Alien Sex Fiend returned with the new album "Possessed" after many years, since their last release "Death Trip" was in 2010. Since then all was quiet on the ASF front until news came out that they where preparing something new. But due to some deaths in the Fiend family, one of them being that of their guitarist Simon Doc Milton, work on the new album was delayed. But in 2018 the band finally managed to complete the album which was released on Cherry Red Records.

The legendary band that emerged from the London Batcave scene in 1982, fronted by Mr. Fiend and Mrs. Fiend, have a longevity like no other (only Sex Gang Children are around till this day and Specimen only reunited once). They have been active all these years releasing a long catalogue with their avant garde, post-punk, horror, electronic experimentations. On "Possessed" we once again have an album of pounding rhythms and nightmarish synthesizers, with Nik Fiend’s classic ghoulish artwork on the sleeve.

Their DIY sound and aesthetic are immediately noticed from the opener "Possessed (Intro)", that transcends into the album’s major track "Shit’s Coming Down". An almost cacophony of beats, distorted guitars and fiendish groove. Sounding uncompromising as ever. Next, we experience an eleven-minute epic called "It’s In My Blood". A track featuring Nik Fiend’s unique vocals, noisy guitars, and a trance like feel. The Fiend’s electronic approach, doesn’t follow trends. Their industrial, urban elements where always there, mixed in with their punky attitude and dark macabre aesthetics. The rougher "Carcass", that follows is another stand out. It was the first track of the new material that was heard, since it had been featured on the compilation "Fiendology: A 35 Year Trip Through Fiendish History 1982-2017" a year before. Another lengthy track "Ghost In The Machine" (some resemblance in the title with their first single "Ignore The Machine"), is one of the more guitar driven tracks, backed by drum machine that has a jam like feel and some trippy eastern flickers. The almost instrumental "Amnesia" follows in the same footsteps, with its pounding drums and soaring guitars in the back, while on "Spine-Tingler" things get more spacey with the high-pitched vocals.

Things slow down on "Gotta Get Back". A kind of mutant blues song with a swampy feel to it. With "Invisible (The Beyond Mix)" we get what one could say, the most ‘normal’ track of the record with some pop hints. The instrumental "Neutron" is a nice post rock kind of a track, where the band explores more psychedelic sonic textures. Followed by "Bloody Reprisal" which is nothing other than a reprise of the track "It’s In My Blood". The CD version of the album ends with another mix of "Shit’s Coming Down (Monster Mix)". The 2xLP vinyl edition has a few extra mixes.

I think this album will be appreciated by longtime fans of the band. It sums up all that they have done all these years, sounding up to date. Right after the release of the album, all fell quiet again on the Fiend camp. It was not promoted with any tour or live appearance. Time will only tell if we ever have anything else new from the Fiends. Until then, rot in peace… in true Fiendish style.

Review by Nick Drivas

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Mercury's Antennae are an ethereal/shoegaze band based in Geneva and Portland in the USA comprised of multi-instrumentalist Erick R. Scheid (Translucia), vocalist Dru Allen (This Ascension, Mirabilis) and bassist Cindy Coulter (also formerly of This Ascension). They have released two albums, their debut "A Waking Ghost Inside" (2014) and "Beneath The Serene" (2016), both on  Projekt.

We read that your work is reminiscent of ’90s-era Projekt acts, ranging from the heavy moodiness of Lycia to the unadorned beauty of Love Spirals Downwards, but also the sweet melodic pop of 4AD acts such as Cocteau Twins and the blissful guitar noise of bands like Curve. What is your opinion of the ethereal/shoegaze scene in general and the place it holds today?

Cindy: A lot of the bands that I have been involved with have often been pigeon-holed as “goth” or ethereal, so it is nice to hear those comparisons!
I have never been a huge fan of categorizing/sub-categorizing music, but I also get that people feel the need to make comparisons in order to describe the music they like. Even I have done that.
Of course every band likes to think that their sound is original, but I don’t think we could ever boast that. What I can say though is that there aren’t a lot of bands that sound like us, and I definitely think our sound has cross-over appeal over multiple genres.
 As far as the ethereal/shoegaze scene, in general, I think that its mark and influence in musical history as well as today is undeniable. I have enjoyed the resurgence of  the original wave of shoegaze bands such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and even Lush a number of years back (before they broke up again), these were all bands I never got a chance to see when they became popular the first time around, so it was amazing to have that opportunity. But I also think the Nu gaze wave of bands have also made their mark. I really enjoy such acts as The Soft Moon, The Joy Formidable, M83, Ringo Deathstarr and Tamaryn to name a few.

