Flat Earth – None For One

Hailing from the heavy music haven of Finland (seriously they must put something in the water over there) and with members previously in HIM and Amorphis, is Flat Earth. On their debut album, None For One (Drakkar Entertainment) the Finnish four-piece combine a Heavy Metal approach with melancholic and emotive sensibilities, the result being a supercharged take on Grunge and a textured record with equal amounts light and dark. Continue reading

Lacuna Coil – The 119 Show Live In London (DVD)

Lacuna Coil celebrated twenty years by filming The 119 ShowLive in London (Century Media) in that bastion of musicality, London Town. The more than two-hour show showcases all that’s good about Lacuna Coil and features amazing performances by Incandescence Circus Theatre Company. From the freaky circus backdrop to the band taking the stage in unsettling white face paint, The 119 Show is a mélange of American Horror Story Season 4, a wicked Lacuna Coil show, and amateurish editing. Continue reading

Bloody Hammers – Lovely Sort Of Death

Bloody Hammers Lovely Sort of Death cover ghostcultmag

Born in 2012 Bloody Hammers are a husband and wife gothic/doomy metal duo from North Carolina, founded by singer, guitarist and bassist Anders Manga with said wife Devallia providing the keyboard, organ and synth sounds. They may be new but by Jove are they productive, as this album Lovely Sort of Death (Napalm Records) is their fourth in as many years. Continue reading

Contest Winner: Dead Register Giveaway Annoucement

Dead Register band 2016 ghostcultmag

To celebrate the recent release of their new album Fiber, Atlanta’s Dead Register teamed up with Ghost Cult to give away a prize pack including a CD and a t-shirt. The winner is Jonathan Meyer of Montclair, NJ! Congrats Jonathan and thanks to all who entered. More contests are in the works so follow Ghost Cult for more prizes!

JMeyer Dead Register winning contest entry

dead register fiber album cover ghostcultmag

Formed in 2013, Dead Register plays a mix of goth rock and doom, sometimes described as “post-Goth” “doom-gaze”, that will find fans from bands such as Type O Negative, Soundgarden, Killing Joke, Skinny Puppy, Pinkish Black and more. The band is comprised of front man/bassist M. Chasta, his wife Avril Che, and drummer Chad Williams. Stream Fiber (AVS Records) at this link:

Order Fiber from Dead Register at Bandcamp here:

Dead Register on Facebook

Contest: Win A CD And Shirt Package From Dead Register

dead register fiber album cover ghostcultmag

Atlanta, GA Gothic doom band Dead Register released their début full-length album last week, entitled Fiber (AVR Records). Now the band has teamed up with Ghost Cult to give you chance to celebrate that release with them by winning some music and merch from the band. Just share this post on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #DeadRegister #Fiber to enter. One winner will be chosen at random. The contest ends on May 12th at 5 PM EST.

Formed in 2013, Dead Register plays a mix of goth rock and doom, sometimes described as “post-Goth” “doom-gaze”, that will find fans from bands such as Type O Negative, Soundgarden, Killing Joke, Skinny Puppy, Pinkish Black and more. The band is comprised of frontman/bassist M. Chasta, his wife Avril Che, and drummer Chad Williams. The streamed their new album last week which you can hear at this link:

Dead Register band 2016 ghostcultmag

 

Order Fiber from Dead Register at Bandcamp here:

Dead Register on Facebook

Eyes Wide Open – Mick Moss of Antimatter

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Mick Moss has created a delicate, involving and contemplative sixth Antimatter album. Opening up, just as he does with many of his lyrics, to Ghost Cult, the English songwriter took the time to discuss the heart, soul and creation of ‘The Judas Table’ (Prophecy)

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The Judas Table absolutely needed to be recorded. Those songs had festered in my head for too long and I needed to clear the decks out.

“The second need was to get the songs recorded in a manner that was interesting to myself despite the fact that I had heard them again and again within the jukebox of my own brain. Job done. Both of them.”

While intrinsically melancholic art rock, Moss has brought together another album of personal, introspective reflection and revelation.

“It’s good to get things out, of course, but it’s not so much catharsis as hardcoding my realizations into lyrics so that I can live those empowering conclusions again and again. I actually want to revisit these realizations rather than to spit them out and be done with them. Hopefully if the listener can relate to my conclusions then they can use them to their own benefit.

