Life in the New Dark Age

Filed under: Goth Stuff,Uncategorized — doktorjohn March 13, 2023 @ 12:50 pm

The new non-fiction book by Doktor John reveals the Goth Scene in Greater New York and Around the World as never before.

“Doktor John leads us down a twisting path that winds through his art, his professional practice, his family life, and his world travels, into the dimly-lit culture of underground nightclubs and purple mohawks, that is the New Dark Age.” – Myke Hideous

“Life in the New Dark Age is an intellectual and entertaining journey into a unique and fascinating world by the Godfather of Goth” – Mr Haunt


Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn April 22, 2020 @ 4:40 pm

Interview with Rotersand

In the world of industrial music in the new millennium, German futurepop stars Rotersand stand out for their irresistible rhythms, mastery of musical electronics and gripping themes. Earlier this year they released their seventh album “How Do You Feel Today” about which you can read in the March issue of New Dark Age, which you can go at

When Metropolis Records and Athan Maroulis (Spahn Ranch, Noir) put me in touch – remotely – with Rotersand’s members, I took the opportunity to spy into their collective approach and sources of inspiration to construct their total sound. So I asked questions directed to these issues. I found Rasc and Krischan – who took turns responding – to be straightforward and modest, as musicians confident in their success at achieving what they set out to do artistically. Below is what I learned, much of which would be a treasure trove of music technology, their cultural milieu and much else about the band.

Doktor John
What are the main instruments and/or electronic devices employed in creating Rotersand’s signature sound?

The same technology can drive a completely different sound. The guys using it determine the sound.
If you really like to talk technology: As far as I am concerned, Hardware: Nord Lead 1, Micro Korg, Mac Book Pro 2016, guitars. Software: Logic Pro X, Nexus 2, Predator 2, Punch, Spire, Minimonsta, and more. But of course the production arsenal of Krischan in his Studio 600 and his incredible studio skills are the ultimate force of all Rotersand productions.

i guess some of rotersand’s signature sound as you call it is result of rasc’s magic skills of creating songs out of nothing and my more alchemistic way of creating by reassembling and recombining. the devices used aren’t that essential but helpful and as much tools as sources of specific ways and processes to bring an idea into the final form. i still feel bound to stuff and devices that offer randomness and some uncontrollable stuff.

Doktor John
From what cultural sources (events, issues, writers, artists, philosophers, etc) do you draw inspiration?


-The daily news. Earlier Life: V. Flusser, S. Lem, von Glaserfeld, Varela / K. Dick, T. Mann and many more. University: E. Husserl, A. Schütz, L. Thayer, H. Maturana, N. Luhmann and many more. Movies: Bladerunner, Brazil, Sci Fi as a genre, D. Lynch, R. Scott, W. Wenders as my fav directors.

Doktor John
-Do you like or do you reject the label “futurepop?” Why?

I´d prefer Industrial Pop as this synth pop thing is just a part of our work.

i kind of like that label “futurepop”, even if it is anachronistic nowadays. but maybe that twist is what i like about it.
Doktor John-
Will you be performing live when the pandemic passes? Plans? Commitments?

Rasc: We have been performing live all the time but, yes, not in America since 2010. The immense costs of buying work permits is one factor as well by the way. We can´t just go there for a week without losing money, so we would need to go for several weeks which is not so easily to do for me as flying is. I do fly but I do not like it.

Doktor John- What were the early musical influences that Rotersand members (or spokesman) recall before becoming established professional musicians?

Rasc: Pink Floyd, Queen, Tears for Fears, New Wave, Skinny Puppy, Front 242, Detroit Techno, UK Techno, mostly Underworld in the 90s.

Doktor John- It may be one of my favorites from Rotersand’s body of work, but, what the heck is the idea behind “Waiting to be Born?”

Rasc:The longing of a young woman for a feeling of really being alive. She is missing something essential, maybe also missing someone. So she waits, hopes, longs and dreams.<

New Dark Age January 2020 (continued)

Filed under: live music,Movies,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 22, 2020 @ 3:04 am

Dracula 2020 – the BBC and Netflix Series

The BBC miniseries – actually trilogy – that debuted on Netflix this January is a worthy retelling of the classic Bram Stoker gothic novel for a myriad of reasons. Without going into actual spoilers, it is possible – and my intention – to examine this “nth” reiteration of one of the best loved and most disturbing stories that set the standard for gothic tales, looking for unique contributions it makes to the vast output of Dracula cinema.

