Music reviews can be found in this section. On the index page you find the most recent reviews and you can navigate by “style”/”category”, the “browse” option (band and label) that I added to many reviews and of course the search and archive functions. For people not familiar with the terms that I use, there is a ‘Wiki’ below.


The gravity point is this section is music from a part of the “gothic scene” that consists of several music styles (with different subscenes). “The gothic scene” is an umbrella term for a far-reaching musical current that sprang from the 80′ies gothic and wave bands (The Cure, The Sisters Of Mercy, Siouxy and the Banshees, etc.), synthypop (Soft Cell and the like) and industrial (Einstürzende Neubauten, Krafwerk). There are many many styles of music often with its own dresscode and most people will only listen to a few kinds of “gothic”, but at festivals such as the yearly “Wave Gotik Treffen” in Leipzig, most of them come together. As the music develops, the audience gets older, new people join the scene, etc. styles differ, elements from other scenes (metal, “spooky core”, etc.) dripple in (or the other way around, just look at Rammstein and Marilyn Manson), dresscodes change and new terms are invented to describe the sounds of bands. Even in the limited subscene that I ‘move around in’ myself, there is a staggering amount of terms, that I will try to give you an idea of here.

In recent years I started to listen to quite a lot of music from other scenes and this website certainly does not aim to represent just a (part of a) scene, just to let people know about a variety of music. Purists who think that an industrial review cannot be followed by a pop review are on the wrong address here. A musical open mind is advised when you start browsing this section.

To give you an idea of the terms that I use, here is a list of the “categories”/”styles”:

abstract : like the term says, this sounds pretty weird
ambient : a term used for monotous, minimalistic music, close to soundscapes (see there)
ambient noise : a form of “noise” (see there) but in a more “ambient” (see there) sound. I use this term myself to better describe certain projects
angstpop : a term that is used since the early new millenium to describe relatively poppy music from the industrial (see there) corner, but it will not sound very poppy to a ‘normal’ audience. The term is used by the Galakthorrö label. Another term that you sometimes see is “antipop”. The sound is sometimes somewhat similar to “minimal wave” (see there), but more industrial and darker.
atmospheric : the term says it. a term that I do not use very often
bombastic : music that uses a lot of orchestrations and/or hard drumming. again a term that used to be used often in the time of the “martial industrial” (see there) craze, but not not so often anymore
cabaret: not completely new, since the early gothic/wave artists also used 1950′ies elements in their music sometimes, but around 2010 there were suddenly relatively many bands with a ‘cabartesk’ sound. in this section, usually of the darker kind
chamber music : another term of my own. real instruments make a somewhat classical sound, usually as part of the sound of a band
dance : danceble influences to keep these bands from ‘real techno’ (see there) projects
dark ambient : a dark form of ambient (see there)
dark industrial : industrial (see there), but more ambient (see there), but too industrial to be ambient
dark folk : often used as a synomym for “neofolk” (see there), but I myself use the two terms to keep apart two similar styles of music; not as folky as the term suggests, but accoustic music with a folky touch
darkwave : an old term that was probably invented because some bands developed another sound than the wave bands of the 80′ies, but still similar to it in a way
drone : a term used in different music scenes. I use the term to refer to a specific kind of “dark ambient” (see there) that is monotous, but not really “soundscapes” (see there) with low frequencies (‘drones’). some forms of “doom metal” are also called “drone”
electro : one of the danceble forms of “gothic”, raw, dark and with a lot of distortion
experimental : weird even for people in the scene
