POP. 1280 is a novel by Jim Thompson, published in 1964 and it contains a tale of deceit, coercion and murderous intentions. POP. 1280 is also a three piece band from New York, who have revealed their single, “Brennschluss“, from their imminent new album, Museum On The Horizon, which is on the label Profound Lore Records.

POP. 1280

The beginning is intriguing with it’s sequenced drum machine and synths, but then they dragged me in with those guitar chords. The vocals from lead singer, Chris Bug, are bleak and flow into the dirge of the guitar, whilst the drum machine forges on regardless. The synths almost paint a soundscape behind all this, vast and a little dark. A narrative, describing a kind of first-contact-gone-wrong, influenced in part by Fiasco by Stanislaw Lem, is how POP. 1280 explains the lyrics.

It is hard to quantify POP. 1280’s sound. It is most certainly post-punk that reaches back to Joy Division and like Joy Division, what seems abstract is completely danceable, yet that industrial/noise is also there. Maybe that’s the point that they are not in a pigeon hole and there is something satisfying in that. Brennschluss is German for end of burning. This normally refers to when a rocket is in flight and reaches the point when the fuel runs out or is cut off, leaving the rocket to the mercy of only gravity. POP. 1280 have definitely not reached the end of their fuel supply and you should definitely check out “Brennschluss“.

https://pop1280.bandcamp.com/album/museum-on-the-horizon

Pop. 1280 | Facebook

Kimberly Kommeier is the founding member of the band Bow Ever Down, which was formed in 1998 and in 2020, a full length album, Lost In The Woods was released. Now we have the June release for the huge electronic/darkwave album, Let It Burn.

From the get go, the title track, “Let It Burn“, will set the tone for this album. There is an electronic simpleness that adds to the sorrowful and yet defiant storytelling. It is of no longer taking the blows life has handed out, yet proudly showing those scars. For me the standout number is “Cold Machine” which it’s wonderful swirling and tinkling chorus that rises up to proclaim I would give anything to be human because they are the machine. Truly a lovely and yet so mournful sentiment. “Born Into Darkness” continues the dance of damnation.

Silence In Machine aka  Wess Fowler lends his harsh vocals to the songs, “Shed My Skin” and “Not Your Victim“. While the former is a pulsating piece from start to finish, the latter is like waves on the shore as it draw back, then comes crashing in. The common theme though is owning your fate which again can be seen in the track, “Burn You Alive“, and it has some really nice synth transitions. “Burn Them To Ashes“, has a certain, reflective quality and a anger that is almost palpable in the chorus, while “My Last Day” is such a despondent expression of the inability to go on, this is still quite full of great, infectious beats.

The remix for “Cold Machine” is a jewel and Assemblage 23 has really outdone themselves. Miss Suicide from Germany remixed both “Shed My Skin“, giving it a far more aggressive sound and “Glass Doll” which has those synth lines dancing all over it. “Burn You Alive” remix by Replicant RME, takes this song into new territory while the John Ruszin III, whom plays on the album, gives us a version of “Not Your Victim“, and it feels more pensive than the original. The Stahlschlag remix of the title track definitely has teeth, as Sebastian Sünkler is the master of that wonderful crunchy power noise, while the Silence In Machine retake of “Burn Them To Ashes” feels very off kilter, as if the insanity is too much. Continuing in this vein is the forever haunted remix of “Not Your Victim” by Adian Caine with it’s introspective and quiet defiance. The album is completed by the new version of “Glass Doll“.

The prominent concept is the use of the word burn. Fire is not only thought of as dangerous but also as cleansing, to wipe away completely what was. A renewal like a phoenix dying and coming back to life through fire. These are songs about survival and coming from a dark place. Kommeier has a big voice that is quite delightful and garnered a host of talented musicians to remix her tracks, so you should check out Let It Burn by Bow Ever Down.

https://boweverdown.bandcamp.com/album/let-it-burn

https://www.facebook.com/nora.hazeena

https://www.facebook.com/silenceinmachine/

https://www.facebook.com/misssuicideofficial/

https://www.facebook.com/Psiactive1/

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100044546464584

https://www.facebook.com/STAHLSCHLAG

Brisbane’s Dirt Factory released a new single in August called “Crash Landing” and we are here to let you know it’s of the little green men kind. This is the first single from the soon to be released, third album from brothers Daniel Allen and Michael Gillman who reside in Melbourne and Brisbane respectively.