I wouldn’t call it selfish, but I absolutely must think of only myself whilst working” states Moss when asked what his consideration when writing is. “The ‘listener’ is potentially everybody else in the whole world. Therefore, it would be impossible for me to work whilst always considering the listener in the back of my mind, as it would be impossible to please everybody, or worry about not pleasing everybody. I would go insane.”

That said, there is an acceptance that the nebulous “listener” plays a hidden role in the workings of most musical craftsmen.

“Admittedly, there are some incidents during the writing or construction process where I’ll come up with something that I feel is moving, and I’ll get excited and wonder if it will move the listeners the way it moves me.”

“During the writing and construction process of any piece of music, I always work to how my body and mind are reacting to what I’m writing (and) playing. This is how I navigate a piece from start to finish, trying to manipulate my inner feelings through the sounds that come back to me. So, yeah, it is an intention that the music is uplifting for myself. I then assume that if it can do that to me, it will do the same to some of the people who hear it.”

A similar assumption allows Moss to be fully expressive and personal in his lyrics; to exhibit a bravery in allowing his vulnerabilities and reflections to be exposed to others.
“It’s all I’ve ever done, so it’s not scary to me, no. Since my very first songs in 1996 I’ve been pouring my heart, fear, pain into my lyrics. Sometimes if I’m writing (something) too personal I can always wrap it up in metaphor, to protect myself I guess. But that’s something I’m doing less and less as I get older, and I’m making the lyrics more direct. I wrote the lyrics to ‘Epitaph’ from Planetary Confinement (The End) 30 minutes after I was notified of the death of a close family member, so I’m not sure if there’s anything too personal for me to write about.”

As far as Antimatter goes, Moss has always worked alone; he is neither distracted nor persuaded by the whims of others, but instead is able to hone and lead the path his music takes, keeping it a pure, personal vision. As such, there is a palpable bond between albums, with familial resemblances evident, a shared genetic make-up, alongside progression and development. The Judas Table, for example, bears the hallmark of its forebears but continues the evolutionary arc.
“Any new album carries over some traits from its predecessor. But there’s also a natural urge to go to new places that weren’t previously explored” Moss considers. “Plus, before Fear Of A Unique Identity (Prophecy) was recorded, the majority of Fear… and Judas… both existed in my head at the same time, so there’s going to be some links between the two there. 

“After the frenetic arrangements of Fear…, I focused on simplicity. The brief that I set myself was to have everything nicely arranged and with no crazy tangents – although two songs did end up with a slight detour – (and) also to let a song tick over and explore that space with ethereal melody, as was successfully done with ‘Hole’ and ‘Little Piggy’.”

“There’s no real rule, except that I tend to know what I want to write about, and this flows out in a kind of stream-of-consciousness jam with myself. I then adapt the acoustically written songs to the full-band scenario based upon the drumbeats and dynamics that I hear in my head. I make a demo at my home studio and then record the album based on the demos; it’s a well-oiled way of working for me now, things just flow.

“Apart from the drums, which were recorded at (the) prestigious Parr Street Studios, Liverpool, I recorded the album in my home studio. I decided early on that, after the ‘Too Late’ single, which was partially recorded at home, I would do everything here where I would have the time needed to get everything just right rather than looking at the clock in a studio and having to pack up and leave at a specific time. It turned out great, actually, and has given me the courage to go on to do more here.”

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Mick Moss of Antimatter, 2015. Photo Credit: from www.facebook.com/antimatteronline

For those of us of a heavier, more rock/metal background, the likelihood is we were introduced to Antimatter due their association with Anathema, being the project Duncan Patterson turned to after leaving the progressive metallers, teaming up with Moss for the first three albums, with Moss continuing alone for the subsequent trio.

Interestingly, though, while they shared writing duties, they didn’t necessarily collaborate in the truer senses of the term. “When Duncan and myself worked together, we didn’t actually work together… I would craft half of an albums worth of complete songs and Duncan would do the same” confirms Moss, reflecting on any potential for expanding his song-writing to include collaborating with other artists.

