Proud goth, ex DJ and music reviewer

Mute is the stage name for the artist behind the act, King Venus, based in Manchester and they have released the single, “Inhumite“.

The start is a laconic guitar, joined by others which suddenly take flight in a sudden rush skywards with great power. The guitar flow is so reminiscent of early Tool and sounds wonderful with the Pete Steele like vocals.

MUTE – KING VENUS

There is a continuous build up of textures and layers, that create a cacophony of musical sound, all by one man, considering life, death and the insanity in-between.

Mute has added extra notes as well as a booklet, about his working on this and other pieces and admitted that he had written “Inhumite” quite a while back, describing it as his Frankenstein’s monster. You can hear the different persona singing to you with their vocal forms which are all the creator’s, King Venus.

A guitar and art driven roller-coaster of a monster song indeed with a big nod to Tool but also quiet acknowledgement to far more goth groups such as The Cure and Bauhaus.

There is no YouTube video but there is one on Instagram with the link below. So where has King Venus been all our lives, because if this one song is anything to go by, I’m looking forward to what comes next. Shine thine light through the hallowed halls and bring us “Inhumite”!

https://kingvenus.bandcamp.com/releases

https://m.facebook.com/kingvenus

This year has been a big one for Jacksonville based duo, Batavia. Earlier in 2020 was the release of their first EP, Graveyard and since then, they have been signed to Tigersquawk Records with the new EP, Quite Mean Spirited.

Terri and Ed Cripps tell true historical tales of the grotesque through their music, bringing them to life. With this in mind, this EP is the story of a young woman who was taken away to an island, somewhere in Russia, a prison that she never deserved to be incarcerated in. She was assaulted and raped by the guards and then her fellow prisoners did not offer help nor comfort but rather murdered her and cannibalised the corpse.

The title track is also the first cab off the ranks. “Quite Mean Spirited” thumps in with one Charles Bukowski’s spoken word soliloquy about ‘people are not good to people‘ before Terri brings forth her sweet vocals.

Upside Down” hits you full on with its up beat rhythm and grungy guitar plus distorted vocals. This is a cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain song and it is a rollicking, industrial interpretation.

The water and the waves flow with the acoustic guitar and lilting synths giving “Ab Initio” a near dream like quality. A reality skewed with Terri whispering to you to be aware that not all is that peaceful.

With heavy gothic over tones, “Finis” is the beginning of the end for our heroine. Russian can be heard after the frightened breathing of the young woman. The dominant piano with the organ beneath, create a feeling of madness. A litany of the terror issues, as the noise builds on a maelstrom of desperation.

ED & TERRI CRIPPS – BATAVIA

For a awful way to go, “The Absinthian” seems so light and free… maybe it is when the flesh is no long the cage of the soul and the pain cannot be felt any more. Angels to take her away to a better place than she was.

Quite Mean Spirited” (Leæther Strip remix) finishes up the EP, which brings you full circle of the horror humans will put other humans through. Claus Larsen was very impressed with Batavia’s previous release, so he came on board to do this remix and it has the Leæther Strip lead’s finger prints all over it. It’s a beautiful and thoughtful enhancement with that industrial harshness running deep under it. Such a brilliant way to conclude.

Batavia know how to blend gothic horror with intelligent rock and industrial blends. They have created an EP with a darkness that makes the the breakout tracks shine even brighter. The Leæther Strip remix is like the icing on the tasty, gothic- industrial cake that is Quite Mean Spirited.

https://batavia.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/officialbatavia/

https://m.facebook.com/tigersquawkrecords/

This has been a strange year so far with uprisings and COVID-19 bringing the world, it feels, to a grinding halt. Australian act, Dirt Factory have been working hard and not only have they a new single out on August 22nd, “Salvation“, but a whole album is about to hit us.

This is not a happy, reassuring song and I would never expect anything less from these guys. It’s redemption through vice and sins of the flesh. There is a constant rhythm that is neither slow nor fast but bores into you while Daniel Allen’s guttural vocals give you the litany of what he wants, needs and desires. Michael Gillman creates a lot of the synth lines and these are heavy and brooding with twinkling highlights.

All in all there are five tracks on the release, with two remixes of “Salvation“, the Cosmos Synthetic mix which has a Skinny Puppy feel and the NyteShade – Dirty Dog mix which smacks of earlier Nine Inch Nails.

The last two numbers are the Appealing to the Dead and He’s Dead, Jim remixes of the track, “United Appeal For The Dead“. The first of these remixes reminds me of the Birthday Massacre to begin with due to the delightfully tinkling keyboards. While the second is a mix of trap beats and creepy sanatorium giddiness. I was not giggling at the lines that you should know what to do when you are dead…. don’t drive a car. Obviously I was and I love it.

