Filed under: Art Reviews,Goth Stuff,Live Music,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn April 4, 2018 @ 10:54 pm

Annual Festival

Darkside of the Con 2

Billed as “North America’s 3-Day Dark Alternative Convention” and sponsored Jet Berelson’s online community and event-hosting network, Vampire Freaks, the second iteration of Darkside of the Con took place at – and took full control of – the Radisson Hotel in Piscataway, NJ, about midway between NYC and Philadelphia.

Many, if not most of the attendees at this three day, multi-event extravaganza took overnight rooms at the hotel, and wisely so, because there was an available swimming pool, late night activities, dance club events and unofficial parties late into the night. Impresario Jet was joined by famous deejays including Mike Saga, Aengl, V Christ , Annabell Evil, Swabby, End:The DJ, Sean Templar and Xris Smack in providing late night dance ambience.

The widely diverse agenda included six bands Friday the first night, nine bands Saturday the second night and six bands on Sunday morning. Such popular regulars of the scene as the Long Losts, The Rain Within, Ego Likeness, Disorder, Xentrifuge and Panzie were joined by others, equally popular, but too numerous to mention.

Panel discussions featured celebrity discussants as Sean Templar and Xris Smack among others. Topics discussed included every field of interest and inquiry pertinent to this community, including cosplay, gender issues, oddities, Wicca, vampirism, and “What the Hell is Goth?” Madame X hosted two meetings of the Iron Garden community discussing paranormal experiences and strange sightings. Bella Morte’s lead vocalist, Andy Deane succeeded in conducting group participation in extemporaneously writing a song that turned out with a sci-fi theme.

Fetish and handicraft workshops and ticketed, open-bar socializing parties were among the many activities in which attendees participated. A pool party took place on Saturday night. Vendors hawking corsets, masks, costume jewelry, accessories, toys and eccentric, crafted items contributed to the grotesque atmosphere.

Among the crazy entertainments there was a vampirish ballet in Victorian costumes called “The Burlesque Revue,” and a screening of “Little Shop of Horrors” simulcast alongside a live performance of the scripted action complete with life-size actors and hand puppets.

Xentrifuge on stage at Darkside of the Con 2

By far and away, the major attraction was the attendees themselves whose contribution was to provide the most gorgeous and extravagant outfits, costumes and make-up depicting every conceivable identity and persona that fit into the diverse agenda of the Gothic, punk and industrial world. Whether heavily armored in fishnets and leather or scantily exposed in bikinis and boots, the predominantly black-clad population of the dark underground community attained the heights of glamour, beauty and bizarre style. Photographers and mere onlookers stood in the corridors gaping in awe and admiration at the endless parade of beauty and outré fashion.

Darkside of the Con has achieved status as a convention on a scale similar and comparable to some of the major events that take place overseas. When I attend music and cultural gatherings in Europe, I am sometimes asked if there are like events in the States. It has been a long time coming, but now I can answer “yes.”


Nights Out

Clan of Xymox
Brooklyn Bazaar and St. Vitus
Brooklyn NY
March 25 & 26, 2018

Metropolis Recording artists and Dutch dark wavers, Clan of Xymox performed at Brooklyn Bazaar on Sunday night, March 25 and again on Monday March 26 at St. Vitus, both Brooklyn venues. Tracing their origin to 1981, Xymox is famous for being early pioneers of the quintessential Goth sound. Their origin with iconic 4AD Records adds to their “cred.” presented by Mandana Banshee and Sean Templar’s Red Party they performed identical set list at both places.

We missed the first opening band but caught the dazzling keyboard-centered Decoded Feedback and the Skinny-Puppy-sound-alike Static Bloom, both of which bands would be well worth going to hear live just on their own.

Xymox started with the eerie, instrumental intro, “Days of Black,” then went into “Stranger” off their first, eponymous 1985 album. The eighteen song show included mainly entries representing depressing – seemingly intentionally depressing – tracks from their numerous recordings, e.g. the languid “Leave Me Be,” and the morose “Louise.”

They also performed the utterly secular “Hail Mary,” which is not to be confused with the well-known Catholic prayer, although both touch upon the issue of redemption. The relatively recent “In Love We Trust,” title track off a 2009 album of the same name, was the ninth and midway-through-the-set song. The decidedly industrial “A Day,” integrates a melodious minor key melody and plaintive vocal callings of Ronny Moorings with bursts of mechanized and rapid rhythm. It was followed by “Back Door” from the “Medusa” album just before the first break.

Encores included “Obsession” from Twist of Shadow the third full album and “Cry in the Wind” and “Farewell” from the post-millennial album of the same name. “Muscoviet Musquito” off the 1st, eponymous album 1985 opened the second set of encores. They concluded the final set of encores with the much-covered 60s mega-hit “Venus.”

Throughout the show there was an unconventional and fascinating use of handheld bright diode lights of various colors.

COX, founded by Ronny Moorings, Pieter Nooten and Anka Wolbert in the Netherlands in 1981, is now mainly Ronny Moorings. He is joined by Mojca, Mario, Sean & Daniel. Nooten and Wolbert are no longer associated with the band. Despite superficial similarities, COX is not to be mistaken for a cultural spin-off of the immensely more successful band, the Cure. While the Cure is known for dark, introspective music, they have stretched their repertoire to poppy, even jolly, major-key entries, experimenting with brass instrument accompaniment, Latin rhythms and more. The Clan sticks pretty much to the mission of providing reliably gloomy, minor-key and somber electronic works to please the fiercest adherents to Goth orthodoxy – whether rapid for dance or slow paced for a funeral. Ronny Moorings’s plaintive vocals express better than almost anyone else – the wounded feelings and existential complaints of Goths around the world.



March 31, 2018

The premiere monthly music event Stimulate celebrated the birthday of its founder and chief promoter, Xris Smack to close out the month of March with a special edition featuring three live bands at Drom on Avenue A.

Panzie at Stimulate

The opening band was the Manson-esque group from NYC’s Lower East Side, Panzie, supporting their new album “The Joke’s on You,” and came complete with masks, make-up, balloons and a ferocious sound that contained elements reminiscent of Rage Against the machine as well as Rob Zombie. This certainly established a festive atmosphere for Xris’s birthday celebration.

The next two bands were from our home state of NJ. Metropolis Records hard rockers Panic Lift, supporting their recent releases, “The Poison Remains” and “From Blue to Black,” provided a welcome change to melodious, but heavy, guitar-based sounds with an industrial edge. Coming on late – very late – was the Cleopatra Records’ electro-industrial duo, Xentrifuge, whose harsh, mechanized and highly synthesized sound – drawn mainly from their new album, “Desensitized Parallels” – was a perfect apocalypse to put a top on Xris’s birthday event.

