Features LOVE LIKE BLOOD, LACRIMOSA, DARKLIFE, OPULENCE plus tons of reviews/info.
Plus C90 Compilation featuring WOMB (UK), ZEROBRANCO (ITALY), MANTIZA (CHILE), VIRGIN SOLDIERS (UK), ERIXMA (UK), MUGWUMP (UK), MESSY (HOLLAND), BIZAR (BELGIUM), KOPECKY (USA), GOREGOD (RUSSIA), ALMA MATER (ITALY), LADY MORPHIA (UK), WINGS OF DESTINY (GERMANY), CPINALONGA (GREECE), VENUS FLY TRAP (UK), MERLONS (GERMANY), DAWN VISITORS (BELGIUM), MANTRA (UK), CANINE (UK), KISMET (MACEDONIA), SHADOW DANCE (FINLAND), INTO THE ABYSS (GREECE), TAEDIUM VITAE (FRANCE), KRANKHEIT DER JUGEND (GERMANY) MORTHEM VLADE ART (FRANCE) and ARTEMIV ARTEMIEV (RUSSIA).
Available via mail order £3 (UK) £5 (Europe) £6 (World). Cheques/PO's to A.NOVAK, PO BOX 210, NORTHAMPTON, NN2 6AU - UK.
Mostly metal based 'zine from the East. Lots of sub Geiger drawings along with articles on the likes of AMORTIS, DIONYSIUS, MENTAL CRYPT, USELESS SACRIFICE, VENUS FLY TRAP amongst many others.
Contact: Morphia, Sokolska 1213, 69681 Bzenec, Czech Republic.
FIGHT AMNESIA 11
Based around news and information on INTO THE ABYSS but still one of the best places to find out whats occurring on the international scene. Loads of reviews of CDs, tapes and magazines, along with in depth articles on ALIEN SEX FIEND, BLACK ATMOSPHERE and VIVISECTION. Unfortunately this will be the last issue in this format and will be centred around the band who are relocating back to Greece.
Contact: Into the Abyss, PO Box 703015, Frankfurt, Germany.
Enthusiastic Indie based 'zine, although open minded to all things underground. Lots of reviews on MAMBO TAXI, MOONPUMP, VENUS FLY TRAP, HINTON, TEEN C RECORDINGS and the PECADILOES.
Contact: Pocket, 2A Claremont Road, Wavertree, Liverpool L15 3HH
MOONSTONES & STARLIGHT 1
From the chaotic establishment of MOTHBURNER, who are featured, various bits & bobs on the likes of VENUS FLY TRAP, ALL LIVING FEAR, GOTH, SCHITZOFRANTIC, stories, reviews and mayhem.
Contact: Mothburner, 38 Fore Street, Polrovan By Fowley, Cornwall PL23 1PH
More emanations from the East with a 'zine with an open minded view, featuring a diverse range of musics. This issue has VENUS FLY TRAP, SKYFORGER, COUNTER ATTACK, SWEET WILLIAM, DUOBE and BROODING MASK.
Contact: Redivivius, Chemiku 98-32, 5000 Jonava, Lithuania
MEHR LICHT 6
Filled with all things connected with Goth and beyond, this issue features DEATH IN JUNE, LOVE AND THE WILL, IDS, FUNHOUSE and VENUS FLY TRAP. An open minded 'zine that looks beyond just music with pieces on JOHN CASSAVETES and the occult.
Contact: Mehr Licht, Rua Dos Bombeiros Voluntarious 59, 4490 Pova De Varzim, Portugal.
ZONA TOXICA 2
Catalogue and magazine from the label/distributor DARK SIDE, this issue features rock from Houston, -USA, Lado Obscuro, Funkswagen, Sin Alternitava and Mac of Mad. They also carry material from CYBERWARE, SUBWAY, PROJECKT, SOUNDBUSTER and various Mexican underground labels.
Contact: Darkside, AP 21-460, CP 04000 MEX D.F, Mexico
MUUNA TAKEEN 5
Full of interesting items, reviews of music, literature and art, this issue has a health section devoted to international mail art.
Contact: Muuna Takeena, Hepokuja 6B26, 01200 Vantaa, Finand.
ORIGINAL SIN 16
Devoted to all things underground from an international selection of bands, this ussue features DE BOSSEN, VENUS FLY TRAP, MAHOGANY, TREMBLING BLUE STARS, SHALLOW, PROPHETS OF THE MILLENNIUM, MUGWUMP plus loads of reviews.
Contact: Original Sin, Josepf Guislainstraat 6, 9000 Gent, Belgium.
GATES OF UR
Another cool 'zine covering Gothic, Electro and Dark Wave music, this issue features FAITHFUL DAWN, HUMAN DRAMA, DAS ICHT, GARDEN OF DELIGHT, ATTRITION, JUDITH, MALAISE, LOVE LIKE BLOOD, DIARY OF DREAMS, SOPOR AETERNUS, DREADFUL SHADOWS and MARTYRIUM.
Contact: Gates of UR, Apartado 4269,4004 Porto, Portugal.
One of the best magazines from the UK, although I've heard that they've had problems with the tax people - I hope that gets resolved! This issue has interviews with ROSETTA STONE, STREEM, ULTRAVIOLENCE, LYDIA LUNCH, FEAR CULT, DREAMHAUS, MOONSPELL and ENTWINED plus lots of others and plenty of reviews. As if that wasn't enough, thers a twelve track CD featuring bands in the magzine.
Contact: BRV, Flat 1, 112 St Georges Terrace, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE2 2DP.
Quality glossy magazine covering independant music in the widest sense, this issue features SALARYMAN,DAS ICHT, KRISTEN HERSH, HAPPY MONDAYS, NEUBATEN, LORDS OF ACID, BENTLEY RYTHM ACE, RAMMSTEIN and loads more, along with reviews and info.
Contact: Premonition, 28 Villa des Paroseaux, 92320 Chatillon, France.
Another zine from the dark side, they also organise various events in Paris. This issue features CLAN OF XYMOX, BLACK TAPE, MOONSPELL, BREATH OF LIFE, DEAD SOULS RISING, FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM plus the usual music and zine reviews.
Contact:Hektacombe, 15 Rue Vergniaund, 7501 ParisFrance
Glossy magazine devoted to all things Rock/Metal orientated, mostly covering Russian bands. This issue has AVALON HOUSE, VENUS FLY TRAP, LAST SERENADE, INFECTED, MISCREANT, UNCROSSED and loads more.
Conact: Blacksmith, PO Box 82, Meget, Irkutsk Region, 665894 Russia
Gothic based music and culture zine features CHATEAU ROYALE, VENUS FLY TRAP, AIMLESS, EXPLIZIT, EINSAM, FAITH AND THE MUSE, DAS ICH, FLOAT, ERATO and live, book and film reviews.
Contact: Gwyndon, Heimerik 67, 2440 Geel, Belgium.
Dedicated to all things experimental, mostly review based with features on MHLEST/BHP and JLIAT.
Contact: Lockjaw, 154 Minnis Road, Birchington, Kent CT7 9QT
Just gets better every issue. An in depth reviews section with features on CHAOS ENGINE, IN THE NURSERY, NEKROMANTIC, MOTHBURNER, SKINFLOWERS, PASSION PLAY, JESUS FIX and SACROSANCT festival.
Contact: Interference, 14 Stanley Road, Broadstairs, Kent CT10 1DA
Covering the more experimental/avant garde meets dance/techno are with features on HAHAMANDAD, DJ SPOOKY, TRIPLE VISION, A MUSIK, BASIC GROOVE, HYWARE and TECHNOISE plus other Dutch based artists.
Contact: Fake, Riounstraat 66, Dordrecht, Holland.
More emanations from the experimental/avant garde, mostly reviews based, with features on DACHISE and ROGER DOYLE.
Contact: Mecano, 192 North way, London NW4 1DY
Another new UK zine, with colour pics even, covering the general Gothic scene. This issue has pieces on INKUBUS SUKKUBUS, FAITHFUL DAWN, reports on MANCHESTER UNDERWORLD, VAGABONDS CLOTHING, an extract from STORM CONTANTINE's book, along with the usual live and recorded music reviews.
