YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST NEW MUSIC AND MODELS!
Echo Immortalis MIDWEST GOTHIC AND INDUSTRIAL CULTURE Volume 2 Issue 1 | Winter 2007
The Fighting Starlet PLUS:
She Wants Revenge | I:scintilla | The Faint | Mentallo and the Fixer | The Oddz | Jim Balent | Scott Church
04 behind the LENS 04 Cover: Acid PopTart 33 Devil’s Grove 35 Eric Tragedy’s Grimm film 07 miRRor 07 Baby Bats 09 Super Dollfie 10 Photographer Scott Church 12 Midwest Vampire Groups 36 15 minutes 36 Jay Fife 37 Jim Balent’s comic art 39 Chantal Menard’s art 47 Midwest Models: Sindel Chaos, Lady Valoria, Bella Sin, Wicked Mina and more!
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14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 24 25 26 27 27 29 40 42 53
reQUIEM She Wants Revenge I:scintilla Acumen Nation Dekoy Dirk Ivens Mentallo & The Fixer The Faint Voltaire’s The Oddz Zoica Razed in Black; Form 30 Chicago’s Grigori 3
blood to INK
Blissfulviolet Braille and Ryan Jenkins Jon Fernandez
undead and LOVING IT
Nightclub Guide Concert Reviews
on the SHELF spin me ’ROUND epiTAPH
Cover Model: Acid PopTart, photo by Kidtee Hello | This page: from top, clockwise from top right - Sindel Chaos by Brian DeMint of Eyeworks Photography | Kristy Venrick of Zoica, submitted photo | Pentagram photo by Alisa Lawson | Lorelei doll photo Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis by Anika Williams | Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, photo by Doppelganger Photography | Nicolle photo by Dark Mannequin Designs | Acid PopTart photo by Eric Tragedy.
Echo Immortalis Editor, Publisher and Designer
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Photo courtesy of Leslie Benson
Photo by Stillborn Photography
Third time’s a charm…. I never knew Echo Immortalis magazine would make it to its third issue. After all, the publication was merely a dream — a wispy goal in my mind’s eye just over a year ago. Now we have outlasted our first anniversary, and I couldn’t be happier. Through struggles and achievements, our staff of contributing writers, photographers, models, artists and musicians has stayed strong and true. I am beyond thankful for all of your support. And we can’t forget the readers! You all took a chance on a new product and embraced it wholeheartedly. They say love is about sacrifice, and I couldn’t agree more. With empty pockets, we made it this far — gaining subscribers from all over the United States and across the world. Our families and friends kept us going, despite our self-sacrifices of time, effort and hard-earned cash. Some wonder why we did it. Why do we ever take risks? I say it’s because we want to live life more fully and express and find beauty in everything — from the studious, amateur songwriter to the veteran photographer. Everyone in Echo Immortalis has an overwhelming passion for what they do, and that’s why we stand up for the things in our lives that matter most. So read on and discover the stories of more Midwest gothic artists, filmmakers, models, musicians, poets and visionaries. For you, we bleed on the page. This scene drives our essence, as it always will. If for some chance of fate we are no longer in print this time next year, remember Echo Immortalis with a fond heart and know it was for you that we lit our flames…. And those flames will burn on in each of us as we continue through life.
Echo Immortalis Staff Editor, Publisher and Designer: Leslie Benson Contributing Models: Aaron, Lady Atropos, Blissfulviolet, Sindel Chaos, CiN, Diana Clark, Amanda Fire, Ember Furie, Acid Grave, Hannah, Kidtee Hello, Wicked Mina, Nadia, Nicolle, Acid PopTart, Sam, Bella Sin, Samantha Smead and Lady Valoria. Photographers/Artists: Andy Bruggeman “TheAnj,” Emanuel Cavallaro, Brian and Dena DeMint at Eyeworks Photography, Michelle Ellis of Ellis Photo, Chris Ertle, Eyechart Photo, Randall Flagg, Kevin Foureman of Dark Mannequin Designs, Vanessa Hamilton of Doppelganger Photography, Kidtee Hello Photography, KRN Photography, Alisa Lawson, James Lohrey Photography, Jason Noble of Noble Images, Joe Occhuizzo, Keliin Parsons, Saryn Angel Photography, Hal Schroeder, Stillborn Photography, Eric Tragedy, Clara Turk, Terry Turner of After 6 Photos, Scott Wesely, Beverly Wretched of Wretched Beauty and Amanda Zee. Writers: Lady Atropos, Blissfulviolet, Braille, Eugene Canady, Emanuel Cavallaro, Jon Fernandez, Kidtee Hello, Ryan Jenkins, Leigh Marino, Acid PopTart, Jonathan Sanders, Kai Schindler, DJ Alyda Stoica, Jamie Vitro, Anika Williams and Zlatko Zgombic. Correspondence: Contact the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.echoimmortalis.net. Please remember, anything you send will not be returned. Send letters, news, or press kits to Echo Immortalis c/o Leslie Benson, P.O. Box 90316, Indianapolis, IN 46240.
Publishing Information Disclaimer: Echo Immortalis magazine is published by Echo Immortalis Publishing. All contents are copyright Leslie Benson 2005-’07. All rights reserved. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information contained herein. Echo Immortalis, Leslie Benson, and the magazine’s affiliates, advertisers, or agents shall not be responsible for any misinformation printed herein. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the express written permission of Echo Immortalis Publishing. We assume no responsibility for opinions of writers or advertisers contained herein. Printed in the USA by Sun Ray Printing (www.sunrayprinting.com).
Author of “Bathing With Church,” pg. 10 and “Everyone’s Talking About The Oddz,” pg. 20; photographer of cover model Acid PopTart and more. Photo Vixen: Founder of Kidtee Hello Photography, Kidtee is a respected Midwest-based photographer who has worked with OhioScene, Wicked Talent and RetroKitten. Her work has been published in Red Scream magazine, and she has showcased her images in art shows such as “Propaganda” and “Phobia” in Dayton, Ohio, and at “BackDrops,” an art collective through deviantART, at the Acme Art Company in Columbus, Ohio. Kidtee also shot still photography for The Prison of the Psychotic Damned: Terminal Remix film (http://www.redscreamfilms.com).
t e l r a t S
behind the LENS
by LESLIE BENSON
Midwest Goth/Industrial Culture www.EchoImmortalis.net
ou’ll likely never meet a more interesting model. She has trained in underwater stunt work without tanks, survived an attack by Nazi skinheads, cosplayed as Catwoman for comic conventions, driven a forklift, starred in B-horror films and works as the assistant fashion editor for Gothic Beauty. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A fighter since childhood, Columbus, Ohio, model Acid PopTart has accomplished all those feats while living with multiple personality disorder. She’s accepted its challenges and has learned to focus on what matters most — her creative expression. “[The disorder] has attributed to my different looks in modeling,” she says. “My sense of style is zombies and drag queens. (laughs) I like things dramatic and over the top…” just like her real life story. Born in Florida with an ancestry of Greek and Egyptian, PopTart learned the way of the Southern belle at age three while taking dance classes. Ballet, tap, modern dance and jazz followed her through her youth, landing a role with choreographer, Chuck Davis, and the African American Dance Ensemble, as well as a job as an instructor at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. A theatrical interest introduced PopTart to small movie roles, including as Anna, the possessed girl, in The Calling: Man of Faith (2002), about evangelist Leroy Jenkins, with actor Brad Dourif (The Lord of the Rings’ Grima Wormtongue). While DJ-ing in North Carolina punk-rock clubs during her early twenties, an ad for a Playboy audition lured PopTart into modeling, though the scam turned sour. Instead, she transitioned from club parties to bar fights. “I had no focus in my life then,” she says. “We lived fast and hard in a very short amount of time. I never thought I would get past 25.” In the late ‘80s, the punk scene merged into a goth genre, with Great Britain leading the way. PopTart’s British best friend, Sian, kept her on top of underground trends. “The scene then was all about the music,” she says. “There was no Hot Topic or even smaller retailers offering goth clothing. We got called death rockers [and] ghoulie girls. Fashion then was total DIY; we’d hunt vintage and thrift stores and then dye it black or rip it up. Sian and I weren’t necessarily limited to black; we were quite fond of various styles and colors. She used to wear this gorgeous lime green kimono with stilettos and a stunning shock of red hair.” On her own since age 15, PopTart has endured violence and racism. “I’ve lost a lot of friends — some to murder,” she solemnly tells Echo Immortalis in an interview. During an
Acid PopTart | Photo by Eyechart Photo
Leah | Photo by Kidtee Hello
evening stroll, PopTart and a friend were attacked and beaten by a gang of Nazi skinheads. “I lost consciousness when my head hit the wall,” she says. “I cracked ribs. I was preparing myself for the next blow, but when I opened my eyes, skinheads were fighting skinheads. My friend Billy saved my life. And then the cops showed up. Later, Billy was stabbed and killed by a rival gang.” PopTart’s first-hand look into the glassy eyes of death has empowered her to try harder at accomplishing goals. “I seized life, because I watched it be snatched away so quickly, and if that was going to happen to me, I wanted to make sure I lived,” she says. “I had and still have a horrible temper and would be the first to jump in a fight, but a lot of it was about
continued on pg. 5
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
] d n a [ s r e k c o r h t a e d d e l l l a a c t o t t o s g a w e n e h t “W n o i h s a F . s l r i g t r a ghoulie T p o P d i c A ” . DIY
behind the LENS
behind the LENS
continued from pg. 4
protecting myself. I never wanted to be a victim again, so I’ve always fought like I might die.” In 1992, PopTart moved to Ohio, meeting costume designer Scott Crawford at a sci-fi convention. He introduced her to cosplay and comics other than Sandman. He hired her to dress as Rogue and Catwoman for conventions and mall shows, which led to her official cover model position as Razor, Everette Hartsoe’s comic creation. Among PopTart’s appearances as comic book heroines and villains, she starred as the basis for Boo Cat (a sexy werecat) and Licorice Dust (a naughty vampire) for Jim Balent’s Broadsword Comics (see pg. 37). “Modeling was an offshoot of cosplay,” she says. “We went beyond just going to cons as these characters. We started doing better shoots, entering contests [and] gaining recognition.” PopTart’s image has also inspired numerous art pieces, and she’s appeared in publications like Gothic Beauty, Bite Me, Elegy, Lee’s Toy Review, Draculina, Tarot (the comic) and Vampirella. A current model for Madame Le Goth, ArtWith Designs: Wearable Latex Art and Pinkindus of
Freyagushi.com, she’s also working on her first directorial debut, in addition to designing clothing. Her acting skills have also placed her in the new movies Quench (an Along the Tracks production) and The Pickled Brothers (sideshow DVD), in which her VooDoo Baby (a new comic book character) makes an appearance. She worked with Midwest goth filmmaker “Eric Tragedy” (Chatterjee) on both films, and she’s reached all these milestones while battling the multiple personalities in her head. “I was born with a defense mechanism,” PopTart says. “I don’t want people to think I have to be cured. Integration is not my goal. I have this whole ‘family’ system inside — mostly co-consciousness, and it works for me. I have roughly 25 named alters.” Of her personalities, Lily, Josie and Armand take precedence, but PopTart has learned to keep them in check by keeping herself busy. “It’s given me the chance to see the world through many different eyes,” she continues. “I’ve gone through a lot of pain, but I’m still here. The bad girl attitude I ‘portray’ isn’t much of an act; it’s just survival.”
“The bad girl attitude I ‘portray’ isn’t much of an act; it’s just survival.” 5
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Opposite page: model - Acid PopTart | Photo by Kidtee Hello
Illustration by Jay Fife | Photo on right by Eric Tragedy
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Baby Bats Photo spread by Ohioâ€™s
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
e l l o Nic
take the torch...
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Log on: http://dream.gothiclibrarian.net
Sink into Dream
Bathing with Church
The magical world of Super Dollfie
Photo by Scott Church.
Photos by Anika Williams.
by ANIKA WILLIAMS, aka Gothic Librarian
Pictured above: Lorelei, a limited edition elf lishe doll by the cerberus project. The photo was taken with a Canon S70 camera.
s a child, I learned to sew using my mom’s 1960s-era Barbie patterns. During my teenage years I would use those sewing skills on thrift store and antique shop finds. But in 2002, I was in the middle of completing my graduate degree in library science and looking to get my mind off librarianship during my free time and onto something more creative. While surfing the web looking at Jenny (the Japanese equivalent to Barbie), I came across a Web site with photos of another kind of doll and was immediately struck by its other-worldly look…fascinated by how real the glass eyes and applied wigs looked and how versatile the multijointed bodies appeared. After a few weeks of researching, I was hooked. The Japanese company Volks, Inc., has been making kits and figures cast from polyurethane resin for more than 30 years. Around 1998, the president of Volks sculpted and cast a doll as a special gift for his wife. The doll had a distinctly
modern Japanese look to its face and body proportions, but utilized the joint structure of old German and French bisque jointed dolls. It used a system of ball-and-socket joints and was strung with elastic, but was made of resin, a much more customizable and less fragile material than porcelain. Immediately, the company seized on the design as being a potential new hobby interest in Japan. As it has turned out, the first Super Dollfie (“dollfie” is a melding of the words doll and figure) released by Volks has sparked a hobby that now spans the globe. Dozens of other designers and manufacturers have taken the idea of a modern ball-jointed doll and created their own designs and concepts that bridge out from Volks’ original idea to revive the design of the European dolls of the 19th-century. Ranging in size from the smallest at a mere 9.5cm and the tallest upwards of 70cm, these dolls can be found with a variety of different body designs, ages (from child to adult), genders
(male, female and some asexual) and skintones; some are even elves, vampires, centaurs and other creatures. For me, though the hobby has grown tremendously since I first became involved in 2002, it hasn’t lost any of the appeal. I have run my own customizing business, designed clothing, and I also moderate the largest English-language Web forum, Den of Angels (www.denofangels. com/forums). I believe strongly in Volks’ motto: “We seek creativity.” Rather than having been designed as a collectible to sit safely behind glass, the modern ball-jointed doll is meant to become its owner’s unique creation through all kinds of customization, whether that be in the process of naming the doll and writing a biography, painting the face and modifying the body or taking photos. As a photographer, I’m most interested in the concepts of doll as “object” as well as “individual.”
Getting into the mind of photographer Scott Church
You have been doing photography for 15 years. What has been the hardest lesson you have learned in your profession? SC: “That you never stop learning. Photography is a growing process that never quits. Every day I discover new and more interesting ways to look at things and show them to the world. It hasn’t gotten old for me at all. I still love doing what I do the same way I did the first day I picked up a camera.” EI: Did you attend school or are you self-taught? SC: “I attended the U.S. Navy School of Photography, but everything I know and use everyday I have learned through practice and mistakes.” EI: How has your work evolved from 15 years ago? SC: “I would like to think I have gotten better. There are still images I shot way back that I look at everyday and think ‘damn, I made that,’ but for the most part I look at stuff from the past as little as possible. I like to think that the next image is
Georgianna – FCS MSD F-16 by Volks
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Lorelei – limited edition elf lishe (vampire) by cerberus project
Roselynde – limited edition SD Sasha by Volks
by KIDTEE HELLO
always the one I look forward to most and the only one that matters. My goals have evolved, but I am still trying to out-do myself everyday.”
in my head, and I was always looking for a faster way to get those images out and in front of me. I discovered photography, and I never looked back.”
EI: At what point did you feel truly successful? SC: “You assume it’s happened already. I have never really had that great leap forward moment. It’s all been baby steps — a helluva lot of baby steps, but steps nonetheless.”
EI: Do you have a favorite artist that gave you inspiration? SC: “I steal wildly from thousands of different sources. There isn’t just one pinpoint to really say my inspiration drew from. There are things I recall as being substantial in my development. Playboy magazine tops the list there. I didn’t read it for the articles, but I also saw it as something a little more real than just another nudie book. I looked at those images (not the women), as a goal to be attained — a symbol of perfection. I suppose I still am trying to get across that line.”
EI: What is your favorite aspect about your job? SC: “I consider myself very lucky to be able to do what I do everyday for money. My only wish is that I never have to do anything else.” EI: What made photography so appealing to you? SC: “I started out as a painter, as a matter of fact; my education background is in ‘proper art.’ Painting taught me composition and framing. It also taught me to be selective about what I include in an image. The problem was I was an incredibly lazy painter. I hated the idea that it would take me days to truly see the idea that was
EI: What has it been like to publish your own books? SC: “Frustrating, but well worth the effort. I will try my best to always stay outside of the system. I learned that ethic from the punk-rock side of my psyche, and I will forever try to stick to the DIY way.”
continued on pg. 11
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Beyond the Myth and Legend
continued from pg. 10 EI: You have chosen to publish other artists along with your own work. How was the change inspired? SC: “It was something I always dreamed of when starting out — that big break — being noticed by the ‘right person.’ Well, now I get to be that person to the people I help push out into the larger world.”
The Midwest vampire community lives and thrives by KAIVALYA SCHINDLER t’s no shocker, especially to those of us in the gothic community, that there are individuals out there that believe they are vampires. Not the things of myth and legend have you, but mortal “vampires” that for whatever reason need or desire energy in one or more of its many forms. Thousands of books have been written on the fictional version and hundreds more are devoted to the real-life vampire of today’s times, but very few resources touch on the community itself. While many vampires practice their beliefs on their own, there are also other options in the form of “houses” or communities of vampires. Houses play an important role for some who, especially in the Midwest, feel isolated and alone. From magic to religion, books to jewelry, and small social gatherings to huge festivals and celebrations, the vampire community is as diverse as it is alive.
EI: Would you like to add anything I may have missed? SC: “How about a quote? ‘Never regret the things you have done. Learn from them; only regret the things you haven’t done but wanted to.”
Photos by Scott Church.
EI: What advice would you give a young artist? SC: “Well, first of all, I would tell them to never call themselves an ’artist.’ I tell fresh photographers that the best thing they can do to get better is to shoot a lot of pictures of anything all the time. You learn the most from mistakes if you let them teach you.”
Debunking Myths Few things are as taboo as the vampires in our society. The thought of a being that drinks blood or feeds off our energy is disconcerting. And while Hollywood has succeeded in making the vampire of fiction accessible to millions, it has only perpetuated the stereotypes for the living being. Debunking myths is often a full-time job for members of the community. While the Internet has been a valuable source for passing on information, for every Web site dedicated to stopping the myths, there are 10 more that propagate them. By acknowledging the many myths the vampire community is plagued with, we hope to alleviate the concerns many have when they hear the word “vampire.”
Top 5 Common Misconceptions “Vampires are evil and satanic:” Religion varies from person to person. Saying all vampires are evil is like saying all goths are depressed. “They sacrifice animals/people:” Vampires have a high level of respect for all things in nature and would never harm another being. Even those who drink blood do so from willing donors. “Gatherings are huge sex orgies:” While sexuality is important to many, 99 percent of all gatherings are social events, more similar to a company picnic or night out at a club. “Vampires have superpowers:” Vampires are normal people with everyday problems and lives. They have families, jobs and the same responsibilities in life as the rest of us. “Houses are for role-players:” Houses exist for comfort and companionship away from the myths. Role-players and horror movie fans are quickly informed and turned away. The Purpose Even in a culture as open as the gothic community, many vampires still feel isolated and alone. For a lot of would-be vampires just starting to discover who and what they are, communities provide a sense of belonging. For others, they are a place to openly talk about their emotions and experiences without being judged. Let’s face it, it’s not exactly something to talk about at the water cooler. In much the same way that many
Illustration of model Isis by Jay Fife
EI: Do you have a favorite muse? SC: “I’ve done some incredible photos of my wife over the years. Right now I suppose my assistant Jena ends up in more than a few of my really good ideas when they come. Beyond that, she has been a great help in pushing me forward in directions I might not have gone without her influence. She’s an incredibly talented photographer in her own right, and she makes me work harder.”
people in the gothic community flock to clubs and cafés to converse with people of like minds, vampires do the same with online and local houses. The entire community is actually made up of several organizations. Houses come in many shapes and sizes and each offer a unique perspective on vampire life. Common differences include size, beliefs and requirements. But however different they all may be, a common theme emerges. They all have a strong desire for friendship and companionship. No matter how many roadblocks vampires face, the community holds strong and provides a safe environment for members to just be themselves. After all, isn’t that what we’re all looking for?
