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Amphi Festival 2017 – Highlights!

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Apologies for the lack of posting, I’ve had some personal issues come up in my life, and I’ve not really had the motivation or enthusiasm to do anything creative. However, the spark has once again returned, and (hopefully) I’ll be posting more regularly. Although the fact I’ve got a ton of stuff to do, including moving to my own place, may hinder that slightly… but I’ll do my damn’ best to post!

Last weekend (not the one just gone, the one before), I ventured to Germany with a few friends, to attend Amphi Festival in Cologne, Germany. My first (and only) Amphi prior to this one was in 2015, when the organisers decided to relocate it to the Lanxess Arena, so this was my first true Amphi experience. It relocated back to it’s original venue, Tanzbrunnen last year, but I unfortunately missed that one, and there’s no way in hell I was gonna miss it this time round! I loved it in 2015, and at the time, couldn’t see why people were complaining about it. However, after experiencing my first proper Amphi, at the proper venue, it was clear to see why. Tanzbrunnen is an absolutely breathtaking venue, and perfect for the festival. The layout, the atmosphere, the feel of the place, it’s simply stunning!

The only downside was, that the second stage (in the theatre) got too crowded for when Frozen Plasma performed, so I sadly had to miss them. Other than that, it was pretty much a flawless weekend! Over the course of the weekend, we saw the likes of Eisfabrik, Chrom, Diorama, Die Krupps, Stahlmann, Hocico, Apoptygma Berzerk and the migthy Eisbrecher (who were definitely the highlight of my weekend!) I think we can all agree that that’s a pretty impressive line-up! Don’t take it from me though, I managed to capture some highlights from the festival! Check out the video from the EoE YouTube channel below, and don’t forget to like and subcribe, if you like what you see. Enjoy folks!

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Skinny Puppy – Down The SocioPath Tour – Highlights!

Remember how I said I saw Skinny Puppy the other week? I’ve got some footage at the event, and the video can be viewed below, if you wish to see how the antics of the night transpired!

 

Also, thanks so much to those of you that are checking out my review of The Birthday Massacre’s Under Your Spell! I’m overwhelmed at the reponse I’ve had so far, it means a lot to me. I’ll try and get some more writing done asap!

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The Birthday Massacre – Under Your Spell [Album Review]

The-Birthday-Massacre-under-your-spell

For their seventh LP, The Birthday Massacre once again turned to Pledge Music as a source of support, via the power of crowd funding. After a hugely successful campaign for their previous album Superstition, this move was pretty much a no-brainer. Needless to say, this second campaign was a huge success, with 233% of the goal being funded by it’s end on March 31st. It’s clear to see that the Canadian ensemble have a dedicated, loyal fanbase, and they’ve come a long way since their beginnings in 1999. The question now is, have they delivered on their promise of another epic album?

The first thing that struck me with Under Your Spell is that it feels very different to their previous releases, and yet has the familiarity that I know and love. In terms of overall atmosphere, this is definitely a lot darker than some of their more recent output, and feels a lot closer to their older material at times. In fact, I’d go as far as saying this is their darkest yet. Gone are the innocent vibes of adolescence, in favour of an album that, overall, feels a lot more haunting. It’s as if the band have been put through a grinder, and it’s glorious! Despite all this, it still sounds incredibly beautiful, and has extremely enchanting moments. The lyrics have been wonderfully woven together, and make it a very relatable experience. It’s filled with contrasts that compliment each other to a mesmerising effect, both in terms of style and sound.

The album opens up with ‘One’, an incredible track that instantly grabs you with the familiar sounds that The Birthday Massacre are known for. Chibi’s strong vocal performance is backed with sweeping synths and a superb solo delivered by Rainbow. It’s an excellent start to the album.

From there, things get a lot darker, with the title track ‘Under Your Spell’. It’s enchanting and emotional, beginning with minimal synths before exploding into a torrent of Gothic Rock. Chibi’s melancholic vocals are beautiful on this track.

‘All of Nothing’ sounds very different for the band, and yet it still feels like them! It has heavy, distorted electronic synths that ooze with atmosphere, at times giving the track a very Industrial feel. The elements of organic and electronic instruments compliment each other extremely well on this song.