“Ergo when he left, I didn’t lose a composing partner as I’d always worked 100% on my own material. The only thing that changed upon Duncan’s departure was that I then composed twice as many songs, which wasn’t a struggle as I already had a good archive of work by that point. In some ways it was actually better for me as then I had complete control over the album as a whole rather than it being two separate visions fused together.
“I can’t imagine myself ever working with somebody to write a song from zero, it’s such a personal experience and it takes a certain vision to get it finished. I would imagine that there would be quite some disagreements. And I certainly wouldn’t involve anybody else in the creation of what is known as ‘Antimatter’

“If I were to work with another person then it would be under a different moniker, such as the Sleeping Pulse project I launched with Luis Fazendeiro in 2014. Despite what I say about not wanting to compose with somebody, Sleeping Pulse was a fantastic opportunity to work with Luis’ existing music and then craft vocal melodies and lyrics over the top. A wonderful experience that allowed me to operate fully as a vocalist and lyricist, and to put all of my energy into those jobs alone without having to worry about all of the other instruments, like I do in Antimatter.”

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Antimatter, 2015. Photo Credit: Caroline Traitler

The Judas Table is a beautiful, reflective and uplifting album that works as an immersive experience, or, through its delicate melodies, as a calming influence. Aware of previous comments Moss had made, that, for him, success of an album isn’t measured in terms of personal profile or “fame”, just what would “success” for The Judas Table look or feel like, or is it something that has already been achieved in its creation?
“That’s a difficult question, as success can be judged in different ways.

“The album I made was better than the album in my head, so that alone is quite a success. Again, most reviews are positive, some are overwhelmingly positive, the fans have received it with love and enthusiasm, and the live sets are now stronger due to the inclusion of songs such as ‘Can Of Worms’, ‘Killer’, ‘Stillborn Empires’, so, again, I would declare it a success. How it does commercially is a different matter, and I have no way of knowing that at this time, but even if it sold just one copy I would still love the album completely.

“One by-product of taking the new songs out on the road, one thing I’m not sure I had really expected, was that the addition of this new material strengthened the Antimatter setlist like crazy.  

“It was like a shot in the arm.

“The setlist we now have is like none I’ve ever had in the past, and one thing I’m thinking lately is I just want to enjoy this moment live for a year or so, really celebrate the place Antimatter is with these new songs in the repertoire.”

 

WORDS BY STEVE TOVEY

Sleep of Monsters – Produces Reason

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Babylon Whores are the single most underrated band of all time, and Cold Heaven (Misanthropy, though recently re-released on vinyl by Svart) is the greatest undiscovered gem of all albums, so it is with anticipation most foul that Sleep of Monsters’ debut Produces Reason (Svart) saunters into our musical consciousness, being as it is the new vehicle for the distinctive crushed velvet pipes of Ike Vil, former ‘Whores mainman.

It can often be unfair to compare a new venture to a participants old wares, but when the vocal cords are as instantly recognisable and perception shaping as Vil’s it’s hard not to. Accompanied by songwriter and guitarist Sami Hassinen (Blake) and former members of Waltari and HIM, Produces Reason kicks off with a pair of rockers, as if Ike’s former occult troupe had been polished by the HIM hit machine, ‘Nihil Nihil Nihil’ dark, catchy and understated, with a strong vocal chorus hook.

As the album unveils, the rock element is toned down and replaced by a more gothic, sedate feel, led by Vil’s characteristic delivery and melancholic lines, and flashes of Sisters of Mercy, Beastmilk and even Simple Minds decorate their Gothic rock. ‘Christsonday’ liberally dips its toe into Queensryche’s ‘Eyes Of A Stranger’ and emerges with the guitar motif intact, dropping the familiar lick over their death rock, while ‘Magick Without Tears’, the true closer for this album (additional track ‘I Am The Night, Colour Me Black’ is superfluous and dynamically doesn’t work) kneads in the vocal talents of the “Furies”, a trio of female vocalists whose harmonies proliferate the album at various points, over a Pink Floydian organ-led flick.

Managing to retain the core elements of its participants former endeavours, weaving and celebrating their individual talents and ideosyncracies, Sleep of Monsters have produced a credible dark pop debut, reflecting the pasts of its’ creators, and one that leaves the promise of something even more grandiose and fruitful in their future.

 

7.0/10

Sleep of Monsters on Facebook

 

STEVE TOVEY