Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cold Cave

Love Comes Close
Matador Records

What happens when you lock a bunch of hardcore and noise musicians in a room? They make gothic music, of course! I unreservedly love Cold Cave. Wesley Eisold (formerly of American Nightmare), with assistance from Caralee McElroy (Xiu Xiu) and Dominick Fernow (Prurient), bashes out primitive, insanely catchy, dark electro in the vein of Joy Division, Blank Dogs, and Cabaret Voltaire, filtered through archaic effects pedals and ancient keyboards. The vibe of “Love Comes Close” is poised, foreboding and authoritarian. The vocals are joyless and icy - split between a blank female and a blank male – the synths and drum machines echo the heartbeats of a melancholic. Their music takes in and spits out new wave, postpunk and early house music, all with a deeply European hue.

Cold Cave are up there with the Horrors in terms of sullen defiance and singleminded expression. Overcast grays and pale greens suffuse every note, dancing a wild dervish on the inside of your eyelids. And yeah, one of their songs is on the teevee, but don't hold that against them. This is
what you need.

- Matthew Moyer

Sole & The Skyrider Band

Fake Four

Now, I hadn't had much contact with Sole & the Skyrider Band, outside of a couple guest spots on other artists' tracks (Sage Francis, Bleubird,) until I got my hands on their latest album, Plastique. What I found in those tracks was an incredibly moving collection of stories that were much more interesting than what one usually expects from the average hip hop record. It's not everyday you happen across an artist who can touch on topics ranging from politics to space to nature, human and otherwise, and on and on without sounding self important or, worse yet, boring. Sole manages to run the gamut ideologically, pulling you along with a hypnotic flow and complex beats that leave you wondering how the hell the album is already ending and hitting the repeat button so you can try to wrap your head around what just happened. "Plastique" has grown on me to the extent that I'd say it's neck and neck with "Never Better" by P.O.S. for best hip hop album of the year. Is it perfect? No, but a few faltering moments aside, it is damn close. Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with Sole and the Skyrider Band if you haven't already done so. You will not be disappointed with what you find.

- Dave Conkey



Aside from the definitive Viva Hate and Your Arsenal, Morrissey’s last three releases; You Are The Quarry, Ringleader of the Tormentors and Years of Refusal, respectively feature some of the best work of his post-Smiths career. From those he slices out, reissues and repackages a compiled 18-track sampling of b-sides and singles as SWORDS. Initial copies of SWORDS include a bonus disc of eight songs recorded live in Warsaw during his 2009 tour featuring Life Is a Pigsty, I Just Want to See the Boy Happy and The Smiths gem You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby. SWORDS is a must for die-hard fans and a solid introduction for those just discovering Moz. Remember kids, it's his world, we just live in it.

- Max

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions

Through the Devil Softly

Hope Sandoval is one of the more enigmatic figures in pop music today, a welcome contrast to the social networking impulse to reveal everything all the time. She seemed to float through Mazzy Star albums like a purple aether, bewitching and beguiling, with a gorgeous coo that often seemed untethered to the music. It was a voice that completely rejected the "bluesy belter" or any other outmoded "women in rock" template, a voice that was only concerned with plumbing the depths of sadness and expression, uninterested in the starmaking machinery that sought to co-opt her. Her body language in interviews and promotional duties spoke to that, sullen silence, pregnant pauses, and a head tilted downward in boredom and disinterest. When Mazzy Star broke up, she seemed, to the casual observer, to disappear.

In a way she did. Sandoval stepped off the pop culture treadmill and immersed herself in music, at her own pace and of her own choosing. Collaborations with Jesus and Mary Chain, Bert Jansch, Massive Attack, and Air followed, as did an album with a new group of collaborators, the Warm Inventions (“Bavarian Breadfruit”), in 2001. Now going on eight years later, Sandoval is releasing a new album with the Warm Inventions, and though her recorded voice sounds more intimate than ever, to parallel that she seems more distant than ever. The Warm Inventions includes members of Dirt Blue Gene and Sandoval's main co-conspirator, Colm O'Ciosoig from My Bloody Valentine. Colm was last seen kicking up a monstrous racket with a reborn My Bloody Valentine, and the Warm Inventions, where even fingers moving up and down guitar frets threatens to overwhelm the delicate music... well, that's just perverse.

Sandoval is the only vocalist for whom it would be a compliment to say that her voice hasn't matured at all, still sounding like a cosmic-lost-ghost-girl, all autumn winds and careful swoons. Careful listeners, though, will hear hints of blues diva sass (especially in "Trouble"). Unlike the unfettered roar of My Bloody Valentine or the tormented churn that drove Mazzy Star's fuzztone torch, the instrumentation on “Through the Devil” is quiet, unhurried, and woodsy -- minimal but highly expressive acoustic guitars, murmuring bass and brushed drums, music boxes -- like Neil Young's Harvest or a lost Tim Buckley record. Check out "Lady Jessica and Sam" for a perfect encapsulation of this sound. It's space rock reflected through a late night fire in the hearth of Big Pink.

- Matthew Moyer

Volcano Choir


How can you follow up the wintry, isolationist heartbreak that seemingly burst out of Bon Iver's debut album? How do you work up the courage for that second act? Willingly seek out heartbreak? Head back to the cabin? Wisely, Justin Vernon doesn't even attempt such a thing. He's avoided the damning weight of expectations with fucking acrobatic deftness by momentarily shedding the Bon Iver name. He's joined up with oddball unitand kindred Wisconsonites Collection of Colonies of Bees to form the Volcano Choir and explore a whole new musique. The first thing that you must understand is that the songs on “Unmap” are worlds away from the tear-stained lullabies of “For Emma.” The music here is not as prayerful and carefully constructed; here it's spontaneous, improvised, nonlinear, uncomfortable and much more joyous. A song may be one-minute in length, or it may be seven minutes in length, they may break down into grating percussive noise, static, or bucolic, burbling electro. Aesthetic schizophrenic futurism, with the only common thread being Vernon's wondrously openhearted falsetto, soaring to even greater heights when matched against his friends' cubist doodles.

