Μπαλάντες Για Φόνους (Ballads For Murders) are a relative new Greek post-punk band that formed in 2015. In June 2019 their debut album "Εκείνη Έρχεται Μέσα Απ'τις Στάχτες" was released on vinyl by B-otherside records, limited to 300 copies. Although they are a new band, its members used to play previously in the bands Grain and Διάφανα Κρίνα. For the front cover they have chosen a still from the movie Ivan's Childhood (1962) by Andrei Tarkovsky.

The album stats with the nine-minute song "Ξόδι", a fine example to introduce us to their sound. This isn’t the typical punk-punk we usually get. The band here blends nicely the melodic touch of bands like and Also The Trees with the dark emotional gravity of early Bad Seeds. Second track is the title track "Εκείνη έρχεται μέσα απ'τις στάχτες" one of the album’s standouts. On "Πώς με κοιτάζει έτσι το φεγγάρι", another long track, the five-piece band showcases how well they have jelled together delivering delicate but powerful at the same time melodic atmospheres. A macabre waltz like "Άρρωστο βαλς" follows. One of the songs that isn’t on the vinyl edition but only on the digital download.

On side B of the vinyl we have "Ορυχείο" another album standout. Their singer Zafiris Maranos has a very expressive voice. A voice passionate, painful and full of melancholy. He delivers his lyrics, which are very poetic, in a persuasive way. On "Τα πλάσματα που ζουν απ'το χαμό μου" that follows, we have the rockier track of the album. Likewise, "Το φάντασμα του αγοριού στο κελάρι" retains the tempo. Another track that’s only on the digital version, "Γαμημένη κόλαση", could be considered of their best tracks. It’s a shame it was left out of the vinyl edition. A double vinyl would have been appropriate but surely this would have been very costly. The album closes with "Ένας κόσμος ανάποδα", a more alternative rock track, with a thumping rhythm section and aggressive guitar riffs. Overall a great debut by a guitar driven band with personality that isn’t easy to find these days.

Review by Nick Drivas

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British singer-songwriter Paul Roland, has remained a cherished figure on the goth and psychedelic pop periphery for 40 years, spinning musical tales of Victorian villains, eccentric Edwardian inventors and the supernatural against a backdrop of gothic rock, psych pop and dark folk, since 1979. This year he returns with "1313 Mockingbird Lane" his 20th album, released by Italian label Dark Companion. His last album was "White Zombie", released in 2016.

The album contains 13 tracks with the name of the album being taken from the cult 60s television show The Munsters, which was the address of the mansion where the family lived. The opening track, "Salon of the Senses", is a great example of Roland’s songwriting, a dreamy calm psychedelic piece. Where on "My Next Life" we have a quirkier Sixties pop with xylophones and trippy guitars. Paul’s characteristic voice is in great form, still able to captivate the listener to his storytelling. After the rhythmic "When Chet Baker Sings" with its nice acoustic guitar strumming and xylophone work, things speed up on "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" where we have the garage punk moment of the album. The trip to the Sixties continues with "She’s A Mind-Reader" while with the rockier "Voodoo Man" the electric guitar comes to play bringing a more rhythm & blues feel.

Roland returns to his acoustic guitar for "Joe Strummer Said", a nice song tribute to the late Joe Strummer of the legendary punk band The Clash. On the stripped down "Another Ingmar Bergman Interlude" we only have Paul’s subtle vocals and his lush acoustic guitar playing. He returns to his quirky Sixties pop on Little White Lies" and "Won’t Go Surfin’ No More" which is also enhanced with Hammond organ. On "She’s My Guru" and "Summer Of Love" we have more acoustic tracks which have some folk elements. The album closes with "1313 Mocking Bird Lane", which after a fairly long drum intro, burst into a 60’s garage songs with a great groove, winking an eye to the cult television show from which it is inspired.

Roland has a unique gift for song writing unlike anyone else. His highly literate lyrics, often macabre themes and strong melodic gift has attracted an increasingly large and loyal cult following while his proudly independent ethos has ensured he has remained a cherished niche artist. With "1313 Mockingbird Lane" he manages to deliver once again a lively great piece of work which sits nicely with the rest of his long discography.

Review by Nick Drivas.

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This year, Ejekt Festival celebrated its 15 years. To commemorate the event, they managed to get The Cure on the bill, something that was to make the festival a success. It proved to be to largest outdoor summer festival in Athens for 2019. The lineup had a bit of everything. The opening act was the Greek band The Steams, that I missed. Then came Khruangbin, a US band from Houston, Texas. The trio played their rock/funk tracks like "People Everywhere" that are widely known since they have a lot of airplay. They were followed by Ride and them by Michael Kiwanuka, the British soul/folk musician known for the song "Cold Little Heart" that was used for the television series Big Little Lies. He also performed other of his known songs like "One More Night", "Black Man In A White World", "Home Again" and "Love & Hate".