Erick: I don’t know if there are actual “scenes” for this genre these days. But I’ve come across lots of venues and themed nights dedicated to ethereal, shoegaze and atmospheric electro darkwave. There is a lot of hybrid music coming out where bands are combining lots of influences and styles their music. This is really exciting. It’s been inspiring to see bands like MBV and Slowdive playing live again. I find that most bands you really can’t put a label on… a good example is Mercury’s Antennae. We mix elements of electro, trip hop, shoegaze, goth, ambient and dream pop. 

When making new music, do you usually write the music first and then put the vocals on top or do all members bring something in and it works from there? Do you usually have a specific sound or mood in mind when composing or is the result just what comes out of your soul? 

Erick: It’s always from the soul… always. Usually it starts in my head based on life events and nature, relationships and existential thinking, followed by creating on the acoustic or creating a beat or pulse. I usually think in themes and sometimes conceptually. But it’s a lot of back in forth demoing between the 3 of us until the music becomes more formed and then Dru will add her parts. On our next album, bassist Cindy was a big part of the writing process as normally it’s just myself and then I send off demos. I wanted the next album to have a huge bass player presence and it shows.

Cindy: Usually Erick will start with an idea and send me the file. My process is usually to just listen to the track/demo a number of times and try to sort of aurally visualize what type of bass line the song is calling for. The work usually inspires me to go in a certain direction.
After I have spent time with the piece, I will demo my bit then send it back to Erick. He will usually give me a thumbs up, or ping back with some specific suggestions he’d like to hear, or we will collaborate and where we think the piece should go. A lot of it is about setting a mood and a tone. Erick will sometimes give me some criteria “deep low heavy bass here” or “solo on D string here” and he will sometimes even suggest a feeling he would like to invoke in the piece. Even though most of the time that we have worked together we have not lived in the same city, and creating music remotely can have its challenges, it can also be a very spiritual and moving experience to take part in.
Once Erick and I have done the instrumentation we will send a raw version to Dru for vocal enhancements and that is really when it all comes together.

Dru: My lyrics often come last and can take a while (ha-ha, sorry Erick). I will play around with a melody and hear different parts in my head working with each other, but not with real words. Sometimes I will often send a rough idea to Cindy and Erick to get an idea if something is working. Multiple times though the final lyrics have come on the plane on the way to a show or to record a song. J

Performing live and recording in the studio are two completely different things. Which of these two processes do you enjoy more? Any particular special moments you would like to share with us?

Cindy: I really do enjoy both processes immensely, but there really is something special about us performing live. We only get to do a few shows a year (if we are lucky), so having the opportunity for us to all be together in one place will usually result in a magical experience. I do feel the uniqueness of the three of us being in a room together playing music and connecting. There’s nothing like it in the world to me and I feel especially at home on stage with my creative collaborators. They are my kindred spirits, my musical family.

Dru: My experience in the studio has changed over the years, because in my first band we would go pay to record in a studio and “time was money”. There were a few stressful and emotional times. But with Mercury’s Antennae I have mostly moved to recording myself at home and sending tracks to Erick. This has its own peculiarities in that I am rather isolated and have to rely on my own intuition and self-evaluation, but I think I have also grown as an artist because of this, become a bit more autonomous. I like recording when people are together though because neat things can happen.
I love playing live though, I always have. To me, it’s really an offering to the people there, and even the universe in general. It’s not as often as it used to be, but I like going to shows a lot as well as a fan. Whether performing or being part of the audience, everyone can experience something profound together.

Erick: Of course the two are different and unique – playing live vs recording/studio. Performing live is amazing but even more amazing when there are people to play for depending on the place and venue. But creating and being creative is really a deep process… and to finally share that with the world is pretty special. I’d say I’d love playing live more.

