Thursday, 30 December 2010

Ladies and Gentleman we are on the cusp of a new year and a new decade. So to celebrate here is the second part of my personal favourite album covers of all time:

Tool - ‘Lateralus’, 2001
Unfortunately the above photo doesn't do this album art the credit it deserves. Like the music of the band, the album art has to be experienced first had in order appreciate the skill that has gone into it. Laterallus is intricately laid out layer-upon-layer to build up the image you see above. Thinking outside the box, the band and artist Alex Grey printed the different elements on separate sides of clear plastic that made up the album's inlay book. The listener could then flick through the different layers - all of them full of sacred geometric shapes and spiritual symbols - and look at them as a whole. Simple but Stunning.

Type O Negative - ‘Bloody Kisses’, 1994
It's no secret that I hold Type O Negative in high regard, but I will be the first to admit that most of their album art through the years has been rather basic. However 1994's 'Bloody Kisses' is a major exception to the rule. This simple monochrome photograph - given a slight green tint - is reminiscent of the lesbian vampire erotica of Jean Rollin. While it isn't explicit in its depiction, it still oozes sensuality at the expectation of what is to come.
The album has gone down in history as one of Roadrunner Records most defining moments yielding the first mainstream radio and video hits as well as Gold and later Platinum status. Musically the album may not be as complete and well rounded as 1996's 'October Rust' it remains Type O Negatives first taste of success. Bellow is a video of Roadrunner A&R VP Monte Conner and his thoughts on the album.

Kraftwerk - 'The Man Machine', 1978
I mentioned Kraftwerk's 'The Man Machine' in comparison to Rammstein's 'Live Aus Berlin' in the last post for it's recognizable German aesthetic (Rammstein have also covered the hit song 'The Model' from this album). Dressed alike in red shirts and black ties with red lipstick and dark, gelled hair the band members look uniform and efficient. Not unlike the modernist typography laid out around them.
Kraftwerk's image and sound define modernism. As a term in constant flux as the aesthetic of modernism changes over time, so too does the sound of the band. Evolving from home-made electrical devices and analogue synthesizers to sleek digital technology Kraftwerk's influence over electronic music has been at the cutting edge.

Vol 3, Coming soon...

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

In true democratic style over at the Dominion website we have voted on our top 20 Goth/Industrial albums of the year. However there were a few in my personal top 10 that didn't make the collective cut, so I thought I'd post them here as well.
To read Dominion's top 20 albums of 2010 head over to the True Cult Heavy Metal website.

1. Killing Joke - ‘Absolute Dissent’
Spinefarm Records
The masters return with a soundtrack for the modern world that combines genres and unites fans across the spectrum.

2. Android Lust - ‘The Human Animal’
Synthellec Music
Another innovative and complex blend of electro-industrial that explores the depths of the modern human psyche.

3. Rhombus - ‘Open The Sky’
Models Own Records
Rhombus’ latest album manages to hit the nail on the head for what a modern “Trad Goth” album should sound like. All the classic sounds are present but the band just make them their own.

4. Combichrist - ‘Making Monsters’
Out Of Line Records
This band just keep building momentum with every release and this album is no exception. Full of throbbing beats and grating synths, Combichrist once again show why they’re at the top of the industrial pile.

5. Merciful Nuns - ‘Lib. I’
Solar Lodge
“The only true successor to Garden of Delight”. Seth and cohorts revisit the ‘80s for inspiration for this traditional Gothic Rock project.

6. Midnight Configuration - ‘The Unquiet Void’
Nightbreed Recordings
Nottingham’s own “Satanic Industrialists” up their game once again for their latest, and possibly, best album.

7. Alien Sex Fiend - ‘Death Trip’
13th Moon Records
The first Fiend album in six years and still brimming with that irreverent batcave sound. Alien Sex Fiend once again cement their place as the Gothparents of electro-goth.

8. Aeon Sable - ‘Per Aspera Ad Astra’
A new project from the duo behind Deied and Melanculia. Dark, haunting darkwave and best of all it’s free!

9. Suicide Commando - ‘Implements of Hell’
Out Of Line Records
Hard-hitting gore-obsessed electro-industrial. An album crammed full of dance floor seducing tracks.

10. Method Cell - ‘Curse Of A Modern Age’
RebCo Records
Probably one of the best synthcore bands this country has ever produced. With their intelligent approach to writing dance floor-filling hits Method Cells’ debut is a shot of adrenaline for the industrial scene.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Further to last week’s Yule song special comes another slice of festive frivolity. This time courtesy of the DJ Po and Piers Sixx show on Nightbreed

Po and Piers present two whole hours of Alternative and Gothic Christmas songs from the likes of London After Midnight, The Cult, Ankst, UK Subs and even… The Muppets. According to Po:

“We kinda lost the plot near the end as there was far to many mince pies, Sherry and Brandy on the go.”

