Proud goth, ex DJ and music reviewer

August saw the release of Chmcl Str8jckt’s latest album on Cleopatra Records. Kevin Snell, Mike Scott and Ian Omega are self claimed proponents of outlaw industrial rock, who have so far released two previous albums, 2017’s self titled and 2018’s RMX. Now we have Wrtchd Thngs to ravage our ears.

These guys, from New Jersey, love the sound of the Waxx Trax era combined with the kitch macabre horror imagery, wrapped up in metal guitar fusion.

Title track “Wrtchd Thngs” is the twenty eight second introduction to the album before what is arguably the best song on the album, “Ode To Peckinpah (Bloody Sam)”.

For the uninitiated, Sam Peckinpah was an American flim director, who revolutionized the cowboy western movies and most notably, the explicit violence. This track will be remembered for the lyrics, ‘43 dead in a sea of red‘. A really punchy little number and there is definitely a nod to My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult. It feels a bit manic in that twisted, murderous happy-go-lucky way.

Next might be an industrial live ballad, “The Only Thing That’s Real“. It feels like only the Americans, just like Ministry, can write tunes this way. The overall feeling here is that the most real thing in life is the person you are with, this being enhanced with power cords and heavy vocals from Snell.

I like the industrial, completely electro feel to “Cut Deep” at the beginning. The guitars chime in but they are far more subdued and that adds to the claustrophobia.

We always need to have songs about our favourite demon and occult denizen, “Baphomet“. This is a bang up mixture of old school Ministry and Front 242 plus who doesn’t like a bit of devil worshipping?

Fantasy” sounds like it is set in a slick world of helicopters, neon lights and hedonistic sex…. but we know this isn’t real life.

A slow and stalking build up for “Cactus” which harkens back to similar acts like Killing Joke, though this isn’t KJ and most definitely stamped with Chmcl Str8tjckt’s boots.

Always a worry when faced with a song titled, “Love“. Starts with rather subdued guitar work. Yeah not really a romantic piece but more so everything goes to hell and love gets broken

Bomb Cyclone” is a good mix of electro and guitar work with a understated constant beat and the other single. The lyrics honestly will tell you the story of the song.

Tenth in the lineup is the brooding “Black Vulture“. If you are pro Christian then you might not enjoy this. This has an interesting mixture of styles within it. Choral overtones that become tribal with a drop in tone as it become guitar heavy and dark.

Finishing track is “Meat Hook“. The psycho bombastic over tones would make Rob Zombie very proud and the horror inspired conclusion rips your head off.

It wasn’t until I finished listening several times to this album, that I became aware that John Bechdel produced this album which may also explain the atmosphere of some of these numbers. Bechdel Is currently the keyboard player for Ministry and also played for Fear Factory and one of my favourites, Killing Joke.

These guys might be short a few vowels and if Ministry, My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult etc are your thing, then donate to a good cause. The guitar road warriors who are the missing link for an industrial bygone era.

https://www.facebook.com/chmclstr8jckt/

https://chmclstr8jkt.bandcamp.com/

Finland seems a very small country, with an even smaller population and yet, somehow, they have far more than their fair share of talented musicians. Hateful Chains is a four piece gothic/darkwave band from Turku, who started up in 2016.

From their stunning guitar to the striking female vocals, this makes your ears prick up on their latest single, “It’s All Right“.

HATEFUL CHAINS

The guitar work is refreshing actually, light and almost joyful, not dark and dredging, reminding me of another Finnish band, Negative. Negative was for me a glam rock band quintessentially, so there goes my goth cred points but it works so well here.

Paired with the vocal talent of the female lead, Flora Kok, who has a nice powerful range from alto to soprano, without going all operatic. Dare I say, a bit Grace Slick to my ears. Yep, I said it.

The Finnish always amaze me with their virtuosity with their instruments and ability to create such memorable songs.

