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/

As we have slipped into another year with the spectre of covid, overshadowing everything, it can be expected that most music has been influenced by this current climate and the new EP by darkwave duo, Johnathan|Christian is no exception. together, we’re alone, is the latest offering from Christian Granquist (lyrics and vocals)and Johnathan Mooney (composer, piano, instrumentation), who are based in Los Angeles, California.

First song off the block is the flag waving “My Dying Words“. This is the line in the sand number about never giving up no matter the odds and it is rollicking piece. Sung with conviction and gusto, it weaves and rolls with the punches.

The title track, “Together, We’re Alone“, is a duet and fractured ballad between Elisa Mammoliti and Granquist. The theme of loneliness, a life lived without trying to find love that could have been a hair’s breath away. Longing and sadness prevail, like a weight on the heart.

A fair ground organ opens the track, “My Beautiful, Broken Butterfly” and it rolls on fantastically after that. An instrumental piece that is slightly disjointed, giving the impression of being broken and yet, still beautiful in its composition.

Never Trust A Man (With Egg On His Face)” is classic Adam Ant from the 1979 album Dirk Wears White Socks. Who can resist a song about beings from space giving advice about men with chicken zygote, firmly implanted on their countenance? Not me. This is whimsical and oddly satisfying in a proper sort of way. I don’t think Stuart Goddard aka Adam Ant, would disapprove at all.

together, we’re alone” is a quirky and interesting EP. Complied of an anthem, a ballad an instrumental and a cover…. it works oh so well for Johnathan|Christian. They definitely seem to be influenced by the late 70s and 80s British music scene making them a bit darkly dapper and you should check them out.

https://johnathan.bandcamp.com/album/together-were-alone

https://www.facebook.com/jchristianmusic

From the wild open spaces of Oregon comes Warm Gadget, ready to help you get your metal industrial on, with their new EP, Rituals, released in April. Tim Vester is the lead vocals and effects, Austin Williams on bass and backing vocals and then it seems Colten Williams maybe the insidious, evil mastermind who plays everything else, did backing vocals, wrote the music and produced it. This makes him a busy fellow.

WARM GADGET

First cab off the rank is the first single we previously reviewed here, “New Industrial“. There is the head to head clash of guitar versus electronic, that smacks of derision and angst at the system.

Full Of It” is just angry, so very angry. A fuck you to the world who uses, then casts you aside when there is nothing left after giving promises of false dreams. Full on raging guitar and Vester screaming his discontent.

Not many relationships end on good terms and it seems “If I Only Could” is very much in that vein. I’D REMOVE ME FROM YOUR MEMORY; (YOU’RE DEAD TO ME) IF I ONLY COULD is a very telling line, conceding most songs talk about forgetting the other person. It’s a bit like if Tool met Queens Of The Stone Age in a fist fight.

Symptoms” could be a commentary on the modern lifestyle where everything can be fixed taking medications. The music is steady and the vocals raw with emotion of wanting to live with the ‘disease’, so that they can just live.

The guitar riffs are great in “Dead To Me“. It’s a more electronically crunchy number that really rocks. The concept that love is binding and that the other person can suddenly turn on you, leaving you wanting to get the hell out of Dodge.

The last two tracks are remixes of “Symptoms“. The first by Witch Eyes which illicits a more old school industrial sound. The second is by Snowbeasts and this propels the track into a whole new stratosphere, going far more electronic and cutting out all the vocals.

This looks back to the metal bands of industrial such as KMFDM, Ministry and My Life With The Kill Thrill Kult, while giving it a more grungy effect, making it dirtier and slightly more unhinged. Keeping the blood pumping with their musical force, Warm Gadget gracing your lobes with Rituals.

https://warmgadget.bandcamp.com/album/rituals

https://www.facebook.com/warmgadget/

Kieren Hills aka Dorfpunk Tapes, is somewhat of an Australian renaissance man. His love of underground fare means he performs in more than his fair share of bands, from crust punk to goth, though his punk attitude shines through all. One of his incarnations is his one man, industrial punk act called Schkeuditzer Kreuz. In September of 2020, the EP Give Me Nothing was released.