‘Without You’ is a bit more uplifting in terms of beat and sound, and yet there’s still a hint of sadness within it, especially in the delivery of the vocals. This is most noticeable in the chorus, which becomes very memorable quite quickly. If it had been on Superstition, it would have still worked nicely, but it fits perfectly here.

‘Counterpane’ has some heavy moments, and really packs a punch! It’s a very fast paced track, filled with energy, the riffs and pounding drums are relentless. The brisk delivery is bound to get anyone on their feet and moving!

Bulky synths signal the start of ‘Unkind’ and give the track a really powerful vibe. Again, there’s a very Industrial feel to this one, much like in ‘All of Nothing’. The catchy guitar riff and breakdown really help to make it feel complete, and add an interesting dynamic to the song.

‘Games’ is very enchanting, and probably Chibi’s best vocal performance on the album. The combination of fairytale-like synths and her style make her sound angelic. It’s really something quite beautiful, and is very reminiscent of their earlier albums.

‘Hex’ continues the enchanting feeling from the previous track, but is a lot more guitar focused, and picks up the pace a bit. It’s a lively track, and builds up to a lovely sounding section at the end.

‘No Tomorrow’ is definitely the darkest track on the record. The subtle use of quiet synths and the way they’re used, combined with Chibi’s softer vocal style give the verses unsettling vibes. Then it breaks into a heavy chugging riff that almost sounds apocalyptic, as Chibi growls menacing vocals. I certainly got vibes of ‘Blue’ (from their second album, 2005’s Violet) when hearing this one.

‘The Lowest Low’ brings everything back to a much softer, calmer level. The contrast between this track and the previous one really works in the album’s favour, and breaks up the flow nicely. It has an extremely cinematic feel to it, and is quite calm and relaxed. It’s graceful and beautiful to listen to.

Album closer ‘Endless’ sounds absolutely massive! All elements in this track resonate perfectly, to create an extremely anthemic track. As soon as it kicks off, it’s packed with energy, only slowing down slightly for a bridge section part way through, so we can have a breather. I actually got some very Dance With The Dead vibes when hearing this one. Every track on this record is amazing, but if I had to pick a favourite, it would be this. I really can’t wait (and desperately hope) to see them perform this one live!

I always have high hopes whenever The Birthday Massacre release a new album, and they never cease to amaze me. Under Your Spell has exceeded my expectations in every possible way, it’s a triumph, and truly their finest hour. There were times where my jaw literally dropped with awe. Throughout the album, it’s hauntingly beautiful and keeps you hooked with it’s incredible atmosphere. The guitars soar, the synths are captivating and Chibi’s vocals are angelic. It’s a truly emotional and mesmerising journey from start to finish. There’s not a single bad track on this record, I wouldn’t dare skip any of them. Each one is a masterpiece in it’s own right. I legitimately have absolutely no flaws with this album what-so-ever, with maybe the exception that it ends.

The Birthday Massacre have always gone from strength to strength throughout their career, and I feel that they have never created a bad album. Under Your Spell proves this fact, and is far more than just a progression, its a massive leap for the band. It’s a magnificently, carefully crafted piece of art. All the reasons why I love this band so much are encapsulated on this release. I’d say that it’s not only their best album, but it’s also one of the finest albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to.

Final verdict: Not only the album of their career, but one of the finest albums I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Dark, and hauntingly beautiful, Under Your Spell will keep you hooked with it’s incredible atmosphere. An absolutely flawless album.

Track Listing

01. One
02. Under Your Spell
03. All of Nothing
04. Without You
05. Counterpane
06. Unkind
07. Games
08. Hex
09. No Tomorrow
10. The Lowest Low
11. Endless

TBM

Under Your Spell officially releases on June 9th.

Skinny Puppy – O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London – 30.05.2017 [Review]

Down the SocioPath Tour 2017

It has been seven years since Skinny Puppy last visited the UK, and a lot has happened since, including the release of their latest album, Weapon, in 2013. I sadly missed the opportunity to see them live on their previous tour, and having never seen them before, I jumped at the chance to see them this time round! It seems odd for them to be touring, as founders Nivek Ogre and cEvin Key are pretty busy with their side-projects right now (ohGr and The Tear Garden respectively.) Although the fact that they’ve been chosen to play Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig probably has a lot to do with it. So, not being really tied to an album to promote, it was anyone’s guess as to how the night would transpire.