Contact: Fodder, 10 Teal Grove, Birchwood, Warrington, WA3 6PA
Freebie monthly tabloid covering most independant music, mostly from the lowlands, this issue has festival reports and music reviews plus features on POSTMEN, ACDA & DE MUNNIK, BLUE MEANIES, TECH 9, MALOCIA, KIRSTEN, NUFF SAID and loads more.
Contact: Fret, Prins Hendrikkade 142, 1011 AT Amsterdam, Holland
Another organisation with fingers in many pies.
First off, the magazine called CRAP. This issue features a report on the current DIY scene, WE Fest report on the annual festival of music and art organised by Opulence. Also includes an article on 'how to make big bucks' via internet auctions, some Mail Art and a catalogue of Opulence releases. They have released material on both CD and cassette which includes PANDORAS LUNCHBOX, TRESPASSERS W, TEX SVENGALI, BRICKBAT and SPITE along with many other releases.
PAWN - Compilation (Cassette - Opulence)
Most artists on this tape are American with one exception, a great introduction to some of the left field music that's currently coming out of the States. This features KNOBS (X meets Television), TRICKY, THE COSMONAUT (LoFi meets Jonathan Richmond), SPITE (grunge in the style of Jesus Lizard/Nirvana), FLYING SHELSONS (surreal ranting black humour reminiscent of Zappa), SAM GIRONDA (solo singer/guitarist), FRANK MOORE/LINDA MAC (bizarre reinterpretation of Sonny & Cher classic), NECK (thrash metal meets Rage Against the Machine with pop ambiences), IT COULD BE NOTHING (Psyche meets Soundgarden), RODEO BOY (pop in Sonic Youth style), BLOOM (psychotic grunge meets Pixies), FELIZ DIAZ (Electronic meets pop guitars with a wry sense of humour), OKINAWA FUMSHIRO (oddball cut ups from Japan), SIDE DOOR JOHNNIES (punk/pop in the Green Day/Presidents mould) TEX SVENGALI (swamp rock via Rocket from the Crypt), PHIL BRULIA (strange tale about Piranas), MIKE ERRICO (earnest singer/guitarist), UNCLENCH (thrash punk) PIZ (skitty electronics reminscent of Devo), SQUID BRILLO ( B Movie soundtrack music), AUDIO EXPLORATIONS (experimental ambiences), CHRIS CUNNIGHAM (singer/guitarist), JENNIFER CONVERTIBLE (rap pop/punk Run DMC meets Green Day), MIL MULLIGANS (grungy pop) and JUG OR NOT (pop/punk).
This cassette is brim full of interesting material and I defy anyone not to find something they would enjoy. All done with a sense of enthusiasm and a big dollop of humour, especially the film cut ups used between the tracks.
Contact: Opulence, Po Box 2017, Wilmington, NC 28402-2071 USA.
MUGWUMP - Alternative Routes (Cassette DBM)
Formed in 1995, they have produced two cassettes thus far, 'Ides of Winter' and 'Tunnel Vision', both of which were well received by various magazines and radio. They have supported the likes of the Fall, the Damned, Fish and the Enid, a diverse range of bands as eclectic as the influences on their music. Still occupying the darker realms with their all encompassing meloncholy with progressive overtones. But overall, the general feel puts me in mind of bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, especially the vocals.
Contact: DBM, 126 Rocky Lane, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 1QF.
Organises, amongst other events, the Festival for Underground Music, Mail Art, etc every year in Ternuezen, Holland. Featured artists have included; ANNABELLAS GARDEN, MOATA OMEN, HYBRIDS, INOX KAPELL, M.NOMIZED, HYWARE, etc
A project put together in '97 by local members of G TREE, MESSY, DJ EVOL, LAMERE an AMANDA MAN. All of the above have their own solo projects along with various collaborations centred around the KALASHNIKOV centre in Terneuzen.
Cassette label that has released material mostly by artists that have appeared at organised events, along with many compilations. Featured artists include SIEGMAR FRICKE (Germany), NOMUSIC (USA), M.NOMIZED (France), HYPNOSKULL (Belgium), MANA ERG (Italy) and PENIS FLY TRAP (UK) amongst many others.
Fanzine of collected pieces of underground network information, artwork and also acts as promotion for the above projects and as a catalogue of HA releases.
Contact: Hahamandad, Westraat 38, 4571 HM Axel, Holland
HYPNO SKULL - Japanese Kisses (Cassette - Hahamandad/Escape 3 Organisation)
Live session from 95 recorded at the Kalashinikov club from these Belgium electronic activists. A searing attack of distorted mechanised beats at breaking point, the edge of sanity. Dismembered voices in a sea of feedback like Cabaret Voltaire on overload.
Contact: Hahamandad or Escape 3 Organisation, PO Box 52, 2070 Zwijndrecht, Belgium
VIRGIN SOLDIERS - Help Us THe Demons Are Coming (Cassette)
Self confessed rock n'roll bad boys, courting controversy in the Sex Pistols style. A mix of sex drugs and rock n'roll reminiscent of the Rolling Stones and a touch of spiritualism via the Doors. That's one hell of a manifesto to live up to. Musically they are very much in the mould of the classic Punk bands from the Stooges to the Sex Pistols with sneering vocals that have lots of attitude over punk riffs that have melody and linger on after the dancing is over. This band want you to sweat and leap about, but also to take away something more than just having a good time.
Contact: Virgin Soldiers, PO Box 20, Hayling Island, Hants PO11 9TU
REMORA - Amerse (Cassette)
This American band/artist as the information is minimal reflect this in the music which is appropriately minimal and experimental. Waves of distortion fed through reverb effects drone through the ether like a passing tank(?). These other worldly murmurs are in stark contrast to the sub Stooges riffs that are processed out of all recognition on some occasions. Structured tracks with some vocals are the shade to the more chaotic soundscapes, the pitch darkness. A mixture of a psychedelic feel set against a more extreme sound manipulation like Pink Floyd meets Merzbow.
Contact: Remora, PO Box 18062, NC 27619, USA
DOWN UNDER GROUND 2 (compilation LP - Toan)
Another collection, this time from the land of Oz, highlighting the current scene. Showing that there is life beyond Europe/USA for creative alternative music. This features CLOSED WORLD ASSUMPTION (metal/EBM crossover like FLA/Fear Factory), NALE (doom metal),NOVAKILL (from the album 'Gender Scrutiny' overload, cyber electronics via Skinny Puppy), TROLL (featrures Stephen Harris who runs Toan label and the fanzine of the same name with Debbie Mansfield, both ex members of SCREAMWORLD, Goth/Industrial and Metal fusion) EYE (electronic) ZEITGEIST (Gothic/Metal) STERIL (track from the CD 'Warm Dark Dance', electronics in Cubanate mode), GRETELS POINTLESS EXISTENCE (Rock Metal with a wry sense of humour), PUPPETSPHERE (prog Metal electronics). DRAXEN (Metal/EBM),EVOL LOVE (somewhere between Depech Mode/Marc Almond), CLICK (Metal), CRIMSON BOY (EBM), HIDDEN AGENDA (Socio-Political, reminiscent of New Model Army), ANUBIS (Metal) and AERBOURNE (Metal).
Contact: TOAN, PO Box 103, Macarthur Square, NSW 2560, Australia.
ROCK MEGALLANICO - Compilation (Cassette - Harijan)
A sample of music from the label's output starting in '95, an introduction to the current scene in Chile. This compilation features LLUVIA ACIDA (Dark electronics influenced by Kraftwerk/Front 242, have an album out 'Simulcion' '96), AZUL MELBA (Psyche Rock), NEMESIS (Hard Rock), TEQUILA (Rap Metal), DATURA (Doorsy Trance Rock), MANTIZA (Gothicy electronics meets Rock, have two albums out 'El Refugio' '95 and 'Final Del Juego' '97), PATRICO ULLOA (EBM mixed Trance with cut ups), NEBULA (a collaboration between members of MANTIZA and LLUVIA ACIDA, sounds like a mix of both bands, have an album out caled "Formador '98") OSCAR DELARES (singer/guitarist) and PORTAS DRAUMAR (Morrison inspired spoken word poetry, have an album out "El Guardian" '97). Also out on the label is the Brit Pop 60's/90's influenced album "Todos Quiren Ver El Sol" by IN MEMORANDUM.