The indie/shoegaze band Ride gave a great performance despite playing in daylight. They started with their new single "Future Love" and then they delivered older classics like "Seagull", "Dreams Burn Down", "Leave Them All Behind", "Taste" "Vapour Trail" that Andy Bell sung, and "Drive Blind", sending shivers down our spines, taking us back to the early 90s. Mark Gardener was in cheerful mood, who with the others they delivered a nice set of old and newer songs like "Lannoy Point" and "Charm Assault" from the 2017 album "Weather Diaries". The ended with a new track "Kill Switch" from their forthcoming new album.

As the stage was being prepared for The Cure, it was nice hearing the track "Sea Borne" from Dead Can Dance’s latest album "Dionysus" played through the speakers.

Headliners, The Cure, played a set that was more focused on the albums "The Head On The Door" and "Disintegration", but also playing something from almost all their albums, leaving out something from "Pornography" unfortunately. They began with "Plainsong", a really great choice for opening a Cure concert. From the first sounds of the chimes at the intro we knew which of the two setlist they would play. Robert Smith, on an illuminated stage of blue light, was standing at the edge staring at the crowd before he took to the microphone to sing. Then "Pictures Of You", "High", "Just One Kiss" (one of my standout from the performance), "Lovesong" and "Last Dance" followed. The band, with Simon Gallup on bass, Roger O’Donnell on keyboards, Jason Cooper on drums and Reeves Gabrels on guitar, was in great shape and played flawless throughout the set. The song selection, although safe picks, kept on coming with favorites like "Burn", "Fascination Street", "Never Enough", "Push", "In Between Days", "Just Like Heaven" and "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea". Another memorable moment was with "Shake Dog Shake" that was delivered in a very dynamic way. Then "A Night Like", "Play For Today", "A Forest", "Primary", "Want" and a powerful take of "39" followed with "Disintegration" ending the main set.

For the encore, they played all the crowd pleaser pop songs like "Lullaby", "The Caterpillar", "The Walk", "Friday I'm In Love" that was received with the most enthusiasm from the audience. On "Close To Me" and "Why Can't I Be You?" Smith, who seemed full of energy and in great spirits that night left his guitar and moved around the stage with only his microphone. They ended their two-and-a-half-hour show with "Boys Don't Cry". Right after the concert finished, fireworks lite the sky, for the celebration of the 15-years of the Ejekt Festival, leaving the crowd with a spectacular sight.

Review + photos by Nick Drivas

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Das Noir is a new dark project from Athens created in 2019 by Nick Drivas, member also of the ethereal wave band The Moon In June. With his solo project Das Noir, he has a more experimental approach, using many samples taken from movies and music. This gives a more minimal and cinematic feel to his music. Samples used, as we see credited on the booklet, range from bands like Bauhaus, The Cure, Xmal Deutschland, Dalis Car, Dead Can Dance, Death In June, The Sisters Of Mercy, This Mortal Coil, and Lycia to name a few. An interesting pick of which many can not be easily identified in their new form.

The album begins with "Forbidden" which after a short intro of a dialogue from the film Fahrenheit 451, the track bursts with the thumping of the monotonous drums and a haunting piano. Somewhere in the mix we hear the voice of David Bowie too, amongst some medieval choir. On "Corrupt To The Core" that follows, we have a more atmospheric piece, with evident the use of samples from This Mortal Coil. The dialogues used from the movie 1984 are compelling. Next is the creepy track "In The Dark", inspired by the 1962 American horror film Carnival Of Souls. "Cured" that follows is a tribute to The Cure, where all the samples are taken from various songs from the Cure’s catalogue. For the use of vocals, the voice of Robert Smith has been taken from an interview.

Further down we find "Alas, How Many Thousands Lie There Bleeding!" a slow drone like track about the Great War with dialogues taken from the classic war movie All Quiet On The Western Front. Next is "Truth" a more intense track with the rhythm enhanced with metal noises and breaking glass. Parts of Molly Ringwald’s voice from the 80’s movie Pretty In Pink are carefully chosen giving a very emotional result. On "Remember", Nick also plays bass and guitar on top of samples taken from Death In June. Here we have a more glamorous choice of vocals with those of Marlene Dietrich and Bette Davies from the movies Just A Gigolo and All About Eve. The album closes with "B-city", a song about the turbulent history of the city of Berlin. Here Nick plays bass, guitar, keyboards and sings also. The result is that of a minimal post-punk coldwave track, like those found on obscure cassette compilations in the early 80’s.

