Brisbane, three piece band, The Blackwater Fever, just brought out on November the 20th, their new single, “My Weakness“. The trio comprises of Shane Hicks on vocals/guitar, Jed A. Walters playing bass guitar/rhodes and Trevor Gee on drums/percussion.
The first dropping cords kick in and that blues style can’t be mistaken with its laconic guitar interludes accompanied by piano. Married with an insistent grunge sound in the chorus plus lyrics that convey a one sided love affair, bring to mind acts like StoneTemplePilots. Hicks‘ vocals are like honey dripping into your ears as he tells you his tale of woe and want.
There are songs that paint pictures in your mind and are almost tangible to taste and smell. Grimy desperation, mixed with hot, sweaty lust, all in the name of a woman that would leave you to rot, if she so desired, yet they can’t let go of her. The red back spider on the cover, is an Australian member of the black widow clan, highly poisonous and will cannibalise its mate.
After five albums, these are seasoned professionals and it shows in the production as well as writing skills. This is delightfully moody and carnal, so if you have an itch that you can’t scratch, may I recommend TheBlackwater Fever and their remedy, “My Weakness“.
British act, Analogue Blood released on November the 9th, their second EP, “Kill Those Beats”, following in the wake of 2019’s AdvancedWeaponSystemsActivated EP. Ian Hanratty and LeeTeasdale make up the core of the band.
The first tantalising beats of “UntilTheSun“, it will catch your attention, from the middle eastern influence to the relentless rhythm. This drives as we are introduced to guest vocalist, AliceHour from the band, In EvilHour and she kills it.
“Frozen” brings it, with a fast techno beat, Hour cooing to our ears and thawing us with a bouncing synth guitar mix.
The influence of the techno music scene can be felt on “E.B.S.” and is mostly instrumental with vocals cut into it.
The eastern influence and vocals of “Awakening“, are spinetingling and work so well with the swirling guitar work.
Yeah ok… love the start to “Insomnia” as it reminds me of how most electro music, just makes you feel exhilarated. This is the more aggressive, modern version of Berlin, from the early 80s, ever so perverse and sexually charged.
Title song for the EP, “Kill Those Beats“, is a noisy, slightly aggrotech/rap inspired number with Nathen Miller, also known as hip hop act Endem, another guest vocalist on the microphone, verbally attacking your senses.
Chris Davison is the vocal talent on the single “Never Fall Down” and it’s smooth like silk with harmonies yet has that hard edge of the electronics. Davison specialises in vocals and guitars as both a solo artist and with three bands.
The most influential thing this year has been the outbreak of COVID-19. It has changed the world currently and how we interact in these days. “Virus 2020” is a reminder of this impact, so therefore it is brooding and darker. Yet the vocal loops give it such a rich texture
The end of the EP is the Inertia remix of “Never Fall Down“. This album isn’t breaking any new ground in the EBM scene but those that love to bounce around to a good beat are going to enjoy this.
October 30th was the release date for the debut album, Abyss by In Tenebris. Power noise extrodinaire, SebastianSünkler of Stahlschlag, is the driving force behind this project, out on the label, Crunch Pod.
And so into the inky Abyss we travel, with the lonely, echoing call of a raven to “Inferis“, otherwise known as the Underworld. This slow build of wind tunnel sound, rings with eerie chimes.
One of the scariest creatures is “Mandkind“. They consume everything, create war and destruction and continue on. A mixture of subtle power noise creeps into this unrelenting march, with possible gun shots and Sünkler’s distorted vocals.
An electrical impulse, that could be a message. It then stops, with the atmosphere becomes murky and oppressive. This is “Interception“, with graduating industrial bangs in the background.
“Hollow Hills” might emit whistles and groans, with an errant wind blowing through them. This feels bleak and forlorn, haunted by ghosts of the unfortunate, as the electronic chimes, twitters and knocks never seem to cease.
“Mandragora” is the drug form of mandrake and this starts off like a bad, tormented trip. The lone piano, followed by struck chords and hazy noise, make this feel other worldly and darkly unrealistic. Mental screeching and lost filaments of lucid thought, drifting away.
The wavering apparition of the “Phantasm” is a very constant electronic echo of things past, making their presence felt. This shadow is what has been and never will be again, reaching out to the living. The finish with heavy breathing makes you apprehensive.