DIRT FACTORY

You will be regaled by the story of making first contact as the beat pushes you along with a sense of urgency. It is raw and metallic, grating your nerves as you know that they are out there waiting for you. Apart from the person telling his story of a conspiracy to hide that aliens are here, there are really no other vocals to accompany, just the sound of Allen screaming into the void.

There are remixes from proponents of the thriving Brisbane industrial scene. Failed Assimilation guitarist, Cameron Rees gives us a explosive, metal coated version. There is the laid back, laconic remix by Cosmos Synthetics which will take you to a different state of mind. Nyteshade is Roger Menso, a mastering genius and member of the infamous Dogmachine and he brings us an almost experimental feel to “Crash Landing“, keeping us off balance with the changing beats. Exocult is Daniel Allen’s new solo project and also signed to Viral Records. His version has an 80s feel to it with a heavy guitar creeping up from behind.

Suddenly there is a shift in momentum with the HOSTILE ARCHITECT remix heading in a far more dance oriented direction. H.A.’s Mitch Kenny is a man who can do no wrong currently and this is a really glorious remix. Next is the newest band on the block but don’t let that fool you as members are not new to the scene. This is RAZRWHIP with their dream like offering, though this dream is more like a drug induced fantasy. The synth lines from Jethro Hilliard are sublime. Last is not the least. Vargil is the talented Camilla Astrid Strand and her take on this piece is a science fiction techno myriad. It pulsates and is simply joyous.

There is literally something different on every track which means there is going to be something to tickle the tastebubs of everyone that enjoys this genre and is a showcase of local talent. So if this is the “Crash Landing“, can’t wait for the invasion.

https://dirtfactory.bandcamp.com/album/crash-landing-single

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

https://dirtfactory.wixsite.com/mysite

https://www.facebook.com/viralrecordsau/

https://viralrecords.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/cosmossyntheticsofficial/

https://www.facebook.com/nyteshaydepdm/

https://www.facebook.com/ExoKult/

https://www.facebook.com/HosArchitect

https://www.facebook.com/Razrwhip/

https://www.facebook.com/vargilar

The Latin American gothic music scene never fails to give us some sparkling musicians. From San José, Costa Rica, Ariel Maniki And The Black Halos are a seasoned darkwave band with several albums under their belts and currently signed to Deepland Records.

August brought us the release of the latest album, Black Light. This is where you are going to get your value for your money. No less than fifteen tracks and there are no remixes from this trio made up of Ariel Maniki (vocals, guitar, synths, bass, programming), Janice Black (synths/keyboards) and Eva Red (bass and vocals).

ARIEL MANIKI AND THE BLACK HALOS

The first guitar lines are reminicent of London After Midnight, on the title track, “Black Light“. There is something just spine tingling about the progression which climbs and swells. “Strangers” is a wonder piece as it feels uplifting and dark at the same time. The guitar riffs will become highly recognisable once you have heard them.

The bassline harkens back to The Cure’s Faith period in the song “Emptiness“. The synth swirls and entwines you. “Sadness” is a bitter-sweet ode to losing a loved one to a depressive melancholy, waiting with them to come back to you. It’s is slower and more delicate yet the chorus soars through the pain.

All the spookiness is with “Oh Milena!“. Is she alive or dead or, perhaps, even the undead?! Cue the dead sexy saxophone from James Perry, which is an interesting juxtaposition to the Hammond organ sounding synth, so prominent in Hammer Horror movies.

Again the spook factor is present in “Mirror“, with creepy laughs and a slightly more manic feel with Caro Campos, not for the last time, joining Maniki on vocal duties. “We Only Have Tonight” is a touching, gothic tribute to a forever love. It is sweet and seductive with the guitars, both acoustic and electric aplenty.

The beginning of “Absence” is misleading. It seems all so quiet but will soon reveal the surging synths that roll into the vocals. Campos‘ voice is angelic as it accents the interludes. Maniki has been to the Robert Smith school of creepy whispers in a song where something is going to drive you insane with the wait. So in a way the torture is “Pain“.

