Surgical Meth Machine'

'Surgical Meth Machine' is a brilliant first step in what will hopefully be an exciting new journey for Jourgensen. This album is his most diverse in his career to date and the unexpected twist at the end shows he still has a lot of tricks up his sleeve.




The 69 Eyes – 'Universal Monsters'

It would still be nice to hear a bit more of that slow and thick gothic sound that made albums like 'Blessed Be' and 'Paris Kills' such attention grabbing releases. But with 'Universal Monsters' The 69 Eyes find a nice balance between their different influences in a focused and consistent way that shall please almost all of their fans.



Skold – 'The Undoing'

'The Undoing' may have been delayed since 2014, however it is another example of Tim Sköld's solo albums being worth the wait. Unencumbered by other band members and expectations he is free to let loose and indulge his creativity to its fullest. And the result is brilliant.





Victor Love – 'Technomancy'

This is a great full-length début by a honed and hardened veteran of all things cyberpunk. The collaborations are great and the album presents quite a varied spread of sounds that will easily appeal to established fans and attract new ones.


Beastmaker – 'Lusus Naturae'

'Lusus Naturae' is a great début. It hits hard and fast with a tonne of great material that will make you want to catch them live, and recommend them to a friend. Fans of doom, stoner rock, and occult rock will have a great time with this album, and hopefully this is just the first step on a long career path for the band.


Blood Ceremony – 'Lord Of Misrule'

'Lord Of Misrule' is a fantastic album, and a highpoint of Blood Ceremony's career so far. The balance of folk, prog and doom elements makes this an accessible but nonetheless stunning album that is sure to put many of their imitators in their place. It is an absolute joy to listen to from start to finish.



Mourning Beloveth – 'Rust & Bone'

'Rust & Bone' is a brilliant example of doom metal done right. The band don't rest on their laurels and continue to push their ideas. The song writing, compositions, and performances are all high quality. Mourning Beloveth have crafted a stunning album here.



Youth Code – 'Commitment To Complications'

It is hard to believe this is the band's sophomore full-length outing. Their rounded out hardcore meets industrial sound has sharpened and it is evident they have distilled the best moves from their demo and self-titled album into a brilliantly sustained attack.



Blush Response – 'Reshaper'

Delving into more rhythmic noise territory than previous releases but nonetheless still enjoying the same free-flowing sense of experimentation that has always marked Blush's songwriting. 'Reshaper' sees a grittier slant on his modular manipulations, yet Blush maintains the manifesto of an ever evolving sonic arsenal. A definite must-have.



Iszoloscope – 'False Vacuum'

'False Vacuum' is an album that sticks to the strengths of the Iszoloscope sound and excels because of it. The focus may be somewhat narrowed but Faussurier shows the true extent of his skills and delivers on all the goods. This is sure to be a fan-pleaser.



M‡яc▲ll▲ – 'M‡яc▲ll▲'

M‡яc▲ll▲ are one of those bands that just seem to get better with every release. The cinematic scope of their songs ever increasing and as a result their self-titled album is truly a thing of beauty. It is great to see their stock continue to rise with quality releases such as this.



Neurotech – 'In Remision'

'In Remission' shows Wulf as a man very much on top of his game. The songs continue to show a definite progression from last year's albums and another step up in quality, if that were possible. There is plenty of deep and exciting music to get lost in, and when listed to last year's album's back-to-back it becomes a real feast for the ears.



Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – 'Skeleton Tree'

A poignant and traumatic confrontation of death, 'Skeleton Tree' marks Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds sixteenth studio album and one that shows just what an important artist he is. Soulful, dark and teetering on the brink of utter collapse, the album is a therapeutic exorcism of a master of his craft.


Katatonia – 'The Fall Of Hearts'

The band's run since 2003's 'Viva Emptiness' has been an enviable one with a consistent trend upwards in terms of quality of releases, and 'The Fall Of Hearts' doesn't break this pattern. The progressive elements sound excellent and add a greater dynamic to the band's atmospheric metal steeped in sadness and loss but more complex and free in execution.



Strvngers – 'Strvangers'

Strvangers' self-titled album is a head mix of nostalgia, haunting vocals and outright passion. The blend of retro 80s atmospheres with modern ebm and darkwave is inspired and the album is an enticing and intriguing listen from start to finish. The best of the 80s filtered through a contemporary approach.