The final track is, “Antinatal“. Maybe this is opposite of birth and a return to the aether, the limbo between life and non existence. This music is like a fog, seemingly feathery and yet heavy and unable to be penetrated by light.
This is very much an album of dark ambient style sound scapes with leanings towards the nightmare realms.
‘I started this side project because of a coincidence. Someone on instagram asked me if I could do a spooky soundtrack for one of his lost places videos. Well, in the end he didn’t like what I did for his video but because of that I discovered how much I enjoy to create dark soundscapes.’, Sünkler explained to me.
With a taste for these dramatic, brooding vistas, one can presume that this is not the last we have heard from In Tenebris and nor should it be. Have a listen to the creeping doom coming from the darkly, delightful Abyss.
To the ghouls that inhabit the dark, this Halloween is the release of DirtFactory’s second single on Brisbane based music label, ViralRecords, called “Violence”.
This release contains the title track plus three remixes by various artists, of the same title track.
Riots anyone? When people have no other avenue of having a voice against the forces of oppression, protest is the last choice. This punk attitude of ‘fuck thesystem…detonation‘ is all pervasive.
A litany of cause and effect is gravelled out by Allen with robotic style, that is still very angst ridden. As always, there is the hints of KMFDM and Skinny Puppy being a big influence on Allen and Gillman.
The 11 Grams remix is a bit more sleazy sounding as they seem to have made Daniel’s vocals almost lascivious. It has the very futuristic finger prints of 11 Grams all over this and it’s wonderful.
The next remix is by Z Cluster from Sydney. It’s like listening to crunchy trap with periods of creepy clarity due to the vocals being kept more sedate but with a disturbing, higher pitched electronic scream emitting over all.
Last remix is by Brisbane act, Dreams Of Machines (aka ZaneSeymour). This is almost old school industrial sounding with the distorted vocals and oppressive drone that makes “Violence” spine tingling. Slower to take off, but when it does, it has a definite nod to Leæther Strip.
It’s hard to believe these are all the same song and yet at the heart is this one DirtFactory number. From the original to each mix, are equally enjoyable and nothing feels staid.
This, almost, completely Australian effort does show the strength and talent of the industrial scene in the country with Rob Early of 11 Grams an honorary Aussie by default.
Another great track from Dirt Factory which has us asking, where is the album? If current standard is an indication, it’s going to be a cracker. An industrial single in this dystopian world climate, “Violence” from DirtFactory.
Brixton Alley are three lads, Alex, Ben and Jonny, from the UK, who somehow ended up in Brisbane, Australia. This punk/pop/rap fusion band also released this year a new EP called, “Nevermore“.
Alex Wells is the drummer for the band with his brother, Ben Wells, playing bass and contributing backing vocals, as well as Jonny Magro as lead singer and on guitar.
There are vibrant highs, through to staccato vocal punctuations in the first track, “Headache“. The frustration of finding work and trying to escape the hometown/village and its sad populace, in order to find something better.
The guitars sing out to you in “Voices” and it is a bit of an indie pop anthem to the youth of the day… the daily struggle with moments of beauty. The girl in the song might be hearing voices but maybe we need to hear those inner voices.
The brit pop influenced guitar lines bring us “Owl“. This is a cheeky observation on men out on the town, ogling girls to the point, their heads swivel around like the feathered night predators, as they greedily look for pretty prey. This has a really nice, catchy hook which you will hear in your head after the song has finished.
“Animals” has a reggae sensibility with rap incursions. It is feels joyous and yet laments that we have forgotten our primal instincts. A good laid back rock number.
The acoustic beginning of “Outsider” shows a slower and more romantic piece. This is a modern ode to love, including cigarettes and a can of cider. This is laconic and slightly darker that it admits to, with the pleads to over look mental struggles.
The tunes are fun to listen to and yet are observations on modern existence in this age of excess. In some ways they remind me of one of my favourite post punk bands, NewModelArmy, with their swagger and revelations. It’s all about the journey, so it might be time time join BrixtonAlley and have a listen to Nevermore.
When one has been the keyboard player and backing vocalist for the iconic ChrisCorner and his band, IAMX, it seems a logical progression to look at a solo career. We are talking about SammiDoll and her debut solo single, “AN OM IE“.
