Danish electronic artist, John R. Mirland, is back with a new album, Motor Romantik, under the guise of his solo dark/synthwave moniker, M73. Mirland is also known for his other musical labours such as Mirland, Am Tierpark, Mirland & Larsen and I could go on about his forays into rhythmic power noise, synthpop, Eurodance, techno and even black metal. September the 1st, saw the release come out on the Læbal music label.

The super cool “Take It All” with electronic vocals, graces out ears. The synths are lovely as the techno leeches through the synthpop cracks. Mirland’s melancholic vocals are at odds with the bright and glittering keyboard lines in “Wrong” and this leads into the stellar “Obsessed“, with its piano intro that breaks into a Eurodance style hybrid, which is a lot of fun. The sliding electronics in “Vampire” entrance your senses, a story of a vampiric type that lives off the fear and sadness of others. “Inside You” gives a glimpse of Mirland’s deft talent with industrial noise, crafting it to fit into a darkwave form, with fuzzed tones and glitched rhythms. Also pretty creepy and maybe about a parasite with lyrics like I’m inside you Wearing the perfect disguise.

The title track “Motor Romantik” is just a fantastic techno influenced track, which means the beats are free flowing and the vocals are low, luring you into the futuristic world where everything has been engineered, including humans. I wonder if “Empty“, is about mental health, burning bridges and spurning those who love, unreasonably destroying everything. The vocals reflect the emotional hollowness of a life that has no purpose. “Empty” was originally released in 2021 as a single.

There is something spine chilling in the icy synths of “Crucify“, as they run up and down your spine and a very oppressive tone of electronics that almost sound like christian chant in the background. The cyber world is wonderfully encapsulated in the music of “Perfect“. A cyber stalker or antisocial miscreant, living their fantasy world through a screen. “No Light In Sight” is another track previously released as a single. A drug induced stupor, though deep inside, the electrical synapses crackle still, slowly dwindling away.

There is always the beautiful synth graduations that Mirland conjurs up, running through each track, like silken fingers that shimmer across your skin, while the lyrics are about degeneration, dark lusts, eroticism, lost dreams and a future designed by others. I love that he combines his different music styles subtly to create something that is evocative and utterly enjoyable, either on a dance floor or driving on a dark night, down atmospheric roads. Yes, Motor Romantik is a treat for the ears with M73.

Motor Romantik | M73 (bandcamp.com)

M73 | Facebook

Laebel | Facebook

You would have to say that those individuals that create harsh industrial power and rhythmic noise, are a pretty unique bunch, as they form strong and danceable music tracks. STAHLSHLAG is Sebastian Sünkler and he is also one of these amazingly talented humans. With the release of his latest album, A Zone Of Silence, we thought ‘hey, we have a few questions’ and we know the super lovely Sebastian was up for the challenge of answering those very questions. I have to say that Sebastian might have the coolest wife on the planet…..and if you want to find out why, then you better get reading!

Welcome dear Sebastian, to Onyx where all hopes and dreams can be built and perish.

STAHLSCHLAG has been around since the mid 2000s. What was Sebastian up to musically before your current project?

I started to produce music some years before STAHLSCHLAG. My first steps were kind of dark electro tunes in a project called Vicious Circle with German vocals. It was the time when I discovered so called trackers as software to make sample based music. A friend of my older brother showed Fast Tracker 2 for MS DOS to us and I was totally hooked and fascinated since using trackers is kind of nerdy programming music rather than produce in a more conventional way. I wrote two albums and also released them by myself but well it was more something I shared with friends. It was also a little different then because it wasn’t so easy to do self promotion on the web like we can do now. Also producing was more complicated in a way. I didn’t have money for good gear so I relied mostly on samples I ripped from tunes in tracker file format I downloaded on modarchive.org or I used free samples from download sites. Anyways this is how I started 22 years ago. I still work with trackers but they are modern now supporting everything I need. I just love the workflow to produce from top down in patterns putting the notes step by step and manipulate samples.

I always am curious about the scene in different countries. Where you are in Germany, what was the dark/industrial scene like when you first started out and what is it like now?