Local Houses and Online Communities All houses are not created equally, listed are some of the Midwest communities that embody a wide range of size, requirements and beliefs.
Sanguinarium: A large online community that holds yearly
events featuring international music acts and dozens of vendors in a club atmosphere. Requirements: 18+; book purchase; understanding and practice of their code of conduct; monthly membership fee. Online: www.strigoivii.org House Dorch Ainle: A small group dedicated to sharing experiences and learning from one another. Located just outside
of Cleveland, Ohio, they also have an online community for members outside of the area. Requirements: None Online: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DorchAinle House Kheperu: A medium-sized group with strong spiritual beliefs. House Kheperu is officially listed as a non-profit religious organization. Gatherings are held occasionally in the form of spiritual workshops. Requirements: Share many of their same spiritual beliefs and adhere to their code of safe conduct. Online: www.kheperu.org
The artist himself: Scott Church | Submitted photo
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
by LESLIE BENSON
She Wants Revenge
They’re the bad boys — the ones you’ve eyed now for awhile. You’re innocent, yet ache for their corruption. You hate them, yet love the way they make you feel. They exude lust. They’re poison. What little heartbreakers. Los Angelesbased duo She Wants Revenge, a band with an aura of divine mystery, recently released its debut, self-titled album and wound up its 2006 tour.
n She Wants Revenge, the album Spin and Rolling Stone have been raving about, baritone Justin Warfield and bassist “Adam 12” Bravin revitalize Interpol and Joy Division’s sound with more synth-pop and trip-hop beats. Ironically, Bravin’s musical background stems from rap, among other musical styles. His album, My Field Trip to Planet 9 (1993), produced by Prince Paul, set the pace for his later interests in bassdriven songs. Clever and compelling, one listen to this band will bring two questions to mind: What did these guys do to earn their name? Why isn’t there a girl in the band? To answer these and other questions, Echo Immortalis spoke with Bravin during a phone interview before their tour through Indianapolis, Ind. last fall. “The first instruments I ever learned to play were turntables and samplers,” Bravin says. “So there is a lot of hip-hop influence in the music.” But don’t let that fool you — the duo’s sound is far from anything Nelly or 50 Cent could ever cook up.
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Adam 12 and Justin Warfield of She Wants Revenge are breaking hearts across the nation.
Riding the wave of overwhelming fan support for its first album, She Wants Revenge caught ears in 2005 with the single, “Out of Control.” “We never expected to have an album out,” says Bravin. “We were kind of making music for ourselves. We continue to do shows that almost sell out. People are connecting with the songs emotionally.” And that’s exactly why the boys started writing them in the first place — to release emotions and explore their inner selves. It helps that Michael Patterson, mixer of previous Beck and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club albums, also mixed their CD, landing the boys as opening act for Depeche Mode’s 2006 tour. In fact, the Californian duo stirs a similar taste to Depeche Mode’s sound. (Think “Master and Servant,” not “Personal Jesus.”) “Having the opportunity to tour with [Depeche Mode] was a dream come true,” Bravin says. “They’re our favorite band. We got to watch them two hours a night. We learned a lot about stage presence and how to reinterpret songs live. Many bands in that position let it go to their heads, but Depeche Mode are the sweetest guys. There’s no ego in
Beyond Growing Pains. . . I:scintilla joins the Alfa-Matrix record label
Photo courtesy of She Wants Revenge
We want more
Smack Me in the Mouth
that band.” With lyrics that evoke scenes of unbridled new love on She Wants Revenge, (Warfield sings lines like “…Just give me the safe word, take your hand and smack me in the mouth” on “Monologue,”) these songs will stick in your head night after night. “When we first started, I met somebody, a rather dark person, who was different than anyone I had ever been with,” says Bravin. “I had previously been writing happy, beautiful music, and because of this girl and the literature and things she opened me up to, I started writing dark music. Of course, I also used to listen to New Order and Bauhaus, so that influenced me as well.” Other small victories accomplished by Warfield and Bravin include having performed at the 2006 Coachella Music and Arts Festival, putting them on the hot new “it” list for dark indie rock bands. In fact, actor Joaquin Phoenix liked them so much that he produced the band’s wicked “Tear You Apart” video, with the band serving as the saviors to a young teen girl with a terrible secret. In
the video “These Things,” Shirley Manson of Garbage fame stars as a dominatrix who holds the unassuming bandmates hostage. No strangers to late-night talk shows, She Wants Revenge has also made appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Show with David Letterman. Whew! Talk about a lot of fame in a short amount of time — all sorts of national media have given these guys thumbs up. Though, by the conclusion of the interview, Echo Immortalis realized that the guys in She Wants Revenge aren’t really the bad boys after all — just inspired reflections of all the bad girls out there. Hey, consider them the eclectic, albeit oddball, artistic types. “We’re far from being troublemakers,” says Bravin. “We’re a chill crew.”
n Terra Haute, Ind.’s all-ages club, The Legacy, I made my way to see I:scintilla play last August — not just play, but perform better than I have ever seen them before. From the first song of the night, it was apparent that something had changed within the group. Each member of the band smiled as if they knew they were on to something new and life changing. An invisible spark of electricity permeated from the crowd to the band, only to be returned back to the crowd, amplified. This spark became a real sense of energy that one could touch and hold, washing over us. Amid this, I stood with my jaw dropped, transfixed and amazed, thinking, “What the hell just happened here?” The most readily apparent change in I:scintilla’s sound was in the drumming. Drummer Vincent Grech made the band’s older songs drive into me like they had not before. Pacing to this new beat was singer Brittany Bindrim, slinking from one side of the stage to the other with the grace of a caged feline going for the kill as each song hit its crescendo. With sweat reflecting off the band members like well-oiled machines in their mechanical frenzy, guitarist/synth player Jim Cookas and guitarist/ bassist Chad Mines shined. They never let up their pace until it was time to go. After the show, I stood leaning against a wall, dumbfounded that I almost missed their performance. Thank God they started late! I spent a few minutes with the band after the gig to get the scoop on their 2006 tour. The Podcast of this interview can be found online at www.echoimmortalis.net. EI: In previous live shows, you would primarily use sequenced drums. What made you go with the decision to add a live drummer? I: “It was a natural progression for the band — increased dynamics and more life to the songs. It just sounds better.”
EI: How did your association with Vince from Sister Machine Gun come about? I: “Mutual friends in Chicago and two years later we hooked up.” EI: How did this Midwest tour go for you, and what was your favorite stop? I: “Great! Clinton, Iowa. It was the most surprising. It was an outside show, and we were surrounded by cornfields. It was like Children of the Corn. All the kids came out. It was a lot of fun.”
I: “Not a responsibility, but an option.” EI: What influences you most musically? I: “You’ve got to keep your eye on what’s going on now to pick up
by EUGENE CANADY new stuff. We play off Brittany’s voice, and she feeds off of us.”
EI: Where would you like to tour in the future? I: “Europe, definitely. We’re hoping that will become a reality [in 2007].” EI: It’s been said that you came into contact with your new international record label, Alfa-Matrix, through the band Hungry Lucy. Is this true? I: “Yes. We then shipped over a press kit and followed it up with an e-mail about six weeks later. The follow up is what really sparked it.” EI: Your first EP (Havestar) with Alpha-Matrix is out now, and you’ve already started writing new material. How is that going? I: “Good. It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve been working the material live, and it seems to be getting a good response. The crowds have been into it. Things are starting to click more. We’ve been working on different things, and it’s working for us.” EI: How is the new sound evolving? I: “It’s a synthetic sound with a human feel to it [and with] more sophisticated and interesting song structures…. less guitar driven. The lyrics keep getting better. They are more generalized [and] more social and political, whereas our last release was more personal.” EI: Do you think bands have a responsibility to express those things lyrically?
Photo courtesy of I:scintilla.
Brittany Bindrim leads the Chicago industrial band I:scintilla.
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
by JONATHAN SANDERS
ar from apathetic, Chicago’s Jason Novak of Acumen Nation discusses political corruption and the band’s new album, Anticore.
EI: So here we are… six studio albums and now this behemoth madhouse of sound entitled Anticore. What is it that drives such a surge of power and this artistic, energetic methodical exorcism? JN: “An obligation to alliteration and albeit angry altruism! No, really, over the past few years of writing, we became more comfortable with where our sound was heading after the 5ifth Column album, and that was away from dance-oriented material... I mean, we weren’t really writing dance music per se, but a lot of our tracks had a rhythmic, breakbeat feel, not to mention the older 4/4 stuff. Now we feel comfortable keeping loops, samples and synths, but in a more abstract, noisy fashion. Lyrically, watching the recent developments in U.S. policy here and abroad, the amount of hypocrisy just floating like shit in the streets, the destruction of the middle class and the outright ignorance basically running the show, it became obvious that anyone who gives a fuck, and actually has a voice or an opportunity, should use it to show disgust with the current state of things.” EI: What message do you hope to share with your audience from this album? JN: “To wake the fuck up, I suppose. The unsettling apathy that has infected the younger generations of today is disgusting. The elder corporate and government thieves are carving up this country’s values,
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
land, resources and finances between themselves, and people are too stupid to care... staring at their fucking MySpace pages, blogging, playing video games and recording their moronic musings for Youtube. Meanwhile, their futures — our futures — are being wagered and sold at an alarming rate. Watching this country sit back and take the shit that the Bush administration has perpetrated on the world is shocking... no revolution, no dissent. The war in Iraq, the lies, the cover-ups, the Halliburton shit, the outright violation of human rights, Enron... why isn’t this enraging the people of America? Why are people not mobilizing? I have two kids, and I am furious and scared for their futures. Anticore, in our miniscule voice, was a way to say that we are on the side of disgust, of change, of dissent. I could not in good conscience write a single lyric about anything other than the hypocrisy that has a stranglehold on this country, and musically we just amped it up to about as pissed off as we could get, and it felt good. It felt cleansing. Right now, voter registration and speaking up, using your voice in all its blue-state glory, is the number one move... and it’s fucking easy! Wake up America, before your shit belongs to China, before the Saudi’s own your home, before your kids can’t get healthcare, before you get fired due to company’s shipping your job overseas, before your plasma screens and SUVs and Starbucks are taken away… OOOHH! Then will you fucking take a stand?” EI: What was the most difficult thing you had to overcome during the production of this album? JN: “The desire to make the record
Wake Up, America! by BRAILLE
Log on: www.myspace.com/acumennation
sound too clean. We finally built our production arsenal up to a point where we could finally attack all the problems with EQ that had hounded us during previous albums — sync problems; bass tones — many times we found ourselves coming dangerously close to a ‘polished’ sound and had to stop and say ‘Hey, that should sound shittier, meaner, dirtier... and while we could marvel at the clean mix for a moment, we knew samples had to come up (and) louder noise bits get back in. It was sad, only because we were finally mixing a pro-sounding record, you know? And we had to nasty it up in the process to make sure we didn’t forget who we are.” EI: I am sure that having done multiple tours, you’ve seen quite a bit of bizarre behavior (besides from your van of doom). What is the most insane thing you have ever seen while on the road? JN: “You know, we have logged over a dozen tours, but when you are at the smaller end of things, you tend to miss out on a lot of the truly depraved things you hear about on tour. There just (isn’t) enough money to allow for it, and to entice the kind of people willing to get truly nuts to be around you, ya know? However, watching a guy slam his car into a median and die at 70 mph; destroying a kid’s house for sheer amusement after he let us crash at his house during our first tour; seeing pigs from other bands banging chicks behind dumpsters; waking up on some dude’s floor and not being able to remember where you are and trying to find everyone in time to make the trip to the next city… those moments are moments to cherish!”
EI: What is next on the horizon for Acumen Nation? JN: “Not sure. We spent three years creating this album, fought like hell to get it on a metal label, and now I just don’t know. We are dying to get out on the road and play this music live, re-connect with our friends and fans out there, and be a part of it. We are lucky as hell to still be able to do this, but the clouds are getting dark, and who knows — with families, jobs (and) responsibilities, how much time we have to live our dream and get out and play music on the road (or) make records? In the past, we used to think it was a right, and now we know it is a privilege. I know we want to see Anticore connect with a younger audience. We want to reach the metal market and breathe new life into this band. We want to build our fan base with this record and then kill them again next year with another record, but you never know what’s going to happen.” EI: Anything else you would like to add? JN: “We were scared and excited to get Acumen Nation off our own label, Cracknation, and onto Crash. We knew we couldn’t afford to push the record as much as we thought it deserved to be, but we were scared to let go. I hope it works out for the best and fans of heavy music get their hands on this record and explore some of the other bands of our ilk. We still love the industrial community, but in order for a band to survive, they need an infusion of youth every so often to get new blood flowing. We hope that will help us shine more light on our label, and get people into the other bands on Cracknation as well.”
Photo courtesy of Dekoy.
Photo courtesy of Acumen Nation.
Cincy’s Dekoy Returns with ‘Haunted’
incinnati, Ohio’s Dekoy, a two-man EBM duo, has been bringing their music to fans by word-of-mouth, limited self-promotion. Thanks to that strong grassroots base of support, the band has received nearly 20,000 MySpace visitors, and their debut album Heartwerk was released to critical acclaim in 2003. Following a re-release in 2004, which featured guest vocals from Kristy Venrick (Zoica) and updated arrangements by Lygia Travesty (Temple of Misery), the band was able to get their sound out to a wider audience, despite the fact that they do not perform in a live setting. Their follow-up, Haunted, was released earlier this year. EI: First off, could you tell me a bit about where each of your members comes from both literally and musically? Who are your musical influences? BaZa: “I am originally from St. Louis but have lived in Ohio, mostly near Cincinnati, most of my life. I grew up listening to a lot of rock music, actually. I was turned on to gothic/ industrial/dance music at a local club here in Cincinnati and have loved it since, so my influences are pretty broad. My singing style came from singers I heard in the rock and metal scenes.” d_b: “I moved to Kentucky when
I was very young. I’ve enjoyed electronic music for some time, being especially struck with the aggressive pop movement of the ‘80s — U96, Thorsten Fenslau, anthem techno of the early ‘90s and some progressive rock, specifically Claudio Simonetti of Goblin fame and a little Keith Emerson, too.” EI: What experiences and inspirations have you had that shaped the music you have recorded? BaZa: “Life is my inspiration. There’s nothing more real than writing about things you see and feel. It’s hard to do it any other way. Lyrics have to be sincere for people to identify with them, in my opinion. They can be theatrical in nature, but still have that element of human emotion in them.” d_b: “I enjoy being creative. I have a tendency to live in the past, so maybe I’m just sorting things out and doing so in a context I find interesting, through music, art and design.” EI: Why do you play EBM? How does the style help you express your music in ways other genres cannot? d_b: “Well, I’m not so sure how much our new material falls within that genre trapping specifically. I’m not splitting hairs, but honestly, I can’t say that this is a traditional EBM album, but rather something
else… I’m just not sure what. All I can say is, we intended Haunted to be a concept album and, as such, the tracks are best left listened to as a whole.” EI: What do you think makes your music so popular in nightclubs and overseas when you aren’t able to perform the music live? Why don’t you perform live? BaZa: “Live shows are a tough thing to do in this genre. With us being a two-piece, self-supported band, you really have to bring more to the table to do a live show. You can’t stick two guys on a stage and press ‘play.’ Neither of us have an interest in playing live instruments, so we have to be much more creative in finding ways to entertain an audience. There’s really no room out there for bands to put on mediocre shows.” d_b: “It’s a matter of time and money. When these issues sufficiently sort themselves out, we’ll ‘play live.’ I believe, in such a case, I would be busier controlling and manipulating the visual aspect of the show in a split capacity with working the keys.” EI: Do you have a specific songwriting process that works for you as a group? d_b: “Sometimes BaZa sings an entire song to a click track, and I craft music around it. Sometimes
I have a rough structure already in place, in which case Baza sings over that, and there are times when both of these scenarios occur at different points in the production of a track. It’s definitely a mixed bag.” EI: What would you say your greatest success has been as a group? What do you wish would have happened that hasn’t? BaZa: “I would say the whole project has been a success. It’s hard to pull one specific thing out, for me at least. We did extremely well, in my opinion, for a band to self-release their debut CD, considering we had no label support and have done all the legwork. The one thing I wish to happen that hasn’t? I guess I would say larger distribution overseas. It’s tough to break into some of the overseas markets without a label. It’s more time to get product overseas, which can result in delays in getting stuff to our fans over there, not to mention the added cost.” d_b: “Wanting something… then doing it… then actually finishing it and striving to maintain a constant level of self-improvement. So far, I think we’ve accomplished that.”
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Ten minutes with EBM star Dirk Ivens
EI: Which do you prefer, recording or performing live? DI: “I love to be on stage and feel the audience become one with the music. When you play live, it’s a kind of (a) reward for all the hours you spend in the studio. It’s important to be on the road and get feedback and to meet the people who like your music. I can assure you, I’ve played a lot in my life. Of course when you hear the music at full blast coming out of a strong sound system, nothing can beat that.” EI: What inspires you when writing new music? DI: “Everything can bring inspiration — TV, news, books, newspapers, daily life and so on. Inspiration is strange; I also have to wait before it gets moving again inside. I don’t worry, when the time is right and I feel the need, then there’s a musical outburst.” EI: your
Photo courtesy of Dirk Ivens
by LEIGH MARINO
DI: “Most of my lyrics are about death, hope, love and fear. I mostly write in the third person, and not all lyrics are about me. My philosophy is that no matter how bad things get, there’s always hope. I refuse to believe that the human race is destroying themselves, even when I see the horrible images on the news everyday, there are still good people out there.” EI: What other musicians do you listen to? DI: “Soooo many! My favorites are Suicide, Wire, Fad Gadget and many more. In a way, when I hear something that moves me, then it’s
ok by me. I’m open to a lot of things — I’m not one of those guys who only listens to electronic music, I love to discover new things.” EI: Is there any chance that we will see you on tour in the U.S. anytime soon? DI: “I really would love to go back again, maybe next year. We are working on it. If somebody knows some good organizers or clubs they can always get in touch with me.”
An interview with singer Gary Dassing of Mentallo & The Fixer by ZLATKO ZGOMBIC
Mentallo & The Fixer was a tour de force in EBM from its beginnings in 1993 until 2001, but then you seemed to disappear. What happened in the interim, and what made you decide to return in 2006? GD: “I was just taking a break, enjoying life. I was working on music off and on during this time, but only when I was inspired or felt the urge. I was not trying to force it for the sake of doing it. I was just trying to let it come naturally. Even before I became signed to any labels I was just doing music simply for the love of it, not succumbing to any type of outside influence or pressure. I really never cared what anyone thought about my music as long as I was having a good time and able to express myself artistically, after all its only music.” EI: How has your sound evolved over the years? GD: “I am not sure if I would call it evolution, but more or less how I want to approach the music on each release, what I want to convey musically or what essence I want to capture. When I go back and listen to it 10 years from now, can I invoke the feelings I was going through at the time?” EI: You recently completed a tour of the southern and western U.S. How did that go? Were there any particular highlights? And are you playing a more widespread tour anytime soon? We would love to see you in the Midwest! GD: “Both Dwayne and myself would like to tour more, but our day jobs come first now. Doing a tour of the Southwest was more like a vacation for us. Other parts of the world will come after the release of the full-length double album on Alfa-Matrix. You have not seen the end of us yet.”
