DieSeele

 


Winter Severity Index have achieved a consistently high level of excellence on all their releases to date. ‘Disgelo’, their third full-length studio album, was released in February 2022. The album is infused with elements of Synthwave, 1980s Post-Punk and Shoegaze intertwined with elements of trip hop and electronica. Winter Severity index are Simona Ferrucci— vocalist, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, and Alessandra Romeo— Keyboards and synths.

Q: In preparation for this interview, I re-listened to the entire ‘Winter Severity Index’ collection, living the journey release by release. Which of your creations do you personally hold dear and why so?

Simona Ferrucci: It's really hard to answer to this question Sean. Every song, every track is strongly related to a moment in my own life that suggests me a sort of vision of things, so I really care a lot about every single one. In the other hand I always try to listen to them impartially, as they were written and performed by another artist; if I practice this sort of detachment, I can say there are some tracks that I appreciate more than others. They are ‘Compulsion’ from ‘Slanting Ray’, ‘Severity’ from our first EP, ‘Blue Bird’ from ‘Survival Rate’, ‘Anemone’ from the compilation for Anywave Records, ‘5AM’ and ‘A Quiet Life’ from ‘Human Taxonomy’.

Alessandra Romeo: It’s difficult to pick up favourite child. For sure ‘Disgelo’ had a troubled birth, due to the pandemic and lockdowns. We started writing in Spring 2018, after a big change occurred in my life. We finished it in January 2019. Now it is inspiriting being able to hear it out. In general, any song reminds me feelings and emotions, each track is a box of memories. For this reason, I can mention ‘At least the snow’ from ‘Slanting Ray’, ‘5am’ from ‘Human Taxonomy’.


Q: Your albums Slanting Ray’ (2014), ‘Human Taxonomy’ (2016) and ‘Katabasis’ (2017) document distinct steps in the evolution of your sound. All your releases have a unique sonic identity. To your mind: what is it that defines the unique personality of Winter Severity Index’s sound?

Simona Ferrucci: First of all, thanks a lot for this consideration. It's absolutely true; we care a lot about sound quality and research in new ways of playing our instruments. If the result of this work is appreciated and remarked is a great reason of fulfilment for us. Nevertheless, is hard to sum up our personality in terms of sound in a single definition, also because we always want to feel free about it and change its characteristics if required by new expressive necessities.

Alessandra Romeo: Thank you very much, Sean, for your words. The instrument sounds are always a big component of study and research for us. However, I wouldn’t say that we have a unique sonic identity, because the instruments define our sound and in ‘Disgelo’ we use a completely new instruments set. Probably the perception of a unique personality of Winter Severity Index’s sound is due to our way of writing and playing music.

Q: The soundstage of ‘Disgelo’ is much more spacious than previous works— what I would describe as a ‘glacial post Brian Eno-esque soundscape’. What has inspired this progression?

Simona Ferrucci: Surely my new approach in music, as I started studying sound engineering, my recurring listening to krautrock that become even more intense than in the past, (Brian Eno of course! A sort of divinity of my personal Walhalla), the will to discover synths in all their potential of expression, have a deep impact in the composition of this new LP. But the most important aspect I want to underline is that krautrock inspired (and still does) me, not only from a mere sound point of view but most of all from a general approach to creativity, less concentrated to individuality, less ego-centred. I think this will be the aspect I will develop also in the following productions.

Alessandra Romeo: I really appreciated your definition, thank you. The will to use the arpeggiator instead of the bass opened up to new powerful possibilities and it also drove the sound into more electronic environment: ‘the glacial post Brian Eno-esque soundscapes’. This different approach and new instruments have created this spacious soundstage. Even if I don’t consider ‘Disgelo’ a pure electronic album. You can also find shoegaze, coldwave and trip pop echoes among the album’s tracks.

Q: On ‘Disgelo’, each track possesses an array of engaging voices and sounds in the mix. The fidelity of the recording is superb. Where did you record and mix ‘Disgelo’? Who engineered, produced, and mastered the recording?

Simona Ferrucci: I personally recorded the instruments in my own home studio, with great help for the guitars from Mirko Giuseppone, my partner in life and in work. Voice has been recorded at Subsound Studio by our great friend and amazing producer Luciano Lamanna, who mixed with me, still at the Subsound Studios (as we usually do, also for the previous releases) and mastered the LP.

