Features SPOOKY, CLAIR OBSCUR, SPINA, RED HARVEST, TECHNOGOD, EISENGRAU, VENUS FLY TRAP, DREAM DESCIPLES, MANUSKRIPT, SISENSI....etc
BITS AND PIECES OF CREATIVE FREEDOM - (Cassette - GURTELTIER)
Put together by Pille Weibel (a man with atitude) most of the compilation leans towards the hardcore/punk scheme of things, as does the newsletter he produces which has an international slant. On to the compilation, it features a wide variety of artists including MR. MOTO experimental sound cut-ups and collages, BILGE PUMP overdriven vox over the alter-ego of the Buttholes, DIANA 5 high speed DIY punk noise terror, KIROUS hardcore metal edged thrash, STUCKPLOW QUARTET and DER PULK punky/jazzy inspired jams, FRANTIC MARTIANS, DENAK, HARTSOEKER, GLOBAL HOLOCAUST, TRAUMATISM and EXCRETED ALIVE death metal meets pounding hardcore in various disguises, BLUTBLUME distorted guitar driven instrumentals, BEER POOFS tuneless humorous singalongs, VENUS FLY TRAP in uplifting PIL mode, JACK OF ALL TRADES tribal drumming underpins disturbing guitar, vox and electronics with plenty of angst, DISSONANT VIEW catchy melodic punk reminiscent of the Wonderstuff.
Contact: GURTELTIERTAPES, PO BOX 5037, 6002 LUZERN, SWITZERLAND.
ALMA MATER - Satira - (Cassette)
Italian duo consisting of Valerio (voice / effects) and Sergio (synths / programming) who produce electronic music which has great potential. Style wise thy have two faces, on the one hand they produce grandiose atmospheric soundtrack a la Will or Dead Can Dance. Then more upbeat flowing EBM with melodic male vocals, that lie somewhere between In the Nursery and Depeche Mode. Add crisp production and intelligent song structures. This is a must for commercial release.
Contact: ALMA MATER, VIA DANTE ALIGHIERI 5, 44047 S. AGOSTINO (FE), ITALY.
ICY ILLUSIONS FROM IMAGINARY WORLDS 5 - (Cassette - Icy Illusions)
Again another international compilation of bands most of which have the word 'core' tagged on the end. This one features bands that feature metal guitars a la 'grindcore' in Godflesh / Earache mode, some more extreme than others. Some use this as a starting point and head off into more 'noise' areas but bands that fall into these categories include LANDFILL (USA), GENITAL GORE (CZECH), EXCRETED ALIVE (SPAIN), OUTERMOST (JAPAN), SUPPRESSION (USA), GORE BEYOND NECROPSY (JAPAN), INEBRIATED (AUSTRALIA), SQUSH BOWELS (POLAND), HERMIT (CANADA), NEUTRAL (RUSSIA), NATRON (ITALY), BASS HAHA (JAPAN), etc. But you'll find a small oasis of relative calm from the likes of the UK's VENUS FLY TRAP, plaintive gothic / metal ambience from DISSOLVING of PRODIGY (Czech), BAD PREACHERS (Belgium) reminiscent of X meets the Ruts and the Curish sounding KRISTMMAZAMME (Italy).
Contact: ICY ILLUSIONS, VLSNOVA 9, 40704 DECIN 25, CZECH REPUBLIC.
SOMETIMES 1 - (Fanzine and Cassette)
Debut issue of this French language zine which comes with a compilation tape of bands featured, which shows the editors wide musical tastes. This issue has interviews with CARTER USM, VENUS FLY TRAP, MISSING LINKS, EXTRAVAGANZE, SABOTAGE Q.C.Q.C.? and GOREWEEG who produce Primus / Sonic Youth influenced alternative rock. Then French melodic thrash with a twist from EXTRAVAGANZA and also in a similar vein and locality is MISSING LINKS. The omnipresent VENUS FLY TRAP supply tracks of acidic art wave from the 'LUNA TIDE' album and finally the fetish / EBM crossover of Germany's SABOTAGE who are set to reach a much wider audience.
Contact: SOMETIMES, 71 RUE MAHY-FAUX, 7133 BUVRINNES, BELGIUM.
VORTICE CREMISI - Vortice Cremisi - (Cassette)
Another Italian band this time a four piece who use more traditional instruments (guitar, drums, etc) who've been in existence since 1992. They claim to have been influenced by the likes of Kyuss and Soundgarden, which is evident in their brand of metal edged alternative rock, most noticeable in the guitar sound and bass drum work. You can see lots of long hair being tossed around when this lot play live.
Contact: VORTICE CREMISI, VIA MONTE S. MICHELE 3, 60124 ANCONA, ITALY.
VALLE CRUCIS - Garden of Verses - (Cassette)
Medieval and pagan influences pervade in imagery and lyrics from this atmospheric metal band based in Liverpool. Perhaps a mix of the dark entities that Black Sabbath could conjure up and the hardness of the likes of Metallica gets near to what this clan are about. Add to that gothic ambiences which are reminiscent of Into The Abyss, this has plenty of crossover potential. The music ebbs and flows then strikes like lightning when it needs to, which shows the technical prowess of the musicians on show. The theatrical feel of how the music develops takes you from one scene to another (take a bow Jethro Tull) right to the final curtain. Spirit is waiting in the wings.
Contact: VALLE CRUCIS, 19 NORVILLE ROAD, BROADGREEN, LIVERPOOL, L14 3LU.
AIRFRESH - Kitchchaos I.S. - (Cassette)
Female lead freaky - progressive rock band (their description) from Germany, that came together in 1994. They meld a number of styles together, touches of metal, the grooviness of the Chilli Peppers and the vocal angst of Garbage all done in an alternative rocky sort of way. Lots of power and emotion given an extra lift by the use of violin which helps them stand out from the usual grunge crowd. Add to that a professional attitude to both artwork and music, should see this band reach further than their native land.
Contact: AIRFRESH, STETTINER WEG 27, 74523 SCHWABISCH HALL, GERMANY.