Last year you released the EP "The Moon Viewing Garden" (2018) on Sett Records, an independent record label based in Chicago. Tell us something about this release and how it coincided with your participation in the Wave-Gotik-Treffen 2018 in Leipzig, Germany?

Cindy: That was a special release specifically for WGT. We wanted to release something new for a new audience, but it’s really a pre-cursor to our upcoming release later this year. The EP was something of a teaser. :)

Erick: The Moon Viewing Garden is a special mini release coinciding with our being on our new record label Sett Records. The idea was to release something small and dreamy and act as a prelude to our next release Among The Black Trees and showcase some new music as well rework two older songs. Performing at WGT was a huge dream come true and we wanted to share new music to people who would’ve been seeing us for the first time… and hopefully not the last.

Dru: It’s also interesting to note that in a way the relationship with Sett has its origins from way, way back when Cindy and my first band This Ascension were on Tess Records. Tess was begun as a vehicle for This Ascension but then included other bands such as Autumn and Faith & the Muse. Flashforward to today, and Autumn is still going strong—even better than ever—and Cindy and I are still doing music together. William Faith (Faith & the Muse) has his main project Bellwether Syndicate, and even Tess’s art director Clovis IV is on board… so it was just a natural fit to continue to work together and support one another.

You recently performed live at Whitby for the Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival 2019, sharing the stage with bands such as Pop Will Eat Itself, Chameleons Vox and Christine Plays Viola. How was that experience, playing in Whitby, the seaside town with the ruined Gothic Whitby Abbey which was Bram Stoker’s inspiration for “Dracula”?

Cindy: It took a lot to get the three of us there, but it was so worth it. It’s difficult to put into words what a profound experience it was. None of us in the band had been to Whitby before (I had been to England on a number of occasions for travel, but never to Whitby). Visiting the Abbey up close and personal was an incredible experience and I am so grateful that we were invited to perform. We exposed our music to a whole new audience and the fact that we were well-received was an amazing experience. The organizers at the Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival were so welcoming and incredibly professional. We hope to be invited back in the next few years. It was a very positive experience that we would love to take part in again.

Dru: I just want to echo Cindy’s sentiments that we were blown away by the professionalism and passion of everyone involved with Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival, and the fans were tremendous. Whitby is a very special place, you can certainly feel it as you approach through the moors by car, and walking around the village…

What are your future plans for the band? Will we be having any new music from you any time soon?

Erick: We are looking forward to releasing our third album Among the Black Trees – a very serious and deep sonic album for us and I’d say it’s a little more heavy and layered than our previous releases. It’s been 3 years in the making!  We hope to tour and perform it in 2020 and it’s planned to be released on the lovely Sett Records again.

Cindy: Yes! That is the plan. We are still working on the details, but we are hoping to put out a full-length release before the end of the year. Stay tuned!

Dru: Absolutely—the 3rd album is almost done, so we will be quite vocal about it soon and try to get together for a show to celebrate. Thank you!

photo 1  by Clovis IV photography
photo 2-4 by Absinthe Promotions

Interview by Nick Drivas.

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It took 10 years for Rammstein to release a new album. Their last album was "Liebe Ist Für Alle Da" released in 2009. Rammstein were always good at provoking with their songs, videos and imagery, and this time, with the promotion of their new album, they did it again. A little before the first single "Deutschland" was released they uploaded a video teaser of the promotional video. A scene in the video depicted the band dressed in concentration camp uniforms which immediately provoked Jewish groups and politicians condemning the video, saying that the band went too far with the use of Holocaust imagery. In the epic proportions full-length video, Rammstein assume different roles during famous eras of German history and features scenes from Weimar, Nazi and communist East Germany. Throughout, they sing about a love-hate relationship with their German identity. As a result, the video became viral from the very first day. Promotional wise, they achieved their goal.