Alessandra Romeo: Luciano Lamanna knows very well which sound we look for. His magical touch has forged all our releases.

Q: The vocals on ‘Disgelo’ have a reflective and introspective feel. Could you explain the key themes in the songs? Does the album possess settings linked to social-consciousness or the human condition? What influences your song writing process?

Simona Ferrucci: ‘Disgelo” (haw but also detente) is about the necessity of adaptation to new phases that unavoidably occur in everyone's existence. This process emerges in all its difficulties but also in its fascinating aspects: farewells, passages of time, death, cosmic cycles, climate changes, but also the insuppressible urge of discovery and confrontation, the opening to love and new relationships, everything related with putting ourselves under question with the unavoidable consequence of a deeper self-awareness and a true admission of responsibility in our choices. The composition and the song writing were inspired by important events happened in my life, related to love and death, to a more profound consciousness about life phases and the strong certainty we're here to understand, to make questions and increase our knowledge through a dialectic incessant movement we must assist, never obstruct.

Q: A strong feature of ‘Winter Severity Index’s music is the richly melodic atmospheric guitar. On ‘Disgelo’ the guitar is used more sparingly. Did you plan this intentionally?

Simona Ferrucci: Of course. Nothing is casual in Winter Severity Index. And the final intention was to underline the melodic impact of the lines isolating them in short cameos in the developing of the song structure.

Q: On this album, the listener is taken on a journey. Each track adds to the overall strength and cohesiveness. Was the flow from track-to-track intentional, or something that evolved during the recording process?

Simona Ferrucci: All the tracks have a common subject but declined in different ways. I think the LP can't actually be considered as a concept album but it definitely shows a strong connection between all its moments. The actual flow of the tracks was decided at the end of the composition and recording process, but I must admit I had a clear idea of it from the very beginning. Don't ask me more, it's pure instinct.

Alessandra Romeo: It was clear from the beginning that ‘Disgelo’ would be a different album, divided into eight tracks, but a unique whole routed in various moments. Each track is a landscape where you can lose yourself, pierced by emotions.


Q: ‘Blood Rock Records’ will be releasing the vinyl version of ‘Disgelo’. Tell us a little about the label and why you have elected to work with them? Will ‘Disgelo’ be pressed on 130gm or 180gm vinyl? Will there be coloured vinyl?

Simona Ferrucci: Blood Rock Records is a little Italian label headed by a single guy, Enrico Spallarossa, we collaborate with since 2013. Its releases are always well-finished from an aesthetic and functional point of view but what we appreciate the most is that the label has a various roster, from doom metal to dark ambient, from new wave to experimental, from psych rock to electronics, from new projects to historical ones. The trademark is, of course, an obscure mood, nevertheless remaining regardless to the strict labelling imposed by trade. In this sense Blood Rock Records is a real independent label. The vinyl will be released in May, and it will be transparent and with a gatefold sleeve.

Alessandra Romeo: I couldn’t say better than Simona.

Q: The closing track on the album, ‘Un Roseau Pensant’ is sung in French. Is the oratory nature of your vocal inspired by an ancient singing tradition? What moved you to write this special track?

Simona Ferrucci: Simply the meaning of the quoted text, which is originally by Blaise Pascal. So not a specific choice based on French more than other languages. The choice was based most of all on the intention of authenticity from a philological point of view. Luckily, I speak a little French and could read the quotation without particular problems.

Q: An interesting dilemma I have with your new album is that each time I listen, from start to finish I can’t think of an album good enough to follow up. Do you have any recommendations? Especially from today’s Synthwave and Coldwave genres?

Simona Ferrucci: I must be very honest: at the moment I don't listen to new synthwave and coldwave productions. I'm more on old electronics, psych and prog rock from the Seventies, things like that. So I really can't give any updated suggestion. What I can suggest is to listen again to classics in order to keep your ears trained with complexity, audacity, enthusiasm, experimentation and the courage to make mistakes, that is what I really miss in nowadays music, too much prone on easily collecting success (and be consequently forgotten in a few years).