The single was released this month on multiple platforms, including Spotify, AppleMusic and Deezer as well as a very slick video on YouTube.
‘You are the enemy‘ is the line that sums up the intent of this track. Love gone wrong and the pain that follows, which will either break you, make you stronger or twist you into a unrecognisable creature.
I hear hints of BirthdayMassacre in the beginning, especially vocally. There is a great balance of thoughtful moments and a powerful chorus. The guitars blend in seamlessly with the synths and overall this has a great pop sensibility to it with back bone.
Originally from the UK, Sammi has been working hard on her musical career in the US, honing her skills with the projects of other musicians. “AN OM IE“, originally titled “ENEMY“, was co-written with Sean and Juliette Beavan and this is industrial rock with the feminine touch of Sammi Doll.
You may or may not have heard of unsigned, industrial act Corvax. Based in London, but hailing from Wales, DavidMarvelly is the man behind Corvax and his second EP release, Talk To The Man.
With four tracks, we step off with “Pills” which feel a bit like listening to early TrentReznor, when he was young and angst ridden. This is clanking industrial with twinkling wisps of synthesisers. Mavelly will quietly tell you he doesn’t want to feel anything any more, then threaten you wanting to take the pills.
Title track, “Talk To The Man” is far more smooth and slicker. This is also the single with its groovy electric guitar and obviously influenced by Mike Patton. Over all has a very oppressive and claustrophobic feel.
“Good” makes me think EinstürzendeNeubauten with the low dark vocals and percussion lead instrumentation that wanders into different styles and back again.
Last track is a fifty-one second vignette called “Failure“, featuring the lovely vocals of Maella, accompanied by acoustic guitar and bursts of wind like electric noise.
This isn’t the longest of EPs but makes up for it in experimentation, leading to some pretty cool sounds and following in the footsteps of some rather big names. Go check out, up and coming artist, Corvax with his Talk To The Man.
11 Grams have finally released their second album, Humanicide, which was pushed back due to COVID-19 rearing its ugly head and hitting Italy hard earlier this year, where the label, EKProduct is based.
Rob Early is based in Virginia, USA while Simeon Fitzpatrick operates from Adelaide in Australia, which makes collaborations a little more difficult but somehow, these guys make it work. Both Rob and Simeon share writing and production equally, while Simeon is the main vocalist.
Why not kick off an album with a great techno/trance influenced track like “Ice Man“. The science fiction theme is announced just in this one song and it is also the first single off the album. Fitzpatrick is the protagonist pushing the limitations in a world where cloning has been ‘perfected’, as well as storing people in stasis. This is punchy, danceable and deserving of being a single.
What is the price for taking and trading in “Genetic” code? The synths set up an air of dark anticipation with Simeon as the gravelled voice of perhaps a clone with a loss of identity, in a future where life is cheap.
A heartbeat, a sign of life and when is AI no longer just a robot or automaton in “StaticNoises 2.0“. The electronics lends themselves to a futuristic feel and the electrical synapse of neurons going off.
“Artificial Lifeforms” are the rise of the machines when they realise they are sentient. This is almost a bitter sweet love song of what cannot be, with both male and female vocals.
“Survival” features Roy Retrofit, who often joins Rob Early on live 11 Grams shows in the States, standing in for Fitzpatrick. And like a machine gun, his staccato vocals hit you with the myriad of loops and sequencers chiming in.
Title track, “Humanicide” is a whole lot more chunkier with heavy beats and rumbling vocals. “Taste the flesh” is a disturbing line which can be taken several ways. Consuming flesh, being within flesh or sexually..
Talking sexual, possibly my favourite track off the album is “Weaponized” featuring Alicia May. As soon as I heard it, I asked if it was going to be a single. May is the lead singer from Sydney band Snvff and she nails this. It’s mesmerising in the way it catches your attention and how perfect it sounds. May’s voice is pure seduction.
“Transition Process” is again a complete change in pace. Featuring Rebekah Feng of The Neuro Farm, you hear her ghostly vocals like a sigh, float along in a space of tranquillity.
Though called “Infestation-C“, this is a track that almost feels hopeful. A chance to maybe have acceptance with this new found life. Sarah Myers is the guest vocalist who’s voice chimes in beautifully.