As is usual, there were gorgeous and exotic dancers joined by the even more gorgeous Ashley Bad whose green vinyl outfit riveted the gaze of onlookers and dance floor participants during between-the-acts sets provided by the stellar cast of deejays, including Father Jeff, Paradox, Joe Hart, Siren and the host, himself Xris Smack.

Beautifully under-dressed Nola Star shocked the audience with an act of self-inflicted piercing to provide Xris with some artfully-placed birthday candles to blow out.

DJ Paradox

Once again, Stimulate provided a night of over-the-top entertainment filled with great music and glamorous guests, both onstage and off.


Lost in Echoes at

BerlinNYC @ The Pyramid
March 30, 2018

Lost In Echoes

Berlin is a “Goth, Industrial, Alternative NuWave (sic) Underground” music event held on select nights of the month at the popular Pyramid Club on Avenue A in the East Village. We attended on Friday March 30 both to investigate the dance club event and to see a performance by a new cover band, Lost In Echoes. To add incentive, Berlin was also hosting a quickly arranged art exhibit.

Painting by Victor Auton

Upon our early arrival in the famous downstairs basement space of the Pyramid – entry through the upstairs had cost us $8 each – we were greeted by host and deejay, Alex von Nihil, longtime veteran of the lower Manhattan scene. While he and his colleagues spun danceable tunes, we meandered about in the dim light, augmenting it with our phones’ flashlights, to inspect the remarkable paintings that had been -spontaneously and on short notice – churned out by Victor Auton in the preceding seven hours. Full of energy, frenzy and with highly suggestive imagery, they had both the feel of punk and that of a confident and accomplished artist.

When performance time came, the same Victor served as lead guitarist of Lost In Echoes. He was joined by vocalist Jorge Enriquez Obando, Diego on bass and Dyanne on drums.

What followed was a thoroughly entertaining set of new pieces and covers drawn from the tradition of goth and punk, starting with “Human Fly” by the Cramps. Obando imbued each lyric, each note with a mix of furor and punkish rage while still adhering to the most appealing qualities of the originals. “Alice” by Sisters of Mercy got exactly that treatment as did LIE’s original piece “Visions.”

A particular treat came when drummer Dyanne, a statuesque brunette, pulled a microphone close so she could take over lead vocals for a cover of Concrete Blond’s best song, “Bloodletting,” although I believe it caused her to break a drum pedal. This only enhanced the raw feel of the high energy show. A heated version of Bauhaus’s “Stigmata” and Peter Murphy’s “Final Solution” concluded the show.

Lost in Echoes at this point has a short-list repertoire but more than makes up for it in energy and dramatic delivery. In many ways, this cover band put on a show that was more entertaining than some highly polished and carefully rehearsed tribute bands. What Lost in Echoes showed above all else is the love and passion they have for the material and the tradition behind the music.



David Bowie Is

Brooklyn Museum

March 2 – July 15, 2018

This exhibit has been on tour for 5 years and its last stop is here at the Brooklyn Museum. The exposition makes – and ultimately proves – the argument that David Bowie is the greatest rock star of all time. It also makes clear that throughout his career and certainly in the couple of years since he passed, David Bowie is a cultural icon whose persona serves as a symbol for our age.

Entry will cost you $25 on a weekend unless you’re a student with I.D. It’s a timed entry-situation, and we had to make it through 3 lengthy and long duration lines, the first to get tickets (50 minutes), the second to line up on the floor where the exhibit is housed (15 minutes) and the last one brief, to get into the spectacle itself. Bowie’s show is housed on the fifth floor, accessible by an elevator ride (after another line). I wouldn’t advise using the stairs because each floor is separated by two flights of steps, so your climb is 10 flights! No photos are allowed and cell phones must be in airplane mode.
And well worth all the trouble!

This is one of the most spectacular museum displays of all time, featuring almost countless items, artworks, costumes, video clips, giant-screen shows and historical artifacts and references. All the while the visitor is listening to narratives and to Bowie’s music via headphones that pick up the location-appropriate audio as one moves from station to station and room to room.

It isn’t possible to touch upon the myriad topics and presentations here. The unguided tour starts with his life history, from when he was born David Robert Jones in South London to his youthful interest in Beat poetry and Jazz. The situation in Britain at the time of his early artistic developments is outlined – from the economic disaster of post-World War II – to the socialist government that was supposed to remedy it – to young David’s exposure to Elvis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. The Beatles and the British Invasion paved the way for him as he began to explore song and dance and musical instruments. He was also drawing and painting, something he would dabble with all his life. One wall displays numerous line drawings he did in collaboration with Laurie Anderson. A tarot card deck of his design is on view.

In the early days first Bowie knocked around with unsuccessful blues and jazz groups before exploding on to the scene with Space Oddity in 1969, released five days ahead of the Apollo 11 space launch. While a visitor is reading about this, the music is pouring in through his or her headphones. The character of Major Tom is introduced, said to be both heroic and vulnerable, not to say sexually ambiguous. He is to reappear in “Ashes to Ashes,” “Hallo Spaceboy” and in “Blackstar.” The mock astronaut suit Bowie wore for the video is there on display.

What this exhibition reveals is Bowie as a unique entertainer who saw himself as a “One Man Revolution,” determined to define a signature style that underlies all the superficial variations of appearance and persona. Along with this, he maintained an interest in Buddhism, in mime and in literature. His bookcase is displayed, filled with exemplary titles of books that defined our modern world: “1984,” “A Clockwork Orange,” James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time” and “The Hidden Persuades,” etc.

There’s much display and explanation of Bowie’s costumes, make-up and personae. The iconic facial lightning bolt appears on the “Aladdin Sane” album and on a mask, but was never – we learn – worn in performance. Its zigzag design also appears on a costume coat, modifying the stripes of the British flag.

The outlandish, sometimes androgynous, and bizarre costumes are shown to be central to his personal style. Among them one will see the giant plastic tux that Bowie wore on an historic 1979 Saturday Night Live appearance with bizarre Bavarian performance artist Klaus Nomi. At that viewing area one will be simultaneously watching a video of the actual SNL TV show. This occasion marked a turning point in both his career and that of Nomi. Bowie was now mainstream. And Nomi subsequently appropriated that tux for his own future stage appearances.

Posters, kabuki and extravagant fashion magazine covers that influenced the aesthetics of Ziggy Stardust are framed for viewing, and notably included images without regard to any particular gender. Bowie allowed there to be confusion of his identity with that of Ziggy. In 1973 he temporarily retired Ziggy but revived him in his final threnody, “Blackstar,” which was released on his 69th birthday, two days before his death. Bowie took in influences from around the world, and chose from broader, more exotic sources than most.

There’s a “Periodic Table” of Bowie showing the hundred-plus influences, musical and otherwise, laid out like the familiar Periodic Table of the Elements. The exhibition gives due credit is to artists and designers who helped Bowie realize his artistic expression with album covers, costumes and the like.

