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Dark Skies over Witten II (2016)

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(by Fondas SumerSon)

As some of you might have noticed, I really love traveling across Europe to attend small or big festivals of Goth/dark music. Nevertheless I hadn’t made up my mind about which gigs to attend in 2016… It was Carsten & Renate (Sweet Ermengarde), Jörg & Steffe (The Escape) and Hanna & Michael Nowakowski and their “Dark Skies over Witten II” fest, that made me consider traveling to Germany once again.

The line up seemed great since he had booked my beloved “The Last Cry”, the Neph-heroes of the underground “Sweet Ermengarde”, the legends of the German goth/wave scene “The Escape” and the promising newcomers “La Scaltra”!

This trip would be absolutely memorable not just for the great shows, but also because of my good old friend Ingo from The Escape, who generously offered me his hospitality and proved to be the perfect host in Bueren and Padderborn.

The festival would take place at Excalibur bar, a medieval-style pub in Witten. In its many rooms, one could see steel-clad armors, medieval weaponry, chairs and tables. To put it in a few words, the place resembled the interior of a castle! Excellent choice for a “goth” gig, don’t you think? The capacity of the club was around 150 people and later on I heard that the festival turned out a completely sold out gig! Once again I was really glad to come across some good old friends from all over Europe, people that share the same passion with me…

 

So…it was around 19:00 o’clock when the newcomers La Scaltra came on stage. The band plays an interesting mixture of dark wave and goth rock with a minimal touch in their sound. Melodic female vocals and a powerful rhythm section are two of their assets. We are talking about a female duo with Aeleth & Diane on vocals plus 2 special friends of their on the guitar and bass. The band performed for about 40 minutes, playing their debut album in its entirety. They easily managed to capture the audience. Also, their light show was brilliant since Frank the light-bringer of Merciful Nuns was involved. When they got off stage everyone seemed to be full of compliments for La Scaltra and their haunting tunes!

Well done guys and girls, or rather girls and guys!

Their setlist:

Intro/Garden
Visions of Glass
Neverland
Lucian
Gunshot Lullabies
Ghosts
Nightmares

Next one on the bill was The Escape. Actually they were the main reason for me to join this fest. I am listening to their tunes for 20 years and never had the chance to catch them on stage until now, since they are not performing live very often. The Escape is a band that stands out for its great sense of melody and their elaborate way of combining powerful guitar parts, melodic piano lines, atmosperic synths, electronic elements and anthemic vocals in their songs. During the last months their guitarist Heiko (a founding member) had to leave the band for personal reasons, so Ingo had to undertake the second guitar parts as well. Although they only performed for 50 minutes, they managed to include songs from all of their releases in their set. They played tunes like the Epic “Waiting for John Wayne” taken from their debut album (a song that has never been left out from their sets through the years), dancefloor hits like “Tears in December” and “The End of Days”, slow tempo melodic anthems like “This Life” and the brilliant piano version of “Time of Tension”. They also played songs that they had never presented live before like “Conspiracy” (a personal favorite) or “I Wonder Why” taken from their 7′ vinyl of 2007. Unfortunately fantastic songs like “Devil Dance” or “Manderlay” -although originally included in their set- were not performed due to the strict time schedule.

Ingo and his boys produced a crystal clear live sound and were just amazing on stage! The guitar duo of Ingo and Randy was really well-worked and Thomas‘ keyboards enriched the beauty of the songs. I can surely admit that after so many years, Ingo is still one of the few well-dressed goth frontmen in the scene. Overall The Escape put up an outstanding show, even if it was rather short for a band of their magnitude. Nevertheless, I was absolutely delighted to see these goth heroes on stage at last! Truly excellent in all aspects…

Their setlist:

Where Have you Been
Tears in December
Waiting for John Wayne
House of Mind
Conspiracy
Time of Tension (piano version)
The End of Days
This Life
I Wonder Why

After a small break the Nephilim-lovers of the underground, were ready to hit the stage! Sweet Ermengarde lost their charismatic singer Kuba last year and were patiently looking for his replacement. Daniel was the one that took his place and after listening to their second album I can easily admit that they made a hell of a choice. This guy is equally good with Kuba… if not better! “Ex Oblivione” was one of the best releases of the current year for me. This album is so good that I often think that if the Nephs had actually released this album themselves, everyone would be talking about the return of the decade….

