Proud goth, ex DJ and music reviewer

Electronic Boston band MAN1KIN, made up of singer Johnny Veil and drummer Cristian Carver, 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, “Into The Void” and “Wounds:.

Veil’s voice is very reminiscent of Marilyn Manson’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.

MAN1KIN

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 MAN1KIN.

https://man1k1n.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/MAN1K1N

New Orleans conjures for many of us thoughts of Mardi Gras, voodoo, vampires and now you can add the band, The Palace Of Tears, who released at the end of October, their debut album, Of Ruination.

The band is comprised of vocalist and lyricist, L.V. Darkling and Erick r. Sheid who pretty much plays and programmes everything else you hear.

THE PALACE OF TEARS

The slow, wind swept, instrumental void of “Terra Ephemera” or loosely interpreted, a land that was never meant to last, introduces you to the album. With graduating synths, the vale is lifted and hints of a tribal beat come into play.

Dark and imperious is the beginning to “Thy Womb Is Full Of Black Nectar” before we are acquainted to Darkling’s sonorous mezzo soprano vocals which are delicate and dripping with sensuous lyrics.

In a case of art imitating life, “Masque L’Intrigue” seems to be a result of the need for wearing masks to stop the current contagion. This is bitter sweet in its sentiment and like a reflection in obsidian… dark and cool. The synths and vocals entwine smoothly.

Tears Of The Moon” is slightly more hard edged, with buzzing electronics, yet still so ethereal just as the light of the moon is. This is eloquent and beautiful.

One does not think normally that “Cold Dead Skin” as romantic prose however it is used in effect to give contrasts of symmetry of the divine and the grotesque. The music feels like it is rising heaven bound with black gothic wings.

Shadows Of Whispering Phantoms” is the perspective of one whom has just lost the fight with death. Brooding in tempo as the spirit questioningly implores of they can be seen or heard by their loved ones as they pass beyond the vale. The guitar is almost hidden amongst the rising synths and there is something heart squeezing in the gorgeous sentiment.

The screaming angst of Scheid’s guitar marks the last song, “Of Ruination“. This is a wall of noise with the eloquent Darkling, cutting through with that magnificent voice. The swirling heavy guitar with the light electronica just make this truly breathtaking.

Ambient, dark soundscapes that are created here by Sheid are fabulous but it’s definitely Darkling’s vocal talent that takes everything to a higher, ethereal realm. It’s a bit like listening to Dead Can Dance if they were darker and more modern. So I say, go unto The Palace Of Tears to listen to the sweet seduction Of Ruination.

https://thepalaceoftears.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thepalaceoftears/

Norway’s Mayflower Madame, released on the 19th of November, a single off their album, Prepared For A Nightmare. It is called “Ludwig Meidner“, named after the German artist, who is most famous for creating apocalyptic landscape art pieces. Meidner wished to evoke an emotional response from the viewer and these art works were created before even the First World War, which Meidner was a participant in.

A tribute to the man, the artist and the perhaps the madness of wanting to feel more… what extremes would you go to, to get that rush?

There is a harkening back to the early to mid 80s, when post punk was evolving into goth. It is serpentine in the way the music winds with the jangly guitars. There is a healthy dose of Mission like tunefulness and the keyboard chimes in giving the song an ethereal feel.

MAYFLOWER MADAME

These guys do a beautiful blend of gothic rock beauty, highlighted with that shoe gaze swirling guitar. Guitar based post punk is in good hands with Mayflower Madame, so do yourself a favour and have a listen to “Ludwig Meidner“.

https://mayflowermadame.bandcamp.com/album/prepared-for-a-nightmare

https://www.facebook.com/mayflowermadame

Congratulations has to go out to Australian act, Hostile Architect, not only for releasing his current single/EP, ::LOG.2:: DAWN OV, but also being signed to Brutal Resonance Records.