Contact: HARIJAN, Mario Toledo Viola 326, Panta Arenas, Chile
ZEROBRANCA - Senza Elementi (cassette)
Third release from this Italian Art Rock band who are striving to do something original with their varied style. This certainly is a strange cocktail of musical references from sub Jazz not unlike James Chance. Everything is constantly evolving, changing, shifting this way and that which puts me in mind of Zappa. Quirky rythmns, scratchy guitars and intoned speeded up vocals make this band quite unique.
Contact: ZEROBRANCO, Via Galvani 12, 35020 Albignasego (PD) Italy.
SHE CRAZY - She Crazy (Cassette)
Debut release from this German band that is well produced and presented. Metal edged rock thats got touches of bands like Metallica edged with the more pop sensibilities of INXS, they wouldn'y be out of place in Kerrang and other magazines of its ilk. This band meld old and new rock from Led Zeppelin to more recently Moist, bith have wide appeal beyond the genre. We'll have to wait and see if they capitalise on this...
Contact: She Crazy, Bianca Graute, Vincent House, 5 Pembridge Square, London W2 4EG
ERIXAMA - Sphere of Magnetic Virtue (Cassette - Fragment)
This cassette is also available as a limited edition silver grey vinyl album released on German label STAUBGOLD. There has been a certain shift in the philosophy and musical stance, a greater awareness of other musics and cultures. You get a sense of globalisation influencing dance and experimental music entwing all of these together. Erixma have taken World Music and beyond on board their ambient rythmic experimentations, stretching and widening their appeal. Transcendent peices that float in the ether, shifting from one musical form to another, sound shifting.
Contact: Fragment, PO Box 4063, Brentwood, Essex CM14 4WH or STAUBGOLD, Zulpicher Str.251, 50937 Köln, Germany
CREAM OF THE CROP (Fanzine & Cassette)
Punk, Indie and beyond based zine which is open minded to most forms of Underground music. Issue 3 features interviews with MOONPUMP, STRAIN and MOTHBURNER along with loads of reviews. On the cassette we have MOONPUMP (a track from their album 'Heavy Woolen Heroes', stooges tinted guitar meets Brit Pop), PENNY DROPS (from the single 'Sally', Teardrop Explodes syle uplifting pop), GREEN TEA FOR ALIENS (track from the album 'Small Girl', grungy guitars meets the Stooges - who clearly meet a lot of people), MOTHBURNER (South West's gothic nightmare with plaintiff soul wrenching song), JET HEAVY (Smashing Pumpkins type number from a live session), MUGWUMP (from the cassette 'Alternative Rants' poignant sub Echo & the Bunnymen dripping with Atmosphere).
Issue 4 features interviews with VOW, MICK MAGIC, GRANDADDY, CONSPIRACY, ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT, RAGGITY ANNE, annd on the cassette CONSPIRACY (lounge style psyche from the legendary undergound band), VOW (punk tinged pop a la Greenday). 100,000 BODYBAGS (track from the 'Schoolroom Politics' album, Anarcho Punk Pop), GULLIVER )French Melodic sub Cardiacs) MAGIC MOMENTS AT TWILIGHT TIME (from the 'Creavolution' album, LoFi spaced out electronics) RAGGITTY ANNE (New Wave with a sense of humour) and THE ASTRONAUTS (the original Anarcho Punks from the album 'Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs')
MUSIC AND ELSEWHERE (Newsletter/Yearbook)
From the home of MICK MAGIC, independant networker and member of the legendary MAGIC MOMENTS AT TWILIGHT TIME. Both provide information/reviews om MMATT, but are a great source of information on the international underground scene. Contacts for bands, labels, fanzines, radio, plus more make this an essential guide for anyone involved with underground music. Along with the above activities there is a label of the same name which has released material by the likes of CONSPIRACY, WITCHES, X RAY POP, SONS OF SELINA, VENUS FLY TRAP, INTO THE ABYSS and KAVA KAVA amongst many others. With over four hundred releases of an international selection of artists, along with the AUDIOZINE compilation, it is an invaluable source of 'alternative' musics.
Contact: Music and Elsewhere, 6 Farm Court Road, Frimley, Surrey GU16 5TJ
UNDER MY SKIN/DARKLIFE (Fanzine)
First issue of this internaional zine, and it is impressive stuff with well informed and detailed interviews with TWO WITCHES, MEDIAEVAL BABES, FAITH AND THE MUSE, CHILDREN ON STUN, CHRISTIAN DEATH, CLAN OF XYMOX and ALIEN SEX FIEND, along with live and record reviews, Swiss scene and festival reports.
DARKLIFE COMPILATION CD
As if the other activities were not enough, here is the first compilation CD of bands involved with the Darklife organisation. The CD features a wide mix of known and unknown bands from the international dark wave/gothic scene with BIOTEK (UK EBM in the Cubanate/Front 242 mould, a track from the album 'Darkness My Name'), SABOTAGE (well regarded German electronic outfit, remixed by Pankow), EX NIHILA (Kraftwerk influenced Techno from Switzerland), MEMORY LAB (Dark Electro with metal samples from Italy), Wry Help (German Electronic), NINI (Front Line Assembly influenced band from Italy), VENUS FLY TRAP (UK based Dark Wave rock from the CD 'Dark Amour'), J-Werk (Atmospheric electronics from Italian/Swiss collaboration), TV NOISE (Depeche Mode electronics from Norway), DYNAMIC MASTERS (80's influenced track released as a single on Soundblaster/Germany), D.K (Austrian neo romantic sound), ANDROGYNE INDIGO (Dark electronics from Switzerland), WINGS OF DESTINY (from the album 'Where Darkness Falls', classic German Goth), CYBELLE (Experimental/Atmospheric electronics from Norway, from the album 'Brightly Blackhearted') and TRYLOK (Austrian Ambient Trance from the Album 'Reliance').
Contact: Darklife, 17E Frognal Road, Hampstead, London NW3 6AR, UK. or; Rue Faller 8, CH 1202 Geneve, Switzerland. www.triwdata.ch/public/DARKLIFE_CH.html
KOPECKY - Kopecky (cassette)
A trio of American musicians who are also brothers all named Kopecky - that's the introduction out of the way. The level of musicianship is very high, almost intuitive, probably owing a lot to this special connection. All of the tracks on offer are instrumental in nature and influenced by rock in one form or another. They move with ease from more progressive pieces with eastern influences not unlike Led Zeppelin or more recently Tea Party. Then into more 'rockier' territory all done with crystal clear production and seamless technique.
Influences vary from classical Bach to traditional Ravii Shankar to contemporary Yes and Dream Theatre, just a part of this bands musical spectrum.
Contact: KOPECKY, 3335 Hamlin Street, Rechine, WI 53403 USA
SHADOW BOXERS - Interpol (Cassette - Forklift)
Belfast based band who delve into the seamier side of urban life where loneliness and alienation are part of everyday existence (poor dears). Drawing on these feelings, they have much in common with the likes of the Velvets and Wire. Both found inspiration in the urban environment and the dysfunctional society that resides there. Contact: FORKLIFT, 65 Melrose Street, Belfast, BT9 7DN N.IRELAND
ORPHEUS - Orpheus (Cassette - SCH)
Another project featuring words and music from Andrew Bareletta, the others include SCHWARZWALD (see below) and HOFFMANNSTHAL. Again more material inspired by dark places, eerie atmospheres and gothc ambiences. Mournful vocals intone over early Cure inspired backing, which comes across stronger than the male vocal. Difficult to judge just on two tracks on offer here, I don't know if there is more material forthcoming.
SCHWARZWALD - Allein in der Schwarzwald (cassette SCH)
Although Italian they have a penchant for the more teutonic titles and sounds, even though it is sung mainly in English. A more confident piece of work, everything is a lot more focussed than the above release, a definite sense of maturity in the songwriting. Musically they produce 'classic' gothic music treading much the same dark paths as the likes of Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus The drum machine pounds away in strict time, whilst the guitar etches away acidic tunes, all overlaid with deep mournful vocals that are dripping with despair. Don't go down to the woods today, or you'll be in for a nasty suprise!
