New Dark Age – March 2018

Nights Out

Sun Feb 18

Dancer at Procession

Sunday night need not be a stay-at-home and vegetate in front of the boob tube night. At least one Sunday per month can be salvaged by attending the uber-Goth dance night called Procession held in Manhattan’s Soho, at Home Sweet Home on Chrystie St.
Deejays Joe Hart and Mark Cage Knight host this monthly event that draws a crowd of black-clad locals and out-of-towners. Doors open around 10 p.m., and the festivities last into the wee hours. Home Sweet Home has been renovated, but not actually spiffed up since the last time New Dark Age attended about a year ago. A previously broken floor has been repaired, so there are no longer any puddles of condensation, but the cement pavement remains charmingly—er—wavy.

This night the music agenda began with DJ Joe Hart in the booth, followed by Mark. Mesmerizing, irresistible dance tracks, many from newer, more obscure bands prevailed at the outset. It was a distinct pleasure to hear selections by Ladytron and by Turkish darkwavers, She Past Away and to see those selections energize the dance floor. There was no neglect of great classics like “Isolation” by Joy Division and “She’s in Parties” by Bauhaus, nor was there a shortage of Depeche Mode or Sisters of Mercy. The crowd included stunningly beautiful models of goth grooming and fashion in ghastly as well as clerical attire.

The atmosphere is still dank and dungeon-like at Home Sweet Home. Disturbing video images flicker on a peeling-paint-surfaced brick wall. Vicious-looking taxidermy specimens are still present, and the bar is illuminated by kitschy chandeliers. The restrooms are cleanly and serviceable, but the feel of the place remains that of a dive bar where all conventions and inhibitions go out the window, or – more appropriately in this space – down the drain. The gothic, punk and industrial clientele wouldn’t have it any other way.


Sun Feb 18

Flyer for Stimulate Valentines Blood Massacre

Xris Smack of Mindswerve Studios and STIMULATE hosted a Valentines celebration titled “Valentines Blood Massacre” at the Delancey, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, taking over all three floors in consideration of the Monday holiday that was to follow. Besides presidents’ birthdays they were celebrating beautiful-but-bad Ashley Bad’s and that of DJ Cliff Cage. What’s more, the party was livened by the presence and participation of NY Fetish Tribe who conducted, well, fetish play including suspension on the top(third) floor of the venue.

Entertainment was by ZGRT and Hot Pink Satan. Deejays included Xris Smack himself, Paradox, Annabel Evil Zvetschka, JeffO Bang and Johanna Constantine.

Stimulate is a recurring performance-and-dance entertainment night and will be holding seven more events in the city, including their 10 Year Anniversary in September; Halloween, near the end of October; Black Friday in November; and the Triple-XXXmas Ball in December. The schedule is easily accessed on Facebook and their website or by contacting Xris Smack.


QXT’s Cure Tribute Night

Fri March 2

DJ Ash (left) and DJ Damian Plague (right)

Periodically, QXT’s, the all-alternative music club in Newark NJ runs a special night dedicated to – or in tribute to – a great artist or band. On March 2, the night of the nasty nor’easter, the theme was “The Cure Party.” Few is any bands in the alternative scene can claim the significance, the devoted following or the unparalleled recognition that the Cure commands.

Up on the main floor DJs Ash and Damian poured forth the hits by this celebrated band and similar artists from their heyday. Siouxsie, the Smiths and Joy Division tracks were interspersed with beloved works of the Cure including – but by no means limited to – “Lovesong,” “The Walk,” “Hot Hot Hot,” “Lullaby” and the monumental “A Forest.”

Downstairs in Area 51, DJs Mykill Plague and Wintermute churned out industrial pandemonium with the likes of Eisbrecher’s “This is Deutsch” in the aptly-designed techno-industrial environment installed by diesel punk artist CharleSilas Garlette.

Over in the Crypt, DJ Helixx enhanced the gloom of this shadowy cavern with dark dance tracks by the Sisters of Mercy, Peter Murphy and London After Midnight.

