The darkpop / dreampop duo, Box And The Twins, consist of members Box von Dü (voices, guitar) and Mike Reichel (guitar, bass) and are from Cologne Germany. After releasing their debut album "Everywhere I Go Is Silence" in 2016 they made a name for themselves and toured around Europe and America with Hante. Now they are back with their sophomore album "Zerfall" that contains 10 songs of “Pain and Boredom”. Released on the French label Synth Religion, on October 31st, 2019.

The opener "Shadows" continues in the same vein as their first album, a hypnotic track, with deep bass and melancholic guitars, that build a moody atmosphere together with Box’s voice. Next up is the melodic track "The First Dream" that first appeared with a kaleidoscope video prior to the album’s release. It has a synth bass intro, layers of atmospheric guitars and a nice synth line that enhances the sweet melancholy feel of the chorus. On "Dein Herz Schlägt Noch" that follows, Box sings in German. Here they sound a bit like Lebanon Hanover, a band they have played live together, sounding very much like the ice-cold music of an alienated world made by them.

On "Lovesong For A Ghost" the mood changes and lightens up, being the ethereal pop moment of the album. The return to their familiar style with "Ashes" and "Frozen In Time" before we get the darker "No Hope" with its dark electronics and ritualistic mood. With "Lovesong For A Boy" the mood shifts to more positive mood again. Then with "Zerfall", meaning decay in German, we have a lovely track worthy of being the album’s title track. The album closes with "Salt", an atmospheric track dominated only my Box’s vocals and layers of airy guitars.

In general, "Zerfall" is more upbeat than its predecessor that was denser and bleaker. With this album, apart from the great production, their songwriting and has matured and evolved proving that they have mastered their art. The same can be said for Box’s voice that sounds more worked and using a broader pallet of her vocal cords.

Review by Nick Drivas

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Grey Gallows, the darkwave male duet from Patras, Greece have just released their second album. This was much anticipated, as the band had already released a digital 2-track single just before summer and also contributed two brand new songs on compilations earlier this year. On their various interviews, the band had already confirmed their work in progress, so the release of "Shades" this autumn was a pleasant announcement.

"Shades" consists of 9 songs and lasts about 37 minutes (which is one good reason why the album should be listened repeatedly). Grey Gallows, having already established their musical style on their debut album "Tears", continue to evolve their sound in "Shades", a pure darkwave album with gothic rock elements, which manages to stand out and have its own personality.

Unlike the majority of modern bands, Grey Gallows give great attention to the fundamental sound: the drum machine. First the rhythm, then the melody. The drum machine coupled with deep baritone vocals produces a solid sound that can't be ignored. Konstantin's commanding -yet expressive- vocal perfomance fits perfectly with the ever-changing pounding rhythm, as well as with the constant synth sounds on the background and Dionisis' selected discreet guitar and bass contributions. Another pleasant surprise, is the exclusive use of female vocals on two songs, ("Nothing Will Remain" and "She Ends Herself") kindly provided by Fay Tsigka, which makes the album richer, more balanced and overall far more interesting.

Lyrically, most songs deal with personal emotions and relationships, mainly addressed to "the other half" than to the inner self. In two songs (which I consider the best) Konstantin obviously writes about real memories and past experiences: "1982" and "On the Dancefloor" are about night scenes, club locations and certain moments that seem attractively unforgettable and timeless. On the other hand, the last song titled "Black Death" speaks about the bubonic plague, the well known historical fact that struck Europe during the Middle Ages.

With this album, Grey Gallows seem ready to open themselves to a wider audience and explore their musical pursuits further. They seem willing to experiment and take risks, whereas they feel confident and self-aware.

"Shades" comes in cd digipak, with a nicely designed booklet including all lyrics and band photos. The album's elegant artwork is based on mysterious surreal outdoor photography by Greek artist/photographer Marilia Fotopoulou.

The album is released by the UK label Secret Sin records Ltd and is available for your listening pleasure here. (https://greygallowsgreece.bandcamp.com/album/shades) For your further enjoyment, see also the band's interview on DieSeele here. (http://www.dieseele.net/2019/06/interview-with-grey-gallows.html)

 review by Stefan Stavrides
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"Sing Me Something Sinister" is a compilation sampler by the independent record label Seja from the Netherlands with 13 European artists active in the electronic underground. It is like a cinematic sound document of what is happening in the scene lately, with a nice mixture of electronic, darkwave, electro, industrial, minimal and post-punk.