KIEREN HILLS – SCHKEUDITZER KREUZ

This is your “Warning” that starts with a nationalistic anthem of a non existent, fascist state. It smacks of Laibach as it launches, hammering into your skull, the staccato beat with wailing siren. The warning is about a population devoid of control, will find others to exert power over to prove they exist.

Metallic industrial rhythm heralds in “Amerika:, a song written in the time of the Trump presidency and on a personal computer that had no working ‘C’. The angst of watching the erosion of rights, injustice and wholesale lies are ground out by Hills.

Consumerism drives economies, drives environmental destruction, plunges many into poverty and leaves many always wanting what they do not need. Greed is the theme behind, “But What If“. Screeching electronics, contorted in the fervour before the final meltdown.

Traitor” is a slower track in some ways with an electronic sludginess like sonic glue, however surprisingly does speed up with a near psychedelic overdrive.

Final track, “Give Me Nothing” is the equivalent of Edvard Münch’s The Scream, a cry to escape the tragedy of life. Not necessarily escaping through death but no longer plugged into the machine that pounds away with fuzzy fury.

It’s a little gem of an EP and gets better every play. It is punchy and doesn’t pull any punches about the state of society in general but then it just wouldn’t be punk if it didn’t have something to say. Should you ever get the chance to see Schkeuditzer Kreuz live, take it. The experience will blow your mind but in the meantime indulge in Give Me Nothing on Bandcamp for name your price.

https://dorfpunk.bandcamp.com/album/give-me-nothing-2

https://www.facebook.com/SchkeuditzerKreuz/

We are going to go back to December of 2017 to revisit the electronic EP, Wavelets. Released by Secant Prime, a US based artist who’s first release was in 2010 with the Wavelets EP that is made up of 5 tracks ranging in length.

Imagine a sound of impending doom. It could be “Jacobi Elliptic Function“, a sonic dirge of undulating pandemonium of both electronic noise and human. Named after the mathematical equation that describes the swinging of a pendulum and also the design of electronic elliptic filters. There is always this low, one could almost say near feeling of dread and as the piece continues, it develops that crunchy experimental texture before becoming nearly atonal again.

Dirichlet Convolution” is a mathematical function using binary operation as well as the title of the next track. It is metallic and sharp with no room to be otherwise. The machine in its computations will churn out its screeching answers that it rhythmically hums to itself. You hear a child lost in the noise, maybe a victim of the problem solving.

The next concept is slightly beyond my understanding but ‘Montgomery’s Pair Correlation Conjecture” is about equations that include the possibilities of finding zeros. The music has a sense of being out of touch, much like my understanding of the maths. Echoes, whispers and perhaps the intermittent ticking of a clock, all completely out of sync with a buzzing sonar like beat. At seventeen and a half minutes, this is the EP’s longest track but the lulls and build ups will keep your attention.

Hankel Transform” is the fourth track and I can’t even describe this therorum but I can tell you the music swirls, as if in a vortex, sucking everything towards it, mixing it all as it flies past. The garbled voices add to the sense of imminent implosion at any moment.

I looked up “Fourier Bessel Series” and saw the words an infinite series expansion on a finite interval…..pursed my lips and exhaled. A slow build up of soundscape and rhythmic nose, more ticking like time is getting away from us and a growing feeling of claustrophobia. Constant, infinite and yet finite

in some ways this is my nightmare music, based on high level maths, however this works for Secant Prime. Maths is clinical and exact, with no grey areas. And many like myself find the idea of working out these therorum terrifying. The music is not comforting, stark and bleak, devoid of human warmth. A clever use of experimental noise to create ambient, nightmarish soundscapes. Wavelet is available on Bandcamp currently for name your price and other forums.

https://secantprime.bandcamp.com/album/wavelets

http://www.secantprime.com

Sally Wolfdreamer is a fairly new band, but even so they have been very busy. In December, last year, they released their maiden EP and now in April, they have brought us their second EP, titled Dissected.

James Mitchell is from the East Midlands in the UK and may or may not have stolen the name Sally Wolfdreamer from a local communicator of the dead. Originally starting out in the music industry as a drummer, who has always had an interest in electronic music.

Like a caress, “Lobo” fills your ears, growing and expanding, an introduction to the EP that feels like it only just started and ended far too quickly… even though it was just under two minutes.

