IVM's Top 40 Releases of 2017

With 2017 a now a fading memory of political turmoil, social upheaval and high-profile perverts, we can at least look back at the year's musical output and say that it was a great one. As is the custom, we've put together a list of 40 notable releases from the previous twelve months that we think are worthy of praise.

Blood Pack Vol. 5 Released!

To download it all you have to do is go to our bandcamp page here: https://intravenousmagazine.bandcamp.com/album/blood-pack-vol-5

Interview: Angelspit

“I get the feeling we are moving through a period of despair. Perhaps this is due to the state of the environment, politics, or dealing with being "social" in the electronic age. We are so frustrated, so exhausted...we don't have the energy or money to plan for the future.I wanted to write lyrics that people can related to, and music that would energize that to forge ahead.”

Review: Psy'Aviah – 'Lightflare'

PSY'AVIAH 'Lightflare' ALFA MATRIX

Review: Caustic – 'American Carrion';

CAUSTIC 'American Carrion' NEGATIVE GAIN PRODUCTIONS

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Review: Psy'Aviah – 'Lightflare'




Belgian electronic producer Yves Schelpe has steered Psy'Aviah into genuinely interesting directions since 2014's 'The Xenogamous Endeavour'. Encompassing dance-friendly electronic dance music, yet constantly pushing toward progressive and cinematic ambitions with the seamless the blending of genres such as synthpop, ebm, triphop, electroclash, techno, edm, and eurodance to create an instantly accessible yet deep sound. Psy'Aviah's last outing on 'Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars' was easily the best album too date and certainly set the bar high for everything to follow. Luckily the latest offering 'Lightflare' is ready to meet the challenge.

Once again featuring a range of guest vocalists, 'Lightflare' takes the listener on a sonic journey of vulnerability and ultimately salvation at the hands of the music. The emotional side to the Psy'Aviah sound has become more and more palpable with every release, and this is at its most evident here with it's combination of soulful vocal performances and the prominence of the lyrics within the construction of the songs.

Tracks such as 'Lost At Sea', 'Aftermath', 'The Great Disconnect', 'Heavy Heart', 'Lonely Soul', 'Plan B', and 'Under The Rain' sweep the listener along with their combination of emotive vocals, subtle dance-friendly beats and euphoric synths that not only entice you to move your body but also listen closer. Even the harder dance offerings such as 'Sound Of New', 'In The Sound', 'For Myself', 'Reboot Reset Relay', 'Ghost', 'Game Changer', and 'Mr Vanity' with their more prominent ebm elements, harder synths and even guitars have an undeniable sing-a-long appeal that overtakes you.

Even the album's remix disc with it's more esoteric re-workings and amped up club potential maintains that emotional core. Broken up with originals 'Earth, Wind, Fire, Air And Sky (Om Namaha Shivaya)', 'The Rhythm Will Guide You (Chandaas Talaah)', 'Truth Is My Identity (Sam Nam)', and 'Searching Anagata (Om) with their eastern influences evoke the relaxing new age style of Enigma and the dance appeal of Juno Reactor with great effect for a strong blend of the rhythmic and the meditative. Something that definitely needs to be explored further.

Once again the production is as good as you could hope for. Schelpe continues to push his execution as hard as his songwriting and the end results always do justice to his considerable ambitions. There is a huge cinematic atmosphere enveloping this album that gives even the most dance-orientated tracks a huge presence.


'Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars' may have set the bar high but 'Lightflare' continues to ascend higher. The album blends melody, rhythm, emotion and atmosphere with ease. Schelpe not only continues to push his own boundaries, but also the boundaries of alternative electronic music.  

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Review: MGT – 'Gemini Nyte'



'Gemini Nyte'
CLEOPATRA RECORDS

Birmingham born Mark Gemini Thwaite has some serious gothic rock credentials with a CV that boasts acts such as The Mission, Peter Murphy, Spear of Destiny, Theatre of Hate, Mob Research (with Paul Raven of Killing Joke), and Canadian band National Velvet, as well as many other appearances with international acts. His first solo album on SPV, 'Volumes', produced a lead single in the form of, 'Knowing Me Knowing You', a cover of ABBA hit featuring guest vocalist Ville Valo of HIM, which has gained some good traction.

Thwaite's sophomoric outing under the MGT moniker sees a more stable lineup this time with vocalist Ashton Nyte (The Awakening) taking the helm to add a consistent voice. But there are still some special appearances as the album also features drums by Paul Ferguson (Killing Joke) and appearances by Burton C Bell (Fear Factory), and Lol Tolhurst & Pearl Thompson (The Cure).

Musically the album pretty much pics up from 'Volumes' with a tighter and more focused approach that takes note of the stronger elements of its predecessor and continues with them. The result is a pleasing blend of hard gothic rock. Nyte's vocal performance sits somewhere between Ville Valo and Peter Murphy while musically the album drifts between the melancholic stadium goth of The Mission and the accessible metal of HIM.


Tracks such as 'All The Broken Things', 'Dystopia', 'Trading Faces', 'The Reaping Reprise', 'Armageddon's Sideshow', 'Hide Your Secret', and 'Atlanta' show off the best of this formula with some great riffs, genuinely enchanting vocals, and some delicious grooves. Though it is the cover of Soft Cell's 'Say Hello, Wave Goodbye' is perhaps the album's true standout.

Often solo albums from guitarists descend into ridiculous displays of shredding ability that have only a passing resemblance to songs. Thwaite on the other-hand has crafted a fine collection of legitimately strong songs that straddle both gothic rock and a more accessible mainstream rock. With 'Gemini Nyte' MGT hits its true stride and feels less like a “Here's my solo album, check out my friends” release and more like a fully-fledged band with the means to go far in its own right.  