There are moments of pure, simple beauty, like "Island, IS." "Dote" is like those wonderful mood pieces that linked the tracks on This Mortal Coil's “Blood,” incidental, ghostly sounds and faint traces of Vernon's androgynous sigh. "And Gather" is all group handclaps over childlike guitar and keyboard figures while the massed falsetto vocals egg each other on to greater heights - it's like a meditation, a Steve Reich piece and a playground game all at once. An autotuned Vernon in "Still" almost makes you want to laugh in disbelief, were it not for the prayer-temple instrumental vibe of synth drone and hands lightly brushing guitar and harp strings, before it roars into life as the beginning (just the beginning, mind you) of a song that Coldplay or Radiohead would kill for. "Youlogy" is built around sparse, unadorned torch vocals intoning some ancient lullaby over leftover music, a tantalizing hint of a gospel/angel choir appears briefly like a flicker several times before disappearing into the ether. Out like a ghost.

- Matthew Moyer

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Woodhands + Junior Boys

at Cafe Eleven

Tara A Skalowski

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pretty Lights

Passing By Behind Your Eyes

I caught a notice for Pretty Lights on tour and having never heard of them before I did a quick google search to check them out. I'm so happy I did, and happier to find that the man behind the lights Derek Vincent also offers the album Passing By Behind Your Eyes as a free download from his site. After scanning just a few tracks I'm hooked. Throbbing bass lines, soul-infused neo-jazz, pounding electro, and a smattering of hip-hop all combine in a sonic alchemy that is sure to get your head bobbing and dance floors everywhere jumping. Pretty Light make pretty noise. Keep it coming Derek!

"Passing By Behind Your Eyes" is the 3rd full length Pretty Lights album released on October 6th 2009.

Find out for yourself at


Monday, November 9, 2009


Ocean Eyes

By now you can barely turn on MTV or VH1 without catching OWL CITY's "Fireflies" video or hearing clips of it in a TV show segue. And no, it's not 'that guy from Death Cab For Cutie,' though the similarities are eerie on that first single. So indeed, this kid is just EVERYWHERE, and frankly I'm not complaining. "Fireflies" however, is just one gem in a mixed goodie bag of indie-dance-electro tracks that are damn near infectious. I've been catching myself humming them often. There are a couple of sickly poppy tracks that I could forgo (see the singsongy "The Bird and The Worm" or very odd "Dental Care"), but standout favorites like the booming opening track "On The Wing," "Vanilla Twilight," "Meteor Shower," and most of the 12 tracks are consistently sonic with deep waves of bass carrying cascading synths, epic breaks and soaring vocals. His third release and major-label debut album Ocean Eyes is an exceptional bold mix of styles and flawlessly executed.

"Hoot! Hoot!" for OWL CITY!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

STAR WARS in concert

Jacksonville Arena

Anthony Daniels clad in an all black tuxedo and metallic gold vest took the stage amidst a sea of lights, lasers, smoke and fire to narrate between the symphonic renditions of the music from STAR WARS featuring key characters (including his own C3PO) and plot moments illustrated by massive video screening filled with synched montages from all 6 films that got my midichlorians all tingly. Presented in two parts with a 20 minute intermission ended with a sustained standing ovation. Simply a must for geeks of all ages.

Below are some photos from the show and the display areas featuring props and costumes from the Lucas Films archives.

- Max Michaels / Jacksonville FL

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Depeche Mode - Tour of the Universe - 09.04.09 - Tampa, FL

A three hour drive that seemed like days. Driving across town from the venue just to find a Starbucks amidst the farmers markets, taco buses, creepy little rundown roadside motels and closed drive in theaters. Scoffing at the $30 "vip" parking in lieu of walking farther to the main gate during the only 15 minutes of rain at the venue all night. Seeing Depeche Mode for the 5th time. Priceless.

While Dave Gahan is still pulling off his signature spins and snake like girations and Martin Gore's outfits are as shiny as ever, for a band with a discography a mile long there was a notable absence of signature songs that people of all ages go to see legendary bands like this for. Specifically staples like People Are People and Everything Counts, though other favorites like Flys On The Windscreen and In Your Room had their moments, Dave's vocals on those powerful, brooding tracks seemed less committed than on previous tours. Perhaps due to recent surgery, or the moist open air venue, or maybe having done them ad nauseam. I Feel You was by far the best track of the night, vocally and visually. Martin stepped up the guitar and head banged like it was a metal show, and stepped back to man the keyboards while Andy Fletcher simply stood there next to the live drummer and additional keyboardist, none of which were introduced, instead Dave introduced Martin three separate times as either Mr. Martin or Mr. Gore. Yes, Dave we get it, he's awesome. And he is, his vocals were as strong as ever and carried every track, especially where Dave fell flat, and as always when he's belting out the soaring piano ballad Somebody.

All in all, despite what seemed like an epic trek through adverse weather, dozen and dozen of State Troopers ganged up on car after car they had pulled over, there really was no better way to kick off the Labor Day weekend then spending a Friday night with Depeche Mode in Tampa, FL.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Beautiful Deadly Children - The Gospel According to Goth

A Kabaret Grotesque by Bertie Weirdly
Mallard Independent Publishing

Beautiful Deadly Children appear to be a long-lived English goth outfit that never quite made a name for themselves outside of their immediate scene in Birmingham (home of Black Sabbath and Napalm Death!), and what notoriety they gained was mostly for flamboyantly unfortunate taste in costumery. I'm talking troll ears, fake claws, batwing dresses with wings, puffy shirts aplenty, and surely illegal applications of PVC and rubber. Whereas any other band would have given up in the face of such deafening indifference, Beautiful Deadly Children took quite the opposite tack. With a delusional self-belief that rivals that of Half Japanese and Andrew WK (and usually I’d approve of such world-making), BDC decided to concentrate not on honing down the music to a darkling point, but to instead pen a lengthy tome detailing their life and times. The results aren't pretty. I'd rather not do a hatchet job on this book, because the concept behind it is something I'd certainly want one of my favorite bands to do (I think the Kills were talking about doing a photography book), but this is... definitely... not... that. Here's the problem, the writing is pretty pedestrian, it feels like I'm reading an overlong Myspace profile. To make matters worse, it seems that they run out of things to write about halfway through (which is weird, because, y'know they had complete control over the book) so by the end, when they start giving (lengthy) make-up tips, the book drops out of my hand and falls to the floor. The tone is in turns overly precious and desperately clumsy. And the pictures, ehh.... you dare not look. It's just a roly-poly bunch of chancers shoehorned into a dizzying array of inappropriate, unflattering, and faintly ridiculous attire. I don’t care if you hang out at the Factory or the Castle every weekend going back a decade, you’re going to be channeling Ogre from “Revenge of the Nerds” ‘round about page 30. I think it's possible to age with dignity in the gothic scene, but these cats just ain't there baby. May I direct you to the new Horrors album instead?

