The Merciful Nuns have released today, September 20th 2019, a new EP titled "Black Halo" on Solar Lodge Productions, a month before the bands final show at Autumn Moon festival in Hameln, Germany. The EP contains five tracks retaining the sound of German goth rockers prior work, but with some new additions making things much more interesting.

The opener "BlackHalo" has a Cure like bassline that kind of sweetens their sound a bit compared to their strict usual tight solid sound. So, we see a change in their approach this time. Artaud Seth’s voice though in general still sounds the same. The second track "The Frail" is a bit more atmospheric due to the use of synthesizer which together with the bass creates a nice atmosphere. Sounding much more new wave. The next track "Disorder" was completely written and recorded with original synths, machines and instruments from the decade around 1980. It sounds like a tribute to Joy Division, whereas the drums and bass especially sound so reminiscent of the legendary post-punk bands characteristic signature sound.

On the fourth track "The Closure", we see a bigger change with a synth driven track with a great dominant 80’s bassline. Another thing that struck me on these songs is the sound of the drums. They have a more real sound this time than the manufactured sound of the typical drum machine. The EP closes with the longest track on this extended play, "The Alienist", close to seven minutes long. A slower track, again with the synths creating all the atmosphere, with an 80’s sounding bass and some dialogues thrown in probably from some film.

Review by Nick Drivas

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The post-punk band Isolated Youth from Stockholm performed live for the first time in Athens Greece at club Death Disco. The four-piece, consisting of brothers William (guitar) and Axel Mardberg (vocals) together with Egon Westberg Larsson (bass) and Andreas Geidemark (drums), gave an intense emotional show.

They started with Andreas drumming the intro of "Oath", one of their more known songs. Then singer Axel stepped onto the stage joining the rest of the band and started singing with his characteristic style. Their set list had songs like "Seasons", "Warfare" and "Safety" from their stunning debut five track EP "Warfare" that was released earlier this year on Fabrika Records, together with many new songs. Surely their already known songs stood out but we got a chance to listen to their unreleased material. Many of which sounded very promising. Singer/frontman Axel drew the attention of the audience with his stage theatrics. Performing passionately and expressive, moving and dancing in his own way, singing his vulnerable doom gloom emotional lyrics. He also played guitar and keys on some of the new songs.

The band, that has already created its own distinctive sound (a mixture of post-punk and indie), performed well. Especially if you consider how young they are, having formed in 2017, having released only one EP and a handful of shows. Guitarist William stood tall in his black suit strumming and playing his ringing guitar lines. While bassist Egon Westberg Larsson and drummer Andreas Geidemark played tightly together their strong and evocative, bass lines and sometimes haunting drums. After a fifty minute set, they left the stage to return a while later to perform two last new songs that left a really good impression. We will surely be expecting greater things from this band in the future.

Review + photos: Nick Drivas

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The neofolk and martial industrial music group Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio from Stockholm, Sweden released the 4 track EP "Ménage À Quatre" in July on CD and vinyl 12", as an appetizer for their new full-length album "Let’s Play" which is meant to be released in September. Once again, the band have gained their inspiration from “the place where Life and Death come together, where the fire of sensualism rises to the skies, where the orgy of the unregretted sin becomes the celebration of doom”.

The EP has 4 epic sounding tracks, where sensuality and heavenly melancholia become one. The opening track "Ménage À Trois (There Is Nothing To Regret)" first appeared when we witnessed the official video director by Vladimir Epifantsev. An impressive video with adult content that portrays ORE’s visual and lyrical content perfectly. This bombastic song, with its slow pondering drums, calm acoustic guitar, elevating chorus and danceable rhythm, is yet another characteristic example of their songwriting. Continuing in the same vein as their previous work.

With "Believe In Me (We Are One)" and "Kiss Me Now (And I'll Be Silent Just 4 You)" that follow, Tomas Pettersson’s vocals are once again mesmerizing. His storytelling style has a hypnotic effect backed by martial rhythms and neoclassical orchestration. The last song, the darker "All Our Scissor Sisters", is another wonderful track that first appeared on the compilation "Ashes Ov Angels" released in 2017.

