Release Date: 06 October 2018

1.Persona non Grata/2. If Mississipi John Hurt Knew What I’ve Done/3. Bathed In Moonlight/4. PNG-Wounded By A Gunshot (Remix by The Prowler)

Label: A Man out Of A Man

The Man and His Failures Persona non Grata cover

With such a project name and such a title one can barely decide where to start talking about this debut EP. Do you remember Mani Deum? If not, then a quick read through this review will probably refresh your memory and a listen to the band’s latest EP, will help you place them in the dark folk rock music realm. A band is nothing if not the creative ‘sum’ of its parts. The fact that one of its two vocalists a.k.a Manos K. decided to release a solo EP, helps us get a bit closer to the collective psyche of Mani Deum and to the mysterious sonic universe of Manos K. If the band is a puzzle of 1000 pieces then the fact that a fraction of one of the pieces, is doing something solo, is always a nice excuse for us to examine it closer.

A sonic trip from Athens to Mississipi

Enough about that though, we love nothing more than a musician who is artistically restless and keeps experimenting and challenging his/her artistic comfort zone and our expectations. ‘Persona non Grata‘ an EP that unapologetically uses an expression tied with the refugee problem that Greece has been struggling with the last few years, is a trip from Belgium’s coldwave scene to the birthplace of blues, America’s Mississipi. With the help of its 4 tracks we traverse these regions. The reference points of these 4 tracks are both plenty and different in nature. There are strong Pink Floyd influences in the beautiful guitar solos, there are rhythms that could have been taken straight from Trisomie 21’s ‘cookbook’, there is a performing style that could also work well in a doom metal EP (i.e. ‘Bathed In Moonlight)and there are drum machines that ascribe post punk and pop elements to the mix.

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Release Date: 14 September 2018

1. Quorum/2. Dancing and Blood/ 3.Fly/4.Tempest/5.Always Up/6.Always Trying To Work It Out/7.The Son, The Sun/8. Dancing And Fire/9. Poor Sucker/1o. Rome (Always In The Dark)/11.Disarray

Label: Sub Pop

Beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all‘ (André Breton)

Listening to an album by LOW is like going on a journey with a trusted guide. The band has, for 24 years, driven our souls into serene places, areas with dreamy qualities, where vocals of an ethereal nature take us into spaces painted with light colours that hinted at a darker palette but never quite revealed it. Their music has always created a feeling similar to listening to an Angelo Badalamenti piece. Well, the time has come for things to change a little bit and ‘Double Negative’ is the proof that LOW are now ‘luring’ us into a dark, misty, ‘heavy’, area that further alters our perception of both time and space.

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Release Date: 31 August 2018

1. Colossus/2. Never Fight A Man With A Perm/ 3.I’m Scum/4.Danny Nedelko/5.Love Song/6.June/7.Samaritans/8. Television/9. Great/1o. Gram Rock/11.Cry To Me/12.Rottweiler

Label: Partisan Records

An album for the angry, the socially sensitive and the progressively minded

JOY As An Act Of Resistance: Having only this title as a starting point, without the music of the album, would be enough for me to write a whole essay about how feeling joyous can be an act of resistance and why. Especially these days this is one of the most important messages to ‘broadcast’ through art. In a world where urban dysphoria and masked social disapproval is the norm, being joyous in a political way, is the equivalent of taking direct action towards an oppressive mechanism. Using joy and not denial as an act of resistance, is a choice that will either obstruct things in a positive direction (whatever that might be) or spread hypocrisy to enormous proportions.

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It’s heavier and more psychedelic, bit more spacey, more synths, more downtuned guitars. Some of the riffs are a bit more straightforward and it’s got one tune on it that is the most complex rhythmically that we’ve done…(Matt Stevens)

I first became aware of The Fierce And The Dead when I saw them perform live, opening for Evil Blizzard last year.That performance placed the first piece in an invisible ‘puzzle’ which I then started to complete by going back and listening to their very first album entitled ‘If It Carries On Like That I am Moving to Morecambe‘ (what a title!).