Considering the inclement weather, the turnout was good, owing to the zealous following of QXT’s and the appeal of a theme night filled with sounds of the most revered of all alt-rockers, the Cure.



Sat March 3

Dance floor at Necropolis

Father Jeff’s big-draw, monthly dance night takes place on the first Saturday of each month at Windfall. This installment of the venerable New Wave/Dark Dance party is the spiritual and cultural descendent of the foundational event Necromantic, Father Jeff’s early entrant into the NYC goth event cycle. His stand-up crew of deejays included Patrick, Templar and Aengel. As always, it was $10 at the door, $8 with pre-distributed flyer.

This special night as featured CD giveaways of last year’s Empire Hideous’s “Remixes Through Time,” a variety of sweet desserts by Annabel Fagan and crafted soaps and the like by Kitty.

Mandana manned the gate, Gerard was absent behind the bar, but Julia bravely endeavored on. Hilda cheerfully handled coats and Chris Savo oversaw the efficient running of things with his usual charm and hospitality. Songs heard included Siouxsie’s “Happy House,” “Transmission” by Joy Division and “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash.


The Red Party
“Welcome to the Reptile House”

Saturday March 10

A special edition of the Red Party dedicated in tribute to the Sisters of Mercy and billed as the 10th anniversary of “Welcome to the Reptile House” took place at Mercury Lounge on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The name comes from the second independent EP by the Sisters of Mercy, released on 12″ vinyl in May 1983. Never released as a stand-alone CD, it was included on the “Some Girls Wander by Mistake” collection.

Representative couples at the Red Party

There was live performance at midnight by Rhode Islanders Way Out, a hard rocking and appropriately paired Post Punk trio. A fabulous night of dance and socializing went on into the night. We left around 2 a.m., but then Daylight Savings kicked in, tele-transporting those who stayed later straight into the mid-morning of Sunday March 11.
The band Way Out performing live at the Red Party

During the dance sessions before and after the live performance, videos of Andrew Eldritch and the Sisters of Mercy played silently on the back screen. DJs Sean Templar, Jarek Zelazny & James David spun out Goth and Deathrock, finding time during the early festivities to play “Sex on Wheelz” by My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, and “Bad Trash” by Switchblade Symphony. I estimate that every third song played was by the Sisters of Mercy, which is – let’s face it – the best band to dance to.

Mandana Banshee (left) and Sean Templar (right)

Celebrities present at this Red Party included Ana Vice, Xris Smack, Ashley Bad, Paradox were joined by the usual suspects who will remain nameless at this time.


“Desenstized Parallels”


Cleopatra Records

March 2

Album cover art “Desensitized Parallels”

North Jersey-based Industrial duo, Xentrifuge has released “Desensitized Parallels,” a new album – their third – on Cleopatra Records.
Ten tracks are contained in this all-platforms release, each in its own way fulfilling the reputation of Xentrifuge for harsh, techno-goth dance music. Many a track will start slowly, then inevitably will pick up the pace as increasingly complex percussion beats will speed things toward a frenzy. Angry, hissing vocals allude to “darkest decay” and “nothing to believe in.”

Some tracks feature ethereal, minor key string melodies that contrast but integrate with electro-mechanical, rhythmic percussion. One example is track seven, “Unknown Divine.” A couple of tracks proceed in jerking, start-and-stop rhythms, but generally the cadences are steady, mechanized and relentless. The eighth track plays off the pronunciation of its title “N.M.E.”

The ninth track, “Circles of Dust” employs synthetic, erratic arpeggios that mingle along with rapid, repetitive percussive beats that intervene.

This album, like previous work by Xentrifuge succeeds in creating an alternate reality of a deliciously dismal, sci-fi world, driven by electronics and sunk in pessimism. The grim lyrics are poetic, carefully chosen and artfully composed. Their message is delivered not in full-throated vocals but in a raspy, theatrical whisper – as if in desperate protest by a dehumanized, computer-like being. I only wish that it were easier to discern the lyrics by close listening.

