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The Greek minimal synth artist Doric has returned with his new full-length album "Great Dead Cities" released digitally in February 2021 and with the vinyl (transparent clear and black) format to follow, out on the German label Cold & Young records. Doric (aka Stathis Leontiadis) has delivered a great piece of work, true to his DIY and analogue spirit, stating that “The Time has come, to lock yourself, to face the void, to lose yourself”.

 The album begins in the best of ways with the monumental track "Shades". A desperate cold wave tune, that’s still filled with humanity, with Doric’s despair found all over the bleak lyrics. “In your heart, in your coal black heart, you close the door and shut the world away...”. After that, we have the addictive "Start Of The Lie", that just shows that Stathis was in great form when recording this. On the next "The Breach" we have all those 80’s synth pop electronic elements with a little touch of 70’s Kraftwerk. While on the following "A-Live" and "Images" he displays effortlessly his beloved minimal wave, synth punk style. He expands the atmosphere on the instrumental "Ορχηστρικό Νο.5" where his synth melodies float lovely over the synthetic rhythm. On "Something To Hold" we have a shift to a bit more new wave direction, mainly due to his singing. Reminiscent of decades long gone by, but still heartfelt. The album closes with "Cities Are Dead", the last of eight tunes, showcasing yet again Doric’s expertise in cold, desolate soundscapes with live electronics

 All the songs where written, performed and produced by Stathis Leontiadis in Athens, 2020. His signature sound is dependent on the equipment he uses. All analogue machines such as Korg Kr-55, Roland Tr-505 Rhythm Composer, Roland Tr-8s and Dreadbox Typhon, Korg Arp Odyssey FS, Moog Minitaur, Minimoog Model D, Octave The Cat Srm, Sequential Circuits Six-Trak synths. The album artwork is by Demeter of 5th Floor Entertainment.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

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A new Greek electronic act has emerged called Πύργος Αθηνών / Pyrgos Athinon. The name translated in English is Athens Tower, taken from the tallest building in Greece, located near the center of Athens. A picture of the tower is also depicted on the cover. The duo’s debut "210" was digitally released in January 2021 containing three tracks.

 The first track "Έργο Ανεκπλήρωτο" (Project Unfulfilled) is a lengthy piece of pure futurepop, taking us back to the 00’s when this genre was at its peak. After a noisy intro, the synths and beats steps in revealing a futuristic score that is also enhanced with the robotic sounding vocals. Their electronic waves go hand in hand with city inspired poetry of anthropomorphism. On the second track "Λιμάνι" (Port), the beat gets stronger. Here we have an EBM tune that’s more dynamic and is even more pumped up with the more aggressive, desperate claustrophobic, drowned vocals hailing in the background. Third and final track is "Χάλκινες Λεωφόροι" (Brass Avenues), is a darker piece that has a more nocturnal urban vibe. This one is a more oldschool industrial synthpop in style, with heavy vocoder used on the vocals.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The Man & His Failures released their second EP titled "ΜΜΧΧ". Apart from being available digitally, it has also been released physically in limited cassette format by the Thessaloniki based label Smash Records. With this release, Manos Karakatsanis, the main figure behind The Man & His Failures, has compiled all his work from the year 2020, hence the name.

 First up is "Persona Non Grata (Ver.MMXX)", a track that introduced us to them from their first EP back in 2018. Here we have a new, more updated version of the song, that’s has been enhanced with better production and more electronic elements. Next is  "Nothing" that was originally released as a video in June 2019 and then as a digital single in January 2020. Here is when Manos presented us with his new direction, that of a more electronically fueled alternative rock, retaining his minimal and darkwave elements. The upbeat "The Dagger" that follows was also a digital single released in April 2020. This track also continues in the same revamped style of its predecessor and has a groovy bassline running all the way through it. It is followed by "The Dagger[Conjecture Remix]" that was its b-side. Here, Vasilis Angelopoulos (Conjecture), has transformed the track into a dark post-apocalyptic theme, where only Manos distorted vocals are recognizable from the original. Next, we have "Nothing [George Nikas Remake]" another b-side. This more atmospheric take was treated by George Nikas (The Noise Figures, Holy Monitor) with vocals by Eirini Argyri (of the band Church Of The Sea) that really take the track to another level. The closing track "P.N.G. Ver.MMXX [Instrumental]" in an instrumental version of another older track taken from the first EP "Persona Non Grata". This version is much more dynamic, and dance orientated.

 The tracks where mixed and mastered at Top Floor Studios, Athens by Panos Tsekouras (Mani Deum), while the artwork was provided by Nun Other. Apart from main man Manos K. (voices, lyrics, music, vision) he is backed up by Alekos Sorros (beats, synths, loops, music), Memos Pilaftsis (electric guitars, FX) and Dimitris Georgopoulos (electric bass, FX) who also appear with him on stage.