Like all movie versions of Bram Stoker’s gothic novel, from the 1931 Bela Lugosi Universal Studios classic to the nearly one hundred motion picture versions, it derives its story from the original novel, while taking liberties to satisfy the filmmakers’ urge for creativity or to express poetic license or merely to lay a claim to some elements of originality. The trick has been – and many have succeeded at it – to stay true to the core elements of Bram Stoker’s book while paying respect to the character that Bela Lugosi created without being imitative to the point of caricature. To do otherwise – and some have done so – is to invite scorn, ridicule and failure. This involves walking a tightrope between the book’s portrayal of a demonic cadaver dwelling in a coffin in Transylvania and Lugosi’s suave, Central European aristocrat. The Netflix series succeeds at this.

A praiseworthy feature of this trilogy is that it honors Bram Stoker’s format of retelling the story in “epistolary” form, i.e. in broken-up narratives derived from diaries, letters, ship‘s log, memoranda and the like, but it does so in cinematic form.
The first episode “Rules of the Beast” provides an utterly dismal yet fascinating narrative of poor Jonathan Harker’s encounter, imprisonment, victimization and eventual destruction by Dracula. A sort of connecting thread, or recurring character introduced is that of a fly, whose unpleasant presence appears again and again – on window panes, on people, and – most disturbingly – on Harker’s eye as he is being interviewed by a Catholic nun named Van Helsing, who will prove to be Dracula’s nemesis and situational companion. Elements of Catholicism have always been a part of the Dracula story, and this trilogy is true to the tradition. Also introduced is Harker’s fiancée, Mina, who – as in the book and the countless retellings – becomes a particular target for Dracula’s bloodlust. Harker’s character – an undead victim of Dracula’s contagion- lays out the prototype for the state of being undead in a way that is uniquely explicit in this series.

This first episode goes a long way to creating an expansion of the Dracula world by way of introducing a whole population of box-contained “undead” in varying degrees of decomposition – begging for release. Thus the zombie trope is added to the vampire story, while intersecting with the terrible predicament of premature burial, popularized in writings of Poe. In so doing, the series has contributed another dimension to the lore of vampirism.

Yet another contribution that this series makes is to expound the effecting in which Dracula’s drinking of blood results in his absorbing the knowledge, experience and – if he chooses – personal qualities of his victims, something not included in other Dracula tales. I.e. he learns to act like a fine Englishman by drinking Harker’s blood. Thus, the subtitle “Blood is Lives.”
The second episode, “Blood Vessel,” tells a previously unexplored story of Dracula’s voyage on the sailing ship the Demeter to be transported from Transylvania to England along with a coffin containing his native soil, an essential ingredient in the folklore of vampires. Most other stories have skipped over this period, simply reporting the mysterious deaths of the crew at the end of the ship’s passage. In this second entry in the trilogy, the ending of the passage is quite different and unique. No spoilers will be disclosed here.

Without apologies or detailed explanation, it can be reported that the third episode, “Dark Compass,” brings Dracula – and a niece of Sister Van Helsing – into the 21st Century. There and then he pursues the fearless-of-death Lucy Westenra, as in previous retellings. As disconcerting as it might seem to purists, the 21st Century action works to expound much about the icon that may have been overlooked. He is explained to be a hedonist – whose pursuit of immortality has been in order to prolong his pleasures and epicurean delights is expressed and explained quite explicitly. He longs to see the sun after centuries of avoiding it. He has (irrational?) fears of the cross and of light and – above all – death, an obsessive fear he shares with most of mankind. And he has been – ironically and paradoxically ¬– shackled, for ages, by the superstitious peasant folklore which he has imbibed from countless Transylvanian victims, at least some of which proves to be totally false.

The series succeeds because it meets fans’ desires to see consistency and continuity with the essential features contained in the book and the classic cinema, elaborating them creatively and adding interesting tangential elements without detracting from the traditional and venerated story.

Peter Murphy

Jan 20, 2020
Le Poisson Rouge

Goth rock icon Peter Murphy reprised his famed residency at Manhattan’s Le Poisson Rouge on Monday, January 20, picking up the thread with a “Greatest Hits” night that ran a little over an hour and half, performing 17 songs from his vast repertoire.