Support Ventenner were quite an interesting start to the proceedings. I hadn’t looked them up prior to the gig, so I had no idea what to expect. Their sound was a lot more metal oriented than the main act, which made for a nice contrast of what was to come. At times, I really got vibes of Nine Inch Nails from their style. There was a fair bit of power to their performance, and they put on a great set. I’ll be sure to check them out more, especially after that performance!

With 35 years under their belt, Skinny Puppy had plenty of songs to delve into from their massive 12 album back catalogue. In a twist that no one could see coming, it ended up being a night of their much older, classic tracks, and it was a very welcome choice indeed! In fact, they played nothing beyond 1996’s The Process, with the exception of ‘Village‘, which surprisingly worked amongst the torrent of older tracks. I’ll admit, my knowledge of Skinny Puppy is a bit rusty, although I did recognise most of the song played (but couldn’t have told you the titles of most of them at the time.) Of course, it was hard to miss the iconic sounds of songs such as ‘Tin Omen‘, ‘Worlock‘ and ‘Assimilate‘, the latter of which closed the main set perfectly, it was definitely a highlight of the night. As someone who is more of a fan of Skinny Puppy‘s earlier output, I was more than satisfied with how well crafted the setlist was! Too many times I’ve seen bands and artists leave their older material by the wayside, in favour of newer tracks at live gigs, so it was great to see a band actually embrace their earlier works.

I was well aware of the level of performance that the band put into their shows, adding theatrical elements into the mix to make it more of an experience. After all these years, I was worried of the possibility of them toning it down. Tonight my fears were quelled, as they were as theatrical as ever! The band arrived on stage to a haunting ambience, with Ogre being the last to take the stage, dressed in robes and some sort of animal mask. He spent the set being tormented by a hostile figure, dressed in a mechanical, demonic looking mask with glowing red eyes. At the very start he tore Ogre’s robes off, and took off his mask, revealing him to be in a decaying mummy-like outfit. Throughout the set, he kept on attaching syringes to him, with Ogre ‘injecting’ them into himself, and the blood effect seeping through the white of this clothes. As the set went on, he became more compliant, and eventually allowed it to happen unperturbed. Syringes containing a UV substance were used later on, and he eventually covered himself with the substance within. The effect was really striking, and with Ogre himself being a political and animal rights activist, the symbolism was definitely clear. I can honestly say I’ve ever seen anything like it before, and it was superbly carried out.

You’d think this would be to distracting for the band, but it really wasn’t. They harnessed a massive energy throughout the entirety of the performance, with Ogre and guitarist Matthew Setzer constantly bouncing around the stage. Key was constantly moving to every note he played too, the band were definitely up for it. Admittedly, Orge changed into normal clothes for the encore, but after enduring the costume he was wearing throughout the set, it was hard to blame him. There wasn’t much in the way of crowd interaction, but they really didn’t need it. They communicated through their huge presence, and high level of theatrics. The atmosphere was really intense and electrifying throughout the entire night. It felt like it was over in a flash, but that was only because it was so enjoyable.

If I’m honest, I did have quite high hopes for this, but I wasn’t sure how it would go. However, I have to say that not only did they blow me away, and completely blow my expectations out of the water, but they put on probably one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to! It was oozing with atmosphere and style, and they performed everything pitch-perfectly. It was the perfect blend of performance and music, that resonated in an amazing way. If you’re seeing them on this tour, you’re really in for a treat!