Review: Rise&Fall

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Kalte Nacht is a dark synth, minimal wave duo from Athens that first appeared in 2018. The bands members are Nikos Konstandinidis (synthesizers, drum machine, bass) and Myrto Stylou (vocals). Until now, they have only participated in two compilations, one being Die Seele’s "Stimmen Der Seele Vol.3" with the track "Voices In Silence" and recently they uploaded a video for the new track "Ghost Dance".

Your name, Kalte Nacht (Cold Night), reflects very nicely with your music. Was your idea always along the lines of being a minimal synth, coldwave project?

Nikos: First of all, we would like to thank Die Seele for the invitation and generally for the support not only to us, but also to the local underground scene!
[Myrto: It is more than important for new artists to feel welcomed and that they have an open space to flourish and share their ideas.]
Our band name came out of the overall feeling that's reflected in the music we play, as you mentioned.
[Myrto: We actually talk about cold feelings, in a cold way, for cold nights.]
[Nikos: The truth is that I never really had in my mind a genre for our music into specific terms, that is why it is kind of hard for me to describe it, since personally my influences are so many bands and artists that have several different elements between them. Definitely though, the primary idea was to create a project where these synth, coldwave, darkwave elements would be present as a base].
By hearing your music, one can easily see that you have a soft spot for 80s underground sounds. What drew you to this kind of music in the first place? Any band/artist that influenced you towards this direction.

Nikos: Looking backwards at the past, I remember that I always enjoyed the sounds and styles of music that were created mostly in the 80s. This may have been somehow random though, since I firstly listened to the music, without much of an interest as to where it came from. After the first listening, and of course continuing to look around even more, I realized that these sounds were created in a big extend during that period. The influences are so many and so different, I cannot mention them all! The first significant though, were bands like Joy Division, The Cure, Bauhaus, Chameleons etc. After came the 80s Greek music scene as well. Bands like Alive She Died, Film Noir, Metro Decay, Libido Blume, In Trance 95 etc. Some more from the latest local and foreign scene: Human Puppets, Doric, Selofan, Lebanon Hanover etc.
Myrto: I have to say that I was always fascinated by the underground sounds that emerged in the 80s, these dynamic low synth lines and the haunting drumbeats, I believe carry a silent rebellion in them. Not to mention the punk experimentation that accompanied them on the total deconstruction of vocals, being something more of an internal expression-dialogue. And if you think about it the 90s music era that we grew up, had some echoes left from the 80s, or at least they were still present in a way. Nikos is more dedicated – if I can use this term- to these genres and I am glad that he brought me back to this world, because I am always wandering around all kinds of music genres both in song writing and performing. So, it's my point of view as well, that music doesn't need to have boundaries because it is an actual expression from the inside. In Kalte Nacht, I think we combined our love for the 80s sound and still are discovering our place in it, on our terms.

You first started out with Nikos as sole member. What made you become a duo with the addition of Myrto Stylou on vocals?

Nikos: When I started creating the project, I didn't have at all the idea of creating a band. I simply started trying to create the music I like, without knowing where this could lead. After a very short period of time and performing only once as a solo project, I started thinking that I would like to focus more on the instruments and not on the vocals. Apart from that, I always enjoyed so much female voices. So, somehow like that we met up with Myrto and worked on some material. We really enjoyed the result, so we continued as a band and this is how the project took the form it has today.
Myrto: I have to say here, that when we first started experimenting with Nikos, we both had no idea what would turn out, as we have never worked together before. But now, having both similar aesthetics and the excitement of further exploring this primary idea, I believe we have a long road ahead of us. On top of that, it’s more than interesting and challenging for me to deconstruct the idea of female vocals.

When playing live you use analogue equipment. In an age where computers can make things much easier, we see many acts playing with laptops, you chose the route of oldschool analogue. Is it the sound this type of equipment makes that makes you use it or also the challenge of performing live and not only with pre recordings?

Nikos: I can say both. Obviously in our times the digital sound is much more evolved and it offers an increased convenience by all means. I personally do not get into comparing or analyzing, this is clearly an individual’s or band’s choice. For me the idea of natural instruments and analog sound was and still is the most attractive. On top of that, I have no knowledge in the digital sound field! The analog sound offers the sense of reality, by having direct and physical contact, not only when writing music, but also when performing live.
Myrto: I agree that nothing really compares to the feel of playing something with your hands and soul, touching every key or string, transferring your vibe each second of it. The digital sound has indeed so much to offer, but the idea of being able to bring to a live stage the initial feeling you had when writing a song and the sense you want to share right at the moment, I think will never lose their uniqueness.