In any event, these tracks and this album are available from many sources. Several tracks can to be viewed in creatively visual Youtube videos. The album can be obtained from Bandcamp, Cleopatra records and various internet sources.


Grant Wood and “American Gothic”
Whitney Museum of American Art March 2 – June 10, 2018

“American Gothic” with a few parodies

“American Gothic”, is the most recognizable of American works of art, painted in 1930 by 39 year-old Midwesterner Grant Wood. It portrays a serious, no-nonsense farmer and – contrary to popular misconceptions – his daughter, not wife – as icons of America’s traditional agrarian roots. It is the centerpiece of an exhibition at the Whitney down in Manhattan’s Meat-Packing District, where it is surrounded by nearly 120 of his works that extol the charm, beauty and character types of Wood’s midwestern world. His accurate, low-key portraits are starkly realistic and capture the honest simplicity of people from the American heartland, including a telling self-portrait and one of the artist’s mother (shown nearby).

Grant Wood’s Self-portrait (left) and mother (right)

By contrast, Wood’s farm landscapes offer bird’s eye views of idealized, fantasy dreamscapes that are studies in curvaceous three-dimensionality.

Typical Grant Wood landscape

The exhibition clearly demonstrates the supreme artistry of this master artist. Most importantly, it shows that Grant Wood was definitely not a “one-hit wonder,” but excelled in all aspects of his art and his craft. Monumental stained glass designs and found-object pieces are on display along with stunning paintings in every medium. The iconic portrayal of the farmer and his daughter is so powerful, however, that it will overshadow all the rest of Grant Wood’s work for the foreseeable future. A tiny sample of the countless parodies inspired by “American Gothic” is shown nearby.

Goth Culture/Literature

Revisiting Frankenstein
“Victor Frankenstein is the Real Monster” – or –
“Mary Shelley’s Misunderstood Masterpiece Turns 200”
By Ronald Bailey

Boris Karloff’s portrayal of Universal Studio’s version of Frankenstein’s Monster

Science correspondent Ron Bailey has an important 5-page essay in the April issue of Reason Magazine asserting that complete distortions have been imposed by the innumerable retellings of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel. In the original book, Frankenstein’s creature was anything but a monster. At 8 feet tall, with “beautiful features,” more agile, “able to [bear] the extremes of heat and cold” and far more intelligent than human beings, the creation is wantonly abandoned by Dr. Frankenstein and meets with uncomprehending revulsion despite these favorable traits. This turns him to a life of vengeance and violence. It was by the irrational revulsion of mankind and by Dr. Frankenstein’s irresponsible behavior that his creature was turned into a thing of horror.

When Mary Shelley’s cautionary tale of irrationality and irresponsibility got inverted, Frankenstein’s creature was portrayed as monstrous. This began in an 1823 play and continued through some 400 movie adaptations that, contrary to Mary Shelley’s proposition, render a narrative of dangerous and uncontrolled science. Countless spin-offs have further reinforced the slanderous notion that science is immoral, out-of-control and meddles in things that should be “reserved for God.”

This meme, Bailey asserts, has poisoned the popular discourse against advances in science and technology that offer the promise of immense good for mankind. He cites historical opposition to artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, cloning, egg donation, gene splicing, recombinant DNA, disease resistant biotech crops, vaccines and the potential to delete disease genes from humans as ongoing scientific endeavors that can benefit individuals and populations at large. He points out the example of genetically engineered strains of rice that are made to produce precursors to Vitamin A so as to prevent blindness in developing countries. Childless couples and families burdened with serious genetic diseases might be relieved of certain ailments through gene manipulation in the future.