Peter Murphy on stage at Le Poisson Rouge

First up was a torch singer, Vinsantos,
self-described “New Orleans-based
Drag Musician, Performance Artist and Queer Witch,” with a remarkable voice, a creative keyboard style and over-the-top drag-queen costume and make-up.

Peter Murphy came on around 9 p.m. and opened with an extended, electronically-enhanced and slightly discordant version of “Cascade” off the album of the same name – his fifth studio album and thus legitimately considered to be the epochal mid-point of his solo career. He then went on to “All Night Long,” with its unmistakable introductory, persistent wooden xylophone riff, from his second album, “Love Hysteria.”

He continued with “Marlene Dietrich’s Favorite Poem” and then a funky, almost unrecognizable version of “Deep Ocean Vast Sea” both from the third album Deep (1989). Then it was on into the Holy Smoke (1992) album for “The Sweetest Drop.”
“Lion,” from his last album of the same name isn’t heard very often. That album was the only one passed over during the August residency. It was followed by the much more popular “Socrates the Python,” with its undulant, leisurely pace and mysterious mantra, “Bennett, Gurdjieff, Jesus.”

The eight song – the halfway point in the set – “Gaslit” is from the Secret Bees, an EP that was a spin-off of – but not included in – the Ninth album (2011). Next came the much loved ”The Prince and Old Lady Shade” which was, however, included in Ninth.
Peter continued his well-established practice of joshing with the audience during several noteworthy exchanges. Early on he assured the crowd that he was “definitely NOT an icon,” while implicitly assuming the role of icon. There’s common and frequent speculation regarding just how big this “icon’s” ego is, and he teased a bit when he expressed the opinion that “these lyrics are brilliant” in reference to, I believe it was “Deep Oceans.”

Whether it was intentional or thoughtless, Peter let the microphone stand far away from his mouth during talks with the audience, rendering much of the patter inaudible to all but the front two or three rows of spectators. When heckled about it by farther away audience members – those unable to hear what he was saying – he continued speaking in low, intimate tones that perhaps only the closest five or ten people could hear. The heckling continued but to no avail.

“Subway” from Cascade was a most welcome return to Peter’s beloved, melodious oeuvre and was sung in a faithful-to-the-original style.This was followed by “Disappearing” from he same album and “A Strange Kind of Love” from Deep. “His Circle Meets Hers” and the raucous “Low Room” drew up to the final song of the main set, his all-time favorite and most requested song, “Cuts You Up.”

After a short break he returned with the lullaby, “Huuvola,” accompanied by his silver-voiced daughter, Hurihan. The concluding song of the night was “Hangup” from Lion, during which he repeatedly implored the listener to “hang up the phone! ” while echoing the name of Turkey’s most famous ancient edifice, the magnificent cathedral-museum “Hagia Sofia.”

This night was billed a night of “Greatest Hits,” but I would prefer to see it as Peter Murphy’s own personal favorites. Entries from Lion and “Secret Bees of the Ninth” hardly qualify as having “Greatest Hits” status among fans in terms of sales or requests. But they might have special meaning to Peter himself. For those fans who love the melodious, rhythmic selections like “Indigo Eyes” and “Hit Song” this set was a disappointment, since the emphasis was on funky, discordant, Bauhaus-like dissonance – not only the songs chosen, but in the manner of delivery ¬– of even the most romantic selections in the set. A
He had a cold to start off with, and all the chatter in which he engaged revealed that his voice had become quite hoarse and gravelly. His singing however, suffered little if at all, and his commitment to putting maximum effort into every note continues to be fulfilled, even after having suffered a heart attack late last year during the residency that he is now completing.

NEW DARK AGE Early January 2020

Filed under: Live Music,Movie Reviews,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 13, 2020 @ 3:39 am


We attended a “live-from-the-Met” cinematic broadcast of the much acclaimed Metropolitan Opera production of Wozzeck with music and libretto by Alban Berg on January 11. It was also scheduled to be repeated in local theaters that carry such events on January 16. It is an extraordinary operatic work by one of the most modern of 20th century composers, famed representative of the “Second Viennese School” an early 20th century musical movement noted for atonality with elements of late Romantic Influence. Think: Beethoven off-key.

It is based on a play that was itself based upon real life events that took place in 1821 and were publicized when a despondent and exploited war veteran, (real name Woyzeck) murdered his unfaithful girlfriend and was executed, leaving their child orphaned. In Berg’s opera, Wozzeck dies by drowning himself as he seeks to flee accusations and to destroy evidence.

