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 TigersquawkRecords with the new EP, Quite Mean Spirited.
Terri and EdCripps 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 CharlesBukowski’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.
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.
This has been a strange year so far with uprisings and COVID-19 bringing the world, it feels, to a grinding halt. Australian act, DirtFactory have been working hard and not only have they a new single out on August 22nd, “Salvation“, but a whole album is about to hit us.
This is not a happy, reassuring song and I would never expect anything less from these guys. It’s redemption through vice and sins of the flesh. There is a constant rhythm that is neither slow nor fast but bores into you while Daniel Allen’s guttural vocals give you the litany of what he wants, needs and desires. MichaelGillman creates a lot of the synth lines and these are heavy and brooding with twinkling highlights.
All in all there are five tracks on the release, with two remixes of “Salvation“, the Cosmos Synthetic mix which has a Skinny Puppy feel and the NyteShade – Dirty Dog mix which smacks of earlier Nine Inch Nails.
The last two numbers are the Appealing to the Dead and He’s Dead, Jim remixes of the track, “United Appeal For The Dead“. The first of these remixes reminds me of the BirthdayMassacre to begin with due to the delightfully tinkling keyboards. While the second is a mix of trap beats and creepy sanatorium giddiness. I was not giggling at the lines that you should know what to do when you are dead…. don’t drive a car. Obviously I was and I love it.
The “Salvation” is the premier release for the new label, Viral Records, based in Brisbane and Dirt Factory are the first band to have been signed up.
As always, the ingenuity of these two brothers, in two different cities, continues to amaze and surprise me. If you like good to honest industrial music, then you need to check out Dirt Factory and their single “Salvation“. Accepting shekels, pigeons but preferably dirty cash to keep making those wonderful sounds.
Even in these times of isolation and social distancing, we really don’t need much of an excuse to party in our own homes. Biomechanimal have released, as a single, one of their most popular live numbers, “Enter The Animal“.
Don’t let the slow beginning mislead you, as Matthew Simpson’s vocals slam your senses. This is a song about partying and enjoying life, all to an intense techno beat with screaming synths, that lulls and then comes back at you full force.
There are also two remixes included. One is by Melbourne act, Sirus, done in a more aggrotech kick arse style with what sounds like rapid fire at times and a jack boot stomping rhythm.
Second remix is by Mexico’s C-Lekktor and is a joyous, hyper version. This is a dancefloor killer which you can bounce joyously around to the beat.
Released by Hybrid Blak and mixed/mastered by X-Fusion Music Production, this obviously is a song the band really are invested in and they asked close international friends to participate in the remixes.
These are the people you want to party with and Biomechanimal don’t fail to deliver with their Bruce Lee musical style, smack to the head, “Enter The Animal“.
From Wroclaw, Poland comes the band xDZVØNx with their album Everything We Dreamt About, released April 3rd.
Welcome to the sweet insanity that is Børa on main vocals, synths plus mandolin and Snufkin on backing vocals, synths and programming.
They describe their style as noisepop, mixed with brutalistic architecture and glitch art, and originally were associated more with the witch house scene in Europe.
Intro piece to the album is “Why I Called You“. Just by listening to the lilting short number, you can tell that this is going to be a highly electronic album.
Current truth is “Face By Face” right now is my favourite track off the album. The vocals are wonderful and just something about this is almost soul deep.
“The Final Boss” really feels like a cheesy platform game tune gone cyberpunk. It’s fast and fun, brilliantly light yet bassy massive beats in this short piece.
Rolling seamlessly straight into “Panic“, the vocals puncture your ear membranes as they shred straight ahead, frantic with a reprieve at the end.
The dulcet and seductive tones of Børa in “Pray” lead into fast paced beat, that spirals and twists in an almost out of control fashion.
“Bubbles” actually does sound like foamy spheres floating and eventually popping. A low electronic buzz in the bass ties down those light bubbles of sound.