LADY MORPHIA - Tales from the Surgical Ward - (Cassette)
Debut release from the brainchild of Nick Nedzynski (with the help of Chris on percussion), who composed the music and lyrics for this release. Although admitted influences are pretty wide, I can detect a closer affinity with the likes of Death In June / Sopor Aeternus on the neo-folk acoustic numbers. In contrast are the more 'rockier' tracks which are more in the classic gothic rock mode via the likes of The Sisters / Christian Death. Subject matter covered includes the dangers of TV and virtual reality, not your usual topics which you associate with this type of music. Which is a refreshing change from the usual nonsense.
Contact: LADY MORPHIA, NORTH PARK COTTAGE, PADDOCK WOOD, LITTLE WALDEN, ESSEX, CB10 1XE.
HOMICIDE - Self Determined Breed - (Cassette)
First formed in 1987 this Italian thrash band has survived numerous line up upheavals over the years. This is their fifth tape release and they have managed to sell over a thousand copies of previous releases. A fact that would make most bands weep, quite an achievement for any underground product. Add to this that they received 'Most Promising Band ' award in 1992, toured extensively in their native Italy. Managed to get material released in countries as far off as Brazil and Japan. All impressive stuff, but now down to the music which is 'full power aggressive thrash metal', but its done with a certain flair that gives it an edge. Then get full marks for 'determination'.
Contact: HOMICIDE, VIALE MATTEOTTI 340, 20099 SESTO S. GIOVANNI, MILANO, ITALY.
EISENGRAU - L'Aperitif de la Mort - (Cassette)
Debut release from this doom laden Belgian band who have a taste for schlock horror. They've used Hammer film cut-ups set against mechnical sub-industrial murmurs on the opening tract. The more ethereal pieces are put together in the lab and sound like a mix of Schloss Tegal / Blackhouse. As a contrast the other tracks are more upbeat with added gothic ambience but still in industrial / Sleep Chamber mode. One bite and you're hooked.
Contact: EISENGRAU, PB36, 2220 HEIST o/o BERG 2, BELGIUM.
N.A.O.S. - Melancholia - (Cassette - Cacophonous)
Second release from the solo project of Magus Wampyr Daoloth, who has been involved with the more extreme end of the Greek music scene as an engineer, producer and musician. In his guise as musician he's been involved with THOU ART LORD, ROTTING CHRIST, NECROMANTIA and more recently DIABOLOS RISING. Using his experience with Death Metal he's taken this project more into the Darkwave / Gothic arena. Occupied by the likes of LACRIMOSA, GOETHES ERBEN and on some songs reminiscent of INTO THE ABYSS or DARKSIDE COWBOYS. Lots of intoned ritualistic grandiose visions of depression and despair interspersed with catchy gothic anthems.
Contact: CACOPHONOUS, 231 PORTOBELLO ROAD, LONDON, W11 1LT.
JOSHUA BOURKE - Regenerated - (Cassette)
Debut release from American solo artist Bourke, which is now available in the States via STAR CRASH RECORDS as a CD. His brand of electronic music which is EBM with a commercial edge, lies somewhere between the catchy songs of Depeche Mode mixed with touches of experimentation with sounds that brings to mind Fad Gadget. The material is definitely being aimed at a wider audience, with more resources for production and promotion who knows.
Contact: J. BOURKE, 6939 FLOREY ST., SAN DIEGO, CA 92122, USA.
OBERON - Una Rosa - (Cassette - Regress)
Norwegian artist Bart T.'s debut release on a former Itlian label now based in Argentina, international or what? This album contains material that was recorded in 1994-5, previously he has released two demo tapes 'Through Time and Space' and 'Lily White'. Much of the music documents emotions and perceptions expressed in a very personal way. Melancholic atmospheric songs that cling like the memory of a lost love. Tribal rhythms and close up vocals remind me of a darker version of Peter Gabriel or some of the more atmospheric progressive bands.
Contact: REGRESS, C.C.263, 1900 LA PLATA, BS.AS, ARGENTINA.
Set up by Markus Detmer who previosly ran the newsletter and label Progressive Entertainment which released material by the likes of Venus Fly Trap, Almost Human, Trespassers W and Amrol. His new set up deals mainly with the experimental / avant garde end of electronic, jazz and progressive music. Apart from the mail order service he has a new musical project, DETMERKUGELREUBER (previously a member of Amrol), its ambient electronics very soundtracky in nature. Reminiscent of older bands like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream mixed with new influences such as orbital and the Future Sound of London.
Contact: STAUBGOLD, ZULPICHER STR. 251, 50937 KOLN, GERMANY.
MORBID HUNGER - Divination and Mystery - (Cassette)
Essex based three piece that are covered in the shroud of goth; darkness and decay emanate from every pore. Energetic minimal drum machine spits away, while the distorted guitar scratches away inside your skull, very Alien Sex Fiend meets the Sisters. The vocals are suitably deep and mournful intoning some morbid tale of suspense and sorrow. Many a band has gone this way, so there is a readymade audience for this material - it'll be interesting to see what happens from there.
Contact: MORBID HUNGER, 11 PINE CRESCENT, BRENTWOOD, ESSEX, CM13 1JE.
SPOOGE - Nice and Warm - (Cassette)
This stateside band came across as a real wacko bunch with warped senses of humour, even down to the names which include Vitamin E, Jonny Hebivore, Joe Lodes and Tobbeth, Son of Flubber. The mayhem doesn't stop there, musically they sound like a speeded up version of the chilli Peppers set against Primus time changes. Vocally its in the surreal mode that would fit on any Zappa or Captain Beefheart album. One for the strange amongst you.
Contact: SPOOGE, 1082 FRANCES DRIVE, VALLEY STREAM, NY 11580, USA.
DARK REALITY - Blossoms of Mourning - (Cassette - General Inquisitor Torquemado)
Dark metal mixed with gothic ambiences and touches of progressive suggested by unusual choice of flute from this Swiss outfit. The vocals fall very much into the typical growly deep moans and murmurs that you associate with thrash and death metal. But that aside this band has hidden subtle depths and some surprising melodic moments, which sets them apart from the usual metal axe wielding hordes, they seem to have a closer affinity to the likes of the Nefilim or fellow countrymen A Moon Lay Hidden Behind A Cloud.
Contact: G.I.T., PO BOX 658, 8029 ZURICH, SWITZERLAND.
