Follow The Leaders (A Killing Joke Tribute)

Coitus Interruptus Productions quotes writer Steve Taylor from his 2006 book, The A to X of Alternative Music, as saying “Killing Joke have inspired all dark music since 1981” going on to posit that “Scrape the surface of just about any Industrial Metal or Alternative Rock band worth their salt, and you’ll find some aspects of the prolific and powerful Killing Joke.”

With that bold statement, they bring us Follow the Leaders (A Killing Joke Tribute), an 11 track compilation that dares to take on the challenge of honoring one of the greatest progenitors of the post-punk/industrial metal genre.

Snowbeasts start it off right with their take on the KJ classic Wardance. Primal rhythms with a darkly polished sheen. This wardance knows it’s not just about brutality and wounds its prey with  subtle efficient strikes… Makes you wanna pogo along like a flashback to an 80’s punk show by way of a Berlin discotheque. 

From there we move onto Element, and their version of Turn to Red. Element trades the punk reggae vibes of the original for more darkwave sound and turns up the dub a bit to make this one hard not bob your head to its tranced out vibe.

Next, The Blue Hour brings us The Gathering. I am not sure how they do it, but TBH takes this classic Killing Joke track, and channels the ghosts of Bow Wow Wow, and still makes the track sound fresh.

Riotgun takes on the herculean task of covering one of the most well known KJ tracks, Eighties. You have to give these guys credit… This is the one track that I had the most concern about when I heard about this compilation. Yet I think they do an admirable job of keeping the aggression in place and not turning in an unintentional parody of the original. Hats off to Riotgun… Well played!

Here in the middle of the group, we find three of the best tracks of the compilation in my opinion…

Shhadows brings us a dreamy, trip hop inspired version of my all time favorite Killing Joke song Love Like Blood. For all its dreamy, spaced out qualities, it still keeps its power.

Trance to the Moon tackles Love of the Masses. This song hits me with the same angst of a song like Love Like Blood from a new direction, and I feel the pain in every note that vocalist Monet Alarie hits. Like a love gone wrong, it leaves you longing for another kiss.

And rounding out this triad of greatness is The Joy Thieves (featuring I Ya Toya) with Money is Not Our God.  Ania Tarnowska, takes no prisoners with her vocals on this bombastic assault against capitalism, propelled through the night by the punishing rhythms courtesy of Dan Milligan and crew.

On The Death and Resurrection Show, Missing Witness brings us a version of the song that we might have seen if Jaz and the Gang had gotten snared in the Wax Trax net circa 1986. The track evokes the feel of Ministry tracks The Angel and Over the Shoulder. Very cool old-school Chicago industrial vibes here.

The Raygun Girls bring those Big Paul Ferguson Beats to the front of the line on their take on  Hosannas from the Basements of Hell. This is the most Killing Joke like track on the whole record, yet doesn’t cross that line over into cover band purgatory.

This World Hell by Dead Receptors is an interesting track full of contradictions. Its brutalist vocals and staccato clipped synths are weighted down by the sleazy/funky bass and drums that remind me of great tracks like Golgotha Tenement Blues from Machines of Loving Grace. 

And finally, HadesMachine shows us out with Euphoria. A Goth rock banger tinged with siren call synths pleading for us to show some urgency, like a vampire biker gang racing against the dawn.

Overall this compilation curated by Coitus Interruptus Productions is a worthy tribute to one of the great pioneers of the post-punk/industrial sound. Go pick it up as a pay what you want offering at: https://coitusinterruptusproductions.bandcamp.com/album/follow-the-leaders-a-killing-joke-tribute

Ritualz – †‡† 10 Year Anniversary Re-Release Interview with JC Lobo

This year marks the 10 year anniversary of †‡†, one of the most influential records in the Witch House scene and a pillar of that genre. This release was at the forefront of a wave of bands that brought a new flavor to dark music and challenged the expectations of what goth music could/should be.

To celebrate this occasion the fine folks at RE:Mission Entertainment are releasing a new remastered version of this genre defining release on vinyl!

JC Lobo a.k.a. Ritualz was kind enough to chat with me about the EP, his thoughts about its relevance to his overall process, the scene in his native Mexico City, and what’s next…


Wow! 10 years… How do you feel †‡† has held up?