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Photo courtesy of Mentallo & The Fixer. Gary Dassing is pictured at far left.
Up and Onward Being a founding member of EBM/ industrial music, you have a unique perspective on its evolution. How do you see the genre now versus how it was in the early ‘80s? DI: “I think the most important thing that changed is the equipment. In the early days we had to record everything in real time, in one take on a tape deck, and now everything is digital. The good thing is that we had to experiment a lot and invent our own sound on our machines. That’s the reason why all those bands in the beginning had a unique sound. These days you buy material with presets or sounds on disc or download sounds, and the result is not always that original. On the other hand, so many bands exist now that it’s hard to come up with something new. We are lucky that we were there from the beginning and our style and sound has grown with the time.”
EI: Having seen you perform in San Francisco, Calif., where the turnout was less than optimal, do you have a feeling that the EBM scene is dying, or was it simply a fluke? GD: “We all should expect change within the scene. Since I have been in it, a lot has come and gone. I do not concern myself whether the scene is dying, because regardless, I will always do music with or without a label or a fan base. I can see no other reason to do music other than simply for the expression and enjoyment of it. I feel I have already made my mark in the scene years back. I have nothing else to prove to myself. Especially now that I am older, I am just thankful that I was able to release one CD, let alone everything else. That has been icing on the cake.” EI: Regarding your titles and lyrics, you have a unique view of life and this world. Can you better explain your ideology and political beliefs? GD: “I have no political beliefs I would want to express, generally because I tend to stay out of politics, and to express to anyone my ideologies would take more than a few hours. I do not concern myself with the workings of the world. I do not let it consume me as I did in my youth. I can only change myself. There is no need to fret, whine, bitch and moan with a ‘woe is me’ attitude. Time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all; in layman’s terms — shit happens.” EI: What is it like working so closely with your brother? Do you ever get sick of each other? GD: “Dwayne and I are brothers first and foremost. At this time in our lives, the older we have become, music really becomes a secondary thing. Family comes first. Dwayne and I used to have a strange relationship in the first
decade of Mentallo & the Fixer. To a degree, music was more important, and the older I have become it is not the case. Dwayne and I are very close, and it is always a pleasure to work with him.” EI: What do you listen to when you are not making music? GD: “What influences me now is just the experience of life. I cannot say I listen to music much now, other than when I’m working on it. I listen to music to be savored or when I’m in the mood, or to increase the frame of mind I’m in. Music for me is just one aspect of my life. I’m all about home, family, gardening and animals. I’ve become very oldfashioned, somewhat of a ludite.” EI: Is there any chance of a Benestrophe reunion? GD: “Most likely not… not because there is any type of ill will or anything of that nature, because Richard and I are still friends, its just that Richard (Mendez) has other priorities in his life such as his family and career. I can’t blame him, but we do still have many things in our vaults from
those early years that have not been released yet.” EI: When “Love Becomes the Law,” will Mentallo and the Fixer still be around? GD: “God only knows.” EI: Lastly, what albums would you recommend to readers of your top 10 favorites? GD: “In no particular order — and I cannot say this is really my top 10, but simply off the top of my head — they would have to be: Rush, 2112; Alphaville, Forever Young; Queen, II; The Mars Volta, Deloused in the Comatorium; The Autumns, The Angel Pool; Duran Duran, Rio; The Cocteau Twins, Heaven or Las Vegas; Depeche Mode, Black Celebration; Soft Cell, Non Stop Erotic Cabaret (and) The Sundays, Blind.”
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
reQUIEM by KIDTEE HELLO
A moment with The
by KIDTEE HELLO
Everyone’s Talking About The Oddz
Faint’s Jacob Thiele
Voltaire starts satirical new wave album with musical side project
What’s more exciting, the release of another album, Wet From Birth, or the 2007 tour? JT: “Right now I’m excited to finish the record we’re currently working on, but I’m not getting too anxious, because it won’t be done for quite a while.” EI: What was your first reaction when you all realized how well Wet From Birth was doing? JT: “I think I was pretty happy that all the downloading (and music pirating on the Internet) didn’t really affect sales or the tour in a negative way. It made me feel like I was right all along about file-sharing.” EI: You guys are currently working on your next album. What will it be about? JT: “It is too early to tell. We’ve written probably half the songs at this point, but we’ve been talking about going back and rewriting some of them.” EI: Have you played many
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Photo courtesy of The Faint.
shows out here in the Midwest? What were the experiences like? JT: “The Midwest was the first place to embrace us, like Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. We’ve played a bunch of shows in the Midwest.” EI: What do you think of the gothic/industrial crowd being fans of your music? I first heard of you guys from a band doing a cover of “Agenda Suicide” at a small show in Dayton, Ohio. Is that strange? JT: “Yeah, totally. We’ve not really heard very many covers of our songs. We’d love to hear more.” EI: Do you think being where you’re from affects your music, or is that just something people say? JT: “It definitely plays a part in it. Here in Omaha, Neb., which is a town without a lot of culture (although that’s slowly changing), the people who live here are a bigger influence than the geographic location or anything about the city itself.” EI: When playing live shows, what kind of crowd do you expect?
JT: “Most of the people who come to see us are just looking to have a good time, dance and meet interesting people. We haven’t really ever had any problems with audience members, aside from the occasional drunk heckler.” EI: What’s the biggest compliment you get from fans? JT: “I like when people recognize our individuality and tell us that we’re unique. It’s flattering to be compared to other bands, especially talented ones that we enjoy, but it feels better knowing that people recognize our original ideas.”
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In loving tribute to Maxifer Jones.
olk-comedian and acoustic singer-songwriter Voltaire has his hands in many pockets. Seeing the Renaissance man live brings about chuckles that will deeply push satirical lyrics and melodies in your head unlike any other dark musician out there. Having written several TV show themes, including “Brains” for the kid’s show “Ed, Edd and Eddy,” Voltaire appeals to all ages, including those veteran goths bent on making fun of themselves, which he illustrates in the books What is Goth? and Paint it Black. His newest project, The Oddz, brings Voltaire toward another creative journey — one shared with bandmates Xenia (keyboards), Mark AD (bass), Glenn Sorino (drums) and Tommy Dark (guitarist on the SellOut! album). EI: You have been making albums for a while now as Voltaire, so it
must be exciting to be a part of a new project. What’s that like? V: “I love what I do. I really enjoy the music I make as Voltaire, but eventually there are things that fans of that music come to expect from it. If I tried to squeeze a cheesy synth line into one of my songs, all hell would break loose. So it’s really nice to be able to start a new project with a whole new sound. It just allows me to make more music that I love that isn’t tied to the same rules as what I normally do.” EI: How did The Oddz get started? Did you already know everyone involved? V: “I’ve been making my usual ‘gay, gypsy, pirate music,’ as I like to call it, for about 10 years now. I’ve release five CDs to date in that style. My big influences in this style were Tom Waits and Rasputina. But truth be told, I’m a huge fan of new wave. Most of the CDs I pop in when I’m
relaxing tend to be new wave bands from the ’80s. So after 20 years, it hit me... why don’t I make music like this if I love it so much? So I decided to start a new wave side project, and that’s how The Oddz got started. I think Tommy was the only one I knew before I started the band. I’d seen him play with a band called Vainglorious, and I thought he was amazing. He was the first person I approached about playing in The Oddz. He introduced me to Glenn Sorino, and I met Xenia and Mark on MySpace. They had a band called Sky Salt that I really liked.” EI: Can you give us some insight as to what we can expect from SellOut!? V: “Well, actually SellOut! is a maxi single, not a full-length album. It has the song ‘SellOut,’ of course, which is a really fun, tonguein-cheek look at how songs get overplayed on the radio. The chorus is “la, la, la, everybody sing the
stupidest song on the radio!” It has a Flock of Seagulls meets Wall of Voodoo kind of sound. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I like it! The maxi single also has our song ‘Girlfriend’, a demo of ‘Medicated Girls Brigade’ and a couple of acoustic versions. The full-length is slated for release in 2007. I think it will have about seven tracks. Some of them are serious and some of them are pretty cheeky. With titles like ‘One Semester Lesbian’ and ‘MySpace Me!,’ you can probably figure out which ones are which right away. You can hear some of them on our MySpace page…. The Oddz were born on MySpace. I started out by posting demos and then re-posting them as they got more developed. I’ve always wanted The Oddz to be very indie and homegrown. Unlike my other project, we are unsigned. It’s funny, because I said the album will be released in ’07.” EI: I noticed that one of your songs is on the 2006 Neil Gaiman tribute album, Where’s Neil When You Need Him?, comprised of songs inspired by the writer and his works. Can you tell us more about that album? V: I’ve known Neil for years from the comic book circuit. I’ve been drawing and writing my own comics for years (Oh My Goth, Chi-Chian, DEADY). In fact, Neil was kind enough to write a fourpage guest story in the third issue of my DEADY series (Deady: The Evil Teddy). A while back I was asked to contribute a song to a disc of music inspired by his work. I was really excited and flattered to be asked. I felt it was a job for The Oddz. We recorded a track called ‘Come Sweet Death,’ about his cute goth chick character from the Sandman comic book series. I’ve heard he really likes the track and mentioned in an interview in Wizard that it was one of his favorites on the disc, so I’m really happy about that. When you admire someone’s work and you get a chance to pay tribute to them, you really want them to like what you do.”
www.myspace.com/ theoddz Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Razed in Black Bleeds High Rock Fashion
Log on: www.razedinblack.net by LESLIE BENSON
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Photo courtesy of RiB.
me, my lyrics are that portal into my mind and reflect my experiences. Hopefully others see that and can also grow.” In addition to her solo act, Venrick makes a living by running Nilaihah Records, which has released albums by artists such as Conetik, NamNamBulu, Distorted Reality and Null Device. “It’s hard to socialize as much as I’d like, but it’s a sacrifice you make to achieve your dreams,” Venrick says. “Thankfully, many of my close friends still continue to support my decisions and music. I’ve also had times where I see the need to keep some things in my life more private than others…. I’m one of those people that rarely sleeps, as I’m told, and always have my hands in something. So, since September 2004, musically I’ve worked on several new tracks for various bands, written tons of lyrics, played shows in the U.S. and Europe and released 12 albums by Nilaihah Records’ bands. Personally, I’ve conquered so much more.” Business savvy and musically adept, Venrick has grown since forming The Azoic. She has even had one of her songs, “Conflict (Turmoil Mix)” released on the Xbox “Dance Dance Revolution: Ultramix 3” game. Meanwhile, she continues to write new music, plan more shows and sign and release new bands off her record label.
Form 30’s New Face by LESLIE BENSON
I Photo by Robert Benson.
lowing off the heels of its most recent album, Illuminate (2004, Nilaihah Records; Infacted Recordings) — a stimulating collection of danceable electronic songs — Columbus, Ohio-based band The Azoic has undergone big changes in the past months. Creative shifts have encouraged Kristy Venrick (vocals, live keyboards) to start a new solo project, Zoica. Now Venrick ventures forth into the live music realm, having performed her debut solo set at Indianapolis, Ind.’s Ice Lounge during the 2006 Gen Con weekend. “Even in a fairly short two-year period, we are all faced with many challenges,” says Venrick. “But, it’s those challenges that make us stronger. I’ve personally dealt with both physical and mental challenges. I try not to let (them) slow me down and learn from the bad and the good. Introspection is important to me — trying to figure out both the logic and passion to any particular situation. Balance is key.” Where Illuminate is about “realizing truth and moving forward,” according to Venrick, the band’s nearly 10-year history will not shift quietly, as it stems from their intense soul-splitting urge to express themselves musically. “I feel I’ve grown a tremendous amount in the past year but still have so much more to learn and accomplish,” she says. “It’s amazing how our vision and perspective actually encompass all our senses. For
Log on: www.zoica.net
Photo courtesy of Kristy Venrick.
by LESLIE BENSON
ashion and style go hand-in-hand, especially in the multifaceted world of industrial/neo-goth music legends Razed in Black (Cleopatra Records). RiB’s Hawaiian-raised frontman Romell Regulacion (vox, guitars, synth) has had the musical itch since childhood. His mother taught him the artistic intricacies of styling hair, and now the Paul Mitchell national educator and diverse composer is working on releasing the second series of This is NeoGoth and Dark Trance vs. NeoGoth, as well as a cover of “Out of Control” by She Wants Revenge for a tribute album. Regulacion, who works for Riah Salon in Jacksonville, Fl., used to keep his life as a hair designer separate from his music career and personal life. Now he embraces all three. “It was only when I started to work closely with my mom that I decided to focus when things quickly gained in that career,” he says. “She’s always been hip to current trends, believes strongly in advanced education and truly possesses a passion that can be felt more than observed.” Regulacion now follows in his mother’s footsteps. Kenchii Cutting Edge Shears have even designed custom “Razed in Black” signature one-off scissors for him. “I’ve accompanied them with a handful of hair shows,” he says. “Keep an eye out for some Razed in Black and Kenchii crossovers — fashion and music!”
ndianapolis, Ind., industrial greats Form 30 are back on the road with a new sound and new band lineup, including DaiV3.0 on bass, Vivian Eleven (the newest addition) on guitar, Jase Milner on vocals, guitar and keys and tour manager Robert Benson on lights. “We are definitely going back to our roots with the new songs (think Nimbus),” says DaiV3.0. “Where the Ignited EP was meant to sound a little more mainstream, we really amped up the electronics and drums for the newer stuff. We will once again have that thick wall of sound of two guitars that many have expressed our music really needs.” Form 30 will have a song featured on the soundtrack Dark Victory, and the band hopes to release their new album this spring.
Log on: www.form30.com Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Far from ‘Exile’ Chicago’s Grigori 3 relishes new album release Log on: www.grigori3.com
EI: What is the most exciting project you’re working on right now? GB: “The video (for) the Michael Stadther collaboration, which is for Think Me Wicked. We’re also doing a video for Silently Breeding.” EI: How did working with author Stadther come about, and when can we expect the video? GB: “That came about, because I’m a fan of his work The Treasure’s Trove. The video should be out in the next few months (on) Internet stations like Hollywood T.V.” EI: What was it like doing your first album, Exile, and what have you learned about yourself as a group? GB: “It was a few years coming. We were excited even though it was past our deadline, but everything happens for a reason, because our original deadline passed and we ended up with another label.
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
A new opportunity came to us. What we learned was patience and perseverance.” EI: I noticed you’re getting some national media attention. How did that come about, and what are your next plans? GB: “Since we started working with Dark Star Records and Chaotic Beauty Management, a lot of doors were opened for us. Last year we worked with (Chicago) Gothic Fest, and that put us in touch with Dark Star. Right now the album has been released nationwide. We’re getting international exposure as well, and we’re planning on touring with the new album and getting a couple of videos out. Basically we’re just trying to move to the next album.” EI: On your album you sing some church Latin on the song “Awakening.” Is there a Christian influence here, and why sing in Latin? GB: “I wouldn’t say that there’s any sort of religion. Myself, I grew up Roman Catholic, and the Latin language just resonated with me. I think it’s beautiful language.” EI: I know you’ve managed to crossover into the dance music scene. What about that, and who
would you say is your main audience? GB: “I would say on the album we probably have five or six dance songs. We tried to actually blur that line a while ago, so I’m happy to hear that we’re doing that. A few of the songs are getting more of a response, evidently. I think our audience is anybody (who) will listen. For us, the big thing was the underground clubs that started, like Nocturna downtown (in Chicago) with Scary Lady Sarah, Michelle Russo… all the D’s that were unafraid to play this music and get online.” EI: Is there any question you wished I had asked and would like to answer? GB: “Because we interact so much online, the big thing is that a lot of young kids that come to the shows will write to me and say, ‘What advice can you give to me? I want
to start my own business.’ Most of the time, I tell them the big thing is perseverance. Keep doing what you’re doing, keep making noise and somebody’s going to hear you… and don’t be afraid to be yourself.”
Roaming abnormal and hallways of Roaming realms of
Beyond This Mire Lies a Path by BLISSFULVIOLET
Roaming through abnormal minds and endless hallways of blue Roaming through their realms of hope a quest to break through Above druidess mountains Above the reckless storms she’s brewed Above the endless depths of oceans where her birth has spawned this rune Sailing through Avalon Sailing with the ghosts I perched my head into the darkness to see what I could find I perched my head into this darkness scorching my own eyes Glory to this solitude it’s what has set me free Glory to the misty winds that guide me in my sleep Bind me in this immortal reign forever in your path Bind me through this angel unknown… The dagger… the thorn My wrath
through minds endless blue through their hope slumber Petals of Blood
This world is our throne and when you find me in slumber remember our love mirror reflecting roses entwined with serpents forever ours... and when the stars scream murder hear my voice Drink of me ’til I’m ill perch sounds nectar creatures in vain the scab of something sweet peel back its dead devouring the sea as it swallows me whole
remember our love
Photo by Joe Occhuizzo and Alexandra V. Bach.
rigori 3, a rising Chicago, Ill.-based goth-metal group consisting of Gwen Bartolini, Ray Wise, Mike Lindsay, Justin Bailey and Mike Feigl, recently released their debut album, Exile, nationwide. Echo Immortalis caught up with singer Bartolini to discuss the new album.
Photo by Joe Occhuizzo.
by JAMIE VITRO
This world is our throne and when you find me in blood to INK
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Poetry When you’re a child of the digital world And the stare of the dragon is all you feel I will not listen to your cries Pragmatic thoughts exude from inside Where are you when the metal corrodes? And demonized men run amidst the daylight No more hiding in the shadows Guilt is in the past and the future is now When the pages of text never meant a thing And the hope inside was all a dream My words will penetrate When the world is a corroded machine… by BRAILLE
When the skin falls off the bones And we all pray for an end When the sky cries blood And the stars burn no more And we all pray for an end My voice is here inside you
When you’re a child of the digital world And the stare of the dragon is all you feel I will not listen to your cries Pragmatic thoughts exude from inside Where are you when the metal corrodes? And demonized men run amidst the daylight No more hiding in the shadows Guilt is in the past and the future is now When the pages of text never meant a thing And the hope inside was all a dream My words will penetrate This music is my little black box You will search, attempting to ascertain Reasoning my crash and burn All that you can hear is confusion and fear These are not my ears but yours I tried to show my light But your soot has covered my intention And the gods close their eyes These are the truths that you despise When the cancer cuts your wings And you can no longer fly And the sun has rotted out your eyes I am shy when you meet me Because I feel your lie I feel your desperate attempt to deny What you are so deep inside
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Art by Clara Turk.
When the world is a corroded machine And the god’s eyes close And everything is a governmentappointed sin My words will penetrate
By what toll will incarceration cost
The enchantment begins With wanton surprise I see myself with plasticized eyes
The pig sits high on his throne of bone Will his judgment stand the test of time Or will I stand free without reason or rhyme
by RYAN JENKINS
Oh, how I’ve longed for the intoxicating rush The sun on my face, the smell of power I want to live as a blossoming flower I reach to the stars to gain some composure Heaven is a place inside Hell is the fear I hide
Danger is imminent much to my dismay The little blue men in their little blue hats Patrolling the streets like little blue rats
I enter the valley of darkness Tribes of demons fill the languid halls I hear their laughter and chant their calls The wind is raging in this forbidden place All of my hope is now lost
The ecstasy is fading and I’m void of despair My eyes are filling with hope and gleam For I have awoken from my peyote dream
by JON FERNANDEZ
bathing in a mentality far from humanity’s aura?
