This is a retrospective review of sorts. We are going back to 2018 to the release of the EP, “I Will Show You Fear In A Handful Of Dust”, by Portuguese goth rock band NU:N who appear on Black Genesis Records. NU:N are comprised of three members Francisco Vaudeville on bass, guitarist Pedro Eternal and vocalist T.M., the band forming in 2014 in Oporto.
The traditional lullaby, “Toutouic“, from the area of Brittany, features the delightful vocals of the DivaOf Destruction herself, Eva Doyon. It is sweet and sorrowful with no musical to accompany for this lovely opening piece.
Now for a dose of traditional goth rock, with jangly guitars, plinking piano and Fields Of The Nephilim styled vocals, we are offered, “Shadows Of Love: In Contempt“.
A slight Romanian twist seems perfect for any song called, “Midnight’s Inertia: The Vampire’s Lair Part II“. A slight middle eastern flare and then launches into guitar work. This reminds me of 90s band like Rosetta Stone and Nosferatu.
“Tomorrow We Will Say Our Goodbyes: A Nocturnal Fragment“, is a slow and gravelled out number with acoustic accompaniment. A heavier, electronic sound in “Brave New World“, though there is still that classic bass. T.M’s vocals vary between sludge and full throated, in a glorious chorus.
Final track is “Gotas: De La Remembranza“. Gotas translates to drops while Remembrance was the Spanish band that originally released “Gotas” in 1996. Despite my being unfamiliar with the language, this drips of loss and wanting for that which has passed.
This is goth rock for people that love a bit of vampiric love with the harkening back to a sound I connect with Nephilim and second generation of goth. Get your fangs into NU:N for your immortal soul.
Now have you ever just had thoughts like ‘Iwonder if Jacksonville group, Batáviahave friends…..?’. Well now I can definitively answer this question as YES! And so we have the release of the mega remix album, out on Tigersquawk Records, strangely enough called Batávia And Their Friends. A plethora of mix master goodness from the band themselves and other guest artists.
You will find remixes of original tracks “The Absinthian“, “Scab Mask“, “Step 13“, “Ab Intio“, “Fields Of Gray” and the cover of Duran Duran’s “All She Wants Is“.
How to review a remix album? *screams into the void and then composes one’s self* Due to there being multiple remixes of the same tracks, I thought it best to compare the styles.
There are four remixes of “The Absinthian“, beginning with the Grendel version which keeps the light tone of the original, incorporating a calypso feel. Second version is by Beta Virus and this track becomes a different electronic beast with a pulsating beat. Then there is the techno funky bounciness of the Green Fairy mix, which seems to be a collaboration of Batávia and the Joy Thieves. The last mix of this song is done by Ghstprxy, which starts off simple and slow, seemingly wandering until you are hit with blocks of driving guitar.
Three mixes of “Scab Mask“, with the first by Batávia and you can’t help but love hearing Terri tearing it up and having her vocals stuttering in staccato to the music. Mach Fox of Zwaremachine has his turn at this piece, bringing a more sinister ambience, with a heavier industrial sound. The last “Scab Mask” remix is by Microwaved and you notice the metallic rhythm and off kilter, repetitive synth in the background while the guitar powers on through.
“Step 13” gets the treatment, first with the Hell mix by Spankthenun and if you know Spankthenun, you will know these guys love their old school EBM and giving it teeth. The next two versions are by Batávia and they create a cyber age delight for the ears in the first and the Haunted Halfway House mix which really does have an eerie sound to it.
Two mixes of “Ab Intio“, with the first being a nearly dreamy, echoing siren reworking by Insatiable Void that has a church like trance quality. And the other by Psyence Fiction is delicate as it is metallic, which may sound like a strange brew but it works so well.
The BatáviaUHF mix of “Fields Of Gray” starts with half tuned in news and ads, then meanders through those fields.
The remix of “All She Wants Is” is damn chunky. The guitar is the centre piece instrument with twangy beats bringing up the rear. This is the Synrix remix in all its glory.
Like so many modern remixes, the songs are often taken into new and varied territory and the artist reworking the stems, injects a part of themselves, making it unique. This creates amazing collaborations. Batávia And Their Friends is no exception. You won’t get bored of hearing the same song because in essence it’s no longer the same song…. but it is. This is brilliant and let’s face it, just for the cover alone! That’s a completely amazing retro photo featuring the quirky and yet entirely lovely Terri and Ed Cripps. Batávia for the win. If this makes you a bit hungry for more, please check out these artist’s pages below…..