Astonished attendees stand and gape, fascinated by the many high-tech audio-visual experiences at the exhibition. One of these is a large, mirrored alcove that puts on a dazzling pastiche of video art with accompanying, matching music, fragmentary yet unified. There are many opportunities to just stand and watch movie and TV clips sampling Bowie’s musical and acting careers. And there’s more – much more – to the exhibit than this report.

Do we have to say it? Bowie’s influence spreads farther and deeper than just the entertainment world. His fabulous good looks allowed him to juxtapose weird costumes and makeup while remaining irresistibly attractive and at the same time promoting gender ambiguity, preposterous appearance and implicit iconoclasm. It’s hard to imagine the individualistic appearances of today’s world of style, fashion and gender identity without recognizing the spin put on our world by David Bowie.


Morbid Anatomy Library

Green-Wood Cemetery
Brooklyn NY

Goths and other denizens of the dark cultural scene can rejoice at the resurrection of one of – if not THE most beloved institution in the greater NY/NJ area, the Morbid Anatomy Library. After an all too brief and glorious two year run in Brooklyn’s Park Slope from 2014 to 2016, the Morbid Anatomy Museum closed its doors amidst much grieving by its devoted members and enchanted visitors.

It’s important to remember that the Museum had its origins in a smaller, less ambitious establishment called the Morbid Anatomy Library, which was founded in 2008 in Proteus Gowanus, and before that in 2007 in the Morbid Anatomy blog of founder Joanna Ebenstein.

The mission of examining and celebrating the intersection of “art, medicine, death and culture” goes on – and never really ceased. It is now headquartered in the historic and fitting edifice that is the Fort Hamilton Gate House of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

An open house at the new digs was held on Easter weekend March 31 and April 1. The dedicated core of Morbid Anatomy, namely artistic director Joanna Ebenstein and events coordinator and librarian Laetitia Barbier greeted guests and well-wishers on the second floor where recognizable artifacts from the original collection were on view and members of the press and other media were taking notes both days.

Downstairs on the first floor was an exhibit area, the centerpiece of which was the marvelous miniature diorama model of the fabled museum, lovingly and painstakingly built by Joel Schlemowitz. It shows both the iconic black exterior and the two main floors complete with breath-taking, detailed reproductions of furniture, architectural details and display articles. A video of the diorama can be viewed on Youtube under “Miniature Diorama of Morbid Anatomy Museum.”

The events-schedule of Morbid Anatomy continues. There is an ongoing Morbid Anatomy exhibition on artworks created with human hair at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. One can learn about and plan to attend or visit upcoming local lectures, exhibits and activities of the Morbid Anatomy community by following their page on Facebook or going to the Morbid Anatomy blogspot.

Congratulations and best wishes from New Dark Age!



The January Sessions – 1998
The Empire Hideous
Hideous Productions

Gothic metal band The Empire Hideous was active mainly between 1988 and 1998, although there were a few spurts of activity and a couple of CDs released in the post-millennium decade. Just before and in anticipation of the official breakup of the band in early 1998, EH went into the studio with their best-ever lineup of musicians and recorded their then-current set list, in a series of sessions. Early this year, on the 20th anniversary, the recording of those January sessions has been released, consisting of fourteen tracks, some of which had appeared on earlier albums, some that had only been heard live, and some that would find their way onto CDs released after the band had gone into hibernation.

In a sense, this collection represents the band at its mature peak of artistic achievement. The Empire Hideous’s signature sound, combining howling, sorrowful guitar lines, ultra deep, bass guitar fulmination and compelling, urgent rhythms combines with mournful minor key melodies and Myke’s legendary voice. Fans of EH will feast their ears upon Myke’s unique vocal style, heavy with vibrato and echoic effects as he presents his poetic narratives that range from melancholy to demonic, delivered with an anguished intensity.

Four of these tracks were included in the sold out and no-longer-available CD, “Victim Destroys Assailant.” These include the funereal “God and I,” the rapidly paced “Talk Is Cheap,” the surprisingly folksy “Dead Season” and the hypnotic “Otherside.”

Live versions of “Kissing Your Poison” and “Parasite’s Bible,” with its recognizable harmonics riff, are resurrected from the first full length album, “Only Time Will Tell.” Covers in this collection include a driving, speeded up version of “All I Want” by the Cure and a version of “God of Thunder” that is more serious, less facetious than the original by KISS. “Girl at the End of My Gun” by Alien Sex Fiend gets the EH treatment in a frantically paced, faithful tribute to the original.

As this collection basically represents the concluding achievement and final culmination of the Empire Hideous, it was fitting that it should end with Paul Anka’s “My Way,” famously made into a mega-hit by Frank Sinatra and later the Sex Pistols. Here it starts ballad-like, highlighting Myke’s native and unaltered vocal qualities. About a third of the way through it accelerates and transforms into a goth rock anthem, serving as a perfectly apt conclusion to an album, a collection and a career.

This album is available only in mp3 version from various Hideous websites that can be found via the Internet, Facebook, Spotify, etc.

New Dark Age March 2018

Filed under: Goth Stuff,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn March 20, 2018 @ 6:26 pm

February 2018 New Dark Age

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,New Dark Age Monthly,Recorded Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn February 21, 2018 @ 11:01 pm

First, the actual pages as they appear in the Aquarian, probably too small to read here, but text will appear below:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Nights Out

Late January and early February offered nightclub goers plenty of events to attend. Those within striking distance of Brooklyn attended DJ Cyclonus‘s night, Arkham and saw a return of DJ Jose Francis. The setlists which covered everything from Ian Hunter to Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails to Covenant and Project Pitchfork while classic horror movies played on the main screen as well as the brick wall including “The Shining” and “Devil Takes Five.”

DJ, writer and historian Andi Harriman¹s Synthicide, a monthly Thursday EBM night at Bossa Nova Civic Club in Brooklyn, was held Feb 1, hosting ­ as is the mission of this project – a group of deejays that might not always have a platform to spin their magic, namely Squarewav, Rexx Arkana, Zvetschka along with the erudite promoter herself.

QXT’s So80’s

Jan 26, 2018

Newark NJ

Every 2nd and last Friday of the month QXT¹s, the metro-area¹s singularly dedicated alternative dance club holds an 80s night called “So80¹s” following their weekly Happy Hour Karaoke. DJs Ash and Damian Plague play every danceable genre of music from the 1980s in the upstairs, main floor. On this “So80’s” night the theme was nostalgia, with hours of such iconic remnants of that era as Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” and Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life.” Also heard were “Old” Ministry’s “Everyday is Halloween,” Gary Numan’s “Cars” and Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran.”

The moving image of Molly Ringwold in cinema classic ³Pretty in Pink² played silently on the big screen and was conducive to transporting the dancers on the utterly packed floor back to three decades ago, when the whole world of music seemed to have moved in a new direction. VJ TM5 curated the nostalgic visuals.

