SleeplessDroids is an electro industrial group from Sydney, who have been on a slight hiatus, however January has seen the release of a new single, “Dust“.
They first started in 2011 and the member lineup is as follows – AaronPotter on vocals, ShaunAllen on drums and DerekDimitri playing synth.
Okay, yep. Love the first opening cords. They somehow speak to my soul. I am a sucker for a jangly guitar but I’m gathering this is a synth and not a guitar… hell who cares!! The mix of electronics is just another level. Beautifully heavy bass and drums fleshes this out as the synths compliment perfectly.
The vocals are bloody good as well. Potter can go from pained whispers to open hearted singing. It just comes down to have good technique and an excellent set of pipes.
The ‘b’ side is “Believe“, a quirky piece of drum inspired number. The intermittent bleeps and bloops that gets heavier throughout, is a just over three minutes piece of ear candy.
The third song is a remix of “Dust” called Substance. It is almost hard to believe it is the same song. Up tempo, faster beat and layers of synths change this song completely.
They might have been on a break but it looks like SleeplessDroids are back and bringing the good s and hopefully there is a new album in the works because of this single is anything to go by…. it’s going to be brilliant.
From across the southern oceans, the New Zealand capital of Auckland, in November 2019, Death With Machines released their latest EP, Leech. Lawrence Legacy (aka Lawrence Baniecivich) is mastermind and/or overlord
Let me introduce you to the murky, sleazy beats that is “Born Evil“. Baniecivich forcefully whispers to you which is punctuated by the gutteral groan saying ‘born‘ with the follow up whisper ‘evil’. This is reminicent in some ways of Aesthetic Perfection. It is catchy and a good start to the EP.
“Leech“, the title track is just begging for you to groove along to as the lyrics are puncuated out. This is reminicent of industrial bands from the 80’s and 90’s like Front 242 and Suicide Commando, who often had sado-masochistic themes.
‘I hate the way you make me laugh, I hate the way you make me cry’ and we have the song aptly titled ‘Hate’. This is a smoldering beat that is even and constant…. even insistent. If you hate someone then you can’t love them and they can’t break you, except that hate turns inwards.
Last song is “TheGallows“. This is slow and if you can’t guess, a song about death and cold bodies. All returns to nothingness and all are equal in the eyes of death. A nice depressing little number.
So gravely growling is Lawrence’s trade mark vocal and it works for an EP of lust, loss, anger and something just a bit demonic. Get into some Kiwi cyber industrial, listen to Leech by DeathWithMachines.
January saw the bandcamp release of DirtFactory’s debut EP, Random Songs For The End Of The World. This electro industrial band is comprised of two brothers, MichaelGillman (programming and synths) and DanielAllen (vocals and programming). More surprisingly is the fact that one lives in Brisbane and the other in Melbourne.
From the get go “Saibanetikku” is a koto drum dream that leads to an electronic beat followed by deep ahhhs and a fabulous synth accompaniment. Daniel’s modulated voice joins this simple and yet spine tingling build up. The way Michael mixes and brings in sounds and beats is subtle while still holding your attention completely.
Still on the Japanese cyber/futuristic theme, we have “Kaiju” which basically means monster. A commentary on our world, as we play with science and create the monsters that will eventually destroy us. Godzilla (Gojira) is a kaiju, created by exploding nuclear bombs. This is a science fiction nightmare which cuts a little closely to a dark reality.
Track three is an “UnseenTragedy“. This is punchy with syncopation weaving throughout. The layers of vocals with different voice mixers and electronic synth is an immersive experience.
Sleazy greasy and oozing, “GiveMeTheDrugs“. Slower but still a ravenous beat is your pusher, making you desire more of this ode to wanting to throw one’s self into the arms of your chosen drug. Daniel will cajole and threaten you to get what he wants…. no placebo accepted.
Will machines with AI eventually obtain “DigitalConsciousness“? Is it a scientist speaking in the background? The music is again powerful and evocative with heavy drums and a futuristic feel… that Terminator efficiency, so to speak.
Robitic vocals bring you “ErrorDelete” with undulating electronics with such a catchy rhythm and breakout synths. This definitely brings visions of Bladerunner or GhostIn the Machine.
“SlaughterhouseShutdown” is horror movie homage with mentions of plastic for the blood splatters and no one is getting out of there alive. Haunting with gothic keyboard for ultimate creeping doom and everyone’s favourite …. fairground carnival music with screams overlayed with Psycho violin tendencies.