folk : contrary to “neofolk” (see there) more tradionally of sound
gothic : see the intro to this list. I use this as an umbrella term, but also to refer to bands with a ‘traditional sound’
gothic rock : the best known form of “gothic” (see there)
heavenly voices : somewhere around 1990 there were bands with a very “orchestral”/”neoclassical” (see there) sound with a female vocalist. after the label Hyperium compiled such band on the compilation “heavenly voices” this became a description of that sound
industrial : both an umbrella term for a large part of the gothic scene, the part that stayed closest to the electronic sound of Einstürzende Neubauten, Kraftwerk, etc. with its repetative “industrial” feeling, but also for individual bands with that sound. that is to say: “the industrial scene” does not necessarily refer to bands with the same sound, but an “industrial band” DOES
industrial disco : around 2005 industrial projects like Thorofon and Haus Arafna started to experiment with a more accessible approach, more danceable. by lack of a better description, I started to use this term
martial industrial : halfway the 1990′ies a more military sound became employed, heroic music, sampled speeches and references to conservative politics. therefor this music style is controversial. the music is usually pompous and “orchestral” (see there)
medieval : this term is self-explaining
metal : a completely different scene with as many styles and subscenes as “gothic” (see there), but since I do not review a lot of metal, I decided to not make categories for every substyle
military pop : in the beginning “martial industrial” (see there) was mostly “industrial” (see there) and “bombastic” (see there), but then there came bands that sounded more “poppy” (see there) but keeping their martial sound. therefor the term military pop arose somewhere around the changing of the millenium
minimal wave : a style that can be found in different scenes. it is made with analogue equipment, usually sounds quite 1980′ies; close to “synth pop” (see there), but still different
modern classical : classical music in a new jacket
neo classical : classical music in a new jacked, but then mostly coming from electronic devices
neofolk : a term that was invented to describe the band Death In June somewhere in the 1980′ies. Death In June used only an accoustic guitar and voice and sometimes another instrument. the sound is not very “folky”, but the term was there. nowadays “neofolk” has many forms, from minimalistic to having more electronic, “industrial” (see there) or “martial industrial” (see there) influences
noise : extreme electronic music completely built of highly distorted sounds and often distorted vocals often with no structure or rhythm. there are several varieties from relatively tranquil (see “ambient noise”) to even more extreme (see “power electronics”).
non music : a hardly used term to describe exactly what it says
orchestral : sampled classical music is used to create new music
poppy : a relatively accessible sound some bands started to employ since the change of the millenium
post industrial : while many project still sound very “industrial” (see there), they do not really sounds like the industrial projects of old, hence, the term “post industrial” was invented
power electronics : probably the most extreme form of music. contrary to noise (see there) that often has no rhythm, power electronics uses extremely loud “industrial” (see there) rhythms to give their sound even more extremety
rhythmical industrial : halfway the 1990′ies there were “industrial” (see there) projects that used their rhythms thus that their music became (more or less) danceable. later the term “rhythmic noise” became popular to describe this styleof music
ritual : “ambient” (see there) or “soundscapes” (see there) usually with an occultic undertone
soundscapes : soft ripples of stretched sounds, eerie atmospheres and often monotous and repetative sounds
spoken word : as the term says, a voice speaking text
synthpop : 1980′ies soft and danceable music with vocals. Nowadays (2008) a similar kind of music is popular under popmusic listeners under the term “electropop” (see there)
trance ambient : ambient (see there) with soft rhythical elements

