Swedes, Hatif released their very impressive debut album Everything Is Repetition, recently via Town And Tower Records. They have now released the single “Pool” as remixed by fellow Swedes, Agent Side Grinder.

“It was fun to work with. I tried to make it more direct, highlighting the chorus and the 303” – Johan Lange of Agent Side Grinder

Agent Side Grinder have looped those beautiful Middle Eastern excerpts, twisting them marvellous into extra rhythm keepers. The vocals now have a cavernous quality, mysterious and timeless, while the electronics have become the swirling storm.

This is very much a match up, made in heaven. “Pool” was already a really great track and Agent Side Grinder have increased the dance floor appeal without removing the bits that make this track so likeable. This version is stellar and if you haven’t checked out Hatif, I cannot advise you strongly enough to get out there and do so.

Pool (Agent Side Grinder Remix) | Hatif (bandcamp.com)

https://facebook.com/hatifband

https://instagram.com/hatifband

When I received an email from someone called Emperor Of Ice Cream…. well my eyebrows did go up a fair way. I was to find out that this is not a person, but rather a collective, from Cork in Ireland and they were releasing their newest single, “Winter Pages“, on November the 18th. John ‘Haggis’ Hegarty (vocals), Graham Finn (guitar), Edward Butt (bass) and Colum Young (drums) are the Emperor Of Ice Cream, and they are on the label, FIFA Records. These guys have been a thing since the early 90s but are only put out their debut album in 2020, which came out under the title, No Sound Ever Dies.

A chiming wall of guitar embraces your senses, dragging away your thoughts and the singing is as sweet as the nicest of memories of love, entangles you in the sonic web of glorious noise. They reach into a place where longing and loss are powerful body blows, leaving you in the cold.

Wow. Just ohmygod….wow. You would never think anyone calling themselves Emperor Of Ice Cream would sound like that. They truly did blow me away with that one song. Utterly beautiful in both lyrics and musically. Shoegaze, when done correctly, is magical and in many ways, these guys remind me of early Ride, whom I consider to have been the pinnacle of creating amazing walls of tone and sighing harmonics that take you away to some other place. Play it, play it, play it and then play it again. The Emperor Of Ice Cream has gifted you “Winter Pages“.

Winter Pages | Emperor of Ice Cream (bandcamp.com)

Emperor of Ice Cream | Cork | Facebook

FIFA Records – Forever In Financial Arrears | Cork | Facebook

MATT HART has been a busy lad of late it seems, and now has unveiled his new single, as of the 18th of November, “TERRAFORM“, a completely new track that carries the story on from the previous album. There are also two guest remixes from Blue Ant (Matteo Seduta) and Sirus (Josh Rombout), as well as the mixing and mastering done by Krischan Wesenberg of Rotersand.

Oh, here is a short story synopsis——> bad robot aliens take over the planet, make it really cold and try to knock off the humans, so they go underground. 🙂

First thing that hits you is that “TERRAFORM” is kind of serious business. The rhythm and the music are measured and work like, no messing about here, heavy electronics that drop down on your senses. There is purpose in the not only the music but also HART’s vocals, pushing on the survivors to carry out their tasks.

Woohoo, the Blue Ant version is going deep down and on the low down, the electronics nowhere as heavy and just popping, rolling along. Damn it, I found my head bobbing away with that catchy rolling beat. Someone just pushed the track into techno territory and that would be Sirus. Again, this huge, both threatening and exhilarating at the same time.

What I found a little disturbing about the original track was the fact the vocals had started to become metallic. This we had come to expect from the alien invaders, so does this start to point to the fact the humans are starting to lose their humanity….the one thing that separated them from the robotic overlords? They have fought so long to survive, that this seems to have become consuming. All three versions could be played on a dance floor and I think I can best sum up the three styles as electronic menace (MATT HART), electronic supreme cool (Blue Ant) and electronic bitch slap you up the side of the head/you better dance fool (Sirus). Love it.