The somewhat dirge start of “You Have To Be Alone” is a bit confusing until the cacophony of noise breaks through. And so we have lulls and crescendos of screaming synths as well as the human machine.
You might find “I Want To Find This Girl“, sweet and understated, almost ballad like. It is pieces like this that show a lot of depth.
Like a bad trip, the single, “Litzmannstadt” featuring Belmondo, wavers, like you are in and out of consciousness and there hints of DieAntwood. Belmondo is the rapper that embellishes this with his deep vocals and polish lyrics.
Imagine an 80’s electronic wonderland mixed with Ladytron and you have “Playground“. This is nearly hypnotic in the way it is written.
“I Will Vomit Glitter” is a get your punk/industrial on extravaganza of a single. A fun upbeat track about literally vomiting glitter.
The song, “No Eyes” just explodes in a glorious wave of sound. It will suck you in with the tune and make you want to bounce.
Angelic vocals over soaring synths and hard bass is the style of “Stupid Smile“. Booming and echo filled visions of a smile that is left in the mind. You might think for a moment that something is wrong as the sound skips and wobbles like a tape being eaten by the deck but this is part of the experience.
Not sure if the vocals are Børa or Snufkin on “I Am Saint“, as they have been slowed right down to a deep rumble of a voice. And this is also the last number for xDZVONx and it leaves you wondering who that was.
There is nothing boring about this album. This is avant-garde, experimental expressionism in electronic art form. We hear Børa both sweet and harsh and Snufkin helps push the boundaries of electronic music as an extension of themselves. Every time I listen, I hear something new. This is Everything We Dreamt About from cool tunes to dance beats from xDZVØNx.
Neurobash are a two piece electronic/ industrial group from Sweden and in April, they released a new album, 2K2X.
On vocals and keyboards is Ewan “Oberfunk” Kelley and on electronic wizardry is Patrik “G-Nome” Nelson and they make up the stellar Neurobash.
We begin with “Consumed“, a high energy piece with great crisp vocals. And this also sets the overall feel of the album. Doom, questioning, desperation and spiraling decay.
Next is “Blame“, the insanity that comes about by being held responsible for terrible truths. The vocals are brilliant and it melds into the virtual maelstrom of music and yet the synths are kept so light.
Kelley has such a wonderful voice which rings effortlessly over the music and in “Screamer“, he is plaintive and evocative with a techno beat pairing with industrial crunching.
Just when you think the synth genre could not surprise you, music like “Fake” hits your ears. Distortion with heavy bass and a rhythm that is inconsistent and experimental, yet it works so well.
I almost cringed when I heard the internet dial up tone from another era. “Firewall” could be taken in this digital age as the protective shell people put around themselves to stop others from polluting or hurting them. Definitely more thought provoking and low key number.
Last year’s single, “Bloodlines” has a trippy feel to it with falsetto vocals! It’s groovy and yet ominous at the same time. This just moves along nicely as we reminisce on how we ever survived our youth. Beautiful big cords on this.
Club beat kicks in for “TheNight” and this really hits the sweet spot. As Neurobash lose themselves in the night, we can lose ourselves in this great song. It winds like a snake and squeezes you with the fabulous keyboards.
Slow and rolling, like a lake, is “Amber“. It is might be not be fast but do not underestimate the depth. This is slightly off kilter and a little bit dangerous in a experimental way.
Another single from the end of last year is “SolidState“. Angry electronics bleep out along with the vocals that threaten to make you go away. This is punchy and makes no apologies for its brashness.
The b- side for “SolidState” was “Impulse“, which makes an appearance. This is darker and dirtier than its angry brother. It oozes a contempt with a wonderful synth wall of sound.
Last track is “Reminder” and Neurobash are going out with a bang rather than a whimper. Big beats with a glorious synth lead array. Futuristic and oh so danceable.
Nice production but also this is rich in texture. These guys have a lot of style and class and if this is your first time hearing them, go listen to the 2015 album Doctrine, which will equally knock your socks off.
