Covid decimated the music festival scene, around the world for 2020, 2021 and a good chunk of 2022. Things are coming back to normal and in fact, you can add a new festival to endeavour to attend. Dark Force Fest will kick off in 2023, over three days, March 31st to April 2nd, in New Jersey, USA.

The event is being run by VampireFreaks, at the Sheraton Hotel, in Parsippany and this is not the first time the venue has been used by the VF crew. The hotel was built like a castle, including crenulations (just in case you find yourself in a siege situation with all those goths).

There will be over 100 vendors, to buy things that make your little dark heart happy, clubs, costume competitions and sideshow performances. However, the most important thing is the music… there will be 30 plus bands/artists ranging from darkwave through to industrial. A chance to see pioneers such as Das Ich and Suicide Commando, big hitters Combichrist, Solar Fake, HEALTH, Empathy Test and ACTORS plus brilliant acts like MORIS BLAK, Third Realm, Bootsblack and Rabbit Junk.

That is a whole lot of music and an amazing line up, so you are spoilt for choice. As the inaugural show, you want to be able to say you were there for the first ever…. unlike myself, stuck in another country, half way around the world, who will have to live vicariously through others, and the buckets of fun they are having. (Insert gothic weeping).

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https://m.facebook.com/darkforcefest/

https://vampirefreaks.com/

Mmmm, okay. A new single from a project called omyügen which is titled “come with me” (yes this is all in lower case). Where does he come from and where is he going? Yeah, I have no idea because he is not on Facebook nor Bandcamp and don’t feel like playing stalky stalker currently but I will tell you that his music is of the post-punk and darkwave persuasion, with production by slxxshy.

The vocals are pretty trippy, like tape that is being eaten by a tape-recorder making it both interesting and creepy. A mantra to how the world in general is screwed up and that omyügen will show you the light. There is a constant hypnotic tune on guitar, playing in the background, lulling your senses into a false sense of security while the vocals invade your brain. The synths are there as well, adding to the wonderfully happy lunatic asylum feel that everything is burning….and that is completely okay.

https://www.instagram.com/omyugen

https://www.instagram.com/slxxshy1

Berlin based, Paradox Obscur, are soon to drop a new album, MORPHOGENESIS, on May, 6th but the first single has been lifted, called “Animal Reactor“, out on Metropolis Records. A video directed by Sheng-Yang Su in what looks to be in one take, has been unleashed, which to my mind is very much in Paradox Obscur’s style.

From the very beginning this grabs your attention and you feel it in the pit of your chest. There is a brilliant array of electronic sounds that assault your senses and make you want to move your body. Fingers of synths drag across your senses in a scintillating fashion.

The duo from Paradox Obscur, Toxic Razor and Kriistal Ann, pride themselves on playing everything in real-time, which means no sequencers and the like. A cross of synth pop and dark electronic music which culminates in an absolutely delightfully danceable track . Bring on the album!

Morphogenesis | Paradox Obscur (bandcamp.com)

Paradox Obscur | Facebook

Greek duo, Mechanimal, are celebrating 10 years together and releasing albums. So it is fitting to release a best of collection. This best of however is made up of songs that were picked by other artists and then they have remixed them. The compilation is called Living With Animal Ghosts and was released on Inner Ear Records on January the 14th, 2022.

If you are a fan of Mechanimal already, you will enjoy this look back and re-interpretation of past works. There is also pretty much a style to suit everyone. The Dans Mon Salon remix of “In Somber Account“, with it’s trap influenced industrial or the minimalist vision Psychedelic Trips To Death have given “Un/Mobility“. There is the 80s sounding “Shadows On The Wall” by Jared Kyle, while the Lia Hide version of “The Den” is a classical, stripped down affair. And that is only four songs into this 17/18 track album.

Special mention of the Rodney Orpheus (Cassandra Complex) club mix of “Red Mirror“. The song is molded into a far more post-punk direction, adding extra guitar and maybe even giving it an extra air of being subversive and dirty.

It is a melting pot of musical styles with Mechanimal as the flavouring ingredient and their friends have lovingly reworked songs to show their admiration for the talent that has gone into each. A wonderful way to celebrate a band, their work and hopefully another ten years!

https://innerear-mechanimal.bandcamp.com/

Mech_nimal | Facebook

Inner Ear Records | Facebook

Vlimmer, German post-punk/electronic project for Alexander Leonard Donat, has released a split single comprised of “Erdgerurch” and “Space Dementia” in January, on Blackjack Illuminist Records, which is also run by Donat.

Erdgerurch” is a wonderful post-punk piece that has a retro feel with the sublime synths and deep vocals, matched with the drum machine that is spine tingling. Every so often you hear a fuzz of electronic noise creeping at the edges and this feels so warm and familiar that it is instantly likeable. The beginning to “Space Dementia” is surreal and continues in that vein with the vocals. It is a bit like being on the deck of the Star Trek Enterprise, if they were a bit dark and flying to their doom. An impression of infinite space to be lost in forever as it wavers between soft orbits and growling flight. Originally written by Matt Bellamy and performed by Muse, Donat sings in his native German and it loses none of it’s impact, sung with such passion.

I really enjoy it when Donat sings and especially without electronics distorting his vocals and this is no exception. From the beginning, you are immersed straight into “Erdgerurch” and there is no escape from this beautifully crafted song as it captures your soul in sway while there is a crystalline quality to the cover, “Space Dementia“, a reflection in the obsidian black of the expansive universe.

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/erdgeruch-space-dementia

Vlimmer | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/Blackjack.Illuminist/