You have performed live a few times until now. What is it like for you being up on stage presenting your music?

Nikos: It is a very beautiful emotion because you are given the chance to share your feelings. Overall for me, being able to share is of outmost importance.
Myrto: The awkward first minutes where you feel utterly exposed and small on a stage that transform so fast through music to a mutual platform with everyone present, is something that I personally live for. The energy created by our need to express and the openness of the audience to receive, is every time so strong and precious.

Recently you uploaded a video for the new track "Ghost Dance", the first with Myrto on vocals, but also the first to feature bass expanding your sound even further. Shall we be expecting more changes, additions or variety in the future? Do you think your still finding your sound or do you think that the experimentation doesn’t ever stop?

Nikos: The addition of the bass is something that exists a long time now in many of our songs which haven’t yet reached the public. Therefore, I don’t really see it as a change, but as something that is happening either way. Apart from this, we are and always will be searching for our sound, trying to evolve by adding new elements.

Having played live and having released some of your material online, what is the feedback you have had until now? Do you feel there is a scene out there and an audience that will follow?

Nikos: In general, there is a great feedback so far and I am very happy for this. I believe that there is a scene and audience that dedicates time and love for this kind of music. People create bands, they are attending live performances, listen and play music, they are on the move in all ways.
Myrto: The feedback is actually amazing and of course it motivates us even more. I agree that there is a particular scene that existed but is also very present at the moment, with a dedicated and knowledgeable audience worldwide. I personally feel that this kind of audience is ready to embrace something new or even just be open to our sound.

We gather that you are working on finishing your first full length album. What can you tell us about this and when do you think it will be complete and released?

Nikos: Indeed, this period of time we are in the process of completing the recordings for our first album. It is a process that is taking us more than we initially anticipated, but that isn’t something that makes us rush it out, as we both want to feel content with the final outcome. If everything goes according to our plan, I believe that the album will be ready late 2019 or at the beginning of 2020. In the meantime, we are already arranging more live performances. Once again, we thank you so much for this chance and interview! Meet you when the sun falls!

Photos: Panos Dedepsidis

Interview by Nick Drivas
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Dead Can Dance finished their European "A Celebration - Life & Works 1980-2019 Tour" in Athens Greece, performing live at the ancient theatre Odeon Herodes Atticus under the Acropolis. Despite the heatwave, the setting was perfect, the hot evening was eventually cooler than expected and the crowd that sold out the concert was in joyful mood.

Dead Can Dance took to the stage at exactly 9:20 as scheduled. Lisa Gerrard, dressed in an impressive long white gown, and Brendan Perry were backed by six more musicians, one being Brendan’s brother, Robert Perry. They started in the best of ways with "Anywhere Out of the World" the opener from the 1987 album "Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun". They continued with "Mesmerism", "Labour of Love" and one of my favorites "Avatar". The setlist for this tour in general was a fans dream, with Lisa and Branden taking turns on vocals. On "In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated", Brendan’s voice was captivating and majestic, sounding even better than the studio recordings. Then they played "Bylar" and "Xavier", after which all left the stage except Lisa and Robert who stayed to perform the thrilling "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" on which Lisa’s voice gave us shivers down our spines. Straight after we were once again mesmerized by Lisa’s heavenly vocals with "Sanvean". Their performance continued with "Indoctrination (A Design for Living) " the spiritual "Yulunga (Spirit Dance)", "The Carnival Is Over", the otherworldly "The Host of Seraphim", "Amnesia" and the Deleyaman cover "Autumn Sun", the only track where we heard Lisa sing in a conventional way. They ended their set with a powerful ritualistic take of "Dance of the Bacchantes", the only track from their latest album "Dionysus".

For the first encore, Brendan delivered us a great version of the Tim Buckley song "Song to the Siren" followed by one of their most loved songs "Cantara". After an enthusiastic applause from the filled theater they returned for a second captivating encore with the songs "The Promised Womb" and "Severance". The whole band returned to the stage and bowed before the audience who showed their appreciation for the magical night and unique experience, applauding franticly.

Review + photos by Nick Drivas.

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Alien Creation is a new electronic, gothic, industrial project from percussionist Chris Clark based in London. Chris Clark is known for being the drummer of the 90’s gothic rock act Nosferatu. He is also involved in the new reincarnation of The Nosferatu who are making a new start this autumn. Alien Creation have also performed live with additional members on live bass and guitar. The EP "Unique Lab Accidents" is his first self-release which includes six tracks.