WHORE? -Self Doubt Syndrome - (Cassette)
Debut release from London based guitar led four piece whose line up includes Roberto Luis de Pino (vocals), Woodge (bass), Al Aitken (guitar), Dr Phil (drums). On first hearing there's a strong similarity to some Strangler's material (perhaps 'Strange Little Girl') especially in the vocal department. The drums pound, the guitar grinds away, everythings driving, now I'm hearing something closer to Love and Rockets ('Motorbike' period). Certainly they have an ear for the more commercial end of alternative music - promising.
Contact: WHORE?, AL AITKEN, 5D ALL SOULS PLACE, LONDON, W1N 3DB.
DANIELE BRUSASCHETTO - Mudcaks - (Cassette)
Solo artist who deals with post industrial and experimental musics, has recently released a single EP titled 'PATURNIE' via Italian label HAX. Mechanical drums pound in military precision while metallic percussion clangs and screeches. His music owes a lot to the early industrial bands like Test Dept, Laibach and Neubatten. Relentless vocal tirades, waves of distortion enough to pin your ears back sear through the air. File this release under extreme, handle with care.
Contact: D. BRUSASCHETTO, V.R. SCOTELLARO 71, 10155 (TO), ITALY.
CLAIR OBSCUR - Antigone - (LP - APOCALYPTIC VISION)
New material from this prolific cult French band, whose musical roots stem back to the 80's. The subject matter covered by this album is split between the classical drama 'Antigone' and the mythological adventures of 'Daedalus'. Support has come from no less than the 'French Ministry of Culture' for both this album and the live performances at the famous Parisian Bel-Air Theatre.Always at the forefront of the contemporary music scene Clair Obscur always seem to be delving deeper into the past. This album has influences ranging from classical, neo-folk, tribal and art rock to produce a dark ethereal soundtrack to tragedy.
LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT - Psycho Magnet -(LP - APOCALYPTIC VISION)
Already nailed as a top ten release of '96 by many radio stations and magazines in Europe and America. With their single'Kiss' spending eight weeks in the top 20 of the German alternative charts. This album is set to break previous sales records and to put the band in the mainstream spotlight. Their particular brand of romantic commercial gothic rock has definite mass appeal, both in the music and image. This album has a harder edge than previous releases but not losing that sensuous atmospheric feel that they are renowned for. Perhaps a gothic version of Nine Inch Nails comes to mind, with a greater range in emotions and subject matter. Well the fuse is lit and I'm just waiting for them to explode into the pop firmament.
MORS SYPHILLITICA - Mors Syphillitica (LP - APOCALYPTIC VISION)
Whereas 'London After Midnight's domain is the overground, this band rule the dark recesses of the underworld. Formed from the ashes of mysterious American cult death rock band 'Requiem in White', check out the retrospective album 'Of the Want Infinite' also on this label. Previous members including Lisa Hammer (vocals) have devoted themselves to this occult influenced, post death rock meets neo-classical project. Classical operatic vocals over dark instrumentation reminiscent of the likes of Christian Death and some of the early releases from 4AD records. Haunting.
Contact: APOCALYPTIC VISION, AHORNWEG 19, 64807 DIEBURG, GERMANY.
SPOOKY - Found Sound - (LP - GENERIC)
Follow up to the critically acclaimed '93 album 'Gargantuan' (which came out on the defunked Guerilla label) and rounds off the trilogy of EP's 'Clank', 'Stereo' (NME single of the week) and 'Shunt'. More minimal than ambient, less dance and trance, Spooky are syncopated and rhythmic. They are the missing link between avant garde Neubaten types to your more accessible ambient doodlers like Future Sound of London and Orbital. A mixture of machine driven metronomic beats with accidental organic loops, stripped to the bone.
Contact: GENERIC, WAREHOUSE, ELYSIUM PLACE, LONDON, SW6 4JY
MALI RAIN - Forecast for Storms - (Single - 3RD STONE)
Blowing the records for the longest single, beating The Orb by 37 minutes, this band are as unpredictable as the English climate. Again another band (well a collection of various individuals) led by Dave Kirby, who use both avant garde and commercial influences. Not as unemotional as spooky, there is warmth in this 'organic ambient techno' that encloses the listener. Because of the diversity of input there's a breadth in the diversity of music produced from dance trance, ambient to dub and techno.
Contact: 3RD STONE, PO BOX 8, CORBY, NN17 2XZ
SAINT JAMES HEAD TRIP - Issues of a Disordered Imagination - (LP - CREATIVE MANURE)
Debut album from D.I.Y. primitive electronic solo artist James Oberlin, who's looking over his shoulder at the 80's (musically speaking). Lo-fi minimal drum machine and sparse sequences that remind me of the likes of DAF or even Alien Sex Fiend. The vocal is less industrial more melodic and catchy in Human League / Fad Gadget mode. Considering it was all recorded on a four track it still has a charm all its own, it would be interesting to see what could be done with a full production job.
Contact: CREATIVE MANURE, PO BOX 6963, GULFPORT MS 39506, USA.
TERMINAL CHOICE - In The Shadow of Death - (LP - CYBERWARE)
Following on from the best selling title on this label the single 'Totes Fleisch', from this dark industrial German duo. Ploughing the same furrow as the likes of Project Pitchfork, Dive and Die Form, mixing teutonic dance beats along with a fascination for sadomasochism. Christian Pohl is the mastermind behnd this project playing and writing all the material, although live he has his girlfriend Alexandra to supplement the sexual tension. Pulsing electro dance with dark atmospherics overlaid by distorted growly vox, this album is split between full on industrial dance to more melodic introverted tracks.
Contact: CYBERWARE, PO BOX 623, 33101 TAMPERE, FINLAND.
SIX AND MORE - Blue Q - (LP - ARCHEGON)
German ensemble that have been improvising with electronic / acoustic instruments since 1991, this album captures sessions between '92 and '94. This album contains thirty four musicians who individually have various projects including Neglige, Wumpscut and others too many to mention. Because of the very nature of improvisation the music never settles in one place very long, always flitting from one sound to another. A galaxy of bleeps, electronic distorted swirls always on the verge of collapse. Out there somewhere . Nearest reference points include much that has been produced by well regarded avant garde label Artware.