That's it for our personal countdown of 2016's choicest cuts. What were your favourite albums off the past twelve months? Let us know on our Facebook page.  

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Keep Making Art, and Support the Underground



Allow me to start this year pondering yet once more upon the future of the music business.
Allow me to point out that any business, at one point or another, crashes.
Over the past few years, I've been finding myself caring more and more about making art, and less and less about turning my art into a business.
In a way, I find myself seeking out ways to make my art sustainable, instead of making it a sustainable business. A play on words, perhaps, but the subtlety lies in the words themselves.

On a rather lazy New Year's Day, I found out through Twitter of Mariah Carey's devastating performance, or lack of, at  New York Times Square the night before. I ended my New Year's Day with some friends at their place, and we watched it, in awe of its decrepitude and underlying apathy.

I watched it, taking in every single detail of the broadcast -the lights, the stage, its setup, the crew, the dancers, the performer herself, and the crowd. All I could see was money, spent and wasted.
The money and the sadness of it all.

Perhaps it's the forecast of the downfall of an era, or perhaps its actual beginning.
I was thinking How can you to this to people.
How can you do this to Art.
To Music.
Mariah Carey had nothing to do with this, of course. Mariah was just a pawn, a token of the underlying apathy. Somewhere down the line, clearly, somebody didn't do his or her job properly.
I'm not here to downgrade this singer at all. And as a singer myself, I have been explained the reason why in certain circumstances, it's a good idea to have a track to fall back upon.
I don't do that kinda thing, and would never do it, but I understand why certain artists do it.

But the point isn't the lip-synching here.
The point is the mediocrity of the music industry, and its carelessness of money spent into  a disastrous performance, and ultimately its absolute lack of respect of people.
Here's a product, here's money to invest in a product, let the product entice people into buying more products.
Even massive music festivals are becoming, year after year after year, more and more about everything else besides the bands.
The bands are selected so as to bring in as many people as possible. They're either legends or the latest It-Thing.
Whatever the lineup is, it's ultimately background music for the people on festival grounds, who have bought clothing, accessories and makeup especially for the occasion, and will spend most of their time taking selfies on the festival grounds.

Of course, many people are actually there for the bands, but many others are there for the "festival experience". Festival experience = business = money-making machines.

Now, let me tell you something about real art.
Real artists, real performance art.
You find it in the underground scenes of the world, in every city's local pubs and venues. That's where you'll find real art.
Us real artists, we care.
So.
Much.
We care about what we put out there. We care about what we do. We care about who we are, and we care about making art.
We care about art, simply put. We are about its past, and we care about its future.
In conversation, recently, a musician I know told me "It's crazy how much money people will be willing to spend on an act, or the shadow/clone of an act they've heard and seen a million times, and to witness the reluctance in paying $10 for anything new."
There are many reasons to that, which are not to be discussed in this editorial, but the point here is that we the artists of the underground, we will play the gig anyway, even if it is $5 a head, and if there's only 10 people in the venue.
Why?
Because to us it matters to release this art, and it matters to us to keep our underground scene going.
The truth is a situation such as the Times Square NYE would never ever happen, should any underground artist be put there to perform his or her art, right there and then, on a night/platform such as this. We are as raw, and as real, as you're gonna get, and we are here to make sure art itself keeps going.
There is the reality of the masses, and there is the Other reality. They have both been coexisting for the longest time, and I know myself to be right in stating that the first reality was the raw, honest reality - the one where people made art to express themselves and share how they experienced Life, so as to try to understand themselves, and others, and find others going through the same kinds of situations.

Lemme tell you one more thing.
Art isn't about money. Art is about connecting humans together through an expression of human experience. Whoever is out there making art, keep doing it.
You're doing something right, and it's the greatest thing.

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Review: Nine Inch Nails – 'The Fragile: Deviations 1'



NINE INCH NAILS
'The Fragile: Deviations 1'
THE NULL CORPORATION


No sooner had Trent Reznor announced the new EP 'Not The Actual Events' that he also gives us a rather unusual offering in the form of 'The Fragile: Deviations 1'. The title alludes to more deviations to come, but that not withstanding the album is a reworked version of the 1999 double CD opus sans vocals. While there is an inherent purity to the music in its presentation here, it may prove a decisive release between those who year for any material with the NIN moniker attached, and those for whom the original album is a cornerstone of their musical identity.