Back to the album now. The homonymous titled album "Rammstein" is their seventh studio album. The opening track is "Deutschland". A dynamic start with synth arpeggios (reminiscent of Anne Clarks "Our Darkness") before the electric guitar power chords come in. Then we hear Till Lindemann’s vocals with their characteristic Germanic pronunciation sounding their best especially at the powerful chorus. It’s an instant classic of a song. Up next is the second single, the melodic "Radio". Again here, Rammstein follow familiar ground to previous work. A crossover of electro and metal with Christian Lorenz’s signature quirky synths (sounding here in some places a little like their old hit "Du Hast"). Third track "Zeig Dich" begins in an epic way with a choir singing just before the hard metal guitars burst in. On "Ausländer", the band gets more humorous delivering a power pop track with a groove, while on "Sex" they just rock it out. With "Puppe" we have a shift in style. Here things become a lot darker, music wise and lyrically, with Lindemann delivering in a very effective way the dark and nightmarish story.

The second part of the album stats with "Was Ich Liebe", one of worthwhile songs of the album (that isn’t one of the obvious singles standouts), followed by the acoustic ballad "Diamant" where Lindemann showcases his strong captivating vocal. Things keep interesting with "Weit Weg", a mid-tempo track before they go off with "Tattoo" and have their hard rock moment. The album sums up with "Hallomann" another classic Rammstein style track with the essential gravity to it and emotional tone.

The production, as on all Rammstein records, is state of the art with crystal clear sound. Nothing here is left to chance. Overall, it is a good sounding album with quite a few great moments. We don’t see them evolving or pioneering something new, like in their earlier days where they first blended electro with goth, industrial and metal, but they have achieved making another remarkable album, “safe” but once again remarkable.

Review by Nick Drivas

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The 28th annual Wave-Gotik-Treffen will take place from June 7th until June 10th, 2019 in the city of Leipzig in Germany. The festival focuses on Dark Alternative music and arts, especially on the gothic, (steam)punk, new wave, electro, EBM, industrial and medieval music and (sub)culture. “WGT”, the world’s largest goth festival, is not only a highlight for fans of the Gothic scene, but also for the inhabitants of the city, who have loved the festival and its visitors, who dressed in black swarm the streets of Leipzig. Besides live concerts there are two medieval markets, art exhibitions, readings, classical concerts and theater performances. Another highlight is the Victorian Picnic that takes place on the first day. At night, the party continues at several clubs where international DJs play different dark styles from 80s to industrial. Approximately 200 international artists are on the list this year, spread over many locations. At this moment the program is not complete yet, but as usual some great names in the black scene are already confirmed, like: Alien Vampires (GB), Ashram (I), Automelodi (CDN), Autumn (USA) first European show, Cat Rapes Dog (S) exclusive German reunion show, Christian Death (USA), Cradle of Filth (GB), Das Ich (D), Dear Deer (F), Escape with Romeo (D), Faun (D), Geometric Vision (I), Gitane Demone Quartet GDQ (USA), Goethes Erben (D), Grausame Töchter (D), hackedepicciotto (D/USA), Hante. (F), Haujobb (D), In Strict Confidence (D), Inkubus Sukkubus (GB), King Dude (USA) full-band show, Kælan Mikla (ISL), La Scaltra (D), Lene Lovich Band (GB) exclusive German festival show celebrating the 40th anniversary of the album "Stateless", Light Asylum (USA), London After Midnight (USA), Nachtmahr (AT), Near Earth Orbit (D), New Model Army (GB), Nitzer-Ebb (GB), October Burns Black (GB), Sad Lovers and Giants (GB), Selofan (GR), Shadow Project 1334 (USA) first show of Eva O, William Faith and Stevyn Grey in 27 years, She Pleasures HerSelf (P), Solar Fake (D), The Adicts (GB), The Cassandra Complex (GB), The Soft Moon (USA), UK Decay (GB), Unto Ashes (USA) feat. Michael Popp (QNTAL, Estampie), Velvet Acid Christ (USA), Welle:Erdball (D) and [x]-Rx (D).

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The Greek post-punk/dark rock band Anima Triste presented their second album "Humanity" at Death Disco club in Athens on Saturday, May 18th. The band set the release and presentation date on the day of Ian Curtis’s suicide, since Ian and Joy Division are one of their major influences. A night of mixed emotions, bittersweet as stated by their singer Mad Sad, since they celebrated the release and “birth” of their second opus and the passing of the legendary singer.