Not going to lie, I’ve heard this a few times and it’s angry music for an angry time. “DAWN OV” is a reaction to the current climate of distrust in governments, a virus pulling apart people and communities with the vision of a bleak future, filled with cybernetics and where life is cheap. Mitch Kenny’s anguished, distorted vocals ride the wave of this synth assault. It is heavy and hard hitting industrial noise.

PROSCRIPT” I would describe if The Art Of Noise had been far more aggressive and militant, this is what they could have sounded like. Eclectic and yet it works so well in an epic conglomeration of structured electronic beats.

HOSTILE ARCHITECT- MITCH KENNY

Mach Fox of Zwaremachine and fellow stablemate on Brutal Resonance, remixes “DAWN OV“. He peels back the vocal distortion and gives this remix, almost, a simpler feel but by doing so, Fox has also made this version even more raw and bitter.

The Brisbane electronic scene is very strong and Hostile Architect is definitely a reflection of this. Not to mention that Mitch Kenny (Hostile Architect) and Mach Fox are some of the nicest guys in the industrial scene as well as being very talented.

This is another strong single from an act taking no prisoners and the more you listen, you more it gets under your skin. So check out ::LOG.2:: DAWN OV and keep your attention on the Hostile Architect.

https://brutalresonance.bandcamp.com/album/log-2-dawn-ov

https://brutalresonance.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HosArchitect/

https://www.facebook.com/zwaremachine/

https://www.facebook.com/brutalresonance/

Released on November 6th, was Neurobash’s single, “Blame 2K2X“, off the Swedes’ album, 2K2X. This single also offers 3 previously unreleased numbers which is a nice addition.

So the single, “Blame (Subsequential)” has the momentum of a freight train, full of rampant beats that hold your attentiona nd the vocals are like silk over the top. It feels like a social commentary on this age of the rising extreme right… ‘what you going to do when they come for you, what you going to do when everybody knows‘.

Overtime” reminds me a lot of club classic “Hitman” by Tobias Bernstrup mixed with Kraftwerk. It’s new and yet it feels like something good from the past.

We have “Offset A” which is far more slower in tempo and yet more drum inspired while “Offset B” is far more futuristic synth based, no where at heavy feeling as the previous piece and yet it contains a much more crunchy texture. Both numbers are purely instrumental in nature.

NEUROBASH

I was unable to link the YouTube video of the single because it contains scenes of the band being water tortured and therefore is restricted viewing. Oh my, so you can either listen to the album version here, go listen on Bandcamp or go seek out the offering on Youtube through the Neurobash channel.. Either way, you are bound to enjoy Neuobash’s, “Blame 2K2X“.

https://neurobash.bandcamp.com/album/blame-2k2x-2

https://www.facebook.com/neurobash/

Brisbane, three piece band, The Blackwater Fever, just brought out on November the 20th, their new single, “My Weakness“. The trio comprises of Shane Hicks on vocals/guitar, Jed A. Walters playing bass guitar/rhodes and Trevor Gee on drums/percussion.

The first dropping cords kick in and that blues style can’t be mistaken with its laconic guitar interludes accompanied by piano. Married with an insistent grunge sound in the chorus plus lyrics that convey a one sided love affair, bring to mind acts like Stone Temple Pilots. Hicks‘ vocals are like honey dripping into your ears as he tells you his tale of woe and want.

THE BLACKWATER FEVER

There are songs that paint pictures in your mind and are almost tangible to taste and smell. Grimy desperation, mixed with hot, sweaty lust, all in the name of a woman that would leave you to rot, if she so desired, yet they can’t let go of her. The red back spider on the cover, is an Australian member of the black widow clan, highly poisonous and will cannibalise its mate.

After five albums, these are seasoned professionals and it shows in the production as well as writing skills. This is delightfully moody and carnal, so if you have an itch that you can’t scratch, may I recommend The Blackwater Fever and their remedy, “My Weakness“.

https://www.facebook.com/theblackwaterfever/

https://theblackwaterfever.bandcamp.com/track/my-weakness

British act, Analogue Blood released on November the 9th, their second EP, “Kill Those Beats”, following in the wake of 2019’s Advanced Weapon Systems Activated EP. Ian Hanratty and Lee Teasdale make up the core of the band.