Contact: A Barletta, Via G.B.Gardoncini 3, 10143 Torino, Italy
GOREGOD - Apocalyse Now (Cassette - Mortal Dreams)
Russian band that pound the senses with dark, doomy, metal meets grunge, this is drenched with all thats decaying. On one hand we have typical Death Metal, then we have more electronic sampled tracks that owe a lot to Ministry and their ilk. Experimenting beyond the normal bounds of the genre gives this band a bit of shade amongst all the blackness. This is their strength and shows that if pursued, who knows the potential?, especially on the female vox inspired looped material.
Contact: GOREGOD, 60021 Krasnoyarsk, Volzainaya, 14-16 RUSSIA
DEATH IN JUNE - Take Care & Control (CD - World Serpent)
Building upon their unique blend of harsh experimentalism, twisted teutonic folk and punishing rythmic surges, 'Take Care & Control' is another milestone in DIJ's uncompromising 15 year history. The powerful mixture of snippets of Marlene Dietricht syle torch songs (which sound very much like they've been taken from original recordings) with loops of noise and complex, gloomy, yet inspiring lyrics, along with their militaristic teutonic imagery have led to some critics branding DIJ as a right wing band. However, the songs of Death and Power on this CD just don't communicate that to me. Truly unique, anyone who witnessed as I did their awesome London concert recently at Camden Underworld will know that although they attract an extreme audience (who would all undoubtedly be packed off to the camps in any Nazi superstate without a second thought!), they are actualy utilising the provocative imagery to force a reaction and therefore push the boundaries just that bit further. Oh yes, it comes in a lovely foil blocked sleeve with lyric booklet too! A must. (AR)
Contact: World Serpent Distribution, Unit 7-i-7 Seager Buildings, Brookmill Road, London SE8 4HL
WORKMAN - Tribalmodernwizard (Cassette - CRA)
Follow up to the "Suffering Reaction" cassette which came out in '95, from this solo Italian artist Piero Seghetti. The above release managed to sell 3000 copies worldwide, quite an achievement for an underground artist. Inspiration for the new album has come from a general uneasiness and discomfort with an industrial/technological society. This is reflected in the harsh grainy vox set against grinding guitars. Thrash metal amalgamated with electronics similar to crossover bands like Biohazard and Fear Factory. Add to this the odd quirky progressive influences gives this release an individuality generally lacking in the genre.
Contact: WORKMAN, V.Sacco e Vanzetti, 06068 Tavernelle, Perugia, ITALY
ALMA MATER - L'essenza (Cassette - Caligari)
Another Italian band, this time revolving around the 'open' group concept, this is their third release, although they've also appeared on notable compilations put out by the labels Energeia and Alea Jacta Est. The dual female and male vocals on some numbers owes inspiration to the likes of Dead Can Dance and In The Nursery. Fragile electronic pieces with neo-romantic and 80's overtones that wouldn't be out of place on the Cherry Red label. Poetic lyrical passages delve into the essence of human existence, striving for meaning out of the chaos. Inspirational.
Contact: ALMA MATER, S.Calzoni, Via D.Alighieri 5, 44047 S.Agostino(FE) ITALY.
JENNY KITTENS - Jenny Kittens (Cassette)
More reclusive than Howard Hughes (though not as dead), this bands photo consists of a park bench and no names. Enigmatic indeed! I guess that the whole point of this is for the listener not to be influenced by the press blurb. From the first track, we are blasted with the power of this band's lo fi meets punk no nonsense approach, but still tuneful - somwhere between the Buzzcocks, Ash and Rocket From The Crypt, a mixture of old and new, New Wave.
Contact: Jenny Kittens 01977 681241
BIZAR - Apex Obviate (Cassette - Blue Ice)
Produced by Belgian solo artist Lenout Stijn who did all of the programming and vocals on this album under the really rather good name of Bizar (sounds vaguely familar...). The above description gives the game away, as yes you've guessed it, the music is electronic in nature in one form or the other. I can detect influences from fellow Belgians Front 242 and the strong links with the EBM scene this implies. Thumping bass, trippy sequencers and gravelly vocals are Bizar's trademark, along with a mixture of Acid, Trance and Techno elements in places. Bizar have absorbed many styles of electronic music, bith past and present, so who knows what the future will bring!
Contact: BIZAR, Bruggestraat 112, 8930 Menen, Belgium.
FINAL - Urge/Fail (Single-Fever Pitch)
Well regarded underground experimentalists from the UK with an esoteric release via this promising label. The musical split on this single is between searing distortions on one side, counterbalanced with ambient soundscape material on the other. But both pieces are evocative post-industrial ambiences which have an unsettling effect on the listener.
SOULSTORM - New Level of Surrender (Single - Fever Pitch)
In contrast to the above this is asskicking hardcore meets industrial via the likes of ministry. Pounding drums, metal guitar licks and angst ridden vocals are this band's trademark. Very much in the territory of bands who've tried to mix metal and industrial, which include Fear Factory, Die Krupps and Biohazard.
KIRCHENKAMPF - Parasite/Nebula (Single - Fever Pitch)
Back again into more esoteric realms from this time an American ambient artist. This has a very 'spacey' feel like something from '2001', other worldy murmurs from distant galaxies. Again this has an unsettling effect of unseen forces lurking in the shadows. In space no one can hear you scream.
Contact: FEVER PITCH, 1108 E. Capitol Drive, Appleton, W1 54911, USA
KRANKHEIT DER JUGEND - Schnittstellen (LP - Soundbuster)
Wayward, unpredictable second album from this art rock band from Germany. More eccentric songs that mix experimental with commercialism, which bring to mind some of the more 'concept' artists from the 70s. A 90s version of bands like Can, Faust and La Dusseldorf would fit, very timely with the current fascination with 'Krantrack'.
But that's not the whole story mix in bands from the 'German New Wave' like DAF, Grauzone and their ilk. There are so many reference points, so much alchemy going on it's difficult to define as things change so quickly. Along with the above I would have to mention the respected Neubauten as a near relative, this band are on the verge of being very important.
Contact: SOUNDBUSTER, PO Box 25, 74039 Heilbronn, GERMANY
JAZZ FINGER - The Little Girl On The Plane Who Turned Her Doll's Head Around To Look At Me (LP - Muzamuza)
A band with a line in snappy titles and a penchant for annoying the police with their 10fi improvisations. Primitive electric emanations from behind closed doors, fragments of warped minds directly produced by their homemade soundlab. Eerie mechanics that claw at the imagination that wouldn't sound out of place in the film 'Eraserhead'. Disturbing ambiences of inhuman proportions dwellin the psyche, who knows what lurks beyond. Contact: MUZAMUZA, 3 Soulby Court, Kingston Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE3 2TQ
TAEDIUM VITAE - Tanz Und Schrei (Single-TMVE)
Follow up to the album 'Garden of Stones' from this Gothic/Electro duo from France. A mix of cold wave minimalism and martial repetitive electronics somewhere between Front 242, Das Ich and Endraum. Melancholic dual vocals intone over rigid sequencers then tear at the heart on the more neo-romantic numbers. The teutonic feel is reaffirmed with the vocals sung in German rather than their native French. An astute move or a musical preference, either way this band will be reaching a wider audience.
Contact: TMVE, 94 Rue des Hauts Paves, 44000 Nantes, FRANCE
THE GALLERY - Fateful Passion (LP - Hall of Sermon)
Highly rated Gothic/metal band from Germany which feature brother and sister team, Antje and Gunnar Mothes who share the vocal duties. From the same musical stable as the likes of Tiamat, Moonspell, Gathering and Samael. A mix of spiritualism that's reminiscent of the mission along with chugging riffs that owes more to the above acts. Imbued with a fascination with eroticism and morbidity, even down to the recreation of the Dali skull on the cover. The presentation and production is faultless and there is strong cross-over potential, backed up by the choice of doing a A-HA song.