Meanwhile, down in Area 51, special guest DJ Stalagmike of Defcon at the famous Pyramid alternated with DJ Mykill Plague playing industrial powerhouse tracks such a Combichrist’s “This S— Will F— You Up” to a crowd of serious pavement pounders. Eerie electronic wall designs in unworldly hues outlined their animated silhouettes as fabulous beams of laser light cut wildly through the darkness of this post-apocalyptic vault. DJ Victrola in the Crypt – the other downstairs hall – played classic goth, darkwave and alternative tracks.

Iron Garden 3rd Anniversary

QXT’s ­ Iron Garden

Jan 26, 2018

Newark NJ

Iron Garden held a celebration of its third anniversary earlier in the evening, just prior to opening Area 51 to dancers. This is a NJ-based organization providing a social setting for discrete, mature denizens of the dark demimond calling themselves “Nightkind,” and their various allies in the pagan, vampire, witch, and other esoteric communities. The idea is to promote and provide conducive haven for those pursuing creative lifestyles which include metaphysics, philosophy, arts, poetry and scholarship of various sorts.

Iron Garden¹s founder – Primus and Matriarch ­ Madame X, of the House of Dreaming, is a major figure in all aspects of nightlife and related culture in the Greater NY/NJ dark scene, and she opened the meeting with a discussion aimed at orienting participants to the terminology of covens, houses and guilds that they may encounter in this subculture. This was followed by invocation and triumphant celebration of the anniversary led by host Jabbar Martin in his role as Trismegistus Aga Khan, a title signifying his literacy in sacred texts.

The walls were decorated with the artistically designed announcement flyers from the past three years’ Iron Garden events. Various consecrating ceremonies and the yearly renewals of citizenship in Iron Garden took place. Entertainment was provided by violin virtuoso Liz Gonzalez who treated those in attendance to masterful performance of pieces by Bach, Irish reels and original compositions.

Ward 6

January 27 saw another iteration of the long-standing, recurring, Fr. Jeff Ward dance party, Ward 6. As ever of late, it was held at the upscale bar/dance hall Windfall on east 39th St in NYC.

Besides Jeff’s and collaborator Patrick¹s providing the very best selection of New Wave, Dark Wave and Industrial tracks to which to dance, this night they hosted a solo performance of Caroline Blind of the band Sunshine Blind. Starting around midnight, she took the stage and performed her set of folksy acoustic Goth rock, relying on guitar strumming as the only accompaniment to her extraordinarily beautiful voice. Opening with a blues-inflected version of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Caroline proceeded into a number of original songs from back when Sunshine Blind performed regularly as a group which included Caroline’s then-husband, now occasional collaborator, Charlie as well as members of Faith and the Muse. To wrap up the well-received set, Caroline concluded with the late Dolores Riordan’s tour de force, the Cranberries hit “Zombie,” that left the crowd satisfied.

The rest of the night was spent dancing to the likes of the Cure and Cold Cave, whose little-played “Confetti” was a welcome rarity. The party was just heating up with Apoptyma Berserk when we left a little after 1:30, with a who¹s who of NYC night scene celebrities still pouring in. Among the notables in attendance were (in no particular order) Sean Templar, his lovely wife Mandana Banshee at the booth, Erik Aengel, Sir William Welles, Matt V Christ, Joe Hart, Jane “Paradox” Smith, reliable clubber Jorge Obando, DJ Arsenal, Annabelle Evil and Photographer Dario Valdivia, accompanied by lovely veteran of the music scene, Roe Paolino. Coat check girl Hilda was looking as beautiful as we¹ve ever seen her.

Some strikingly beautiful “Goth girls” (“girl” is not a put down!) remain unfortunately nameless at the time of this report. Likewise there were some well-groomed and smooth dancing Goths of the male persuasion whom we never get to know by name. Bill, beret-and-pony-tail wearing, perpetual and omnipresent pencil artist Bill, sat drawing images of the participants of Ward 6 by the illumination provided by his small flashlight. Gerard and Julia saw to it that everyone¹s thirst was quenched, and Chris Sabo saw to the details of running things and house hospitality.

Necropolis Feb 3

Jeff Ward¹s other long-standing dark dance event was packed almost to Windfall¹s capacity on Saturday night Feb 3. The same staff and many of the same attendees as Ward 6 from the preceding Saturday, one week earlier. First-up DJ Sean Templar, had earlier that evening attended the Town Hall appearance of Norwegian group Wardruna whose music would seem to resurrect the medieval, runic sounds of ancient Scandinavia with ribcage-rattling, vibrating percussion and ominous, vocal duets.

Never one to get stuck with musical cliches, Sean enriched the setlist with “Helvegen” by Wardruna and with an early play of “Hate Us and See If We Mind,” a seriously powerful piece by brilliant experimental neofolk group, Rome. Both Wardruna and Rome have met with spectacular success at Castle Party in Poland, I can attest first-hand.

Host DJ Jeff and regular DJ Erik Angel made their contributions to keep the dance floor activated with the likes of Wolfsheim, Chameleons UK, Sisters of Mercy and the Psychedelic Furs.

High-powered intellectuals huddled at the bar were overheard discussing the philosophical controversies of Nietzsche and Hegel as the music played on.

The Red Party Feb 10

A special edition of the monthly Red Party took place Feb 10 at NYC’s Mercury Lounge to celebrate the weekend closest to St. Valentine’s Day, called the 10th Annual “Love Will Tear Us Apart” St. Valentine’s Ball. Featured were a night of tragic love songs mainly in the dance category.
DJs Annabelle Evil and Sean shared the booth with an assist by Matt V Christ. DJ Jarek was scheduled but hadn’t appeared by the time we left at around 2 a.m. Hospitality hostess Mandana Banshee circulated and took photos of the attendees, among whom were such celebrities as gorgeously decked out Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect and Ana Vice of Memento Mori. Xris Smack and the stunning-in-pink Ashley Bad made a late appearance.
Remorseful, romantic tunes such as “I Was Wrong” by the Sisters of Mercy played and the exceptionally dark dance floor was illuminated by a large, rotating, reflective disco ball that showered dim purple spots around the room creating an atmosphere of festive gloom.



Trisol Music

Project Pitchfork

The just-released new album by Project Pitchfork bodes well for the Goth/Industrial music scene in that this iconic band, no entering its 28th year and with sixteen prior albums under their belt has the creativity and ingenuity to produce yet another major work. Frontman and creator Peter Spilles has apparently taken inspiration from modern scientific concepts and applied that inspiration to the dark, rhythmic style of synthpop for which his group is famous.

“Akkretion” is presented as a 2-CD set with 15 tracks. The last four,- the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th – are remixes of four tracks earlier in the album. The eleventh is listed as a bonus track.