This woeful mess is rendered dismal and pitiful not just by way of the lyrics and the somber music, but by an hallucinatory production by South African animation-film artist William Kentridge. The dismal and apocalyptic sets and scenery are continuously worked, enhanced, altered and heightened by projected images of loosely drawn, illustrations and suggestive figures, usually but not only black and white – sometimes still and sometimes animated. At times the projected image creates the entire backdrop as, e.g. a cityscape. Other times it takes the form of a screen or an ever-changing poster. The effect is phantasmagorical.

One advantage of the live-from-the-Met, HD transmitted version, is that the viewer benefits from camera cinematography that zooms in on singers and follows action when appropriate.

Even if one has not had the opportunity to see this spectacular production either live or in cinema, it would be well to take note of the elements contained in this report and to keep an eye and an ear open for other works by these gifted artists for future reference.

NEW DARK AGE – Nov 2019

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn November 7, 2019 @ 10:26 pm

New Dark Age – Nov 2019

Dia de Muertos – Day of the Dead

Nov 1-2, 2019

This year we decided to do something really special for Halloween. Well, let’s just say for the Halloween season. Because the Mexican Dia de Muertos – Day of the Dead – is a distinctly different holiday that occurs right on the tail end of Halloween — extending from Nov 1 through Nov 2.

One day is dedicated to remembrance of departed children, and the other is for deceased adults, usually ancestors. It traces its origins to the Mesoamerican, indigenous holiday, when Aztecs and other Nahua people celebrated this feast honoring the dead as far back as one or two thousand years ago. As with so many pagan traditions, it became appropriated by the Roman Catholic colonization by Spain, i.e., it was made to coincide with All Saints Day, celebrated by Catholics around the world. Now it is a national, public holiday in Mexico.

Dia de Muertos is not to be confused with Halloween although distinctions have blurred in recent years. Day of the Dead is celebrated with colorful remembrance and displays of fearless love for departed relatives, whereas Halloween is a dark, macabre event evoking horror and mischief. The ubiquitous displays of skulls and skeletons – however joyfully presented – has created a false convergence of the two holidays in the minds of many observers, and not just those north of the border.

Even some Mexican celebrants don zombie attire and makeup that more reflect the latter rather than the former. Mexican children have incorporated trick-or-treating on Halloween that continues through the next two says of Dia de Muertos.

Pre-Columbian/ Mesoamerican Day of the Dead

To prepare for what we were about to witness, we toured the Anthropological Museum where we found ample evidence of a death-centered religion including death by human sacrifice. The museum is filled with artistic representations of skulls and skeletal remains of sacrificial victims from pre-Columbian civilizations that flourished long before there was a Mexico. We climbed the steep, monumental Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan and walked the Avenue of the Dead connecting it to the nearby Pyramid of the Moon, both thought to have been the sites of human sacrifice.

The Offerings Altar

The central element of modern-day Dia de Muertos is the construction of household altars with flower arrangements and food items tailored to the special likes and tastes of departed relatives being honored — parents, grandparents and others — whose photos are posted atop the edible offerings. Special, sweet, delicious bread – the pan de muerto — is always included. The dead are remembered and are thought to return in spirit to enjoy the consumption of their food favorites by their living descendants.

In Mexico City’s main square, we observed the construction of enormous, temporary structures to house over-sized, public versions of the altars that are universally set up in virtually every home.
Costumed individuals, their faces made up as skulls in stark black and white strolled amidst colossal, colorful skulls and skeletons present on every corner, in the streets, in stores, hotel lobbies and parks.

Indigenous performers danced in the street to the rhythm of native drums and conducted healing rituals amidst clouds of fragrant incense. Three-dimensional representations of Calavera Catrina, the elegantly dressed skeletal lady in 19th century attire with her wide brimmed hat, were everywhere, coming in different sizes, ranging from monumental to miniature.

Venturing out into the rural environs, our host drove us to the village of San Andres Mixquic where spectacular displays in the local church, its courtyard, the local school and cemetery had drawn crowds from around the world to join in the festivities. Food and souvenir stands lined the path leading to these church-based attractions. Households along the way offered their backyards to provide parking spaces and opened their homes and allowed use of their bathrooms by the public for a nominal fee. As a measure of their profound hospitality some invited us in and offered us pan de muerto or other treats while we viewed the family’s altar.