I loved my first years in the scene. I have been into it since I was 18. We had great Gothic and Industrial parties in Hamburg and awesome concerts and festivals, more than we have now. It was totally exciting. I also loved that we had many printed magazines to inform us about new music and I really loved to discover new stuff just by checking out CDs in a store. To me it was always mostly about the music and it is still like that. I think the scene here is still great. Many efforts to keep it alive even if it gets harder. COVID had a big influence on it. Small places and events closed their doors. But I believe the scene will always survive. We still have parties everywhere and the biggest European dark festivals in Germany. What I also love is the diversity in the scene in the past and now. Sure also the dark scene has its problems with weird people and idiots (like everywhere when people are involved), I still think in the end it is an open and peaceful group of people and we can be happy in Germany to have many ways to live it out.

What prompted you to start STAHLSCHLAG?

Well, the short answer is, my wife did. She asked me in 2006 to try producing music like Xotox or KiEw because she was totally into rhythmic noise and industrial. I can just say I wasn’t so much. I was more into dark electro and future pop. But well I gave it a try and STAHLSCHLAG was born. She also had the idea for the name. We produced an EP and two albums together. Fortunately Jay from the band reADJUST found our music on MySpace and recommend to a small label in Florida. It was the first home for our music and even if it didn’t work out well, the record label helped us to get noticed. I can also say that MySpace was the best platform to promote our music. I miss it. 😉 

What is it about harsh power/rhythmic noise that you love and drew you into creating it?

I think noise is such a great creative tool. You can do so much with it and to me personally it has something very meditative. I can relax so well listening to harsh noise. For the rhythmic noise, I think it is just so powerful and is the perfect companion to any beat. I love how it just flows and even in my calmer tracks, I always need noise at least as textures. Noise is just wonderful.

This year has seen you release your latest album, “A Zone Of Silence”, 2 years after the release of “ALIVE!”. So we are just wondering….why do all the albums start with A?

The first albums I produced with my wife started with A. I found it interesting just to continue like that, always looking for the right word with A to describe the feeling and topic of an album. It is a nice little challenge. 

“ALIVE!” was a stunning example of rhythmic noise. How hard or easy was it to write “A Zone Of Silence”?

It is actually always the same. I never have a real idea or plan when I start to work on new music. Everything can inspire me. Something I read, watched or listened to. Sometimes I just play around with sounds or produce something as a meditation. Making music is my escape from the world. It helps me a lot, kind of like therapy too. What really helps me too is that I never think about what’s trendy or what I should do next as a release. Of course I think you can always notice my sound but I don’t work by rules or genres. I do what I feel like and what I love. It was actually easy to write A Zone Of  Silence because first I just planned it as EP with less tunes, all slower and darker but then I thought fuck it, I will mix styles on a new album as usual. I know that I tend to be diverse on every album but this is what I love. No rules, just doing what I am in the mood for. 

There were hints in “ALIVE!” that your style was slowly changing to incorporate other sounds. Can you tell about these changes and how it affected the newest album?

One important thing to me is trying something new all the time. I love to challenge myself and since it feels like everything is possible now also in a technical view  (so many tools, so many instruments, so much computer power), I don’t limit myself. In ALIVE! I wanted to combine cheesy synth melodies with noise just because I thought why not. I had the idea it would work well together. I did it already in the past but focused more on it on the album. A Zone Of Silence was a new challenge. I noticed that I love cinematic and tribal sounds more and more, so I decided to try to mix some of it to my typical STAHLSCHLAG sounds. In the end I will always do something like that because I never want to sound the same. It would just bore me.

This album sees guest vocalists, combining their vocal talents and lyrical skill with your music. Can you tell us about each of these artists and how they came to be on the album?

One of my other ideas to challenge myself was to work with vocals in my music and because I suck at writing lyrics I was looking for guest vocalists. I got such a big feedback on a post on Facebook and I really would love to work with all people who want to collaborate but well I would have to write many more tunes then. 