- Mathew Moyer

Monday, August 3, 2009

Von Iva

Girls on Film

Fresh from a stint as Zooey Deschanel's backing band in by-the-numbers comedy "Yes Man," all-girl trio Von Iva step out on their own with "Girls on Film (*wink wink* or bad Duran Duran reference?), an album drenched in the bad drugs and worse hangover of Noughties clubland hedonism. Von Iva have stripped down their sound to a blandly modern synth/rhythm affair, redolent of bad DFA or Shiny Toy Guns. Singer Jillian Iva does that pseudo-soulful diva thing, while the instrumental backdrop is pounding four-to-the-floor beats and utterly obvious booming synths. The songs are bland and tentative, the performances feel forced. This just feels like a blatant grab for the lastnightsparty or Cobrasnake demographic. Boooooooooring. That said, stardom is most likely imminent.

- Matthew Moyer

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nachtmahr (PRE-SHOW)

LIVE Saturday 7/18
Edge 17 - Factory

For those craving a great industrial show, your about to get your wish. Nachtmahr, hailing from Austria, are about to hit Jacksonville with their brand of hard-hitting electro that's sure to please rivetheads around town and in the nearby area. Nachtmahr is the side project of one Thomas Rainer who is also one half of the electro/darkwave group L'Ame Immortelle (the latter being a band many electro fans should be familiar with). While L'Ame Immortelle had it's share of heavy moments, Thomas got the idea for Nachtmahr while doing a series of dj shows inspired by the material he was spinning. The music is brutal, harsh, peppered with German voiceover samples and will simply destroy any dance floor. There are some instrumentals on the cd I have (Fuer Frei!) and I assume that is the case with some of the newer releases, that I don't have. If I had to compare them to anyone I would say they share common ground with their German brethren Feindflug and possibly elements of Suicide Commando and Hocico. This is the music that so many of us love, but don't get to hear (or see live) very often without a road trip. So don't whine to anyone that there are no industrial bands coming through our area if you miss this show. You have been warned!

- Craig Harvey

Nachtmahr performs live
Saturday July 18th

1187 Edgewood Ave South
Jacksonville, FL 32205

Nachtmahr (PRE-SHOW)

LIVE Saturday 7/18
Edge 17 - Factory

For those craving a great industrial show, your about to get your wish. Nachtmahr, hailing from Austria, are about to hit Jacksonville with their brand of hard-hitting electro that's sure to please rivetheads around town and in the nearby area. Nachtmahr is the side project of one Thomas Rainer who is also one half of the electro/darkwave group L'Ame Immortelle (the latter being a band many electro fans should be familiar with). While L'Ame Immortelle had it's share of heavy moments, Thomas got the idea for Nachtmahr while doing a series of dj shows inspired by the material he was spinning. The music is brutal, harsh, peppered with German voiceover samples and will simply destroy any dance floor. There are some instrumentals on the cd I have (Fuer Frei!) and I assume that is the case with some of the newer releases, that I don't have. If I had to compare them to anyone I would say they share common ground with their German brethren Feindflug and possibly elements of Suicide Commando and Hocico. This is the music that so many of us love, but don't get to hear (or see live) very often without a road trip. So don't whine to anyone that there are no industrial bands coming through our area if you miss this show. You have been warned!

- Craig Harvey

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Katzenjammer Kabarett

Grand Guignol and Varietes

Oh, thank god for this! I was getting so fucking bored of how so many so-called dark cabaret bands were just bleeding the whole shebang dry with bloodless artifice and facile undestanding of the very basic artform; like, “Hey I'll just use this Cabaret 101 piano vamp over and over and over and over and everyone will be shocked by my decadence.” Zzzzzzzzzz. But then comes French quartet Katzenjammer Kabarett (pretentious name that references classic late 19th century comic strip? Yeah, I'll have some of that.), paying some fealty to the cabaret aesthetic but then shaking it up like a cheap snowglobe - cramming in a dizzying array of other influences like postpunk, early British goth, Japanese music, 4AD’s dream experiments, chamber music, disco, Ze Records at its height. And, oh yeah, Siouxsie and the Banshees loom large, particularly in the singer’s lusty, singular vocals. “Grand Guignol” is an invigorating, heady mix, with remarkably assured performances, arrangements and an unerring instinct for fucking with the format.

Art-damaged gothic chamber music, you saved my damn life! What took you so fucking long?

- Matthew Moyer

Blood Money

Blood Brotherhood
Killer Pimp Records

Sometimes even avant-garde classical music doesn't afford the aesthetic freedoms that the truly restless hunger for. To that end, cigar-chompin' composer and academic Ken Ueno has joined up with Tom Worster and Jon Whitney to form Blood Money, a trio that attempts a meditative inversion of the power electronics aesthetic. “Blood Brotherhood” is not a linear or normal song-based record, but it is completely shorn of the tiresome masculine histrionics that permeates much noise music. In its place, with the barest of sonic tools, are songs mostly based around less than a smattering of accidental percussion, a thin lattice of electronic hums, whines and static buzzing, and the tightly simmering vocals of Ueno, delivering through clenched teeth and muted microphone, an otherworldly hybrid of Dionysio D'Arrington, Telepathik Friend, tuvan throat singing, Diamanda Galas and speaking in tongues. Some of the earlier numbers with just the spooky tom of a single drum, mosquito-like keyboard hum and vocals that seem to be attuned to an alien language, unsure of each syllable remind me of a summoning at midnight under the haunted walls of a hundred-years old fortress. Ghost ships pass through a fog-shrouded inlet. Metal snakes shed their skin and consume diamonds. Another time, stretching every syllable to the breaking point, Ueno proclaims a coming release, as the undulating noise pulses drop out, and all that is left is the flickering murmur of a cathedral organ. “Blood Brotherhood” is a bold symbiosis with silence, a joining of irreconcilable opposites for a haunted inner peace.

As an art statement, in conception and execution, “Blood Brotherhood” often hedges close to fucking stunning. Whether you'd want to listen to it repeatedly? Well, let's just say that there are handy pop-psych exams no farther than your internet browser far more qualified to judge that than I.