Contact: HALL OF SERMON, PO Box 749, 4310 Rheinfelden, SWITZERLAND
GIANTS CAUSEWAY - Destination Insecure (LP - Serenades)
The third album from this established German Gothic/Wave act who've toured with th elikes of London After Midnight and Crematory. Again another cross-over band using 'metal' guitars set against Gothic ambiences, in this case sounding like a cross between the Sisters/Love Like Blood. Mixing female and male vocals gives the songs plenty of light and shade also variety. But their realm is dark and full of mysticism, but a kind of rousing melancholy imbues everything. Fatalistic neo-romantic songs that stir the emotions and crave our attention, to reinforce this they've also covered the Sisters 'Alice'. This band look set to cross from cult to mainstream without losing any of their credibility.
Contact: SERENADES, In Der Vorstadt 114, 73529 Schwab. Gmund, GERMANY
INTO THE ABYSS - Cosmogonia (LP - In Wonderland)
Echoes of their native Greece feature as a strong undercurrent in both music and lyrical inspiration. Ideas drawn from ancient mythology and put into a modern setting are the canvas. Even the cover features an Icon melded with psychedelic patterns, a premonition of a return both spiritual and physical. This band have achieved a great deal producing two well received albums 'Matryium' and 'Feathered Snake' along with many tours in the UK and Europe. They've mixed western and eastern muscial traditions together more obviously on this album. Plus progressive rock influences. From Van der Graaf Generator to Hawkwind Dimensions of a spiritual kind are very evident throughout and put me in mind of bands like the Doors to more recently The Tea Party. These are all reference points rather than the whole, as electronics and samples have been put into this musical melting pot. This band are on the verge of a new musical journey let's hope they see it through to its conclusion.
Contact: IN WONDERLAND, Wetzlarer Str. 9, 35630 Ehringshausen, GERMANY
DEISIX - Act One: Sacrifice (Single - Cyberware)
Features Tim V from Shade Factory and also the x-base player from Gothic band Two Witches. This project is more in the EBM realm, sounding like a cross between Front 242 and commercial techno. A split musical mind between gravly vox and harder edge electronics, mixed in with catchy melodic sequences. One way or another they want you on the dance floor. It'll be interesting to see if there is more breadth on the forthcoming album.
TERMINAL CHOICE - Navigator (LP - Cyberware)
Follow up to 'Khaosgott' from this Berlin based industrial band produced in the main by Christian Pohl. Dark electronics are the trademark of this band as we are again plunged into their bleak world. Melancholic songs reminiscent of a doomier version of Depeche Mode or Kraftwerk and a departure from previous material. Well you still have the pounding techno and distorted vox but we have wider range of styles including the use of sampled guitars.
Following on from other industrial bands who've mixed electronics with metal edged guitars like Ministry, Die Krupps and Front Line Assembly. This will certainly help the bands appeal beyond just the electronic scene and into a more 'rock' arena. These hybrids are creating more possibilities which this band have embraced, mixing industrial, techno and metal in the same area as Fear Factory. With less restrictions than on previous material it'll be intriguing to see what else they can fuse with their sound.
THE SHADOW DANCE - Temple (Single - Cyberware)
Ethereal Goth band from Finland and their debut release after appearing on some notable compilations. Lush dark female vocals float over subdued melancholic backing, that owes much to the likes of the Sisters, Corpus Delicti and Ikon. Reverb drenched songs that are sweet and haunting at the same time, you just need to immerse yourself in the atmosphere.
Contact: CYBERWARE, PO Box 623, 33101 Tampere, FINLAND
THE SECOND SIGHT - Everything is broken (LP - Trinity)
Formed from the successful 'Baron Age' band, who released various singles via a major label in Germany. Since then have had numerous TV appearances and supported the likes of 'Camoflage' and 'Silke Bishoff'. Obviously this band are focused on garnering more commercial success with this release. Which contains well crafted 'pop' tinged electronics in the vein of the likes of Simple Minds and Depeche Mode. Melodic guitars and catchy synths reinforce this 80s slant but all done with 90s production. With various revivals includings the 80s being pushed maybe this is the right time ....
LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT - Oddities (LP - Apocalyptic Vision)
Features rare, live, b-sided and accoustic/remix material packaged beautifully, the usual high standard from this band and label. The live tracks are taken from performances in Germany and Belgium and include new and unreleased songs. Along with this we have new studio tracks and b-sides from the out of print 'kiss' single. With all these different elements you would expect this album to be bitty, but strangely enough, it does gel as a whole. It's a mix of looking back at past achievements and giving us a taster for the future, a taking stock if you like. There's something for both the collector and the uninitiated from this romantic Gothic band.
PERFIDIOUS WORDS - Hydrogen Skies (LP - Trinity)
Debut release from this German electronic band who have received great praise from the press. Dabbling with many different styles of electronic music, from the more catchy 'Depeche Mode' commercial material. Which vocally is very close to the original a compliment in this case. Haunting melodic melancholy that pervades much of the material on show here. To soundscapes for your mind to delve into but all done with pristine production, and an eye on commercial acitivity. This band want you to not only take them to your hearts but also to linger in your memory.
ESPENDOR GEOMETRICO - Polyglophone (LP - Apocalyptic Vision)
Now to a completely different kettle of fish from those post industrial experimentalists from Spain. Comprising of Arturo Lanz and Saverio Evangelista these Dada/Futurist sound manipulators have been producing challenging music since 1980. Pushing the boundaries of the above genres to produce rythmical tribal drumming, combined with industrial ambiences in Test Dept. style. Uncompromising beats pull hypnotically, a cross between rave/industrial and beyond. Whatever genre you apply to this band they transcend them leaving you lost for words, in this case action is what they demand.
Contact: TRINITY/APOCALYPTIC VISION, Ahornweg 19, 64807 Dieburg, GERMANY
LACRIMOSA - Live (LP - Hall of Sermon)
In existence for eight years in which time they've produced five studio albums and become the most successful German Gothic rock band of the 90s. This album covers material from their whole career which includes tracks from the outstanding albums 'Stille' and 'Satura'. Their mix of metal meets Gothic punctuated by dual male and female vox drives with angst and power. Capable of delivering harder edged darker material and more neo-romantic nuances make this a capable live band.
LOVE LIKE BLOOD - Snakekiller (LP - Hall of Sermon)
Fifth album from the Godfathers of German Gothic who have been producing material since the 80s. Contributions on this album come from various Gothic luminaries including members of 'Lacrimosa', 'Gorefest', 'Silke Bischoff', 'Moonchild' and 'Dimmu Borgir'. Quite an endorsement of the place this band holds amongst fellow musicians and within the genre itself. Owing a lot to more traditional acts like 'the Sisters' and 'the Nefilim' they've melded this to metal edged grandiose melodies. Rousing anthemic songs that stir the imagination mixed with mysticism reminiscent of 'The Mission' or 'Tea Party'. This album reaffirms their place both in terms of quality and power and gets them to a wider audience.
Contact: HALL OF SERMON P.O. BOX 749, 4310 Rheinfelden, Switzerland.
SOUNDSCAPE GALLERY 2 - Compilation (LP - Lektronic)
A collection of some of the most active performers within the atmospheric electronic music scene. Featuring more European based artists wiht genres covered from space, industrial, minimalist and beyond. All handpicked by label boss Angel Romero to give the listener a ride that stirs the imagination. This features ALPHA WAVE MOVEMENT (USA), JEFF PEARCE, MICHAEL STEARNS (American Soundtrack composer for the likes of 'Chronos' film and Disney), BON LOZAGA (worked with Gong and Gongzilla), HANS CHRISTIAN (Germany), MICHEL HUYGEN (Spanish artist who's performed with Vangelis and Nico), MEG BOWLES, CAUL and MATTHIAS GRASSOW/RUDIGER GLEISBERG/AMIR BAGHIRI.
All the above have a vast array of released material too much to mention, but this compilation will act as your guide.
ASHLEY/STORY - Drop (LP - Lektronic)
Second colaboration between sound designer/composer Dwight Ashley and Tim Story, a follow up to the 'Desperate Serenity' album from '92. These soundsculptures are meant to provoke the listener rather than to act just as a background muzak. Were confronted with uncomfortable emotions hidden within the dark melodic musical mazes. You are drawn in to explore these passages but you are never quite sure what is around the corner. Reflective ambiences pose questions, putting the proverbial mirror so that we can gaze into and discover our true natures.