The artists on the album are all amazing people, I knew before already. I met them all on social media and we worked together with remixes. I sent all demos for the album to them and they could pick a track.

Aly-x from Sublimenal Stimuli is such a great vocalist and she writes such great lyrics. She actually did two vocal collaborations for the album and I will release the second one on the remix release later this year. On this album you can hear her in Lost Dreams. She also did vocals for another unreleased song. So you will hear more of her in STAHLSCHLAG tracks in the future. Working with her is a dream. I just send her instrumental tracks and she gets inspired, writing lyrics and sending vocals back in a few days.

Chris from Morbid Echo did the lyrics and vocals for Crushed March. Morbid Echo is a great dark electro project from Hamburg, so he is kind of my neighbor. Working with him was so great too. He got the emotions and my idea from Crushed March immediately. He wrote the lyrics and sent me the recorded vocals in 2 days. Really so amazing and I am sure to work more with him in the future too.

Rick from Mikrometrik wrote the lyrics and did the vocals for Dawn of Man. Mikrometrik is a great dutch dark electro project. I have been a fan of it from the beginning. It was the same experience with Rick like I had with the other guest vocalists. Rick totally got the idea and mood of the track which I wanted to use as an opener anyways. I changed the track a little after Rick sent me the first version of his vocals. In the end we both made it just better. I think it is really the best tune I could imagine for the album. 

The fourth collaboration is with Lena from Ultra.  This collaboration is even more special. It is not just her perfect German vocals but also the music video which wouldn’t exist without her. Working with her was just awesome. Without her Doomed wouldn’t have this deepness. And I am very grateful for the video. She shot it and produced it. I was just there for three hours, doing what she told me. I am so proud and it was the right choice to release it as a single for the album.

What have these collaborations meant for you as far as your growth as a musician?

They mean a lot to me because they can give my music a final touch I couldn’t imagine before. Also the experience to work with other artists is always fruitful and some of the most important aspects to me in my life as an artist. I look forward to doing more of them. It also means that I have to think different about arranging my music which I already did on A Zone Of Silence. I wrote some of the tracks in a way to leave space for possible vocals. 

There are themes throughout the album, Sebastian, which seem to be related to makind and their seemingly headlong plummet into trying to destroy themselves and everything around them, either through environmental destruction or war. What does it mean for you?

I am a pessimist or maybe a realist. We all know that our planet is in danger but we don’t care. We know that war is going on all the time but we don’t care. I can understand why it is like that. Not because we are all just evil or stupid but I still admit that it is frustrating to me. I think a lot about it, read a lot of philosophy to understand the world and people better but it is just surreal. What I believe is that we all could be more open and kind to each other to make the dawn of man a little better. I don’t believe it will get better in the future but maybe we can at least try not to be too selfish and destructive. The current situation is also one of the main reasons why I don’t have children. 

Even with the industrial power noise, “A Zone Of Silence” holds elements that are ancient feeling, voices, chants and dark magical places of our ancestors. Am I correct in this theory and if so, why did you incorporate this into the music?

Yes, you’re right about that. I was always into mysticism and shamanism. I discovered it while I read a lot of philosophy books. I am agnostic and believe there is more out there. For the album I was discovering great instruments while looking for cinematic sounds. I found these ancestor sounds in some instruments and felt they would be the perfect addition to the sound I was looking for. To me they match great with the whole mood of the album. They give it some more darkness.

I love the vocal tracks but admit there are many of the instrumental ones that I am extremely fond of as well.  I found “Signs” and “Spem liberationis” really sparked my interested. Do you have any favourite tracks off the album?

It is always not easy to answer this question. I can’t say I have favorites but Signs was actually the first track I wrote which had some of the mystical and tribal sounds. It was more of an experiment. So I think without it, the album wouldn’t be like it is. I really like all the tracks, I never put tracks on an album when I don’t enjoy them so much. I always have to feel them or I wouldn’t release them. I have over 300 unfinished tracks which I could finish and release but won’t feel. 

You did a Twitch session for the release of the album. How much fun was this?