- Matthew Moyer

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Demon Hunter

45 Days DVD
Solid State

I have to admit, I picked this up from the office because I liked the bands logo. I had seen adds for their music and it was metal, so I figured I would give it a whirl. Then I found out they are a christian band. Well, that took off some serious points before I even listened to the music. Yes, folks I don't like christianity, so sue me. However, since I had the dvd's already I went ahead with it. The concert was just "ok". Yes, they had all the right elements (that was basically by-the- book, cookie cutter new wave of American metal sound) to be "heavy" but there was nothing that original about them. Even if they hadn't been a christian band, I would have felt the same. Again, it was just average. The tour documentary of 45 days in the life of Demon Hunter, centers around the band, touring, the fans talking about how the band's music brought them closer to god, Jesus, etc, etc..... If your a fan of these guys, this is your lucky day, but for anyone else, I say pass. There are far better and more original metal bands out there to listen to.

- Craig Harvey

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Artoffact Records

This album is by some of the founding members of Haujobb. Well, they wear their former influences on their sleeve that's for sure. They even do an updated version of the song "Homes and Gardens". That said, there is still some dark, futuristic, industrial/ebm to be found here. Track one, "Replikant" was my favorite. Merging some heavy guitar into this instrumental, along side the synths gave it a very eerie, majestic, almost soundtrack quality. The re-make of "Homes and Gardens" wasn't bad, but I prefer the original. Still, this is better than much of the music this genre has put out as of late.

- Craig Harvey


April Rain
Sensory Records

The cover to this album was a little misleading to my eyes. This beautiful girl, hair blown back, with her band sihouetted in the background gave the appearance of some type of dance/pop album. Wrong again. Remember folks, you can't judge the music by the cover. Delain is a symphonic metal band with female vocals. The band was founded by ex - Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt back in 2002. "April Rain" is their second album. Granted their are several bands of this ilk; Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Leave's Eyes, Midnattsol etc... Delain definitely shows they have the talent to keep up with their peers. Vocalist Charlotte Wessels has a stunning, beautiful voice and her range is impeccable. The guitars are downtuned for maximum heaviness, and the entire album is slick and well produced. There are also some male vocals by guitarist Ronald Landa who moves from clean to "growling vocals". Thankfully the growling vocals are only on one track. Not that I don't like that style, but their are two many bands of this type who go back and forth between the beautiful female and growling male vocals already. I was definitely impressed and I think you will be as well, especially if you like this type of metal.

- Craig Harvey

Friday, June 19, 2009


A Picture of a Picture
Killer Pimp

So this is what Aidan Baker is up to when he's not creating Foucault-does-doom via the Cure's “Pornography” in Nadja with partner Leah Buckareff. With THISQUIETARMY (aka Eric Quach of Destroyalldreamers) at his side this time around, Baker creates airy, pillowy-soft, self-regenerating ambient bliss. Creating music that makes “Music For Airports” seem downright noodly, Baker and THISQUIETARMY manipulate sparse patches of watery guitar fuzz, cloudbursts of synth, and naturally occurring electronic sinewaves and pulses to create music that seems like microtonal flowers continually bursting to life, before slowly closing again. Closer listens reveal a much more lyrical bent to this music. The sound manipulators are very much in synch, each trying to out-sad the others with the most melancholy innervision, songs build, but so subtly and quietly you might not even notice it. Gigantic compositions and emotions rendered in quiet miniature. For fans of Brian Eno, Lycia, Harmonia.

- Matthew Moyer

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fever Ray

Fever Ray

Although one would be hard pressed to imagine membership in the Knife creatively restricting, some spontaneous urge obviously got its filigreed fingers around the neck of Karin Dreijer Andersson one-half of the Magick Brother/Magick Sister electro duo. And while the Knife dazzle and horrify with creeping, pounding, industrial rhythms (parts of the Knife's last album reminded me of early Skinny Puppy), tandem, off-kilter vocals, and a visual image straight out of “Eyes Wide Shut,” Fever Ray is a different type of spellbinding. Created, as she says, in a state of mostly complete solitude in a small studio over eight months during banker's hours, it's seemingly more organic and naturalist. Moss and jade leaves grow between the synthesizer keys. The music is just this close to being new age in terms of ambience and a sense of inner calm, though the sounds are tweaked and warped enough to keep it wayyyy off the radar of Enya fans. and Andersson's vocals take the center stage, still either slowed down to an androgyne crawl or a sharp, distorted incantatory tone that insinuates into your inner ear.

Instead of the implied threats and subliminal violence of Andersson’s day job, as Fever Ray she sings straight from the stream of subconsciousness, talking about dream visions, hopes, everyday banalities like "talking on the telephone to a friend about dish soap” without even one word seeming trite. Indeed it's weirdly profound and comforting. The pacing is languid. Lazy hand drums, handclaps and ticktock-machine clocks are cut through with bell-like synth tones and gleaming sound knives. The songs are carefully constructed in that way that seems so offhand and spontaneous. The overall effect of the “Fever Ray” album is dazzling, weird, choked-up beauty. Highlights include “Dry and Dusty’s” slo-mo vocal torch with sunburst synths, “Seven's” Italo disco-goes-native kitchen sink drama and evil-Kate-Bush vocals, “Triangle Walks’” evocation of classic Depeche Mode-chanson collages, “Now's the Only Time I Know’s” labyrinthine woodblock echoes, “Keep the Streets Empty for Me’s" orchestrated electronic hum and echo, like a pillow for her most straightforwardly beautiful vocals yet. "Morning keeps the streets empty," she sighs.

Enterprising musicians are going to be ripping off the tricks on this album in no time flat.

- Matthew Moyer

Monday, June 15, 2009

Heather Wikstrom

Self Titled

This Jacksonville resident (who originally moved here from Las Vegas a few years back) gave me a copy of her debut cd to review and I can tell you after just one listen; why this lovely young woman does not have a recording contract is a mystery to me. This girl can sing. Not only sing, but write good songs as well. Her voice has quite a wide range and she covers a lot of musical ground on her album. While I would have to classify it as a "pop" album, I can hear her summoning a little of Melissa Etheridge, Madonna, Amy Lee and a host of others in her vocal style. Most of her songs are about relationships (some based on personal experience and some fictional) and the music was all done by the producer, which mixes guitar, bass, drums, piano and some electronics. Truthfully, I can see Heather right at home doing pop material, fronting a blues/rock band, soft jazzy numbers or even singing for a house/techo dj's album. She has got the ability to do it all. I hope this talented lady gets noticed in the near future and if you see an add for her playing out, do yourself a favor and go see her perform.