The final piece is “CorporateGreed” which brings to mind another song, “CorporateSlave” by another electronic Australian artist, Snog from the 90’s which was another excellent dance number. Could be the sounds of the financial world that become lost in the growing noise as the harsh beat takes over. The low vocals grace but do not take over. This loops and reverbs in a most delicious way with unbridled angst.
Remixes of “ErrorDelete” by DigitalAnodyne (DJWolfAud) and Vargil (CamillaAstridStrand) have been added onto the end as extra bonus numbers for your listening pleasure which you are sure to enjoy.
Movies, especially in the genres of horror, science fiction and anime, have had a huge influence in the vision of these songs. Synth and noise maker extraordinaire, Michael’s roots in industrial music lay in the WaxTrax era and the burgeoning onslaught of the Belgium and German bands such as FrontlineAssembly and co. However, more than this, he has not tried to ride their sound but rather forge his own, with brother Daniel firmly giving the band a voice.
The music is savvy, clever and down right satisfying. There is great depths to each song, crafted to sound bigger than just a two man effort, giving them an epic EP. As yet unsigned, Dirt Factory are far more than an uncut diamond, rough where needed and cutting edge when they could have been mediocre. These are the Random Songs For The End of The World.
End of November, 2019 saw the release of goth rockers, HerDespair’s latest EP, ExorcismsofEroticism. This 6 piece band are based in London and currently not signed to any label, though I wonder how long that will last.
“Pandaemonium” is a banger of a number to start off with. Those crystal clear vocals that draw you into the heart and heat of song. Author, JohnMilton, wrote the novel, ParadiseLost and created a capital of Hell called Pandaemonium, city of fallen angels and daemons. This builds in its terrible beauty of a soul left bereft and shunning heaven’s God .
A single off the EP is “TheExorcism“. Again you hear the wonderfully crafted lyrics with the musical sensibilities of VilleValo (HIM). A few goth girls are going to melt with this and I can see why. The guitar riff in this is a killer.
Third track, “In That Moment”, has the orchestration wooing you whilst giving you a sense of wonder at how they manage to make this sound so grand and polished. The electronic aspect is spectacular.
For such a darkly named song “Like A Crucifixion“, it feels so light and up beat with a great, catchy chorus. If this is the next single, I would hardly be surprised.
I think English icons, ParadiseLost might have misplaced a track in “Beyond The Veil” as it really reminds me of their goth phase. This is a slightly slower number and I’m not sure if the reference is a veil of mourning or the distance between death and life, though no matter as it all works.
Of course all this commentary of passing to the land of the dead leads well into the final track, “Final Rest”. The sentiment is beautiful as the music swells with the acknowledgment of going to a place of peace… their heaven.
For HerDespair, this is the second EP since the band first released Mournography in 2018. There is great wealth of literary expression and the use of poetic English language is lovely to see.
The band cites influences like The Sisters of Mercy, My Dying Bride and Karl McCoy’s wonderful, Fieldsof the Nephilim and honestly you can hear touchs of these 80’s iconic goth bands but also more recent acts like The 69 Eyes, LacrimosaProfundere and more than a passing nod to tragic love hero’s, HIM.
Goth rock needs shots in the arm like this every once in a while because what the world doesn’t need is another SistersofMercy clone, yet this is a classic example of love lost, longing and dwelling in darkness, set to a backdrop of heaven and hell. Beauty is in the darkness and in the music of HerDespair.
The latest single from Italian duo, Kill Your Boyfriend came out the end of 2019, called “Elizabeth” on Depths Records and the label is based in London. This is the appetizer before they release their new album this year.
An anguished, noise filled introduction reminiscent vocally of Kirk Brandon (Theatre Of Tragedy and Spear Of Destiny) with the intensity of Andy McElligott (Sex Gang Children), asking ‘why are you here?‘. This is experimental noise with a shoegaze twist. Heavy beats and grating industrial screeching as “Elizabeth” undulates and graduates until the last prolonged note heralds the end.
Almost three and a half minutes of song and yet it pulls you in and spits you out, like hardly any time had passed at all. Plus there is a remix of “Elizabeth” for your listening pleasure. If you enjoy your industrial noise then there is no doubt you will get into Kill Your Boyfriend and if you haven’t heard of these guys before, then this could be the gateway drug that sucks you in.