Once we had passed through the rows of merchandise and food stands, we joined the crowd of revelers, many of whom wore costumes or skull-face masks and makeup, as we walked from attraction to attraction in and around the church and cemetery. The cemetery and its graves were decked out with candles, incense burners, bouquets and carpets of marigold flowers.

Besides the myriad family tombs, there was a nameless pile of bones dignified with a crucifix to commemorate the native people killed during the Spanish conquests. There were cheerful altars — big and small — everywhere we looked, with food offerings, flowers and photos on exhibit. We dined in a makeshift restaurant set in the schoolyard of the local kindergarten.

A stage was set up where comedy routines, song and dance were performed with a traditional, folkloric Mexican flavor. The overlap with American country & western, cowboy music was unmistakable.

The whole experience was mind-blowing as well as enlightening. We could see how the ancient, Mesoamerican religion, so obsessed with death, served as a substrate for the equally death-obsessed elements of Christianity and Catholicism. Both worldviews focus on immortality and concern themselves with the mortal remains of ancestors, but the Mexican-based approach is cheerful, and jubilant, whereas traditional European Christianity takes a more somber and solemn approach. These two morbid traditions clearly complement each other, and with their synergy have produced a uniquely intense celebration of life and death.

Gothic Vampire Cruise
Oct 19, 2019

On a Saturday night in mid-October, electro-industrial band The Sedona Effect hosted a 2-hour cruise on the Hudson on a fully-rigged, 150-ft schooner. When the crew hoisted sail, guests were treated to a comfortable tour of New York Harbor, passing near Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, plus the gorgeous views of lit-up Manhattan. DJs Mike Stalagmike and Aengel with sound engineer Chris Savo provided ambient and atmospheric music between live acts. That included a performance by The Sedona Effect, namely charismatic vocalist Kai Irina Hahn, Joe Dallarda on guitar and Nicole Eres on keyboards.

The ever-present and ever-contributing Madame X served as stage manager. Statuesque actress Katherine Crockette, performing as Lily Langtry, put on a riveting, one-woman dramatic ballet. Both the performers and the audience of guests were decked out in Victorian or Steampunk attire, creating the atmosphere of a 19th Century gothic novel.

Live theatrical performances included interactions among Dr. Van Helsing (Victor Noirlocke), Sir William Gull a.k.a Jack the Ripper (Drew Nardone), the Prince of Wales (Zen Mansley) and Sarah Bernhardt, played by Kai herself. Socializing, watching the shows and imbibing kept guests well entertained the entire evening.

The bar served standard beverages plus hot cider and hot toddies. Cameras were everywhere, and photos as well as videos by Swav Jusis, Jesse Kleitman and Dario Valdivia are to be seen on the event’s Facebook page.

Oct 18, 2019
Bowery Electric

New York-based quartet the Ritualists, brought their latter-day glamrock/stadium rock sound to the Bowery Electric on this mid-October Friday night. Frontman for the band was vocalist and hyperactive stage performer, Christian Dryden, whose feet were seen to leave the floor more than once during the show. They performed the eight tracks of their debut album Painted People to a notably packed audience.

Opening with “Rattles,” the first track from the album with intensely plaintive vocals layered over sweeping, symphonic elements, they moved next into “She’s the Sun,” that has melodious, wailing vocals and middle-eastern-flavored accompaniment. Frontman Christian Dryden’s amazing vocal range became apparent as they transitioned into the new, third song, ”Queen of Dolls,” distinguished by its driving bass-line and Dryden’s facile falsetto vocals. The slowed-down, ballad-like “Starry Night” followed after giving Dryden another chance to showcase his strong and impassioned voice. Then came “Ice Flower,” the hook-laden, emotional and vocally-challenging first single off the album.

The sixth song, “Forbidden Love,” presented alternating styles between the feel of Black Sabbath and that of Duran Duran, and may be the best track on the album. Dryden justified to the Gen-X crowd his reaching back to the doo-wop era – in deference to his own mother in the audience – with the Elvis cover “One Night,” a stroll-cadenced retake of “One Night of Sin” by R & B singer Smiley Lewis. Both versions are worth searching.

The show concluded with the raucous title track, “Painted People,” and mash-up with the Bowie ”Heroes” medley, leaving the audience emotionally fulfilled.