Contact: LEKTRONIC, PO Box 15867, Durham, NC 27704-0867, USA
LADY MORPHIA - Pangaea (Single - Surgery)
Follow up to the 'ideology and Emotion' cassette which came out in '97 from Nick Nedzynski's brainchild. This release has more Irish arrangements that are full of percussive elements that underpin the accoustic guitar. Epic neo-fold that puls at the heartstrings, take a bow Death in June, In The Nursery and even the Cocteau Twins. To act as an antidote we have more uplifting pieces that are more conventional 'Gothic' and are more club or radio friendly. But the unusual use of percussive instruments sets them apart, perhaps a less overt creatures would be close. Well since the last release there's certainly more maturity in the songwriting and a surer hand in the production. Along with a wider selection of reference points to draw on, they are fast becoming themselves.
Contact: LADY MORPHIA, North Park Cottage, Paddock Wood, :Little Walden, ESSEX CB10 1XE
STAN - Gimme Some (Cassette)
New band from an area that has produced the dubious delights of Ant and Dec and Fog. Let's hope they follow some of the more celebrated exports like the beer for example. Already garnering positive reviews from various magazines and captivating their native North East ... now the world. That's enought of the press release now onto the music, which is reminiscent of the bluesy Ocean Colour Scene. Very 'Brit Pop', a mix of 60s nostalgia and 90s cool, now that's a very crowded marked at the moment. Will the consumer like 'Stan's' packaging well nine out of ten ...
Contact: STAN , 2A King Street, Quayside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 3UQ
WOMB - Broken English (Cassette)
Follow up to "Babies For Sale" cassette, from this project that is performed and written by Greg Ferrari. There is certainly an improvement in the quality of the material since the last recording. But it's still very much in the 'Gothic' mode, lots of dark atmospherics drenched in reverb. The guitar work puts me in mind of early-Cure, deeply evocative and melancholy. It's a difficult challenge to get the balance right between melodic and moody, it seems Womb achieve this with ease.
Contact: WOMB, 90 High Road, London N15 6JU
BP SERVICE - Self Acting Technology (LP Tone Casualties)
Strange sound mutations from Hungary via unconventional music label from the States. Manipulated soundscapes metal on metal factory noises like a spaced out Test Dept. Rythmic mechanic electronics loop hypnotically while waves of sensuous female restrains float atmospherically. Obtuse sound reverberates, abstrations in space and time somewhere between Espendor Geometrico and Substanz T.
LASZLO HORTOBAGYI - Suma Technologiae (LP Tone Casualties)
Another Hungarian whose work has been released on numerous labels including his collaboration as HYRO via Tone Casualties. This project mixes vocal samples that draw on ethnic and traditional musics with soundscape electronics. World music of one form or another seems to have been an inspiration for this evocative piece or work. The nearest ports of call for reference points would be some of the output from Nation records from the UK. But there is a surprise or two on this album like the use of metal guitar samples on one track.
KISMET - Wake Up Gods (LP - Tone Casualties)
Continuing with releasing music from unexpected parts of the world this comes from Macedonia. Mixing traditional elements along with modern technology they don't sound too far away from the likes of Cubanate or Coptic Rain. There is pounding EBM in parts with techno but also stirring more traditional pieces that draw comparisons to 'Voix de Bulgares as inspiration. Musically they draw both on the past and the present to underpin the turbulent history of the Balkans. It's hard not to have been influenced by recent events and this comes across in the general atmosphere. Thought provoking.
Contact: Tone Casualties, 1258 North Highland Ave, Hollywood, CA 90038, USA
CANINE - Loves Dark Remains (LP - Rugged)
Debut release from this band that lurk under the shadows of the Angel of the North and contenders for the best anti-gig of the year. Their dark urban psychosis takes in the likes of the Stooges, Nick Cave and The Cramps. Self mutilating guitar riffs that provide the backdrop to nihilistic vocals and punishing swamp rock blues. Subpoetic refrains cut up this soundtrack to some deranged film which gives this band extra dimensions. Their bite is definitely worse than their bark ...
Contact: Rugged, 12 Cromwell Place, Winlaton, Tyne & Wear NE21 6DB
INKUBUS SUKKUBUS - Vampyre Erotica (LP - Resurrection) AWAY WITH THE FAERIES (LP - Resurrection)
Well, it's been quite a swift rise in profile from this quality 'pagan' band. Headlining various prestigious festivals not only in their native land but across Europe and the States. You'll not be disappointed by this album which keeps the high standards that you come to expect from this act. More pagan inspired Gothic rock mixed with haunting electronics and memorable melodies. All overlayed with Candia's lush vocals that soar and have become this band's trademark. They've even covered the Stones 'Paint it Black' and made it their own, quite an achievement. The second album on review here features new material and a recent live set recorded in Cheltenham. There are hints in the new material that they are broadening their sound to include more electronic elements. An eye to widening this band's appeal beyond the converted, as best heard on the track 'Starchild'. But in the live arena is where this band came into their own, power and passion make this a celebration.
MANTRA - Painted Red (LP - Resurrection)
Formed in '95 this three piece hail from Manchester and this is their debut album. They draw on the same emotive ambiences that the likes of the Swans, Neubarten and Nick Cave are capable of. Raw dramatic electronics with a nod towards the Young Gods mixed with the vocals of an alternative Sinead O'Connor. Enter this world of alienation and decay. Their vision is bleak and uncompromising. The bastard offspring of Joy Division and Garbage would be close but that's not the whole story. Promising.
CHILDREN ON STUN - Seven Year Itch (LP - Resurrection)
The final release from this Gothic band with a wry sense of humour. This album features material from their debut release 'The Hollow' EP which came out in '91. Along with this we have a live recording of their final concert at Camden Underworld. Always upbeat and infectious, they gave a different dimension to the usual more sombre Gothic material. One of the few bands who progressed beyond the usual Sisters reference points, and who knows what would have developed in the future. I leave the final words taken from the album "you don't know what you've got until it's gone".
Contact: Resurrection, 73 Parkway, London NW1 7PP
NLC - Le Domaine (LP - EDT)
Follow up to the 'Le Sang de la Licorne' album and another episode from this prolific band. This new release takes up from previous material, melding various influences into 'mood' music. Pick and mix sound sources are placed together to form a sonic collage, that's always shifting with the progression of the track. They draw on a wide range of styles from neo-classical, electronic, avant garde and traditional. Producing post-ambient soundscapes that give you a fell of an exotic location or some distant vista.
Contact: EDT, BP 7, 57420 Verny, FRANCE
EBUS MUSIC - Newsletter/Label
Another organisation with fingers in many pies, first off the newsletter which covers label news and information. Along with this there are reviews and interviews covering a diverse range of musics, includig Punk, Gothic, Electronic, Metal, Folk, etc. Another great source for information on the current international underground scene, with a slant towards what's happening in Germany. Plus Mailorder distribution and a monthly radio show, promotion and other activities. MR EBU - Cosmic Cool (LP - EBUS MUSIC) Producing music since '88 via the worldwide underground network and still a staunch supporter. Having collaborated with many international musicians over the years and, of course, on this new album.
Using sounds sent by M NOMIZED and MR MOTO, these then have been rearranged to create new tracks. A mix of old and new influences from early electronic pioneers like Kraftwerk to the current Trance/Ambient club scene. Oscillating sequences that drive like a mix of Moroder and Esplendor Geometrico, a meshing of the commercial and experimental. Then we head into soundscope territory, floating in the cosmos very Tangerine Dream and their ilk. All these different reference points give you impressions but the overall feel is of something timeless.
ENEM-Y - Deepinside (Single - EBUS MUSIC)
Challenging group who delve deep into the psyche and pose questions about our mortality. Unnerving EBM that's dark and threatening, ominous like approaching storm clouds. Delve into their darkness and find out what lurks there, look into this mirror so you can see the real you. Thought provoking.
Contact: EBUS MUSIC, PO Box 940330, 60489 Frankfurt/M, GERMANY. Other releases on the label include SCHMERTZ DER WELTEN, DIE TRAKTOR and DOC WOR MIRRAN.