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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Review: Various Artists – 'How To Destroy Coil: A Tribute To Coil'




VARIOUS ARTISTS
'How To Destroy Coil: A Tribute To Coil'
TRIBULATIONS

Coil are easily one of the most influential musical acts of the past thirty years. The avant garde, experimental, often unfriendly and yet utterly compelling works of the late Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson and Johnn Balance straddled industrial, ambient, new age, techno, acid house, noise, drone and just about everything else. Using dissonance as melody their influence can continue to be felt in a myriad of acts today. It only seems fitting that on the back of their Skinny Puppy and Ministry tribute albums that tribulations turn their attention to the esoteric works of Coil.

Acts such as Kanashibari, Construct, Void Prototype, Flesh Eating Foundation, Trust Crusher, Allofher Twitch, The Cryptids and more add their twists to already twisted tracks including 'Fire Of The Mind', 'Love's Secret Domain', 'Cold Cell', 'The Sewage Worker's Birthday Party', 'Restless Day', 'Paranoid Inlay', and 'Solar Lodge'.

As with previous releases, some stick close to the source material and other's make their mark on it. Considering the huge range of Coil's work it's a shame that there are two versions of Cold Cell and Fire Of The Mind – all of which are great – but there are so many great Coil tracks it still seems like a missed opportunity. Nevertheless this is a strong collection that shifts effortlessly between the particular influences of each band and reforms the original tracks to maintain their original experimental flavours but ultimately make it their own.

As with all compilations the multiple genres and recording styles can be a nightmare for mastering but as with the previous two editions in the series this handles them with ease and manages the flow of the tracks into one satisfying experience.

Once more Tribulations and all the artists involved here deserve praise. The source material of Coil is a daunting task by any standard but the love and passion for the band is evident on every offering and ultimately compliment each other as well. This is another great outing and with the fourth in the series shaping up to be a tribute to Bile, we can expect more great music to come.


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Review: Caustic – 'American Carrion'


The last few Caustic albums 'The Golden Vagina Of Fame And Profit', 'The Man Who Couldn't Stop', and 'Industrial Music' have proved to be among the highlights of their respective years of release. It's good to see that 2018 is starting the right way with another full-length outing full of piss and vinegar from Matt Fanale.

Fanale has continued to evolve and grow as an artist experimenting on EPs and singles, as well as going outside of his comfort zone on his side projects. And his full-length Caustic albums always have a tendency to to pull the best of these experiences into one mighty manifesto.

Picking up right where the forthright middle-finger that was 'Industrial Music' left off, 'American Carrion' sees Fanale kick things up a notch. Hard, groovy, and dance friendly ebm elements are filtered through classic industrial vitriol before being doused with Fanale's own patented Jizzcore. It's a perfect musical palette for what has to be the most explicitly political Caustic album too date.

Big beats and fist-in-the-air, shout-a-long choruses colour tracks such as 'Purgative', 'Heads Down, Fingers Up', and 'Fuck That Fascist Beat' with relatable anger a solid sequenced grooves. The likes of 'American Carrion', 'Stoma' and 'Angel Grinder' with their distorted lo-fi beats and prominent bass-lines that give the album an addictive backbone.

While the progressive and more experimental flavours 'The Coital Staircase', 'Drugskill', and 'Methmouth' show off the wider and more eclectic scope of his work with a blend of
old school minimal techno and ebm, but with a rhythmically pleasing core. It's the album's parting shot, 'One Nation Under Fear', though that successfully encapsulates everything going on here and melds it into an undeniable club banger to rally around with it's incendiary but supportive message.

Production-wise the album, much as 'Industrial Music' did before it, straddles the line between polished and tight techno and ebm and gritty unfriendly industrial. It's always been one of Fanale's strengths that he can flick back-and-forth between styles and genres in both his music and vocal performances and yet remain utterly focused and 'American Carrion' is no exception to this trend.

'American Carrion' holds a mirror up to the world and reflects its bullshit right back at it. But it does so in a rather positive way. There is a message of unity, and ultimately hope within the anger and disillusionment that as a result makes this album a compelling listening experience as well as a cathartic dance/mosh-friendly one. It may only be month one of 2018 but 'American Carrion' has set the bar pretty high right from the off.

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Monday, 22 January 2018

Book Review: Joyce Magnin - 'Snowman'



'Snowman'

Alas, Sleepy Hollow, Headless Horseman, what have they done to you this time? Just when I have begun to fall in love with those two elements and decide to give a chance to a graphic novel aimed for children with a twist, it turns out to be an almost total disaster. Created by Mark Andrew Poe,‎ adapted by Joyce Magnin and with art by‎ Rebecca P. Minor, Snowman is hard to like or even tolerate.
I have no problems with the story, to be honest. It is simple, direct, easy to follow for kids and catches the attention on the reader. It’s an interesting twist to the Headless Horseman that I really enjoyed. In fact, with a little polishing, it could be the kind of content we need to show kids nowadays, even more if we want darker, gothic plots in family friendly TV shows and movies.

The characters were very basic, not that lain as I could see they had some human parts in them, but a little empty nonetheless, and the situations were interesting to see while developing. Maybe some adults could enjoy it as well, maybe those who are parents, as I see some curious scenes that could lead to different discussions and teachings for children.

However, my main issue with 'Snowman' is with its graphics, a vital part of comics and graphic novels. The cover is nice, I love it, it caught my attention right away, but the pages I found inside were a totally different thing that I didn’t like at all, starting with the palettes; the very first pages used one and the rest of them used another one.