This year English duo, Unquiet Dead had the release of their second album, Anima Ignis. Located in Bedfordshire, Lora Maze is vocals and synths while Jason Kahl plays guitar and bass. Both are responsible for programming.
So the intro is “Flames”, which welcomes you into the style that is Unquiet Dead. Soaring harmony with a tribal sound, punctuated with the guitar, giving it a whole lotta oomph!!!
“Ash” was a single and has an almost White Zombie, Southern American feel to it until the vocals from Maze kick in, seductively slipping into your ears. A psychedelic trip in a limosine, in leather with a devil may attitude.
Yet another single off the album is “Legend”. Do I detect the use of didgeridoo? Kahl’s driving guitar work throttles this forward. And the remix by London based electro/industrial group, MachineRox for the single is absolutely killer. Vocally this reminds me of Faith And TheMuse.
Keeping up the unrelenting pace is “Puppet Strings“. You have to love the harmonization Unquiet Dead utilize. No one is pulling their strings with this danceable number.
Now for a change of pace. Of course “Cat People (Putting Out Fire With Gasolene)” was written and performed by David Bowie with GeorgioMoroder back in 1981 and has been covered a multitude of times. The whole thing with covers is to make it your own. A purposely slow beginning which changes up with the power vocals.
And back to the head bobbing ferocious beats. Burn My “HeadDown” is about getting out from underneath someone’s control… which might be a theme of this album. Hints of electric T-Rex litter this.
Track seven is “BitterPill“, where they have to be ‘carefulwhat I say or they might put me away’ and any song mentioning pitchforks is worthy of monster movie staking.
“Build A World Worth Dying For” is pure swirling vocals entwined with guitar and backed up with synths. A plea to make this world a better place that we know it can be. A beautifully crafted song with and equally beautiful sentiment.
The synth sound mimicking a theremin in “IsThisWar?”, Is almost hypnotic. Not the fastest track but this will definitely keep the audience entertainered, especially waiting to hear Maze’s vocals to take them away.
“ICan Hardly Wait” is slower, more dirge style piece which drags the corpse along behind it still kicking. Languid guitar riffs bubble in the cauldron.
Last track is “If You Don’t Want Me” and true to form, if you aren’t wanted, there are no constraints on what you can do and be who you want to be. This fades to a mantra of almost southern Baptist proportions.
On Bandcamp, the band have quoted Toyah Wilcox as saying ‘Really rather remarkable’. I can tell you now that in the music scene, Toyah is a very hard woman to impress as she is a bit of a perfectionist.
Whatever style you want to try to place these two, it is undeniable that UnquietDead are really very talented. They take the psychedelic sounds of a bygone era and marry it to a modern electronic/ industrial genre with those amazing vocals to create something just a little special.
The bastard child of Bolan/Bowie/Eno and InkubusSukkubus with no apologies. Check Unquiet Dead out.
Distorded Void is the Russian label bringing you the new album, “Trakl Trauma Tracks”, by Eumourner, an Italian musician.
Eumourner has 6 tracks to convey his historical story, set in World War 1, all in the form of music. Someone commented the album cover was creepy…. but then that is what happens when we exhume the dead.
“Track I. Der Schlaf” is like moving into darkness and the unknown. The sound scape builds and undulates with impending doom. Unseen and unnatural creatures chitter as a voiceover announces details of the Great War.
Cuckoo clocks and chimes bring on “Track II. Stunderlied”. It s0 the feeling of desolation and swirling loss in a terrible fairytale with wind swept whistles intermingling with musical box tunes, until the mood changes and becomes more insistent.
Like the muffled horns of Valhalla blasting into the void heralds “Track III. NeilKrupp und Krieg”. This could be the rumbling of giant mortar cannons on the Eastern front, the orders to move forward into a hell never seen before by mankind. A machine churning through men and forever changing them and sirens sound marking the hostilities.
“Track IV. Grodek” is the longest track at over 10 minutes long. It is not so much the sounds of violence but rather, the spirits of men leaving their tortured bodies, or at least this is what it feels like to me. The terrible aftermath left on a battlefield, which few forget amd even fewer wish to repeat. The lament of ghosts of the fallen, crying for what they have lost.
Birds chirp and maybe chimes or cow bells in the distance. We hear the words of Georg Trakl‘s poem “All Roads Lead To Black Decay” wavering over this piece, “Track V. Landschaft”. It sounds so calm and yet there is a sudden burst of a gatling gun to break the serenity.