Science and science fiction as well as morbid philosophy play a role in setting the themes of this opus. The term “akkretion” in German ­ or “accretion” in English ­ is used to describe “the coming together and cohesion of matter under the influence of gravitation to form larger bodies,” i.e. the process of forming stars and planets.

Other tracks with suggestive titles include ³Gravity Waves² (just discovered in 2017), “The Collision,” “And the Sun Was Blue.”

The musical features are of course similar to what fans of Project Pitchfork have come to love and expect, namely well-defined, mesmerizing cadences, minor-key melodies and occasional, spacey, ethereal elements. On most tracks there is an intriguing introduction, followed by slowly accumulating beats until complex rhythms are formed, then Spilles’ hoarse, growling vocals, sometimes broached by spoken word narratives. The second track, “Good Night Death,” offers a peaceful, resolute acceptance of mortality.

“Akkretion” is a must-have set for fans of Germanic darkwave and represents the continuing growth and accomplishment of this exemplary representative of the genre.

Goth/Rock Art, Fashion & Culture

The Salons- “Dressing the Underground: Fashion for Subculture”

The Beauty Bar, NYC

January 25, 2018

Goth scene luminary and subculture historian Andi Harriman participated in a panel discussion hosted by Lady Aye of The Salons at Beauty Bar just off Union Square, “a series of learning and networking events dedicated to the history of beauty and fashion,” aimed largely at beauty-industry professionals. The topic of this night’s discussion was “Dressing for Subculture.”

Other panelists included Sonya Abrego, visiting assistant professor at The New School for design, who, in classic 40s pin-up style hairdo shed light upon hybrid rockabilly and mid-century fashion culture. Fashion designer and NYC nightlife legend Tobell von Cartier spoke about the evolving club scene styles that came and went, from grunge to the ascent of increasingly glamorous evening wear and over-the-top cosmetic application.

New Dark Age’s attention was focused on Ms. Harriman¹s presentation. Asked to define Goth culture, she offered the insightful “Three Ds,” namely Drama, Darkness and Death as foundational. She went on to point out the origin of Goth style in the era of British rockers and the punk scene. When questioned about the “cannibalization” of Goth style by mainstream entities such as Hot Topic, she further emphasized commitment to the dark music of 80s New Wave and paying homage to the creators of the scene to distinguish authenticity from poseur appropriation.

In tracing her roots, Ms. Harriman pointed out that she had emerged from a rather stultified, Southern background, but had become enraptured by the music of Depeche Mode and the discovery of the look of Goth on music videos. Her personal bio proved to be the most interesting topic covered that event.

There was much talk about the value of do-it-yourself attire in establishing the individual style in order to counteract the sameness imposed by mass production of clothes and accessories as available in mall outlets. The panel¹s overriding conclusion gleaned was that the underground fashion evolves by building upon rather than abandonment of preceding style.


January 25, 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of Joy Division’s debut performance under that name. Prior to that date, the quartet of Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris had performed under the name Warsaw. JD formed in 1976 by Sumner and Morris in a clumsy effort at emulating the Sex Pistols. Instead of continuing in the punk style of the Sex Pistols, with the drafting of vocalist Ian Curtis and bass player Peter Hook, the group launched the post-punk musical movement with its unconventional, slowed-down rhythms, amateurish command of the instruments and home-made synthesizers.

Joy Division is credited by many authorities on the subject as having been one of the two essential, post-punk bands to have spawned the genre of Goth Rock, the other being Bauhaus. Curtis – influenced by Jim Morrison of the Doors – gave voice to themes of darkness, pressure and crisis. Characterized by sparse, baritonal vocals, gloomy lyrics and a melodious bass line, Joy Division, is distinguished from the punk style by their use of electronics and by their emphasis on mood and expression rather than anger and energy.

Critically acclaimed – potentially the next Beatles – Joy Division was to tour the U.S. in 1980 when Curtis committed suicide on the eve departure.

The poignant sadness surrounding the brief life and untimely death of the band and its frontman mysteriously crystallized at that moment into a new musical genre and a new subculture built around darkness, introspection and death – that comes to us now, four decades later – and that we presently recognize as Goth.


Mark E. Smith
, singer and the only consistent member of Manchester based post-punk band The Fall, has died Jan 24, 2018 at the age of 60. One of the earliest and most influential British post-punk bands, noted for retaining the repetitive, guitar-driven feel of original, confrontational punk while expanding the musical and lyrical armamentarium with challenging topics and literate lyrics as well as creative musical originality.

The Fall released thirty-two studio albums, most recently, “The Fall Live in Manchester,” in January 2018 on Cherry Red. Sadly, they were set to tour the US for the first time in twelve years.

Jeremy Inkel, keyboardist and programmer of Front Line Assembly passed away on January 13th 2018 at the age of 34 due to complications from asthma. Inkel joined FLA in 2005 along with Jared Slingerland, and is credited with co-writing and producing the full length album Artificial Soldier.

Astronomical Paintings

Filed under: My Art,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 31, 2018 @ 1:44 pm

Jupiter and Its 4 Galilean Moons – Oil on Canvas[/caption]Executed at One River School of Art, Allendale, NJ

Oil on Canvas

New Dark Age – January 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 19, 2018 @ 8:38 pm

The Red Party

December 9 2017 was the last iteration of 2017 of the enormously successful Red Party at the Mercury Lounge. As always host Sean Templar and Jared started the night at the deejay booth, and were joined this night by DJ Jose Francis of the biweekly Dark Dance show on InClub Radio, an internet station out of Peru. The setlist included the Ramones, Misfits, Corpus Delecti, Siouxsie, Cocteau Twins and the Wake among many others.

Hostess Mandana Banshee Templar manned a merchandise stand selling “Red Merch,” i.e. shirts, buttons and the like with one form or another of the Red Party logo..

The high point of the party came with a live performance by a band called Pawns. Shortly after midnight, this anarcho-deathrock four piece group came on in a rather vicious, punkish form with pounding rhythms, insistent guitar chants and bellowing vocals.

The Pawns have a rather comely bass player in Jenna Graham. Guitarist Noel Mateus. And drummer Stephen Reader are led by frantic-energetic vocalist Gage, a Hollywood-handsome youth with a head of spiked blond hair and a political bent.

Pawns started up in 2013 with release of an eponymous 7”, and follwed with another 7” entitled “Eternal Return.” This past summer they released an LP, “The Gallows” under Mass Media records.
We spoke to gage in a quiet corner of Mercury Lounge and he cited as influence various bands like Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Crass, Honey Bane, and others. Those in the audience whom I polled agreed that the dominant influence was Joy Division. To me they sounded like if Joy Division had died, gone to Hell and started broadcasting from the underworld.

Up to now, Pawns have gone on three tours mainly on the West Coast. New Dark Age looked them up on Bandcamp and found their recordings every bit as appealing as their live performance.