Objectively though, 'The Fragile: Deviations 1' is a beautiful album. 'The Fragile' in it's original form was beautiful as well, but by giving this the instrumental treatment and focusing on the deep layering of the tracks and the pure skill of Reznor and co. the album presents a more meditative and and intimate listening experience that almost encourages the listener to fill-in the blanks. It is a similar effect and feeling gleaned from the instrumental and improvisational 'Ghosts I-IV'.

Given this instrumental orientation and reconstructed approach the new album yields elements that were otherwise lost in the mix on the original or overshadowed by Reznor's vocal performance. Given that at the time of the original release Reznor told MTV's Kurt Loder that he “wasn’t sure what I wanted to say musically. So I didn’t.” the album, even in an instrumental form, says a hell of a lot for itself through the juxtaposition of dark and light, harsh and melodic, and through the complex nature of its composition.

While fans of the original album may initially shy away from the thought of buying a new version, it does have some benefits with new tracks, b-sides, and alternate versions not hear on the previous version. Songs such as 'Missing Places', 'One Way To Get There', 'Taken', 'White Mask', 'Can I Stay Hear', 'Feeders', 'Claustrophobia Machine (Raw)', and 'Last Heard From' fit into the album's track list with ease and give an extra experimental dimension to what is already an impressive album.

It may be a hard sell for some but 'The Fragile: Deviations 1' is certainly worth the money for long-time NIN fans. It is a strong album in it's own right that adds a new dimension to the original. While it may find ready favour with collectors it is not purely one of those releases for the sake of it, and it is obvious Reznor has taken his time in preparing this for public consumption. It will also be interesting to see what further deviations he has planned in the future.  

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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Review: Neurotech – 'Symphonies'



NEUROTECH
'Symphonies'
SELF-RELEASED


For the past three years Wulf's (AKA Neurotech) Symphonies have provided an unexpected end of year highlight. The Slovenian producer and composer has weaved his own particular cinematic musical style from a number genres including futurepop, metal, industrial, and classical, but it is with these that he has produced some of his most stunning work.

The four symphonies draw from all of the above genres in some way. Moving seamlessly between metal guitars, futurepop melodies and haunting strings for what can only be described as a very 21st century take on classical composition. The different symphonies all last for between thirteen to eighteen minutes and each one in that time takes the listener on a journey through different movements and emotions, all framed by a cinematic sense of scope.

Add the four different parts together with 'The Elysian Symphony', 'The Halcyon Symphony', 'The Ophidian Symphony', and the newest composition 'The Veneration Symphony' and you can't help but feel as though you're listening to the soundtrack to and epic film or computer game.

The production, as we have now come to expect from Wulf, is first class all the way. His style and pallet is constantly evolving and refining itself and it is easy to hear that progression on this album. But despite these originally being four separate releases he ties them together with ease.

'Symphonies' is an exquisite album for fans of soundtracks and symphonic metal. Wulf's skills are at this point beyond reproach and with a release like this under his belt it is mind-boggling that he isn't writing scores for films yet.  

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Review: Velvet Acid Christ – 'Wrack'



VELVET ACID CHRIST
'Wrack'
SELF-RELEASED


Bryan Erickson AKA Velvet Acid Christ returns with a new single in the form of 'Wrack' to kick-off 2017. With a new partner in crime in the form of Shiva in tow, 'Wrack' sees Erickson shake things up a bit with the inclusion of a new band member but long-time fans will still be happy with the direction of the band's musical progression. The EP sees more focus on the industrial, ebm and metal elements of the VAC sound with a preference for steady dance beats and dirty synth bass dominating two of the three tracks.

'Wrack' kick things off with a dual female and male vocal attack, steady dance pacing and occasional piercing metal guitars crashing through the mix for a rousing club and live friendly track. 'Cog' follows on, this time with vocal contributions from Snog's David Thrussell for a dark and malevolent slice of electro-industrial that again likely find favour as a solid club anthem. Finally, 'Pill Box' brings out some of the trip-hop elements for a more complex and enticing listen that hints at great things to come from the next album.

The production continues that minimalist and live performance feeling heard on recent albums, but keeps (in particular on 'Pill Box') room for rich layering. The single is gratifyingly straight-forward in its approach making it very easy to dance to – uncluttered, efficient, and catchy.