Alessandra Romeo: Of course I listen to new synthwave and coldwave works, and post punk is always in my roots. But I like to discover darkness and melancholy in many genres. I used to search state of mind, suggestions and correspondence with my feelings: the therapeutic side of music that many times saved my life. The only advice I personally can give for listening to Disgelo, is to close your eyes and let the music lead you to travel afar.



Interview by Sean Bowley from Australian Darkwave Band EDEN.

Winter Severity Index Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/winterseverityindex


Winter Severity index Bandcamp: https://winterseverityindex.bandcamp.com

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It had been more than two years that the Greek minimal synth act Doric had taken to the stage, and it had been almost two years of forced silence caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, that Death Disco hadn’t staged a live event. So, it was a pleasant surprise to have Doric break the live curfew and debate the post-quarantine era at Death Disco in Athens on Saturday 6th of November 2021. This gave the chance for Doric (aka Stathis Leontiadis) to present his latest full-length album "Great Dead Cities", that was released earlier in 2021 on the German label Cold & Young records, in proper and not by means of streaming.

 Although the door policy only allowed entry to people with a covid pass, the crowd filled the club, all anticipating to encounter a live experience once again. Doric took to the stage behind his set up of analogue synths and drum machines and began his set with the instrumental "Ορχηστρικό No.5" warming us up with his synth melodies before storming into "A-Live", both from the "Great Dead Cities" album. Next was "Controlling The Pieces" another up-tempo track from his "A Distorted Reality" album, with Stathi’s characteristic vocals full of despair. Then followed "Start Of A Lie", another stand-out from his latest LP. His minimal wave tunes kept on coming with "Images" and "Mod Of The Old". Taking all those who where in the club on a journey through time with his minimal cold wave synthetic sounds.

 


As his set was in full swing, he presented us the tack "Cities Are Dead" from his last release making the transfixed crowd move to his minimalistic beats and swaying to synth lines. The older "Sleep Of Reason" from the 2016 EP of the same name followed before going even more back into his catalogue with his first brilliant single "The Suspect" from 2013. He ended his main set with the tracks "The Maze" and "So Far, So Near" from the 2015 mini-album "So Far So Near". But as the audience was thirsty for more, Doric responded to their call and returned to the stage to perform once more, the track "Cities Are Dead", proving just the opposite, that cities are (not) dead with events like this taken place once again.

 

Review + photos by Nick Drivas.




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"The Hunger" is the debut album from Vampyrëan. An eleven track opus covering vampyres, werewolves and serial killers, with the music, orchestration, lyrics and vocals done by Vlad Janicek, known also as the bass player of London based band The Nosferatu. The album, lyrically focusing on the macabre, was written by Vlad during the dark days imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with guest vocal contributions from a stellar cast including Chris Pohl (BlutEngel), Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride), Sven Friedrich (Solar Fake), Elisabeth Kotronia (EnGarde) and drums from Jon Siren (IAMX). The album was released on October 29, 2021, digitally and as a CD digipak, with a beautiful 12 page booklet. It also comes in a limited edition with an autographed 12 page laminated lyric book.

 What an appropriate way to start this album with the instrumental "Prelude", a piano piece that has a chilling feel as if risen out of a vampire motion picture score, or some gothic fairytale. Second up is "In Vein", which after a piano intro followed by a heavy guitar riff, we have a classic goth rock track with Vlad’s tormented harsh voice expressing a vampire’s thirst for his fix from his lover. Next comes "Crimson Dreams" that features guest, even harsher vocals by Aaron Stainthorpe of My Dying Bride during the chorus and some ethereal vocals by Elisabeth Kotronia of EnGarde that fit in perfectly with the piano parts. The track has also additional drums by Jon Siren (touring drummer for IAMX). A great catchy track that balances well amongst heavy and romantic textures. The tempo drops on "Blood Countess", another piano driven track that could be described as a cursed romantic ballad. The strings arrangements here really bring to the whole atmosphere of the song. The first single "The Hunger", that follows, was released prior to the album in August. It’s a classic example of 90’s goth rock that brings back memories of the glory days of Nosferatu.