But these advances often meet with what Ron Bailey sees as knee-jerk opposition and irresponsible revulsion from activist opponents. Those who seek to hinder such efforts do so mainly on moral grounds. That, in his opinion, deprives individuals and populations of potential benefits that newer technologies can afford them. Bailey insists that the lesson of Frankenstein is not about the peril of science loosing a monster upon the world, but about the danger of failing to recognize and nurture new technologies that can benefit mankind.

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.

Autodrone – “This Sea Is Killing Me”

Filed under: Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 23, 2016 @ 6:18 pm

“This Sea Is Killing Me”

Autodrone - This Sea Is Killing Me

Listen on Soundcloud or contact

By Doktor John

Lovers of ethereal, trip-hop and similar styles should check out this second album by Autodrone, a project of guitarist Jeremy Alisauskas, formerly of Projekt group Unto Ashes. This 10 track album, written by Alisauskas and keyboardist Angel Lorelei, appears to have aimed at relieving some personal grief and even despair as embodied in the plaintive vocals by the lyricist Katherine Kennedy, whose singing suggests Kate Bush calling from captivity, perhaps trapped in a cave.

The opening track, “Corvus” (crow) begins with a simple organ riff, the keyboard manned by second guitarist Markus Fabulous , formerly of Psychic TV, and introduces the faraway-sounding female vocals that set a melancholy mood for the rest of the album. A similar pattern is heard on the 2nd track “Exit Ghost” but with a little more rhythmic complexity provided by drummer Terry Taylor. Percussion complexity intensifies in the next track “Le Voleur” (The Thief) and serves in this and further tracks as a vehicle for the deliciously sad, yearning female vocals.

The 4th track “The Way Way Down” is more upbeat – to the point of being very danceable – with enthusiastic drumming, synthesizer and organ riffs, still in the service of Angel Lorelei’s disconsolate voice, and the 5th track even more rapidly paced into an actual gallop. The vocals soar to heart-rendering heights.

With the 6th track “Thunderbolt,” the cadence slows to a lumbering trudge through emotional pain and a sense of resignation. In the 7th track, the vocals become intentionally muddled and begin to merge with the instrumental accompaniment which comes to the fore, and presents a couple of captivating hooks.

A deep drone opens the happily gloomy 8th track, the “Lay of the Land,” but it turns into a structured mantra with – again – amazing cadenzas by Katherine Kennedy, who matches her melodious wailing during the 9th track as well. The 10th track is two and a half minutes of voiceless electronica, in keeping with the tradition observed by many electronic-based groups.
If you are a fan of shoe-gaze, mystical sounding, new-age-y music; if you are looking to expand your appreciation beyond This Mortal Coil, or supplement your desire for more in the Cocteau Twins genre, this album is for you.

The Burning Bridge

Filed under: Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 11, 2016 @ 10:50 pm

NoirThe Burning Bridge (cd cover)
The Burning Bridge

by Doktor John

This is Noir’s fourth release and it is dedicated to David Bowie. Noir consists of frontman Athan Maroulis, formerly of Spahn Ranch and Black Tape for a Blue Girl and keyboardists and backup female vocalists Kai Irina Hahn and Demetra Songs. In this collection they continue in what Maroulis terms the “Electro-Gothic” style. Isn’t that what the rest of us call “industrial?”

With this EP, he has re-interpreted a number of lesser-known classics from the New Wave era and added a brilliant original piece, namely the title track, “The Burning Bridge.” For this, track, he took a 40 second techno-instrumental groove by associate Erik Gustafson, digested it and set to it lyrics that envisioned himself or something like his ghost soaring through the night as a disembodied spirit. This artistic concept allowed him to look back beyond bridges that he had burned behind him to revisit experiences and repressed personal situations long since forgotten. He set this narrative to a perfectly danceable, electro-industrial rhythm track, richly overlaid with menacing deep, dark synthesizer melodies and his undulating, plaintive, yet angry vocals.

Noir turns Ministry’s pre-“With Sympathy,” 1982 upbeat obscurity, “Same Old Madness,” into a downbeat, lumbering slog through a knee-deep techno-industrial swamp, the heavy trudging paces marked by the mantra-like repetition of the title.