The band gave a two hour stunning and full of soul performance. They began with songs from the new album like "Humanity", "The Underrated Mob", "Hades", "Scars Of The Moon", "Shadows", "Uoy" (on which a friend and brief older member Corvus Necro stepped onto the stage and sung with the band), "Everything Tasteless", "Falling", "Intoxication" and "Face in a Mask". The band performed better than ever and the new songs sounded amazing. They have gone to another level with their songwriting, that has matured and has become more textured and complex compared to their older classic darkwave/post-punk approach.

At this point , it was time for them to pay homage to their hero Ian Curtis. Candles where laid down on the stage in the shape of his name and they played their first Joy Division cover, the song ‘’shadowplay’’. Then they performed a selection of songs from their debut eponymous 2016 album. ‘’Idiocracy’’ , ‘’All Of You’’ , ‘’Misery’’ , ‘’Believe In Nothing’’ , ‘’Nightmares’’ , ‘’You Don’t Belong To The Stars’’ where all performed with the passion and dynamic that the band is accustomed to.

Another Joy Division cover was played, an intense version of "Twenty Four Hours" and straight after that, the song "Schizofrenia Solitaire", a brand new song they presented live for the very first time. A song they said would be included on their next 3rd album. They closed their set with their self tiled epic track "Anima Triste". After ending their scheduled set, with their fans cheering for more, they played as an encore the song "Dirt" from their debut.

Review + photos: Nick Divas

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After an absence of 19 years, U.K. goth/rock band Rosetta Stone return by releasing a new album titled "Seems Like Forever". The album was released on May 17 via Los Angeles based Cleopatra Records. We remind that Rosetta Stone cut its teeth on the mid-’80s goth club circuit before releasing their first record "An Eye For the Main Chance" in 1991. The original duo later disbanded in 1998, with Porl King going onto solo projects Miserylab and In Death It Ends, and Karl North joining the now defunct Dream Disciples. The band’s last release was the not very known covers album "Unerotica" released in 2000, which from what I remember was done only for contractual reasons.

The current incarnation of Rosetta Stone is a solo project of King, having written and produced the entirety of "Seems Like Forever". Assisting King with the album’s mix was Jürgen Engler of industrial/rock acts Die Krupps and Die Klute. When the tracklist was announced it was obvious that the entire album was not of new original material, but a selection of songs from Porl King’s post-punk infused Miserylab project. This is a tricky move, using songs from his other project and releasing them under the Rosetta Stone moniker. For me, the positive aspect is that Miserylab had many good songs which deserved to be better known to a wider audience. They also sounded like a modern take of Rosetta Stone in the first place, so i understand to some extent why he decided to do so.

The opening track "Be There Tomorrow" was originally on Miserylab’s "Function Creep" from 2008. The more dynamic songs that follow "Children Of The Poor" and "People", from the last Miserylab album "Void Of Life" released in 2011, are surely standouts. But despite the use of their distinctive 12 string guitar, which is now more laid back in the mix, and King’s characteristic voice, we have a more subtle Rosetta Stone sound. It looks like they have taken a modern post-punk, coldwave approach compared to their rockier gothic rock past.

Further down we meet "Dark Times" which has an 80’s feel, "Making A Bomb" and the synthy "What Is The Point" from the 2009 album "Freedom Is Work". Then we have "Escape" and "Downplay" with King’s characteristic deep vocal from the "From Which No Light Escapes" album released in 2011, "When You Turn Away" from the 2009 "Lab Samples" and "Say What We Mean" from the 2012 "Somewhere Between EP". The closing track "Tomorrow For Us" was a rarity originally only found on the "Documentary 2008 / 2012" compilation. This catchy track also served as a preview and first digital single from the album, with a music video accompanying it. It sums up the whole feel and new sound.

In general, the album "Seems Like Forever" sounds more like the quieter tracks from their first album "An Eye For The Main Chance" or its American counterpart "Adrenaline" compared to the bands second album proper "The Tyranny Of Inaction" where they started flirting with more industrial elements. The record is available on CD, digital and vinyl formats via the Cleopatra Records webstore and Bandcamp page.