Can you hear my tormented screams echo through the silence? Do I manifest in any dreams or am I too dark to be seen? Cursed so a phase condemned in that has no doors or windows as stone walls mock me, as rare light flickers and for brief moments of time I see the bleakness of my fix.
Helpless I stand, pacing in some empty hope this is not eternal… or is it? Worthless are my feelings here as I crave to express yet have none to express to. For a chasm only answers back in low haunting whispers of lingering winds, and the only thing I feel is the sand’s coarse texture as I reach down and bury my fingers.
No reach to sanity, no findings of tranquility, only neglect manifested by memory’s haunting, sometimes I feel the space I’m confined in fills with water and I cannot breathe, sometimes I beat my fist on the sure cold slabs of wall until my knuckles throb and bleed, yet never am I to see the sun rise and lost the track of days I’ve laid here.
There was a time this condition was a warning, far from harm’s way was I to its grasp, as I loved with reason only champions would fight for, My eyes gleamed of fire and brimstone, my pride and strength towered the heavens, my dreams if physical force could dominate armies of warriors.
My breath silvers the air so this I know it’s winter, such frost to match my essence, of ice and winds of bitterness so severe to rise the dead from slumber, yet keep me resting within this cell. Do I not have the right to love and envelop within warmth as others? Or am I no longer a child of God,
Hollowed out now the substance that was me, like a disembowelment fully of my senses, painful racks of agony and torment envelope me, screaming to cease with no reply. What have I done to deserve this forsakenness? What shall I do to elude the grasp of this darkness?
blood to INK
Art by Clara Turk.
I loved with reason only champions would fight for
blood to INK
Lessons are learned and truth is uncovered I have found the ultimate nirvana And this substance isn’t marijuana
For this weeklong journey I have found my heart I have danced with the pagans in their flowing robes I have sung with the Shaman without any clothes I leave you with a question that needs no retort Are you lying below the earthen sod Or have you found the herbal God?
My breath silvers the air
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
undead & LOVING IT DJ PROFILE Known in the industrial music circuit as Mister E DJ, the elusive Indianapolis, Ind.-based beat matcher and promoter has helped intensify the Midwest scene since he first spun at raves in 1993. From behind-the-scenes, he has booked regional shows for everyone from Haujobb to Razed in Black, garnering support even from Dancing Ferret Discs, which enabled him to perform at a Dracula’s Ball in Philadelphia, Penn. in 2006. One of the original Circle City DJs, Mister E began working with DJs Spectre, Copper Top and Alyda Stoica in 1998 on B.O.G. Productions. The group started the first gothic-industrial club nights in Indy, moving from The Melody Inn to Fusion as Darwins’ Theory, then to The Vault as Strange Days, and now Freak Show biweekly Thursday nights at the Vault. Originally, allages events at The Emerson Theater and Purple Underground made it easy for younger dark music fans to socialize, but with Indianapolis’ liquor laws, those events are now reserved for ages 21 and older. Mister E hopes to change that. “If you’re 18 and can go to a bar, it definitely helps your club scene,” he says. “I’ve been talking to venues to get a monthly all-ages event going. I’d like to incorporate brining in bands like Hungry Lucy and Zoica, who don’t have a lot of [complex] sound requirements.” According to Mister E, what the scene really has going for it is that electronic and industrial DJs are perceived by the public more as performers and musicians than as manual CD changers.
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Echo Immortalis’ Midwest
Events and prices are subject to change without notification. Contact the venue to verify details. For additional information, visit www.echoimmortalis.net.
Champaign The Sidebar/The Highdive 51 E Main St. (217) 356-2337 www.wildhunt.org/subversion, www.myspace.com/subversioncu When: Tuesday, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: 19 +, $2 Subversion: DJs spin gothic, industrial and EBM. Chicago Exit 1315 W. North Ave. (773) 395-2700 www.exitchicago.com When: Sunday – Saturday, 9 p.m. – 4 a.m. Door: 21 +, $5 Friday and Saturday Thursday is Bondage-a-gogo (fetish night); Friday and Saturday are classic industrial nights; Monday is punk rock night. Downstairs is a biker bar; upstairs is a dance floor. Metro 3730 N. Clark St. (773) 549-0203 www.americangothicprod.com, www.metrochicago.com When: Last Saturday of month, 11 p.m. – 5 a.m. Door: $6 over 21, $8 under 18 - 20 Nocturna: DJ Scary Lady Sarah and guests spin goth and industrial. Neo 2350 N. Clark St. (down alley) (773) 528-2622 www.neo-chicago.com When: Sunday – Saturday, 10 p.m. – 4 a.m. Door: 21 +, $5 Thursday – Saturday, Sunday – Wednesday free Sunday: electro-industrial; Monday: metal; Tuesday: post wave dance; Wednesday: hard electronic dance; Thursday: new wave; Friday: electroindustrial; Saturday: EBM, industrial, power noise. Spot 6 3343 N. Clark St. (773) 338-0185 www.myspace.com/spot6 When: Tuesdays Door: 21+, $3 Seizure: For fans of goth, deathrock, punk and electronica. Urbana Independent Media Center 202 S. Broadway www.stitched-up.org When: First Saturday of month, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: All ages; $2 Stitches: Gothic rock including everything from Ex Voto to London After Midnight.
Bloomington Jake’s 419 N. Walnut St. www.axisofevilbloomington.com When: Once a month (see Web site for specific dates), 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. Door: 21 and up, $3 Axis of Evil finally opens up the weekend to Indiana’s dark clubgoers. Indianapolis Therapy Nightclub and Lounge 605 E. Market St. www.myspace.com/therapynightclub www.indygoth.com When: 10 p.m. Door: 21+, $2 Electro Faktory: This new weekly Tuesday event features DJ Copper Top spinning EBM, electro, synthpop and industrial music. The Vault 120 E. Market St. (317) 964-0433 www.indygoth.com When: 10 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. Door: 21+, $3 Freak Show: This now biweekly Thursday goth night features DJ Mister E and others.
Mt. Vernon Hilltop Bar & Grill 109 1st St. East (319) 895-0020 www.myspace.com/aphelionshow When: Biweekly Sundays, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: 18+, $5 Aphelion: DJ Grimm and guests spin gothic, industrial, and techno.
Louisville Exile 514 S. 5th St. www.myspace.com/exileky When: Sunday - Saturday until 4 a.m. Door: $3 This new goth club is open seven days a week and hosts live music by bands like Form 30. Main Street Lounge 104 West Main St. (502) 595-6001 www.louisvillegoth.com When: Friday, 11 p.m. – 4 a.m. Door: 21+, $2 Louisville’s premier goth/industrial night. Everyone from the underground scene who wants to party comes here regularly for dancing via music by The Triad DJs (DJ Shahn, Reverend Spook and SorrowVomit), live bands and $2 well drinks. In addition, Grotesque Burlesque member Vyxsin appears as the official shot girl. Sumshee’s Coffee Shop 204 S. Preston St. (502) 589-2018 www.louisvillegoth.com When: Sunday, 7 p.m. – midnight
Door: All ages, $5 All-Ages Goth Night: The Triad DJs play classic goth and some obscure industrial bands.
Ann Arbor Necto 516 E. Liberty (734) 994-5835 www.necto.com When: Monday, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: 18+; $2, $1 before 10 p.m. Factory: industrial, gothic and synthpop. Detroit Leland City Club 400 Bagley, inside Ramada Inn (313) 962-2300 www.lelandcityclub.com When: Friday and Saturday, 10 p.m. – 4:30 a.m. Door: 18+, $3 before 11 p.m., $4 after, $4 re-entry. DJs spin new EBM, electronic, industrial and synthpop. Hamtramck Mephisto’s 2764 Florian St. (313) 875-3627 www.mephistosdetroit.com When: Wednesday, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: 18+, $2, $9 on Saturday abSINthe: Two floors of gothic/EBM/ industrial dance and horror movies; $1 well drinks. Royal Oak Luna 1815 N Main St. (248) 589-3344 www.lunaroyaloak.com When: Tuesday – Saturday, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: 21+, free before 10 p.m., $3 after Tuesday: DJ Darrin spins alternative, goth and industrial; Wednesday: electro industrial with DJ Pleasure Kitten and guests; Thursday: ‘80’s Night with DJ Davo; Friday: DJ Chris Rohn spins industrial, Brit pop, alternative and new wave; Saturday: alternative dance with DJ Paul.
Minneapolis Ground Zero 15 NE 4th St. (612) 378-5115 www.questionable-industries.com/ corrosion/ When: Thursday – Saturday, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: 21+, $6 Bondage A Go Go (Thursday – Saturday) and Corrosion (Friday) bring out the rivetheads, freaks, fetishists and goths. MISSOURI St. Louis Creepy Crawl 412 N. Tucker (314) 621-9019 www.creepycrawl.com When: Thursday, 11 p.m. – 3 a.m. Door: 21 and up, free
Industrial Nightclub Guide Creepy Things features live goth and industrial bands. Dante’s 3221 Olive St www.requiemsaint.com When: First Monday of month, 10 p.m. – 3 a.m. Door: 18+, $2 before 10:30 p.m., $5 after Requiem: Gothic, industrial, synthpop and darkwave dance night. Upstairs Lounge 3131 S. Grand Blvd (314) 773-3388 www.stlouisgothic.com, www.upstairslounge.com When: Tuesday, 10 p.m. – 3 a.m. Door: 21 and up, free Rapture offers dark ambient music in a comfortable atmosphere.
Akron Annabell’s Cocktail Lounge 784 West Market St. (330) 523-1112 When: Monday, 10 p.m. Door: 18+ (girls only), 21+, call club for cost Modulation Mondays: Electro and synthpop. Bowling Green Sky Bar 238 N. Main St. (419) 352-9310 www.igunoh.com When: Wednesday, 9 p.m. – 2:30 a.m. Door: Free with proper attire 21+, $2 18 – 20 with proper attire I.G.U.N.: DJs Gothfather, DarksChoir and guests spin goth, industrial, punk, new wave, synthpop and EBM. Uptown 162 N. Main St. (419) 352-9310 www.rewiredbg.com When: Wednesday, 9 p.m. – 2:15 a.m. Door: 18+, free Rewired: The best of EBM, industrial, goth, dark wave, trance and new wave. Theme parties include fetish and zombie fans. Cincinnati The Dock 603 W Pete Rose Way (513) 241-5623
When: Thursday, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: Call Bar This gay bar offers electronic dance nights with DJ Mike Dangers spinning for Darkotica. Jekyll and Hyde’s 1140 W. Main St. www.necropolisclub.com, http://cincygoth.com/main/ When: Saturday, 10 p.m. – 3 a.m. Door: 21 and up, $3, ladies free before midnight Necropolis is Cincinnati’s newest goth club night. Dance tunes spin by Nine Inch Nails, The Birthday Massacre, Apoptygma Bezerk and more. Mondays from 10 p.m. – 3 a.m., industrial and EBM bring out clubbers. Top Cat’s Club 2820 Vine St. (513) 281-2005 http://cincygoth.com/main/, www.myspace.com/cincygoth When: First Sunday of month, 9 p.m. Door: $7 21 and up, $9 18 – 20 Sanctuary is a monthly live music event. Past bands that have performed there include Black Cat Revival and The Epidemic. Columbus Outland 660 Harrisburg Pike www.cringe.com/outland/, http://outlandnightclub.com When: Every Friday – Saturday, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: $5 21+, $7 18 – 20 Gothic, industrial, new wave, darkwave, ethereal and EBM dance music. Cleveland Phantasy Niteclub 11814 Detroit Ave. (216) 228-6300 www.phantasyconcertclub.net When: Fridays – Sundays; 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: Ladies free before 11 p.m.; 21+ $3; 18 - 20 $5 The Chamber: Gothic/industrial, drum and bass and dark ambient music. Dayton The Foundry 26 Wyandot St. (937) 222-8550 http://thefoundrynightclub.com When: Friday, 10 p.m. – 4 a.m. Door: 18 and up, $3 - $5, free for ladies
undead & LOVING IT
before midnight The nightclub fills with one hundred darkly-clad music lovers each week.
Toledo Wesley’s 1201 Adams St. (419) 255-3333 www.wesleysbarandgrill.com When: Friday, 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. Door: 18+, $2 Industry: EBM, synthpop, gothic and industrial.
Beat matches, crossfades and synth samples make his tracks hot. “I use two Denon DNS-3,000s, a DJM-500 Mixer and Stanton headphones. Sometimes I use my laptop and a program called Virtual DJ,” he says. DJ-ing at the former 1470’s West in Dayton, Ohio, the Main St. Lounge in Louisville, Ky. and Berlin Nightclub in Chicago, Ill., has influenced his style, as has his consistent interest in musical performance. “I’ve always played some sort of instrument — percussion, violin, trumpet and piano,” Mister E says. Recently joining Danz Poeta as a live keyboardist and backing vocalist, he looks forward to getting on stage again. While away from the limelight, Mister E collects the newest industrial compilations. But for now, you can hear him spin at The Vault on Thursdays — everything from VNV Nation to Combichrist. “It’s crunchy, noisy and aggressive music to dance to,’ he says. “Some places I might take more chances by flipping through my CDs and playing something I may not ever have listened to.” A true professional, Mister E keeps most of his socializing to nights he isn’t DJ-ing. “I’m there to work, not to pass out drunk,” he says. So he will continue booking national acts to perform Midwest shows, improving the overall nightclub atmosphere for industrial music fans. “I want to keep a forward momentum going,” he adds. — Leslie Benson
Green Bay 29 Steps 119 S. Washington St., second floor (920) 435-2929 http://goth.29stepspub.com/ beatenpath.htm When: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: 21+, free Off the Beaten Path: Bring your own music for DJ Chuck-Smash to play, including goth, industrial, darkwave, synthpop, etc. Madison Cardinal Bar 418 East Wilson St. (608) 251-0080 www.cardinalbar.com When: Wednesday and Friday, 9 p.m. Door: 21+, $3-$5, free before 10 p.m. Wednesday: Electronic underground night. Friday: retro ‘80s and ‘90s music. Club Inferno 1718 Commercial Ave. (608) 245-9583 www.clubinferno.com When: Saturday, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: 21+, $3, free before 10 p.m. Chrome/Halo: Two-level packed dance floor featuring the latest and classic EBM, electro, synth and industrial mixes. Milwaukee Club (Anything)? 807 S. 5th St. (414) 383-5680 www.geocities.com/clubanything/ When: Friday – Saturday, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Door: 21+, $3 Friday: Elektrotrash night.
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
undead & LOVING IT
undead & LOVING IT
2006 Artificial Soldier Tour June 13, 2006 Logan Square Auditorium Chicago, Ill.
I was ecstatic when I heard that Front Line Assembly would be touring after four long years, as it would be my first opportunity to see the pioneers in action. The show opened with Vigilante, which was a great choice. The crowd enjoyed the performance of this Chilean group, who had definite millennium-era FLA influences to their sound. They were great at getting the audience geared up, and by the time FLA came out, everyone went absolutely crazy — myself included! FLA relied on only a few songs from the new album, instead giving us a great mix of masterpieces from 1992 through 2006. FLA grinded the walls of the venue and everyone in it with their music. We heard a number of hits, including “Millennium,” “Surface Patterns,” “Biomechanic,” “Gun,” “Plasticity,” “Resist,” “Mindphaser” and more. By the end, I felt exhausted from jumping, stomping and screaming, and felt gratified that I was able to bear witness to one of the greatest industrial acts of all time. FLA still sounds as fresh and as powerful as ever. They are indeed timeless. — Zlatko Zgombic
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Black Sun Festival II July 28 - 30, 2006
It is a warm fall night. Lincoln Park is bustling as usual. My mind is on the run too. Nitzer Ebb is in town, and it’s time to experience the EBM giants in person. Flesh. Blood. Machine. “The Power of Voice” is around. The Body of Work collection has been released. And oh what a body it is! I can’t believe that any other band could do what Nitzer Ebb does this night — resurrect themselves so immaculately after certain death. Most fans have felt cheated during these past few years, while they were trying to be something besides what they truly are — harsh, simple… perfect. Ever since the release of Big Hit, we’ve been robbed (for whatever reason) of the real Nitzer Ebb. Tonight Douglas MaCarthy, Bon Harris and Kourtney take us back to their true sound and blow our “Hearts & Minds” at The House of Blues. The set is like time traveling to the golden years of EBM (1986-’91). We have it all: “Getting Closer,” “Let Your Body Learn,” “Shame,” “Captivate,” “Godhead,” “Hearts & Minds,” “For Fun,” “Lighting Man,” “Ascend,” “Blood Money,” “Control,” “I’m Here,” “Murderous,” “Join in the Chant,” “Fun To Be Had” and “I Give To You.” …And they give it to us... hard. — Z.Z.
Annie’s Entertainment Complex Cincinnati, Ohio July 29, 2006 www.terrorwithin.com They grew up and raised their families together, eventually scouring the nightclubs of San Diego, Calif., for business inspiration. Vocalist and songwriter DJ Omen (Donnie Canfield) and best friend, keyboardist and sampling guru, Scott Dowers of Cincinnati-based industrial band Hematosis, run the gamut on creative enterprise. Not only do the bandmates organize two annual haunted attractions, Zombie Island and Too Dark Park, in Monroe, Ohio, they also throw semi-monthly traveling nightclub parties known as Club Vampire. With a staff of 30 friends, the duo hosts a sophisticated
The Genitorturers played Cleveland in Sept. 2006. Photo by Hal Schroeder.
Upon the final weekend in July 2006, several hundred goths of all ages descended upon New Haven, Conn., for Black Sun Festival II. The small city of New Haven, normally immersed in the events of Yale University, became enveloped in a sea of bondage gear and dreadfalls. No other festival places so many internationally recognized gothic/ industrial artists on one stage, this year bringing everything to its height by headlining Das Ich and Combichrist. However, the bands were only a small part of the overall festival, which also included DJs from around the world, art shows, the Techstyles Oddities Fashion Show and an elaborate meet-andgreet the final day of the fest, which led to several dozen goths dancing to industrial music in a diner at 2 p.m. — much to the bewilderment of the local staff. — Jason Saunders
Sept., 25, 2006 The House of Blues Chicago, Ill.
David J of Bauhaus | Photo by Doppelganger Photography.
Front Line Assembly with Vigilante
So the day finally arrived. I waited seven years since the sold-out 1999 Bauhaus reunion to witness the godfathers of goth in the flesh. Here I was near Indianapolis, Ind., and the legendary spooksters opened their first few songs with classics “In the Flat Field” and “God in the Alcove.” I sang along. They had aged gracefully, yet had less hair. A smoky Peter Murphy howled “She’s in Parties” effortlessly across the open arena — much too large and impersonal for this now niche band. Small clusters of fans sported devil locks and Joy Division Tshirts, while others scowled at this “opening” band. Peaches, the real unknown openers had a similar welcoming. It was a travesty for Bauhaus to open for headliners Nine Inch Nails, though both bands have influenced this scene in their own right. Behind Hollywood sunglasses, Bauhaus guitarist Daniel Ash played notes behind a white furry vest, and blonde bombshell bassist David J looked sleek in his full black attire. Kevin Haskins hid behind his drums. Here in the Midwest, the band seemed to have lost touch with the masses, though its fanbase remains loyal. Strobes and purple lights flickered amidst fog, not as sinister and simple as Murphy’s signature bare lightblub prop, which used to hang from the stage during his early performances, around which he would sway. Perhaps that ended with the last millennium. Murphy ensnared female fans with his sheer white shirt and form-fitting jeans. “Silent Hedges” brought on bright red lights as he sang “…Going to hell again,” driving the heavy energy to my feet. Rednecks from the crowd shouted “Bob Dylan!” for no reason, while “Stigmata” brought on Bauhaus’ mimicked scarecrow poses. A former dark teenage anthem, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” had Murphy dancing in a wicked cape. He pointed at me, and I pointed back, as if it was just
New Haven, Conn. www.blacksun-festival.com
Photo by Leslie Benson.