Aeon Sable
Solar Lodge Records

Aether is the sixth release by this deep, dark, gothic rock band out of Essen Germany. We first ran into them when they took the stage at Castle Party in Poland, the Dark Alternative Music Festival in Poland where they were the most outstanding act of the whole event. Aether was released in 2018, but we feel sure that it is new to most American audiences.

Consisting of only seven tracks, it is nonetheless over one hour in length, featuring a couple of monumental pieces.

The first track, “Hand of Glory & The Nihilist,” opens in a wind-swept fantasy environment and is largely an instrumental dirge that lumbers along at a funereal pace, with groaning guitars to accompany Nino Sable’s melodious cries of desperation. From then, on, there is one irresistible song after another, with ringing guitars that reappear in several tracks as a kind of signature sound of the band. The rhythms are compelling, and will have one eager to get up and move freely on a dance floor. Nino’s vocals are distinctly confidant and the lyrics, persuasive.

A couple of tracks slow ominously down as guitars wail, growl and mingle with Nino’s impassioned vocals, but most set an irresistible pace out of which clear vocals rise mournfully and the guitars respond sympathetically.

The fifth track, “O Senhor Do Medo (The Lord Of Fear)” is a ten-plus minute work, sung in Portuguese. One doesn’t have to know the language. It is built on a repeated minor key arpeggio that climbs deliberately up and then relentlessly back down, which translates to inevitability in any language.

Several tracks feature ponderous, plodding cadences with restrained, despondent, echoic vocals and eerie background sounds giving a mystical, mesmerizing effect. Eventually these sonic elements gather and merge into a crescendo before reaching an exultant conclusion.

The seventh and final track is a monumental 17-minute opus that runs the gamut from soft, wistful vocals to harsh cries, angry, belching guitars, driving rhythms and soaring symphonic elements. It features a false conclusion at around 11 minutes, but then undergoes resurgence and concludes with an unmistakably Middle Eastern melody-and-rhythm conclusion.

The album is available on Spotify, Bandcamp, Youtube and as a CD from Aeon Sable’s website/Facebook page. It captures the gothic musical aesthetic feel like few other collections, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.


Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn October 14, 2019 @ 12:57 pm

Oct 2019

Massive Attack – The Mezzanine XXI Tour
Radio City Music Hall
Sept 26, 2019

The appearance of Massive Attack, the British electronic audio-visual music project took place at NYC’s venerable temple of art-deco design, Radio City Music Hall, five months later than originally scheduled due to prior cancellation of the April date. Headed by multi-media artist Robert Del Naja, a.k.a. 3D, Massive Attack is viewed as one of the seminal originators of the subgenre trip hop, and is noted especially for extraordinary light show accompaniment with their performances. Also noteworthy is MA’s heavy message of progressive, liberal-left politics both onstage and off.

On this Thursday night, while awaiting MA’s appearance on the stage, the crowd sat restively during an hour’s delay filled with lo-fi, cringe-worthy pop through blown speakers (think Britney Spears and Chumbawamba) before the much awaited band took the stage. No sooner than they did, a spectacular light show filled the back screens. After a bombastic, explosively dazzling intro, the oversized video imagery settled on peaceful CG-animation of aerial sequences – flights over idealized landscapes. Meanwhile, the stage was kept so dark that it was hard to discern how many band members or even how many drum sets (two) were on stage.

The opening number was a cover version of the Velvet Underground’s “I Found a Reason,” the first of eight covers that would comprise about half the songs performed that night. Other covers included The Cure’s “10:15 Saturday Night,” Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” one by Horace Andy, one by Ultravox, one from the late Swedish DJ and electronic musician, Avicii and Pete Seeger’s folksy “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
All the other nine tracks that constituted the set were from its one source only, its most successful album: Mezzanine (1998). These included the eerie title track, the laid-back and jazzy “Exchange,” the slow-paced “Risingson,” the tribal/percussion piece “Inertia Creeps” and the galloping “Dissolved Girl.”

Unlike the peaceful imagery of the video accompanying the first song, the rest of the light show consisted of strobiscopic and rapidly flashed animated as well as still images of diverse and very disturbing sights, sometimes coordinated with the rhythm of the music, sometimes not. Large-letter text headlines and slogans overlaid many of the images as they flickered and resonated on multiple screens with messages pertaining to such timely and timeless issues as individual freedom, government control, conspiracy theories, pollution, militarism, conformity and the opioid crisis.