HOSTILE ARCHITECT is Brisbane based Mitch Kenny and he is quite the busy industrial bee, with his second release on BrutalResonanceRecords, out on the 28th of February. The single/EP is called “:LOG. 3::SEMTEX“, which comprises of the single, an extra song and a remix of the single.
“SEMTEX” is a type of plastic explosive to give this number context. The concept ‘your body is a collapsing temple, your body is not yours to give‘, seems to imply that to become free, you must destroy that which holds you to this plane. As always, there are the nice full body beats that are guaranteed to get you moving and that signature sound Kenny has incorporated.
The instrumental piece, “MACHINEGUNCONTROL” goes for over seven minutes and yet you won’t notice the length of this number as it belts along. There is something quite delightful in listening to crystal clear, percussion lead music.
The Null Cell remix of “SEMTEX” is smoother and yet seems to end up swirling in a mind blowing vortex of ominous tone. It is reminiscent of old school industrial with those rhythms but still ultra modern.
The production is great, nice and crisp, a perfect mix by Null Cell and another great release from the HOSTILE ARCHITECT who is soon to unleash an album. In the meantime there is “:LOG.3:: SEMTEX” to keep you keen and whet your appetite.
Late December was the release of the single, ‘In My Dreams” by SINthetik Messiah with TheOther LA. “In My Dreams” was originally released by five piece rock band The Other LA, that boasts having Drowning Pool’s C.J. Pierce as part of their contingent. The group asked SINthetik Messiah to put an electronic spin to the number.
SINthetik Messiah are from Louisiana and for the uninitiated, delve into experimental industrial rock/ metal with a heavy accent on the artistic front. Bug Gigabyte is the man behind the project and has done so since 1996.
It is dark and heavy….. so heavy, it almost feels like the noise is weighing on you. The female vocals by ARIA are explosive, buoyed by the dense mix of booming beats and buzzing guitar. The male vocal brings an added level of angst as the music takes flight.
A bombastic piece of engineering by BugGigabyte, the sounds are grating and huge, leaving you wanting more. He has taken TheOther LA song into another realm, becoming its own entity that can devour your soul.
Added bonus points for having mixing and mastering done by, Joe Haze, ex guitarist of Lords Of Acid. Yes it’s good. On that note, you might need to go listen to The Other LA & SINthetik Messiah, “In MyDreams“.
Dissonance is the moniker for Dallas artist, Cat Hall who has been a part of the electronic scene since the early 90’s. With the start of a new year, we are being graced with the new single, “Damage” that features fellow U.S. musician, Melodywhore.
Melodywhore is the musical creator, who to great effect gives us the industrial beats while Cat Hall goes from using honey before bringing the heavier, more masculine and angrier vocals, that dominates this number.
There are no less than six remixes of “Damage” to sink your teeth into. From first to last there is ex guitarist of Lords Of Acid and current band Banishment, Joe Haze, with his futuristic, alien overlord takeover sounds, followed Adrian Halo of Machines With Human Skin with his more laid back and sexy mix.
A bit of 80s electronica arcade style vocals and funky beats with horns is the Steven OLaf mix, then it’s Jon Von Herrmann, also known as VönOn The Spectrum, giving us a swirling and thoughtful version.
Brian Carter of REVillusion does the fifth remix which feels stripped back to bare metal bones and the last remix is by Glenn Kirchner Hinkley which is pretty cool and full of clean synths with a retro feel.
“Damage 1st Assault” reminds me a lot of the classic Nine Inch Nails number, “Terrible Lie“. Cat Hall has gone for a heavier, more attacking sound for this single and has a lot of well known friends to do some great mixes for her. So check out Dissonance’s “Damage“.
Are you partial to some post punk- gothic goodness? If that’s the case, Norwegian band, Painted Romans have released a single in January that will warm the pit of your dark heart called, “The Cold Delight“.
Mats Davidsen is the original Roman who delivers lead vocals, guitar & drums programming, with Jan Ottar Nystad playing keyboards and Thomas Sejnæs on bass, joining around September of last year.
I have to say I rather enjoyed this a little too much. It’s dark and morose just like all good goth songs can be and yet full of movement and life at the same time. There are hints of The Cure, Clan of Xymox and March Violets. Could easily be played at a goth club mixed in with older classics.