I’ve read a lot of comic, some with good proportions, others with twisted characters that have nothing to do with human form, but most of them looked pretty good in their respective stories, in their respective universes. That’s not the case for 'Snowman', whose characters I felt were cut from another place and pasted in the panels, whose bodies had something weird in them.

I wouldn’t have any problem if this was an independent project from someone who had just started building a name as an illustrator, but coming from what seems to be a solid series with what I assumed was a solid fan-base, that’s not what I expected; yet, we all know that independents have done and keep doing great work.

It’s a shame that a story with potential has this kind of art, I really expected way much more. I may be picky and know nothing about the standards the industry works with, but there must be something wrong if such art was ever approved. Prepare all your will to finish this book if you start reading it.
I can only hope that it doesn’t happen again.

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Kamelot unveils upcoming album's title


American power metal Kamelot revealed that their upcoming album, set to be released during the Spring season by Napalm Records, is 'The Shadow Theory', and stated that it features all the signature elements of the band.
Following the release of 'The Shadow Theory', Kamelot will embark on a world tour that is scheduled to start in North America during April/May 2018 with Delain and Battle Beast followed by European shows in September/October 2018 for what is being called their biggest headliner tour to date. Also, the band will have a show in Tilburg, Netherlands, and as a way to thank the support of the fans in the city, the show will be shoot as part of Kamelot's long awaited DVD.
It is expected that for 'The Shadow Theory' the band steps out to add new and industrial elements along while combining their earlier days, along with more news and album artwork yet to be revealed.
So far, the confirmed dates are:
  • 16 Apr 2018 Louisville (KY), Mercury Ballroom 
  • 17 Apr 2018 Charlotte (NC), Fillmore Underground 
  • 18 Apr 2018 Silver Spring (MD), The Fillmore 
  • 20 Apr 2018 New York (NY), Irving Plaza 
  • 22 Apr 2018 Montréal (QC), CA Métropolis 
  • 23 Apr 2018 Toronto (ON), CA The Opera House 
  • 25 Apr 2018 Albany (NY), Upstate Concert Hall 
  • 26 Apr 2018 Pittsburgh (PA), Cargenie Concert Hall 
  • 27 Apr 2018 Chicago (IL), Concord Music Hall 
  • 28 Apr 2018 Minneapolis (MN), The Cabooze 
  • 29 Apr 2018 Des Moines (IA), Wooly's 
  • 01 May 2018 Denver (CO), Ogden Theatre 
  • 02 May 2018 Salt Lake City (UT), The Complex 
  • 04 May 2018 San José (CA), City National Civic 
  • 05 May 2018 Anaheim (CA), The Grove 
  • 06 May 2018 Phoenix (AZ), Marquee Theatre 
  • 08 May 2018 Dallas (TX), House of Blues 
  • 09 May 2018 Houston (TX), House of Blues 
  • 11 May 2018 Atlanta (GA), Center Stage Theater 
  • 12 May 2018 Orlando (FL), House of Blues 
  • 13 May 2018 Fort Lauderdale (FL), Revolution Live
Festivals:
  • 12 Jul 2018 Vizovice, CZ Masters of Rock
  • 08 Aug 2018 Villena, ES Leyendas del Rock Festival 
  • 10 Aug 2018 Derbyshire, UK Bloodstock Open Air Festival
The Shadow Tour
  • 14.09.18 NL – Tilburg / 013
  • 22.09.18 NO – Oslo / Sentrum Scene

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Inkubus Sukkubus reveals next album's snippets


British goth and pagan band Inkubus Sukkubus revealed snippets of their upcoming album, 'Vampire Queen', already available for pre-order on the band's official website and revealing the titles of ten songs.

A message in the website of the band states that those who take a pre-order will get a free badge set, entry into the artwork draw and the album ahead of the release date in March, with also the option to have it signed by vocalist Candia McKormack and guitarist Tony McKormack.


Track List
Bathory
Let the Night Last Forever
Angelus Mortis
Nature Child
Dancing the Night Away
Here Come the Dead
Goddess of Lust
In the Darkness and the Rain
Wolf Boy
Vampire Queen

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Erasure announce collaboration with Echo Collective



ERASURE (Andy Bell and Vince Clarke) have announced a collaboration with Echo Collective, the Brussels based collective of post-classical musicians best known for their ongoing collaborative work with A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Johann Johannsson, Dustin O’Halloran and Stars of the Lid.

The collaboration sees the entirety of Erasure’s latest album, 'World Be Gone', given a post-classical rework. World Beyond was recorded over ten days by Andy Bell and seven performers from the Echo Collective: Margaret Hermant (violin, harp), Neil Leiter (viola), Thomas Engelen (cello), Jaroslaw Mroz (double bass), Gary De Cart (piano) and Antoine Dandoy (vibraphone, glockenspiel).

The album was produced by Echo Collective, mixed by Gareth Jones and arranged by the Echo Collective’s Gary De Cart, Margaret Hermant and Neil Leiter. Neil Leiter from the Echo Collective explains, “The process of this project was really deconstruction and re-purposing. We started by listening to each track layer by layer, and then, using the layers that inspired us or we found essential, we reconstructed the tracks instrumentally. Each of the instruments in the band setup were chosen for their inherent capacities and roles. Often choosing which layer to put with each instrument was a question of matching roles and colours. By stripping so much away, we were able to find a new space for Andy to fill. The text of the songs became much more important in the overall construction of the songs, and Andy was free to explore more dynamics and vocal range.”

The tracks featured on 'World Beyond' show award-winning songwriters Vince Clarke and Andy Bell in a more reflective mood, giving the world and recent political upheavals a thoughtful examination. This new collaboration gives a new dimension to the tracks - including fan-favourites ‘Still It’s Not Over’, which tackles the LGBT rights movement post-Stonewall, and ‘Lousy Some Of Nothing’, a ballad for our post-truth age - but the band’s optimism about the future remains clear and bright. Andy Bell explains: “…the reinterpretations have brought such enormous context to the songs, it has created a new place for them.”