 Halfway we meet "Your Nightmare" that has guest vocals from Chris Pohl of BlutEngel and again additional drumming by Jon Siren. This was the second single that came out in September. Vlad’s and Chris’s voices intervene perfectly on this track. Something expected, since both artist are experts on all things vampiric. "The Beast Within", that begins with a nightmarish melody intro and then turns into a powerful mid tempo track, features once again quest vocals by Aaron Stainthorpe and additional drums by Jon Siren. The heavy guitar riffs give an extra drive to the more haunting and chilling backdrop of the track provided by all the keyboards. While on "Dark Cities", that has a more industrial intro, the beat has more kick to it with a thumping bassline going along it. The outro is also great with the church organ and accompanied choir. Another perfect example of Vlad’s signature songwriting is "Dance Into Darkness", that has all those beloved elements of gothic rock that we grew to know and love. Then follows a great cover of the Tears For Fears track "Watch Me Bleed" (from their classic 1983 debut album "The Hurting") with guest vocals by Sven Friedrich of Solar Fake. A very good and suitable choice, where Sven, who is known for his successful covers over the years, has done a great job delivering the vocals over Vlad’s gothic take instrumentation. Appropriately, the album ends with "Epilogue". Another piano driven track filled with strings and orchestral parts where Vlad expresses the vampires’ necessary retreat into the darkness of the vaults and his tomb as the daybreak comes. Only to return to his love another night.

 Review by Nick Drivas

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Exactly a year after "Spider On The Wall", legendary darkwave / goth band Clan Of Xymox returns with the new album "Limbo". As 2020 saw the world shut down, and Clan Of Xymox unable to tour, the band began crafting new material, influenced by the pandemic. On the album "Limbo" the band expands its signature sound to create a captivating take on this moment in our history. The album was officially released on July 23rd 2021, digitally and on CD.

 First single "Brave New World", named after the dystopian social science fiction novel by English author Aldous Huxley written in 1931, is a rhythmic guitar riff driven track with a worried melancholy vocal by Ronny Moorings. It is followed by it’s b-side "Lockdown" a bleaker electronic track. Both portraying a bleak and dystopian setting. The second single "Big Brother" continues the conceptual work, yet again inspired by what’s going on in the world the last year, and all that has changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With Ronny expressing his concerns on state control, the restrictions and the vaccination process, here he continues in dark electronic mood with dashes of classic Xymox songwriting. The next song "The Great Reset" was also on the "Big Brother" EP and here they give us yet again another classic of their darkwave synth driven songs with touches of guitar but here with a more optimistic tone. Things get more atmospheric on "Forgotten", while on the title track "Limbo", Clan Of Xymox deliver a classic wave track by their standards, with the arpeggio picking guitar and synths balancing nicely

 In the second half of the album, the tracks continue in the same vein, as "No Way Out" and the more upbeat "In Control" with its more electro backbone, topped with atmospheric synths, melodic keys and Ronny’s melancholy vocals. In darker mood we have "The Great Depression" and "The One Percent" that are drenched in reverb. The next track, "Dystopia", has a different feel and mood with its more poppy and swinging rhythm, making a nice shift of style. While on the closing track "How Long?" Ronny expresses his frustration asking the critical question we all have. How long will this pandemic continue altering our live, and when will we be able to get back to normality?

 In all, Clan Of Xymox have delivered another album, continuing their long and remarkable legacy. As mentioned in the beginning, Ronny, unable to tour with the band around the world, found the time to write new material during the lockdown and reflected all of what was going on in real-time in his songs. Making this an album very current to the world situation.

Review by Nick Drivas

 

 

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Alien Creation have returned with their new "Lust Locked Down" E​.​P. featuring DJ Lady Davinia, containing 4 different mixes of the title track plus two more tracks. This electronic, gothic, industrial project is fronted by percussionist Chris Clark and is based in London. Chris Clark is known also for being the drummer of the 90’s gothic rock act Nosferatu and was recently involved in the new reincarnation of The Nosferatu. Their first EP "Unique Lab Accidents" was released in 2019.