New Year’s Eve Party

“Forever Young”

Mandana Banshee, Sean Templar and the Red Party hosted what they called a “post countdown” party at Mercury Lounge which started around midnight at the turn of the new year backed by deejays Matt V Christ, Michael T and Ash with guest host DJ Erik Aengel. This time as promised it was an all New Wave, 80s night, and indeed it was with selections from the archives of such gems of that decade as Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, the Eurhythmics, the Pogues and Modern English filling the air and energizing the dance floor. Never-fail, consistently-played standards such as Bauhaus, the Cure and Joy Division also made the setlist, although they don’t wait for an 80s night, but make the setlist every weekend at every club in the scene.

The party went on until 6 a.m. and indeed it was packed from the start to finish with Red Party regulars and hordes of revelers from other, earlier parties who didn’t want to quit until the dawn’s early light. Gracious queen of hospitality Mandana circulated, taking photos and seeing to it that everyone had the best and most memorable night of 2018.

Such luminaries of the downtown NYC music scene as Christian Dryden of the Ritualists, Jennifer Bobbe of Night Gallery, Torrin Krrell and Sir William Welles were in attendance.


Under What Flag – A Tribute to Fad Gadget

Various Artists

Cleopatra Records

This compilation of 15 tracks, each featuring a different band, covers a wide sampling of the body of work of Mute Recording artist Fad Gadget, the British electronic musician who was active from 1979 until retiring in 1993, emerging briefly in 2001 to tour with Dépêche Mode before passing away in 2002 at age 45. The Periodic Table of Synthpop © lists FG as “foundational synthpop,” for its early contribution to the New Wave and Industrial genres blending pop-style rhythms with experimental, mechanical sounds, industrial noise and the sounds of found objects. Think drills, jars, cans and printing presses.

Twelve different of FG’s tracks (FG is Frank Tovey) get the treatment from 15 different artists who address, each in their own way, FG’s deadpan, bleak and sometimes comical criticism of our modern, mechanized society and its norms as well as deviants.

FG’s mix of rock, punk, folk and disco is no longer very popular. The first track, on this album, “Collapsing New People” is the only one currently being played with any frequency at clubs in the metropolitan area. Bioassay’s cover is very close to the original in vocals, rhythm and accompaniment and is immediately recognizable.

There are three versions of “Back to Nature” in which FG sets the tone with a slow, determined cadence, ominous vocals, tropical bird sounds and the hiss of a rain downpour. Noir’s version has a richer vocal style than FG. Leaether Strip’s is faster paced (what do you expect?) and Cortex Defect’s is the most faithful of the three.

There are also three versions of “Insecticide,” a nasty, noisy piece which features a distorted growl amidst a juggernaut of electro-mechanical sounds, and all three covers have eerie spoken word and synthetic belching sounds as well as a relentlessly driving rhythm.

There are two entries of “The Box” including one by Missing Witness that sounds distant like it is coming from someone actually trapped inside an elevator. There are single entries of “State of the Nation,” “Fireside Favorite,” etc. The cautionary tale that is “Rickey’s Hand” is jumpy and jivey in both the original and in Blicky’s faithful cover and it warns about drinking and driving. Canter’s version of it however is so mellow and dreamy that it fails to raise the alarm of the original.

Blakk Glass’ version of the once-popular “Lady Shave’ quite appropriately features a female vocalist which puts a whole different spin on FG’s original intent. Malegant’s viciously sarcastic, Cockney-accented mockery of gun ownership and presumed male privilege is way harsher than FG’s original, but the intention is the same.

There were too many tracks and bands with varying levels of originality vs. faithfulness to FG’s originals to review each and every. The scope of this tribute album is a testimonial to the foundational significance of Fad Gadget, who remains an icon of the post-punk, synthwave and industrial scene.


The Rubin Museum

150 West 17th Street NYC

This extraordinary museum is dedicated to the art, religion and philosophy of the Himalayas and surrounding cultures of India, Nepal, etc. From June until January of this year, the focus was upon the world of sound.

The exhibition provided an immersive experience wherein the visitor was led to listen with the whole body. It included placing hands upon sound-laden walls, lying on a slab in a sounding environment, a room where the sacred chant “Om” is is sung (chanted) by choirs in various ways. There are also countless stations where recorded voices, ambient drone sounds and experimental music can be sampled. A room with flashing color imagery was fitted with a “seizure warning” placard.

Tibetan ritual music, various instruments, contemporary audio artists and acoustic designers were all available to visitors. A parabolic metal disc sat at the bottom of the iconic spiral staircase, reflecting a re-issuing the soundscape that traveled up and down the building’s six-storey central atrium.

Masterpieces of Himalayan Art are on view until May of 2018. The Lord of Death image and The Lords of the Cremation are reproduced here.


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Gothic, punk and industrial artists are used to being overlooked during the selection process by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and by mainstream media in general, for that matter. We still represent a marginalized, select – shall we say “elite” musical subculture. Many day-crawlers have heard of the Cure, but never took note of a single song by them. Maybe one, if it was featured on MTV in past decades. Mention the name Peter Murphy and your friends and family will generally draw a blank. I’m talking about rock & roll fans among them. Never mind Joy Division or Bauhaus. The vast majority of them will be clueless with respect to the music to which we are committed.

So it isn’t any wonder that this year’s inductees failed to include a significant contingent from the gothic, punk and industrial scene.

Eligible are those whose first commercial recording was at least 25 years before coming under consideration. Nirvana made it in 2014 directly upon becoming eligible. For this year, 2017, it would be 1992 or earlier. Inductees were chosen by a panel of 1000 music executives, artists and past winners. Some consideration was given to fans whose counted online votes usually gain entry for a few added artists.

Online fan voters succeeded in slipping New Wavers, the Cars in, among the usual suspects of pop, gospel and classic rockers, but weren’t able to place Judas Priest, Kate Bush, the Eurhythmics or Depeche Mode into the Hall of Fame despite campaigns in behalf of each.


Mainstays of the art and music scene in the gothic-industrial community of north Jersey, noted photographer Ben Faresich (Times Arrow Photography) and art educator Nicole Zanatakos (QXT’s barista/hostess) wed in a much anticipated, traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony on November 25 in Middletown NY surrounded by family and a cross-section of the QXT’s management and social circle. A spectacular and well-attended reception followed, with an afterparty lasting into the wee hours of Sunday morning. Best wishes from all in the north Jersey gothic, punk and industrial art and music circle!

John Fryer at Parlor Bar & Restaurant NYC

Legendary producer and musician John Fryer performed a rare weekend deejay gig at the upper West Side’s Parlor Bar & Restaurant, manning the booth in the downstairs lounge area both Friday and Saturday night.