TERRAFORM – SINGLE | MATT HART (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/djmatthartuk/

https://www.instagram.com/matthart3808/

Music | SIRUS (bandcamp.com)

Music | Blue Ant (bandcamp.com)

The Precious Ones” sounds like it could be from Lord Of The Rings, however, it is the single that deathgaze rockers, VAZUM, dropped on the 18th of November. Emily Sturm and Zach Pliska are gearing up for an album drop next year, called V Sessions, but in the meantime you can listen to the new single with it’s complimentary two b-sides.

Pliska is the main vocalist this time for “The Precious Ones” and venomously spits out the lyrics, while the guitars are violently loud, rolling like thunder in their discontent and the drums emphatic. Sturm’s vocals wind around the chorus almost stealing it. “Actor” really slides into deathrock mode with the buzzing guitar work, that occasionally breaks out then returns to the fold. The way the rhythm moves is very snake like. The last track sees both the vocalists sharing the duties, screaming out guitars and what feels like intense pressure in the build up for “Skooge“.

I actually had to look up “Skooge” and it was in the urban dictionary as basically describing an idiot. These tracks definitely have a common theme running through all of them…..pretty much go fuck yourself and go fucking die. I mean I could be wrong but I don’t think I am. “The Precious Ones” is a dig at a scene that often is constantly looking backwards at what has been, rather than the new music there is now. Many, many moons ago, I used to run a club and if you played all the classics, you were guaranteed a full dance floor. Introduce something new but great, suddenly the floor was clear. If I go out, I still hear all the same music….it is boring and like going back in a time machine. Plus, I guess there are probably certain musicians today that will have everyone pandering to them, while others will miss out on coverage even though they deserve to be heard. In the meantime, the single and extra tracks are fantastic. I love the furious guitars and VAZUM being all prickly has made this all the more interesting. Watch out for “The Precious Ones“…….

The Precious Ones | VAZUM (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/VAZUMROCKS/

https://www.instagram.com/vazum_/

Non-Bio is the most excellent industrial project of the rather busy Howard Gardner, whom is based in London and is also in the projects Pillars of Golden Misery and Decommissioned Forests. Halloween was the release date for his latest album, Monkey Feather.

The first track is also the first single/video, “Island In A Lake Of Spinal Fluid“, and the electronic reverberations are already tingling under your skin. Low and intense with Gardner’s voice adding to the noise, the screaming metal sounds, causing ripples to send those tingles down your back. Rhythmic noise is the order of the day, so with that in mind “Monkey Feather” will not disappoint. The crunchy beats fall over each other with sharp agitation, the vocals almost inconsequential in the scheme of things, as all that matters is the pile driver pushing into your head.

Primal is one way to describe “The Melting Man“, not only with the beats but with what sounds like horns bellowing, before the ancient warriors storm the palisades of their foe. “Pressure” is a slower beast, like an iron lung life support, giving the needed air to a patient who cannot fend for themselves. Inhale and exhale with the pressure of accumulated shadows, death is waiting as the life stutters under the heavy odds. It is almost like a chopped up classical piece, gurgling in the background at times.

The grinding electronics vibrate and buzz, consuming the human you are. This is “Amputate Product“, as each bit of the body is replaced by cybernetics… bringing you closer to being part of the machine. The screeching beats chomp away incessantly. Down in “The God Factory” they are busy, twiddling knobs and generating those miracles of life. Making things to keep you alive for longer, glitching and oscillating, usurping the laws of natural order.

Now one is more cyborg than man, here comes the “Imbalance“. The memories of a life lived different or seemingly flashbacks of another person’s previous existence, which is surely not yours. The synapse pulse within the electrical stream trying to reconcile the loss of what was so readily given up. A sharpness and a metal tinged pain. The last track is an absolute treat. When you get two very capable artists of rhythmic noise….well hold onto your pants. “Amputate Product” the STAHSCHLAG remix, has Sebastian Sünkler taking an already heavy track, winding it up and amping up the existential dread. A monster lurks below the surface wanting to escape.

Yep. I hate to tell you but I think this might be the best Non-Bio album to date. It fair pummels the senses, raw and brooding with Howard’s discombobulated vocals filtering through, a comment on the desire to enhance the body and live longer, though, then is it truly considered living? A Monkey Feather is an incongruous thing when talking of playing God but damn it, so good when Non-Bio pushes that electronic noise.