- Craig Harvey

To purchase her music go to:
or Heather_Wikstrom@hotmail.com


The Infection
Nuclear Blast

Chimaira are one of those bands, who for some reason (even after putting out 5 previous albums) I just haven't paid much attention to. However, when their sixth album "The Infection" showed up at the office, I decided it was time to give them a listen and see how they ranked in the metal world. The new album is well produced with solid, down-tuned riffs, a powerful rhythm section, and the yelling/growling style of vocals (which has become rather overdone in my opinion). That said, fans of the metalcore/NWOAHM (New Wave of American Heavy Metal) style of music will undoubtedly enjoy this release. I however, found it to be just average with not much new to offer my auditory senses. The songs are too similar from track to track and the vocals have the same problem. The best song on the entire album is the last, entitled "The Heart Of It All". Clocking in at just under 15 minutes, this instrumental piece shows a side to the band that would be nice to hear more of in their music. Lot's of texture, movement between clean and distorted tones, and without the vocals I was able to really hear the musicianship come through. This is not a bad cd to be sure, but unfortunately to my ears, it's not making me want to go out and purchase their older material either.

- Craig Harvey

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Lakewood Amphitheater
Atlanta, GA
May 10, 2009

Story and photos by
Tommy Salmon
Movement Senior Correspondent

The NINJA tour is an amazing showcase for some of the sounds and ideas born in underground culture over 20 years ago. The fact that it goes over so well today stands as proof positive that these "cult" bands of yesteryear indeed altered popular culture for the better. However (and this isn't a bad thing), despite their trailblazing work, the structure of the evening wound up following that of a traditional three-act play, complete with a rise, fall, and resolution. More specifically, the Street Sweeper Social Club got the party started, Nine Inch Nails delivered a devastating set steeped in a sense of finality, and finally -perhaps even miraculously- Jane's Addiction rose Phoenix-like from the ashes to restore the sense of adventure and hope that got this whole thing started in the first place.

With matching pseudo-military jackets and power-fighting anthems like “Fight! Smash! Win!,” Street Sweeper Social Club came off as an incendiary cross between the International Noise Conspiracy and Public Enemy. The band is centered around guitarist Tom “The Nightwatchman” Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, and Boots Riley, rapper from the Coup and founder of the Mau Mau Rhythm Collective. Fans of Rage and/or the Coup definitely caught glimmers of each band’s appeal courtesy of Morello’s innovative guitar work and Riley’s politically-fused vocals. To be fair, Morello is far more than just an exquisite noisemaker, and with a guitar bearing the slogan “Arm the Homeless,” he too took to the microphone in between songs to encourage the audience to be a part of their 3 Point Plan, which is to “Feed the poor, Fight the power, and ROCK THE FUCK OUT!” He also offered up some texting info for the audience to become more involved with their food drive. While the vast majority of the audience was there to see either Nine Inch Nails or Jane’s Addiction, SSSC wound up being the bona-fide surprise of the evening. Their debut album won’t be out for a few more months, but they held their own against the big boys. If anything, since this was widely regarded as NIN’s final tour and Jane’s Addiction’s show is based on their reunion, Street Sweeper Social Club was the only band on the bill with any plans for the immediate future. Their set was a quick thirty minutes, but folks were impressed and got the feeling they would be hearing more from them in the future.

Calling it the NINJA tour is a pretty awesome incorporation of the two other bands’ names, but the NIN portion of the show was also known amongst fans as the “Wave Goodbye” tour. Hell, if it’s on a $35 shirt on sale in the foodstuffs area, it’s a pretty official title. While it would be unreasonable to assume we won’t be hearing from Trent Reznor again -it’s obvious the guy loves to create- he seems completely comfortable with ending an era of doing business as usual. The record-release-promote cycle is assuredly a thing of the past for him, and with NIN’s set, Reznor celebrates the fact that he isn’t out there to promote a specific product. Far from the standard “hits-and-the-new-stuff” collection most bands are obliged to perform, Reznor made a point of mentioning (and proving) that this tour was about the band doing whatever they felt like. The result was a collection of crowd-pleasers, die-hard fan-pleasers, rarities and personal band favorites, even going as far as to bring out Saul Williams for a performance of the song “Banged and Blown Through” off of his Reznor-produced album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust! . Far from a victory lap, NIN is spending this tour providing an overview of a complex career.

As for the performance itself, Reznor and crew are going out at the top of their game. The light show and stage setup has been toned down a little, the reasoning is that they can’t get locked in to anything elaborate with a setlist they intend on changing every night of the tour. As for what they are working with, it’s still leaps and bounds ahead of most bands, and warnings of “intense lighting” were posted at each entrance. Even when they’re holding back a little, Nine Inch Nails are still legally obliged to offer a warning. The changing setlist was also cause for a lax attitude on cameras and recording gear, with the understanding that fans would be able catch a taste of what happens elsewhere on the tour beyond the particular show they were able to attend. Again, this too came with a warning, (posted by Reznor on the band’s website) - bring what you want, but do so with the understanding that it *may* get broken. Sure enough, the crowd was filled with budding guerrilla documentarians with iPhones and digicams, but halfway through the show the majority of them were far more interested in actually experiencing the show than capturing it. The novelty of taking photos of a band kicking ass was simply no match for the actual ass-kicking at hand.

Based on his appearance, demeanor and a brief bit of banter toward the end of his set, Reznor seems to have literally exorcised AND exercised away his demons. The guy is in astounding shape physically, and his band’s sound reflects this muscularity and discipline. As such, Reznor finds himself at the end of a long-fought road, free from any label restrictions, healthy, engaged, and well….very content. There was a point while singing “Something I Can Never Have,” where he looked out at the sea of fans singing along and he just couldn’t help but smile. There‘s no doubt the song has quite a bit of personal pain invested in it, but by this point it‘s also regarded as an early career highlight, and no matter how much he gave of himself, he was getting it back tenfold from a crowd that adored him. He seems to have come full circle, and he’s either come to peace with, or conquered, many of the issues that fueled Nine Inch Nails.

When he took a moment to address the crowd with talk of “going away for a while, maybe forever” he had to be aware of it’s resemblance to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust announcement of his “last show ever.” However, when the crowd responded with the prerequisite “NOOOOOOO!!!” Reznor actually shrugged off the drama of it, like it really wasn’t that big of a deal, he’s just beyond playing the corporate game. He told folks interested in making music that nowadays “you don’t have to do it like this” and just before he aired what was poised to be an anti-label laundry list, he cut himself short mid-sentence, smiled, and shook his head in a manner that suggested there was really no point in complaining about something from which he is now happily removed. Sure, he ended the show with a blistering rendition of “Head Like a Hole” thereby following the showbiz notion of “giving the people what they want,” but ultimately, Trent Reznor has found himself at a well-deserved point in his career where his is free to do absolutely whatever he wants.

