July seems to be one of these months which offer a nice combination of live gigs by long time loved bands of the dark scene who pay a visit to London!
I feel compelled to talk a bit about the headliners of these two live events: Fire+ Ice and Kirlian Camera and this is the first part which will focus on Fire+Ice

First things first, the gig ‘Fire+ Ice, While Angels Watch and Knotwork‘ should actually be called ‘Fire+ Ice, (Blood Axis side project )Knotwork and While Angels Watch‘, since Knotwork is actually formed by Blood Axis with an additional member Don Schabner who has provided backing vocals and plays the guitar in the recently released EP ‘3×3’. It is rare and not expected to see Annabel Lee and Michael Moynihan live so we have to point this out since they occasionally perform songs by Blood Axis when they play as Knotwork. For this tour Blood Axis’ producer and member Robert Ferbrache is joining Annabel Lee and Michael Moynihan playing the guitar.The poster describes the music of Knotwork as traditional however this is not such an very accurate description and listening to the four songs of the EP will help you more.

Fire+ Ice is a one man band which released the first album in 1992 with the title ‘Gilded by the Sun’ after having released 3 EPs as a member of Sol Invictus. Fire+ Ice a.k.a Ian Read has a unique tone in his voice and a recognisable way of performing while also reciting text in a kind and engaging manner. Songs like ‘Lady of the Vanir’ ‘Runa‘ and ‘Greyhead’ have been etched in our souls since their release and they are memorable examples of his way of composing music. The lyrics of these songs and of all the songs that he writes and performs are usually inspired by novels of Romantic writers or the atmosphere in these novels as well as from English writers and poets such as Rudyard Kipling. Nietzsche has also been a source of inspiration as well as  As a result, through his music he always pictures very nice and interesting scenes out of this world. Sometimes (i.e. ‘Gilded by the Sun’) Ian Read has created cover versions of poems as is the case with the lyrics of the poem ‘The Anvil of Ice’ written by Michael Scott Rohan  or the lyrics of Jubal and Tubal Cain which are taken from a poem by Rudyard Kipling. For some reason I have personally associated Fire+ Ice with the painting  ‘Ophelia’ by John Everett Millais.

The term ‘apocalyptic folk’ can be used to describe the style of music that Ian Read writes. I think that the description he used in order to advertise his concert in 1999 at Sydney fits better. He described his music as ”Tales of victory and doom, woven in haunting sounds of times past and yet to come…”. By listening to bands of similar style which started approximately the same period such as Darkwood, Hekate, Novalis one can easily identify the elements that make Fire + Ice unique within this scene. He is an expressive and engaging storyteller and the experience of listening to him live, resembles a gathering around fire in the wood during the night. Other bands might have more accompanying instruments and even more interesting melodies but it is actually the unique voice tone that makes Ian Read capable of touching our sensitive chords while singing. After the release of the album ‘Fractured Man’ in 2012 where he collaborated with Blood Axis, Unto Ashes, Sonne Hagal and Douglas P. this year Fire+ Ice released a live recording from ‘Ring of Fire and Blood’ Portuguese concert series which happened in 2001. In this LP Blood Axis a.k.a Annabel Lee and Michael Moynihan and B’ee from In Gowan Ring accompany Ian Read. The LP has the title ‘Deo Endovellico Sacrum’ and is released by Pesanta in heavyweight black vinyl with metallic gold printing on the jacket and insert. A limited edition of 93 LPs have been pressed on transparent heavyweight golden yellow vinyl.

Both, In Gowan Ring and Blood Axis have a long history however in terms of style I find that the former  is closer to the sound of Fire+ Ice. If you are interested in being thoroughly informed about the bands that you are listening to it’s worth researching Blood Axis  because this is a band with a very specific worldview and a long history of engaging with specific aspects of religious and political nature and these continue to have a strong impact on the places where their concerts are organised and the publicity of these concerts.

It’s been 11 years since I last saw Fire+ Ice as a support band to Death In June. That was a unique experience as Death In June performed inside a boat which departed from Blackfriars Bridge and took us on a 2 hour cruise inside the Thames while offering us the opportunity to enjoy a vegetarian buffet! Despite this I have retained a very positive memory from the performance of Ian Read so I am looking forward to this live gig.

While Angels Watch is the project started by London based David Horton who has collaborated with Fire+Ice, Sieben a.k.a Matt Howden and Jane Griffiths.Having roots and influences from the post punk scene of the 1980s the band only released three cassettes prior to 1991 and  only one album ‘Dark Age‘ released in 2002 by Cynfeirdd. More recently an EP entitled ‘Still the Star Shines’ was released in 2004 by Cynfeirdd and a compilation album called ‘History& Heritage Vol.I’  was released in 2008 by Eis Und Licht and included songs from the older cassettes. This is a band which has done very few live performances so this is a rare opportunity to listen to their music. Their songs are dynamic with drums, violin and acoustic guitar accompanying the haunting voice of David Horton. I didn’t have the chance to see them perform live at the Wave Gotik Treffen of 2008 so I am looking forward to seeing them live. The band is currently working on the release of a new album

This event will also have a dedicated dj for the evening and she will be Dj Blackdeath 1334. She is one of the resident djs of Slimelight/Electrowerkz and has proven throughout the years that she actually takes into account the music of the bands that are playing live, she chooses wisely her playlist so that it is relevant in order to create the necessary atmosphere as an ideal warm up before the bands are on stage. So I would suggest that you go early at this gig so as not to miss an opportunity to enjoy a playlist not likely to be played in a club night.

Blaue Rosenbox

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