“The Chauffeur” continues in the persevering, slow trudge mode, not as ponderous, but still It retains the eerie negativity of the Duran Duran original, largely by unusual and somewhat discordant arpeggios and a zombie-paced cadenced percussion.

“In Every Dream Home a Heartache,” recorded live off a WFMU broadcast session, Noir’s version of Roxy Music’s creepiest piece, Noir slows it down even further to a funereal pace accompanying his mournful vocals with distant, echoing chimes, noise effects and instrumentals that might serve as the soundtrack for a horror movie.

“The Burning Bridge” offers musical pleasures of several varieties. First, there is an excellent new and original title track. Then there is the guilty pleasure of enjoying re-invented covers of lesser-know works from well-known artists. Finally, there is the unique, undulant vibrato vox of Goth-industrial pioneer Athan Maroulis to add a novel and classic touch to each of these tracks.

Rating: A
In a word: Short’n’Bittersweet

Memento Mori

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Recorded Music,Reviews — doktorjohn February 26, 2016 @ 8:07 pm

Club Night

Memento Mori

Feb 25 2016
By Doktor John

New York, NY

Bedlam bar

Since sometime late last summer, promoter Ana Vice has been hosting a small group of DJs for a mid-week monthly Goth social and dance night at a uniquely eerily decorated bar, appropriately called Bedlam, in Manhattan’s Alphabet City. The night is called Memento Mori” and it is held one Thursday a month. Bedlam, as is well known, was a notorious old school mental hospital, and this namesake venue lives up to both the medical and the mental reputation of the institution. Antique anatomy charts and gruesome anatomical models adorn the walls. Facsimilies of human bones are distributed at each of the sitting booths where ornamental cobwebs are strewn.Moose head
Among the DJs, Mike Stalagmike of Defcon has a modest, low-key and friendly aspect about him, but Mexican import Bela Lugosi Alex and stunningly androgynous Valefar Malefic go all the way with their looks, each manifesting monumental coiffures and morbidly beautiful male vampire appearance. DJs
The music is decidedly of the darkwave/coldwave dance variety, but there was no place for the conventional classics. No Sisters of Mercy. No Cure or Depeche Mode. Nor were they missed, because these DJs dug deep into the realm of Goth, with selections from such rarely played artists as Xmal Deutschland, Black Ice and Virgin in Veil. A fair number of tracks were unidentifiable, but nonetheless as pleasurable and hypnotic as they were melancholy.ValefarMalefic
Doors opened at 10 pm and about 30 or so patrons were in attendance, most arriving between 11:30 and midnight. All were decked out in blackest of black finery, boots, veils and fishnets as well as high make-up and serene attitude. Not more than a handful of dancers were on the floor at a time. Most attendees stood at the bar and engaged in conversation where a surprisingly festive undercurrent pervaded the generally restrained gathering. A more beautifully attired and groomed crowd is rarely seen, even in the bowels of New York’s deepest, dark demimonde.

IAMX – Metanoia – Metropolis Records

Filed under: Goth Stuff,Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn October 11, 2015 @ 11:22 am


Metanoia 2

Nothing is quite as effective —not love, not drugs —as emotional or mental breakdown to inspire artistic expression. It is particularly fortuitous when that kind of affliction befalls a really talented artist like Chris Corner, the composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and video artist fronting the synthpop group IAMX. His sixth album, titled “Metanoia,” meaning a profound, spiritual, transformation, reportedly represents his recovery from depression and insomnia. Indeed, the fervor and creative vigor of this eleven-track opus bespeaks just such a wrenching transformation.

Fans of IAMX need not fear, however, that Chris Corner has changed his style of vocal clarity as well as ferocity. On the contrary more than any prior work, this album captures the inimitable power and frank beauty of his androgynous, wide-ranging and confrontational singing, whether fashioning delicious hooks, operatic flourishes or delicate autobiographical narratives.