Setlist:

1.Jahya
2. Dogshit
3. Fascist Jock Itch
4. Death
5. Tin Omen
6. T.F.W.O.
7. Curcible
8. Hardset Head
9. Village
10. The Choke
11. Worlock
12. Killing Game
13. Assimilate

Encore:
14. VX Gas Attack
15. Candle

3TEETH – shutdown.exe [ALBUM REVIEW]

cover

3TEETH are still newcomers to the Industrial scene, and they’ve already made huge waves within it. Their self-titled debut has been extremely well received, gaining critical acclaim and praise. Meanwhile, they’ve headlined various Industrial festivals, were hand-picked by TOOL to support them on their tour, and will even be supporting Rammstein on a few upcoming dates in America. Saying that’s not a bad start would be an understatement. They seem well on their way to taking their place alongside titans of the Industrial scene, such as the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and Rammstein. Does their second release, <shutdown.exe>, cement them amongst this pedigree?

The underlining concept of the album is about shutting down the consensus in our minds, and how we perceive reality. This concept helps drive the album forward, and highlights the negative aspects of life that we may perhaps pay too much attention to, or are perhaps be too apathetic about. This is done in a multitude of ways to dark, symbolic, cynical and sometimes even comical effect. Considering the heavier, more malcontent tones of Industrial music, it’s surprising nothing like this has been done before, and it’s refreshing to see a band in the scene making a strong statement about society in such a way. Admittedly, the concept could be considered pretty lose, as the tracks can be relatable on their own merits, but I feel this is another strong point. There’s a concept there, if you want to look for it.

‘Divine Weapon’ kicks off the album, and it drags you by the throat into it’s dark, foreboding atmosphere, as religious chants give way to distorted synths and brutal metal riffs. It does feel more like an intro than a stand-alone track, but it’s the perfect introduction to the proceedings. ‘Pit of Fire’ picks up the pace, with some really catchy hooks, and at this point the album really gets going! ‘Atrophy’ has had some slight tweaks since the single release, to give the track more of a heavier edge, whilst ‘Oblivion Coil’ has much more emphasis on the electronic elements of the band, although it has one hell of a metal breakdown towards the end! Title track ‘Shutdown’, and ‘Degrade’, remain largely unchanged since initially being released on the lead up to the album. However, these tracks are no less epic, with the contrast between heavy and atmospheric sections of the later creating an interesting dynamic. Oh, and it has an amazing riff. The title track doesn’t quite have as much as much of a kick to it as other tracks on the album, but still manages to be pretty anthemic in terms of delivery. ‘Tower of Disease’ is one of my highlights of the album, as the melding of electronic and metal Industrial elements resonate together so well on this track, and the use of distorted vocals only compliments the mayhem. ‘Tabula Umbra’ starts with a tribal drum beat, serving as an interlude, and is much slower paced, until it breaks down into chaos at the end. ‘Voiceless’ definitely has huge Nine Inch Nails vibes, and feels a lot more melancholy that the other tracks on the album. It stands out as pretty unique amidst the much heavier songs. Speaking of heavy songs ‘SlaveGod’ is an absolute monster, and probably the heaviest on the album. It’s brutal, and is a great contrast to the previous track! ‘Insubstantia’ keeps the heaviness going, but slows down the pace a bit, with some more atmospheric electronic melodies in the background. ‘B.O.A’ and ‘Away From Me’ are an epic way to close the album, with the last few notes of the final track, played on piano, feeling extremely haunting.

Whilst the album is a truly mesmerising experience, it doesn’t really tread any new ground, and firmly keeps it’s feet grounded in old-school Industrial, admittedly, with a bit of a twist provided from some more modern influences. Of course, it really didn’t need to tread new ground. The depth to the concept is refreshing, the quality of the music itself is immense, and the production quality is razor-sharp. These are the elements that make <shutdown.exe> a masterpiece. It drags Industrial music kicking and screaming back to it’s roots, and every minute of it is glorious. The heavy brutal metal riffs and sections of the album are highly memorable, with the dark electronic sound of synths delivering swirling melodies. There’s definitely plenty of 90’s vibes throughout, that harkens back to the earlier years of the scene. If anything, this album proves that Industrial can not only still kick ass, but that the genre is more relevant than ever.

Whilst I think its still too early to determine whether or not 3TEETH can be considered to be in the same league as legendary bands of the Industrial scene, this has definitely given them a rightful place as a modern great. The only way is up, and I can honestly see much bigger things for them in the years to come. They’re a band that definitely need to be kept on your radar!