I still like this release a lot. Some of my favorite tracks I’ve made are on it and I still play a couple of them regularly on my live shows, a bit updated to fit with the newer songs, but I didn’t change them too much. I think for a 10 year old EP from a very specific time it’s held up fine. A lot of commercial music from that time sounds awful today but a lot of the underground stuff is still good.

I remember hearing this back when it came out and was like “holy fuck!… This is what I’ve been missing since the early days of TKK and Coil” What made you decide to take this direction?

When Disaro asked me to release an EP on his label I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this project. I only had a couple of tracks which were pretty much just experiments. I had no direction set for this project. It was when I made Kvltstep that I felt I had tapped into something. It was the first time I felt this purple feeling in the music I make. I can’t really explain it, but it’s not synesthesia. I don’t see anything. I just feel “purple” inside. It’s the mood, the emotion of the sound. I decided to try and get that feeling from every song without making every song the same.

Your music is described as “night music for the end of the world”… What does that mean to you?

Part of this purple feeling in my music is the sensation of it being nocturnal. I don’t think it’s music to listen to during the day. I don’t think I ever worked on any of these songs before it got dark, I always worked at night. So this music is dark because it comes from literal darkness and some things are just better enjoyed at night/in the dark. As for the “end of the world” part, I think we are living through it. People have this idea of the end of the world being far away and a one day cataclysm, or some supernatural thing that’s going to end us, like aliens or the rapture, but this planet is billions of years old and we’ve been around for a tiny fraction of that time. It’s the end of the world because we’ve entered the final stretch of our time here as a species. It might last a hundred or five hundred years, I don’t know, but our days are for sure numbered. So that part is just commentary about the times we’re living in I guess.

After 10 years, what do you think you would want to tell your past self about how things would go with the record? Would you try to change how you did things, or would you just tell them to just get on with it?

I think I did the best I could with this release and everything that happened in the 6 months between it and the next one. I would only tell myself to make more music and then make like three backups of everything I make. It’s all lost (hard drive with the only backup died) and it could’ve been prevented if I was less trustful in technology.

How does the scene in Mexico City influence/support what you are doing with Ritualz?

My music is too dark/not dance-y enough for the electronic scene and not abstract enough for the experimental scene. I identify with goths the most but the goth scene here is stuck trying to sound like bands from the 80s. No one wants to make or listen to anything new. We’re on like our third post-punk revival and people think industrial music is shitty techno with a distorted kick, so I just don’t get too involved. There are some people that do support what I do and I am very thankful to them, but I think I’m largely underappreciated in this city/country. Not that I think I deserve a lot of recognition either, it’s just weird knowing far more people are into what I do in Los Angeles, Warsaw, or Saint Petersburg than here. I tweet and post in english because I know 99% of the people reading are not from Mexico, that should sum it up.

How did you get hooked up with RE:Mission for this anniversary release? What was it about the label that made you decide to go with them?

I had plans for reissuing this EP on vinyl for its 10th anniversary but the pandemic and a canceled tour ruined those plans for me. Wes knew about them and offered to release it on Re:Mission. I’ve known him for a while now and have seen the work he puts in the label so I agreed. It’s been a good experience.

What’s next? New music? Shows? A line of fine china?

New music in the fall hopefully. I’ve been holding on to this new record for over a year now so I hope I don’t have to wait until next year to put it out. I’m still very cautious about booking shows. I haven’t been vaccinated and won’t be until around August and I want to wait and see how things go for people playing shows before I start playing again. I’d be surprised if I play any shows at all this year. My canceled European tour is going to be rescheduled for 2022, so that’s the only certain thing right now.

Thanks for taking the time to talk about Ritualz and †‡† 

Ritualz’s debut EP †‡† will be released as †‡† on 180g/45RPM vinyl via Remission Entertainment on June, 25th 2021. 