DREAM CITY FILM CLUB - In The Cold Light of Morning (LP - Beggars Banquet)
Much touted pretenders to the throne of noir perverse pop as practised by the likes of Suede, Placebo and Marilyn Manson. They've put Scott Walker and the Stooges into a head on collision and produced some urban stained bruised blues. Digging deep into the dirt they've come up with some gems, where there's muck there's tunes. It's hard to be on the edge to keep that balance, not fall off the edge, this band have come back to tell us those tales. In that respect they have a lot in common with P J Harvey, Nick Cave et al's apocalyptic visions. Their world is a seedy, suffocating sprawl of isolation and despair, let them in so they can share it with you. But this apparition exists only in the nighttime, with the rays of morning all of it just disintegrates like it was never there.
Contact: BEGGARS BANQUET, 17-19 Alma Road, London SW18 1AA
N R HILLS - Schadenfreude (LP - Celeno)
Following on from the albums, 'The Triumph of Death' (via Direction) and 'Earth Logic' which came out in '93. Both of which were well received by the press even the 'Melody Maker' who enthused about "progressive ambient pleasures, illegal substances and small furry animals?" yes, well! The music seems to owe a lot more to progressive/ambient artists from the 70s, from Tangerine Dream to ENO and Yes. Looping rythms that mesmerise and put me in mind of Philip Glass, along with analog synths that punctuate the proceedings. Not so minimal as most ambient artists as there is always something happening, evolving pieces that open up like flowers.
Contact: CELENO, 2 Beech Court, 12 Lovelace Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 6NL
NOISE FACTORY - 2 (LP - Archegon)
An annual workshop aiming to bring together musicians of all areas of experimental music, from twenty hours of recording the best tracks were chosen to appear on this album. This is a collection of abstract nuances and disturbing ambiences in an improvised setting. Machine noise soundscapes and unnatural sounds make for an unsettling trip for the listener. Considering the amount of musicians involved there is a cohesive feel throughout the tracks. Perhaps the isolation helped meld these various experiences into one vision.
Contact: ARCHEGON, Am Alten Weg 27, 55127 Mainz, GERMANY
BETHANY CURVE - Gold (LP - Unit Circle)
Follow up to the 'Skies a Crossed Sky' album from this Californian band who have been established since '94. This part of the world has a great tradition in psychedelic/hippie bands, and this band has been lazily lumped together with the likes of the Grateful Dead and Love et al. But their sound encompasses ambient, experimental, Gothic and space rock, ok there are semblances to the likes of Pink Floyd and Hawkwind but that's not the whole story. The shimmering guitars and floaty vocals put me in mind of bands like Galaxie 500 My Bloody Valentine and Sundial. Their version of gloomy atmospheric conjures up the Cure's ghostly apparitions, that linger and float before disappearing into the ether.
Contact: UNIT CIRCLE, PO Box 20352, Seattle, WA 98102, USA
Formed out of two existing labels REGRESS and STORMSOULS along with the fanzines BAPHOMET and INQUISITION. Between them they've released material by the likes of SARNATH (Finland), INVERTED (Sweden), NOVEMBERS DOOM (US), OBERON (Norway), SABAOTH (Paraguay), POGROM (Argentina) amongst many others. Icarus was formed in 1997 to provide a more professional distribution service, along with releasing material by the likes of EYESIGHT 'Shield of Leaves album'. Signing Finnish band SOULGRIND who've released the 'Whitsongs' album, a mixture of doom/death metal with some industrial elements.
With dual male female vocals to give the music more dynamics and a wider range of atmospherics. Also released the new album from acclaimed doom metal band from Argentina PANDEMIA called 'Prana Sempiterno', who've taken aboard ethnic, progressive and even tango influences.
Future plans include releases for SABAOTH and DIABOLICAL, along with being official distributors for South America for various labels including PROPHECY, SEVEN ART, CANDLELIGHT, COLD MEAT INDUSTRY, HALL OF SERMON and HYPERIUM.
This is an essential contact for South America especially for music of a darker psyche.
Contact: ICARUS, PO Box 1593, 1000 Correo Central, Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
SPATIUM SAEVUS SONITUS - The Ritual of the Black Sun (LP - CAPP)
A new label with the debut album from this Greek band who have based their music on the poems of Antonin Artuad. Dark ambient soundscapes, sonic murmurs and otherworldly noises make the hairs on your neck stand up. On this musical journey through hell were startled by all kinds of apparitions and visions, this is bleak indeed. The general feel is of total isolation of being lost in the void of space, cold and alone. Your nearest reference points would be the likes of a darker Tangerine Dream or Eno.
CPINALONGA - Spinalonga (LP - CAPP)
Another Greek band with also their debut album, again utilising technology but in a more upbeat way. This electronic band has more affinity with the EBM/industrial scene, drawing from techno and experimental sources. We have Kraftwerk like inflections along with distorted beats that put me in mind of Noisex and Esplendar Geometrico. Robotic voices and pulsing rythms reinforce the teutonic links, also the general fascination with computer technology comes across very strongly. Hypnotic loops and repetitive beats draw us into a technological world full of machines, man, machine, music indeed.
Contact: CAPP, Lisiou 8, 11146 Athens, GREECE
INDEX - Faith in Motion (LP - COP)
The third album from this electro band who are the masters of sound college, following on from 'Sky Laced Silver' (95) and 'Blacklight Twilight' (96) albums from the same label. Along with musical influences they draw on art and literature for inspiration from Futurism to Dada to T E Lawrence and beyond. Heavily grounded in all things electronic they take pieces from bands Front Line Assembly Clock DVAk, Download, rather like Burroughs 'cut up' technique. All of this is propelling the band via the use of technology into the future, but their predictions are not optimistic. Pulsing rythms and distorted vocals are interwoven with various TV samples then melded together so one track transforms into another. They also pay homage to electro-pioneers Kraftwerk a brief 'back to the future' musical scenario.
INFILTRATE & CORRUPT - Compilation (LP - COP)
Wide cross-section of electronic acts in the widest sense who are on the labels roster, and a good starting point for the intrigued. Features IMBUE (Big Beat Electro Ministry style), DEATHLINE INT'L (Metal samples FLA like, FISHTANK No.9 (Upbeat Front 242), SLAVE UNIT (Moody Severed Heads), FINALLY GOD (metal crossover via NIN from this German band), RAZOR SKYLINE (American Gothic, a melodic Diamanda Galas), URANIA (Electro Pop), BATTERY (melodic EBM), INDEX (Electronic manipulators), DIVE (American EBM with attitude from the album 'Snakedressed'), PULSE LEGION (well regarded American EBM), IVOUX (Battery side-project) and SOIL & ECLIPSE (Atmospheric Gothic/Electronic).
CULTUS SANGUINE - Shadows Blood (LP - Candlelight)
Formed in '93 this Halian Doom metal band have followed the release of their material via Wounded Love (in Italy) and Morbid Noize (in Poland), with their debut album containing new dark hymns. Embued in all things connected with death and the rituals connected with funerals, their vision is bleak indeed. Beyond the grave ambiences, pummelling drums, spitting guitars and vocals that came direct from the exorcist, like Black Sabbath on morphine. Morbid songs of excruciating pain claw at the listener dragging you down into the pit beyond hope. This is not for those of a nervous disposition or the easily depressed, you have been warned.
ELEGION - Odyssey into Darkness (Single - Candlelight)
Australian band based around the duo Anthony Kwan and James Wallbridge taster release before their first album. Emotionally charged soaring female vocals act as a foil to the neo-classical doom metal backing, giving the songs plenty of light and shade. Along with the Gothic ambiences and dark male vox this band have power and control and can create various differing moods with ease. The magazine Terrorizer compared them to the likes of The Gathering, 3rd And The Mortal, My Dying Bride and Anathema quite a pedigree but the potential is there.
Contact: CANDLELIGHT, 2 Elgin Avenue, London W9 3QP
BILL HORIST - Soylent Radio (LP - Unit Circle)
Part of the Seattle improvisation scene, has and still is involved with many projects including Nabodaddy, Tourniquet Trio, Tablet, Phineas Gage, UnFolkUS, Fuselage and many others. Worked with both films and TV and provided music for spoken word artists and theatre. This is essentially a solo piece of work that has been inspired by the likes of Fred Frith, Hans Reichel and Henry Kaiser. Abstract sound collages that are urban or industrial in nature mixed with various textured guitars. Murmurs and hinted ambiences of alien origin float in and out of our perception leaving us with a sense of unease.