The first tantalising beats of “Until The Sun“, it will catch your attention, from the middle eastern influence to the relentless rhythm. This drives as we are introduced to guest vocalist, Alice Hour from the band, In Evil Hour and she kills it.

Frozen” brings it, with a fast techno beat, Hour cooing to our ears and thawing us with a bouncing synth guitar mix.

The influence of the techno music scene can be felt on “E.B.S.” and is mostly instrumental with vocals cut into it.

The eastern influence and vocals of “Awakening“, are spinetingling and work so well with the swirling guitar work.

Yeah ok… love the start to “Insomnia” as it reminds me of how most electro music, just makes you feel exhilarated. This is the more aggressive, modern version of Berlin, from the early 80s, ever so perverse and sexually charged.

Title song for the EP, “Kill Those Beats“, is a noisy, slightly aggrotech/rap inspired number with Nathen Miller, also known as hip hop act Endem, another guest vocalist on the microphone, verbally attacking your senses.

Chris Davison is the vocal talent on the single “Never Fall Down” and it’s smooth like silk with harmonies yet has that hard edge of the electronics. Davison specialises in vocals and guitars as both a solo artist and with three bands.

The most influential thing this year has been the outbreak of COVID-19. It has changed the world currently and how we interact in these days. “Virus 2020” is a reminder of this impact, so therefore it is brooding and darker. Yet the vocal loops give it such a rich texture

The end of the EP is the Inertia remix of “Never Fall Down“. This album isn’t breaking any new ground in the EBM scene but those that love to bounce around to a good beat are going to enjoy this.

https://analogueblood.bandcamp.com/album/kill-those-beats

https://www.facebook.com/analogueblood/

October 30th was the release date for the debut album, Abyss by In Tenebris. Power noise extrodinaire, Sebastian Sünkler of Stahlschlag, is the driving force behind this project, out on the label, Crunch Pod.

And so into the inky Abyss we travel, with the lonely, echoing call of a raven to “Inferis“, otherwise known as the Underworld. This slow build of wind tunnel sound, rings with eerie chimes.

One of the scariest creatures is “Mandkind“. They consume everything, create war and destruction and continue on. A mixture of subtle power noise creeps into this unrelenting march, with possible gun shots and Sünkler’s distorted vocals.

An electrical impulse, that could be a message. It then stops, with the atmosphere becomes murky and oppressive. This is “Interception“, with graduating industrial bangs in the background.

Hollow Hills” might emit whistles and groans, with an errant wind blowing through them. This feels bleak and forlorn, haunted by ghosts of the unfortunate, as the electronic chimes, twitters and knocks never seem to cease.

Mandragora” is the drug form of mandrake and this starts off like a bad, tormented trip. The lone piano, followed by struck chords and hazy noise, make this feel other worldly and darkly unrealistic. Mental screeching and lost filaments of lucid thought, drifting away.

IN TENEBRIS

The wavering apparition of the “Phantasm” is a very constant electronic echo of things past, making their presence felt. This shadow is what has been and never will be again, reaching out to the living. The finish with heavy breathing makes you apprehensive.

The final track is, “Antinatal“. Maybe this is opposite of birth and a return to the aether, the limbo between life and non existence. This music is like a fog, seemingly feathery and yet heavy and unable to be penetrated by light.

This is very much an album of dark ambient style sound scapes with leanings towards the nightmare realms.

I started this side project because of a coincidence. Someone on instagram asked me if I could do a spooky soundtrack for one of his lost places videos. Well, in the end he didn’t like what I did for his video but because of that I discovered how much I enjoy to create dark soundscapes.’, Sünkler explained to me.