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1.The Truth,The Glow,The Fall/2.The Mysterious Vanishing Of Electra/3.Ugly and Vengeful/4.The Marble Eye/5. Källans Återuppståndelse
Release Date: March 2018
Label:City Slang

‘O holy light of morn!
O air that dost the whole earth compass round
Oft have ye heard my cries of grief forlorn,
And oft the echoing sound
Of blows the breast that smite,
When darkness yields to light’
(opening quote: Sophocle’s Electra)

Before putting on this record, choose a relatively calm place, at dusk or late at night and your favourite drink, in preparation for a certain ritual in an attitude that evokes an open shape and not, as Genet was saying, “…a physical attitude that summons a, closed, submissive intellectual attitude…discourages spiritual attempt…”(extract: ‘Fragments of The Artwork’).

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EMKE-TWO EP

Posted: 9th February 2018 by blaue-rosen in Album reviews
Tags: , ,

1.Symbols/2.Mambo/3.I’m Dying Mommy/4.Pretty Boy
Release Date: December 2017
Label:Two Gods

If the portraits of Marlene Dumas could sing, they would probably sing Emke’s  ‘Mambo’

Not many musicians can support their music visually and through their stage appearance so that they can ultimately offer a complete work of art and not just a presentation of songs. A few years ago, we went to a beautiful gig that was headlined by Cold In Berlin with support from Winter Severity Index and Black Nail Cabaret. We had a great time and it was impressive to see Black Nail Cabaret on stage for the first time. Since then, the band has changed its line up and now consists of Emese and Krisztián, who released the third album entitled ‘Dichromat‘ in 2016 before playing live at WGT in Leipzig in 2017.

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As Bacon said, ‘The ideas in the Unconscious mind are far more interesting than from the Conscious mind.’

There is something fascinating about a ritualistic atmosphere and I think that people who do not engage in rituals, experience it differently and dare I say, perhaps more intensely. In short, just approach this album cautiously unaware of the fact that at the end, it will have such a strong grip on your mind that you will have to invoke all of your different types of strength in order to set it free!

The debut album of Word Made Flesh a.k.a Phil Barry and Keith Baker, that was released in October 2017 and is entitled ‘Word Made Flesh’, was included in our soundtrack for 2017 because we loved the conceptual and emotional weight its rhythms have placed on our psyche.Both musicians are involved in other projects, Phil Barry in Cubanate and Be My Enemy and Keith Baker in Nimon, Displacer, Be My Enemy. The sound of the album ‘Word Made Flesh’ is very different from all the other projects of Phil and Keith. With its 10 soundscapes, this album feels as if it is creating a musical wormhole that pulls us in, at times with the chaotic energy of power noise, borrowing from the aesthetics of psych trance (i.e. first half of ‘The Clock Stops‘, ‘Death Posture‘), other times with the mind-numbing energy of a slow moving wave (i.e.’The Process‘) or even by creating a powerful vortex made of repetitive sounds (i.e. first half of ‘Black Mirror‘). There are noise industrial parts throughout the album that increase the tempo momentarily and add a rusty, flaky, metallic texture to the grave sounding, strategically placed, vocals (i.e. ‘Heretic‘) that talk ceremoniously about cryptic things. Each song is like a many headed hydra, constantly reinventing itself throughout its duration. This is in short, how the energy of this album is structured and these are the elements with which Word Made Flesh, create a highly ritualistic album, ‘borrowing’ equally from the aesthetics of religious ceremonies and psychedelic ones in order to talk about an approach to life.

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An album that could have been the soundtrack of the homonymous 1954 thriller by Mick Eaton… or not

It’s great to listen to new albums by new artists but it is equally great to listen to new albums by favourite musicians, it’s like ‘meeting’ an old friend. ‘The Fellow Traveller‘ is the title of the latest album by The Frozen Autumn, that was released a few days ago through Echozone in Europe and Metropolis in North America. It is fair to say that this album is the most inspired that the band has released in years. New elements have been incorporated making the sound infinitely richer than their previous album ‘Chirality’ and the visuals that accompany the album, from the cover to the recently released video clip for ‘Tomorrow’s Life’, intriguing and aesthetically inspired to say the least. New subjects have been explored in the album which is evident from the song titles and the lyrics. Architectural references can also be identified in the visuals (i.e. cover, video clip), something that I personally find both fascinating and really fitting with the music and the overall style of the band.