This takes me back to early 80s, when bands such as Echo and the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs and Simple Minds were blowing us away with their wonderous guitar/synth filled, forlorn brilliance.
You can find the single on Bandcamp as well as other previous releases. Painted Romans are developing a rich, flavoursome sound and that only bodes well for the music to come. So turn down the lights, ready the candles and have a dance to “The ColdDelight“.
February will see the release of Ontario artist, Herr Nox’s second album, Where ShadowsFade. Nox explained to us about his style, “I find myself (going) into strange musical territories. Too heavy for some, too soft to others. But I try to venture into more experimental waters so I guess that’s expected“.
Welcome to “Doomsday“, which is the first track off the album and our introduction to Norwegian, Jørgen Munkeby on saxophone. Have to admit sax has never sounded so smooth to me until now. Munkeby for the record is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist as well as a singer, songwriter and producer in both the jazz and metal scenes.
“Where Shadows Fade” is not only the title track but also the first single to be released and quite deserving so. Munkeby’s saxophone delightfully duels with the guitar in the interludes, especially helping build up the tension for Nox to hit you with his vocals.
Old school new romantic synth graces us in “Black Butterfly“. Nox partners up with Lindsay Schoolcraft of Cradle Of Filth fame for a song about falling for the type of girl who is broken and yet still beautiful. The music goes between driving guitar rock and synth wave but it works so well.
Just the very title of the song, “The Art OfNoise And Silence“, struck as something Japan could have written in the 80’s and it does not disappoint, making the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Schoolcraft’s beautiful vocals fly above all else, almost unearthly and angelic, whilst the guitars and synths are a cacophony below. This might make the near beseeching Herr Nox, the velvet tongued devil.
It had to happen, the sleazy, sexy sax intro. “Gotta Light?” has that intro and this is an instrumental piece featuring the talent of Munkeby with the sax front and centre, making you think of Casablanca style, cocktail bars, low lit with a haze of cigarette smoke.
Would you “Kiss The Butcher’s Hand” and give them your neck? Maybe some souls would. A good high paced rock’n’roll number that makes great use of lulls for Nox to seductively whisper to you before knocking you back on your arse.
“Heads Will Roll” is a much heavier number, growled out vocals by Nox with Schoolcraft in sweet accompaniment. That line alone conjures visions of Alice in Wonderland and her nemesis the Red Queen.
The last offering is “The Burning” and it starts with a sombre cello, joined by strings which brings in the drums and wonderful jangly guitar. Herr Nox most certainly had a flare for the dramatic as this quickly graduates into an episodical that soars with emotion. There are always electronic bits popping up where you might not expect it, which is delightful.
I hear so many influences within this album. Nox’s style of singing runs the gauntlet of David Bowie, Davey Havok (AFI) and Ville Valo, yet it is still very much him singing.
There are classical leanings, rock and roll, gothic rock, 80s electronica and even a bit of glam, all stirred in to make this a rather tasty affair. Where Shadows Fade is new and yet it borrows and reshapes the past influences into something exciting and not a rehash, so I hope you find some time to indulge in HerrNox as it is worth your time.
If you are looking for some experimental ambient music, then possibly we know of the EP you need to hear. Spectrograph released at the end November, their EP, A Giant Leap Of Faith, on Depth Records.
This project began in 2012, combining the talents of multi instrumentalist and vocalist Virginia Bones with Phiorio who is a producer of electronic/dance music, as well as a DJ. They describe their style as post industrial/electro.
The tones are low and seemingly, almost basic but the more one delves into “Dmbt“, the more complex and convoluted it becomes with its revolving beats and tonal injections for this instrumental piece.
The single, “Dead Kittens“, is a dark affair. Slow and foreboding with fuzzy electronic pulses and synth keys that at times feel like they are wandering randomly within a space that has been forgotten.
Minimal clicks and whirs in a loop present “A Giant Leap Of Faith“, and there begins a layering effect of sounds. An occasional cymbal, electronically altered vocals of Bones and two notes of a piano creep across this piece, only to be joined by other noises. Strangely enough it never feels overwhelming or crowded and yet there is a claustrophobic ambience.
Last track, “If You Think You Can Fly” seems to convey the most urgency, like it needs to be on the move on a midnight jaunt to who knows where. It is bleak, metallic and wonderful with those odd noises.