It was so much fun also because there were such great people there, celebrating with me. I am always so grateful, if other people enjoy my music too. I also had technical issues and maybe talked too much but I still got great feedback. It felt so good to do it. 

What pieces of equipment do you rely on the most when recording?

I actually don’t record much, just notes from a midi keyboard for melodies. Most of my work is inside the box which means I do it all in my digital audio workstation (DAW), the tracker Renoise. I load samples into it like drum sounds or load virtual synthesizers and instruments and then do a lot of sound design like my distortions. 

You put the album on Bandcamp for name your price and all money made from sales is going to the charity, Equiwent. Please tell us about Equiwent and why you chose them?

Equiwent is a small international aid organization for animals and humans. They work primarily in Eastern Europe to care about working horses and emergency care for all horses. They also care about the street dogs in Romania and run a free veterinary clinic there. Their project Equiwent helps people is a program to support children, poor people and people with disabilities in Romania. Romania is a very poor country in Europe. They also care about refugees from the Ukraine. 

I support them because it is a small transparent organization. I believe in what they do and can follow their hard work on social media. 

You do a lot of remixes for other acts. This must be something you enjoy doing and is it a great way to network with other musicians?

I always love doing that. Destroying the great music by others is so much fun. Seriously, it is really always a great experience. I enjoy most remixing  tracks of other genres. It is always a challenge. And yes, it is an awesome way to network. I found great people just because of it. 

I have to ask about your other project, In Tenebris. Although electronic, this is so different to STAHLSCLAG, far more ambient. Can you tell us why you felt the need to create In Tenebris, will there be another album and if so, because “Abyss” was the debut, will the next album also start with A?

In Tenebris was born because someone asked me to do a soundtrack for a lost places video. Well, he didn’t enjoy what I did for the video but I loved what I created. Slow dark atmospheric music, so I decided to write more of it. The track Thanatophobia on the new STAHLSCHLAG album is actually a track I wrote for In Tenebris but I thought it fits great there too. Producing such music is even more meditative to me so yes I will produce more  and for sure release a new album too. I am also sure I can’t resist looking for a way to start the album name with A.

Sebastian, you are now an independent artist without a label. Does this make things easier or harder for you?

It is totally fine to me to be an independent artist right now. I want to stay like that for a while but you never know. It doesn’t change so much since Crunch Pod gave me all artistic freedom too. I always did a lot of the promotion by myself and in terms of success. I can already say that A Zone Of Silence is my most successful album so far. I got great reviews, videos for it and also sold it at most. I am so grateful and happy that I can reach other people with my music and that I have fans for many years already.

I believe XoToX are a big influence musically and you can hear that in your music, so what bands and musicians got you into the electronic scene?

My first experiences with electronic music are great artists from the 80s. I always loved synth pop but my first experiences with darker electronic music were bands like Funker Vogt, Suicide Commando, Apoptygma Berzerk at the end of the 90s. I felt totally in love with that kind of music and it didn’t change.

Who influences you now?

I think now I get influenced by every artist I work with. I am lucky because I get to know so much music which isn’t so well known just because I collaborate and remix. This is my biggest influence now because I have to deal with the music in a different way when I have to remix it. So it is a long list because I have done at least 60 remixes so far. 

If you could choose a favourite band or song to remix, who or what would it be?

I remixed Xotox which is so amazing already. I think if I could choose I would enjoy to remix something more calm and destroying it. Something by VNV Nation or Solar Fake would be nice. Or maybe something from a total different genre. Doing a STAHLSCHLAG remix of a black metal song could be awesome. 

What is next for STAHLSCHLAG and Sebastian?

I have several plans for STAHLSCHLAG. First of all one or maybe more remix releases with remixes of tracks from A Zone Of Silence. I asked for remixers on Instagram and Facebook and got a lot of feedback. If all artists really do it, I will get over 30 remixes. I also plan to release a new EP or album on my birthday on January 31 next year. I know it is pretty early but I have some more tracks ready and vocal collaborations too. 