The EP starts off with "Alien Prototype". A catchy dance track with a dynamic beat, with thumping powerful basslines and waves of electronic sonic sounds. "Fighting The Future Demons" that follows is a darker track, while "Terminal Distortion" is a much faster track with break beats and distorted vocals. On "Into The Dark" we have a thump of a more monotonous techno beat with the vocals retaining their industrial roughness. With "Alien Machines" the stumping beat continues but here with o more gothic vibe. The EP closes with "Into The Dark (No Regret Mix)", here with a more playful mix exploring the unlimited possibilities of programming.

With this release Chris Clark showcases his infectious dance tracks that probe deeply into the senses with the ‘power of the bass drum’ his signature driving force behind his unique sound. The act describes it sound like IAMX meets The Prodigy mixed with a dash of Combichrist and Orgy. By listening to the tracks here, they brought to mind Alien Sex Fiend’s 1994 album "Inferno" that was their most sci-fi, space orientated work.

Review by Nick Drivas.

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The London-based synth-pop/dark wave project Linea Aspera was founded in 2011 and disbanded in 2013. The group formed by Ryan Ambridge (synths/programming) and Alison Lewis (vocals/synths) became a favorite act during their day and even became popular after its split. Alison Lewis (aka Zoé Zanias) continued later in the act Keluar and now solo as Zanias.

The label Dark Entries, that had released their self-titled debut in 2012, is now releasing "Preservation Bias", a compilation of lost songs and rarities. The "Preservation Bias" LP features all three songs from the limited "II" tour cassette EP (later on vinyl reissue on Weyrd Son Records in 2013), four songs from the 2012 self-titled limited cassette EP and the song "Attica" from the Desire Records 2013 compilation "And You Will Find Them In The Basement".

Linea Aspera's sound includes clear influences from 1980s electronic body music, synth-pop, industrial and noise. For all these recordings Ryan utilizes an analog synthesizer set up, using Roland SH-09, Roland Juno 6, Vermona DRM MKiii, Korg Poly 800 and Analogue Solutions Semblance. All appropriate for making their minimal synth tunes with light touches to EBM and a cold wave feel. Lyrically the band evolves around romantic themes of desire, despair and renewal, with the voice of Alison Lewis sounding bittersweet, captivating, sensual and icy.

The LP starts with "Preservation Bias (K7 Version)" a great synth driven track with Alison’s voice sounding so captivating and atmospheric. While with "Attica" the beat stats to kick in, making it the more EBM moment of the album. On "Kinabalu" and "Detachment" things become more oldschool minimal. On the second side we get the synth-pop track "Antipodean Tedium", with its 80s and bleak mood, followed by the more upbeat "Syncretism". With "Royal Straight" we have a really good instrumental track that’s sound more experimental. The album closes with "Vultures", another great example of this band’s songwriting with their trademark 80s synths over a dynamic monotonous rhythm topped with Aliso’s lovely voice.

For this release, all songs have been mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Each LP is housed in jacket designed by Niall Greaves and includes a double-sided insert with lyrics.

Review by Nick Drivas

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It was 6 years ago that the Brooklyn, New York electro-goth duo Light Asylum last performed in Athens. Last Saturday we had the opportunity to see them live once again at club Death Disco, but this time singer/frontwoman Shannon Funchess performed alone without Bruno Coviello. Despite being alone on stage Shannon manage to fill the stage with her dynamic persona. 

She began her live set with the song "Hour Fortress" from their 2012 debut album, a good example of Light Asylum’s dark electro style. Shannon captivated us immediately with her strong deep voice. Her appearance was dark urban style, wearing a leather cap, shorts and leather wedge sole boots, dancing in the dark with a flashlight. She continued delivering her dynamic electronic beats with tracks like "Pope Will Roll", "IPC" (on which she stepped down from the stage and continued singing amongst the crowd) and "Skull Fuct" from the 2010 "In Tension Tour E.P.".
In her hour log set Shannon, full of energy, kept delivering her dark synth techno tunes like "End Of Days" with her totally unique sounding voice. For the end she played us her ultimate club dancefloor mega-hit "Dark Allies". Here things climaxed with the crowd going wild, dancing and jumping in the air, while Shannon stepped into the crowd again singing and moving with her characteristic style. For the finale she sung us a new song, leaving her fans cheering with appreciation.

Review + photos by Nick Drivas

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Lycia, the darkwave atmospheric band formed in 1988 by Mike VanPortfleet that has changed the landscape of modern darkwave, returned with the new album "In Flickers" three years after the previous "A Line That Connects". Having released 11 stunning full-length studio albums they returned to Projekt records for the 4th release of their second era. The current lineup that also performed on the album is Mike VanPortfleet (vocals, guitars, synth & drum programs), David Galas (bass, synth & drum programs), Tara Vanflower (vocals) and John Fair (synth & drum programs).