This is a great single which deserves to be noticed in world full of the same old same old. I think this more than a bit of ” It’s All Right“.

https://hatefulchains.bandcamp.com/

http://hatefulchains.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HatefulChains/

Brisbane is not synonymous with the industrial/gothic music world and yet acts have spawned from this Australian city, of which one of the latest is Failed Assimilation.

This five piece post industrial band had been working up to their debut album and have brought us the single “Wolves“.

Failed Assimilation live

Vocalist, John Green aka Johnny Daeus, wants to beseech you and drag you into the lyrics of love, hate and the void between. A winding whirlpool of a destructive relationship that is bringing out the worst personality traits from the darkest recesses of a human’s brain.

The rhythm section is held in good stead by LukeSiebzSiebenhausen on bass, powering through with Cameron Dodds bringing the heavy guitar work that pushes this number along, building and making it feel like an out of control rollercoaster.

This is all held together by the electronic wizardry of JethroJayHilliard on synths and programming.

There are four remixed versions of “Wolves“, done by various artists. The first by the American-Australian hybrid group, 11 Grams, followed by Domination Korporation (which is actually Siebz but we won’t tell if you don’t) followed by Brisbane’s Dirt Factory and Sydney’s Z-Cluster. All are so very different in their interpretation and yet they all work.

Throw in a cover of Nada Surf’sPopular” and two other original songs to round off this release.

I first remember seeing Failed Assimilation live as support for Amelia Arsenic and Snvff in 2016 and since then, have seen them perform in other venues as well as heard them first grace the airways on Dark Essence Radio.

This is a tight single to release and I encourage those who like the industrial genre to have a listen especially with all those tasty, talented remixes. Let’s see what the future holds for this wolf pack.

https://failedassimilation.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FailedAssimilation/

https://mobile.twitter.com/FAssimilation

American industrial/EBM is alive and well, with the prime example, Slighter, also known as Colin Cameron Allrich. This accomplished musician and producer is based in Los Angeles and can be found on the Confusion Inc. label.

In May, Slighter brought forth his latest album call Automata which can be found on Bandcamp and most recently released a deluxe version with ten extra tracks.

SLIGHTER

There is nothing more memorable than a heartbeat and “The Shadows” has this familiar rhythm. This is a quiet and retrospective feeling number about things now passed and how the past can repeat itself to start off the album

In isolation, there is a loss of identity and the ability to be forgotten. Oscillating electronic tones with the vocals droning over the top of “Isolate”. This is serpentine in the way the music flows. If you can’t guess by now, this isn’t going to be the happy joy album…

“Give Me” is a solid EBM track. This features Craig Joseph Huxtable on vocal duties, who is best know for the Vancouver bands, Öhm and Landscape Body Machine. It has those wonder low vocals and heavenly ‘oooohs’. This isn’t the first time Huxtable has a dalliance with Slighter, as seen on the Erode album with the song, “Lights Out”.

The dark, atmospheric piece, “Survive”, is made even more delicious by the whispered lyrics. Colin’s enunciation is brilliant and so very crystal clear, so you can see the darkness reflected over and over again, accented with that solo guitar.

“Imbalance” is a spoken word observation about the destruction humans have caused our planet and that the Earth will go back into equilibrium without us in the end. Kadin Contois is the featured voice, speaking at us in a monotone, matter-of-fact way. Contois is an industrial musician from Virginia, formerly known as Pseudocide..

Not much is known about Floridian vocalist, Christy Hannon but her sweet tones ring true from the start of “Walls”. A hint of a swelling musical build-up and growing beat, yet this is deceiving, as the song does not get any faster.

Moris Blak is a Bostonian industrial powerhouse on the Australian label, Blind Mice Productions and can also be found on the track, “The Hunt”. Allrich gives us a much bigger vocal presence which might be influenced by Moris Blak’s heavy, moody bass beats. This is great. It’s seedy, bold, dangerous and could be picking its nose but you wouldn’t dare tell them to stop. Well worth looking for the Moris Blak Industrial Bass Edit on SoundCloud.

