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, EmpathyTest 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).
So, Brutal Resonance have threatened us with a good time by releasing, on the 27th of May, the new EP, OutOf Time by Her Noise Is Violence. With cool artwork by Psyklon Industries, this is the first EP to be dropped on the Brutal Resonance label for Her Noise Is Violence.
“For this EP, I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone and work with sounds I seldom do as Her Noise Is Violence. I borrowed a lot of ideas that I normally use with my other project, Funeral Pyre – but I also allowed myself to just be immersed into the theme as a whole. Nuclear war, the end of civilization, living in the Kali Yuga, etc. I wanted to go more for feeling vs dance-ability and DJ friendliness. I guess this is a hybrid album of both my style as Her Noise Is Violence as well as being a part of Funeral Pyre.” – Her Noise Is Violence
Think big, bringing in the “Nuclear Age“. A wall of deep electronic sound and twinkling synths that resonates in your chest, while we wait for midnight. So 60s sci-fi at the end. “Pale Horse” could be the foretold one of the apocalypse and this grinds into your brain with wavering electronics and rhythms trying to punch through. It is glorious in it technical coldness. There is a certain amount of frustration with the title track, “Out Of Time“, because….well…it’s a beat out of timing. Good grief, just being slightly out of step does weird things to my brain. Add in all these rather pleasing popping and scratched tones which makes it both fun and torturous all in the same piece of music.
Amazing heavy beats assault your ears, in an Asian style emoting Bladerunner track called “Stolen Dreams“. It circles and becomes almost an sickly sweet instrumentation, while the context of war wends words around it all. The last track is also the single, “Apathy“, which was released prior to the EP. It is apt to end with this track, as it spirals downwards, rivulets of time lost to the aether..
There are beautiful synth lines woven throughout each track and as such, are like glass catching the light, while the darker industrial thunder sweeps you up in it’s grip, squeezing the rhythms into your core. Her Noise Is Violence has a techno savvy, that she mixes with synthpop nuances and harsh industrial noise…. it is a wonderful thing and if you don’t listen, then you are going to be Out Of Time.
From the dark depths of merry old London town, there is a project by the name of VHS¥DEATH. What is this all about you might ask and I shall reply Natalie Wardle is VHS¥DEATH and along with Cruel NatureRecords are releasing the EP, Corrupted Geisha on limited tape format as of March 11th, 2022.
So we start off with “Space Bankers See You, The End Is Near” and the title alone is intriguing enough. Hip hop beats with broken pieces of conversation, singing and maybe a little Southern soul, that is until a man is telling how things are in the real world to a sweet stream of relaxation music. “Falsehood Of Man (Dystopian Mix)” is a whirlwind of soliloquy angst and breakbeats before “666 Pounds of Zero Gravity” with its electronic vocalizations. The connections between the demonic, the angelic and creation.
The dour organ plays sickly to Wardle’s distorted utterances for “Snakes In The Grass“. Like a possession gone wrong, this is part disturbing and part cute with the drum and bass tapping along nicely, Guitar distortion and multi layering are almost to the point of overwhelming in “What Is Your Worth,Vampire?“. Underneath all is this lovely guitar jangle and vocals that eventually comes to the fore.
If you are into industrial music and you don’t know the original “Everyday Is Halloween” then you should go sit in the corner and contemplate what you are doing with your life. The Ministry track is given a synth makeover, making it even more electronic, if that is possible. Wardle definitely can sing and does a sterling job in this sensuous ode to being a weirdo in a weird world.
This is experimental industrial music and it is not going to be everyone’s taste. The best way I can describe VHS¥DEATH is chaos with a zen centre. A sponge taking in all around them and then trying to make sense of so much information in order to find balance. The fusion of hip hop, drum & bass with synths and a smattering of guitar can be challenging and yet also pleasing to the ear. Well worth the listen and maybe your curiosity to listen to the Ministry cover might pull you in.
Hybrid Blak Records is an up and coming label run by Keith Kamholz who is Mechanical Vein and also a member of Biomechanimal. He has gathered together, from across the globe, tracks from artists in the electronic and industrial scene to create Blaktracks II, which is indeed a second compilation they have released. BlaktracksII came out on October the 29th, 2021 and the mastering was shared by Zardonic, Keith Kamholz and a few of the bands doing their own.
Kicking off is MORIS BLAK x KALCYFR with “A Touch Of Malice“. I don’t expect any less from MORISBLAK than something that will blow us away and we are not disappointed. Metal vocals over huge drum beats, massive guitar riffs and those bass drops that you feel in the pit of your stomach. “King Of Cups” is the offering from Biomechanimal and it is a short but lethal punch to the throat with their mix of perverted metal dubstep.
Sinister Souls x Mechanical Vein’s “No LightCity” is a mix of hip hop and drum & bass with a healthy dose of cyber punk attitude. It reminds me just a little of “Freestyler” by Bomfunk MCs, except with teeth. Duo, SO CALLED, are DJs/producers and they are behind the glitch electronica of “Hypno“, who are trying to influence your mind through their catchy rhythms.
Don’t let the beginning of Sentinel Complex’s “Last Judgement” fool you. The sedate flow does not last and launches into an amazing, crazed Bach like musical opus but with synths. For a second bout, we hear from MechanicalVein, this time joined by Saltee. “All Gods” has a great exuberance in tandem with the fierce and outraged lyrics. If you are looking for something immense with huge beats and a bass drops that just throw you down, then look no further than TriS and their “Warcall“.
Static Starlight’s track “Linkin Bizkits” gives us electronic screams within the depths of frizzing synths, as it pummels your senses with the dance beat. Let the insanity ensue with “KIRA“. I believe Kofin may have been inspired by the Japanese anime Akira, from the Japanese vocal clips to the emulation of the the epic soundtrack. It is definitely amazing and you can’t help but bounce around to it.
Prophectical with “Aletheia” go from breaking beats to electronically created soundscapes and there is a lot of finesse in the buildups and near classical lulls. They are coming to get you, for this is “DEHUMANIZE” by Truly Significant. You can feel them in the song stalking and the panic between the driving guitar and rhythm, only to lull you into oblivion at the end. Sadly we are at the last track, “King Of Nothing” by ER4SE. This is probably the most calm of all the tracks with it’s use of auto tuned vocals and more laid back style. After having being bombarded with all that heavy bass, ER4SE is the cool compress.
Hybrid Blak’sBlaktracks II is a very slick production with a lot of very talented popular acts and no so known but equally skilled musicians whom are on the rise. It is nice to see the industrial/electronic scene supporting each other this way. The music is red hot, cutting edge and will probably blow your mind…. in the best possible way.