The Pale Horseman” sounds exactly like modern, gothic, western should. That iconic guitar made popular by Ennio Morricone in the spaghetti westerns is there but all prettied with synths and a helping of dark sarsaparilla, if you please bartender. It’s mighty dusty. The guitar work is beautiful in “Sleep” and with the vocals, it is a reminder of The Wake in the early 90s. It really is a lovely throw back and the song is truly a succulent morsel.

Flowers have meanings. “Lilies And Carnations” can be flowers that mean a deeply desired love and they can also represent death of a perfect love and terrible grief. The latter is the premise of this track, the fleeting time lovers have together, which is a complete difference from the more dirge like “Shelter“. Maybe he’s the dark shaman that lives in the woods destined to never leave but in any case this is a far more gritty piece.

Coming to the end, the last two tracks are “Afterthought” and “Cocoon“, with the former being a meandering tribute to the power of being so caught up in love and all else fades away. “Cocoon” is a trippy little piece that plinks away like a child’s music box with ghostly intent.

From the first time I heard Ariel Maniki’s voice, it reminded me of another, then it hit me. The ever youthful Sven Friedrich of Dreadful Shadows/Zeraphine has a very wonderful rich tone and Maniki is scarily and delightfully similar. The album is a velvet tapestry of lush tracks that contain a nice balance of electronic along side more traditional instruments. Full of gothic romance and horror, which for most of us is the same thing, it paints a delicate fog drenched background for the children of the night to fall in love with. Definitely do check this out if your little dark heart beats within Black Light.

https://arielmaniki.bandcamp.com/album/black-light

https://www.facebook.com/ArielManikiMusic/

Post punk duo, The Cold Field, released the album Hollows on August 6th, on the label Cold Transmission Music which is famous for their darkwave retinue. Their debut, Black River, was warmly greeted and so Hollows has been much anticipated by fans.

THE COLD FIELD

The emphasis is very much on the atmosphere which is created by the echoing vocals, the deep bass plus jangle and buzz of guitar. The album is comprised of ten tracks and notably, two are instrumental pieces for the most part. “Ride The Breeze” is the intro to set up the feel whilst, “Floating Above The Wasteland” is filled with gorgeous bass lines and guitar work, whilst the faint ghost like whispers are seemingly unintelligible and beyond deciphering.

“Reaching For Things Things You Cannot Hold” is a great example of the style, with the low echoing vocals, delicate guitar work which is layered in synth. Other stand out tracks are Beauty Expired”, with its rapid pulse and its variance in tone, while “Into The Light” actually does have a slightly more airy feel to the music, a

From the get go, you hear the influence of Joy Division, Lebanon Hanover and Ritual Howls in their music and the common themes in post punk music of isolation, a longing for what is denied and the nature of addiction. There is the ever present spectre of existential dead that pervades all, for this is music that sits on the edge of dusk asking how did this all come to pass.

https://thecoldfield.bandcamp.com/album/hollows

https://www.facebook.com/thecoldfieldadelaide/

https://www.facebook.com/coldtransmissionmusic/

https://www.coldtransmission.com/

https://coldtransmissionmusic.bandcamp.com/artists

If you are old enough to remember the gothic rock revival of the early 90s, you would most definitely remember the English band Nosferatu. The original founder, Vlad Janicek, has been fairly quiet since Nosferatu imploded on tour, though recently reformed as The Nosferatu and also a new band called Vampyrëan. A debut single was released on the 27th of August 2021 called “The Hunger” which heralds a soon to be released album of the same name on the 29th of September.

VLAD JANICEK – VAMPYRËAN

From the first guitar notes, this is definitely a flashback to the goth rock sound of yore. It is rings clear and true, a guitar sound we associate with The Mission’s Wayne Hussey. Janicek has taken on the role of lead vocalist and as the vampire protagonist. We will let the cat out of the bag and say he has the hunger… the hunger for the love of a sexy human victim and their life blood. The piano line wends through adding a delightful and winsome air.