Fryer has spent a stellar career contributing personally and heavily to two distinct musical styles: industrial – working with the likes of NIN – and the ethereal/trip hop sound – epitomized by This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins. One of two essential members of the 4AD band, This Mortal Coil, for which he performed keyboards, strings and synthesizer sequencing, Fryer is especially well known for work with Mute, Rough Trade and Beggar’s Banquet record labels as well as industrial giants Stabbing Westward and Nine Inch Nails and is the essential collaborator with Trent Reznor in producing “Pretty Hate Machine.” He has served as producer, mixer, engineer and musician with Depeche Mode, the Pixies, Lush, Bauhaus, Modern English and Dead Can Dance.

Fryer was fortunately passing through the NYC area on his way back from Senegal, working with African musicians before returning to his base in Los Angeles. His current venture is serving as musician and producer for his own project, Black Needle Noise. Publicist Rey Roldan tipped us off regarding Fryer’s appearance and was on hand to greet and orient attendees. A crowd of in-the-know devotees of PostPunk pounded the dance floor while Fryer served up an eclectic mix of synth pop, goth and industrial dance tracks, taking breaks to chat with admirers and offering tips on what was to come in the next wave of new music.

New Dark Age for December 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn December 28, 2017 @ 3:50 pm

Radio Station

Filed under: My Art,Uncategorized — doktorjohn December 18, 2017 @ 10:10 pm

Old, semi-abandoned WMCA radio station in the Meadowlands, between Kearney and Jersey City. During the late 50s and early 60s, WMCA was the rock & roll music station to listen to, playing mainly doo-wop on your transistor radio, way down at the lower end of the dial, around 540 AM.

Radio Station acrylic on canvas 20″ X 16″

New Dark Age – Nov 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn November 16, 2017 @ 1:39 pm

OhGr on stage at Irving Plaza

Motionless in White on stage at the Electric Factory

New Dark Age – September 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn September 6, 2017 @ 9:27 pm


Nights Out

Infernoir at QXT’s
Newark NJ

A weekend seems incomplete without an evening at QXT’s, the metropolitan area’s premier and only dedicated gothic dance club and watering hole in the heart of gritty, industrial Newark, NJ. So Friday night September 1, we stepped in early, taking advantage of the policy of free entry for ladies before 11 pm.

The theme this night and every first Friday, was “Infernoir” a portmanteau of the words “Inferno” and “Noir,” and sees itself as an import of a similar club night originating in Germany. On the main floor, upholding the standard, were DJs Damian Plague and DJ Ash who motivated dancers with some synthwave as well as beloved standards from the Sisters, Wolfsheim and Siouxsie and the Banshees. For atmosphere, the ultra horrific gore-fest, the original “Hellraiser” movie, was showing on the main floor big screen and on the various monitors around the bar.

We also popped downstairs to the Crypt which was just opening up, and were soon tempted over to Area 51, the other basement hangout, where DJ Mykill Hrunka’s heavy-duty industrial mix encouraged us to briefly punish the pavement before calling it an early night and heading home to prepare for the next day’s adventure.

The Redrum Ball at Bowery Electric

Manhattan, NY

In keeping with the tradition of holding this event on those Sunday nights which precede Monday legal holidays, September 3 marked another iteration of the Redrum Ball. Impresario and host Sir William Welles dedicated it with the theme “Grindhouse,” referring to the cult interest in exploitation style, low budget horror movies, popular among denizens of the dark-scene underground culture.

The Bowery Electric has a nicely decorated upstairs bar area where top-forties from the 70s and r & b classics prevail. The Redrum, however, took place in the cellar below this, where an adequate dance floor and a small, raised stage are situated a few steps down, separated by railings from the basement bar area. [caption id="attachment_2291" align="alignnone" width="520"] DJs Erik Aengel and Sean Templar

The DJ booth is perched way up in a far corner overlooking the dance floor, where celebrity deejays from the Goth scene, Sean Templar, Erik Aengel and Matt V Christ carried out their duties, still accessible to requests.

Celebrity guest host Colin Cunningham, current star of the Syfy Channel’s “Blood Drive” series opened the event and, along with Sir William made comments, ran raffles and introduced exotic dancer Cassandra Rosebeetle who performed a striptease while decorously applying theatrical blood to her lovely and mostly exposed physique.

Grindhouse favorite “Evil Dead” was projected onto a wall adjacent to the dance floor. A pull down screen was present, but mercifully it was left retracted, so the most disturbingly gory scenes were muted by the stone, brick and peeling plaster wall on which the images were cast.

There were raffle drawings and giveaways of posters and tee-shirts and – most notably – a $200 certificate for merchandise at Gothic Renaissance the famed costume, clothing and accessories emporium.

Matt V Christ menacing visitors with prop chainsaw

Makeup artist Joseph Drobezko made an appearance and ArchAngel came late to spin. The deejays did admirably playing the likes of the Cure ‘s “A Forest,” Ministry’s “Revenge,” London After Midnight’s “Kiss” and “A Day” by Clan of Xymox, among other favs.


Social Distortion
Starland Ballroom
Aug. 12, 2017

By Doktor John
Sayreville NJ

Just before the band took the stage – while the packed room was still dark – the faux ominous beat of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell On You” (1956) filled the room and his operatic baritone served as powerful intro to what was to follow. Bright and multicolored lights came up and Social D took the stage like a musical riot with the jubilant “Still Alive” off the most recent (2011) album, “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes.” The sobering “99 to Life” confessional from “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” (1992) was next, then back to “Hard Times” for “Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown” and “California Hustle and Flow.” “King of Fools” and “Dear Lover” followed.

The set closely followed the recent performances earlier in the tour, hitting on “White Light, White Heat, White Trash,” “Mommy’s Little Monster” (the album, not the song) and the eponymous first album, with the iconic “Ball and Chain,” which seems to be about alcoholism, not drugs. A bluesy, instrumental interlude followed, then “Another State of Mind,” the title track for the motion picture documentary on the early 80s punk scene.

At this point, Mike Ness made reference to his band’s tradition for honoring and covering the great legends of rock and country music– what he calls “roots music.” In keeping with that he announced the next piece, ”Hope Dies hard,” a truly magnificent and emotionally stirring masterpiece by his guitarist, Jonny “2-Bags” Wickersham. Ness spoke about the issue of painful life experiences by way of introduction to “Scars,” an emotionally-wrenching song celebrating – rather than complaining about – a hard early life. Ness’ guitar skills were on display in this performance.

Ness announced that he was 55 years old. Looking around at the audience, I could confirm that so were many of his audience. Next came “When She Begins to Rock.” He made reference to New Jersey’s Prohibition Era crime scene introducing “Machine Gun Blues.”

After a brief intermission Social D returned with four encores including “Angel Wings,” “Misery Loves Company” from his solo repertoire, and “Story of My Life.” Ness invited a bunch of kids, from 5 to 11 years on stage and conducted brief but heart-warming interviews with them, at the same time admonishing them to stick to their studies even if they had intentions to follow in his footsteps to enter the field of entertainment. He faked asking for requests for the last, closing number, but then pretended he couldn’t understand the shouted suggestions. It was a foregone conclusion that he would close with “Ring of Fire,” the Johnny Cash hit written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore, as he has with all recent performances on this tour. Thus ended an hour-and-a-three-quarter show in front of a sold-out audience.