Review by Nick Drivas

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NU.N (Francisco Vaudeville [bass and live back vocals] Pedro Eternal [guitar] and Tarannis M. [vocals, synths, and studio overdubs]) are a band from Portugal formed in 2014. The name of the band was taken from ancient Egyptian mythology, NUN is the meter that represents the cosmic liquid that gave rise to the universe, it’s the liquid abyss, the abyss that we sink while listening to their melodies by their EP called "I will show you fear in a handful of dust". NU.N manage to combine the modern and the old school goth in an excellent way. This Ep is a part from a trilogy, It was only released in vinyl, with three different covers, which make a puzzle of an image. Apart from that, the band will release 2 singles in March, songs that would be included in the last album of the trilogy in September.

The EP begins with the Toutouic, a dark and hypnotic lullaby, with Eve Doyon and her sweet voice travelling us to the unknown.The First official single from the EP maybe is one of my favorites of the band, “Shadows of love...in contempt'', a song of love but not a typical one, the lover is a goddess before his eyes who uncovers and feeds all his sins. The stunning backing vocals of Tarannis transmit to us his tense and the music drives our souls to a higher level.Νext track “Midnight's Inertia” is a dynamic track that really kicks in, with strong and fast guitars riffs.  The song is followed by the “Brave New World” with a fine combination of synth and guitars. Things change on “Tomorrow we will say our goodbyes ( a nocturnal Fragment)”, an atmospheric and hazy ballad and they change again on “Gotas de la remembranza”, originally recorded in the CD "Oblivion" by Remembrance, a melodic song that I loved the first time I heard it.

This Ep doesn't stick to a monochromatic texture throughout the whole album, It’s a combination of 6 tracks that managed to fit all the qualities of the goth genre.





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The Texas duo Delphine Coma returned with their second album "Tortuosa" released in October 2020, on the Swiss Dark Nights label, two years after their debut "Leaving The Scene". Delphine Coma combines elements of post-punk, shoegaze, and darkwave to create their own unique and entrancing sound using lush atmospheres and harsh guitars to create entrancing soundscapes that blur genres. It’s members Ashe Ruppe (former The Elysium Facade, Trance to the Sun, Nocturn) and Amendoa Lizzbeth Tamburri have described their music as "The ideal meeting between Sisters of Mercy and My Bloody Valentine".

 The album begins with the dark and hypnotic "Light And Shadow" where the guitar sonics really bring to the atmosphere. The rhythm kicks in on "Dissolve" although hidden behind their solid wall of sound of synth and guitar with Ashe’s vocal mixed in the misty haze. In the same lines we have the song "Lost All Feeling". While on "Plastic Flowers" the guitar riffs step to the foreground and Ashe’s singing get more melodic. Things change on "Arrival" that features vocals by Eric Cope (of Glorious Din) and has a jumpy bassline. The next track, "Secondary Eyes", a dynamic track that stands out has a more upfront vocal. Although things step back again into more atmospheric more with "Desolation", the track is a treat. As the album progresses, things get more addictive as they enter more gothic rock territory on the desolate "Mirror Of Ice". In similar gothic mode we have "Death Of" with its throbbing bass, icy synths and Ashe’s voice sounding even more like Andrew Eldritch. The album closes in similar vein with "Tension", a bleak track driven by a brooding bass and a minimal stark drum machine with all the instruments building a heavy atmosphere over them.

 This collection of ten tracks has managed to fit all the qualities of the darkwave and goth genre. The band delivers all these known to us sounds and styles with their own personality, bearing fruit to a great record for fans of dark scene. The album "Tortuosa" has been released on CD and 12" vinyl in various colors. In red marble vinyl and white with black splatter.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The darkwave/post-punk band Push Button Press from Tampa, Florida, have just released their third album "Black Swan" on Cold Transmission. On previous releases, the band provided a catchy, moody blend of '80s synth-goth, in the lines of She Wants Revenge. By listening to them, you are transported back in time to the likes of The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Echo & the Bunnymen. Stylistically the band draws from the early days of guitar driven post-punk from bands like Joy Division, Bauhaus, Christian Death, and The Buzzcocks. They accomplish this while creating engrossing and polished songs that you will listen to more than once.

 On their new album, the band has a more 90’s gothic rock style but still maintain their 80’s feel. All this but still sounding fresh and up to date. Something that is evident from the first track "The End of Time". Catchy guitar driven tunes, with upfront vocals and great glossy production. The upbeat tempo doesn’t stop and continues with "Trace", another dynamic track that brought me back memories of early Gene Love Jezebel. Next is the moody "Vril" with its thumping drums and atmospheric synths. The song structures are brilliantly formed, making the tracks sound very interesting and if anything, they don’t ever let you get bored. The warm vocals are nicely placed and crystal clear. Like on the track "Dim" that follows with its singalong chorus, that to me, could have been something from the Killing Joke in their mid 80’s. The tempo slows down on the darker "Broken Faces" but steps up again on the title track "Black Swan". They deliver another moody track with "Spectacle", where the synths and bass weave together with the sporadic guitar riffs. The thumping drums are back on the guitar driven "Scars (Within Walls)" and without taking a breath the band ends the album by launching immediately into "Cold as the Ground that Lie Above Me", ending with one of their more dynamic songs.

