Deathline International have been around in the industrial scene since 1991, when they formed in California before releasing their debut album, Reality Check in 1993 on the label COP International. 2022 will see them drop the newest album, Pax Americana, 11 years since their fourth album Cybrid, but before that happens, we have been getting tastes of what is to come from the group in the form of singles. The latest is called “Parasite” which hit us in December of 2021. The current lineup for Deathline International is Th3Count (Christian Petke), SLam (Simon Lam), James Perry [Ashes Fallen], and John Fryer who has a curriculum vitae that might take some people several lifetimes to rack up. His most iconic band was This Mortal Coil and is a part of the super group The Joy Thieves, while riding solo as Black Needle Noise. As a producer he has worked with luminaries such as Depeche Mode, Fad Gadget, Nine Inch Nails, Die Krupps, Cocteau Twins and so many more.

DEATHLINE INTERNATIONAL

The original single version is done by Fryer, the master of mixing and he has made this a far more sinister piece. The synths are just perfection as they roll over the words ‘only in America is it controversial for me to start the programme declaring that global warming is really happening‘.. There is the list of the four horsemen of the apocalypse of which humanity brings closer each passing day to the brink of no return by not finding ways to protect our planet. Pestilence, War, Famine and Death. There is the perfect mix of guitar versus electronic, all beautifully balanced and brutally laid before you with the bones of the future generations.

Stabbing Westwards are stablemates at COP International and the remix by Chris Hall is actually the first version of “Parasite” off the rank and it is so smooth, that Petke’s vocals ooze all over it like the Exxon Valdez. I like the fact it has retained the heavy electronic component and layers those elements with ease so that it just grooves along. They were not lying about the Sonic Assault remix. Electronic blasting beats full of anger and passionately promising to bludgeon you to death like the wide eyed harpy seal you might be if you don’t take notice of Sick Jokes emphasizing the end is nigh. It feels as if is it spinning out of control and imploding towards the end. Again Sick Jokes are signed to COP International

Yep. The production is spot on. The song is catchy. Three versions to keep everyone happy. A plethora of talent. Well that was easy. Listen to Deathline International, reduce your carbon footprint, recycle, re-use and maybe there is a chance to make things just a bit better than just being a “Parasite“.

https://deathlineinternational.bandcamp.com/

Deathline International | Facebook

https://stabbingwestward.bandcamp.com/

Stabbing Westward | Facebook

https://sickjokesnew.bandcamp.com/releases

https://copinternational.bandcamp.com/

COP International | Facebook

Plastic Assault Network (PAN) is a new super group to hit the scene. Founded by singer/songwriter Robert Andrew Bowman (Randolph’s Grin) who has pulled talent from across three continents, including fifteen musicians into his cyberpunk collaboration. Their second single was released in November called “Wall Breaker“.

Walls are funny things. They have been built to keep people safe while keeping others out, then others have been built to hold humans in so they cannot escape. Those are the physical walls but even when they crumble the mental ones remain. “Wall Breaker” is about overcoming all barriers that cause conflict, hatred and bias. The vocals are passionate about the fear used to control the masses. This gets nice and bass heavy, with the electronics swirling and filling every space with sound, making the song come crashing down on your senses.

As you would expect from a project with several studios involved, the sound is seamless and crystal clear production. Have to say it is always satisfying hearing a real drummer smashing it in the rhythm section and this is Jörn Schwarzburger (Randolph’s Grin). Co-producer is Per-Anders Kurenbach (ex Psyche, The Eternal Afflict, Shock Therapy, Dark State, reADJUST, Nine Circles) who is well known for his mixing skills and keyboard wizardry, while on backing vocals duty as well as drums and guitar is Reyka Osburn of Death Valley High fame. So what is next for Plastic Assault Network? I guess we watch this space but it is a rather exciting prospect where they take this. Industrial music is the beating heart of resistance, speaking for those who that cannot.

https://plasticassaultnetwork.bandcamp.com/track/wall-breaker

Plastic Assault Network | Facebook

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/

Last year, Normoria released the EP, Voyages and at the end of January, this single, “The Judases” was let loose. Based in both the USA and Sweden, they describe their sound as, ‘a fusion of many elements: primarily dark electro and rock/industrial‘. 

An interesting take on the concept of karma and what happens to those who are friendly to your face but would happily trip you into a bottomless pit. ‘What goes around, comes around‘ is the shouted chorus of affirmation. It graduates in fury with the non stop beat.