 The opener is Lust Locked Down (Assault On Paradise)". The vocals sound a bit like Marilyn Manson but musically closer to the likes of NIN. The strings give a retro lounge cinematic feel until come the outbursts of industrial terror. Lady Davinia’s backing vocals give a more eerie vampiric feel to the whole atmosphere. Next, we have "Lust Locked Down (The Sheila Mix)" a more electronically fueled take that’s almost instrumental, with only Lady Davinia’s haunting vocals left in the mix. While on the "Lust Locked Down (The Geezer Mix)" the vocals are more distorted drenched in a noisier take of the song. The fourth mix, "Lust Locked Down (Going Insane Mix)" again has a more oldschool electro approach. Things get more cyber punk on the following "Alien Machines (Messed Up Mix)" where over the electronic rhythmic drumming, distorted synths and sounds pump up the track. The last track "We Are The Weirdos (No One Cares Mix)" features Steve Perry on additional live bass. Here, Alien Creation present another oldschool groovy electro track, more upbeat, with industrial elements and a catchy chorus.

 The tracks where written and recorded in London during lockdown in 2020/21 and released on the 8th of May in 2021 as a digital release and on digipak CD. You could say that this release gives a small taste of the current London goth/industrial scene. Surely something you will hear or dance to in some underground alternative club.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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Lupe is a solo project of Michalis Latousakis, lead singer of the Greek gothic rock band Mosquito and co-founding member of the project Onism. His debut album "Burn" was released in October 2019 and now he has returned with the sophomore album "Dark Room" containing nine tracks, released in May 2021.

 On this second album, Michalis continues in the same style as his debut but there are some small differences. The new album is less experimental and more straightforward. It is largely a piano driven album, with less percussion and is more symphonic and less cabaret in style. Also, the tracks on "Dark Room" are a bit more melodic and slightly less dark.

 The opener is the instrumental "The Corridor". An ethereal rock opera song with the guitars provided by Nikitas Kissonas (of the progressive rock band Methexis). Next is "Eyes Cold", the first song to appear with its animated video, a classic example of Lupe’s style, with his characteristic deep vibrato vocal. On "Long Train" the atmosphere becomes more haunting, with the vocals becoming even more tormented and heartbroken, as on "Yet". Next is "Torment", a dynamic track that surely stands out of its more rock orientated style. Then on "Mind Interval", Lupe delivers a small vocal symphonic piece showcasing his operatic vocals. This then continues into "The Crown", the most rock opera track of the album. While on "Last Dance" the strings take on a more prominent role. Last is the album’s title track "Dark Room", a ballad that sums up all his neoclassical, art rock and darkwave influences.

 The album was solely written, produced and performed by Michalis Latousakis himself, with the mastering done by Ilias Doumpakis. Apart from the digital release, the album comes as a limited-edition compact disc in a digipack case, with artwork made by George Kastanakis.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The Greek dark ambient / industrial act Conjecture has returned with the new album Hydra". Here on his fifth album, first for the Zoharum label, Vasilis Angelopoulos (also an avant-garde visual artist) pays homage to Greek mythology. Every track and the album itself, is titled after more or lesser known mythic creatures and tells its own story. Thus, leading the listeners imagination to visualize these tales with the music serving as a soundtrack. All these creatures are also constellations in the universe with these names. A second common denominator is that most siblings are from the same mother. Another commonality we will see is that Hercules killed them. In art, these monsters are often used symbolically to show something terrifying or something scientific, such as a virus or some extreme political ideology.

 First up is the title track "Hydra", named after the serpentine water monster, killed by Hercules according to Greek mythology. A mysterious atmosphere is built here that gradually builds up forming an ambient ritualistic piece of music with industrial and cinematic flairs. Like on the entire album, delicate textures of sound are woven together masterfully creating an otherworldly soundscape. The next track "Cerberus", the name of a multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving, is another dark track with a nocturnal and adventurous feel to it. One that would make this an excellent soundtrack to a related story themed video game. The dronelike "Chimera" that follows, has a more frightful mood, as the creature it is named after. A fire-breathing female monster resembling a lion in the forepart, a goat in the middle, and a dragon behind. Here the soft soundscapes are interrupted by telephone beeps and industrial percussion. Next is "Ladon", the serpent-like dragon that twined and twisted around the tree in the Garden of the Hesperides and guarded the golden apples. Another creature that was killed with a bow and arrow by Heracles. Here musically the dark ambience is chilling, where the soft sonic droning is only escorted by intermediate hissing and thumping sounds.