Frontline Assembly photo by Chris Ertle.
July 3, 2006 Verizon Wireless Music Center Noblesville, Ind.
the two of us for a second in the massive arena. By 9 p.m., Bauhaus ended its set, and draft beer grew warm under the muggy heat. Nine Inch Nails soon opened behind a steel screen cage with the lyrics “… Too fucked up to care anymore.” Doobies lit around me, and fog unleashed industrial drum noise, while fans gawked at frontman Trent Reznor’s newly-buzzed head and buff body. “Tell a Lie” turned the audience into a unified singing machine, and “March of the Pigs” caused people to reminisce back to his old albums. Reznor’s guitarist dove off stage, and soon the band slowed the music within iridescent purple mist. Reznor sang like an industrial messiah to our pain. (Cue the redneck who yelled, “I fuckin’ love you Trent!”) As you can imagine, “Closer” threw the audience into a grinding fury as night cast its shadows, and people blew into the free condoms that had been given away by a vendor earlier, so white sex balloons floated over the crowd during “Gave Up.” Fists were thrown in the air and, later, “Hurt” sympathized with our sweat and exertion from standing in the heat so long. Then Murphy returned to the stage to sing with Reznor on one of his final, newer songs. However, “Head Like a Hole” rounded out the concert — an appropriate finale of blistering rage like an aural electrocution. — Leslie Benson
CombiChrist photo by Keliin Parsons..
Bauhaus, Nine Inch Nails and Peaches
Peter Murphy of Bauhaus in Noblesville, Ind. | Photo by Vanessa Hamilton of Doppelganger Photography.
2006 Concert and Event Reviews
underworld bash, attracting hundreds of Midwest industrial fans and those turned on by vampiric lore. High-energy music encouraged dancing when DJ Omen mixed tracks by Informatik, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Thrill Kill Kult, Skinny Puppy and more. With graffiti adorning the outer walls of Annie’s Entertainment Complex, this particular club night was held in a location known for its metal history, having housed performances by Metallica, Slayer and Pantera. In the $5 VIP room, complete with BBQ and pizza, clubgoers mingled, having only shelled out between $10-$12 for the overall entrance fee. Ambience was key as promoters decorated with medieval crosses as centerpieces and Halloween-themed props like a tortured man behind a glass case, a tarot card/drink table coffin and a beautiful, handcrafted stained glass piece by DJ Omen’s brother, Brian Canfield of Grim Glass, entitled “Vladimir.” High definition TVs and a large screen projector near the dance floor played erotic vampire and cult horror films, while in the background, Leatherwolffe Creations sold unique goods. With thousands of square feet in which to dance, the night turned out well worth it. At midnight, onlookers even had the chance to greet the “queen of the damned” herself, Makari, at her throne, by kissing her pale hand. — L.B.
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
THEY LURK IN
THE SHADOWS, GARGOYLES OF LIVING STONE, LOST SOULS WHO WANDER MIST-SHROUDED CEMETERIES, AND VAMPIRES WHO DWELL DEEP WITHIN FORBIDDEN CRYPTS.
WELCOME TO MONOLITH
THE DARK REALM OF
A VERITABLE FEAST
OF GOTHIC FANTASIES LIES IN WAIT TO QUENCH YOUR DARK DESIRES.
Originally established in 1991 by acclaimed fantasy artist Joseph Vargo as an outlet to publish posters and printwear of his own design, Monolith Graphics has grown throughout the years to offer a wide array of gothic merchandise including artwork, books, magazines, tarot cards, calendars, T-shirts and music cds. Vargo and his dark muse, graphic designer Christine Filipak have turned their gothic visions into a thriving business. “We didn’t have a long-term ‘master plan’ in the beginning,” Christine admits, “We simply wanted to create cool dark artwork. I brought my computer skills to the table and at first I did the graphic design and prep work for the calendars, posters and such. But as time went on, my duties expanded and I became a web designer, writer, and magazine publisher, in addition to creating my own artwork.” Joseph Vargo adds “With Monolith, the creative possibilities are endless, and we’re only limited by our own imaginations.” Vargo’s images of gothic fantasy have graced the covers of several books, magazines and cds, and have been used for set design by broadcast companies such as NBC, Universal, 20th Century Fox, as well as being featured on A&E and The Discovery Channel. The fine art book Born of the Night: The Gothic Fantasy Art of Joseph Vargo offers a visual feast of over 100 of Vargo’s most
popular paintings as well as some of his previously unpublished illustrations in addition to background commentary on each piece. In 2000, Vargo turned his artistic talents toward creating the book Tales From The Dark Tower, a collection of 13 sinister stories of vampires, ghosts, living gargoyles and dark angels. The next big project to come along was The Gothic Tarot, a complete deck of 78 cards, including individually illustrated Majors and Minors. It has since become the top-selling deck of its kind. Christine also utilized her Art Nouveau-inspired style to create Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards, which offer a unique blend of themes including fantasy, Egyptian, Celtic and ancient mythology. Monolith also strives to promote the talents of other emerging artists through their gothic periodical, Dark Realms Magazine. The magazine features the work of various goth-oriented writers, artists and musicians. Though some publishers may consider promoting other artists as a conflict of interest, Joseph Vargo shares the opposite view. “There’s a lot of great talent out there and it’s difficult to make a name for yourself in any of the artistic fields, so unfortunately, many deserving artists go unrecognized. When someone works hard at their chosen craft, I feel credit should be given where it’s due.”
Vargo has spread his dark wings over the realm of gothic music as well. After concieving, directing, producing and financing the breakthrough cds, Born of the Night, and Realm of Shadows for the local Cleveland band Midnight Syndicate, Vargo left the group to start his own band, Nox Arcana, to continue his original idea of creating gothic soundscapes. This time he teamed with fellow composer and musician William Piotrowski to create music that ranges from eerie and mystical melodies to haunting orchestrations, evoking the atmosphere of classic horror films. “There were many limitations working with Midnight Syndicate,” Vargo admits, “primarily because they didn’t understand the gothic genre, however, with Nox Arcana, we can fully explore the gothic spectrum and take the music to new levels. Each of the seven Nox Arcana cds has a distinctly different flavor, while maintaining a full-blooded gothic aesthetic. We also utilize vocal narratives, chanting choirs, and a wide variety of instruments that help us create dark musical landscapes that vary from Dracula’s castle and cathedral ruins to ancient Egyptian temples and Victorian cemeteries. The cd booklets are also filled with lots of original artwork to help set the mood.” Every Nox Arcana album is unique, visionary and exquisitely crafted, offering detailed storylines as well as great music. Their 2003 debut album, Darklore Manor, invites listeners to embark on a musical journey throughout a legendary haunted mansion with a dark and sinister history. Their second album, Necronomicon, is a spellbinding tribute to Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. Winter's Knight is a medieval ghost story set in an enchanted forest that surrounds the ruins of a haunted cathedral. Transylvania, inspired by Bram Stoker's Dracula, ventures into the mysterious and forbidden land of vampires, werewolves and witches. Carnival of Lost Souls dares listeners to step inside an old-fashioned carnival that harbors living nightmares and sinister secrets. Nox Arcana recently collaborated with occult writer Michelle Belanger, author of The Psychic Vampire Codex, to create the haunting cd, Blood of Angels, which draws upon the ancient myth of Watcher Angels who abandoned Heaven for a taste of mortal love. Michelle’s seductive soprano voice and timeless lyrics create a wicked alchemy with the brooding and atmospheric orchestrations of Nox Arcana, telling stories of lost love and forbidden passions. Vargo reveals “We’ve just finished Blood of the Dragon, an epic tale of swords and sorcery, and have already begun work on, Shadow of the Raven, a concept album based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe.” So what’s on the horizon for the Monolith team? Vargo states “We have a lot of projects in the works, ranging from new books and music to computer games and film. With Monolith, whatever we can dream, we can make reality.”
QUENCH YOUR DARK DESIRES... WWW.MONOLITHGRAPHICS.COM AND WWW.NOXARCANA.COM
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
he place is Strickers Grove, a small amusement park in Hamilton, Ohio, one hour from Dayton. It is a sweltering July afternoon, and much of the nation is experiencing a heat wave. Here it is over 90 degrees, and plenty of bottles of water, sunglasses, shorts and sunburns are evident. Faces shine with sweat. By amusement park-standards, the place is practically empty. None of the rides are in operation, and there is no line at the concession stand. That’s because today, Strickers Grove, which is usually rented out for private parties, has been taken over by the film crew of Devil’s Grove, a low-budget slasher movie. It is day 12 of a 22-day shoot. Director Zoe Judd says the days typically last 12 hours, but they have already worked one 18-hour day. “Today’s probably going to be 18,” she says, frowning. Filmmaking is a time-consuming process, and much of it is spent waiting around while the crew sets up a shot. As the crew sets up the next shot at the Teacups ride, Judd uses the time to rehearse with her young actor, nine-year-old freckle-faced Brooke Devenney, who is sitting in the ride. Standing against the railing, Judd asks Devenney give her a scream, and Devenney obliges, letting out a series of high-pitched screeches. “Is that good?” she asks. Judd nods. “Yes, but I’m going to want it like that, but longer.” On the other side of the ride, Chris Cochran, the other actor in the scene, waits patiently. An hour before, Cochran looked quite harmless in shorts and a blue and white striped shirt. Now he is in costume, wearing a gray jumpsuit and ballcap, his chest and arms covered in blood. He carries a severed dog head in one hand like one would carry a football. Once a marginal genre, the slasher film has gone mainstream. Low budget cultfavorites like Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes have been remade with studio-sized budgets and splashy special effects and have gone on to produce box-office numbers rivaling the more traditional blockbuster faire.
behind the lens
But genre fans can still rely on a steady stream of low budget straightto-video and limited release movies, and Devil’s Grove is a film along these lines, made in the tradition of the Roger Corman flicks of old, where the budget is a fraction of what studio picture spends on catering, and the actors playing the principal roles have little to no experience in front of the camera. Michael Hein, producer of Devil’s Grove, his sixth feature-length film, is all too familiar with the difficulties that typically afflict low-budget productions. Actors and crew often must rely on other jobs to make ends meet, resulting in scheduling conflicts, which means the production must be flexible, ready to reschedule a shoot or substitute a body double for a principle role at a moment’s notice. “When you’re working low-budget, nobody’s a diva,” says Hein. “Nobody’s making much money, and you’re working long hours, but people have rent to pay. People have to feed themselves. We understand that. So everybody pulls together, and you get it done.” As the crowd of production assistants, extras and crewmembers look on, Judd has Cochran and Devenney rehearse the scene. Cochran walks up the ramp slowly and purposefully, wearing a severe expression. As he passes each teacup, he brushes a hand across its railing, causing it to revolve lazily. When he gets to Devenney, hiding in a teacup at the other end of the ride, she lets out an extended and impossibly loud scream. Several people cover their ears, and when it’s done everyone breaks into applause. Special effects artist Anthony Pepe grins and yells, “Damn that’s a good scream! Set of lungs on that girl!” After a few rehearsals, the scene is filmed. Once it’s in the can and the crew is ready to move to the next set-up, Devenney asks to use the restroom, and then disappears. A moment later, a production assistant approaches Judd with a look of concern, and tells her, “Brooke’s getting freaked out. I think the dog’s head was a little too realistic for her.” Together, Devenney’s father and Judd spend some time talking with her at a bench far away from everyone else. Cochran, who is concerned, mills around talking to others. When he floats the idea that he should be nicer to her in the next scene, someone points out that might be hard to do, given he will be attacking her with a pitchfork. While Devil’s Grove has all the time-honored elements — twisted
Extra “victim” in Devil’s Grove film | Photo by Alisa Lawson
Mathius Saunders and Producer Michael Hein by Emanuel Cavallaro
Blood, Sweat and Tears in Strickers Grove Park
Actor Chris Cochran (front) and others | Photo by Alisa Lawson
by EMANUEL CAVALLARO
Special effects artist Anthony Pepe puts fake blood on an actress | Photo by Alisa Lawson
behind the lens
twins, attractive teenagers, a cute little girl, a psychotic killer recently escaped from a mental hospital and plenty of violence and gore — Judd, who before now has spent years directing commercials, training videos and documentaries, has introduced some new conceits. For one thing, she is shooting not on 35 mm film stock, which is expensive, but high-definition video, using the Panasonic AG-HVX200, a solid-state high-definition camcorder, the same technology used on the USA network’s series The 4400. For another, much of the action takes place during the day. “The screenplay offered opportunities for some new things, some new takes on the horror genre,” says cinematographer Matthius Saunders, who earlier in the day earned the admiration of the director by climbing about 25 feet up the roller coaster supports to get the kind of overhead shot usually achieved with the aid of a crane or apple-picker. “I liked that all the kills happen at an amusement park,” he says. “I’m really into color and texture, and Zoe really wants a movie that is really bright and cheery but that has gruesome things happening.” Following her talk with Judd and her father, Devenney returns to the set, and a little while later, it’s as if nothing had happened. “It was a little scary,” Devenney says later. “I actually cried.” This is Devenney’s first speaking role. She has worked as a catalogue model and an extra and says of acting, “It’s fun. It’s like playing, but you memorize where to go and how to play. [When you actually get scared], it shows up really good on camera. That’s what they like.” Today the future of the project is still very much up in the air. Devil’s Grove is in postproduction, and twice a week the New York editor sends DVDs of the edited footage to Judd in Middletown, Ohio, who views it and sends her notes. In a couple weeks she will make the trip to New York to supervise the final edit, the addition of the music and the sound design. As is often the case with low-budget films, The Devil’s Grove went into production without a distribution deal, and there is no guarantee it will ever reach its intended audience. The fate of the project rest on the whims of the festival circuit where, Judd hopes, the film may garner the attention of distributors and go on to a theatrical or straight-to-video release.
Log on: www.devilsgrove.com Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
behind the lens
Loving the Artist
The comic book romance of Jay Fife
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
by ACID POPTART
rt or sex? It’s the question that may well have broken up a few disgruntled relationships where one partner is an artist and becomes fixated on getting a piece of work “just right,” but for real artists, and the ones that love them, art is sex — a force born of desire that can often be difficult to fully satiate. Enter into the ambrosial garden of provocative femmes, fantasy warriors, comic book heroines, daring bad girls, slinky pinups and even the occasional ingénue. Residents of all kinds sketch, paint, sculpt and attempt to offer their praise of the female form. Jay Fife is no different, although when I first met him at the 2004 Pittsburgh Comicon, he was only just embarking on a path of sensual portraits. It’s a path he’s never looked back on. “When I draw someone, I feel a deep bond with their image, and when the subject is a woman, it is a lot like love. I’ve often referred to drawing as a demanding mistress. She takes you beyond any physical, or for that matter, sane love,” he says. Fife has an animated voice with a genuine interest for whom he’s talking to, or perhaps I am biased, since he and I have become fast friends since our first meeting. But eating dinner and chatting with Fife is much like a full-bodied wine that you savor. His portfolio is packed with voluptuous super heroes and salty glamour vixens. It’s the versatility of the female form he loves. “The simple fact that the image of a woman can take any genre, like horror, science fiction, action, crime drama (or) comedy, makes it just plain sexy,” Fife says. He confesses that his addiction to aggressive women fuels his drawings. “I’ll go with my unending, and sometimes unhealthy, love of strong-willed female characters. I love interesting people and find the beauty of confident, smart women quite appealing.” Inspired by real-life saucy gals and a few of Hollywood’s elite, Fife loves to draw women. “I love drawing Betty Page and Julie Newmar,” he says. “I got to meet Yvonne Craig (Batgirl from the old 1960’s Batman series) in Detroit [last] May, and (I’ve) gotta say, she is still very beautiful; very nice as well. Recently, I’ve been basing some super hero drawings on photos of Jessica Alba. She looks more like a super hero than most actresses. I’ve done a lot of work with models I’ve met at shows or on ModelMayhem.com. Standouts would have to be Sith Vixen, Mistylyn, Michelle Pestel, Heather Pariso, Meagan Blomquist, Isis, Yesenia, Tanya Dakin, and my favorite, of course, Acid PopTart.” Fife loves to make me blush, and I would normally blame this kind of praise on too much wine, except I’m the one drinking, not him. When I first received a drawing from him, a shot from the convention with my now grown-in Mohawk, I was deeply flattered. But when I received the next amazing piece from him, a composite based off a photo from Aaron Kennison and Kidtee Hello, titled “Fear Itself,” I was left speechless. Fife and I have worked together many times since then. He’s even conspired without my knowledge to use photos from Kennison to present me with an original portrait that hangs in my house now along with the original drawing he did of me as my childhood favorite heroine, Wonder Woman. “I also enjoy collaborating with artists and photographers,” Fife says. “I recently did a collaboration with a comic book artist from Canton named Jamie Fay. That was tremendous fun. I���ve also enjoyed working on photos shot by Aaron Kennison, Kidtee Hello, Mark Lengthy, INY, Dark Mannequin Designs, [and] I’ve been approached for some covers by several independent publishers.” Growing up in rural Wellsville, Ohio, in the 1970s was a rather bleak time if you weren’t into cars, guns or football, Fife tells me. “I learned to read from old DC and Marvel comics and became familiar with the work of comic book greats like Curt Swan, Ross Andru, Herb Trimpe, Gene Colon, Keith Pollard and the legendary Jack Kirby,” he says. “I also discovered
Art courtesy of Jay Fife
Eric Chatterjee, “Eric Tragedy,” of Covington, Ky. started his career this way. Armed with a Hi8 camcorder, he and his friends made kung fu movies as teens by jumping off roofs. “Probably not the safest thing in the world to do,” he admits, but thanks to the footage and crude video editing techniques, they laid the foundation for a now blossoming film career in a virtually unknown film genre — goth. Years before working as a library assistant and construction company gopher, Chatterjee found his element while watching Star Wars and Roger Corman films of Edgar A. Poe stories, an appropriate background for a dark romantic. His early 1990’s experience as an extra in a made-for-video B-film introduced him to underground artists who would later support his filmmaking efforts. Now graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s in psychology, a minor in creative writing and a master’s in digital design, Chatterjee has reveled in the release of an original film, Grimm Reality, and the opportunity to work professionally in the field he loves. “In 1998, I realized I was making more money freelancing for film and video than I was at my regular job, so I quit my day job and never looked back,” he says. Since then, he has shot footage for TV shows such as “Wife Swap,” “Trading Spouses,” “Miracle Workers” and an episode of National Geographic’s “Is It Real?” In 2003, he self-funded his graduate project, releasing Grimm Reality (available on Amazon.com), a film exploring three of the Grimm Brother’s fairytales as they were told in their original, raw form, before the Victorian age sequestered the sex and violence and made them into children’s fables. “The overall story is about a young woman finding out that her husband-to-be is a cannibal and a murderer,” says Chatterjee. “So three girls concoct a plan to tell his stories at the wedding feast to reveal the evidence. The stories I chose were ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ ‘Fitcher’s Bird’ and ‘The Robber Bridegroom.’” With costumes provided by Cincinnati, Ohio’s once-prevalent alternative clothing store, Spunk, and local talent to boot, the film went off without a hitch and premiered during Halloween three years ago, with much of the footage shot the morning of Chatterjee’s friend’s wedding at Ohio’s Loveland Castle. “We live in the Midwest, a place where people aren’t used to venture capitalism,” he says. “It’s a lot harder to make it as a filmmaker here than, say, a musician, because you’re bringing together a lot more people.” His current project, other than shooting for TV shows, revolves around another goth-themed film, Quench (www.alongthetracks.com), for which he is the art director and production designer, among other odd jobs. Filmed in Richmond, Ind., the movie tells the tale of a “vanilla” guy who visits his childhood best friend in a small town only to find his former confidant is now goth and has changed in ways both profound and disturbing. Far from a horror film, for which the goth genre is known, this drama deals with real issues in a respectful way. Chatterjee is also making a Pickled Brothers Sideshow DVD for fans of the circus performers and continues to flourish as an independent filmmaker. With several new scripts under his wing, he has only a world of possibilities on the horizon.