NIN setlist: 1,000,000/Wish/Heresy/March Of The Pigs/Something I Can Never Have/Metal/The Becoming/Head Down/Mr. Self Destruct/Reptile/The Big Come Down/Gave Up/Gone, Still/Survivalism (w/ Saul Williams)/Banged And Blown Through (w/ Saul Williams)/Home/Physical (You're So)/Down In It/The Hand That Feeds/Head Like A Hole

About 20 minutes after NIN was finished, the collective age of Lakewood seemed to have gone up about 10 years. A few folks who voiced displeasure online over NIN’s choice to go on before Jane’s Addiction actually did follow up on their threats of leaving prior to Jane’s set. Not exactly the mass exodus threatened in some heated exchanges in the NIN.com forum, but the crowd did thin out slightly. To be fair, some of this may also be a matter of the overall mood of the place being altered after NIN delivered over 90 minutes of a set guaranteed to exhaust anyone’s sense of aggression. Spent of tension, the mood became one of excitement for the appearance of Jane’s Addiction with their original lineup.

A curtain was lowered in front of the stage about 10 minutes prior to Jane’s set, and this too seemed to heighten the sense of mystery and suspense. After 17 years of sporadic (and incomplete) sightings, the band that brought underground art rock from the back streets of Los Angeles into the homes of suburbia via the now-classic albums Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual was about to take the stage and work their culture-shifting magic.

Jane’s show began with a film clip from the 1997 movie The River’s Wild projected onto the curtain. In the scene, a young boy chats with a man wearing a Lollapolooza cap. The scene humorously acknowledges the band’s impact (the man in the cap is Kevin Bacon- Jane’s Addiction is ONE DEGREE from Kevin Bacon!) as the man recalls the band as “great,” and the boy, perhaps speaking for a generation, intones a desire about to become a reality:

"Boy, I wish I got to see Jane's Addiction before they broke up.”

The comment brings down the house, and Perry Farrell’s spoken word intro from the band’s epic “Three Days” fills the arena. The bassline… that bassline played by the bass player begins, and there they are- Jane’s Addiction.

A little more than 25 years have passed since JA first performed, but their sound has remained intact. Some wear and tear on Farrell’s voice now places the songs in a lower key, but otherwise, their playing ability has not diminished. More importantly, their ability to play together hasn’t suffered at all. It seems like absence has indeed made the heart grow fonder, and throughout the show there were moments of interplay between the members that bordered on gleeful. The manic physicality and banshee-wails that drove performances in the early nineties have been replaced with a more relaxed tone and groove, but this works for the band for several reasons. Competing with Nine Inch Nails’ precision and force would be a losing proposition at this point, so the band wisely sidesteps that confrontation with a looser, more organic approach. Compared to their early days, it’s the difference between cocky and cocksure, and the band’s performance is created with the audience, not simply aimed at them. Farrell’s playful banter incorporated local spots around Atlanta, various bits of Georgian lore, the full moon, and the evening’s warm weather. While the songs themselves have become standards over the years, it all came together to create the feeling of a one-of-a-kind celebration of this specific evening. NIN blew people away, no doubt about it, but Jane’s Addiction, and in particular Perry’s role as a frontman, put on a show that brought the crowd together with a sense of community that goes back over a dozen years.

They ended their show with “Jane Says,” a song about a roommate that Perry and Eric had back in the 80’s. With two acoustic guitars, a small percussion set including steel drums, and the only prerecorded music of their set- a minimal drum loop, the band led several thousand people through a sing-along on a tune originally preformed in their living room. It’s been years since Jane has indeed kicked her habit, but Jane’s Addiction still has that spark that can make listening to music a special experience.

Jane's Addiction setlist: Three Days/Whores/Ain't No Right/Pigs In Zen/Then She Did.../Mountain Song/Been Caught Stealing/Ted, Just Admit It.../Had A Dad/Ocean Size/Summertime Rolls/Stop!/Jane Says

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sixx A.M.

The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack
Eleven Seven Music

I was a Motley Crue fan from way back (especially their first two albums) but they went a little too commercial for me and I never really followed them much after "Shout At The Devil". That said, I never showed much interest in the solo efforts of some of the members either. That changed when I heard Sixx A.M 's song "Life Is Beautiful". This was an example of a great rock song that stayed in my head for days on end. However, was the rest of the album just as good, or was it just a fluke? After just one listen to "The Heroin Diaries", I can tell you for sure it was not a fluke. This is solid, extremely well written album full of fantastic songs that you will want to hear over and over again.

"The Heroin Diaries" chronicles bassist Nikki Sixx's downward spiral into the black abyss of heroin addiction and his desperate struggle to crawl back from the gutter that had become his life. The story takes place in the years 1986 through 1987 during Motley Crue's reign of debauchery and decadence. While it's not the most uplifting of subject matters, you feel as if your with him on this journey to regain his sanity and his soul. The songs themselves range from heavy, hard rock numbers to mournful ballads, all having brilliant lyrics with spoken word intermissions by Sixx himself. Regardless if you’re a Crue fan or not, this is a great album that I can't say enough good things about.

- Craig Harvey

Dimension Zero

He Who Shall Not Bleed

On their fourth album (first one for me) Dimension Zero hits hard with a blitzkrieg attack of blackened/death/thrash metal (or something along those lines) that's as violent as a rabid pit bull from beginning to end. Acidic, screeching vocals coagulate with furious guitar/bass riffs and maniacal drumming. Dimension Zero is a side project from members of In Flames, Soilwork and a former drummer/vocalist from Marduk. While it's got some great metal fireworks, it tends to fall flat on originality, as most of the songs sound too much alike, not to mention this style has been done to death and sounds tired. That said, the brutality on the other hand, is top notch. It doesn't let up for a second. You kinda feel like someone beat you to death after it's all over (which for a metal album is a good thing.) However, I think that metal bands need to quit listening to each other so much and go outside their genre for influences to have a more diverse sound. They got half the formula right anyway, so it's not a total loss.