The original idea for the album developed from Vince Clarke, who initially suggested that a single from 'World Be Gone' could be given an orchestral reinterpretation, but as the idea expanded and took shape, he spoke at length to the Echo Collective ahead of the recording. “It was great to talk through ideas with Echo Collective and then see how their arrangements took shape. The collaboration has given elements of the album a whole new feel and Andy's vocals remain as powerful and uplifting as ever” says Clarke. 

The collaboration is a natural progression from 1987’s The Two Ring Circus, a companion EP for the band’s second album, The Circus, which included several orchestral interpretations.

Watch a short film, introducing the players, filmed during the recording sessions at Jet Studio in Brussels below:




Erasure embark on a headline tour through Europe in January 2018 with support from Bright Light, Bright Light, starting in Dublin and including two London dates at the Hammersmith Apollo before dates in North and South America later this year – full details below. 


ERASURE HEADLINE TOUR – EUROPE
29 Jan - Dublin Olympia SOLD OUT
30 Jan - Dublin Olympia SOLD OUT
31 Jan - Dublin Olympia SOLD OUT
2 Feb - Dundee Caird Hall SOLD OUT
3 Feb - Edinburgh Usher Hall SOLD OUT
4 Feb - Newcastle City Hall SOLD OUT
6 Feb - Liverpool Philharmonic SOLD OUT
7 Feb - Hull City Hall SOLD OUT
8 Feb - Manchester O2 Apollo SOLD OUT
10 Feb - Cambridge Corn Exchange SOLD OUT
11 Feb - Birmingham O2 Academy SOLD OUT
12 Feb - Nottingham Royal Concert Hall SOLD OUT
14 Feb - Ipswich Regent SOLD OUT
15 Feb - Southampton O2 Guildhall SOLD OUT
16 Feb - Cardiff St David’s Hall SOLD OUT
18 Feb - Aylesbury Friars Waterside Theatre SOLD OUT
19 Feb - Brighton Dome SOLD OUT
20 Feb - Guildford G Live SOLD OUT
22 Feb - Norwich UEA SOLD OUT
23 Feb - London Eventim Apollo – SOLD OUT
24 Feb - London Eventim Apollo – SOLD OUT
27 Feb - Cologne E-Werk SOLD OUT
28 Feb - Hamburg Mehr Theater SOLD OUT
1 March - Berlin Columbiahalle SOLD OUT
3 March - Leipzig Haus Auensee SOLD OUT
4 March - Munich Tonhalle SOLD OUT
5 March - Frankfurt Batschkapp SOLD OUT
7 March - Hanover Capitol SOLD OUT
9 March - Copenhagen Royal Arena


ERASURE HEADLINE TOUR – NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA
21 April - MX, Guadalajara, Roxy Fest
22 April - MX, Tijuana, El Foro
24 April - MX, Nuevo León, Palestino Libanes
25 April - MX, Mexico City, Pepsi Center WTC
27 April - EC, Quito, Agora De La Casa De La Cultura
28 April - CO, Bogota, Chamorro Music Hall
30 April - CO, Medellín, Chamorro City Hall - El Rodeo
2 May - PE, Lima, Anfieteatro Del Parque De La Exposicion
3 May - CL, Santiago, Movistar Arena
5 May - AR, Buenos Aires,Luna Park
6 May - AR, Rosario, Metropolitano  
8 May - PY, Asunción, Paseo La Galeria
10 May - BR, Curitiba, Teatro Positivo
11 May - BR, São Paulo, Espaco Das Americas
12 May - BR, Rio de Janeiro, Vivo Rio
6 July - US, Miami Beach, FL, Fillmore
7 July - US, St. Petersburg, FL, Mahaffey Theater
8 July - US, Orlando, FL, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
10 July - US, Atlanta, GA, Tabernacle
15 July - US, New York, NY, Beacon Theater
17 July - US, Boston, MA, House of Blues
18 July - US, Philadelphia, PA, Merriam Theater
20 July - US, Washington, DC, Warner Theater 
22 July - US, Pittsburgh, PA, Byham Theater
24 July - US, Toronto, ON, Queen Elizabeth Theater
25 July - US, Grand Rapids, MI, 20 Monroe Live
27 July - US, Chicago, IL, Chicago Theatre 
29 July - US, Minneapolis, MN, State Theatre
31 July - US, Indianapolis, IN, Murat
1 Aug - US, Kansas City, MO, Uptown Theater
3 Aug - US, Dallas, TX,Toyota Music Factory
4 Aug - US, Houston, TX, Smart Financial Centre
5 Aug - US, San Antonio, TX, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
7 Aug - US, Austin, TX, Austin City Limits Live  
10 Aug - US, Denver, CO, Opera House  
12 Aug - US, Salt Lake City, UT, Kingsbury Hall
14 Aug - US, Seattle, WA, Moore Theatre
15 Aug - US, Vancouver, BC, Orpheum Theatre 
19 Aug - US, San Francisco, CA, Masonic Auditorium
21 Aug - US, Santa Barbara, CA, Arlington Theatre
22 Aug - US, San Diego, CA, Symphony Hall 
26 Aug - US, Los Angeles, CA, Wiltern Theater

Ticket details at http://po.st/ErasureLive

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OMD, Midge Ure and more confirmed for Amphi Festival 2018



An era in which we “audio cassette children” (instead of our smartphones) waited mesmerized in front of our radios, circling the record button with our forefinger until they finally played our favorite song! It was the great time of Synthpop, NewWave and that hint of avant-garde that turned pioneering spirit into a time of new heroes!