They still are looking to push the genre with experimenting whilst giving us simply stunning music and great dance tracks. If you love great EBM and Covenant makes your toes curl, then you need to check out Neurobash and their album, 2K2X.
German composer and musician, AlexanderKling, just released his latest album, Love, which consists of nine song. You will find synth and piano lead music with soundscaping from his project, Dedalos.
This is the beginning and it starts with the “Ending“, a slow yet gradual building piece, with piano at the front and centre and synths giving depth. There is definitely the feeling of melancholy.
“Why” is a soundscape that taps into the MassiveAttack feels. A lonely expanse with whispered questions.
Third number is “Missing“. This is the loss of another or even a part of one’s self. A languid piece of realization that not all is right. There are musical outbursts along the way as the feeling builds. The buried vocals in the background lamenting ‘miss you so much‘.
Next is a bit of “Insanity“, a reflection of a mindset. The plodding rhythm of sadness settling into ones soul which then becomes the deafening noise that encapsulates all reason.
Darkness with bright areas is how I would describe “You“. There is such poignant bubbles of joy that slowly are eaten by the intruding dark fringes.
And so “Unbearable” follows. Low flowing and tidal with sound enveloping your senses. Nothing else but the feeling of being overwhelmed and that heartbeat rhythm.
“Last” is like the slow waking and a movement towards the dawn. It pauses for an effective break as the music builds. It is not joyous nor does it feel relieved but rather purpose driven.
The completion of any relationship is the “Farewell“. This is release with emotions still attached and yet within you hear the freedom to launch forward and leave the shackles of mental torment.
The conclusion is “Love“. Reflective and careful but with hope of the future, this is the title track and the end of a journey.
This is very much dark ambient/synthwave instrumental music which is very much based on real life. AlexanderKling explained to me how the album came about after the breakdown of a relationship.
‘Istarted with this album after the end of a relationship. But I started to recording this album with the burning pain. Sometimes I cried while recording, it is tear notes. You can feel the atmosphere, you can feel the pain, the depression and sometimes salvation and peace’. – Dedalos
This is an instrumental journey through the heavy realization that not all loves last and that there is a beauty in that suffering, though painful non the less. This is despair, loss and revelation with Dedalos and his Love.
Zwaremachine are from Minneapolis and on the 20th of May , will release their latest EP, Ripping At The Fabric. Over the years, they have become a three piece with original member, singer/synths and writer, Mach Fox at the helm, D–bot on bass/vocals and Dein Offizer creating the rhythm on drums/percussion. They describe their sound as ‘minimal, hypnotic, industrial bodymusic‘.
This is also one of the first releases on the new label, Brutal Resonance Records and if that name sounds familiar, it might be as it is the same group that have been responsible for the long running music Zine of the name.
Mach Fox is a rather interesting fellow who has been heavily involved in the industrial scene since the 90’s and has a healthy respect for Gary Numan and John Foxx.
Can you “Resist” the 80’s feel of the first song on the EP? This pays homage to Skinny Puppy in its vicious simplicity. The synths are understated and this makes it feel even more in your face.
Time to feel the groove flowing through you with a “New Design“, guaranteed to get your body moving. The beat is like something from old Front 242 as it angrily stomps into your head.
The first single off this EP is also the title track, “Ripping At The Fabric“. It sort of reminds me a little of those science fiction movies with the electronic soundtracks except this is more full on blunt force trauma. Fox growls that this is not the beginning of the end and we certainly hope not. There is no surrender!!
The assault to your ears doesn’t stop there. “International Hero” belts you over the head. This is like electronic overload with distortion and delightful synth tones which keeps making me thinking back to Ministry’s “Stigmata“.
Last track is “What We Are” and is feels fresh and fast, with a high energy rhythm. This is a great number that really shows Mach’s writing ability, even though he’s snarling lyrics, the music in the background is almost ethereal in its delicacy.