Frilly, costume goths and those who have fond memories of 90s are going to love this. Drama, vampires, velvet, romance and a danceable beat which will more than likely also introduce Janicek to a new set of fans as well. If you have “The Hunger” then you might need some Vampyrëan.

https://vampyrean.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/vampyreanofficial/

http://vampyrean.com/

Bleeding Raven is Dean Mason of Ontario, masked man extrodinaire and quite frankly, we aren’t even sure if Dean Mason is his real name. But under the moniker, Bleeding Raven, he released the EP, September Campaign, on Horizon DMA Records, in May this year. The title refers to the rolling blitzkrieg of the German army into Poland which was to herald the beginning of World War II which Mason said inspired this recording, the infinite loop of man versus man and that hate begets hate.

Blood River Rage“, “Seth” and “Bleeding Sane” all share a key element, the entwining of American indigenous people’s traditional rhythms and singing style mixed with modern harsh industrial. A juxtaposition so to speak of two types of tribal music. The last track, “Bleeding Sane“, feels like it is being sucked into a burred vortex of bedlam.

The other two tracks are “Centurion’s Vision” and title piece, September Campaign“. Both I would describe as harsh noise at times, with the squealing of tortured guitars and sounds of twisted metal, all accompanied by the driving beats that push it along with no concern for the listener if you can’t keep up. There are no prisoners here.

Mason’s main project is Gnostic Gorilla, however he has fingers in pies, dabbling in the spaces between industrial and metal, with a helping of North American tribal influence. This isn’t going to be for everyone but I’m pretty sure that it is the art of the music that drives Dean. The EP is made up older material with recent inspirations from the post Trump admistration era. If a fusion of tribal/ industrial/ experimental/ metal is and or might be your thing then have a listen to Bleeding Raven.

https://bleedingraven.bandcamp.com/album/september-campaign

https://www.facebook.com/bleedingravenofficial/

https://horizondma.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/HorizonDmaRecords/

Auger have been going from strength to strength since they hit the scene in the UK in 2017. With three albums under their belts, previously signed to the Dark Tunes label and a dedicated fan base, Kyle Wilson (vocals, keyboard, programming) and Kieran Thornton (guitar, backing vocals) have come a long way. August saw the release in a new single, “Sound Of The Machine” on The Big Chair label.

KIERAN THORNTON & KYLE WILSON – AUGER

The beginning is a little depressing in its ambience though there sparks of electronics that hint at this being a set up for the chorus. The guitar amps up and synths chime in, with the use of vocal distortion. This is the rally, the cry to arms because if it can happen to me it can happen to you. They ask for a rope to pull them out from the dire onslaught of the machine.

It’s a catchy chorus and Wilson has a great voice for it, smooth, deep and even on occasion a bit menacing. The Big Chair label is a new, independent record label created by the lads themselves and this can only be a good thing for dark music scene. This is the “Sound Of The Machine” that is Auger and it can be found on Bandcamp so make sure to have a listen.

https://augerofficial.bandcamp.com/track/sound-of-the-machine

https://www.facebook.com/AugerOfficial

https://thebigchair.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/bigchairmusic/

We are delighted to bring you Onyx Music Review’s first interview and we are lucky to have Mach Fox of the industrial band, Zwaremachine, give us some of his time for a Q &A to talk about the new album Conquest 3000, the changes in the band and how current events are affecting them. Zwaremachine describe their style as minimal hypnotic industrial body music, which is raw, hard edged and rhythm filled with cyber punk themes.

ZWAREMACHINE

Mach, congratulations on the new album, Conquest 3000.

This new album sees Zwaremachine now as a three piece, where as previously it was a one man solo project. How did this come about?

Hi and thank you for interview and helping us get the word out about Zwaremachine and the new album. I had always intended to present Zwaremachine as a live trio with myself on vocals/synthesizer and 2 other members on electronic percussion and additional synth. Since I was using sequencers and drum machines to program and write the songs in the studio I also made sure that I could perform solo if others were not available so that is when the solo shows would happen. Over the years Zwaremachine was able to perform as duo or trio when friends were available and we could do minimal rehearsals since many of the parts were sequenced for live performances. This was great as no one had to commit to my band full time and I could have rotating members of my favorite musician friends fill in. Basically I would just need some musicians to help bring the studio recordings to life on stage. I was only booking a few shows each year from 2012-2016 and not very active with the project.