From the very first track, the homonymous "In Flickers" we are reminded of Lycia’s captivating music and why we have loved them all these years. We are introduced to their melancholic, cold and desolate sound that has coexisted with as all this time. Emotionally charged as ever, with Mike’s deep vocal and guitars drenched in reverb and Tara’s vocals following are just magical and captivating. Next, with "A Failure", we are introduced to a new more electronic sound. A rhythmic piece that initially seems different to anything they have ever done before. But as the track progresses, we just get to see how this is so them. Its great to see band trying out new things, sounds and direction, but still retaining their character. On "The Path", we have a nice haunting track that features a great mix of the drums and ethereal voices. Things get more acoustic with "She" with the strumming acoustic guitar, while on "25 Years" they get darker and more desolate.

The second side begins with "Mist", another track with a more electronic beat, yet again, another fine example of dreamy vocals and layers of distorted guitars. "34 Palms" is a dreamlike piece that has a more psychedelic feel, whereas with "Rewrite" we have the “heaviest” sounding track, with its stumping drums and distorted buzzing wall of guitars. With the next track, "Late Night Solitude", things fall quiet again, an almost ambient night piece with drones and the trademark monotonous drum beat in the distant background. The album closes with "Autumn Into Winter", a lovely track that sums up a brilliant listen. Here, the band has experimented more with the guitars and synths and as a supporter of theirs commented, its “As warm as the warm rays of the sun over the cold cloudy sky”.

With this album, Lycia have made a real meditative masterpiece that captures the band at is best. The ten tracks are intriguing, pushing the Lycia sound forward while retaining the familiar vibe that has existed since the beginning. The music in general is gloomy as the lyrics themselves but with some psychedelic moments, making it a touch more interesting and as always, we have those adorable soothing vocals.

Review by Nick Drivas

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The legendary post-punk/goth band Sex Gang Children have re-released "Re-Enter The Abyss (The 1985 Remixes)" on their own label Liberation London. This limited edition has new cover artwork by Lara Gaudio and is pressed on collectible red vinyl. The album is a collection of tracks remixed by Baz Voce and originally released in 1985. Songs here were remixed for sonic quality only and are not dance remixes. The tracklist features tracks from the bands early period. We find two tracks from their first EP "Beasts", a few from their seminal debut album "Song And Legend" (which the band recently played live in its entirely during their May 2019 UK tour "Electric Jezebel") and tracks from their first singles, a-sides and b-sides.

On the first side of the record, we find "State Of Mind", "Killer K", "Shout And Scream", the classic "Sebastiane" and "Beasts". It is evident from the first listen that the mixes do give justice to the original versions, having a clearer sound, reducing especially the harsh guitars and bringing to the foreground the magnificent rhythm section. On the second side of the lavish red vinyl disc we first get "Into The Abyss (Extended Version)", here as a much longer version compared to the original single version. Next up we have the all-time favorite crowd pleaser "Deiche", "Times Of Our Lives" ending with a nice instrumental version of "Draconian Dream (Instrumental)", a more atmospheric mix that has jazzy piano added to it, making sound like the appropriate soundtrack for some dim illuminated bar. Although the tracks here are remixed, they still retain the raw energy and commitment of punk rock with the dark theatrics of goth, as the original takes.

Review by Nick Drivas

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Incirrina is a Greek duo project founded in September 2017 by George Katsanos (synthesizers, samples, drum machine, vocals) and Irini Tini (synthesizers, vocals). Their music combines elements of dark/minimal wave, electronic, ambient and experimental sounds. They have been inspired by William Blake and they have musically arranged a selection of his poems. Their first digital album "8.15" was released in December 2018.

By seeking the meaning of your name Incirrina, I found out it is suborder of the order Octopoda. A fascinating name choice, full of mystic. How did the name come about and what did you have in mind for the group?

Irini: First of all, we would like to thank you Nick and DIE SEELE for this interview!
Well, the group’s name history is that: when we first started to play together as a synth duo in the autumn of 2017, we wanted to find a name that would depict our love for synthesizers, or something that would “fit” to our style of music, but we could not find something appropriate that didn’t exist already. Then we thought of searching in the field of marine life, as we are both fascinated by dolphins, whales, strange sea plants and animals of the ocean’s mystery world…so we came upon “Incirrina” which is, as you said, a kind of octopus. This strange-looking creature, with its unique behavior and its moving agility, is known to be symbolic of grace and flexibility (something we all musicians need, as far as fingers are concerned!) also of logic and intelligence. We had in mind that we would be inspired by such a symbol and that we would do our best to express our deeper thoughts, emotions and musical ideas through our music.