The energy is aggressive and definitely punchy throughout the whole EP. It is hypnotic and will suck you in. I hear so much of the timeless, classical industrial sounds with Zwaremachine, who are smashing their own apocalyptic, minimalistic, agrotech noise into the mix, doing exactly what makes industrial music so interesting…. experimenting with whatever gets a great a sound.
Zwaremachine’sRipping At The Fabric isn’t re-inventing the wheel but rather, taking said wheel running you down with it and you’ll enjoy every bone crunching moment of it.
Previously we heard recently remixes from Australian and Russian duo of SiK aka CraigSaunders and Dima Ilyin, who make up Nova State Machine. We just had to let you know that on March the 24th, there was a third EP released called TCM RMXS-003 Drugs and Drums.
If you weren’t awake before you started listening you soon will be as SiK(Saunders) growls into your ear with a barrage of rhythm with “War Is A Drug– Ephedrine mix” by SEXGUN. This definitely reminds me of Ministry/RevoltingCocks both vocally and the melody syncopation.
For the rest of this EP you will be graced with the scintelating deep vocals of Dima. “Do or Die– BZP remix” by SEXGUN has a techno vibe and this feels like old style Front242/Nitzer Ebb, which is never a bad thing with that fast feverish pace.
Back to a previously remixed number, however it’s easy to see why someone would want to do another version of “Harsh Reality” as it is such a strong song. SiK brings RxSingular Obsession remix to bear down on your ears. He had made “HarshReality” sleek and clean while Dima’s distorted vocals rip through.
I get images of Judge Dredd, listening to “Total Control – MKUltra Mix” by FILTHmachine. It screams science fiction war games to me. Brutal vocals bellowing ‘total control, total control‘ and bouncy synths chirping in.
No Pain – Codeine Mix by nOvAsLuG who are the artists ToMsLuG from Vancouver and CraigSaunders, starts like a sound scape as it builds and swells. This becomes an industrial cacophony of noise. Dima sounds like he’s trying to convince himself he’s alright and yet it all reflects body or mind wounds.
Electronic burbles bring in “Destroy All Hope – krocodil mix” by Evil Against Evil. This starts off slow and dirty whilst it creaks and groans along. The minimalistic nature conveys the drudgery of a world bereft of all love, hope or joy.. just grey.
Most of this is not so much danceable but definitely more experimenting with the music at hand to see where it can be taken. Which is exactly what you need from a third part of a trilogy.
When all is said and done, this is another solid remix and there is everything to gain as this is pay what you want on Bandcamp. So be where the cool kids are before Nova State Machine unleash the next new album but for now lock and load some TCM RMXS-003 Drugs and Drums.
Adriana Martinez and Miguel Bastida are the Mexican duo that make up Deer Mx. The band met, formed in 2013 and reside in Hong Kong of all places and released the beginning of the year, the single, “There’sNoFuture” with a video clip.
The video itself is made up of news disaster and war footage, conveniently called the WWIII Version.
This song seems to deceive you into thinking it is a slow number and for the most part it does start out that way. Though slow to start off, it is persistent even with Martinez’s dulcet tones.
This reminds me of 4AD’s time with the CocteauTwins that offered dreamy vocals to get lost in. Add in a small dose of P.J.Harvey with SlowDive and that’s a pretty close estimation.
The music starts to crescendo and crashes inwards with synths and a guitar blazing away.
Every time I hear this piece, it grows more and more on me. Pop savvy with industrial rawness. Enjoy Deer Mx and ‘There’sNoFuture”
Konqistador released at the end of last year, the album Nafada. The band started back in 2005 and is a collaboration of Detroit musicians, ReginaldTiessen and ElizabethGraham as well as Sydney artist INfest8.
This latest album has a theme, in which Konqistador invited female hip hop artists to perform on their tracks, although they are more known for their industrial, gothic and electronic music. These women are as diverse in nationalities as they are in sound.
