Fancy a little gothic Christmas? Nothing says cheer like a carol and Vazum have released for those that aren’t inclined to listening to the regular fare, an EP of dark, tormented odes to the Yuletide, Vazumnacht. If you are unfamiliar with Vazum, they are a gothic/deathrock/shoe gaze, two piece made up of Zach Pliska and Emily Sturm, who are based in Detroit.
There are three numbers on this EP, starting with “Carol Of The Witch“. This is a parody of the traditional song “Carol Of The Bells“, which is instantly striking from the start, done as guitar riffs but after the beginning, this become a gothic dirge of pagan proportions. Discordant guitars sit with Pliska’s almost groaned vocals, while Sturm’s singing, storm through like light breaking through darkness. There are resurgences of the original tune but it just ties it all in.
Me thinks a bit of devil may care is a foot in “Unholy Nite“. Like a chant to summons the dark lord, this shadows “Holy Night” with references to the dark saviour and sulphur.
The synths almost feel off beat in comparison to the guitar, giving an off kilter sensation to “Bark The Hellhounds” and yes this is a nod to “Hark The Herald Angels” but done in the creepy, hurdy gurdy style that Vazum excels in.
In essence, Vazum have taken the bones of three highly favoured carols and not only putting their spin on those songs but for the most part, created new songs. So darklings, get your gothic finest on and celebrate the doomed side of Christmas with Vazumnacht.
Australian duo, Dirt Factory have released their second album, “Factory Evolution“, which is out on Viral Records and was mixed in Brisbane by Roger Menso of DogMachine fame.
Daniel Allen resides in Melbourne while brother, Michael Gillman can be found in Brisbane and they, like many other musicians, have not seen each other all this year but through technology have still been busy creating.
And so it begins and the first taste is “Binary“, an intro which is literally voices giving you binary code.
“Salvation” was the first single from the album with its terminator stalking feel rhythm and Michael’s held cords on keyboard that makes this oppressive and the direct opposite of being saved.
With sci fi creeping doom is “Automation” but not all is as it seems. Electronic vocals with bleak long cords and relaying the degradation of mankind, as we make our way to a ignominious demise. There is an almost Gary Numan feel about this.
The second single lifted is “Violence” and it is an angst ridden view of a world at war with itself. The grating vocals of lost hope for mankind as he had forgotten to be human.
Title track, “Factory Evolution” is about some future where replicants are created to be perfect in exactly the same way, programmed only to do as they are told, which is to wage war. This is understated and it works with the story telling whisper and a touch of 70s funk feel.
Just as it implies, “Interlude” is a short piece, with cut up, female news readers, bringing you the breaking news of a world burning, cowering in fear of a pestilence and riots.
During COVID-19, the world of regular humans watched extremism unleashed in what could be called, “Pandemicamania“. The observation of the panic, dehumanisation and selfishness that had been previously displayed. It creeps along with its disgust of a non cohesive society that has lost its way.
Failed Empires has an imperious feel to it, a with grand swell of keyboards. Carried with oscillating beats travelling through it, Daniel’s ode to countries collapsing internally as he whispers their lessons of destruction.
A call to revolution, to not take the abuse any more, though most will ignore the call to arms in “Deflect“. This doesn’t miss a beat and again there is the marvellous dirty and dark vocals with the clean sparkly synths.
The start of “Trash” had me thinking Einstürzende Neubauten in the rawness of the rhythm. ‘White trash‘ are in power, not those that care, those who only have their own interests at heart.
The final song is “Death In Your Eyes” and just when you think this is going to be a quiet number, the boys bring it up a notch. This synth happy piece about inviting your own destruction pulls together the threads of the other tracks of the album. A collimation of – if you let all these things happen then it’s the end.
The influence of what has been the year, 2020, is all over this release. Dirt Factory’s debut album, “Random Songs For The EndOf The World“, definitely had higher tempo numbers on it, where as this new album seems sludgier and darker, effecting the general mood following lock downs, heavy restrictions and watching extremists across the globe. Important music is often created in trying times and although this album doesn’t break new ground, it a strong album with gems that will speak to you as the band is Dirt Factory and this is their “Factory Evolution“.
2020 has brought in big changes for many bands and this includes Minneapolis based band, Zwaremachine. After a dalliance with Brutal Resonance Records, releasing their last EP the band has expanded to now include the live crew as fully fledged recording members and released a single/ remix EP.
The single “Conquest 3000” is the first off the soon to be released album and features Zwaremachine stalwart, visionary & lead singer, MachFox, Dbot on bass plus vocals and DeinOfficer brutalising the drums.
The very nature of industrial music lends itself to political protest and the voice of the underdog, so “Conquest 3000” is a prime example. Especially in this currently climate of fear, disease and corporate avarice, angry dissent voices are needed more than ever. This has a cleaner sound compared to Zwaremachine’s previous singles. With a hard hitting electronic and drum rhythm, this powers along and the synth lines created a smooth juxtaposition. Fox’s vocals are the fired salvos destructively hitting their mark.