“Undertow” is a great gradual building, almost symphonic sounding piece. Not symphonic because of an orchestra, rather the vastness of the sound. It is so simple and yet so huge in its concept. Maybe this is also the link to tidal waters… A drop is nothing but a sea is deep, mysterious and powerful. All this is managed with simple electronics and vocals

If “Undertow” wasn’t good enough to set the hairs on your neck on end, then “A Moment of Inexplicable Clarity” just might. This is so ambient and thick with delicate vocals and synths that wouldn’t be amiss on Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. American author, Rachel A. Desilets lends her hushed tones to her husband’s masterpiece. It has to be said, these two numbers compliment each other so very, very well.

The final track for all intent and purpose, is “Static on the Line”. This is slow and grimy, like you are stuck in a greasy, dirty hotel room, with a phone against your ear, dealing with the grainy reception.

On the deluxe version, there is a reworked version of each song, from darkwave to techno/trip hop. Soundscapes through to dark electro but it never feels disjointed or at odds with itself which is an artform.

There is a reason Colin C. aka Slighter, is featured on television programmes such as Bones and True Blood. Simply put, he is quite the evocative musician. If you like to not only hear your music but also see and feel it, then you should definitely give Slighter an opportunity to get into your ear and maybe even introduce you to some talent you may not have had the delight to be entertained by yet.

https://www.facebook.com/slighterofficial/

https://confusioninc.bandcamp.com/

For those uninitiated, Neon Insect is the personal industrial project of German based musician, Nils Sinatsch. He has been at this from a fairly young age and is a rather accomplished fellow. This year sees the release of his album, New Moscow Underground.

Thanks Nils for the Cyrillic text of the opening piece, .До свидания!, aka “Goodbye!”. Unless you can read Russian, this will be lost on you but the intro greets you with national drunken fervour and the sounds of maybe someone being tortured and gunfire……..

“Fist, Hit, Cracking Bones” however really packs a nice punch, if you can forgive the pun with this first single. Featuring KVMILLA on vocal backup, complimenting Nils‘ deeper tones, highlighting the darkness. There is very little information on this lady other than she lives in Sweden, has a YouTube channel and likes to cook.

‘If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever…..’ is a hard to forget quote from George Orwell and the start to “This Is Our City”. A build up of sound apon a constant beat, only to broken by the unearthly vocals. Defiance in the face of the ever tightening grip of authority.

Like an ode to Blade Runner, “Dear Cyborg” featuring NURS, starts in the rain with low menace as the tempo builds in an ever growing electronic screeching/squealing of song. This slightly experimental mash of sounds has New Yorker, NURS who is known for her industrial/post industrial/experimental noise.

Nils Sinatsch – NEON INSECT

The beginning of “Mazerunner” featuring Earl Squanchy (the next door neighbour who just happens to be a rapper), just really hits me as a reminder of Fields Of The Nephilim. A slower track with it’s desolate, wind swept feel, plodding along to meet whatever is left of humanity. Slightly discordant with that old saloon piano at the end.

Long Live The Queen or “L.L.T.Q.” is dark heavy stuff and previously features on the album Glitches. Featuring Claus Larsen of Leæther Strip and this time around wonderfully remixed by Slighter, this has hints of that beat made famous by The Prodigy in “Firestarter”, punctuating this number once it takes off from a sludgy beginning. Static and noise crest to a nearly unbearable level, until it drops, only to clean you up in the follow through. Having Claus Larsen singing on your track is the industrial equivalent to having the Queen of England as your personal Facebook friend.

“h4CX” has my imagination thinking it sounds like the synapses going off in the brain, this is the joy of brilliant beats with light electronic tones. It feels like a journey at light speed. There is something almost delicate about this, which I can’t quite put my finger in and its over it seems so quickly, even though it goes for almost four and a half minutes.

Second single off the album is “It’s Gotta Be Me”. This is actually a really funky number with a super infectious chorus. Very electronic and yet it just seems so smooth. Vocally this is suitably low and growly, just what the doctor ordered. Definitely nothing wrong with this song what-so-ever.