The high points in terms of crowd response came during the 14th and 15th songs (of a total of 17), namely “Angel” and “Teardrop,” the two seeming favorites from the Mezzanine album. The crowd’s roars of appreciation indicated that they had been amply repaid for the uncomfortable hour-long wait for the show to begin.

Assemblage 23
QXT’s 28th Anniversary

Sept 14, 2019

To mark the 28th anniversary of QXT’s, the area’s premier alternative/industrial nightclub, Seattle-based electronic band Assemblage 23 took the stage. The opening act, Helix, a collaboration of A23’s Tom Shear on keyboards and vocalist Mari Kattman performed a Synthwave set that was well received.

The first time A23 played at this venerable institution was 20 years ago, so it was a special anniversary for the band as well as the club. In celebration, the band put on an incredible, 85 minute set covering virtually their entire repertoire, i.e. all their hits plus a few rarities. Crowd favorites included “Damaged,” “Naked” and “I Am the Rain.” Vocalist Tom Shear was joined on stage by long-time keyboardist Paul Seegers and new addition to the group, live drummer Michael Jenney of the band Alter Der Ruine. The floor was packed approaching full capacity.

That a relatively small, unpretentious club like QXT’s continues to summon some of the top names in modern music like A23 is a noteworthy benefit to local NJ fans as well as commuters from the greater NYC area. Rarely does one get to see and hear performers of such national and international status close up and personal as this. Much can be attributed to the tireless planning and sometimes difficult arranging done by the production staff who have few of the resources available to major venues such as the nearby Prudential Hall, Madison Square Garden or Radio City.

Cold Waves NY
Brooklyn Bazaar

Brooklyn NY
Sept 18 & 19, 2019

The annual Cold Waves Festival crossing the country stopped for two days in NYC this year at Brooklyn Bazaar hosted by Saint Vitus Bar, Xris SMack and bands from that particular genre.

Severed heads and Xris SMack! at Cold Waves Festival

Wednesday Sept 18 featured post-industrial electronic duo Statiqbloom, “machine rock” group project Chem Lab and English alternative rockers Pop Will Eat Itself. Xris Smack did the honors deejaying.
The following evening Thursday Sept 19 featured Jenna from Anatomy, Ministry’s Paul Barker with his “Min Dub Sound System,” Severed Heads and British soundtrack artists Test Dept.

An afterparty show was held at nearby Saint Vitus club featuring Seattle metal rockers Confines live and DJ sets by Patrick Codenys of Front 242 and famous author/lecturer and DJ Andi Harriman.

Goth Symposium: An Afternoon of Illustrated Lectures
Brooklyn Bazaar

Oct 5, 2019

Noted author on all things dark and 80s-centric, Andi Harriman hosted an all day symposium on the Goth scene as it relates to society, culture, art and music.

Topics included the following:
“Black on Black”
“Gothic Queer Culture”
“A 40-Year Love Affair Between Goth and the Occult”
“Mexican Gothic: The Thematic and Aesthetic Presence of Goth Culture in Mexico”
“Post-Punk Album Art from 1978 – 1990”
The symposium was followed by a performance of the German band Pink Turns Blue.

Oct 5, 2019
The October occurrence of Necropolis took place – as it always does – at NYC’s Windfall on the first Saturday of the month. Host DJ Father Jeff was joined by Aengel and Patrick taking turns in the booth. Sara from QXT’s manned the bar and Paradox hawked her unique merchandise from a table just off the dance floor.

DJ Father Jeff at Necropolis

Father Jeff opened the night with “Evelyn” by Clan of Xymox, setting the initial mood, but eventually “Für” by And One and “Crucify Me” by Moev turned things considerably more lively. Eventually Siouxsie and the Sisters of Mercy served as definite anchors to the timeless substrate of Post Punk music.

Making the scene that night were breath-taking beauties Ashley, Chloe and Lauren, each of She-Devil events fame; Matt V Christ, who seemed inseparable from the aforementioned trio of lovelies; DJ Arsenal and Monica; long distance scenester from the Jersey shore, Michael Kennedy; late arrival, William Welles; and Bill, the omnipresent pencil-&-flashlight artist.

The floor was, as usual, crowded with dancers who responded enthusiastically to the compelling mix of darkwave, goth and industrial tracks that filled the air.

Oct 12, 2019
Saturday Oct 12 saw another occurrence of the Red Party at Mercury Lounge, this one featuring two live bands, plus the customary deejay skills of DJs Sean Templar and jarek Zelazny. Notables in attendance included George Grant, Xris Smack and Jeffo! and hostess M Banshie Templar among others.