Contact: ARCHEGON, AM ALTEN WEG 27, 55127 MAINZ, GERMANY
B.L.UNDERWOOD - Transmission One - (LP - STONE THE KUBIST)
Debut release from both label and artist, who has been involved in music since 1984 (also has another project called Neurotek). Admits to being influenced by the likes of Kraftwerk and other 80's synth pioneers. Along with cyberpunk, manga, Star Trek, he is a self confessed optimist about technology and the future. Thats the manifesto out of the way, so down to the music, which sounds like a cross between teutonic beats a la Kraftwerk merged with Future Sound of London's atmospheric soundscape ambiences. Futuristic sci-fi soundtracks to stimulate the imagination and techno tracks to get dance floor action.
Contact: STONE THE KUBIST, 3 NELSON DRIVE, EASTBOURNE, E. SUSSEX, BN23 6DT.
ASYLUM - 4 - Magazine and CD compilation - (PRIMARY)
If you've missed what Primary have been doing for the last few years, this magazine and CD will give you an insight into whats been going on. Basically they've been releasing and distributing in the UK some of Europe's most promising artists working within the Gothic / Electronic genre. The compilation features REVOLUTION BY NIGHT (atmospheric intro from the album 'Breathe'), CYBER-TEC PROJECT (side project of Jean Luc De Meyer from Front 242), GIRLS UNDER GLASS (industrial goth from Germany, this track re-mixed by Die Krupps), WELLE EROBALL (post Kraftwerky ambience), FADING COLOURS (highly rated Polish gothic band, check out the single 'Lie'), KYOTO BLUE (Bowiesque influenced German band), MEDICINE RAIN (classic goth rock from Sweden in the vein of the Mission / Sisters from the album 'Native'), ENRAPTURE (harder All About Eve), MERCANTAN ( moody electronic atmospherics), NEFKOM (more electronics in a Kraftwerk mode), HEAD ON FIRE (Mission sounding german gothic), DARK SIDE COWBOYS (romantic epic music from Scandinavia), ALTERED STATES (re-activated alternative group from the UK), COUNTING THE MAD (new UK outfit compared to the Nefilim) and FUNHOUSE (more Scandinavian gothic rock - watch out for the 'Never Again' album). In the magazine we have interviews with ENRAPTURE, FADING COLOURS and features on CYBERTEC, GIRLS UNDER GLASS, NEFKOM, MEDICINE RAIN, HEAD ON FIRE, amongst a whole host of others. Essential.
Contact: PRIMARY, PO BOX 3213, LONDON SW2 3QQ
WHAT SWEET MUSIC THEY MAKE R.I.P. 3 - Compilation CD RAVEN
Another excellent compilation this time from those lovers of all things connected with Hammer Horror 'Thee Vampire Guild' who also produce the 'Crimson' zine. So no surprise that this is reflected in the music on this compilation of gothic / pagan bands. Which includes SCARLET HARBOUR, WHORES OF BABYLON (UK gothic / electronic crossover), INKUBUS SUKKUBUS (well known and highly rated pagan band), EMMA CONQUEST, BROTHERHOOD OF PAGANS (pagan rock with a French slant), DARK THEATER (American gothic), HORATII (zombie / gothic rock with a sense of humour), ALL LIVING FEAR, HOUSE OF USHER (German electronic / Sisters type band), 13 CANDLES (UK gothic band with a rising reputation), LESTAT, CORPUS DELICTI (Curish sounding French gothic band with international acclaim), SUSPIRA (watchout for their new album out via Nightbreed), DOOMSDAY REFLEX (Dutch atmospheric goth / electro), MANUSKRIPT, and SOPOR AETERNUS (out goth's all goth). Well all I can say is that there is such a lot of good material around - its about time to take the mainstream and bury 'Britpop'.
Contact: RAVEN, 2 ELGIN AVENUE, LONDON W9 3DP
INKUBUS SUKKUBUS - Beltaine - (LP - RESURRECTION)
Re-release of the bands debut album and the first time it has been available on CD, from the UK's premier pagan band. Well they've certainly come a long way from these humble beginnings, and this is an essential document for anyone interested in this emotive band. Not quite as polished as more recent material but Candia's voice still soars over tribal punk / gothic backing. Conjuring comparisons to bands like All About Eve, all mystical swirls but anchored by McKormack's guitar work. Before they crossover into the mainstream discover where the heart of this band is, in the wonder and mysticism of nature.
MANUSKRIPT - The Diversity of Life - (LP - RESURRECTION)
Debut release from highly rated gothic / alternative band and one with a lot of commercial potential. Musically they take a lot from bands from the early 80's namely The Sound, Echo and the Bunnymen and Wire albeit with a harder 90's edge to it. They've also got a wry sense of humour, plenty of incisive observations of some absurdities of life, that remind me of Frank Tovey (Fad Gadgets) lyrics. A powerful cocktail of pop sensibilities and alternative prowess has got to pluck this band from cult obscurity.
Contact: RESURRECTION, 228 CAMDEN HIGH STREET, LONDON, NW1 7QS
ESPLENDOR GEOMETRICO - 80's Tracks - (LP - APOCALYPTIC VISION)
Well the title really gives it away, this is a collection of hard to find and rare material from this Spanish cult band. Originally available only on various obscure vinyl releases such as 'Fix Planet' and 'La Zona'. Definite must for all you industrial / techno types, it also features the club hit in Spain 'Moscu Esta Helado'. At the forefront of this avant garde / industrial scene for the last sixteen years, encompassing musical styles that the likes of Throbbing Gristle, Konstruktivits and Bourbonese Qualk were famous for. Pounding mechanical rhythms, searing disortion and uncompromising wall of sound. Not for the faint hearted.
Contact: APOCALYPTIC VISION, AHORNWEG 19, 64807 DIEBURG, GERMANY.
DOOMSDAY REFLEX - Doomsday Reflex - (LP - DOOMSDAY REFLEX)
Dutch band formed in 1988 who've slowly progressed over the years, releasing two demos then this, their debut album. This band like their songs to be epic in scale, synth washes underpin electronic rhythms with piercing guitar lines. Admittedly theres a lot of 80's influences from the likes of New Order, U2 to someof the synth pop pioneers. All done with loads of atmospherics to guide you into the songs, more melodic than morbid, dramatic rather than unsettling. Their vision is uplifting and monumental and eternally optimistic.
Contact: DOOMSDAY REFLEX, PO BOX 68, 2160 AB LISSE, HOLLAND.