I was anxious to see how this line up would work on stage and how Daniel would perform their new songs, as well as the ones from the first album. When they started their show I was shocked (in the best possible way) and -as i figured out later on- I wasn’t the only one. The guys took me back to the atmosphere of “Visionary Heads”… Frank’s magnificent light-show helped a lot too!

Daniel’s voice was as good as on the studio recordings!! He passionately sung both new and old songs!! Mike and Danny on the guitars were just perfect, while Lars with his Nephilimesque bass lines filled the songs with a 90’s “Elizium” mood! This was my 3rd Sweet Ermengarde gig and I can confirm that this band is one of the few that really perform LIVE… besides their recorded keyboards of course. Definitely one of the best goth rock live bands nowadays!

Their setlist:

Ex Oblivione
Into Oblivion
From Beyond (Sleep is Better than Prayer)
A Promise to Fulfill
For this Moment
Tender Russian Roulette
Dreamlands
Nigredo-Clad
Dead of Night
Necropolitan Rest

 

After a last break, the time had come for the headliners to conquer the stage! The Last Cry from the UK were up next and their passionate show had just hit us like a whirlwind! I can’t really be objective when i’m writing about these guys, since I am a huge fan of theirs. Their wave/goth sound with its post-punk attitude filled the space with energy! The whole club was jumping and singing for about an hour, completely enchanted by Tim, Chris and the one and only Andrew, the voice master! If there is one word that best describes these guys, this word is …TALENT, pure talent! They played songs from all of their releases and singles and even a new one, to be included in their forthcoming album that will hit the stores in August! Unfortunately they had to drop “song about” from their setlist due to lack of time, but their show was so mind blowing by all means!

Their setlist:

No Resistance
Punishment
The Night that I saw you
Broken Hearts
This Future has no Face
Life of Lies
Falling Away
Truth & Lies
To Dream Next to You
————————–
Haunting Me
Walking to the Edge

Concluding I would like to congratulate Carsten & Renate (Sweet Ermengarde), Jörg & Steffe (The Escape), Hanna & Michael Nowakowski with this brilliant mini festival which offered us almost 5 hours of pure goth action! Until the next time…. Long Live the goth rock Underground !

pics by Oliver Krapp
videos by me & Angeliki Delli

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Goth

 

Last Remaining Pinnacle – Human Diagnostic

LRP-Tape-Online

Human Diagnostic” is the title of a long spaced out psychedelic soundtrack, recently released as a double cassette by Last Remaining Pinnacle.

With Dave Allison – Sound Experimentation and Dave Dembitsky – Sound Manipulation the album was produced, engineered and mixed by Dave Dembitsky at The House Of Lou, Norfolk Virginia December 2015.

Last Remaining Pinnacle was started by Dave Allison in Portsmouth Virginia in 1995! Inspired by underground noise culture , Late Night TV Movies, random broken amplifiers and 70’s reel to reel tape machines Dave A. began recording demo’s in the garage at his parents home.

Over the next decade Last Remaining Pinnacle collaborated with other like minded artists on numerous recording projects for various labels.

In 2009 Chrischa Ives started contributing guitar, keyboards and violin and Last Remaining Pinnacle expanded into a duo.

The band also started blending it’s noise roots with more structured rock n roll songwriting.

In early 2011 the band releases a four cassette collection that contained multiple “Soundtrack” type recordings that had been recorded over the summer and fall
of 2010.

The band then released a split 7″ with fellow Virginia natives Pan Galactic Straw Boss in April of 2011 on Allison’s label Custom Made Music.

Ives soon left the band and Allison brought in guitarist Dave Dembitsky.

The two instantly started writing and recording new material.

May 21st 2012 saw the release of the bands 1st proper album “Visitors” followed by “64” two years later and the ambient/noise/soundtrack “Human Diagnostic” 2 X Cassette in February 2016 all of which are available from Allison’s own Custom Made Music label.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

New Zero God – Short Tales & Tall Shadows

New Zero God - Short Tales & Tall Shadows (2016).jpg

New Zero God’s biography reads like the name-droppers guide to goth. The band’s pedigree is connected to legendary names such as The Mission and The Sisters Of Mercy, and in their present guise they have already scored support slots with Christian Death and The Legendary Pink Dots…”

                                                                                   Terrorizer Magazine – UK

 Two years after the release of their album “MMXIII”, and six after their debut “Fun Is a Four Letter Word”, “Short Tales & Tall Shadows” marks the return of New Zero God with a full length album filled with new music compositions.

During this time, however, New Zero God remained in view with tracks being released on several international compilations as well as having issued the digital EP “Zona Pericolosa” – recorded live in 2015 in Italy.