In 2017 I decided I wanted to write and record the “Be a light” album and find permanent members to
tour and record with so over a couple years I was able to try out many members while writing, arranging and performing songs that became the first full length album for Zwaremachine. At first it was difficult to find others committed to rehearsing and learning arrangements for live shows…I was able to record all parts in the studio but I had the goal of having the instrumental arrangements performed as on the record. At this point my main goal for the band was a s a live performance vehicle for these songs and I felt the album should sound like the live versions. In 2019 I finally solidified the line up I’m thrilled to have Dbot on bass guitar and Dein Offizier on drums/percussion.

With one of your band mates, Dein Offizier in Europe and then the virus bringing travel to a halt, it must have been quite an effort to write and record Conquest 3000. How did you get around these obstacles?

Digital recording technology, sampling and being able to record ourselves in home studios and rehearsal rooms played a big part in the recording sessions on this album.

Luckily I was able to travel to the Netherlands in January 2020 to record Dein Offizier drum parts on the demos that Dbot (bassist) and I had worked up in the summer of 2019.. I would have loved to get Dein Offizier into a proper studio with an engineer to record his drum parts but it just was not possible at that time and with our schedule for album. I must say that he worked so very hard on that session and we were able to record 12 songs in 6 hours in a rehearsal room that we rented at Popschool Parkstad in Heerlen,NL {Netherlands).

The 2 other producers we worked with on the Conquest 3000 album tracks were Planktoon (Sweden) and D.Corri (Ireland). We were sharing tracks via internet which is fairly common these days but also means the collaboration process is much different than being in same studio together. This also added to the longer time to produce this album as everyone has busy lifes outside of the band project. Overall I feel that it gave the album sound a uniqueness we may not have got if I was the only producer involved and I very much love what both Planktoon and D.Corri contributed.

How did you end up incorporating Dein Offizier and D-Bot into the band?

I had performed some solo Zwaremachine shows early 2019 in Europe and Dein Offizier was a mutual
friend of Kitty Sommer who does management/booking for the band so he was at one of those shows
since they are both located in the Netherlands. We later met online and I was intrigued by some of his
pictures where he was playing drums and performing in festivals with his underground percussion group at the time. We had many of the same musical tastes and he looked like a complete badass with his big metal brazillian surdo drum so I asked if he would like to join Zwaremachine on electronic percussion. He agreed to play with us and thru some discussion he expressed he would rather play his own drums instead of samples on an electronic drum pad which was an idea I had never considered but made sense as I had already added a live bassist and felt it could be another way to present our “electronic rock band” differently than so many in the current industrial/ebm genre.

In the fall of 2019 we finally met in person and had our first rehearsal where I knew he was a perfect fit when I saw him aggressively pounding his drum and mouthing the words to our songs from the set…and just hours after that first rehearsal we were in France for our first show of the Zwaremachine & Vuduvox ElektroTanz Tour. Dein Offizier and I did that tour and those shows as a duo since Dbot could not make it and it was a pleasure and honor to share the stage with him every night. It was just like he had always been in the band and I really appreciate his hard work and confidence for that tour. That is really trial by fire and he has only become a great friend and bandmate every day since then.

I did not ever anticipate to have a live bass guitar in Zwaremachine but Dbot had already been a member of early Zwaremachine live line ups on synth and electronic percussion and had also played bass in Mach Fox band from 2006-2010. I was considering a Mach Fox band reunion and we were talking about getting that band back together in late 2018 when I decided to ask him instead to play bass for Zwaremachine. He agreed to join and we released our first recording together as Zwaremachine in December 2019. It’s great to be on stage and write music with him again and I want to point out that half of the songs on Conquest 3000 were from instrumental tracks originally written by him. He is such an excellent musician and brings influences from other genres which is always welcome when we can blend that into our expanding sound.

We know for you, Zwaremachine is very much a live act with a huge accent on the visual aspect. Are there plans for live gigs again with your fellow bandmates or will you lean towards using platforms like twitch currently?

I do love the idea of presenting a visual that compliments or contrasts the music whether it is bringing
some old CRT monitors in road cases to glow on stage or building custom microphones and other stage dressing/set elements. I originally got into video art and VJ work as I wanted Zwaremachine to be strong audiovisual band in the style of Severed Heads, Skinny Puppy, Clock DVA and many from that period that matched the visuals with the music to give the audience a bit more of an experience live. We do plan to perform live again and the visuals and stage dressings/sets will depend on whether we travel to Europe or U.S. for first tour and shows since it is not always easy to bring that extra gear.