THE PSYCLONE RANGERS - Beatin On The Bat Pole - (LP - WORLD DOMINATION)
US band living on the edge of utter chaos as the likes of Mudhoney and Oasis would testify to. Also surving various touring forays on both sides of the Atlantic, taking in time to work with freak / genius 'Kramer'. If that wasn't enough they've played alongside Rev. Horton Heat, Mudhoney, Kelley Deal 6000 and Rocket From The Crypt. Phew! Now onto their third album which is a mass of twisted human wreckage, post grunge somewhere between Jesus Lizard and Sonic Youth. These guys are seriously warped, but mostly psyched out turbo charged rock'n'roll.
Contact: WORLD DOMINATION, PO BOX 5618, LONDON, W9 3WT
ABSCESS - Journey - (LP - GLASNOST)
Second album from this meditative German electronic band following on from the critically acclaimed 'In Your Mind' album. Mixing traditional EBM's pulsing rhythms with dark electronic atmospherics gives this album extra dimensions. Trance like soundscapes that are spiritually uplifting, to stimulate the mind. Not only is getting you on the dance-floor on this band's agenda, they want to impart some of their affiliation with Buddhism. But their brand of electro is not that laid back, upfront growly vox punctuate the proceedings to make sure you are listening.
Contact: GLASNOST, GLOCKENGIESSERWALL 17, 20095 HAMBURG, GERMANY.
CHATEAU ROYALE - ANGEL -(Single - CHRISTUS)
Innocence drips from the female voice - all sweetness and light, it reminded me of a later Section 25. Almost child like in simplicity, perhaps a morbid nursery rhyme for a mis-spent youth. Catchy tunes that are more than they first seem, something undefineable lurks that the likes of Bjork and Jack or Jive are capable of.
Contact: CHRISTUS RELEASE, PO BOX 3624, LONDON, SW4 7XR.
SISENSI - Very Nice Country -(Single - BEGGARS BANQUET)
They've managed to meld alternative rock and trip hop into a form that would appeal to both genres. Also keeping one eye on chart action and the other on street credibility, lying somewhere between Babylon Zoo and Portishead. So as the lines become blurred between various musical genres, this band are in a good position to take advantage of what develops.
Contact: BEGGARS BANQUET, 17-19 ALMA ROAD, LONDON, SW18 1AA
ATTRITION - 3 Arms and a Dead Cert -(LP - PROJEKT)
Electronic pioneers seventh album following on from the re-issue of earlier material by Relic. Also they have completed their first tour in the States. Is it time to re-assess their underground status? Well the UK has always been indifferent, Europe has nurtured the band's development over the years but America looks set to be their future. If you know Attrition's material you'll know what to expect, the dual female and male vocals are the band's trademark. Alongside the stylish EBM backing theres more emphasis on the neo-classical via violin and operatic vocal. They move easily between atmospheric pieces and uptempo club material. Attrition always have something up their sleeve.
Contact: THE CAGE, 7 RADCLIFFE ROAD, COVENTRY, CV5 6AA.
KRANKHEIT DER JUGEND - Giftsucht - (Single - SOUNDBUSTER)
Self confessed Art Rock band from Germany follow up to the 'Kahlgrinzieichen' album that came out in '95. They've drawn on lots of influences via punk and more experimental bands to end up sounding like a mix of Neubaten, M Walking On Water and The Grief. Both using traditional instruments with plenty of angst, and electronics (in DAF mode) they manage to avoid being pigeonholed. It'll be interesting to see what develops on the new album.
TOMORROW NEVER CAME 2 - Compilation - (LP - SOUNDBUSTER)
Ongoing series of compilations promoting electronic / gothic / and dark wave music, mostly from Germany. This one features E-CRAFT (EBM / synth, a track taken from the 'Die Sathl AG' album, very in the Front 242 area), DYNAMIC MASTERS (80's influenced electronic, should have a new album out via Soundbuster), AN UNKNOWN COMMAND (similar to Depeche Mode), EVASION ON STAKE (pumping EBM), NOVA GALAXIE ROBOTNIK (side project of Venus Fly Trap, atmospheric / techno), THE VENUS FLY TRAP (more electronics involved with the help of Attrition, new album out 'Dark Amour' via Soundbuster), ATROPINE (Norwegian industrial / EBM), IN ABSENTIA (Depeche Mode meets Skinny Puppy from Denmark), NOMENCLATURA (dark electro), BILDER OHNE RAHMEN (plaintive ballad) and SIMORGH (French industrial / EBM)
Contact: SOUNDBUSTER, PO BOX 25, 74039 HEILBRONN, GERMANY.
Unstoppable publication that goes from strength to strength, with their finger on the pulse of 'new underground' music with demo and CD reviews. Alongside features and interviews with the likes of '45' - Sex Pistols, Killing Joke, Charlies Angels, Bender, Bikini Kill, Acetone ... etc. '47'; - Dandy Warhols, Corrosion of conformity, Cardiacs, Timeshard, Nik Turner, Die Laughing plus loads more. Essential reading.
Contact: ORGAN, UNIT 205, OLD GRAMOPHONE WORKS, 326 KENSAL ROAD, LONDON, W10 5BZ.
FIGHT AMNESIA 8/9
Another zine thats packed full of reviews of anything essential on the alternative / gothic scene and beyond. Future issues will concentrate more on 'Into The Abyss' but that doesn't mean that the quality and quantity will fall. Also introduced are more interviews and features, '9' includes Carl McCoy, Land of Passion, Son of William, Peter Hammill, Killing Joke, etc. Great insight into the European underground scene.
Contact: FIGHT AMNESIA, HEINHEIMER STR 4A, 64289 DARMSTADT, GERMANY.
KINGDOM OF DEATH 5
Concentrating more on the doom / death metal international scene with interviews with the likes of Rain, Witches, Astaroth, Novembre, Krabathor, Rotting Head, etc., written in English.
Contact: K.O.D., SLOWACKIEGO 182/47, 97-300 PIOTRKOW TRYB., POLAND.
GERMAN UNDERGROUND CROSSECTION 6
The title gives it away really, but again covering the metal end of the genre including thrash, death and doom. This issue features Dark Decade, Dementia, Mortal Agony, Skeletor, Vex etc.
Contact: G.U.C., PO BOX 160210, 01307 DRESDEN, GERMANY.
DARK DIVINITY 1
Open minded metal based zine that wants to feature other musics. This issue features Mortiis, Necronomicon, Darkside Cowboys, Projekt Records, Nagflar, Dark Funeral etc.