The festival organisers have announced OMD and MIDGE URE for the Amphi Festival 2018 – two of those exceptional artists who wrote music history worldwide.
Furthermore with GRENDEL, GRAUSAME TÖCHTER and SYNTHATTACK we also have fresh new entrances from the Industrial-Electro scene for you.

ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK, short OMD, attracted impressive attention in 2017 with their album THE PUNISHMENT OF LUXURY on which Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys and Martin Cooper staged the characteristic OMD sound as a declaration of love for the pioneering spirit of the Düsseldorf School of electronic music. Unforgotten are of course the great OMD classics: "Enola Gay", "Souvenir", "Secret", "Sailing On The Seven Seas" and of course the number one hit "Maid Of Orleans" that became the best-selling single of the year 1982 in Germany! For us it is therefore a very special honor to welcome OMD at the Amphi Festival 2018.

The latter fully applies also to MIDGE URE. The likeable Scot landed an absolute coup in 2014 when he captivated the Amphi audience with his performance. Whether as co-founder of VISAGE ("Fade to Grey"), as voice of ULTRAVOX ("Hymn", "Vienna", "Dancing With Tears in My Eyes") or as solo artist ("Breathe", "If I was") - Midge Ure (OBE) is a true gentleman of pop who uses his popularity always for charity projects as well ("Live Aid", "Band Aid"). So the anticipation is rising on this great artist’s further performance at the Amphi Festival and the related pure goose bumps.

Granted, it’s not easy to find a fitting bridge from these giants of the 80s. Nevertheless, we insist on announcing two „new heros“ of the present as well, with the first of them being GRENDEL. The Dutch harsh-electro project around J.D. Tucker began to tread new ways with their recently released 2017 record "Age Of The Disposable Body". By changing the focus to an intriguing mix of industrial-pop elements, GRENDEL expanded their own universe with a refreshingly different vibe.

With their provocative blend of electropunk, industrial and performing arts, GRAUSAME TÖCHTER always draw some serious attention. Nevertheless you should not judge the book by its missing cover. Beneath the skin burns a rebellious fire, resurfacing the temper and anachism of the early punk scene. Relentlessly biting and cruel, Aranea Peel & co. mean business and thei are to give their first stand at Amphi Festival and we're pretty sure it won't last only for one night!

Closing today's announcement, we also welcome Hanover-based industrial formation SYNTHATTACK who will take Amphi Festival’s dance floor by storm with powerful beats and a thrilling show.


XIV. AMPHI FESTIVAL 2018
28. – 29. July 2018 GER – Cologne | Tanzbrunnen

AND ONE + ASP
OMD + OOMPH! + MONO INC. + AGONOIZE + MIDGE URE
GOETHES ERBEN + SOLAR FAKE + AESTHETIC PERFECTION + UNZUCHT
NEUROTICFISH + FUNKER VOGT + [:SITD:] + ASSEMBLAGE 23 + GRENDEL
GIRLS UNDER GLASS + [X]-RX + SHE PAST AWAY + LEBANON HANOVER
MAD SIN + THE CREEPSHOW + CENTHRON + GRAUSAME TÖCHTER
HELDMASCHINE + PERSEPHONE + KIEW + SOVIET SOVIET + A PROJECTION
CORDE OBLIQUE + FUTURE LIED TO US + INTENT:OUTTAKE
SYNTHATTACK + LA SCALTRA
+ many other bands & supporting programme coming soon


Info: www.amphi-festival.de or www.facebook.com/amphifestival
Original tickets: exclusively available at www.amphi-shop.de
 (worldwide shipping)
Festival tickets: also at all nationwide CTS/EVENTIM box-offices, online at www.eventim.dewww.oeticket.comwww.ticketcorner.ch
 and as PRINT@HOME edition.

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Review: Der Prosecutor – 'Egregious'



'Egregious'

Industrial/cyberpunks Der Prosecutor unleash their debut EP 'Egregious'. They may be a new project but it's members have certainly been around for a while with their collective previous credits including Cyber-tec, Frogs Of War, and The Sepia. 'Egregious' marks a bold and fresh first step for this band with five tracks of dance floor assaulting tracks that blend gritty industrial beats with cyberpunk electronics, scathing guitars, and caustic vocals.

The result is a very addictive, albeit short manifesto that will undoubtedly find favour in clubs. Tracks such as 'Sun Dogs', The Instrument', 'Subject 7', and 'Motherhack' are balls-to-the-wall flurries of guitars, beats and shout-a-long vocals reminiscent of Cubanate. While 'Strangled' provides a slower and more methodical take on their sound.

The EP is rounded out by 3 alternate versions of the lead track 'Sun Dogs' from the band each emphasising a different element of their core sound. The '2Bit' edit is stripped-back, low-fi cyberpunk. While the 'DigitalMetal Remix' does exactly what it says on the tin. Finally the 'Sere Mix' delves into industrial trip-hop territory for an unexpected but appreciated left-turn.

The EP displays a lot of strong and confident song-writing that goes straight for the jugular. It's heavy yet dance-friendly. The mix is somewhat rough, which plays well on it's cyberpunk leanings, but as the remixes show the band are more than capable of manipulating their sound any way they want to go.


This is a very solid first step that should easily find an audience with fans of Cubanate, Pig, Be My Enemy and Katscan for example. The band have hit hard and fast with 'Egregious', but hint at a lot of potential directions for future releases. Hopefully a full-length release will arrive sooner rather than later so we can really see what they can do.  