Monkey Feather | Non-Bio (bandcamp.com)

Non-Bio | Facebook

There is nothing better than introducing new music, especially when it gives you tingles down the spine. Connecticut based Jayson Munro and George Moore are goth rock/post-punk band, Midnight Psychic and their debut single is “String Of Fate“, released on the 16th of November.

There is that beautiful bass, along side the skittering guitar, inspired by Bauhaus, in the beginning of “String Of Fate“. The vocals are smooth and velvet, all the while recounting the many varied ways people past away in quite ignominious tragedies. Striking chords and sweet, mournful singing that do indeed induce those very tingles down the spine.

You know a song is either really good or really bad when it gets stuck in your head. I am glad to say that “String Of Fate” is brilliant and quite acceptable rattling around in the old noggin. It throws you back in time and the track would have fitted nicely into the gothic 80s UK scene, with the lovely guitar flourishes and unhurried, wonderful vocals. The Midnight Psychic is in session and they have foreseen your “String Of Fate“.

String of Fate | midnight psychic (bandcamp.com)

Midnight psychic | Facebook

https://instagram.com/midnight.psychic?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

In South Carolina, if you listen carefully, not all is banjo music. The gothic/deathrock explosive power of Orcus Nullify is back baby, with a new single, “All The Way“, released on the 11th of November.

From the drums through to the guitars, this is all Nullify. The guitars soar and Bruce’s vocals derisive of the old guard, the far right in their inability to accept anything other than their own narrow view and that if they aren’t right then it should all be left to crumble into anarchy. Discordant deathrock from Orcus Nullify with a message and a mosh worthy chorus.

https://orcusnullify.bandcamp.com/track/all-the-way-2

https://www.facebook.com/onullify

In the City of Ekaterinburg, you will find gothic rockers, Raven Said, and October saw their new EP, Chants To Dissolve released by Moon Coil Media, plus they had the very talented Pete Burns (Kill Shelter) on mastering. Raven Said are Andrey Agapitov (vocals, guitar, bass, acoustic guitar) and Maria Agapitova (piano, synth, percussion).

The first track has a very interesting pulsating marrying of almost techno beats and gothic rock. There are sparkling synths with flourishing jangly guitar in “A Flowering And A Flattering“.”Transparent Sorrow” features the beautifully sensual vocals of Aeleth Kaven from La Scaltra, so very light and angelic in stark contrast to Agapitov’s deeper tones. This track reminded me of the bands coming out in the second goth wave of the early 90s.

Really amazing bass lines wander through “Except My Love For Her (Cold Desire Version)“. I dare you to forget the chorus as it pretty unique and a very sweet way to admit to being very much in love…..in a very goth way. There is such a violent life to “Srendi Vashtar“, from the guitar and the voracious electronics, to the urgently lowkey vocals spurred on by the smashing percussion. The last track is the shimmering “Immersive Waves” with the haunting guitars and vocals. The guitar work is simply delightful, tinkling like broken glass, over and over again.

Music brings us together like virtually nothing else on the planet. It can feed our souls and connect us on such a primal level. Raven Said are creating dark gothic rock that really is like broken glass, fragile and shinny but if you try to take them into your heart, you might slowly die from the way they cut you up…. or not. It is about depths you feel this style of music in your psyche. New and yet familiar to those of us that live our lives in black. Now there are Chants To Dissolve with, so the Raven Said.

Chants to Dissolve | Raven Said (bandcamp.com)

Raven Said | Yekaterinburg | Facebook

Raven Said (@ravensaidband) • Instagram photos and videos

In September, the latest Mach FoX album was released. Titled, VideoLogico, Mach FoX of Zwaremachine, is unleashing his vision of a cyber western world….Mad Max meets The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, shaken and poured into an industrial martini glass (which probably looks more like a beer stein). VideoLogico is the big baddie in this tech tale, out on the label Phage Tapes.