Ness mocked the idea behind Prohibition and he criticized the current social atmosphere to suppress Freedom of Speech, but when one or two members of the audience began to shout “F— Trump!” Ness found that to be off-message and embarrassing. He didn’t seem to like the response, so he dropped the topic and said we weren’t here to get into that, quickly returning to the music.

There are reasons that Social Distortion is the longest-surviving and most successful of the original late 70s punk rock bands. One is, of course, Ness’ recovery and rehabilitation from use of drugs. The second is the delightful and beloved musical style that merges rock, honky-tonk, country and punk and the thoughtful, honest, autobiographical subjects. But equally importantly, it is Ness’ intensely warm, utterly sincere and emotionally naked connection with his audience. One comes away from Social D’s shows with a feeling that you have been talked to and sung to by a close and intimate friend


Aug 19
Gramercy Theater NYC

Impresario Jet Berelson and his online community of Gothic-industrial culture, Vampire Freaks, hosted a spectacular edition of, “Cybertron” at the Gramercy Theater, presenting four bands, including international superstars, Stabbing Westward, followed by a club night of dance, late Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Headlining the show were industrial rockers, Stabbing Westward, continuing to celebrate their 30th anniversary as a band and their second year since reunion. The first of 3 opening bands, Blk Emoji also proved to be an eye (and ear) opening act, performing an utterly superb set of frantic, alternative rock in a style reminiscent of 90s favorites, Living Color, but with elements and flourishes that were quite uniquely their own. Departing from their outstanding set of original music, Blk Emoji applied their considerable creativity and musicianship to a trippy cover of the Donna Summer “I Feel Love,” highlighting their mastery of rhythm and powerful vocals, ending it in an orgasmic finale.

Next up, rivet-head duo Xentrifuge captivated the audience with electro-industrial, mechanized tempos, hard-edge techno and harsh, desperate vocals, demonstrating that two people with advanced technology could produce as much sound as a Civil War artillery field.
Between acts, DJs V Christ and Xris Smack kept the mood going with appropriate selections from Skinny Puppy, Ministry and NIN.

Local New York quintet, Panzie opened with a an animated video entitled “Clowns,” then took the stage and combined theatrical elements suggestive of Manson (white-face jester masks, costumes, etc.) with, ultra-conventional, hair-band-style 70s, heavy metal along the lines of AC/DC.

Stabbing Westward’s act opened with the critique of drug culture, “Drugstore” in which the question is posed, “How can everything be justified by you?” “Falls Apart” followed in which the words “whither, blister, burn and peel,” are sung, echoing the title of the 1995 album from which it comes. The third song, “So Far Away” complained about a relationship emotional distance.

“ACF” followed, then “Sometimes It Hurts,” “Lies” and “The Thing I Hate.” A kind of delicious nihilism typifies the angry anthem “Nothing” – which came next – then frustration, expressed in “What Do I Have To Do?” and anger in “Violent Mood Swings.”

Chris Hall addressed the audience in a joking fashion, mock-threatening to end the show there, but immediately the familiar synthetic introduction to mega-hit “Save Yourself” filled the air which brought much of the crowd to their feet. When it concluded, it closed out the regular, hour-long set.

After a brief intermission, the band came out for two more, the relatively mellow “Waking Up Besides You” and the raucous, hard rock anthem, “Shame.” Stabbing Westward should patent their highly effective, ultra-satisfying formula for song structure, employing just the right amounts of anger, desperation, unusual guitar voices, minor key melodies and intermittent bursts of industrial-strength sound that explodes out between intervals of tension and restrained menace.
Following the show, the club night Cybertron turned the Gramercy into a dance scene with the band remaining to hang out with the crowd and music provided by the select group of top deejays.


“Red Goes Grey”
Metropolis Records

This 10-track album represents a new project by Eric Sochocki whose eclectic talent is reflected in superb recording studio wizardry as well as strong vocal style and compositional mastery.

Synthetic appeggios form the basis of these SynthWave compositions and serve to both unify and at the same time diversify the work as a whole. Sochocki’s vocal styles vary from emotionless narrative to desperate to plaintive. Electronic instrumental accompaniment here is best described as compelling melody layered into rhythms of complex and hypnotic electronica that never repeats itself.

Most, but not all tracks gallop along at a brisk pace. Some intros are prolonged on a number of tracks, and on the fifth track – a dark, mesmerizing and mechanistic symphony – there are no vocals at all. The eighth track, slows down the otherwise rapidly paced tempo with trippy vocals and ethereal accompaniment. The ninth track sounds like a full, electronic symphony orchestra, and the tenth is a soft and wistful ballad.

Rather than describe each of these 10 tracks separately, it serves this review better to report that there is a consistent level of satisfying melody wedded to strata of complex and coordinated electronic beats suitable for either industrial dance or focused listening.

Rating A

Enter Shikari
“The Spark”

This is the fifth album by these veteran British rockers fronted by vocalist Rou Reynolds who describes himself as agitated and overwrought by current world events. Indeed, Reynolds uses this record as a vehicle for leftist, progressive politics as an antidote to the “neoliberal” ideology of individualism and capitalism that has him so despondent. The bands abilities with complex, original and highly accomplished music certainly serves Reynolds well, whether he is expressing desperation or resolve.

The recording opens with an ethereal prelude featuring echoic bells and chimes, lasting 50 seconds. With the ten tracks that follow, the music becomes complex, astoundingly creative and to a great extent raucous. Rock idioms compete with choral anthems. Delicate odes accompanied by simple percussion express a depressed view of the current situation, but tumultuous choral anthems serve as a counterpoint emphasizing “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” optimism with defiant lyrics and operatic vocals. The Polyphonic Spree at its most elated – or perhaps Queen serve as a good comparison, but there also tracks that incorporate hip hop-like runs of British rap to articulate the exact ideas being expressed.

There’s a real lot of music going on in this album. One might even say within each of these tracks. For a band of former punk rockers it is startling to hear the well-arranged orchestral and choral elements that pervade many tracks. And on a few tracks – quiet and pensive, Reynolds sounds more like a counselor offering sympathy and encouragement to the listener as well as himself. This is not guitar-driven music, but uses the guitar when appropriate for poppy, rapidly-paced anthems like the leftist-progressive ode “Take My Country Back.” Synthetic instruments and rhythms prevail. As one goes through this album, one never knows what voice Reynolds is going to use next.
Overall this album is impressive for the complexity and originality of the arrangements, the irresistibly catchy hooks, the versatile singing and the consistency of its philosophy. Rating
Rating A

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