This is a nice single that hints at a lot more great stuff to come. The first two tracks present the club-friendly electro-industrial sound that VAC has always done so well, while 'Pill Box' eases us in to the more trip-hop orientated tracks he has continued to experiment with and arguably begun to perfect. It definitely builds on what we were presented with on 'Subconscious Landscapes' and will undoubtedly pique interest ahead of the new album.  

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Review: Nine Inch Nails – 'Not The Actual Events'




NINE INCH NAILS
'Not The Actual Events'
THE NULL CORPORATION


Trent Reznor promised new NIN material in 2016 and he left it pretty close to the wire before announcing the first original EP release from the band since 1992's 'Broken', in the form of 'Not The Actual Events'. While the last NIN album 'Hesitation Marks' was released via Columbia / Polydor, 'NTAE' sees Trent (and for the first time official NIN member Atticus Ross) return to The Null Corporation label that was previously set-up to self-release NIN albums such as 'The Slip', as well as How To Destroy Angels, and Trent & Atticus' soundtracks for 'The Social Network' and 'The Girl With The Dragon tattoo'. What this means for NIN's release model in the future is unknown, but with vinyl re-releases planned and a special edition of 'The Fragile' on the cards, it looks like 2017 will be a busy year for fans.

But back to the new EP. Trent described the sound of 'NTAE' as being “unfriendly” and “fairly impenetrable”. While this may bring to mind the previously mentioned 'Broken' EP for a lot of fans, that isn't quite what he meant. What we get here is thick walls of noisy atmospheres, drone rock and thick, soupy production. It is still damn catchy though with tracks such as 'Branches / Bones', 'Dear World', and 'The Idea Of You' in particular making good use of simple but addictive rhythms combined with signature NIN guitars, synths and vocal hooks.

The tracks that may divide most though are the slow and malevolently methodical 'She's Gone Away', and the low-fi drone rock of 'Burning Bright (Field On Fire)'. Although these are recognisably NIN tracks when you break them down they still present a swerve in style compared to the recent albums that may throw some. But they still have merit and really 'Burning Bright (Field On Fire)' is a very addictive track.

As mentioned the production is thick, noisy and very raw. A marked difference from Trent and Atticus' film work as well as the more recent NIN and HTDA output. It feels hasty, paranoid and thrown together, as though it was written and recorded quickly and as an antidote to their film work in order to rediscover their dissonant roots.

In that respect the EP is a success. It is a rawer and more impenetrable NIN sound certainly than we have been used to recently, but at the same time very organic and recognisable. It's a sonic demon rearing it's head from the early 90s that needed to be exorcised in 2016. This probably won't be a major indicator for what the next full-length NIN album will probably sound like, and may remain an experimental oddity in the band's lengthy discography. But it is definitely enjoyable and NIN fans that prefer the band's more noisy expressions will undoubtedly get into this. 

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Introducing... Ujjaya


Name of band: Ujjaya
Members: Hery Randriambololona (all instruments)
Year formed: 1993
Location: Montigny le Bretonneux (near Paris) – France

“I’m mainly a live artist. I make nap or sleep concert. Many of my concerts take place
in sacred places like Hindu temple, church, crypt or Pagode mainly in Paris.”

Ujjaya first was a ritual-psychedelic-heavy-prog sextet.
Founded in 1993, after the first album, I was seeking for a music that reflected more my spiritual concerns and naturally ended to play ethno-ambient music around 1997. After 15 years of silence, (and
dozens of albums recorded in complete secrecy) I decided to become public again around 2011.


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

I was studying medicine but ended as a professional musician as I was obviously making more music than anything else. The success of my first public album 'The Master Of Crossroad' gave me confidence in that choice.


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

It’s Ethno-ambient. It reflects my spiritual search. As a yoga practicer, and as a malagasy (mix between Indonesia and Africa) the style was obvious for me at the first track around 1997.
I was hearing that kind of music (Jon Hassell, Jorge Reyes, Steve Roach and so on) long ago
but I was still stuck into my electric guitar then. When I decided to make a definitive step into that
unknown land the instruments came to me (as both I came to them into my travels thtough Asia)


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

Tuu, Jon Hassell, Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Jorge Reyes.
Hinduism, shamanism, esoteric ism, yoga, Buddhism, poetry (Indian poetry , and spiritual poetry)