“Downtown Network” featuring New Moscow Exile Ensemble is great piece of music and it is a mixture of noise and feedback with classical instrumentation woven into the fabric. There is a most ambient air to this.

Slow and oppressive is how “Blossom” feels. Heavy like the steel in Sinatsch‘s voice for such a light title of a flower. The female voice is what gives this piece shards of light filtering in the dark folds. And so end this journey.

There is an audio drama at the end which has talented voice actors helping to tell this tale.

An Orwellian vision of the future or a dystopic view of current life? You are going to have to decide this. But while you ponder this question, you can revel in the music Neon Insect has offered up which is so very varied and rich in it’s textures. It is like looking though a fractured lens with dark hues and lengthening shadows.

This is the third album under the name of Neon Insect, however Sinatsch is a seasoned artist with many more projects under his belt as well as being a sound engineer.

We hope this is a successful venture leading to more albums. So if ruination, Orwell, cybernetics and visions in noise are your thing, then you better get this album now!!

Please note that you can order the CD on September the 15th and the Cassette on August the 30th through Bandcamp.

http://www.neon-insect.de

http://www.neoninsect.bandcamp.com

Instagram + Twitter: @neoninsect


Finally I get around to this. While I was writing for another publication, I promised one Daniel Graves, that I would review the next album he brought out. Enough of the excuses as Aesthetic Perfection did give us another new album in March, titled Into The Black.

“God’s And Gold” kicks this off and all you can think is, if this is the first track then what is rest going to be like?! This is a stonking number and deserves to be the single. It is beautifully bass heavy and Graves‘ throat ripping vocals are offset by his gorgeous, angelic voice that he sweetens our ears with. Do we need, crave or turn away from deities and riches? So bloody catchy. Richard Z Kruspe of Rammstein fame, beats us over the head with that guitar work.

The techno/ industrial beat is going to grab you and take you into the ‘Wickedness’. It is just dirty enough, you can feel the sexy smuttiness make you wiggle your arse. We like this type of wickedness.

“No Boys Allowed” could be considered the anthem track of the album and was the first single released. The title of this song may not be what you think and is in no way a sexist piece in the slightest. This is an ode to being allowed to be who you are and not being bullied into someone else’s ideal, ie a ‘real man’ and not a boy. A song that is also a powerful comment. The music is slightly off kilter, with electronic bleeps and estranged keyboard strains.

We are treated to a sweetly sung melody from Graves at the beginning of “Supernatural”. Questioning faith in the afterlife and God …. how much do you need to believe to get through this existence? It’s an almost pretty number.

“Echoes” is a far more pop orientated number, featuring Jinxx of Black Veil Brides. With a catchy chorus, this is very pleasant on the ears.

Track six features both Jinxx and one Krischan Wesenberg of a little industrial band called Rotersand (who are well worth checking out). Graves wants to know will “We Wake Up” from the dreams we have at night or if the monsters in them will consume us and drive him crazy. This is a slow measured piece, sung with a gusto that only losing sleep can provoke.

Team White and Team Black from the video ‘Gods and Gold’

“If I Die”, again is featuring Jinxx, is a more lively number, with strong guitar riffs, highlighting the fact that even in this age of connection, if we pass, will people remember us or even care that we ceased to be. The guitar work reminds me a little of Within Temptation.

Yes!!!! Hit with the electronic beat once more and we are off with “Saint Peter”. The beat fits so perfectly with the synth and as ever Daniel‘s voice modulates between sweet and sassy. In fact it creeps me out a little that he croons eerily like IAMX‘s, Chris Corner (who has a seriously amazing voice as well).

The EBM is strong in “YOLO”, which I’m going to guess is you only live once…. modern acronyms are not my strong point but then I am from the era of a childhood under nuclear threat and this resonates no matter what your age.

The last song, “Mourning Doves”, has a real 80’s sound to it. Slightly bittersweet in its sentiment and it soars in its simplicity. Again Jinxx joins in and this is a gorgeous way to finish the album.

As well as the input from Kruspe, Jinxx and Wesenberg, you can also find the guitar work by Anaal Nathrakh guitarist, Mick Kenney who also co-wrote several of the songs.