The networked links are exchanging data in “DigitalNations“. The electronics convey the movement of information in the modern era, the synths glide lightly with the backing of the rhythm, though this starts to waver. The single, “LowTech“, can be heard, phasing, glitching and yet serene, like the stranger on the horizon riding into a town. Does low tech refer to the analogue electronics or is the stranger a person who has been implanted with cybernetics? “MainFrame” suggests that the general public are logged into the hive mind of VideoLogico and the music is suppressed and mellow. It seems to wander and never settle, lest you find yourself able to think clearly.

They are being chased down by the “ModTracer” sent by VideoLogico to find the aberrations, those that have not succumbed to the system, There is a tenseness, the beats going in and out of rhythm and the machines scanning for the rebels, metallic and menacing. VideoLogico is trying to create absolute order and “No Design” would not fit into the ideal perfection. The music wavers from flipping around to a far more permanent sound.

Is “TheOne” the stranger, a cybernetically enhanced warrior of the wastelands? Cobbled together tech is keeping the survivors going, with the only solace, that when the power grid goes down each morning, they must regroup for the next round of battle. “VideoLogico” is the mastermind. Phasing in and out like an untuned radio, the sparks of being self aware from the artificial intelligence, taking off and asserting itself through brainwashing.

Of course, this is a storyline in my head, inspired by the music and the few words on the Bandcamp page about the story. It may or may not be correct but then this is only limited by your imagination. A lot of care has gone into the not only the creation and manipulation of the music but also the concept. I like to think of that stranger on his steel horse, riding into town to bring justice to those who need a person/totem to galvanise themselves behind. The industrial cyber western scene is set in Mach FoX’s VideoLogico.

VideoLogico | Mach FoX (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/machfoxband

Italian spectres of darkwave/post-punk, European Ghost, dropped their album, No Sleep, No Peace, No Shelter. Released on the label, Icy Cold Records, on September the 23rd, this is the third album for Cristiano Biondo (vocals, lyrics), Giuseppe Taibi (bass, synths, drum machines) and Mario d’Anelli (guitars, synths), with Pale And Sick (2016) and Collection Of Shadows (2018), the previous albums.

So we begin with “Stars In Heaven“, a buzzing takes your ear, leading you an anxious array of noise and powerful waves of almost rhythmic noise. “Chrematimos” has that wonderful stalwart of post-punk, the plucked bass rumbling away as premonitions are causing mounting reason for concern.

White Foals” slithers under your skin with the vocals, while the guitars make that same skin shiver in eerie cold happiness. Dreams invade your sleep. Nightmares can ruin a “Good Night“. The music is stalking you like that unseen predator. There is a space like quality to “Hermetic“, sealed away while stars are consumed in loneliness.

Guitars and electronic take turns sparkling in “Cold Lips“, twisting and turning looking for fire, whilst the vocals ring out in the void. The bass holds sway in the title track, “No Peace, No Sleep, No Shelter“, a refection within a reflection, as the guitars wander between the realms of the living, dead and despair. “Living In A Tomb” does not so much feel desolate, so much as there is a longing for the light and that longing is in the vocals and wailing electronics.

Does “The Wind That Comes From Underground” come from some dark place? This track is truly full of some tremendous thumping beats with echoes and demonic clattering, as if the devil were chasing you through a labyrinth. An air of agelessness permeates the “Garden Of Delights“, sonorous and full of promise. A lovely twisting vortex of synths that pushes ever higher. The final track is “Metropolix” with its almost glitch like rhythm and the vocals that conjor images of the movie Metropolis, where everything is cold and metallic, moving with oiled precision.

European Ghost have said that the inspiration for the album comes from the idea of dreams, often meant to be a place of escape but can turn into haunting places of terror, causing apprehension from the very act of sustaining the body and mind. For me, it felt like when dreams and death are inseparable… entering a state where one is prone and open, where sleep is almost another form of impermanent death. No Peace, No Sleep, No Shelter has this wonderful, gritty texture, abrasive, polished by those magical guitars and highlighted by the electronics. They experiment with noise, creating these glorious sonic pieces that make you feel like you are standing on the edge of the void, and vocals plunge you into that void. Get haunted by European Ghost.

No Peace, No Sleep, No Shelter | European Ghost | europeanghost (bandcamp.com)

European Ghost | Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/icycoldrecords/