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

Yes I am. I’m mainly a live artist. I make nap or sleep concert. Many of my concerts take place
in sacred places like Hindu temple, church, crypt or Pagode mainly in Paris.
My next date will be January 14th in the auditorium of the public library of Clichy (in the near suburb of Paris) with another artist called Archetype (who is more on the drone side than me but also make sometime some ethno-ambient track à la Dead Can Dance)


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

My current release is a live album available for free at https://archive.org/details/eg0_162


IVM: What have been the highlights of your career so far?
My second Sleep concert into the Hindu temple of the Dharma Sangh in Paris (in Nov 2016), it was just pure magic all night long.
My concert into the great pagoda of Vincennes, at the foot of the 9 metres golden Buddha for the day of Bhutan (May 15th 2016). Baza Rimpoche the head of the Buthanse Buddhism gave the initiation of long life. We ended by recorded him a full day in a studio in Paris.
The Sacred Night in the Saint Merry Church ( 28 of May 2016) in Paris which gather all the religion (Buddhist, Jews, Sufi, Hindu and Christian).It lasted all night long and I played at the morning around 5 or 6 after the dervishes.
The Ambiosonic festival 2015, in south of France which happen in the middle of nowhere into the wild. All the energy was provided by solar installations. Only vegan food for 5 days.


IVM: What are your plans for the future?

Get a label for a physical album.Take time to make my website and a bandcamp (I’m ashamed but I haven’t any yet ). Organizing the Paris Festival Ambient on a greater scale. Have a collaboration with an African traditional player, Adama Ouedraogo, and another with Ian Naismaith, an ethno-ambient American guitarist (Two projects that I started but as to be finished ). Another collaboration with a Chinese jaw’s harp player called Wang Li is still mo my mind since 2011. Never found the time to start it. A long time goal is still approaching the illumination and the silence.


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

Not enough time (much is devoured by promoting myself) too much projects



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BURNING TIMES



So, let's start 2017 on a more positive note. The coming months may well prove to be a very bad time to be poor, female, trans, gay, black, foreign, disabled, or in any way alternative; and like any group exiled from the mainstream of society this will lead to bonfires, pogroms, expulsions, discrimination and persecution. But we have a DNA of magic and resistance, and we've been through all this before. We shall overcome.

There is the weapon of glamour, of disguise, of 'give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth'. When make-up was first introduced to the UK there were attempts to ban it as witchcraft, as if the powers of seduction it possessed were a form of magic. As 'glamour' itself was originally a form of fairy disguise, we have grown to use it to weaponise ourselves as the 'other' against the mainstream. Like a Bowie shapeshifting and intimidating grey corridors, undermining street fascists and the smoke-filled rooms of cabaret mediocrity, we have grown to wear the masks of our own subconscious and externalise our inner selves. We may ink and pierce our skin like our ancestors, but we wear leather, PVC and latex instead of animal furs and coarse fabrics; on our own 'wild hunt' in our own personal arenas, our internal aggression externalised through dark fashions and cruel glamour.

There is the weapon of performance, of winning a platform and learning a skill; from the dancing shadows of childhood stories or mesmerising words at the fireside, or the simple songs of demons and magic that were sung in dark corners of squalid cities we have learned to play, to perform, to create. We create music to express ourselves, and escape, but also to attack, as the boldest options are often the safest. We corrode mainstream vanilla blandness and spill thick blood on new canvasses; we build with ambition and detail with equally cruel passion; we summon and invoke and channel all the spirits of the underdogs and the outcasts and the witch. We make our own amusement, and we conquer the world with it.

And there is the weapon of alliance, of unity, of solidarity; there may not be honour amongst thieves but there is fraternity. We know our enemies, we identify weaknesses, we bite at the soft underbelly of hypocrisy and power. We defend ourselves, we look out for each other, we know what we are up against. We dance by the same fires and look at the same sky through the same tear-stained eyes of resistance and regret; we dodge the same arrows and bullets. Some of us are public and active, others private and reserved, others afflicted by harshnesses of fate or circumstances, but we all have the same unity – that of the freak, the outsiders, those who prowl and scavenge on the outskirts. We organise, we faction, we unify; we create our own ceremonies and structures and festivals. We come together to purge and celebrate, and rejoice.

So against cruelties upon person, colour, religion, community and planet we refuse and we resist; like a witchcraft born in the dungeon we arose from suburbias and underworld, denying the nets of the priest and the boss and the thug. So when they make pyres for us, we shall dance around them and transform. We shall rise like we have always risen.