 If you are a fan of post-punk, there will be a song on "Black Swan" that you will love. Every track here can stand out on its own and is a candidate for a single. This is also the band’s first physical release, that comes as a compact disc in 6-panel digipack including a 12-page booklet.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The Greek artist Nick Frontman has returned with his sixth album "Nostalgia" released on his own Mystery Records label. The album contains eight new tracks, 6 in English and 2 in Greek, all in gothic and electro goth style. It was initially released on a small scale in limited copies a year ago in December 2019, but it wasn’t until this year that it was pressed on CD. Nick Frontman managed to present the album live at Death Disco just days before the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 Nick Frontman is no stranger to the local Greek underground scene, with a career spanning from the early 90’s having performed live in numerous events. As on his last two albums, "Φαντάσματα" and "Today Is The Tomorrow Of Yesterday", he continues in the same vein binding goth and electro. The opener "The Healer" is low key electronic piece drenched with distorted guitar and Frontman’s harsh voice. Things get more rhythmic on "Live Now & Die Later" a darkwave/synth track. As on most of his songs, the main themes revolve around the lust and loss of love. As on the sentimental "Nostalgia" which is musically one of the best tracks on the album, with some great keyboards and matching guitars that create a romantic atmosphere. Next there is a change of style with the guitar driven rock track "The Night" with Nick’s nicotine and whiskey soaked voice. Then again the tone changes with the melancholy piano driven "Κύκνειο Άσμα" (Swan Song), the first where he sings in Greek. After an epic synth intro, "Border Line" transforms into a more dynamic track, one that has stood out at his latest live appearances. The second song sung in Greek is "Το Βλέμμα" (The Look), a dark post-punk track with a very 80’s sound. The last track, "Gothic Fans", is a classic 90’s danceable electrogoth track that as the title suggests is a tribute to all gothic fans around the world.

 Apart from Nick Frontman on lead vocals, the album features Dimis Levidis on guitar, bass, synths, programming and George Gavras on synths, keyboards, programming. It was recorded at Sound Machine Studio and mastered by George Scordilis.

 Review by Nick Drivas.

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The dark electro / industrial band from the Greek island of Crete, PreEmptiveStrike 0.1, have returned with the concept EP "The Dread Files", just 9 months after their latest album "Progeny Of The Technovore". Here we find 4 brand new songs, plus 4 remixes from exclusively Belgian artists. It was released in September by the Japanese label Digital World Audio as a digipak limited edition compact disc, designed by Vlad McNeall. It was also available on its release on black and clear lathecut Vinyl 12", with only the 4 original tracks, but these very limited copies are already sold out.

 This is the first release since the departure of longtime member George Klontzas, leaving the core duo consisting of Jim “The Blaster” and Yiannis “Dseq” Chatzakis (who has his own project Degenerated Sequences). Frontman Jim is on vocals and drum programming, leaving songwriting duties falling now fully on the shoulders of Yiannis. The very name "The Dread Files" is suggestive of both primal fears and the investigation of paranormal phenomena so often a feature of science fiction in Western popular culture over the centuries. Musically, the EP is more based on old-school dark electro patterns, a back to the roots approach. Something we see on the opening track "Evolution/Retribution". An upbeat stomping track with Jim’s characteristic harsh vocals that speaks to mankind’s fears of alien invasion. It has a sci-fi theme with samples taken from the 1964 British black-and-white science fiction horror film The Children of the Damned.

 The next three tracks are dedicated both from lyrics and corresponding samples to the three major works of Italian film director Lucio Fulci. The more atmospheric synth textured "Wormfaced Cadavers", deals with the undead and has a sci-fi theme with samples taken from Zombie Flesh Eaters. While on "Doctor Dread", the familiar figure of the mad scientist, samples from House by the Cemetery are used. On "And You Will Wake Up In Terror", where the bpm’s are even lower, nightmares of the eerie and inexplicable are all set to a dark electronic soundscape simultaneously smooth and punchy. Here they have incorporated samples from the movie The Beyond.