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Review: Various Artists – 'The Other Side'



VARIOUS ARTISTS
'The Other Side'

Witch-house.com, the de-facto home of the witch-house movement online haven't released a compilation in five years. This big gap was a downright shame as their previous four themed compilation releases were really excellent and showed of a range of new talents. Thankfully though a new one has seen the light of day, this time taking its inspiration from the seminal Stranger Things TV series.

Once again the album features a range of artists, some new and some more established. The styles, as on most witch-house themed compilations, show great variation between the bands with some overtly traditional witch-house tracks, noise and drone influenced tracks, as well as some more progressive ones. It's a good mix though with acts such as D4rk3r Side, Hooded Leaders, PEAKi, Dazed Marrow, Undesired, Cutworm, and Sidewalks And Skeletons providing particular highlights.

The compilation is not the longest one in the series. But at twelve tracks and 51 minutes in length it's by no means the shortest and definitely has enough for the casual listener to get their teeth into. As with all compilations recording quality does vary between the tracks and the noisier / more abrasive tracks. But the album has been mastered will and the track list flows very organically.


This is a strong compilation, with a range of bands producing solid music. You can get bogged-down in genre politics, but at the end of the day there is some really interesting and exciting underground electronic music being made under the witch-house denomination and it doesn't look to be going away anytime soon. Fans of the more esoteric end of the electronic/industrial spectrum will easily find something on this.  

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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Vallhall to release 'Grimoire'



Swedish duo VALHALL returns with their second album, 'Grimoire', available February 09th on CD and February 23rd on Vinyl, via Artoffact Records.
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'Grimoire' is available for pre order via Bandcamp and iTunes and when you order through iTunes you’ll receive the song ‘Ormens Offer’ for free! You can also listen to 'Ormens Offer' on Spotify and Apple Music.

By definition a grimoire is a book of magical knowledge. Such a book may contain lists of angels and demons, directions on casting charms and spells, on mixing medicines, summoning unearthly entities, and making talismans. Grimoires contain secret knowledge and have been in use since ancient times. 
The grimoire of VALHALL is inspired by, but not limited to, such knowledge. It draws its power from the ancient and the current, from the arcane and the technological. It serves to give the listener excerpts of fantasies and folklore, myths and truths, dreams and nightmares. Grimoire is a collection of electronic darkwave songs, wrapped in a coat of witchhouse and neofolk, that VALHALL is known for.

Some songs on 'Grimoire' features guest violin contributions by Jessica Pimentel (Maria Ruiz in Orange is the New Black), lead singer of the Brooklyn-based metal band Alekhine's Gun. Pimentel also recently contributed violins to Origin's Nuclear Blast release 'Unparalleled Universe' and has said that Valhall is one of her favourite bands.


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Monday, 15 January 2018

First look at Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #110: "The Dragon Prince"

Stardard cover
Broadsword Comics released the first look at issue #110 of their dark fantasy comic Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, by Jim Balent and Holly Golightly, along with the official synopsis, as part of an special bundle that is already for sale in their official store. 

The bundle will include covers A & B, a deluxe art print by Jim Balent, the Photocover edition, Bonus Goodie and a new sticker to be add on the Faerie Passport the publishers also offer for sale. The Studio Cover (TBA) and Scyclad edition of the comic can also be included if requested at the moment of shopping.
Synopsis: They say that when a Dragon falls in Love, it's for life. But what happens when a Dragon Prince falls in love with a Dark Witch who vowed never to fall in love again?! Will Raven's darkness swallow up the love of the fiery beast or will the Dragon's love BURN Raven once again?
Photocover Edition
Model: Playboy centerfold, Amy Nicole Moore as Raven Hex
Photographer: Stacy Hokett
Deluxe Art Print "The Ritual Begins,” by Jim Balent
Skyclad Edition


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New releases from Echozone



Dusk To Dawn - Transition

What was previously heard on the single "Sole Survivor" is now continued in album length: Dusk to Dawn present "Transition", an LP that bridges between the new wave style of their songs from the 90s and contemporary electro rock.

Founded in 1991, Dusk to Dawn became known to insiders of the wave and synth pop scene at that time. Their songs achieved some fame through air and club plays, later also with iTunes singles and YouTube videos. For the first time since the reunion of the trio from Grevenbroich near Düsseldorf, they now release a long player with new songs.

The opener of the new album, "Not this World", already drops the minimalism of the earlier days. "Hailing Truth" also comes along with hymnic chords, real bass and electric guitar. The title track is a purely synthetic instrumental thunderstorm, and the last song "Traces" conciliates with classic, beautiful synth pop.

A special feature is the song "Remains": It was created in 1995 as a demo that is still unpublished today. In 2012, it was supposed to be the title track on the vinyl LP of the same name, filled with re-mastered Dusk to Dawn tracks from the 90s. In the end, however, the band decided to rearrange the piece completely - and to release it now, 23 years after its creation, for the first time.

The album "Transition" marks a sound evolution and still remains true to what Dusk to Dawn is all about: catchy electro-pop with depth, reminiscent of hits from the 1980s, similarly danceable, but with a dark and "techie" mood. Characteristic for the band is - beside this common style - the individual composition: The three band members bring in their own songs; only the arrangement and fine-tuning are done together.

Jörg Erren is a bass player, but has also been a specialist in analogue sounds for a long time. With another project, EFSS, he has been shaking up the analogue synth scene for several years. With Dusk to Dawn, he stands for the more demanding synth tracks with many instrumental parts. Andreas Kleinwächter changed from guitarist at the end of the 90s to a techno and trance arranger; with Dusk to Dawn he returns to his roots in dark rock. Singer Achim Zolke writes the group's most pop songs, which are always very catchy.

At the end of 2017, Dusk to Dawn signed with the well-known German independent label Echozone. "Transition" will be published as a digital release on January 19, 2018.