Final Verdict: Whilst <shutdown.exe> doesn’t veer too far from Industrial roots sonically, it’s backed by a refreshing concept that drives it forward, and delves deep into the human psyche. Packed with brutal, memorable riffs, all complimented with a melody of synths, and heavily distorted, strong vocals, it’s an incredible journey that really packs a massive punch, making it a really difficult record to put down. This is proof that Industrial music is still relevant, and still has a place.

Track listing:

“Divine Weapon”
“Pit Of Fire”
“Atrophy”
“Oblivion Coil”
“Shutdown”
“Degrade”
“Tower Of Disease”
“Tabula Umbra”
“Voiceless”
“SlaveGod”
“Insubstantia”
“B.O.A.”
“Away From Me”

3teeth-band-promo

Blurbs: A Sad Day

Today is the day! The new Muse single ‘Dig Down’ has landed, and, well… it’s a bit meh. If you’ve heard ‘Madness’, you’ve pretty much heard this track, but imagine it with the energy and soul ripped out of it. It starts promising enough, with a heavy fast-paced sounding synth, which then continues to loop throughout pretty much the entirety of the track. A slow, lazy drum beat, plus the fact Matt Bellamy’s vocal delivery feels a tad dull, doesn’t help things either. Towards the end, there’s a solo section that is pure Muse, and truly shines, but is too short lived, and feels like a diamond in a pile of dirt. That’s not to say the track is outright terrible, it’s far from the trio’s worst, but it’s extremely dull. The track is below, if you have any desire to listen to it…

Oh look, Muse’s new song *yawn*

Bellamy has taken to Twitter to respond to fan questions, where he’s pretty much confirmed the terrifying truth that this track will be on album 8. There’s also promises that the new album will be “diverse.” The alarm bells are already ringing in my head that nothing good can come of this, especially with the parallels that bring vibes of The 2nd Law. In case you didn’t know, I utterly detested that album, to the point where I’d rather cut open my own ball-sacs with a sharp shard of glass, and rip out my own testicles, than listen to it again (perhaps except for Madness.) Still, he’s not exactly the most reliable source of information, and tends to exaggerate things a bit, so hopefully my man parts will be spared.

In much more positive news, 3teeth have started streaming their new album <shutdown.exe>, exclusively with British newspaper The Independent. Not only is it a surprise to hear it so early, but it’s great to see a band from the Industrial scene get such prolific promotion, directly in the public eye. Maybe people are right about these guys being the saviours of the scene? I’ve heard the first 12 minutes or so, but I refuse to go any further, as I want to save myself for release day, which is tomorrow! However, the first few tracks are extremely promising so far, truly engrossing you with a huge gritty, epic atmosphere. The guitars roar, and the synth is as distorted as ever. I even noticed that ‘Atrophy’ has gone through some additional mastering, to give it even more of a brutal, darker edge. Check it out at the link below, if you feel you’re ready for it! I’m pumped to hear this one!

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/3teeth-exclusive-album-stream-a7740186.html

Now, here’s something I haven’t talked about for a while; TV shows! So you know when shows run for too long, and end up jumping the shark? Well, now its Supernatural‘s turn! For those of you that don’t know, the show was intended to end on season 5, but it was dragged kicking and screaming onward, and has been going downhill ever since. I torture myself with it, only because I’m determined to finish it (if it ever ends), plus I still love the character and the actors. So, what is this jumping the shark I spoke of? We have confirmation that, in the upcoming season 13 there will be an animated episode where the Winchester brothers will cross paths with… Scooby Doo and the Scooby Gang. Nope, your eyes do not deceive you, this is true, it’s (sadly) not April 1st either! I honestly have no idea why or how the hell they decided on this, but it seems outright silly, too silly by even Supernatural standards. I remember when it used to be a serious show, when the stakes were higher. Sure, it’s always had some elements of humour in there, but if you’d told me of this kind of cross-over back in the day, I’d have laughed. It goes to show how the mighty have fallen. Of course, the quality of this show is a rant I’ll save for another day.

supernatural-scooby-doo

Ugh, just why guys?