 The second part of "The Dread Files" EP features four remarkable remixes of the initial four original tracks. The songs where left in the hands of four different Belgium acts to synthesize a hybrid of two completely different cultural takes on EBM. Implant, Llumen, The Juggernauts and IC 434 were all willingly enlisted to work their own dark electronic magic on "The Dead Files" material and the results have created an exact mirror image of the original, as seen through their own eyes.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The German goth rock act The House Of Usher, were founded in 1990 by Jörg Kleudgen (the only permanent member) and Markus Pick. After thirty years of uninterrupted creative work, they are like a good old port wine that unfolds its full maturity on the eleventh album "Holyghost" and shows the band in a consistent further development. The album was released digitally on December 15, 2020 and the CD edition will follow.

 A total of fourteen songs consist the tracklist of this album, with its main focus on aging and loss. Many of which cannot deny their origins in the Wave of the 1980s. The hymnic instrumental "Lights Go Out" opens the album, followed by "Let It All Be Mine" that really kicks in and sets the pace and then fades out into a piano piece at the end. Next is "Summer Rain", a track that definitely has associations with old Fields Of the Nephilim and from what we read on their social media, a video production for it is on its way. It is followed by "Can You Tell Me?" an emotional gothic rock track with Jörg’s expressive vocal in great form. On "When Dreams Come True" we have a change in mood. A more melodic pop rock and atmospheric ballad of sorts in true 80’s style. Next is "Now Or Never", that’s starts with more electronic elements, then transforms into a classic Wave track with some very sensual backing vocals by Rafunzel. The acoustic guitars come out on "Meadow", while on "Footsteps In The Snow" the band convinces once again with catchy melodies and beautiful guitars that are rarely heard today. In the same vein we have "Beside You", "Invisible", "God And All Of His Angels" that features bass and additional guitars by Barry Galvin and "View From The Hills". The album ends effortlessly with one of the best songs "With The Eyes Of A Stranger" and ending in the best of ways with the lengthy "Rocket To The Moon".

 The current line-up with singer Jörg Kleudgen, guitarists Markus Pick and Georg Berger, as well as Ralf Dunkel on bass and Gerwin Spalink on drums are reinforced a plethora of guest musicians such as Barry Galvin (ex-Christian Death, Mephisto Walz), Tom O'Connell (ex- Garden Of Delight, All Hallows Eve), Ingo Klemens (The Escape), Boris Brosowski (Cream VIII), Oliver Pietsch (Violet), Keule (Reptyle) and Dominic Daub (Qek Junior). The album was mixed and produced by Jörg Kleudgen. All lyrics are from Jörg Kleudgen, with additional lyrics on "Let It All Be Mine" by Boris Brosowski. The great well-matched artwork was also done by Jörg Kleudgen.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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Athens based artist DSTRB released his second album "Human" on the German label Raumklang Music today November 26th, 2020. Five years after his debut album "Imaginary Life" released in 2015. The description of this second release by the Greek IDM act, states: In a bleak and faceless world, devoid of compassion and meaningful human contact, in a society that worships material gain over collective wellbeing, "Human" aims to disturb the illusion of systemic normality and sets out to discover the primeval humanity that lies buried under layers of cold steel and fibre optic cables. Something that is evident in all 12 tracks that are included here. 

 His electronic experimentations kick off with "Crisis In Consiousness", where amongst distorted beats and voice samples, a creepy dystopian atmosphere is created. On the more somber "Depression", the urban vibes take a low-key tone making a theme destined to evoke nighty cityscapes. Into deeper spheres of the subconscious, the track "Είσαι Μόνος (You Are Alone)" sets a more cyber driven journey into solitude. With "Eternal Fear" we have a humane sentimental touch amongst all the glitches and post-industrial soundscapes. Next is "Kill Hate", following even more this downward spiral search of emotions.

 Half-way through we reach "Martin's Dream" where with it’s more playful beats and samples, Dimitris Strambis presents us with a more political statement by using bits of Martin Luther King’s famous speech. While on "Metamorphosis" the darkness of inner search returns with a sci-fi feel. On the other hand, with My Silver", the warm string layers make a very emotional track. With the urban beats and distorted vocal samples bringing a humane touch. "Never Be Forgotten" that follows is another fine example of DSTRB’s IDM style. The kind that is suitable for inner thought and suitable for night rides around the city. His thoughts on religion are set on "Religion Ist Heilbar", German for curable. Somewhat relevant in a time where mankind is in search for truth and compassion, in opposition to the retrospective and medieval stance of various religions. In the same vein we have the compelling melodic "Remember This" that gradually evolves from a monologue intro. The album ends with the lengthy rhythmic "Struggle". A more dynamic track that brings more fierce beats to the forefront with some almost eastern key arpeggios driving the melody. 

 The whole album is a pleasurable listen. DSTRB manages with his music to suck you in. A deep introspection that takes us from Crisis to Fear, from Love to Metamorphosis, leading to the ultimate Struggle to leave behind the brutal and violent aspects of ourselves in an effort for humanity to claim victory over the machine. And this he does in heartful way. The album was written and produced by Dimitris Strambis, mastered by Anatoly Grinberg, with the cover and artwork done by Dirk Geiger.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The Greek music project Onism was created in February 2020 as an attempt, according to its members, to express the realization that we, as human beings, are finite. They consist of Lupe (Michalis Latousakis, known also from his band Mosquito) and Efremia Michou. Their first release, the EP "Leyes", was just released in November 2020.