For all intents and purposes, Graves is indeed the driving force of Aesthetic Perfection and it is his talent and vision that have developed the sound from originally aggrotech to smooth EBM/industrial with a pop sensibility.

This is very much an introspective album in many ways. It questions religion, spirituality, life, death and does it all really matter in the end or do you simply accept this life and live it because you only get one shot.

Aesthetic Perfection are one hundred percent independent by self releasing on Bandcamp and Patreon. I would really encourage anyone who hasn’t listen to Graves before or not indulged in bathing their ears with Into The Black, to do so. This is a ripper and will continue to grow on you.

https://www.facebook.com/aestheticperfection/

https://aestheticperfection.bandcamp.com/

https://www.patreon.com/danielgraves

Neon Tzigane are a London based duo, comprised of vocalists Howling Mina, who also handles percussion and Samson Deluxe on guitars and programming. They have released a third EP, Paramisha.

“The Lost Cities” has tried to incorporate a middle eastern sound which weaves through the song as this duo sing us a tale of civilizations gone forever beneath the shifting sands of mysterious desert climes.

You can hear the old 80’s goth wave jangly guitars on “lost without you”. Deluxe takes the reigns on this track vocally, with Mina doing a fine job backing him. This is a really good pop tune, though short, rather upbeat and quite unlike any other track on the EP.

“Nothing Is Forever” begins with a guitar riff that Pete Steele from Type O Negative would be proud of. Howling Mina and Deluxe harken back to parts of 60’s psychedelia mixed with Black Sabbath.

The last track on this EP is the title, “Paramisha” with its slow build up before the guitars chime in, laced with synths as the sound winds up. This is a purely instrumental piece, that we are confronted with, which leaves you wondering if there is more to come.

All four tracks are fairly different from each other, which isn’t always a bad thing if you like variety and hearing how a band can challenge themselves. Should be interesting to watch Neon Tzigane develop and anticipate what they will release next.

https://neontzigane.bandcamp.com/

http://open.spotify.com/album/15j4tBUh 

http://www.deezer.com/artist/55951002

This is a busy year for the delivish industrial fellows of Eggvn. They performed this year at Wave Gotik Treffen, plus more auspiciously, have a new album out.

We here at Onyx, have been given a taste of 7 sinful tracks to whett your appetite from the band that comes from Hell with their album, Solve et Coagula.

“Fear” is the second track to start us off. We have the driving industrial beats with the tortured vocals, screaming at us to fear. The keyboard in this almost delicately writhes through the stabbing rhythm.

And then like the demonically possessed beings they are, we are served “The Seven Words”. Darkness and the creation within this world of that which lures you towards the fate of all sinners and Eggvn want to take you there. What are the seven words? You might just have to listen….

Just as darkness likes to consume the light and evil tries to usurp goodness, those with perverted desires seek to own the souls of the innocent, therein destroying their “Purity”. This is also track number seven.

“Dead Inside Me” is a heavier number and the anger is almost palpable. The hate, the fear and the loathing that lurks within the human psyche.

Listening to strains of “Let The Sun Shine In” are terrifying before Eggvn let loose. Have a feeling they want us to let the devil in… just a feeling as it is punctuated/shouted in track number 10, “Let The Devil Shine”

Eggvn

The translation of the twelfth and title track from Latin literally is “Loose and Curdle”. The satanic is strong in this one as possession continues in “Solve At Coagula”. No amount of holy water will clean away the dirty vocals and the building urgency.

“Mantis” starts with a rather famous sample, then flies into that high energy beat. This track really benefits from the vocals which push the song into another category of “Oh yeah!”. Something rather catchy about “Mantis” as the unlucky track 13 and dead last in the album.

For my money, “Mantis” is the killer track from what I have heard and contains many of the great qualities of a anthem industrial number.