Contact: DARK DIVINITY, BAGEV. 128, 85652 SUNDSVALL, SWEDEN.
Stalwart of the gothic scene Mathew Faulkner who produced the well regarded 'Dead By Dawn' compilation cassettes has put his energies into producing a professional looking zine that covers the alternative / gothic / electronic scene. This issue features Jesus Fix, Skin Drill, Voice, Bizarre, Ultraviolence, Rosetta Stone etc.
Contact: INTERFERENCE, 14 STANLEY ROAD, BROADSTAIRS, KENT, CT10 1DA.
Freebie tiny zine that contains gothic related reviews, dates and adverts thats widely distributed in Germany.
Contact: BLACK BOOk, KREUZBERGSTR. 72, 10965 BERLIN, GERMANY.
CYRKEL SPYNN 4
Covers pagan, gothic and new age music alongside poetry and comment. Lots of in depth reviews and features on the likes of Alphane Moon, Suspiria, Midnight Configuration, Valle Crucis, pagan news and events.
Contact: CYRKEL SPYNN, St. MARYS GUEST HOUSE, 113 THORNE ROAD, WHEATLEY, DONCASTER, S. YORK, DN2 5BQ.
VIOLET NIGHT 1
Good to see lots of new zines, heres another which has its roots in the prog / metal scene but looking to expand into other areas. This issue features Doomflight, Thy Sinister Bloom, Cannibal Corpse, Valle Crucis, Morbid Symphony etc.
Contact: VIOLET NIGHT, FAIRFIELD, RIBER ROAD, STARKHOLMES, MATLOCK, DERBYSHIRE, DE4 5KB.
UNDERGROUND ZINE SCENE 5
The title really gives the game away, a round up of fanzines with in depth reviews on each one. Covering different musical genres from an international selection of zines.
Contact: U.Z.S., 316 E. MAIN ST., SEBEWAING, MI 48759, USA.
Heavily influenced gothic / occult zine that goes beyond just music, in this issue we have In My Rosary, Cocteau Twins, Young Gods, Nuit d'Octobre. Alongside articles on Heraldry, Hans Rudi Giger, Magic Minerals and the Celts.
Contact: ECATE, VIA FORLANINI 131, 34139 TRIESTE, ITALY.
Quirky indie based zine that is mostly review based with articles on Elefant Records, Conspiracy, My Revolution, Music & Elsewhere and Bliss releases.
Contact: BLISS, 68 BARLICH WAY, LODGE PARK, REDDITCH, WORCS., B98 7JP.
Small zine from the band with the same name also run their own cassette label. This issue has info on Ignite, Venus Fly Trap interview and some reviews.
Contact: IGNITE, 47 / 81 BATH ROAD, KIRRAWEE, N.S.W. 2232, AUSTRALIA.
Covers the international dark wave / industrial scene with interviews and articles on Glasnost, Six and More, Cleopatra Records, Amon Hen, Vandemmian, PP?, Chateau Royale, Laibach, Apocalyptic Vision, Venus Fly Trap, House of Usher, Sounds of Delight etc.
Contact: DARK ZONE, KONSTYTUCJI 3 MAJA 20/4, 48-100GLUBCZYCE, POLAND.
Irreverent zine with lots of fetish type artwork and reprints of flyers which has an international musical outlook. This issue features Troll, Machine, Crawlspace, Org Records, Ignite, Music and Elsewhere etc.
Contact: TOAN, PO BOX 775, PETERSHAM, N.S.W. 2049, AUSTRALIA.
Concentrating mainly on the electronic scene this issue features X Marks The Pedwalk, Cubanate, Escape with Romeo, Subway to Sally, Q'ntal / Deine Lakaien etc.
Contact: DER HOFKURIER, KANALWEG 19, 53859 NIEDERKASSEL, GERMANY.
BLACK FLOWERS 16
Newsletter from the radio station of the same name, totally reviews based covering gothic / electronic music.
Contact: BLACK FLOWERS, 12 RUE DE LORRAINE, 57180 TERVILLE, FRANCE.
GOTHS NOT DEAD 4
Packed zine with all you wanted to know about the genre. This issue features Faith and the Muse, Into the Abyss, Darc Entries, Cassandra Complex, Horatii, Venus Fly Trap, Screams for Tina, Manuskript, Vandemmian and the history of the Batcave.
Contact: GOTHS NOT DEAD, STRUHBARG 56, 22941 BARGTEHEIDE, GERMANY.
SIX HOURS ONE WEEK 1
That covers not only music but films and art, this debut issue has pieces on Hugh Gallagher, Fragmented, Herb Mullin, Hybryds and a profile on Stanley Kubrick.
Contact: S.H.O.W., SKRENTEN 4A, 4500 MOLDE, NORWAY.
Written in both English and Italian this zine covers mainly the electronic and industrial scene. This issue features loads of reviews with Young Gods, Test Dept, Mute Festival, Re-search, NSK, Joy Division etc.
Contact: D.L.K., VIA GORKI 5, 74023 GROTTAGLIE (TA), ITALY.
Well produced zine thats extending its coverage beyond the metal scene. This issue features Pitch Shifter, Mobile Mob Freakshow, Ghostorm, Psychosis, Venus Fly Trap, etc.
Contact: CALMANT, JAUNIMO 60-9, 4580 ALYTUS, LITHUANIA.
ROCK ON 16
Totally metal and rock based magazine. This issue features Blackmail, Rated X, Transit, Way of Thorns etc.
Contact: ROCK ON, 1-62 MIYUKIGA - OKA, YOKKAICHI. MIE.510, JAPAN.
Well informed and produced zine that covers gothic / dark wave / electronic music in depth. This issue features Alien Sex Fiend, Artwork, Cubanate, Escape with Romeo, Skinny Puppy, Wumpscut, Blind Passengers and The Cure. Cibtact: ENTRY, BADERWEG 146, 45259 ESSEN, GERMANY.
Covers the death and doom metal international scene in depth. Plenty of reviews and interviews with the likes of Blood Duster, Centinex, Memory Garden, Shiver Records, etc.
Contact: CERBERUS, ISKUNURKKA 4, 92600 PULKKILA, FINLAND.