Kicking off is MedusaTn also known as Boutheina El Alouadi, from Tunisia with the single “Eden,Woman’sWar“, a powerful start. Not only does MedusaTn rap but her singing voice is beautiful and provocative, woven with the middle eastern traditional music and an industrial beat.
“Adrestia” by Moroccan artist, Soultana starts as a staccato monologue with backing synths that you feel building up and then the beats kick in and it becomes a whirlwind of sound. This is a great mixture of electro and vocals. A Greek warrior goddess, Adrestia punishes those who cause injustice.
Solemn beats bring in “Hamazam” and if I didn’t know any better, I would say MeryemSaci has a cheeky little smile on her face. Meryem is from Algeria singing in French and English. She is bold and sexy and makes the intricacy of this song work for her. It is about strong women that use their power, not for war but rather strengthening bonds of love and peace.
Fourth track is “Karitha” by Iranian, SalomeMC and featuring from Detroit, DJLos, a heavy weight in the hip hop/rap/beatboxing world, who does all the scratching on this song. Salome’s voice soars to the heights and yet will hold your attention even when at a whisper. This is why SalomeMC has been recognized not only as the first Iranian female rapper but perhaps one of the best in the world. For a song about the evil residing even in the best of intentions, it is such a gorgeous blend of industrial background with female sass.
Traditions can be safe and easy to follow but sometimes they are also meant to be broken and this is “Safiyya” by Moroccan songstress Soultana aka YoussraOukaf, who has been rapping since she was thirteen and a strong voice in advocating women’s rights. The music with her voice at the beginning reminds me of vast deserts and then unleashes the storm.
“Nafada” is the title track and the call rise up and rebel. Nafada means in Arabic tremor. MeryemSaci returns and is accompanied by Sultana who hails from Turkey and is yet another progressive female that championed hip hop in her country. It begins low and dark and the ladies voices are like a light, drawing you up. It feels ancient and yet it most definitely isn’t. Saci and Sultana compliment each other so well, whether they are rapping or singing.
“Sahar” literally means awakening in Arabic. This piece is based on an Iranian folk tune, Morq-e sahar and performed by MissUndastood of New York aka TavashaShannon. ‘My talent a gift and a curse’, when the eyes are opened to all possibility there is the realization of the double knife edge of going two ways… rising above or falling down. You can hear the influence of being brought up in America in Shannon’s style of rapping but this just brings a new facet to this story of traditional verses modern.
“Kahina” by MedusaTn is just epic. Such a big voice. Passionate hip hop bringing to life Kahlina, a queen and warrior of the Berber people. She is remembered with great fondness and kept alive in spirit as the invocation of the power women hold and that females should never be kept down or silenced because of their gender.
This could be a song SkinnyPuppy created when you hear the start. HanHan brings her native Filipino languages to “Visaya“. This is fresh and dynamic with synths chiming in. The Visaya are a people in a region of the Philippines but more so the song is about how we are far more similar than we are different.
I have to use the word powerful again because that is what this album is. I’m not in any way into hip hop and yet these women are inspirational in every way. They bring a beauty to the art of rapping and yet they are so much more than that.
They are mostly the voices of a female minority of the countries they represent and this makes them pioneers and bravely throwing light on the music they love. They are most worthy of being looked up to with much respect. Not just because they are originators of an art form in their homelands but rather for their conviction to never give up or give in.
INfest8, ReginaldTiessen and ElizabethGraham are the trio of writers that carefully crafted all the songs presented and you can hear the devotion to this project through the beautiful lyrics, as well as the fact each hip hop artist was able to inject their own influence into their track/s.
It’s an amazing cross cultural exploration and recorded mostly on two different continents, utilizing many different musical genre, mixed by INfest8 in Australia and mastered in the United States.
This is exotic and the Arabic/ middle eastern/ Filipino influences just push this into a different realm of wow. Social order, peace, solidarity and the support of women who can be the centre of change because music is the voice of change. This is Nafada by Konqistador….. hear the call.