pop music : yes I listen to pop music sometimes, here are some genres:
- blues rock : I do not often listen to the classic form of blues, but there are nice, modern forms of it
- electropop : not unlike “synthpop” (see there) but I use this term when the band is not from the gothic scene
- electropunk : guitars, electronics and a punk-attitude
- nowave : initially a strange scene from 1970′ies New York with people who made ‘anti music’, just guitar noise and screams. there are still some “nowave” bands today. also called “artpunk’
- psychedelic rock : I skipped a few term, but this refers to a somewhat 1980′ies psychedelic sound
- psychobilly : this is no popmusic, but I did not know where else to put it. a horror version of rock’n’roll
- punk’n’roll : less ‘rockabilly’ than “psychobilly” (see there), but fast rock (“speedrock”) with a rock’n’roll rhythm
- shoegaze : 1980′ies wave sound, but with screaming, noisy guitars. usually slowpaced, sometimes not

techno music : a completely different scene that I also review cds from sometimes
- bigbeat : a term to describe bands that use similar beat structures as The Chemical Brothers (“chemical beats” is an older term). a flicker in the techno scene in the 1990′ies, hardly heard nowadays
- breakcore : techno artists with a weird cut-up style that is applied to both samples, but also rhythm (see “idm”). Around 2005 a much much more extreme variety came that was termed breakcore
- digicore : in the early 1990′ies a few people started to make extreme techno music with looped samples of weird rhytms (jazz or “drum & bass” (see there)) and a thick punk attitude in the lyrics of the screamed vocals. a label was called Digital Hardcore Recordings and the music was tagged “digital hardcore”. because similar music was also made outside the small scene around DHR, I prefer the term digicore
- drum & bass : an almost died-out form of techno music with ‘difficult’ rhythms, but because they are constantly repeated, the music remains danceable. the style had a high fly from 1995 to 2005 (or so), but had to make place for other kinds of music
- idm : “intelligent dance music”, one of the many term for a form of hard-to-describe techno. in the early 1990′ies musical pioneers such as Autechre and Squarepusher created a sound that nobody knew how to describe. when other people started doing similar things, a whole range of terms came in use and quickly in disuse. “cuts and clicks”, “dub”, “electronica”, “abstract techno” and later “intelligent dance music”. idm is usually the more tranquil variant of this ‘difficult’ music, if the sound gets harder, the term “breakcore” (see there) is more often used since it was coined a few years ago
- speedcore : the early 1990′ies again, gave birth to a rather extreme form of techno in the Netherlands. massive but regular beats at an ever raising speed (260 beats per minute, can you dance to that?) grew rapidly in popularity and thus becoming the largest subculture in the Netherlands. when the music hit the big audience and commercial versions such as “happy hardcore” popped up, the “gabber” scene died. from the ash even more extreme forms rose that didn’t appeal to such a big audience as “gabber” and these forms came from the “gabber” scene itself (then you get “terror”, “darkcore” or “speedcore”) or from just-not-the-”gabber”-scene and then we had “tekno” (see there)
- techno : as a term within the umbrella term, I use techno to describe the now very popular 4×4 beat projects with a quite minilistic sound
- tekno : as described under “speedcore”, tekno rose from the ashes of the gabber scene, but with a lot of influence from people who had not been involved in the gabber scene. tekno is very extreme dancemusic that is often close to “breakcore” (see there) but with much more regular beats, making the sound more danceable. the intensity of this music is hard to describe, but if you ever heard the harder forms of “gabber”/”hardcore”, you have the lowest intensity on the tekno scale

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Design experimentation

As you can see I am experimenting a bit with the layout. I have been thinking of a new and better way to separate reviews from other news, like announcements of releases that I did not review or just general 'blog entries'. I am currently fairly happy with the result, but I do not yet have everything working properly. The stories and 'blog' entries can currently only be visited one by one, not in an overview. Also the rating-stars do not look too good.
So, some work in progress. I hope that you like the new design.

Most played music in 2013

Last.fm keeps track of what I listen to. I "scrobble" most of what I listen to, so this is fairly accurate. Not "scrobbled" is what I hear in the car. In any case, just to give you an idea, here are my most played artists in the last 12 months:
1 A Place to Bury Strangers 377 tracks
2 Haus Arafna 305
3 The Dead Weather 259
4 Thorofon 194
5 Peter Pan Speedrock 111
6 Genocide Organ 107
7 Ex.Order 107
8 Igorrr 100
9 Sonic Area 96
10 The Lost Rivers 96
11 The Tiger Lillies 95
12 The Soft Moon 87
13 Nicholas Lens 86
14 Anenzephalia 84
15 Distel 82
16 Agent Side Grinder 81
17 Black Bug 81
18 Health 77
19 Propergol 76
20 Duchess Says 76

There are a few surprises. I find the music of my townmates Peter Pan Speedrock nice, but not great and I do not have the idea that I played them so often. The same goes for Genocide Organ; usually when I play noise it will be more something like Ex.Order, Operation Cleansweep or IRM. There are a few bands/projects that probably come up so high because they have short tracks, so I play many songs in a short time. Numbers 17 and 18 are actually all played in the last month! Short tracks I guess!

A funny list though.

Uncoiled Loops

I got an email of Uncoiled Loops, a label that released a dark ambient compilation through Bandcamp. Besides dark ambient the label also has IDM and dubstep. Check out their Bandcamp if you are interested.

Three new Zoharum (and related) releases.

Zoharum from Poland puts out another three titles, one of which is made avaible by Noisen Records.
Synapsis "Officine Terraria Reworked", reworked material of projects such as Zenial, Hoarfrost and Self Inflicted Violence. Sometimes soundscapes, sometimes dark ambient, sometimes noisy.
Lagowski presents Legion "False Dawn" a reissue double cd with weird field recorded sound collages.
Piotr Kolecki & Molok Mun "The Spices" and ambient noise soundtrack album.

For more information visit the Zoharum website.

25 Years Tesco

Tesco Organisation has been around for 25 years and to celebrate this, they had a small festival in their hometown Mannheim at 16 and 17 november 2012. 8 Classic industrial projects made their appearance.

Anenzephalia is closely linked to Tesco and Genocide Organ. However a one man project, mr. Moloch is usually accompanied by one half of Genocide Organ on stage, as he was this time. The man himself you can see on the left, Genocide Organ on the right. We will see this combination later on this weekend. Anenzephalia gave a great show and presented a new cd. Noisy industrial, not the power electronics of GO, aggressive vocals, well done!

I did not really know The-So-Aa. I thought this was a dark ambient project and indeed it was. Not too great, but a few tracks were pretty dark, a sound that I prefer when hearing dark ambient.