The show will make it’s network debut on on Saturday the 11th of December at 8am. So all of those who won’t be able to venture out to London’s famous Goth club Slimelight for Dark Souls can still curl up on the sofa, tune the wireless [broadband] in to, crack open the Sherry and stuff your face with mince pies along with Po and Piers as they kick off Dark Souls day on the station.
If you are off to Dark Souls though, the show will be repeated on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day at 8am and 1.30am along with the other Dark Souls specials.

I heartily recommend making the time to catch this show. Having previewed it, I can honestly say there are plenty of cracking tunes here (that you’ll need to buy from your nearest download webshop) all tied together with the banter of Po and Piers which gradually gets more… merry… as the show goes on. Particular highlights include:

‘Frosty the Snow Man’ by The Cocteau Twins,
‘Carol of the Bells’ by Ankst,
‘Good King Wenceslas’ by Rhombus,
‘Il Est De Le Divin Enfant’ by Siouxsie and the Banshees,
‘Frater Ave Atque Vale’ by Faith and the Muse,
‘Merry Christmas Every Body’ by Metal Gurus (The Mission).

You can only hear DJ Po & Piers 666’s Xmas special on

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Joy to the world for ‘tis the season to be bombarded by the same dozen overplayed slices of Advent radio fodder!

Or is it?

If you hate the Christmas/Saturnalia/Yule/Midwinter/Channukah etc. season then this post really isn’t for you. However if you don’t take the holiday season too seriously (and probably own a black Christmas tree as well) then this should be right up your street.
Go into any high street shop or listen to any radio station right now and you’ll be guaranteed to hear Slade, The Pogues, Wizard, Mariah Carey, Shakin’ Stevens and all the other usual suspects.

But there are alternatives!

While you may not be able to control what the shops and media try to force feed you with your Turkey and trimmings, you can regain still control of your home play list. And so I present a few alternative albums and songs to spin this season and aleviate yourselves of the Christmas blues.


There is an ever growing range of Christmas albums released by alternative bands/record labels every year. A few of them are compilations that hold a few of the tracks in the download list, but more often than not they contain gems that you can’t find anywhere else. Below are some of my favourites.

‘Excelcis Vol. 1: A Dark Noel’
Various Artists
Projekt Records

‘Excelcis Vol. 2: A Winter’s Song’
Various Artists
Projekt Records

‘Mistletoe And Wine’
The Medieval Baebes
EMI Classics

‘Twisted Christmas’
Twisted Sister

‘Winter Songs: Halford III’
Metal God

‘Frohes Fest’

‘Black Snow – The completely different Xmas compilation’
Various Artists
Black Rain

‘Black Snow Vol. 2 – The completely different Xmas compilation’
Various Artists
Black Rain

Aside from full albums, there have been many bands over the years that have done the odd Chistmas song as well. Some of them light-hearted and fun, some of the serious and others that are simply miserable. Here are a few to scan the download stores for.

Danny Elfman – 'What’s this? / Making Christmas'
The Damned – 'There ain’t no Sanity Claus'
Zombina And The Skeletones – 'Transylvanian Christmas'
MXPX – 'Christmas night of the zombies'
Billy Idol – 'Yellin’ at the Xmas tree'
Depeche Mode - 'Christmas Island'
The Eels – 'Everything’s gonna’ be cool this Christmas'
REM – 'Christmas griping'
Peter Murphy and Tom Waits – 'Christmas sucks'
Within Temptation – 'Gothic Christmas'
Wednesday 13 – 'Buried by Christmas'
Henry Rollins – 'Twas the night before Christmas'
Jimi Hendrix – 'Auld lang syne'
U2 – 'New Year’s day'
Cursice – 'Break in the new year'
Drakkar Sauna – 'A carol before Christmas'
Vandals – 'A gun for Christmas'
Faith & the Muse – 'A winter wassail'
White Stripes – 'Candy cane children'
Bob Rivers – 'Chipmunks roasting on an open fire'
Ulver – 'Christmas'
Tom Waits – 'Christmas card from a hooker in Minneapolis'
Smashing pumpkins – 'Christmastime'
Jack white – 'Christmastime will soon be over'
Groovy Ghoulies – 'Christmas on Mars'
Black Tape for a blue girl – 'Channukah oh Channukah'
Cocteau twins – 'Frosty the snowman'
James Brown – 'Go power at Christmastime'Queen – 'Thank God it's Christmas'
Nekrogoblikon – 'Goblin Christmas Armageddon Pt .1'
The Cruxshadows – 'Happy Xmas (War is over)'
Winechuggers – 'I was drunk on Christmas eve'
The Ziggens – 'Instant Christmas'
Alien Sex fiend – 'New Christmas music'
King diamond – 'No presents for Christmas'
Rhea’s obsession – 'We three kings'
Type O Negative – 'Red water (Christmas mourning)'
Alice Cooper – 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town'
Attrition – 'Silent night'
Lou Reed – 'Christmas in February'The Nulll Collective – 'Silent Night'

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