“…New Zero God though is a beast unto itself, distilling the best elements of these groups and giving them a major overhaul.”

                                                                                   Intravenous Magazine – UK

New Zero God is a Post Punk/Goth band founded in 2006 by former members of The Flowers Of Romance.  With several releases through Greek and English labels, and with their live performances in Greece and abroad, they have created a loyal following.

Made out of a world of light and shadows where Gothic elements merge into a psychedelic mood, “Short Tales & Tall Shadows” draws the listener into a sound with a strong touch of theatricality. Some of the songs were brought out of a nightmarish world, such as the one of “King Pest The First” (from the short E.A. Poe story that was published in 1835).  Others, like “Garden of Mazes”, parallels the view from a paranoid world, while a romantic dreamscape is created in “Down the Rabbit Hole”.  It is obvious that New Zero God is attempting to create a pure atmospheric album and experiment with the guitar sounds of Akis Nikolaidis, the melodies of Mike Pougounas on vocals and keyboards, while the powerful rhythm section of bass player Harri Stavrakas and drummer Babis Efthymiou bring down the house to create an album unlike any of their previous releases.

To sum it all up, “Short Tales & Tall Shadows” delivers an album true to the title… a collection of short stories darkened by the tall shadows which embellish it.

New Zero God Bandcamp

Official Web Site

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2016 in Goth

 
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New Zero God announced the release date of new album

New Zero God - Short Tales & Tall Shadows CD

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2016 in Goth, etc.

 

Long Night – Sorrow Returns ep

long night

(by Fondas SumerSon)

I guess that if someone is into goth rock music, the name of Mr. Tommy Olson will sound familiar. This man was responsible for the cult album “There is no Salvation” by the old school goth rockers The Morendoes. Later on, along with Kristian Gundersen and the unforgettable Jan Kenneth Barkved (RIP), he formed the mighty Elusive, Norway’s big guns of goth rock, a band that lasted for about 10 years and attracted numerous people into goth music.

After a long absence and having released just one ep with The River Knows back in 2012, Tommy decided to form a band with a male singer again, doing what he knows best: composing “western goth” tunes and dance-floor anthems! For this purpose, he recruited two great musicians to accompany him on this journey. Osten Bergoy with vocals contributions in Tristania and The Morendoes (during their middle period) and Arni Sorlie, a guitar riff master, ex-member of a various Norwegian underground metal bands.

After a couple of gigs at their homeland and an appearance at Sacrosanct festival in the UK last year, time has finally come for the release of their debut ep, under the title “Sorrow Returns”.

This ep contains 7 songs in total. The opening track “Sorrow Returns” is definitely one of the finest goth n’ roll tunes that Tommy has composed over the years. Catchy riffs, dark lyrics and a powerful refrain, all combined perfect to create an absolute dance-floor hammer! Fans of Elusive and Billy Idol will be blown away.
The atmospheric, Morendoes-like, “Arkham” (totally upgraded in comparison to the old version) is a song of dark moods and even darker passions. Haunting piano melody on this one and great guitar work! Next we have “Ruins”, a slow-tempo song with an epic melody which takes us back in time. I could easily imagine this being a track by The Mission or The Cult . Just brilliant!
Full speed ahead again and “Tell no Tale”. Another dance-floor anthem which reminds me a lot of my beloved Elusive of the “locked doors, drinks and funerals” era! Powerful and sentimental at the same time.
We slow-down again with one of the highlights of the ep according to my opinion, the desert-dusty-acoustic version of “Winter”. Slide guitars create a hypnotic western atmosphere bringing dark americana into a mesmerising goth ballad! Totally addicted to it from the very first time! This is how the desert sounds during a cold winter sundown.

The ep also includes two remixes of “Sorrow Returns” which are quite nice. Nevertheless, I would gladly trade them for another new song of The Long Night.
Credit should also be given to “Eos Designs” for the beautiful artwork and the band logo which portray ideally the feeling of this release!

Can’t wait for the full length album, but this ep is already enough reason to celebrate: Tommy is back!

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2016 in Goth

 

Υπόγεια Τροχιά (Underground Orbit) – Ο Μάγος (Τhe Magician)

Its been years since we wrote about Greek band Υπόγεια Τροχιά (Underground Orbit) HERE, HERE and HERE.

Now they return with the video Ο Μάγος (Τhe Magician)

Enjoy

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Alternative, Rock

 
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New Zero God – Short Tales & Tall Shadows

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1 Comment

Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
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