Well constructed and rather interesting to say the least. If you don’t get electronic music then this won’t be for you but if you love electronica that push music limits with intelligence, then you should most definitely have a listen to Spectrograph’sA Giant Leap Of Faith.
Fancy a little gothic Christmas? Nothing says cheer like a carol and Vazum have released for those that aren’t inclined to listening to the regular fare, an EP of dark, tormented odes to the Yuletide, Vazumnacht. If you are unfamiliar with Vazum, they are a gothic/deathrock/shoe gaze, two piece made up of Zach Pliska and Emily Sturm, who are based in Detroit.
There are three numbers on this EP, starting with “Carol Of The Witch“. This is a parody of the traditional song “Carol Of The Bells“, which is instantly striking from the start, done as guitar riffs but after the beginning, this become a gothic dirge of pagan proportions. Discordant guitars sit with Pliska’s almost groaned vocals, while Sturm’s singing, storm through like light breaking through darkness. There are resurgences of the original tune but it just ties it all in.
Me thinks a bit of devil may care is a foot in “Unholy Nite“. Like a chant to summons the dark lord, this shadows “Holy Night” with references to the dark saviour and sulphur.
The synths almost feel off beat in comparison to the guitar, giving an off kilter sensation to “Bark The Hellhounds” and yes this is a nod to “Hark The Herald Angels” but done in the creepy, hurdy gurdy style that Vazum excels in.
In essence, Vazum have taken the bones of three highly favoured carols and not only putting their spin on those songs but for the most part, created new songs. So darklings, get your gothic finest on and celebrate the doomed side of Christmas with Vazumnacht.
Australian duo, Dirt Factory have released their second album, “Factory Evolution“, which is out on Viral Records and was mixed in Brisbane by Roger Menso of DogMachine fame.
Daniel Allen resides in Melbourne while brother, Michael Gillman can be found in Brisbane and they, like many other musicians, have not seen each other all this year but through technology have still been busy creating.
And so it begins and the first taste is “Binary“, an intro which is literally voices giving you binary code.
“Salvation” was the first single from the album with its terminator stalking feel rhythm and Michael’s held cords on keyboard that makes this oppressive and the direct opposite of being saved.
With sci fi creeping doom is “Automation” but not all is as it seems. Electronic vocals with bleak long cords and relaying the degradation of mankind, as we make our way to a ignominious demise. There is an almost Gary Numan feel about this.
The second single lifted is “Violence” and it is an angst ridden view of a world at war with itself. The grating vocals of lost hope for mankind as he had forgotten to be human.
Title track, “Factory Evolution” is about some future where replicants are created to be perfect in exactly the same way, programmed only to do as they are told, which is to wage war. This is understated and it works with the story telling whisper and a touch of 70s funk feel.
Just as it implies, “Interlude” is a short piece, with cut up, female news readers, bringing you the breaking news of a world burning, cowering in fear of a pestilence and riots.
During COVID-19, the world of regular humans watched extremism unleashed in what could be called, “Pandemicamania“. The observation of the panic, dehumanisation and selfishness that had been previously displayed. It creeps along with its disgust of a non cohesive society that has lost its way.
Failed Empires has an imperious feel to it, a with grand swell of keyboards. Carried with oscillating beats travelling through it, Daniel’s ode to countries collapsing internally as he whispers their lessons of destruction.
A call to revolution, to not take the abuse any more, though most will ignore the call to arms in “Deflect“. This doesn’t miss a beat and again there is the marvellous dirty and dark vocals with the clean sparkly synths.
The start of “Trash” had me thinking Einstürzende Neubauten in the rawness of the rhythm. ‘White trash‘ are in power, not those that care, those who only have their own interests at heart.
The final song is “Death In Your Eyes” and just when you think this is going to be a quiet number, the boys bring it up a notch. This synth happy piece about inviting your own destruction pulls together the threads of the other tracks of the album. A collimation of – if you let all these things happen then it’s the end.
The influence of what has been the year, 2020, is all over this release. Dirt Factory’s debut album, “Random Songs For The EndOf The World“, definitely had higher tempo numbers on it, where as this new album seems sludgier and darker, effecting the general mood following lock downs, heavy restrictions and watching extremists across the globe. Important music is often created in trying times and although this album doesn’t break new ground, it a strong album with gems that will speak to you as the band is Dirt Factory and this is their “Factory Evolution“.