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Anarchytecture

Release Date: 15 January 2016

1.Love Someone Else/2. Victim/3.Beauty Is A Curse/4. Death To The Lovers/5. In The Back Room/6.Bullets/7. That Sinking Feeling/8. Without You/9. Suckers!/10.We Are The Flames/11. I’ll Let You Down

Skunk Anansie4 years after ‘Black Traffic’, Skunk Anansie came back roaring, at the beginning of 2016. The announcement of their 6th studio album was one of the reasons we were mentally ‘pushing’ 2015 away. My first impression of this album was influenced by the conceptual strength of its title…‘Anarchytecture‘! A word which encapsulates so many ideas even without lyrics and music. For the band,as it has been stated during interviews, the meaning of the word is symbolic and refers to the demanding task of organizing all the different,chaotic often,parts of their lives in such a way so that they can also dedicate themselves to the creation of a new album. As I listened to the album without a pause twice, I realized how this word gradually started to be filled with ideas, dynamism, notes and dare. I could write a whole essay based on the inspired word ‘anarchytecture’ but the fact is that very few groups could have supported such a strong title and even fewer musicians could have attempted to write music for the concept ‘anarchytecture’. Skunk Anansie is a band that has always used strong words, starting from their name which is a reference to both a superhero (Anansi) and a mammal. The word ‘skunk’ is a slang term for a bad person or even a drug. Dualities and opposite powers seem to fascinate this band as a concept, as one can conclude from almost all of their song titles and their lyrics. I like the way this band channels vindication through rock music following a path that has not been widely explored. With a strong rock feel at its core, the music of Skunk Anansie does not fall short of references to soul and even rap and psychedelic trance music. Skunk Anansie are unapologetic about their disappointment about certain things and the anger that comes with it and have left a strong mark on the rock music scene since the release of their first album in 1994. The titles of some songs tell half of the story and it is actually the live appearances of the band that completes the picture that Skin, Cass, Ace and Mark are sketching.

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Create Christ, Sailor Boy

Release Date: August 26, 2016, House of Mythology

1.Your Eyes in The Skittle Hills/2. Incidentally, Shaitan/3. Christmas With The Channellers/4. The Crow At Play/5.The Sex of Stars/ 6.Magog At The Maypole/7.Sweet Sodom SingSongs/8. Pinocchio’s Handjob/9. The Auras Are Escaping Into The Forest/10.Night Shout, Bird Tongue

“How do men name thee? I asked. Men name me by different names”He said.”Many call me Shaitan,the enemy:my followers call me the Lightbearer. (Then the voice again became railing and scoffing).”We do not go by our right names…Then he said it out loud, with a mocking laugh, that which no mortal has dared to pronounce; and then the voice, becoming tender again, continuedL “My name is-.”.then he uttered another name, also composed entirely of vowels;it was the inversion of the other name, and the last vowel was pronounced with a long wail of agony(extract from FAUST, Count Eric Stanislaus Stenbock, from ‘The Moons at Your Door’)

Ta-5175970-1469746880-9282-pnghere are very few people who can grasp, feel and communicate such subtle and strong emotions and there are even less artists that have embraced the occult, the ‘weird’ with such gentleness, tenderness even and deep understanding, that they are able to communicate axiomatic aspects of darkness in all their glory.
David Tibet is for me, the best storyteller I have ever listened to

There are very few people who can grasp, feel and communicate such subtle and strong emotions and there are even less artists that have embraced the occult, the ‘weird’ with such gentleness, tenderness even and deep understanding, that they are able to communicate axiomatic aspects of darkness in all their glory.

David Tibet is for me, the best storyteller I have ever listened to in this life. He is the only other performer (the first is Lisa Gerrard) that provokes awe and uncontrollable emotions to me when he sings. I guess there is no doubt that when somebody comes across a true individual in life (I think Deleuze has used the word ‘singularity’ to describe best what I want to say). I don’t think that there is another word that can describe in a better way, the impact of such a personality, other than the word respect. In a universe that tends to isolate, often violently, people with true individuality, those moments of discovery of such people and of their work, become precious and create a feeling of fulfilment.

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