The first side starts with Belgium act Hidden In Treetops (Geert Vandekerkhof) with a live version of the track "The White Container" that was released originally in 2016 on cassette. A great opener with an ambient sythpop instrumental tune, that sets the tone for the rest of the compilation. Next, we have Imiafan, an electro synth pop project from Slovakia, with their 2019 version of the moody low-key track "Nočná Alchýmia". Zwarte Poëzie is the ongoing band project of singer/songwriter Edwin van der Velde, a Dutchman currently living in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Zwarte Poëzie’s music is a mixture between wave and alternative rock, though uniquely brought with neo-romantic Dutch lyrics, as we hear on his contributing track "Grijs Verleden". Adam Tristar from Amsterdam follows with the electro pop track "The Red Pill" taken from the album of the same name released in 2018. The Belgium minimal synth / dark electro project Story Off (a solo project of Chesko Geert Vandekerkhof of Der Klinke) follows with "A Dark Romance", taken from the album "Facing Forward". Things change a bit with the track "B-City" by the new Greek minimal darkwave project Das Noir. A diy minimal post-punk track very reminiscent of 80’s European coldwave bands. The side ends with "Complete Strangers" an exclusive track by synth project Sololust (Peter Baarends).

On the second side we have m1nk, a duo consisting of Barry Snaith and Erika Bach, who unleash their dark gothic industrial electronica with "Do You Want Me". Then we have Bragolin, a two-piece post-punk / dark wave band from Utrecht, with the upbeat track "Into Those Woods" that has a very 80’s feel. The band The Arch from Breendonk Belgium follow with "Alien Ann", a song taken from their new album "XII" that has many darkwave, EBM, new wave and synth-pop elements. The Belgium coldwave band Der Klinke follows with a radio edit of their darkwave almost gothic rock song "Curtains" that’s taken from their latest album "Decade". The industrial Dutch act Xtort continues with "Fire (Black Rituals Mix)" that contains the classic vocal line “I am the god of hellfire!” reminding us the good old days of oldschool industrial. The side and compilation closes with the track "Arctic" by Belgium gothic rock band Ground Nero, a song taken from their 2016 EP "Beyond".

This limited-edition vinyl compilation was curated by Nel Mertens (Luminous Dash) and Johan Buurke (Seja Records). They have managed to compile a great bunch of songs that all together fit under the album’s title, having all something “sinister”. It’s an ultimate overview of the European dark underground scene of today. The atmosphere of this album has been masterfully translated by artist Mo Arab, with his painting ‘Domina Corvus’, an extract of which has been used for the cover.

Review by Rise&Fall

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The Greek dark rock band Anima Triste released their sophomore album "Humanity" a few months back. This CD release was done by the band itself. The band, that has been active since 2014, gigging constantly around venues in Athens but also in other parts of Greece, released their eponymous debate in 2016. They attracted the attention of the local scene with their passionate intense shows and their dynamic mix of darkwave and post-punk.

For the second album, Anima Triste tried new things to enhance their sound. First, they used keyboards for the first time. Something that helped bring an eerie atmosphere to their music. Secondly, they stepped out of the strict post-punk of their earlier work and let more of their influences into their songwriting. Something that is instantly noticed on the opening track "Humanity". A bombastic track with a heavy guitar riff, that shows their more rock side. Its one of the stronger songs on the album, with its theatrical vocals by Mad Sad who sings very passionately. The next tracks "The Underrated Mob", "Scars Of The Moon" and "Hades" continue in the same vein, showcasing their dark rock, which they seem to have mastered, sounding very oldschool at times, reminiscent of past classics. On "Shadows", we have a more subtle song, almost like a ballad with a glam feel, but progresses in a more dynamic way.

Their lyrics are about the human struggle, the weight of today’s society, isolation and despair. Delivered in a painful and heartful way but with an aggression that at times indicts some sort of revolt. The track "UOY" is another standout with its characteristic opening guitar lines and its upbeat dynamic. One of those tracks that has all the elements that represent the bands sound and style. The album continues with the slower songs "Everything Tasteless" and "Intoxication" but also, we get "Falling" with its darkwave bassline. The album closes in the best of ways with "Face In The Mask", a lovely track, with nice guitar work and thumping drums. A track that will surely thrive played live on stage. Anima Triste with this album have proved that they are rightly considered one of the best post-punk bands around. A band that plays tight, with passion and love for music.