Lonna Louise as “Rikka” | Photos courtesy of Eric Tragedy
his must have been how filmmakers like Michael Moore got their start — gathering the neighborhood kids and digging up dirt at the local pharmacy for mini-exposés about recalled products, while employees demanded footage not be shot at their store.
Christina Seurkamp as “Kendra”
Log on: www.grimmreality.com
Eric Tragedy | Photo by Randall Flagg
Midwest goth filmmaker shines in limelight by LESLIE BENSON
that an artist named P. Craig Russell, who worked for Marvel, was a native of Wellsville. I met with Craig several times and learned my first pointers about drawing for comics. Recently, I’ve been studying classic fantasy artists like Frank Frazetta and the lovely Rowina. I also love the pinup masters such as Vargas, Olivia and Gil Elvgren, Jim Balent, Mike Mayhew, Greg Land and the incomparable Buzz.” I’ve known Fife well enough to tell you what his favorite drawing subject is, but for the sake of amusement, I’ll ask that question. “Yes, women, and that’s because I love to draw people,” he admits. “The human form is the most artistic thing around. Following a distant second is a view from a mountaintop. Since people are more accessible, and women much more aesthetic, I seem to prefer them as a subject. Besides, the image of a woman is beautiful no matter how you pose her. Guys have to be doing some action pose, or they just look ridiculous.” Even certain fictional characters draw Fife in more than others. My geeky comic book side must know who his favorite heroine and bad girl are. “Rogue, baby, the only reason I ever picked up an X-men comic! I always loved the outsider characters,” he says. “She really strikes a chord with me. I’ve also loved Catwoman for years. My first crush was Julie Newmar, another great example of an outsider. I just did a drawing of DC’s Huntress and have done a lot of Mary Marvel drawings lately. I’ve always loved the characters that walk the line between hero and villain.” But what happens when Fife falls into a rut and needs a jolt to propel him back to the drawing board? “Old monster and sci-fi movies,” he says. “I’ll throw in a copy of the 1953 War of the Worlds or The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, and I’m good. I’m a monster movie geek — anything Ray Harryhausen or Hammer Films is a real treat. I’ve watched Earth vs. the Flying Saucers five times this week.” Fife is currently accepting commissions. Original works of art are also for sale in accordance with Diego Garcia Comic Art.
Log on: www.jayfife.com Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
by ACID POPTART
Jim Balent and Holly GoLightly | Photo by Acid PopTart
Bewitching the ‘Tarot’ Girls
An interview with Broadsword Comics’ artist Jim Balent
Acid PopTart as Boo Cat the WereCat | All art copyright Broadsword Comics, by Jim Balent
hen someone mentions comics, you typically call to mind spandexclad super heroes thrashing costumed villains and saving the world, unless you’ve been reading Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose. Surrounded mostly by male character dominated books, Tarot is one of the few titles carried by the main female character. Tarot, the crimson-tressed heroine, is a fiercely strong woman who seeks to educate instead of solving every problem with a strong uppercut; although she’s not afraid to draw her sword or utter her spells when the situation calls for it. But this comic has a cast full of bewitching
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
beauties that are independent creatures, from Tarot’s darkhaired sister, Raven Hex, to the delicious couple Licorice Dust (a vampire) and Boo Cat (a werecat). The man behind this creation, Jim Balent, is known for his drawings of gorgeous women. Before Tarot, he was best known for his 77-issue run of DC Comic’s Catwoman. A change in some creative teams gave Balent a chance to embark on creating his own comic under his company, Broadsword Comics. After an amicable departure from DC (despite the rumors you might have heard otherwise), he set about to bring his idea to life. Tarot became a huge success,
even outselling titles from “major” companies in some stores, including in a comic shop I use to manage. Balent was quite pleased. “I didn’t launch Tarot with the idea that I was going to outsell some of the titles published by the major comic companies,” he says. “In fact some of the ‘experts’ from the comic industry and distributors told me that Tarot would not sell pass issue three. So, when I hear the news that Tarot, to this day, sells better than some of the mainstream books... I am very pleased — not in a ‘told you so’ attitude, (but) more along the lines of being proud of doing something that everyone else said wouldn’t happen.” “‘The people in the know’ [told] me that it was going to die after issue three,” he continues. “I had already announced that the first story was a four-issue story arc. I was hoping to get that far and then if it bombed ... try something else. I did have in mind that it was going to be an ongoing series. I wanted to start at issue one and keep going. I don’t like the idea of having a new number one every time I write a new story arc. I am very grateful to the readers. They are one of the main reasons Tarot is on (issue) 41 and climbing.” Echo Immortalis took some time to interview the man behind the comic. EI: Having worked in mainstream comics for some time, there was no doubt a certain satisfaction to producing your own comic. What freedoms come with this? JB: “The freedom to own your own work [and to] draw and write, for the most part, 98 percent what you want. Freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand. You won’t have that freedom if you don’t honor your obligations, like deadlines, getting your book out on time, paying all your bills: printers, advertisements, employees, and respecting the readers of your book. All these things and more allow me the freedom to self-publish.” EI: What keeps the book exciting for you?
JB: “Drawing and writing about strong, sexy women is pretty exciting. I enjoy twisting humor, sexuality, witchcraft and morals into the book. So with that combination, the book is still exciting to me.” Inspired a lot by friends and the stories they tell, Balent weaves a magical journey for the myriad of characters in the Tarot mythos. He’s written many actual people into his tales, sometimes even using their physical likeness to inspire his creations. Tarot was inspired by many, but only when Balent met Holly GoLightly did Tarot take final form. The characters of Boo Cat and Licorice Dust were based off myself, after he met me and heard of my stories with GoLightly. Being visually oriented, as most artists tend to be, he can be moved by someone or something, and a story will evolve. EI: With so many different characters, each with their own personality, do you have a favorite in the Tarot mythos? JB: “There are so many. I like Boo Cat. Her sexual freedom creates a lot of funny moments, especially when she is teamed up with a straight man, like Jon, (the Skeleton Man). Each character has [her] way of expressing sexuality. I think that is one of the reasons the book is doing so well. Sure, some people will pick it up just for the pretty girls, but most pick it up because they see themselves in the characters. Whether they are interested in the witchcraft or the sexuality of the stories, there is a thread of moral teaching and exploration of one’s self that is woven into the story lines. The book is supposed to entertain and educate on the subjects of witchcraft, sex and acceptance, and by the letters I receive every month I see that I am hitting my mark.” EI: There are many stores that don’t carry Tarot, while seeming to carry other books that depict a lot more violence. How do you think this reflects on society as a whole? We seem to repel nudity and anything sexual, yet we use sex to sell
everything from beer to clothing, and we celebrate violence? JB: “You’re right. We do celebrate violence and sex, to a point. I guess I should say ‘SELL-ebrate’ sex…. Our nation has a cheapening, dirty view of sex. For example, you show a beer commercial with footage of football players crunching into one another, (and) the violence is looked upon as heroic. Take the same product and have two girls wrestling in a water fountain, and all of a sudden the violent images aren’t viewed as heroic. It’s now cheap and lowbrow. Why? Because we have a puritanical view that sex and sexuality should be kept behind the bedroom door. My book does have a lot of sexuality in it. Because of this, some stores have refused to carry it…. That and because it has a positive view of witchcraft that some stores do not like. To take the sexuality out of the book would leave the book flat and generic. If other books want to focus on the hitting and killing, that’s fine. My book is different, and the readers know this. In short, yes, our society does accept violence more then sexuality and nudity. You can show a man being shot in the head in comics and it will get an all-age rating, but show a nude woman getting into a bath and now you are a mature reader book. They say it has something to do with the corruption of minors. Which is worse, I ask you?” Being a comic store manager, I’ve witnessed the close-minded abuse people seem to easily lash out. Frequently, I would observe women
(and even men) make rude remarks about the posters of scantily-clad heroines I hung up in the front window. I’ve heard complaints about the women’s costumes (or lack thereof) for many years in the comic industry, so I asked Balent if he felt the insults stemmed from a person’s lack of self-esteem. JB: “We all have self-esteem issues. That’s fine; we all have to work them out. But when people try and impose their beliefs or what they think is the proper body image on someone else, that’s when the true evil comes out. These self-righteous people forget that the people they are attacking have feelings too. They are just as human as the next person. I am very proud of my female readership. They come in all shapes and sizes. They are comfortable about their own sexuality to enjoy the books and themselves. They are not offended by the nudity in the book or the size of the breasts on the main characters. They recognize the sexuality in themselves, and they see it drawn out in the comic. The ones that only see naked girls on my pages are missing a lot more.” EI: Witches (and wiccans) have long been veiled by people’s wrong assumptions, usually fueled by old wives’ tales and the misinformed media. But has the view of witches changed? JB: “Witches, I think, will always have a shadow of misconception over them. People will accept the Hollywood portrayal of them or the talk show image of them, but have one come away from the safety of
the silver screen or TV screen and become your new neighbor — look out! The rumor mill is working full time! It’s because there isn’t a lot of education out there. Sure there are tons of books on the subject, but I’m talking about the education that should start from childhood.” EI: What do you feel is the biggest misconception about witches that is facing the public? What things do you believe are working against them? JB: “One of the biggest problems I see facing witches is that they are not organized. They have internal wars on basic beliefs about their own religion, and some fight over petty things. One witch won’t recognize another witch if they wear black or won’t wear black. Some witches reject other witches because they
Holly GoLightly The amazing colors you see on Tarot are done by Holly GoLightly. Not only does she touch her technicolor magic on Tarot, but she writes and draws her own comic called School Bites. She found a few minutes in her busy schedule to chat with Echo Immortalis. EI: What gave you the idea for School Bites?
perform their rituals in the nude. This is all crazy. They are all one tree with many branches. If they can talk with a single voice, I think a lot of their problems would be solved. I try and point out these issues in Tarot. The book isn’t only about how the outside world mistreats the witch community but also how witches mistreat themselves. I have received many letters thanking me for portraying witchcraft and witches in a positive light. I’m not trying to convert anyone, but I am trying to show why witches do the things they do. A Christian gentleman once wrote me that after reading one of my Tarot comics it helped him to see witches in a more informative light. I’m glad that Tarot’s message is getting across.” HG: “I drew a little vampire school girl while relaxing in front of the TV, and Jim said ‘Hey, that’s a cute one!’ We decided to put her on a T-shirt, and Jim thought putting ‘School Bites’ on the back with bloody letters would be cool. Then I got attached to her, and when I quit Archie [Comics], she was the first character I wanted to give a story to. I combined my own experiences in high school and college and my love of Harry Potter and Annie Rice, ergo School Bites!” Acid PopTart as Balent’s comic character Licorice Dust | Photo by Kevin Foureman
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
on the SHELF
Bone Amie . . . Iconic folk art and poetry merge within Chantal Menard’s visions by BRAILLE
Log on: www.chantalmenard.com
eligious art utilizing found objects makes artist Chantal Menard (pictured on right), creator of Bone Amie wearable trinkets, appealing to those with a love of alternative folk art. Similar to the art portrayed by practitioners of the annual Day of the Dead festival, her pieces are each unique and sinister — some even romantically somber. She has been featured in galleries across the country, including the Strychnin Gallery in Berlin, Germany and the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, Calif., among many others. She recently explained to Echo Immortalis where some of her creations come from. EI: What inspired you to create art in the manner that you do? CM: “My earliest childhood memory was the birth of my brother, Eric, and shortly thereafter, attending the funeral of a family friend. I attended Catholic school, sang in choir and studied the piano. I remember practicing piano in my grandmother’s living room and looking through her art books. I had come across [Frida] Kahlo’s ‘Los Dos Fridas’ and wanted to paint so badly after seeing that. I told my mom I wanted to do a painting of Michael Jackson and asked for her help. Instead of showing me how to paint, she showed me how to make a collage…. As a teenager, I didn’t exactly fit the mold. Art, music and fashion were the best ways I could express myself without getting into too much trouble. I would construct shrines and altars, write poetry, play piano and take pictures.” EI: When was the birth of the “Bone Amie” concept? CM: “The name Bone Amie is a [double]entendre/play on words taken from the French word Bonne Amie, meaning good friend. I began Bone Amie in 2004 with the intention of reaching a broader market via wearable ‘mini assemblages.’ I want Bone Amie to be accessible to everyone. My motto is ‘Good Friend for Life, Bone Amie ‘Til Death.’”
EI: One of my favorite pieces of yours is entitled “Rigor Mortis.” Could you tell me what driving inspiration was behind this piece? CM: “‘Rigor Mortis’ is a lovers’ death box. It was created with the intention that when two lovers pass, their ashes could be kept inside the drawers along with favorite mementos. Inside the large drawer there is a poem I wrote inscribed: Here Lies the Hearts of Lovers / Whose Blood Flows Freely No More / For Their Bodies Breathe Not Air / Their Love Lasts Forevermore.” EI: Does your art have spiritual influence? CM: “Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by iconic imagery. Imagery that has a sense of devotion I find to be really inspiring. Also, my mother’s family is Dutch Indonesian. There is definitely primal and ritualistic energy pulsing through my [creative] process.”
Novel and inspiring, it features the most unlikely woman to come out on top of the fashion and beauty industry. Everyone should buy Beyond the Blonde for themselves and the stylist in their lives. — Lady Atropos Books The Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War Clive Barker 2004, Joanna Cotler These are the first two books in a series of illustrated novels revolving around Candy Quackenbush and her adventures in the otherworldly realm: The Abarat. While the audience for this series is intended to be teens, I still found these books to be incredibly entertaining and full of the unyielding imagination for which Clive Barker is so well known. The tame nature of the plot (in comparison to some of his more racy novels) doesn’t necessarily detract from his ability to create a page-turning world of good vs. evil, fantastical creatures, endearing heroes and a general feeling of “where does he come up with this stuff?” On top of that, each is fully illustrated with hundreds of paintings from Barker himself, bringing the Abarat to life in glorious, monstrous color. — Leigh Marino
EI: What is your most prized piece? CM: “Each piece holds a special place in my heart. One of my favorites though, is called ‘Stage Fright,’ which I had the honor of installing in the home of my favorite painter, Michael Hussar. I am also really pumped on my latest series, which includes ‘Haitian Lullaby’ and ‘Sleep Walk.’” EI: Your newest piece is entitled “Shinzou Sakura” could you tell us a little about it? CM: “‘Shinzou’ means heart, and ‘Sakura’ means cherry blossom in Japanese. This piece is an homage dedicated to all women in this world and the many roles we fill: lover, mother, muse, friend, entertainer, coat hanger, healer, sinner [and] saint… all within this beautiful, brief and frail existence.” EI: Finally, what message would you send to the world if you knew everyone would listen? CM: “Pursue your passions with conviction and honesty, be open to possibility and give yourself a gift everyday.”
Beyond the Blonde Kathleen Flynn-Hui 2005, Warner Books This book is about a small-town, Midwestern girl who is born with a passion for fashion. It details her struggles through beauty school, her leading role in a top salon and on to her owning her own salon.