With a taste for these dramatic, brooding vistas, one can presume that this is not the last we have heard from In Tenebris and nor should it be. Have a listen to the creeping doom coming from the darkly, delightful Abyss.

https://crunchpod.bandcamp.com/album/abyss-crunch-189

https://m.facebook.com/intenebrismusic

To the ghouls that inhabit the dark, this Halloween is the release of Dirt Factory’s second single on Brisbane based music label, Viral Records, called “Violence”.

This release contains the title track plus three remixes by various artists, of the same title track.

DIRT FACTORY

Riots anyone? When people have no other avenue of having a voice against the forces of oppression, protest is the last choice. This punk attitude of ‘fuck the system…detonation‘ is all pervasive.

A litany of cause and effect is gravelled out by Allen with robotic style, that is still very angst ridden. As always, there is the hints of KMFDM and Skinny Puppy being a big influence on Allen and Gillman.

The 11 Grams remix is a bit more sleazy sounding as they seem to have made Daniel’s vocals almost lascivious. It has the very futuristic finger prints of 11 Grams all over this and it’s wonderful.

The next remix is by Z Cluster from Sydney. It’s like listening to crunchy trap with periods of creepy clarity due to the vocals being kept more sedate but with a disturbing, higher pitched electronic scream emitting over all.

Last remix is by Brisbane act, Dreams Of Machines (aka Zane Seymour). This is almost old school industrial sounding with the distorted vocals and oppressive drone that makes “Violence” spine tingling. Slower to take off, but when it does, it has a definite nod to Leæther Strip.

DIRT FACTORY – DANIEL ALLEN & MICHAEL GILLMAN

It’s hard to believe these are all the same song and yet at the heart is this one Dirt Factory number. From the original to each mix, are equally enjoyable and nothing feels staid.

This, almost, completely Australian effort does show the strength and talent of the industrial scene in the country with Rob Early of 11 Grams an honorary Aussie by default.

Another great track from Dirt Factory which has us asking, where is the album? If current standard is an indication, it’s going to be a cracker. An industrial single in this dystopian world climate, “Violence” from Dirt Factory.

https://dirtfactory.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/FactoryOfDirt/?ref=py_c

https://dirtfactory.wixsite.com/mysite

https://viralrecordsau.bandcamp.com/

https://viralrecords.com.au/

https://m.facebook.com/viralrecordsau/

Brixton Alley are three lads, Alex, Ben and Jonny, from the UK, who somehow ended up in Brisbane, Australia. This punk/pop/rap fusion band also released this year a new EP called, “Nevermore“.

Alex Wells is the drummer for the band with his brother, Ben Wells, playing bass and contributing backing vocals, as well as Jonny Magro as lead singer and on guitar.

BRIXTON ALLEY

There are vibrant highs, through to staccato vocal punctuations in the first track, “Headache“. The frustration of finding work and trying to escape the hometown/village and its sad populace, in order to find something better.

The guitars sing out to you in “Voices” and it is a bit of an indie pop anthem to the youth of the day… the daily struggle with moments of beauty. The girl in the song might be hearing voices but maybe we need to hear those inner voices.

The brit pop influenced guitar lines bring us “Owl“. This is a cheeky observation on men out on the town, ogling girls to the point, their heads swivel around like the feathered night predators, as they greedily look for pretty prey. This has a really nice, catchy hook which you will hear in your head after the song has finished.

Animals” has a reggae sensibility with rap incursions. It is feels joyous and yet laments that we have forgotten our primal instincts. A good laid back rock number.

BRIXTON ALLEY

The acoustic beginning of “Outsider” shows a slower and more romantic piece. This is a modern ode to love, including cigarettes and a can of cider. This is laconic and slightly darker that it admits to, with the pleads to over look mental struggles.

The tunes are fun to listen to and yet are observations on modern existence in this age of excess. In some ways they remind me of one of my favourite post punk bands, New Model Army, with their swagger and revelations. It’s all about the journey, so it might be time time join Brixton Alley and have a listen to Nevermore.

https://m.facebook.com/brixtonalleyband/