All of this is incorporated in the most mesmerizing, irresistible dance grooves and complex synthetic rhythms. Dance clubs will treasure this repertoire, whether playing galloping, unstoppable juggernauts like “No Maker Made Me,” or the plodding, slow-paced “Hello Melancholia.” Noteworthy are the bluesy, yet danceable eighth track, “Cruel Darkness Embrace Me” and the wild, wanton and relentless “Aphrodisiac.”

Every track is written in a minor key, which confirms the emotional depression that inspired the entire opus. Some tracks feature a mournful female chorus, others cadenced scraping industrial noises. Did I mention that this dark, really dark —even deliciously dark music?

At least ten tracks feature memorable, seductive melodies and compelling tempos. It lends itself to exceptional listening or dancing pleasure. Gloomy as the entire album seems, if it purports to represent actual recovery, I don’t want to know what that depression was like.

iVardensphere – “Fables”

Filed under: Goth Stuff,Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn February 27, 2015 @ 2:02 pm


Metropolis Records
By Doktor John

This tribal/industrial Canadian group, has been around since 2009. Having, regrettably, no prior exposure to their oeuvre, I was stunned by the varied richness and the grim appeal of this 14-track masterwork that respects no boundaries or genres as it free-forms each song and crosses through every electronic musical category.

The album opens with “Million Year Echo,” featuring a persistent EBM groove that is interrupted by odd, sci-fi imbued samples that seem to emerge from a desolate, post-apocalyptic soundscape. It is followed by “Stygian,” a 7-minute, plodding, whip-cracking zombie march overlaid with harsh, hoarse male vocals. Several tracks take the listener on a techno-industrial visit to the Middle East, complete with synthetic versions of Arabic instrumental accompaniment, sacred-sounding male vocals as well as sensuous, almost erotic female vocals. Synthetic versions of everything from the Australian aboriginal didgeridoo to bongo drums are present.

“A Tale of Two Wolves” is a techno-industrial track that renders it easy to imagine a pair of canine predators loping through the forest in single-minded pursuit. “Black Lodge,” the track that follows, is a slow-paced trudge through a nightmarish dystopia, narrated by a desperate and hostile speaker, while merciless mechanical noises pound out a cadence and are joined by a mournful male chorus. I particularly enjoyed “Papa Legbo” with its ominous “the natives are restless” beat and intermittent chants.

In addition, there are frenzied hand-drum ensembles; eerie female a capella singing; languid but delicious, acoustic guitar riffs; ominous vocal narratives; and echoes of various genres including Scandinavian darkwave, aggrotech and even a piece, “Terra Sapian” featuring ultra-fast-paced, “swing ” beats. The poignant “Girl With No Hands” is a pessimistic and frankly psychotic poem with groaning choral and emotionally delicious strings plus prominent percussion. In the eighth track, “It Is As Blackness Is” an eloquent lecturer recommends philosophical acceptance of “a new dark age,” as a relentless EBM groove suggests the relentless march of Time.

The album ends on an aquatic theme, “Poseidon,” featuring the seductive sirens’ call on vocals and electro-symphonic instrumental accompaniment The majority of tracks, if not all are eminently danceable. In fact, I dare any listener to sit still while hearing these infectious and hypnotic rhythms as I tried to do when writing this. Aptly named, “Fables” transports the listener into a fantasy realm of myths, seductive melodies and mesmerizing rhythms.

Rating; A
In a word: Bountiful

The Dreaming – “Rise Again”

Filed under: Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 27, 2015 @ 11:40 pm

Rise Again

Metropolis Records
By Doktor JohnThe_Dreaming-Rise_Again

Stabbing Westward’s lead vocalist Christopher Hall and programmer/keyboardist Walter Flakus have been reinventing themselves as The Dreaming since the demise of the parent band in 2002. Three EP releases, a video, a track for the movie “Elektra” and live performances on the West Coast have kept them busy since the band’s inception. Joined by former SW drummer Johnny Haro, plus a bass and a guitarist, “Rise Again” is clearly a resurrection of the immensely popular Stabbing Westward style.