A Dark God Laughing A Dream and A Lie: Book One Fiona McGavin 2005, Immanion Press Fiona’s first work is both mystifying and passionate. She weaves her tale with a sensual voice that immerses the reader in a dark yet vivid fantasy world full of religious conflict, androgynous beings and intriguing mythology. In this first book of the trilogy we meet Alix, who is struggling to find his way in an unwelcome landscape during turbulent times. Unsure of himself and of whom he can trust, we learn about his past, his powers and his purpose as he struggles to remember it himself, thus unraveling a mystery that leaves the reader begging for more. — L.M. Fresh Fruits Shoichi Aoki 2005, Phaidon Press The second in a series, the first being Fruits, this is a photojournalism collection dedicated to radical Japanese street fashion. There are endless fashion ideas to be found within its pages: from fetish kimono corsets to innocent gothic Lolita girls. Everyone dedicated and interested in alternative fashion should own Fresh Fruits. Even if you do not buy it, take the time to find it in the photo section of a book store and flip through its pages. — L.A. The Hienama: A Story of the Sulh Storm Constantine 2005, Immanion Press The first of the Wraeththu Mythos, a series of novellas centered on more personal aspects of the hermaphroditic race, The Hienama delves deeply into harish emotions, relationships
and the act of aruna. This is an erotic tale told through the eyes of Jassenah, a har who has arrived in the magical land of Alba Sulh to study the magic arts with the famous hienama, Ysobi. Storm fully demonstrates her ability to create fantasy characters that a reader can readily bond with in an emotional and familiar way. I found this a great read — and a welcome departure to the more epic storylines of the main novels — and eagerly await more titles from this series. — L.M. Plastic Surgery without the Surgery Eve Pearl 2004, Warner Books Plastic Surgery without the Surgery is a real woman’s guide to beauty. From wrinkles to covering tattoos (perfect for job interviews), it takes a refreshingly realistic approach to beauty for the real woman. The book covers almost every beauty concern a woman could have and how to deal with such issues with basic step-by-step instructions. What really adds to it is the fact that the book includes information and photos on the tools used. As a bonus, inside you’ll find quick, simply beauty tips. — L.A. Visions of Heaven and Hell Clive Barker 2005, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. A 300+ page visual assault on the senses — not to mention a person’s sanity — Clive Barker’s artwork is impressive, to say the least. Whether you appreciate art or simply enjoy the darker regions of the mind, this book is sure to bring hours of enjoyment. I still have yet to truly study all of the work found here; there is so much to see. Most of the paintings are in glorious garish color, depicting the various inhabitants of Barker’s imagination, many of which will be familiar to those that have read his Abarat series. The characters draw you in, disgust you, frighten you and redeem you — all at once. Accompanied by background information and essays regarding the creative process from the author, this collection is a must-
have for any serious fan, and a must-see for the rest. — L.M. Calendar Serial Killer Calendar 2007, Purple Inc. www.serialkillercalendar.com Twelve years after earning morbid notoriety as the “Vampire of Paris,” having fulfilled a prison term for crimes he committed in his youth, the suspected serial killer Nico Claux has teamed with American firm Purple, Inc., to release the first-ever collection of serial killer artwork in a 2007 calendar. Articles of murderabilia — talismans like film, art and books created by criminals reflecting their deeds — fall under “Son of Sam” laws, prohibiting persons from profiting from their crimes. However, Claux’s chilling mugshots of everyone from John Wayne Gacy to Albert Fish, Edward Gein and Charles Manson, are not protected under such laws, since the paintings do not portray his own crimes. Strangely tasteful and educational, the calendar, though controversial in its own right, appeals to serialphiles through images showing the facades of twisted souls beside real quotes outlining snippets of the person’s murders, often expressing his
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on the SHELF
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continued from pg. 40 lack of remorse. For instance, by Ted Bundy’s evil grin, it reads: “The barriers I learned as a child were not enough to hold me back from seeking out and harming somebody.” With the first 3,000 copies of the calendar running in limited edition prints, copies have already been sold in Russia, Australia, Europe and throughout the United States, especially to heavy metal musicians, according to its manufacturer. The 28-page calendar features about 50 original renditions of acrylic paintings from Claux’s personal portfolio. With the success of its debut, Purple, Inc., hopes to launch a second calendar and a poster line. Some people believe learning about what scares us makes us stronger. Our ability to face fear by viewing or expressing horror creatively gives us a sense of hope and power over the unknown. Serial killers remain frightful, yet psychologically fascinating criminals, shown evident by the popularity of films such as Silence of the Lambs and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. We may never know what makes someone snap, but at least now we have a unique glimpse into these killers’ minds from the perspective of one of their own. — Leslie Benson Comic G.R.A.V.E. GRRRLS: Destroyers of the Dead #3 2005, Midnight Show Productions www. gravegrrrls.com Indianapolis, Ind.-based Form 30 member Dave Alusik worked as a coloration assistant on this comic, highlighting zombie children and kitschy female super heroes. Though starting the three-part series with the last of its books isn’t recommended, you can still get a laugh from its Freudian plot. Irony sets in when Tara, one
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Skull and crossbones of the G.R.A.V.E. GRRRLS, an urbanista with a big gun, is forced to shoot little Jefferey zombie and his pals on their school bus. Cue redneck biker Suzi Sioux (yes, it’s spelled right), as she approaches the slaughter site. Kami arrives shortly, wearing a golden body suit, and the duo attempts to find out what happened to their telepath teammate, who has made a disappearing act since scene one. Though some of the comic’s bold, outlined text is nearly illegible, the animated faces on the two-page spread showing a mob of hungry zombies is worth a look. Then follow the gals as they battle Project Born Again and the crazed scientist trying to infiltrate the U.S. military with his undead plague. You won’t find poetry or dream sequences in this comic, but its slasher frames by creators Scott Licina (now the editor-inchief of Fangoria) and Ken Wolak are sickly amusing. The 2006 series, G.R.A.V.E. GRRRLS: Rise of the Scarlet Moon, brings the girls closer to danger as they fight werewolves. Check it out! — L.B. DVD In Goth Daze 2003, Cherry Red (UK) In 2003, Cherry Red label released an amazing video collection of early ‘80s post-punk (goth) bands. On this collection, you will not find the usual compilation of
mainstream goth music. Instead, it captures some of the most amazing and, at the same time, most ridiculous moments of the early goth scene. Acts like Alien Sex Fiend, Virgin Prunes, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and Play Dead were milestones of their time. While other selections, such as The Marionettes, Ligotage and Creaming Jesus, were just clowns. Ridiculousness aside, In Goth Daze remains important for fans, since it shows that the goth scene wasn’t strictly Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy and the few other “staples” with which most people are familiar. The scene in the early ‘80s was huge, and a true dark music lover will find plenty of new excitement and bands to explore and enjoy on this collection. — Zlatko Zgombic Full listing of videos: Alien Sex Fiend — “Ignore The Machine” Hagar The Womb — “Idol” Inca Babies — “Jerico” Ligotage — “Vanity” Nico — “I’m Waiting For The Man” Ausgang — “Weight” Flesh For Lulu — “I May Have Said You’re Beautiful” Creaming Jesus — “Lillies” Bone Orchard — “The Mission” Rubella Ballet — “Twister” Andi Sex Gang — “Seven Ways To Kill A Man” In Excelsis — “Vows (Live)” Play Dead — “The Tenant (Live)” The Marionettes — “Kisses” Malaria — “Your Turn To Run” Danse Society — “2000 Light Years” Skeletal Family — “Promised Land” Red Lorry Yellow Lorry — “Cut Down” Ghost Dance — “Celebrate” Virgin Prunes — “Pagan Love Song”
Zombified Beating heart Walking proud Dancing on the floor like you never did before Advocatus Diaboli Sterbend Durch die Sonne **1/2 2004, Sonorium www.advocatusdiaboli.net Loosely translated, Advocatus Diaboli’s album, Dying Through the Sun, does not follow the “dawn breaks… killing all vampires” legend. Instead, the danceable, ritualistic macabre musical carnival entertains with its new album. Mesmerizing operatic female backing vocals and German male melodies entice with a classic goth guitar-rock sound and just a twist of Lacuna Coil on the rocks. — Leslie Benson Alien Sex Fiend — “R.I.P.” Nico — “All Tomorrow’s Parties”
Makeup Line Review Sue Devitt Studio Makeup Line www.suedevittstudio.com Are you looking for a cosmetic line that is as good as the major designer brands but gentle on the skin? This studio produces makeup that is lightweight and doesn’t create a caked-on feeling. It remains extremely easy to work with. The makeup can be used for dramatic glamorous photos as well as everyday style, if you want a naturally beautiful look. — L.A.
And One Bodypop (limited edition) **** 2006, Metropolis Records www.andone.de Yet more head bobbin’, body bouncin’, dance-inspiring medium tempo EBM and synthpop with the same sexy deep-voiced “Computer, Maschine, Panzermensch” guy. Note to DJs: “Military Fashion Show” and “Stand the Pain,” with their consistent heavy beats and thankfully short breaks are likely to be instant dance floor hits. “Body Company,” on the other hand, because of its quirky jerkies and breaks, might require a few force feedings to become a hit. However, the catchy memorable lyrics “sex will cover your black machinery” will make “Body Company” excellent ammo in a second wave of And One attacks when the other songs get old. The limited edition Bodypop release contains a fabulously fun bonus-EP, “Frontfeuer,” which is a five-song dessert tray of perkier minimalism. Try focusing on everything unique about And One, strip away all that fluff filler that’s in every other EBM band, and you get a stronger dose of this band. I’m dancing now to “A Kind of Deutsch!” — Alyda Stoica
AntiStasis AchtungAetzend *** 2004, Sonic-X www.myspace.om/ antistasis Psychological EBM driven by corrosive technoids, AntiStasis’ album would appeal to dancing Borg fans anywhere. More droid-oriented than organic, the group’s crunchy melodies give bands from Frankfurt, Germany a good name. The city continues to be in the forefront of innovative electronic noise, with AntiStasis an infectious part of the pack. — L.B. Arts of Erebus Negative White ***1/2 2003, Sonorium www.arts-oferebus.de Ominous synth beckons at the midnight hour from GermanFrench band Arts of Erebus. Dark metal and classic guitar goth rock at slower BPMs than you may be used to unveils loads of emotion from this independent quartet. Songs like “Black Diamonds” and “Gothic Girl” will play until your candle burns to a stump and your Nag Champa extinguishes into ash. Soulful mood music for isolated creative minds, it’s a shame this album didn’t make it to the U.S. a lot sooner. — L.B. The Barbarellatones Interview with a Glampire *** 2006, Sex with Lurch Music www.barbarellatones.com Don’t worry. Boris Karloff has been dead for years. He can’t hurt you, except in your nightmares, which is exactly what The Barbarellatones sing about on their 15-track album. Relying on Bauhaus-esque bass, as well as organ, synth, acoustic and electric guitars, drums and violin, the virtually unheard-of band is atypical in the current goth scene. Instead, their sound is more horror surf pop, throwing a curveball with some UK-like folk ballads. Cheesy lyrics and vocals aside, the crude words may make you chuckle. The band’s serious musicianship hints at a great live show, though — one packed with songs about “The Diabolical Devil Dollz!,” the “Corn Huskin’ Man,” “Milfin’,” lesbian biker gangs and references to glam
rock song melodies like “Satellite of Love,” though not actually covered on the album. — L.B. Blind Faith and Envy The Charming Factor *** 2004, Nilaihah Records www.blindfaithandenvy.com If you’re already an über Depeche Mode fan, you’re going to love this effort by Cincinnati, Ohio-based duo Blind Faith and Envy. Daniel Guenther knows how to make pulsing syncopated and stuttering electronic beats effective, and Charlene April’s vocals bridge the gap between the 1980’s band she clearly respects, as well as more recent artistic innovators like Charlotte Martin. At its best, The Charming Factor is a solid example of how to modernize one’s influences, and the album as a whole is worthy of a listen if you’re a fan of the style. At its worst, the album becomes too derivative for its own good, and the duo could certainly benefit from a touch more of individuality, but tracks like “Golden Glass” and the wonderfully layered “Something Different” make it a worthy usedrecord purchase at the very least. — Jonathan Sanders The Cold After All **** 2004, Sonorium www.the-cold.de Just say yes to 12 dark new-wave tracks from Frankfurt, Germany-based band The Cold. Musically the love child of The Cure and vocally of The Damned, the album will make you think singer Uwe Liebscher is about to bust out with a guitardriven version of “Grimly Fiendish” poured over “Friday, I’m in Love.” After All, The Cold’s debut album, already has club singles in Europe, such as the Robert Smith-worthy “Summernight.” The Andi Sex Gang makes a guest appearance on “World Came Down,” and overall, the album is a noteworthy attempt at a great first collection of songs. — L.B. CreamVIII Wintertime **1/2 2004, Sonorium www.creamviii.com Nothing warms the heart with holiday cheer like “Burn Witch, Burn!” on Wintertime by CreamVIII, one of Italian goth magazines’ favorite
German bands. Dark wave for sure, the band has been performing and recording music since the 1990s and these 12 tracks are a pyre of heavy bass beats, guitar wails and deep vocals. Political statements and sordid love songs complete the 50-plus minute album, including an acoustic remix of the band’s album title track. — L.B. Cruciform Injection Aftermath ***1/2 2006, Negative Gain www. cruciforminjection. com Classic industrial at its best, Aftermath reflects a new generation of barbed-wire climbing, gas-mask wearing tech junkies. Relying on sound clips, programming and studio mastering, Cruciform Injection once again tackles an outer world robotic warmonger soundtrack of sorts. It’s funny to think the post-apocalyptic cowboys actually hold down a booth each year at the annual Gen Con gaming convention in Indianapolis, Ind. Frontman and vocalist Micah Skaritka owns a publishing company, The Apophis Consortium, that puts out Obsidian, a dark role-playing game set in a future hell — much the topic of many of their songs on this album. — L.B. Danz Poeta Pray for Rain **** 2006, self-release www.danzpoeta.com For musicians opting to perform in solo projects, the aid of technology (expensive synth/ drum programming and home studios) give creative minds greater opportunities for self-expression. However, digital sound mixed with real musical ability gives veteran Indianapolis, Ind., musician Jamie Vitro of Danz Poeta a leg up on the competition. The darkly romantic vocals and synth strokes of his debut solo album sound more like 1980’s new wave than the crunchy industrial he previously performed in Form 30. Silky, beckoning lyrics stem from the depths of a darkwave musician who once studied to become a Catholic priest in Italy, turning instead toward the love of a woman – now his beloved wife – and the music he adores. The Cure-influenced track “A Night So Cold” could be the theme song
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spin me ’ROUND continued from pg. 42 for a Breakfast Club: The New Class movie, while other dance tunes erupt on the verge of EBM. Most of the songs on the album demand a second listening. Live, Vitro performs with keyboardist Mister E DJ if Indianapolis. A new father, Vitro spends his little free time scouring antique galleries for rare, handcrafted European furniture and taking photos of angel statuaries. His affinity for history, religious relics (which he collects) and art bleeds across Pray for Rain, evoking a sense of atmosphere along the lines of London After Midnight. Highlights of the album include “Dance with Me,” “A Night So Cold” and “Rose Jericho.” — L.B. Danz Poeta Pray For Rain *** 2006, self-release www.danzpoeta.com What Danz Poeta brings to the table is straightforward. These 10 tracks will get you out on the floor ready to dance, as long as you’re able to stomach the lead singer’s overwrought lyrics. “Here in this God-forsaken place we stand alone, and wanting more than this, we think it’s nothing,” he sings on the album’s opening track “Mortal Coil.” But if you can deal with that, you’re in for a pretty decent album. There aren’t many surprises on Pray for Rain. With an average track length of five minutes, and a fairly steady bass tempo, this works as get-yourself-out-ontothe-floor music, and in that regard is a complete success. If you’re looking for EBM music that’s going to make you dance and think, this isn’t what you’re looking for. If you just want to move, Danz Poeta has crafted an album that delivers the goods. — Jonathan Sanders Dekoy Haunted ***1/2 2006, self-release www.dekoy.us Unless you know them or have seen one of their photographs, d_b and BaZa of Cincinnati, Ohiobased EBM band Dekoy move like shadows on the dance floor — ghosts reflecting the crowd of swaying, sultry bodies beneath fog and pulsing light. You’d never guess the song playing overhead, making the clubgoers twirl in familiar patterns, belongs to the
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
spin me ’ROUND duo. Opting to solely write and record music at home rather than performing live, on Haunted, the boys display some of the best of what digital mixing can offer — aurally-solid BPMs. Similar to their 2003 debut, Heartwerk, and the 2004 remix, Haunted features dance tracks and eerie sampling effects, only flushed out more concisely. Vocals are stronger too. Highlights include the songs “No Return,” “Haunted” and “Red,” during which a sound clip repeats “Dreams offer the only line of communication between man and shadows,” a brilliant encapsulation of the atmosphere on this CD. — L.B. Distorted Reality Daydreams and Nightmares ***1/2 2006, Nilaihah Records www.distorted-reality.com For avid fans of female vocalists who cover Billy Idol songs, singer Martha Arce’s futuristic version of “Rebel Yell” will amuse you on this album…. (Although, no one will ever beat all-girl band Harlow’s live rendition of Idol’s “White Wedding.”) On Daydreams and Nightmares, Arce layers her vocals on the robotic synth sounds performed by partner Christian Kobusch. However, upon listening to the CD a few times, you’ll want her to break out of her shell! There’s electricity hiding behind her careful, tame range, which may bleed out as the band matures. “Into the Night” begins with bass, reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” oddly enough. Bright-eyed in a black catsuit, curly-haired Arce soothes listeners with her notes, creating a decent overlay for Kobusch’s precise compositions. Album highlights include “I Am Waiting,” “Tag Für Tag” (featuring Andreas Meyer of Forma Tadre) and “Something Wicked,” in which harmonies abound. Remixes by Das Ich, Daniel Myer of Haujobb and others up the dance ante, picking up slack for slower BPMs on the earlier parts of the album. The final track, a live version of “Rebel Yell,” kicks more than the studio recording and shows more of what Arce is capable. — L.B. Dive vs. Diskonnekted Frozen EP *** 2006, Alfa-Matrix www.diskonnekted. com
Enthralled by the excellent production skills and strong arrangements of the Belgian artist Jan Dewulf (Diskonnekted), Dirk Ivens (The Klinik, Dive, Sonar) invited him to collaborate on this conceptual EP. Featuring four original songs and several remixes by Numb, Leæther Strip, Combichrist and Inure, the dark and distorted tracks are presented with a modern flair. Haunted by Dirk’s cold and shivering vocals, this EP is aptly titled and is a great example of Belgium electronic music. — Leigh Marino Fantômas Suspended Animation ****1/2 2005, Ipecac Records www.ipecac.com/ fantomas.php Now here is one to bend your rubble-filled brain around. One ear will fill with fluid draining from your cranium and the other will slip in and out of the third dimension where it picks apart subtle radio signals lost in time by strange creatures that are now searching for you. This album will titillate and fill you with so much diversity that you will swear all other music is made by some agenda-pushing master control program. Keep this one ready for instant access. Extreme timing changes, smooth motion and strange instrumentation will keep you sane and others wandering. Are you alright? Good, now give it a listen! — Braille Frozen Plasma Artificial *** 2006, Nilaihah Records www.frozenplasma. com Sometimes it’s nice reach out for what’s familiar. At a store, you may not care what else is there. You just know what you want; you know what it looks like, and you grab it. It can be similar with music, except that you don’t always know what it is, but you know what it sounds like. Well here it is. The mystery item that eludes you. Following the dance floor hit, “Hypocrite,” Vasi Vallis (NamNamBulu and Reaper) and singer Felix Marc (Diorama) have combined into Frozen Plasma and have released a full-length album, Artificial. The duo possesses that VNV snare that clutches a human heart and tugs the owner to the dance floor. Familiar sounding,
Frozen Plasma plays melodic and danceable ‘80s-style synth beats and passionate, intellectually burdened lyric-driven electropop. Pass me that can of familiarity. I’m in the mood. — A.S. The Gothsicles NESferatu **** 2006, Sonic Mainline www.thegothsicles. com It’s as if actor Dustin Diamond was singing Beastie Boys-style in an underground nightclub, strapped to a Nintendo Entertainment System while invoking sound samples from Monty Python and riffs along the lines of Mindless Self Indulgence with synthpop melodies. Whew. That’s a mouthful, and The Gothsicles trio is definitely an earful! With satirical songs like “I Can Tell You Shop at Hot(t) Topic,” “Konami Code” and “Turn Signals Are Still Cool,” as well as numerous remixes, the 15-track NESferatu proves the darkly-clad can be all about fun and games. Their CD mascots are even a nosferatu and Nintendo’s eggplant wizard from the game “Kid Icarus.” Hilarious! With video game clips and Pulp Fiction samples, some EBM beats and a Saved by the Bell Screech kind of lyrical comedy, the album even pokes fun at itself: “…Lyrics that don’t make any sense” on “English License 2.0.” Geeks will love this CD. Come on, it has vampires and NES. What more could you ask for?... Absinthe and Star Wars?! — L.B. Grigori 3 Exile **** 2006, Dark Star Records www.grigori3.com Exile, the debut album by Grigori 3, may give Lacuna Coil fans a reason to get behind a rising American band in the same vein. The album is charged with enough metallic edge to satisfy your inner rivet-head, while layering various songs with the ambience and dark inner light that will endear your goth side. For those uncertain, you can latch onto the pounding beat to dance away your confusion, especially the remix of “Awakening.” With 12 songs and a remix, there is something for everyone here, and Gwen Bartolini has an inspiring voice to boot. I would like to see this group push the envelope the way Celldweller does, but this is
a strong debut with room to grow. Highly recommended to e-Bayers! — Jamie Vitro Heavy-Current Edacious *** 2006, Sonorium www.heavy-current. de The back of HeavyCurrent’s album reads “Enjoy with headphones!” However, to enjoy the full electro-rock sound on Edacious, crank it up to “11” on your stereo. The German (surprise!) electro-wave project incorporates not only synthesizers but electric guitar too. Oh how we have missed that instrument. This is an impressive debut by musical mastermind Jan Weisbrod (lead vocals). Released on underground label Sonorium, the album stretches the imagination and will make any German-American proud — those in this “DBN” (Dead Brain Nation) included. — L.B. Implant Audio Blender ***1/2 2006, Alfa-Matrix www.implant-music. be The seventh release from Implant has Len Lemeire teaming up with Jan D’Hooghe (ex-Vive La Fete drummer) and surrounded by guest vocalists like Front 242’s Jean-Luc-De Meyer, Anne Clark, Erica Dunham of Unter Null and Jennifer Parkin of Ayria. Implant was one of the most promising acts from the ’90s Belgium EBM scene, and this release shows why. The album is a skillful mixture of electro clash/pop (“Don’t Feed The Robots”), ’90s EBM (“Focus”) and harsh dance floor industrial (“You Push Me” and “Murderous Thoughts”), with a dash of experimental sound (“Chanson D’Amour”). Aptly titled Audio Blender, this disc gives a great sampling of the many sides of Implant and is one that I would highly recommend. — L.M. Inure Subversive *** 2006, Alfa-Matrix www.inure.net Inure was formed with the intention to create a sound that is reminiscent of the “golden era” of industrial dance music, and they have succeeded. Their sound is that and darker, foreboding with layered synthwork and hard-hitting beats — definitely something worth
running to the dance floor for. This release is a great choice for fans of the earlier days of electro/industrial such as Numb, Skinny Puppy and Blue Eyed Christ. — L.M. Invisible Ballet Escaping Light **** 2005, Nilaihah Records www.invisibleballet. com The electronic duo from San Francisco, consisting of Ryan and Rebecca Coseboom, presents a fine disc with smooth, intelligent synthpop/electro. Both members are also part of Halou, as Invisible Ballet is a side project. The album is filled with dreamy songs and uptempo danceable tracks. Trip-hop influences are present on most of the album, making a comparison with Portishead credible. Rebecca further enhances the relaxing music with her delightful voice. After the soothing opener, “You are My Megaphone,” the tempo increases to provide us with the catchy title track. On “Artifact,” Rebecca’s sensitive voice shines in the forefront, supported by quirky synth. “Moth” is a darker affair; it produces a dreamy, foggy ambience. — Jason Saunders I:scintilla Havestar EP ***1/2 2006, Alfa-Matrix www.iscintilla.com With their lush blending of industrial beats, atmospheric sounds and the seductive voice of female singer Brittany Bindrim, i:scintilla immediately brings comparisons to bands like Garbage, Evanescence and Theatre of Tragedy. This EP is a pre-cursor to their full-length album, soon to be released by their international record label. With five songs and additional remixes by the likes of Combichrist, Diskonnekted, Implant and Klutae, this is a great sampler of their powerful sound and of great things to come. — L.M. Leæther Strip Walking On Volcanoes EP ***1/2 2006, Alfa-Matrix www.myspace.com/ laeatherstrip With seven new tracks and exclusive remixes of the most popular songs from his After the Devastation release (“What If” and “Dying is Easy Life is Harder”), Claus Larsen once again
delivers his multi-faceted style in commanding fashion. Punching rhythms, haunting samples and layered synths deliver a mixture of melodic electro, aggressive EBM and even a dash of simplistic harshness in the explicit track “How far is it from Auschwitz to Guantanamo?” I couldn’t describe it any better than the band’s label: “Angry but catchy. Punishing but loving. Clear but distorted. The Danish master is more alive than ever.” — L.M. Mindless Self Indulgence You’ll Rebel To Anything ***1/2 2005, Metropolis Records www.mindlessselfindulgence.com Another swift kick to the proverbial balls from Mindless Self Indulgence. You’ll Rebel to Anything will fuck you up and leave you wondering where the hell your panties went! Nothing can stop these innovative musicians. Bound by the concepts that now is the moment to create and the future and past are nonexistent leaves no room for the mundane bullshit you hear on most albums these days. And how could you forget about the bizarre rendition of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” which is probably one of the most outlandish covers I have heard to date. Find yourself with one hand down your pants and one hand on this album, or I will eat you. — Braille Mentallo & the Fixer Commandments for the Molecular Age EP **** 2006, Alfa-Matrix www.myspace.com/ mentalloandthefixer After almost four years of silence, one of the great electro/industrial acts of recent history is back. Totaling some 52 minutes of music, this “EP” is a great reminder of how dense, intricate and powerful Mentallo & the Fixer can sound. The familiar snarling vocals, multilayered synths, sample collages and hard-hitting sequencer rhythms are all here. This release is a welcome comeback for the band and heralds a conceptual trilogy of work to be released by Alfa-Matrix in the near future. — L.M. Midnight Syndicate The 13th Hour **** 2005, Entity Productions
www. midnightsyndicate. com Truly voices from beyond the grave, Midnight Syndicate continues a history of orchestral excellence with this Victorian mansioninspired mood music soundtrack of 25 complete tracks, each atmospherically eerie in their own right. Gravediggers and late-night zombie mistresses beware; The 13th Hour will titillate your ghostly cravings. The Ohio-based writers and composers leave no stone unturned with haunting piano ballads and soundscapes perfectly fit for a psychological horror film with historic flare. — L.B. Midnight Syndicate Out of Darkness **** 2006, Entity Productions www. midnightsyndicate.com Out of the Darkness is a retrospective CD of the past works of Midnight Syndicate. The remixes of past efforts from Born of the Night and Realm of Shadows are notably cleaner and fuller on this CD, showing growth of the artists Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka. Notable remixes include “Solemn Reflections,” as the harpsichord at the end is most luscious, and “Into the Abyss,” as it is much stronger than the original. It flows so freely you can imagine yourself flying with the music over crashing waves. “Masque of Sorrow” has an extra emotional quality to it that is brought out in the new arrangement. There are also some previously unreleased tracks on this CD worth mentioning. A new piece by Goszka called “Prisoner of Time” has a forlorn but beautiful sadness to it. However, the tracks by Douglas, “Scenes from the Dead Matter” and “Journey into Dementia,” from his previous forays in movie making, give insight as to what can expected later this year from this duo, as they are set to score two new horror films. — Jason Saunders Nasu Blue Somebody Lied EP **1/2 2006, self-release http://nasublue.tripod. com/
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spin me ’ROUND continued from pg. 44 The first thing I thought when I heard the EP by Indianapolis, Ind.-based musicians Dannie Lee and Macey Blue, was that it was a shame I couldn’t readily hear their vocals. Mysterious and softspoken, this female duet grinds out a do-it-yourself recording with much potential. Hints of sensuality and intrigue exist beyond the synth and guitar melodies. A bit of Mazzy Star and Switchblade Symphony peek through Nasu Blue’s songs. Though, they are darkly mellow, wispy trance tunes with some distortion and growls, rather than danceable tracks. The next step on these girls’ agendas should be to re-record these songs, and crank up the volume! — L.B.