I would have to say this song probably does well live due to the fact its a stompy number that they can also yell back to the band in the throws of jumping around. From what I’ve listened to, Normoria are passionate about the environment and their fellow humans. Will you follow them to the land of Normoria, to where “The Judases” are not allowed?

https://normoria.bandcamp.com/album/voyage

https://www.facebook.com/normoria/

Late December was the release of the single, ‘In My Dreams” by SINthetik Messiah with The Other LA. “In My Dreams” was originally released by five piece rock band The Other LA, that boasts having Drowning Pool’s C.J. Pierce as part of their contingent. The group asked SINthetik Messiah to put an electronic spin to the number.

SINthetik Messiah are from Louisiana and for the uninitiated, delve into experimental industrial rock/ metal with a heavy accent on the artistic front. Bug Gigabyte is the man behind the project and has done so since 1996.

It is dark and heavy….. so heavy, it almost feels like the noise is weighing on you. The female vocals by ARIA are explosive, buoyed by the dense mix of booming beats and buzzing guitar. The male vocal brings an added level of angst as the music takes flight.

BUG GIGABYTE – SINTHETIK MESSIAH

A bombastic piece of engineering by Bug Gigabyte, the sounds are grating and huge, leaving you wanting more. He has taken The Other LA song into another realm, becoming its own entity that can devour your soul.

Added bonus points for having mixing and mastering done by, Joe Haze, ex guitarist of Lords Of Acid. Yes it’s good. On that note, you might need to go listen to The Other LA & SINthetik Messiah, “In My Dreams“.

https://sinthetikmessiah.bandcamp.com/track/the-other-la-and-sinthetik-messiah-in-my-dreams

https://www.facebook.com/SINthetikMessiahOfficial/

https://www.facebook.com/theotherla/

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/

This year has been a big one for Jacksonville based duo, Batavia. Earlier in 2020 was the release of their first EP, Graveyard and since then, they have been signed to Tigersquawk Records with the new EP, Quite Mean Spirited.

Terri and Ed Cripps tell true historical tales of the grotesque through their music, bringing them to life. With this in mind, this EP is the story of a young woman who was taken away to an island, somewhere in Russia, a prison that she never deserved to be incarcerated in. She was assaulted and raped by the guards and then her fellow prisoners did not offer help nor comfort but rather murdered her and cannibalised the corpse.

The title track is also the first cab off the ranks. “Quite Mean Spirited” thumps in with one Charles Bukowski’s spoken word soliloquy about ‘people are not good to people‘ before Terri brings forth her sweet vocals.

Upside Down” hits you full on with its up beat rhythm and grungy guitar plus distorted vocals. This is a cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain song and it is a rollicking, industrial interpretation.

The water and the waves flow with the acoustic guitar and lilting synths giving “Ab Initio” a near dream like quality. A reality skewed with Terri whispering to you to be aware that not all is that peaceful.

With heavy gothic over tones, “Finis” is the beginning of the end for our heroine. Russian can be heard after the frightened breathing of the young woman. The dominant piano with the organ beneath, create a feeling of madness. A litany of the terror issues, as the noise builds on a maelstrom of desperation.

ED & TERRI CRIPPS – BATAVIA

For a awful way to go, “The Absinthian” seems so light and free… maybe it is when the flesh is no long the cage of the soul and the pain cannot be felt any more. Angels to take her away to a better place than she was.

Quite Mean Spirited” (Leæther Strip remix) finishes up the EP, which brings you full circle of the horror humans will put other humans through. Claus Larsen was very impressed with Batavia’s previous release, so he came on board to do this remix and it has the Leæther Strip lead’s finger prints all over it. It’s a beautiful and thoughtful enhancement with that industrial harshness running deep under it. Such a brilliant way to conclude.

Batavia know how to blend gothic horror with intelligent rock and industrial blends. They have created an EP with a darkness that makes the the breakout tracks shine even brighter. The Leæther Strip remix is like the icing on the tasty, gothic- industrial cake that is Quite Mean Spirited.

https://batavia.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/officialbatavia/

https://m.facebook.com/tigersquawkrecords/

The 3rd of August is the release date for British duo, Unquiet Dead’s new single, “Burn My Head Down“.

Jason and Lora have created a video piece, featuring the world’s only chain rope aerialist, Californian, Drago Nesa, who also does firebreathing as well, hopefully not at the same time. Spectacular talents indeed.

As always, you can hear that 70’s glam sound bubbling up through this number. Previously I mentioned Marc Bolan’s TRex maybe being a big influence on Unquiet Dead, just as they were on the post punk scene.

This single is the protest song of getting your freedom back when you are being oppressed and kept down. There are the outburst of adrenaline/anger and more emotional acceptance within, all washed down with that driving enthusiasm.