The newest CD, “Rise Again” is scheduled for release this coming February and captures all the intensity and ecstatic bombast of the original band.

Consisting of 10 tracks, “Rise Again” is characterized by Hall’s extraordinary tenor vocals, full of intensity and defiance, accompanied by bombastic, symphonic metal.

The titles and the lyrics are profound and penetrating, mostly probing harsh, even painful emotions. The third track asks, “Why do all your kisses taste like death?” The fifth track aggressively asserts, “I will not be afraid anymore” as a kind of self-assuring mantra. I think you get the idea.

From the first track, “Alone” with its galloping cadence and accusatory tone, to the final and title track, “Rise Again,” every track has a delicious, melodious hook and a restless, hypnotic groove. Angry, belching guitars are woven into fast-paced electronic rhythms that will have industrial dancers in a frenzy on the dance floors or fervently bobbing their heads on the sidelines. For those who loved and sorely miss the now-defunct Stabbing Westward, this revival of that sound is more than welcome.
Rating: A+

“Superstition” by The Birthday Massacre

Filed under: Recorded Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn November 27, 2014 @ 12:49 pm

The Birthday Massacre

Metropolis Records

By Doktor John

This ten-track release by Canadian Goth-rock sextet The Birthday Massacre represents their sixth studio album. It lives up to the hopes of those who have come to expect gorgeous, dark-themed female vocals by lead singer Chibi, delicious minor-key melodies and symphonic elements realized through heavy, down-tuned bass and guitar as well as synthetic accompaniment.

From the opening track —“Divide” with Chibi’s ultra-sweet vocals and menacing, drone-like bass background — to the all-instrumental concluding track, “Trinity,” the theme is dreamy, hallucinatory and ethereal. Occasional hissing, menacing male spoken word interjections are set against her luscious singing. The flow is generally upbeat, with a few ventures into more complex, syncopated rhythms., The title track “Superstition” slows the tempo down to a pace that is just shy of depressing, giving the entire ensemble a chance to be heard and for soloists to sound off alongside a blend of synthetic effects.

Fans and newcomers to The Birthday Massacre will enjoy poetic narratives, the seductive if somewhat vampiric propositions, the allegorical portrayals of such phenomena as the ocean, rain, the so-called coming of age and the mysterious “other side.” Above all, they will find themselves drawn into succulent melodies and mesmerizing rhythms that have been the signature sound of this band from their earliest appearance on the dark-music scene.

Cocksure/ TVMALSV

Filed under: Recorded Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn July 8, 2014 @ 10:31 pm






By Doktor John

Lovers of old-school industrial who are waiting for a modern, novel reinterpretation of their genre will find TVMALSV by the irreverent band, Cocksure, to be right up their proverbial alley. Brainchild of Chris Connelly (KMFDM, Ministry, Pigface, Revolting Cocks) and Jason Novak (Cracknation and Czar) with guest appearance by Richard 23 (Front 242), this nine-track album contains all the elements they are listening for and more.

From the first cut, “Skeemy Gates,” to the pseudo-reggae finale, “Cokane in My Brain,” listeners are served up a techno-industrial slurry of mesmerizing rhythms and distorted vocals serving up cheerfully aggressive rap at various cadences in a matrix of organized, sonic chaos.

Echoes of the ancestor bands appeal to and entice the fans of Ministry, Front 242 and especially Revco, but Cocksure takes the audience a couple of steps further with a harsh, industrial-strength version of the rap style associated with hip-hop. Nasty topics, hoarse and rapid-fire vocals are suitably wedded to relentless mechanical beats and occasionally melodious background noise. defines “cocksure” as “overconfident.” The Urban Dictionary offers a more vulgar definition. I’m sure Connelly and Novak self-identify with both.

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