Woohoo and the year kicked off with a bang. German industrial meisters, ROTERSAND hit the ground running with a new single, “Higher Ground” as of New Years Day 2023, on the label Metropolis Records. It is has been exactly a year since the release of the previous single “Grey“, and though we have been able to hear the guys performing remix magic last year, the exciting news is that “Higher Ground” is heralding the countdown to a new album!

From the beginning, already, the skin is goose fleshing in anticipation with the build-up. Nikov’s vocals really are just silken and ever smooth, an observation that some people will always be a beacon of hope and sanctuary, even at their own discomfort. I even detect the strumming of an acoustic guitar. That is before it all just takes flight with that fabulous synthie pop beat and surging electronics coming at you in waves.

The Evendorff remix is fresh and intense, like a blast of concentrated ROTERSAND, which makes it pretty electric. Beautifully recorded and mastered. Also, there is the radio edit version, but that is neither here nor there as “Higher Ground” is a little piece of EBM magic

Higher Ground | Rotersand (bandcamp.com)

Rotersand | Gelsenkirchen | Facebook

Rotersand – Truth is Fanatic again.

Alexander Leonard Donat... teacher, marathon runner, musician, man behind the label Blackjack Illuminist Records, co-conspirator for several musical acts, driving force behind his own project Vlimmer and very possibly a crime fighter by night (just saying Vlimmer man has a certain ring to it!). November saw Vlimmer’s second, full length album, Menschenleere, enter the watery light of day.

The first tastes of forbidden fruit came our way in the form of the two singles, the rhythm filled darkwave tendrils of “Erdgeruch” and the wondrously 80s inspired eccentricity of “Kronzeuge“. There are such gems hidden within, such as “Mathematik” with its giddy synths that remind me so much of the electronic trailblazer, John Foxx, even more so for the fact his backing band were The Maths.

Noposition” has a magical trance like quality within its warm embracing beats, while “Schwimmhand” leaves you not only amazed by the sheer brilliance but also experiencing tingles through your extremities. Even the title track has an ancient feel, whilst playing with time signatures. “Menschenleere” is vast and echoing in the chamber of what might not be a pained reality.

Yes you can dance to Vlimmer, but for me, there is something akin to multiple storylines. Each track is crafted just so, this one with a more science fiction vibe, another with more sombre tones and yet another with a spinning glorious shoegaze vision. All held together by Donat’s vocals, be they happy, sad or even imploring.

Vlimmer is the centre of this world he has created, and has the knack of spinning his musical tales that capture us up into this web of darkwave delights. Even better is the fact that Alexander touches back to the styles that have influenced him but he never let’s them consume him, rather experimenting to create tracks that encapsulate his music journey. Beautiful, fragile and ashened songs to drink, dance to, and watch the moon…Menschenleere (Deserted)

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/menschenleere

https://www.facebook.com/VlimmerMusic?mibextid=ZbWKwL

https://www.facebook.com/Blackjack.Illuminist/?mibextid=ZbWKwL

People that know me well, will tell you….I don’t much like Christmas tunes. Might be a leftover from being made to listen to the Chipmunks (I blame my brother for that one) and that I only really endure the classical ones. UK bunch, In Isolation told me about their cover of a Greg Lake festive classic called “I Believe In Father Christmas” just in time for the crinkly season. I am guessing Greg Lake was a member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer but this song is completely new for me. After research, the single was originally released in 1975, highest chartings at Number 2 in the UK, 17 in Ireland and 98 in Australia.

Photo by Simon Parfrement

I hear the sleigh bells ringing and I wonder what I’m getting myself into…. actually the guitar work is really beautiful and of course the vocals aren’t cheesy. As bright as the music is, there is something of a sad quality to the lyrics. There is also the Matt Pop mix you can check out, which is an electronic version, that is sure to warm the cockles or you folk that like their synth music.

Trust these guys to pick a song that they could rock out to a bit but also has a much darker meaning. Even with the bells and explosive orchestration, the lyrics actually talk about that loss of childhood belief. Okay I’m not reviled by this track, and in fact could listen to it a few more times as it isn’t the normal Christmas fare. Still not sure if “I Believe In Father Christmas” but I believe In Isolation.

I Believe In Father Christmas | In Isolation (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/inisolationofficial?mibextid=ZbWKwL

December is the time to catch Lunar Paths new single, “Shine“. The transatlantic darkwave duo are back after the launch of the EP, Fuse.

There is a crunchy, broken glass like texture in the rhythm at times from the electronics. The vocals are beautifully clean and clipped, holding your attention, until they drift into another dimension, sliding you with them.

Currently, I cannot put my finger on what exactly but this track reminds me a lot of Siouxsie And The Banshees, around the time of A Kiss In The Dreamhouse (1982). Lush, charismatic and experimental might be some of the reason why. The way they have distorted the rhythm, giving it a modern industrial feel, mixed with the gorgeous singing. “Shine” is possibly my favourite Lunar Paths’ track to date yet.

http://www.lunarpaths.com

https://m.facebook.com/LunarPathsMusic/

It is always a blow to fans when a band calls it a day. Germans, X-Vivo have decided to announce that due to a myriad of reasons, this creative outlet has run its course. But they have agreed that they go out with a bang, rather than a whimper, so to that end, they have released their final single, the very aptly named “Nothing Left To Say“.

This last track has a quality about it that reminds me of Linkin Park, not only musically but lyrically. The ebb and flow of the song, the losing pieces of one’s self, so as not to deal with the subsequent pain.

Before they go, you can see off X-Vivo by going to their Bandcamp page, because this track is name your price. And if unfamiliar with their industrial rock music, this gives you a chance to check out what you were missing.

https://x-vivo.bandcamp.com/track/nothing-left-to-say

https://www.facebook.com/xvivo?mibextid=ZbWKwL

Ludovic Dhenry is back with his darkwave project, Eleventh Fear and a new EP. Out on Neris Records, the EP is called Waldhexen, and released on the 29th of November.