Review by Nick Drivas

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English band New Model Army released their fifteenth studio album "From Here" in August 2019. The follow-up to 2016’s "Winter". The new album is altogether more mellow compared to their latest albums. It was written in two months and recorded in nine days at Ocean Sound Recordings on the tiny Norwegian island of Giske, making it an atmospheric and haunting piece of work. The desolate island was an ideal setting for the band who said: “One thing we have in common is the love of bleak, open, cold, rugged landscapes – water, snow and rock”.

The album begins with "Passing Through" where Justin Sullivan, singer and founding member, as always sings with passion and feeling, making him one the most honest voices of his generation. A slow piece that towards the ends breaks out with thumping drums. The more upbeat "Never Arriving", that follows, stands out for its driving rhythms, chiming guitar lines and atmospheric passages, making way for the deeply evocative lyrics about what is happening in the world and where the band as people stand today, in their typical storytelling style. The pace is kept with "The Weather", followed by the single "End Of Days", another upbeat track that mixes the spirit of punk rock with folk protest undertones, that captures the pessimistic outlook of the times we live in that lead to some sort of apocalypse.

On "Great Disguise", "Conversations", "Where I Am" and "Hard Way" we have typical NMW acoustic guitar driven tracks that retain a dynamic since backed by the rest of the band. The tempo speeds up on "Watch & Learn" before it once again drops for "Maps", a slow, dark soundscape of a song consisting of rolling drums and wailing guitars. The tempo picks up again on the rhythmic "Setting Sun" before closing with the album title track "From Here". A song that starts off with sole piano before the rhythm section takes hold driving the 8-minute track to its end.

It is said that New Model Army were to goth o be punk and to punk to be goth. That just goes to show that they were never trapped by any name tag in particular. Their mixture of post-punk, folk, indie music, together with their tribal element, gave them a kind of commune substance, a gathering of various tribes together. From the beginning they nurtured their own sound. Something we still listen to here on their new album. An album that will make new fans join their faithful legion of devotees and proud following.

Review by Nick Drivas

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The American dark indie rock band She Wants Revenge, from the San Fernando Valley California, visited Greece for the first time. Their first live appearance in Athens at club Gagarin 205 was a huge success since the place was packed. This gig, organized by club Death Disco, started the new concert season early since it is still August. The support band was the relatively new local alternative rock band Melldrop who gave a half-hour performance, playing songs from their self-titled debut album that was released in February 2019 leaving a good impression.

She Wants Revenge, after a long hiatus, started touring again. On this Forever Summer Tour, founding members, singer Justin Warfield and bassist Adam Bravin, stepped onto the stage with an additional guitarist and drummer. They started with "Killing Time" from their debut self-titled album, that has become a dark wave classic for the 00’s, continuing with another of their known tracks "These Things". Next was the popular "Take The World" with its more beaty rhythm from their third album "Valleyheart" followed by "Little Stars" from the same album, both reminding us their alternative sound of the 00’s. The two tracks that followed, "This Is the End" that had a more new wave feel to it and "Written In Blood", where from their second album "This Is Forever".

The atmosphere changed with the slower song "Not Just A Girl" that had a more shoegaze style. Followed by "Someone Must Get Hurt" and the darker "Sister". After a long intro "Red Flags And Long Nights" began, another favorite from their debut. The song "Rachael" left a good impression with its dark synths and hard drumming. On "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not" Justin started singing midway lyrics from the Siouxsie & The Banshees song "Christine". Then they played "Replacement", a song from their second album.
 At this point the band had a small break without leaving the stage. Singer Justin Warfield found the opportunity to apologize for giving the finger earlier on to someone in the crowd who was smoking somewhat showy and unproper, although the band had asked kindly at the start of the show for the audience to not smoke so that they could perform in a better conditions. He also told the crowd to show them their energy and enthusiasm as this would make the band give on their part their 100% ability for the last three songs of the show.
So, when they began "True Romance" (a song they hadn’t played in a long time and Justin Warfield had checked out the lyrics on his mobile to remember them) the crowd went wild, especially the females who where screaming ecstatically. "Out Of Control" followed ending with "Tear You Apart" in which the whole club was clapping to its beat. A song that was brought back to attention when it was chosen by Lady Gaga to play in the opening scene of the series "American Horror Story - Hotel". In general, the American band gave a good show and the audience was left satisfied. As Justin, told the crowd during their set, he was thrilled when he was told backstage that their popularity in Greece wasn’t from hype but from word of mouth and by their songs being played in the clubs.

Review + Photos : Nick Drivas

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