- Craig Harvey



Lethargy are a band of many sonic layers that together produce a hard rock/metal sound that is heavy, melodic, and massively infectious. This young foursome from the UK sound like a band twice their age, but don't let their youth fool you; these guys are the real deal. Pulling from early classic rock, stoner/doom, and more modern prog/thrash metal, they twist all these influences into a massive wall of sound that will catch you from the first song till the last. "Purification" has some of the thickest, tightest guitar riffs and catchy wah-drenched solo's, that sound effortless and flawless. And oh, does this band groove like nobody's business. Phil Humphery delivers a soulful, powerful vocal performance (not to mention his phenomenal guitar work) that is well complimented by co-guitarist Andy Hunt, who along with bassist Marc Jones supply backup vocals. Drummer Gaz Hunt does what drummers do best and that's pound the living hell out of his kit, providing this band with a fucking solid, brick wall foundation. Don't try to classify these guys as they've thrown in everything but the kitchen sink into their musical brew. Just enjoy the hell out of it. I promise you will.

- Craig Harvey

Friday, February 13, 2009


Today We Are All Demons

I really hate to say anything negative about this album because Andy LePlegua is such a nice guy and he creates some great music. Unfortunately, Combichrist has become stagnant and repetitive as of late. I can't really see much change from the last album, the one before that and this latest effort. It's the same formula, same sounds, same beats, etc…. It's not bad, but I heard this three albums ago, and it hasn't evolved much at all. The first Combichrist EP, "Kiss The Blade" was really cool, because it was more powernoise, which then changed and morphed into a crossover of that style with danceable industrial on "Everybody Hates You." It was aggressive, heavy, and it really kicked ass. So what happened? Beat's me. I guess like many artists, you find a sound that works and take it as far as it will go. This is a novel idea, but if you don't change somewhat with each release, it becomes boring and un-interesting and that's the case here. I really hope Andy decides to give us something unique and different next time around, or you'll hear me vent the same disappointment as now on the next review.

- Craig Harvey

Thursday, February 12, 2009



It's fucking great when a band emerges fully-formed with such a strong sonic identity. Athen's Entertainment craft a postpunk spin on gothic music the way god and nature intended - sticky, cavernous and dramatic. Equally evocative of early LA deathrock and punk - Christian Death, TSOL, Adolescents - and British postpunk weirdness - the Cure, pil, Cabaret Voltaire, Bauhaus - "Gender" is defiantly outsider art. A gritty, dirty, stripped-down sound.

I was pleased at the audacity of going for an epic "Double Dare" type vibe on opener "Romance In A Rain," all stutterstep tribal tattoos and guitar strangulation with the added diversion of keyboards that sound like one of those noise-activated “Boooo” ghosts you can buy at Halloween at your local drugstore. "A Seduction Walks" is fuelled by manic bass/drum lockstep propulsion that woulda had Ian Curtis' right leg jerking insanely while the rest of his body was locked in thousand-yard stare comatose daze - and those echoey, overwrought vocals are outta sight. And then when the vocalist purrs, "the look of love," the song upshifts into a whole new form of heat, with a guitar solo that sounds like shards of stained glass. Best track on the album. And just wait until "Patroness" kicks in with a minute to go – total overheated death disco or virus funk. It’s like ten-ton columns of sleek black marble, distorto glam-dub riot. If the whole album could be that one minute, mmmmm, we'd be in a new heaven.

After that it's just one tribal punk nightmare after another, with style and poise to spare and a mastery of crepuscular atmospherics that even Bauhaus might covet. That drummer really fucking cooks and every other player knows that silence can be just as terrifying if not more than everyone pulling out all their tricks at the same time. Simple basslines boom and echo like good Cure or New Order. The vocals are a breathy, androgynous yelp closest to Rozz Williams in the flush of youth circa the first Christian Death album. Can you even consider music like this a throwback when a band follows in the footsteps of bands that the popular consciousness is not even close to catching up with yet? The smoldering tension and release power-plays of "Confusion of Senses" masks epic Bunnymen-esque pop heroism. The coda of closer "Flesh" is just two much, jagged guitar harmonics shimmer on top of a truly thuggish bass and drum interplay with the vocalist yelping and screaming far away in the background and then twenty seconds of bass and drums pounding away and then nothing. Silence.

- Matthew Moyer

Legendary Pink Dots

Plutonium Blonde

There're all of these seriously fucking annoying truisms about the nature of rock n' roll that have been allowed to propagate and spread for way too fucking long now. Rock n' roll is a "young" "man's" game. A band has only two, three maximum, good albums in them. All the best stuff will be written in the early part of a band's career, after that, it's the law of diminishing returns in full effect. Bands need several years to craft and complete an album. Where, dear sirs, dear mythmakers, do the Legendary Pink Dots fit into your nostalgic haze? Thirty years, several albums out every year, each one building on the last, restlessly treading new ground each time. According to the immutable laws of rock n' roll, I shouldn't even be listening to “Plutonium Blonde” right now, and certainly not enjoying it as much as I am.

“Plutonium Blonde” finds the Dots stepping back from the elegiac and stately despair and politics-as-eulogy that pervaded “All The Kings Men” and “Wailing Wall,” and instead crafting ten sonically diverse mad-scientist lullabies. Some of it is drop-dead gorgeous, some unbelievably creepy, the rest, utterly flushed with the limitless possibilities of outsider sound. The principal players are in fine form. Edward Ka-Spel's childlike lilt is evergreen and drunk with wonder, his lyrics cloying and inscrutable. Nils Van Hornblower flits furtively in and amongst the mechanical spines of the song, every bit the sonic deus ex machina, before bursting forth like a hard-charging jazzman. Ryan Moore's guitar is still wondrously soulful and human, even when splintering into millions of tiny angular shards, chiming and bell-like, or drifting and otherworldly, like the last embers of a dying fire. Silverman keeps the electronics and percussion groovy enough to form the spine of their fractured pop, but weird and skittering and unexpected enough to continually jolt the listener.

Listen, buddy, they were survivors all along. Strength through creation. Ever wondered what Syd Barrett or the Soft Machine would be like if they'd managed to keep it going, to keep it together, for the sake of art over all else? Well, wonder no further.

- Matthew Moyer

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


At The Edge Of The World
Driven Music

For some reason, my gut instinct told me I was not going to like this album (or at the very least, I would think it just average and nothing overly special.) So much for my gut instinct. I was way off base. I had been familiar with Godhead by name only. Never really listened to them, just heard they were a metal/industrial act that had been around for several years. So I figured they had that "sound." You know, the one every other band of the same genre had; screaming vocals, heavy riffs, and some backing key's and noises to give them the "industrial" tag. Well they do have heavy riffs for sure, but the vocals are amazing. Frontman (and guitarist) Jason C. Miller has an outstanding set of pipes, which occasionally reminded me of Geoff Tate of Queensryche in certain parts. Between him and guitarist Mike Miller, (not related) they weave a powerful, yet very melodic set of 13 tracks, that are solid and well written. Bassist/Keyboardist Ulrich Hepperlin along with drummer Ty Smith provide a massive wall of rythym to keep things in place. Interestingly enough, Ty Smith is Godhead's sixth drummer, which make it seem as though they have been through more drummers than Spinal Tap! There are also five bonus remix tracks (including one from Curse Mackey) which makes a total of 18 songs altogether. More bang for your buck I always say. I was glad to be proven wrong this time, and found myself more than ready to go back and check into Godhead's previous work's. "At The Edge Of The World" is an album you should do yourself a favor and pick up. You won't be disappointed.

