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About the Author
Mike Ventarola entered into the gothic world totally by accident at the age of 35. While sharing coffee with some of his more eccentric friends, he was enlightened that this dark underground world did in fact exist. He remains a do-it-now type of person who just had to explore everything there is to know about the gothic world. He remains a hard and fast supporter of the music and is slowly going broke trying to keep up with all the bands that are out there.

Dismayed that most firms are not catering to his beloved Gothic music, he dedicates his time to provide as much coverage to these bands as possible with The Hidden Sanctuary. Mike can be contacted at mavjb@aol.com.
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Ill | Mistress McCutchan

   

   

   

   

   

   


In Rotation, March 2002
Mike Ventarola
This month, our guest reviewer shares his favourite picks. Mike says, “Doing reviews often has a downside where one simply doesn’t have the affordable time to just kick back and listen for pleasure. However, music being an important part of any reviewer’s life, some time has to always be set aside for at least a few stellar works.”
The Empire Hideous – Victim Destroys Assailant
Track Listing: Talk is Cheap, Stealing From The Crow, God & I, You Follow, Logic, Amazing Murder Machine, This Dead Season, Otherside, Power The Empire ‘98, Mr. Barnum ‘98, Thou Shalt Be Done, Open Windows, Hereafter.
This seemingly 1998 prophetic work may not be new, but is a new purchase. The songs not only reflect the current trends of mindless violence in the aftermath of the WTC disaster, but also hone in on some of the best goth rock to come out of New York’s underground. The varieties of style are simply sublime, from the dark dance work of “Talk Is Cheap,” to the slow and pensive “Stealing From The Crow.” The band’s legendary and goth club hit “Mr. Barnum” is also on this disc and remains a high recommendation for those looking for goth rock as opposed to synthpop/dark techno work. For more information, check out their website.
Chiwawa – The Sick World of Yona
Track Listing: Below Zero, Umbrella Man, Dream Sequence, Seaship, 10 to 13 (Details), On Top Of Trees, Nep-tune, Drone, Innuendo, Ode To You, Hush, Gibber.
Chiwawa is a Canadian band that I stumbled across who does some rather interesting style hybrids. The work was so impressive in fact, that I bought all 5 of their albums at once. In years to come, when a definition for “alternative rock” is sought, this band will be the answer. Stylistically, the band simply cannot be pigeonholed because the work is an amalgamation of all the preceding styles in the music world, redone and reinvented in highly pleasurable tones. DJ’s seem to favor the track “Below Zero” for its colorful homage to modern day new wave, however, many of the bouncy tracks could withstand any number of playlist inclusions across the globe. Laurie Gordon is the chanteuse of this group, whose vocals are similar in style to Victoria Lloyd of Claire Voyant. Gordon’s crooning is sensual, comforting, highly polished and demonstrative of a woman with self assuredness without attitude. Despite the sexual energy delivered, there isn’t any cheap ploy to capitalize on that, it is merely a natural offshoot from a band with a tightly woven sound combined with a singer with a blessed vocal gift. Some work can be found on MP3, however, justice for the work isn’t done until you hear the pressed CD. Available for sale at Amazon.
The Razor Skyline – Journal of Trauma
Track Listing: Queen of Heaven, Pray For Me, Suicide Me, Andrea, Revenge: The Poison I.V., In The Mirror, Pretty Things, Predator, Stranglehold, Hanged Man.
During a review for the Sex, Death and Eyeliner Soundtrack, every track featured made me want to seek out the work of all the included artists, this artist being among them. The Razor Skyline’s featured song was Hanged Man, with its evocative and impassioned vocals layered over top notch goth/industrial cybernetic rhythms. Initially this CD was hard to find, but Cop International must have heard the cries from the underground because it is available yet again after selling out in many outlets. The work couples lyrical intensity with topics from betrayal to despondency and an additional nod towards Goddess worship in the haunting Queen of Heaven. Vocalist Karen Kardell is expertly featured with splendid electronic performances from The Gun and Ioejecta, who deliver hard enjoyable beats that won’t make the ears bleed from over processing like so many other new entrants to the foray. The band simply demonstrates that with talent, one can create addictive and dramatic electro industrial music. Available for sale at Amazon.
Xorcist – Nomad
Track Listing: Nomad, Slider, Alienautic, Trichotomy, Spider, Insect, Omni, Phantara, Pretty, Spiritual Angles, Whiplash Sonogram, –.
Yet another artist featured on the Sex, Death and Eyeliner soundtrack whose full work needed to be in my collection. Having heard other tracks from the artist on other compilation appearances, which are bit more harsher, it was a pleasant surprise to uncover this CLASSIC gem of a recording. Nomad takes Mid Eastern beats and layers them into a gauze like fabric of twilight. The pulsations and rhythmic flow are simply hypnotic and subliminal. Although I am not a fan of compressed vocals, they were done just so well on this CD that any other style of voice would not have been appropriate. One is not only delivered a myriad of Mid Eastern layers, but overtones of the baroque era church like chorals made popular as of late by groups such as E Nomine. This dark, seductive and mood enhancing work is a must for all goth collections. Check out their website for more information.
Emerald Rose – Bending Tradition
Track Listing: Penny In The Well, Fire In The Head, Lucky Man, Jigs: The Green Hills of Garland, The Gallagher Lass, The Ferret’s Nose, Red-Haired Mary, Pagan Girl, Come By The Hills, Merry May Folk, Johnnie Cope, Castle Of Arianrhod, Freya Shakti, Unfinished Business, Hills Of America
With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, this disc is making regular rotation. Some may recall this band from numerous appearances at Dragon Con and other such events. The four gentlemen who make up this band deliver modern Celtic traditions with a healthy dose of Paganism. Like Bard’s of yore, this group dazzles and entertains with timeless lyrics wrapped around expert playing ability of real instruments. There is even a Celtic rendition of the Emerson Lake and Palmer hit “Lucky Man.” On this disc, one will not only hear traditional guitars, drums and bass, but also bouzouki, pennywhistle, bodhran and assorted percussion, but NO synthesizers. Those seeking out Pagan or Celtic root type of music, will certainly find this a wondrous entry into their collection. For more information, check out their website.
Dissonance – Reincarnate
Track Listing: Anxiety, Eleanor Rigby, Desperate, Tightrope, Fearless, Sinking, Control, Drained, Second, Passing, Control remix by Signal 12/ Leif Hansen, Desperate remix by Oneiroid Psychosis/ Lars Hansen.
Hot off the presses from Nilaihah Records is Dissonance – 12 tracks of dark electro beats for those days when you want something with a little more bounce to it. The cover version of the Beatles classic Eleanor Rigby is simply astounding and begs for a few lengthier remixes. Other delicacies are remixes by Signal 12/ Leif Hansen and Oneiroid Psychosis/ Lars Hansen.