DIRT FACTORY- DANIEL ALLEN & MICHAEL GILLMAN

The “Salvation” is the premier release for the new label, Viral Records, based in Brisbane and Dirt Factory are the first band to have been signed up.

As always, the ingenuity of these two brothers, in two different cities, continues to amaze and surprise me. If you like good to honest industrial music, then you need to check out Dirt Factory and their single “Salvation“. Accepting shekels, pigeons but preferably dirty cash to keep making those wonderful sounds.

https://dirtfactory.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/FactoryOfDirt/

https://viralrecordsau.bandcamp.com/

The end of July saw the release of the album, Kiss Of Death, by English band, Black Angel, a follow on from 2019’s debut The Widow.

England definitely exploded with successful gothic bands in the early eighties. Their legacy is like a ripple that still effects us 40 years later. Matt Vowles is the progenitor of Black Angel, as well as being a music producer, whom been heavily influenced by that early scene and has come full circle to the music that influenced his early years.

The start of the title track “Kiss Of Death” is like a soul crying out. Great first tune to start with as it is atmospheric and sets the tone for the rest of the album of dark desires for an eternal passion.

Animal” is the second single off the album and is heavy with sentiment that is raw with longing and wanting. The animal logic overriding all. The beat pounds and the vocals exotically call you to give all for that animalistic love.

Dirty and bass heavy are a heady mixture for “Alchemy“. A concoction of rockabilly and goth guitar sensibility make this a lethal combination that doesn’t dawdle. Voodoo, magic and love are a powerful cocktail.

Female vocals reminiscent of the Ofra Haza version of “Temple of Love“, start off and weave through “Call Of The Night” but that is where the similarity ends with this sensual ode to the gothic tribes that inhabit the dark.

Wayne Hussey would be proud of the guitar in “Hurricane” and just like the namesake, this song spins and swirls at a terrific pace.

BLACK ANGELMATT VOWLES

You think there might be a change of pace with “Want For More” and it you aren’t wrong and it reminds me of Lacrimas Profundere in their heyday. Laid back, slow burn with guitars crying out and female backing vocals to rival the later Sisters of Mercy tunes.

Put Your Lips…..” is the jaunty first single with a rockabilly beat and a very much the cowboy goth feel that Fields of the Nephilim introduced the world to, with striding footsteps and a shotgun to the Sun. the singer is sure her lips would look good on him.

The wonderfully sonorous guitars, whirl you away in “She Said“. This winds along in a languid, serpentine way as we ponder the wise words, the devil is a bitch.

Sirens ring out to herald in “Prisoner” and the guitar here reminisces of The Cult, circa Love album. But then again, with the baritone Russian choir style aaahs could be mistaken for Mige Ure’s, Ultravaox.

The last song is also a homage to the band name, “Black Angel” and you could knock me down with a feather, as this sounds so much like Bauhaus, including a sax accompaniment, which is very, very 80’s. It swirls and undulates to a rather satisfying end. We all know about the devil in a black dress……

I’m honestly pleased that this isn’t another Sisters imitation band. You can hear the influence but Vowles has found a vocalist who stays true to their own style whilst not trying to sound like someone else. Black Angel are leading the gothic rock charge with fellow contemporaries, Norwegians, October Burns Black.

Recorded and mastered at Matt Vowles‘ own studio, The Manor, Kiss Of Death is a polished production which reminds me of the bands I have loved for so long and has forged ahead with that sound instead of living in the past. Love, longing and lust are are old as mankind and Kiss Of Death is all this and a whole lot more with Black Angel giving it beautiful inky wings.

https://blackangelmusic.bandcamp.com/album/kiss-of-death

https://www.facebook.com/blkangelmusic

Even in these times of isolation and social distancing, we really don’t need much of an excuse to party in our own homes. Biomechanimal have released, as a single, one of their most popular live numbers, “Enter The Animal“.

Don’t let the slow beginning mislead you, as Matthew Simpson’s vocals slam your senses. This is a song about partying and enjoying life, all to an intense techno beat with screaming synths, that lulls and then comes back at you full force.

There are also two remixes included. One is by Melbourne act, Sirus, done in a more aggrotech kick arse style with what sounds like rapid fire at times and a jack boot stomping rhythm.

Second remix is by Mexico’s C-Lekktor and is a joyous, hyper version. This is a dancefloor killer which you can bounce joyously around to the beat.

Released by Hybrid Blak and mixed/mastered by X-Fusion Music Production, this obviously is a song the band really are invested in and they asked close international friends to participate in the remixes.