I was really looking forward to seeing Operation Cleansweep. They make a brutal form of very industrial noise with aggressive vocals and harsch rhythms. The show was not as extreme as on some of their releases, but perhaps it was better for a live performance, since with sped-up rhythms some people even managed to dance and mosh!

I am no fan of The Grey Wolves. This ancient noise project represents to me what noise should not sound like, chaotic, unstructured, noise for the sake of noise. I never really tried to listen to them, perhaps I would like some of his material by now, I do not know. The show did not start very extreme, just eerie noise with vocals. After a few tracks we went back to our hotel to get some sleep.

The second evening was opened by Galerie Schallschutz. At the previous Tesco festival (in Antwerpen) they had a play with aliens and the like. Nothing of that sort this time, just two guys on stage and two small screens with video. The volume was much higher than on friday night and the sound was harder than I remember Schallschutz, but the show was nice.

Propergol could well be my favourite noise artist. I have seen him live before (also in Antwerpen). The albums of mr. Nougaillion tend to get more ambient and less noisy and the show showed this as well. It looks a bit like Jérôme focusses more on the video aspect of his abilities, since the show was not quite what I hoped. It started chaotic, I had the idea that not much of it was live (or he found a brilliant way to combine sound and image to create his shows on the fly) and instead of having a show build up in atmosphere, there were separate tracks with pauses in between. After a few ambient experiments, somebody in the audience shouted "come on!" and (coincidentally or not) the show moved towards the more industrial noise sound of earlier albums, the atmosphere got better, the pauses went away and the video brilliantly accompanied the music. Yep, a nice show with perhaps a bit of a false start.

Contrastate... Well, I actually only know them from an ancient tape that I got decades ago in the times of 'tape trading', dark ambient with vocals. "A Thousand Badgers In Labour", the last song of the show was even the title track of that album, the only track that I knew. For the rest Contrastate was a lot more industrial and even somewhat noisy from what I expected. Four men on stage (not all visible in my photo) giving a varried and nice set.

Genocide Organ represents my love/hate relation to extreme electronic music. A lot of their material is chaotic atonal brutality with a lot of high frequencies. Other tracks are more structured and have a really dark and/or really aggressive atmosphere like only few power electronic projects tend to manage. I have heard quite a lot of their material (but by far not all I am sure), but I do not like 90% of it. Like The Grey Wolves, GO often represents the side of noise that I do not enjoy. Also I had never seen them on stage. At the previous Tesco festival I could not go the second evening (and sadly missed Post Scriptvm) and for the rest they just never played at something I attended. Their show at their own party was given by four people, the duo that makes this project, mr. Moloch of Anenzephalia and somebody who I did not recognise, but who was obviously of the organisation of the festival. The volume was brought up even more and the show started with an earblowing energy. It is amazing how many people actually came to watch GO (some as far as the USA), people who are apparently even more musical masochists than myself. After a few tracks my girlfriend could no longer stand the extreme volume so we split. Given the fact that I usually spare her from noise, it was amazing enough that she agreed that we would go to this Tesco festival, she even seemed to have enjoyed some of the shows, but GO was a bit too much, so leaving might pave the way for future noise events!

All in all this was a very nice festival with a few minor points. It took to well after the scheduled opening and starting hours before we could get in and before something actually happened, and secondly, the place was stuffed, there was nowhere (but outside) where you could just stand, sit or hang without being pussed aside by people passing all the time. Minor issues of course for somebody who was more lucky than many others in being able to be there at this classic event.

Martial industrial

A decade ago a selling line for new cds was: "sounds like Der Blutharsch". Nowadays you have to sound like Triarii in order to sell cds. I listened to a few of these new stars in the field of martial industrial. My scepticism to the current state of the style is unfortunately confirmed grandly. Tethrippon is a Greek act with boring music and awfull vocals. The cheesy orchestrations are as bad as in the early days of martial industrial, but then they were at least new. Of Kazaria's "Credo Nostrum" album I haven't heard one complete song, my finger kept being drawn toward the 'next' button on the remote. Nebelkorona was the least uninteresting project. In fact, a few tracks on their "Tannenhochforst" are quite alright, but the rest are not...
Nope, my heart does not speed up hearing about the next great project in the field of martial industrial.