Your music is described as electronic/new wave/minimal synth, genres that originated in the 80s. How would you describe your music?

George: The music of this decade is deep in our hearts and minds. We both grew up listening to bands like The Cure, Joy Division, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees – just to name a few of them -also Jean -Michel Jarre -whose electronic compositions were a great inspiration for us at that time - Nina Hagen, Japan, Tuxedomoon… We would describe our music as “electronic” and “minimal” because we use exclusively electronic instruments (mostly analogue synthesizers and drum machines of the 1970s and 1980s) and our songs have minimal musical structures, short repetitive patterns, plus monophonic melodic lines. Although musical terms and genres sometimes are not quite “appropriate” for all of the songs or pieces a group creates, the general aesthetic of our music is better described as “new wave”, with some elements of darkwave also (for example the use of minor keys and introspective lyrics based on William Blake’s great poetry).

Like many acts that follow the minimal synth direction you are a duo. Do you feel constraint by being only two people in the band or is this a conscious choice? For example, the use of drum machine compared to a real drummer.

Irini: We think that, for electronic bands, two people is an ideal condition. For us, it happened naturally, as we can easily understand each other and we can rehearse and jam at any time; the one has an idea-a “riff” for example, or a harmonic sequence- and the other will add his/her own ideas, and then this  evolves and becomes a musical piece or song…What really matters is not the number of  a band’s members but the way they interact and they understand each other (as musicians and as personalities, of course). Being a duo has also the advantage of being flexible in rehearsals and concerts –and it is really practical, with electronic equipment we can rehearse at 3 o’clock in the morning without disturbing the neighbors! Also restrictions many times are helpful, because you are “obliged” to do your best with few materials (hands and instruments in our case).
 As far as drum machines are concerned, they cannot really be compared to a drummer, they belong to a different world, and of course a band’s sound is completely different when it uses a drum machine. It is not “better” or “worse”, it is just different. For us it was a conscious choice to use drum machines, as we both love their sound and this “mechanical” way of drumming (and George is really fond of drum programming) -but this does not mean that in the future, we will not play with a real drummer, if we feel the need to do so.

You use analogue equipment when playing live. What does is mean for you as an artist to use strictly analogue equipment? Is it true that when you want to make a specific sound you have to use the right equipment, something that cannot be produced by computers?

George: This is exactly the same thing as we discussed above about drum machines and real drummers: analogue and digital instruments are both marvelous, nothing is better than the other, so it is a matter of taste which equipment a musician uses. We prefer using analogue instruments, like Mini Moog and Korg MS10, synthesizers that were the sound-basis of many bands for decades. You can create wonderful sounds with them, either bass sounds or lead ones, it feels like you are “sculpturing” the sound with these instruments- although one of their characteristics is that they do not “save” the settings –alterations you make (once you turn the power off, then you have to make the sound from the beginning)-this, apart from being a “disadvantage” ,is also fascinating and challenging. So the answer is “yes”, the right equipment is very important in order to create the sound you have in mind.

Irini: On the other hand, the last months we have fallen in love with a digital synthesizer -a Yamaha reface DX (“descendant” of the historical Yamaha DX7 of the 80s) and we have started to use it; the technology of FM synthesis of this instrument is very nicely combined to our analogue instruments and has also the advantage of “saving” the sounds you create. Sometimes, with the analogue instruments, it is really difficult to have enough time to fix the appropriate sound for the next song during a live show (when recording, this does not matter), so the digital synths give you the freedom to be quick and accurate and this is something we cannot deny.
Computers are of course one of the most useful tools of our times and a musician can do extraordinary things with them…but one needs to have the appropriate knowledge, and we both are not acquainted with computers in music making… To be honest, we are “old-school” people and we want to have real buttons and keys to play, we are afraid of screens! Only once in my life I used a computer during a live show (10 years ago, when I was playing with another band) and in the 3d song…it stopped functioning…It was a disaster… of course this does not happen if you have a good computer and you know how to deal with it...but for me it was such a shock that I decided never to take this risk again!

We see from your visuals that you love black and white. Is it the atmosphere and nostalgia it brings out that attract you?

George: We really love black and white, as we also adore silent black and white movies. It is exactly what you said, this atmosphere and nostalgia that is brought out, attracts and inspires us. We have the chance to be friends with  a  talented  video artist and photographer, Gogo Galanopoulou, who has already made 2 clips of our songs (“A little Girl Lost” and “The Smile”) and we agree to this, that black and white aims to the essence and truth, it does not restrain the emotions and lets you free to feel and imagine… Nostalgia, dream-world, poetic atmosphere, the impulsion to run away from “reality”, the abstraction , the surrealistic and expressionistic way of perceiving things…also introversion and a kind of melancholia…all these are closely related to our inner-self  - and  using black and white in visuals is consistent with these emotions, also with the lyrics of our songs.