These are the people you want to party with and Biomechanimal don’t fail to deliver with their Bruce Lee musical style, smack to the head, “Enter The Animal“.

https://biomechanimal.bandcamp.com/album/enter-the-animal

https://m.facebook.com/BiomechanimalMain/

Welcome to the era of big brother is watching you and using your fears to control you. This is the theme explored in the latest Vexillary EP, SurViolence which was released at the end of July.

New York based musician and chemist, Reza Seirafi, is Vexillary, who has four previous EP’s under his belt and his style is dark electro/techno/industrial.

Kicking off with the single “Maritime Panic“, which is the current single from the EP and this sets the tone for Seirafi’s very electronic style which feels at times clinically modern… almost futuristic and yet there are lapses of stability. The music quivers and becomes almost uneasy feeling and slightly oppressive.

Annihilation” at first feels very upbeat and light with its techno heart beating. But this just seems to be the cover for what is in store. The complacent move to the ordered beat of the hierarchy.

VEXILLARY – REZA SEIRAFI

With technology, authority figures can feed the populace information, track them and even surveil them from a far. “Forged Skies” has a cold feel about it, the imperial rise of the machines as the synths bleat at us like we need them.

The starting beats are like the ticking of an overwound watch. In “The Geneticist“, we finally get to hear Reza and implores us to see how humans are becoming more computerised and that even sexual voyeurism is being used to control people through fear. ‘A snap of his fingers, and the beast is in your land‘.

This could be science fiction but then looking at today’s current global geo-political climate, this could be very much reality.

This EP flows well with its electronic instrumentation without vocals until “The Geneticist“, which gives an extra punch of impact. If you like to close your eyes and have the music take you away or just love good synth based pieces, then Vexillary’s, “SurViolence” could be what the government never wanted you to hear.

https://vexillary.bandcamp.com/album/surviolence-blaq120

https://m.facebook.com/Vexillarymusic/

The 3rd of August is the release date for British duo, Unquiet Dead’s new single, “Burn My Head Down“.

Jason and Lora have created a video piece, featuring the world’s only chain rope aerialist, Californian, Drago Nesa, who also does firebreathing as well, hopefully not at the same time. Spectacular talents indeed.

As always, you can hear that 70’s glam sound bubbling up through this number. Previously I mentioned Marc Bolan’s TRex maybe being a big influence on Unquiet Dead, just as they were on the post punk scene.

This single is the protest song of getting your freedom back when you are being oppressed and kept down. There are the outburst of adrenaline/anger and more emotional acceptance within, all washed down with that driving enthusiasm.

The video, though made in this time of isolation, is just as energetic and absorbing as the song itself. I’m still wincing at the whole swinging around on a metal chain thing which is done so elegantly by Drago Nesa. Immerse yourself in the experience of Unquiet Dead’s Burn My Head Down“.

https://unquietdead.bandcamp.com/track/burn-my-head-down

https://m.facebook.com/unquietdead/?_rdr

July has seen the release of the EP, Unicorn Bones, by Chicago duo, Karen Righeimer and Ivan Russia, also known as Bellhead. I can definitely say the rhythm section for this band is tight. Both Righeimer and Russia both play bass, low and high respectively, both share vocal duties, though Ivan is very much the lead singer and are backed up by their dependable drum machine.

The band in their bio, make reference to their influences from goth rock legends, Bauhaus to the alternative rock royalty that is the White Stripes to the gothic/post punk stylings of She Wants Revenge, yet truthfully, they definitely have a sound that is very much their own.

BELLHEAD -KAREN RIGHEIMER & IVAN RUSSIA

Snuff Film 1974” is straight off the bat with it’s thumping heavy rhythm that grabs your attention before dragging said attention to the graveled out vocals of Russia and the disturbing lyric content about a small female child murdered in film for others entertainment. This is the only track not written by Bellhead but rather penned by Sheriff Michael Scabs of the Sheriff Scabs band of which Russia has also been a member of. A thing of nightmares.

Really dig “Unicorn Bones” as it is a very nonchalant, grooving number that just has that keep on trucking feel. The vocals play tag as they paint a vision of glittering violence and sad demise of those that live in the shadowed, dangerous places. Sinister and sleazy.

A song about a conman or less than reputable fellow, trying to stay one step in front of oblivion but wanting to take to take one last stab of having the person they have always loved. A final last chance is of happiness is “Always (Running After The Sun)“. This is a far more poignant track, slower and thoughtful with intensity.

Annnd serial killer/psycho time. “Knife” is sexy whispers with the intent of maiming and destroying. Low and distorted noise backs the bass just for that extra creepy ambiance.