Plans for Sebastian are more about his PhD work. I really need to do less for STAHLSCHLAG to get more time. So I plan to do a break of new releases and remixes after my birthday. But I will still perform at online events and on stage and new music by STAHLSCHLAG will always come. 

Thank you for being one of the super wonderful people in the industrial scene and doing this interview!

Music | STAHLSCHLAG (bandcamp.com)

STAHLSCHLAG | Facebook

Music | mikrometrik (bandcamp.com)

Music | Ultra (bandcamp.com)

Music | Morbid Echo (bandcamp.com)

Music | Sublimenal Stimuli (bandcamp.com)

If not familiar with the industrial project 40 Octaves Below, then let me introduce you a resident of Vancouver, Drake Moore. The single “Splintered” came out on August 19th, with an epic four remixes by some fairly hard hitters in the scene today, before the soon to be released album, MetaVerUs.

“The song itself is a casting that calls for the guilty to come to Justice.” – Drake Moore

Splintered” lumbers into being like a monster with frizzing electronics and Moore’s angry and distorted vocals railing against the general movement of popularising lies and untruths, seeking retribution. MATT HART is the first remixer and his version is cold cyber steel with casual disdain, while the Anthony (H) mix is pared-down, slinky and dirty sexy. The mix by Live Evil Productions is going into rhythmic noise territory, a ride that feels a little out of control and intense, leaving the last remix to Silence In The Machine which cleverly incorporates a far more synthpop edge to the track that spins and spins until you might become dizzy.

You feel the contempt in “Splintered” no matter the mix. Unbridled rage is palpable and the guest mixers have interpreted that in their own styles, which is always interesting to hear. The music video definitely conveys the horror theme to go along with the track… Halloween is just around the corner and remember that at 40 Octaves Below, no-one will hear you rumble.

Splintered (Single) | 40 Octaves Below (bandcamp.com)

40 Octaves Below (facebook.com)

Viral Records have released the new Dirt Factory single, on the 10th of September, ahead of the fourth album, due on October the 1st. “Troops Of Death” is the latest offering from the Aussie duo, Michael Gillman and Daniel Allen, with a bonus four remixes from both local and international talent.

The original mix has Daniel with far less distorted vocals and he sounds fantastic as the beats fall around him, stalking you to extinction. The synths graduate in tone causing a sense of creeping doom. The NOVAKILLBoots On The Ground remix is harsher, with Craig Saunders injecting a cleaner edge that cuts like a knife and a techno style rhythm. Rob Early of 11Grams has taken the track and turned it into a dance floor phenomena, and the synth absolutely fly around in a storm.

The beginning of the Cosmos Synthetics remix seem understated, until it goes into a glitching deconstruction, like a horror movie with no escape, with what sounds like electronic shaking breaths. Last is Roger Menso, whom is NyteShayde, with the Crazy Shady remix and this is the only track to incorporate a guitar into the mix, giving the track a more Korn/nu-metal styling, heavy and metallic.

The theme is apocalyptic, genetic engineering of soldiers, who feel nothing, stop for nothing and everything is the objective. The cyber future which makes for a pretty cool single. Michael and Daniel have created a darkly oppressive track with a catchy rhythm, to get your imagination fired up and the remixes are great additions to enjoy.

▶︎ Troops Of Death (Single) | Dirt Factory (bandcamp.com)

Dirt Factory | Facebook

HOME | Mysite (dirtfactory.wixsite.com)

Viral Records Australia | Facebook

PURE OBSESSIONS & RED NIGHTS have been in the French scene for well over 20 years, though previously under the guise of PORN, this original incarnation being a far more heavy industrial affair. Most recently, the band released the synthwave influenced album, Let Your Obsessions Run Wild, where every track is so good, they are all being set free upon the world as singles. The 7th of September will be dropping the latest single, “Don’t Let The Night Die In Vain“, with a lush video to go along with it. Of this four piece band, Philippe Deschemin is their lead singer and main writer, so honestly there is no better person to ask about the band, the foray into synthwave style and the new album.

Bonjour Philippe, bienvenue sur Onyx!

What is the darkwave scene like in France?