“Track VI. Die Ungebornen Enkel” closes this album. It is the void filling with near distant rage and cacophany with pieces of violin flitting in and out before a plateau, decending into unearthly screams of that which sounds not human. Oppressive and swelling. The character, Trakl’s descent into madness, with his overbearing feeling of depression due to his inability to cope surrounded by the damaged and massacred, fueled by his overdose of cocaine, pulling him into the depths of hell. It finishes with the innocence of children singing and the music box.
For the uninitiated, Georg Trakl, born in Salzburg, Austria was a poet who suffered from depression for most of his adult life and found refuge in the army life as a trained pharmacist, until the beginning of the Great War where he found himself serving in the Austro-Hungarian army.
While in the Battle of Grodek, against the Imperial Russian Army, he was forced to look after approxiamately 90 wounded soldiers, which overwhelmed him and Lieutenant Trakl attemped to shoot himself, however was thwarted and resulted in his being hospitalized. Not long after this he was found dead of a cocaine overdose.
Eumourner has taken a small piece of dark history and put it to dark ambient and experiemental music, to paint you a life cut short in a time of war due to mental breakdown, even using the poets own style of evoking spirits in the quiet recesses of what is not said. It is an evocative soundscape on a grand scale.
Third Realm are back with a brand spanking new album and I have been lucky enough to have been listening to it before the release date, thanks to the main driving force and frontman, Nathan Reiner.
Since 2000, Reiner has been creating music with this project and the latest album is out on the darkTunes Music label with bandmate, Luis Felipe Blanco, from their hometown of Buffalo, New York.
Let the insanity ensue with “Bipolar Pop” featuring CHIASM. Emileigh Rohn is the solo artist behind CHIASM, an electro/darkwave project but here backing up Reiner. Slower more deliberate beat with the atmosphere that you could be stalked by some sex crazed (well there is a little sensual moaning) porn pop princess or prince. This is still raw in its electonic style which is a nice way to start.
‘I tried to be myself and suffer…’ is the start of the chorus, “Be Myself” which I am guessing is the fear of putting your true self out there…. and then finding rejection or indifference. I hear hints of Chris Pohl‘s Blutengel influence, especially vocally which is no small feat as many wish to be Pohl but often fail.
The first single from the album is the amazing, “When The Sun Goes Down”. Third Realm couldn’t have picked a better single to introduce their latest work with. Totally danceable and more to the point, you will find yourself singing away in no time to the vampiric chorus. The beat is driving and the vocals just weave themselves into pleasure centre of your brain.
Fourth song off the rank is “Banshee” which gives a slight nod, it feels, to Sisters Of Mercy’s “Vision Thing” crossed with Blutengel‘s flare for the dramatic supernatural.
“Gazing At The Stars” is a ballad with a beat. It’s a sweet ode to dreams of love and wishing. It is poignant tribute and the synths sing out true over this catchy number.
A more techno start for “Garden of Lust” gets the body moving. There is a strange electronic moog like synth in the chorus which is a tad distracting while Reiner is singing but in all its an agreeable song, with spooky intonation.
“Background of My Mind” has a punky retro feel. It’s bouncy and very two fingers waved in the air in sentiment…. ie you cannot rule my life by playing me.
Love the synth beginning with a disco beat for “Who’s Really Listening?” and this lends to the claustrophobic nature of the album, fraught with paranoia.
With the release of the album is the second single, “Tides of the Sea” featuring again CHIASM. This is just a beautiful electronic number and vocally, Reiner and CHIASM interweave so well and compliment each other. Expressing love as being as constant as the tides, that pull and rush, the heartbeat and pulse of the seas.
I can hear the infuence of Marilyn Manson in “Deviant”, in the way the song is structured. The chorus is a persistant and tenacious stream of conciousness which pushes to be heard. One man’s deviance is another’s normalcy because we are who we are.
First impression of “Medusa” was it is going to be a power noise piece until the melody kicks in. Even though Medusa was a gorgon, this is another homage to vampiric beings and reminds me very much of the 90’s goth/electronic sound.
“Passion” has air light keyboards and that great constant danceable beat, with the slight VNV Nation smoothness that makes their older songs just soar. This is EBM at it’s best.
Some believe that soul mates are awaiting us, also known as “Twin Flames”. The ultimate partner that completes you and that joy can be heard in the jauntiness and pop sensibility given to this piece.
Slowly, the title track, “The Art of Despair” crawls darkly across the floor, a vision of murky oblivion. It is insistent and pokes at your reality.