The beginning of “Black Phillip” does not give you an inkling of what depth this track truly holds. The intro is so diminutive and then explodes with bass filled goodness you just didn’t expect. Black Phillip is the goat from the movie, The Witch, who turns out to be Lucifer in disguise.

The next piece, “Buried Alive“, has a science fiction feel to it. A future that has no future, with a disconnected female voice and a rhythm that starts to unravel, so to speak.

A few years back, there was a manga created called Snowpiercer, (later a movie), about the last survivors on Earth, all packed into a train, after a failed attempt to terra form the ruined planet. A dark tale of lies and decit, where the drug of choice is “Krenole“, a suspension substrate that is also highly explosive. The notion of being on that train and moving through an eerily dead world is all pervasive. A sense of urgency with the clicks and whirls.

Final track, “Kunicki“, could be a reference to the Polish revolutionary, Stanislaw Kunicki, who was hung for his convictions at the tender age of twenty-five. The take off is slow and this piece picks up speed, growing an expansive soundscape that cannot be pulled back in. The sounds of the wind of change?…

Themes of sin, revolution and the road to a maybe apocalyptic future, saturate these dark-electro ambient instrumental pieces. This is really enjoyable to listen to music that has more going on under the water than just above, yes reference to the cover art. You are invited to “Dissected” Sally Wolfdreamer.

https://sallywolfdreamer.bandcamp.com/album/dissected

https://www.facebook.com/wolfdreamersally/

January saw the debut release for deathrock group, Yuka Zolo. This is a six track EP, titled Bleed, from the four piece band consisting of bassist Anthony Moraga, vocalist Faydra Cronin, guitarist Tyler Spatz and drummer Alex Kaiser.

YUKA ZOLO

The first song is “Dissector” and it is like the old, unpolished goth tunes that came out of the post punk period of the 80s. The guitar work clear and melodious while the vocals chime together. This could be a tune about them being cut up and eaten by a serial killer.

If “Spinebender” isn’t a homage to early Christian Death I’ll be darn surprised. It races with breakneck speed like it’s on the mine ride to Hell with a cacophony of guitars.

The cajoling vocals on “Deprivation” are slightly off timed to the music giving us an unsettling feel. Not sure what sort of deprivation is going on here but she feels it and he feels it… it all seems a bit sexual.

The single, “217” is a little slower as Faydra’s singing wends between the guitars, in a short tale of the immortal. One minute, fifty eight seconds short but who says long is better.

The beginning of “Absolution” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on The Banshees‘ seminal album The Scream with those lyrics about no face and sacred waters. The pace seems to have become more introspective for the second half of the EP.

The last song is also the title track. “Bleed” with the imagery of sullying the holy by puncturing the woman’s hymen… she bleeds and is considered unclean, in the eyes of some. It punches home and as quickly as it started, it had finished.

Have to say the band Yuka Zolo are pretty hard core in their pursuit of music with members based in states of Wisconsin and Arizona in the U.S., however the EP was recorded entirely in Madison, Wisconsin.

Definitely deathrock influenced all the way with Rozz Williams styled attributes and although the bio said Siouxsie And The Banshees, I have to admit I heard more a correlation to Xmal Deutschland until “Absolution“, but both bands with powerful female leads. This is not over produced and has a little of that punk, two finger salute, screw you if you don’t like it… this is what it is. Yuka Zolo can be found on Bandcamp for name your price. So check out a bit of goth rock… watch out it bites.

https://yukazolo.bandcamp.com/album/bleed

https://www.facebook.com/YukaZolo/

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 Diva Of 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.

https://nu-n.bandcamp.com/album/i-will-show-you-fear-in-a-handful-of-dust

https://www.facebook.com/nothingunveilsnothing

https://www.facebook.com/blackgenesisrec/

http://m.blackgenesisrecords.com/1/home_878784.html

HOSTILE ARCHITECT is Brisbane based Mitch Kenny and he is quite the busy industrial bee, with his second release on Brutal Resonance Records, 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.

HOSTILE ARCHITECT – MITCH KENNY

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.

https://brutalresonance.bandcamp.com/album/log-3-semtex

https://www.facebook.com/HosArchitect/

https://www.facebook.com/nullcell/

https://www.facebook.com/brutalresonance/

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.

VAZUM – ZACH PLISKA & EMILY STURM

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.

https://vazum.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VAZUMROCKS/