- Craig Harvey


War Zone Soundtrack

I thought most of the songs on here would be new stuff, but with the exception of Rob Zombie's "War Zone" (which by the way, is the best song he has done in a long time) it was all older material. It's not a total loss however, there are some good tracks lurking on this disc. Slayer - "Final Six", Slipknot-"Psychosocial", Seether - "Fallen", Kerli - "Bulletproof", Justice - "Genesis" and Hatebreed - "Refuse/Resist". Can't say whether the film is any good or not, as I haven't seen it (I was kind of pissed Thomas Jane did not reprise his role, but what can you do?) However the soundtrack is definitely fitting for this type of film.

- Craig Harvey

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lamb Of God


Damn if these guys don't get better with every album! If you thought that their last release "Sacrament" was brutal, you better hang on to your seat with this one. "Wrath" starts off with a slow instrumental before kicking into songs so monstrous they could bring buildings crashing down. Guitarist's Mark Morton and Willie Adler are one of metal's finest duo's and they write some of the most bad-ass guitar riffs that will ever decimate your eardrums. Mark's style is more straight forward and his lead work ventures from bluesy swagger to full-on shred-your-face off, while Willie's riffs tend to be more abstract, with obscure note placements and odd time signatures. Together they blend seamlessly to form a massive wall of sound that swings, grooves, and wrecks anything in it's path. Vocalist Randy Blythe has got to be the most angry, pissed off singer I have ever heard. There are a million singers out there who "sound" evil and mean, but Randy…. fuck, he makes you a believer. Chris Adler (Willie's brother) and bassist John Campbell lay down a wicked bottom end. The bass is very fat and meaty this time around, and the drum work is nothing short of phenomenal. "Wrath" has a more organic and less polished sound than "Sacrament" but the production is still top notch. I can't really give you a favorite track at the moment, as I am still trying to absorb it all, but "In Your Words", "Fake Messiah" "Choke Sermon" and "Reclamation" stand out so far. This is a hell of a great start for 2009 with regards to metal releases. It's gonna be hard one to top that's for sure. Highly fucking recommended!

- Craig Harvey

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Tossers

One Fine Spring Evening
Victory Records

I have never been a big punk fan, but I sort of fell in love with this Irish group not that long ago after hearing their live album "Gloatin' and Showboatin'. The Tossers are not your average punk outfit mind you, it's all acoustic instruments for one, and to be honest it's not all punk either. That's just part of their charm. However, because they have played with a lot of punk groups they get lumped into that category I suppose. Regardless, what I truly enjoy about The Tossers is their witty blend of traditional Irish/Celtic melodies, combined with heartfelt lyrics and the energy of punk to give it all a unique spin. Oh, and there's lot's of songs about drinking, drinking and did I say drinking? Well, not all of it anyway. You have many stories of love, heartache, Irish pride and family drama. Vocalist Tony sounds like he's had a few pints as his warbly, but honest and passionate vocals charm you from the moment he starts to sing. The rest of the band are a credit to Irish folk music, as they weave wonderful tunes that go from emotional, soft ballads to furious, fast paced party songs. "One Fine Spring Evening" is the first album other than the aforementioned live disc I have heard, but it reaffirmed that my interest in these guys was not a fluke. I say green is the color of the day and a fine one it is!

- Craig Harvey

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bella Morte

Beautiful Death

Bella Morte has become one of the solid standing fixtures in the Gothic Rock genre as one of the new touring and writing monsters of our subculture. Creating solid hard hitting sounds that are unapologetic, at times brash and at others deeply inspirational. Their unique mix of Electronic, Goth, Deathrock, Punk and Metal makes for a bittersweet and heavy blend of tracks that entrances people from many different genres. Always attempting to adapt their style and never be stagnant, the act recently released Beautiful Death. An intriguing and deep new album that hearkens back to their more romantic and deeply traditional Gothic Rock roots.

Beautiful Death opens with the acts latest single for Metropolis records, the song "Find Forever Gone". Andy shows a softer and deeper side to his lyrical repertoire in this very slow and beautiful gothic dance track. "Can't Let this die" opens with a slow electronic rift then pulls you in for the killing rift, the more heavy sound you expect of this gritty act. "Black Seas Collide" Features heavy ripping guitar work combined with eerily dripping keyboards. Again we see the softer side of Andy's vocals in this very classic Goth rift. "Buried Within" is a harder hitting fast paced track with lightning paced synth. "The End of the Day" is a more tragic sounding solemn and moving track. "Fades like a song" is a deep emotional ballad of love lost and burying the past history. "In the Dirt" starts with a crawling Deathrock lyrical rift that explodes into a punching frenzy.

"One thousand days" is an emotionally driving track drawing images of Suicide, Alienation, and Depression. All too familiar themes but this tracks burning image of endurance against all odds is inspiring. "Burn the Sky" is another driving Gothic Rock track with heavy guitar tracks combined with hard hitting lyrics that blend an epic Gothic Rock anthem. "Eternal" is a more exploratory and experimental track with industrial synth and gritty guitar rifts. It carries a more hopeful tone than the prior tracks. "Nine Hours" opens with haunting Piano tones, a heavenly close to this very beautifully put together album.

Recent fans of Bella Morte who have been exposed to the break out album "Bleed the Grey Sky Black" might find the transition to a more romanticized traditional Goth album a hard switch. Bella Morte though shows their ability to mix their traditional gritty guitar licks with deeply written intellectual lyrics and a softer side to Andy's traditional lyrical style to create an album that crawls with the most crepuscular Goth act. The sound of "Beautiful Death" is reminiscent of early Goth acts like Play Dead or Nosferatu. However, Bella Morte retains its razor edge that has kept fans coming back for each new lick the band releases. With the act losing Gopal and Jordan earlier on, many fans felt that Bella Morte might lose some of its punch. Rest assured that the album "Beautiful Death" does not disappoint with all its romantic and creepy crawling beauty.


- Dr. Raven