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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