The last three songs are remixes of “Bipolar Pop”, “Be Myself” and “When The Sun Goes Down”. Aesthetic Perfection‘s Daniel Graves, really injects himself into “Bipolar Pop” which brings extra raw power. “Be Myself” mixed by Subliminal Code, just leaps out as an electronic dance number and last “When The Sun Goes Down” is given the super slick treatment by Panic Lift.
Third Realm‘s sound is developing over time. Originally, a harsher industrial music style which has become a bit more electro and synth savvy but hasn’t lost any of its intensity.
It is not lost on me that you can almost taste the heavy German EBM, darkwave and gothic influences and especially, Blutengel and L’Ame Immortelle.
Nathan Reiner‘s Third Realm has unleashed for you a gothic horror album of inner demons, monsters in human guise and immortal love, all to a wonderous industrial beat.
July saw the release of the concept album, “AloneInTheNetwork” by αOri and Yaka–anima. JulianA Lacroix’s experimental project is αOri, composing dark ambient/electronic pieces. Yaka–anima is SábilaOrbe from Chile who is also the programmer for his other experimental music project, the duo, Humanfobia.
“Alone In The Network” is of course the title track and starts the album off ominously with its slow beat and a female, who sounds like she is in a clinical void, talking over the top.
The electronic journey continues with “Blue Lights” with its fusion of regular synth with experimental bleeps and keeps an interesting rhythm.
Now you can feel the futuristic adventure taking on form and speeding up. “StretchedPlain” is aloof and imperious. What is that woman telling us? This is a foreboding shadow.
We have entered the Twilight Zone. “LyricalPain” is light yet creepy. Trapped neither here nor there which leads into “GlitchedPain” which features Wildsilences. Imagine hearing breathing that is not breathing. The whispered acknowledgment of the disembodied voice of a tortured soul.
Track six is “RoseAltitude” and an electronic sound scape. A computerized heartbeat of a ghost of an organ reaches out without reply.
All computer data is essentially zeros and ones and maybe it is kept in the “NumericCrypt“. I love the glitching, chirping sounds over the ambient music, as it just adds a new element.
“MoireHormones“ is the kind of track that makes you feel a little on edge with its inconsistent tones and rhythm.
The wondrous “Cybernetic Owl” breaks up the moody pall with its strange yet charming ethereal quality, indeed almost Zen like but finishing in noise.
Everyone knows these days about the Matrix, the centre of the computer mind and now “Archons In The Matrix”. This delicately reminds me also of the music in Akira.
Does artificial intelligence fear passing away and no longer existing on any plane? “Electronic N.D.E.” or electronic near death experience might be the equivalent of leaving the physical and going towards the light. But it isn’t time to go and return is inevitable to the last track, “Level 0“, the shortest and most loneliest of the tracks. It calls out to the world.
If you haven’t guessed now, the album is based on the Japanese manga/anime GhostIn The Machine, which looked at a future where a human’s conscience could be downloaded to a computer but with that came with all sorts of other issues including the knowledge of no longer being a human who could physically love because in the machine, it is cold and lonely.
Ghost In The Machine was also a huge influence on the movies of The Matrix, a futuristic society anchored to a programmer’s code.
You can both see and hear the Japanese influence on both the art and the music. This album is thoughtful and thought provoking as it digitally creates you a picture.
The album was released on Cian Orbe Netlabel and the artists, αOriandYaka–anima are offering it to you for free. Sometimes good things can be free.
August saw the release of ChmclStr8jckt’s latest album on CleopatraRecords. KevinSnell, MikeScott and IanOmega 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 WrtchdThngs to ravage our ears.
These guys, from New Jersey, love the sound of the WaxxTrax era combined with the kitch macabre horror imagery, wrapped up in metal guitar fusion.
Title track “WrtchdThngs” is the twenty eight second introduction to the album before what is arguably the best song on the album, “OdeToPeckinpah (BloodySam)”.
For the uninitiated, SamPeckinpah 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, ‘43deadin a seaofred‘. 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 “CutDeep” 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 Front242 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 KillingJoke, though this isn’t KJ and most definitely stamped with ChmclStr8tjckt’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
“BombCyclone” 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 “BlackVulture“. 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 “MeatHook“. The psycho bombastic over tones would make RobZombie 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 JohnBechdel 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 FearFactory and one of my favourites, KillingJoke.
These guys might be short a few vowels and if Ministry, MyLifeWithTheThrillKill 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.