 The tension starts to build even more on "Atlas", the Titan condemned to hold up the celestial heavens or sky for eternity. On this track, which could easily be credited as the album’s standout, a beat is incorporated into the piece, with the metallic breaks highlighting the rhythm, creating a hypnotic kind of mantra with its industrial percussion. While on "Orthrus", the two-headed dog that guarded Geryon's cattle and was also killed by Heracles, continues in the same vein but here Vasilis also adds some machinery sounds in the mix. Same on "Centaur", another creature from Greek mythology which has the upper body of a human and the lower body and legs of a horse, but here a synth melodic theme runs through it making it one of the most memorable tracks on the album. Where ancient myth and post apocalyptic industrial elements are combined, forming a solid piece of work that serves the general concept. For the first time we hear some distorted vocals on "Greae", who were the three sisters who shared one eye and one tooth among them. The last track "Cycnus", a bloodthirsty and cruel man who killed all of his guests until he was slain by Heracles, is a soothing ambient piece that features also Kostas Papadimitriou on trumpet, giving this amazing album the closure, it deserves.

 The CD edition of 300 copies comes in 6 panel digipack with the artwork photography and layout provided by Vaia Pilafa, of the installation sculpture "Hydra" by Vasilis Angelopoulos.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The Legendary post-punk / goth band Sex Gang Children have returned with a new album, "OLIGARCH", released officially digitally on the 24th of April 2021, with the CD format released on their own Liberation London label. This is the bands first offering since their 2013 album "Viva Vigilante!". On this recording, founder and frontman Andi Sex Gang is joined by original drummer Rob Stroud, John Rigby (bass), and Jerome Alexandre (guitar). According to the bands manifesto, Oligarch is where the ghosts of Orwell and Huxley come together in this dark vision of our dystopian world. True to their uncompromising style and spirit, Sex Gang Children have released an album providing an audio foray into the dark times thrust upon us. “Take a break from the nanny state. Be on the outside looking in. Lopsided global monopolies and top-heavy capitalist philosophies do not make sense. Voice a challenge to those that would keep you down. Battle the spectre of our times - the Oligarch”. The powerful cover photo is work of photographer/artist Bari Goddard.

 First track is "Dead Peasants", a dark piece featuring Andi’s dark poetry with a spoken word approach, giving it a creepy and sinister feel. Next is "Cannibal Lives", a largely guitar piece, containing some really great vintage guitar styles reminiscent of very early post-punk. Things start to kick in on "Masquerade" with the drums taking a more rhythmic tempo, with the razor-sharp guitar riffs spilling throughout. In the same vein we have "Bang!" a great example of their original post-punk style, so very authentic sounding. The only difference to their early dynamic works is the more subtle drumming compared to tribal thumping from that era. Something that makes the tracks sound fresher and more modern. The atmospheric "Seraphim Fall" flows gracefully over a melodic but hypnotic bassline.

 As they usually do on all their releases, "Asia Divine" has that eastern element joint together with glam rock. While on "Puritan Now", things couldn’t get more post-punk, but with a darker more claustrophobic vibe. In similar style we have "The Gorgon & The Sow", a song that thumps and stabs, giving it a nocturnal feel. Then we have a change in scenery with the acoustic "Berlin Kiss". A song that was known to me, since it has been played live for many years now. "Death Mask Mussolini" that follows, was the first single from the album and is a killer track! An instant danceable classic! It is a remake, originally recorded by Dirty Roseanne (an Andi and Piero Balleggi collaboration) back in 2009 and then also with a different version on Andi’s 2011 solo album "The Devil's Cabaret". The album ends with "Barbarossa Revisited", originally on their third 1993 album "Medea". Here they have transformed it completely, a much slower take, making it sound more like a cursed southern blues song, something you would expect to hear from The Birthday Party, but with Andi’s characteristic voice and storytelling singing style. The whole album is grower, the more you listen to it the more it gets addictive.

 The CD version also features 3 bonus tracks. You will find three different remixes of the single "Death Mask Mussolini". The "Cutter & Bone - Dominic Hawken Remix", "MIlitia Babe - Kitty Lectro Remix" and "Mouth Of Hell - MGT Remix" by guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite (The Mission, Peter Murphy).