Review by Nick Drivas

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Autumn are a Minneapolis melodic, dark pop band, that returned last year with the new full-length album "Chandelier" released in 2018 on Sett Records. The album was produced, recorded and mixed by William Faith (Faith And The Muse). The band where known from the 90's when they released their ethereal/goth debut album "The Hating Tree". The reunited band will be playing their first ever European show in June, appearing at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen 2019.

The trio consisting of Julie Plante (vocals), Jeff Leyda (bass) and Neil McKay (guitars) has always sought to create melodies that get the listener to feel something deep, having that ability to haunt you in some way. With the album "Chandelier", Autumn have picked up where they left off, with their distinctive sound and style.

From the very first track "Beginnings" you get the feeling that the album will be great listen. A fresh sound that contains all the elements that made this band so loved back in the day. On "The Maiden’s Child" that follows, things become darker reminding us of their older work. A harder track with powerful guitar and dynamic vocals. The third track "The Fall", was originally released prior to the album as a single. This was the song with which Autumn reemerged after their 18-year hiatus. A good choice of single and a great song in general that features all the qualities this band has proved to behold all these years. Melodic dreampop with ethereal touches that still maintain a darkwave base.

The album continues in the same vein with tracks like "Soulsong", "Damage", "Shadowgirl II", "Away" that have the bands signature sound, of lush melodic tunes with emotional passionate vocals. "At Summer’s End" is another powerful track with great oldschool gothic rock guitars, thumping drums and Julie’s passionate vocals. Whereas with "From Under The Waves" and "My Last Confession" we have a shift in sound, since here the band blend electronica in the mix, while "Just Before The Storm" is a piano driven ballad. Towards the album’s end we have the slower, more atmospheric track "White Light" and the harsher "A Vow Worth Keeping" with that shoegaze alt. rock feel. The disc closes with the dark pop title track "Chandelier". For an album with a tracklist of 14 songs, one can say that the band has done a really good job, since the whole is an enjoyable listen. Kudos also go to William Faith for producing this lovely album. A great choice since he has been in the scene so long and knows how to produce this particular sort of sound.

Review by Nick Drivas

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Conjecture is an experimental, electronic, dark ambient, drone noise, post-industrial project from Athens, Greece. A solo project that explores the thin line between sound and visual arts that started in 2013 by the contemporary artist Vasilis Angelopoulos. His brand new forth full-length album titled "V" was released in May 2019 by the Bulgarian label Amek and will also be his first to appear on vinyl.

The album features six tracks, all named in Greek, something that he’s done for the first time on his releases. Each track on the album reflects a fragment of a bigger entity, which by its end becomes whole. "V" as stated by its creator, unveils the materiality of flesh and the frailty of thoughts, personality and physical restrictions. On this album Conjecture seeks a new concept for the human being and its very existence beyond logic. He states that this album is an obsessive manifest against the flesh-cage, a hymn for the consciousness, found standing silent in the background and reflects the true nature and cause of personal existence.

The opening track "
Ύπνος" (Sleep) is a dreamy piece that conjures up what it would be like if you were in a hypnotic state. On the post-industrial "Σώμα" (Body) that follows, things become darker and more nightmarish as he creates an apocalyptic soundscape. The next track "Τέφρα" (Ashes), will throw you deep into the harsh sonic realms he’s exploring. An ambient track with a great rhythmic drum pattern composed by industrial noises and a massive sub-bass drum. The official video for "Τέφρα" was made by Dimitris Sakkas who used raw video footage done by Vasilis Angelopoulos himself.

By listening to "Κρόνος" (Cronus, the King of the Titans and the god of time), one feels like floating through space and time, a journey to the unknown. Vasilis Angelopoulos showcases here his ability to create dark ambient tracks filled with industrial noises, neatly placed in his synthesis. This is also the case on "Τύρβη" (Noise/turbulence) but even more mechanic, with a lot of metallic sounds and machinery noises used in the mix. On the closing track "Σάρκα" (Flesh) a poem by Νίκος Εγγονόπουλος is used. The voice heard here on "Σάρκα" is by Vaia Pilafa who also has taken the cover photo featuring model Hawk Stigmata.

The whole disc is a philosophy against physical materiality, an anti-body statement. The individual's disengagement from the human body and from all kinds of physical hypostases is portrayed through unconventional industrial sound forms. Sometimes being oneiric, sometimes frozen and aggressive.