 The EP contains 4 tracks, all following a darkwave, neoclassical mood. The opener is "Smoke, Light & Dust", a ballad that over a light drumbeat, piano, violin and a few stabs of electric guitar, the voices of Lupe and Efremia intervene together in sorrowful way. The next song, "Let Me", is a piano driven track that is more rock orientated, with a more dynamic chorus. Like on all the compositions, the male/female vocals continuously interact. While on the romantic and atmospheric "Lies", the mood is more ethereal and haunting, with the addition of some nice layers of synths. Things get a bit more bombastic on the last song "Catharsis". Here they reach their neoclassical style peak with a much more dramatic track, that climaxes with the two singers acting out their part to the full as if in some opera.

 The release is only digital and will be officially released on all platforms on 27th of November. All music and lyrics are by Onism, recorded and mixed by Lupe himself. The lovely artwork is by George Kastanakis. Besides this release, the project has covered the songs "Roads" by Portishead and "Believer" by Imagine Dragons.

 

Review by Nick Drivas.

 

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The US goth-rock band The Wake, founded in 1986 in Columbus, Ohio as part of the so called “second wave” of goth in the early '90s, released the new album "Perfumes and Fripperies" on October 30th, 2020 by Blaylox Records. Almost 25 years since their last full-length album "Nine Ways" in 1996. The masters of American Gothic Rock have returned, and they have brought everything back: the bold voice, walls of dark guitars, pounding drums, huge bass lines and their unique songwriting skill.

 The album begins with the slow burning "Daisy", showing that the band have returned with their classic signature sound. Then, with "Hammer Hall" that follows, we bare witness to an epic track, with their monolithic wall of sound of guitars. While on "Marry Me" we have a great gothic rock tune with some really nice melodic guitar lines. On "Break Me Not", another favorite, the guitars get more chaotic, as on the title track "Perfumes and Fripperies" where the guitars step a bit back revealing the rhythm section.

 Hallway through we have "Rusted 20" continuing the album’s great flow of songs topped with singer’s Troy Payne bold voice. On "Everything (feat. Wolfie)" the band collaborated with David Wolfenden of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry who played second guitar. Here Troy’s voice gets more atmospheric bringing even more gloom to the mix. We have a change in sound on "Emily Closer (MH direct-drive mix)" where the phased bass comes to the foreground and is enhanced with some synths. As on "Big Empty" where the thumping drumming is backed with guitars full of reverb and distortion. The album closes with the slower tune "Figurine" that’s has a darker, painstaking mood to it.

 By listening to the whole album, you are left only with the exciting taste that The Wake have released yet another goth classic. Recorded over many months in different locations and various circumstances in the band’s native Ohio, the album comes together to speak with one voice. The album cones as a limited-edition Compact Disc in a gatefold with 4-page lyric sheet and liner notes. Includes also an additional track, "Rusted (Hz Healer Mix feat. Caroline Blind)".

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The Greek dark duo Strawberry Pills released their debut album "Murder To A Beat" on October 30th, 2020. The duo, consisting of singer Valisia Odell and Antonis Konstantaras on guitar, had resurfaced after a 6-year hiatus. Sonically, with this album the band aim for a fresh dark sound while paying homage to the 80’s, with its title inspired by the queen of crime, Agatha Christie.

 The opening track of the album, "The Voyeur", is an ode to Guy Bourdin’s voyeuristic photography. A classic example of the duos sound based on minimal electronics as a backdrop with flashes of guitar and Valisia’s characteristic singing style. Almost spoken word, with her individual pronunciation. All these elements of fiction, horror, death and romance as stated by the band are combined on "Private Nightmare" that has a more oldschool feel. Next comes "Verbal Suicide" that was actually their comeback song, released in February 2019 gaining major airplay. This low tempo minimal track gets addictive especially when the groove kicks in during the chorus and the sci-fi synth sounds at its climax. The first side ends with "Enter The Void", another 80ish track that’s more guitar driven.

 On the second side of the album, we have the new wavy "Dreams" with its synthy verse and a more dynamic chorus with chaotic guitars and Valisia singing “Murder, murder…”. Thing calm down on "Porcelain Face", a song about an alluring femme fatale. Again here, after a calm nocturnal sounding verse, the chorus comes in a bang. On the next track "Icarus" that was initially released in May 2019, has a more pop sensibility with electro sounds and a more playful vibe. In the same vein we have the closing track "Set To Rise Again" but with a more minimalistic approach.