 

Review by Nick Drivas

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Paradox Obscur is a dark electronic duo from Athens Greece. They formed in January 2014 by Toxic Razor and Kriistal Ann in order to step into a more minimal direction than their previous projects. They have released four full length albums and five Eps and they have just signed their collaboration with Metropolis Records, and on March 12 they released their latest album “Singles and Rarities”, a collection and not a studio album of 12 individual songs they had written throughout their existence.  The band experimented on dark wave, cold wave, synth pop and minimal tunes.

I really like this album, the old school synthesizers, the drum machines, the cold and other times passionate vocals remind us of the 80’s atmosphere.

The album begins with the “Existence” with 80’s synth pop electronic elements and Toxic Razor on vocals and continues with “Visions” with a more minimal approach and Kriistal Ann on vocals.

“Do you really want to go there in the darkness and crowds?” the third song “Boulevard Voltaire” is one of my favorites of this album, both artists sing, Kriistal Ann whispers "Je t'aime mon coeur " a desperate cry of love and hurt.  On “Fatal” there is a bit more electro direction due to the music and on “Tranquil” we enjoy again both artists on vocals and more cold wave vibes. I loved the “Tale” a more nostalgic, romantic and also “cold” song speaking about the past. Here the vocals are more dramatic, the yodeling surprised me but I also liked it a lot and that proves Kriistal’s Ann voice skills, the dark synth melodies sounds perfectly over the rhythm. “Perpetual” reminds the first steps of EBM music and the “Resurgence” drives us again in emotional and dark roads, “Everything inside Burning in your mind”. “Superbia”, “Punished wisdom” and especially “Entropy” made me want to dance for hours and the last song of the compilation “Throbbing Gallows” is the darkest song of the album “As your heaven cries Far beyond the light”…..

I strictly recommend it to the fans of this genre.


Review by Christine L

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The Greek darkwave duo Grey Gallows, having spent almost a year during the pandemic producing their latest material, has just released their new album "Garden Of Lies". This time they have joined forces with the German label Cold Transmission Music, in order to release their brand new third album. Since 2017 when they first appeared with their self produced debut "Beyond Reflection", they have made a name for themselves with every new release and live appearance. Their sound has evolved since then and as we can see and hear on the new album, their collaboration with sound designer Nick (TheMute) Chalntoupis, has brought out the best of their dark 80s and 90s sound.

 First up is the album title track "Garden Of Lies", a dark gothy addictive tune that shows how the band has evolved production wise. On "Love Moan" that follows in the same vein, the brooding bass haunts all the backbone of the track. Like on all tracks, Konstantin’s deep vocals set the emotional tone of the songs. This is evident on "The Fall" where his singing matches perfectly with his synths and Dionisi’s nice atmospheric guitar work. The same could be said for the slower "At The Crack Of The Dawn", a majestic dark song that really stands out. The next track "Dissociation" features Cleopatra Kaido, singer and front woman of the dark electro band Meat Injection. Her voice here blends perfectly with the band’s sound bringing in a different element, that of female sensibility. Things return back to normal with "Don't Bring Flowers", with Konstantin’s classic vocal, cold synths and Dionisi’s dark basslines and melodic new wave guitars. Things get more electronic on "Cold Hearts", that is more synth-pop but still dark and romantic. Then on "Grey Is Our Colour" the beat drops and the duo delivers an epic dark atmospheric track that has some very nice eastern elements. As in all the songs, their lyrics deal with the pain of human existence, as it can be seen through love, life and death. They themselves say “Grey is the color of life, for all things that die…’’. Their matured songwriting and great production, as on the whole album, is also showcased on darkwave track "Peels Of Time". The last track "All Men", an instrumental with only a sampled voice at the beginning, shows the band experimenting more their dark electronics.

 The album already comes as a compact disc in 6-panel digipack, including 8-pages booklet. Pre-orders have begun for the limited edition 12" violet transparent and black vinyl that will include a lyrics sheet. Shipping for the vinyl formats will start approximately in mid May 2021. The cover photo is by Marilia Fotopoulou with the artwork done by Infrared Media. Ending this review, I will like to say that for all darkwave and goth fans, this album is a real treat.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

 

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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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