Duchess Says live

It has been a while since I got to know Duchess Says. A great band going from electropop to electropop to nowave extremity. A while ago to they released a new album and a European tour was announced! The timing was not perfect, but I managed to go to the Utrecht show yesterday. There were two other bands, the first was the pretty boring De Blaffende Affen (I think this is a band from the practice facility where the concerts was helt), the second an alright band called Bombay Show Pig (some nice idea, but neither of the two can sing) and then it was time for Duchess Says. MAN what a show! This is definately the most interesting live band I have seen in a long time. They mostly played their energetic punk songs and that with only a four-piece band (drummer, electronics, guitarist and singer). The singer is an energetic young woman who is constantly running through the audience going to somebody to grap him/her, push him/her away, dance with him/her, throw beer over his/her head, etc., she even had a picknick in the middle of he audience. The show is full of energy and a part of the audience obviously knew what was going to happen since the first 4 rows have been dancing and jumping around since the band entered the stage. It was truely a great show. Hopefully the band will get a slighly larger audience than just about 70 and return to Europe some time soon.

Sistrenatus in Europe?

Me and Harlow go back a long time. I liked his "ritual" project Funerary Call (now revamped as a noisy ritual project), later a new project arose making a Propergol kind of noise. Dark, industrial ambient, noise eruptions and harsch power electronics. Sistrenatus gives a lot of shows in Canada and the USA. Inspite of albums released on Hermetique and Cold Spring, there has still been no European concert. Now I only scribble some review every now and then. I do not organise concerts, not even know people who do, but if you, like me, think that it is high time for a European show of Sistrenatus (and Funerary Call) (preferably in the Netherlands, Belgium or the West of Germany!), try to interest some concert or festival organiser and finally make this happen!

Blood Axis in Waregem

About a week ago, I saw Blood Axis in Waregem, Belgium. A day later the band played in Leipzig. The evening was opened by Andrew King. I have seen King before, a part of the audience obviously did not. King was nice, but previously I enjoyed him better. Next up was Allerseelen, again there seemed to be people with different expectations, but however I do not have any Allerseelen albums, I usually enjoy the live performances. The Steeple was well populated, not over-crowded, but unfortunately way too hot. Also during the Blood Axis show the place was not crowded. The very day of the show, the cd "Ultimacy" was made available and the playwist was adjusted. Not just songs from "Born Again", but an overview of the carreer of Blood Axis with folky songs, more rock-versions of the pompous old tracks and fortunately a lot of new material. Unfortunately the cds sound so well, that inspite of the star team with David E. Williams and Robert Ferbrache, Blood Axis did not really convince me on stage. Annabel does not reach the height with her voice on stage as she does in the studio, her violin-playing shows the difficulties of the pieces that she chose or wrote, Michaels voice is two scales higher than on a recording and the keys of Williams did not quite sound like the sampled orchestrations of "Reign I Forever". So was it a bad show? Certainly not. It seemed like everything was played live, which is something different from the usual music from a laptop with a little drumming of scene-performances. Some tracks sounded a bit different from usual, which, if well done, can be nice as well. The band enjoyed themselves and even when the music sounds better in my living room, it is strong enough to create an atmosphere. No legendary concert perhaps, but it was nice to see Blood Axis again after 13 years.

Summer Darkness 2011

We are already home from Summer Darkness 2011. They got a lot less money from the city of Utrecht so the setup became again more compact. 4 Locations, one of which public and less, but mostly, less interesting bands. I wonder about the number of visitors, but I cannot find any information yet. Last year there were some 6800 people, so Summer Darkness is about a third in size of the Wave Gotik Treffen. We arrived yesterday and the first act I wanted to see was Kristus Kut. His shows appear to be quite something, but every time he is around, there is some reason I cannot go and see him. This time we arrived way too late... We did see the Law-Rah collective, also on the Kink FM stage in the tiny 'mirror room' at the attic of Tivoli Oude Gracht. Then we went down to the big room of Tivoli to see Rome. I have seen Rome several times and the music does not get more interesting. The show was just alright. Next up, ORE. A couple of months I saw them giving an awfull show in Rotterdam, yesterday was not too bad. Songs from 'the middle period', a good-old explicit pornmovie on the back; moody. After dinner we got a few songs of Kirlian Camera in Tivoli De Helling (a half hour walk). They have become very synthypop! It was not awfull, but not really my cup of tea either. 16Pad Noise Terrorist was very nice, better than on cd. Hard drum'n'bass with a little "rhythmic noise". I find it always funny to s see how many 'normal people' come to see these hard, but danceable (I guess that is the reason) kinds of music. On the way back to the hotel, we got a glimpse VNV Nation. A packed Tivoli Oude Gracht, but synthpop, not my style...
For today we did not have tickets, but we got some only for the Kink FM stage. For Greater Good, a few nice tracks; Akoustik Timbre Frekuency (a boring new age 'singing bowl' performance) and Machinist who gave away a nice soundscape.