 The album was recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by Panos Tsekouras at Top Floor Studio. The duo was also assisted by Aristomenis Theodoropoulos, an old fellow artist who had previously worked with them in their previous band Phoenix Catscratch. The artwork and photos are done by Aris Athanatos. It comes as in black and clear vinyl 180 gram but will also be available digitally.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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Darkwave revivalist sweethearts Lebanon Hanover have just released their sixth album entitled "Sci​-​Fi Sky" on Fabrika Records. The duo of Larissa Iceglass and William Maybelline appear as true romantics of the modern age, an ice-cold reply to the alienated and pandemic stricken world coming from two warm beating hearts.

 What is immediately evident by listening to the album, as on the opener "Living On The Edge", is the wall of sound provided by distorted electric guitar. A step away from their more minimal, stark approach on previous works. On the second track "Golden Child", after an intro with bass and xylophones, the guitars step in and William takes over lead vocals. The distorted guitars are even more upfront on "Garden Gnome" where Larissa sings. The first time we got to hear their new sound with the doom-laden electric guitar brought so upfront was in September when the video for "Digital Ocean" was uploaded. The video was filmed by the sea somewhere in Greece with an original 80s VHS camcorder. "The Last Thing" that follows was the first single from the album released in March during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. The video was filmed in the industrial area of Neckarau, Mannheim in Germany amongst other places. A classic example of the duo’s musical cold tones with Larissa’s characteristic melancholy, almost depressed vocal expression.

 Halfway through we have "Angel Face" where William sings accompanied by acoustic guitar offering one of the most emotional moments of the album. While on "Hard Drug" Larissa’s warm voice floats gently on a melodic piece brought by brooding bass, jangly guitar and a minimalistic thumping drum. Both members take turns singing on "Third Eye In Shanghai" a dark piece driven by a flanged guitar line. Things get captivating with the mantra like "Your Pure Soul" and even more spiritual on the closing track "Come Kali Come" with its eastern elements, sounding like nothing they have ever done before.

 "Sci-Fi Sky" comes as a CD in a lovely gatefold case with booklet and also as a double vinyl. The vinyl issue will be featured in three colored variations. On splatter moon grey and yellow, splatter white and blue, splatter white and dark green.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The Greek electronic darkwave duo Selofan have returned with their sixth album "Partners In Hell". The album was released on October 20, 2020 on their label Fabrika Records. The record contains 10 new synth-based tracks drenched with their dark theatrical aesthetics all having a homonymous sound.

 The opener "The Grey Garden" starts off gently with a kind of atmospheric romantic film noir feel to it and Joanna Pavlidou’s tormented voice floating over it. The beat kicks up on "Almost Nothing" but still retaining the same feel. Soft synth-scapes and vocals full of depth drifting in the background. Next is "There Must Be Somebody" that was the first album teaser, released as a digital single in April, accompanied by a video directed and edited by Dimitris Chaz Lee. This catchy track with its synth arpeggios was mixed by Serafim Tsotsonis. Here, Joanna’s vocal style is reminiscent of that of Anja Huwe (of XMal Deutschland). The more sythpop German spoken "Nichts" is filled with synths and darkness, owing also to Dimitris Pavlidis’ throbbing bass guitar and Joanna’s haunting vocals. In the same vein we have "Zusammen" and "4 a.m.". While on "Happy Consumers", although it has a more playful approach, it still retains the albums dark desolate icy feel. The same could be said for "Absolutely Absent" despite that the tempo speeds up. By listening to the track "Metallic Isolation" you think that this could be the bands nod to the Joy Division songs "Isolation" and "Heart And Soul", here as a more minimal electronic take of these two classics masterfully entwined into one. The last track "Auf Deiner Haut" was the second single taken from the album released in September with the filming of its video to have taken place at the Asilo Bar in Bogota, Colombia. It ends the album on a high and is probably the standout track. With its pulsing rhythm, Joanna’s dominant vocal and Dimitri’s characteristic saxophone.

 The album comes as a limited-edition vinyl with an edition of 500 copies in splatter black with fuchsia vinyl and another 500 copies in splatter red with black vinyl. Also, there will be a deluxe digipack CD edition that comes in special digipack cover with UV spot and emboss touch.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The French act Venin Carmin have returned with their second album "Constant Depression" released in May 2020 on the independent label Seja Rrecords from the Netherlands. After their acclaimed debut in 2015 with "Glam Is Gone", this new album, released on vinyl, is again full of post-punk / coldwave catchy tunes. The front cover features the painting ‘Lucretia’ by Niek Hendrix.