Improving with each issue, an open minded alternative zine that has its eyes open to the international underground. This issue features Sunshine Blind, Beton Tapes, Venus Fly Trap and Dark Moon Prod..
Contact: ENZYME, PO BOX 20401, DETROIT, MI 48220, USA.
WILD RAG 35
Covers the international rock and metal underground in depth with lots of reviews and contacts.
Contact: WILD RAG, 2207 W. WHITTIER BLVD., MONTEBELLO, CA 90640, USA.
The journal for home recording artists and beyond, a champion for the cassette underground. This issue has features on Big City Orchestra, Evolution Control, Committee, Isolation Chamber and loads of reviews.
Contact: AUTOREVERSE, PO BOX 15579, COLUMBUS, OHIO 43215, USA.
SPINA - North - (EP - WOWOKA / MUSIDISC)
Technologically immersed French electronic outfit who got together in the mid 80's as a partnership to promote various artforms. The band established its line up in 1992 with a musical five piece, alongside a duo who created the visuals. Hard beats, growly vox and metal guitar samples are the trademarkof this band very much in the mould of the likes of the Young Gods and Die Krupps.
BLACKFIRE - Resist - (EP - WOWOKA / MUSIDISC)
Claim to be the first Navajo Indian punk rock band, direct from the reservation in the heart of 'Big Mountain', Arizona. Lyrically they are motivated by political and cultural issues that affect modern Native Americans, the conscience of the nation. Also they are involved with the 'Jones Benally Family' a traditional troupe that re-creates authentic native american dances. This is also incorporated into the bands' live performance which has taken them across the States. Fans include Eddie Vedder (from Pearl Jam) and Joey Ramone. Another Ramones member, C J Ward produced this EP for the band. Down to the music which is a mixture of grunge meets garage punk with some indian atmospherics, with plenty of angst in the vocal department.
REVELINO - Revelino - (LP - DIRT / MUSIDISC)
Debut album from a band named after a famous Brazilian footballer and following on in the footsteps of U2, Cranberries, as Ireland's next big thing. Well they've certainly made short work of their native land, with their debut single reaching the top 30 and with many media types voting them 'most promising new act'. The onslaught has started in the UK with supports with the likes of Gene Whipping Boy and the fickle music press full of praise. Revelino have much to shout about, with their melodic vocal harmonies very Brit Pop with a nod to the sixties. Set against very Pixieish guitar lines and grunge elements - how about Mid-Atlantic Pop anyone? THE SONS OF HERCULES - Sons of Hercules - (LP - UNCLEAN / MUSIDISC) Another debut album this time from proto-garage band from San Antonio,Texas, land of the Alamo. Vocalist Frank Pugliese has performed with punk bands Morlocks, Mystery Dates and The Vamps who supported the Sex Pistols. With that kind of pedigree, The Sons carry on from where the godfathers of garage-punk MC5, Stooges, New York Dolls and their ilk left off. Flamethrower rock'n'roll, full on fuzz guitar and pounding drums taking on time warp vocals. With plenty of stateside praise they look set to follow label mates Fleshtones success on this side of the Atlantic.
HEADCLEANER - Claudine - (Single - MUSIDISC)
Tracks taken from their third album 'No Offence Meant, Plenty Taken'', but the first for MusiDisc, produced by Iain Burgess (Big Black, Shellac). Angst fuelled quirky punk somewhere between the Pixies and Pere Ubu, songs about isolation, paranoia and fear. The soundtrack to urban psychosis, decay and despair.
TECHNOGOD - Fascist Groove Thang - (Single - MUSIDISC)
Italian based with an American vocalist featuring an Indian percussionist who has worked with the likes of Transglobal Underground and Fundamental. Gives you an idea of the musical concoctions that are going on, these include mixing hardcore, techno, rap and jungle with a touch of weirdness. Then take into account the fact that they are managed by the same people who look after 'The Young Gods' and 'Treponem Pal', things just get stranger. Expect the unexpected, they've melded Ministry, Public Enemy and Fundamental into a creature that will not be caged into one genre. They even have the nerve to cover Heaven 17's 'Fascist Groove Thang' . . . . . anything is possible!
Contact: MUSIDISC, 32 QUEENSDALE ROAD, LONDON, W11 4SB.
THE TORTURER 4 - (Cassette - NO CONTROL TORTURE)
Ongoing compilations from the fanzine of the same name, covering gothic and dark wave music from an international group of artists. This volume features THE VENUS FLY TRAP with an uplifting track from the 'Luna Tide' album, BEYOND THE WALL OF SLEEP melodic melancholy in Sisters mode, DIE LAUGHING well regarded UK gothic band with a track from the 'Glamour and Suicide' album, TAEDIUM VITAE French version of Joy Division, ENDRAUM German ethereal combo from the album 'Innerlichkeit', other acts include AVOID CATOBLEPONE, DERRIERE LE MIRROIR, CAPITAL HELL etc.
THE TORTURER 12 - (Fanzine)
Well informed publication covering gothic / dark wave and electronic musics mostly from Germany with interviews with E-CRAFT, VENUS FLY TRAP, PASSION NOIRE, QNTAL, BLIND PASSENGERS, HOLYLORE, TRYLOK, PROPHETESS, SUICIDE COMMANDO and ATTRITION. A sizeable section of album, cassette and fanzine reviews, a good place to start if you want some insight into whats happening on the German underground.
Contact: NO CONTROL TORTURE, ROMERSTR. 94, 56073 KOBLENZ, GERMANY.
Also available from the above is the SCARLET HARBOUR cassette 'The Traitor Comes', full of gothic inspired atmospheric electronics.
ENNUI - Two Sides of Sexual Cynicism - (Single - CORRUPT RECORDS)
With both the title of the single and the fact that they've gone for two B sides, shows there's a wry sense of humour at work. They've received rave reviews from the likes of the Melody Maker and Mark Radcliffe (Radio One). Geographically they sound as though they have just emerged from the Florida swamps, coming across like a more sober and soulful version of Tom Waits meets Nick Cave. Spooky.
Contact: CORRUPT RECORDING CO., 1 PALATINE ROAD, LONDON, N16 8SY.
SHEEN - Lucky Jim - (Single - NOISE FACTORY)
Debut release from a new Northampton band on a recently established local label (which is a rarity - whatever happened to Newt Records?) They've set their sights on popdom by producing a single full of catchy hooks, very radio friendly. But there is a whole host of bands currently in the same area, 90's pop with 60's overtones. Perhaps the next single 'Together' with the help of Clint Boon (Inspiral Carpets) will make them a 'face' that will stand out from the crowd.
WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE - Draped - (Single - NOISE FACTORY)
Second single from x-members of The Wonderstuff and Eat, the first 'Don't Be Too Honest' reached No. 5 in the indie charts. With this kind of pedigree expectations are high, the title track is all moody post-grunge pop. Nothing new, but they add little quirks here and there that by the end of the song get you caught. An unsuspecting track that builds like 'Stilkskin', but all they need is the obligatory advert to push them into the mainstream.
Contact: NOISE FACTORY, PO BOX 411, NORTHAMPTON, NN1 3BR.
SPACEMAID - Girl Who Sold The World - (Single - BIG STAR)
After a couple of singles, then a time in the backwaters of their native Hull, Spacemaid are back with a new single, label and logo design. I agree with O'Connor's choice of design even though it was rejected as being to techno and sinister. So with that reasoning the music will be bright and pop, and it is, infectious, singalong, a futuristic version of Blondie or The Primitives. Out of this world.
Contact: BIG STAR, 32 QUEENSDALE ROAD, LONDON, W11 4SB.
ABLEMESH - Cancel Life - (Single - NOISEBURGER)
Milton Keyne's jinxsters who like winding up major labels with rejection letters, and false credit card stickers in shop windows. A novel angle in getting noticed, certainly some intelligence at work, this also comes across in their songwriting ability. Driving tearaway pop like XTC on speed, thats both joyous and ironic at the same time.
Contact: NOISEBURGER, PO BOX 6355, LONDON, N15 6PD
DREAM DISCIPLES - Veins - (Single - RESURRECTION)
Well respected UK gothic / rock / industrial band who have released three albums in the last four years, mostly via their own label 'Carrion'. They've had numerous TV appearances and have toured with the likes of CNN, Rubicon, Christian Death, Creaming Jesus and Rosetta Stone. This single is aimed to get bodies onto the dance floor with pounding beats, electronic bleeps and rock orientated guitar licks. Powerful material thats reminiscent of a rockier Terminal Power Company mixed with the anthemic choruses of the likes of The Cult. Watch out for a new album 'A Cure For Pain' where the original version of 'Veins' has been taken from.
Contact: RESURRECTION RECORDS, 73 PARK WAY, LONDON, NW1 7PP.
SYCDUCK - Magic Beans - (LP - GRIMM PRODUCTS)
Follow up to the Buttholes / Ruts influenced debut single 'Wash Your Mouth Out' which also came out on their own label. They've matured since their last release, in the same way some french cheeses do, they grab your attention immediately. From the well thought out graphics which are both amusing and provoking at the same time. To the 'full steam ahead' drive of their songs which have Killing Joke overtones, admittedly more in a hardcore style. Sonic guitar terrorists with 'punky' angst vocals that have borrowed both from English punk and American hardcore.
Contact: GRIMM PRODUCTS, 29 RIDGE STREET, LANCASTER, LA1 1EA.
DARK SIDE COWBOYS - The Apocryphal - (LP - MUSICART)
Neo-romantic band who are inspired by nature and wilderness via Tolkien like characters and tales. From deep in the forest away from the big cities is where the band feel at home, this is where our own spectres from the psyche are set loose. Many themes are explored on this album and much of the music strays away from the usual 'gothicness' that you would expect. Sure, there is the Sisters influences alongside fellow neo-romantics London After Midnight, but this band have much more to offer. They delve into classical grandiose heartbreak with theatrical or cabaret overtones touching on someone like Brecht. The spirit is waiting in the wings.
FUNHOUSE - Never Again - (LP - MUSICART)
Second album from this Scandinavian band and follow up to the acclaimed 'Girls' which came out last year. First formed in 1987 they've gradually emerged to be in the forefront of dark rock genre. With constant touring taking in places like Sweden, Poland, UK and Germany they're looking to consolidate on this position. Certainly the material here is as strong as previous releases but it still lies very much in the Sisters/Mission scheme of things. So no surprises there, but Funhouse do it with a degree of emotional commitment that would warm the icy-est of dark hearts.
CHILDREN ON STUN - You are the CELEBRATION Drug - (Single - MUSICART)
Some line-up changes sees the departure of Pete Finemore, with Simon Manning now taking over in the guitar department. This single is certainly aimed at both commercial and dancefloor action and with Porl Young (from Rosetta Stone) at the controls its certainly a contender. Catchy guitar hooks, anthemic choruses memorable tunes enough to wake any jaded goths out of their torpor.
Contact: MUSIC ART, SIMRISHAMNSGATAN 20A, 21423 MALMO, SWEDEN.
Splintered are one of the UK's few outfits who are tucked away under the fringes of whats presently going on in molten post-rock that don't pander to trends or the comparative comforts of compromise. Formed in late 1989 and soon to release their third and fourth albums (Noumena and Moraine, respectively), the band have sustained a low yet healthy profile through a succession of mostly limited singles, two Peel Sessions, and an enthusiasm for music that culminates in two members running their own record labels.
A flexible six piece unit, Splintered blend multi-layered techniques and often inexorable rhythmic structures to an improvisational axis that allows for experimentation, atmosphere and, ultimately, the realisation of a simple quest to evolve with each release. At odds with the current 'new age'-ish climate where complacency and retrogression have stifled integrity, Splintered's role would appear more focussed than ever, were it not for their realism and stark disregard for little beyond their own music.
Utilising art-damaged 'rock' rhythms, guitars, loops, drones, analog synths, metal percussion and samples, they reach into the same demon purging cesspool of frayed nerves and tangled minds that has, over the years, spawned all, from The Stooges, Faust and P.I.L. to The Birthday Party, Big Black and the Dirty Three.
Prone to lengthy excursions when both playing live and on their albums, 'Smokescreen' serves a sandpaper blast of an attack to what can generally be described as their more hypnotic, yet hostile, 'norm'. and, consistent with an intent to explore new avenues on each record, this new E.P. stands out with its inclusion of four short pieces on the flip; a first for the band that defies the fact that the forthcoming Moraine album is represented by two twenty minute pieces.
Whatever, one thing is for certain, contrasts and confusion seem to go hand
in hand with Splintered.