Mills - monochrome

Since their founding in 1994, Mills have worked their way through various stages of development and line-up changes. Today, the line-up consists of the founding members Alexander Steiner (guitar, keys) and Walter Glatz (vocals, keys) who also perform as a duo live on stage.

The current sound of Mills features a mix of synth pop, dark pop, gothic and partly dark electro. Their music is an exciting combination of various styles of the 80s, 90s and present day. The fusion of synth pop and slightly harder guitar riffs is reminiscent of the days of Depeche Mode's "Songs of Faith and Devotion", though without getting too close to this special style.

Strongly characterized by Walter Glatz' melancholy voice and instrumentally concentrated on the essentials, the eight songs of the new album "monochrome" proverbially float and take the listener into a dark and dreamy world full of audio-visual shades of grey. With every repeated listening, the album reveals new facets of emotional depths which boils the duo's musical goal down to an essence.



In Good Faith - Trinity


After three years of constant touring, studio work and three single releases, IN GOOD FAITH present their brand-new album "Trinity".

The German electro pop band who has managed to become an integral part of the dark / electro scene, presents a new album as a journey through light and darkness mirroring today's society, money - power - fear, to control the masses.

"Trinity" features a very compact, danceable and trancy sound with strong beats and clear, powerful vocals singing in German and English.

In 2018, IN GOOD FAITH are going to present and play the album in Germany and, for the first time, in other European countries starting with a show in Zurich / Switzerland together with their fellow musicians from Intent:Outtake.



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Kirlian Camera to release first album in five years



‘Hologram Moon’ is the first album in five years by the Italian electronic dark wave act Kirlian Camera.

It includes the autumn 2017 single ’Sky Collapse’, which saw frontwoman Elena Alice Fossi duetting with Eskil Simonsson of Covenant. A song about blackening skies and disquieting scenarios, it was written by Fossi with band mate Angelo Bergamini and mixed by the legendary producer John Fryer.

The song dominated the German Alternative Charts in the final quarter of the year.


However, ‘Sky Collapse’ was merely a portent of something more epic, as the full album shows off Kirlian Camera at the peak of their powers. Not only do new songs such as ‘Eyes Of The Moon’,  ’Travellers Testament’ and ‘Polar IHS’ seem destined to repeat the club success of the first single,  but the lyrical subject matter is also intriguing. The album title itself comes from a conspiracy theory that suggests the moon is no harmless satellite orbiting the earth, but a visual hologram sheltering an artificial and possibly alien construct. Whether taken seriously or not, ‘Hologram Moon’ sees  the band engaging in subversive play with perspectives and alternative realities.

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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Chris Carter announces first solo album in 17 years



CHRIS CARTER has announced a new album, 'Chris Carter’s Chemistry Lessons Volume One' - his first solo release in 17 years - out on 30 March 2018.

Listen to the first track to be taken from the album, ‘Blissters’, here: 




'Chris Carter’s Chemistry Lessons Volume One' is populated with insistent melodic patterns and a distinct sense of wonderment at the limitless possibilities of science. “If there’s an influence on the album, it’s definitely ‘60s radiophonic,” Carter says. “Over the last few years I’ve also been listening to old English folk music, almost like a guilty pleasure, and so some of tracks on the album hark back to an almost ingrained DNA we have for those kinds of melodies. They’re not dissimilar to nursery rhymes in some ways.”

That combination of traditional music and the backing track for exciting, potential futures gives tracks like ‘Moon Two’ and ‘Tangerines’ a sheen of inquisitiveness and quiet euphoria, while ‘Modularity’ and ‘Roane’ have an anxious, sci-fi noir charm. Elsewhere skewed voices add a calming, human note to the album. Carter explains, “Sleazy and I had worked together on ways of developing a sort of artificial singing using software and hardware. This was me trying to take it a step further. I've taken lyrics, my own voice or people's voices from a collection that I'd put together with Sleazy, and I’ve chopped them up and done all sorts of weird things with them.” These moments sit alongside tracks where melodies have a dissonant, noisy, awkwardness that ties the music on CCCL Volume 1 back to the Throbbing Gristle legacy.

As a founding member of Throbbing Gristle alongside Cosey Fanni Tutti, Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Chris Carter has had a significant role in the development of electronic music - a journey which has continued through his releases as one half of Chris & Cosey and Carter Tutti and a third of Carter Tutti Void - as well as with his own solo and collaborative releases.

He is also credited with the invention and production of groundbreaking electronics - from the legendary Gristleizer home-soldered effects unit through to the Dirty Carter Experimental Sound Generating Instrument and the sold-out TG One Eurorack module designed with Tiptop Audio (issued to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Throbbing Gristle’s Second Annual Report) - Carter has created the means to make sounds as well as making the sounds themselves.

The 25-track album was recorded in Carter’s own Norfolk studio and the artwork and accompanying videos were self-created, taking cues in part from battered old experimental BBC broadcast LPs.

Despite having been worked on over an extended period between various artistic projects in a variety of different moods, situations and circumstances, CCCL Volume 1’s experiments never feel like Carter noodling around aimlessly in his studio-laboratory. Instead there is an inner coherence and a distinctively Chris Carter approach to sound and execution that showcases the sonic scientist’s restless, questing creative spirit forever scouting for new ideas. 


Chris Carter’s Chemistry Lessons Volume One:
Blissters
Tangerines
Nineteen 7
Cernubicua
Pillars of Wah
Modularity
Field Depth
Moon Two
Durlin
Corvus
Tones Map
Dust & Spiders
Gradients
Lab Test
Shidreke
Uysring
Ghosting
Noise Floor
Post Industrial
Rehndim
Roane
Time Curious Glows
Ars Vetus
Hobbs End
Inkstain

Pre-order available HERE.