The video, though made in this time of isolation, is just as energetic and absorbing as the song itself. I’m still wincing at the whole swinging around on a metal chain thing which is done so elegantly by Drago Nesa. Immerse yourself in the experience of Unquiet Dead’s Burn My Head Down“.

https://unquietdead.bandcamp.com/track/burn-my-head-down

https://m.facebook.com/unquietdead/?_rdr

July has seen the release of the EP, Unicorn Bones, by Chicago duo, Karen Righeimer and Ivan Russia, also known as Bellhead. I can definitely say the rhythm section for this band is tight. Both Righeimer and Russia both play bass, low and high respectively, both share vocal duties, though Ivan is very much the lead singer and are backed up by their dependable drum machine.

The band in their bio, make reference to their influences from goth rock legends, Bauhaus to the alternative rock royalty that is the White Stripes to the gothic/post punk stylings of She Wants Revenge, yet truthfully, they definitely have a sound that is very much their own.

BELLHEAD -KAREN RIGHEIMER & IVAN RUSSIA

Snuff Film 1974” is straight off the bat with it’s thumping heavy rhythm that grabs your attention before dragging said attention to the graveled out vocals of Russia and the disturbing lyric content about a small female child murdered in film for others entertainment. This is the only track not written by Bellhead but rather penned by Sheriff Michael Scabs of the Sheriff Scabs band of which Russia has also been a member of. A thing of nightmares.

Really dig “Unicorn Bones” as it is a very nonchalant, grooving number that just has that keep on trucking feel. The vocals play tag as they paint a vision of glittering violence and sad demise of those that live in the shadowed, dangerous places. Sinister and sleazy.

A song about a conman or less than reputable fellow, trying to stay one step in front of oblivion but wanting to take to take one last stab of having the person they have always loved. A final last chance is of happiness is “Always (Running After The Sun)“. This is a far more poignant track, slower and thoughtful with intensity.

Annnd serial killer/psycho time. “Knife” is sexy whispers with the intent of maiming and destroying. Low and distorted noise backs the bass just for that extra creepy ambiance.

Sidewinder” has a more rock flare about it, but it’s all the dirty bits of rock. The low and high bass building the sound up in such a manner that it feels angry and greasy, finishing off the EP.

The choice and use of high and low bass without any regular guitar is an interesting marriage of instruments but works well for Bellhead. Bass brings on the rhythm and produces a rich, big sound.

So if you fancy the darker, more nightmarish side of the industrial, gothic rock genre, then do catch up with Bellhead and their not so sparkly but equally intriguing, Unicorn Bones, with none of the guitar bull.

https://bellhead.bandcamp.com/album/unicorn-bones

https://www.facebook.com/bellheadband

The Batavia, in the early 17th Century, was a ship of the Dutch East India Company and in less than a year after her maiden voyage, would find herself wrecked off the West Australian Coast. A tale of murder, mutiny, slavery and abandonment followed.

TERRI AND ED CRIPPS

Batavia are also a goth, industrial rock group, hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, consisting of Terri and Ed Cripps. This is the married couple’s debut E.P., Graveyard, under this moniker and was recorded in isolation. Keys and vocals are from Terri while Ed gives us guitar, programming and backing (spoken) vocals.

The wind swept feel is prominent in “Field Of Gray” as the synths grace their presence and breath into the intro piece while the angelic vocals hover just above the turbulence. Ed speaks to us, as from another time, perhaps as a marooned sailor who dreams of home as his life slips away.

TERRI “LUCRETIA JAN” CRIPPS

Now for something completely different as far as a cover goes. Not that someone would not cover Duran Duran, but rather the choice of their 1988 single, “All She Wants Is” kind of blew me away. It is raw and pulsating with sexuality and very feminine. Terri’s vocals really capture the fervour whilst being classy and the industrial styling of the guitar work, really lends itself to making this a cover that completely works for them.

Scab Mask” is grating at the beginning, setting up for the vocals to resolve the disparity. This is the industrial machine, that pounds along and one can’t help but feel that this may be a commentary on the current political turmoil, that their country currently finds itself embroiled in. The anger seems to feed into the slowing, off kilter, loss of hope.

An orchestrated piece with no vocals, “Flyboy” is cuts of air chatter from ground personnel, Richard Russell, which burst through with accelerating urgency as a man losses his sanity while handling a multi million dollar plane. Meanwhile air control tries to talk him around and for historical content, he purposefully crashed in 2018l This is the futile end.

ED “JERONIMUS CORNELISZ” CRIPPS

This is a really neat little E.P. and Bartavia are proving themselves to be storytellers, connecting the past to present, even when that past was not so long ago, for as humans, we seem to have short memories.

We need those that write meaningful human tales with good tunes and a rollicking good cover every so often doesn’t hurt either. Get your education and entertainment with the delightful Batavia and open their Graveyard.

https://batavia.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/officialbatavia/