Sidewinder” has a more rock flare about it, but it’s all the dirty bits of rock. The low and high bass building the sound up in such a manner that it feels angry and greasy, finishing off the EP.

The choice and use of high and low bass without any regular guitar is an interesting marriage of instruments but works well for Bellhead. Bass brings on the rhythm and produces a rich, big sound.

So if you fancy the darker, more nightmarish side of the industrial, gothic rock genre, then do catch up with Bellhead and their not so sparkly but equally intriguing, Unicorn Bones, with none of the guitar bull.

https://bellhead.bandcamp.com/album/unicorn-bones

https://www.facebook.com/bellheadband

Whilst in isolation, Tesla Cøils from the Gold Coast, Australia had been working on a single with video and now in July, “The Party” is out for our entertainment.

The band is made up of Jed A Walters, the writing mastermind/renaissance man on lead vocals, keyboards, guitar and programming with drummer extrodinaire, Chris Dennis.

Jed A Walters and Chris Dennis of Tesla Cøils

The Party” is aptly, as the name implies, the experience of attending a party…. and hating every second of it because you are a gothy antisocial, not a smoker, rarely drink or just dislike humans.

Love the line about latching onto the dog so they don’t have to interact with other people. This is very much tongue in cheek dark humour and yet so very relatable.

It has your attention from the beginning with the rumble of drums that suddenly come to the fore with Jed’s very distinct voice. The chorus it just a wonderful swell of sounds, jangly guitar and it just barrels you over. Just so good. Even after listening to it several times, I’m still finding new layers to marvel at. Even to the low baritone vocal sound in the instrumental interlude which makes it so rich.

I first saw Tesla Cøils live when they were the support for the 40th anniversary Peter Murphy and David J (Bauhaus) tour of the album, In The Flat Field, which left enough of an impression on me to video a portion of their performance.

Not only is this a cracker of a song that will worm its way firmly into your head but the music video is genius. Highly recommend having a look as it is really well done.

Whether you like or hate parties, this “The Party” is so danceable and really deserving of airplay and you can find the lads on Bandcamp or support them on Patreon. Tesla Cøils are delivering the quirky yet intelligent, dark electro industrial we need in these times.

https://teslacoilsmusic.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/teslacoilsmusic

https://www.patreon.com/teslacoilsmusic

http://www.teslacoilsmusic.com/

The Batavia, in the early 17th Century, was a ship of the Dutch East India Company and in less than a year after her maiden voyage, would find herself wrecked off the West Australian Coast. A tale of murder, mutiny, slavery and abandonment followed.

TERRI AND ED CRIPPS

Batavia are also a goth, industrial rock group, hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, consisting of Terri and Ed Cripps. This is the married couple’s debut E.P., Graveyard, under this moniker and was recorded in isolation. Keys and vocals are from Terri while Ed gives us guitar, programming and backing (spoken) vocals.

The wind swept feel is prominent in “Field Of Gray” as the synths grace their presence and breath into the intro piece while the angelic vocals hover just above the turbulence. Ed speaks to us, as from another time, perhaps as a marooned sailor who dreams of home as his life slips away.

TERRI “LUCRETIA JAN” CRIPPS

Now for something completely different as far as a cover goes. Not that someone would not cover Duran Duran, but rather the choice of their 1988 single, “All She Wants Is” kind of blew me away. It is raw and pulsating with sexuality and very feminine. Terri’s vocals really capture the fervour whilst being classy and the industrial styling of the guitar work, really lends itself to making this a cover that completely works for them.

Scab Mask” is grating at the beginning, setting up for the vocals to resolve the disparity. This is the industrial machine, that pounds along and one can’t help but feel that this may be a commentary on the current political turmoil, that their country currently finds itself embroiled in. The anger seems to feed into the slowing, off kilter, loss of hope.

An orchestrated piece with no vocals, “Flyboy” is cuts of air chatter from ground personnel, Richard Russell, which burst through with accelerating urgency as a man losses his sanity while handling a multi million dollar plane. Meanwhile air control tries to talk him around and for historical content, he purposefully crashed in 2018l This is the futile end.

ED “JERONIMUS CORNELISZ” CRIPPS

This is a really neat little E.P. and Bartavia are proving themselves to be storytellers, connecting the past to present, even when that past was not so long ago, for as humans, we seem to have short memories.

We need those that write meaningful human tales with good tunes and a rollicking good cover every so often doesn’t hurt either. Get your education and entertainment with the delightful Batavia and open their Graveyard.

https://batavia.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/officialbatavia/