We have a small but active scene. France was never a country where this kind of music was very successful, but we always had some good bands!

Your project was originally called PORN, which was much more industrial. How did it all start?

I started the band a long time ago in the early 2000s. We were playing a kind of industrial rock, with some glam rock elements. The name of the band was PORN. I am a big fan of The Cure, so it was a reference to the album Pornography. At the time, I did not know how complicated it would become to be visible in the internet…

There was a three-album release about a strangler. What inspired you to write this?

In 2010 I was working on a Sci-Fi novel: Contoyen (a word I invented, made with CONsumer/ciTOYEN (means citizen in French). The main character feels like he is devoured from the inside by an Ogre. I wanted to go further with this “feeling”. Years after, I started to work on this triple album. The main character would be Mr. Strangler, a serial killer. During the first album of the trilogy, about his childhood, he experienced this feeling. And he became the Ogre, with an insatiable appetite. About the name, I practice a lot of combat sport: Boxing, French Boxing, Judo, MMA, Brazilian Jiujitsu. I had some choke specialties, worked them a lot (in MMA/BJJ), so the name Mr. Strangler came to me… I wanted to create a comic-like character. A dude that can be Batman’s enemy!

Since then, you have changed the band name to PURE OBSESSIONS & RED NIGHTS. What was the reasoning behind this change?

It was a nightmare. Our YouTube page was (and is still) ghosted, the Facebook publication restricted automatically, same on Instagram. And sending them tons of emails changed nothing. It’s was a big thing to do, and it was not that easy… At the beginning, I did not know what to do… Then I figured something out with the 4 letters. And the new name came! I was already thinking of a new trilogy or concept/story to work on. And The Night Trilogy came to me! And it suited perfectly with the new name: Pure Obsessions / Red Nights

Philippe, you have said that you are now pursuing a more 80s electronic/synth sound. What is it about the 80s that is drawing you to that style?

I grew up in the eighties. My first musical memories came from the mid-eighties. I remember listening to the radio, I discovered Depeche mode, The Cure, Tears for Fears… I did not know the names of the bands. I discovered their name later, when I saw the music videos… It was a “love at first hear”. I still love the era. Maybe it’s a kind of “Madeleine de Proust”.

You have a new album out “Let Your Obsessions Run Wild”. How long did it take you to write and record it?

It took me a year, I think… It was a very natural session. I did almost all by myself. I was very focused, so it was quick!

This new album is all about wooing the ladies, so is this a nice change from writing about stranglers?

I don’t know… but I hope it works!

Many songs have been released as singles. Was it something you were going to do from the start or did it just happen?

It just happened. It was also a way to prepare the audience, and not just drop an album without any guitars! Some of my followers are metalheads. But nowadays, even metalheads like synth music!

Did Covid affect the making of the album?

Not at all! But the gigs were cancelled… I hope we will be back on tour soon!

The new single is “Don’t Let the Night Die Vain” with the official video, out on the 7th of September. Can you tell us about this song and also about the creation of the video?

I think that this single, ‘Don’t Let the Night Die in Vain’, represents very well the essence of this new album. Half alive, half dead, Mr Strangler haunts the nights, and helps people in despair. He appears as a guide – teaching you how to live and how to fight, when you think that all hope is gone. In this music video, a young woman comes to Mr Strangler. She is looking for help, abused by her boyfriend. Mr Strangler gives her some advice, and a useful tool…

We’ve done a lot of music videos with Matteo and Chiara from VD Pictures. They work with great bands – Lord of the Lost, Powerwolf… and Matteo is also a musician. So, it’s kind of easier to work with them, ‘cause they understand the music. The shooting took place in an old paper factory in Switzerland. I wanted a place that looked big, wide, haunted… A place where Mr Strangler could be appearing, like a ghost…

Is Philippe a romantic at heart?

As Mr. Strangler! And Mr. Strangler is, and is not.

Who would you say are your influences for this new sound?