When shows and tours were first cancelled and I would get requests for online festivals and streaming
sets I originally turned those down as I wanted our live shows to be experienced in dark venues with
large and loud sound systems with a crowd…but as time went on I accepted that this could be a cool way to present our show without having to haul all the gear! Since I am also a VJ and video artist I was able to use multiple cameras, video mixers, hardware effects to present something special that I hadn’t seen others doing and with a bit of editing and post-production we ended up presenting about 10 unique livestream sets which I am proud of. The only downside to that was we were not able to have Dein Offizier with us live but we managed to record footage and he can be seen on the screens behind us for portions of the set.

During a recent interview, you expressed that you would like to bring guitar into the Zwaremachine sound. What is the influence for this?

The guitar was my main instrument for my earliest bands and it’s an easy instrument for me to express melodies and texture. I still want Zwaremachine to be driven by heavy electronics but recently I have been using guitar for some remixes and on a new side-project so I feel it might become present on some new Zwaremachine songs. Most likely it would be loaded into a sampler for live shows as I can’t be fussed to keep tuning it!

The guitar I use is a Roland Gr707 that is also a “synth guitar” which allows me to play a synthesizer or
sampler via midi from the strings of the guitar so it can be blended with a synth or any sound desired.
I also love that the guitar can be placed in the mix with synthesized instruments to make this sound that can still seems futuristic today. This idea to make hybrid electro-industrial rock is probably influenced by my favorite Wax Trax label records and this sound was hinted at in our Ripping At The Fabric EP where the synths were often treated like guitars and there was plenty of sample editing in the production. I have also been making some awful sounds with modular synthesizers that could be looped and used in future
productions.

Your moniker, Fox, is a nod to the original singer of Ultravoxx!, John Foxx, who is also an inspirational figure for Gary Numan in the electronic scene. How do you feel that people like Foxx, Numan, Frank Tovey of Fad Gadget etc have influenced your sound and who currently do you find influences you now?

Those artist and many others were using electronic sounds blended with acoustic instruments and
experimenting with production and effects in a very creative way often due to the limitations of equipment or lack of rules. The whole DIY and punk music stuff happening the same time was what gave me the ideas to try things on my own and try to make sounds that I wanted to hear. Those bands mentioned also had strong images attached and really stood out for me first for the music and also for being great live performers.

A current influence would the industrial and dark sounding electronic music I hear being made and
especially when it’s done well with modular synthesizers. Modular synthesis can produce sounds that I
have never heard before and that really excites my inner circuits as a musician and a lifelong fan of sounds. Check out TL3SS – Murkwhip or ENDIF – Falling Into The Sky for good examples.

Thank you for your time and hoping to hear more from Zwaremachine in the future!

Thank you for the interview and we will stay in touch!

http://www.zwaremachine.bandcamp.com/album/conquest-3000

http://www.facebook.com/zwaremachine

Toronto based, post punk duo, TRAITRS, only just released back in July the EP, The Sick, Tired And Ill, and now have a full album to unleashed on fans in November called, Horses In The Abattoir. August sees the first single, “Oh, Ballerina“, off the new album, a sample of what is to come. Sean-Patrick Nolan and Shawn Tucker are the fellows behind TRAITRS, with the former on synths, piano, programming, sequencing and the latter with vocals, lyrics, guitar, bass.

TRAITRS

The lyrics on their own are a little creepy and this may have lent itself to the grim and horror like video that accompanies it. It is all summed up in one line, I need to know you are scared. From the dirge piano at the start and lonely vocals from the void, build the atmosphere. It takes off, doesn’t look back with a life of its own, as the keyboard cries and the guitar accompanies it.

Released on the label Freakwave Records, TRAITRS can be found on platforms, such as Spotify. “Oh, Ballerina” might be spooky but that’s the appeal of darkwave/gothic that you can have high energy beats with fresh synths and it will still be macabre and enthralling. The video is slick and beautifully made just as the music is, so check it out before the album gets here.

https://traitrs.bandcamp.com/music

https://www.facebook.com/traitrs

https://www.facebook.com/freakwaverecords/

http://freak-wave.com/

https://open.spotify.com/album/6CTvfaa0I6B5VpzFNJ4Dgu