 From the start of their sophomore album with the track "It's Gonna Be Wild", we are introduced to their personal take on post-punk with their somber synths. While on "Sidekick Punchline, more electronic and darkwave elements have been added in the mix. The playful track "Willkommen To The Masquerade" that follows had a video made for it featuring the trios main female members Lula and Valentine in similar mood. Their dark pop is best expressed on "Twinkle In The Eye" and on the title track "Constant Depression" the band sets their attitude of today with lyrics such as “Unsatisfaction nowadays, constant depression anyway and nothing gets better…”. The first side ends with "For The Sublime" another fine example of their experimental, minimal electro pop.

 The second side of the album starts with another great track "Outsiders", where post-punk is mixed with synth pop and new wave, as on the next rack "Problem Issue" that sounds like it jumped straight out of the 80’s. We have a change in atmosphere on "Abysses" where only synths and vocals create a dark moody tune. Then on "Sketches" they return in full form with a bass that paves the way of the composition. The playful element returns on "Waterlillies" with its minimalistic pop structure. On "Dreaming Valentine" we have seductive vocals over a mid-tempo synth track with nice additions of bass. The last track "Berceuse" (Lullaby), is an instrumental and as the title reveals, it is a dark lullaby as if taken from a haunting childhood memory.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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Dark-o-Matic formed in 2017 by Greg Dovas who was later joined by the vocalist Piero Delux from the project Elsehow. Enlisting the help of sound engineer and producer George Nerantzis, the duo started recording their music best described as a cross between 80's wave music and synthpop but with also a darker edge to it.

 Their debut album entitled "New Hope", consists of ten tracks, including "Zugzwang", "Make Me Blue" and "Authentic?" that have already won many synthpop fans over. It was released November 2019 on Skyqode, the Russian independent record label established to promote new artists in the synthpop, electronic dance, and industrial genres. On the 21st of February 2020 they managed to present the album live by performing at Death Disco in Athens, participating at the Future Sonic Fest, just before the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 The album begins with "New Hope", a wonderful track that sets the vibe of this album, dark and poppy with a soul. Next is "Zugzwang", a catchier track that was released as the first single in March 2019. Things get a little darker and minimalistic on the emotional "Ever After", while on "Rather Be" we are transported even more into the vast 80’s as on the second more poppier single "Make Me Blue". On "Authentic?" the beat is turned up with Piero’s voice sounding really smooth over Greg’ synths. We have more synth-pop grooves with "Past Trip" and "All We Do Is Wait" where Piero showcases his wide vocal range and then the lovely "A Cage With The Door Wide Open, third single to be taken from the album. The last song "So Real" is a slower track, ending the album with a more atmospheric and emotional feel. Overall, a nicely crafted album for fans of synth music worldwide.

 The CD also contains the following four bonus remixes, "Zugzwang (Unity One Remix)", "Make Me Blue (Requiem4FM Remix)", Zugzwang (People Theatre's Drifting Remix)" and "Make Me Blue (Purple Fog Side Remix)".

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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Meat Injection released their debut album "System Anomaly" in June 2020 on Brazilian Wave Records based in São Paulo. The album comes as a CD ecopack with 4 panels, limited to 200 copies. It can also be found digitally. The band was formed on February 2016 in Athens, Greece and has played live in numerous gigs. Their debut was the "Death For Fun" EP released in 2016 on InClub Records with former singer Plasticine K. On this release, the band now consist of Dimitris Katsikadis and singer Cleopatra Kaido (formerly of the band Drama Queen).

 The album was mainly created by the need to express the paradox of our times. It was recorded between 2019-2020 and contains 10 songs. The album kicks off with the title track "System Anomaly", an up-tempo track that combines all the bands influences from alternative rock, electro, new wave, coldwave, darkwave and goth. The tempo drops on "Dead Santa" and steps up only on the chorus. The impressive "Chemical Romance" is a dark track with an aggressive trip-hop beat (recalling acts like Massive Attack). On "A Heart Made Of Sand" we have another electronic driven tune that has a somewhat angry and disillusioned vocals from Cleopatra.

 Halfway through we have more rocker "Last Endlessly Lust" followed by the more emotional "A Touch In A Dungeon". Next, we have an instrumental with the provocative title "Deadly Horny Priest", a kind of electronic improvisation. Things get rhythmic again on "Chaotic Ride" and "Black Out Sentiment", ending with the dynamic, passionate and upfront assault of "Time Infection".

 

Review by Nick Drivas

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Misfortunes is a one-man synth project based in Thessaloniki, Greece and formed in 2014 by Ioakim Vasileiadis. On September 24, 2020 he released his second album "The Isle of Tomorrow" on Tonn Recordings, an independent record label based in Belfast. The LP comes in 12" black vinyl with printed inner sleeve and lyrics, but also as a digital release. The lyrics, some of which are in Greek, have been written by various contributors featuring poems by Markos-Valsamis Lyritsis, Constantinos Georgiadis, Nikolina Chatzipantazi, Kosmas Lazaridis and Ioakim Vasileiadis.