The “Conquest 3000” X1L3 remix is harsher and in a Ministry vein, yet it has this cyber swirling, wonderous feel to it within the brusqueness.
The near disco beat at the beginning made me smile. The Floridians, Batavia, remix of “Conquest3000“, shows a gossamer touch, air light keyboards and that damn beat that had me wiggling in delight from the beginning.
Final mix is by Australian act, HOSTILEARCHITECT., MitchKenny knows how to push a song into a new realm. Cyber punk, futuristic and high energy, that keeps you guessing where he’ll take it next.
The new members bring a new and exciting dimension to the direction Zwaremachine is heading. The single is great and is pointing to an even greater album, meanwhile all the remixes are noteworthy in their own right and I don’t think I could pick a favourite. Name your price on Bandcamp so there is nothing stopping you checking out Zwaremachine’s “Conquest 3000“.
Black Needle Noise is the project of one John Fryer and for those not so well acquainted with his name, should be with his other band from the 80’s, the highly influential, This Moral Coil, who are forever entwined with the wonderful, 4AD.
Fryer has collaborated with the Australian/Croatian, classical vocalist, Helena Mamich, to create the new electronic and ambient single, “Nocturnal“.
“Nocturnal” starts off slow, with Mamich’s vocals ghosting ephemerally above all. The gradual build up is metered out carefully, with hints of beats and swelling synth cords.
The soprano crescendo, hauntingly draws you in and almost eerily, there are in the background, the sounds of crows and other such creatures. This is almost a cadenza featuring Helena’s smooth and beautiful vocable.
In the music industry, John Fryer is synonymous with being one of the hardest working musicians around, highly sought out for his production skills and this shines through the track.
The beautifully created noises, feel like they might occupy the dark spaces of forgotten, magical places of the “Nocturnal“. This is a delicate balance of classical with ambient, electro industrial, brought to you by the master craftsman, John Fryer aka Black NeedleNoise and Helena Mamich, which is nameyour price on Bandcamp and most worthy of your time.
For those that love their cyberpunk industrial music, should be thrilled that Seattle act Rabbit Junk released a new album on 23rd of October, Xenospheres.
Wired a little differently? You’re on the vertical while everyone else around you is the horizontal? “Neurodivergent” will speak volumes to you as it calls for a standard world to be more flexible or prepare to be broken. It’s vocal, it’s loud and it’s going to catch your attention.
“The Bends” is bass heavy metal with that injection of industrial sensibility. It is almost bipolar with going from nu/core, straight into synths, without missing a beat. For those unfamiliar, the bends occurs when deep sea divers surface and then suffer from decompression sickness.
The harder the bastards push you down, you get back up to push back harder. This is “Relentless (Omicron Nu Epsilom)” and it soars vocally, with the great aggresive guitar and synth highlights.
Really like the mix of male and female vocals here in “Prismatic“. It works so well in a responsive sassy way about feeling invincible and wanting to get down to partying.
For something completely different, reggae style vocals greet you in “Angry People” and we all know these sort of people who want to start fights but take the stance of the injured party.
This is just rising levels of guitar angst for “Curse” and then in the middle it hits you… is that a passing nod to the “The Passenger” by Iggy Pop?!
Talking of Mr Pop, RabbitJunk have taken the single “Kick It“, that Iggy sang with Peaches and given it an industrial makeover. It was already a punchy, punk number which now has an even sweeter, juicier bite to it.
A really nice mix of metal vocals and that beat heavy industrial noise in “Bits AndRazors“. Intense guitar heralds the growing swells of the chorus.
The last track, “From The Stars II (Kite and Vireo)“, is a wonderful science fiction story that becomes a headbanging epic. This is the invasion of the alien technology within humans… or is this the other way around? Humans invading cyber space….
All in all, this is a rip roaring album, thumbing their noses at societal conventions whilst bringing the beat heavy noise.
Xenospheres is a free download from Bandcamp because the band decided that in this current economic environment, it would be worth giving back to the fans. Just goes to show though that Rabbit Junk are really a nice bunch, so please support by getting Xenospheres.
Electronic Boston band MAN1K1N, made up of singer Johnny Veil and drummer CristianCarver, have released a single in November called, Into The Wounds. Turns out this is, in my eyes, like a double A side of sorts with the songs, “IntoThe Void” and “Wounds:.
Veil’s voice is very reminiscent of MarilynManson’s timbre but that’s where the comparison ends. Darkwave electro is a very apt description with a trip hop influence, making this such an interesting style that is very pleasing to the ears. This is almost a parody of those in the gothic subset that push for an ideal look of beauty but within can be rotten to the core.
“Wounds” is a swirling maelstrom of uplifting electronic synths and beats coupled with brutal, angst ridden lyrics, which works. I can only best describe the feeling as wanting to dance without limits but you know your heart is breaking. This is the remix by Big Time Kill, who have lent their distinctive fingerprints.
“Into The Void” is a good, solid number and the Big Time Kill remix of “Wounds” sounds glorious. You can find Into The Wounds on Bandcamp and it’s name your price, so you should go check out this offering from MAN1K1N.