DieSeele

 


The Greek artist Nick Frontman has returned with his sixth album "Nostalgia" released on his own Mystery Records label. The album contains eight new tracks, 6 in English and 2 in Greek, all in gothic and electro goth style. It was initially released on a small scale in limited copies a year ago in December 2019, but it wasn’t until this year that it was pressed on CD. Nick Frontman managed to present the album live at Death Disco just days before the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 Nick Frontman is no stranger to the local Greek underground scene, with a career spanning from the early 90’s having performed live in numerous events. As on his last two albums, "Φαντάσματα" and "Today Is The Tomorrow Of Yesterday", he continues in the same vein binding goth and electro. The opener "The Healer" is low key electronic piece drenched with distorted guitar and Frontman’s harsh voice. Things get more rhythmic on "Live Now & Die Later" a darkwave/synth track. As on most of his songs, the main themes revolve around the lust and loss of love. As on the sentimental "Nostalgia" which is musically one of the best tracks on the album, with some great keyboards and matching guitars that create a romantic atmosphere. Next there is a change of style with the guitar driven rock track "The Night" with Nick’s nicotine and whiskey soaked voice. Then again the tone changes with the melancholy piano driven "Κύκνειο Άσμα" (Swan Song), the first where he sings in Greek. After an epic synth intro, "Border Line" transforms into a more dynamic track, one that has stood out at his latest live appearances. The second song sung in Greek is "Το Βλέμμα" (The Look), a dark post-punk track with a very 80’s sound. The last track, "Gothic Fans", is a classic 90’s danceable electrogoth track that as the title suggests is a tribute to all gothic fans around the world.

 Apart from Nick Frontman on lead vocals, the album features Dimis Levidis on guitar, bass, synths, programming and George Gavras on synths, keyboards, programming. It was recorded at Sound Machine Studio and mastered by George Scordilis.

 Review by Nick Drivas.

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The dark electro / industrial band from the Greek island of Crete, PreEmptiveStrike 0.1, have returned with the concept EP "The Dread Files", just 9 months after their latest album "Progeny Of The Technovore". Here we find 4 brand new songs, plus 4 remixes from exclusively Belgian artists. It was released in September by the Japanese label Digital World Audio as a digipak limited edition compact disc, designed by Vlad McNeall. It was also available on its release on black and clear lathecut Vinyl 12", with only the 4 original tracks, but these very limited copies are already sold out.

 This is the first release since the departure of longtime member George Klontzas, leaving the core duo consisting of Jim “The Blaster” and Yiannis “Dseq” Chatzakis (who has his own project Degenerated Sequences). Frontman Jim is on vocals and drum programming, leaving songwriting duties falling now fully on the shoulders of Yiannis. The very name "The Dread Files" is suggestive of both primal fears and the investigation of paranormal phenomena so often a feature of science fiction in Western popular culture over the centuries. Musically, the EP is more based on old-school dark electro patterns, a back to the roots approach. Something we see on the opening track "Evolution/Retribution". An upbeat stomping track with Jim’s characteristic harsh vocals that speaks to mankind’s fears of alien invasion. It has a sci-fi theme with samples taken from the 1964 British black-and-white science fiction horror film The Children of the Damned.

 The next three tracks are dedicated both from lyrics and corresponding samples to the three major works of Italian film director Lucio Fulci. The more atmospheric synth textured "Wormfaced Cadavers", deals with the undead and has a sci-fi theme with samples taken from Zombie Flesh Eaters. While on "Doctor Dread", the familiar figure of the mad scientist, samples from House by the Cemetery are used. On "And You Will Wake Up In Terror", where the bpm’s are even lower, nightmares of the eerie and inexplicable are all set to a dark electronic soundscape simultaneously smooth and punchy. Here they have incorporated samples from the movie The Beyond.

 The second part of "The Dread Files" EP features four remarkable remixes of the initial four original tracks. The songs where left in the hands of four different Belgium acts to synthesize a hybrid of two completely different cultural takes on EBM. Implant, Llumen, The Juggernauts and IC 434 were all willingly enlisted to work their own dark electronic magic on "The Dead Files" material and the results have created an exact mirror image of the original, as seen through their own eyes.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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The German goth rock act The House Of Usher, were founded in 1990 by Jörg Kleudgen (the only permanent member) and Markus Pick. After thirty years of uninterrupted creative work, they are like a good old port wine that unfolds its full maturity on the eleventh album "Holyghost" and shows the band in a consistent further development. The album was released digitally on December 15, 2020 and the CD edition will follow.

 A total of fourteen songs consist the tracklist of this album, with its main focus on aging and loss. Many of which cannot deny their origins in the Wave of the 1980s. The hymnic instrumental "Lights Go Out" opens the album, followed by "Let It All Be Mine" that really kicks in and sets the pace and then fades out into a piano piece at the end. Next is "Summer Rain", a track that definitely has associations with old Fields Of the Nephilim and from what we read on their social media, a video production for it is on its way. It is followed by "Can You Tell Me?" an emotional gothic rock track with Jörg’s expressive vocal in great form. On "When Dreams Come True" we have a change in mood. A more melodic pop rock and atmospheric ballad of sorts in true 80’s style. Next is "Now Or Never", that’s starts with more electronic elements, then transforms into a classic Wave track with some very sensual backing vocals by Rafunzel. The acoustic guitars come out on "Meadow", while on "Footsteps In The Snow" the band convinces once again with catchy melodies and beautiful guitars that are rarely heard today. In the same vein we have "Beside You", "Invisible", "God And All Of His Angels" that features bass and additional guitars by Barry Galvin and "View From The Hills". The album ends effortlessly with one of the best songs "With The Eyes Of A Stranger" and ending in the best of ways with the lengthy "Rocket To The Moon".

 The current line-up with singer Jörg Kleudgen, guitarists Markus Pick and Georg Berger, as well as Ralf Dunkel on bass and Gerwin Spalink on drums are reinforced a plethora of guest musicians such as Barry Galvin (ex-Christian Death, Mephisto Walz), Tom O'Connell (ex- Garden Of Delight, All Hallows Eve), Ingo Klemens (The Escape), Boris Brosowski (Cream VIII), Oliver Pietsch (Violet), Keule (Reptyle) and Dominic Daub (Qek Junior). The album was mixed and produced by Jörg Kleudgen. All lyrics are from Jörg Kleudgen, with additional lyrics on "Let It All Be Mine" by Boris Brosowski. The great well-matched artwork was also done by Jörg Kleudgen.

 

Review by Nick Drivas

 

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