Review by Nick Drivas

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Death In June returned with the album "Essence!" late last year. This new album, with original material, comes 8 years after its predecessor "Peaceful Snow" released in 2010. Sole member Douglas P. wrote and performed all the eleven tracks that where created between 2014-2018 and recorded them in the Southern Winter between June-August 2018 at Big Sound Studios in Adelaide, Australia.

The album begins with the minute long "Welcome To Country", a mixture of noises and voices and howls. Then "God A Pale Of Curse" starts and transcends us to Douglas P’s classic acoustic songwriting. A rhythmic, optimistic musical piece that lyrically speaks of religion and his opposition to the power of the church as he sings lines like “We dare to differ so dance from a rope”. On "The Trigger" that follows we start to get into more familiar Death In June territory. A darker tune that once again refers to religion “The crucifix on the wall, protects not much at all, not only did I lose you, I lost myself too”. The next song "Snipers Of The Maidan" is about the violent events involving protesters, riot police, and unknown shooters at the main protest on Maidan square during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. The song "The Humble Brag" that follows has something reminiscent of the 1985 "Nada!" album. While on "Going Dark", one of the catchy tunes of the album, talks about the dark net, relationships and macabre liberating sense of humor “Like a fly on the wall at my own funeral I am free”.

The track "The Dance Of Life – To Shoot A Valkyrie" has two parts as one can gather from the songs title. On the first part he rumbles on and on “But does the dance of life grow weak?” and then the mood changes and the track starts to get more uplifting, musically only, since Douglas continues to sings pessimistic words “To shoot a Valkyrie, to shoot a swan, this unhappiness goes on and on”. Like all the album, "No Belief" continues in the same vein as the other tracks. All compositions are based on the acoustic guitar. Here we also have some electric guitar thrown in. On "The Pole Star Of Eden" we also get some percussion in the background, on "What Will Become Of Us" some trumpet, bass and organ are added enriching the sound. The last track is "My Florida Dawn", a dark atmospheric piece full of drones, chimes, a haunting piano and Douglas’s voice reviewing long lost loves  I'll always have mixed memories of you, I've seen the great and I've seen the mad in you, but mainly I've hate-filled love for you”.

Douglas P. with this album seems to be searching his inner self, recollecting his paths in life and trying to find the “essence” of things or his own being. A man who has taken the difficult road to follows his own vision and fighting his own demons, reluctant of what others my say of him or about his music. Here on "Essence!" he has truly once again delivered a great piece of art, straight from the heart and soul. It doesn’t get purer than this I imagine.

Review by Nick Drivas

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On Friday the 3rd of May at The Crow club we saw the dark alternative band Drama Queen returning to the stage after a two year absence. They last played live exactly two years before when they opened for the UK goth band Siberia at Death Disco. Since then, the band has released their second album "Going Nowhere" and this was the first time they performed it live in its entirely.

The opening act was a new band called Every Sunday. Although I knew nothing about this band and didn’t know any of their songs, they were enjoyable to watch. Their style could be categorized as alternative rock with many dark elements. Their frontman and singer who was wearing a mask and a top hat gave their performance a more theatrical tone.

Drama Queen kicked off with the opener of their latest album, the instrumental track "Cassini". Then singer Iliada stepped onto the stage and joined the rest of the band and they performed "Regrets", "The Dance", the speedy "This Narrow Place", "My Lucid Dream", the dynamic "Greater Love" and "Time Goes By", all from their latest album. They proved to be a very tight outfit, playing very well together with a bulk clear sound. Especially for a band that hadn’t played live for two years! Iliada sung with expression, Dimitris guitar sounded great as always, Chris on drums was focused on his hard thumping while Kiki on bass delivered some really awesome basslines.

In the second part of their set they played two new songs, "Lie" and "Closer", before they played the tracks "Nightmares", "Questions To Be Answered", "My Rain", "Echoes" and "Humans" from their debut album "Artificial Galaxy". They finished their set with two songs from their latest album, the eponymous "Going Nowhere" and "Nuclear Winter". Their show was a great comeback and we wish to see them again soon.

Review + photos by Nick Drivas

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