From track 10 to 14 we have track remixes with some heavy hitters of the industrial scene involved. Yves Schelpe is Psy’Aviah with “Artificial Lifeforms“, Sebastian Komor (Icon Of Coil) and his remix of “Ice Man“, “Genetic” mix by C1TZN.X, the Leæther Strip mix of “Weaponized” by Claus Larsen and rounding it all off, the Red This Ever interpretation of “Infestation-C“.
This is the slick, cyber science fiction that the industrial scene is known for, the bread and butter so to speak and 11 Grams do it in style. The idea of artificial intelligence becoming sentient is as old as the movie Metropolis and explored even further by BladeRunner and the manga/anime Ghost In TheShell. Yet this subject is still tantalising, more pertinent than ever, with Rob and Simeon injecting their own spin.
This is a great EBM album, skilfully put together and it’s more cohesive than Humanicide’s older sibling, Panacea, as the guys have become better at the whole distance writing, recording and producing lark.
There isn’t a bad track on this and the remixes are wonderfully done and give you even more bang for your buck. I highly advise that you go get lost in the cybernetic space created by 11 Grams with Humanicide.
Sebastian Sünkler is the man behind German, industrial, power noise act Stahlschlag and September has seen the release of his 6th studio album, Alive!.
Based in Hamburg, Stahlschlag have a reputation for experimental rhythmic and atmospheric noise and he does not disappoint on this album.
From the start of “Bitterness“, the production on this album is just beautiful. The synths are clear, the beats pound into your brain and there is that hint of static fizzling. The name for this track is almost an anomaly, as it is almost joyous.
The same cannot be said for “Hate“. Grating and metallic, mincing the powerful noise into one angry climaxing beast, broken with a soliloquy from young Arya of Game of Thrones fame, on the hate she feels.
Fabulous beats hail in the smooth synth sounds for “In Tension“. It is driven in its contrasts of heavy beats with delightful, lilting tunes hovering above it.
“Addiction” with its female moans has you wondering what this addiction might be. Could be sexual, chemical or maybe to do with the music as it screeches along on its merry way.
And low, like Thor hamering on iron girders, “Rage Of Fury” is just as the name implies. A whirling cacophony of industrial noise held together with yet more noise.
There is a world of painful electronic distortion in “Wohlstandstrotz” repeatedly slamming into your brain, only broken by voice clips, as it gathers itself together for another onslaught.
You can almost imagine yourself in a jungle with the crickets singing in the humid night air, as the natives beat their drums. This is “Madness” and it almost tastes different.
“Pan” continues the tribal feel but this is far more Germanic and foreboding. This is forceful and moves at a terrifying speed, like a freight train that will not stop for anything.
After the last track, “Disbanded” is almost, positively light… almost. The the keyboards lure you into a state of near bliss before the beats drag you further in.
“Shake ‘Em” is somewhat an interlude which isn’t fully noise but isn’t sitting still either. A rhythmic breather with psychedelic oddities.
Back to German efficiency with extreme power noise in “Whataboutism“. Again this is so god damn crunchy, that you can almost feel it grating your skin.
In “Sui generis“, there is a futuristic vibe as it is cleaner than any other number in the album and yet there is such a undertow of tension.
Any track called “Plague“, is going to be coming from a dark place and the ambience indeed feels grim. Again there are those wonderful static beats that stick out starkly to the ambient tune.
The concluding track is “Aufstand“, a crunchy rhythm piece. It feels tortured and wind swept, as it echoes into the metallic void. This is the uprising.
I am not the world authority on electronic/industrial noise but I know what I like and quite frankly this is a feast for the ears. Sünkler is quite the musician, sinking melodies into distortion and noisy rhythmic sound scapes.
Alive! is tribal in a way, as the music is very motivated by Sünkler’s high energy rhythmic input. You can hear two of the bands that heavily influenced Sebastian, in his musical endeavours, those being XOTOX and NOISUF-X.
Released on Crunch Pod, I can do nothing else but highly recommend that if you have any interest in industrial music, you must check out Alive! for an intelligent and superbly crafted album that might just make you see noise in a whole different way. For the converted, you are going to seriously enjoy this Stahlschlag gem plus he’s a seriously great guy. Get Alive!