Review by Nick Drivas

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Wayne Hussey, frontman of The Mission, visited Greece once again, this time promoting his autobiography entitled "Salad Daze" that was published by Omnibus Press in May. After a UK tour he was now on the road of a full European acoustic tour making a stop here in Athens at Second Skin club. Wayne, alone on stage gave a really great acoustic show, performing a wide range of songs from his career.

Opening act was Phoebus Water, a new Greek duo that consists of Tatiana Stavroulaki and Apostolos Lagarias. Tatiana is known to the local scene since she was the singer of the 90’s alternative band Common Sense. With Tatiana on vocals and acoustic guitar and Apostolo on electric guitar they performed a small set, introducing us to their fragile acoustic and atmospheric songs, topped with Tatiana’s melodic and emotional voice.
Seated on a low stool, wearing his shades at legendary hat, Wayne Hussey took his acoustic guitar and played us many Mission songs such as "That Tears Shall Drown The Wind", "Garden Of Delight", "Severina" and "Like A Child Again". He was very talkative with crowd, in good humor and also told us a small story of how as a young kid he wanted to play football for Liverpool but after seeing Marc Bolan on Top Of The Pops he found what he really wanted to do. Having said that, he played us his first song he had ever written.

Then he switched position and seated at the piano he played us some more Mission songs like "Dragonfly", "Naked And Savage" and the covers "Mr. Pleasant" by the Kinks and the Nine Inch Nails classic "Hurt". He performed really well all the songs, his voice sounded great and in general he delivered with passion and in a very intimate way. We bared witness to his songwriting skills that have penned down some of the most iconic compositions of the last decades.

When he took to center stage again, this time taking an electric guitar he performed some more dynamic takes of songs such as "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan and "Jade" from the Mission last album "Another Fall From Grace". At this point we got to hear his slow version of The Sisters Of Mercy track "Marian". He made a lot of loops with his pedals and also he was backed on some tracks with drum machine.

Towards the end he also played the Liverpool football anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone" with some of the crowd joining in. For a finale he changed again to acoustic guitar and played a medley of songs consisted of "Beyond The Pale", "Never Again", "Tower Of Strength", the Depeche Mode cover "Personal Jesus" and "Wasteland". In this way he ended an extraordinary set that lasted for about two and a half hours!

Review and photos by Nick Drivas

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This double album forms a trilogy that began with the albums "Push The Sky Away" and "Skeleton Tree". All tree albums are much milder to Nick Cave’s previous work, very atmospheric with many almost ambient elements. It is very much as a continuation of "Skeleton Tree", an album released after his son’s death, reflecting his then grief. With the new album, he takes a step even further, dealing with deep emotions of someone who has experienced a tragic loss but fights to balance his sanity and finding relief of some kind to continue with life. The result is stunning!

The whole album consists almost entirely of Nick Caves voice, piano and Warren Ellis’ synthesizers, loops and backing vocals. The rest of the Bad Seeds have a minor role. Nick Cave describes to album “The songs on the first album are the children. The songs on the second album are their parents. Ghosteen is a migrating spirit”.

On Part One, all eight songs are in the same vein. From the beginning, with the opener "Spinning Song" we are introduced to how the whole album will sound, with Nick Cave delivering very fragile and emotional vocals. The second track "Bright Horses" is a great piano piece with velvet violin that sounds at points, where the voice is high pitched, like Sigur Ros. Both these songs stand out on this first part of the record. The music on the album in general is very sparse, dreamlike, very ethereal and spiritual like, as if made for meditation.

Part Two has three songs. The twelve minute "Ghosteen" is very ethereal and heavenly, backed with a choir with a very uplifting spiritual feel. Then we have "Fireflies" that is a spoken word piece. The album ends with the fourteen-minute-long "Hollywood", that is probably the best song on the record in my opinion. Here we can hear the rest of the Bad Seeds contribute their part since we hear bass, guitar and percussion. The album was released digitally on October 4th, when it was premiered worldwide on Youtube. Physical formats, vinyl and CD will be released on November 8th.

Review by Nick Drivas

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