UNFOLKUS - Unfolkus (LP - Unit Circle)
Formed in '96 as an untamed noise-based improvisation ensemble who received extreme reactions good or bad. Features members who've had many musical adventures, along with experiences ranging from learning Chinese to building percussion from aircraft. With this sort of pedigree the music produced is certainly off kilter and out on it's own. The cacophany of sub-jazz influenced improvisations are in constant flux never staying in one place enough for you to get too comfortable.
Contact: UNIT CIRCLE, PO Box 20352, Seattle, WA 98102, USA
Label run by Russian composer ARTEMIV ARTEMIEV who works within electronic, electro-accoustic and experimental music. He has worked within the film, theatre and TV industry for eight years producing music for over 50 featur and documentary films. Began his career as a keyboard player in various Moscow groups but stopped in '87 to concentrate on his own projects. Along with the label he also does a TV and radio programme devoted to the genre of experimental music.
THE WARNING - 1993 (ELCD 001)
Evocative soundscapes mixing natural and urban sounds with brooding electronics somewhere between Tangerine Dream and Eno.
COLD - 1995 (ELCD 002)
Inspired by all things of a frozen nature tingly sparkly keyboards sweep like polar winds. Conjuring sound images of snowclad forests and mountains.
POINTS OF INTERSECTION - 1997 (ELCD 003)
Ominous unearthly ambiences that would suit a dark science fiction film.
FIVE MYSTERY TALES OF ASIA - 1998 (ELCD 007)
Experimenting with native instruments from Mongolia, China and Japan, using these to conjure stories from the past and present.
EDWARD ARTEMIEV - SOLARIS, THE MIRROR, STALKER (ELCD 008) EDWARD ARTEMIEV - ODYSSEY, ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (ELCD 009)
Artemiv's father who's also a well known Russian composer of electronic music
Contact: ELECTROSHOCK, UI. Krilatskaya 31-1-321, 121614 MOSCOW, RUSSIA
UNDERCURRENT - Compilation (LP - Doppler Effect)
A collection of new electronic artists based in Oregan and Washington states, showing the current creative scene in this genre is still alive and kicking across the pond. AREA 88 (Hard EBM in Nitzer Ebb and Front Line Assembly style), MINDVIRUS (Guitar samples and gravelly vocals meets Front 242), SPINEFOLDER (Industrial influences, distortion effects in severed Heads way), NOBODY (metal crossover like Fear Factory), ATTENUATED EUPHORIA (Revolting Cocks take on Techno), RKIK (80s style electronics somewhere between DAF and Depeche Mode), THINE EYES (Dark electro via Sleep Chamber), NOCTURNE (Tribal Gothic via the Mission), VIOLET ARCANA (spaced out ambient trance), PET OF THE FUTURE (pounding drums, machine gun guitar samples techno dance mix), RUNES OF DESIRE (Political stance EBM via Mussolini Headkick), TRIPLE POINT (Driller Killer waves of distortion industrial noise), MESMER (Tribal machine music like Test Dept.), and LXL (Uptempo soundscape Art of Noise).
Contact: DOPPLER EFFECT, 3027 NW Overlook Drive 935, Hillsboro, OR 97124, USA
MORTHEM VLADE ART - Herbo Dou Diable (LP - Cabaret of Horrors)
Romantic Gothic death rock from France produced by Gregg Anthe and Emmanuell D. This duo delve deep into the taboos connected with art and death and use it as inspiration. Coming across as a mix of Christian Death and a darker London After Midnight. They incorporate some of the above imagery as well as more grandiose neo-classical militaristic elements that put me in mind of In the Nursery. Add to that a morbid interest in the wierd and strange similar to Marilyn Mansons manifesto. Certainly a band with many reference points but overall they have a very contemporary feel like a futuristic sci-fi horror film.
Contact: COH, BP3, 78550 Domaine de Bazainville, FRANCE
OUTHOUSE - Process of Elimination (LP - Outhouse)
Apart from grunge, Seattle seems to be a burgeoning area for innovative avant-garde. This experimental quintet have cross pollinated rock, avant-garde and jazz all done in a gritty spontaneous way. My nearest reference points would be to the likes of Zappa, Beefheart and James Chance with some Blurt thrown in for good measure. The music ebbs and flows to the edge of cacophany, driven by a saxophone that's trying to keep a rein on the musical proceedings. Not as funky as the Pop Group, but with some of the same art rock leanings. But this band never stay in one place long enough to be pinned down.
Contact: OUTHOUSE, c/o UNIT CIRCLE, PO Box 20352, Seattle, WA 98102, USA
PARAGON OF BEAUTY - The Spring (LP - Prophecy)
First release from this new melodic metal band from Germany who are inspired by the forces of nature. Atmospheric ambiences with metal riffs and pounding double base drums underpin the dark growly vocals. Lyrically romantic dealing with ancient spiritual subjects, at a time where there was still wonder about the world and the cosmos. This band transport you to another world where mother nature is worshipped.
Contact: PHOPHECY, Postfach 1469, 54504 Wittlich, GERMANY
WHISPERS IN THE SHADOW - Laudanum (LP - MOS)
Gothic band from Austria who have been in existence since '95, and are heavily influenced musically by the 80s. The title of the album comes from the beverage favoured by various creative artists such as Poe, Byron and Mozart. They draw us downwards into this pit of self-doubt, despair and ultimate self-destruction. Musical parallels with more sombre early Cure is quite apparent, very stark and minimal in outlook. Feedback guitar, pounding drums all drenched in reverb provide the atmosphere for the gloomy vocals to intone over. Once you sip this dark brew it's a slippery slope to oblivion.
Contact: M.O.S., Altenbach 24A, 9490 Vaduz, LIECHTENSTEIN
POOKAH - Three Minus The One Hundred Fiftieth Tragedy (LP - Musical Tragedies)
Debut release from this German five piece who combine classical, folk and rock elements. The mix of femal and male vocals put me in mind of a more minimal All About Eve or Tea Party. Although their vision is a touch darker with greater emphasis on folk and progressive influences. They've borrowed from various sources tribal, traditional and classical and melded them into a whole. Haunting melodies that draw on deep emotions, spiritually uplifting music for the soul.
THE MERLONS - Water Naked Nature (LP - Musical Tragedies)
Formerly 'the Merlons of Nehemiah' this is the follow up to the album 'Eluoami' which came out in '94. Toured relentlessly in Germany they've built up a reputation as a talented live band. This confidence comes across in this recording. They sound like a modern interpretation of music from the medieval period with strong progressive overtones via Jethro Tull and Lindisfarne. Not as dark as other neo-folk band like Death in June. The imagery is more reminiscent of more 'hippie' acts like Ozric Tentacles. You're more likely to run into this band at a free festival with various mind expanding drugs available.
Contact: MUSICAL TRAGEDIES, Erlanger Str. 7, 90765 Furth, GERMANY
THE DAWN VISITORS - The Dawn (LP - Dawning Prod)
Debut release that features Roxone from the now disbanded DE VOLANGES who received much critical praise. All the material is written and composed by this Belgian singer, some De Volanges songs have also been included. More electronic in nature than her previous project, but still within the Dark Wave/Gothic Scheme of things. You can hear touches of X Mal Deutschland and Jon Division along with the vocal inflections of Siouxsie. This is a definite coming of age for Roxanne, a much more confident and convincing piece of work. The potential has always been there. This is a good portent for what is to come.
Contact: DAWN VISITORS, BP004, 7061 Cateau, Belgium
WINGS OF DESTINY - Where Darkness Falls (LP - WOD)
Formed in '96 this is their follow up to the 'First Destination' cassette along with appearances on notable compilations 'Hex Files' and 'Dark Life'. They are a self confessed 'guitar rock band' that has some Gothic and dark wave reference points. Imagine the more rockier end of the likes of 'All About Eve' and the 'Mission' and you'll be in the right area. Dramatic ambiences underpin heavier elements that draw on dark metal for inspiration all overlaid with Ilona Bermann's strong vocals. The mix of Gothic, rock and metal elements give this band a wider appeal beyond one genre.
Contact: WINGS OF DESTINY, Stemmer Strasse 2, 32689 Kalletal, GERMANY