Doors opened earlier than usual, at 10 pm. The opening band, post-punk, Brooklyn-based Bootblacks, came on at 11 pm with a set heavier on percussion and electronic sound than vocals or melody. Shortly after midnight, Vancouver-based quartet, Actors put on a crowd-pleasing post-New Wave set with guitar and synth-accompaniment to a lead male vocalist plus a positively thrilling female vocalist and keyboardist.

Actors on stage at the Red Party

Turnout was unusually high and the price of admission reflected the double-bill.


This is the twenty-first album by German industrial band KMFDM, a guitar-laced, electro-industrial re-statement of the band’s persistent message of defiance and denunciation. It contains eleven tracks, most in the four-to-five minute range with a the fourth, title track running eight solid minutes.

Today, KMFDM consists of a new core lineup with founder, frontman and principal composer/vocalist Sascha Konietzko; along with Lucia Cifarelli, frontwoman/ principal writer lead female vocalist; and includes Andy Selway on drums and Andee Blacksugar on guitar. Guest performers include Raymond Watts, an original member who contributes his deep, rumbling growl on the ninth track; vocalist Andrew Lindsley; and bassist Doug Wimbish.

In the opening track, “K.M.F.” a hoarse mantra repeatedly issues the call to “Kill, mother-…” in response to the alleged injustices by the powers-that-be, enumerated by rapping vocalist Andee Blacksugar and female vocals that alternate with audio samples. “Oh My Goth” showcases Cifarelli’s feminine vocal appeal as she alluringly declares herself “the queen of hell,” to the backdrop of relentlessly belching and squealing guitar riffs. In the title track, Konietzko and Cifarelli lay out the cynical rejection of utopian assertions to a sharply choppy break beat and guitar cadenzas.

Founded in 1984, KMFDM has never abandoned their post-punk industrial roots, nor have they done so with this latest release. New synthetic sounds, elements of world music as well as vocal novelties have even been introduced here. Nevertheless, galloping rhythms continue to prevail through most of the album, often with pleasingly melodious synths and varying vocal styles. Reggae rhythms make their appearance in the final track “No God” before transforming into a funky rhythm when Konietzko and Blacksugar make their harsh, whispered statements before the track ends with an industrial sample of an unanswered phone call (to God?)

Last Rites Gallery

The Last Rites and Booth gallery is holding an exceptional art exhibition titled “The 13th Hour” at its location on Manhattan’s West 38th Street. An opening night gathering took place on Saturday Oct 12, to which the public was encouraged to wear “costumes and macabre fashion.” While there was little outright compliance with this request, the grooming and attire of the New York art scene crowd would fit the description of “macabre” most anywhere else in the country. As is the consistent style represented at this establishment, the trend is predominantly surrealism. Furthermore, in keeping with the general spirit of the institution, the subjects and images are mostly iconoclastic if not downright horrific.

Attendees at Last Rites gallery’s “13th Hour Exhibition”

I counted around twenty-five works of art, mostly paintings in oil, but also acrylics, sculptures, constructions and drawings. Some beautifully rendered, intensely detailed paintings portrayed juxtapositions of serene still-life subjects with gory, disembodied anatomical organs. One layered construction in a shadowbox resembled a textbook of dental-facial anatomy gone terribly wrong. Nightmarish images and explicit renderings of horrors like drowning or ecological catastrophe were disturbing enough. Skulls, bloody faces and anatomical distortions were in abundance including distortions of feline as well as human anatomy.

Some of these works were further enhanced with imaginative, elaborate custom framing. Metal, clay and epoxy sculptures were shocking for their hideous representations of body parts, desecrated religious symbols and portrayal of monstrosities. One or two dreamy, serene images were rendered eerie by virtue of subtle artistic effects. Prices ranged from the low thousands to eight, nine and ten thousand dollars. A good number of works were already listed as sold.

Complimentary wine was served, and the space was crowded with enthusiastic, studious and sociable representatives of the underground, counter-cultural art community.

NEW DARK AGE – Sept 2019

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn September 18, 2019 @ 9:39 am

Castle Party 2017

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn August 13, 2019 @ 10:08 pm

Peter Murphy interview with New Dark Age

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn August 8, 2019 @ 2:24 pm


Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn July 27, 2019 @ 9:21 am

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