Pre-order the vinyl here:

https://remissionentertainment.bandcamp.com/album/-


Check out more music from Ritualz @ https://ritualz.bandcamp.com

Bara Hari – Ugly on the Inside

Sam Franko a.k.a Bara Hari, brings us the video for “Ugly on the Inside”, the second single from her forthcoming EP “Dark New Day”. A song Franco says “was inspired by society’s use of constructed avatars as a means of modern interaction and communication.”.

The video cycles through various scenes of Franco showing off her impressive costuming skills as she portrays a pair of avatars, a warrior and an angelic winged persona that is representation of Icarus, in intermittent glimpses of what might be the “true” self. This persona is mostly viewed  in shadow, perhaps to signify that she is hiding behind the avatars that give her agency in worlds where she may not have the self assurance to tread.

Franco says the video was inspired by music videos of the 90’s like R.E.M.’s “Losing my Religion” which prompted her to construct the wings seen in the video. While also giving a visual nod to the lyrical theme of Icarus flying too close to the sun. 

As for the music.. once again, Franco delivers… this track kicks ass! Soaring vocals paired with a great rhythm and when that beat kicks in you know she means business! Lyrics like “feed me with your fast affection, Nothing you see means anything…” A clever turn of phrase inditing the vapidity of most of the trappings of internet culture.

Who cares how ugly we are on the inside when our avatars are so beautiful?

Watch the video and tell us what you think:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ10dDe23o0

Dark New Day is set to release on May 21st, 2021

Chaos Magicks – Ritualistic Darkwave and More…

Ever since I heard the dark classic “These Remains” by the Thrill Kill Kult, I have been hooked on that sinister sound. It’s not quite dance music, but it’s not “not” dance music is it? It always made me feel like I was a character in a movie that snuck their way into the VIP room at the club only to find they stumbled into some modern pagan ritual, ala the masked ball from Eyes Wide Shut, but with the classical music soundtrack replaced by something akin to Skinny Puppy fronted by Chelsea Wolfe.

Take a ride with me and let’s listen to some of the artists that I think are exploring some of  these same sonic pathways today…

Cult of Alia – The Only Angel – This new track from Cult of Alia, the side project of David Wright from Creux Lies, gives me the feeling of a being in a 80’s vampire flick where the blood junkie in question stalks his prey from across the crowded dance floor. They lock eyes and the hunt begins. Great synth sounds and the pulsing beat gets your butt moving… Definitely looking forward to more from this project!

https://cultofalia.bandcamp.com/track/the-only-angel

Bara Hari – Weapon Samantha Franco hits us with Weapon! Inspired by her experiences with the exploitative men in the music industry, she delivers an all too important (and honestly all too familiar) reminder that we need to get our shit straight and be fucking decent human beings to each other. But let’s be clear… This track is a serious jam. I love the video concept and I can totally see her kicking ass like the Bride in Kill Bill.

https://barahari.bandcamp.com/track/weapon

Owl Theory – Heaven in Reverse – This E.P. of dark, seductive, electronic pop came about from Jarod Gibson of Odonis Odonis doing a gothic / darkwave take on Harry Styles song ‘WOMAN‘. That track anchors a collection of dark pop that flows from the ambient soundtrack stylings of the title track, to the trip hop vibes of the track “Spin”. I love this record… once I start playing it I get lost in the sound and before i know it, it’s over and I gotta spin it again!

https://digitalmarkt.bandcamp.com/album/heaven-in-reverse

SØLVE – SVNT LACRIMÆ RERVM – Atmospheric synths paired with punishing industrial beats. This dark and powerful track is steeped in cinematic ritualism… Every time I listen to this song, it lingers in the corners of my mind and teases me with its aftershocks, making me want more.

https://slve.bandcamp.com/track/svnt-lacrim-rervm

Sidewalks & Skeletons – ETERNAL REST This track, featuring frequent collaborator Cash for Gold, throws shades of Crystal Castles for me, but they pair it up with some thick urban beats and blazes a dark path of its own. I love how they can take an airy synth typically found in traditional dance music and make it heavy enough to smother you.

https://remissionentertainment.bandcamp.com/track/eternal-rest-feat-cashforgold-2

I could go on and on, but I have to leave some room for the rest of the Sounds and Shadows gang to work in.

Hit this playlist at https://bndcmpr.co/7711ef1f  to hear these tracks and more!