After the industrial rock / gothic metal of the ‘Mr Strangler Trilogy’ (triple album, 2020), and the alt-rock / goth / post-punk of ‘We are the Stranglings’ (2021); I wanted to dive deeper into my eighties influences for this 100% synth-driven album. I produced this new album using vintage synths and equipment: I wanted it to have that very warm, analogue sound, typical of the period. I tried to create something between my eighties influences and my industrial / goth-rock background – synthpop grooves and darkwave ambiances, but with an industrial rock energy. The influences: The Cure, Killing Joke, Tears For Fears, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode …

Would you say this is the music you grew up listening to originally?

I will not have the pretention to say that I do the same as The Cure, Depeche Mode… I am not that talented. I do my thing…

Which modern musicians influence you these days?

I like TR/ST, Boy Harsher, IAMX, Kat VON D, Blakq Audio, The Soft Moon, Empathy Test, Cold Cave… The actual darkwave scene is great

Do you think you’ll ever go back to that heavier industrial style?

Of course!

How did fans react to the new sound?

Our followers are very open-minded. Even with the Mr. Strangler Trilogy we were not a pure metal/rock band. We always had this darkwave / dark synth side. I was very surprised with the feedback, and it looks like this album, Let Your Obsessions Run Wild, continues to gain more listeners!

Are there any plans to play live soon?

We are working on it! I hope in 2023. I just finished a new album, so we will have more time for the gigs.

Thank you, Philippe, for joining us!

Thank you very much!

Music | Pure Obsessions & Red Nights (bandcamp.com)

Pure Obsessions & Red Nights | Facebook

My first introduction to KMFDM was through the trail blazing album ANGST in 1993, out on the Wax Trax! label, though this pioneering techno/industrial/EBM group have been around in one form or another since 1984. They are about to drop their latest album HYENA and the 24th of August saw the release of the first single of the same name.

The guitar work, though heavy, has a certain twang to it… you can almost hear the jingle of the spurs… but those guitars purr under the vocals of Konietzko, pulsating and driving home the savagery of the world. Always the rhythm building and lulling, yet always pounding on. The female vocals are a nice finish to the tribal ending

This could be where KMFDM meets Mad Max on the plains of the Wild West (pew pew) and African animals (and that was before I saw the new logo on Bandcamp). They are riding across the badlands, in a world where there is much turmoil and danger. Now one could say that this might not be a typical KMFDM track…..but then honestly you are kidding yourselves if you think that. The big guitars are there as well as Sascha Konietzko’s rasping vocals, the electronics and that high energy dance floor rhythm. KMFDM is doing it again, but with “HYENA“.

KMFDM (bandcamp.com)

KMFDM | Facebook

FabrikC is Thorsten Berger from Germany, and he has joined up with the UK’s Jay Taylor of j:dead, to create “High Time (Chinese Takeaway)“, which was released on August the 19th, on Stay Beat Productions. But hang on uno momento…… many moons ago, FrabrikC had an aggrotech track called “Chinese Food“. Coincidence? I think not, as this seems to a modernised and vocally weaponised version, hence the Chinese Takeaway byline.

Taylor is screaming and cajoling us magnificently, sweetly singing to you before slapping you vocally around the ears. The music definitely has a far more smoother feel to it, less static filled but still rhythmically hard hitting and punchy.

This is guaranteed to fill a dance floor with happy campers of the dark kind, just as the original did. It is a really nice mix of vocals versus electronics and Berger’s ability to re-invent this track, married to Taylor’s singing talent is a winner. So if you like Chinese food, then “High Time” to get some Chinese Takeaway.

High Time (Chinese Takeaway) | FabrikC (bandcamp.com)

Music | J:dead (bandcamp.com)

FabrikC | Facebook

J:dead | Facebook

STAY BEAT Productions | Facebook

The label, Brutal Resonance Records, had a bit of a coup, signing the cyber synth project, Slighter to their stable. Colin C. is Slighter and to celebrate this union, has brought forth the EP, Welcome To Riot City made up of five original tracks and five remixes.