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Cold Spring to release Corrupted's 'Felicific Algorithm' 12”




Corrupted is a mysterious Japanese doom metal band, formed in 1994. Immensely downtuned guitar and crushingly slow bass are shrouded under deep layers of feedback. They are rightly hailed as one of the heaviest and darkest doom metal bands of all time.

"Humankind's folly it its continuing idiocy. This is the beginning of the "Hollow" series. The schoolyard of the school was buried in the mountains of radioactive contaminated rubble. We cannot hear children's voices from anywhere. I hear it is the world of sound of only footsteps and the warning sound of the Geiger counter..." (Chew Hasegawa)

This record isn't your standard doom fare. The title-less tracks are to be played at either standard vinyl speed. Therefore (and at the band's request), no samples or download code.

The limited 12" is accompanied by a foldout poster..

Track Listing:

A1. Untitled
B1. Untitled  

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Monday, 8 January 2018

R.I.P. Cinamon Hadley


Body-piercer and goth icon Cinamon Hadley, whose look inspired Death, from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, passed away this January 6th. She was previously diagnosed with cancer of the colon, which returned after a brief remission.

When Gaiman described Death’s design by Mike Dringenberg, which also had a role on ‘Death: The High Cost Of Living,’ he said that:
Death is the only major character whose visuals didn’t spring from me; that credit goes to Mike Dringenberg. In my original Sandman outline, I suggested Death look like rock star Nico in 1968, with the perfect cheekbones and perfect face she has on the cover of her Chelsea Girl album. But Mike Dringenberg had his own ideas, so he sent me a drawing based on a woman he knew named Cinamon Hadley — the drawing that was later printed in Sandman 11 — and I looked at it and had the immediate reaction of, “Wow. That’s really cool.” Later that day, Dave McKean and I went to dinner in Chelsea at the My Old Dutch Pancake House and the waitress who served us was a kind of vision. She was American, had long black hair, was dressed entirely in black — black jeans, T-shirt, etc. — and wore a big silver ankh on a silver necklace. And she looked exactly like Mike Dringenberg’s drawing of Death.
Several followers of Hadley, Gaiman and the comic itself have expressed their condolences for the loss, with even some comenting about doing a possible tribute for the icon.

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Book Review: Jim Balent – 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #107'


JIM BALENT
'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #107'
BROADSWORD COMICS


There are times in life when the best thing ever reaches a strange place which you don’t really know how to classify if not as a “comfort zone”. I’ve been a fan of Jim Balent’s 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose' since I first discovered this comic, but Winter-themed issues have been playing with the same pot and character for a while; since 2014, to be specific.

Before anyone says anything about me complaining, I love the characters, I love the magic in each issue, I love the overall story so far and I wouldn’t stop reading this comic for anything, but the overused topic of the Krampus has become somewhat tiresome after so many issues, making it predictable that he is most likely to appear in November when the Winter has come.

Just for the record, the Krampus is the total opposite of Santa Claus. He doesn’t come to give, but to take. He either punishes the bad children for their bad behaviour or takes them to a place no one knows and no one escapes from. If listening to that story doesn’t make you be a good kid, I don’t know what will.

As for Tarot and her enchanting world, the Krampus has been challenged by Tarot and her family many times in past with no result. There’s no difference in Issue #107, with the sole change that there is some character development for both Tarot and Jon and gorgeous art you don’t get tired of looking at.

I fell in love with this issue because of the colours, the shadows, the editing and the drawing, but the story itself is pretty simple, not as complex and interesting as in past proposals. A couple of monsters, magic here and there and a nice touch of violence that should be better developed in the future to make sense.

The whole issue can be read with no problem, it is fast, it is quick, fluent and entertaining, remaining loyal to the core of a dark fantasy, sexual series just like Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose is, but it also fails in terms of originality or actual interesting content, not considering the scene-twist and the dialogues.

We are about to see the next chapter in Jim Balent’s creation, which looks promising so far. It would be interesting to see what happens after such a hard time for the characters in this issue, and I’m sure both Balent and Holly (colouring and lettering) will have a great redemption for Issue #107, just like that have always done.


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Cleopatra Records to release Fad Gadget Tribute



'Under What Flag' is a musical homage to the groundbreaking work of the late Fad Gadget mastermind Frank Tovey (1956-2002). Originally organized by Chris Halstead (DJ Seraphim) for Coitus Interruptus Productions as a digital only release, 'Under What Flag' is now being released by Cleopatra Records on CD as well as through all digital formats on January 12th.

Mastered by Jasyn Bangert (God Module), 'Under What Flag' is a tribute album made by fans for fans, that includes Leæther Strip, Blakk Glass, Canter, Cylab, NOIR, Manufactura and many more!

https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/under-what-flag-a-tribute-to-fad-gadget-cd/
https://cleopatrarecords.bandcamp.com/album/under-what-flag-a-tribute-to-fad-gadget

Tracks:

1. Bioassay – Collapsing New People
2. Blakk Glass – Lady Shave
3. Blicky – Ricky’s Hand
4. Canter – The Box
5. Charlatan – Fireside Favourite
6. Cortex Defect – Back To Nature
7. Cylab – Swallow It
8. George Sarah – Arch Of The Aorta
9. Labrynth – King Of The Flies
10. Leæther Strip – Back To Nature
11. Maleagant – Saturday Night Special (Threatened Brick In The Wall)
12. Manufactura – Insecticide
13. Microchip Junky – Insecticide
14. Missing Witness – The Box
15. NOIR – Back To Nature
16. Pixelpussy – State Of The Nation
17. Shrapnihil – Insecticide


Read our review HERE.

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