 The opening track "Blood Disco" had already been released in 2019 as a digital single. A great track that captures your attention immediately and showcases Misfortune’s nice combination of minimal synth and modern darkwave. Then we have the majestic sounding "Είμαι Εσύ" (I Am You) and "Sealed Windows". While on "Στο Τέλος του Δρόμου" (At The End Of The Road) Ioakim’s vocal is deep and dark. The first side of the record ends with "Forever And A Day", another example of his 80’s inspired synth sound, combining coldwave, minimal synth and synthwave.

 On the second side we have "Mercury" that starts as spoken word piece with textures of synthesizers in the background, before the 80’s pop beat steps in. The next track "Diomede Islands" has that early EBM sound, reminiscent of Front 242. The Eighties decade of the previous century are also praised on the 80ish "Directed Lies" and on the last track "Μαύρο Τσουκάλι" (Black Cauldron) that sounds literally as if recorded back then.

 The digital release has a further two tracks, "Another Me" and "First Light" that are in the same vein as the main tracks of the album.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The electronic, avant-garde, dark ambient, experimental, industrial noise project from Greece, Conjecture, has just released a new EP "∫V". This is a companion EP to his full-length LP "V" (released on Amek in 2019). According to the artist, in mathematical language the “∫” means “complete” and so the record contains previously unheard music, written during the recording sessions of "V".

 The EP consists of three previously unheard solo pieces of Conjecture's signature introspective yet powerful take on post-industrial music, but also features three guest interpretations (remixes) of the same material. First is "ΛΑΣΠΗ" (Mud), with Conjectures familiar apocalyptic soundscapes. A kind of nocturnal track filled with distant industrial noises in a dark ambient setting. On the next track "ΦΟΝΟΣ" (Murder) things get a bit more intense, dominated by a monotonous drum strike and an icy synth line. The third new composition is "ΛΥΜΗ" (Great Depression) where the noises get louder around a revolving motoric synth rhythm that later intensifies with the addition of a metallic sounding drumbeat.

 The second part of this EP features the three remixes, that re-envision Conjecture's music and bring its already deep and nuanced sound to a whole new level. The track "ΛΑΣΠΗ (Antechamber Remix)" is treated by the Viennese producer Mahk Rumbae, who amplifies Conjectures more delicate ambient approach with more emphasis on the industrial noises. The same could be said for "ΦΟΝΟΣ (Tалос Remix)", mixed by the audio visual project duo Tалос, that also has added vocals provided by Glen Tartaglia of the project ]interstice[. While on "ΛΥΜΗ (Late Remix)" by Emil Mitov of the experimental music project Late from Sofia, Bulgaria, we have yet another take on an original filtered through the remixer’s own prism.

 All music was written by Vasilis Angelopoulos between 2018-2019 and was mastered by Sotiris Laskaris. The cover photo is by Vaia Pilafa, with cover model Hawk Stigmata (of the project Liebchen). Apart from the digital release, "∫V" will also be available as a limited-edition cassette C30, limited to 66 copies.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The Beauty Of Gemina is a band from Switzerland founded by Michael Sele in 2006. They just released their ninth album "Skeleton Dreams" on September 4th, 2020. The Zürich band are known for their blend of darkwave, americana, alternative rock and indie-folk wave.

 The opener "A Night Like This" served as a single with its video released a few days before the album. A classic example of their dark alt. rock with melodic guitars and Michael Sele’s characteristic voice. Then with "Naked" we have a semi-acoustic stripped bare track. Like much of the album, the songs are very emotional and dreamy in feel. On the acoustic "Maybe God Knows" things get more American folk, while on "Friends Of Mine" we have an even more stripped down acoustic track with a haunted feel, with some nice strings adding to the atmosphere. In the same vein we have "Resurgence" but more electric. The atmosphere is more subtle again with "Where Has It All Gone" that has some nice strumming guitars and icy keyboards.

 Halfway through we have "Rainbow Man", another dive in dark Americana territory. Followed by "Dark Suzanne" on which they pick up on the pace. Next is their brilliant cover of the Sisters Of Mercy song "Nine While Nine" where they have brought this classic to match their own sound. We have a return to the acoustic set up with the gentle "I Come To Grief" before the band burst into the melodic electric guitar driven "Apologise", a song that had premiered earlier in July when it was released as a first single and the official video was uploaded. The album finishes with the gentle bare acoustic tracks "The World Is Going On" and the ending piano piece "Hold On To This Night".

 Overall, a great sounding album by a band that has left nothing to chance. The band here consist her of Michael Sele (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, grand piano, organ, keyboards, arrangements and programming), Philipp Küng (bass guitar, percussions, keyboards, arrangements), Andi Zuber (bass guitar) and Mac Vinzens (drums). The music was recorded, mixed and mastered by Michael Sele at Icecube Studio Mels, during March - June 2020 and was produced by Michael Sele and Philipp Küng.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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