We shall overcome.

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Monday, 2 January 2017

Editorial, January 2017



It's a new year and of course that means there is a new 'Blood Pack' Compilation. As you will have seen on Sunday, Vol. 4 has now been released for free via our bandcamp.



We've made a slight change this year and have made the release a pay what you want arrangement so we can try and raise a bit of money for DKMS (a UK charity that fights blood cancer).

So far the donations have been starting to come in and while you don't have to donate a penny if you don't want to, if you are feeling generous all we're asking for is a pound for this charity. We think it is a small price to pay considering we're offering you 28 tracks totaling 2 hours of music!

We've made all of the other previous releases pay what you want as well, so if you haven't got those you can either donate for each of them, or none of them, it's your choice. Our aim this year is to try and raise a modest amount to help this worthwhile charity, and your help would be greatly appreciated.

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

For more information on writing for IVM please visit HERE.

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

Right, that's just some of the wheels we want to set in motion this year. Hopefully the other things we have up our collective sleeve will be announced in the coming months. Until then, please enjoy the new (and previous) compilation albums, please donate, or at least share the link if you enjoy the album and keep a look out for our top albums of 2016!

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



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Sunday, 1 January 2017

Intravenous Magazine 'Blood Pack Vol. 4' released!



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

'Blood Pack Vol. 4' is now available from our bandcamp page.

It's been a lot of work and I just hope you all enjoy it, discover a new band, and then go and buy all their albums.

The compilation is our biggest to date and features a massive 28  tracks and clocks in at a whopping 2 hours long, so there is plenty to get your teeth into.

The album features names such as Noir, Bestial Mouths, Near Earth Orbit, Cease2Xist, Ego Likeness, Attrition, I††, and The Sweetest Condition, plus many more exclusive and unreleased tracks from international gothic, industrial and electronic bands. It also comes with an A4 PDF booklet containing bios and links for all the bands who have kindly donated a track.

To download it all you have to do is go to our bandcamp page here: https://intravenousmagazine.bandcamp.com/album/blood-pack-vol-4

As this is a *free promotional item, feel free to share this among your friends and family. However, please refrain from uploading this on to torrent or other free download sites. This is a free compilation available through our bandcamp page and will remain so. If you would like to share this album please use a link to our bandcamp page.

Track List:

1. Noir - Same Old Madness (Ministry Cover)
2. Bestial Mouths - Down To The Bones (No Longer See Mix)
3. Unknown Land - Fade
4. Canter - Radiation
5. Snuff - Intravenus
6. Near Earth Orbit - Inocular
7. Mind & Flesh feat. ☩STELLA☩PERISH☩ - Dēflagrāre
8. Cease2Xist - Mechanical Medicine
9. The Walking Wounded - Bait (Brain Influenza Remix)
10. Vlimmer - Flutbahn
11. PlanetDamage - Firewalls
12. Ego Likeness - Crossed
13. Fearpassage - Between Us
14. The Sedona Effect - I Lose Control
15. Attrition - The Bone Factory
16. I†† - Noche Obscura Del Alma
17. Veil Of Thorns - Dead-Eyed Imagination
18. Adoration Destroyed - Both Of Me
19. Fahrenheit 451 - Strangers On A Train
20. The Sweetest Condition - Knock Us Down (Dystopia Remix)
21. TONTTU - Tonttumarssi (Gnomsignomsi AGWV2)
22. The State - Public Service Announcement
23. Engram - Karl Marx
24. Damsel In the Doll House - Where I Left Her
25. Telekon - In The Darkness
26. Miel Noir - Trigger Warning (Neural Circuit Remix)
27. Sex Death Religion - Murder Motel (Deep Nasty Mix)
28. Allofher Twitch - Lost In Noises

Don't worry if you missed the chance to be on this compilation. 'Vol. 5' will be released next January.

*Please note: We have now switched over to a Name Your Own Price model from now on - Don't worry, we're not charging you for a free download (that would be stupid!) - instead we're asking you to make a donation of just £1 which we will then be donating **DKMS UK (www.dkms.org.uk) a charity that is helping to fight blood cancer.
If you don't want to donate, that is absolutely fine as well. We just saw this as an opportunity to something good.
**We are not an official partner of DKMS, but we will be periodically donating the proceeds of this download compilation to them.

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