From the outset of “Waldhexen“, the build up alludes to a electronic trip of beat filled ebony darkness. The hissed whispers are the promise of portent. The flickering and stalking atmosphere of “Wald der Seelen“, has those beautiful synth chords that choke the air around you like a smoke imbued room. Tod basically means death and maybe death is awaiting you in the track, “Wie im Tod“, as it slowly creeps through and it is followed by “Waldhexen“, the remix version with its far more dance floor stylings, which sounds amazing.

As far as gothic electronic projects go, Eleventh Fear is really interesting, with the use of German lyrics by the French Dhenry, that gives the ambiance of a movie like Metropolis mixed with dulcet tones of Voldemort concocting a dangerous spell. You might need some Waldhexen in your life.

Waldhexen – EP | Eleventh Fear (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/EleventhFear?mibextid=ZbWKwL

Parisian, ManuH’s darkwave project, Distance H, has released the next single, “Reason To Rush“. In line with their previous singles, which feature a female singer, this time they have Cuban born and French based Liset Alea, gracing their track.

Alea’s dulcet tones are warm and inviting, like a lover’s breath, skipping over bare skin, drawing you into promise of more. The electronics are running there, besides the vocals, with the electric guitar breaking through, respectfully and even hauntingly in the background.

This is definitely music to zone out with, escaping the humdrum of regular life. Alea’s voice and lyrics are both soothing and inviting, coupled with ManuH’s music, it all becomes sensuous and a “Reason To Rush“.

https://distanceh.bandcamp.com/track/reason-to-rush-feat-liset-alea

https://www.facebook.com/DistanceH?mibextid=ZbWKwL

What happens if you get two blokes, Gary Watts and Jay Taylor, to create music? The answer is Nature Of Wires vs j:dead and the new single “Thrive“, which came out on the 8th of December.

From the outset, there is the thumping rhythm and energetic synths, which points to a floor filler, and although there are lulls, this is just gathering you up for the roller-coaster ride. The j:dead vocals are spot on. Imploring, pleading and plumbing the emotional depths of the drudgery that is everyday living. Things such as job and general existence are weighing down on your shoulders, sucking the joy out of everything.

The music is very much Watts and you can hear it in the way the synths are crafted into this sophisticated industrial whirlwind, that supports and cradles the vocals. There is also the added extra bonus of being able to hear the Nature Of Wires remix of “Afraid“, which was originally only released on the physical copy of the EP, Vision Of Time.

https://natureofwires.bandcamp.com/album/thrive

https://jdeadband.bandcamp.com/album/thrive-nature-of-wires-vs-j-dead

https://www.facebook.com/natureofwires?mibextid=ZbWKwL

https://www.facebook.com/jdeadband?mibextid=ZbWKwL

Night Device” is not the name of the single from Mexico’s Edge Of Decipher, but rather the encompassing ideal for the two tracks. Released on the 4th of December, on the Machina Ad Noctem label, both “Against The Night” and “Loaded Trembling Device” are not new, though now having a remix overhaul, each are ready to breathe anew.

Against The Night” has the Hollow Mix and I wonder if this name comes from the rhythms that sounds like plucked rubber bands and struck empty bottles. The darkness of the night could never dim, nor contain this joyful myriad of exuberant noise, only enhancing the brightness against the inky blackness.

MACHINA AD NOCTEM

In contrast, The Late Version of “Loaded Trembling Device” is not about beauty, instead, very much has a purpose. A seriousness crept in. Do machines fear and would the thinking be the whirring processors computating every variable? The music running up and down over and over again, with sudden breaks of clarity before the race to freedom is recalculated.

Edge Of Decipher has this wonderful knack of combining electronic instrumental music and imagination, in such a way, that it tells you stories without the need for words. He creates worlds of men, machines and starlight, which is a gift. “Night Device” is for name your price on Bandcamp.

https://edgeofdecipher.bandcamp.com/album/night-device

https://twitter.com/edgeofdecipher?t=SIzJ_95pl7ETt2Pl7on58w&s=09

LMX has released his third album, Habits & Addictions, on the Meshwork Music label, as of October the 28th. Keep in mind that this German electro-pop musician isn’t even twenty yet…….

There is occasionally, a harder edge to this music than you think. “Addiction” has elements of industrial experimentation, while the circling fragile sadness of “Not Made For This” is in the morose synths even with the constant paced rhythm.

There are beautiful synth lines in the spiralling “More Time” with almost an 80s feel to it, then you have a kind of ambient euro dance thing going on with “That Summer“. The heart rending “Stay” is yet another facet of the performer and writer, with such a simple track that bares his soul. In all, there are ten tracks, all flourishing these incredible electronics and lyrics.

I know that it is the current rage to use those vocal modulation thingies to give the singing that echoing tone but I’m not a great fan of it, especially when you can hear the fact they can sing. I really wanted to hear LMX without it, however I’m sure maybe it’s just one of my foibles and I am fairly certain there is a multitude out there that absolutely love it. Other than that little quibble, it’s a really excellent dark pop album and some tracks did become embedded into the old brain box, refusing to leave.

LMX is going to have a long future in the music scene, if this is to go by and he does have a great pedigree, being the son of X Marks The Pedwalk’s ESTEFANÍA and SEVREN NI-ARB, who also helped produce this album. Habits & Addictions is emotion filled, raw and yet, in the end, looking for the light, LMX might become your addiction.

https://lmxmusic.bandcamp.com/album/habits-addictions

https://www.facebook.com/meshwork.music?mibextid=ZbWKwL