All in all an interesting selection of tracks….. 7 being the number of deadly sins. If you like fast tempo, heavy industrial that you can bounce around to, then this could be just what you are looking for.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eggvnofficial

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/eggvnofficial

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eggvnofficial

Those busy lads from the north of England are back. I previously, for another publication, reviewed Auger‘s first album. Since last year, they have been making a name for themselves by touring the UK and Europe, whilst writing a new album named, From Now On I.

The newest single is a song called “Find My Own Way Out”, released on the label, darkTunes Music Group, ahead of the awaited album release.

This song is a great progressive piece of electronica/industrial with good vocals from Kyle Wilson and guitar work by Kieran Thornton. It is all nicely blended and a good strong number with a memorable chorus.

Lyrically you find a song about being pushed and let down even after putting your faith in others. In the end it’s about getting yourself out of dark places you end up dwelling in. Finding that light inside you to push forward and be the cataylst of change you need.

In a year, I can hear the difference in these guys. Their sound had matured and become much tighter which is a credit to them.

Auger have really started in earnest to cultivate a sound that is uniquely their own and it pleases me no end to say, check out these young fellas and cannot wait to hear the new album.

http://http://www.auger.band

https://www.facebook.com/AugerUK

https://www.instagram.com/auger.band

http://www.darktunes.com

https://www.darkmerch.com

http://tinyurl.com/darkTunesFB

https://twitter.com/darktunesgroup

https://www.instagram.com/darktunesmu…

https://open.spotify.com/user/darktun…

Sci-Fi Society is the latest release from German act Dedalos, whose home town is Saarlouis.

Rev up the synth as we start with the title track,“Sci-Fi Society”. This transcendental piece is techno inspired with piano interludes and electronic graduations. it really does have an ultra modern feel to it and could be set to a futuristic utopia.

“Eyes” is quiet frankly very creepy. A dead beat with a deep voice droning over the top about ‘beautiful eyes’ as you listen to the lament of this disturbing fellow. An expression of love or a regret of what never was?

Grim electronic tones bring in “Darkness”. This is a sombre synth piece with generous swells in tone and texture as it builds a soundscape. Then best I can describe it is like being in a car at night. It is dark and yet you see the flashes of light from the street lights and other vehicles illuminating you unexpectedly.

Dedalos is more of a spoken word artist, over the music like a modern-day beat poet. “We Are Ice” is about holding onto your humanity, that we need to feel and not becoming frozen inside.

dedalos2
Dedalos

“Parted” sounds grandiose and yes, a little sad and retrospective. The feeling something has been lost and the search goes on to find whatever it is, emotions or people. This guides you on your journey.

“Dedalos x ElektroTerapi” isn’t the name of the song but I am not familiar with the Russian cyrillic. ElektroTerapi is a singer and she lends her vocals to this number in Russian. Woohoo, I understood the word Vodka! This song goes through burst of energy and quiet moments with the building emotions. She has a sweet voice.

This is another synth piece called “Desire” with again no vocal intervention, as it builds your anticipation and you feel the joy the musician does for the music itself, Next the keyboard leads you to “Water” where you feel the music pulling you under, as it ebbs and flows

“Dance At Midnight” is a return to the techno beat and I almost think I am listening to Swedish electronic aficionados, Covenant. A nice constant wubbing beat with a good amount of programming.

The final number is “Lifetime” and this is the longest track on the album, coming in at 8 minutes flat. It is reflective and soft and yet shimmers in it’s own way. There is a play with discordant tones which in no way detracts from the sound of the piece.

This is very much really an instrumental album with a few vocals added to bring balance and interest. Dedalos obviously enjoys music that not only moves him but makes him move. Dance beats are never far away from many of these but they are far more ambient than hard-core techno. If I had to say anything at all about this album, it would be that this is like a journey, where you are being taken through the emotions that connect us as living beings.

https://www.facebook.com/dedalosofficial/

https://dedalosmusic.bandcamp.com/album/sci-fi-society?fbclid=IwAR2jAryFgeUOadovRVFkNzSwgpjYTIM9cl5S5S2brWT0zt3o1jRh1orTDfw

https://www.instagram.com/dedalos_music/