You have played live many songs that are not on your first digital album "8.15". Are these new songs that will be released in the future? Will we be having any physical release by the band?

Irini: Our first digital album is a 6-track album, so many of our songs that we play in live shows are not included there. At this moment we have finished the recordings for our first vinyl LP that will be released by Geheimnis Records in the autumn –and we are really very happy about that! This album will include 10 of the songs we have with lyrics based on poetry by William Blake, also an instrumental track (“8.15”, after which the whole album will be named, like the digital one). Apart from these, in live shows we also use to play 3-4 more songs with lyrics by Blake and 3 with lyrics of our own-but these will not be included in our first release.

The darkwave, minimal synth scene is still going strong after all these years. What is it do you think that makes the scene have a longevity? How do you see the scene here in Greece and in general?

Irini: The truth is that this scene has a longevity because it consists of significant bands that play really good music, with pulse and emotion, with respect to qualities such as finest sound and instrumentations, strong beats and taking riffs, meaningful lyrics, lack of “busy” instrumental solos and vocals that do not aim to “show off” the singing “abilities” of a performer but underline and express deepest emotions and the atmosphere of the music … It is also a scene that consists of people whose way of life and thinking is strongly connected to the way they perceive music and art in general, and this is really important. We are a small country and this scene is a minority in comparison to other musical genres here –and it has always been an underground scene, as it should be…because underground is where –at most cases- real and also revolutionary things are born and developed. Since the 80s the scene is evolving and I think we have great bands that are acknowledged here and abroad, and new bands that come up and this is really a comfort…to see that, in a rapidly changing world, some things do not change, some of the musical values, beliefs and loves we had as teenagers, are still alive…Perhaps this sounds “romantic”, but I think that this scene is alive due to this…dark secret love...

What are your future plans? Anything you would like to share with us?

George: Our plans include composing new songs and instrumental pieces, rehearsing, searching for new sounds and evolving our music. And after the release of our LP “8.15” we wish, of course, to do as more live shows as possible! We enjoy composing, jamming and rehearsing, but nothing can be compared to live playing and sharing music with other people…
We would like to thank you warmly for this interview and congratulate you Nick and “DIE SEELE” for the great work you do, it is very important that we all people of this scene/community keep supporting each other in all ways possible !

Photos : Gwgw Galanopoulou

Interview : Nick Drivas

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The Low Sun Festival was created by the Greek hard gothers Mosquito, with the aim of establishing it each year and hosting bands & Dj's of the general Goth/Darkwave sound. A celebration where the Dark Element will have its honor. This year the second Low Sun Festival was hosted once again at club Death Disco with the lineup consisting of Grey Gallows, Cold Remembrance and Mosquito.

First up were darkwavers Grey Gallows. They presented a set with old and new songs. They began with "Fading" from their first album "Tears", continuing with the newer songs "Last Day On Earth" and "Fuel For Rage". Then the singer Fay Byrd joined the duo on stage for the song "She Ends Herself". Another new track "On The Dancefloor" was played, followed by the better known "Ice". The band gave a great performance and are becoming better with every live appearance. They finished with their dynamic cover of "Alice" by The Sisters Of Mercy.

Next up was the goth metal band Cold Remebrance who after an intro they plunged into "Memories Remain", "Angel" and "Aurura Autumn" from their 2017 debut album "Visions From A World Apart". Apart from the two covers "Billet Doux" (The Wounded) and "My Darkness, Darkness" (Bessech) they played the new songs "Fallen Star", "Forever And A Day" and "The Manikin", with which they ended, that will be included on their new album. Their songs where enriched by Romanos deep emotional voice and by the keyboards that brought a more atmospheric tone to their goth rock/metal tunes.

The night ended with Mosquito. This five-piece hard goth band delivered a dynamic set. They began with a newer song "Lost Victories" and then with "Indirect Kiss", "Y", "C(h)esspit Queen" and "Deeper Outlook" from their debut album "Interlacing Eternity" that was released on Brazilian label Deepland records in 2017. In-between they played other new songs like "To Infinite", "Vainess, Ever-Changing" and "Morena" that will probably be included on their next album. Their frontman Lupe gave a dynamic performance backed by the band and their new member, John Morris on bass, who has become a permanent fixture.

Review+Photos : Nick Drivas
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