Welcome To Riot City” is brooding and dark from the start. The hairs rise on the back of your neck with the movement of the sleek synths, which runs into the the robotic vocalised “Breaking In“. A sleaziness invades “Comadose“, foreign and exotic, waving in and out of reality. The tension builds as there is a “Firefight On Warett Street“, where you can almost hear evasive sirens in the music, as well as the cocking of a gun. Last track before the remixes is “High Tech, High Life” with its crunchy glitching married to the soundscape building synths that are taking you on the journey.

The remixes are made up of Eva X with her intriguing wubbing and chunky power noise influenced “Welcome To Riot City“, the HOSTILE ARCHITECT brings in stellar beats and bass drops to aid you “Breaking In“, royb0t is definitely not going to let you slip into a coma with what they do with “Comadose“. Planetdamage take on “Firefight On Warett Street” and the shells are falling as we go into hyperdrive mode while Kizunaut gets all prickly and dance inferno for “High Tech, High Life“. It is a really fun EP with Slighter showing his expertise in electronic music and getting five amazing musicians to give each track a thumping good makeover. Welcome To Riot City, and come and get some!

Welcome to Riot City | Slighter | Brutal Resonance Records (bandcamp.com)

Slighter | Facebook

Music | Brutal Resonance Records (bandcamp.com)

Music | Eva X (bandcamp.com)

Music | Abelisk (bandcamp.com)

royb0t (bandcamp.com)

Planetdamage (bandcamp.com)

Music | Kizunaut (bandcamp.com)

Mach FoX is the originator behind the industrial project, Zwaremachine, but currently, FoX is delving into another solo album, VideoLogico. to be released on Phage Tapes later on in 2022. In the meantime, the single “Low Tech” has been released, with three mixes, to give you a taste of what is to come.

Burbles, of what sounds like old school electronics, warbles away, like a glitching billboard in Bladerunner. At about the 2.45 mark, we get beats coming into play and there is the twang of a guitar that filters through this instrumental piece, that tops out at over 9 minutes. Long time collaborator, Planktoon mixes the first version with vocals from Maybeeh (Maybeeh & Punsch) and J-C (Vuduvox). This couldn’t be much more different from the original, far more poppy and bright, a synthetically cool dance floor track, enhanced by Maybeeh’s sighed singing and J-C’s sexy French accent.

FoX remixes the next version, the NewBarbarian mix featuring J-C and it is more true to the original, heavier and glitchy, the vocals folded and extended into echos, while the final track is an extended version with J-C, which is like a more modern version of the original which becomes a tad crunchy in texture.

I say we need more J-C vocals but then I might be a little biased. All in all, it is an interesting vision of what an instrumental can become. Hypno western redux to dance floor killer to near power noise and glitch tech. I am going to say the Planktoon mix really blew it out of the water and yet it is still the same piece of music. It is name your price on Bandcamp and this is just the beginning to the introduction to MacH FoX’s cyber spaghetti western.

LowTech SINGLE | Mach FoX (bandcamp.com)

Mach FoX | Facebook

Hmmmmm…..mmmm. Capsicum Boyz. Yeah, nah, don’t ask….. or do at your own peril. Chop up some TFG (TONTTU) with Mac Hine (Oldschool Union) and you get this track called “KKÄ“. The Finnish are up to no good I tell ya, describing themselves as dodgy and shifty! Yep, may whatever gods you call upon have mercy on our souls and guts.

I can feel the sweat already, literally with the sound of a frying pan on high heat. This is a song about eating stomach ripping chilies and dousing them in beer. With that in mind, the burning ring of fire, aka stingy ringy, will only encourage those hip thrusts. In a style that crosses the electronics of Front 242 with Laibach‘s pomp and vocal ferocity (though this could be due to eating far too much of the hot stuff).

Out on the PANICMACHINE label as of the 4th of August, you may verily burn your ears off to “KKÄ“, on Bandcamp for name your price. Capsicum Boyz putting the sizzling oomph back into hot dance tracks. Remember to wash your hands afterwards as no one wants a chili willie.

KKÄ | Capsicum Boyz | PANICMACHINE

TONTTU | Facebook

Oldschool Union | Facebook

Panicmachine | Facebook