Finally, in a tragic and serious piece of news, former lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave, Chris Cornell, was found dead last night in a Detroit hotel. It has been confirmed that he died from suicide by hanging. Hearing this actually makes my heart hurt, it’s such a shocking and sudden turn of events. Not only was he such a talented musician, with an incredibly unique vocal style, he seemed like a good man, and genuinely had a massive presence when on-stage. It’s heartbreaking that he’s gone, his absence from this world will definitely be a huge void. May he rest in peace.

Blurbs: The Birthday Music Conspiracy

You know what? I have a feeling that some of my favourite bands are in the cahoots with each other, and are aware that it’s my birthday week this week. What makes me say this? Well, not only is Rammstein‘s long-awaited Paris DVD/Blu-Ray releasing on Friday, as well as The Birthday Massacre‘s already massive sounding seventh LP, Under Your Spell early next month (with us Pledge Music backers expecting our copies any day now), but now Muse have only gone and announced a new single is dropping this Thursday!

You may have remembered that I reported a few weeks back on an obsessive fan met them outside Air Studios in London, where the band had revealed that they had been working on new music, with one “heavy” song and two “not so heavy” tracks ready to be unleashed. The band have made it official that one of these new tracks is called ‘Dig Down’. To me this sounds likely to be the heavier of the three promised songs. This seems to be backed up with some behind the scenes videos from the band’s YouTube, that are clearly a behind the scenes look at the accompanying music video. These show a very 80’s vibe, with a slightly gritty aesthetic. However, things get more odd with images from the band’s Instagram account, whee they’re dressed up in bright blue suits, wearing massive 80’s style sunglasses. So, in reality, where this could go is anyone’s guess! Is it an EP? Is it going to be a steady stream of singles? Will there be much acoustic after all? We have to wait until Thursday to find out. For now, there’s talk of a synthwave style direction, and if any tracks from the Black Holes & Revelations era are anything to go by, it’s that Muse can definitely do electronic music well. Just please, don’t let it be another track in the style of The 2nd Law

Oh, and also out this Friday is 3teeth‘s hugely hyped second album, shutdown.exe. Yet another track of this release was unenvied last week, called ‘Away From Me’, and we have yet another stunning track for our ear-parts to enjoy. This one is much slower paced than the other tracks revealed so far, but is no less brutal or angsty. Heavy guitars and synths still blister throughout, and it retains the feel of early Industrial music that the scene remembers fondly. shutdown.exe is easily going to be the biggest things to happen in Industrial music this year, if not in years. I have a feeling that it’s an album that is going to be unmissable! Check out ‘Away From Me’ below…

As for other releases, Glitch Mode Recordings have recently released a compilation album, comprising of upcoming and recent tracks from their roster of artists, Viva Dystopia! So far, I’ve given Cyanotic‘s ‘Mainlining Tension’, which will feature of the upcoming Tech Noir. The track is an absolute best, and the band sounds as brutal and as danceable as ever! If you’re looking for a proper Industrial style track that truly encapsulates the raw sound of machinery, then this is the one for you. I admit, it does sound very familiar lyrically, but then it aligns perfectly with the dark themes of future dystopia that Cyanotic are recognised for. Also, I promised to review the latest [:SITD:] album, trauma: ritual, didn’t I? I shall do my best to get this one reviewed asap!

As for videogames, well.. I don’t want to talk too much about them, as the blog and my YouTube channel have been pretty active with my Full-Plays recently. In fact you can see the final part of my Little Nightmares series below. I really enjoyed this, even if it was a tad short, and it’s well worth the watch if you like creepy horror themed games, and platforming. Finally, the biggest event on the gaming calendar is just round the corner, Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3.) I’m pretty tempted to write/vlog some predictions. We’ll see where this goes, but for now, there’s plenty to look forward to! Until next time…

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Little Nightmares full-play Part 3!

The nightmare continue in Litte nightmares, over on the EoE YouTube channel!

Little Nightmares Full Play – Part 2!

Part 2 of my Little Nightmares full play is now up on the EoE channel! Check out the video below…

Little Nightmares full play – Part 1

I start my full play of Little Nightmares! Check out the video below, and don’t forget to check out the channel! Enjoy it folks…