The Oddz Sellout! ***1/2 2006, self-release www.myspace.com/ theoddz Don’t be like every other girl! Voltaire loves you just the way you are — crooked smile and all. So “Medicated Girls Brigade” beware, this sixsong maxi-single born and bred from Myspace is not for you. Fans of new-wave and Voltaire’s dark sarcasm will feel at home, though. Poking fun at bling-bling on MTV and Top 40 songs as they might be played and replayed in hell, the singer/songwriter’s new side project, The Oddz, takes some musical risks. Still staying true to acoustic guitar remixes, comedian Voltaire finally throws in some synth. Late ‘80s-pop aside, highlights here include “Sellout: The Stupidest Song on the Radio” and “Girlfriend.” Voltaire is still one of the funniest spokesmen for the goth subculture, and don’t worry — he hasn’t sold out! — L.B.
November Process Newspeak ***1/2 2004, Sonic-X www. novemberprocess. com “Apologies are easily erased” for American-German electroindustrial band November Process. Joining Zoica for its debut show during 2006 Gen Con weekend in Indianapolis, Ind., the mellow synthpop experimenters mixed elements of rock for a decent live show, but their time in the studio paid off more with Newspeak than in the flesh. Formed in 1999, on the verge of the new millennium, November Process takes music seriously, but the group is comprised of all around downto-earth guys, especially founder/ singer Chuck Gish. Track one, “Mindshadow,” sounds delicately illuminating and has received much DJ club play in recent years. — L.B. Obscyre Liebe & Wahnsinn **1/2 2006, Obsc(y)re www.obscyre.de A maxi single released in the 2006 Halloween season, vocalist Anne Wagner expresses charm and fortitude with “Liebe and Wahnsinn,” a dance track about the dichotomy of opposites in romantic relationships. A fun remix by Orpheus in Red Velvet previews the band’s seventh studio album, due out in Spring 2007. The single stems from the popular album, Pflichtveranstaltung, from yet another European music group on the forefront of the new EBM
spin me ’ROUND revolution. — L.B.
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Only Flesh Strap On Crucifix *** 2006, Mizukis Box www.onlyflesh.info Doubling an electro-industrial band, a second more gritty, rock ‘n’ roll musical project and a body suspension team under one umbrella name, Only Flesh’s frontman, Rev. Lower, of Columbus, Ohio, pierces bodies during the day and hangs from flesh hooks while singing at night. Strap On Crucifix, the fresh release by his industrial project, sounds like the movie Hostel makes you feel — intensely sinister and sometimes inflicting a sense of pain. Religious undertones ring through the album, as do distorted noise effects played via synth. Only Flesh almost makes Rob Zombie seem like child’s play, at least in a sense that this type of behavior and sound is relatively uncommon in the Midwest. — L.B. Rachael’s Surrender Selections **** 2006, Kitten-Eye Records www.surrender.com This is only a sample from what was Rachael’s Surrender’s KittenEye Records release, but if these three tracks were signals of what was to come, it was an album worth waiting for. “The River”
begins as a clear example of what EBM should be, blending the raw synth lines and pulsating bass with light elements of piano and strings. Already addictive from the start, the layered vocals and the exceptional hook the musicians create should put this song atop any respectable DJ’s play list. “When Business and Pleasure Collide” is more simple in its construction and provides a counterbalance to the mainstream aim of “The River.” But “Peppermint” is the clincher, a complex arrangement of seductive synths, guitars, strings and ethereal vocals that leave a listener salivating for more when the track’s six minutes are up. If this is what Rachael’s Surrender is capable of, their full-length album is a worthy purchase. — Jonathan Sanders Reptyle A High and Lonely Place ***1/2 2004, Sonorium www.reptyle.de Bass, guitar and rich male vocals send us back to the days of Sisters of Mercy — classic music perfect for playing in shadowy corridors and on cemetery walks. This German band resurrects the tattered grace of our gothic forefathers — of our scene royalty, while sounding new and independent in its own reptilian right. Keep the flame alive. Buy this album! — L.B. Salon Boris I Am the Drug **** 2006, U-discs www.salonboris.com This perky electro pop band from Glasgow is getting club and radio play throughout Europe. Its music is perfect to blare out of your über cool car while wearing your shades and not making eye contact with those gawking at your radiant, unnaturally colored hair while you bob your head to the mechanized, sexy female Russian accent saying “I’m your weapon of mass destruction.” This may not be dark enough for some. Hell. It’s not dark at all — at least not to one desensitized to darkness. I Am the Drug is a must for electro pop fans; definite smile material. It’s a permanent resident in my car, unless of course I’m spinning it at a club. It’s hard to keep from moving to this one. The double digipack also includes a second CD of remixes from the album. — A.S.
Skorbut All Access Areas **1/2 2005, Sonic-X www.skorbut.net Give your eardrums an all-access pass to supersonic industrial trance music from Jörg Hüttner and Daniel Galda (live keyboardist from Das Ich). Hüttner contributed music to the soundtracks on Catwoman and The Ring: Two, displaying the diverse interests of the musicians. Hinting at oldschool EBM like Nitzer Ebb on “Supersonic” and other tracks, Skorbut (translated to “Scurvy”) won’t leave you sick on the high seas. — L.B. The Soil Bleeds Black Alchemie * 2005, The Fossil Dungeon www.soilbleedsblack. com/soilbleedsblack/ Modernizing madrigal hymns may sound like a good idea, and in the hands of the right artists the idea might prove to be a palatable reality. But on Alchemie, the concept comes off as a distinct failure. It’s difficult to hear any evidence that the band actually plays anything that ends up on Alchemie themselves. They’ve relied instead on clunky MIDI arrangements that fail to show any depth or emotion. All we have as evidence of the aforementioned “band” are the vocalists, male and female, who each leave much to be desired with their flat, emotionless delivery. It is clear that the use of technology has allowed bands to expand how they record albums. In this case, however, technology is the band, and when that falls apart, we’re left with nothing but what could have been. Let this one pass quietly by. — Jonathan Sanders
and “My Fall,” sung in French — you’ll be sure to add this CD to your playlist. — L.B. Unter Null Sacrament EP / Absolution EP **** 2006, Alfa-Matrix www.unter-null.net/ American solo-artist Erica Dunham returns with her Unter Null project, establishing herself at the top of the harsh industrial scene. Extreme distorted vocals and electronics are paired with simple entertaining melodies and solid production. The collaboration with mentor/ producer Len Lemeire yields an excellent result that fans of power noise and harsh EBM will enjoy thoroughly. These twin CDs each contain eight tracks. The first EP, Sacrament, is sold in a double CD jewel case, in which you can later insert its twin-EP Absolution, which is limited to 1,000 copies worldwide. Of note, Absolution (available separately) holds hidden artwork that is revealed once the twin EPs are united. — L.M. Various Artists Dancing in the Dark **** 2006, Dancing Ferret Discs www.dancing-ferret.com Patrick Rodgers of Dancing Ferret
has my respect. Not only does he host Dracula’s Ball at least twice a year, he also releases the best contemporary goth, dark wave and ethereal music compilations. This CD is another great example. The Last Dance’s “Once Beautiful,” the infectiously sweet “Oh Invincible” by Thou Shalt Not, Lunascape’s “Chemical Lingo” and Joachim Witt’s “Wo Versteckt Sich Gott” (a VNV Nation remix) stand out on the 15-track album, a great buy for that newbie scenester in your life. — L.B. Various Artists DJ Ferret’s Underground Club Mix #2 ****1/2 2006, Asleep By Dawn Magazine www.asleepbydawn.com You’ll find it hard to put down this new CD once you see what’s on it: Dope Stars Inc with “Fast and Beautiful,” ThouShaltNot with “When I Crash,” Emilie Autumn with “Shalott” and Stromkern with my current favorite anthem, “Stand Up,” not to mention the likes of Ayria, NeuroticFish, Rasputina and Voltaire. For under $7, this CD and DVD duo includes the best of recent industrial, EBM and goth artists. — L.B. Various Artists Re:connected 2.0 ****1/2
2006, Alfa-Matrix www.alfa-matrix.com To celebrate its fifth anniversary, AlfaMatrix released a deluxe carton box double-CD compilation with an extended color booklet that is a must have for any serious collector. Since its creation, Alfa-Matrix has established itself as a premier label for quality electronic/EBM and industrial music. They have built up an influential roster of worldwide artists including Front 242, Leæther Strip, Mentallo & the Fixer, Monolith and Plastic Noise Experience, along with a stable of outstanding newcomers. This CD set includes tracks from all current label artists and is described by the label as “a BIG thank you to all fans, DJs, promoters and journalists who have supported the label since its launch.” For a full listing of artists and tracks, visit www.alfamatrix.com. — L.M. Various Artists/Neil Gaiman Where’s Neil When You Need Him? **** 2006, Dancing Ferret Discs www.dancing-ferret.com One of the most awaited goth album compilations of 2006, this tribute to the century’s greatest author, Neil Gaiman, of
American Gods, Sandman and Coraline fame, finally gets the fan recognition he deserves — from 17 different personalities. Among the musicians recorded on the album, you’ll find original music written for Gaiman and his stories by Tori Amos, Hungry Lucy, Razed in Black, Tapping the Vein and many others. Their lyrics, like poetic odes, reflect the inspiration millions of readers have felt since Gaiman began writing more than 20 years ago. This is a must-have gift for anyone interested in great literature and music. — L.B. Violet Tears Cold Memories & Remains ***1/2 2006, The Fossil Dungeon www.violettears.com Keyboard, the instrument of choice nowadays for manuallyinclined artists, soothes the ear with haunting songs of sorrow and tragedy, both romantic and tender. Violet Tears, a five-piece Italian band, plays highly instrumental odes with Carmen de Rosas’ operatic vocals leading the way. When you’re soul-searching or sulking, slip in this album for a theatrical soundtrack to your drama… church bells included. — L.B.
Tamtrum Electronic Blakc Mess ****1/2 2006, Alfa-Matrix www.tamtrum.com Murder music… Music to stalk to… Progressive synth that could drive a nation to its knees. Suffer for the pig no longer; escape into the heavy horror of Tamtrum. Raw, growling vocals and whispers tell tales of drugs and dead gods. Perfect industrial for high-octane, ballsto-the-wall dance floor antics, especially the tracks “Paranoiak: Hypnocondriak & Toxicomaniak”
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Making the Scene Diana of Ohio works as a quality
auditor when not walking through Glen Helen Nature Preserve or playing with her pets. Never letting go of her inner child, she still loves Tim Burtonâ€™s The Nightmare Before Christmas and reading about mythology and astrology. She is an avid shopper of The Pyramid Collection, and her musical interests range from Skinny Puppy to Velvet Acid Christ and Psychotica.
Photo by Kidtee Hello
Photo by Kidtee Hello
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Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Amanda Fire Photo by Kidtee Hello
Photo by Amanda Zee
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Photo by Scott Wesely Samantha
attends the University of Iowa, makes her own clothing and crotchets. A fan of The Labyrinth, she “would have died to dance with [David] Bowie.” Fashion icons the new model looks up to include Apnea, Lithium Picnic and Lady Atropos. “It has been a long and winding road these past 22 years to get to where I am,” she says. “My want to be always true to myself also has formed me as an individual.” If you’re ever in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Smead suggests checking out the Aphelion goth club event that takes place on biweekly Sundays.
Photo by Wretched Beauty Ember Furie works as a fire performer and a dancer for a Gothic
Burlesque Cabaret. A spa employee during the day, she’s been on her own since age 16. “I am a completely independent college graduate, standing on my own two feet, despite many trips along the way,” she says. The Lacuna Coil fan adores fashion icons Bettie Page, Dita Von Teese and Angela Ryan. “I usually pay more attention to how a garment makes be feel rather than the name of the designer,” Furie says. “If it transforms me in more ways than just changing my appearance, the designer has done his/her work.”
Photo by Jason Noble of Noble Images
Bella Sin has been a model/burlesque
performer for the Northeastern Ohio area for the better part of three years. Not only supporting local projects of her own, like Le Femme Mystique Burlesque, but also supporting local bands, artists, fashion designers, nightclubs and independent-B movie directors, her work within the photography community has opened doors for other voluptuous woman to come into the industry. “I love to support anything that is local,” she says. “You really don’t realize how hard people are working to make what they do possible. That is why you should support your local scene.”
Photo by James Lohrey Photography Ohio’s Miss Gothic Ohio 2006, Lady Valoria works in the legal field and raises money for animal shelters through fundraising events throughout the year. The daughter of Hungarian immigrants buys her wardrobe from Chain Link Addiction in Cleveland, Ohio, and from ZombieApparel.com.
Photo by KRN Photography
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Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Photo by Saryn Angel Photography, necklace by NightShade Gothic Jewelry
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Photos by Brian DeMint, makeup by Dena DeMint of Eyeworks Photography
Grimm Reality “The Fairy-
Tales Mother Goose Never Told You”
Fully featured movie, behind the scenes special effects & more. Available on DVD at www.grimmreality.com or from Amazon.com.
Missouri’s Sindel Chaos, training to become an esthetician, has a soft spot for dark folk music. She admires The Angels of Light and thinks Dead Can Dance helps release stress. Searching for her other half, while “having trouble seeing [herself] as a whole person first,” makes Hedwig and the Angry Inch one of her current favorite cult films. The model finds mainstream designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s clothing darkly elegant “without being too drastic or overpowering.” Revealing herself to Echo Immortalis, Chaos explains her drive toward modeling. “As a small child, I quickly learned the world wasn’t the place normal parents elaborate about to their children,” she says. “It was this knowledge that helped mold me into the person I am and helps me create the art that I do. Although the world is dark, it has many beautiful aspects. I try to bring that out in my photos. Modeling isn’t so much about fashion or a look to me; it’s about life and the many trials and tribulations we have to triumph over. One particularly inspiring event in my life is [when] my only sister died in a horrible car accident when she was 15 years old. I was 12 at the time. It has inspired me to live life to its fullest, to be sincere in my feelings and to forgive, because there may not be a tomorrow to do it. I try to live everyday for both me and my sister.”
Winter 2007 | Echo Immortalis
Help support your Midwest goth scene filmmakers. Buy a copy today!
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Aaron | Photo by Andy Bruggeman “TheAnj”
OhioScene Group Shoot 2006 . . .
Desig Dark Mannequin Designs ns gns si e D Model: Wendy
www.onemodelplace.com Member ID: 85995 email@example.com
Spring - Summer 2006 | Echo Immortalis
Lady Atropos, founder of OhioScene | Photo by Terry Turner
Lady Atropos | Photo by Michelle Ellis
Sam | Photo by Andy Bruggeman “TheAnj”
Photo by Alisa Lawson
photography | erotica | fetish | glamour | gothic | industrial